Lent – What will you do with those 40 Days?
How do you look at Lent? Do you look at it as a time to starve yourself- literally or figuratively? OR do you look at it as a time to reflect, course correct and spend time with God?
I try to come up with 1-something to give up 2-something to start new and 3-something to change.
My family loves that every other year I give up french fries OR diet coke. They would much prefer that I DON’T give anything up for Lent. They are sometimes the beneficiaries of the other two options. Sometimes it is writing a note in their lunch boxes or cleaning out the toy closet for them. Or spending some quality time with my husband each and every day. It is amazing how much time can go by where you and your hubby act as ground control in your home. “Off to take X here” or “You are needed for vocabulary testing in Y’s room”.
Well this year, I am going to do all three in one. I am going to give up some of my personal reading time to DEVOUR the book 40 Days. I assume working the assignment will help me change many of the things I do today and help me create new and better habits.
Would you consider joining me on this JOURNEY?
Simeon: A Lesson in Waiting for the Promise of God
Just the other night, I was watching a Christmas movie on GMC. ‘Tis the season for Christmas movies on a number of channels! The movie was not very interesting, to be honest, but I kept flipping back to it because there was nothing else on TV worth watching. There came a part in the movie where an older gentleman read the Christmas story while a young girl acted out various parts. Once the play was completed, he said one of his favorite parts of the Christmas story was actually a part that was seldom read – the part about Simeon. He then proceeded to the following passage in Luke:
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” Luke 2:25-35 NKJV
Hearing this made me pause to think: What would it have been like to be Simeon? That’s when I knew I kept switching back this movie for a reason. This was the part that God intended me to hear. He wanted to get a message to me, and to you.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us WHEN it was revealed to Simeon that he would see Jesus before he died. What if the Holy Spirit spoke that to him when he was 30 years old? He could have taken that one of two ways: either Christ is coming soon and I’m going to die young, or I’m going to have to wait a LONG time for this promise to be fulfilled.
At first glance, neither prospect seems “fun”, I have to admit. Simeon heard the voice of the Holy Spirit give him this wonderful promise… but how would he know when “the time” had come? I believe that as the years went by, he continued to practice hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit. Each time the Spirit spoke, Simeon obeyed. Simeon probably figured that when the time came for this promise to be fulfilled, he didn’t want to second guess that is was God who had spoken to him.
When the Spirit led him to the temple at the appointed time, it turned out that he was being led there not only so he could see the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes,
but so he could release words of blessing over Jesus and also Mary and Joseph. In fulfilling His promise to Simeon, God used him to bless Jesus’ earthly parents and communicate a specific message to them.
God is a connecter and a multiplier. Allow the story of Simeon to sink deep in to your heart, pondering how it applies to you and how it applies to the promises God has spoken to you.
But, Simeon was “just and devout”, you might say. So are you, if you’ve been washed by the Blood of Jesus, accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV
Now that we’ve got that point settled, consider what it is that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you. What has God promised to YOU? Are you waiting expectantly for it? Are you endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, fine tuning your listening skills?
Are you willing to do what it is He says to see the promise come to pass? Like Simeon, will you follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you to the temple, or wherever that place is for you? At the exact day and in the exact hour? Will you be ready, in the midst of the fulfillment of His promise to you, to reach out and be His hands and His mouthpiece to bless others?
The promise that God made to Simeon may seem extra special, because it involved the birth of His Son, Jesus. But as sons and daughters of God, He treats each and every promise He makes to us the same way. It is important to Him that they come to pass in the right way, at the right time, and that we are prepared to receive them.
Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit is vital. Reading the Word of God is vital. Prayer and worship is vital. It strengthens our relationship with God, which allows us to trust Him more fully and deeply. It gives us a certainty that can be obtained no other way.
Jesus came, as is said in Luke, to be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Allow that light and that glory to penetrate your heart afresh and anew this Christmas.
The story of Simeon is my story. It’s your story. It’s the story of a person who dared to trust God.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) 2011
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) 2011
Sundown Wednesday, October 12 thru Thursday, October 20.
The festival of Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23:33-44. The Festival of Sukkot begins on the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as the Season of our Rejoicing.
