Category Archives: GUEST POSTS

Posts we share from other blogs, or other online sources

November 1: International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church

Next Sunday, November 1st, has been designated as “International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.”

I can’t implore you strongly enough to pray, every day, for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, around the world, who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. I urge you to include these men, women, and children, and their families and churches, as part of your daily prayers.
We must, every day, heed the words of Hebrews 13:3:
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

When we pray for those in prison for their faith, we must remember that the gospel came to us in letters written from jail.

Here’s a look at the facts, from The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

“Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide. An average of at least 180 Christians around the world are killed each month for their faith. (Source: Open Doors USA)
Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Christ. (Source: U.S. Department of State)
One of the worst countries in the world for the persecution of Christians is North Korea. With the exception of four official state-controlled churches in Pyongyang, Christians in North Korea face the risk of detention in the prison camps, severe torture and, in some cases, execution for practicing their religious beliefs. North Koreans suspected of having contact with South Korean or other foreign missionaries in China, and those caught in possession of a Bible, have been known to be executed. (Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
In 41 of the 50 worst nations for persecution, Christians are being persecuted by Islamic extremists. (Source: Open Doors).”

I’m going to share a couple of resources with you.
First, here is a video from “The Voice of the Martyrs” to promote this year’s International Prayer event. It is the true story of Pastor Pastor Suta. Please note that this is a true story, and parts of it are tough, but it will give a glimpse into just what our Christian Brothers and Sisters are facing, every day of their lives:

Next, here is a list of Scripture Verses, from “The Voice of the Martyrs,” entitled “Persecution in the Bible.” I put it in .pdf format, so you should be able to enlarge it, and print it for personal study:
Persecution in the Bible

Here’s the same list in .jpg format:

Persecution in the Bible
As we commit ourselves to pray, every day, for our persecuted Brothers and Sisters in Christ, to renew our goal and desire to “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity,” let us also remember the words of Pastor Suta, from the video:
“When you pray for the persecuted, please remember to also pray for those who persecute.”

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Guest Bible Study: Gregory Dickow: God’s “Will”

I have been enjoying Pastor Gregory Dickow’s latest “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, which is a series of individual Bible studies to help change the way we think, and the way we “view things.”
His first series was a “40 Day Fast From Wrong Thinking,” and, so far, this latest series is on “Day 95.” It has helped me a lot, and I have used this as part of my daily Bible study since its start. Really Good!

So, if it helps and blesses me, then I trust it will do the same for you.

I wanted to share this particular “day” with you, as it seems to go so well with our own short series, “Wealth Stored for the Righteous.” Basically, to be thankful for what you ALREADY HAVE!!!

At the end, I put a direct link, if you’d like to sign up. I love the way the study moves through, and includes promises and verses, from all over the Bible … so, it’s a great way to start the day …

1. Put first things first. God’s will is His Word. (Testament means will.) It’s not a mystery. If you left a will for your loved ones, it would focus on what you are doing for them, rather than what they need to do for you. FOCUS ON WHAT GOD HAS DONE. Read the will or the testament, as if it were listing what NOW belongs to you, since Jesus died and rose again (Hebrews 9:14–20.)

2. The will of God begins with a state of being, not a state of doing. Our focus should be on what God said we ARE and what God said we HAVE. Then that will produce what God wants us to DO. When you know you ARE what God says you are, and you HAVE what God says you have, then you will DO the will of God. The right decisions will be the by-product of the right thinking.

3. As you fill your heart up with the Word of God, He will lead you safely into His will! Psalm 119:9–11 says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not SIN against Thee.” Sin = missing the mark. You won’t MISS the will, or the mark, when you hide the Word in your heart!

4. The “will” of God is activated in our life through the giving of thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the WILL OF GOD for you, in Christ Jesus.” Notice, He doesn’t say, “Give thanks FOR everything,” but rather, “give thanks IN everything.” No matter what you are facing right now, the will of God is to give thanks IN the midst of it.

5. The will of God is bigger and broader than most people think. At a large airport, there are several runways that a plane can safely land on. Get rid of the mind-set that there’s only one runway, and you might miss it and crash! There are several runways in the will of God, and therefore many options that are equally acceptable to God, based on His Word.

THINK IT AND SAY IT
I am not going to miss God’s will for my life! His Word is His will, and I accept and embrace His Word as the cornerstone of my life.
I AM what God’s Word says I am, and I HAVE what God’s Word says I have. He will keep me in His Will, as I keep His Word in my heart.
I choose a life of thanks and praise, which puts me in the middle of God’s will AND brings God’s will into the middle of my situation, in Jesus’ Name!

Here’s a direct link to Gregory Dickow’s online ministry, and the “Fast From Wrong Thinking” Series:
What happens is this: If you sign up for the series, you will get an individual study for each day, to “attack/change” a certain mind-set. One of the things I like is that I get the series, and nothing more … when I view “today’s” lesson, it has the lesson only … and not a group of links … Please allow this study to help you!
Fast From Wrong Thinking Bible Study Series

Guest Post: Gregory Dickow on Healing and Prayer

We all know what it’s like to experience pain.
Whether it’s the physical pain of sickness or injury; the emotional pain of losing someone we love; the mental pain of anguish or anxiety or worry; the spiritual pain of losing our faith or being shipwrecked in our hope or being disappointed in a promise that doesn’t seem to be showing up in our lives; the pain of broken relationships … we have all experienced or are experiencing one of these pains today. Or you’ve witnessed this kind of pain in the lives of those that you come in contact with daily.

