HIS KINGDOM? OR YOURS?

APRIL 11, 2014
Por Mike Kendrick

Moated Caerlaverock Castle, Scotland

There once was a king who wanted to make his name great among his people, so he built a grand castle with ornate spires shooting into the sky to grace his world-renowned city. The result was just what he wanted. Men worshipped him and came from near and far to see his castle and his kingdom.

Time passed and the first king died and a second king took his place. The second king wanted to make his name great as well, but he desired to build something more grand and amazing than his predecessor. So he added onto what the first king had made and erected his new addition right next to the first king’s construction to grace the kingdom.

Unfortunately, the second king did not have enough money to make his structure bigger, so he made it look bigger by using an optical illusion. In the same way that an artist makes an object look farther away by drawing it smaller and higher on a page, the king built the windows smaller as they went higher into the sky. As a result, the building appeared to be taller next to the first king’s construction, while in reality, it was shorter.

A lot of people in the world will go to any measure to build their own kingdom, instead of building Christ’s. They will do anything to draw attention to themselves and make their name great because they think that this is going to bring them fulfillment.

However, if you want to experience the highest level of fulfillment, you must first know the God who made you. You must also make it your goal to make Him famous, which means you glorify Him.

To glorify Him means that you put the spotlight on Him and you leverage everything you can in your life to lift Him up so others can see Him. You maximize all that you have been given to show and tell others about Him. You use your money, skills, talents, and passions. You use everything that you are. If you make this your goal, you will experience a deep joy that cannot in any way come from selfishly serving yourself and building your own kingdom.

Unfortunately, our self-centered American culture has taught us that the ultimate goal is to make ourselves happy. Some people have bought into the “I-have-to-be-happy” lie—and believe that the main message of Christianity is all about them, when it’s really all about God.

What about you? Will you make Christ famous and build His kingdom?

Excerpt taken from The Fulfillment Factor by Mike Kendrick. To learn more about how you can experience ultimate fulfillment by pursuing your personal mission from God to build Christ’s kingdom, check out Mike Kendrick’s book

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CLIO’S STORY–at least some of it.

 

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Clio Eldred was born in Ontario, Oregon, and raised in Bellingham, Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Abilene Christian University, which he did before he became another polio victim, just at the time the vaccine was first released in the late 50’s.

In the iron lung, he was close to death. The ravages of the disease left him almost totally paralyzed: the doctors said he would never walk or sing again because of all the muscles that were destroyed. Clio was determined to prove those doctors wrong. With determination (his sister says the word is stubbornness), patience, dependence upon God and time, he overcame obstacles, one at a time.

Walking (braces and canes) and wheelchair, driving, singing, playing the guitar, teaching, riding a motorcycle and a bicycle, this man has impacted many lives.

Part of his résumé reads:

Master of Music Degree from the University of Oregon, completing most of the work toward a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Washington. He served as music director and associate minister at the Highland Church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama, and taught music (choral director and private voice instructor) in Alabama Christian College in Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbia Christian College, Portland, Oregon.

While at Magic Valley Christian College, Albion, Idaho, Mr. Eldred was acting head of the music department, teaching music theory, music appreciation, church music, private voice, directing the chorus and vocal ensembles, and organizing and directing the choral tours. Later, he was choral director at Whatcom Middle School, Bellingham, Washington, also teaching general music classes there, and taught private voice at Western Washington State University. At North Seattle Community College, Seattle, Washington, he taught private voice, music theory, and sight singing. In August of 1969, Mr. Eldred was awarded a scholarship to attend and sing in Boris Goldofski’s opera workshop in Wheeling, West Virginia. He has attended the choral workshops of several outstanding men, including that of Dr. Lera Hoggard as well as some Fred Warring workshops. He has sung the bass-baritone solos in many productions of the oratorio of Elijah and Messiah.

Mr. Eldred has also been the choral director of many teen-age camps, sung the bass solos in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at a special workshop on teaching music theory at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York; was a guest soloist with the Boise Symphony Orchestra (Boise, Idaho) and the Portland Symphonic Choir (Portland, Oregon).  Mr. Eldred has been scheduled for concerts in colleges, universities, community centers and many state prisons (performing a wide variety of musical selections).

