30 April 2011

Seeing God Through Nature

Hosea 6:3 gives us something we should pursue every day of our lives,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.  His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
What a great pursuit!  When you pursue the knowledge of God, He will come to you.  He will refresh you like the rain, like the early and the latter rain.
These rains would cause the crops to ripen and bear fruit.  Scripture is seeking to tell us that when you seek the knowledge of God, a personal knowledge of God, it will cause your life to become abundantly fruitful.  It will cause your life to prosper.  It will bring refreshment into your life because God will come to you.
The question is:  How do you pursue the knowledge of God?
One way is through nature.  Psalm 19:1 says, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Creation screams, "There must be a Creator!  I'm too perfect, I'm too intricate, I'm too glorious to have just happened.  There must be a Master Sculptor.  There must be a Master Painter.  There must be a Creator behind it all."
The stars in the heavens and the moon literally declare God's glory.  When you look at the sunset over the Pacific ocean, or look at the mountains, or you look at the grass in your backyard, they scream that there is a Creator.
Take some time to pursue the knowledge of God this week by just observing nature.  When you do, you will come to a deeper knowledge of God as you see and understand the beauty and majesty of Him in a fresh, new way. 

29 April 2011

Agatha Christie

"Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that's no reason not to give it."

پرهیز از تظاهر

"مراقب باشید که اعمال نیک خود را در انظار مردم انجام ندهید .تا شما را ببینند و تحسین کند .زیرا در اینصورت نزد پدر آسمانی تان اجری نخواهید داشت.هرگاه به فقیری کمک می کنی .در هر محفلی درباره کار نیک خود داد سخن سر نده چون به این ترتیب اجری را که می بایست از خدا بگیری از مردم گرفته ای.اما وقتی به کسی صدقه ای می دهی . نگذار حتی دست چپت از کاری که دست راستت می کند .آگاه شود تا نیکویی تو در نهان باشد. آنگاه پدر آسمانی که امور نهان تو را می بیند . تو را اجر خواهد داد.
متی باب ششم آیات 1 تا 4

27 April 2011

What is Jesus Doing Now?

Have you ever wondered what Jesus is doing, now that He has ascended to heaven? [Hebrews 10:10–14] tells us that after offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Verse 13 might lead us to believe He is simply sitting up there waiting for the time when He comes back to rule and reign on earth. But when we consider other passages, we soon realize He is quite active on our behalf.
First of all, even though the Son is with the Father in heaven, He is also residing within every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit, whom He sent to be in us and with us (John 15:26; Romans 8:9–10). Christ is actively working within you to shape your character and empower your obedience.
Next, Jesus lives to intercede for those who believe in Him (Hebrews 7:25). He makes requests on our behalf and brings our prayers before the Father.
Then, we see in 1 John 2:1–2 that Jesus is our Advocate when we sin. Positioned between us and holy God, Christ declares our righteous standing because of His sacrifice and our faith in Him.
What’s more, Christ is preparing a place for us in heaven (John 14:1–3). He is also arranging all the events necessary for His return.
Jesus is busy in heaven carrying out the Father’s will. And we, as His followers, should be doing the same thing. He saved us for the purpose of reflecting His life in our work, attitudes, words, and behavior. We are His body—His eyes, ears, voice, feet, and hands—pointing others to Him.
By Charles Stanley

Tight Places

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1 (NIV)

Though I looked okay on the outside, inside I was screaming and flailing about.

 I was stressed, anxious, worried and overwhelmed. I felt like something was pressing in on me, pushing me down emotionally and preventing me from escaping my situation. The more these feelings built up, the more I wanted to lash out, strike out, or push back against my burdens.

 Outside I looked fine; inside I was a mess.

 Do you ever feel this way? Stress comes at all of us every day, in a thousand different ways. Kid stress, job stress, money stress, house stress, and medical stress, relationship stress — the list goes on and on. Try as we might, we can't escape it in this broken world. We feel trapped and imprisoned by these things we cannot change, and they weigh heavily on us.

 When I read our verse for today, I was struck by the explanation in my Bible for the word, "relief." It literally means, "make room for me in tight places." Wow. I can totally identify with that idea!

 I know what it feels like to want someone to come along and make room for me in my tight places. To remove the boundaries and burdens which threaten to smother me with their nearness.

 My stress level mounts, my blood pumps in my ears, and my hope takes flight. Whether it is the little irritations in life like being trapped in a car with a screaming toddler, or the big burdens of wondering about the future of my husband's job, I know those tight places all too intimately.

 We all do.

