Weekly Spiritual Readings

August 26, 2016



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Christ is not only a remedy for your weariness and trouble, but He will give you an abundance of the contrary: joy and delight.  -- Jonathan Edwards

Wherever we are, wherever we go, God is there. Those whom God sets free are free indeed!

God is always ready to welcome us.

When we draw on God’s grace day by day and allow God to heal our wounded soul, life will go on, and God will always be there for us.

The Holy Spirit can transform the way we experience God, inviting us into a personal relationship with our Creator.

Life’s struggles are unavoidable. But when we stay close to Jesus in all circumstances, we will be safe.

We will all encounter change in our lives. We know that uneasiness, confusion, and fear are often part of that. Whether change comes in our churches, families, work, or relationships, we can know that Christ always walks with us through these changes. We are never abandoned; we are never alone. Changes we encounter can deepen our spiritual lives as we rely more fully on Christ.

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May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
One day, back when I was in university, my professor projected an image of a small black dot in the middle of a very big white screen. He asked us, “What do you see?” Every student immediately responded to his question, “A black dot.” He paused, and then asked again, “What do you see?” When we gave the same reply, he told us that he saw a huge white space. While we saw a small black dot, he saw something far bigger.
It had been there all along, but each one of us had missed it. We see what our eyes are trained to see, and it takes effort and time to train them otherwise. How often do we focus on the small things in life instead of the big God that we serve? We can have twenty great things happening in our lives, but when one thing does not go right, we lose sight of the twenty and focus on the one little black dot. We must decide to make God bigger than anything else in our lives. The more we focus on Him, the smaller the dots will become. -- 30 Days To Greater Faith Devotional

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THE LESSON OF THE COFFEE BEAN Author Unknown
A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were for her."As soon as I solve one problem," she said, "another one comes up. I'm tired of struggling."
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second, eggs, and in the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After a while, he went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. He poured the coffee into a bowl. Turning to her he asked, "Darling, what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor.
She asked, "What does it mean, Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water, they changed the water.
He asked his daughter, "When adversity knocks on your door, which are you?"
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)

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Stargazing: Who's In Control? from Devotions from the Front Porch
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. — Psalm 19:1 ESV
If you only study your immediate surroundings, it may seem that you’re in control of your life. You pay your bills and care for your family. You maintain the lawn and protect your home. If something needs to be done, you do it. If something is broken, you fix it. So when sitting on your front porch on a random Tuesday afternoon, you may feel like the ruler of your little corner of the world.
Or perhaps when you look around, you feel as though you aren’t in control at all. Your world may seem to be spinning out of control because of illness, job loss, or family drama. It could be that fear and anxiety have crept in until you’ve completely lost perspective. You may sit on your front porch on a random Tuesday afternoon and wonder who is in control of your little corner of the world.
If you sit on that same porch late at night, however, the truth is revealed. When the distractions and noise of the day are done and the silent night settles in, you have a chance to be still.
Just a few minutes of studying the night sky will make you realize how very small you are in the grand scheme of things and that you are not in control.
None of us is. Perhaps, at first, that’s scary or overwhelming. But if you gaze a little longer, the hand of the Creator becomes evident. The glory of God is declared through the shining of the stars.
So, whether you’re feeling overly confident or a little insecure about your place in the world, take a look at the night sky. Stargazing will remind you that the God who created the world is in control of it, and He loves you.
Lord, I fluctuate between arrogance and insecurity when it comes to my place in the world. Thank You for the night sky and its reminder that I can trust my corner of the world to the One who created it.
Your Turn: Do you feel in control of your little corner of the world? Or does it feel like everything is out of your control? Tonight, spend some time staring at the night sky and remembering that our very good God has it all under control.