We live in a broken world and hurting world. But in all that pain and suffering:
God has an answer for every pain you’ve ever felt.
God has a solution, a remedy and a healing for every pain you’ve ever experienced! No one wants to keep hurting. Yet people try to deal with their suffering and pain without God’s help. We go to other sources, people and remedies, when it is God who wants to be our Healer, and only He that truly can.

He is Jehovah Rapha — the God who heals. He wants to be the One we look to. God says, “I am the Lord that heals you” (Exodus 15:26). This world is hurting. And when a person is hurting, they can hardly think of anything else. When we are hurting, we often bring pain to others.
The answer to your pain and hurting is to FIND the REMEDY in God’s TOUCH, in God’s HEALING, in what Jesus DID FOR YOU on The Cross.

He Himself bore our pain in His body and carried away our sicknesses and diseases. “By His stripes we were healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). He bore our pain and so He knows what it’s like to hurt. He felt every rejection you’ve ever felt. He felt every temptation you’ve ever felt. He felt every betrayal you’ve ever felt. And then He took your pain and mine and all of our pain combined and nailed it to the Cross. He was wounded for our transgressions, and by His stripes we were healed! Isn’t that amazing? We have a Savior that knows what you feel and experience.

He knows what it’s like to hurt.
He knows what it’s like to feel pain.
He knows what it’s like to be tempted.
He knows what it’s like to suffer.
He knows what it’s like to be betrayed.
He knows what it’s like to be despised and hated.
He knows what your pain feels like because He has felt it Himself.And He wants you to know that He took that pain and sorrow upon Himself. There’s no reason for you to BEAR IT when He HAS BORNE IT FOR YOU.

Now it’s time to feel what life is like beyond the pain.Are you ready to be healed and to be a healer?
Whenever you’re hurting, call on God.
Whenever you’re suffering, pray.
Whenever you feel down and out, ask for God’s help.
Whenever you feel defined by your past, let God redefine you.
Whenever you feel you’re going backwards, call on God to move ahead.
Whenever somebody has wronged you, forgive them.
Whenever somebody has hurt you, call on God to help you.
When you’ve caused hurt, call on God to heal you and those you’ve hurt.

David said, “I love the Lord because He hears my cry” in Psalm 116:1. One of the reasons why I love the Lord is because He hears me when I’m in pain. James 5:13 says “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” When you’re suffering, pray. When you feel pain, PRAY. Psalm 30:2:“O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” God HEARS and He HEALS.God does not want you to settle for the pain that He has already paid for by nailing His Son to the Cross. He has borne it for you. He wants to heal you of it.

Part of the blessing of God is for HIM to heal you; and then use you to bring healing to others who are hurting still. God wants you to
GIVE UP YOUR PAIN TO GOD, and ASK HIM TO LET YOU IMPACT OTHERS, with HIS HEALING HAND. We can’t remove the burdens of this broken world in our own ability. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to heal the pain. You can live beyond the pain! Today, ask the Lord to heal you; and give you the power bring healing to the hurting around you.
Ask God to Help You Stop Hurting and Start Healing TODAY.

Click on the link below to go directly to the Gregory Dickow Ministries Blog:

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Free Online Resource: Matthew Henry’s “A Method For Prayer”

I was recently contacted by Steve Kindorf, who has published a newly transcribed version of Matthew Henry’s “A Method For Prayer”from the classic 1710 edition, with modernized spelling, with all the cross references from Matthew Henry’s original prayerbook included.

Newly typed with poetic formatting of the classics, this is free to all. With added devotional prayers and Bible helps, a Glossary of 2400 words of the KJV, a collection of prayers to Jesus Christ, called My Affection, Psalm 119 written in poetic form, and a daily Bible reading plan. A free audio book for “A Method for Prayer” is also available at the same website.

The book is available in pdf format, or can be downloaded for free to your devices, such as Kindle and Nook.

Here is a direct link to the website, where all the formats are available:

Matthew Henry-A Method For Prayer

Quote from Kate Bortell

As we meditate on the amazing, finished work Jesus accomplished, for us, on the cross, here is a quote from Kate Bortell, confirming that, if we are good enough for Him … that’s good enough.

Kate states one of the best lines I’ve ever heard:
“He cleaned up our act.  
With a huge broom in the shape of a cross.”

Addressing “The Address”

It started, innocently enough, when we played a video, shown before the Super Bowl, featuring the reading of the Declaration of Independence … then, we thought about the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Preamble … the Gettysburg Address … Anyway … the idea was, how often do we see, hear, or read these great documents, from which our nation, and, yes, our way of life, sprang?
I can remember, not that long ago, when, in school, we always had to memorize the Declaration (or at least parts of it), the Preamble to the Constitution … and, the Gettysburg Address, for example.
What about now?

