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Thursday, January 31, 2008

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them."
Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Choosing A New Church - Five Things To Remember

By: Jeff McRitchie

You have probably heard it before, but just in case, I will tell you again. There is no such thing as the perfect church. In fact, if you ever think that you have found the perfect church just remind yourself and it won't be perfect anymore after you join. I know this sounds harsh but the truth is, we are all sinners in need of grace. No person apart from Jesus Christ is perfect, and this means that every church is filled with imperfect people. However, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't look for a quality community of believers to worship with each week. If you are looking for a new church, here are five things to remember...

1. Find a place that teaches God's word. Many churches today will provide great sermons that are nice to listen to and even a little bit uplifting. However, if you want to grow in your faith, find a church that opens up the bible and actually digs in. Look for a body that consistently teaches from God's word and challenges you to take the principles from the bible and put them in action.

2. Find a place where you feel comfortable and welcome. There are some churches where you can walk through the door and you are greeted by a dozen different people who are eager to get to know you. In other places you wonder if you have the plague and everyone is afraid to get too close. You are going to want to find a body where you feel welcome and where you can develop relationships with other believers. This will help you grow roots so that worship doesn't just happen on Sunday's.

3. Find a body that knows where it is going and how it is going to get there. If you find a church that has a clear mission and vision you will know it right away. Everything that they do has a purpose and you will feel that you are part of something bigger than yourself. Churches that have clear purpose are unified, active and have an energy that makes them appealing to almost anyone including non believers.

4. Look for a place where you can serve and be involved. Whether you love to teach bible studies, mow the lawn or cook meals, it is important that you find a place where you can use your gifts. Look for a place where there is stuff going on that you can get involved in. If you are gifted in a certain area then find out what type of opportunities that are offered for service. Find a place to plug in and make the body your home.

5. Find a church that makes evangelism and community service a priority. Too many churches are constantly caught looking inward while completely ignoring their communities and the lost people all around them. Ask how many people have come to know Christ in the past year. You might be surprised how little this number is in most churches. Also ask what the body is doing or planning on doing to reach out to their community. Churches with a passion for evangelism and outreach are easy to spot when you ask the right questions.

Armed with these five criteria, you should be able to find a body of believers where you fit and where you can grow. Just remember, there is no such thing as the perfect church. There will always be something that you don't like or someone that rubs you the wrong way. Still, there is nothing better than being involved in a good church.
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Jeff McRitchie is the designer and Director of Marketing for http://www.MyBinding.com.Before joining the staff at MyBinding he worked for three years as an associate pastor in the Hillsboro area. He writes extensively on topics related to Binding Machines, Binding Supplies,Report Cover,and more.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Prophecy - Time For Declarations

By Keith A. Paul

Activate your faith and begin to release supernatural restoration. Restoration over your finances, your family, your home, your circumstances and your destiny. God will perform the word that He has placed in your heart so it is time to bring His goodness, His purposes and His abundance into your life. Are you Interested in fixing a few situations and establishing something new? Here's what you can do.

Let me open this article by referring you to God's Word. It shows you how to unlock supernatural power. The first scripture verse below indicates that God will deposit His word into our mouth. That simply means to memorize His Word or quote it verbatim. The second scripture shows us how to activate creative supernatural power. Take a close look at these.

Psalm 81:10 I am Jehovah thy God, Who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant ( means to fix = Strong's Concord.) the heavens, and lay (means to establish = Strong's Concord.) the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

Now, let me say that when there are legitimate needs and circumstances in your life that need changed, God will honour your faith in His ability to bring those changes. He gives us the ability to fix circumstances and to establish new things. God is a very, very good God and He cares for those who trust in Him. He wants your needs to be met. However, He doesn't respond to greed, lust and corrupt desires. He does respond to legitimate needs. He gives abundantly so we in turn can be abundant in our giving to others, in addition to having our needs provided. This is a principle in His heart that He won't violate. Sort out your priorities honestly before Him and then activate your faith in His ability to provide. By making prophetic declarations you will release supernatural power in the Holy Spirit to bring those changes about.

This is what I feel the Lord is saying to you today: Declarations.

