“DON’T FOLLOW THE PUCK!”

“AGAIN AND AGAIN I SENT ALL MY SERVANTS TO YOU. THEY SAID, ‘EACH OF YOU MUST TURN FROM YOUR WICKED WAYS AND REFORM YOUR ACTIONS; DO NOT FOLLOW OTHER GODS TO SERVE THEM. THEN YOU WILL LIVE IN THE LAND I HAVE GIVEN TO YOU AND YOUR ANCESTORS.’ BUT YOU HAVE NOT PAID ATTENTION OR LISTENED TO ME.” JEREMIAH 35:15 NIV

WAYNE GRETZKY IS BELIEVED BY MANY TO BE THE BEST HOCKEY PLAYER OF ALL TIME. WHILE SOME MAY DISAGREE, IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO SAY HE IS NOT ONE OF THE GREATEST. DURING AN INTERVIEW A FEW YEARS AGO MR. GRETZKY WAS ASKED WHAT MADE HIM SUCH A GREAT PLAYER. HIS STATISTICS PROVED HE WAS NOT THE LARGEST PLAYER, NOT THE FASTEST SKATER AND NOT THE STRONGEST PLAYER. YET, HE IS ONE OF THE GREATEST SCORERS. WITH SO MANY ‘NOT THE’, HOW COULD HE SCORE SO HIGHLY?

MR. GRETZKY TOLD THE INTERVIEWER, “I DON’T FOLLOW THE PUCK, I GO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING.” WOW! WHAT A SIMPLE STRATEGY. WHILE THE OTHER PLAYERS ARE CHASING EACH OTHER AND THE PUCK AROUND THE ICE, HE IS WATCHING TO SEE WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING. AS A RESULT OF HIS OBSERVATIONS, HE BECAME A SCORING LEGEND.

ARE YOU A ‘SCORING LEGEND’ IN YOUR LIFE? YOUR SUCCESS COULD BE PARTIALLY DEPENDENT UPON NOT FOLLOWING THE CROWD AND INSTEAD FOCUSING ON A SOLITARY COURSE OF ACTION OF WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

HOW ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE? ARE YOU A ‘SCORING LEGEND’ IN GOD’S SCORE BOOK? ARE YOU FOLLOWING A SPIRITUAL COURSE THAT WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU SHOULD BE RATHER THAN FOLLOWING THE CROWD?

GOD KNOWS ALL YOU DO AND ALL YOU DON’T DO. ONE OF OUR GREATEST BLESSINGS IS KNOWING GOD FORGIVES OUR SINS. GOD SACRIFICED HIS ONLY SON ON THAT RUGGED CROSS. YOUR BELIEF IN JESUS WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE. YOUR FAITH WILL TAKE YOU TO HEAVEN REGARDLESS OF THE STUMBLING PATHWAYS OF THIS WORLD.

‘DON’T FOLLOW THE PUCK.’ WHAT ARE THE FALSE GODS YOU ARE FOLLOWING…MONEY, POWER, MATERIAL POSSESSIONS, ALCOHOL OR FANTASIES? LIVE YOUR LIFE GOING TOWARDS WHERE YOU NEED TO BE, WHERE JESUS IS…SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD IN HEAVEN.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “JESUS, I ACCEPT YOU ARE MY LORD. HELP ME TO NOT FOLLOW THE FALSE GODS OF THIS WORLD. I WILL FOLLOW YOU. BY YOUR GRACE, I WILL KEEP MY EYES UPON YOU. HELP ME WALK TODAY AS YOU WOULD LEAD ME. AMEN.”

“HOW IMPORTANT IS GOD?”

“‘THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE’, ANSWERED JESUS, ‘IS THIS: HEAR O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.'” MARK 12:29 NIV

READ: MARK 12: 28-33

BELIEVERS AND SOME NON-BELIEVERS WOULD BE QUICK TO ANSWER THAT GOD IS IMPORTANT. NON-BELIEVERS MIGHT CONFIRM THEIR LACK OF FAITH AND TELL US THAT GOD IS NOT IMPORTANT OR THERE IS NO GOD. COULD YOU EXPLAIN HOW IMPORTANT GOD IS TO YOU WITHOUT EXPLAINING ALL THE WAYS HE IS IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE? IF GOD IS IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE, DO ACKNOWLEDGE HIS IMPORTANCE TO HIM, YOURSELF AND OTHERS?

