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Enjoy the messages of Pastor Peggy right here (below)

 

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Let us Give Thanks

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before God’s presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD is God: it is God that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture. Enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving, and into God’s courts with praise: be thankful unto God, and bless God’s name. For the LORD is good; God’s mercy is everlasting; and God’s truth endureth to all generations.Psalm 100

 

 

 

There is a tradition many of us have of taking time on the week before Thanksgiving to share some of the things we are thankful for with each other. We actually did this on Thursday evening during our Prayer Group Meeting.

 

 

I want to share some thoughts about thanksgiving from God’s word.

 

Spend the next few minutes thinking about what you are thankful for so that you can share it within your heart with your family and friends and us right here in our prayer group, chat page, in this web page http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com    I really think that taking time to openly share with one another what we are thankful for is a great thing to do. Verbally, declaring what we are grateful for is a very biblical thing to do.

 

 

 

What does it means to live a life of thanksgiving? How can we take this annual holiday and turn it into a constant attitude? How can we live a life of gratitude and praise? I know that many of us are not from the U.S.A., but I do know that Canada, Brazil, and the Philippians also have a celebrated day, although a different day. Those from countries who do not have a recognized day, I encourage you to take this message to heart and to live it because the message is for everyone.

 

 

 

A youth mission statement in many churches is “to honor God in all we do, say and think.” Today I am going to talk about being grateful in all we do, say, and think. I want to start by talking about what it means to think thankfully. Gratitude starts with our thoughts. It begins with taking captive our every thought. It grows out of an attitude of appreciation, humility, and proper perspective.

 

 

 

One of the best biblical descriptions of how thankfulness needs to be infused into our character is in Colossians 3:12-17…that reads… “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

 

 

It’s clear from this passage that thankfulness is supposed to be a regular part of our lives. Gratefulness is emphasized here because it’s the perfect antidote to pride and selfishness and a host of other sins. After all, what is the opposite of thankfulness? Things like, complaining, arguing, selfishness, a sense of entitlement. Our sin nature wants to try and convince us that we deserve more, that we are in the right, that we have been taken advantage of, or that we really have it bad. Witnessing that kind of mentality can be frustrating. We all have run across a few people in our lives who always seem to be victims; they always seem to feel like they should get more; they always complain about what they have or what they are given.

 

 

That’s not what we are supposed to be like as believers.

 

Thinking thankfully involves three things- First, prayer: Philippians 4:6 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

In this passage the way that we keep from anxiousness and worry is through prayer. When we present our requests to God and give control over to Him, our load gets a lot lighter. When we pray with thanksgiving, we are thanking God for the ability to pray; we are thanking him for answering our prayers, we are thanking Him for freeing us from worry. When we pray with thankfulness to God it has a way of adjusting our thinking so that it falls in line with what God wants.

 

 

 

Worship also has a way of putting us in a mindset of thankfulness. Verse 16 of that passage in Colossians is a great example of that. ”. It’s hard to be grumpy, and bitter, and selfish when we are singing joyfully to the Lord, although sometimes we might try. Singing lifts our spirits, focuses our attention on God, and puts us in an attitude of praise. No matter how down we are, singing and smiling will lift our spirits.

 

 

 

Finally, thinking thankfully involves dwelling on the good. Our minds can sometimes be uncooperative. They keep wandering back to that nagging money problem, or to the liquor store, or to past failures, or other unproductive things. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you are just chilling out or relaxing or spacing out in church, how a weird, random thought will cross your mind? Sometimes the strangest stuff just shows up there Then you snap out of it and say to yourself, “What was that about?” Because of natural inclination towards evil, we have to train our minds to think about good things. We have to purposefully dwell on the good.

 

 

Philippians 4:8 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.

 

 

This is a great thought filter. Ask yourself; are my thoughts true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable? If not, it might be time to make an adjustment.

 

 

Well along with thinking thankfully, we need to talk thankfully. It is important to express our gratitude from time to time. Talking thankfully involves praising others, praising God, and sharing our gratitude. When was the last time you told your spouse, “I’m really thankful that I’m married to you.”? Do you tell your kids that you appreciate them? Do you let God know how thankful you are for what He has done in your life? If you are a believer in God, saved by grace, you have a lot to be thankful for. No matter how bad life gets, you still can’t complain. It’s also important that we verbally tell others what we are grateful for.

 

 

If you would like to, when you are finished reading this message, you’re welcome to come back to   thespiritualfamily.chatango.com  and share your thanksgivings. And we all would love to hear about what you are thankful for. It is so amazing what God is doing in our lives.

 

 

Now, let’s think about acting thankfully. We need to demonstrate a life of thankfulness in everything we do. That begins with a heart of service. Serving is a demonstration of appreciation, respect, and love. It can be done in a selfish, ungrateful way, but when it is done right, it is a blessing both to the server and the servee.

 

 

1 Timothy 1:12 12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.

 

 

Are you thankful for the area of service that God has called you to? Acting thankfully also involves sacrifice. It requires us to give something of ourselves. This is best demonstrated in our financial offerings to God.

 

 

Giving back to God is a way of thanking Him for his blessing and provision. Even if we don’t have a lot, or a lot to give, when we give back to God we show that we understand that He owns it all anyway. Don’t give out of guilt or compulsion. Every time you write an offering check or put a dollar in the offering plate, take a second to say, thank you God for everything you have given me.

 

 

Finally, we can act thankfully by sharing what we have. This might take the form of sharing some of our abundance with those who don’t have as much. It might be sharing with the homeless or needy. People who really understand thankfulness and appreciation usually are very good at sharing with others. They know how great it feels to give. This doesn’t just apply to sharing our stuff, but, more importantly, sharing our faith. If you have a real understanding of who Jesus Christ is, what He has done for all mankind, and what He has done in your life, you are going to be looking for every opportunity to share that with others. We can best show our appreciation for our salvation by praising God and telling others. If our faith is truly transforming, and valuable, and important, we will share it with those who don’t have it.

 

 

The best thing about living a thankful life is that it helps us put things into perspective. When we focus on the great things that God has done for us, the annoying junk in life has a way of losing its importance. During this thanksgiving seasons let’s begin to train our minds to think thankfully. Let’s take the opportunity to talk thankfully, and let’s demonstrate our appreciation by acting thankfully.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 18 ..give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

 

If you are not giving thanks, you are out of focus to God’s will. Let us rejoice and give thanks, show thanks, and present ourselves in a way that shows the love of or Lord.

