Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How to PRAY on the GO ?

NOTE:=Pray without ceasing, says Apostle Paul in 1 Thess 5:17...Jesus told parable in Luke 18:1 to teach them that they should always pray and not lose heart. How to do this? This abstract I came across offer some useful suggestions. Try them, you may find you prayer life jump up a notch and come alive. Know that prayer is not about doing an activity; it is more about your heart communicating to your God. Be blessed !

How to Pray on the Go
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Mark Littleton's new book, The Ten-Second Prayer Principle: Praying Powerfully as You Go, (Howard Publishing, 2007).

Don't feel guilty if you don't have long stretches of time to send lengthy prayers to God. He hears the short prayers you offer throughout your day -- like while you're driving, exercising, working, or eating -- and He'll answer them, too.

Incorporating brief prayers into your daily life will put you in frequent contact with God, which will make your prayer life rich and full, no matter how busy you are.

Here's how you can pray as you go through your daily life:

Recognize the opportunities. Know that everything that comes your way is an opportunity for you to pray about something. Realize that tremendous power you have to change the world for the better through your prayers -- and decide to use that power to the fullest. Ask God to give you His perspective on the people and situations you encounter so you'll be motivated to pray for them.

Don't stop. Think of prayer as something you can do continuously, without stopping. See it as ongoing communication with God. Remember that God is always present with you. Aim to check in with Him often through prayer.

Be natural. Understand that prayer should come as naturally to you as breathing does. Don't worry about trying to follow any type of formula for prayer; instead, simply pray in the way that works best for you at a particular time. Be assured that God will hear your prayers even if you don't go to a special place, kneel, close your eyes, speak your prayer aloud, use elaborate language, or pray for a certain amount of time. Relax and focus just on communicating with God in whatever way works best for you.

Be creative. Realize that prayer shouldn't be boring; it should be enjoyable and interesting. Rather than praying about the same old subjects over and over, pray about new topics, as well. Instead of using the same format for your prayers, mix up the order and change the style for variety. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray, so the process will be exciting.

Pay attention. Notice the abundance of opportunities you have to pray all around you, and make a habit of praying as you encounter various needs from people and situations in your life. Instead of just praying about what's routinely on your mind, make time to pray every time you interact with someone who needs God's touch or deal with something that could benefit from God's intervention. Know that the more you pray, the more God will answer and work in the world. Seek to become a significant force for change in your community.

Listen for the Spirit's prompting. Expect the Holy Spirit to nudge you to pray about people or situations you may never have thought of on your own. Whenever that happens, respond right then, praying while the need is fresh in your mind. Then enjoy watching how God answers your prayers.

Use information from the media. Whenever a news story catches your attention, pray about it. Remember that, while you probably don't personally know the people involved, they're real people in real situations that need God's help. Intercede using the specific details you've learned from the news story, asking God to transform the people's hearts and impact the situations according to His will. Rather than assuming you know the best outcome (such as in the case of a political election), simply pray for God's will to be done. Be assured that by praying about world events, you're tapping into real, unlimited power that can change the world for the better in powerful ways.

Shift your prayers. Get out of the rut of praying for the same old subjects over and over again. As you go through each day, deliberately shift from one topic to another so you can touch on a wide variety of subjects, like: family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, the government, the war on terror, people of other religions, your church, your small group, your city or county, your children's teachers and classmates, your upcoming vacation, moral issues, upcoming legislation, and the criminal justice system. Be creative, exploring new ground as you pray.

Make lists. Use lists of various topics to pray about, such as: a list you write of your personal needs, prayer lists you receive from your church or charities or missionaries that detail their current needs, and Bible verses you want to pray. Consider praying through your lists while taking a leisurely walk. After you pray through your lists, keep them for a while to remind you of what you've been praying and notice how God has answered.

Use your downtime. Make the most of the downtime you have each day, by praying in situations like: standing in line, waiting in a doctor's or dentist's office, sitting in traffic, waiting to be served in a restaurant, cleaning up after a meal, mowing the lawn or working in the garden, listening to music, trying to fall asleep, taking a bath or shower, sitting at the computer, watching your kids play, taking a walk, or watching television. View every moment of downtime you experience as an opportunity to pray.

Pray about whatever comes at you. Whenever life throws circumstances at you for which you're not prepared, make prayer your first response to them. Instead of letting yourself become overwhelmed, wasting time and energy worrying, or trying to solve problems in your own limited strength, pray when you first encounter challenges to release God's power into those situations right away.

Ask, seek, and knock. If you're asking God about something, frame your request in terms of biblical principles to make sure you're asking according to His will. Seek the answer to your prayer by taking action after you ask. For example, if you've asked God to help you become more physically fit (which aligns with the biblical principle of taking care of the body He gave you), seek the answer to your prayer by exercising regularly. Don't just wait around for God to magically drop the answer in your lap without you doing anything that will move you closer to your goal. Keep knocking on God's door persistently while you wait for Him to answer your prayers; don't give up.

Pray the Scriptures. Read the Bible often and meditate on the passages that speak the most powerfully to you. Memorize them, so the Holy Spirit will remind you of them whenever you need to apply their truths. When you pray, do so on the basis of what God has already promised or commanded in the Bible, since that will make your prayers line up with God's will. Don't limit yourself just to the Scripture passages you've memorized; whenever you read some verses that speak to something you're currently dealing with, turn that passage into a prayer by personalizing it. Realize that the better you know the Bible, the more specific, wide-ranging, and fervent your prayers can become.

Create a prayer file. Write down various prayer requests on index cards, using one card per request and noting: the nature of the request, the date, and where the request came from. File each request in the appropriate section of your file: things you intend to pray about daily, weekly, and monthly (divide the monthly section into 30 slots so you can pray about a different request each day of the month). Whenever you discover how God has answered a certain prayer request, record the answer on the corresponding card and move the card to a new file -- one for answered prayers.

Pray about small things as well as large things. Remember that nothing is too small to pray about; everything is significant to God because it's a part of your life and He loves you deeply. So go ahead and pray about whatever thoughts and feelings occur to you and whatever experiences you have. Don't hold back. Make a habit of connecting to God through prayer constantly.

Expect God to answer. Understand that God will eventually answer all of your prayers, but sometimes not in the ways you predict. Be prepared for surprises. Trust God to hear and respond to each prayer -- no matter how brief -- in the absolute best ways for you and all concerned. Look forward to what God will do!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Excellent Summary:The Bible in 50 words.

It’s amazing how simple some things really are. Take the Bible, for instance. At first glance, it’s an intimidating book filled with strange names, places we’ve never heard of, books we can’t pronounce, and verses we don’t understand. Even people who have read the Bible for years still have trouble understanding parts of it. Sometimes it helps to remember that the message of the Bible is not very complicated.

A friend sent me an e-mail containing “The Bible in 50 words.” That wouldn’t seem possible because the Bible is such a big book. But here it is.

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Jacob fooled
Joseph ruled
Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked
Prophets warned
Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

I don’t know who wrote that, but whoever it was did a fine job. You can quibble with what is left out—and you can ponder certain phrases such as “Saul freaked,” which isn’t entirely clear, but no matter what it means, it rhymes quite well with “David peeked,” which is in fact entirely correct.