IS GOD THE SOLITARY PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE 24 HOURS OF EACH DAY? IS GOD A GOD OF PERMANENCE IN YOUR LIFE OR A GOD THAT YOU ALLOW INTO YOUR LIFE UPON OCCASION? TAKE A QUICK TEN QUESTION REVIEW. THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT A TEST. THEY CANNOT MEASURE YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK OR HOW GOD IS JUDGING YOU. THIS IS A PRIVATE EVALUATION WHICH ONLY YOU KNOW THE ANSWERS. USE THIS TO UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, WHERE YOU NEED TO BE AND WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

1. DO YOU START AND END EACH DAY IN A DEDICATED PRAYER TO YOUR FATHER?
2. DO YOU INCLUDE OTHERS IN YOUR PRAYER TIME AND WORSHIP TIME?
3. DO YOU SAY PRAYERS OF THANKS TO GOD THROUGH OUT THE DAY, NOT JUST AT SCHEDULED TIMES?
4. WHEN FACED WITH THE SMALLEST OBSTACLE, DO YOU ASK FOR GOD’S HELP?
5. DO YOU PRAY, THANKING GOD FOR YOUR MEALS BEFORE EATING?
6. DO YOU PRAY FOR OTHERS WHEN YOU HEAR OF THEIR SITUATIONS?
7. WHEN YOU ARE BLESSED WITH GOOD FORTUNE, DO YOU IMMEDIATELY THANK GOD?
8. DO YOU ATTEND CHURCH AND A BIBLE STUDY FAITHFULLY?
9. DO YOU READ YOUR BIBLE EVERYDAY?
10.DO YOU WITNESS TO OTHERS?

TEN SIMPLE QUESTIONS WITH TEN SIMPLE ANSWERS. THESE QUESTIONS CAN BE A HELPING GUIDE. ONLY YOU AND GOD KNOW THE ANSWERS.

TOO OFTEN WE ALLOW THINGS IN OUR LIFE WHICH TAKE CONTROL OVER OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. WHAT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE ARE YOU ALLOWING TO BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD? EXODUS 34:14 TELLS US “DO NOT WORSHIP ANY OTHER GOD , FOR THE LORD, WHOSE NAME IS JEALOUS, IS A JEALOUS GOD.” THINGS IN OUR LIVES AS MONEY, POWER, EGOS, BAD HABITS AND PRIDE ARE ALL FALSE GODS WHICH WE ALLOW TO BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD. ARE THERE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE THAT ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD? IS IT TIME TO EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CREATOR?

“HOW IMPORTANT IS GOD?”

TODAY’S PRAYER: ‘HEAVENLY FATHER, TODAY TAKE THE THINGS AWAY FROM ME WHICH ARE DISTRACTIONS. ALLOW ME TO SEE ONLY YOU AS THE MOST IMPORTANT GOD IN MY LIFE, AMEN.’

“WASH YOUR HANDS”

ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF GERMS BEING SPREAD IS PEOPLE NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS OFTEN ENOUGH. THE COMMON COLD, FLU AND MOST INFECTIOUS DISEASES COULD BE GREATLY REDUCED IF PEOPLE ONLY WASHED THEIR HANDS. NO ONLY DO WE NOT WASH OUR HANDS OFTEN ENOUGH, WE DON’T WASH THEM PROPERLY. STUDIES REVEAL ONLY 5% OF US WASH PROPERLY, WETTING OUR HANDS THOROUGHLY, THEN ADDING SOAP AND CLEANING EVERY AREA…PARTICULARLY THE TIPS OF THE FINGERS AND UNDER THE FINGERNAILS FOR A MINIMUM OF 20 SECONDS BEFORE RINSING.

ONE NEWS STORY SUGGESTED, IN ORDER TO WASH LONG ENOUGH, SING THE ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ SONG TWICE AS AN ESTIMATE OF HOW LONG YOU NEED TO WASH YOUR HANDS. I WAS TELLING MY ASSISTANT OF THE NEWS STORY AND SHE TOLD ME SHE HAD HEARD OF PRAYING THE ‘LORD’S PRAYER’ WHILE WASHING YOUR HANDS. HER TIMETABLE PRAYER OF THE ‘LORD’S PRAYER’ IS MUCH BETTER THAN THE NEWS REPORTER’S IDEA.