I have brought a new season upon you. I have brought you up out of your wanderings in the wilderness. I have equipped you in the secret place of My Heart. You have been stirred with the desires of your heart toward Me and I have responded with My embrace. You bring great joy and delight to Me as we walk together. I deeply enjoy your fellowship for I have created you for our mutual pleasure. Out of this spiritual intimacy you are becoming fruitful. It brings joy to see you bearing much fruit. I have spoken to you of this in My Word.

Today I Am releasing the authority of Declaration into your life. I release wisdom to use this authority and to implement this authority according to My will. I have placed My Words in your mouth. Now I release you to fix the disorder the enemy has brought into the 1st and 2nd heavens. I release you to establish My will in the foundations of the earth. Prophecy and declare My will into the earth and into the heavenly realms. Prophesy into the earth restoration. Prophesy over your own circumstances that are contrary. Prophesy the return of those things the enemy removed and it will be returned. Make Declaration of those provisions that are required and I will pour out favour and abundance. For I stand behind My Word ready to perform it. Rise up to the place of your inheritance. Declare the doors to be opened and then walk through. We will run together and We will laugh together in the delight of triumph. My love for you can never be quenched. I Am pursuing you and now I have captured you.
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Keith A. Paul has many years of Minstry experience and is an Author. He is used in the gift of prophecy, dream interpretation and words of knowledge which are gifts of the Holy Spirit. He currently lives in Abbotsford B.C. Canada. He has traveled internationally promoting the supernatural teachings and works of the Holy Spirit. To learn more, and to receive Keith's free Prophetic Words or purchase His E Books please visit http://www.restorationplaceministries.com

Truly Forgiven

By Gayle Gregory

So far from what I thought!

Forgiveness is a powerful tool and one of the most misunderstood terms in the English language. As a small child I was taught to forgive my playmates, my sisters, or others who made me mad or hurt my feelings. Raised in a Christian home, I was taught many ideals based in Christian principles. Forgiveness was only one of them. I always thought forgiveness was for the other person. I forgave someone. I was gracious; they were forgiven.

Even though the heart of the training was slightly off-center, it was closer to the truth than I realized. As a child, I didn't realize forgiveness had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me and that it was actually about me letting go and choosing not to hang onto the hurt or pain. I didn't realize forgiveness was the way out of separation and separation was the force behind all fear and suffering.



"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was YOU." ~ Unknown



Being raised Christian I was taught that if I believed in Jesus, he forgave me all my sins. As I understood this, all that was required was my belief. Believe and be forgiven-cause and effect. It was a done deal. As I grew up it never rang quite true for me. When I was a small child, I believed. Church was the center of life. Choir practice, youth events, church picnics and camping trips were the stuff of my adolescent and teenage years. Dad was a deacon; Mom volunteered. Our family was about church. Sweet sixteen came and went and with it, the basic premise of my life. It no longer rang quite true. If I was forgiven, why did I feel so bad? Why did I agonize over how I looked, what I wore, how much I weighed? Why did I believe, somewhere deep inside, that I was not enough? Why did I want so badly to be accepted, to belong, and know, no matter how hard I tried, that I didn't fit in? If I was forgiven, assured a place in heaven, why did my heart ache for something more?

I knew at the core, that everything was off-center, and would never be quite right again, at least not in the simple way it had been when I easily slipped a child's hand into the hand of Jesus and walked with Him, oblivious to doubts and dark nights. It took me many years of make-believe, pretending to go along with the program before I cut the ties, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and began an amazing journey, only in recent years, seen to be circuitous.

The next twenty-five years took me through the desert of godlessness to the high plains of Divine Union and bit by bit, often painfully, imbedded a new understanding of forgiveness. Godlessness is such an intensely lonely place. No matter what I achieved, no matter what I acquired, no matter how many friends or lovers, I was still alone. At first, speaking the word 'God' was impossible. It rang with the fierce bitterness of betrayal. Speaking it, I knew I was a fraud, undeserving of letting the word grace my mouth in my uncertainty of its namesake's existence.

Insight by insight, the path unfolded before me. Books fell off shelves into my hands and I couldn't read them fast enough, sometimes reading three or more a week. Truth-I had to find the Truth. If what I knew was not Truth, then what was? I had to know. The longer the path wound, the more willing I was to find Truth, regardless of its message. I didn't care anymore for my versions of truth, the versions being rewritten daily in the stories of my mind. God was reeling me in, like a fish dancing on the waves. A magazine would capture my attention and when opened, the face of a teacher would speak to me. Some teachers were real, some not. I was learning to discern what felt true, what felt pure. Sufism, Buddhism, Mysticism, Shamanism, all the isms tutored me, connecting all the pieces of the puzzle-and then I found Elle Re.