 

 

Let us Pray: Almighty God, Thank You for my life, for my faith, for my love of You.   Amen

Veterans Day, 2017

By now most of you know I am an Army Brat, tried and true. Through good times and bad, my heart always embraces the military and my allegiance is to my country.

 

 

Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, most Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

 

What’s more, some Americans don’t know why we commemorate our Veterans on Nov.11. It’s imperative that all Americans know the history of Veterans Day so that we can honor our former service members properly.

 

 

Here s a brief history of our holiday:

 

 

 

 

 

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.   In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

 

 

 

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

 

 

 

 

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

 

 

Finally, on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.   Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.   If the Nov. 11 holiday falls on a non-workday — Saturday or Sunday — the holiday is observed by the federal government on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).   Federal government closings are established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. State and local government closings are determined locally, and non- government businesses can close or remain open as they see fit, regardless of federal, state or local government operation determinations.

 

 

United States Senate Resolution 143, which was passed on Aug. 4, 2001, designated the week of Nov. 11 through Nov. 17, 2001, as “National Veterans Awareness Week.” The resolution calls for educational efforts directed at elementary and secondary school students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.  It would be interesting to know if schools follow this effort today and if students even know why they have a school holiday (or care).

 

 

There is a difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day, celebrated the end of May, honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Most of you know I lost my brother in VN, so this is always a special day of remembrance for me. Deceased veterans are remembered on Veterans Day also, but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime.

 

 

Here is a little bit more history –

 

 

Veterans Day … More Than Just A Day Off.

 

 

“The White House Office

October 8, 1954

Dear Mr. Higley:

I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day. It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day. With the thought that it will be most helpful to coordinate the planning, I am suggesting the formation of a Veterans Day National Committee. In view of your great personal interest as well as your official responsibilities, I have designated you to serve as Chairman. You may include in the Committee membership such other persons as you desire to select and I am requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch to assist the Committee in its work in every way possible.

I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day, 1954.

Sincerely,

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER”

 

 

 

As youngsters most of us quickly became familiar with “school holidays” … every day that school was not in session. When we returned for the school year each fall, we (as well as the teachers) were provided a copy of a calendar for the entire year that included all Federal holidays, teachers’ institute days and any extra days off for parent/teacher conferences, special testing etc. We didn’t necessarily know the real meaning or purpose of every holiday or occasion but we, also, didn’t always care. School holidays were the only holidays that counted.

 

 

Veterans Day, in particular, was always a bit confusing. Veterans Day, is observed each year on the eleventh day of November and coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other parts of the world. All mark the anniversary of the end of World War I as major hostilities of the war were formally ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month beginning in 1918 when the Armistice with Germany officially went into effect and every year since.

 

 

The observance of Veterans Day and the celebration of Memorial Day are often confused as noted above. Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day set aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle from wounds sustained during combat … that would be Memorial Day. Today, Veterans Day, is the day that ALL American veterans, both living and dead, are recognized for the sacrifices they have made in their lives to keep our country free.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank a veteran today. Remember a veteran today. And make sure your children understand why they’re not in school today … it’s so much more than just a day off.

UNTIED

I am reposting a favorite message of Pastor Peggy’s from just over a year ago.  This one ministered to me greatly then, and still does today. Perhaps it will minister to Pastor Peggy as well as she is recovering from a procedure this week.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” Philippians 4:6

 

Is Life Overwhelming? I have heard some people say in the past that they do not want to bother God unless it is a crisis emergency situation. Some have said that God’s help is not to be used for small things.

 

Sometimes, life can become overwhelming. No matter how much we plan, or how much we prepare for it, sometimes things happen, and we feel out of control. We feel as if we do not have the power that we had before. Something has happened, but we don’t know exactly what.

 

Do you remember the story of the giant in “Gulliver’s Travels?” Here was a person, like us, who was all-powerful. Here was a person who could walk above problems. Here was a person who could seem undefeatable but the giant’s thoughts were working against him. The giant in “Gulliver’s Travels” falls asleep on the beach. While he is sleeping, all these tiny, little people come, put strings over him, and then stake down the strings.

 

A few strings would be no problem at all. He could easily pull those up, sit up, and go about his way. But these little people worked all night long. Each tiny, little person came up to the giant and placed strings across him.

 

The giant wakes up and finds that he cannot move his arms or legs, and he cannot sit up, no matter how hard he tries because he is all tied down.

 

 

You and I have had the same experience, haven’t we – of being all tied up in the thoughts and worries about momentary circumstances of our lives.

 

These little people can represent those little worries and thoughts, those little things that scramble around inside of our mind and seem so uncontrollable. Every time they move across, they take a string with them. Soon we are tied down. Soon we are weak in thought and we don’t feel like we can get up again. Soon we think the weight of life is pulling us down, and we are powerless.

 

You might say, “God, can I ever stand again? Can I walk tall and free? Can I ever be all I once was?”

 

You can! You can! With God’s help you can.

 

Sometimes, the things that happen to us can seem so overwhelming. But whatever they are, we can! We have the power—because God has the power and the know-how.

 

We have the ability to have a transfusion of thought where we totally change our mind; where we have a fusion (if you will) with a Mind that is greater than our mind. God’s Mind knows how to lift us up and out of our problems. When we are free from selfishness, limitation, greed, fear, anxiety, hatred, and inferior feelings, we can stand up to anything.

 

Revelation 21:4-5: “The former things are passed away . . . Behold, I make all things new. “

 

Imagine if God came up to you, tapped you on the shoulder, stood right by your side, looked into your eyes, smiled at you and said, “Don’t let the past burden you. Don’t let it tie you down on the beach of life any more. Don’t worry about those waves. The past is no more. It has passed away and you have a brand new life in Me.”

 

To truly follow Jesus Christ, we have to do this in our prayers and truly embrace His truth.

 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do
he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”   John 14:12

 

When we do this, we’re recharging; we’re getting ready; we’re going apart for a while like Jesus did, and then coming back into the world fully powered, super-charged, ready to perform miracles. Nothing can stand in the way of the Divine power coming in and through us. We are then FULLY working with God. We’re so much of God in action and God’s love in demonstration that people cease sensing us; and, instead, they sense God. That is Christ within us.

 

We have seen, or sensed those in life that manifest this degree. Mother Teresa is an example that comes to mind. St. Patrick, the famous monk, is another. I bet we could name many more.

 

Is this a one-time experience? It’s not even a one-time daily experience. It is something we have to constantly decide upon, choose, and do. When we do, we truly follow Jesus, we live up to our potential of all we can do and be.

 

Jesus told us: “Leave your nets.”  for us, in today’s time, We can look at these as nets of our own personal involvement.