I like it for a second reason that goes beyond the cleverness factor. It reminds us that the deepest truths are actually quite simple. A few years ago the editor of the student newspaper at a local high school called me. She said she was interviewing local clergy and wanted to know what Christmas means to me. I told her that it all comes down to one simple fact:
At Bethlehem a baby was born who was God in human flesh. This is the central truth of the Christian faith—that God became a man at Christmastime. Everything else we believe derives from that essential truth. With that in mind, let’s return to “The Bible in 50 words.”
Here is the life of Christ in just 12 words:

Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose

Not bad. Not bad at all. You can always add to that, but as it stands, it’s an excellent summary of the greatest story ever told—the life of Jesus Christ on the earth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why Christains Suffer??

Reflections on Why Christians Suffer Losses

By John Piper

When huge pain comes into your life—like divorce, or the loss of a precious family member, or the dream of wholeness shattered—it is good to have a few things settled with God ahead of time. The reason for this is not because it makes grieving easy, but because it gives focus and boundaries for the pain.

Being confident in God does not make the pain less deep, but less broad. If some things are settled with God, there are boundaries around the field of pain. In fact, by being focused and bounded, the pain of loss may go deeper—as a river with banks runs deeper than a flood plain. But with God in his firm and proper place, the pain need not spread out into the endless spaces of ultimate meaning. This is a great blessing, though at the time it may simply feel no more tender than a brick wall. But what a precious wall it is!

As a father, I want to help our twelve-year-old daughter Talitha settle some things with God now, so that when little or big losses come—and they will come—her pain will be bounded and will not carry her out, like a riptide, into the terrifying darkness of doubt about God. So as we read God’s word together twice a day, I point out the mysterious ways of God.

Two days ago, we read this from the lips of Jesus to the church at Smyrna in Revelation 2:10:
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

I asked Talitha, “Is Jesus stronger than the devil?” “Yes,” she said. Indeed, I added, ten million times stronger. It’s not even close. In fact, as Mark 1:27 says, “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” So all Jesus has to do is say to the devil, “You shall not throw my loved ones into prison,” and the devil will not be able to do it. Right, Talitha? Right.

So, Talitha, why does Jesus let the devil do this? Why does he let the devil throw his precious followers in jail and even kill some of them? She shook her head. I said, well, let’s read it again slowly, and you tell me the reason that the Bible gives. Slowly, “Behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison . . . that . . . you . . . may . . . be . . . tested.” So why does Jesus let this happen, Talitha? “That they may be tested.” That’s right.

And what is being tested? The answer is given in the way Jesus describes what passing the test looks like. He says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Faithfulness to Jesus is being tested. Will his loved ones keep trusting him? Will they keep believing that he has their best interest at heart? That he is wise? That he is good? That he is stronger than all?

So, Talitha, there are a thousand things that God is doing every time something painful happens to you. Most of these you do not know or understand. Job, Joseph, and Esther did not know what God was doing in their losses. But there is always one thing you can know God is doing when pain comes into your life. This is something you can settle with God ahead of time. He is always testing you.

If the test leads to your death, as it did for some of the Christians in Smyrna, Jesus wants you to know something ahead of time. “You will receive the crown of life.” That means he will raise you from the dead and will crown you with the kind of everlasting joy in his presence that will make up for your loses ten-thousand-fold. “Crown” signifies majestic, royal restoration and exaltation.
James says the same thing:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Passing the test means loving God to the end.

So settle it, Talitha. Loss and pain are coming into your life, but Jesus is infinitely stronger than the devil. So even if the devil is causing it, as he did in Smyrna, Jesus is letting it happen. And he always has his reasons—more than we can know. One of those reasons is always testing, namely, the testing of our faith and our love for him.

We cannot answer every why question. But there is always this answer: My faith is being tested. And our Lord never wastes his tests. Whether we believe this truth is, in fact, part of the test. In the mind of Jesus, the promise that he would give them the crown of life was enough to sustain the Christians in Smyrna. I pray that it will be enough for Talitha—and for you.

Trusting the wisdom and goodness of Jesus in loss, Pastor John

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wait for the Lord; Wait On the Lord.

Note:= Useful Verses to help us understand the practice and reason for waiting upon the Lord. Perhaps our modern fast pace of life, the 24/7 work culture, dont lend itself to such a mindset of just waiting and not be doing something. How can we be listen to God's still small voice when we are chasing so fast and so loud after the voice of this world? Perhaps we have learned the world's way of how to take control of our own life, how to be so effective, that we do not know how to surrender and be weak and let God have control. May these verses rekindle our desire to know our God as we are known by Him !

Ps 25:5 NKJV Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Ps 25:21 NKJV Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Ps 27:14 NKJV Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait , I say, on the LORD!

Ps 37:7-8 NKJV Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret — it only causes harm.

Ps 37:9 NKJV For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

Ps 37:34 NKJV Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Ps 59:9 NKJV I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense.

Ps 62:5 NKJV My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

Ps 69:3 NKJV I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Isa 30:18 NKJV God Will Be Gracious

Therefore the LORD will wait , that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Isa 40:31 NKJV But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Isa 49:23 NKJV Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me."

Isa 30:15 NKJV For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is God pleased with the churches we build ?

Note:= An interesting article, from a pastor of a local US church, taking an issue with those mega-churches pushing the prosperity gospel. Ever wonder why these prosperity preachers seldom or never push their messages in really poor areas of the world? One line in this article stands out to me, and its this: If your message won't work for all of mankind, then it's not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about this, and read on. God bless.

Local pastor wonders if God is pleased with churches we build

Founder of Church on the Rock of Jasper,
in Texas,USA

You can watch it on the History Channel, hear it described in a lecture with a slide presentation, or as in this case read about it. My best efforts not withstanding, you still won't have a clue until you have been there and seen it with your own eyes.

The abject poverty, the empty stare of hopelessness in children's eyes, and the never to be forgotten stench of raw sewage and filth openly exposed.

You will still be relatively uninformed after reading my futile attempt to communicate the enormity of the degradation and decadent existence of the multiple millions of vanquished hungry people who would be eternally grateful to one day have hope of aspiring to America's poverty level.

This was my first trip to the country where my older brother, a missionary evangelist, had sown seed for the past 12 years.

I went as his guest to preach at several of the many churches in the country of Ghana, Africa. He warned me to get prepared for the enormous 'culture shock.' There was no way to prepare myself for what I experienced.

I had been teaching and preaching over the radio to this and 37 other foreign countries for several years. After recently preaching in person to large and small, established as well as newly planted churches in the city, suburbs and bush country of this third world country I stand amazed.

To my chagrin I seriously question just who should be doing the teaching and who should be the student. In our affluent society of modern conveniences and luxury living with sky high credit-limits, even our very poorest are considered rich by third world standards.

I am convinced we as Americans hardly qualify as experts on faith and commitment in light of these incredible people.

They have little choice but to exercise their faith for they have to depend on God for their next meal, clothes for their children, transportation, and protection from disease. So, its no big thing for them to trust in God for healing miracles, signs and wonders of which rival the Apostolic age of the New Testament. Rev. 3: 17 - 19 certainly brings to mind the USA.

With all due respect I wonder what would happen if some of America's prosperity teachers that stand in their "seeker friendly" positive thinking motivational churches would make the trip and stand before the congregation of the proletariat claiming to all that God will make them rich and prosperous.

Never forget, that even a weed needs a seed and sufficient soil. When there is absolutely no monetary base for financial growth, positive thinking won't change it.

I have witnessed the same positive thinking prosperity doctrine except with no mention or belief in God work the the same wonders in America that some are claiming in religious circles today.

This is not to say that God can't prosper us but in the context of the Hebrew and Greek definition balanced with I Timothy 6:5 and I Timothy 6: 9-10.