I don't know how many times she said it, but one day, the first day I was ready and willing to hear, I learned about forgiveness. Elle has an amazing way of twisting the mind's hold on words so that the words break open and spill their truth. Forgiveness, she said, was about everything being for the giving, forgiven back to God. What I heard that day was all mind was capable of hearing. I didn't know then, that before it was done, everything I believed I was, everything I held onto for security, everything I held against any other, everything that made me special or unique, everything I wanted or desired, everything without exception, would be given back to God. I would be allowed to keep nothing. Another phrase I often heard her use was, "Nothing is for the keeping-everything is for the giving." How very true that is.


"True forgiveness is not an action after the fact. It is an attitude with which you enter each moment." David Ridge



As I sat in meditation yesterday morning, I understood at last what it means, what Christ meant about true forgiveness, and knew that I was truly forgiven. True forgiveness comes when we believe enough to give everything we are back. It is the most amazing leap of faith, letting go into the unknown, letting go to God. Mind can only sense annihilation so each step along the path, feels like the last. Each step feels as if surely, nothing could remain if this 'Yes' is given-this 'no' forgiven. But, with each step, the ease grows. With each step, the 'Yes' deepens and resonates throughout the vibration previously called 'me'. With each step God's call Home strengthens. With each step an incredible expansion replaces the previously uptight human package-always bigger, always more than believed possible. With each step access is granted to previously unheard of knowledge and grace-timelessness, synchronicity, flow-each effortless and magical beyond conception. God's grace is the call.

There appears to be no end, no goal zone, and for the seeker in search of the finality of done, there is alas, no destination. From this place of Clarity, there is no end to creation, to expansion. Just like the Universe, expansion within the universe of 'I' is ongoing, infinite. Each day brings with it extraordinarily vast horizons. Standing on the Whole side of the gateless gate, what some in today's jargon are calling the portal, there is only God. From this vantage point there is clear seeing that there is only God, regardless of whether or not the awareness of this is present.


"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." Peter Ustinov

With more than a little anxiety, Gayle Gregory dropped out of corporate America in 1997 to realize her dream of sailing to Mexico. After a year of dolphins, stingrays and blue oceans, she emerged, energized and permanently transformed, having glimpsed a Truth far beyond her wildest imaginings. Since returning, her sole purpose has been to see through her own fears to be a clean slate for others to realize the Truth of their own magnificence. Gayle is a devoted spiritual teacher and long-time student of the human condition and recently published, "The Grand Experiment, an Expedition of Self-Discovery". She and her partners work with individuals and businesses to radically transform what they believe possible. For more information on Gayle and her work, visit http://www.pure-possibility.org

The Online Bible Offers Many Benefits

by Susan Slobac

For busy people, finding the time to sit down and read a book can seem like the ultimate luxury. Our time is so wrapped up with work, commuting, school and sports activities that there often is not a lot of extra time left over for reading. This puts believers in a real bind, because to become a grounded follower of Christ, one needs to spend time at Bible study. Everyone has good intentions, but it is very easy to slip into the practice of letting Bible study time slide out of your schedule. Don't let that happen to you. Since time is short, it makes a lot of sense to multi-task when you can, because you can get more done in your hectic day. Bible study does not have to suffer, because you can get your Bible study in by using the online Bible. The audio Bible online, which comes in the King James Bible online and NIV Bible online formats among others, brings Bible study right to where you are.


The Bible online can be placed on an MP3 playback device, making it portable. Now you can bring the online Bible with you as you commute by bus or train to work or school. You can plug your MP3 player into your car's audio system, and listen to the King James Bible online or the NIV Bible online whenever you get behind the wheel.


The online Bible can go with you when you exercise, too. Take your MP3 player, loaded with the audio Bible online, and head out for your walk or run. What a great thing it is to be surrounded by the beauty found in nature while listening and learning about Who made it all on your Bible online.