 

What do your nets pick up? If you are putting down your nets in your mind and catching things, your nets are picking up thoughts of people who are telling you that you can’t build your future, you can’t prosper, or the dying-nosis that says you can’t rebuild the cells in your body with God’s help to produce new wholeness and life.

 

Jesus said, “Leave your nets – and follow me.”    What does that mean?

 

It doesn’t mean to follow Him with just your feet. It means to follow Him with your head and heart and feet.

 

There are a million miles between the two. We can run to every church and religious service and still never “get it.” But we can close our eyes wherever we are in prayer and “get it” right where we are—in an instant. We have that within us to always be able to rely upon.

 

Walt Whitman said, “I am not contained between my hat and my shoes, and neither are you.” We are much more. Any time we might think we are contained, we are like that giant tied down.

 

Any time you sit in a chair and think this is all there is to your life, you are like that giant tied down. If something is going wrong and you’re depressed and you think this is all there is, you are like that giant tied down.

 

Christ IN YOU—the hope of glory!

 

We are not just to stand at the foot of the Cross and look up. We are to take Jesus with us and follow Him by becoming what He said to become; by becoming an active disciple on the quest; by becoming that inside of ourselves, which will cause people outside of us to say, “Now there is an example—a sample of the great example—of Jesus.” We are active examples of our faith, OR not. Remember the message a few weeks ago telling us that we are the channels of God’s word? Always remember that.

 

Following Jesus, we become living examples of our faith. We sense it working in us, and so does everybody else. We realize that God is big enough to tackle and manage any problem we may EVER face.

 

We are not tied down to anything on earth, but instead tethered to heaven itself.

 

How do we do this? Let me give you three words:

 

There are three “D’s” to discipleship.

 

The first D – Discipline.

 

The second D—Dedication. Matthew 6:22 Jesus states, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.”

 

In John 18:37 Jesus says, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” [RSV]

 

The third D—Devotion. “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.” James 4:8

 

When we are tied down and locked into the pattern of thinking (tied down), we have an inadequate self-image. We need to change our self-image, realizing that we are a partner the Lord.

 

We do not think of ourselves in wrong terms. In truth we are children of God. In truth, we are native citizens of the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is our house. God’s house is a mansion of love, joy, happiness, and a thousand other individual gifts awaiting us.

 

The little thought people with the strings are always trying to tie us down.

 

Whenever anything in life gets you down, God can get you out of it. God can cut the rope that is tying you down. Nothing has to be an overpowering weighty experience.

 

We can turn weakness into strength, limitation into fulfillment, fear into an all-knowing faith, hate into love, and prejudice into open-mindedness, compromise into integrity, falsity into honesty, ugliness into beauty.

 

I believe that with God as the center of our universe we can accomplish anything, and be happy doing it.

 

As we look at these words that are concepts of our human mind and concepts of Christ, we have to realize that, as native citizens of the kingdom of God, we have a free will choice—we can choose. I suppose that is the whole lesson and the destiny of each one of us. In this moment, tomorrow, and the next day we have the choice.

 

In this and future moments, do we follow the little people who are scurrying around on the beach trying to tie us down, or do we follow Christ?

 

If we follow Christ, we have to get up.   At first, it may appear a struggle… We may begin on our knees. We may have to struggle up the rest of the way until we stand.   BUT when we stand on the firm foundation of faith in God, we are a free soul.

 

We are flying high above our problems (flying high like the eagle), looking down and saying: “My, don’t they look small and insignificant? I can’t believe that I allowed that to bother me so much.”

 

Let us pray.

Dear God, I know that I am more, I can do more, be more, and manifest more in my life. I agree to follow You, dear God in my spirituality. God, I totally consent to You NOW. Manifest Divine ideas through my human brain, through the words I speak, and the sounds I hear and perceive when I am hearing. Help me to keep my focus single, manifest through my eyes so that I am no longer blind or tied down —so I can see and touch beauty everywhere in a new degree, higher, better and deeper than I ever have before. Manifest in my physical body so I can express radiant health. Manifest in my being – ness so wherever I go I will radiate spiritual love to everyone without saying a word or making one action. I give myself totally and completely today. I untie myself and leave my nets; I follow, and I become.

In Jesus Christ’s name we so dedicate ourselves—each one of us—to this lasting truth we hold true.

Amen.

 

 

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During a summer-long drought, a newspaper in South Carolina carried this story: “About 100 people gathered on the Lexington County Courthouse steps, Sunday afternoon, and prayed for rain. ‘We had a very specific prayer,’ said the Reverend Henry ‘Hank’ Moody, Jr., pastor of the Pisgah Lutheran Church, who gave the prayer during the twenty-minute service. ‘We prayed for a gentle, soothing rain for the land, a rain without lightning and storm, a rain that will nourish the land and refill the ponds.’” The article continued, “That’s a tall order, and the one the National Weather Services says won’t be filled anytime soon.”

 

 

Isn’t that the way of the world? The world seems to say, pray if you want, but don’t expect anything to happen because of your prayers. But by the next weekend, the city had gotten more rain in that one week than in the previous three months combined! The rains came, but not without storm. A neighbor lost a tree to high winds, and on Friday, there was a fierce, but brief, thunderstorm.

 

 

There are two types of thought – God-thought and worry-worldly thought. A useless human exercise is tossing and turning in the middle of the night, instead of sleeping like a baby. You are tired, you need rest, but you’re awake. You are wide awake, worrying about all the pressures you have, worrying about finances, deadlines, even worrying about not sleeping. The biblical term for this is “The thief in the night.” Your own mind is robbing you of peace and rest. The harder you try to sleep, the more you toss and turn.

 

 

 

Perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way. What we need to do is look to God, but instead we are looking to our own problems.   Dale Carnegie said, “If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something  instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the  lack of sleep.”

 

 

Job 4:6 teaches about building your life on the rock: “Is not your fear of God your confidence . . . .”  Fear could translate as “respect.” In the  middle of the night, do you respect God? Do you respect God’s power in your life, in your problem in the challenge you are having? Do you respect that power? Do you know what that power can do?

The verse continues, “. . . and the integrity of your ways your hope.”
When you stick steadfastly to God, everything becomes wondrous.

 

 

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday!

