Friday, November 29, 2013

ADVENT...PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS by Paula Roten

I've been Baptist all my life and a Christian since the age of nine. I've never experienced the teaching of Advent. But the thought of preparing my heart for celebrating Christmas appeals to me. It's entirely too easy to get caught up in "Christmas According to the World:" Santa, decorate, shop shop shop, cook cook cook, and then eat eat eat, indulge our children with so much that they have to clean out their rooms in order to put all the new stuff away. Not to mention feelings of frustration, irritability, busyness, and depression mixed in with tidings of great joy. My desire is to make my mind and heart Christ-centered.

For the last several years, I have intentionally focused on Christ during this season, reading the Christmas Story from the Bible in the gospels as well as reading books that point my heart in the right direction. Perhaps you, too, would like to intentionally block out the world and tune in to the anticipation and joy of Christ.

Here are some suggestions I made last year:
http://refreshbbc.blogspot.com/2012/11/adventpreparing-for-christmas.html

And here are my suggestions for this year. (Please realize I haven't read all these yet, so I can't completely vouch for their contents.)  
  • Reading plans on the free YouVersion Bible app for mobile phones (I counted 18 for Christmas, 3 days-29 days in length):
                   Our Daily Bread Christmas Edition
                   Prepare Your Heart: Christmas Devotions
                   Sounds of Christmas
                   It's Christmas - Devotions from Mandisa
                   Rediscovering the Christmas Season
                   Carols: A Christmas Devotional
                   Joy! to Your World! A Countdown to Christmas
                   Christmas Begins with Christ
                   Countdown to Christmas


Please leave a comment in the comments section below or on our facebook page with Advent selections you've found to be helpful.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

HOW BIG A DEAL CAN "UN" BE by Tony Manley

Can you BELIEVE this scripture passage actually had THE NERVE to list “UNGRATEFUL” in with:  lovers of self and money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Tim. 3:1-5)

Come on – UNGRATEFUL - how big a deal are we talking about? Listen, if you only knew how hard my life is or was, how it is not what I deserve, how unappreciated I am, how all the dreams and plans I have worked for and dreamed of are gone, then you would let me wear the word UNGRATEFUL as my sash and even give me some places to wear it proudly! 

But wait, as I reevaluate my stance on deserving the right to flash the crown of an UNGRATEFUL life, I begin to see UNGRATEFUL as the beginning – perhaps the seed - of the other stuff on the 2 Timothy list. With a perspective (heart eyes) originating from an UNGRATEFUL  heart, EVERYTHING is affected. Check it out – that list in 2 Timothy is a mirror of an UNGRATEFUL heart! You see the loving of the created things more than the Creator, the responses of the heart are attitudes from an UNGRATEFUL heart, and an UNGRATEFUL heart is always full of excuses as to why it is OK to be the way that I am!

Thankfully, God is greater than ungrateful. His patience, His intense never-ceasing love, His presence and faithfulness are overwhelming.

God believes GRATITUDE is a big deal.

God believes CONTENTMENT is a big deal. 

God believes MY HEART is a big deal. 

“The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER ceases; His mercies NEVER come to an end; they are NEW EVERY MORNING; GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

“Create in me a PURE HEART, O God, and RENEW a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“Enter into His gates with THANKSGIVING and into His courts with PRAISE; give THANKS TO HIM AND PRAISE HIS NAME.  FOR THE LORD IS GOOD AND HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.”  Psalm 100:4-5a



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

RELINQUISHING RIGHTS by Tony Manley


A thank-filled heart is a heart that is actively relinquishing rights. 

A thank-filled heart knows there is only one Lord – and it isn’t me!

Relinquishing means “the ongoing act of voluntarily ceasing to keep or claim; to give up, hand over, let go of, yield, surrender, abandon…”

Scripture screams of the fruit that is produced in the act of dying to self and serving, esteeming others better than myself (Phil. 2:3-4).  The joy of Christ increasing and me decreasing (John 3:30) is the path to peace and contentment. But to be the recipient of a John 3:16 love which bestows the position of John 1:12 – “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, HE GAVE THE RIGHT to become children of God” is a gift that evokes a gratitude and rest that I am fully right with the Father. I enjoy the rights of being His daughter. Why on earth would I want to cling to my fleshly birth rights?

