Tag Archives: Christian life

The Power of “Posts:” Part Four

Hi Friends:

I guess it’s about time to share the original idea behind what has turned into this short series.

The original idea, and original post, was scheduled to be written in time for the New Year’s holiday. It was to only be one “post,”
what I am sharing now … but, as you know … things change when confronted with the keyboard … and the words begin to flow …

Regardless of the time of year, I only hope to be an instrument used to share what I am given, for that particular time … even if I didn’t know I was to share it … which, so often, results in the expansion of one “post,” as now, into multiple “posts.” I hope to continue to be sensitive to what God wants me to share … even if … even if … that over-rides my own, original idea …

So, anyway, it was the end of last year, 2016. I found a great “verse” at the very end of the year … at the very back of the calendar … which, I thought would make a wonderful verse to share with you. A great message to share with you, as we approach the New Year.
Well … today is the 1st day of March … so, maybe, I’m not so far behind …

The verses and quotes on my own calendar, as I’ve written, have meant so much to me, as I go through each month. So often, the verse or quote has helped me, and encouraged me, many times, many days, over that particular month. I still encourage you to give these types of calendars as gifts … You just never know … who is reading them … and, who will read them …

As I’ve written, my new calendar has already blessed me this year. Which reminds me, as I look up at the calendar, it still says February. Guess it’s time to “turn the page.” But, not before one more glimpse of that beautiful Mountain Scene … big, snow-covered mountains in the background …
and, yes, of course … the lake in front … with the mountains perfectly reflected in the lake … (Don’t you love that!!!) …

It’s now on to March … and, guess what? There’s a beautiful mountain scene, with a lake in the forefront … but, no reflection … Why? Because the lake has ripples … knocking out the mirror … because … of the waterfall … on the right side of the picture … I agree … next to the ‘ol “mountains reflected in the lake” scene … I’d have to say a waterfall in the picture is right up there with the “mirror lake” in popularity on these scenes …
I’m glad, because I love them, too.
I now “steal” a glance at the Scripture verse, from Psalms 145:9:
“The Lord is good to all:
And His tender mercies are over all His works.”
That’s a good one!
Oh, man! Another dentist appointment on the 16th!

I’m so glad His works include mountains, lakes, and waterfalls!
He made ‘em all, you know.
By His Word.
That’s awesome. I’m glad I have all four (mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and His Word) on display in my home … every day.
For all to see.
Because … you never know … who may see …

Now, “Back to the Back.” The verse, on the back of the calendar, which my original intention was to share with you, is printed on the cardboard backing of the calendar. I wonder how many people have thrown out this calendar without reading what was written on the cardboard backing. You know I can’t be guilty of this … because … here it is … March 1 … and I still have the calendar in front of me.

The calendar was published/printed by the “DaySpring” Company, one of the leading Christian retail businesses. As a courtesy, I will share a link to their online store. Again, I hope that everyone who purchased this calendar, or, as I, received this calendar as a gift, read the verse/message, written there on the cardboard backing of the calendar.
Here is a direct link to DaySpring:
DaySpring

Quoting directly from the calendar backing:
“Here is a message written by DaySpring co-founder, Roy Lessin.
We hope it will encourage you today.”

When I read the verse/message, I knew I had to share it with you … “immediately” …
The great thing about “Good News” is that … it is Good … and, can be shared any time of the year. After all, I pray God’s blessings on
you, and your family, for every day of the year … not just at certain times …

Here’s the Message, quoted directly from the cardboard backing of this DaySpring 2016 Calendar, as written by Roy Lessin:

Just think,
You’re here not by chance,
But by God’s choosing.
His hand formed you
And made you
The person you are.
He compares you to no one else-
You are one of a kind.
You lack nothing
That His grace can’t give you.
He has allowed you to be here
At this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose
for this generation.”

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
ECCLESIASTES 3:1

Yes, the cardboard backing ends with the Scripture verse from Ecclesiastes.

I encourage you to read, and re-read, this message.
Now, and always.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Today. And, every day.
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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So Thankful: Yet, so Failing, so Often, to “Get the Word Out”

Hi Friends:

So often, we think, and write, about how thankful we are for the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Blessings we enjoy every day. Every day.