IMAGINE; YOU CAN CLEAN YOUR HANDS AND HEART AT THE SAME TIME!

JESUS TOLD US IN MATTHEW 6: 5-15 OF HOW WE SHOULD PRAY. VERSES 9-14 ARE SAID TO BE THE MOST PRAYED VERSES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

“PRAY, THEN, IN THIS WAY: ‘OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME. YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD. AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL. FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.’“ MATTHEW 6:9-14

DO YOU PRAY TOO SELDOM? GOD WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU. YOUR PRAYERS ARE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR LORD AND CREATOR. SO, NEXT TIME YOU WASH YOUR HANDS SAY THE SPECIAL ‘LORD’S PRAYER’ THAT JESUS GAVE US. PRAYER WASHES AWAY THE GERMS IN OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE.

“DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT IN EVERY SITUATION, BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, PRESENT YOUR REQUEST TO GOD.” PHILIPPIANS 4:6 NIV

“I AM SORRY!”

“BUT ZACCHAEUS STOOD UP AND SAID TO THE LORD, ‘LOOK, LORD! HERE AND NOW I GIVE HALF OF MY POSSESSIONS TO THE POOR, AND IF I HAVE CHEATED ANYBODY OUT OF ANYTHING , I WILL PAY BACK FOUR TIMES THE AMOUNT.'” LUKE 19:8 NIV

READ: EXODUS 22: 7-9 AND LUKE 19: 1-9

WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE SORRY, YOU SHOULD MEAN IT FROM THE BOTTOM OF YOUR HEART.

HOW DO YOU TELL SOMEONE YOU ARE SORRY FOR MISSPOKEN WORDS OR WRONGFUL ACTIONS? MANY TIMES WE MAY SIMPLY IGNORE THE TRUTH OF WHAT WE HAVE SAID OR DONE AND HOPE IT WILL GO AWAY. IGNORING OUR HURTFUL WORDS OR WRONGFUL ACTIONS COULD ONLY MAKE THE SITUATION ESCALATE, CAUSE THE FAILURE OF A FRIENDSHIP OR DIVIDE FAMILIES. IF WE HARM SOMEONE WITH WORDS OR ACTIONS, WE NEED TO TAKE VERY SINCERE CORRECTIVE ACTIONS IMMEDIATELY.

THERE ARE FOUR STEPS TO CORRECT A WRONG.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SITUATION. UNDERSTAND THE HARM YOU CAUSED SOMEONE ELSE BY YOUR WORDS OR ACTIONS. CLEARLY GRASP THE HARM THAT YOU CARELESSLY OR UNINTENTIONALLY CAUSED. A LACK OF SINCERITY AT THIS FIRST STEP CAN DESTROY YOUR ATTEMPT TO SAY “I AM SORRY” FROM THE HEART.

2. BE REMORSEFUL AND ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY. BY UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU MAY HAVE SAID OR DONE, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THE MISSPOKEN WORDS OR ACTIONS WERE NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ANYONE BUT YOU.

3. OFFER AN IMMEDIATE, SINCERE APOLOGY. DON’T ALLOW THE HURT TO WORSEN OR THE SITUATION TO BECOME MORE DIFFICULT OR TENSE THAN IT ALREADY IS. THE SOONER YOU SAY “I AM SORRY”, THE BETTER.

4. MAKE FULL RESTITUTION. RESTITUTION DOES NOT STOP WITH SIMPLY SAYING YOU ARE SORRY. ADDITIONAL WORDS AND ACTIONS ARE NECESSARY. HOW MANY WORDS OR WHAT TYPE OF ACTION DEPENDS UPON THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE RELATIONSHIP. IN ANY CASE, BE GENEROUS IN YOUR RESTITUTION. WITHOUT RESTITUTION, ARE YOU REALLY TELLING THE OTHER PERSON YOU ARE TRULY SORRY? WORDS ALONE CAN BE OFFERED WITHOUT SINCERITY, WHICH COULD LEAVE THE SITUATION UNRESOLVED. WHETHER IT IS REPLACING OR REPAIRING AN ITEM OR OFFERING A GIFT OF LOVE IN A DESIRE TO REMOVE THE WRONG, RESTITUTION BECOMES THE NECESSARY ‘ICING ON THE CAKE’. TAKE AWAY THE WRONG.