Sukkot is the last of the three pilgrimage festivals. Like Passover and Shavu’ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Ingathering.
The word “Sukkot” means “booths,” and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. Sukkot lasts for seven days. (Reference: Judiasm 101: Sukkot)
From an agricultural perspective in ancient Israel, Pesach [Passover] corresponded to the planting season, Shavuot [Pentecost] corresponded to the grain harvest, and Sukkot corresponded to the fruit harvest. When you planted your crops in spring, you do not yet rejoice because you were uncertain about how the harvest will turn out. And when you harvested your grain at the start of summer, you might have rejoiced that you now had bread in hand, but you would still be uncertain about the success of your fruit crops. Total joy would come after you had harvested all of your crops in the fall, and thereby received sustenance and provision for the coming year from the LORD.
From a spiritual perspective, Sukkot corresponds to the joy of knowing your sins were forgiven (during Yom Kippur), and also recalls God’s miraculous provision and care after the deliverance from bondage in Egypt (Lev. 23:43). Prophetically, Sukkot anticipates the coming kingdom of the Mashiach Yeshua wherein all the nations shall come up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD during the festival (see Zech. 14:16). Today Sukkot is a time to remember God’s Sheltering Presence and Provision for us for the start of the New Year. (Reference: Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles)
Click on the link for additional information on the Jewish Feasts.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 NJKV
In a message recently broadcast by Joseph Prince Ministries, Pastor Prince talked about the significance of Jesus’ words while he was in Jerusalem on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus was speaking of rivers of living water, which are moving and refreshing. The living water here refers to the Holy Spirit.
A very important distinction highlighted from Scripture was this:
Forgiveness was given to you because Christ was crucified. The Holy Spirit was given to you because Christ was glorified.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests on the last day, the “great day”, take a container and go down from Mount Moriah to the pool of Siloam to collect water, which they bring back and pour out as they say Psalms 118.
“Save now, I pray, O LORD;
O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.”
Psalm 118:25 NKJV
They are saying to God – send now prosperity, send now salvation – they are asking God to send rain the coming year. Salvation is Yeshua in the Hebrew… and who appeared? Jesus! He is the answer to the cry of “send now prosperity, send now salvation”.
To order this message in its entirety, visit the Joseph Prince online store for Sermon CD #36.
Click on the link for additional teaching on the significance of Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feasts are important to the Jewish people, but they also teach many things and reveal Jesus to us as believers.
Whether Jew or Christian, please join us in celebrating this important time in our shared heritage. Let it be your personal Season of Rejoicing!
Man of God ~ Honored Father
Father’s Day is a time set aside to show special honor to our fathers, or men who are father-figures in our lives. A father is someone who is there to offer love and support to his children – be they biological children, step-children, or “spiritual” children that God has placed in his life for him to nurture.
Being a good father begins with having a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. He must be the center of every communication, affection and discipline that a man gives to his children. A good father must first and foremost be a Man of God.
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV
A good father demonstrates to his children what it means to have faith in God and trust Him for everything we need. He is a reflection of God to his children. It’s an awesome responsibility, but one that can be carried out with dignity and love and respect when he looks to God for direction and guidance.
All this is not to say that fathers need to be perfect. But a father who is humble and teachable is the best father a child could ask for.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
If your father needs some encouragement to strengthen his relationship with God, this is a wonderful time to give him some tools to help him do so. Give him the web address for Bible Gateway’s 100 most-read Bible verses.
Give your father a fresh look at the Word of God with this NLT In His Image Devotional Bible.
This Father’s Day, above all, be sure to tell your father how much you love him and appreciate him. Remember those godly men who have influenced you and thank them for everything they have done for you.
Celebrate Your Faith has many wonderful gifts for fathers. Pick out a special treasure to honor him today!
Internet Evangelism Day
May 15, 2011 has been marked as Internet Evangelism Day, which is an annual worldwide focus day for digital evangelism. The entire month of May is also designated as Digital Evangelism Month.
The Internet is a powerful tool for reaching people all over the world. It may seem very obvious how people all over the world have the ability to access the Internet and as such, the Internet can be used to bring people to a personal relationship with Jesus. One site having amazing results all over the globe, including many countries where the Gospel is not easy to preach via traditional avenues, is Global Media Outreach. They minister to people in an important 3-step process.
