Good, good Father

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
of what they think You’re like,
but I’ve heard the tender whisper
of love in the dead of night:
and You tell me that You’re pleased
and that I’m never alone…

You’re a good good Father –
it’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are…
And I’m loved by you –
it’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching
for answers far and wide.
But I know we’re all searching
for answers only you provide…
‘Cause You know just what we need
before we say a word!

Chorus

Cause You’re perfect in all of your ways;
You are perfect in all of your ways;
You’re perfect in all of your ways to us!

~ Written and performed by: Chris Tomlin ~

Today is my earthly daddy’s birthday, and I decided to post these lyrics today to honour my dad, who is a very good earthly father, showing me a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father, the Ultimate GOOD Father is like.

No unauthorized use of this image permitted. Copyright laws apply.

Hebrews 12

9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence [respect]: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure [think; seem good]; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.  11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

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Why Christians absolutely should NOT celebrate Halloween

I previously shared another extensive article about this topic, but since it’s that time of the year again, I decided to share another article that reiterates that truth.

This original article can be found at http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/52738-why-christians-absolutely-should-not-celebrate-halloween

WHY CHRISTIANS ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN
written by Jamie Morgan, 

Many Christians celebrate Halloween. Some churches and pastors even do. I recently saw a church advertising they were having a Zombie Run. Seriously? God’s House? This pastor does not celebrate Halloween and neither does her church. In a spirit of full disclosure, when I was a brand-new believer, I allowed my son to go trick-or-treating. Part of the reason was because my husband was not yet saved and insisted we do. The other part was because I didn’t see the harm in it. After all, many Christians I respected did it, so as a new Christian I justified that it must be OK. Right? Wrong! As I grew closer to the Lord and gained more knowledge of His Word, I began to feel convicted about Halloween. I had thoughts like:

  • God is a God of life, but Halloween focuses on death. Should I celebrate a holiday where people decorate their front yards with tombstones?
  • The Scriptures tell us to put away deeds of darkness (Rom.13:12) and that light has nothing in common with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). Is celebrating a dark holiday something a child of the light should be doing?
  • I had been delivered from fear and panic attacks and knew that fear comes from the enemy. Should I participate in a holiday that has fear as its very foundation?
  • Witchcraft is clearly detestable to the Lord (Deut 18:10-13). Shouldn’t something that glorifies witchcraft (just take a walk through the Halloween store) be detestable to me as well?”
  • Halloween is a sacred, high holiday for Wiccans (the official religion of witchcraft). Is this a holiday Christians should celebrate alongside Wiccans?
  • Is it cute when we dress our kids like the devil (or witches, ghouls, scary characters, etc.)? Isn’t it, well, demonic?
  • What if my child dresses in a wholesome fireman costume? Romans 16:19 says that we need to be wise to what is good and innocent of evil. If I let him participate in Halloween, even while dressed as a fireman, aren’t I sending him a mixed message by allowing him to participate in a celebration of evil?
  • The Lord said in 2 Cor. 6:17, “Come out from them and be separate … Touch no unclean thing …” Doesn’t God want His children to be set apart from the world and from sin and evil? Aren’t we supposed to be peculiar people?
  • My extended family thinks it’s ridiculous that we not allow our son to dress up for Halloween. Should their opinions matter to me more than God’s? Shouldn’t pleasing God be my utmost concern?
  • If there is even a question in my heart and mind that it might be wrong, shouldn’t that be my first clue? Why would I continue to do so with even a lingering thought that it is wrong?
  • Does Halloween bring glory to God? No! It glorifies the devil! Nuff said.

So as a new believer, saved only two years, I responded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repented of displeasing the Lord and put a stop to Halloween. And as a pastor, after observing firsthand the amount of destruction that the enemy brings into peoples’ lives when they give him a foothold, I am even more convinced I made the right decision to close the door to the enemy and on this evil holiday.

Setting aside a day to celebrate evil, darkness, witchcraft, fear, death and the demonic brings disdain to God. Period. A Christian celebrating Halloween would be like a Satan worshiper putting up a nativity scene at Christmas while singing, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” The two just don’t go together. Jesus has nothing in common with Satan (2 Cor. 6:14), and neither should we.

So, what did we do instead? Hide in the basement with the lights off? Hustle the family out of the house? No, darkened homes are the enemy’s victory! Where does your light shine the brightest … in the darkness!