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If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner, for life, in a small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or on flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
Often, we insist that success come to us in an exact way based on a preconceived idea held in mind. We become a prisoner of our present environment and past mistakes. There could be five open doors, but we stand at the one that is locked, waiting for it to open.
If you're like the buzzard, the bat, or the bee, and you're struggling with your problems. If you're frustrated because you can't find answers, know the answer is right above you.
Begin with prayer. Look up to God and humbly say: What I am trying to do is not working anymore; show me a new way. Author Unknown

 
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Getting It Just Right by Sally I. Kennedy
My husband likes to sit in the living room and listen to me play the piano. Amateur though it is, I try to get it just right. He enjoys it so much. He praises my playing, then I try even harder. One year for his birthday, I planned to surprise him with a tape of me playing his favorite songs. Oh boy! Was that ever a project! Taping, re-taping, and patching it into my hand-held recorder was more than tedious. Still, I wanted to get it just right.
My piano playing is riddled with mistakes, yet to my husband it sounds wonderful. He doesn't notice the errors. He simply enjoys the music I am making.
How often we want to do everything just right for our heavenly father. We want to please him, be as good and nice as possible, make him proud of us. Because we are human, we can never be perfect and we can do everything just right. However, what is so cool is, that in God's eyes, He sees us as perfect (2 Cor 5:21). He loves us just as we are, and sees us as we will be.
What a relief we don't have to get everything just right for Him. God has already gotten everything just right for us. When we believe in Jesus, and His sacrifice for us, it all falls into place. Perfectly.


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LEAVING THE CITY OF REGRET Author Unknown
I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet, I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip".
I got tickets to fly there on "WISHIHAD" airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which, I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been.
No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town. As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party.
I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there. First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be canceled by ME!
I started to realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, "I can't change yesterday, but I do have the power to make today a wonderful day".
I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the city of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address.
Am I sorry for the mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.
So, if you are planning a trip to the city of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now.
Instead, take a trip to a place called Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself and the New Starts are so very helpful.
By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. You too, can find this new town, just ask the Lord to show you the way. Now I live on ICANDOIT street.


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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
This is a time to prepare for the days ahead. This preparation will include cleaning up and clearing out your spiritual, emotional and mental space so that you enter the next phase of your existence with only that which will produce good fruit, says the Lord. Consider those things in your life that have become a hindrance to blessings and make the necessary changes now. Proverbs 4:12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.

Pay attention! I will show you the way and give directions as you gear up for the new spiritual year. You must quiet your soul so that you can perceive My signals, says the Lord. Be particularly still, alert, and receptive. Position yourself by faith to hear My still, small voice. Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Know that when you are going through a rough patch it is for the purpose of learning something valuable about yourself as you relate to Me, says the Lord. Look for the silver lining in every dark cloud, and appreciate the opportunities you are given to grow and gain spiritual strength. Job 12:22 He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light.

Beloved, allow humility to be your hallmark so that your character and nature will exhibit goodness, kindness, compassion, honesty, integrity, generosity, respect and love. You will not be judged by religious culture but by how you treat others. Become one with Me, says the Lord, and let Me do a work in your heart to establish righteousness and peace. Then, there will be no condemnation. Proverbs 21:23-24 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. A proud and haughty man —"Scoffer" is his name; he acts with arrogant pride.

Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to be kind and considerate of your fellow human beings. Be generous in your attitudes towards others, and be helpful when you can. But, I say, do this from a heart that has been regenerated through My love for you. Recognize and understand My grace and great mercy, says the Lord. Do not forget that you are being transformed into My image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Establish your faith in Me by learning what I will do. Bolster your faith by remembering what I have done in the past. Remember that you cannot be in fear and have faith at the same time. You must trust that I hear and answer the prayers of the righteous, says the Lord. Activate your faith by believing I will do what I have said in My word. Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
My people, take for yourselves the sword of the Spirit, which I have given to you, and use it against all the work of the enemy. Come to that place where your faith is ignited by My word; where you know that My power is working in you and through you. The Spirit of the living God dwells within you because you are indeed My temple, says the Lord. Come to this place today by faith and allow My weapons of war to work on your behalf. Be rejuvenated, be renewed, and be set free from the bondage that the enemy has imposed upon you. Freedom is available to you for I have spoken it and My words will not return void.