 

 

In one of the glass cases of the Washington D.C. Smithsonian Exhibit is a fur coat with a story. It is the fur coat of Marian Anderson, the great singer. It was her dream to buy the fur coat, and she bought it. There was another fan of hers, at the time, who never thought she could ever do what Marian Anderson did, but she looked, listened, and read articles about her and dreamed. Her name was Mahalia Jackson. In the early 1950’s, she found herself before a sell-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. She said she stood there and she recalled gazing out at the thousands of men and women. She was just standing there as a baby nurse and a washer woman. As she stood there before the crowd, she wondered if she could even utter a note. What was she, to stand before this crowd? Who was she, to stand there thinking she had the power of Marian Anderson, Lily Pons, or Caruso, all who had stood there on that stage before? After all, she was just a washer woman and a baby nurse.

 

 

Then she was reminded again. She was not standing there as a baby nurse and a washer woman, she was not just standing there as flesh and bones, but infilled with the presence of God who could bless through her. She opened her mouth and she was a little shaky at first. She opened her mouth and that first note didn’t come out, but she kept going. It would have been easy for the human in her to walk offstage and say, “Well, I tried this.” But the human would think about it for the rest of her life.

 

 

Mahalia knew God could do it through her. She opened her mouth again, and the notes came out, and soon the audience got excited. As the beat picked up, people were clapping, screaming, and out of their seats. She was, what many say, the greatest voice of all time.

 

 

Mahalia was asked, many times, throughout her career to go to Las Vegas and sing jazz. One time, she was offered what was a lot of money then, to make one appearance. She refused to do it because she said, “I am a gospel singer. I stand on stage for one reason and that is to bring God to those people.” She said, “When you sing jazz, what do you have when it is over, but the blues. When you sing gospel, you have something to take home.” She refused to sing anything but songs about God.

 

 

When Mahalia died in 1972, her funeral was attended by so many that the Greater Salem Baptist Church in Chicago had to hold the service at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center – a huge place that frequently has international auto shows. Forty thousand people came to her funeral. On her tombstone this is written, “Apart from Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”

 

 

It can be said of you, too – it truly can – when you are having great success and those moments that are so sweet in life. Remember why you got there: you got there because of God. God is the great abundance and prosperity for the human being, if we will follow God, be loyal to God, and respect God in the moment.

 

 

How do you rise above conditions in your life? How do you rise above lack, limitation, and worry? You do it by consistently going to God and rising above any former problems that have trapped you.

 

 

Proverbs 3:25-26 teaches about true security: “Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.”

 

 

Where is your foot caught? It is caught in the problem. You yank at it and you pull at it, but it is like a bear trap and you don’t know how to get it off of you. It is true you might have stepped there, but God knows how to get you out of the trap.

 

 

Mark Twain said, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

 

 

A lot can be learned by watching a professional logger. It is fascinating how they take apart log jams in the river. It seems there are 10,000 logs in the river and they are all jammed. If we had to break the jam, we would go to the bank of the river and start removing logs. Not the professional logger: he climbs a high tree, takes his time, looks over the situation, finds the one log causing the trouble, blows it up, and then the stream takes care of the rest of the jam by flowing the logs down the river.

 

 

What do we do in the middle of the night with our “log jams?” We go to the edge of the river and we start removing logs, one by one. We start examining them and looking at them. In time, we will remove the jam, but we have worked hard and we haven’t slept and are exhausted. In this life, are we a professional or are we an amateur? What we need to do is climb higher, look over the situation, not with our eyes, but with Divine eyes, and ask God to see what the blockage is, and ask God that it be removed.

 

 

 

 

It will be removed in a miraculous way, something we couldn’t envision through a thousand nights of tossing, turning, and worrying in the middle of the night.

 

 

Will God take us up to an imaginary heaven in a chariot of fire, or do we use our mind to lift ourselves heavenward? “God helps those who help themselves” holds good in the heavens as in the earth. We begin right where we are to bring forth the kingdom of God in our lives. Every problem of life can be successfully solved if we begin with God.

 

 

BEGIN WITH GOD. Sometimes we end up with God as a last resort. That is the hard way of doing it. We don’t have to do it that way; we can begin with God. When we realize we can connect ourselves to God and prove what Jesus said – “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” [John 14:10] – Almightiness then begins to appear.

 

 

I will close with 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, “So we are always confident . . .  we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes we do have confidence. . . .”

 

 

Please, join me in a closing prayer.

 

I am, dear God, always provided for. I know this now, and I know this at all times. I pray that I am reminded of this the next time I need to know, even in the middle of the night. I have faith in You, God, as my omnipresent help in every need. I have faith in You, God as my almighty resource. I trust You, God, to preserve me in abundance. I trust You, God, in every part of my life. I turn to You, God, because I believe You are a rewarder of those of us who seek after You.

 

I give thanks, this sweet spiritual day, to You, God.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name, I give thanks.   Amen.

God bless you

 

 

!

Perspective of Perception

Mrs. Toplov was complaining to Mrs. Weinstein about her new daughter-in-law. “My poor son,” she moaned, “his new wife is a leech. All she does is sit around all day. She has maids to do her cooking and cleaning. My son is going broke buying her expensive gifts. She sleeps late every morning. He even brings her breakfast in bed!”

 

 

 

“A blessing, she isn’t,” Mrs. Weinstein concurred. Both ladies talked and said that it was terrible. Mrs. Weinstein said, “So, how is your daughter?”

 

 

“My daughter – she is a lucky girl. She married a man who treats her like a princess. Hey buys her anything she wants; he hires people to take care of the house. She doesn’t have to dirty a finger. Every morning, he brings her breakfast in bed.”

 

 

Both ladies agreed with a smile on their face – “Isn’t that wonderful?”

 

 

It is perspective. It is how we view life. It is how we decide, each morning, to view life. What do you commonly see in your life? Are you constantly witnessing error and negative things? Or do you bear testimony of the inherent goodness of God and God’s creation? These are important questions, because by your answers, you can get a better understanding of yourself.

 

 

Have you ever noticed something – maybe an odor or a feeling and thought it was coming from far away – from somewhere outside of your space. You may even think, “The whole world smells.” Isn’t that the way it is? We think IT is not in us; IT is out there, in the world. Depending upon our perception, everything we see is bad or good.

 

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go to the eye doctor and ask for a new set of glasses, when we have a negative perception – Glasses that would be God-view glasses, the positive view? When we put them on, we would see anew. What was bad before would be positive now. We would see God’s good that to our old eyes was invisible before.

 

 

There is an American saying, “I’m all eyes.” That means I am paying FULL attention.

 

 

Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:22, “The eye is the lamp of the body. . . .”   What is Jesus saying here? Is this eyeball in your head a lamp or a light? Just not seeing with the eyeball, Jesus talks of having spiritual sight. Jesus is referring not to the physical eyeball, the lens, or the optic nerve, but to PERCEPTION. The way you view life is what creates the light inside of you.

