Author: Sorting Last Post on Top ↓ Message:
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/27/17 5:16 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
April 27

Psalms 51:4

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Sin is not merely doing what is wrong, but doing what is wrong in the sight of the Lord. God has offered us suggestions for living full and happy lives. Our being disobedient to those suggestions doesn't hurt God, it hurts us. God is saddened by out refusal to be obedient, but He is always willing to hear our petition for forgiveness, and He will show us His mercy. When we sin, it is a private matter between God and ourselves. Take your sins before God, repent of each one, and glory in the grace of God, by which we receive full pardon of all we do wrong.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord. Make a new creation out of this old soul. Prepare me for the Kingdom to come, each day of my life. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/24/17 4:25 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tender Time - One Year Devotions for Women - April 24 - Monday,

A time to grieve and a time to dance. - Ecclesiastes 3:4

Jesus said that it’s hard to mourn when the groom is with you. On the other hand, it’s hard not to mourn when the groom is taken away (see Matthew 9:15)! When the wedding is in full swing, it is time to dance. If the groom were to die, it would be time to mourn.

I heard a true account of a wedding of two young Bible school students who really loved the Lord and were preparing to serve him together. On their way to their honeymoon hotel, the groom was killed in a car crash. How soon the dancing turned into mourning!

Sometimes the two things come so close to each other it shat-ters the soul. The parents of the young man who met such an untimely death did not believe their son’s home call was some freakish accident. The Christian doesn’t believe in accidents of that magnitude. Actually, there is no such thing as “untimely” death for the Christian, for we believe there is “a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2).

Time is a kind cushion, separating the good days from the bad days, preparing us for change. Time heals. Time gives us perspective we’ve never had before. Time taken for grieving eventually helps us to dance. Time taken for dancing helps us to prepare ourselves to grieve. Time ripens us, like cheese, making us sharp. Time does not usually demand such instant adjustments as in this sad incident of such unexpected death. But when such things do happen, tender time takes care of the wounds.

For Further Study: Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/23/17 11:52 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 23

THE TRUE CHURCH

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 5:42

The place in which a church meets varies. The use of big buildings, complex organizations, involved programs, huge budgets that provide for schools, hospitals, orphanages and other social activities are only possible in financially strong unrestricted societies.

Although the Lord has blessed these activities in many places in the world, we must recognize that they are not essential to the existence of the church. In some countries these activities are forbidden by the government, while in others, the local economic situation makes them impossible. Still the church can thrive, because it is not dependent on these things. Serious problems have arisen when Christians have become confused on this point.

A number of years ago, for example, some Vietnamese leaders thought that their lack of funds for such things was the cause of the slow growth of Christianity there. On one occasion, the following conversation was overheard.

"Do you have communists in your part of the country?" the observer asked.

"Most assuredly. They are there," the leader replied.

“Are they growing in numbers and influence?" he then asked.

The leader hesitated momentarily, then admitted sadly, “Yes, they are growing very fast."

“Can you show me their meeting places and schools or introduce me to their leaders?" the observer continued.

"Certainly not," the leader said in disgust. "If they are known, they will be arrested."

"You mean they are secret, without buildings or property and still they grow in number?" the observer asked in amazement.

"Yes, you could say that," the leader responded.

"Then it must be that their growing influence does not depend on such things. If they can be wrong in their beliefs and still grow without money and buildings, why do you think the church of Jesus Christ needs these things?" the man concluded.

If God provides these things, then use them for His glory. If He does not, remember that the New Testament church had none of these things, but they turned their world upside down (Acts 17:6). The early Christians did not confuse the church’s functions with methods. If they had done so, the church would have died in the bondage of Jewish legalism. The early churches were not encumbered by the presence of buildings, nor hindered by the lack of them. They met in public places, when they were permitted to do so, but when they were not, they went from house to house.

RESPONSE: I will no longer confuse the forms of the church with the biblical functions of the church.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for those who use their homes as centers for Your worship and declaration of the good news of Your love.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/23/17 11:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
April 23

Psalms 47

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

What a wonderful feeling. Greg had wanted to tell his friends what he thought for a long time, but he had been afraid they would make fun of him. Drinking and driving was stupid, but he had always done it in the past so he could fit in. Finally, it just got to him. He didn't want to do it anymore. He told them how he felt, and instead of making fun of him, two of his friends agreed with him, and they had made a deal to not drink and drive anymore. His other friends had been as afraid as he was. Sure, some wouldn't ever understand, but that was their problem. Right now, Greg felt great that he had done something good and right. He wanted to shout about it.

When we do what is truly right, we need to rejoice. God celebrates with us, and He will honor our righteousness. To do right is to affirm who God wants us to be. The peace that comes from doing right is wonderful.

Prayer: Give me the courage I need to be the person I want to be. Let me know the triumph that comes from standing up for my values. Let me feel the power You share with hose who strive for what is right. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/23/17 2:49 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 22

SECRET WORSHIP

“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” Ephesians 1:22-23

Rene looked carefully both ways as he turned the corner. No one seemed to be watching. Wiping the perspiration from his forehead he glanced at his watch. He was five minutes early. He walked slowly around the block a second time to arrive at the large gate at exactly 7:14. He pressed the bell three times; short...long...short. It was the newly changed code to indicate he was a fellow-believer. The gate and closed quickly as Rene slipped inside. In two hours time there were several hundred believers gathered secretly in the basement for fellowship.

Rene sat quietly waiting for the others. He remembered reading in a magazine about a small group in China that gathered weekly in the back room of a small store to worship together. It was the era of the infamous Cultural Revolution. Since the believers could easily be overheard by anyone entering the store, they "sang" hymns together without words or music. Someone whispered the name of the song and they would silently move their lips and simply think of the words and music.

He chuckled out loud. The memory came of Pastor Wally saying, "We are an underground church like the believers behind the Bamboo Curtain, but the difference is that we can praise in full voice because the facilities are sound proofed. Not even our closest neighbour can hear us." This is a description of a church group in Saudi Arabia - a country that has not had an official church in over fourteen hundred years. And yet many believers meet together secretly and at great risk all over the country.

The most common way for the church to express its faith in western societies has been through the institutional pattern. Consequently, this is the only pattern with which many Christians are familiar. But this form can be easily eliminated by a repressive government, is difficult to maintain in other hostile environments, and may not be appropriate to local cultural needs. There are other options if you and your fellow believers were under the rule of those who were trying to repress Christianity.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept that there are many forms of church to fulfill the five biblical functions of the church.

PRAYER: Pray for those around the world who must meet in secret for worship services.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/22/17 1:41 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
We Have a Choice - UpWords - Week of April 21-27, 2017

by Max Lucado

In so many areas of life we have no choice. “It’s not fair,” we say. But the scales of life were forever tipped on the side of fairness when God planted a tree in the Garden of Eden. All complaints were silenced when Adam and his descendants were given free will, the freedom to make whatever eternal choice we desire.

Any injustice in this life is offset by the honor of choosing our destiny in the next. Wouldn’t you agree? It would have been nice if God had let us order life like we order a meal. It would’ve been nice, but it didn’t happen. When it came to many details of your life on earth, you weren’t given a choice, a voice, or a vote. But when it comes to life after death, you were! In my book that seems like a good deal. Wouldn’t you agree?

From He Chose the Nails

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
PURPLEPEONY's Photo PURPLEPEONY SparkPoints: (78,488)
Fitness Minutes: (3,142)
Posts: 18,171
4/21/17 9:49 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Today’s Scripture
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
(Joshua 1:9, NKJV)


Dream Boldly
When you look out into your future, what do you see? What are the dreams and desires that you hold close to your heart?

So many people start with bold dreams, but then opposition comes. Life doesn’t turn out the way they planned. They lose a loved one or encounter difficulty they didn’t anticipate. Today, if that’s you, I want to remind you that the Creator of the universe designed you with specific gifts and talents that no one else has. He has you on this planet for a specific purpose. When you commit your life to Him, He promises to be with you wherever you go. Even though some things in life may have caught you by surprise, they didn’t catch God by surprise. His good plan for your life remains. You can trust Him because He loves you with an everlasting love, and He doesn’t want to see you settling for anything less than His very best.

I want to encourage you to be bold, be strong and be courageous. Put aside the past and lift up your eyes to Jesus. He is the Author and Finisher of your faith. Live boldly and dream boldly so you can embrace the good things He has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I come boldly to You. I open my heart and mind to Your Word. Fill me with Your strength today; fill me with Your hope, and keep me close to You always as I put You first in everything I do in Jesus’ name. Amen."


"I wish above all that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers" 3 John 1:2


 April SparkPoints: 764
 
0
500
1000
1500
2000
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/21/17 2:43 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
April 20

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thoughts on today's verse

Victory! Ultimate Victory!! If you don't have the answer for life's biggest test, death, then you have no victory. The Super Bowl and World Series are played every year. The champion is a victor for only one year. But a Christian is a champion forever because of Jesus. A Christian has victory over death.

Prayer:

Thank you God for giving me victory in Jesus Christ. Make his will triumphant in my daily struggles with sin. Through my Triumphant King I ask it. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
PURPLEPEONY's Photo PURPLEPEONY SparkPoints: (78,488)
Fitness Minutes: (3,142)
Posts: 18,171
4/20/17 9:15 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply


Never Give Up
Post by Victoria Osteen on April 7, 2017


We all want our prayers to get answered right away. When we don't see the answer immediately, we can be tempted to stop praying. I've had people ask me, "How do I know when I should give up on a prayer. My answer is always the same…never! We can never quit turning to God. If you quit talking to God, you might start looking to man, and man can never do what God can!

Scripture says the fervent prayer of the righteous avails much. Fervent prayers are powerful and effective, but do you know who prays fervent prayers? Someone who is passionate, and you know what makes a person pray passionately? When they believe what they are praying!

In Luke 18, we see this type of person. Jesus is talking about a widow woman who is alone. She doesn't have anyone fighting for her, and she needs some justification. So she goes by herself to the judge who wasn't a just judge. He didn't really like people and didn't fear God. So this widow woman brought her petition to this unjust judge, and he denied her request. But she didn't give up. She didn't "tuck her tail" and go home. No, she tried again.

Day after day, she went back and presented her case. She was passionate and determined. She kept showing up and not giving up. Jesus tells that one day that judge said, "I'm tired of this woman. I have to get her off my back." So he granted her request simply because she was so persistent! It wasn't about her, her request, who she knew, or what she had or had done. Her request was granted because she kept asking.

Notice this woman didn't put any limits on her request. She didn't say, "I'm going to try three times and if it doesn't work, I'll stop asking." No, she was a passionate woman, and she was going to ask until she got what she needed.

The Bible says that God is pleased with the passionate prayer of the righteous. It's not about the length of your prayer, it's the strength of your faith—your passion. Today, I want to encourage you to keep knocking and don't give up. Be the type of person who is passionate about prayer because that is the kind of person who will also be effective in prayer!

"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9, NLT)



"I wish above all that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers" 3 John 1:2


 April SparkPoints: 764
 
0
500
1000
1500
2000
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/20/17 4:14 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
April 20

Psalms 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The cross I wear around my neck is not there for show, nor is it the object of my worship. I would not be lost without it, though I do like it. I do not believe it has some mystical power, nor does it protect me. The cross that I wear reminds me of the great love that God has for me. Christ's gift of eternal life is made real to me each time I look down at the cross or feel it lightly resting on my chest. In difficult times, I look at the cross and feel warmth and comfort. From its gentle reminder I draw strength when I am weary, refuge when I need to rest. Whether I wear my cross or not, God is with me, but sometimes it is nice to have a small reminder.

Prayer: I run to You when I need rest, Lord. You take me in Your arms and protect me from the pressures of the day. In every time of trial, You are the source of my help. Thank You. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/15/17 10:59 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 15

TALE OF TWO SONS

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Brother Andrew loves to tell this parable from the Middle East.

A certain man had two sons. One was rich and the other was poor. The rich son had no children while the poor son was blessed with many sons and many daughters. In time, the father fell ill. He was sure he would not live through the week, so on Saturday he called his sons to his side and gave each of them half of his land for their inheritance. Then he died. Before sundown the sons buried their father with respect.

That night the rich son could not sleep. He said to himself, “What my father did was not just. I am rich and my brother is poor. I have plenty of bread while my brother’s children eat one day and trust God for the next. I must move the landmark which our father has set in the middle of the land so that my brother will have the greater share. Ah – but he must not see me; if he sees me, he will be shamed. I must arise early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark!” With this he fell asleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.

Meanwhile, the poor brother could not sleep. As he lay restless on his bed, he said to himself, “What my father did was not just. Here I am surrounded by the joy of many sons and daughters while my brother daily faces the shame of having no sons to carry on his name and no daughters to comfort him in his old age. He should have the land of our fathers. Perhaps this will in part compensate him for his indescribable poverty. Ah – but if I give it to him, he will be shamed. I must awake early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark which our father has set!” With this he went to sleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.

On the first day of the week – very early in the morning, a long time before it was day, the two brothers met at the ancient land marker. They fell with tears into each other’s arms. And on that spot was built the New Jerusalem.