1. Lead them to the Savior
2. Nurture them in Faith
3. Connect them to Church
More information can be found by clicking the banner below:
Many ways exist to share your faith digitally: Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites; blogs or message board posts; email and text messaging (just to name a few).
The website blog.ourchurch.com has some amazing ideas for how to share your faith online in its article 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online.
Some other great online evangelism sites include:
Internet Evangelism is such a multi-faceted concept. Sure, there are websites you can either direct people to, or that they find on their own. But, Internet Evangelism is transacted every day through many avenues.
Take Celebrate Your Faith, for example. We are an online retailer of Christian gifts. These gifts are purchased by people for the purpose of encouraging believers or sowing a seed into an unbeliever’s life in hopes of introducing them to Jesus as their Savior. In this gift giving process, the Internet was used as an evangelism tool.
In addition, CYF is steadfastly dedicated to promoting the preaching of the Gospel through direct monetary support of missions and humanitarian efforts. So, all the gifts that are purchased (for the purpose of evangelism) are also funding missionaries that travel all over the world to tell people about Jesus and His saving love. Again, the Internet is being used as an evangelism tool.
Another example could be sending a text message to a friend, confirming with them a time and place to meet up for dinner. That night, they decide to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. That interaction was also facilitated by digital media.
God is so creative with how He reaches people. He created the ideas for all the technology we have at our fingertips today. We as Christians need to harness its power and use it to point people back to Him.
Join us on Sunday, May 15 in using the Internet to reach out to a lost and dying world.
King James Bible KJV 400th Anniversary Celebration
On May 2, 2011 the world will celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible. The history surrounding the publishing of this version of the Bible showed a hunger by the people to have the unadulterated Word of God accessible to them on a daily basis so they could commune with God and know Him through His Word.
The King James Version, or Authorized Version, of the Bible was commissioned at a time of Renaissance of literature and language in England, which led to a translation rich with the rhythms and beauty of Elizabethan poetry and drama. At the same time, the relatively new technology known as the printing press was seen as a means with which to open up accessibility to the Scriptures to ordinary Christians on a massive scale for the first time in history.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the King James Bible not Shakespeare set this language on its path to become a universal language on a scale unprecedented before or since.” – Melvyn Bragg, British Author and Broadcaster
The King James Version (KJV) of 1611, also known as “the people’s Bible”, became an enduring work in an age when religion mattered to almost everyone in a way that is difficult to appreciate today. When people believed in God and what the scriptures taught, Christian beliefs were part and parcel of daily life. It mattered what was taught and understood. It mattered what people really believed. It influenced their lives, their attitudes and their actions – from the highest in the land to the lowliest man or woman. The KJV had an enormous effect on peoples’ lives; its language and terminology may seem archaic today but it was the everyday parlance of ordinary people and its language became entwined into English literature over many generations, not just in England but wherever the Bible was carried into what has become the English-speaking world, and is with us today. (KJV Development)
“The King James Bible is a cornerstone of our culture and our language. Whatever our faith, whatever we believe, we have to recognise that the rhetorical power of this book, and in particular its power to fuse history with poetry, connects at the most fundamental level with our own history and poetry.” – Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, 1999-2009
A Timeline of Events leading up to the publishing of the King James Version
- 1601 – 16 May, a meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland took place in the Parish Church of Burntisland, Fife, attended by King James VI of Scotland. It was at this meeting that the proposal to have a new translation of the Bible was first discussed.
- 1603 – James VI of Scotland became James I, King of England
- 1604 – The Hampton Court Conference on the future of the church; at this conference it was decided to commission a new translation of the Bible in an effort to provide a new translation which would be acceptable to everyone. The issue of too many marginal notes in the Geneva Bible became a rallying point for the adoption of the following resolution: “That a translation be made of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek; and this to be set out and printed, without any marginal notes, and only to be used in all churches of England in time of divine service.” King James I and Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London, later to become Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up instructions for the translators which would ensure that the new version would conform to the theology of the Church of England.
