Weekly Spiritual Readings

October 28, 2016

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At times, we may feel as though no one cares about us, making us think we have been abandoned and forgotten. But we can take comfort in the truth of God’s promise never to leave us or forsake us.  Because God made us, God never forgets us.

When we face difficulties, we can lift our eyes to the Lord with the assurance that God will help us and sustain us. Wherever we are, we can seek God’s help.

We can rest in the promise that the Spirit intercedes for us.

God opens the door of hope when we can't reach the handle.

When you feel alone and afraid, remember who accompanies you! Turn to God for the comfort of His presence and the calming of your fears. He will embrace you as a friend with His word. God will protect you--He is behind, alongside, and ahead of you. --Susan Miller

He is our clothing. In His love He wraps and holds us. He enfolds us for love and He will never let us go. --Julian of Norwich

Love Him totally who gave Himself totally for Your love. --St. Clare of Assisi


A Prayer For My Words by Tom Norvelle
In Psalm 141:3 the Psalmist writes,
"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." (NIV)
"Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips." (NLT)
"Help me to guard my words whenever I say something." (CEV)
Father, put a guard over my mouth when I am about to say something I should not say. Whether it is a word that is untrue, a word that is negative, a word that is critical, or a word that discourages, Lord, stop the words before they come out of my mouth. Close the door of my lips and prevent the words from leaving my mouth.
Father, take control of what I say. Help me think before I speak. Help me pause before I speak. Help me consider my audience before I speak. Some things are inappropriate for some to hear. Some things are inappropriate for all to hear. Some things do not need to leave my mouth. Father, guard my lips and control what I say.
Father, help me guard my words when I say something. Help me make sure that the words I speak are worth hearing. If they are not, let me be silent. Being quiet may be better than being foolish. Being silent may be better than being critical, judgmental, or destructive.
Father, sometimes there are words of encouragement that need to pass through my lips, let them through. Sometimes there are words of hope that need to be spoken, let me speak them. Sometimes there are words of exhortation that need to be shared, please don't let me remain quiet during those moments.
Father, there are times when someone needs to hear that I love them, let me say those words. There are times when someone needs to hear that I appreciate them, let me say those words. There are times when someone needs to hear something hopeful, let me say those words.
Father, there are times when I am afraid to speak. Please remove the fear that prevents me from speaking on behalf of the weak, the oppressed and the helpless. Please remove the fear that prevents me from speaking when someone needs to hear of Your love for them. Help me never to miss an opportunity to speak for You.
Father, there are times when I need to speak, and times when I need to be quiet. Give me the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to respond accordingly.
Father, guard my lips. Open them when they need to be opened and allow the words that need to pass through them to pass. Close them when they need to be closed and prevent any word that might do damage to another soul from passing through.
Help me to guard my words whenever I say something.


Rehearsing God's Word by Martin Wiles
Deuteronomy 6:7 – Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (NLT)
Rehearsed materials tend to stay around longer.
For the final two weeks of school, I required my middle school language arts students to rehearse what they had learned during the year. The final exam would cover the entire book, so I wanted to make sure that they remembered all the concepts. As we encountered new concepts along the way, I had reminded them of concepts that we had already learned. By rehearsing material from previous chapters, they had a better chance of transferring that material from their short- to their long-term memories. The grades revealed that some should have rehearsed a little more.
Rehearsing is essential with much of what we do in life. Those who plan to sing at church rehearse. Professional singers rehearse. Playing sports requires rehearsing prior to games.
Rehearsing is also a part of my Christian walk. God told the ancient Israelites to rehearse His commands. Not only were they to know them personally, but they were also to teach them to their children by rehearsing them every day and in every situation. Rehearsing would lead to remembering.
Rehearsing God's Word is important as well as commanded by God, but I still have to make the choice to do it. God won't force me to learn His Word. As a child, I was required to memorize various Bible verses, along with the names of the books of the Bible. Children in my father's church practiced "sword drills" which entailed a contest to see who could locate a verse of the Bible most quickly. But as an adult, the choice is mine.
When I rehearse God's Word, it forces me to meditate on it. What is on my mind I will think about often. God will bring His Word to my conscience when it is imbedded in my memory. This is beneficial when I'm tempted. God's Word reminds me of His requirements and of His ability to help me fend off my arch enemy.
Rehearsing God's Word also aids me when I'm questioned about what I believe and why. When His Word is in my heart, I'll be prepared to give an answer to the curious and to the skeptics.
Don't let anything keep you from rehearsing God's Word.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Word that calms our fears, lifts our spirits, and strengthens us for any circumstances that we might face. Amen.