THERE ARE SEVERAL SCRIPTURE REFERENCES OF RESTITUTION. THE LAWS OF MOSES WERE CLEAR OF MAKING AMENDS FOR LOSSES ONE CAUSED TO ANOTHER. ZACCAHAEUS’ TESTIMONY OF HIS HIS REMORSE HAS TO STAND OUT IN SCRIPTURE AS NOT ONLY DRAMATIC BUT SHOWS HIS SINCERITY AS NO OTHER. IMAGINE A MAN OF HIS WEALTH WHICH WAS CREATED BY HIS POSITION AS A CHIEF TAX COLLECTOR. NOT ONLY WAS HE WILLING TO MAKE RESTITUTION, BUT HE DID IT WITH VERY GENEROUS AND HUMBLE SINCERITY.

ZACCAHAEUS REALIZED THE WRONGS HE HAD DONE. AS YOU READ THE LESSON IN LUKE, YOU CAN SEE THE FOUR STEPS OF ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS. WHEN WE SAY “I AM SORRY”, WE CAN PREPARE OUR HEARTS TO BE AS ZACCHAEUS AND GO TO THE ONE WE WRONGED WITH THE SAME GENEROUS AND HUMBLE SINCERITY?

IS IT TIME TO GO TO THE ONE YOU HAVE WRONGED AND SAY “I AM SORRY!”? IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO ASK TO BE FORGIVEN.

“FORGIVENESS”

SOMETIMES WE FEEL OTHERS NEED TO FORGIVE US. WE CAN FEEL SO WRONGED AND SO HURT, WE OFTEN DEMAND THEIR FORGIVENESS. AS OTHERS HAVE WRONGED US, WE CAN CARRY THE BURDEN. FORGIVENESS CAN BE A TWO WAY STREET.

IS THERE SOMEONE YOU NEED TO FORGIVE? LAST YEAR OR IN YEARS PAST, WHO HAS WRONGED YOU? HAVE YOU FORGIVEN THEM OR ARE YOU CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF WAITING TO FORGIVE THEM? THERE IS NO REASON TO WAIT ANY LONGER. JUST AS YOU EXPECT TO BE FORGIVEN, OTHERS DESERVE YOUR SPECIAL ATTENTION IN FORGIVING THEM.

IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, IT IS A HUGE ONE WAY STREET. WE HAVE A PERFECT GOD WHO CANNOT DO ANY WRONG. SINCE GOD IS PERFECT, THERE IS NEVER A NEED TO FORGIVE HIM. THE ONE WAY STREET WITH GOD IS HIS FORGIVING US. WE STUMBLE AND FALL IN DISOBEDIENCE DAILY…SOMETIMES SEVERAL TIMES IN A DAY. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WE FAIL, GOD DOES NOT KEEP COUNT. GOD FORGIVES US.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN FORGIVEN IN YOUR LIFE FOR GOING AGAINST GOD’S DESIRES FOR YOU? THINK BACK. IF YOU ARE LIKE MOST OF US, THE INTENTIONAL SINS AND THE UNINTENTIONAL INDISCRETIONS ARE PROBABLY IN THE THOUSANDS OR TENS OF THOUSANDS OVER THE YEARS. EVEN AFTER OUR FAILING ALL OF THESE TIMES, GOD FORGIVES. WE ARE STILL HIS CHOSEN TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM IN HEAVEN AND ALL HE ASKS IS TO TRUST AND BELIEVE.

IF GOD IS SO GENEROUS IN HIS FORGIVENESS, ISN’T IT TIME TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE WRONGED YOU? CAN YOU HEAR GOD TELLING YOU ON JUDGEMENT DAY; “I FORGAVE YOU 10,000 TIMES, BUT YOU DID NOT FORGIVE MY OTHER CHILDREN.”? HAVE A GOOD CONVERSATION WITH GOD TODAY. ASK HIM TO GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE WRONGED YOU.