And, that, so many of the blessings we enjoy here in the United States are a direct result of … just where we live … in the United States.

Especially in this past year, God has really placed it on my heart to learn about, and to pray for, our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, around the world, who, simply, just don’t have these freedoms and blessings we so easily take for granted “over here.” And, I mean the basest, the most elemental things we take for granted. Like this word “freedom” we so easily toss around, not realizing how “strange/foreign” this word is, to so many.

Let’s not forget-ever-why we have these freedoms … the sacrifices made, and being made, in order for us to, just, “be free.”
But, let us also not forget those who don’t enjoy these freedoms. Just because of their belief, they are persecuted. Yes, we may all have an idea of what “persecution” is … but, I’ll admit … I don’t … I don’t know what it’s like to live in constant danger, every day … just because I am a Christian. Just because I am a Christian. I don’t pray enough … I don’t give enough … I don’t think enough … about my Brothers and Sisters in Christ … who, plain and simple … may not live to see tomorrow … just because “word has gotten out” that they are a Christian.

This makes me think about the way I act. The way I talk. The things I do. Based on my actions … my actions alone … Has “word gotten out” that I am a Christian?

Based on what others see in me … will they report that I am a Christian? Yes, I’ve heard the question, and it’s still a good one:
“If I was on trial for being a Christian … would there be enough proof to convict me?”

Funny … just thinking about that … I already feel “convicted,” but in a different way.

The thought occurs to me now that, if I truly am a Christian, one of the things I must do, I have to do … I must be compelled to do … is to “remember those in bonds, as if I were there with them.”

Let me say again, that, if I really am “what I say I am,” I must not forget to pray, every day, for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. These are men, women, and children … yes, so many children … who, while inside, they know what “being free” really is … do not know what “freedom” in their world, outside, looks or feels like. Every day brings new challenges, just to stay alive. They’ve had to move, or be moved, relocated … because they “refused to move.” Men, women, and children … murdered … yes, murdered … just because “word got out” they chose to follow Christ.

I’m writing this on Black Friday. I won’t go out. I think about what others are thinking about today. Maybe “praying” for a good parking spot. Maybe “praying” they won’t run out of money.

I’d like to just think today about those whose time has “run out” because “word got out” that they were the “real deal.”
The “real deal.”
What a thought for this weekend. A “real deal.”

Let me write again: As a professing Christian, has “word gotten out” that we, yes I, that we, are “the real deal?”

If they begin to round up the “real Christians,” would my name be on the list?

I just walked onto the front deck. I live out of “town,” in what’s called the “Swedish Village.” It was quiet, as a looked around, through the falling snow (yes, we’ve got snow on the ground), and
it was so peaceful. Passing in front of me, walking down the street, no cares in the world, was a deer. He looked so peaceful. Just strolling down the street, a deer walking down the road of a quiet, peaceful village. I thought about so many of our Brothers and Sisters, whose village has been decimated, whose village is no longer a “village,” but a war zone. I didn’t have to worry about ducking down, afraid I’d be seen. I didn’t worry about binoculars focused on me … following my every move. I didn’t have to worry about neighbors, watching … watching … waiting for an opportunity to “strike.” Watching, and reporting, my every move. That deer … strolling down the street … without fear …

Well, I sat down to write something totally different.

Let’s remember those whose lives are so “totally different” from ours. Who can’t just walk outside, without danger. I pray that, while our lives, and circumstances, are totally different, our faith won’t be different.

Let’s pray that our faith won’t be different.

Let’s remember that we have others to think about. To pray about. And, to support.

While this freedom we enjoy gives us the chance to act, and live, pretty much any way we want, we have the freedom, and I’ll say it … we have the freedom to live any lifestyle we choose, even lifestyles that, not so long ago were abhorred, not glorified … included in that freedom is to “get the word out,” and the freedom for “the word being gotten out” about us.

When Jesus returns (and He will), I don’t want to be “left out.”
Lord, please help me to “get the word out.”
To be “one of the ones” about whom “the word has gotten out.”

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 10

If there has been a common thread which continues to run throughout this series, it would be this statement from Hebrews 13:5: “Be content with what you have.”
God gives us a little to see how we handle it. How we handle it will determine if He gives us more. In other words, He gives us a little, so see what we would do if He gave us a lot.