Halloween is the one day a year when neighbors come to your door expecting to receive something. So give them JESUS! Our family chose to give God the glory and the devil a black eye by reaching out to our neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ! “You are the light of the world … let your light shine among men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).

So stop justifying why it is fine to celebrate this demonic, worldly, evil holiday. There are no muddled lines or gray areas about it. A committed follower of Jesus Christ should not celebrate Halloween.

Jamie Morgan is the pastor of Life Church (Assemblies of God) in Williamstown, N.J., and the Life House of Prayer (24/7 prayer).

Why we never need to worry 

The past couple of months, I’ve learned an amazing truth.  I hope this will mean something to someone else, too! 

I loved my grandmother.  I sent her letters the old-fashioned way, visited her in the old age home during holidays, spent hours paging through her photo albums with her, and eventually many more hours making her a special light-weight album with old and recent pictures of her offspring, when the old albums became too heavy for her to lift.  I loved my grandmother dearly.  I used to start crying just at the thought that she might one day die… although I knew that she was already deep in her 80’s and that we had to treasure every moment together.  I prayed many prayers that she would live to see my children, and took lots of photos when we were together.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her, and my heart broke at the thought of ever having to say goodbye. 

One Saturday morning in July this year, I had the phone call I dread so much.  She had gone to be with her Saviour in the most gentle way imaginable.  She had still been relatively healthy, and this was completely unexpected.  She had phoned just 2 days before, to congratulate my husband’s completed university degree. 

I cried a lot.  Especially when I phoned my mom later that morning.  But I experienced an amazing truth during that time, and still every time I miss her:  God’s grace is new every morning, every day, in every MOMENT…  and THAT is the reason we get through difficult times, looking back and wondering how we could ever cope. 

In Jesus’s famous Sermon in the Mount (Matthew 6:34, KJV), He said the following:

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Compare that to Lamentations 3:22-23, which says, 

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”

The reason we can cope with life’s most difficult challenges, is because God gives us, every day, enough mercy, grace and compassion for the day.  He KNOWS what lies ahead for us, He KNOWS what we need…  It says so in the few verses preceding Jesus’s words quoted above:

30 “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”  (Matthew 6) 

One of the greatest challenges I can imagine is coping after your house burned down in a fire.  I’ve often prayed that such a thing will never happen to me or my loved ones.  Yet, I know that when such a terrible thing happens, people find strength to cope, somehow…  I now understand why – because God’s grace is there with them in that moment, an unseen Hand carrying them through the difficult time.  Oh, imagine if we could SEE our loving Father and Saviour’s protection, strength and Presence with us!! 

I am so grateful that God gives more than ENOUGH mercy, grace, strength and compassionate love for what we need every moment.  

This is why we never need to be worried:  God WILL be there in that moment you’re scared of, dreading, or worried about, with ENOUGH of what you need to carry you through.  I hope this will encourage you today!! 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10, KJV

8 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

© blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com 

The Potter’s Clay 

I was but a lump of shapeless clay,
Until I was touched by the Potter one day.
With His hands, He started molding me
Into what He would have me to be.

I did not resist His gentle touch,
Though I thought I’d not amount to much.
He smoothed rough edges, getting rid of self.
I really didn’t want to sit on a shelf.

He fashioned me after His own image.
I remained pliable to avoid any damage.
Thank you, God, for not giving up on me.
I pray I’ll be all you want me to be.

God is the Potter and I am the clay.
He molded me into what I am today.
I feel now I’m a vessel fit for His use;
A vessel of honor to share His truths.

~ Written by:  Deborah Smith Plemmons ~

Sparrows

Matthew 6:26 & Matthew 10:29-31

Matthew 6:26 & Matthew 10:29-31

You can’t add a single day by worrying –
you’ll worry your life away…
Oh, don’t worry your life away!
You can’t change a single thing by freaking out,
it’s just gonna close you in;
Oh, don’t let the trouble win!

You may feel alone,
but you’re not on your own!

(La-la-la, la-la-la-la)
If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment!
(La-la-la, la-la-la-la)
Not a field nor flower escapes His notice…
Oh, even the sparrow
knows He holds tomorrow…

Lean in and it’s hard to miss: everything can change
when you make it His –
oh, He wants to carry it…
Carefree in the care of God, when you let it go
you’ll find that He’s enough!
Oh, you never leave His love…

You don’t walk alone!