- 1610 – Meeting to discuss the translation at the Stationers Hall, City of London. Building on the advances in Hebrew and Greek scholarship, together with the insights of previous translators, the translation teams produced a remarkably rich and resonant version, which was to serve for public readings in churches as well as private devotional reading. The Bishop of Gloucester, Miles Smith, wrote the Preface, which acknowledged the new translation’s debt to its predecessors, but set out the hope that “out of many good ones” there would now be “one principal good one” used by everyone.
- 1611 – The King James Bible was published, despite considerable problems printing it.
- 1620 – The Pilgrim Fathers set sail to America, taking the English Bible with them. This was an immensely important step in the diffusion of the bible world-wide, which was further enhanced by its use during the expansion of British influence across the world with the East India Company, the establishment of colonies in Africa, and the discovery of Australia and New Zealand.
Four hundred years later, the King James Version of the Bible continues to inspire people from all walks of life and faith traditions and is regarded as the most influential book ever published in the English language. H.L. Mencken, a 20th Century American writer, praised it as “probably the most beautiful piece of writing in all the literature of the world.”
Celebrate Your Faith has a number of special 400th anniversary products in our Bible Boutique to celebrate this milestone. Remember, we can personalize any of these Bibles for you, for a gift, or any special occasion!
KJV Family Bible 400th Anniversary Commemorative Edition
This beautifully crafted family Bible will become a treasured heirloom for generations to come! This new edition contains a special full-color celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version. Bonded brown leather.
400th Anniversary KJV 1611 Bible and NKJV Bible 2-Volume Commemorative Set
This two volume set contains the New King James Version and the original KJV 1611 edition. This version has authentic spellings, capitalization, and punctuation used by the 1611 translators themselves, before centuries of changes began to occur. Set in roman type for easier reading, it includes the original notes, references, and books of the Bible, including the Apocrypha, as in 1611.
The King James Study Bible 400th Anniversary Edition
The most comprehensive King James Version study Bible published in 50 years, The King James Study Bible has 2,000-plus pages packed with thousands of notes and commentaries from respected conservative scholars. Also includes a 24-page full-color historical booklet commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version.
KJV 400th Anniversary Bible – Black Genuine Cowhide Leather
This KJV 400th Anniversary Bible celebrates this passionate rendering of God’s Word, presenting it in a highest quality format for those who love the translation’s rich heritage and reverent language.
This study guide and prayer book celebrate the history of the King James Version of the Bible with topical Scripture text and historical information to bring encouragement, comfort, and joy to the reader. Scripture selections are divided into 45 topics that shed light on the vastness of God’s love for each one of us.
We have much more in our Bible Boutique! To view all of our King James Bibles or other translations follow the links below:
For more information on the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version, visit the following websites:
The King James Version 400th Anniversary
Celebrating the Legacy of the Bible
Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – January 17, 2010
We pause today to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we remember everything he did to further the Civil Rights Movement in America, we can use this opportunity to dig deeper into his life and his words to uncover principles that we, as Christians, should endeavor to follow, based on their foundation in the Word of God.
In 1957, Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action. (from “Martin Luther King – Biography“, Nobelprize.org. 13 Jan 2011)
Dr. King was willing to travel over SIX MILLION MILES in support of this noble and worthy cause. He traveled to wherever there was injustice. Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to travel to spread the Good News of the Gospel to our fellow Americans, or to people of other nations? How far are we willing to go for not only a noble cause, but for God, our Father, to bring men, women and children into the family of God?
“All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Do we see the interrelatedness of humanity like Dr. King did? How about just the interrelatedness of us to one another as Christians? The Bible tells us that we are all members of one body, the Body of Christ. The body can only function properly when each member is doing its part. Notice I said, “ITS part.” Not someone else’s part. Each of us has a unique part to play in the overall functioning of the Body.
I Have a Dream; August 28, 1963
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus implores us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Sometimes that can seem hard to do. It can seem overwhelming and nearly impossible. I heard an interesting comment on this Scripture the other day. The person said, God said to love your neighbor, singular, not your neighbors, plural. It gave me a new perspective on this passage and how we can actually walk it out in our daily lives. God is not asking us to love everyone that is “unlovable” to us all at one time, but to love each person as we come into contact with them. It takes the “impossible” and breaks it up into “possible” chunks – but only with God’s help! Can you believe God to help you with loving people, one at a time?