A man with a message, Clio likes the outdoors and the old west (as indicated by his photography). He likes the imagery of the mountain man and Indian tradition with concepts of honesty, openness to truth, and closeness to nature. Mr. Eldred believes that a man (and a woman) should take a strong stand for things that are positive, good and truthful. “We had all better make a strong stand for God and our country, or our ideals are going to be whittled away to nothing! Be committed!”

For five years, Mr. Eldred was Institutional Music Director at Washington Corrections Center at Shelton, Washington. Teaching voice lessons, music theory, and directing the choir, Mr. Eldred kept very busy. He also presented concerts with the choir and with his own singing presentations. At the present time, he is teaching guitar lessons and presenting musical concerts four times a year featuring various groups,  at Monroe Corrections Center, Minimum Security Unit in Monroe, Washington,  He’s worked in State and/or Federal prisons in: Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, California, Oregon and Washington, teaching Bible, and bringing musical concerts to the inmates.

He writes:

“ ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:36)

This has been my inspiration since 1978 when I started “going to prison”. However, God’s calling is not always easy. I contracted polio when I was 25. Here lies the unique aspect of my ministry: As I am confined to a “prison” of polio and spend much of my time in a wheel chair, I am able to relate in a unique way to those in a prison of concrete and steel.”

Clio is now 79, living far past what the doctors predicted. In fact, he’s spent most of his life going beyond the physical limits placed upon him by polio as a young man, 55 years ago.

Those of us who know him thank God for his life!

Clio’s sister,

Voni Eldred Pottle

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CHARTING THE FOOTPRINTS OF JESUS

                                by Clio B Eldred  image

PURPOSE: An easy Bible-study guide to lead us into God’s Path!

Charting & Following the Footprints of Jesus-organized by Clio Eldred

Please take special notice of this Scripture concerning God’s word, the Holy Bible:

2 Peter 1:20-21.

“The church that Jesus died for and built upon His ‘TRUTH’ (John 14:6); is described, defended, and given clarification throughout the New Testament Scriptures.  Jesus did not die to build somebody else’s church. He died to build His own church. Christ’s Church is built upon the TRUTH of Peter’s confession that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To verify the accuracy of this comment, study the two Greek words: Petros, and Petra.(Matthew 16:16-18). Why does anyone go beyond what is taught by Jesus and His chosen apostles? (1 John 4:1-6

Please do not rely on your own, or anyone else’s interpretation.  Examine the words in the text and stay with it.

           Remember, I am not interested in teaching you a ‘religion’ which was established later than 95 A.D.   I would like to show you the Christ, and how to live and walk with Him. Also, I want to let you see the marvelous blessings He gives us through His will, not through any man’s rules of “religion, behavioral patterns, and rituals.” 

Who is God?
1) He is our Savior, Isaiah 43:11-12;
2) He is our Forgiver, Isaiah 43:25;
3) He is our Comforter, Isaiah 51:12-13.
4) God is Love, 1 John 4:6-14; 1 Cor. 13:4-7.

Who is Jesus Christ?
1) He is the Messiah for the entire world, Isaiah 9:6-7;
2) The fulfillment of this prophecy, John 1:1-17;
3) Equality with God, Philippians 2:3-11;
4) Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Matthew 16:13-16;
5) Oneness with the Father, John 14:1-11; John17:13-24. Do not try to put in your own words, just read and listen to the Scriptures! John 12:32-33 records the words of Jesus saying that He will draw all men to him! Please listen to the words of Jesus Christ: John 12:27-36 .

Whom do we choose to follow? If a boy admires his father, he almost always wants to be like him and tries to follow in his father’s steps. When I was a boy living on a farm north of Seattle, many times it would snow. On one such occasion, I was trying to keep up with my dad as we walked to the barn in deep snow. I was having much trouble walking, so my dad simply said, “Just walk in my foot-steps and it will be much easier.” My dad would even take shorter strides so I could continue to step in his footprints.