RESPONSE: Today I will focus on the needs and interests of others rather than on my own.

PRAYER: Pray that this biblical attitude of love, humility and selflessness will pervade the church of Jesus Christ around the world.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/15/17 10:53 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
God So Loved the World - UpWords - Week of April 14-20, 2017

by Max Lucado

Can a holy God overlook our mistakes? Should a kind God punish our mistakes? From our perspective there are only two equally unappealing solutions. But from God’s perspective there’s a third. It’s called “the Cross of Christ.” The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standards.

How could he do this? In a sentence: God put our sin on his Son and punished it there. “God put on him the wrong who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG). Why did he do it? Because “God so loved the world that he gave his only son” (John 3:16 NLT). Aren’t you glad the verse doesn’t read: “For God so loved the rich”? Or “For God so loved the famous?” No we simply (and happily) read: “For God so loved the world!” And you are included in that love!

From He Chose the Nails

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/14/17 2:43 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 13

TRAINING

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:25

A young Romanian Christian was called in to the secret police for interrogation. He had dreaded this moment. Fear gripped him throughout and he was unable to give a categorical rejection to the police offers of good treatment and security if he would only inform on his fellow-believers. He did not accept the offer either, but his inability to reject it unquestioningly brought personal agony.

He could not sleep that night because of his fear and guilt. The next morning led of the Holy Spirit, an older Christian came to visit the family. He was unaware of the young man’s dilemma. Being a former prisoner for his faith, he was able to counsel the young man from Scripture about his situation. He built up the young man in fellowship, training him for the next ordeal. It came the same afternoon when the youth was taken in for his second interrogation. The same thing happened and the young man was still upset by his answers. Again the older believer came to encourage him.

Three days of more interrogations passed. Eventually the young man was able to reject the police offer completely. With no further hold on him, the police let him go. Counsel, prayer and patient caring had brought him through and trained him in righteousness.

To maintain biblical integrity, let us consider training as a prescribed course in righteousness in which each individual is disciplined through practice to be obedient to God’s direction for mankind and able to withstand the schemes of the devil.

People who commit themselves for a cause have a right to expect training in the job for which they have been selected. In some of the trades, this is called “apprenticeship.” In medicine, it is known as “internship.” In the military, it is referred to as “basic training.” In Scripture, it is referred to as “discipleship.” However, in our modern day, training is often by-passed due to the pressures of time, need and a low value placed upon the office to be filled. This was not the case with Jesus in His selection and training of His disciples.

After calling His men to be with Him, he challenged them to commit themselves to following after Him – to be “fishers of men.” Jesus then began to train them to become His kind of “fishers of men.”

RESPONSE: I want to be a trained disciple of Jesus Christ. I will submit to His guidance and discipline.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to realize and accept Your “training” process as I follow You today.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
PURPLEPEONY's Photo PURPLEPEONY SparkPoints: (78,488)
Fitness Minutes: (3,142)
Posts: 18,171
4/13/17 1:00 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply

Today’s Scripture
"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
(1 Corinthians 13:13, NKJV)

The Greatest Love of All
In our culture today, so many people are confused about what love is. We love pizza, movies and sports, but we also love our family or spouse. If we look to the Word of God, we see God’s definition of love. First Corinthians 13 tells us that “love is patient and kind. It does not envy nor boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not seek its own way, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Love believes, hopes and endures. Love never fails.” This is how God responds to us, and this is how we should respond to the people in our lives—with patience, kindness, hope, humility and love. Scripture tells us that God is love, and His character never changes!

Today and every day, know that God loves you with an everlasting love. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is for you and has a good plan for you. Receive His perfect love today and let Him transform you from the inside out. His love is the greatest love and will last throughout all eternity!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for loving me. Thank You for doing a work in my life. Help me to be more like You. Help me to see others the way You see them and respond in love because You are love. I bless You and honor You today in Jesus’ name. Amen."


"I wish above all that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers" 3 John 1:2


 April SparkPoints: 764
 
0
500
1000
1500
2000
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/13/17 3:17 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
April 13

Heartlight Daily Devotions

Romans 3:23-24

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Thoughts on today's verse

"I blew it!" Come to think of it, we've all blown it! We don't measure up. We're not divine. We might be decent, but decent won't do. Only the divine, the truly righteous, make it past the grave in glory. Thank God that grace is freely given and the price for our sin was paid by Jesus. While I "blew it" he renewed it!

Prayer:

Kind and Loving Father, thank you for being so generous with your grace. May I be as passionate for your righteousness as you were in redeeming me from my sin. Through Jesus I ask this. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/12/17 5:53 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 12

ONLY WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2

A few months ago a North Korean man successfully waded across the Tumen River into China looking for food, money and work in order to return later to his home country with help for his family. He was befriended by Korean-Chinese Christians (not an uncommon scenario among refugees there). As he sat in Christian meetings, an older woman said to him, “Receive the Holy Spirit or you can’t go back into North Korea; it’s too dangerous!”

After many discussions with believers, he confessed Jesus as Lord of his life and received the Holy Spirit. He packed Bibles along with his food cargo and crossed the river back to North Korea. Though it was a full moon night, there were no guards since everyone was watching North Korea play football (soccer) against Brazil in the World Cup games in South Africa.

As soon as he arrived home, he began talking about his new relationship with God. His family became irate. The young man’s uncle tried to beat this “new idea” of God and Jesus out of him shouting, “How can you believe these things?”

The young man replied, “How can you not? Without God how do the sun and moon rotate?” The Holy Spirit gave words to the surprised young man. Soon the beating was forgotten and the uncle was listening intently. The whole family of this young man ultimately received Jesus as Savior and Lord.

On returning to China for further training, he commented that unless people are filled with the Holy Spirit they should not go back to North Korea because the spiritual warfare is worse than ever.

He concluded, “Only with the Holy Spirit’s help can we be bold. Pray for me that when I am caught I may be bold in my faith.”

RESPONSE: Today I will rely on the Holy Spirit to make me bold in my witness.

PRAYER: Lord, my soul, my heart, my flesh, cry out to You for the filling and power of Your Holy Spirit.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
PURPLEPEONY's Photo PURPLEPEONY SparkPoints: (78,488)
Fitness Minutes: (3,142)
Posts: 18,171
4/9/17 8:53 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Luke 19:28-44

Hindsight is always 20/20. Yet while we are in a particular situation, we often make things out to be what they aren’t and infer wrong meanings. Later, we kick ourselves, thinking, If only I had known then what I know now!

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem must have been one of those moments for the disciples. It probably appeared to be a wonderful day for them—and it was, but for different reasons than they realized. They thought the Messiah had come to reestablish Israel’s power in the world. But God had something else in mind.

The disciples weren’t the only ones who had misconceptions about the Messiah. Many Jews expected Him to be an earthly king. When the crowds heard Jesus was coming, they shouted, “Hosanna,” which means “save now” (John 12:13). They saw Him as their new king, come to bring salvation from political and societal oppression. He raised the dead, so they assumed He could also restore the kingdom of David and free them from Roman rule.

Seated upon a donkey, Jesus resembled a ruler returning to his city in peacetime, whose loyal subjects lined the path with coats and palm fronds. Even the Pharisees were there watching in indignation, saying, “Look, the world has gone after Him” (John 12:19).

This week, think back to those times when circumstances looked one way but turned out to be something else. Recall what it was like to realize God was different than you imagined and to see His will unfold in surprising ways. Look for an opportunity to share your insight with a friend or loved one.

In Touch Ministries

"I wish above all that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers" 3 John 1:2


 April SparkPoints: 764
 
0
500
1000
1500
2000
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/9/17 12:55 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
April 8

Psalms 37:11

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Marchers circle in front of the atomic plant. Not everyone agreed with the sentiments of the protesters, but at least they were getting out and speaking their minds, which was more than most did. One woman was concerned for the future of her children, another worried about the ecological effects, and a man carried a petition with signatures of over 9,000 citizens from the area, voicing outrage at the sloppy safety standards.

It did not good to sit idly by while others made all the decisions. Peace and safety were worth speaking out for. What is worth defending, if not peace? We live in a world of war and fighting. Battlegrounds pop up in every nation of the world. Our Lord, however, is the Prince of Peace. How can we remain unconcerned about world harmony? We cannot. Our mission in this world is to spread the peace of Christ wherever we go. As we spread peace, we find comfort in facing the future, and we come to know the peace which passeth all understanding: God's own peace.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/8/17 11:25 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 8

THE WARRIOR’S PRAYER

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.” Ephesians 6:11

The Bible clearly says to use the full armor. We usually feel we are doing okay if we have most of the pieces of armor in place. Yet, if even one piece is missing, we have a weak spot where Satan can injure us, causing us to lose ground rather than standing firm. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

The New Living Translation in Ephesians 6:11 puts it this way; “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.”It further says in verse 13, “Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

RESPONSE: Today I will put on the full armor of God to stand strong against Satan’s darts of doubt, denial and deceit.

PRAYER: “The Warrior’s Prayer”

Heavenly Father, Your warrior prepares for battle.
Today I claim victory over Satan by putting on the whole armor of God!
I put on the Belt of Truth.
May I stand firm in the truth of your Word so I will not be a victim of Satan’s lies.
I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness.
May it guard my heart from evil so I will remain pure and holy, protected under the blood of Jesus Christ.
I put on the Sandals of Peace.
May I go out and proclaim the good news of the Gospel so your peace will shine through me and be a light to all I encounter.
I take the Shield of Faith.
May I be ready to deflect Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, denial and deceit so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat.
I put on the Helmet of Salvation.
May I keep my mind focused on you so Satan will not have a stronghold on my thoughts.
I take the Sword of the Spirit.
May the two-edged sword of your Word be ready in my hands so I can use it to take authority over the Enemy.
By faith, your warrior has put on the whole armor of God.
I am prepared to live this day in spiritual victory.
Amen.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
PURPLEPEONY's Photo PURPLEPEONY SparkPoints: (78,488)
Fitness Minutes: (3,142)
Posts: 18,171
4/7/17 6:33 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply

The Greatness of God

Psalm 139:1-18

God is infinite. It’s difficult for us, with our limited human minds, to imagine exactly what that means, but it’s important to think about His greatness. His love is immeasurable. And He is boundless in righteousness, mercy, and justice. Time and space cannot contain Him.

Can we go anywhere that our God is not? There may be times when we feel as if we want to hide from Him, but thankfully, there’s nowhere we can go that is out of His reach. The last thing we should want is to be separated from Him. As believers, we are forever connected to the Father because He is eternal. He calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, which means the beginning and the end. That is not to say the Lord started at some point in eternity past and ends somewhere in the future. Instead, it means that when time and space began, He is the one who created it. When it ends, He will still be there—He is the one “who is and who was and who is to come” (Revelation 1:8). This was a revolutionary concept for the crowd of Jews to whom Christ announced, “Before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58). They understood that Jesus, in saying He was one with Yahweh (the name of God, which means “I am”), claimed to be eternal—and they attempted to kill Him for what they considered blasphemy (John 8:59).

Not only is God infinite and eternal; He is also unchanging (James 1:17). So much of what we believe is based upon this characteristic of God. We can trust in His promises because they never change, and we can trust in His love because it never ends.

Edited by: PURPLEPEONY at: 4/7/2017 (18:34)
"I wish above all that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers" 3 John 1:2


 April SparkPoints: 764
 
0
500
1000
1500
2000
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/7/17 2:53 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Our Harshest Judge - UpWords - Week of April 7-13, 2017

by Max Lucado

When it comes to shame, we are our harshest judges! Marred by hurt and humiliation, we don’t see the situation clearly. We listen too much to the voices that got us into this mess. The abuser still abuses our self-esteem. Our judgments are limited.

At these times who makes a better judge? You or Jesus? Jesus knows the situation inside and out. He sees from every perspective and feels all the pain. He knows when lines were crossed and when motives were just. Jesus is the best judge. So when he says, “I don’t judge you guilty” (John 8:11 NCV), that verdict is based not on a whim, but on a careful examination of all the hearts; all the guilt; and all the genuine repentance. So if Jesus declares you not guilty, then who keeps whispering guilt in your ears?

From Max on Life

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/6/17 6:52 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 6

STAND STRONG THROUGH ALL STORMS

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither… Psalm 1:1-3

Ours is the Kingdom. No matter what setbacks we see or experience, in the end the Kingdom will revert to our Lord and we will reign with Him.

Ours is the victory through dying and living again – victory through being able to drink the cup of evil and injustice poured out and not being consumed by it.

Ours is the responsibility of caring for our suffering brethren, especially converts and those in countries more restrictive and repressive than ours.

Ours is the responsibility of reaching those who still sit in darkness.

Ours are the lives that should manifest purity and Christlikeness.

Ours are the hearts that should be willing to pay the price to bring peace and understanding among men and between men and God. Hearts willing to be proactive. Hearts willing to stand at the end of the day and having done all, stand.

Ours is the challenge to stand strong through all the storms we face and come through the fire refined and purified to walk the way of the cross before a dying world.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept the challenge to stand strong through all the storms I may face!

PRAYER: Pray for Christians living in severe persecution areas that refined and purified, they may experience all of the victory which is available through Christ.