Remembering John the Baptist's question, "Are you the Christ or should we look for another?" Jesus' reply is Matthew 11: 4-5.

"Go back and report to John what you hear and see: [5] The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."

Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor."

If your message won't work for all of mankind, then its not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One thing is for certain, the Apostles sure didn't embrace this popular itching ear doctrine prophesied to be popular in the final days. (II Timothy 4: 3-4)

I wonder if God is pleased when we build these multimillion dollar churches when only half that extravagance would have been sufficient while masses go hungry. Consider Matthew 25: 44-45; "In as much as you didn't do unto the least of these you also neglected me."

So, this Thanksgiving as my family gathered around the dinning room table to devour our feast fit for any king, before we gobbled down the gobbler and hurried to the den to watch football, their was a sincere and fervent prayer of praise and thanksgiving remembered that it's in Him we live and more and have our being.

Acts 17:28 and never forget America, "He that giveth can also take away." Job 1:21

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lessons on LIFE

Lessons on Life

There was an Indian Chief who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest.., in turn..,to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the Winter, the second in the Spring, the third in Summer, and the youngest son in the Fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said 'no' it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful. It was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life. He told them that you can not judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it's Winter, you will miss the promise of your Spring, the beauty of your Summer, the fulfillment of your Fall.

Moral: Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge life by one difficult season. Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come.

Live Simply.
Love Generously.
Care Deeply.
Speak Kindly.
Leave the Rest to God.
Happiness keeps You Sweet,
Trials keep You Strong,
Sorrows keep You Human,
Failures keep You Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But God keeps You Going!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I dont' believe God exists!

Note:=An interesting piece of observation and logic. Sometimes it takes simple observation like this one that bring across how limited man's logic is. Then today I read the bible verse in 1 Cor 2:4, how the Apostle Paul was careful to ensure that he was in the centre of what God came to do; that is, his message is not about worldly wisdom but about the power of God; not necessarily just about power to do the miraculous, but more importantly, the power to change a person life from the inside out. Apostle Paul was one who were very acquainted with pain and sufferings. Yet he yearned not so much for relief of such pain and sufferings, but that he may know Christ and the power of his resurrection. We do well to examine our Christian life daily to see if there is that power within, or is it a form of godliness that is devoid of any power. May God empower you for His glory !

This is one of the best explanations of why God allows pain and suffering that I have seen. It's an explanation other people will understand.

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.

When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist.

Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard.He looked dirty and unkempt!

The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber:"You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber and I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed.

"Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why All Religions Cannot Point to God?

Note:=This is a refreshing reminder that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through him. And there is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus. This is a revelation from God. As this author pointed out, this revelation is the only truth that make sense when we look at the reality of the created world. All other religions try to make sense but given all its human limitations can never really satisfy and fill the God-created vaccum in each person. Only Jesus can ! Read on and be blessed !

Is God Schizophrenic? Why All Religions Cannot Point to God

Understanding the Law of Non-Contradiction

By Joseph Mattera

September 2006

Just the other day, I was having a conversation with someone regarding Christianity. He told me that all the religions of the world were true and equally pointed to God, and that he thought it absurd and arrogant for anyone to think that their religion was the one true religion. To this I responded by telling him that the statement "there are no absolutes" is itself an absolute statement. Thus, he really did believe in absolutes (the person was stunned by this answer and had no reply). You see, it is impossible to escape from the concept of absolutism; it’s only a matter of what absolutes a particular person believes in.

Furthermore, I told this person that his God must be schizophrenic if all religions point to Him, because all major religious belief systems have major fundamental differences between them. For example, both Islam and Christianity can’t both be true, because Christianity teaches that Jesus as God the Son died on the cross for the sins of the world, while Islam teaches that Jesus was merely a great prophet (not divine) and didn’t really die on the cross. To believe that all religions are true and equally point to God would be as foolish as saying there is no difference between a coke bottle and a ballpoint pen! If you really believe this, then logic would also dictate that you don’t believe there is right and wrong. Thus someone can come up to you and slap you in the face without any objection, because there really are no absolutes!

Moral relativism is really only a poor excuse to live in a world without accountability to a holy God, while at the same time believing in absolutes when it is convenient and beneficial (like trusting in the good morality of a salesperson when you buy a product and being outraged when you find out the product is a lemon!). Relativists have to borrow from the Christian worldview every time they experience a sense of right and wrong and do good works for fellow humans!
I have found that the greatest proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible is the fact that its laws and precepts perfectly point to the reality of the created order, while all other religious faiths and systems break down at the intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual levels.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:7). Jesus was the most narrow-minded human being the world has ever seen (read Matthew 7:13-14), whose incarnation bridged the gap between humanity and the mystery of God. (Jesus perfectly modeled the balance between compassion and truth.) In the past, knowledge of God was revealed in shadows and types. But now, God’s knowledge has clearly been manifest in Christ. His vicarious death on the cross as the God/Man paid the penalty for the sins of the world, reconciled all of creation back to the Father, while His resurrection imparted eternal life to all who believe in Him. This is something Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and all other great religious leader can never say they accomplished for their followers.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Curse of Tithing

Note:= I came across this extract and was blessed by the perspective it advocated about modern-day tithing and offerings. I think it came from a heart that truly seeks to be free from the curse of the law and the deceit of modern-day teaching that focus on self-gratification rather than on the glory of God. Jesus came to walk and to show the way of the cross. Jesus expects the same from his disciples (Luke 9:23). Of course, in God's kingdom there will be blessings for those who obey and curses for those who are rebellious and still living for self. God sees the true conditions of our heart and will deal with us according to what he finds there. Did Jesus not sya a man cannot serve two masters? Read on and be similarly blessed! May you discover the true freedom of living by the Spirt and in the Kingdom of God.

1. I Needed To Renounce The Curse of Tithing To Receive Kingdom Blessing.

Karen and I desperately needed to know the Kingdom of God lifestyle. We were being pressed into financial dependence on God, and going deeper into debt! We sought God deeply in a two day retreat in the mountains. The main struggle was how to walk in Kingdom finances. Tithing wasn't working and like layers on a rotten onion, we discovered several reasons why.

First, I discovered genuine biblical tithing is impossible. I'm not jewish. I don't have agricultural produce. I don't live in Israel. Theres no priesthood or temple to take my tithes to. Instead, I had been serving a spiritualized religious version of the Mosaic law, and was expecting grace as a reward.

Second, and far worse, I had linked myself to the curse of the law in Malachi 3:9 Since I sought to keep this one point of the law, I had become guilty of the whole law. Our lives, and finances, were under legalism not grace!

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 Those of you who are trying to be justified by the law have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:4

No wonder I could not receive grace in my finances. I had put myself under "the law of the tithe" and potentially the curse of the whole law. When we said 'but Lord, we tithed and gave offerings, where are the finances?" we were saying we were justified by our own works. I finally saw this truth but was afraid to renounce tithing. Fear of the law still ruled me! Finally I made a violent breakthrough into the Kingdom and repented.

Another important point. As we were working through this issue we found some Kingdom teachers saying "the tithe is God's tax on citizens of the Kingdom". But, Jesus was clear when asked about the temple tax. The foreigners pay, but the citizens or "sons" are free!

What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Matthew 17:25,26

If you are a member of a church organization, go ahead and pay your dues. BUT Every Christan must renounce the "law of the tithe" to fully participate in the Kingdom of God.