 

 

Jesus goes on, “. . . if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matt 6:22) That means you must look to God; then you are looking to the good. Jesus continues, “But if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt 6:23)

 

 

We have all known people who get up in the morning and everything they see is dark and wrong. They view life and they say, “Oh, my life isn’t any good.” Many others on their life path will see positive and good, but they will say, “Oh my life isn’t any good; look at that problem there.” They will focus on the darkness instead of the light, and how great the darkness is inside of them.

 

 

We must strive to perceive the good in everything we view. We have to look in a loving way. We have “perception praise.”  When we look at another, even if it is for the first time, use our eye to perceive praise, blessings; see God working in others’ lives. May we always see the God-view.

 

 

In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus says, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God IS among you.” Jesus does not say “maybe;” He said it is a fact. This is a certain truth in your life. If this is so, how do we increase our awareness of it? In today’s language, heaven means expansion. How do we expand the awareness of God working in us? We use our eyes and use them in Godly ways.

 

 

In Mark 9:47, Jesus says, “And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out. . . .” Of course this is not saying to tear out our eyeball. The eye Jesus talks about is our perception. If our perception is wrong, then we should remove it and change it.

 

 

Jesus continues: “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell.” (Mark 9:47) Jesus is saying that if we have both of our eyes focused on what’s wrong in our life, our life will become a literal hell. Of course it is better to have both sides focused with the perception of God; but if we must, through our own free-will, keep one eye focused on the appearance of the problem, we are at least 50% ahead and even more if we learn to shut the eye that is perceiving ONLY the bad.

 

 

Jesus goes on to talk about the unquenchable fire, “where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.” (Mark 9:48). In the Bible, look at the word “hell.” Look to the letter after the word or the number, then look down at the bottom of the page and you will see where it says “Gehenna.” He is saying, “Look, either you have the right perception or you will go to the valley of Gehenna.” Gehenna was a trash dump outside of Jerusalem. The stench was strong, and the fires to burn the refuge – including the dead bodies of the castoffs of society – burned night and day, for hundreds of years. In Jesus’ day, that was what the literal hell was. Where we live is often caused and fueled by our perceptions of our life. We must have God’s view, His perception. Otherwise, our views and our lives are not going to mean any more than going to the trash dump where the worm never dies and where the fires have been burning almost forever.

 

 

Practice having gratitude sight, looking around on a beautiful day or a terrible day, and seeing God in the ordinary, or the extraordinary, and finding that special, wonderful thing. All of us want to be happy, and all of us want to be content. We want to give the highest and best of which we are capable to life. We want to make our special contribution. Let us take God as our partnert in everything we see. Then we have true in-sight!

 

 

We will have the gift of joy and insight, we see beyond appearances to things that the human alone would be blind to see. We will see anew again in a brand new way.

 

 

What we see in the outer world is but a reflection of the inner world, because we surround ourselves with a picture of our own beliefs. In other words, we manifest, in general, what we seriously think and believe. So, if we want to find out what our thinking is, all we have to do is look around us and ask ourselves the question, “How’s life?”

 

 

 

 

The Bible says we shall not bear false witness; but that is just what we are doing, for example, when we do not see the presence of God in every situation or when we accept “the appearance” as the only reality.

 

 

On the other hand, we are a witness for God when we see the whole human where a sick one seems to be what is the appearance; when we forgive someone who has injured us and then see God’s love for him or her – when we see prosperity instead of the appearance of lack, knowing God supplies our every need; or when we see harmony and peace, regardless of the seeming appearances.

 

 

Perhaps you recall the lines of William Shakespeare. He said, “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Are we seeing good everywhere we look?

 

 

Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:24-25 says: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”

 

 

 

We pray your life is founded on firm ground because things happen in life that can easily throw us off kilter.  Jesus said the rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house. He did not say the rains may come, the floods may come, and the winds may blow and may beat on the house. We must have firm footing in our perceptions, and we will not be throwing down permanently by what happens. Our perception will be founded on the rock of faith.

 

 

Jesus goes on to say: “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!” (Matt 7:26-27)

 

 

When we are on firm ground, when we are perceiving God in all things, we are empowered to do what we need to do in life, because God is with us, constantly, every moment.

 

 

Have your error cataracts removed, once and for all, to stare until you see the God’s view.  Know when you see something bad there is always another view you are not seeing. Stare at the black cloud long enough until you see God’s given opportunity through that dark cloud where there is golden light shining.

 

 

There is a true story of a Catholic nun. She would visit at least twice a week in the minister’s church. She was about 80 years old and always had a smile on her face. She was a truly holy woman. They would talk about life and about the teachings of Jesus. One day, they walked out of the back door of the church and she stopped in her tracks and said, “Oh isn’t that beautiful?” The minister looked around. All he saw was the parking lot.

 

Finally, the clergyman said, “What are you looking at?” She said, “That red thing over there. I don’t know what it is, but isn’t it beautiful? It is so beautiful, it just makes my day.”

 

He said to her, hesitantly, “Sister,that is the new dumpster. That is what we put trash into.”

 

She said, “Oh, it is so pretty.” They stood there and looked at it with holy sight. It was pretty. It was the prettiest dumpster they had ever seen.

 

 

Right now, am I putting God first with my eye sight? Let us promise never to put our human mind first, churning up worry, anger, or fear.  Say in your heart with me, “I seek God-sight and all its perspective in all I see and think.”

 

 

The Bible teaches about taking the high watch. When circumstances seem less than ideal, it can be difficult to maintain a clear perspective. In such times, it is helpful to remember that things will appear differently when viewed from a different perspective. Approaching difficulties may appear ominous, but they will seem much different once they have passed.

 

 

It’s easy to have a spiritual experience when you are in the rose garden looking at the roses. I am going to ask you to have a spiritual experience looking at the ordinary things in your life by changing your perspective – with the view of God and seeing them … perhaps for the first time.

 

 

Many people become frozen and fearful of the future. They whine and complain about their daily activities and responsibilities. We have all known people who have become psychologically drunk from whining. Let’s put our lives into perspective with the Divine order of God. Look at these facts:

 

 

The moon is approximately 240,000 miles from earth (238,852 miles). The sun is 93 million miles from earth (92,960,000 miles). Scientists have concluded that if either one of these astronomical bodies was 100 miles closer or further away from the earth, life on this planet would not be possible. Likewise, the earth spins at 1,000 miles per hour, while orbiting the sun at 60,700 miles per hour. Just a two-mile-per-hour difference would prevent life on earth. The amazing handiwork of God is not only perfect but perfectly balanced.