Daily Devotionals from Standing Strong Through the Storm by Paul Estabrooks

©2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
4/2/17 7:46 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - April 2

SAMUEL AND HIS CRIPPLED SON

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law… Galatians 4:4

Samuel was a schoolmaster in a small city in central China. One night he overheard his head teacher praying. The teacher was saying, “Lord, please help Samuel to love his son. It’s so sad the way he treats him so cruelly, cutting him off, refusing to spend time in the home, ashamed of his crippled boy. Lord, we don’t know what goes on in the mind of his son, but we do know he is very sad. His wife says the boy weeps all the time when the father comes in and leaves. He may not know much, but he does know he’s not loved, and doesn’t know why he’s not loved.”

Deeply moved by the prayer, Samuel went home late that night and sat beside his sleeping son for hours, just stroking his hair and whispering, “Forgive me.”

He took his son to school the next day and showed him a black book hidden in the school basement. His son suddenly cried out the word, “God!” and pointed at the book. The boy spoke very little, as his mouth was deformed, but the word was clear. He had said, “God.”

Smiling, Samuel said, “You might be right, my son. We will read and see.” And so every night Samuel stayed late at his son’s bedside, reading him portions of scripture. He would hold his son with one hand, and hold the Bible with the other. When he had finished a page, he would signal to the boy, who loved to help by turning the page. They felt warm together. Soon his wife joined them for the readings, and the family grew closer and closer.

Samuel felt new feelings of love well up inside him as he read the truths of the Bible. He felt a power to love his son more and more. That’s when tragedy struck. His boy was run over by a truck and badly injured. There was nothing the medics could do. They took him home to nurse him through to the end. Christians came and prayed for his healing, but the boy continued to deteriorate. By this time Samuel was praying to God, and crying out for Him to spare his son’s life. But in December, after a sudden power failure, the boy finally died.

Samuel asked the Christians to hold a service for his boy. A pastor came and prayed, saying, “Lord, you knew this boy was going to die. How kind of you to reconcile father and son before he died. Thank you for your work of grace. And we thank you for your eternal work too. You watched your son, helpless in flesh, die and grow cold—all because you knew we could not love you otherwise, as we are so blind in our selfishness.”

Samuel pondered the meaning of this prayer. He didn’t understand it all. But he did get this: God had lost a son too. Unlike Samuel, God lost a son He had cherished, a son that was perfect. How much harder for God.

He went to church the following Sunday, a small house church an hour’s ride from the city. They were celebrating an event unknown to Samuel, called “Christmas.” A banner in the makeshift church read, “The Son of God for the world in need.”

Samuel testified on that very Sunday, “I see that I went through what God went through. He had a son He loved, and watched him die that life may come to everyone. I too had a son, but I did not love him. Then God broke my heart, so that I could love him. Then He took him. But I have life now, life that will last so long that one day I know I will be reunited with my son. And he will not be lame. And he will be able to speak. And we will fellowship together not in freezing rooms of fear and pain, but on beautiful planets of peace and harmony. I can love again, and this is the joy of Christmas for me. Even in my grief, with my poor son gone, I can love again. We can all love again.”

RESPONSE: Today I will express my love for God even in the midst of pain and loss that I may have suffered.

PRAYER: Pray for people like Samuel who have suffered deeply and may feel God cannot forgive them.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/31/17 4:22 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Confess and Believe - UpWords - Week of March 31-April 6, 2017

by Max Lucado

Can we know we are truly saved? The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Confess and believe...and you will have salvation.

Catch what the verse does not say: live perfectly, be nice to everyone, don’t mess up, always smile--and you will be saved. Can’t do it. Impossible. Just confess and believe. Salvation will follow. It’s so easy. . .yet so hard.

God wants us to know we are saved, for saved people are dangerous people, willing to face off with the world, unafraid of the consequences since we know that, whatever happens, we will have eternal life. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). Watch out, world!

From Max on Life

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/31/17 7:37 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply

Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 31

THE COURAGE THAT MADE THE INCARNATION POSSIBLE

“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

Chinese evangelist, Brother Xi, was travelling one very cold evening g in the rugged province of Gansu. As he came to the next village he sensed something was wrong. People were huddled together talking in low tones, glances darting accusingly at each other.

He introduced himself as a bearer of good news. A small man interrupted, “Well we have only bad news here right now. A couple has just had their baby stolen.” In the poorer areas of China, where couples are restricted to one child, it is not uncommon to have child snatching. Indeed there are even gangs that roam the countryside stealing babies for wealthy childless couples in the cities.

He stepped inside the house to find both husband and wife staring quietly at him. Other villagers crowded at the doorway. There was silence. The couple’s grief hung heavy in the air. He said, “I’m so sorry to hear about your plight, but I know someone who may help...God. Let me pray to Him.”

There was no reaction on the couple’s faces, so he went into prayer, feeling very uncomfortable indeed. “Dear Father, many years ago at this same time of year you sent a child into the world and rescued us all; we ask today that you will send back this child to us, and deliver this village from the sadness which grips it, Amen.”

Suddenly the young husband spoke, “Shut up and go away. We have prayed to our gods and nothing has happened. Why should yours be any different?” He was grabbed from behind by the other villagers and propelled out of the village. “Don't you dare come here again!” they bawled.

He wandered the hills in a daze of humiliation, tears, and crying to God. Then he thought, l went to that village expecting a hero’s welcome, or at the very least, I relied on being a curiosity, quizzed and entertained by people who live very dull and isolated lives. Instead, I had only been treated a little like Christ was treated.

Kneeling there in the snow, he knew what he had to do—go back to that village, knowing for sure he would be despised. This was to follow in the Master’s footsteps. With a pounding heart he turned and began to walk slowly back towards the village. Suddenly, across the still late afternoon air, he heard a baby’s cry coming from what appeared to be an old well shaft.

Sure enough six feet down was a little baby, wrapped in a thick blanket, lying at the bottom of the dry-well. He climbed down to hug some warmth back into it. It was a baby girl. Those who snatched it did not know it was a girl, and finding later that it was, left it in this old well to die.

The city couples that finance this hideous trade invariably want only male babies.

He walked back to the village with the precious bundle of life clasped to his breast. The villagers came running. They were amazed and overjoyed. Loving hands led him to the cottage of the poor couple, and the smile on the mother’s face as he placed her baby into her lap was unforgettable. “Come, warm yourself by the fire” said the husband. They drew up a chair for him, and as the other villagers crowded round, he asked, “Who was that God you prayed to?”
What an invitation. Here he was, the honored guest, looking at thirty eager people, waiting with bated breath to hear the Gospel. “Well,” he began, “He came to earth in the form of a little baby, just about this time 2000 years ago...”

RESPONSE: Today I will praise God that He is truly in control and can work out all situations for good.

PRAYER: Thank God today for the coming of His Son to earth in humble yet powerful glory!

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/29/17 5:33 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 29

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TODAY TO THE PERSECUTED CHURCH?

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Revelation 3:11

Today we share a message composed by Steve Haas for Prayer for the Persecuted Church and published in Christianity Today:

To the angel of the church of the despised, incarcerated, separated, raped, and martyred; the persecuted church. These are the words of him who knows your patient endurance, understands your distress, and like you has been faithful to the shedding of his own precious blood.

You say you are isolated, cut off, that no one acknowledges your state. I see the terrors you face: the raids of your house churches in Laos, Indonesia, and China; the assault and murder of your leadership in Iran, India, and Chechnya; the indiscriminate bombing and enslavement that ravage your villages in Sudan.

I register every tear that is cried, record each longing conceived, hear each desperate plea confessed. I identify intimately with your plight. I have not forgotten you. Nor have many others who, although unfamiliar with the gravity of your suffering, draw hope and strength from your noble sacrifices for me. I have revealed your plight to your brothers and sisters in Christ and have called thousands of churches to pray for you and to serve you.

You say you are afraid. Recognize what you have that cannot be taken away. I have given you new life, an irrepressible joy, and an ever-present Spirit. Your transforming faith in me cannot be crushed but instead shines like a lighthouse, drawing those who sincerely search for the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

You say you are losing hope. Know that these afflictions are not the final word, that I am sovereign and just. In time, I will repay. Although these tribulations threaten to overwhelm you, I have prepared an eternal place of peace for you, a permanent sanctuary of refreshment and true freedom that begins the moment you recognize me as Lord and serve me as King. I am with you always.

Beware of those who come from outside your fellowship, who masquerade as teachers of the church but elevate personal comfort over godly obedience. Many travel from long distances and present themselves as spiritual masters of the faith, proclaiming that temporal health and security are your due. Do not listen to them. Theirs is a false teaching, only shackling you to the unrequited masters of greed and disquiet. In the midst of your suffering, I will prove to be your only true peace and anchor.

Beware of those who are among you, immature in their belief, who mix notions contrary to my word with selected elements of saving truth. Like weeds among healthy grain, their subtle heresies pollute your fellowship, leading many to believe there are means other than a relationship with me to insure one’s eternity. Strive to know my Word and remain rooted in my loving commands.

I delight in your resourcefulness with little, your dignity in suffering, your joyful endurance in the midst of adversity. It is these things that give witness to a power above all earthly kingdoms, a source of strength stronger than the might of any human power.

Remain faithful, and I will raise you up in victory. Patiently endure, for I will not tarry long.

RESPONSE: Today I will reaffirm my commitment to be faithful to Jesus and patiently endure ‘till He comes.

PRAYER: Pray that members of the persecuted church will understand the deep reality of patient endurance.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/25/17 6:47 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
March 25

Psalms 31:18

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Lisa couldn't quite believe everything the preacher was saying. He went on and on about how members of other Christian denominations were misguided and on the road to destruction. That didn't make sense. How could the pastor know that he was right and everyone else was wrong? He said that God had told him, but surely God talked to others, too. It was awfully confusing.

One day, everyone who speaks in order to hurt others will have to pay for what they say. So many things are said and done in the name of Christianity that are in no way Christian. Our law is the law of love and forgiveness, not judgment and narrow-mindedness. Ask the Lord to open your heart to those you disagree with and wonderful things will begin to happen.

Prayer: I know so little and I say so much, Father. Help me to reach out to people that I don't understand or agree wit h. Make me an instrument of unity and fellowship. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/23/17 4:19 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 23

ASHAMED OF JESUS

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. - Luke 9:26

Young believers in the Lord in Muslim cultures often struggle with the issue of publicly declaring their new faith in Jesus. Shadiya is the youngest of five children in a Muslim family. At the age of eighteen she came in contact with a group of young people in the church of Pastor Jamil. During the summer of 2011, the church was visited by a group of other young Christians. During that time Shadiya decided to follow Jesus.

One day she forgot to hide her Bible and her younger brother found it. He asked his father about this striking book with a large cross prominent on the cover. Father was shocked. He soon found out that Shadiya brought the book into their house.

Initially dumbfounded by the hostile attitude of her father, Shadiya stood firm for what she believed. She admitted that she had become a Christian, that she received the Bible from some friends and that she no longer is a Muslim.

Her father interpreted this as denying her identity. This, in his opinion, was a betrayal of the entire family and the Muslim community. In other words, the shame for the family was unbearable. So in her father’s eyes there was only one option; force Shadiya to deny her faith in Christ. “If you refuse to deny your new faith, you are no longer welcome in our home!” he yelled at her. Shadiya still held on to faith in Jesus.

The situation deteriorated even more after her father went to the mosque and shared the “apostasy” of his daughter with the local imam. They decided she had to deny her Christian faith openly and confess the Islamic faith in public. If she refused to do so, she would have to pay with her life. She would be stoned by the Muslim community.

She asked her apostate brother-in-law, Amir, for advice. He suggested that she do what they asked of her and remain a secret follower of Jesus. In her heart she could remain a believer in Christ, although she would openly deny her faith to save her life. Shadiya was not really convinced that this was the right thing to do and was full of doubt. In the end she followed the advice of Amir.

The prospect of becoming a martyr at the age of eighteen was now over but Shadiya remained doubtful about her decision. She and Amir asked Pastor Jamil what he thought about it.

“This could have been an opportunity for the whole family or the entire village to see God working in the life of an eighteen-year-old girl,” he replied. “It is a great challenge to deal with our fear; still we should rely on Jesus, rather than basing our choices on fear.”

The situation for Shadiya now seems less tense but the risk of escalation remains.

RESPONSE: Today I will not allow fear to control me…especially regarding the public declaration of my faith.

PRAYER: Pray for Shadiya and the people surrounding her. Ask our Father to further His kingdom through her and fellow-believers who are cautiously trying to help her to grow in faith.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/22/17 10:07 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
March 22

Psalms 31:3

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

The rabbit tensed every muscle. The fox had caught its scent, and was stealthily moving in for the kill. Timing was everything. The brambles were just yards away, but the fox was fast. As the fox pounced, the rabbit broke into a hopping sprint and wriggled into the brambles. Fox teeth closed on air, mere inches behind.

The rabbit knows where it should go in times of trouble. It is well aware of where its fortress is. Are we as wise as the rabbit? Our fortress is the Lord. In times of desperate need, we should immediately turn to Him. There is no better place to rest and be safe.