Changing the Atmosphere by Joanna Gaines
The way I perceive my circumstances can really make or break my day. — Joanna Gaines
… to be made new in the attitude of your minds… — Ephesians 4:23
I’ve been recently reminded that the way I perceive my circumstances can really make or break my day and can have a major effect on those around me.
My attitude going into places can either add or take away from the atmosphere.
I want to choose to be positive, reminding myself that every opportunity is a gift.
Chip is really good at this. He typically finds the positive things in any situation while that tends to be a bit harder for me. I think more about what needs to get done and how it’s going to be accomplished. But I’ve realized I can choose which lens I’m going to view life from. Even though our life is crazy right now, I want to think of this as an opportunity more than anything else. I can trust that this is a chance to grow and learn. And it’s a chance to enjoy each other as a family doing what we love to do most.
It all starts in my mind. Am I viewing the current circumstance as an opportunity or as a burden? Am I overwhelmed by what could go wrong or am I excited about what could go right?
I want to be able to find the positive in each situation, believing God brought me there for a specific purpose and will sustain me through it.
If I start the day overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done, then I’m missing some of the good things along the way!
Whether you’re a stay at home mom picking up after your kiddos or work a full time job, we can all choose to be atmosphere changers. And by that I mean, we have the power to set the tone with our kids at home or with our coworkers at the office. Rather than view life as a constant to do list, think of it as an opportunity to love and serve others well. This will shift the atmosphere and you will find others inspired to do the same.
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. — Romans 12:2 NLT
Your Turn: Does your attitude need an adjustment to view your circumstances as an opportunity to grown and learn? How can you love and serve others well today?


You Are Never Alone by Lysa TerKeurst
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. — Hebrews 13:5
I draw close to Him so He can help me separate solid truth from shifting emotion
Do you ever feel lonely?
Recently, I was at an event full of people. Everyone else seemed gabby and was effortlessly making easy connections with others. I just felt out of sorts. Someone had said something to me earlier that day that hurt my feelings and knocked me off kilter. It was one of those “I would really like to be at home alone, in a bubble bath, eating something chocolate” kind of nights. But I had to go to this outing, so here I was — lonely.
I politely smiled my way through the evening and finally got to go home. As I crawled into bed that night, I asked Jesus, “Why am I letting some thoughtless comment someone made affect me like this?”
There was no deep explanation. There was no Bible verse that instantly popped into my head. There was no sudden rush of peace through my heart. There was only a very gentle reminder in the depths of my soul that Jesus loves me — insecurities and all.
Jesus loves me.
Simple but so powerfully profound, that one statement grounds me in the truth of who God says I am. Friends can’t make you feel accepted all the time. Accomplishments will never truly make you feel secure. Having lots of people around you does not mean you won’t ever feel lonely. And chocolate, while it is deliciously distracting, is just a little too temporary.
So I turn to the One who is Everlasting, Prince of Peace, and Immanuel — God with us.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:14
I draw close to Him so He can help me separate solid truth from shifting emotion.
And I’m reminded by the writer of the book of Hebrews that God says,
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. — Hebrews 13:5
More verses to explore: Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 9:6-7, Matthew 1:21-23
Your Turn: Do you struggle with loneliness? Even in a room full of people? Which of the verses above are you going to memorize for those moments when you need to remember that the Lord is with you and you are not alone?


Let God Take the Driver’s Seat By Rick Warren
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.” (Matthew 16:24 MSG)
The best way I can define “meekness” for you is this: Let go, and let God. How do you let go and let God? First, you have to make Jesus the manager of your life.
The problem is, we usually want to be the manager of our own lives, and so we argue and disagree with God. We think we know what’s best. The reason you’re under a lot of stress is that you’re constantly fighting God in your mind — “I know God says to do this but I want to do that instead!”
Every morning when you wake up, you have a decision to make: Who’s going to be in charge of your life? Who’s going to be in control — you or God? Who’s going to call the shots — you or God? Every day, moment by moment, you are making that decision. When you choose to make yourself the manager of your own life, it causes conflict, confusion, and stress.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (MSG). Here’s what we tend to do: When we become believers in Christ, we give him the driver’s seat and then promptly hop into the backseat and become backseat drivers. We’re constantly giving him “advice,” like, “No, turn this way. Stop. Wait. Faster! I want to go that way. I want to see that sight.”
Many years ago Kay and I took dancing lessons from Arthur Murray Studios. The instructor told us that one of the biggest problems couples have is letting the other lead. When they’re both trying to lead, they’re stepping on each other’s feet all the time, and it doesn’t look very pretty.
Your life doesn’t look very pretty when you’re trying to lead with God at the same time. You just need to let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.
Talk It Over: What are the details of your life that are most difficult for you to surrender to God?
How have you been quarreling with God without saying a word? What do your actions reveal about who is managing your life?
Determine today to give God control of the areas of your life where you have concerns and stress. What does it look like to do this practically? What difference does it make in your life?


