VIDEO My Country Tis of Thee

July 6, 2009

This and we celebrate the birth and Independence of this Great Country of Ours and I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and thank this country for giving the freedoms I have. And Thank You to the United States Military and our Veterans for keeping us free and safe.

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Come to Me – Don’t Plan Without God

field flowers
Come to Me

I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger. —John 6:35

When Jesus lived on this earth, He invited people to come to Him, and He still does today (John 6:35). But what do He and His Father in heaven have that we need?

Salvation. Jesus is the only way to have forgiveness of sin and the promise of heaven. “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15).

Purpose. We are to give all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength to following Jesus. “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).

Comfort. In trial or sorrow, the “God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Wisdom. We need wisdom beyond our own for making decisions. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, . . . and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Strength. When we’re weary, “the Lord will give strength to His people” (Ps. 29:11).

Abundant life. The fullest life is found in a relationship with Jesus. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Jesus said, “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Come!

How can I grow closer to God today?

Jesus invites us to come to Him for life.

By Anne Cetas

Don’t Plan Without God

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. —Psalm 37:5

Don’t plan without God. God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him into account. We get ourselves into circumstances that were not chosen by God, and suddenly we realize that we have been making our plans without Him— that we have not even considered Him to be a vital, living factor in the planning of our lives. And yet the only thing that will keep us from even the possibility of worrying is to bring God in as the greatest factor in all of our planning.

In spiritual issues it is customary for us to put God first, but we tend to think that it is inappropriate and unnecessary to put Him first in the practical, everyday issues of our lives. If we have the idea that we have to put on our “spiritual face” before we can come near to God, then we will never come near to Him. We must come as we are.

Don’t plan with a concern for evil in mind. Does God really mean for us to plan without taking the evil around us into account? “Love…thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Love is not ignorant of the existence of evil, but it does not take it into account as a factor in planning. When we were apart from God, we did take evil into account, doing all of our planning with it in mind, and we tried to reason out all of our work from its standpoint.

Don’t plan with a rainy day in mind. You cannot hoard things for a rainy day if you are truly trusting Christ. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1). God will not keep your heart from being troubled. It is a command— “Let not….” To do it, continually pick yourself up, even if you fall a hundred and one times a day, until you get into the habit of putting God first and planning with Him in mind.

by Oswald Chambers

The Consequences Of Compromise

Titus 2:11-14

Stuck again. Is that an apt description of your life? It is for many Christians. Even when they know exactly why they are stalled, some are unable to move past the sin that trips them up. Others feel blind to the source of their troubles but perceive that all they do is run in place. It can be a very discouraging situation.

Israel, the Lord’s chosen nation, had a history of defeat from yielding to temptation instead of obeying God’s commands. Compromise defeats us, too. God calls His children to live obedient lives, but instead, we are usually occupied with our own self-centered needs. At the same time, we are influenced by both the world and the devil. The truth is that our selfish side prefers reinterpreting God’s commands to suit ourselves. The world clamors for us to join its way of thinking but shows little or no inclination to follow God’s way. Satan seeks to gain a foothold in our lives through our disobedience and compromise of God’s laws.

The Lord commands us to rid our lives of ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12), and He provides the Holy Spirit’s power, which enables us. When we compromise, the effectiveness of His power is diminished. But God wants us not to yield.

To fight compromise, begin with your thinking. Have you agreed with God that your attitude or action is displeasing to Him? Have you set your mind on obedience, whatever the cost? Only foolish people think they can compromise and still live a victorious Christ-centered life.

Meditation

“Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.” (Psalm 119:27)

The remarkable 119th Psalm, with its 22 eight-verse stanzas, is the unique “song of the word,” containing 176 testimonies or prayers concerning God’s Word—one for each verse. Eight times the word “meditate” or “meditation” is used, indicating the importance of this practice in relation to the Scriptures. In our text, this word is translated “talk,” but its basic thrust is to exhort us to meditate on the wonderful works of God, once we understand the way of His precepts.