If you are a student, the online Bible can make the time fly on campus as well. You can listen to the NIV Bible online or the King James Bible online while you walk around campus getting to and from parking lots and walking to and from classes across campus. Many students find that they spend a great deal of time waiting in lines at school as well. Take the online Bible with you, and that time that would ordinarily be wasted now turns into Bible study time.


People who work nine-to-five jobs will discover times throughout the day when your can listen to the online Bible. Morning and afternoon breaks, plus lunchtime, all make great times to turn on your Bible online. If you are having a hard day at work, the online Bible can be just what you need to lift your spirits and help you get back into the swing of things with a better attitude. The Bible online makes this possible, because in this, and other situations such as school, sports and commutes, the Bible can now come with you for your spiritual benefit.

Susan Slobac first learned about the King James Bible online from her church's Bible study group. She began listening to readings from the audio Bible online during her daily routine and found it to be a great supplement to her studies as well as a powerful tool for refocusing her energy throughout the day.

Going Back to the Basics

By: Bishop Eddie L. Long

4 Quick Life Points for Men to Ponder

In order for us to talk about nations and kingdoms, there has to come a peace within each of us. God needs men and women to line up with His word. All of the things that God ordained will automatically happen when order hits.

Men, we are responsible for taking our rightful roles as mentor, father and role model. God is going to hold us accountable.

Get a mentor.
In the beginning, God fathered man. He mentored man. He taught man before He gave him a woman. We need to do something about mentoring men.

Teach the youth by example.
What is really corrupting society is that there are no fathers and mentors. There has to be a patriarch who understands that he must be an example; he must provide leadership and teach. Young people are lost because there is no covering, no wisdom. We, as men, have to come outside of our homes and spread ourselves; these boys and girls need to be touched with truth, not lies. We’re responsible for wherever the children end up. I don’t care if it’s your child from birth or not. We are responsible.

Examine your marriage.
The pain we have in life is the direct result of the breakdown of family. Marriage is an assignment. Two people are to look at one another and recognize who each is in God and understand that they are supposed to build each other in that.

Stand on scripture.
In Genesis it says, She took its fruit and ate it, and she also gave to her husband and he ate. At this moment, Adam failed to protect his wife. God has lifted us up to protect what has come out of us; when we fail to do that, we loose a curse. Adam knew what was right, but he didn’t speak up, and he didn’t do anything about it. Adam was more concerned, at that moment, with keeping harmony with his wife rather than keeping harmony with God. There are times you have to take a stand. You know that you are led by God, and you understand what His word says, so you have to stand in that direction. It’s a lot of pressure. Men, I charge you today, if you don’t read and study anything else, you need to read and study scripture. To turn this nation around, a man must study the word of God, and say when the scripture is misquoted.

Bishop Eddie L. Long is an acclaimed teacher, entrepreneur, author, and modern day prophet to the nations. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia just outside Atlanta. Visit him at http://www.NewBirth.org or go to bellministries.org

Core Exercises for Christians - Lesson #1

Core exercises are really hot right now in the fitness world. There are good reasons for this. When we speak of the core of our body we are talking about the abdominal and lower back muscles. It is the center of our body around which all bodily movement occurs. There are many health benefits to having a strong core. On the other hand some people exercise a great deal but neglect these core muscles. This person is much more vulnerable to injury than the person with a solid core.

This series of articles isn't about the core of your body. It is about the core of you. What is at the center of you?

Lesson #1 in this series is: Identify Your Core

You are able to give your body's core muscles a better workout if you know the target areas you are trying to strengthen. The same is true of the core of you. It is helpful to identify what really is at your center.

If you ask this question of Christians the answer is "Christ." He should be our core. He should be the center of our life. But is He? Not just in theory, but in real life.

Here are some questions that can help us identify what is truly at the core of our being- in real life.




When my mind is at rest, free from having to focus on something in particular, what/who do I think of most often?


When I am faced with a challenge or problem, what/who do I think of first?


When I evaluate the use of my time, what/who is the dominant theme?


When I am faced with a difficult decision, what/who provides the significant guiding principles?


When I lay my head on my pillow at night and look back over how I spent the day, what/who matters most to me?


When all is said and done in my life, for what do I most want to be remembered?

Take a little time to reflect on these questions and their answers. We get so busy in life that we never take the time to think about what really matters most in life. We can get so busy that we might say Christ is at the center of our life when the reality is that He is out there on the periphery with a hundred other things.