Prayer: Never let me stray too far from Your loving protection, Almighty God. I need You more than I even realize. Open Your arms to me, Lord. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/22/17 9:28 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 22

PAUL OF AFGHANISTAN

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea… 2 Corinthians 11:23-25

The Apostle Paul suffered severely in his ministry of sharing the gospel in the first century. But Paul was always quick to point out that what others thought so terrible—his imprisonment— God turned into good. Rather than hindering the spread of the gospel, it actually aided its advance (Philippians 1:12-14). Paul’s example was followed by many disciples down through the ages. You might be surprised to learn about one of these who lived in Afghanistan.

In Kabul, a brilliant young blind man who had memorized the whole Qur’an in Arabic listened to the gospel by radio and later publicly declared his faith in Jesus as his Lord. He became the first blind student to attend regular-sighted schools in Afghanistan. He graduated from University of Kabul with a law degree in order to defend Christians who might be persecuted for their faith. Some of his encouragement as a young believer came from a missionary from neighboring Iran, Mehdi Dibaj.

Under the communist regime, Paul was arrested on false charges and put in a notorious prison where tens of thousands were executed. There was no heat in the jail during the cold winters. He had to sleep on the freezing mud floor with only his overcoat. A prisoner next to him was trembling with cold since he did not even have a jacket. Paul remembered John the Baptist had said, “The man who has two coats should share with him who has none.”(Luke 3:11) He took off his only coat and gave it to the neighbor. From then on, the Lord miraculously kept him warm every night.

In prison, the communists gave Paul shock treatments to try to brainwash him. The electric burns left scars on his head. But he did not give in. God’s grace was sufficient. After release from prison he kept mastering foreign languages and continued translating the Bible, writing and preaching…as well as discipling new believers. In 1988, Paul was kidnapped by a fanatical Muslim group and charged with apostasy because he became a Christian. He was beaten for hours with rods and ultimately martyred. But Paul’s testimony lives on today as a trophy of God’s grace. He is affectionately remembered as “Afghanistan’s Apostle Paul”.

You can read more about Paul in Dr. Christy Wilson’s excellent book, More To Be Desired Than Gold, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1994.

RESPONSE: Today I will live biblically no matter what circumstances I may face knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for me.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the inspiring example of Afghanistan’s Apostle Paul and his faithfulness in serving You to the end.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/21/17 4:57 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
March 21

Psalms 30:9

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?

Most people want to be well remembered when they die. We want to leave a legacy of some kind. What will our legacy be? Will it be money, or a building, or a statue? Will it be something that will last a short while, then be done? Why can't we leave something truly important?

The greatest legacy we can leave is a life well lived. As Christians, we need to be an example of how wonderful Christ can be. We can honestly usher in the Kingdom of God on earth if we will devote ourselves to leading Kingdom lives. There is profit in the blood of a Christian. Christ's own blood was shed that we might all inherit eternal life. If God was willing to shed His own blood for us, should we be willing to do any less? God's legacy to us is life eternal. What will our legacy to others be?

Prayer: May each day I live be considered a gift, Father. Guide me, so th at I can live each gift to the fullest. Let others see You through me, I pray. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/20/17 3:13 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 20

DISPENSING GRACE

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

How can Christians dispense grace in a society that is or seems to be veering away from God? As we noted in earlier devotionals, Elijah hid out in caves. On the other hand, his contemporary Obadiah worked within the system running Ahab’s palace while sheltering God’s prophets on the side. Esther and Daniel were employed by heathen empires. Jesus submitted to the judgment of a Roman governor. Paul appealed his case all the way to Caesar. In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey shares:
1. Dispensing God’s grace is the Christian’s main contribution

The one big thing the church has over the world is showing grace. Jesus did not let any institution interfere with His love for individuals. Here is where the fruit of the Spirit are so important in our lives. Jesus said we are to have one distinguishing mark—neither political correctness nor moral superiority, but—love. In I Corinthians 13, Paul shares that without love we are nothing.
1. Commitment to grace does not mean Christians will always live in perfect harmony with the government
Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia has written, “…what a nation needs more than anything else is not a Christian ruler in the palace but a Christian prophet within earshot.”

Jesus warned that the world who hated him would hate us also. As the early church spread throughout the Roman Empire, the slogan “Jesus is Lord” was a direct affront to the Romans. When conflict came, brave Christians stood up against the state, appealing to a higher authority.

Through the years, this same energy continued. Christianity brought an end to slavery. It drove the early labor movement, women’s right to vote, as well as civil and human rights campaigns.

In all of this, we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. All our actions – and even counteractions – are to be seasoned with grace. When we show just the opposite, then we must consider the wisdom of our choices.

C. Coziness between church and state is good for the state and bad for the church

Herein lies the chief danger to grace. The state, which runs by rules of ungrace – the entire “world” does – gradually drowns out the church’s sublime message of grace.

The church works best as a force of resistance, a counterbalance to the consuming power of the state. The cozier it gets with government, the more watered-down its message becomes. Can you imagine any government enacting a set of laws based on Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount?”

A state government can shut down stores and theatres on Sunday, but it cannot compel worship. It can arrest and punish murderers, but cannot cure their hatred much less teach them love. It can pass laws making divorce more difficult, but cannot force husbands to love their wives and wives their husbands. It can give subsidies to the poor, but cannot force the rich to show them compassion and justice. It can ban adultery but not lust, theft but not covetousness, cheating but not pride. It can encourage virtue but not holiness.

So let the church be the church. But let it operate as the church with love, truth, unity, but above all - grace. This can also be the operating mandate for every individual Christian.

RESPONSE: Today I will operate in the world I encounter and in my church dispensing grace.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to be a person who is known for my ability to live like Jesus—with grace.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/18/17 10:16 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 18

GRACE

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16

We have left to the end the most important characteristic in the training of the disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the quality of living the Christian life with grace.

We use the word “grace” to describe many things in life:

· A well-coordinated athlete or dancer
· Good manners and being considerate of others
· Beautiful, well chosen words
· Consideration and care of other people
· Various expressions of kindness and mercy

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

Also, grace is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Grace comes to us free and clear with no strings attached. It is the act of unmerited favor – most often to the down and out.

Christ came down from heaven and he reminds us that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves. The ladder of power reaches up, the ladder of grace reaches down.

Dr. Donald Barnhouse said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

Jesus never used the word itself. He just taught it and lived it. And it was written as a description of how He lived His life. The Apostle John describes Jesus’ glory as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In a world of darkness and demands, rules and regulations, requirements and expectations demanded by the hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus came and ministered in a new and different way.

After commenting on His glory, John goes on to add, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). John and the other disciples became marked men. His style became theirs. They absorbed his tolerance, acceptance, love, warmth and compassion so that it ultimately transformed their lives. They too lived their lives demonstrating grace!

Thus grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world. It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate.

RESPONSE: Today I desire to be a person like Jesus – full of grace and truth.

PRAYER: Pray that God would fill your life with the ability to live with the grace of our Lord Jesus.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/17/17 8:25 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Light of The World - Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 17

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” - Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus is also the great light of the world (John 8:12). Those who believe in Him are brought out of darkness into His light (Colossians1:12-13) and in turn become lights also. In essence, they live the beatitudes. What does light do?

A. It exposes dirt - If Christians live holy and righteous lives, it will show up the unrighteous deeds of others (Ephesians 5:8-14). An example is that people who take bribes feel very vulnerable if there are others that don't. Christians who work in government offices can, by their uprightness and integrity, diminish the amount of corruption just by their very presence and principles.

B. It lights up the way so that we do not stumble - If Christians walk by the principles of the Word of God, their lives take on a higher purpose and direction than that of self. This will not fail to attract the attention of a watching world. The world then is faced with a choice—to accept or reject such a model. To those who reject, that light becomes darkness. But for those who accept, that light illumines their lives and they will not make wrong choices.

C. It discourages works of darkness - More crimes are committed at night than in the daytime.

D. It dispels fear - When light shines, the phantoms of the night just fade away. People who are afraid of the dark prefer to sleep with the light on.

Light even enables discernment to be made—between friend and foe and between truth and counterfeit. It enables work to be done. Light enables plants to grow. Used in modern technology, it aids in telecommunications (fiber optics), helps to heal (lasers), and aids in publishing books.

The light of the Gospel also blesses in so many ways. And Christians who walk in it can in turn help others by sharing the knowledge they have concerning life, death, sin, salvation, God, the devil, heaven and hell. For these are the issues that plague man on a wide scale and for which they are striving to find adequate answers. The light will be recognized, not just in words, but in “good deeds” which lead others to praise our Father in heaven.

In Kumasi, Ghana, African Enterprise has been organizing city-cleaning teams. Before an evangelistic campaign, Christians often ask government leaders if they can clean it up. Then they send out teams of people with makeshift straw brooms and pails of soapy water to scrub the city. Christian workers have cleaned hospitals, city parks, and government grounds before major outreaches.

RESPONSE: Today I am determined to shine for Jesus—the true light of the world!

PRAYER: Lord, I want my life to count for You and Your kingdom. Help me be a lighthouse for You.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/17/17 6:34 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
All Have Fallen Short - UpWords - Week of March 17-23, 2017

by Max Lucado

Simply put--we’re not good enough to go to heaven! So what can we do? Perhaps if we do enough good deeds, they will offset our bad deeds. The question then surfaces: how many good deeds do we need to do? If I spend one year being greedy, how many years should I be generous? No one knows how many good deeds it takes to offset the bad. A rule sheet can’t be found--simply because it doesn’t exist.

God doesn’t operate this way. All we can do is ask for mercy. And God, because of his kindness, gives it. God turned over our sins to his Son. His Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins. He did what we could not do so that we might become what we dare not dream: citizens of heaven!

From Max on Life



judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/10/17 7:32 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 10

THE CROSS - RESPONDING WITH SINGING

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Helen Berhane spent almost three years in the shipping container prisons of Eritrea. In her book Song of the Nightingale, she shares about the first time she and other women were put in an old container that was very hot and filled with fleas and lice:

Everyone was very despondent, and many of the women were angry. They asked me what we should do and I knew they were expecting me to say that we should shout or bang the container, to let our captors know that we were not going to tolerate this treatment. But I remembered…[reading] about how Christians, like nightingales, could not be prevented from singing even in captivity, and I suggested that we sing: “We should praise God in spite of the fleas, in spite of the lice, in spite of the heat. We should thank God despite our circumstances.” So I began to sing with them, and pray, and share the Word of God from memory.

Pastor Ung Sophal sat in a filthy Cambodian prison badly beaten. His hands and feet were chained for five months. "Only my mouth was unchained," he said.

“...So I sang to God in prison all the time. Another prisoner heard me singing through a small hole in the wall, so I taught him the song—a bit at a time. He passed it on and soon eight of us were singing.”

Archbishop Dominic Tang spent twenty-two years in prison in China for his faith. He reports:

“Besides my prayer and meditation, every day I sang some hymns in a soft voice, ‘Jesus I live for you; Jesus I die for you; Jesus I belong to you. Whether alive or dead I am for Jesus!’ This hymn was taught to me by a Protestant prisoner who lived in my cell.”

RESPONSE: Today I will respond to all the challenges of life with praise and thankfulness.

PRAYER:Pray that all Christian prisoners around the world will respond to their circumstances as those documented above.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/10/17 7:19 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The God Who Never Leaves - UpWords - Week of March 10-16, 2017

by Max Lucado

When I was seven, I ran away from home. I’d had enough of my father’s rules--I could make it on my own, thank you very much! I didn’t go far. At the end of the alley I remembered I was hungry, so I went back home.

Did my dad know of my insurrection? Fathers usually do. Was I still his son? Apparently so. If you’d asked my father, “Mr. Lucado, your son says he has no need of a father. Do you still consider him your son?” What do you think my dad would have said? I don’t have to guess at his answer. His commitment to me was greater than my commitment to him. So is God’s! I can count on him to be in my corner no matter how I perform. You can too!

From Max on Life

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/8/17 5:20 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
March 8

Psalms 25:7

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O Lord.

Perry had paid the penalty a thousand times. The guilt that he carried with him gnawed away constantly. When he was teenager, he had foolishly tossed a firecracker at a friend of his, to scare him. The explosive had gone off in his friend's face, blinding him. Perry played the scene over and over in his mind, even though many years had passed. His friend had forgiven him, and he had even asked forgiveness from God. His pastor told him that the sin was forgiven, but Perry just couldn't forgive himself.

Who are we to hold onto past sins when our Lord has forgiven and forgotten them? As long as we're human, we will have pasts filled with sins abundant. To dwell on them is to make ourselves less than God wants us to be. Ask forgiveness from the Lord, receive it, and move forward in the glory of God's grace. Your sins are forgiven, indeed!