Another common thread is the discussion of how important it is, how we “handle things.” Perhaps the most important characteristic we show to the world is “how we handle things.” Good things. Bad things. Honestly, I don’t know which circumstance reveals our character more: When we have less than we need … Or, when we have more than we need. When all is said and done … how people will remember us … will be largely based upon two things: How we “handled things,” and how we treated others. This is because both of these characteristics will be based upon how we mirror, or not-the image of Christ. How His influence … influenced us …. or, whether we allowed “others” (this can be both people and things) to influence us.

I guess it really is just a simple matter, this “influence,” of what you allow to control you. One of the great quotes I’ve ever heard is from my Pastor in Georgia:
“What you attach yourself to, you become a part of.”
It is, simply put, just a matter of control.
What we allow to influence us has the power … great power … to control us.

We try to write as much about how important it is how we act when things are going well, as when things are not going well. Especially, when true heartache is involved. Again, I can honestly say, from a Christian life standpoint, I’m not sure which is a harder test: Success or poverty. There are many quotes I could use, but the one from Dr. David Jeremiah I still love, how it is circumstances which reveal, not change, character. Or, from Dr. Martin Luther King, about how the true test of a man’s character is not when he is on the mountaintop, but when he is in the deep valley. Both valid. Both powerful. Both true.

I must say this: It is just a matter of control. Of who, or what, we allow to influence us. When we were kids, and boy this made us mad more often than not … our parents would always try to warn us about friends we had, people we were hanging out with … we hated that … and, let’s be honest, often we felt hate toward them (even though we didn’t really understand “hate” at the time) for trying to keep us away from who or what they thought would be a bad influence on us.
I wonder why that was?
Why did our parents, and sometimes our friends, and sometimes our teachers, try to warn us about what would happen if we continued to “hang out” with certain people? Or, try to stop us from doing certain things?
Why was that?

Has the principle behind such a warning changed? Have bad influences suddenly become ok for us to be around? Oh, yeah … I forgot … we are “all grown up now,” so we can’t be influenced by people or things anymore …

I just came in from outside, checking on a flower garden. We have been so busy this summer with work going on around the house, that, especially with equipment all around the house and yard, we haven’t mowed the grass in a month. I examined a new flower garden which I started earlier this summer, before the work began. If I don’t act right away … and yank those weeds out of the garden … get them out of there, away from the flowers … those weeds will take over the whole garden! Just the weeds being there, right now, have already hindered the growth of some really beautiful flowers … if I don’t act fast … and the bad weeds are already starting to influence the young, impressionable flowers … if I don’t act fast … if I don’t remove those weeds … if I don’t get them away from the flowers … if I don’t remove the weeds from the flowers … the weeds will take over … completely … the weeds will take over … will take complete control of the flowers … will take complete control of the garden … the flowers, with all their potential of being so beautiful … so beautiful, so lovely … will be destroyed … And, in so doing, the weeds will destroy the entire garden …

I “hate” to tell you this … but, I must: The weeds won’t mind a bit that the garden is destroyed. In fact … yes … even though God created the weeds, too … In fact … it seems that the entire reason for the existence of the weeds … is to “take over” …

Funny … as with so many things … we see it and warn our children … we see it and “yank out those weeds” in the garden … yet … now that we are “all grown up,” we can’t see it in our adult lives …

As a side note, some of the flowers in the “new garden” were transplanted, full grown, from an area which was overtaken by grass, trees, and weeds. They did well, even there, but I wanted them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, so I “got them out of there” and put them in a special, newly cultivated area. They were even blooming at the time, and they never lost their blooms … they transplanted so well … what a great spot for them now! However … since I haven’t taken the time, in a while, to “weed” their new surroundings … even though they were strong, beautiful, full-grown flowers … if I don’t get those weeds away from them … as strong … as beautiful … as full-grown as they are … they won’t last much longer … not as long as those weeds are allowed to influence them … and, their environment.

I think there is a lesson in there, somewhere!
Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? And … that goes for the older, well established garden, too!
I weeded it early … but, not often … and, even though it is an old, well-established, vibrant, “growing wildly” flower garden … making it through a few cold, snow-filled winters … if I don’t “yank those weeds” out of its environment, we all know what will happen to it, as well.