2. My Righteousness Does Not Release The Kingdom

The truth about tithing exposed my spiritual performance legalism. Religion says "my performance brings God's blessing" But in the Kingdom, everything comes through God's grace and love. I had spiritualized works of the law into a Christian theology for victory in life. I was a "self made man", and this included spiritual things!" I believed my ability to do the right thing released His grace! How wrong I was. Thats not grace at all!

Here are some examples:
I tied God's financial blessing to my works of tithes and offerings.
I tied spiritual freedom to my ability to confess the right words, know the right scripture and do the right program.
I tied Gods victory over the devil to my ability to identify the strongholds, find and repent of every sin that may bind me. Name the demon, and use my authority.
I tied God's ministry and power in me, to my ability to know, speak, walk and work rightly.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

Surely my Heavenly Father will provide for me, protect me, and lead me, JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES ME. I needed to repent of my own works of righteousness and become child like. In the Kingdom of God there is a higher road than my fallible ability to do it all properly. Our own righteousness does not release the Kingdom, God's love does.

3. The Kingdom Is About Joyful Receiving and Giving

As Karen and I continued to press into the Kingdom we discovered more and more of God's grace. We are not "paying our dues" hoping God will bless us, but, we live in His security knowing that He loves us and will take care of us. The Lord gives salvation, healing, deliverance and provision out of His great love! He desires us to do the same. Joyfully! It's a great blessing!

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

Every man Each of you must give what you have decided in your heart, not with regret or under compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.II Corinthians 9:7

Recently Karen was wrestling over giving $200 to help a needy friend. The Lord said "give $300." Suddenly there was joy! The larger amount now seemed easy! It was God's gift to us to give.

Kingdom living truly is a life of grace! Grace to us and grace to others. Even the well used scripture "give and it shall be given to you" is actually about giving to enemies because that is God's gracious character. Check it out.

But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. ..... give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:35;38

To fully enter the Kingdom requires a radical rethinking of how we do things. It requires a radical love of evil men. It is joyful receiving and joyful giving.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We want a Formula- God wants a Relationship

NOTE:= How is your relationship with God today?

Read this short extract: and think about your relationship!

We Want a Formula--God Wants a Relationship

Do you want to know the secret of knowing the will of God?

Here it is: in everything you do, know God. But we all want a formula. “I don’t like that. Give me a formula. Give me three steps.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that the secret is a relationship with God.

Let’s talk about Joe, who has been dating Shirley for nine months. When he picks her up for their Friday night date, she asks the logical question: “Where are we going tonight?” “I don’t know. I want to take you someplace you like. I wish you would give me a three-step formula so I could know where you really want to go on Friday nights.” How would Shirley feel? Angry, upset, frustrated. “How is it that we’ve been dating every week for nine months and you don’t know what I like and don’t like? Where have you been all this time?” She has a right to be angry.

We want to reduce our relationship with God to a formula.

God says, “Know Me. Spend time with Me. Put Me first in every area of your life because when you do that I will take care of all those details.”

This is a revolutionary way of looking at life.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lean Into Him, Wrap your arms around Him, Let Him help you.

NOTE= Read this today and felt so uplifted. Next time I see a person in wheelchair, I will always remember this: Lean Into Him, Wrap your arms around Him, and Let Him help You. Oftentimes, we are too strong for our own good. Many a times, our pride prevent us from throwing ourselves upon the only one who truly can help us. How we need to so empty ourselves that God may fill us full with His Spirit, His mercy and His grace. Read on and be touch !
Jessica Miller:"I Saw God the Other Day...In A Public Restroom"

While recently at a conference as everyone was rushing to get in line for prayer, I ran to the ladies public restroom. I can think much better, wait much longer and receive far more from God if I am not thinking about when I can visit the bathroom (true confessions from a real God chaser).

As I started to enter the Ladies Room, a very dark-skinned man bent over and whispered something to his beautiful wife, who was in a wheelchair. I realized she too, needed to go into the restroom, but he could not take her in.

I asked if I could help, and they nodded, "Yes." I pushed the wheelchair into the bathroom and waited for the "handicap" stall to come available. I wheeled her into the stall, and clumsily situated the wheelchair into a position which seemed to be the most advantageous spot (as if such a place even exists). Not wanting to embarrass her, and also not knowing what level of help she needed, I asked her what else I should do.

It quickly became apparent that not only did we have a tremendous language barrier, but she needed far more help than just being wheeled into the stall. I pulled the door shut so that she had privacy--even if I, a total stranger were in there with her. When I bent over her to help her to stand up from the wheelchair, my heart started pounding.

The Holy Spirit was manifesting so strongly that I wanted to weep (actually I wanted to wail). This lovely woman wrapped her arms around me, and I stood both of us up. I marveled as she trustingly leaned against me. Chest to chest, tummy to tummy, legs to legs.

We took care of the needed business, and once again, I bent over her to help her up and over into her wheelchair. In spite of the vulnerability of the situation, this stunning lady exuded no shame, no humiliation, nor any embarrassment. She had none in her. She knew she had an unavoidable need that required help and that she must choose to trust.

As I knelt down to place her feet upon the footrests, I noted her elegant garments and realized the incredible care and love her husband ministered to her as a lifestyle.

Then, all of the sudden, I saw myself as this vulnerable woman who needs the same help and care in my own life. My Husband (Jesus) is so tender and caring. In spite of my "handicaps," He lovingly tends to me. God showed me this picture of myself through the beautiful and trusting woman! Whereas she trusted me (without knowing me) in spite of cultural, ethnic and language barriers, she was without fear or shame.

In her place I would have probably freaked out and not let myself be helped. I wondered how much I do this every day in various situations--to my Heavenly Father, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit or to those He has sent to help me in my weakness.

After I returned this amazing woman to her husband, I went and joined the prayer line. Everyone was having a feast. I was bawling so hard I thought I'd throw up (I know, not a pretty picture). The Lord showed me His face of tenderness--chest to chest, tummy to tummy, legs to legs, as He tenderly and gently wants to help me in my need and vulnerabilities.

I saw the trap which the devil tries to lay out as he points at our weaknesses (yours and mine) and shouts shame and guilt into our hearts. Such emotions can be so potent that they effectively cut off our willingness to trust, seek and receive help.

Jesus said this in Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He also said this in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us (you and me) therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

The exact time to NOT listen to guilt, shame or humiliation is when we (you and me) are in need. In our time of need is when we must choose to be like that fantastic woman who helped me see the tender face of God, in a bathroom, during a time of vulnerability.

God's face of tenderness is turned towards you right now--in your need. Lean into Him, wrap your arms around Him and let Him help you!

Jessica L. Miller, Publications Manager
The ElijahListEmail:

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Monday, October 15, 2007

8 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

NOTE:= Read this article today. It reminded me of what Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Tim 1:15-18, about how a believer named Onesiphorus so encouraged and refreshed him when many others had deserted him. May this encourage you to do your simple part to encourage your leaders; it is the practical outworking of what Jesus taught his disciples in John 13: Wash one another's feet.

(2Ti 1:15) You know that everyone in Asia has turned against me, especially Phygelus and Hermogenes.
(2Ti 1:16) I pray that the Lord will be kind to the family of Onesiphorus. He often cheered me up and wasn't ashamed of me when I was put in jail.
(2Ti 1:17) Then after he arrived in Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.
(2Ti 1:18) I pray that the Lord Jesus will ask God to show mercy to Onesiphorus on the day of judgment. You know how much he helped me in Ephesus.
8 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

Simple acts that feed a Victor Parachin

Sometimes pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, the pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.

Paul's admonition to "serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13 ) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are eight ways to make their lives better.