Thanks giving releases me to be free, fragrant, fresh, and fruitful. 

Thanks giving keeps me in a “face to the ground” humble and full of worship posture.  

Thanks giving is a magnet- it attracts others to the character of God and it repels sin. 

I do so love the November calendar. But more than the calendar, I want a heart of thanks giving or as my husband says “a lifestyle of thanks giving.”

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:17





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

LEARNING TO GIVE THANKS by Vicki Taylor

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5:18

It’s tough to give thanks in all circumstances, our own or others. Suffering through something, or worse - watching someone you love suffer, is a hard place to learn the discipline of giving thanks. But that is where we learn it best… in the valleys of disasters, disease, and disappointments. Without those difficulties we would never learn to trust in Him who gave us His Son. 

To give thanks in everything is a learned discipline. It requires us to act, to do. It is not just an emotional outburst or a warm fuzzy feeling. God wants us to thank Him because it draws us into His presence. It teaches us to look to Him and not at ourselves or our circumstances. By giving thanks, we learn to overcome situations that surround us which can cause us to become discouraged and discontent.

Another reason God commands thankfulness is because it is crucial to our well-being. It keeps us healthy, spiritually and physically.  People with a thankful or positive attitude are less likely to be sick. They complain less. They see life through the glass half full instead of half empty. The sun always shines even on cloudy days. They rejoice when it rains because they know it is necessary for new growth. They also rejoice in trials, because they result in spiritual growth.

I have learned to give thanks even in suffering and sickness. Even though at times my circumstances can be very difficult, keeping my focus on my Heavenly Father has gotten me through. Nothing is more difficult than watching someone you love suffer. We cannot do it alone. It takes help from those around you and from above.

Now if I understand this right, if I give thanks for all my circumstances, the good and the bad, this will put me right smack in God’s will in Christ Jesus. I don’t know about you, but that’s right where I want to be!




Monday, November 25, 2013

LET'S DANCE by Paula Roten

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?

You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band 
and decked me with wildflowers.
I'm about to burst with song;
I can't keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can't thank you enough.
Psalm 30:11-12 MSG

I love the contrast of moods in this Psalm. If I didn't know better, I'd say David was a woman! He goes from unrestrained mourning to utter giddiness about something in his life. Something he gives God credit for doing. 

Have you been in the mourning phase? Grieving over a loved one's death, a job loss, a sickness, a move, or the loss of a desire/dream you had? Of course, everyone experiences these lows of life. 

But we have also come out on the other side of some of these lows. I want to be sure I give credit to the One Who "ripped off my mourning band and decked me with wildflowers." 

Still in the mourning phase? Remember, "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5) Grieving doesn't last forever. God will bring you through this, and you will feel happy again. 

And when you do...let's dance!




Friday, November 22, 2013

THANKSGIVING MEMORY BASKETS CRAFT WITH CHILDREN by Cathy Westmoreland

Children love to make crafts. This is an opportunity to make learning history fun by using food items to remind them of different aspects about the Pilgrims. Children can weave their own basket using construction paper, or they could just use a cupcake liner or a small craft basket.

Fill each basket with the following food items, discussing what each one represents:

1.  Chocolate Earth Balls - Pilgrims were living in England where the King made the laws and they had to obey them. He told them what church to attend and how they were to worship. They heard about the new world and the freedoms they would have. (Candy stores usually sell these. You can also use malted milk balls.)

2. Tiny twist pretzels - Praying hands. The Pilgrims believed in GOD. They thought that they should be free to worship so they prayed for God's protection as they traveled to the new world.

3.  Oyster Crackers -The weather was so bad that they had to eat cold biscuits and salted meat.

4.  Stick pretzels - Represent the cut trees. They cut down many trees to build homes.

5.  Mini Marshmallows - Remind us of the cold winter in the new land.

6.  Candy Corn and Gold Fish Crackers - Represent the corn they planted and the fish they caught to eat. They also used fish as fertilizer for the soil.

