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Perfect through Suffering!!!!

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Hebrews 2:10

New International Version (NIV)
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.

Steel is the product of iron plus fire. Soil is rock plus heat and the crushing of glaciers. Linen is flax plus the water that cleans it, the comb that separates it, the flail that pounds it, and the shuttle that weaves it. In the same way, the development of human character requires a plus attached to it, for great character is made not through luxurious living but through suffering. And the world does not forget people of great character.

I once heard the story of a mother who brought a crippled boy with a hunched back into her home as a companion for her son. She warned her son to be very careful not to refer to the other boy’s deformity, since this was a sensitive matter to him. And she encouraged him to play with his new friend as if he were a normal child. But after listening to her son play with him for a few minutes, she heard him ask his companion, “Do you know what that is on your back?” The crippled boy was embarrassed, hesitated a moment, but before he could respond, his friend answered the question for him by saying, “It is the box that holds your wings, and someday God is going to break it open, and you will fly away to be an angel.”

Someday God is going to reveal this fact to every Christian: the very things they now rebel against are the instruments He has used to perfect their character and to mold them into Perfection, so they may later be used as polished stones in His heaven yet to come.

Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer for the roots of character. The great objective of this life is character, for it is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity. And gaining as much of the highest character possible is the purpose of our trials. The mountain of vision is won by no other road than the one covered with thorns. I went to court facing 24 years today, and God delivered me from the injustice of a corrupt system. The church prayed and my wife and I fasted and prayed and just like Daniel I was vindicated. This case has been pending for 2 years, we have struggled to maintain peace and positioning within my God. We suffered all the while we were trusting. This has built enormous character within our soul. Mine eyes have seen the rock that is higher than I.

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I will Rejoice in “The Lord”

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1 Peter 1:8

New International Version (NIV)
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

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I asked myself today how has God blessed me in the past? I asked that because I heard my spirit say that my wilderness experience is temporary. On Thanksgiving Eve day I have been in constant meditation about my present posture and position in Life. Instead of looking only at my physical lack, I chose to look at my spiritual richness and “rejoice” about what God says I am in His precious word.

I remember the mother of one of my team members from college. She was fearful about the outcome of the surgery she faced. Doctors had not been able to discover the reason for her symptoms, and cancer seemed an undeniable possibility. To add to her concern, she had little in savings, and being self-employed, she had no insurance or paid sick leave.

As the day of her surgery drew closer, she found herself reading her Bible more and more frequently. A passage in Habakkuk that her son and I would read every night we shared it with her and she called and said I am puzzled.

The prophet obviously knew his nation was about to be invaded and ravaged, but he said;

Habakkuk 3:17-18

New International Version (NIV)
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

She began to write us and tell us that she knew God was always with her and always loved her. Instead of asking for healing, finances, or peace, her prayer became simply, ” I love You, Too! I love You, too!”

As it turned out, the surgeons removed a benign cyst. Her recovery passed quickly. Friends helped with meals, laundry, housekeeping, errands, and even a mortgage payment. She reflected later, “This experience made my love for God grow deeper. And that was far more meaningful than a good medical report.”

If you are facing a burdensome situation today, Rejoice, reflect on God’s love for you. remember His faithfulness in the past. Then, with joy in your heart, tell God what I am saying, Lord I love you even if what I presently am enduring doesn’t work the way I feel it should, I love You so much. I don’t have a daisy peddle love with my God.

No prayer of adoration will ever soar higher than a simple cry: “I love You, God! I know You love me…

Singing Bowl

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Deuteronomy 4:32-40

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The Lord Is God

32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 Has any other people heard the voice of God[a] speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. 37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.

39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.

John 3:V;8 (New International Version)
8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

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Artist and scientist Michael Flynn designed a singing bowl for display in ArtPrize, an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The bowl requires no electricity but it does require something that is in short supply; cooperation.

As I observed people trying to make the bowl sing, I was surprised that none of them bothered to read the directions about rocking it gently. Instead, impatient to make music, they kept trying their own ideas. After a few minutes they walked away frustrated and disappointed, as if the bowl was defective.