 I love that Psalm 4:1 reminds us there is Someone who can come and offer relief. So many times, we try to make our own space in our tight places — handling things independently and attempting to solve problems without ever calling on the One who best knows how to make room for us.

 God is faithful to give us emotional elbow room, easing our burdens and offering us His wisdom. He shows us mercy when we call on Him, hearing our prayers and rescuing us from tight places.

 The next time you feel stressed, anxious, worried or overwhelmed, call out to God, and let Him find you in your tight place, making room where you thought there was none.

Dear Lord, thank You for being the God who is near. When my tight places press in on me, Your presence is what I need. Thank You for offering me relief no matter what my circumstances. Help me remember to call on You in my tight places. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
By Marybeth Whalen

مسیحیت حقیقی

مسیحیت حقیقی پیوستن به عیسی مسیح است، بطوری که ما با حیات روحانی او شریک شویم. عیسی این رابطه را به تاک و شاخه‌های آن تشبیه می‌کند. شاخه باید در تاک باشد تا ثمر دهد. شاخه‌هایی که میوه دار نیستند بریده شده و در آتش خواهند سوخت. شاخه‌هایی که باثمر هستند بطوری پاک شده‌اند تا ثمره و محصول بیشتری دهند. مسیحی واقعی کسی است که در این پیوند روحانی با مسیح می‌ماند، و لذا ثمرۀ قدوسیت و پاکی زندگی را بروز می‌دهد. هر کسی می‌تواند ادعا کند که به مسیح ایمان دارد، ولی اگر زندگی وی تغییر و تحول نیافته چیزی جز ادعای خالی و خودفریبی بیش نیست. شاخۀ حقیقی ثمره خواهد داشت.
(آیه ۵). انجیل یوحنا، فصل ۱۵

My Redeemer Lives - Team Hoyt

Incredible video about the relationship between a father and son.... and God's relationship with us.

26 April 2011

غلاطیان باب ۲ آیه ۲۰

من با مسیح مصلوب شده ام بطوریکه دیگر آنکه زندگی می کند من نیستم ، بلکه مسیح است که در من زندگی می کند و درخصوص این زندگانیء جسمانی ای که من اکنون دارم ، فقط بوسیله ایمان به پسر خدا که مرا محبت کرد و جان خود را بخاطر من داد زندگی می کنم.

25 April 2011

Easter: Bigger than Christmas?

 In our society there are two great religious holidays-Christmas and Easter. For most of us Christmas is the bigger and greater season of the year. It's the time of year when we gather with family and friends to sing carols, decorate the tree, and exchange gifts. Christmas is the climax of the whole year. Easter? Well, for most people it's just another long weekend, another chance to get away for a few days.

 Even Christians view Easter as a second-rate holiday!

 Somehow we've gotten our thinking badly mixed up. If Easter had not happened, Christmas would have no meaning. If the tomb is not empty, the cradle makes no difference. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then he really is just a misguided Jewish rabbi with delusions of grandeur. If Easter is not true, then Christmas is only the story of an obscure baby born in an out-of-the-way village in a forgotten land 2000 years ago. It is Easter that gives Christmas its meaning.

 You want proof? In all the New Testament no major doctrinal point is ever built upon the the virgin birth of Christ. Not one. It's true. It happened. But it's never discussed or mentioned. In fact, two gospels don't even say anything about it.

 But the resurrection? That's a different story. In every part of the New Testament, it comes up again and again. Read the sermons of Acts. When the first Christians preached, they didn't mention Bethlehem; they talked about the empty tomb. They never got over the fact that on Easter Sunday when they went to the tomb, Jesus was gone.
Dr. Ray Pritchard 

Little Decisions Make a Big Difference

"Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise ..." Ephesians 5:15 (NIV)

 Do you ever get tired of making decisions? I do. Every day, decisions line up for my attention. I decide what I'm going to do, how I'll spend my money, and what I'm going to say. Conversely, I make decisions about what I am NOT going to do, spend or say.

 One of the biggest challenges I face right now has to do with what I eat. You see, I'm on Weight Watchers. For the past 19 years, I've battled to be at a healthy weight. Coincidentally, my oldest child is 19. I'm certainly not blaming him... but, I'm just saying...

 The first week on the program I recorded a respectable loss of 1.5 pounds. The second week on the program, I lost nothing. I was shocked. It seemed I had exercised and sacrificed more that week than ever. But the scale told the truth.

 The kind lady at the reception desk tried to help me think it through. "Maybe you aren't eating enough," she said. No, that wasn't the problem. "Are you drinking enough water?" she asked. Yes. That wasn't the problem either.