Please note that both of these gardens, both young and old … are facing this new “enemy,” well capable of their destruction … during the summer … during the days of sunshine, when the sun is at its brightest …

Which further confirms my question of whether it is more difficult during bleak times … or sunny times?

I guess it just depends on what or who (and if I don’t get out there, that will be me) is allowed to influence their environment …

Remember that, sometimes, the greatest action, the action which results in, causes, and influences the most action … is inaction.

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 9

While our eternal reward/wealth is currently being stored for us in the Heavenly realm, there is absolutely no reason we can’t enjoy God’s favor and blessing-in everything we do-right now, today. I love to read about Joseph, and how those around him, who, if you think about it … weren’t believers … yet, they recognized the fact that God was with him, and it was God who allowed all Joseph did to prosper …

We are all in the middle of “something,” be it job, financial, or personal related. And, to be successful, we need-we must have- God’s favor. I think of Daniel. Simply put, here is the reason for Daniel’s great success: “Now God had brought Daniel into favor” (Daniel 1:9). We all know Daniel prayed, and read the Scriptures … there’s that “pray and read your Bible” example again … But, what about those around him? Were they aware of Daniel’s devotion to God? Remember that it would be Daniel’s faithfulness to prayer which his enemies would use to trap him … which led Daniel to be thrown into the den of lions … Another reminder that if you are the “real deal,” those around you will know it. Period. Yes, they may use it against you, but what kind of “Christian ammunition” are you giving those around you?

So … can you be in government … and be a Christian? Can you be in government and allow those around you to know of your faith? This may appear to be a tough question (which is unfortunate), or even a “trick question.” Yet, think of the two men we have mentioned, in this writing, from history: Joseph and Daniel. Joseph became second-in-command-next to the Pharaoh himself, of the most powerful nation on earth. What about Daniel? After Daniel had interpreted the dream of the great King Nebuchadnezzar (which Daniel had volunteered to do), here’s what the King had to say to Daniel:
“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldst reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon …”

It is interesting that in both cases (Joseph and Daniel), it was the interpretation of dreams which God used to have these men promoted. And, both men served governments in a foreign land. What was constant in both men’s lives is that regardless of the fact that they lived in what would be considered “godless” times, serving under what would be considered “godless” governments, serving what would be considered a “godless” overall population, both serving in the most difficult of national circumstance … those in power and authority recognized their faith … and recognized from Whom each received their wisdom and knowledge from …

So, if you are the “real deal” … or not … those around you will know.
Period.
One of the greatest statements I’ve ever heard is from Pastor David Jeremiah:
“Circumstances don’t change character. They reveal character.”

So, let’s talk about promotion.
It’s true: If you will just work hard, be honest, show up every day, and not cause trouble, you can’t hide. “They” will notice you. I often say this about work: Isn’t it true that, when you are brand new at a job, it only takes a couple of days to figure out who works and who doesn’t. Who you can trust and who you can’t. Who is committed and who is not. Etc.

Make no mistake about it: Your talents and abilities come directly from the Lord. And, so do your promotions. Psalms 75:6-7 says it best: “For promotion (exaltation) cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up (exalts) another.” Yes, I do have that written on a card!

Here’s what Paul said about work, in Colossians 3: 23-24: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

Two words, then four:
Trust God. He can be trusted.

Pray for wisdom. Read the Bible.
Done.

Read God’s promises. And … believe them … because they are true. Lay hold on the hope which you have because of God’s promises … which can not, and will not, fail.
God’s Word is His counsel. Believe, and trust in, His counsel:
“Wherein God, willing (determining) more abundantly to show the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel … That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation … to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast …”

Yes, life can be so tough … but, it didn’t just start being tough. It’s always been difficult, and yes, sometimes it seems, things appear to get worse the more we try to live by faith … Consider, however, that we weren’t as “open for attack” before we became a Christian. I used to say this about someone bragging about not ever being bothered:
“Satan never bothers me!”
My response: “Maybe that’s because you never bother him!”