TODAY, DEVOTE YOUR SELF TO FORGIVING SOMEONE. SUNDAY, WE WILL TALK ABOUT HOW TO ASK TO BE FORGIVEN FOR OUR OWN WRONGS.

“FOR IF YOU FORGIVE OTHER PEOPLE WHEN THEY SIN AGAINST YOU, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL ALSO FORGIVE YOU. BUT IF YOU DO NOT FORGIVE OTHERS THEIR SINS, YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR SINS.” MATTHEW 6: 14-15

“CHOCOLATE”

“I APPEAL TO YOU, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL OF YOU AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER IN WHAT YOU SAY AND THAT THERE BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU, BUT THAT YOU BE PERFECTLY UNITED IN MIND AND THOUGHT.” 1 CORINTHIANS 1:10 NIV

READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 1: 4-13

CHOCOLATE…YUM! THOSE WHO KNOW ME WELL KNOW THAT CHOCOLATE IS MY WEAKNESS. CREAMY CHOCOLATE AND MILK CHOCOLATE ARE FANTASTIC. BUT, DARK CHOCOLATES HOLD A PLACE OF THEIR OWN. SOME ENJOY CHOCOLATE WITH PEANUT BUTTER, OR FILLED WITH AN ASSORTMENT OF NUTS, A LAYER OF MINT OR FILLINGS OF FRUIT OR CREAMS. NO MATTER WHAT YOU PUT WITH IT, THE KEY PLEASURE IS THE CHOCOLATE ITSELF.

CHRISTIANITY IS FLAVORED A LOT LIKE THAT. AS CHRISTIANS, WE ARE FLAVORED BY OUR INDIVIDUAL THEOLOGY AND DOCTRINE. WHILE WE ARE ALL CHRISTIANS, WE CLAIM DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS. SOME OF US ARE METHODIST, WHILE OTHERS OF US ARE CATHOLIC, BAPTIST, CHURCH OF CHRIST, PRESBYTERIAN, NON-DENOMINATIONAL OR ANOTHER DENOMINATION. ALONG WITH THE CHOICES OF DOCTRINES, THE FORMS OF WORSHIP VARY. YET, ALL WORSHIP IS BASED ON ONE TRUTH. ALL CHRISTIANS KNOW CHRIST IS THEIR SAVIOR. TAKE AWAY OUR DOCTRINE DIFFERENCES AND WE ARE STILL BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST.

AS CHRISTIANS WE ALL HAVE TWO THINGS IN COMMON. FIRST IS OUR FAITH THAT CHRIST IS OUR SAVIOR; THE SON OF GOD BORN, CRUCIFIED AND RAISED AGAIN SO WE WILL LIVE WITH HIM IN ETERNITY. SECOND IS WE ARE ALL SINNERS. NO MATTER HOW GOOD WE ATTEMPT TO BE, WE FAIL. IT IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR FAILINGS THAT BRING US CLOSER TO GOD THRU HIS FORGIVENESS. AS CHRISTIANS, WE ALL HAVE THESE TWO THINGS IN COMMON.

CHURCHES ARE NAMED OFTEN FOR EVENTS OF THE BIBLE. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CHURCH WITH A SIGN OUT FRONT STATING ‘SINNERS CATHEDRAL’ OR ‘FIRST CHURCH OF SINNERS’? WOULDN’T THOSE NAMES BE AS ACCURATE AS ‘FIRST BAPTIST’ OR ‘CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’? SINNERS SAVED BY GOD’S GRACE IS A BLESSING WE ALL SHARE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR MAN TO KEEP ALL THE LEGALISTIC LAWS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. JESUS GAVE US AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE FORGIVEN OF OUR FAILINGS. WHAT A MEASURE OF LOVE TO FORGIVE US OF OUR SINS!

YET, AS MUCH AS WE ALL HAVE IN COMMON, WE SEPARATE OURSELVES. WE LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCES IN THE WAYS WE WORSHIP OR HOW OUR ‘FAITH’ IS DIFFERENT AS WE DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST.

I HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO STUDY IN SEVERAL BIBLE STUDY CLASSES. THE MOST INSIGHTFUL WAS BSF…BIBLE STUDY FELLOWSHIP…WHERE I SPENT 13 WONDERFUL YEARS STUDYING GOD’S WORD. THE THING THAT SET IT APART WAS THE MIX OF CHRISTIANS FROM MANY DENOMINATIONS ALL STRIVING TO KNOW MORE OF GOD’S HOLY WORD. IN THE STUDY OF GOD’S WORD, WE FOUND NEW MEANINGS IN THE INTERPRETATION THAT OTHERS SHARED. BSF WORKED WELL BECAUSE WE WERE ENCOURAGED NOT TO DISCUSS WHERE WE WENT TO CHURCH. THE EMPHASIS WAS ON GOD’S WORD, NOT ON OUR DOCTRINES. WHILE WE INDIVIDUALLY DID NOT ALWAYS AGREE WITH ANOTHER’S VIEW POINT, WE WERE INTRODUCED TO THE SCRIPTURES FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE.

WE CAN AGREE TO AGREE OR AGREE TO DISAGREE. NO MATTER OUR OPINION, CHRIST IS THE SON OF OUR CREATOR WHO UNITES US. PAUL, PETER, SILAS, BARNABAS AND OTHERS PREACHED THE SAME MESSAGE….’JESUS IS LORD!’. WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE UNITY IN CHRIST WE HAVE. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE SCRIPTURES THAT TELL US OUR DENOMINATION OVER ANOTHER’S WILL HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN HEAVEN. IF YOU ACCEPT THE BIBLE AS GOD’S PERFECT WORD, THEN FEEL THE BLESSINGS OF WORSHIPING AND STUDYING GOD’S WORD WITH OTHERS.

ENJOY THE FLAVORINGS OF OUR CHRISTIAN FAMILY.

“MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE”

RECENTLY, I SAW A GREETING CARD THAT READ: “YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOU KNOW, ARE MORE CAPABLE THAN YOU THINK AND ARE LOVED MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.”

WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL TO RECEIVE A CARD FROM SOMEONE WITH THAT MESSAGE? IN ALL SINCERITY, SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TO THINK A LOT OF YOU TO SEND SUCH A CARD. THOSE WORDS SPEAK VOLUMES OF THE RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD EXIST. DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WORTHY OF SUCH WORDS? WOULD YOU FEEL WORTHY TO RECEIVE SUCH WORDS FROM SOMEONE YOU KNOW?

THERE IS ONE WHO BELIEVES “YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOU KNOW, ARE MORE CAPABLE THAN YOU THINK AND ARE LOVED MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.”

WHO BELIEVES IN YOU WITH SUCH CONVICTION? GOD.

GOD CREATED YOU AND LOVES YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE. NO MATTER HOW UNWORTHY YOU FEEL YOU ARE, GOD VALUES YOUR WORTH. NO MATTER HOW INCAPABLE YOU THINK OF YOURSELF, GOD’S STRENGTH WILL MAKE YOU MORE CAPABLE. EVEN IF YOU FEEL UNLOVED, GOD STILL LOVES YOU. GOD WANTS YOU TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF. IN THIS WORLD WE LIVE, SATAN IS STRONG AND WILL WORK TO CONVINCE YOU OF UNWORTHINESS, LACK OF SELF-ESTEEM, AND FEELINGS THAT NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU.

DON’T BELIEVE SATAN’S LIES. TRUST GOD. BELIEVE IN GOD AND ALL HIS ABILITIES TO HELP YOU THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES. GOD IS THERE FOR YOU…EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. ISN’T TIME TO SAY ‘THANK YOU, LORD’ FOR ALL HE HAS DONE, IS DOING AND WILL DO FOR YOU. A THANK YOU STARTS WITH A SIMPLE PRAYER. TAKE THE TIME TO GO TO GOD IN PRAYER AND TELL HIM ‘THANK YOU, LORD’.

GOD CARES FOR YOU, ‘MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE’!

“‘FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU,’ DECLARES THE LORD, ‘PLANS TO PROSPER YOU AND NOT TO HARM YOU, PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE.'” JEREMIAH 29:11 NIV

“CHOOSE ME!”

“YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, BUT I CHOSE YOU AND APPOINTED YOU SO THAT YOU MIGHT GO AND BEAR FRUIT–FRUIT THAT WILL LAST–AND SO THAT WHATEVER YOU ASK IN MY NAME THE FATHER WILL GIVE YOU.” JOHN 15:16 NIV

READ: JOHN 15: 9-16

DO YOU REMEMBER BEING A KID ON THE PLAYGROUND? DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIMES WHEN TEAMS WERE CHOSEN? THE CAPTAINS WOULD PICK THEIR TEAM FROM ALL THE KIDS. THOSE WHO WERE CHOSEN FIRST WERE EITHER THE BETTER ATHLETES OR THE MORE POPULAR. IF YOU WERE NOT A GOOD ATHLETE OR POPULAR YOU HAD A GOOD CHANCE OF BEING CHOSEN LAST. IF YOU WERE EVER CHOSEN LAST, YOU STILL REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT. IN THIS WORLD WE LIVE, BEING LAST IS NOT A GOOD THING.

IT IS NOT JUST CHILDHOOD MEMORIES. WE ARE CAST INTO THOSE SAME SITUATIONS AS ADULTS. WE ARE ACCEPTED INTO A CIRCLE OF NEW FRIENDS BASED UPON THINGS ABOUT US. THOSE WITH THE RIGHT LOOKS OR CONNECTIONS CAN BE GIVEN PRIORITIES IN JOBS AND IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS. WE ARE OFTEN GIVEN JOB OPPORTUNITIES AND SOCIALLY ACCEPTED BY WHAT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED OR WHO WE KNOW.

ISN’T IT A BLESSING TO KNOW THAT GOD DOES NOT HAVE AN ORDER OF CHOOSING WHO IS FIRST? BEING CHOSEN INTO GOD’S FAMILY DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO BE A CERTAIN RACE, SEX, HEIGHT, OR WEIGHT. BEING CHOSEN FIRST DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO BE THE BEST AT A SPORT OR JOB OR TO BE POPULAR. GOD USES THE WORDS CHOOSE, CHOSE AND CHOSEN OVER 230 TIMES IN THE BIBLE. THE MAJORITY OF THESE TIMES, HE IS TELLING US OF HIS CHOICES.

GOD LOVES YOU FOR YOU. GOD CHOSE YOU TO LIVE WITH HIM IN PERFECTION FOR ETERNITY. GOD ONLY ASKS THAT YOU BELIEVE. WHEN YOU BELIEVE, YOU ACCEPT GOD’S CHOOSING OF YOU. YOU LIFE CHANGES. YOU TRUST AND OBEY GOD AS THE ONLY WAY. YOU NO LONGER ARE OF THIS WORLD. WHAT OTHERS DO OR SAY IS OF LITTLE IMPORTANCE. WHAT GOD SAYS IS ALL IMPORTANT.

WHEN GOD CHOOSES YOU, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE ONE WHO HAS ACCOMPLISHED THE MOST. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE PRETTIEST. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE POPULAR. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE ONE WITH THE MOST MONEY.

GOD CHOSE YOU TO BE FIRST. HIS CHOICE IS SO IMPORTANT THAT HE WANTS YOU TO LIVE WITH HIM IN HEAVEN. SCRIPTURES TELL US ‘THE GATE IS NARROW’. THE GATE IS NARROW, YET HE HAS CHOSEN YOU TO ENTER INTO HIS NARROW GATE. THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLD WILL NOT BE CHOSEN AND ALLOWED TO GO TO HEAVEN. THE MASSES HAVE NOT ACCEPTED GOD’S CHOOSING THEM.

THE ANCIENT ISRAELITES WERE CALLED GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE. YOUR JEWISH FRIENDS ARE STILL IN THAT FAMILY. THEY ARE STILL GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE. BY ACCEPTING CHRIST, WE ARE NOW ALL AVAILABLE TO BE GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE. JESUS, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, TOLD US THAT IF WE BELIEVE IN HIM WE WILL HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.

DO YOU BELIEVE JESUS HAS CHOSEN YOU? TODAY IS YOUR DAY TO BE CHOSEN. ACCEPT GOD’S CHOICE AND BE CHOSEN TODAY.

DON’T PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE CHOSEN FIRST!