God's Deliverance Author Unknown
"He delivered us...
He will deliver us...
He will continue to deliver us..." (2 Corinthians 1:10)
I quit!
I've tried my best to live
as God expects me to,
as my family expects me to...
I want to do the best, but I always fail.
I give up!
There's no use trying!
I just fail...
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God...
He delivered us,
He will deliver us,
He will continue to deliver us..."
Again and again and again,
like food,
like sleep
so God will give us strength every day.


Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
Renew your faith by remembering what I have done for you both historically and personally. In this time when darkness is so prevalent, you must pull yourself up spiritually to believe that I am for you and with you in all things. Refuse to be sucked down into hopelessness. Rise up and walk in the light. John 12:36a "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."

Pay attention to what you speak. When you make accusations against another you must remember who the accuser of the brethren really is. Let your words have their foundation in grace and peace. Allow Me to cleanse your heart and mind so that what you say is pleasing to Me as well as to those around you, says the Lord. Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."

Take the time to think things through. You will be inclined to make assumptions that will lead you down the wrong path. Push your potential decisions out to discover their logical conclusions before you act. Stay within the parameters of walking in the Spirit and keeping righteous boundaries, says the Lord. Psalms 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness.

Release yourself from all worry, doubt and fear. These emotions stand in stark contrast to faith and trust in Me, says the Lord, and will take you where you do not want to go, actually hindering your walk in the Spirit. Set your face towards peace--inner peace, the peace that surpasses what your circumstances look like. Walk by faith and not by sight. Be strong and unwavering. Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

In a vision I saw a carousel going round and round with the horses of various, bright colors going up and down as the music played in the background. I asked the Lord what the vision meant, and He said that the circus of life and circumstances are like this carousel. It seems exciting and fun at first, but it becomes very monotonous and routine. You can get off of this merry-go-round any time you want to and be about My business. But, you will have to do so deliberately and refocus your attention. Acts 17:28a "for in Him we live and move and have our being."

Review the stand that you have taken and the goals you have established. This is a time when you can make adjustments that can take you to your destiny. Be sure that you walk and live in the light of My Word and My purposes for you, says the Lord. Do not deviate from all that is right and good. You can do this as long as you live in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.


The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I hear the Lord saying that you are now prepared to come up into higher realms, places in the spirit so that you can see, know and understand My purpose for you. Do not forget that I am with you. I am with you to help you, to lead you, and to guide you. I am with you to heal you and to provide for you. I will cause your life to become one of productivity, liberty, freedom and victory. So get going. Walk in that direction.

I will bring you beyond the journey that you have been on. I will bring you into the valley of vision that you might see and understand My purpose in this season. Come with faith, come to receive, come and be refreshed, renewed, restored, and healed. Let My Spirit burn in your spirit and let that fire transform you and take you beyond the natural. Let it take you into the supernatural realm, says the Lord.


As I was walking down life's highway many years ago
I came upon a sign that read Heavens Grocery Store.
When I got a little closer the doors swung open wide
And when I came to myself I was standing inside.
I saw a host of angels. They were standing everywhere
One handed me a basket and said "My child shop with care."
Everything a human needed was in that grocery store
And what you could not carry you could come back for more
First I got some Patience. Love was in that same row.
Further down was Understanding, you need that everywhere you go.
I got a box or two of Wisdom and Faith a bag or two.
And Charity of course I would need some of that too.
I couldn't miss the Holy Ghost It was all over the place.
And then some Strength and Courage to help me run this race.
My basket was getting full but I remembered I needed Grace,
And then I chose Salvation for Salvation was for free
I tried to get enough of that to do for you and me.
Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill,
For I thought I had everything to do the Masters will.
As I went up the aisle I saw Prayer and put that in,
For I knew when I stepped outside I would run into sin.
Peace and Joy were plentiful, the last things on the shelf.
Song and Praise were hanging near so I just helped myself.
Then I said to the angel "Now how much do I owe?"
He smiled and said "Just take them everywhere you go."
Again I asked "Really now, How much do I owe?"
"My child" he said, "God paid your bill a long long time ago."
Author Unknown