The reason it is so important to “live out” your faith is because you never know who is watching you … but, rest assured … they are. In fact, it is safe to say, especially when you get hit with trouble or difficult circumstances or a tragedy … that it’s “all eyes on you!” Everyone will be waiting … watching … to see how you handle it! Maybe many of them (even unbelievers who recognize what you have) have come to you for advice … now … they will be watching to see what you do … how you act … how you react …
To “witness” if you are the “real deal,” after all.
Or not.
These are the times you can be the greatest witness of all.

Yeah … but do I have to let other people-especially at work (!!!) know that I am a Christian?
The best way I can answer that is this:
They’ll know.
Whether you are.
Or, whether you are not.

The two examples, Joseph and Daniel, were the same … at work, or not.
And, everyone knew it.
Period.

Paul put it this way:
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor (fragrance) of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of (the fragrance of) Christ, in (among) them that are saved, and in (among) them that perish”
(2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

That settles it! Everywhere we go, through Christ, we will triumph, as well as show forth the reason why … Everywhere we go … among those who are saved, and those who aren’t …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
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Victory Over Depression-Part Two

Hi Friends:

Please allow me to reiterate that, in-or out-of ministry, you will never look into the eyes of someone who has not suffered great pain. And, we all get depressed sometimes. I am constantly reminded of what a Pastor once told me: “You would be surprised to learn how many Pastors suffer from depression.” Yes, we would be surprised … yet … don’t we sometimes forget that Pastors … that all church leaders … are “people,” too.

In our business, we are honored to serve many Pastors, and other church leaders, with personalized plaques. One thing that the Lord revealed to me about the poem “Why, Pastor, Why,” or any plaque we send to honor a specific Pastor or church leader: We never know where they may be, with their relationship with God, or their congregation. I was reminded of the importance of “honoring those who honor Him.” We never know what that particular person may be going through. And, that the plaque we are sending to them may be the difference … may be just the “spark” they need to make a difference in how they view their calling … and, their flock … We try to pray over every plaque we send … to pray for the person being honored … and, for the person-or group-which are honoring them.

These same thoughts carry the same weight in dealing with those who aren’t in church leadership. Let us never forget that those around us, whether they are showing it or not, are going through their own battles. And, yes, a small percentage of those people may, at some point, come to us for advice. I pray every day that people will see Jesus in me. Every day. To me, that’s the most important thing about what I may or may not do, in a given day. And, especially when someone comes to me with a personal problem, something they are having trouble with (and, let’s face it, often the problem is with “someone” they are having trouble with), I want to be sure the Spirit gives me exactly the right thing to say. And, here goes … If I can’t say the right thing, Lord … please help me to not say anything!

So, we all face depression of one degree or another. It’s just part of being a human being. But, it’s how we deal with these negative feelings that makes the difference. Yes, I get depressed, sometimes. We all do. It’s just “part of it.” The difference is how we allow these negative feelings to affect us. So, I’d like to help you with a couple of thoughts about what to do when these “feelings” try to take over. The phrase “take over” is critical here. If we allow any thought or feeling to take over our mind … that’s just what it will do. It will “take over” every part of our thoughts … leading to taking over every part of our actions.

First … Please … Please … Please …
Talk to Jesus.
Period.

If you don’t do this … and, I hate to tell you this, but I must:
If you don’t “tell it to Jesus,” don’t go to Him first … you are already on losing ground. I know that’s hard, but it’s true. The key over everything-and certainly including depression-is … your relationship with Jesus. And, I’ll say it again … How can you have a relationship with someone you don’t talk to? And … how can you trust someone you don’t know? And, again, how important is it for you to start each day with Prayer and Bible study? So, first talk to Jesus.

One of my favorite verses is always “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Just knowing that we can go directly to God’s throne should be a major comfort to us:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
How about this one: “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear …” (Hebrews 13:6). So, go to Jesus first.