Prayer: Teach me to let go of the things I have done wrong in the past, Lord. Cleanse me and prepare me for the wonderful life that is to come. May I learn from my mistakes and grow from them, without allowing them to control my life, O Lord. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/6/17 7:48 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 6

STORE GOD’S WORD IN YOUR HEART

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Russian pastor Ivan Antonov spent a total of 24 years in prison for preaching the Gospel. In November 1988, at the age of 69 he was released from Siberian exile. In reflection, he shares what he found to be “most important of all”:

While in prison camp, I felt that my primary ministry was prayer. Like Daniel, I prayed three times a day, opening the windows of my heart toward my friends in freedom. I also prayed for our persecutors. I would sing hymns. I was really glad I knew so many. I had memorized about one hundred seventy hymns, and in order not to forget them, I reviewed several every day. So over a time, I sang through all of them.

I want to emphasize to my young friends that you should worship God with songs and poems and memorize them. They will come in handy. But most important of all, you should study and memorize the Word of God. When I was in prison and camp, I had no Bible, but I was able to review what I had stored in my heart. I went over two chapters from the Old Testament and two chapters from the New Testament every day. This experience reminded me of Joseph in Egypt. During the time of abundance, he was laying aside stores of grain. When the famine came, he distributed grain from these stores, and the people were saved from starvation…

These Scriptures were food for my soul. I sang hymns every morning and at night before going to bed. God always woke me up in the morning, an hour and a half or two hours before the morning bell. This gave me time to pray and to meditate in peace, because once everyone else was up, there was too much noise and shouting. It was impossible to concentrate. So in those quiet hours, I would go outside in the fresh air and sing hymns of praise to God and pray…

After his release Ivan Antonov returned to the prisons and camps where he had earlier “done time”—but now to share Christ with the current prisoners. He was excited to report that fifty of these criminals were seriously studying God’s Word and expressed a desire to start a new life in Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will store God’s Word in my heart so I have a basis for meditation should I be deprived of my Bible.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for inspiring testimonies of great men like Ivan who show us how to stand strong.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/5/17 5:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
March 5

Psalms 23:5

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anoitest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Some people never find satisfaction in the things they do have, but spend their entire lives wishing for things they don't have. They are never happy with where their lives are going, they feel empty in their relationships, and therefore they find it impossible to give thanks for the many blessings they have been given.

As Christians, we are people of praise. Every prayer we offer unto God should acknowledge the many wonderful things that He has done for us. Only a blind person can deny the beauty and splendor of this world. God gives good things to His children, and we should be thankful for all that we have.

Prayer: Lord, I cannot believe how much I have been given. Help open my eyes to the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Make me thankful, Lord. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/5/17 4:36 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 5

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

An extraordinary life in Christ does not just depend on teachings, circumstances or comfort. In many countries in the world today there are severe restrictions and obstacles facing parents in instructing their children in the ways of the Lord. In communist countries like China and Vietnam it is officially against the law to share the Gospel with anybody under the age of eighteen years, including your own children.

In the Middle East, Christian schools are non-existent and Christian children are forced to attend Muslim schools and receive instruction from the Quranand Muslim teachers. Yet, it seems as if Christian families in restricted areas are more Godly and committed to the Lord than their counterparts in the west, where opportunities abound and Christians live in abundance.

The lessons that we learn from the persecuted church are of far more value than seminars or devotionals can ever be—the lessons of true discipleship and wholesomeliving - lessons that are neither theology nor speculation but teachings of life, reality and practice.

Gerhard Hamm was one of the thousands of faithful believers through whom God’s light continued to shine in the Soviet Union during the years when communism reigned there.

He grew up in the Ural Mountains where his parents farmed. But then communism arose and in 1929 the “bandits” came, as Gerhard later often called the Bolsheviks. Because his father was a Christian, and of German descent, he was arrested and exiled to Siberia. The farm was confiscated.

Mother Hamm and her twenty children also moved to Siberia. For a few years, the family was together. Then Gerhard’s father was taken away from his family and never came back. None of the family knows where his grave is. All the churches were closed and atheistic propaganda was being disseminated all around

As a young boy Gerhard lost his father, his security, his home and his freedom—all because of the name of Jesus. Hunger and cold were his daily lot, an obvious reason for a young teenager to resent God and His commands. But despite the difficulties, ridicule and persecution, Mother Hamm prayed every day with her children, and they read the Bible together.

When Gerhard Hamm died in 1999 at the age of 76, he left a legacy of faithful children behind. All of his children and their spouses were devoted Christians. His grandchildren have all committed their lives to the Lord. All of Gerhard’s nineteen brothers and sisters and their spouses and children followed the footsteps of Jesus and many are still involved in various ministries reaching all corners of the globe.

RESPONSE: Today I will take seriously the challenge of teaching, training and discipling my children or young people with whom I have close relationship.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to live a life of self-sacrifice so young people will see You and want to follow.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/4/17 5:20 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 4

HUMAN INCOMPREHENSION: THE CROSS

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Mark 15:34

Today’s devotional again comes from a Chinese house church pastor who had been arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says his experience was going with Christ to the Garden and to the Cross. Today he continues and explains another aspect of The Cross:

But it is not all triumph. I know some pastors who said they just smiled all the time from the moment they were arrested, and felt unutterable joy the whole time. I suppose that is possible. After all, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego seemed to be very calm throughout their ordeal. But we must not make that the test of true spirituality. The Psalmists are full of despair and questioning as they go through hard times. So were Jeremiah and Job and Habakkuk. And most sobering of all, our Lord Himself was heard to cry from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

This is the dark side of the experience. What makes suffering hardest to bear are the questions, the voices that well up within each of us, that are full of doubts, despair and depression. And I believe this is OK. As humans we were not meant to suffer. We were made to be part of a perfect world, with no sorrow or sighing, an Eden where everyone was righteous and fulfilled. So when we suffer, there is a sense in which our bodies and spirits witness saying, “This is unnatural, this is not why we were created.”

In my own case, I wondered whether God had turned His back on me, or was punishing me for past sins. Yes, I know that sounds odd after all I have just said about feeling the power of God within to forgive my persecutor, and having the angel strengthen me. But you forget these things in the dark watches of the night, sleeping sandwiched between two prisoners and being cursed by everyone because you need to rise and go to the toilet and so everyone must wake up and shift their position. It was the nights that were worst.

But most of these doubts were not weaknesses as such; they were attempts to comprehend the incomprehensible. Where is God here? What’s He up to? How can this possibly extend His kingdom? How is His glory served by one of my sisters being raped by an interrogator? The fact is, when we suffer, there is so much that we cannot understand. I read somewhere that “because we are human, we yearn to understand, but because we are human, we cannot understand.”

Suffering puts us in our place. It humbles us to realize that we are not really in charge of our lives. This is a hard realization. God is in charge, and His purposes can be hard to discern at times. He takes even the sin of the world, and turns it to good account. We often do not see how He does this, but we believe it. Accepting it in faith is never easy when you are suffering.

RESPONSE: Today I will not try to understand the incomprehensible. I will accept God’s goodness in everything by faith.

PRAYER: Pray for Christian prisoners going through great pain today that they may know His touch.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/4/17 4:40 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
March 4

Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

To look at Bess and to listen to her talk, you would never have thought she was dying of cancer. She always had the same smile on her face and a kind word for everyone who came to see her. The other patients spent a lot of time with her, because her spirit seemed to be contagious. She ministered to her roommates by remaining cheerful and positive. Even the thought of death couldn't take Bess's dynamic humor from her.

The love of God can help us to endure many things. Circumstances that ordinarily knock us flat are a s nothing when face-to-face with the power of God. Cry out to God in times of affliction, and He will comfort you and lift you above the fear of evil things. Truly, our help is in the Lord.

Prayer: There is nothing in this life, Lord, that I cannot face as long as You are with me. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
MERRYJO1 Posts: 339
3/4/17 2:37 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I am studying the book of Hosea precept upon precept by Kay Arthur. emoticon

Love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.


 current weight: 199.8 
 
203
182.25
161.5
140.75
120
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/4/17 2:12 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 3

SUPERHUMAN FORGIVENESS: THE CROSS

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Today’s devotional again comes from a Chinese house church pastor who had been arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says his experience was going with Christ to the Garden and to the Cross. Today he explains The Cross:

This is what amazed me the most. Whenever I was beaten up (and that was quite often during those three weeks), I would first feel searing pain, and then another feeling would flood in, almost wiping the pain away. Do you know what that feeling was? Pity. Pity for the man who was beating me.

I kept seeing my interrogator as a man gone wrong. I felt sorry for his mother, who would be so ashamed of him. I wondered what kind of father he must have had, to turn him into such a monster. I felt sad to be in the presence of one of God’s creatures that could treat another human so badly with so little concern.

Then I would get amazed at myself. Through the pain I would think, “I should be angry, but I’m not, all I want is for this man to be saved.” I had three ribs and a wrist broken, two teeth knocked out, my kidneys were malfunctioning, and yet all I could wish for was for the man beating me to find Christ and forgiveness.

Now I agree with that young sister. It sounds very strange. It doesn’t even ring true. It’s more human to be angry, or to be afraid. But I can only say this was not myself making me feel that way, but Christ within me. It was superhuman. It was Divine. And to this day, it serves as the greatest assurance I have that I am saved.

Again, this is also the way of Christ. In Luke 23:34, He says from the Cross itself, in the midst of excruciating pain, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I tell you, it gives you such a thrill to know that you feel as Christ felt. That’s why suffering is counted such a joy, such a privilege. It confirms to the sufferers that they are Christ’s, and He lives in them. We don’t have to trust a word that this is so. We feel it in our very breastbones.

RESPONSE: Today I will forgive those who are causing me grief as Jesus would and did on the cross.

PRAYER: God, fill me with Your superhuman forgiveness so that I may walk today as Jesus did in forgiving those harming Him. Help me also feel pity and compassion for those who so easily treat others badly.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/4/17 1:56 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Strength to Overcome - UpWords - Week of March 3-9, 2017

by Max Lucado

God’s word to Joshua is God’s word to us. “Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6). Do not cower before your woes. Take the land God has given you to possess. “And the Lord said to Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor” (Joshua 6:2). God did not say, Joshua, take the city. God said, Joshua, receive the city I have taken. Joshua didn’t go forth hoping to win. He knew that God had already won.

The same can be said about you and your challenge. God says, Receive the blessing of my victory. The question is not, will you overcome? It is, when will you overcome? Life will always bring challenges. But God will always give strength to face them.

From God is With You Every Day

Edited by: JUDITH316 at: 3/4/2017 (02:06)
judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/2/17 5:34 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 2

ANGELIC STRENGTHENING: THE GARDEN

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. Luke 22:43

Today’s devotional comes from a Chinese house church pastor who had been arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says his experience was going with Christ to the Garden and to the Cross. Today he explains The Garden:

My arrest was totally unexpected. There was no warning. I was teaching a seminar in one of our church groups in northeast China, when in the middle of the afternoon, six policemen burst in and the next thing I knew I was punched in the stomach and lying on the floor. One of the policemen put his foot hard on my neck and I couldn’t move. I was then allowed to get up. Someone rammed me in the kidneys with a baton and I fell again, gasping from the pain. The pain was sharp and severe all the way to the police station, and I couldn’t take anything but the shallowest breaths. It turned out my digestion was ruined for months.

Although it was unexpected, there was a strange way in which I had been prepared for it. The night before, I was praying at midnight for the seminar. I had a list of all the participants, and was praying for each one. The more I prayed, the more discouraged I became. These men and women were too young, or too uneducated, or too wounded. I just felt that they were not good enough to be leaders in our movement. I slumped and sighed and felt very depressed. Also, I was having a bad stomach ache. For weeks my stomach was sore and nausea had been my constant companion.

Then all of a sudden I felt a depression on the sofa, like someone had entered the room and sat down beside me. I opened my eyes. There was no one there, but the depression on the sofa remained. Then I felt a large hand on my back. It was hot and pressed into my lower spine, straightening me up. I felt strong again and my nausea disappeared. Then a soft voice said, “I am strengthening you for the fight. Do not worry about these young people. I am the strength of God, sent by Jesus to look after them and you. I will help you because He loves you.”

That was an angel. I am convinced of that. Just as the Scripture says of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength” (Luke 22:43), so it was for me. Angels appear to give us strength. And so all the time I was being taken to the police station in a cramped van, I was repeating the words of the angel to me, “I will help you because He loves you.”

So I want to make this clear to you all. Whenever you face the challenge of suffering for Christ, you will be angelically strengthened beforehand. You need to keep praying, because that’s when the angel comes. But if you pray, you will be ready, because an angel will be there to strengthen you to bear anything.

RESPONSE: Today I will continue to pray and trust God for His angelic strengthening.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for your angelic host who come to strengthen in our greatest point of need.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks


judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/1/17 4:35 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 1

TO THE GARDEN AND THE CROSS

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. John 18:1

Today’s devotional comes from a Chinese house church pastor who had been arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says:

When we suffer for Christ, what actually happens? I mean, what really goes on spiritually within us when we are going through suffering?

I ask the question because a young sister was listening to me recently recount my experience of being in jail for three weeks last year. She said, “You talked of having constant diarrhea, of being kicked and punched painfully, and you even feared that God was punishing you…yet you talked also of feeling joy and experiencing peace.” She said to me, “I don’t understand how these things go together.”

My reply to her, and I give it also as an instruction to you all (for you will all suffer at some point for His Name), is that when we suffer, three spiritual experiences happen to us all at once; angelic strengthening, superhuman forgiveness, and human incomprehension. These three things appear contradictory, but if you suffer, you will find they come together as they did in the life of Christ.