7.  Life Saver Candies - Represent Squanto. God sent him to help the Pilgrims.

8.  Maple Candy - Squanto showed the Pilgrims how to get sap from the maple trees for syrup.

9.  Teddy Grahams - The Pilgrims had to defend themselves against bears and other wild animals.

10. Fruity candies and berries - Food they ate.

GOD is so good to us.





A CALL TO PRAISE THE LORD by Cathy Westmoreland


As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?


This is one of the most read and most beloved Psalms in the Bible.  

 Psalm 100 - New American Standard Bible

1.  Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2.  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
3.  Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4.  Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5.  For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.

The first verse of this Psalm is the fourth verse of Psalm 98. What does shout joyfully to the Lord mean? I tell the children that every word God says is true and important but when He tells us something more than once, He is trying to get our attention. I believe that the Psalm opens with a command to all to praise the Lord with great joy and excitement. I get a feeling of excitement anticipating what GOD will do in His house of worship on Sunday. Some Sunday mornings while singing praises to Him, I feel as though I could let out a Tarzan style yell of praise because my heart is so full.  

In verses 1 and 2 King David is calling on everyone to prepare for worship. Why do we praise God? Because to praise is to tell the world who He is and show our love and gratitude to our Holy Father. Worship is a service to our Lord and we should enjoy it. It is a way of preparing our hearts to hear from Him. I love to sing praises and I feel that it is an important part of worship. Now, most of my friends know that I cannot carry a tune, but I sing with joy because it's not about my voice but about my heart...He deserves my praise.

In verse 3, I believe the Psalmist is giving us the purpose of praise.  He is telling us that the Lord is the one true and living GOD who created all things and called us to be His people. He made us and we belong to him. He is our shepherd and He cares for each one in his flock. I think that alone deserves a shout of praise.

Verses 4 and 5 show us the power in worship. Because Christ tore down the wall of sin which separates us from God's presence, every believer can rejoice in worship. I definitely don't deserve what Jesus has done for me, but I am so glad that because of the depth of His mighty love on the cross and  his wondrous resurrection I have eternal life. I have a direct relationship and He invites sinful me to enter His presence. That is a miracle. He is the giver of all that is good, living and true. His love and faithfulness are for all time throughout the ages. 

This Psalm tells me to Praise the Lord and to thank the Lord. It is a joy to praise Him.  

Praise Him, Praise Him! Jesus our blessed redeemer! Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!  



Thursday, November 21, 2013

WITH THANKSGIVING by Kim Wright

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.”  Philippians 4:4-9


v. 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”   
We often read this verse and concentrate on how to rejoice in the thing we are going through…but this passage is calling us to rejoice in the Lord! While it may be difficult to rejoice about suffering, heartbreak, loss or grief…we can rejoice in the Lord Who promises to never leave us or forsake us as we walk through difficult things! When we shift our focus from “the thing” to “the Lord”…it is much easier to rejoice in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in!

v. 5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
I have watched many different people walk through difficult circumstances in my lifetime. The ones who have faced crisis with the knowledge that “the Lord is near” have made a lasting impact on my life. There is a marked difference in their demeanor, their attitude and their response. The people who go to encourage and comfort them seem to always come away encouraged and comforted themselves! It changes everything when one looks at what is happening through the lens of eternity, and with the confidence that God will carry them through. They are gentle…not grasping for control, but resting in the promises of God…and it is evident to all.

v. 6&7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We should tell the Lord what is making us anxious and ask for His help, believing that He has the power and authority to change the outcome. It may be easy to overlook the two little words: “with thanksgiving” when we are asking God for help in a matter; however, I have come to believe that they are often the key to unlocking the promised peace described in the latter part of this passage. 

How do we thank God for hard things or difficult times? Perhaps you can thank Him that it is not worse…or that “x” happened instead of “y”…and that type of thanksgiving certainly has its place. However, in my experience, when I begin thanking God for Who He is and the fact that He is in control in the midst of my circumstances….