The Morning Glory by Sandra Lewis Pringle
I awaken to the glory of the morn',
sunshine streaking, birds cheerfully cheeping,
another day is born.
The Morning Glory inaudibly climbs,
and shares its shy beauty, so rare.
And, we know that behind its mystery,
Our Creative God is there.
He blesses us with sunshine,
He blesses us with rain,
because it's only through the showers,
that do we not, remain the same.
So, as this new day awakens,
and I'm cradled securely in Your arms,
May Your love forever keep me safe,
and sheltered from all storms.


O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home!
--Isaac Watts

Children of the heavenly King,
As we journey let us sing;
Sing our Savior's worthy praise,
Glorious in His works and ways.
--John Cennick


Psalm 40:8 – I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!

Jesus said, “Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” - Matthew 28:20

I lift up my eyes to the hills — from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD. - Psalm 121:1-2

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. - Romans 8:26

Prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. - 1 Peter 1:13


Jesus Take the Wheel By Laurie
Yesterday our teen daughter took her drivers road test for the first time. It was time to see her months of practicing pay off. She has been driving with her permit for several months now and has really gotten to be a pretty good driver. I have to admit though, at first, there were many times that I wanted to grab the wheel from her. Sometimes she got too close to other vehicles, and her backing out and turning the wheel wasn’t always timed correctly. But as she got more confident, I saw her driving skills improve immensely.
During this time of learning, there were times that she got frustrated with my correction. She wanted to do it on her own and didn’t always receive my “driving advice” easily, even though I have over 30 years of driving experience.
How similar is this scenario to listening to God and His Counsel?
If we were to be honest, I would say that many of us are like inexperienced drivers when we travel down the road of life. Often we get way too close to things that we shouldn’t. We watch things, say things and hang around people that we know to be dangerous to us, but instead of putting on the brakes, we speed up. And before we know it, we collide with sin and disappointment. Sin and disappointment doesn’t always come in big things.
What about gossip? or judging someone? or causing someone to stumble? It is not only the big things, but the little things as well that we need to listen to God’s counsel. His Word is the road map to help all of us, no matter what level of driving experience we may have.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” PSALM 119:105
Whether we are a new believer with little or no driving experience or a seasoned believer with years of driving experience, ALL of us need to have our path illuminated with God’s Wisdom. None of us are exempt from dangers that lurk along our pathway. This is why it is imperative that we make God LORD of our life, which means He has control of our actions, our speech, our relationships, our finances, our thoughts, our past, present and future…EVERYTHING!
In order for this to happen, we need to let Him take the wheel and be the Driver. Some time ago, country singer Carrie Underwood came out with a song entitled “Jesus, take the wheel.” In the song, Carrie says…
“Jesus take the wheel… Take it from my hands …Cause I can’t do this on my own ….I’m letting go … So give me one more chance To save me from this road I’m on … Jesus take the wheel”
If we are to walk closely with Him, and allow Him to do what He wants, when He wants, we have to give the keys over to Him. We need to let Him be in control. He will never steer us wrong…
“The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” ISAIAH 50:4
We should listen to Him when He gives warning about danger…
“The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” PSALM 27:1
And we must keep traveling down the road, even when the ride becomes bumpy…
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. ” PSALM 55:22
My daughter passed her driving test yesterday and I know that there will still be some lessons to be learned on the road, but as long as she allows Jesus to take the wheel, I know the road will lead her safely to any destination. It is my prayer today that each of us can do the same.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me for trying to keep my hands on the wheel. I know that without You and Your leading, that I am traveling on dangerous ground. I want to give You complete control of every area…my thoughts, my speech, my attitude, my life! Please take the wheel and lead me safely to where You are leading me. AMEN


Lord, in our hearts, we love You, but we need Your help with all that faces us today. Everything is in Your hands — we don't need to worry. Today will be one of thanksgiving as we trust You to undertake for us in all that we must do. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Read Through The Bible
Psalm 38
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. 12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. 13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. 14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. 15 For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. 17 For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. 19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. 20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. 21 Forsake me not, O Lord: O my God, be not far from me. 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.


Loving Lord, gracious Father, may your Word help me to become more like you in heart and mind, word and deed.

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