 Then it hit me. The problem wasn't what I was eating when I sat down for a meal, it was all the bites that led up to that meal. It was the French fry before dinner, and the bite of casserole as I put away the leftovers after dinner. It was the nibble of my son's double cheeseburger, and the extra scoop of dip with my carrots.

 It wasn't the big decisions that kept me from seeing progress; it was all the little decisions.

 Unfortunately, I had minimized in my mind the potential damage of all those little bites. Yet they added up to derail me from my goal of losing weight that week. The next week I took control of those BLTs (bites, licks, tastes and sips) and had a nice loss.

 As I've pondered this reality, I've applied it to other areas of my life. I easily minimize the damage of daily unwise decisions. They aren't sin issues, so I can dismiss them as unimportant. However, when added up, they have a big impact on achieving some of my personal goals.

 For example, when I make a decision to not read my Bible for one day, there's no noticeable impact. But when I neglect this important part of my spiritual growth repeatedly, I find myself lacking in godly wisdom and discernment.

 If you find yourself on a plateau in a certain area of your life, perhaps this truth can apply to you as well. You may be making all the right big decisions, but the little ones are having a cumulative negative impact on you.

 Not only that, but I believe God desires to do amazing things through us, and is continually testing us to see if we can handle bigger responsibilities. The truth is those little decisions that seem minor, and inconsequential, really do matter. They matter to me as I pursue personal goals, and they matter to God.

 You see, it's in the arena of little responsibilities that our true dependability is revealed.

 My challenge today is to make every decision count. I ask myself, "Is this decision going to get me closer to my goal, or further from it? Is this decision going to show God I can be trusted with the little things?"

 Sometimes I ask these questions every hour. Which is why I ate steamed vegetables for dinner, and my family had overstuffed burritos. (Not that it's Monday night and I'm weighing in Tuesday morning or anything.)

Dear Lord, thank You for caring about every detail of my life. I know You have placed goals and dreams in my heart that will take diligence to carry out. Help me to look to You when faced with a decision, and I pray for Your wisdom as I make the right choice. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
By Glynnis Whitwer

22 April 2011

Lucile Johnson

"Happiness is both a state and a trait. The state of happiness is a mood that comes and goes. The trait of happiness is a predisposition to a feeling of well-being....If you have developed a happiness trait, you will be happy most of the time in spite of unpleasant circumstances in your life."

Is the Resurrection a Myth?

How can we know beyond any doubt that Jesus really rose from the dead - that this singular event is not some queer predilection on the part of the Christian but is rather faith founded on irrefutable fact?

 As Christians, we must be prepared to demonstrate that Christ's resurrection was an event that occurred in time and space - that it was, in reality, historical and not mythological (cf. 2 Peter 1:16). The importance of this event cannot be minimized, for Jesus Himself proclaimed that His resurrection would prove His power over death, and thus His deity (John 2:18-22). Not only that, but Christ's resurrection is the very heart of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

 When I first began examining the evidences for Christianity, I discovered that belief in the Resurrection does not constitute a blind leap into a dark chasm but rather a step into the light. Indeed, the evidence for Christ's resurrection is so overwhelming that no one can examine it with an open mind desiring to know the truth without becoming convinced of its truth.

 Of the many evidences available, none is more compelling than the fact that the resurrected Christ appeared to over five hundred individuals at a single time (1 Corinthians 15:6). Christ appeared to numerous other individuals as well, providing "many convincing proofs" of His resurrection (Acts 1:3). Christ in His resurrection body was even touched on two occasions (Matthew 28:9; John 20:17), and challenged the disciples (Luke 24:39) and Thomas (John 20:27) to feel His wounds.

 For those who continue to harbor doubts about the veracity of the biblical evidence, one need only point to Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the greatest authority on legal evidences in the 19th century. It is noteworthy that after examining the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Greenleaf suggested that any cross-examination of the eyewitness testimonies recorded in Scripture would result in "an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth."
By Hank Hanegraaff

21 April 2011

Young Girl Beautifully Sings My Redeemer Lives

Her name is Brianna Perez, and she has a HUGE voice for her age! She sings My Redeemer Lives in front of her church and does an amazing job. Praise God for giving her such a tremendous talent.

Camilla Eyring Kimball

"Our Father loves us, and he is as near to us as we will let him be. We should constantly seek his inspiration through prayer. If we ever have a feeling that he is far away, it is because we have moved away from him."

20 April 2011

Jo Ann Larsen

"People have a way of living up or down to the opinions of others....They respond willingly to and even thrive on positive responses....In a world organized to highlight the negatives, most of us could better serve ourselves and the world by increasing our flow of positives to friends and strangers alike."