When I thank Him for His mercy and goodness and grace…

When I am thankful that the God

Who spoke the world into existence…

Who opened up a sea for His people to help them escape their enemies…

Who toppled seemingly invincible walls without a fight…

Who allowed a boy to slay a giant…

Who shut the mouths of lions…

Who caused blind people to see and lame people to walk…

Who raised people from the dead…

When I am thankful that the SAME GOD Who did all of those things (and more!) is ALIVE and REAL and ACTIVE in my situation…it unleashes that great peace that passes all understanding to be poured out over my heart and soul and mind.

So, don’t be anxious! Pray! (…knowing that nothing is too big or too small for Him!) And don’t forget to thank Him! Thank Him for His goodness, His power, His grace! Thank Him for His sovereignty, His faithfulness, His trustworthiness! Thank Him for Who He is and that He cares about you! Thank Him for His “compassions that fail not” and His “mercies that are new every morning!”

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything…
with thanksgiving!

v. 8&9 “Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice.  And the peace of God will be with you."

How do we rejoice in the Lord?

How do we pray with thanksgiving?

We change our way of thinking! We set our minds on things that are true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy

Where do I find those things?

…In the news? Rarely.

…On Facebook? Occasionally.

…A good book? Maybe.

…God’s Word? Always!

If I will spend time studying and meditating on God’s Word, thinking about it, and putting it into practice…I will get to know Him better. I will begin to understand His character, His power, His purposes and His plans. I will be able to pray with the promises and power of God in mind. Not only will it change the way we pray…it will change the way we live.

In retrospect, whenever I have read these passages in the past, I have focused on the “to do” list of it all…

I need to rejoice! I need to pray!  I need to think!

I believe God is reminding me that it’s not about ME and what I can do…it’s about HIM and what HE can do!

The recurring theme of this passage seems to be calling us to remember Who He is, what He has done and what He can do.  When I view my circumstances with that in mind…a heart overflowing with thanksgiving and peace can’t help but follow!




WOMEN'S MINISTRY...WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT by Paula Roten

This past Thursday night, we ladies had such a fun time fellowshipping and making our burlap door hangar. In light of "full disclosure," I want to tell you the whole story.

A good bit of time before the ladies on the women's ministry council started promoting the burlap refreshment, we had to price all the items that made up the entire door hangar so we would charge the correct amount. So we did. Then we promoted the event, and you signed up and paid your fee. We felt the fee charged was equitable. After all, it covered the cost of supplies, plus I personally had seen these rustic type door hangars in stores cost $25-$45 dollars. After we knew the number of ladies who would be attending, we went shopping for the burlap, ribbon, paints, and wire. Amazingly, many of the supplies were on sale! A woman's delight! 

At the end of the evening of the refreshment, we were tallying up and settling all monies spent...only to discover we had money left over because of the sales. As we talked to each other, we felt that God wanted us to give, not hoard for ourselves. 

We had heard that since Leah's House is over 100 years old, the rooms are difficult to heat...especially those bedrooms upstairs. Each room badly needed a safe heater with a thermostat control. So we decided to purchase those heaters with the left-over craft money. 

That was Thursday night. Between then and Sunday, someone donated a $25.00 off coupon to Lowe's and we were able to purchase 5 heaters. Then someone else left 2 more heaters on the ministry table for Leah's House on Sunday. What a blessing to be able to give such a practical need to Leah's House!

As a side note...Ramona Callahan had told us that she was praying someone would show them how to build a chicken coop with some left-over lumber they had on the property. Guess what? Someone GAVE them a chicken coop! Isn't our God something? 

This whole incident brought a verse to mind: 
Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God's hand for that person. Proverbs 3:27 MSG 

I'm so glad that our Broadway women were able to be God's hands.




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I BELIEVE, I SPEAK, I'M THANKFUL by Lynda Leeson

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?


II Corinthians 4:13-18
New King James Version (NKJV)

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”[a] we also believe and therefore speak, 

14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 

15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 

18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


The "Leeson" translation reads this way...Because we have the spirit of faith (Ephesians 2:8) we believe and therefore we speak (Psalm 118:17) so that thanksgiving may abound to the glory of God. 