1. Cut the criticism
Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of television's "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," recently gave an address describing the time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.
One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted sermon (he) had ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had accompanied him, he found her in tears.

"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.

"That's when I realized," he told his audience, "that the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her—and as it turned out, for me too."

Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a year, clergy are often critiqued weekly after each worship service. It's not unusual to hear people say "the music was poor," "the hymn selection was awful," or "the sermon was boring." We would do well to remember that most spiritual leaders work hard to make worship a unique celebration each week.

2. Pray regularly
Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love, hope, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage. Pray for your spiritual leader's maturity and growth in the faith. As you pray keep in mind this wisdom from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "If you treat a person as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be."

3. Express appreciation in writing
A spoken compliment is always welcome, but a written one can be read over and over again for years. So, when you hear or see something you like from your minister, write an appreciative note.

4. Use your skills to bless
Are you proficient with computers? Help your pastor master the church's new computer. Are you a mechanic? Offer to service the car free of charge or at a reduced fee.

One pastor I know recalls: "I was pastoring my first church—a small congregation with limited resources. While there, I developed a series of dental problems and could not afford treatment. What a joy it was when a dentist in the church offered to treat me for free. Correcting my dental problem involved nearly a dozen visits. He treated me carefully and cheerfully each time. I have thought of that dentist many times since then and the memories of his kindness continue to bless my life."

5. Squelch gossip
If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk away. Remember the Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless speech. James 1:26 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." And Psalm 34:13 reads, "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."

6. Offer to meet a need
Some people make their spiritual leaders defensive and angry by saying, "You need to … " That approach is seldom welcome and almost always counterproductive. If you see a need, approach your spiritual leader by saying, "I'd like to help by … " If you see an area that can be improved, take responsibility for working on it.

Be an active participant in your church. Get involved by teaching a class, leading a workshop, singing in the choir, feeding the hungry. Ask your spiritual leader where and how you can employ your gifts.

7. Be openly responsive
Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as seeing people respond to the preaching and teaching. Imagine the surprise and delight of a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, when greeting a visitor to his church, found she came because of the kindness of a church member who was her neighbor.

"I'm recently divorced, a single parent and new to this community," she told the pastor. "To keep up with rent and provide for my three children, I must work two jobs. That leaves me very little time for yard work. I was relieved when the weeds didn't overrun my yard as I had feared they might. However, when I made an unscheduled trip home in the middle of my workday, I discovered the reason why the weeds had not taken over my yard.

"My 86-year-old neighbor—a member of your church—was on his hands and knees pulling my weeds. I barely knew this man and he was embarrassed to be caught in this anonymous act of kindness. He explained that he heard you preach a sermon on the importance of living a life of compassion and kindness and decided to put that sermon into practice by weeding my lawn."

One pastor's heart filled with joy when a group of women in Washington, D.C., responded to a sermon preached from the words of Jesus—"Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matt. 7:1). After hearing the sermon, the women decided to give a baby shower for the young woman who provided childcare while they met for Bible study. She was unmarried, close to going on welfare, and without support from her family or the father-to-be. The young woman was moved to tears by the surprise baby shower.

Later, the women explained to the pastor, "Your sermon taught us that it's possible to reach out to someone in need—in this case, an unwed mother—without judging or condoning the situation."

8. Throw away the measuring stick
Don't expect that your present spiritual leaders will do things the same way their predecessors did. Lay aside personal agendas and preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being used by God to do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will ensure that they will not only be encouraged but will feel appreciated and continue to minister with enthusiasm and energy.

A friend is someone who stays with you in the bad weather of life, guards you when you are off your guard, restrains your impetuosity, delights in your wholeness, forgives your failures, does not forsake you when others let you down.

The friendship of Jesus enables us to see others as he saw the apostles: flawed by good children of the Father. —Brennan Manning

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Choose this day TO LIVE in PEACE, in the PRESENCE OF YOUR GOD.

Melissa Taylor, Certified Speaker

Key Verse:But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians5:22-23a NIV

I have chosen to worry about various things. My worries have often been of the future. Will my children be happy and healthy during their lives? Can my husband and I afford to send four kids to college? Will they even go to college? Will they get married? Who will they marry? Will my family be protected and safe? What will the end of my life be like? Who will die first, me or my husband? Of course, for the most part, I have no control over any of this and it does absolutely no good to worry about it. I don't dwell on these things, but I confess that they do cross my mind occasionally.

There is a church at the end of my street. Every week there is a new quote or phrase on the sign out front. This week's sign read,

"Security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God."

The "security" this quote refers to is peace. And anytime I begin to worry, panic, or dwell on the unknown, I am not experiencing security or peace. I am not experiencing the presence of God.
As a Christian, I have a power within that can conquer anything threatening to disturb my peace: fear, danger, worry, conflict, stress, or the circumstances of life. That power is the Holy Spirit whose very presence brings peace - when I choose to give Him control.

Peace is one of the rewards of a personal relationship with God. What is true peace and how does it affect our lives? Peace is not about our circumstances or the challenges that we face on a daily basis. Peace is all about knowing we have a right relationship with God and that He is in control. It is placing complete confidence in Him.

Like the sign said, "It is the presence of God." To enjoy and experience peace, we have to choose peace over worry.

Do you realize that you will never have a real need that God is not able to meet? The more I understand this truth, the more I am able to let go of worry in the unknowns of my life. God does not want me spending time in a state of unrest when He has graciously given me the gift of peace..His peace. I have to trust Him.

Author, Elizabeth George, puts it this way:
We make the sacrifice of trust and experience God's peace.
*when we choose not to panic. but rest in God's presence,
*when we release our terror. and trust in God's wisdom and ways,
*when we reject our nervousness. and remember that God is in control,
*and when we ignore our dread. and instead accept God's dealings.

I have a dear friend whose daughter spent the first five years of her life fighting cancer. Her family has spent countless hours and days in a New York hospital, away from home, doing all they could to find a cure for their sweet child. This little girl has been through radiation, chemotherapy, tests, tubes, needles, and all kinds of medical treatments. In fact, this was all a part of her normal life for a longtime. Most families would've fallen apart. Most people would've been worried and afraid, paralyzed with the thought of losing their child. Not so with this family. I watched my friend over the years and what I saw was the presence of peace. She was not a mother living in fear, panic, or frustration, but a woman of God living in peace with the hands he was dealt. You see, she knew that God was in control and that He had a purpose and a plan in all the suffering and pain they were going through. She did not know what the outcome would be or why her little girl was so sick, but she knew God loved them and would never leave them. By trusting God, she allowed the Holy Spirit to fill her with His peace.

If you find yourself unable to experience this kind of peace, pray and pray often. Read God's promises in Scripture. Whether you are going through painful trials or find yourself so busy that you don't how you are going to do it all, go to God and ask Him to fill you up with His peace. It is available and waiting for you.

My prayer for today:
Jesus, you are called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Please fill me with the peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you for taking care of me and supplying all of my needs. Amen.

Application Steps:
Begin your day with prayer. Read God's Word, filling your heart and mind with the love, joy, and peace only He offers. Whenever you feel the peace slipping away, go back to Him immediately. Ask Him to give you peace for the moment. Acknowledge that God is in control and He will take care of you and your loved ones.

Reflection points:
Do I really understand that I will never have a real need God is notable to meet?
Will I choose to live in peace?
Have I been spending time with God daily?

Power Verses:
Psalm 139:7, I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get awayfrom Your presence! Philippians 4:19, And this same God who takes care of me will supply allyour needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us inChrist Jesus.
John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may havepeace."
Isaiah 26:3, You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on You,because they trust You. Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guardyour hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We are NOT professionals.