It is very easy to put our own personal relationship with Jesus on a kind of autopilot. We want to be identified with Him but we simply don't take the time to develop our relationship with Him. It is then that our core becomes weaker and weaker.

If we are to strengthen the core of our being, Christ must be there. If He is not there, we are vulnerable to all kinds of injuries in this life.

And by the way, you may have your job, money, house, and fifty other things at your core right now. But Christ will not share this position with anyone or anything.

Our core: Christ alone.

Dr. Steve Tuggle D.M.D. (Medical College of Georgia), M.Div. (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary), Certified Personal Trainer (American College of Sports Medicine), Certified Wellness Coach (http://www.wellcoaches.com).

How Christians Should determine their votes

Now that we have established the fact that Christians should vote, on what things should we base our votes? Biblicly can we vote for anyone we want? I believe there are 4 major points we should consider when voting, especially for the president. 1. What Kind of Judges will he/she appoint? The bible tells us in Isaiah 1:26 that judges shall restore righteousness to the city of Jerusalem. You may think that doesn't apply to our government today but what we have to realize is that our system of government was set up by the principles laid out in the bible and the position our judges hold now is very much the same as it was then. Think of this it was our judges that deemed abortion was ok and legal, and it was our judges that mis-use the term separation of church and state which is not even in the constitution. If we had been electing righteous judges then we wouldn't have abortions legal in America. As Christians we want judges who will uphold the constitution as it is written and not put their own interpretation onto it. These judges are called strict constructionists.

2. Where does he/she stand on God's Moral Law Why is this important, and how do I know if a particular candidate respects God's Moral Law? That's easy look at their position on protecting marriage as a single man + single woman couple. It is one of the main issues of the day and every candidate will deal with the topic. The bible clearly teaches homosexuality is wrong (Lev.20:13). So if they are voting for Gay Marriage or domestic partnerships they don't respect God's Moral Law

3. Where do they stand on inalienable rights? Our founding fathers believed that we all had certain rights endowed by our creator, if we want a righteous nation we have to respect those rights and it's very easy to see where a candidate stands on this issue as well. Look at their position on abortion. If they don't protect life which is the first inalienable right, then they won't protect our right to private property or any of our other rights for that matter.

4. Where does he/she stand on religious liberties? This tells me if they are going to make my job (to preach the gospel around the world) more easy or more difficult. If they won't support a persons right to voluntarily pray in a public forum it won't ne long until they are trying to tell the pastor what he can and can't preach.

After looking at those 4 issues plus a few more, there is only one candidate I can consider and that is Mike Huckabee, all of the other candidates seem to be supporting either abortion or same sex marriages both which are clearly against the will of God. I believe that if we use the word of God as our voting guide Mike Huckabee is the only choice. Even if you disagree with me on who to vote for I would encourage you to stand up and be counted! Let your voice be heard! Vote in 2008!

Copyright (c) 2008 Kim Sunshine

The principles found in this article are taken from the bible, and adapted from the teaching of David Barton from wallbuilders ministry Check out my online shopping portal here www.whatsyourdeal.com

Joseph's Overcoming Faith

By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. (Hebrews 11:22 NKJV)

The entire life of Joseph is a study of faith overcoming obstacles:

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children,.... Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But ... his brothers ... hated him....

Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; ... "There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf."

And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Then he dreamed still another dream ..., "... this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me."

So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?" 11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind. (Genesis 37:3-11, NKJV)

As a result of his dreams, Joseph's brothers captured him, sold him as a slave to some Midianite traders, who took him to Egypt, then they dipped his special coat in goat's blood and later told his father that he was dead (Genesis 37:23-28). Joseph then became a slave of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, and because of the lies of Potiphar's wife, ended up in prison in Egypt (Genesis 39:1-20). While in prison, the Lord caused him to prosper at everything he did, and ultimately, he became the second in command to Pharaoh himself (Genesis 39:12-41:46). A couple years later, Joseph siblings and father moved into Egypt as guests of Pharaoh under the authority of Joseph, just like he had dreamt some fifteen years earlier (Genesis 41:47-47:12).

Even though Joseph was continually betrayed by those closest to him, and it often seemed that everything was against him, Joseph never lost his faith in the visions the Lord had originally given him. As a result, the Lord caused him to prosper in everything he did.