Verse 16 goes on to say that we do not lose heart even though our outward man is perishing...but our inner man (Ephesians 3:16) is being renewed daily by the Holy Spirit indwelling our innermost being and personality.  That's a big "praise the Lord!!!"

Verses 17-18 address the afflictions and cares we daily experience but quickly remind us that they are fleeting and temporary and working for us...that's got to take you to James 1:2-4.  That "work" will produce patience, endurance, and steadfastness if you let it.

You know I can't end without referencing a song...

"Through It All"  by Andrae Crouch

Verse 1
I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow,
there's been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consolation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.

Chorus
Through it all,
through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God.

Through it all,
through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

Verse 2
I've been to lots of places,
I've seen a lot of faces,
there's been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours,
yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus lets me know that I was His own

Chorus

Verse 3
I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know God could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do

Chorus
Through it all,
through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God.

Through it all,
through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvIxwc90BEI&feature=player_embedded




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DECORATING FOR FALL

I love the fall season. I love everything about it. The colors of all the turning leaves, the smells of pumpkin and cinnamon, the cool days washing away the humidity of summer, and thoughts toward Thanksgiving. Better Homes and Gardens has some great ideas for decorating our mantels with natural elements from grasses to pumpkins to burlap. Maybe you can use a few of these ideas to bring the season to life in your home. For more creative ideas, click on the following link: 

http://www.bhg.com/thanksgiving/decorating/fall-mantel-decorating-ideas/






Here are some simple table centerpiece ideas with the link for more beneath each photo:


http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/13-rustic-thanksgiving-table-setting-ideas/pictures/page-2.html


http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/20-thanksgiving-centerpieces/pictures/page-3.html?soc=pinterest

http://www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/18-ways-to-add-harvest-decor-to-your-home/pictures/page-17.html



Monday, November 18, 2013

WORD FOR THE WEEK

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
Psalm 63:1-4 NLT

Are you in a "parched and weary land" right now? A place where it's hard to see God or His hand? 

Do as the Psalmist did and remember. Remember God's unfailing love for you which He proclaims over and over in Scripture. Remember how God answered you and showed Himself to you in the past. Keep praying and don't stop. Praise God. Even though you don't see Him at work now, praise Him with hands upraised, surrendering to His timing, His purpose, and His provision.





Friday, November 15, 2013

BURLEE REFRESHMENT REVISITED

Thursday night 45 ladies gathered in fellowship hall to relax, laugh, talk, eat, and make a door hangar. Everyone chose their color in advance, either lime green or red. As each of us walked in the door, we were given 1/2 yd. of a piece of 60 inch wide burlap. Then we went to a table where we chose the pattern we wanted to make, either a cross or an ornament.

 Step 1 - Trace the pattern with a pen onto our doubled piece of burlap.




Step 2 - Cut out the design.




Steps 3, 4, 5 -  Staple along all the edges but one, then stuff the burlap with grocery bags, and then staple that last edge.




Step 6 - Paint the burlap however we wanted.




Of course, some people had a little trouble with their spelling.



And a few of the ladies were kind enough to make bows...and more bows...and more bows for the less crafty ones of us. (The bows took 5 ft. of ribbon and a piece of floral wire to hold them tight.)



The final step was to attach a piece of 16 gauge wire through the burlap to serve as a hangar. Not one bit of sewing required to make a beautiful Christmas door hangar!




I think they all turned out really nice!






Thursday, November 14, 2013

BURLAP DOOR HANGAR REFRESHMENT REMINDER

Reminder to all of you who signed up and paid 
to make a burlap door hangar

It's TONIGHT
at 7:00

Bring a snack to share

If you have them, bring enough 
Walmart/Kroger bags
for stuffing your burlap hangar
and for sharing too




CANNOT BE SHAKEN by Tony Manley

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” Heb.12:28

Truth, one day I will go to heaven because of Christ’s work at the cross. 

Truth, God is consistent in His teaching that I am to live with a thankful heart. 