Could Jesus Have Survived the Crucifixion?

The swoon theory is one of Satan's oldest lies concerning the Resurrection. This theory proposes that Jesus did not rise from the dead, because He never really died. Instead, Jesus went into a deep coma or "swoon" from the severe pain and trauma of the Crucifixion. Then, in the cool atmosphere of the tomb, Christ revived, somehow escaped the strips of cloths that were wrapped tightly upon Him, and then appeared to His disciples.

 The swoon theory flies in the face of the facts. You see, the Roman guards were experts at execution and would be put to death if they allowed a condemned man, like Christ, to escape death. The guards were certain Jesus was dead, because when they thrust a spear into His side, it brought forth blood and water. This was their final proof of His death because this occurs when the heart stops beating.

 Some time ago I read a local advice column that featured a reader's question about the Resurrection. The reader asked, "Dear Uticus, Our preacher said that Jesus swooned on the cross and then His disciples nursed Him to health. What do you think? Signed, Bewildered." Uticus responded, "Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-o'-nine-tails thirty-nine times. Nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for six hours. Run a spear through his side, embalm him, and put him in an airless tomb for thirty-six hours and see what happens. Sincerely, Uticus."

 Uticus' response points to the ridiculousness of the swoon theory. Amazingly enough, people still subscribe to this theory. Not because it's plausible. Not because it's logical, but because it's something to hang their doubt on. The truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ has risen!
By Greg Laurie

آيا خداوند شر را آفريده است ؟

روزی یک استاد دانشگاه تصمیم گرفت تا دانشجویانش را به مبارزه بطلبد .
اوپرسید : آیا خداوند هر جیزی را که وجود دارد ، آفریده است ؟

دانشجویی شجاعانه پاسخ داد : بله.

استاد پرسید : هر چیزی را ؟

پاسخ دانشجو این بود : بله هر چیزی را .

استاد گفت : در این حالت ، خداوند شر را آفریده است . درست است ؟
زیرا شروجود دارد .

برای این سوال ، دانشجو پاسخی نداشت و ساکت ماند .
استاد از این فرصت حظ برده بود که توانسته بود یکبار دیگر ثابت کند
که ایمان و اعتقاد فقط یک افسانه است .

ناگهان ، یک دانشجوی دیگر دستش را بلند کرد و گفت : استاد ، ممکن است که
از شما یک سوال بپرسم؟

استاد پاسخ داد : البته .

دانشجو پرسید : آیا سرما وجود دارد ؟

استاد پاسخ داد : البته ، آیا شما هرگز احساس سرما نکرده اید ؟

دانشجو پاسخ داد : البته آقا ، اما سرما وجود ندارد .
طبق مطالعات علم فیزیک ، سرما عدم تمام و کمال گرماست . و شئی را تنها
در صورتی می توان مطالعه کرد که انرژی داشته باشد و انرژی را انتقال دهد .
و این گرمای یک شئی است که انرژی آن را انتقال می دهد .
بدون گرما ، اشیاء بی حرکت هستند ، قابلیت واکنش ندارند .
پس سرما وجود ندارد. ما لفظ سرما را ساخته ایم تا فقدان گرما را توضیح دهیم .

دانشجو ادامه داد : و تاریکی ؟

استاد پاسخ داد : تاریکی وجود دارد .

دانشجو گفت : شما باز هم در اشتباه هستید ، آقا .
تاریکی فقدان کامل نوراست . شما می توانید نور و روشنایی را مطالعه کنید ،
اما تاریکی را نمی توانید مطالعه کنید. منشور نیکولز تنوع رنگهای مختلف را
نشان می دهد که در آن طبق طول امواج نور ، نور می تواند تجزیه شود .
تاریکی لفظی است که ما ایجاد کرده ایم تا فقدان کامل نور را توضیح دهیم .

و سرانجام دانشجو پرسید : و شر ، آقا ، آیا شر وجود دارد ؟ خداوند شر را
نیافریده است .
شر فقدان خدا در قلب افراد است ، شر فقدان عشق ، انسانیت
و ایمان است . عشق و ایمان مانند گرما و نور هستند . آنها وجود دارند .
فقدان آنها منجر به شر می شود .

و حالا نوبت استاد بود که ساکت بماند .

نام این دانشجو آلبرت انیشتین بود

How Does the Death of Jesus Save?

One way to understand the meaning of the death of Jesus is to imagine a courtroom scene in which we are on trial for our sins and God is the judge. Our sins against God are capital crimes. God Himself is our judge, and according to divine law our crimes deserve the death penalty. Death, in a spiritual sense, means eternal separation from God in unending torment. That's a very serious judgment.