An old Christian used to say to me, “When they lead you away to jail, tell yourself you are merely going with Christ to the Garden of Gethsemane, and to the Cross.” To the Garden, and to the Cross. I liked that. I tested it. It’s true…

So that is why suffering Christians appear to speak out of “both sides of their mouth.” On the one hand we talk of joy and endurance. On the other hand, there is anger at God, pain and a feeling of spiritual desertion. They sit together, because there is always a war of different feelings and emotions; that although we are angelically strengthened and the recipients of superhuman forgiveness, we also experience a sense of spiritual abandonment as a result of our human incomprehension.

But the greatest thing of all is to walk the way of Christ. That is the privilege of suffering: to suffer a little as our Lord Jesus suffered. As He identified with us by suffering pain, so some are called to identify even more closely with Him by going into the Garden, and onto the Cross. Never fear, my friends, when you are arrested. You will receive strength. You will also be bewildered. Think of Christ, and follow him into the Garden, and onto the Cross.

For the next three days we will listen to his contrasting explanation of the Garden and the Cross; angelic strengthening; superhuman forgiveness; and human incomprehension.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk with Jesus whether into the Garden or onto the Cross.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord, that You strengthen Your people in preparation for our suffering and even during it.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
3/1/17 12:06 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 28

Psalms 22:14

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

I had a friend who thought some boys were trying to mug him. In his efforts to run away, he fell down a flight of stairs and landed in a pile of garbage. He suffered many broken bones and scrapes, and required a large number of stitches. As he lay in pain and refuse, he heard the boys draw close. He prayed to God for help. He heard the boys getting steadily closer, and as his prayers increased, the boys moved out of the alley and across to the top of the steps. IN the light that shined there, the man saw that the boys were scouts. IN a wave of relief and embarrassment, my friend sank back into the garbage and passed out.

It is good to know that even in our own foolishness we can turn to the Lord for help. Often we are our own worst enemies, but that doesn't matter to the Lord. In our brokenness, God reaches out to us and love us.

Prayer: Lord, I often am guilty of doing foolish things. I hurt myself in so many needless ways. Protect me from myself, and in my times of greatest suffering and pain, be the source of my comfort. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/28/17 11:32 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 28

PURIFIED BY THE REFINER’S FIRE

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness…Malachi 3:3

It sounds easy to say we will always forgive others but what happens in your heart when your own son is brutally murdered. How can God take that terrible event and make some good come from it, as He repeatedly promises to do?

For answers, we go (in two parts) to the southern Philippines where a decade ago Severino (Junie) Bagtasos, a young pastor, was sitting in the front row of his church in Alat listening to his sister conclude her Sunday message about heaven. Suddenly a man barged into the chapel. Two loud bangs were heard. Before anyone could make sense of what happened, Severino lay lifeless in a pool of blood. The killer made his escape as the distraught church members gathered around their pastor, killed instantly by gunshots to his chest and cheek.

His mother, Purificacion, says, “I miss my son. Junie was the most caring of all my children. He would always offer help when I was cooking. He would often ask me and his father advice whenever he was beset with difficulties in the ministry because his church members were older than him. I was blessed by Junie’s sincerity and faithfulness in the ministry. Nothing could hinder him from going to his Bible studies. Heavy downpours and floods could not keep him from bringing the Word of God to those who needed to hear it. Death threats did not stop him.”

There is not even a hint of bitterness as Purificacion speaks of that painful time. “During one of the services held at the wake of my son, my husband told the congregation, ‘We forgive the person who killed our son. If that person is here, I want you to know that we forgive you. If he is not here, and if anyone of you knows him, please tell him that we forgive him. The God we serve is the God of love and we want to show that love to you.’”

But there were those who didn’t share these convictions. She adds, “Some of my husband’s relatives who were also Muslims got angry at him for saying this. They were eager to avenge Junie’s death. It’s part of their culture. But my husband restrained them and told them that our God is a God who also forgives. We chose to forgive our son’s murderer.”

Purificacion shares what she thinks now was one of God’s reasons for her losing Junie. “After my son’s death, many Christians whose faith had grown cold were ushered back to the Lord.” Now after a decade has passed, she continues to see God’s hand in it all. She adds, “I believe Junie’s death was part of God’s plan. It was His way of opening the doors that have long been shut. You see, before the death of my son, Chinese-Tausug believers were scattered all over Jolo [their island in southern Philippines]. Many of them stopped attending the worship services.

When my son began the work in Alat [a predominantly Muslim town], little by little these believers started to gather again. Junie, their pastor, loved them dearly and was truly passionate for the ministry. One by one they started coming to church again. Before long, these believers were on fire once more and got involved in the work of God.” God’s refining at work!

RESPONSE: Today I will live in the awareness of God’s refining plan for His Kingdom’s expansion.

PRAYER: Lord, purify Your Church and help me to accept whatever consequences this will have.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/27/17 3:00 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 27

Psalms 22:2

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Prayer is a tricky thing, It was never meant as a "gimme' list by which we can get things from God. It is not a gripe time to vent frustrations and woes. It is not a time to show off our piety. Rather, it is a time to draw close to God in order to be open to His will and guidance. So often we feel that God is not listening because we don't get what we ask for. We want results immediately, and we decide beforehand what we will accept as an answer and what we will not. Who says that we get to make the rules?

The Lord hears us, and His is true to answer us, but He always measures His responses according to His divine wisdom. He knows what is best for us, even when it doesn't agree with what we want. It is natural and human to doubt the Lord sometimes. He understands that. Just don't give up. The Lord breaks through our desert spots, to comfort us when we cry.

Prayer: Lift me, Lord, into Your loving arms. Grace me with the sweet memory of Your care, that I might never doubt You in times of trial. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/27/17 6:27 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 27

PRAYER: TURNING PERIODS INTO COMMAS

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. Acts 14:19-20

Today we hear from Open Doors author and co-worker, Anneke Companjen. These are the concluding paragraphs of her first book, Hidden Sorrow, Lasting Joy:

My husband, Johan, likes to speak on Acts 14 when he challenges Christians around the world to care for the suffering church.
In that chapter we read how the authorities won the crowd over and stoned Paul. They dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead.

“Period!” Johan tells his audience. “The devil wanted to put a period here. Paul was finished as far as the enemy was concerned. But God had other plans. The story continues, ‘But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city’ (Acts 14:20).

Something happened that turned the devils period into God’s comma. What made the difference? The disciples’ prayer.”

God loves to change the devils periods into commas, and he’s still doing it today.

It is my heart’s desire that he will use you and me to make a difference in the lives of Christians who are persecuted for their faith around the world. We can reach out to them, each in our own church and community and in our own way, through awareness, through action, and most of all, through prayer.

RESPONSE: Today I will not underestimate the power of prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. I will pray asking God to turn the devil’s periods into His commas.

PRAYER: Pray for persecuted Christians today whether they are experiencing pain or pressure, guilt or relief, sorrow or joy, faith or denial, isolation or fellowship, prison or freedom, hope or despair, forgiveness or bitterness.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/23/17 1:08 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wisdom Devotional

February 22

Psalms 20:7

Some trust in chariots, and some is horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Grayson was as old as the hills. He had farmed the same stretch of land for better than sixty years. Every year, the farms around old Grayson's invested in fancy new equipment and machinery. Grayson farmed with the same equipment year after year; once new, now antique. His neighbors tried to encourage him to upgrade his tools, but Grayson just shook his head. His justification for his stubbornness was simple: If the Lord wanted him to have a bountiful harvest, he would. It wasn't the machinery that made the farm. It wasn't the latest technology. It was the will of the Lord.

His neighbors secretly laughed at the simplistic reasoning of the old man, but time and again they ended up amazed at what he was able to do with his simple means. When harvest time came round, Grayson held his own with the best of them.

The simple faith of a single man or woman is a mighty thing. Trust in the Lord, and you will marvel at all that can be done.

Prayer: Make me faithful, Lord, I doubt so often, and I put my faith in other things. Those things will pass away, but I know that You will endure forever. Thanks be to Your love and grace. Amen.


judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/19/17 4:53 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 19

THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. Deuteronomy 32:39

January 17 will remain a vivid memory in the mind of forty-six-year-old Ali Moses for a very long time. The almost fatal attack on Ali’s life in central Nigeria turned out to be a powerful testimony destined to touch many more lives.

On the afternoon of that day, Ali was heading home to his family after a long day’s work. He got paid that day and like many previous pay-days had something special planned for the family.

On his way home Ali heard gunshots. Panic made him turn around with an urgency to get back to his working place as quickly as possible. But before Ali could make it back there, he ran into a group of irate jihadists. The incited protesters were proclaiming the name of Allah in Arabic, shouting profane slogans, insulting the Christian governor of Jos and called on the killing of Christians as infidels. Within seconds Ali found himself surrounded by the violent mob. Brutal blows were raining down on him.

More than eighteen hours later, Ali woke up in the hospital. His swollen body was throbbing and covered with bruises. Open Doors representative, Isaac, went to visit Ali in the hospital shortly after the incident to bring encouragement and assistance and learned about his near death encounter with the Muslim radicals. Considering the course of events, it appears the assailants buried Ali alive while in a state of unconsciousness. Ali refers to the person who came to his aid as the “Samaritan.”

On the morning following the incident, Ado was passing by what looked like a new grave. He noticed movement in the pile of sand and went closer to inspect. To his astonishment, he could tell from the motion that it was in fact a person. The man immediately called for help.

Military police dug Ali from the shallow grave and rushed him to the hospital. At first, the medical staff found it very hard to believe that he could still be alive after his eighteen-hour ordeal. But hearing Ali’s testimony gave skeptics food for thought. After spending some time in hospital he made a complete recovery.

“I am grateful to God Almighty for saving my life from the hole, it is a miracle. God rescued me in a special way…Now I believe that the power of life and death lies in no-one’s hand but the Lord’s. All thanks belong to Him,” shared Ali from his hospital bed.

RESPONSE: Today I will live victoriously in the realization that my life and my death are in the hands of my loving Lord.

PRAYER: Pray for many Christians in hot spots of the world—like central Nigeria—who face death and death threats on a regular basis. Pray they will have the same assurance as Ali about God’s power and protection.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/18/17 2:43 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Pray Boldly - UpWords - Week of February 17-23, 2017

by Max Lucado

When Martin Luther’s co-worker became ill, the reformer prayed boldly for healing. “I besought the Almighty with great vigor,” he wrote.

As John Wesley was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, contrary winds came up. When he learned the winds were knocking the ship off course, he responded in prayer. “Almighty and everlasting God. . .command these winds and these waves that they obey thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”

Boldness in prayer...it’s an uncomfortable thought for many. Storming heaven with prayers? God invited us to pray as such. Scripture says, “so let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need” (Hebrews 4:16 TLB). Dare to pray boldly!

From God is With You Every Day

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/10/17 1:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Grace for the Mess - UpWords - Week of February 10-16, 2017

by Max Lucado

The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: grace! Grace. We know the word. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Grace shares the church parsonage with its cousins: forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. But do we really understand it? We’ve settled for wimpy grace. It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn and fits nicely on a church sign.

Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Softened by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. Grace comes after you! From insecure to God-secure. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the word that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off!

From God’s With You Every Day

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/9/17 7:01 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 9

DISTRACTIONS

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from family values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ.

“If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time so they can't gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”

“How shall we do this?” shouted the evil angels.

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.

“Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to keep the TV, the DVD, and their CD's going constantly in their homes. Tempt them to spend more time on their computers, especially watching internet pornography.

“Fill their 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, sweepstakes, mail order catalogues, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering, free products, services and false hopes.

“When they meet for fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength.”

RESPONSE: Today I will live in awareness of Satan’s subtle tactics to keep me from victory. I will stand against him and he will flee.

PRAYER: Lord, help me remain close to You today and not allow the “things” and “busyness” of life to crowd You out.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks


judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/9/17 4:57 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 9

Psalms 17:5

Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Burt had worked in high-rise construction all his life. Every day he would walk the girders high above the ground with apparent ease. In his lifetime he had seen a number of men plunge from the girders due to a mere moment of carelessness. As for himself, he knew he had been lucky. Each morning he began work only after saying a short prayer, asking the Lord to watch his movements through the day, keeping him safe from any mishap.

Though most of us never do anything as dangerous or risky as high-rise construction, we do stand in danger of falling to temptation. A fall like that is as devastating to the soul as a plunge from a high girder would be to our physical being. No matter how careful we try to be, we need someone to catch us when we stumble. God is that someone. He waits with open arms to catch His children when they fall. Rest easy in the knowledge that God guides your steps. He will protect those who put their trust in Him.

Prayer: I need Your guiding love, Almighty God. Without it, I am sure to fall. Thank You for being with me picking me up when I fall. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/7/17 7:49 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 7

JESUS REVEALED IN THE STORMS

“He [Jesus] said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” Mark 4:40-41 (Read Mark 4: 35-41)

Storms ultimately do come to an end. And they reveal something new about Jesus. Here the disciples express their amazement that He even controls the winds and the waves.