Should I talk to others about my issues? Now … that’s a loaded question. There is the old saying that “misery loves company.” The reason that’s an old saying is because it is still true. Be careful who you go to for advice. Period. You should, and it is Scriptural, seek counsel: “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5). Notice how early this verse comes in “the book of Wisdom.” In fact, how about this: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Please ask God to lead you to the right person to speak to, and God will make that happen. Please, though, and we’ve all done this … Please don’t pick someone out to talk to, just because they will agree with you … Go to someone who will tell you the truth … even if it hurts to hear what you may have to do … If God sends you to someone, there is a reason … so, hear this verse from Proverbs 12:15: “he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”
Just be sure of the source! Again, please be careful who you speak with! God is not the only one who is capable of sending someone to speak with/influence you! That had to be said!

Solomon is considered the wisest man who ever lived. We’ve all read his words. Yet … here we are, some 3,000 years later, and we are still struggling with the exact same things, the same questions, which he had. Remember that Solomon changed over time … Why? How? One of the main reasons Solomon changed was because of who he allowed to influence him: His friends, his associates, yes, his wives-and his wives’ families … So, I just can’t say enough how important it is … who you “hang with” … who your friends are … who you allow to influence you …

It’s all about relationships, isn’t it? If it’s one thing that has “gotten me down” over the years, it has been relationships, and especially who I allowed to influence me. On the other hand … and I write this to encourage you … it there’s one thing that has changed my way of thinking … helped me “come out of it” over the years, it has been those positive influences in my life …

I’m going to say this, and it’s a tough, tough, thing, but it is true and tested:
You just can’t have enough positive influences in your life. And, not just people. Read … expose yourself to positive stories … stories which will encourage and inspire you …
On the other hand (here’s the tough, but must be said part):
It can take only one “bad” influence to bring all of the dominoes down.
So, put your relationship with Jesus at the top of the list.
He will supply the rest of the list for you.

One more verse which helps me so much:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

There is another verse which I feel led to share with you … a verse I shout over … which encourages me so much … It is from Isaiah … Wait! Let’s read this one first:
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am they God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). Now, here’s the verse which takes so much fear away: “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee” (Isaiah 54:14). Yes! That says that even “terror shall not come near me!”

God’s Word is so good! So true! And … so necessary!
Hope this helps!

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

PS: Here’s the link to our first entry on “Victory Over Depression”
Victory Over Depression
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Your Day: “End” the Same as You “Begin”

I came across a couple of poems written by Author/Poet Catherine Janssen Irwin, which fit in perfectly with our post on encouragement to “Begin the Day” properly.
I should also add that the best way to end your day is the same as beginning the day:
To pray.
Night and day.

I believe the best time to read is before you go to sleep. It goes deeper than the fact that one of the things that all successful people have in common is that they read before they go to sleep. And, of course, the very best thing to read at “bedtime” is God’s Word. There’s just nothing better, to guarantee a great night’s sleep, than to read the Bible, and pray. There is just something so relaxing, so peaceful to your spirit, than hearing from God before you sleep. It also gives you the ideal opportunity to “review” the day, praising God for His help throughout the day, and gives you the opportunity to ask for help in specific circumstances.

I can guarantee that as you read His Word, the peace that will set in will make you sleepy. And, I can also guarantee that if you’ll just speak with Jesus, talk to Him, you will drift off to the most restful sleep. Your dreams will be much better, too!

So, please be blessed by these two poems, and the hope which they convey.

Boundless Courage

I had to find the courage
To see me through the day,
And so I knelt in silence
And began to softly pray.

I felt his strength come flowing
As my Saviour did his part
To grant me boundless courage
That would live within my heart.
This courage has sustained me
Through trials of pain and sorrow.
And I can trust, believing
He will see me through tomorrow
Catherine Janssen Irwin

He’s standing at the threshold of every bright new day,
waiting to be noticed, as you go your busy way.
He’ll guide you past the rough spots, and His blessings will impart,
just follow where He leads you, as you hold Him to your heart.
When your busy day is over and the shades of night appear,
you can trust that while you’re sleeping,
His love will still be near.
Catherine Janssen Irwin
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Before You Get Success, You Must Get This-Part One

God’s Word is so wonderful, so awesome … and, so necessary. 

Every day.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to make a point to spend time every day, reading God’s Word, and praying/speaking to Him. For me, the best time is first thing in the morning. There is just no better way to start you day (hey, that’s a great rhyme!) than to read God’s Word and pray.