When Joseph's brothers, who had originally sold him into slavery, appeared before him, in faith, he said:

"God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 45:7-8, NKJV)

Rather than condemning his brothers for causing his multitude of problems, he proclaimed that it was all according to God's plan to not only prosper him, but to preserve his entire family as well.

Later, when Joseph was old and preparing to die,

... Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:24-26, NKJV)

Joseph's faith, that had sustained him throughout his entire life, would ultimately carry him to his final resting place in the promised land, some 400 years after his death.

What can we learn from Joseph's faith? First, true faith always overcomes all circumstances, even those that seem to portray failure. Second, true faith endures over time. Third, true faith always trusts the love and promises of God, in spite of seemingly contrary circumstances. Forth, true faith never condemns the actions of others, no matter what the original motives of those people were.

Copyright (c) 2008 Jon Straumfjord

Jon Straumfjord is the author of numerous articles about the Seven Spirits of God and the God of the Bible. He is also the creator of the website www.7-spirits.com , and is the author of the book "The Seven Spirits of God."

Out of the Darkness

Remember the dramatic rescue of little Jessica McClure who had fallen down an abandoned well pipe about 16 years ago? According to the trauma experts, the first priority was to send someone as far down the pipe as possible to provide her with constant verbal reassurances and comfort. Trapped in that dark place, the experts feared she might panic, start hitting her head against the pipe or even worse, feel hopeless, abandoned and just give up. The immediate goal of the rescue team was to keep her from slipping into emotional despair.

In 2 Cor. 7 Paul, describes "conflict from every direction, and inside there was fear." We often think of Paul as a blustery, invincible man of God. But, clearly he, too experienced the pit of darkness. God recognized Paul's discouragement and depression. His provision for Paul's distress was to send Titus to Paul's side. It was Titus's arms (in the flesh) that let Paul feel God's touch and remind him he was not alone. Sadly, we don't always have an "in the flesh" comforter to reassure us and calm our fears. In that dark place our hurt, anger and isolation separates us from others and from experiencing God's love. Our self-imposed isolation can leave us feeling disconnected, alone and discourage.

Our isolation can also create a detachment from God as well as the world around us. Alone in our thoughts, our negativity can begin to spin out of control. This spin can increase the potential for distorted beliefs and negative self-thoughts. Alone, and not connected, our "lonely self" can generate thoughts and feelings that suggest "lonely" or all "alone" must mean there is something wrong with me." I must be bad" or "not good enough." Feeling like a "not good enough" self can cause us to distance from others in order to avoid feeling even more alone, shamed and hurt. At this point, the "hurt and alone self" may even be convinced of being unlovable. The "unlovable self" then begins to feel like a "lonely self," and on and on. What a cycle! So what can we do if the continuous looping, negative thoughts and misbeliefs engulf us in our own pit of darkness? First, stay connected to God. Remember, God is there in our dark place even if we don't feel Him. He grieves with us and waits for us to reach out. It is this holy connection that allows for change to take place. "Grieve, mourn and wail...humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you." (James 4:9-10) Second, we must rework the misbeliefs/distortions which keep us isolated and in darkness. Some misbeliefs include: "things will never get better," "Nobody cares," or "I'll never be good enough," "It's my fault." Psalm 139 says we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." It doesn't say we are perfect, but that there is "wonder" in our own creation. To deceive ourselves with distortions and lies counters what God intends for us to experience. God does care. We don't have to be "good enough" to belong and be special in His eyes. Reworking misbeliefs requires modification not denial. When life is difficult an "everything is fine now" statement is denial and distortion. A realistic and believable modification is "This is a difficult time in my life. God still loves me." Some things cannot be changed—this is truth. But, we can modify and change our negative and distorted thoughts. We can embrace God as the One who loves us despite our handicaps and short comings.

Next, connect with others. Not only do we need to be connected to others, but we need to be accountable and responsible for our actions—to ourselves and others. In I Thess. 5:11, Paul says, "Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another..." Love is not something we do alone—it is the result of an established relationship with God and others. If confiding or relating to someone else in an open and honest manner seems like an impossible task then seek out a out a pastor or therapist to help. If suicidal thoughts are present, then ask your doctor about medication. There are many Christ-centered support groups available in the local churches. Find a safe place to initiate change, gain confidence and reach out for connection.