We received a report of a Christian arrested for selling Bibles in front of a university in a middle east Islamic country’s capital. He was repeatedly interrogated during six weeks of imprisonment. In a final effort to intimidate him, his captors brought his wife to the prison and threatened to execute him unless he renounced his Christian faith. “If I have to choose between my wife and children or Jesus Christ, then I choose Jesus,” he reportedly told his captors.

When this and other attempts failed to coerce him to renounce his faith, he was finally released from prison. He was forced to sign a letter agreeing not to sell Christian literature, although he continued to actively evangelize in parks and other open-air areas.

“I don't know why, but I cried the whole day,” he said upon release, adding that he wished he could have been martyred for his faith. “I felt very close to heaven in prison. I was happy that the Lord had heard my prayers for my love to be a sacrifice in that small prison cell. But it seems that the Lord wished me to be alive and active in His work again.”

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful that the storms in my life will come to an end. I will deliberately seek to discover something new about Jesus.

PRAYER: Pray that you—and believers everywhere—will have spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear new lessons from Jesus in the storms of life.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/6/17 3:46 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Heart-light

February 6

Proverbs 21:21

He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.

Thoughts on today's verse

Isn't it funny that when we set off to find happiness or joy or significance or meaning, we seldom find it. Instead, when we offer to serve others and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord and His work, it is then that we find what we most need.

Prayer:

O Giver of every good and perfect gift, I ask today that You give me a chance to serve you and others in a way which shows your kingdom and its glory. If in the process You choose to meet the needs in my own heart, then I thank You. This I pray through your servant Jesus. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/6/17 1:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 6

Psalms 16:4

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

Ralph had grown up desiring to be wealthy one day. He had worked hard, devoting himself to the pursuit of his precious money. Now he could honestly call himself rich, but he wasn't sure it was all he had dreamed it would be. He spent so much of his time protecting what he had accumulated. He lay awake at night worrying about investments, deals, taxes; anything and everything that might ruin his status. His every waking moment was tied up in the acquisition of more and more wealth. On rare occasions, Ralph found himself wishing for just a little peace of mind and a chance to forget about money for awhile.

The pursuit of God is one of the few life choices we can make that has no strings attached. We give very little, and receive so much. Money, fame, power, prestige all sound nice, but they require more effort than they are worth. Worse, they pay temporary benefits that fade away, leaving us empty, lost, and alone. Give your life to God, and walk in the ways that He chooses, and you will find that He will bless you continually.

Prayer: Turn me from the things that cannot offer me lasting satisfaction. Turn me instead, Lord, to the things that are eternal and holy. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/6/17 1:31 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 6

FREEDOM FROM FEAR

“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don't you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’" Mark 4:38-40 (Read Mark 4: 35-41)

Storms often bring out our true spiritual condition. Jesus was in the boat but the disciples still feared for their lives. He chastised them for their fear and their “little faith!” Thus our greatest need is not for the storm to end but to be freed from fear and have faith in Him while the storm rages.

At a Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminar in Central Asia, our translator looked at us at the close of our three-day session and commented, “Thank you for teaching us how to stand strong. God spoke to me a lot through this seminar. I was afraid to die but not anymore. I have peace to go and spread God’s Word.” She is now serving the Lord in a strategic mission in her region.

A significant factor in dealing with fear—especially fear of dying—is realizing that we are already deadin Christ (Galatians 2:20). Former Open Doors colleague, Hector Tamez, says that this concept is clearly seen in the lives of Christians living in war zones of Latin America. The Christians, who were caught in the civil war between the government and Shining Path guerrillas in Peru, are a classic example for us. Here is how Hector expresses their commitment:

“They know that they are going to be killed. And they say, ‘In order to be a Christian here, you have to recognize that you are already dead in Christ. Once you recognize this, then any day that passes by in your life is a gain.’”

In some countries, surviving one day or one year means that you have one God-given day or year to testify not only with your words but with your deeds. Fear should not control your life! Christ should control your life!

RESPONSE: When storms come my way, I will let them help me assess my own spiritual condition. I will affirm God’s power to overcome fear and live by faith in Him.

PRAYER: Ask God to forgive you for your times of fearfulness and lack of faith. Pray that all members of the Persecuted Church would have faith in Jesus like these Peruvian believers.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/5/17 11:32 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 5

PEACE IN THE STORM

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?” Mark 4:37-38 (Mark 4:35-41)

Many times storms can make it seem like Jesus doesn’t care. In this story Jesus’ humanity is evident. He was so tired he was sleeping through a storm which caused the disciples (some even professional fishermen) to fear for their lives.

Without warning, Muslim background believers, Gulshan and Latifa, found themselves caught in a dangerous storm of opposition from local police—all because they had accepted an invitation to a Christian woman’s home to drink tea with several women who were not believers.

While they were drinking tea and chatting, the police arrived and searched the house. When they could find no incriminating materials, the officers left. But a short time later, other policemen started filming all the ladies. Accusing the two Christian ladies of holding a religious meeting, the police took them into custody. They escorted them to a police station where they were pressured to admit involvement in “illegal missionary activities.” When they refused to sign, police detained and abused them for six hours. Gulshan was beaten so badly that she suffered a concussion. Only after their pastor intervened did the police let them receive treatment for their injuries.

Gulshan and Latifa left their hometown and sought refuge in one of Open Doors’ Safe Houses in another region of their country. For a month they were able to escape the brunt of the storm, staying in the Safe House until the pressures abated. Meanwhile, the judge hearing the women’s case fined them in absentia seven times the minimum monthly wage—more than a half year’s salary.

“We were very happy to spend time away from all the tumult,” the two believers said as they later left the Safe House to return home. “We were able to learn more about spending time with God and being quiet before Him. To meet with other believers was a blessing and really encouraged us. And thank you so much for assisting us in paying these huge fines. You are a blessing!” the two women concluded.

Though it seemed at first that Jesus did not care for or about them, those who were the hands and feet for Jesus came to the rescue and the storm was weathered with encouragement resulting in more boldness.

RESPONSE: Today I will live in the awareness and peace that Jesus is in the storm with me. His presence doesn’t guarantee comfort, but it builds faith that He will ultimately still the storm.

PRAYER: Pray that all those feeling that Jesus doesn’t care about their storm will realize the power and comfort His presence can bring.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/5/17 11:19 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 5

Psalms 15:5

He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

The young man was quite proud of himself. He ran a lawn-care service specifically targeted to older people who could not do the work for themselves. But, because he had them in a tough position, he charged them more than he ordinarily could have. Since they couldn't do the work themselves, and they often didn't know anyone else to contact, they had to pay his price. Publicly, he gained the reputation of being a champion of the elderly. Privately, he gloated over his shrewd maneuvering.

The Bible tells us that when we receive our rewards on earth, we have nothing to look forward to from God in the future. Our duty is to love and defend others, not take advantage of them. When we put other people's interests ahead of our own, then we can count on God's favor in the days to come.

Prayer: You have created everyone equally. Lord, and no one is more precious in Your sight than anyone else. Help me to see the value in all people, and do everything in my power to serve them and love them. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/4/17 1:20 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 3

Psalm 14:4

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.

Cory rode along the street on his bicycle, lighting huge firecrackers and tossing them onto the doorsteps of houses along the way. He would listen for the mighty explosions and then laugh as frightened home owners came to the door to see what had happened. His terrorizing spree came to an end as one firecracker with too short a fuse blew up in Cory's hand, severely injuring him.

Do the people who abuse and oppress others really think there is no penalty to pay for what they do? It seems that way. Workers of iniquity who pride themselves on their brilliance and accomplishment are in fact some of the most ignorant people alive. Those who do not know the Lord, do not know much of anything. True knowledge and wisdom comes through love and respect of the one who died to make our salvation possible: Jesus Christ.

Prayer: O Lord, steer me away from th ose who, through ignorance of You, cause pain and destruction. Help me, instead, to build up and defend all that is right and good. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/4/17 1:15 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Sigh - UpWords - Week of February 3-9, 2017

by Max Lucado

As God’s story becomes your story, you will make this wonderful discovery: you will graduate from this life into heaven. According to Ephesians 1:10, Jesus’ plan is to “gather together in one all things in Christ.” God will reunite your body with your soul and create something unlike anything you have seen– an eternal body.

Consider Christ’s response to the suffering of a deaf mute. He took him aside from the multitude, the gospel says, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. “Then looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, ‘Be opened'” (Mark 7:33-34). Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed. A sigh of sadness, a deep breath...it won’t be this way for long. Indeed, it won’t.

From God is With You Every Day

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/2/17 7:50 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - February 2

LIGHTHOUSE

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

One of the strongest images of standing strong in a storm is the lighthouse. In the era before radar, satellite navigation and GPS systems, lighthouses were vital to protect ships from crashing onto rocks, shoals and shores. Building lighthouses can be considered one of man’s most noble endeavors. Since the beginning of seafaring, families and friends have lit bonfires at night to guide sailors home.

George Bernard Shaw said, “I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.”

And evangelist D.L. Moody commented, “Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining—they just shine.”

Jesus used this imagery of light to describe our role in His kingdom. We are the light of the world, He said, after claiming Himself to be the true light. Therefore we function much like a lighthouse, both internally and externally.

The first aspect of a lighthouse is the internal function of generating light. Early lighthouses used a literal fire that had to be constantly fed and watched. Later electric lights were utilized and ultimately laser lights. But this light still has to be internally projected. So we too as followers of Jesus project internal light, the outer expression of the inner life under the control of the Holy Spirit.

The other aspect of a modern lighthouse is that it also is an external reflector. Over the years of improvements, revolving lenses have been developed to reflect that internally generated light further into the darkness. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so we reflect the light of the Son in a world of darkness.

And finally, lighthouses remind us of God’s love. Like the bright shining beam of a lighthouse, His love reaches out…piercing through the darkness of any storm.

RESPONSE: Today I will be a lighthouse for Jesus, projecting His inner light and reflecting His light externally.

PRAYER: Lord, may Your love and Your light pierce the darkness of the world around me as I stand strong and faithful for You today like a lighthouse.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/1/17 4:35 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
February 1

Psalms 14:1
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Reverend Dave Scott stood trembling at the doorway to the sanctuary. During the night, vandals had broken into the church. They hadn't taken anything, but they had destroyed just about everything. Windows were shattered, pews splintered, Bible ripped apart. Reverend Scott felt a terrible sickness in the pit of his stomach. Who could do such things? Was nothing sacred anymore?

We need to ask ourselves these questions, because we face such situations all the time. Terrible things are done all around us, and often they happen without regard or respect for things we hold sacred. Foolish people hold our God in contempt, and we can only find consolation in the fact that the Lord sees all, and His justice will one day be done. For us, we must hold onto His goodness and His strength so we can endure such inconceivable crimes. Our Lord is greater than the "things" foolish people destroy. His will be done!

Prayer: O Lord, while the evil days keep coming, grant me strength enough to endure until the end. Remind me that I worship you, and nothing any man or woman can do will ever destroy that. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
2/1/17 1:56 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm- January 31

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighboras yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

The Scriptures teach that God is committed to one major objective in the lives of all His people; conforming us to the image of His Son. What is the “image of His Son?” It is found in the words of Jesus, Himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

It makes sense then to say that God desires the same for us. After bringing us into His family through faith in His Son, the Lord sets His sights on building into us the same qualities that made Jesus distinct—a servant’s heart and a giving spirit. It’s so easy to lose sight of our primary calling as Christians. Even those who lead must do so with an attitude of genuine humility and an authentic desire to help others.

The best-known symbols of Christianity are the cross, the icthus (fish symbol), and the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Probably the least known—yet most appropriate for the Christian—is the symbol of the towel and basin. The towel Jesus used when in humility and service, he washed and wiped his disciples dirty feet. Jesus instructed his disciples after washing their feet that they were to wash one another’s feet.

J. Dudley Woodbury tells a poignant true story in Christianity Today that occurred in the dismal refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. The fighting between the Majahideen in post-Soviet Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban resulted in thousands of refugees flooding into the camps near the border. Most of the children in the camps ran around barefoot in both the intense heat and intense cold.

A Christian organization brought in hundreds of sandals for the children but decided not to just distribute them but care for the children’s feet as well. So they utilized as many Christian volunteers as possible who washed the children’s filthy feet, put medication on their sores and prayed for them silently as they gave out the sandals.

As he tells the story, some months later a Muslim primary school teacher in the camp asked her students who the best Muslims were.

One little girl raised her hand and responded, “The kafirs.” (unbelievers).

After the teacher recovered from cardiac arrest, she asked, “Why?”

The little girl said, “The Mujahideen killed my father, but the kafirs washed my feet!”

Missions to the Muslims, he concludes, will be affected less by the flames of 9/11, or even the flames that started the Arab Spring, than by the inner flames that are ignited if we so follow our Lord.

RESPONSE: Today I will look for ways to serve others in genuine humility as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Help me Lord, to love as You did, to serve others as You did and to give of myself as You did!