Truth, I have a choice daily in the moments (crossroad!) of whether I will choose God, flesh, the lies of the enemy, or the way of the world. 

Most of the time, this moment choice feels way too much, too fast, and too hard. Again, God knew and knows we, His children, are strangers and aliens are in a hostile environment, yet He continues to tell us “to be thankful.”

I think the Holy Spirit used a yellow highlighter in Heb.12:28 on the words “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken…”   What a stabilizing promise to grab when I am in the center of Hurricane Life. Shaken is a tough heart place to be. In a shaken place, cracks can be made or revealed, damage occurs, confusion happens, words and thoughts emerge about issues I have not thought about or had in the past. This is when I must have a place to wrap my heart, mind, eyes, and hands around for stabilizing strength and perseverance. 

A kingdom that cannot be shaken, a God that cannot be overcome, a future that is secure, and a Savior that cannot be defeated. Truly, this is the very core of what I believe as a Christ follower. This is the answer, the truth to “What will I do?” and “What is going to happen to me?” and “Can I continue?”  This is also the rest, refuge, peace, and joy of being a Christ follower.

Today, I am thankful that my hope, my stabilizing, non-shakable truth is “all things God.” I am thankful God has placed me in a body called Broadway Baptist and allows me to pray for other sisters and brothers that are travelling on the same journey. I am thankful I can pray for the hearts of tired, hurting, and needy family members that have loved and given me Christ as bread and water when I have been that tired, hurting, and needy sister. 

“Cannot be shaken” - what a comfort! May today the hearts of the body of Christ all over the world hold fast to this truth as we weather hurricanes, showers, fires, broken things and people. As a result, the worship fragrance of our body will be acceptable, accompanied by a reverent and awe filled heart. 

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.”  Ps.95:6    Amen.





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TURKEYS AND PILGRIM'S HATS


You must make these cute little turkeys and Pilgrim's hats for the children in your life! Seriously, they aren't that hard and only require bought cookies, candies, decorator's icing, and marshmallows. Trust me, the kids around the table will love them, plus that means they'll leave more of the grown-up desserts for, well, the grown-ups! 



Click on the link below for full instructions.

http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/11/oreo-turkeys-and-cookie-pilgrim-hats/



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

HOW TO GIVE THANKS by Paula Roten

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on verses that tell us to be thankful. This is one woman's perspective on a particular passage of Scripture. What is your perspective on this passage?

1 Chronicles 16:8-13
New International Version (NIV)

8 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.
12 Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel,
    his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

I Chronicles 16:8-36 is a psalm of thanks that David wrote in response to bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. The Ark had been first in enemy hands and then in a temporary location. Now it had been brought "home" so to speak. David and all the people were ecstatic with singing, dancing, and celebrating. 

How do I respond when God does something really big in my family or community? What does praising God look like? I think these verses tell us.

Vs. 8 - Give the praise to God. Not people, doctors, a degree, or being in the right place at the right time.

Vs. 9 -  Sing. Yes, sing to God, the one I am praising. He doesn't care whether I can carry a tune in a bucket or not.

Vs. 10 - Rejoice in the name of the Lord. Be happy. Let others see my joy and give God the credit.

Vs. 10 - Pray. Continue to pray and seek God to meet needs, to do miracles, to show Himself in my life. 

Vs. 11 - Continue to depend on God and His strength. Not my own. Acknowledge God did it, not me. 

Vs. 12 - Remember what God has done in the past and talk about it. Don't let my family or friends forget what God has accomplished on my behalf. Acknowledge the miracles of God. There are no coincidences or good karma. 


I'm afraid that too often, we only thank God in a quick prayer before dinner or bedtime. I'm hoping to make my life one of continual gratitude...talking to others about Him and His provision for me...being sure to give Him the credit...being a joyful, positive person...and continuing to depend on Him for every single need in my life.


Monday, November 11, 2013

I AM A SOLDIER


Since today is Veteran's Day, we should all remember this...