The other seven references to meditation in this psalm are as follows: “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways” (v. 15). “Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes” (v. 23). “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes” (v. 48). “Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts” (v. 78). “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (v. 97). “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (v. 99). “Mine eyes prevent [i.e., anticipate] the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word” (v. 148).

There is, of course, a counterfeit form of meditation (e.g., the so-called transcendental meditation and other forms of mysticism), not to mention useless daydreaming. These forms of meditation involve clearing one’s mind of all subjects, and allowing the mind to wander. In contrast, true meditation involves pondering with awe and thankfulness God’s wonderful Word, His ways, and His works—in connection with prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. As an exercise of the mind as well as of the spirit, it is of great blessing and most pleasing to God. HMM

Staying in the First Grade

…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:13-14

There are Christians who grow up and have no relish for anything spiritually advanced. They’re preoccupied with their first lessons. The average church is a school with only one grade and that is the first one. These Christians never expect to get beyond that and they don’t want to hear a man very long who wants to take them beyond that. If their pastor insists they do their homework and get ready for the next grade, they begin to pray that the Lord will call “our dear brother” somewhere else…. All he’s trying to do is prepare them for another grade, but that church is dedicated to the first grade, and the first grade is where it’s going to remain.

Paul said some of them went up into the second grade and gave it up, and said, “It’s too hard here,” and they went back to the first.

“How long have you been in the first grade, Junior?” “Twelve years.”… Paul said, “forgetting those things which are behind… I press toward the mark” (Philippians 3:13-14). There was a man not satisfied with the first grade.

Father, I do pray that our church might not get stuck in the first grade. Help us not to shrink from the hard lessons that bring us to spiritual maturity. Amen.

God Never Violates Our Freedom of Choice

…And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17

It is inherent in the nature of man that his will must be free. Made in the image of God who is completely free, man must enjoy a measure of freedom.

This enables him to select his companions for this world and the next; it enables him to yield his soul to whom he will, to give allegiance to God or the devil, to remain a sinner or become a saint.

And God respects this freedom. God once saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. To find fault with the smallest thing God has made is to find fault with its Maker. It is a false humility that would lament that God wrought but imperfectly when He made man in His own image. Sin excepted, there is nothing in human nature to apologize for. This was confirmed forever when the Eternal Son became permanently incarnated in human flesh!

So highly does God regard His handiwork that He will not for any reason violate it. He will take nine steps toward us but He will not take the tenth. He will incline us to repent, but He cannot do our repenting for us. It is of the essence of repentance that it can only be done by the one who committed the act to be repented of. God can wait on the sinning man, He can withhold judgment, He can exercise longsuffering to the point where He appears lax in His judicial administration—but He cannot force a man to repent. To do this would be to violate the man’s freedom and void the gift of God originally bestowed upon him.

The believer knows he is free to choose—and with that knowledge he chooses forever the blessed will of God!

God Touches Our Emotions

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. COLOSSIANS 3:2

I have heard people say that “only doctrine is important.” Would they leave no room for Christian experience?

Consider the preaching and the example of the famed Jonathan Edwards, used so mightily by God in the Great Awakening throughout New England in the 18th century.

But, you say, “Jonathan Edwards was a Calvinist!”

I know—and that is my point. Edwards was acknowledged by society to have been one of the greatest intellects of his time. Yet he believed in genuine Christian experience so positively that he wrote a well-accepted book, Religious Affections, in defense of Christian emotion.

Charged by some that his revivals had too much emotion, Edwards stood forth and proclaimed that when men and women meet God, accepting His terms, they experience an awareness that lifts their hearts to rapture.

What higher privilege is granted to mankind on earth than to be admitted into the circle of the friends of God!

Lord, we need only go to the Scripture to see pure joy expressed by those who have been set free from the grip of sin. I pray that others will observe the deep inner joy that I possess because of Your presence in my life.