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Telephone Call Author Unknown
Hello God, I called tonight
To talk a little while
I need a friend who'll listen
To my anxiety and trial.
You see, I can't quite make it
Through a day just on my own...
I need your love to guide me,
So I'll never feel alone.
I want to ask you please to keep
My family safe and sound.
Come and fill their lives with confidence
For whatever fate they're bound.
Give me faith, dear God, to face
Each hour throughout the day,
And not to worry over things
I can't change in any way.
I thank you God for being home
And listening to my call,
For giving me such good advice
When I stumble and fall.
Your number, God, is the only one
That answers every time.
I never get a busy signal,
Never had to pay a dime.
So thank you, God, for listening
To my troubles and my sorrow.
Good night, God, I love You too,
And I'll call again tomorrow!

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ABC's For Life
Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!
"I AM Too blessed to be stressed!" The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything. Love and peace be with you forever, Amen.
PS: God loves you...Pass the word on to more friends and ask them to continue telling others that God loves them too. Just think of how many people that could be reached out to and blessed by these words..
Author Unknown


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"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. -- John 15:7,9

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 18 MSG

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." -- Luke 18:1,27 NKJV

"Those who wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like the eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 16:8 – I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

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Help! by Scott Williams
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (NRSV)
On a recent evening, rehearsing with our community church choir, our director had us sing "Help!" by the Beatles. All of us, being "of a certain age", knew the words pretty much by heart. After we had sung it through once, she commented on how appropriate the lyrics are from a Christian perspective.
Take a moment to consider the words that way:
When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now those days are gone, I'm not so self-assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.
- Lennon/McCartney, 1965
Reading and singing those words through a Christian lens was eye-opening, to the point of being shocking. How had I never heard that song that way before?
Many of us, when we were younger or less experienced, believed that we could "do it all", that we could "go it alone", and that we didn't need any help from anyone. We trusted in our earthly selves and in our own self-sufficiency. At some point, hopefully, our eyes were opened, and we came to learn that we are only part of the equation, and that God is necessary if we are to be complete. When our eyes were opened, we had the opportunity to "open up the door" and let God in, with the full assurance that He would come into our lives, love us, and transform us.
Many pop songs — including those of the Beatles — are love songs, and reading the lyrics of this particular song through a Christian lens reflects one of the most amazing love stories of all time: the story of the eternal love affair between God and His creation!
Prayer: God, thank You for waiting so patiently for us to open ourselves to You. Thank You for coming into our lives when we do finally open the door. Please help us to remember that without You, we are not complete, and that we can always call on You and ask for help. We pray that You would continue to guide us as we strive to live worthy, God-filled lives. Amen.


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Breath in me, Spirit of God,
that I may think what is holy;
drive me, Spirit of God,
that I may do what is holy;
draw me Spirit of God,
that I may love what is holy;
strengthen me, Spirit of God,
that I may preserve what is holy;
guard me, Spirit of God,
that I may never lose what is holy.

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Read Through The Bible
Psalm 29
1 Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. 2 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. 3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. 7 The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness; the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. 10 The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever. 11 The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.

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Father, to You I raise my whole being, a vessel emptied of self. Accept Lord, this my emptiness, and so fill me with Yourself, Your Light, Your Love, Your Life, that these precious gifts may radiate through me and over-flow the chalice of my heart into the hearts of all with whom I come in contact this day, revealing to them the beauty of Your Joy and Wholeness and the Serenity of Your Peace which nothing can destroy. Amen.


Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again. If you do not have Jesus in your life and wish to ask Jesus into your life please go to this link now to do so:  http://www.bluidkiti.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130  .  
Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
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