"I Am A Soldier"

I am a soldier in the army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.
Faith, Prayer, and the Word are my weapons of Warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit,
    ...trained by experience,
    ...tried by adversity,
    ...and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity.
I will either retire in this Army or die in this Army;
But, I will not get out,
    ...sell out
    ...be talked out
    ...or pushed out.

I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable.
If my God needs me, I am there.

I am a soldier.
I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered,
    ...petted,
    ...primed up,
    ...pumped up,
    ...picked up,
    ...or pepped up.

I am a soldier. No one has to call me,
    ...remind me,
    ...write me,
    ...visit me,
    ...entice me,
    ...or lure me.

I am a soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place,
    ...saluting my King,
    ...obeying His orders,
    ...praising His name,
    ...and building His Kingdom!

No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts.
I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.
I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.
I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

When Jesus called me into this Army, I had nothing.
If I end up with nothing, I will still come out even.
I will win.

My God will supply all my needs.
I am more than a conqueror.
I will always triumph.
I can do all things through Christ.

Devils cannot defeat me.
People cannot disillusion me.
Weather cannot weary me.
Sickness cannot stop me.
Battles cannot beat me.
Money cannot buy me.
Governments cannot silence me, and
Hell cannot handle me!

I am a soldier.
Even death cannot destroy me.
For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield,
He will promote me to a captain.

I am a soldier, in the Army, I'm marching, claiming victory.
I will not give up.
I will not turn around.
I am a soldier, marching, Heaven bound.
                                                                            ~ author unknown




WORD FOR THE WEEK




Thanksgiving is only 17 days away! 

And Christmas is only 6 1/2 weeks away! 

Yikes!

Does the thought of that get you all flustered? Are you a mess this time of year with so much to shop for, plan, and cook? Do the weird relatives make you go crazy? Do you think, "Why won't anybody help me? Why do they all sit on their backsides and watch TV? Why am I the only one setting the table, cooking this food, cleaning up the kitchen, buying the gifts, doing...?"

Do you find yourself getting all bent out of shape during the holidays? Let's have a different attitude this year. Galatians 5:16 says, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Let's ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. We will certainly have to ask more than once, but I bet as we're aware of our needs and go to Him in prayer, those weird relatives (and even our immediate family) will see the difference knowing Christ makes in us. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

REMEMBER THIS MONTH'S REFRESHMENT


Join us to make a fun, super easy 
Christmas burlap door hangar 
Thursday night 
Nov. 14 
7:00 pm

Cost: $15
Sign up and pay at the Ministry Table
Signup deadline: THIS Sunday, Nov. 10
(So we have time to buy the burlap and supplies)


Thursday, November 7, 2013

JUST WONDERING by Tony Manley


If I were a doctoral student and had to write a thesis, I think I know what my topic would be. I have this strange habit of looking at people everywhere I go and asking myself, “I wonder if they are living the life they thought or dreamed they would be living?” 

Rarely, do I hear the story from another person that their life turned out just the way they expected, dreamed, planned, or hoped. Good or bad. Some would say, I never planned to be divorced; I never dreamed I would have a wayward or distanced child; I never expected to have a child that would require a different way of life; I never hoped to be jobless, addicted, alone; I never imagined my loved one would be taken from me. Others, from time to time, would say, I am living a life I never deserved – safe, secure, loved, happy…Both ends of the spectrum evoke a lot of emotion.

God is always good. This world is always fallen. To come to a place of reconciliation with these two truths, I have taken great comfort and peace in God’s sovereign right and place to be Lord of my life. Lord means Lord. I am one of those who believes I am living a life I never deserved. My heritage and choices of lifestyle growing up definitely screamed disaster and death. But God intervened and loved me to Himself as a young newlywed. He literally saved my life – now and eternally!

Life in Christ is to be lived in this diseased, unjust, wronged, against, and death-filled world. The preposition “in” is my joy word. I am in Christ and He is in me. To give Him the freedom to live this truth in me is what gives me the joy to say, “I am not living the life I dreamed, planned, hoped, or expected. Because of Christ, I am living the better life. No, my circumstances and relationships are not always what I want, but the “in Christ” allows me to say, “It is well with my soul.”