How many times, I wonder, do we become frustrated that life isn’t working the way we think it should? We keep trying ways that seem right, but things keep turning out wrong. Instead of following God’s Word, we continue trying out wrong. Instead of following God’s Word, we continue trying to find our own way.

The singing bowl reminds us that we can’t expect life to go well if we ignore the instructions of the Designer. Failing to obey divides us from one another and separates us from God. To fulfill His plan for the world and make the way of salvation known, we need to follow His instructions about living and working peacefully together. When life doesn’t go well, it may be that we’ve stopped following God’s Plan.

Sure it takes a lot of courage to put things in God’s hands,
To give ourselves completely, our lives, our hopes, our plans;
To follow where He leads us and make His will our own;
But all it takes is foolishness to go the way alone!

Life is a beautiful song that God is teaching us to sing…..

Do You Except God’s best or Do You Settle for what you consider a extraordinary act of faith?

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2 Kings 13:18-19
New International Version (NIV)
18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”

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Looking from the posture I now have insight I am guilty of this type of faith. My predicaments sometimes dictate opposite reactions in retrospect of having a full time faith posture. I was rocked to the core today when I realized I operated contrary to my witness before a brother I was trying to disciple. I saw my full feebleness without Jesus being all I need no matter the situation.

How striking and powerful is the message of these words! Jehoash, king of Israel, thought he had done quite well when he struck the ground “three times and stopped. “To him, it seemed to be an extraordinary act of faith, but the Lord and the prophet Elisha were deeply disappointed, because he had stopped halfway.

Yes, he did receive something; in fact, he received a great deal–exactly what he had believed God for, in the final analysis. yet Jehoash did not receive everything that Elisha meant for him to have or that the Lord wanted to bestow on him.. He missed much of the meaning of the promise, and the fullness of the blessing. he did receive more than any human could have offered, but he did not receive God’s best.

Dear believer, how sobering is the truth of this story! How important it is for us to learn to pray through our circumstances and to fully examine our hearts with God’s message to us! Otherwise, we will never claim all the fullness of His promise or all the possibilities that believing prayer offers.

Ephesians 3:20-21
New International Version (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

In no other place does the apostle Paul use these seemingly redundant words: “immeasurably more than all.” Each word is packed with God’s infinite love and power “to do” for His praying believers. yet there is the following limitation: “according to His power that is at work within us.” He will only do as much for us as we will allow Him to do in us. The same power that saved us, washed us with His blood, filled us with the power of His Holy Spirit, and protected us through numerous temptations will work for us to meet evry emergency, every crisis, every circumstance, and every adversary.

When God Cleans House

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Jonah 1

New International Version (NIV)

Jonah Flees From the Lord

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

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Ephesians 4:31

New International Version (NIV)

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

God did some fall housecleaning this week. He sent a mighty wind through our neighborhood that made the trees tremble and shake loose their deed branches. When it finished, I had a mess to clean up.

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In my own life, God sometimes works in a similar way. He will send or allow stormy circumstances that shake loose the “lifeless branches” I’ve been refusing to release. Sometimes it’s something that once was good, like an area of ministry, but is no longer bearing fruit. More often it’s something that’s not good, like a bad habit I’ve slid into or a stubborn attitude that prevents new growth.

The old Testament prophet Jonah discovered what can happen when one refuses to get rid of a stubborn attitude. His hatred for the Ninevites was stronger than his love for God, so God sent a great storm that landed Jonah in a giant fish. God preserved the reluctant prophet in that unlikely place and gave him a second chance to obey.

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The lifeless limbs in my yard caused me to think of attitudes that God expects me to dispose of. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians list some of them: bitterness, anger, and evil speech. When God shakes things up, we need to get rid of what shakes loose.

Lord, In the name of Jesus, give me a listening heart and help me to cooperate with you when you point out changes that need to be made in my life. I want to honor you and please you.

Christ’s cleansing power can remove the most stubborn stain of sin…..