NOTE:= A very strong reminder that God's work cannot and ought not to be done modelling after the ways of this world. We need more of the Spirit of God, not more of the spirit of this world (what this article termed 'professionalism').

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals......John Piper

We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ.
Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake.

For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3);
there is no professional tender heartedness(Eph. 4:32);
there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1).

But our first business is to pant after God in prayer.
Our business is to weep over our sin (James 4:9). Is there professional weeping?
Our business is to strain forward to the holiness of Christ and the prize of the upward call of God (Phil. 3:14);
to pummel our bodies and subdue them lest we be cast away (1 Cor. 9:27);
to deny ourselves and take up the blood-spattered cross daily (Luke 9:23).
How do you carry across professionally?
We have been crucified with Christ; yet now we live by faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal.2:20). What is professional faith?
We are to be filled not with wine but with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). We are God-besotted lovers of Christ. How can you be drunk with Jesus professionally?

Then, wonder of wonders, we were given the gospel treasure to carry in clay pots to show that the transcendent power belongs to God (2 Cor. 4:7). Is there a way to be a professional claypot?
We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus (professionally?) so that the life of Jesus may alsobe manifested (professionally?) in our bodies (2 Cor. 4:9-11).

I think God has exhibited us preachers as last of all in the world. We are fools for Christ's sake, but professionals are wise.We are weak, but professionals are strong. Professionals are held in honor; we are in disrepute. We do not try to secure a professional lifestyle, but we are ready to hunger and thirst and be ill clad and homeless. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become the refuse of the world,the offscouring of all things (1 Cor. 4:9-13). Or have we?

Brothers, we are not professionals! We are outcasts. We are aliens and exiles in the world (1 Pet. 2:11). Our citizenship is in heaven, and we wait with eager expectation for the Lord (Phil. 3:20). You cannot professionalize the love for His appearing without killing it. And it is being killed.

The aims of our ministry are eternal and spiritual. They are not shared by any of the professions. It is precisely by the failure to see this that we are dying.

The life-giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever a thirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God's Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life-giving river.

We are most emphatically not part of a social team sharing goals with other professionals. Our goals are an offense; they are foolishness (1Cor. 1:23). The professionalization of the ministry is a constant threat to the offense of the gospel. It is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work.

I have seen it often: the love of professionalism (parity among the world's professionals) kills a man's belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in the world. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man. The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism. There is an infinite difference between the pastor whose heart is set on being a professional and the pastor whose heart is set on being the aroma of Christ, the fragrance of death to some and eternal life to others (2 Cor. 2:15-16).

God, deliver us from the professionalizers! Deliver us from the "low, managing, contriving, maneuvering temper of mind among us."

God, give us tears for our sins. Forgive us for being so shallow in prayer, so thin in our grasp of holy verities, so content amid perishing neighbors, so empty of passion and earnestness in all our conversation. Restore to us the childlike joy of our salvation. Frighten us with the awesome holiness and power of Him who can cast both soul and body into hell (Matt. 10:28). Cause us to hold to the cross with fear and trembling as our hope-filled and offensive tree of life. Grant us nothing, absolutely nothing, the way the world views it. May Christ be all in all (Col. 3:11).

Banish professionalism from our midst, Oh God, and in its place put passionate prayer, poverty of spirit, hunger for God, rigorous study of holy things, white-hot devotion to Jesus Christ, utter indifference to all material gain, and unremitting labor to rescue the perishing, perfect the saints, and glorify our sovereign Lord. Humble us, O God, under Your mighty hand, and let us rise, not as professionals, but as witnesses and partakers of the sufferings ofChrist. In His awesome name. Amen.
1. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood andWomanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton, Ill.: CrosswayBooks, 1991), 16.
2. Richard Cecil quoted in E. M. Bounds, Power through Prayer (GrandRapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1972), 59

Monday, October 08, 2007

How to view HARD TIMES in life?

We want God to change our circumstances, but God wants to use our circumstances to change us. It can be easy to think that God is obligated to make life easy for us and
to remove all of our difficult circumstances. But, the truth is that during hard times God is preparing us for greater things. If He removed the difficult circumstances in our lives, we would probably never mature.

James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." In other words, rejoice in "trials of many kinds", because they test your faith, which causes you to grow closer to God.

Indeed, God assures us that something beneficial can come from the hard times in life.
If you are going through trials now, take hope in the fact that almost everyone in the Bible who did great things for God also had to endure great hardships.

For example, in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, Paul recounts many of the difficult circumstances that he had gone through: "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

Clearly, Paul had suffered greatly for the Gospel. However, God used those circumstances to make Paul more mature and to give him a great love for God and for spreading God's Word. Now, Paul is widely considered the second most important person in the New Testament--behind Jesus, of course. However, we must remember that Paul had to go through many difficult trials. It was those times of testing that caused Paul to grow closer to God, qualifying him to be a great witness for Christ.

This same principle can be seen in almost every other person in the Bible who did great things for God. It was during times of testing that such people developed the strength and character for which we respect them.

Therefore, don't always beg God to change your circumstances. Instead, view each as an opportunity for God to change you, making you "mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Interestingly, the Apostle Paul in 2Timothy1:8 asked young Timothy to join him in suffering for the sake of the gospel. Paul encouraged Timothy not to be fearful of troubles and difficulties, but to rely on the Spirit of God to be bold, not to be ashamed of speaking up in defense of the truth in the gospel, and in him as a prisoner. This ought to put a big question mark over what is popularly regarded as the propersity gospel; the gospel according to Apostle Paul is the gospel that he got from Jesus Christ himself in a vision. And the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about carrying your cross, the way that Jesus Christ carried his. Jesus came not so much to give us a good life in this world, but to open the good and only way to the life hereafter. Jesus' teaching is not about how to prosper in this world, but how to use what is in this world to prosper us in the next world; isn't this what the parable of the unfaithful steward is about? Think about it !

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Story of Three Trees

Three trees were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter," and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because they knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the ship yard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, so I'll take this one", and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do.

The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe.

The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill.

When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it!

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Having a RELATIONSHIP and being religious; what's the difference?

This is an interesting interview some years ago. May it encourage you to seek a real relationship that really impacts your life and those around you, rather than a dry form of religious ritual that one observed routinely without much power and meaning. Be blessed.

Henry Blackaby: What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches..

Janet Chismar..Senior Editor for Faith

People today are hungry for God’s sure guidance in their churches. But how do they find it? One of the strongest prophetic voices to the church today, Henry Blackaby, helps Christians grasp God's pattern for strengthening their churches, rather than relying on human ideas and methods that leave God on the periphery.

In our interview, Dr. Blackaby discusses these and other principles found in What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches. Tell us about your book, What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches. What is it that typically keeps church congregations from hearing what the Spirit has to say?

Dr. Blackaby: As I have observed it, and the Lord put his hand on me 50 years ago, so I have a long look at it, it's that God's people have moved from a relationship to religion. We faithfully practice religious activities, and we perfect it and keep it, but the relationship with God is like it was in Israel and Judah in Jesus' time. They were not getting the message. But we think that we're in touch with God because we're doing religious activity -- yet we cannot remember the last time that God clearly spoke to us. You write about the Lord's examining presence in your book. What do you mean by this?