I’ve Been to The Mountaintop; April 3, 1968
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people,will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Word of God says this:
“The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 3:9-11 NIV
Indeed, the hour for Jesus’ return is nearer in these last days than at any other time in history. Dr. King’s words are just as true today as when he spoke them over 40 years ago. We, too, must not worry or fear about the difficult days ahead. We must keep our focus on the task at hand – to be ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven while we are still here on earth, and while there is still time to effect change in the lives of those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do not despair for the Lord Jesus is right by your side to assist you along the way. Lean and rely on Him as you purpose to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today. Let his heart of service inspire you to serve others!
A Bountiful New Year
by Jennifer R.
As we approach the turning of the calendar year, a good number of us begin to reflect on all that the last year has brought us, and we look ahead to what we desire to see happen in the coming year. In some ways, it is an arbitrary moment in time, and it can be over-hyped with all the talk of “New Year’s Resolutions” that are statistically broken rather early in the New Year. But, as Christians, we can bring real meaning to this particular “moment in time” if we choose to use it to focus on God.
Whether it’s exactly as the clock strikes midnight, or sometime in the general vicinity of New Year’s Eve (say, give or take a few days either side), we can seize this opportunity to assess where we’ve been and where we are going. Are we still on the path He’s laid out for us? Or have we taken a detour, a turn to the right or left, or do we have trouble even remembering what path it is we are supposed to be on? Whichever of those categories you may fall in to, God is eager to speak with you and give you direction for the coming year.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
God does not want us to get stuck on our past failures and let them prevent us from moving further on in the plan He has for us. Neither does He want us to dwell on our past victories for too long, and be content with where we are. God’s desire for us is that we go up higher and walk in a greater fullness of His plan and purpose for us with each passing day.
So here in Isaiah, He says He is doing a new thing… that NOW it springs forth. I have a note in my Bible next to this verse from a mission trip to the Philippines that I was a part of in late 2002. We ministered at a Women’s Conference up in Baguio. Some women had walked for 3-4 days down out of the hills to attend the conference. It was an honor and a privilege to minister to these precious people who were so hungry for God. The note says, “Not a new thing to God, but it is new to us!” Indeed, He goes before us and prepares the way out ahead of us. God lives outside time, and He has already been to our future. That can be a little bit of a hard concept to wrap our minds around, but if we will grab hold of it by faith, life becomes less of a guessing game and more of an adventure. God sets us up to succeed!
“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.” Psalm 65:11-12 NLT
2011 can indeed be a year that is crowned with a bountiful harvest! This portion of Scripture was recently highlighted to me by a woman in Northern Ireland who was at a ladies’ meeting I attended the day before I came home. We’ve all endured some “hard pathways” in life. We’ve been in “wilderness” places. We’ve seen “hillsides”, or mountains, rise up in front of us. But with God, all of these things are turned for our good. With God, we “overflow with abundance”,l experience “lush pastures” and “joy”.
“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:28 AMP
We can all look back at 2010 and find an abundance of things to be thankful for. And we can orient ourselves towards 2011 with a greater expectancy than we’ve ever had that we will see God’s goodness in greater measure in our lives. Focus on Him each day. Trust that He is leading you in the BEST path possible for you. He knows you better than you know yourself, and He knows exactly what will bring you the most happiness and fulfillment, and at the same time, will further His kingdom on the earth in the greatest way.
Shortly before this year began, a pastor I know from Europe said, “2010 is the year of WHEN.” WHEN this happened, or WHEN that happened… did you experience it? I sure did. I realize just how true this was as I look back over the last year. This year, the same pastor recently said, “2011 is the year of heaven”. EXPECT 2011 to be a year of heaven on earth!
God bless you richly and super abundantly in this coming year. Happy New Year!
The Right Place at the Right Time – Ireland Mission Trip Update
By Jennifer R.