 

 

I am going to ask you to join me in a commitment dedicating your eyes to God’s will and work seeing ONLY good.

 

 

Please join me in prayer.

 

(Listen to these words of truth about who you are as a child of God. You are, in truth, inherently good. Goodness is welling up in your soul seeking to find expression in your seeing of the good, in your actions, and doing everything to make you radiant and happy.)

Lord, help me to have a true life change; renewing my eyesight so my perception is brand new. As Your child let me see wonder everywhere, see good everywhere, see YOU everywhere.

Help me to be and remain a loving, joyous being…truthful and honest in my thoughts, in my spiritual eyesight seeing all as loving, joyous beings. Let me be a blessing everywhere and make people happy everywhere I go. Let the spirit of God be my perception and let it be the source of all I see . Grant me this privilege, I pray.

 

So it will be.

In Jesus Christ’s name, we so dedicate. Thank you, God. Amen.

Don’t Forget

When faced with any challenge, don’t forget about God. Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. A lot of people think it is. We say, “Oh God, you are so reluctant to give me what I want.  ” Please God; please can I change Your mind in any way?” It is not overcoming God’s reluctance; instead it is laying hold of our own highest willingness. There is a huge difference. The power of God Almighty is waiting to give to us and to bless us. But we have to be willing to turn to God and accept, and God says, “Yes, I  will open up the windows of heaven for you.”

 

 

 

Whoever rises from prayer a better woman or a better man has already had his or her prayer answered.  God wants to give it to us; we can have the ultimate prayer of life answered.   Prayer is our key. It unlocks the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and  power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at our disposal. We might say, “Well now, it is the priest, or the rabbi, or the minister who has God at his or her disposal.” No, it is us too. We have it right  where we are.

 

 

 

 

Often, we say, we are too busy to pray. We are just too involved with our busy lives to have time for God. Do you know what that really means? We  are too busy to have power from God because we run out of power quickly, but God never runs out of power.

 

 

 

A kindergarten class went to a fire station for a tour and some  instruction in fire safety. The fireman was explaining what to do in case  of fire.   The fireman said, “First go to the door and feel the door to see if it is  hot. Now fall to your knees. Does anyone know why you should fall to your  knees?”   One of the little children said, “Sure, to start praying to ask God to get us out of this mess.”

 

 

 

We have a great deal of activity in our lives, but we accomplish little when we try to accomplish it without God. When we have God in our lives,  we can accomplish greater things than we ever dreamed possible. Nothing is impossible to God’s giving grace.
It has been said, there is more religion in some men’s curses than there is in some men’s prayers, especially if the former is sincere, and the  latter is just ritual. When we pray, when we talk to God, we have to talk to God like God is our very best friend, and talk from our heart. Then we  have a connection.

 

 

 

There was a man who took his little six-year-old son fishing. They put the  line into the river and then they went up to the cabin. After about an  hour they went back to the river to see if they had caught anything. Sure  enough, there were several fish on the line. The boy said, “I knew there  would be Daddy.”   The father asked, “How did you know?”
The boy replied, “Because I prayed about it.”   They baited the hooks again, put out the line, and went back to the cabin  for supper. Afterward they went back to the river again. There were fish  on the line, and the boy said, “I knew it Daddy.”   The father said, “Son, how did you know?”   The little boy said, “I prayed again that there would be fish on the
line.”   So they put the line back into the river and went back to the cabin.   Before bedtime they went back again and this time there were no fish. The  child said, “I knew there wouldn’t be any fish on the line.”   The father asked, “How did you know?”
The boy said, “Because, I forgot to pray this time.”   The father said, “Why didn’t you pray?”   The boy said, “Because Daddy, I forgot.”

 

 

Don’t forget!

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t ever forget the first and foremost thing in your life is God. Put God first; don’t ever meet any situation alone. Don’t  ever go into a problem turning like a tornado in your mind, or outside of yourself without God. Go with the power, the awareness,  and the consciousness of God’s help, and  everything will change. Everything will be better. Sometimes better than you can ever imagine, receiving the Grace of God.   Our failure to think of prayer as a privilege may be partly due to the fact we can pray any time. The door to prayer is so open, so continuous,  that we fail to avail ourselves of an opportunity which is always there.   We take it for granted. Yet it is the most incredible thing in the whole universe. Each one of us, even if we are reading this for the first  time, can take this knowledge with us as a gift of God. We cannot be  alone. God loves us, and God is with us every single moment. We can talk with God. God is not way out there somewhere. God is not reluctant toward us. God is with us, right where we are.

 

 

 

We have heard commercials on television say for years that what is important for a good life is a strong portfolio of stocks. There is  nothing wrong with this, and over the long term it is probably very wise.   But it is even more important to have a strong portfolio first of prayers and investments in faith.

 

 

 

A lady said, “I can’t pray for more than two minutes at a time. I try, but I just can’t. I run out of things to pray  about.” She said, “What can I do?”   Her minister asked her, “What have you been thinking about or worrying  about this week?”   She said, “Well,” and then she talked for 15 minutes.   The minister said, “Change all that into a prayer.”
Instead of thinking and worrying about things, talk to God in a solutions oriented positive way, and ask God’s help to see your challenge in a new light.   She had a spiritual solution, and right then they sat down and prayed. She led the prayer and prayed for 15 minutes easily and could have talked for an hour about things that had been bothering her in her life.   We can estimate the weight of the world. We can tell the size of a certain city. We can count the stars in heaven. We can measure the speed of lightning. We can tell the time of the rising and the setting of the sun. But we as humans cannot estimate the power of prayer. The power of prayer, when it works in and through us, is beyond anything that the  human mind of any time or any age can comprehend. It is more because prayer is as vast as God is, because God is behind it. Prayer is as mighty as God is, because God has committed all that God is, to answer our prayers.

 

 

 

Remember the parable of Jesus Christ from Matthew 22:1-14.  

 

“Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: `The kingdom of heaven
may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent
his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but  they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who  have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fatted  calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding  banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm,  another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated  them, and killed them.  The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and  burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, `The wedding is ready, but  those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and  invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out  into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

 

 

 

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the  outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For  many are called, but few are chosen.”