Dr. Blackaby: The phrase, "what the spirit is saying to churches," you can find in Chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation. Basically, the spirit says several things in that. Number one, he comes to the church and speaks to the pastor, or the angel. He says, "I know your works." And before every church, he also gives something of a characteristic of his nature. Each one of them is different. For instance, Ephesus says that it's the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven. Well, each of them is different. So God comes to the church and each individual congregation. And if there's anything that's not right, he immediately calls for repentance. As he comes to the end of every one of these, he says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." God walks in the midst of the churches, and of course, if Christ is the head of every local church, then He is present and active and involved. He will speak to the churches. If they won't hear, He just says, "I'm sorry, I withdraw." We can go on practicing religion and never know that He has left. In too many of the churches, what we're doing and what we're planning to do, we can do without Him. You mentioned that church leaders often fail to respond to the Spirit's calling. Why do you think that is so?

Dr. Blackaby: Well, again, Biblically, that is true. When God was about to judge Israel in the Old Testament, it was the spiritual leaders who never got the message. And when He was about to judge Jerusalem and Judah, it was the spiritual leaders who never got the message. In Jesus' day, God sent His son, and it was the religious leaders who not only did not get the message, did not listen, but they crucified the Son of God. Every person God sent to them -- the prophets -- they killed almost every one of the prophets. And my heart says, "Human nature has not changed." I don't know that the spiritual leaders of our day would be any more sensitive. Some of them are, but too many are busily practicing religion and trying to be successful and making a name. But what the Spirit is saying to the churches, he does through the pastor, and often, they miss the message. You make it clear that this book is not primarily for church leaders, but for lay people. How do you suggest that church members go about putting their convictions into action?

Dr. Blackaby: Biblically, God always works corporately through his people. In the New Testament, every member of a church is part of a local body of Christ, so each of them is vitally important. The eye needs to share with the rest of the body what it is seeing. It doesn't have the whole message for the church. The ear needs to say what it hears and the hand what it feels, and so on. God puts members in the body as it pleases Him. He even places the pastor in the body. He is not the Head. That position is occupied by the living Christ. So if each part functions in the body where God put them, then the whole body grows up into the head, and then there's no limit to what God can do through that body. I think each part is critically important. You can't leave any part out. If someone says, "I don't have much talent," I would say, "It has nothing to do with your talent or your gifts." It has to do with where God placed you in the body and what the Head is saying through you, which is uniquely important for the rest of the body to hear. So whether it is the Sunday School teacher or a deacon or just an ordinary teenager or college student, they can share. "Each person now vitally connected to the Lord needs to be involved in the body life, and not just be part of the body life. We often separate children into children's work, the youth into the youth time, the men into men things -- don't do that. The body has to function corporately together. You've been a pastor for a long time. What have you learned, or what has God shown you, about his will for churches during your time as a pastor?

Dr. Blackaby: The amazing thing is, everything I see in God's word about God and the ways of God and the activity of God, we've been experiencing as we pastored. I had to help the people know how to know when God is speaking to the body corporately. And so, I taught and taught and taught and taught from the Scriptures.But I didn't just teach the truth. I taught them how to practice the truth. Jesus said, "Teach them to practice everything I've commanded." What I see in the Scripture, I run it through my own life, and make sure that I am bearing witness to a relationship to the God that I see in the Scripture. Then I guide the people into that, and sure enough, God does exactly what He says He'll do. We've seen astounding things happen through a very little group of people. They say, "That's amazing," and I say, "No, that's just like God." This is what he said he would do. It has nothing to do with the size or the quality of the people, but the relationship they have with him. As a pastor, I sought to bring each person, personally, and then as a group corporately, into a vital relationship with the Lord so we could hear, and then obey. I had to teach them what it meant to obey, as well. We had to have one heart and one mind as we did it. But God said he would bring us to that. We saw that. I was a very, very happy pastor. My wife and I, both. All four boys felt called to pastor, having grown up in our home, which I think is a kind of an affirmation of the truths that we were living out. Our daughter is a career missionary in Germany. How do you personally hear the Lord and what do you do to spend time with Him?

Dr. Blackaby: I use the Scriptures. Jesus said, "I'm going to give you another teacher, the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will guide you into all truths." So, I spend time in God's word, clearly expecting that the Spirit of God, who is my teacher, will use the word of God like a sword. Paul talks about the sword, which the Spirit wields, as the word of God. In John 16, Jesus said, "Now the Spirit never speaks on His own authority. Whatever He hears, that's what He speaks."So I know that when the Spirit of God takes the word of God and brings me to an incredible understanding of the truth about God, or about the Lord, He is doing so from the Father's purpose in my life. In other words, when the Father says, "Holy Spirit, here's what I'm about to do in Henry's life. Make sure he doesn't miss it. So when he comes to the Scriptures this morning, that's what I want you to do." I have watched that happen over the years. I used to get up very early, probably between 4:00 and 4:30. I still spend an unhurried time before God. The greatest thing that a person can do is spend an unhurried time before God, however early he needs to get up. Jesus got up way before dawn and spent time with the Father. The relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit that rested on him and the Scriptures were very powerful in the life of Jesus. If that was so with him, it must be for us. I've found that over the years, that's exactly what He's done in my life. Your father was a layman and a church planter. What kind of influence and role model has he been to you? How has he influenced your life?

Dr. Blackaby: My father was probably the greatest single influence in my life. He was not a pastor. He was a layman. He was a businessman. He had been a deacon. Often his business took him to towns and villages where there was no church. He looked at the New Testament and realized that all the deacons preached. When they were scattered, they taught, and then started churches. My first memory of church was in a dance hall with my dad preaching, my mother playing the piano, my older brother ushering, and my younger brother and I were the congregation. Dad preached faithfully and taught us church discipline and we prayed. He lived out the New Testament Christianity. Our home was open for prayer meeting, for people to come, Native Indian people as well as business people. I watched churches develop. I watched his integrity with the Scriptures and prayer and his witness. The greatest soul winner I have ever known was my dad. He would bring business people into our home and say, "Mother and boys, would you pray? I'm going to talk to my friend about the Lord." Maybe an hour later he would come out, and the man would be weeping, and he would say, "He has something to tell you." He would bear witness that he had just put his faith in Christ. That had a profound influence on my life. Because of that, I sought to live out spiritual integrity in my life before my family. As a father of 5, my prayer was, "Father, help me to so live before my children that all of them would choose to want to serve the God they saw their dad serve." That's a wonderful testimony.

Dr. Blackaby: I have a great heritage from my father. What motivated you to write this book at this point in history?

Dr. Blackaby: The book as it's coming out from Multnomah really is a reprint and revision of the very first thing I did. God had done such a huge work in the little church. The original subtitle was, "From Disbandonment to a Mighty Ministry: A Church Discovers Its Future." We took a little group of 10 people who had called a meeting to disband the church because they were so discouraged. They had been without a pastor for about five years. I said I would come. I went from Los Angeles to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was there 12 years, and out of that 12 years, from that little group, we started 38 additional new congregations, baptized 180 college students, saw about a hundred feel called into the ministry, and started a whole theological college just to train those being called. I felt that what God taught us about how He works in the life of any congregation, when the church listens to what God is trying to say to them, that can happen to any church, any size, anywhere. I have sensed that it is a very needed one today. Some of our churches are in great disarray, not knowing who they are, what they are, what they're supposed to be doing. They're practicing religion but without the power of God. They know the power of God is missing, but they don't know how to get back. I think this little book has a tremendous potential for touching in a very simple, clear, illustrated, but Biblical way how a church experiences God when they listen to what the Spirit is saying to them.