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks


judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/28/17 1:04 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm - January 28

WHY PERSECUTION AND MARTYRDOM?
…in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. John 16:2

Today we begin a two-part look at the testimony of a terrorist persecutor named Maulana who ultimately gave his life to Christ and became a Christian missionary:

I was born in a Muslim family in a small town of Demak, central Java, Indonesia. My family was very strict in following Islamic Sharia laws. As a Muslim, I read a lot of the Koran, Hadits, the sayings of the prophet Mohammed, and all the other books that help me be a devoted Muslim.

I started to learn about a famous international Muslim named Ayatollah Komeini from Iran. I welcome Ayatollah Khomeini’s ideas and his call to revolution to all Muslims because it will be very nice to have Islamic Sharia law applied in our society. That would arrange all ways of life in this country according to the truth of the Koran. I don’t like the West because their lifestyle has affected the Eastern lifestyle, young people dress like those in the West, which is so far from Islamic propriety. I hate that.

And this has also caused me to hate tourists who come to Indonesia. They bring Western lifestyle and can’t be a role model for us in Islam. I see Christians as hindering Sharia teaching in Indonesia. Indonesia must be cleansed from the cross. It’s a must! Sharia must happen in civil society. The Christians worship Jesus, who is merely a man. For us this is sin, and we must stop this movement through churches.

The Indonesian government is committed to freedom of religion, as stated in our national constitution. But for Muslims this is not good. It will not bring any good to the country’s future. Because we do not get support from the government, we take law into our own hands. We attack churches; we shoot pastors while they are preaching to cause fear. We do it because the government does not back us up, so we do it by ourselves. We do not fear death because we were encouraged by Ayatollah Khomeini to spill our blood to the last drop to make this happen.

Remember the bombing in Bali? That was a combined expression of our frustration and our goal. Calling us terrorists is a big mistake, because we’re just Muslim God lovers.

The government supports Eastern Indonesia and the islands to be Christian, and is actually hindering us from teaching or implementing Sharia law there. So we devised secret plans to bring about Sharia law in Eastern Indonesia. I was one of the first 5,000 soldiers sent from east Java on a ship to the island of Ambon. En route from Surabaya to Ambon, we hijacked the ship in Solo. We searched the ship and checked each passenger’s identity. Anyone with a Christian ID were either killed or thrown into the ocean. And together our group took over the ship and headed for Ambon Island to eliminate the church of Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow the change that comes to Maulana’s life when he meets Jesus.

RESPONSE: Today I understand that it is Jesus in me which prompts persecution and martyrdom.

PRAYER: Pray for Christians in conflict zones like Indonesia who risk their lives living for Jesus.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks


judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/25/17 4:58 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
January 25

Philippians 4:8

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.

Thoughts on today's verse

Our actions follow our thoughts like a heat-seeking missile follows the exhaust of a jet fighter's engine. So in a day when so much around us trains us to find the negative in life, we must aggressively think and pursue the character, the qualities, and the things of God's goodness.

Prayer:

Holy and Magnificent God, thank you for being better than anything my world can offer me. Thank you for calling me to a higher standard than the world accepts. Thank you for giving me the promise of a better future than any human can imagine. Thank you for giving me a high calling. In Jesus' holy name I pray. Amen.



judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/23/17 5:01 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
January 23

Psalms 10:4

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

A successful corporate leader once said, "It's not that I don't believe in God, it's just that I don't have time for Him. If I did all the things that God wanted me to do, I'd never have time left for business." What a telling statement! Being a Christian means so much more than just believing in the existence of Christ. Many people believe in Christ, but they consciously remove Him from their hearts and minds. They don't have time for Him. What a tragedy! Too many people see life in Christ as slavery rather than freedom. They feel oppressed by the only true liberator that exists.

To understand Christ, we must spend time with Him. If we reject Him without even getting to know Him, we rob ourselves of any chance at redemption and salvation. As Christian people, we need to keep God close by us. We need to read His Word, dwell upon Him in our hearts, and speak of Him wherever and whenever possible. Keep the Lord close by you, and will never feel alone.

Prayer: Be with me, O my Lord. Plant Yourself firmly in my thoughts, and never let me turn from You. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/23/17 4:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm- January 23

FREEDOM IN FAITH

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

During an SSTS seminar in Central Asia, we listened to testimonies of the participants who were mostly from Muslim background. We asked how long they had been followers of Jesus.

The majority answered, “Nine years.”

When we asked how the majority had become believers, they shared that there was a vicious religious civil war in their country nine years earlier. It had shown them the true colors of Islam and they turned to follow Jesus for the reasons below:

1. LOVE - Jesus of the Bible teaches and exemplifies love and compassion.

2. WORSHIP - They were attracted to the Christian love of singing and worshipping God with praise and joy!

3. FORGIVENESS - Jesus shows how to forgive our enemies; feed them and give them water to drink.

4. JESUS’ LIFE - Jesus’ teachings and His example are very attractive.

5. WOMEN - Jesus holds women in high esteem.

6. FAITH - Jesus claims to be the way, truth and life. Salvation in Christ is by faith alone. No works or rituals or rules can save us.

7. TRUTH - The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “Good News” because He is the Truth. The Gospel is based on Truth.

8. LIBERTY - Christian expression is based on freedom and liberty in Christ. The Bible teaches the basis for such liberty.

These eight positive principles are a powerful affirmation of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will appreciate the uniqueness of the Gospel and Jesus my Savior.

PRAYER: Pray today that many more Muslims may come to faith in Jesus and follow Him fully.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks


judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/22/17 11:33 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm- January 22

GOD IS OFTEN MOST VISIBLE WHEN THINGS ARE MOST AWFUL

They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. Psalm 64:6-7

During the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, many of the people who survived that fateful day were interviewed by the press. One was a man who lost his father to a heart attack as a young boy and outlived an IRA bomb blast in Britain as well as survived violent San Francisco earthquakes. Steve Gill was executive vice-president at Standard Chartered Bank and had just left his office in the World Trade Center for a breakfast meeting when he had to dodge the glass shards raining down from the North Tower after the plane had hit it. He successfully fled the scene on a ferry bound for Staten Island.

As a Christian, he has been repeatedly asked why God spared him but not thousands of innocent mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters. He has no definitive answer. But when reflecting on lessons learned he says, “I saw that God is often most visible when things are most awful, whether it’s Christ on the Cross or the World Trade Center attack killing three thousand people…I don’t know why bad things happen. But I see that God is most present when things are at their worst.”

There are a number of biblical examples. Perhaps Joseph’s situation stands out most. Languishing in a jail on unjust charges, he is even forgotten by those he befriends and helps. At his lowest point, he is brought to Pharaoh to interpret a dream and becomes the second in command of the nation and saves his people and the Egyptian nation from starvation.

The persecuted church also testifies that God is most present in the worst of times. Pastor Wang Ming Dao spent over twenty-three years in prison in China for his faith. On his release at eighty years of age he said of his imprisonment, “That was my honeymoon with Jesus!”

Muslim background pastor Medhi Dibaj in Iran spent seven years in prison with the last few years isolated in a small cramped cell. On his release he said, “The past few years have been the sweetest years I’ve ever spent with Jesus.”

Liviu Georgescu was a teenager when his father, Costel, was distributing Bibles in Romania during the communist regime. Open Doors asked him what he thought of the time when his father was in prison for his faith. Liviu said, “It was a very good time, because then we had more time and opportunities to give Bibles to people and to talk about the faith. Now there is more freedom, but we have to work harder and put in longer hours in order to get by. This means that we have little time or energy for the faith. There is less interest as well.”

God seems to be most visible when things are at their worst.

RESPONSE: Today I will thank God for the difficult times and ask for help to see Him as visible in the good times.

PRAYER: Thank You God for obviously being there in the darkest hours before the dawn of a new day or era.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/22/17 11:29 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
January 22

Psalms 9:19-20

Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.

It is frightening to listen to the decrees made by some of our world leaders. They hold the lives of so many people in their hands, and all too often they seem bent on destruction, not only of themselves, but of as many people as they can take with them. Were it true that they really had the ultimate power, there would be no reason for hope.

We know better, however. The only true power in this world is the power of God, and our fate will not be decided by men and women, but by God. WE are created for eternity, and so we do not need to fear the decisions made by corrupt human beings in this age. Our trust is in the Lord of all creation, and in Him there is never reason to fear or doubt.

Prayer: Father God, sustainer of life and giver of sanity in an insane world, hear the prayers of Your people and give us peace and confidence of a bright new age to come. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/21/17 3:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
January 21

Psalms 9:10

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The crowd in the office seemed to have no morals whatsoever. Beth could hardly believe some of the things she heard the other employees talking about. They used foul language, spent weekends in drunken fogs, and had no compunction about their loose sexual behavior.

Sometimes Beth felt so alone. It was hard to spend so much time out of the day with people she disagreed with so strongly. Her thoughts always turned to her close friends, and she was glad to have others who felt as she did to turn to. Her friends were all Christian, and it really did make a difference. She didn't feel like an outsider when she was with Christian friends. Having such good friends made it easier to deal with the people at work. She wondered what she would do if she didn't have friends who felt as she did.

So many people have no idea what it means to have the Spirit of Christ in their hearts. They believe that their lives are fine just as they are. How sad that they do not know enough to put their tr ust in God. It is our job, as the voice and hands of God, to let people know of the truth of Christ, so they, too, might come to put their trust in Him.

Prayer: Make me an agent of Your will and word. Help me to teach others by the example of my life what it means to be Christian. I will put my trust in You. Help me to share that trust with others. Amen.

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/21/17 3:28 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Standing Strong Through the Storm- January 21

I KNOW WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7

Yesterday we read of the faith of Bahar from Central Asia. Pregnant with her sixth child, she lost her husband, Bahtiyar, to cancer. But the Muslims would not allow her to bury him in the town. She continues her story:

“We were all desperately trying to find a solution. In neighboring Kisul, a plot of land had been given to the Christians to be used as cemetery, so the believers started to dig a grave. Before they had finished, a crowd of people arrived on horseback and in a truck. Three mullahs, many young men, even women and people from the village administration, were shouting and threatening the believers. The atmosphere was grim and the believers had to leave the area to escape a beating.

“We were not able to bury my husband that day. The next day the believers secretly took his body and took it to a completely different place, much farther away from our village and buried him there at a Christian cemetery.

“Bahtiyar’s mother, with her addiction to alcohol, was targeted as the channel to put pressure on the family. She is seventy and not a believer in Christ. The Mullah convinced her that the family was a shame and blemish on the village and that she had to kick her daughter-in-law out of her house. She was very angry and told them to leave. She no longer even wanted to see her own grandchildren.”

During the months that the family were trying to find a solution for their situation, they got a visit from a pastor who lives in the capital city. He had heard about their situation and inquired how they were going to live.

“How? I don’t know! But one thing I know that God will not abandon us! He promised that in His Word and He is true to His Word. I think the pastor was touched by our situation; he started to help us and several other believers as well. They offered us a house in a nearby town. We were thrilled and we moved. Now we have our own place, with a small garden to grow vegetables. There will always be plenty of needs for the kids, but I have seen that God is faithful.

“When my little son was born I was so happy! Even though my husband is no longer with us, we make an effort to stay close as a family. The youngest ones do not realize yet that their dad has died; they think he has gone on a trip. We have not been able to visit the grave as we don’t have a car to go the cemetery.

“I don’t know what the future holds for us, but God is taking care of us. Thank you for praying for us. Pray also for the other families of believers who are still in the village and face hostility every day. Please pray for my mother in law; I would like to see the relationship restored, so that she can enjoy her grandchildren!”

RESPONSE: Though I also do not know what the future holds, I will trust in Him who holds the future!

PRAYER: Continue to pray for Bahar and her family, especially reconciliation with her mother-in-law.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
JUDITH316's Photo JUDITH316 SparkPoints: (309,080)
Fitness Minutes: (112,375)
Posts: 139,237
1/20/17 5:52 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Imagine a Perfect World - UpWords - Week of January 20-26, 2017

by Max Lucado

Try this. Imagine a perfect world. Whatever that means to you...imagine it. Does that mean peace? Then envision absolute tranquility. Does a perfect world imply joy? Then create your highest happiness. Will a perfect world have love? Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it.

Get it firmly fixed in your mind. Delight in it. Dream about it. Long for it. And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one has come close. No one. Think of all the songs about heaven. All the artists’ portrayals. All the lessons preached, poems written and chapters drafted. When it comes to describing heaven, we are all happy failures!

From Lucado Inspirational Reader

judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


Total SparkPoints: 309,080
 
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
Page: 1 of (40)   1 2 Next Page › Last Page »

Report Innappropriate Post

Other Dancing To The Beat Of God General Team Discussion Forum Posts

Topics: Last Post:
Stayed on track today? Celebrate with an emoticon 4/24/2017 4:24:15 PM
prayer request 11/6/2016 4:40:27 PM
WORDS OF WISDOM! 7/12/2016 6:35:13 AM
This is the Day the Lord has made. 10/29/2016 1:01:42 PM
What Are You Drinking Right Now? 4/25/2017 10:48:20 PM



Thread URL: http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messageboard_thread.asp?board=0x61695x55924867

Review our Community Guidelines


x Lose 10 Pounds by June 8! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.