 

 

 

There is a book written by author Elizabeth Sand Turner, that explains this parable of Jesus. She says in her book, “Your Hope of Glory,” that the  parable of the wedding feast and the wedding garment, relates that God has  prepared a feast for us, and invites us to it. Those in lower consciousness make light of God’s invitation. They not only pursue their worldly interests, but definitely reject God’s summons. They kill the  king’s messengers. They reside literally at the bottom of the glass in the sediment of life. This is a spiritual meaning of the fall of man, our highest thoughts are often allowed to sink to our lowest realms.  In other words, we have Divine urgings inside of our minds, but we kill those thoughts. We say, “Not now, not now.” Then we go our own way. The  price we pay is death to the good we would have had; the good God has already prepared for us. Those who accept God’s invitation must prepare themselves properly and wear a wedding garment. 

 

 

 

We must prepare ourselves in awareness. What does it mean to put on a  garment of God? It means to know God is one with us, and to accept the good God has for us. Our preparation for God’s good consists of spiritual thinking and living. The robe of righteousness is the only fit wedding garment. Without this we shall not be permitted to eat at God’s table.   Does God choose? No, it said earlier that the good and the bad were  invited. God cares more about our present moment, our future, and our
willingness to change than God does about our past. God invites all to this banquet. God wants all to accept it; but in order to accept it, we must synchronize our mind with God. Otherwise we cannot even comprehend the good that God has already prepared for us.

 

 

 

Once, some years ago, a five-year-old girl was attending a formal wedding.   The child was sitting with her grandmother. She had been in Sunday school,  but had never attended a formal church service. During the wedding the  minister said, “Let us pray.” Each person bowed his or her head in prayer.  The little girl looked around, saw all the heads around her bowed, and  everyone’s eyes toward the floor. She cried in her loudest voice,  “Grandma, what are they all looking for?”

 

 

 

What are we looking for when we pray? Let us seek God first all the time.   Sometimes in our mind we try to twist God’s good.   There was an overweight businessman who decided it was time to shed some  excess pounds. He took his new diet very seriously, even changing his driving route to avoid his favorite bakery. However, one morning, he  arrived at work carrying a gigantic coffeecake. His co-workers all scolded him, but a smile remained on his face. He said, “This is a very special coffee cake. I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning. There in the  window was a host of goodies. I felt this was no accident, so I prayed,  “Lord, if you want me to have one of those delicious coffee cakes, let me find a parking place directly in front of the bakery. Sure enough,” he  continued, “The eighth time around the block, there it was.”

 

 

 

So often we want something our own way, which may not be to our highest good. We must  pray to God first. Second, we must move as God directs.  In Matthew 6:10  the Bible states “Thy will be done.”

 

 

Sometimes a person will say, “I want to do God’s will but how could I know whether the leading that comes to me is God’s will or my will?” This  implies that our will and God’s will must necessarily conflict. When we pray to show the will of God, our will is illumined. God acts through our will. And we know that it is God’s will because of the  feeling of peace we have, because of the sense of rightness we have. We know that it is God’s will because of the good results that show forth in us and in our lives.

 

 

“Not my will, but to Thine be done” is one of the most far-reaching positive affirmations of Jesus, and those who follow Jesus are finding great peace and relaxation in daily life. We are to pray that  the will of God enters into us as the great clarifier allowing all the old sediment to fall to the bottom of our hourglass of life.   This will become a moving factor in our life towards real solutions. God does not take our will from us; rather, God gives us the utmost freedom to find creative solutions.

 

 

There is a story of an old Scot who was quite ill. The family called for  their minister and as he entered the sick room he sat down. He noticed  another chair on the opposite side of the bed, a chair which had been drawn close. The minister said, “Well, Donald, I see that I’m not your  first visitor for the day.”   The old man looked up, was puzzled for a moment and then he recognized  from the nod of the pastor’s head that the pastor had noticed the empty  chair. “Well Pastor,” he said, “Let me tell you about this chair. Many years ago, I found it quite difficult to pray, so one day I shared this  problem with my minister. He told me to not worry about kneeling or  placing myself in some posture such as a Lotus position But instead, sit  down with a chair opposite me, and imagine Jesus sitting in that chair.   Then he said to talk with Him as I would a good friend.” The aged Scot  then added, “I’ve been doing that ever since.”   A short time later the daughter of the Scot called the pastor. When he  answered, she informed him that her father had died very suddenly. She was quite shaken because she had no idea that death was so very near. Then she continued, “I had just gone to lie down for an hour or two, for he seemed  to be sleeping so comfortably. When I went back, he was dead.” Then she  added thoughtfully, “Except now, his hand was on the empty chair at the
side of the bed. Isn’t that strange?”

 

 

The minister replied, “No, that is not strange at all. I understand.”   When we are in the hospital, we may be in pain, or not feeling well, and during such times we may find it is hard to pray. Place an empty chair in front of you, and in that chair, place in your mind the presence of Jesus Christ. Reach out to the chair and pray with that Presence. Try praying with an empty chair, with the presence of Jesus Christ. You know something? It is a mystical thing, but the chair wasn’t empty. The presence of Jesus Christ was there. It can be in your life too because nothing is impossible for YOU.

 

Let us pray.

“Give me, oh Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag
downward. Give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out. Give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.   Teach all of us here–good wonderful God–to serve Thee as Thou deservest. To give and not count the cost, to fight and not heed the wounds, to toil and not seek rest, to labor and not ask for any  reward except knowing that we are doing Thy will. ”

Thank You, God.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.

The Abundant Difference

“Why doesn’t God help me?” The woman shouted out when her life was in chaos, when things seemed to be going strangely, and she was confused about what to do next.

 

One of the things many people do, in the state of confusion is to TRY HARDER, WORK LONGER,  WORRY ALL-NIGHT and try make things happen themselves, believing that they alone are the ones who are responsible for everything.  Sound familiar?

 

 

People often forget to ask for God’s help in stressful times. The best time to ask
for God’s help is BEFORE chaos.

 

 

Read this letter that a man wrote to his insurance company because it really epitomizes where some people are. “I’m  writing in response to your request concerning block 11 on the insurance form.   It asks for the cause of injuries, wherein I put ‘trying to do the  job alone.’ You said you needed more information, so I trust the following  will suffice:

 

 

“I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of injuries, I was working alone,  laying brick on top of a four-story building. At the end of the job I had  about 600 pounds of brick left over, so I thought I would lower the bricks  on a pulley rather than making several trips to carry them down. I went  down below, secured the rope at ground level, went back up and loaded all  the bricks into a barrel, and then I swung the barrel off the side of the
building.

 

 

 

“Then I went back down, untied the rope (holding it tightly with my right  hand so I would assure a slow descent). You can imagine my shock at being  jerked off the ground so rapidly that I lost my presence of mind.