Young Christians often ask me what the first book in the Bible I would recommend for them to read. Usually, I will say the book of John, and then move on to the other Gospels. The reason why is simple: First, you must know Jesus. He is the only One who can save you, and keep you. Period. So, get to know Him first and foremost. Learn what you are in Him, through Him, and because of Him. I try to pray every day that I would see other people the way He does. And, that I would see myself the way that He does. But, first, you must know Him, and the best way to do that is to read His Word. Read about Him first … and, then, He will lead you into the next phase of your study.

Every book of the Bible has its own great reasons for spending time to study. For example, I would have never imagined that the book of Haggai was so deep in meaning for all of us today. I would have also never thought that I would get so many lessons from just those 2 chapters, but that is how God’s Word is. I had read the book of Haggai many times (as part of reading through the Bible), but, it was only when God directed me to study the book, next, that I discovered how rich the book is. It is because God revealed so much to me, and He wanted to reveal all these things to me, to help me in my own walk with Him.

It is so hard, if not impossible, to have a relationship with someone you don’t know. And, how can you possibly have a relationship with someone you don’t talk with? And, if you do all of the talking, how will you, how can you, know what is on the other person’s mind? And, if you don’t listen, how can the other person really know that you are interested in them?

God will reveal Himself to you through His Word, and then in the time which you spend talking, and listening to Him. How hard is it to have a good, meaningful conversation with someone, in the middle of a loud, busy restaurant, or other loud place, full of distractions? This is why it is so important for you to get somewhere alone, away from the crowd, away from distractions, and spend quiet time, alone, with God. Reading His Word, and listening. How many times have we seen a couple, maybe just getting to know each other, and they are in a crowded restaurant, or train station, or shopping mall …. and, one will say to the other, “Let’s go somewhere quiet where we can talk.” Jesus, who wants a personal, intimate relationship with you-more than anyone else-also wants to “go to a quiet place with you so that we can talk.” He speaks though His Word, and He speaks to us, gently, yes quietly, as we spend time with Him in prayer.

As you read and study God’s Word, He will direct you to “where you should go next.”

There are times in our lives, when we are going through the toughest times, when we’ll be directed to certain passages in the Bible. We’ve all been there. When I was going through the toughest part of my life, for reasons I can’t explain, God led me to 1st and 2nd Peter. Then, He led me to the book of Isaiah. To this day, when I read something in the book of Isaiah, I get a certain “feeling” which I can’t explain. It’s just that that book, Isaiah, meant so much to me. A book which I didn’t understand at all … until God led me to it, and revealed things to me as I read. Things which I would not have known, or understood, unless I had read this book. Most of all, things I learned about Him by reading the book. And, that is always the idea.
Always.

There are so many books in the Bible I’ve read, during study or preparation, which I have gone back and read-after God directed me to them again … this time, to go back and read for His purpose. Often, and you know this is true: You can study, in preparation, a passage or entire book of Scripture, and yes, God will reveal much to you. But, when He leads you back to that very same book-for His purpose, His preparation of you, it’s like you are reading the book for the very first time. And, the more you read and study, the more God will lead you to something else. And, that’s when you get so much more out of your study.

I also love the Psalms, which was my Mom’s favorite book. Like so many, who have followed the Lord for years, the book of Psalms holds such a special place for us, as we return again and again to those pages and verses which have helped us all during our toughest, most trying times.

Anyway, there are so many books, and, so many in the Old Testament, which I love so dearly, and each time I return, it’s like I’ve never read them. For instance, how often we may forget just how great a book Deuteronomy is. Or, how about the story of Joseph? Of Median?
Are there any better first chapters in the Bible than the first chapters of Daniel? Please understand my meaning … I’m not putting one book over the other. The four Gospels, I believe, stand alone. Yet, in their own way … all of the books in the Bible stand alone. That is one of the great things about the Bible. Each time you read something you haven’t read in a long time, it’s like reading it all over again.

Would you believe that I began this writing to speak about the book of Proverbs, and something which God revealed to me this morning? Once again, God took over, wanting me to share this with you. So, I’ll make this Part 1, and try to get to Proverbs next time.
God is so good.

So, to have a successful day, first read God’s Word, and then you pray.
Still like that rhyme!

Blessings,
R.V.R.
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