  It seems to be the destiny of man to follow in the footsteps of our fathers. We have no choice as to who our biological father may be; however, it is always possible for a man to choose the father whom he follows in thoughts, desires, and actions, regardless of whomever his biological father may be.

(The big question is whether we choose to follow the father of lies, or the Father of Truth. To learn which category you may choose to live in and where this will lead you, please read John 8:43-45 and 1 Peter 2:1-10.

Bible-Study for Life and Eternity:

Psalm 1: This describes exactly how sin & temptations enter into our lives and what happens next.
Too many times we all learn the hard way! (Please memorize this Psalm.)

Ecclesiastes 3:11; a very interesting statement: “God set Eternity in the hearts of men.”

Isaiah 61:1-3 : This is what it’s all about, trying to help others and leading us to God.

Luke 4:14-22 ; Jesus tells us, “Today this scripture is fulfilled—(I am the Messiah).”

2 Corinthians 5:17-21: A new creature and an ambassador for Christ, God’s representatives to mankind.

Romans 1:16-19 : What good is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It is God’s Power unto..?

The purpose of this study is to help us discover the TRUTH of God and of Jesus Christ! It is so very important to hear the words of Jesus. Please listen:

John 14:6:I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” That statement of Jesus answers Pilate’s question to Jesus in John 18:36-38 concerning ‘Truth.’ Here Jesus also gives Pilate “key information” as to His purpose in coming to earth.

Next important thought: the Apostle John writes about Jesus making an amazing comment over which many of us still struggle as to its meaning, John 14:12: Truly, truly, 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 the Father. Question: How can we do anything greater than what Jesus did while He was on earth?

To help you discover the answer to this question, please read and carefully note the meanings of the words in each Scripture, listed in a logical order:

Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:3; Matthew 7:13-14; Matthew 7:24-29; Matthew 7:21-23;

1 John 2:1-4; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-5; Romans 6:1-11;

Mark 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Acts 2:37-38; and Acts 8:34-39; 1 John 5:13.

Please let us help you find God’s answer to this question, and more questions we all may have concerning His plans for our lives:

Charting the Steps of Jesus and His Apostles in the 1st Century. (Please study the chart.)

Follow the words of Jesus and His Apostles: Matthew 28:18-20; 1 John 4:1-6; and, Acts 2:1-47; Acts 11:26; Romans 16:16.

Are you interested in taking God’s Truth to this nation, and the entire world? Look and listen carefully to this link<http://youtu.be/IO4nCd20FDQ> You will be amazed! Think, pray, study, and act.

Refuge in Christ Ministries (www.refugeinChrist.net ) ;

clio.b@q.com : C ‘B’ E…the man called…Clio

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Clio is my younger brother, by two years.  Growing up we were raised by parents who loved God, each other, and us.  As kids we learned to “disagree” quietly, as our Dad taught us “it takes two to make a quarrel, so don’t be the second one.”  Also, NO physical fighting!  We were both convinced it was always the other one who started our “disagreements.”

Those years have faded into the shadows of the past, remembered with laughter and longing.  We’ve learned to disagree more kindly, and to love and honor each other.

I am proud to say: “This man, Clio B Eldred, is my brother!”

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New Phase, New Journey

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January 25, 2014 Portland, Oregon

Email exchanges Feb 27, 2011 between a dear friend and I. I was still in Natal, RN, Brazil. Joe was back in the states, I was trying to recoup from my first surgery for hydrocephalus (in Brasil), was in the process of selling our apartment (home!) and had signed the papers the day before, overwhelmed by all that was happening in preparation to move and come to the states at the end of July.

The truth of these words are still with me. I am still on an absolutely new journey, and I don’t recognize any of the signposts. I only know my Guide has never failed me.

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Voni Pottle February 26, 2011

I’ve tried to be open about each step of this journey we are on. . . and it is not over. I thought the journey was getting to the states. It is much more than that. This journey is learning how to walk through different phases of our lives… including aging, body or mind shut-down.. Learning to trust God in each phase. Yesterday, I was still in shock. Now I’m starting to work through reality.