 

“Somewhere between the second and third floors, I collided with the barrel  coming down. This explains the injuries to my head and shoulders.   Colliding with the barrel only slowed my ascent momentarily as I  proceeded rapidly up the side of the building, not stopping until my right  hand was jammed in the pulley, which accounts for my broken thumb and  fingers.

 

 

“Regaining my presence of mind, I held tightly to the rope. About the same  time, however, the barrel hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the  barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed about 35-40  pounds. At this time I began a rapid descent. I met the barrel somewhere between the second and third floors as it was coming up, which explains  the injuries to my legs and knees.

 

“I landed on the ground on the pile of bricks which caused minimal back  injuries and internal injuries. (Fortunately, they were only minimal.)    At this time, however, I’m sorry to say that I lost my presence of mind,  and I let go of the rope. As you can imagine, the barrel crashed down on top of me. I am happy to report, however, that I am finished trying to do the job alone.”

 

 

Doesn’t that say a little about how many of us have been trying to do the job alone, without God’s ever-present and willing help? We feel that we  are responsible for everything that is happening in our lives, and everything that is supposed to happen. We take it all on, like we are the ones doing everything. God’s in charge! We are here today to remember God’s help.

 

 

One time, there was a lady who was on a passenger ship in the high seas.   There was a fairly violent storm raging, when she happened to see the  Captain going up to the top deck and said to him, “Captain, how serious is  this?”

 

The Captain said, “Madam, if I were you I would just say some prayers.”
She says, “Oh no, has it come to that?”

 

 

We have been taught that if all else fails, pray. Has anybody else heard  that before? We have heard about the power of prayer, but we seem to have it in the wrong order.   The ideal is to put prayer first because we are putting God first.

 

 

In 1 John 5:4 it says, “For whatever is born of God conquers the world.”
Whatever is born (or begins) in God can overcome any and all challenges
that face us.

 

 

Put God first in prayer and meditation.

Remember that God answers your prayer even before you ask. Your part is to make prayer an open awareness within your mind through which God’s answer can come to
you easily, understandably, and without personal human struggle. Prayer is power. All power of God is available to you. Your prayer should not be a wish but a conviction.

 

 

A wise gardener prepares the soil before the gardener plants the seed. Those  who pray must prepare their mind to receive that which they plant in the form of prayer.

 

 

Putting God first in our lives makes a lot sense. Whatever is born of God  overcomes anything in the world. The whole idea of putting God first comes  down to the basic premise that we are all on this journey on this  classroom called life, and everybody’s main lesson is the same–to awaken  to the presence of God.

 

 

There are many ways to pray, as there are many ways to God. The way of the  bird is not the way of the fish; the way of the baby is not the way of the  adult. Advanced souls always pray in advance to relax themselves and keep themselves receptive to the guidance that is from God.  That is the basic, underlying thread that we all have in our lives. We are to awaken to who we are — as beloved children of God.   I am going to invite you to say that and feel what you are saying.

 

“I am a beloved child of God. I am a beloved child of God.”

 

Get the spiritual feeling of what you are saying.  Prayer is the most effective method of renewal and transformation in the human. In prayer, the human associates with God instead of the problem.   We teach that you must pray in positive expectation. Negatives add up to negatives and negatives have no part in successful prayer. Do not pray in
desperation, but in confidence and expectation of the best.  You are responsible in your attitude for at least half the answer in prayer.

 

 

 

Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask for when you  pray believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” Mark  11:24

 

 

 

Jesus told us that He came that we may have life and have it abundantly.   That means everything – the perfect, radiant health of God that is already with us, perfect employment, a comfortable home, perfect  transportation, all good things are what our Divine birthright entitle us to.

 

 

To get there, we have to be aware of who we are in our relationship with God. As we get into the habit of putting God first in our lives, we see  things from a higher perspective.

 

 

Putting God first, in prayer and meditation, is the most effective and  quickest way most of us will awaken to the presence of God, in all areas  of our lives. Get into the wonderful habit of praying or meditating in the  morning. It sets the tone for the day.

 

 

We wake up in the morning in an awakened state. That is the perfect time to do the most important work that we do throughout the day, which is putting God first. Set the tone for the day. Invite God to go before us and do whatever is ours to do.

 

 

When you go to bed at night go through the things you are going to work on
tomorrow, inviting God to guide you to the perfect outcomes.   Turning everything over to God, you realize that you cannot do it at all,  but God can do it.   Have the inspiration to put everything in God’s hands each night and every  morning – that makes your life special.

 

 

Putting God first in all areas of our lives. How important is it to put God first in all areas of our lives? I would like to share a piece of  poetry with you that really sums it up beautifully. It is called “The  Difference,” and it was written by one of the most famous authors of all  time — Anonymous.

 

THE DIFFERENCE

I got up early one morning,
And rushed right into the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn’t take time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task.
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
She said, “You didn’t seek.”
I tried to come into God’s presence.
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”
So, I got up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.

 

 

If you do not have time to do everything that you have to do in a chaotic life, then you must take time to put God first. When life gets chaotic and out of control, look back and say, “What did I forget to do today?” We  usually know the answer — We get up in the morning, and hit the floor with our feet running. So, we make a minor adjustment, and we create a quiet prayer time every morning. Most of the time, we will remember to
take time to pray first. But the days we don’t pray first, we will be able to tell the difference.

 

 

A good nutritious meal feeds the body and mind. Good prayer feeds the soul.   So, put God first in every situation. As you go through  whatever you are going through during the day, keep inviting God to go before you to make your way safe and enjoyable, to have clear guidance, or  whatever you have to ask for. Ask for God’s help and God will respond.

 

God will respond to you! God will help.

 

 

So let’s close with this acknowledgment:  “I am open and receptive to
putting God first in all my activities.”   Will you do this with me?  Always put God and prayer first.

 

Close your eyes and please join me in prayer.

 

Dear God, I come to You in total expectation of the best. I believe in miracles because I believe in You. I cooperate with You by holding in my mind the very best outcome. I do not come to You in desperation, but in gratitude and excitement of the result given to me ahead of any need. I live my days in prayer and my days bless me. I go to You first each day to prepare my mind for the blessed life. I live my moments, day by day,  in positive expectation and overflowing gratitude as I witness and take  part in the miraculous results. I believe that spiritual power is the most important activity that I can take part in. I give myself to it, and it  gives its power to me.   I am grateful and thankful for every moment spent in sacred prayer.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name …Amen

 

 

God bless you!

 

Christ’s name. . .

And so it is . . . Amen.