Then, from “out of the blue,” I received an email from a friend at New Hampshire Public Television:
Guess what?
From “out of nowhere,” a new movement has started … begun by master film-maker Ken Burns.
The national effort is to get as many citizens as possible to memorize, and recite, the Gettysburg Address. The movement sprang from a film which Mr. Burns was putting together, highlighting the efforts of a group of students at a small school in Putney, Vermont.

Here is a statement from New Hampshire Public Television:
“To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, filmmaker Ken Burns, NHPTV, PBS and other organizations have launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America, especially students, to record their recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech.”

The goal is have as many citizens as possible, record their recitation of The Address, and then upload it to YouTube.

To support the effort, we are putting the link, which will take you directly to the NHPTV website’s “Learn the Address New Hampshire,” where you will find information about the national effort, notes about the Address itself, and info about Ken Burns’ new film. You’ll be able to view a wide variety of individuals, from both the public and private sector, who have accepted the challenge, and recorded/uploaded their own recitation of “The Address.”

I encourage you to enjoy this unique and uplifting opportunity … and, there will also be a link to where you can download your own copy of The Gettysburg Address.

Blessings,
R.V.R.
Here’s the direct link:
Link to NHPTV Home Page for “The Address”

Shared Email Stories: THE STORY OF “BEAUTIFUL SNOW”

In the early part of the Civil War, one dark Saturday morning in the middle of winter, a young woman, 22 years old, died at the Commercial Hospital, in Cincinnati, Ohio. This young woman had once been beautiful, and the pride and joy of highly regarded parents. She was highly educated and accomplished, and she would have been a shining star in the best of society. But, she was stubborn and willful, and would not listen to warning. She played with fire, and called it “fun.” One day, she awoke to find herself ruined by a fatal mistake which she could not erase. She was fallen.

She spent the rest of her young life in disgrace and shame, and died poor and friendless, a broken-hearted outcast. Among her personal belongings, was found the hand written poem, “Beautiful Snow.” The poem was immediately taken to Mr. Enos B. Reed, who was editor of the newspaper, “The National Union.” On the Sunday morning following the young woman’s death, the poem appeared in print for the first time, within the columns of that newspaper. One of the readers of that newspaper was Thomas Buchanan Reed, who was one of the first nationally recognized American poets. Mr. Reed was so stirred by the anguish, despair, and tragedy of the poem, that he sought out where the young ladies’ remains were taken, and he accompanied the body to its final resting place.  

“Beautiful Snow”

Oh! The snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet.
Dancing-Flirting-Skimming along,
Beautiful snow, it can do no wrong.
Clinging to lips in frolicsome freak,
Trying to kiss a fair lady’s cheek,
Beautiful snow from heaven above,
Pure as an angel, gentle as love.

Oh! The snow, the beautiful snow,
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go,
Whirling about in maddening fun,
Cheering the heart and dispelling the gloom.
Chasing-Laughing-Hurrying by,
It lightens the face and sparkles the eye.
And the dogs with a bark and a bound,
Snap at the crystals as they eddy around;
The town is alive and its heart in a glow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow!

How wild the crowd goes swaying along,
Hailing each other with humor and song,
How gay the sleighs, like meteors flash by,
Bright for a moment, then lost to the eye;
Ringing-Swinging-Dashing they go,
Over the crest of the beautiful snow,
Snow so pure when it falls from the sky,
As to make one regret to see it lie,
To be trampled and tracted by thousands of feet,
‘Till it blends with the horrible filth of the street,

Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell,
Fell like the snowflakes from heaven to hell:
Fell to be trampled as filth of the street,
Fell to be scoffed at, to be spit on and beat.
Pleading-Cursing-Dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy,
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
Merciful God! Have I fallen so low?
And yet I was once like the beautiful snow,

Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like a crystal, a heart like its glow,
Once I was loved for my innocent grace,
Flattered and sought for the charms of my face,
Father-Mother-Sisters-All,
God and myself I have lost by my fall.
The vilest wretch that goes shivering by,
Will make a wide sweep lest I wander too nigh;

For all that is on or above me, I know,
There is nothing so pure as the beautiful snow.

How strange it should be that this beautiful snow,
Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go!
How strange it should be when the night comes again;
If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain.
Fainting-Freezing-Dying alone,
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for a moan,
To be heard in the streets of the crazy town,
Gone mad in the joy of the snow coming down!
To be and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow.

Helpless and foul as the trampled snow,
Sinner, despair not, Christ stoopeth low,
To rescue the soul that is lost in sin,
And raise it to life and enjoyment again.
Groaning-Bleeding-Dying for thee,
The Crucified hung on the cursed tree,
His accents of mercy fall soft on thine ear,
“Is there mercy for me? Will He heed my weak prayer?”
O God!  in the stream that for sinners did flow,
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Story and poem taken from:
GOSPEL TRACT SOCIETY, Inc.
Independence, MO