My Friend
February 27 at 1:15pm

Hi Voni,
You have always known it is not about the destination, it is about the journey. You said that yesterday you were still in shock. Have other things come up in the last day to make this journey more real? How is Joe? How are you?

Reality is a much more difficult journey than shock. Shock numbs our senses and reality heightens our awareness. Shock often causes paralysis. Reality often motivates us in ways we thought were impossible. Shock keeps us in confusion. Reality brings truth into view.

When the shock journey ends the reality journey begins. We see that the grace of God has brought us through the deepest, darkest part of the valley and the light is just beginning to dawn in our hearts. Our awareness motivates us to keep believing, keep trusting, keep obeying. As we walk the reality journey, one day we reach the peak of the mountain where we and God stand at the pinnacle and look out over all the way that we have come and He says to us “you are going to be ok, continue your journey with Me”, and shows us the next phase of our journey we are to take…it is at that time truth captures our heart and light floods our soul and He says: “Walk with Me. We are beginning a new journey. This one is called peace.”

Voni, I know that this journey you are on has been very difficult and the emotions are heightened, along with being torn in two, almost every day with the decisions that you have to make. And just as you make one…something happens and you have to change…your heart, mind and soul cannot keep up…you must trust your spirit as God fills you with His Holy Spirit. Keep trusting Him to lead and guide you.

I am praying that He will give you peace as you travel this journey of reality and make His presence known as He gives you wisdom for every turn. He is with you and promised to never, never, never leave you…because He loves you.
I love you my friend…keep believing…keep trusting…keep believing…as the old song goes…Only Believe…
Love and prayers,
Nan

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Voni Pottle February 27 at 3:29pm

Nan – THANK YOU for those words! The truth of them comes out of your own heartbreaks, and your decision to walk with Him, regardless of the cost.
The truths you wrote above are reality. I’m going to copy them, look them over, and absorb them They are truths I recognize from my own life, but I’ve never heard them put just like this. Thank you.

1/25/14
The words the Holy Spirit gave to Nan continue to calm my soul on this new journey.

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Voni

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Psalms 19

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Psalms 19

“1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

NIV

This is the Columbia River Gorge, between the states of Washington and Oregon. All of the white spots on those hills are snow, and in the far distance are the Cascade Mountains.
Some of the trees below us are splashes of bright color as autumn does its work of removing their leaves.

It’s the end of November and the wind chills one’s bones, as we gaze at this beauty in awe. No man is capable of painting this canvas. Only God, Who is the Master Artist.

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TRUST

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I’m sharing here eight passages that have become life verses for me.  I’ve quoted from New American Standard….However, these verses are powerful in all versions… their theme is

 

TRUST  


These verses are an integral part of my 81 years  . . . as I’ve moved over 50 times in married life, 7 times between the US and Brazil or visa-versa . . . lost my first marriage of 48 years in Brazil (my husband was unfaithful and had children outside of our marriage . . . he abandoned our 6 children and our grandchildren) . . .I  lived in Brazil most of the time from 1967 to 2012 . . .remarried in Portland, OR in 1991… in 1993 my husband began going with me to Brazil, teaching, … we moved to Brazil in 2000 , both of us sharing and teaching  . . .  in 2011,  I had surgery for hydrocephalous (a surprise) then had to come back to the states in 2012 for another surgery, leaving my life in Brazil, and (with my husband) I’m recouping here in Portland, OR, …  my heart desiring to return to Brazil even as I am thankful to be in the same country with my 6 children, 18 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren          

 -With no idea of what the Lord wants for my future I’m reminded that, once again, these life verses are necessary for my survival.-

 

These verses start with

Isa 41:10-13

10 ”Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen  you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

11 “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;

Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.

12 ” You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,

Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.

13 “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,

Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” 

   We can look at our right hands and KNOW that He is holding them, He is with us, and we will have victory! 

 

Rom 8:28

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

    ALL THINGS – good and bad.

Eph 5:19-20

 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;

    FOR  ALL THINGS – including the bad, praying, specifically thanking God FOR our hurts and each negative in our lives and our joys.  For me, thanking Him for the good is easy.  However, thanking for the bad requires more discipline.  When I succeed, it brings release.