Chorus

There’s not a single star that’s out of place,
there’s nothing broken He can’t remake…
If you long for hope when you’re afraid,
oh, look at the sparrow,
look at the sparrow…

Chorus

~ Performed by:  Jason Gray
Written by: Jason Gray, Mia Fieldes and Jonathan Smith ~

God’s perfect timing

I may be part of a small minority of people (I’m not sure), but I love dates.  God has wired my mind in such a way that I find it easy to remember dates, specifically birthdays and anniversaries.  I think it has something to do with the way I learn by association, and I remember dates by associating a certain person (or event) with a date.

Recently my life has changed quite a bit, and most of these are really significant changes.  With all these changes, I’ve learned a wonderful truth:  God has a perfect plan, with perfect timing, for my life.  Let me explain.

I have kept a diary for a couple of years, and with my interest in dates, the following events has taken place, to which my attention has been drawn the last week:

  • 18 July 2009 – the day on which I met my husband.
    18 July 2010 – I joined a wonderful church that played a big part of who I am now.  We were part of this church for 5 years.
  • I worked for 3 months at my first job in retail, and found another job within my last week of probation.  I started working at this second job in admin on 11 April 2011.  For a few years, I prayed and searched for another job, until I finally got an opportunity in education earlier this year.  My last day at this (2nd) job was on 22 April 2016, almost exactly 5 years later.  (It actually could have been exactly 5 years – I took certain factors into account and thought it best to work a few extra days than what the 30-day notice period stipulated.)
  • I started working at my current job on 25 April 2016, and my last day will be on 26 August 2016, almost exactly 4 months later, due to better job opportunities for my husband.  (We were open about this from the interview stage, and my current employer is okay with that.)
  • When my husband and I got engaged and started looking for a wedding venue, the only date our chosen venue had available was 1 September 2012 – the first day of Spring in South Africa.  I loved the significance of it – a new season for both of us as husband and wife.  This year, on the 31st of August, we will move to another major city, and we will start a “new season” on the 1st of September 2016, exactly 4 years (seasons?) later.

There are certain things in my life that I am still hoping and praying for, and I sometimes get discouraged that these dreams have not come true for me yet.  I compare my life to that of my peers, and it sometimes feels like I have been left behind, that God has forgotten about me, or that things just aren’t working out for me like I hoped they would.

It is times like these that I have to remind myself that God has REALLY got a perfect timing for everything in my life, even though my life doesn’t work out the way I had thought it would.  Sometimes things take time to fall into place.  I prayed for a job in education for YEARS – and at the perfect time, I got the perfect job at a school of which I was part of the opening staff.  Last year this time, this school did not exist yet, and there were certain things that had to happen before this door could be opened (although I suffered through my last few months at my previous job, wondering if God would ever change my circumstances!).

I hope and pray that this will encourage you, too.  God really has got a perfect timing for your life.  Just keep going, hoping and praying.  Don’t give up – you never know how near you are to the victory!!

Don't give up!

Don’t give up!

Keep holding on to the Scriptures that tells about God’s GOOD (I have a few previous posts about God’s Goodness…).

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” saith the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  12  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  14  And I will be found of you,” saith the LORD: “and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…  He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…”

I’m praying that each one of you who will read this, will realize the great love that God has for you, and that “… the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  (Psalm 84:11)  Keep the faith, keep holding on to Him, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, let your life work out perfectly according to the GOOD plans He has for you.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)  God bless each of you.

© http://www.blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com

Hebrews 12


1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.   3  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.  11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Matthew 6:26 & Matthew 10:29-31

Just how much do we need prayer? 

I really love this poem… Hope it means something to you too! Check out my friend Stephanie’s blog, Born Again SA!

Born_Again


Grace L. Naessens’ poem The Difference is a powerful message that shows how much we need prayer:

‘I woke early one morning, and rushed right into the day; I had so much to accomplish, that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task. “Why doesn’t God help me,” I wondered; He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, grey and bleak. I wondered why God didn’t show me; He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence; I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, “My child, you didn’t knock.”

I woke up early this morning, and paused before entering the day. I had so much to accomplish, that I had to take time to pray.’

Spend time with the Lord and He will…

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The bishop’s wife

When the old king died, his showy son took over from him.  He decided that his father’s advisers and officials did not suit his governing style.  He interviewed the Secretary of State, Treasurer and several older advisers and found that they were unworthy to work for him.  They were immediately dismissed and banned.