 By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness. When we trust Christ for our salvation, essentially we are making a trade. By faith, we trade our sin and its accompanying death penalty for His righteousness and life.

 In theological terms, this is called "substitutionary atonement." Christ died on the cross as our substitute. Without Him, we would suffer the death penalty for our own sins....

 The writer to the Hebrews puts it this way: "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). For God to forgive our sins, His judgment had to be satisfied and that required the shedding of blood.

 Some object, "Shedding blood seems so barbaric. Is it really necessary? Why doesn't God simply forgive us?" Because God is holy, He must judge sin. Would a just and righteous judge let evil go unpunished? At the cross, God poured out His judgment on His Son, satisfying His wrath and making it possible for Him to forgive us. That's why Jesus shed His blood for your sins, my sins, and the sins of the whole world....

 God unleashed His wrath on His Son so that we might be spared that awful fate. This is the central message of the cross and the reason for our hope: God forsook His Son so that He might never forsake us. God assures us, "'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). Isn't that a wonderful promise?
Chuck Swindoll

Time is in His Hands

"So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies." Joshua 10:13a (NLT)

 Has there ever been a time when you longed for just a little more light in your day to accomplish your tasks? When you need more time, do you ask God for it? After all, time is in His hands.

 As we read in today's key verse, God knew Joshua needed a little more time in his day, so He gave it to him.

 Joshua and the Israelite armies were in battle against five combined Amorite armies to conquer the land allotted to them after crossing the Jordan. Joshua and his men were tired. The warring for the land had been intense. As the leader, Joshua decided to travel all night for a surprise attack. And then Joshua asked God to hold the sun and moon still so they could fight.

 Over a decade ago God called me to radically trust Him with my time and get up each morning before the sun rose to spend time in prayer, and in His Word.

How can I do this? I remember asking the Lord.

 I argued: I am a busy wife and mother. The baby is only a few months old. I need sleep.

 It never occurred to me to ask God to help me by adjusting my time so that I could walk in obedience to Him as well as take care of all my other responsibilities.

 Eventually I obeyed, but not wholeheartedly. My problem wasn't that I did not want to know God better through prayer and His Word. My problem was that I believed I could manage the time in my day better than He could. I believed the lie that told me I was in control, arranged my day, and accomplished much. The lie told me I did not need God for the little details of my day-to-day living. The lie told me I did not need to tithe the first fruits of my day to God. The lie, lied.

 Like the Amorite armies were defeated, eventually so was my lie.

 Over the last decade I have learned like Joshua, to call on God and ask Him to "let the sun and moon stand still" so that I can accomplish what He has ordained for me to do. It is my desire to be at peace with His timing and not to complete my checklist.

 Do I believe He has held time in His hands for me? Yes I do. How can that be? He is God, the great I AM, and the Creator of time. I am just a little "i am not" enjoying the story of God one day at a time.

 When you need more time, will you ask God for it? Will you trust Him to hold your time in His nailed-scarred hands?

Dear Lord, help me know You are good and that I can trust You. Remind me today that my time is in Your hands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
By Wendy Pope

Obey and Get Unstuck

Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk" (John 5:8).

 These words were spoken to a man who had been sick for 38 years!  His bed had been carrying him, and now Jesus was telling him to carry his bed!

 We have discussed several keys to getting unstuck from your problems in our last devotions.  First, we must genuinely want to be free, and second, we must stop shifting the blame for our problems to others.

 The final key I want to share with you is found in the above verse.  It is to obey what the Lord tells you.  Whether it makes sense or not—obey!

 To a man who had been carried by his bed for 38 years, rising up and carrying his bed must have seemed crazy!  But the moment he began to obey, new life and strength began to flow into his previously paralyzed limbs.

 Listen for the Lord's instructions in your heart.  Search for them in His Word. There is no faith without action.  There will be something that God will require you to do in order to release or express your faith.

 It may make sense to you—or it may not.  But to quote Mary, the mother of Jesus, "Whatever He says to you, do it" (John 2:5).

 After pastoring the same church for several decades, I have observed that many people remain stuck in their problems.  Not because the Lord hasn't spoken to them, but because He has and they haven't obeyed.

 If there is any unfilled obedience in your life, get busy and do what the Lord has told you to do.  It is the only way to get unstuck.

17 April 2011

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God".
1 Corinthians 1:18

15 April 2011

Mary Sturlaugson Eyer

"To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge; to suffer the will of God is the greatest heroism; to do the will of God is the greatest achievement; and to have the Lord's approval on your work is the greatest happiness."