1 Thess 5:18

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    IN EVERYTHING

Matt 6:14-15

14 ” For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. 


  IF. . . . lack of forgiveness is a luxury we cannot afford. IF I want to walk with the Lord, have a relationship with Him, spend eternity with Him, I MUST forgive… IF I don’t, I’m shooting myself in the foot!

Forgiveness is not an emotion – it is obedience..and it is easier to obey,

when I KNOW the reality of Rom 8:28 and have thanked Him FOR and IN all things.

We can be honest with God, acknowledging to that Him what happened to us was Not according to His commandments but we will forgive out of obedience, not because we want to.

Forgiveness is a process…many times we have to forgive the same thing over and over.

Forgiveness frees us from bondage . . . and lifts us above the person who tried to bring us low.

As we walk this walk, we learn to WAIT upon the Lord…

Isa 40:31

31 Yet those who wait for the LORD

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

and BE STILL, CEASE STRIVING

Ps 46:10

10 “Be still, and know that I am God;

NIV

Ps 46:10

10 ” Cease striving, and know that I am God

then we can KNOW that these promises are REAL as we walk in obedience. . .

Ps 37:1-6

Do not fret because of evildoers,

Be not envious toward wrongdoers.

2 For they will wither quickly like the grass

And fade like the green herb.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;

Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light

And your judgment as the noonday. 

   Delight in the Lord - be passionately in love with Him, delight in His company rejoicing in His presence … (a very difficult verse when we are heartbroken)

HE will give me the desires of my heart… I don’t have to try and make things happen…

I am to praise Him, thank Him, forgive and be still – He does the rest!

But I DO need to know the desires of my heart, so I will recognize them as He gives them to me.

(I learned that as I walk in this walk – at times a difficult struggle – trusting Him and being still)  sometimes He actually changes and enriches the desires of my heart! even as He is fulfilling them.  WHATEVER/HOWEVER HE does it, it’s always better and more glorious than I’d dreamed.

HE WILL fulfill ALL HIS promises.

vs 6 – is amazing…

The Holy Spirit does something within us, so when people look at us they see a beauty that is not from ourselves, people are drawn to WHO is in us. It is wonderful, and humbling.  So when even strangers compliment us we can smile and say :”Thank you. It’s God.” – for it IS, and we KNOW IT.

 

Blessings!

Voni Pottle

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A HIDDEN GARDEN

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A Hidden Garden

I’m drinking tea and looking out at this gracious garden, created by my hostess, in the midst of a very poor area in Natal. It is quiet, except for the barking of neighbors’ dogs, and the subdued notes of classical music drifting out of the house. I look at this, thinking: our lives, too, can be like this lovely hidden garden. God gave each one of us the ability to create a hidden garden within ourselves, where we can find quietness and peace and beauty – even when we are surrounded by confusion. It is hidden in our spirit: a place where we can retreat to be with our Lord, and have communion with Him.

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BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD…

Sunday – December 18, 2005

“Be still and know

that I am God…”

Psalms 46:10

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I am learning the difficulty of obeying those words.

They are beautiful, profound, simple . . . and challenge me!

Be still – when I want to run and resolve.

Be still – when I want to knock down doors, make phone calls, write letters, fight windmills – what ever is necessary to do, to accomplish the needed goal.

Be quiet! Be still!

I honestly thought I’d learned this lesson.

Romans 8:28 “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose”

Then we faced a loss I was totally unprepared for. . .when funds we were transferring to help the church in Brasil did not arrive.

I went into panic mode: people’s needs would not be met, people would be hurt, I had to try to do something.

(Have any of you been there?) I was literally sick at my stomach . . . I couldn’t sleep

. Fighting against the clock. clip_image003
No peace . . . carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders . clip_image005 (something wrong here!)

But, finally, just yesterday, the Lord got through to me.
How? I remembered a lesson Joe teaches: The Battle is the Lord’s, and the victory is ours.