The next person on his agenda was the bishop.  The new king had his doubts whether the bishop was wise enough to lead the church.  He sent a messenger with a letter to the bishop’s house:

“In three days you have to come to my palace and answer the following three questions:
1. In which direction is God looking?
2. What am I worth?
3. What am I thinking?
If you cannot correctly answer these three questions, you will be banished from my
kingdom.”

The bishop studied the questions and threw his hands into the air.  “What’s wrong with the man?  It’s hopelessly unfair,” he told his wife, Ariel.  “I have no idea what to answer to such silly questions.” 

“Don’t be so upset, dear,” said his wife quietly.  “I’ll go. You know riddles have always been my strong point.” 

He will immediately know you’re not me,” babbled the bishop nervously. 

“My dear husband, he’s never met you,” Ariel calmed him again. “If I put on your clothes – those loose robes! – and your cap and lower my voice, he won’t suspect anything!

It was such a hopeless case that the bishop agreed to his wife’s bizarre plan.  When the bishop’s wife arrived at the palace in her husband’s robes, she was immediately taken to the king.

Let us begin at once,” said the king. “In which direction is God looking?

Ariel smiled to the king and said, “Your majesty, I would like to ask you a question first.”  Then she walked to a candle which stood before the king‘s throne. “In which direction, would you say, does a candle give light?”

“You can see for yourself – it gives light in all directions!” said the astonished king dryly.

“It’s the same with God. Where He looks, there is light.  He sees everything, everywhere.  His glory fills the whole creation.”

“Excellent answer!” cried the young king.  “Now for my second question: What am I worth?

“29 pieces of silver,” Ariel replied without hesitating for one moment.

The king shook as he laughed:  “What a stupid answer!  I have many treasures of silver and gold.  I own hectares of land full of vineyards and other precious products.  29 pieces of silver is an insult!”

“The gospel tells us,” Ariel softly continued, “that the Lord Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver.  Surely, you are not better than the Lord!  Since you say that you serve the Lord, and as the highest authority in the country, I deducted only one silver piece. “

The king was amazed and also accepted this answer. “Now my third question: What am I thinking?

“Your majesty, you think that I’m the bishop, but you’re wrong.  I’m the bishop’s wife.”  Then she took the cap off her head and shook her long hair loose.  The king was shocked, but then he roared with laughter.

“You are a wise woman. You have answered all my hard questions correctly and it made me a little more humble.  Go tell your husband that he can stay as the bishop.  And if you’re interested, I’m offering you a job in my government.  I now see that I need such wisdom…

~ Author unknown ~

We won’t be shaken

This world has nothing for me;  this life is not my own.
I know You go before me and I am not alone!
This mountain rises higher, the way seems so unclear…
But I know that You go with me so I will never fear!
I will trust in You…

Whatever will come our way,
through fire or pouring rain –
we won’t be shaken, no, we won’t be shaken.
Whatever tomorrow brings,
together we’ll rise and sing
that we won’t be shaken, no, we won’t be shaken.

You know my every longing, You’ve heard my every prayer…
You’ve held me in my weakness ’cause You are always there.
So I’ll stand in full surrender – it’s Your way and not my own.
My mind is set on nothing less than You and You alone…
I will not be moved, oh…

Chorus

We will trust in You
We will not be moved
We will trust in You
And we won’t be shaken

~ Written by:  Jason Roy
Performed by:  Building 429 ~

Psalm 62:1-2

A Psalm of David.  My soul waits in silence for God only;  From Him is my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (ESV)

Press on

Sometimes this world starts breaking me down;
I get so lost I think I’ll never be found…
And there are moments of fear and doubt –
even the best fall to the ground…

I am a mess, I am a wrecking ball.
I must confess that I still don’t get it all!
Lord, I believe that all Your words are true –
doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with You…
I press on, I press on, I press on,
When I still don’t get it…

I see the world through my jaded eyes;
I get frustrated when there is no “Why”…
I put my focus on worthless things…
Even the strong fall to their knees.
God only knows what we all need!

Life goes on, life goes on, but Your love will prove
all I need, all I need I will find in You!

~ Performed by:  Building 429 feat. Blanca (from Group 1 Crew)
Written by:  Roy Hawkins ~