“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 MSG
Being in Ireland never gets old for me; God has supernaturally connected me there, and it’s a joy and a delight to return as often as He directs. Yes, even when it means I “bring the weather with me” and witness the most snow Ireland has had in 40 years! However, I knew without a doubt that I was in the right place at the right time.
Early on in the Prayer Assignment, the Holy Spirit spoke the word “Expansion” to me. We were in a small church in Londonderry, and our group was praying over the couple who pastor the church there. Shortly after He spoke that word to me, one of the other pastors spoke that word out loud as she was praying, a confirmation to me that this was an important word to hold on to.
The Lord began to talk to me about how a gas expands when heat is applied. Gases exist in the unseen realm, just like our faith does. For expansion to occur, the heat must be present. He said, “Don’t be afraid of the heat that will come; it’s necessary for expansion.” That is not always a comfortable message to hear, but it is vital that we listen to what He is saying to us, as it is often times a word of preparation for what is just up ahead.
The city of Cork was a highlight for me. Not in the way you might expect, and some might have a little trouble with me using the word “highlight” in reference to our time there. One of the pastors there brought it to our attention that the rate of suicide in the area is EXTREMELY high compared to anywhere else in Ireland. It is especially prevalent among young men who have a sense of hopelessness about life. But we, as believers, have HOPE we can share with people – the saving hope of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I believe this is an ongoing prayer project for me, and I would invite you to join along in praying for the people of Cork as you feel led. The reason I see this time spent in Cork as a “highlight” is because there was a revealing of God’s purpose in bringing me there – so He can use me as His mouthpiece in the earth to pray and stand against what is going on there. We are here on this earth to be yielded vessels for Him to accomplish His divine purposes.
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined &$40;planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” Ephesians 2:10 AMP
In Northern Ireland, when you see a YIELD sign, instead of saying “Yield” it simply says, “Give Way”. Someone on the trip commented that “Give Way” is a nice way of looking at how we should respond to the Holy Spirit. It conjures up an image of His gentleness that we can all benefit from being aware of.
“But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].” John 16:13 AMP
Despite the snow and the cold, we reached all of our destinations without incident, carried by the angels and protected by the Blood of Jesus. We spent time in Belfast, Londonderry, Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Each place had its own distinct purpose, but strung together, they revealed a larger plan. Not only for the nation of Ireland, but for my personal journey with the Lord.
I have so much more to share, but for now I will just extend a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to everyone who prayed for our team. Your obedience to pray at the “opportune time” will be greatly rewarded!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
This has got to be one of the most challenging directives given in Scripture! One of the reasons God places such high value on humility is that it is so rarely achieved. The Lord, Himself, has accomplished humility better than anyone else in the whole, wide world. Think of it – Jesus, who had been living in the glory and splendor of heaven, constantly with the Heavenly Father, chose to come to earth as a man to serve man. He took on the very nature of a servant (verse 7). Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He hung out with people others would find questionable. He taught thousands of people, many following Him around (invading His personal space, I’m sure), and He never charged a fee. Many came to Him, begging to be healed or to have Him heal a family member. Many asked Jesus silly questions, hoping to trip Him up on His Scriptural knowledge. He allowed man to hurt Him, humiliate Him, kill Him – all so He could save us. I am so humbled by this.
Christian Recovery Counseling is a ministry that serves others. The reality, however, is that we are able to do so, because so many other people provide financial support. I can tell you that CRC has served hundreds of clients in financial need over the years, but that does not make us great. That, alone, does not mean we are servant hearted. The only reason we are able to offer professional, Christian counseling to those who cannot pay for that service is because God makes it happen. God is the provider. Isn’t it amazing that God, the creator of the universe, cares so much about each and every one of us? There have been billions of people who have occupied and who will occupy this planet; and yet, He cares enough to meet the needs of this small nonprofit ministry in Golden Valley and Rockford, MN so that we can continue to serve those He brings our way. This ministry is not great because it provides services at little to no cost to so many people. God is great because He allows us to be a part of that miracle. It is with a humble heart that I recognize this fact. I pray that God continues to work in me, so that I can achieve the humility and servant heart that He desires me to have. It is because of Christ’s perfect example of humility that you and I have hope along the way.
Guest post by Colleen Prudhomme, Executive Director of Christian Recovery Counseling.