–Moses with the Israelites blocked by the Red Sea and the Egyptian army coming to wipe them out. Moses’ words to them: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!” Exodus 14:13-14

–David – a young lad, indignant to see God mocked by the Philistines and their giant bully, Goliath. Walking towards Goliath who is calling down insults on his head, David swinging his slingshot and calling out: “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45-50

–Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego standing before the king of Babylon, stating: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-25

Marvelous stories out of history, each one. And each one reminding me, once again: I can depend upon the Lord to do what is right, even when all appears wrong.

His reminder to me is that my intelligence and personal rationale is not necessarily correct.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8

mmmm – yes, Lord!

Then the Holy Spirit threw down the gauntlet of even more verses. clip_image007

Psalms 37:7-8 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before Him; do not fret when men

succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger . . . do

not fret . . . For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

Isaiah 41:28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary . . . those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us , who can be against us?

That was enough for me to begin to get the message. It was time for me to change my attitude. Choose to trust God – or my own intellect? I’ve learned over the years, that it’s best to trust God!

So – what am I going to do?

Choose to trust Him! It is my choice.

Thank Him in and for everything. Trust His way of doing things.

Be still and know that He is God. Wait to see what HE will do.

Trust Him!

This is my assignment. I’ll let you know what God does. . .

I do have one question . . . in your life . . . is He challenging you with the same assignment?

Voni

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PEACE & CONFLICT

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I absolutely love this picture! As I look at it, I am once again there: the colors fading in the evening sky, the old antique lamp shining against the coming night. The air was cool: the daylight sounds fading, hearing Willamette Falls behind me As I look at this and remember, I feel peace,. A quiet contentment. However, I’m aware that to maintain this peace I have to battle against my own nature. A paradox!

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, December 4th,:
“To Him that overcometh . . .” Rev. 2:7 The Law of Antagonism.
Life without war is impossible, either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral and spiritual life is antagonism. This is the open fact of life.”

I do NOT like these words. I want to live in peace: a peace within me. Peace around me. I remember, when Christ was born the angels sang: “Peace on earth, good will to men.” And Paul wrote about how to have the “peace that passes all understanding.” How does that fit in with what Oswald Chambers is saying. “Life without war is impossible, either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral and spiritual life is antagonism.”???

What is there to learn here?.

1/ To live in the present, the Now.
When I don’t, I get into trouble emotionally and/or spiritually or mentally! Why? How? God gave each of us a mind so we can remember the past and plan for the future. Right. Aren’t we supposed to use it? But are there limits as we do this?, conflicts?

2/ The Past.
If I dwell upon the past, I can become pensive, angry, ashamed, lonely – remembering days that are no more, sadness intermixed with a myriad of other; emotions
. I can sit in this chair and remember something stupid I did that hurt someone else. Shame washes over me. I knew better. Why did I do that?
I lost a friendship that was very important to me? I become almost sick at my stomach as I review that past incident. I can’t undo it. What can I do to make amends? Nothing. I’ve asked for forgiveness. But I lost the trust of someone I love. The more I think about it, the worse I feel.. I blew it. I have to live with it …

But Isaiah wrote in Isa 43:18-21

18 “Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the desert

and streams in the wasteland.

Paul wrote:

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

How does that apply in any situation from the past? And what of those who have wounded me deeply, wanting to hurt me? Have I forgiven them?

Is it easier to forgive others than for me to forgive my self? Why? Does my shame come between me and the grace of Christ? Do I not trust Him? Did Paul do everything perfectly? No. and the Holy Spirit had Paul write: ALL things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. That means even my mistakes? ALL things. Do I continue in my shame and guilt? Or do I ask God’s forgiveness, learn from my mistake? Trust and conflict here? Between what I feel, and the choice to believe God’s Word? Yes!

3/ The Future
It is the same as I look at the future

Once again the doubts and uncertainty. The unknown – and my imagination can really create scenes with the unknown!

Can I trust God to care for me, day by day? He’s been faithful up till now through tragedies and sorrows. He’s never left me. Even when loneliness was eating out my insides, He was with me. Can I believe His promises? .

So, where does that leave me? With the now. He daily gives me His Present, the present.

A good friend shared with me: the only place one can find God is in the now, the present.