What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches is published by Multnomah

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Question: Should the believing community judge the teachings of its leaders?

Question: Should the believing community judge the teachings of its leaders?

Answer: Not only is it permissible, it is our responsibility to do so. Nobody's teachings are above sound judgment - especially influential leaders. Biblical authority and accountability go hand-in-hand (Luke 12:48).

The greater the responsibility one holds, the greater the accountability one has before God and His people (James 3:1).

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to practice good judgment by inquiring, probing, and thoroughly investigating a teaching or practice (Deut. 13).

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul commands the Thessalonians to test all things (1Thess. 5:21-22) and commends the Bereans for testing his teachings in the light of Scripture (Acts 17:11). Instead of rebuking them, he lauds their character as noble. While our Lord Himself cautioned followers not to judge self-righteously (Matt. 7:1-5), He also counseled them to judge rightly (John 7:24, cf. Matt. 7:15-20).

Furthermore, this responsibility to make right judgments extends to public exposure and correction of false teachings and practices within the church (see Matt. 23; Gal. 2:11-21; 2 Tim. 2:17-18). Christians are frequently uncomfortable with such judgments. They assume that since they are often painful they are also destructive. However, as apologists Bob and Gretchen Passantino explain, "The 'pain' of Biblically-conducted confrontation produces individual growth (1Tim. 4:16), encourages others to Christian maturity (1 Tim. 5:19-20), promotes church strength (Eph. 4:15), and preserves the church's reputation in the world (1 Peter 2:12; [cf. 2 Peter 2:1-2]).

Monday, September 24, 2007



I am speaking to those who are in such a trying situation that it will take a miracle to remedy it. Perhaps someone reading this is at the point of total despair.

Thank God for all who are enjoying a season of blue skies, good health, a good job, a good marriage - and all is well. Praise God! Give him much thanks.

But most believers I know are being tested. Some very godly people have endured so much pain and anxiety, they have uttered those desperate words of Isaiah 40:27, "My way is hid from the Lord, and the justice (help) due me escapes the notice of my God." Here is the Word you need: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

How does one wait on God? I suggest three things:

1. Quit thinking about your situation and begin focusing your mind on the Lord. "As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God." The foundation of waiting on God is making him the object of our thoughts.

2. Be patient, waiting for God to answer prayer in his time and way. Patient waiting is to hope and trust in the face of all discouragement and disappointment. "You have need of patience." In your thinking, God may seem too slow, but he heard your very first cry - and every prayer since. Often,> the answer comes in a way you could not possibly perceive.

3. Pray often - daily - with expectation. Where there is no expectation of an answer, there cannot be waiting on God. That is the heart and soul of this waiting. Why would anybody pray without expecting an answer? "They that come to him must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." What is his reward? Renewal of your strength.

Love in Christ,DAVID WILKERSON Times Square Church Pulpit Series

Wednesday, September 19, 2007



Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The Boy Scout Story - This is an absolutely true story.

It happened in Cades Cove. My wife, Bonnie, and I were walking the Abrams Falls trail in the "cove" in the Smoky Mountains National Park. It was several years ago. We had walked this trail before and knew that at the end of the 2-1/2 mile trail (as I remember it) is a beautiful waterfall. Not small. If you haven't seen it, you SHOULD go. Anyway... we overtook a troop of Boy Scouts and the first one we caught up to, the straggler, was one of the smallest Boy Scouts I've ever seen. He made the back-pack he was carrying look extra large. And it was full ! I let Bonnie go ahead of me as I slowed down to walk next to and talk with this little guy just a while. Kind of draw him out a bit.

Straight-way I mentioned that his pack seemed large. His eyes immediately widened as he exclaimed that it was very heavy, too. Unabashedly, he asked me if I would carry it for him. I had instant flash-backs to my Scouting days and how hard I had thought it was to keep up with the troop when I first joined and most of the other boys were seemingly so much older. I had compassion, so I said, "Yes." The little Scout stopped in the middle of the trail and un-shouldered the pack, dropping it, like lead weight, onto the dirt. I picked up the straps with one hand and lifted. It WAS heavy ! Immediately I let it go back down. "What have you got in this thing?", I demanded. With a gleam in his eye and eagerness in his movements he set about opening his pack, revealing - right on top - several large stones, each as large as two man's fists put together, maybe a little larger. He had 25 pounds of rock, alone, in his pack. No wonder he was at the tail-end of the troop ! He was on a short trail to an overnight campsite and had ALREADY accumulated a bag full of rocks ! Not quartz, not geodes, nothing to speak about, just plain everyday "rocks"!

Some source of wisdom guided me, and I said. " I'll carry your pack for you on one condition." He said, "What ?" I said, "I'll carry it, but you have to let me take these rocks out." He replied instantly... " I don't wan tto leave my rocks behind." He looked me right in the eyes. I could see how serious he was. I said,"You mean that don't you?" Still looking me in the eyes, he said, "Yes." I said, very soberly, "Then you will have to carry the pack yourself." I hesitated just long enough to let him reconsider and as he hoisted his pack back up to his own shoulder, I left him... in the middle of the trail. That's the last time I saw him.

As I was catching up to Bonnie I had some time to think about what had just happened.
It hit me hard that this same story was being played out in my own life. My Lord has told me to take His yoke upon myself, because His burden is light and easy to carry. But, part of the deal is that I cannot bring along "junk" weight... foul attitudes, grudges, un-Godly habits, pig-headedness - wanting to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. And all the rest of life's trash that He would have me shed away from my person, my thoughts and heart. When I persist in carrying this garbage of life, He lets me carry it alone. When I let Him get into my "pack" and toss out the STUFF He doesn't want me to carry...and won't carry Himself... it's then that my load is much lighter. And I can walk upfront...with the troop. I'm going to be conscious of allowing my Lord to get into my pack today, and toss out what He doesn't want in there. I hope you will also.


1 Samuel 15:22

"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices asmuch as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice."

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil demons, he said, "We can't keep the Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, demons. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" shouted his demons. "Keep them busy in the non essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.

"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"

"Over stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home, and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblica lmusic constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."

"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering freeproducts, services and false hopes."

"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly!"

"Even intheir recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week. Don't let them go out in nature to reflect on God's wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, busy!

And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. "Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning; but crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."

"It will work!" "It willwork!" It was quite a convention. The evil demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get more busy and more rushed, going here and there.

I guess the question is: Has the devil been successful at his scheme?

You be the judge! Does "busy" mean:
B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

This was sent to us in response to an e-mail we sent out last week about being busy. I've heard this before and have actually sent it out as a Bread many years ago. But for some reason, God is again stressing it upon my heart. most likely because it is something I, just like all of you, really need to hear again. It's one thing to jump over the hurdle of abstaining from the things this world has to offer that we know are sins, but it's so hard to make sure that the things that seem to be so good and to be serving Him really are doing just that. I know that I like to stay busy because it keeps me from thinking about my problems or things I find depressing. So in other words, it keeps me from dealing with the situation at hand. But in the same hand, I enjoy a lot of the things I do and feel like I really help some people out by doing them. We must make sure that in all we do, we allow God to guide us and that we continue to worship and to build that foundational relationship that Satan is so terrified of. Or are you too busy?

Job 4:8

As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.

Shake It Off

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal tried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later,the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed at the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone.

This story teaches us to never quit when the chips are down spiritually. Always take what is thrown to you, shake it off, and use it to your advantage. Step up with it.

Remember these five rules for happiness:
Give more,
Free your heart from hatred,
Free your mind from worries,
and Live simply