This is where He dwells and I can always find Him: in the now. this is a mystery, for He is forever. However, the only place where I can meet Him is in my “now”, And what joy to meet Him!

So, why the conflict? The inner war with myself. The inner conflicts in my mind. The battles I have, to keep in His Word, to have physical and spiritual health. I am surrounded with conflicts. I want peace. I talk to God in the now, about the past and the future, about His promises, my desires, my yearning to know Him, His Holy Spirit and Jesus better.

It is in HIS love and forgiveness, His grace and comfort, where I find peace at this time, casting all my cares and sorrows upon Him, knowing He is capable of carrying them far better than I am.

I am to trust Him, with all my heart. Knowing that anything I give to Him, HE will handle.

Paul wrote in Philippians 4 . “I have learned at all times to be content, whatever the circumstances.” And “I can do all things through Jesus Christ Who strengthens me.”

My challenge and my point of peace.

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The Reality of Loss – the Possibility of Hope

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THE REALITY of LOSS – possibility of HOPE

Looking back at my own life and watching others’, I am constantly amazed and astonished at the defense mechanisms we use, such as denial. We cannot accept and face the pain of truth. We put blinders over our own eyes.

If in a verbally abusive situation, we excuse the other person. I can say it’s my fault and lack of ability to communicate properly. I feel sorry for the other person and the fact he/she is not happy and I want him/her to be happy. I keep thinking there is hope for the other person’s happiness, and then for the relationship.

This denial can last a LONG time (in my marriage, almost 40 years.) But, if we are fortunate, one day something will happen to force our eyes to open to the reality of the situation. But oh! The pain as we see and understand. No more denial to protect us. We are NOT loved, not even respected.

Yet another scenario ***
You have a friend you’ve learned to trust. You’ve worked together on projects for years. Your families have socialized together. Many good memories. One day you go to work and discover this friend wrote a memo that destroys your credibility.
What do you do???
Another ***
Someone you dearly love is very ill and needs surgery.
The medical team, during the procedure, makes an error – anb error for which there is no reason. Your loved one dies. What do you do?
Another ***
A young woman you know needs a place to live where she can have help and love. You open your home and make her one of the family. She lives with you for several years. You discover she’s been robbing you, as well as lying about you to discredit you with your friends. What do you do?

* * *

These scenes are nightmares while we are awake. Our stomachs turn over, and our knees become weak. Yet, we have to keep on living

How many times has one been used and exploited when dealing with others ? That life I was trying to build with another was based upon the wrong foundation: deception, not truth. Deceit on the part of the other, and my own self-deception.

Today, hopefully you and I no longer live in the destructive situation. We are living in the aftermath. But who ever dreamed it would be this heartbreaking. What can we do to learn how to live again?

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Forgiveness and Thanksgiving

In my 79 years I’ve experienced all the things listed above, and more than once.. Some of you have experienced far worse than these. However with each incident of deception there is gut-wrenching pain and we are driven back to the basic question: “HOW do I survive this ?” “How do I forgive?” “How do I thank God when I am weeping?”

Such a deep and rich vitality in these two words: forgiveness and thanksgiving!

How do they work together? Why are they necessary for me to win this battle of grief and not become bitter? The next post will give more details. But, right now, please search for the basic truths in the following quotes.

1. What does Jesus say about prayer & forgiveness?

Matt 6:5-15

5.”And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

7 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. 8 Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. 9 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what’s best —
as above, so below.

11 Keep us alive with our daily food..
12 Keep us forgiven with you -and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

14 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. 15 If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

2. What does the Holy Spirit say in reference to thanking God?

Eph 5:20
At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. AMPLIFIED.
1 Thess 5:18
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. AMPLIFIED

Think about these above statements and how they apply in your life. (You can always ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand. He is wonderful with that!)
To me, the power in these verses is amazing! How can I forgive when I have no love for the person. (I learned I can!) How can I thank God when I am weeping. (I can!) And what a freedom comes into my life as I learn these in a practical manner.

As we go on this walk, I’ll share with you more about them; how they changed my life.

There IS HOPE!!!
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