In our own dark places, our Heavenly Father, the "Ultimate Expert," reaches out to calm our fears and offers us constant comfort and reassurances. He knows we, His children, need to feel His connection and encouragement as we make our way out of the darkness and into the light of His loving arms.

Copyright (c) 2008 G Susan Rivers, LMFT

G. Susan Rivers, LMFT, has been in private practice for over 20 years. As a Christian Therapist, Susan enjoys helping clients move beyond their "stuck" places and embrace their true self as the person God created them to be. Her practice is in Goodyear, AZ. For more information visit her website: www.gsusanrivers.com .

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winning Ideas for Women’s Ministry Events

By: Robert Rizzo

Great women’s ministry resources typically include women’s ministry events. Women’s ministry resources which offer these women’s ministry events don’t have to be extravagant. While retreats are wonderful women’ ministry events, they are often quite costly and require a high level of energy draining planning. There are however women’s ministry events which can be hosted without too much draining effort and very little expense.

Good women’s ministry resources will offer ideas for women’s ministry events. Women’s ministry resources need to keep these events realistic and doable even for the small women’s groups from small congregations. Hosting a monthly movie night, where the movies viewed are consistent with Christian messages is a simple and fun way to offer women a sound women’s ministry resource. It can inspire communication and often leads to the resolution of a life issue. Guidance can come in the most surprising form. Movies that deal with self-acceptance and self-love are excellent choices, as there simply isn’t enough attention given to women’s need to learn self-acceptance and self-love. Women for so long have been the victims of stereotypical and impossible standards. This can be a frustrating and self-loathing experience for so many women. Women’s ministry resources that encourage women to celebrate themselves in the light of God are far from ample enough.

Women’s ministry resources that offer events that encourage creative expression are becoming more popular and are well received by the women who participate. These events can include anything from drumming to creative movement, body prayer and artistic prayer, and even painting and musical expression. These women’s ministry resources give women an alternate avenue to get their own true inner spirit in touch with God’s vision. Creative expression events can help women work through issues that hold them back from becoming fully committed to the orientation of Christianity.

Many of today’s women’s ministry resources offer events which include chocolate hosting and food sampling, typically put together on a monthly basis. Women’s ministries that participate in such events are reporting that inevitably the topic of women’s bodies arises. The feeling that skinny and perpetually attractive women are the icon of the world while regular women struggle to find a healthy balance between food, life, and health can create opportunities for real life solutions involving love and acceptance of the self while teaching the biblical ideas about self love.

When time, energy, and financial resources permit, women’s ministry resources can help put together very good and uplifting mini retreats, often held over two days in a secluded location. Women’s ministry resources understand the value of “getting away from it all” in order to look deeper inside and find the meanings of Jesus’ teachings and how they are being implemented in today’s life on a global and individual scale. Bringing forth these teachings and finding our own sense of personal responsibility as society’s women can often have a great impact on how we approach the world upon our return. While retreats are time consuming and somewhat draining to organize, they can be well worth the effort when bringing women’s ministry resources into the community. When those who are able to participate in these retreats return, they often return with a great vigor to enhance more lives by bringing women’s ministry resources into the community on all levels. It’s like adding a double shot of espresso into a woman’s motivational level.

Studies by recent seminary education sources claim that the implementations of women’s ministry resources are received best when they are presented in a relaxed and nurturing environment. People as a whole do not respond well to being lectured. They respond much better to active participation and personal involvement. When an individual actively seeks answers and receives them, they are much more likely to take action on their part and become a stronger leader than if they are lectured on their perceived responsibilities. Overly aggressive leadership has been proven to discourage and disenfranchise women. Conversely, inclusive women’s ministry resources empower women to face their challenges with a fresh, confident attitude.

There are of course plenty more women’s ministry resources that can guide a women’s ministry into event hosting and planning. These are just some basic ideas to help encourage growing congregations to explore more possibilities. There is always room for one more idea at the table. Effective women’s ministry resource implementation often depends on effective women’s leadership. These women’s ministry resources can help to enhance women’s leadership qualities that can bring forth strong community outreach programs as and strong internal faith-based programs.
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Robert Rizzo is head of Group Publishing and they are the leading provider of Christian ministry resources and tools used by pastors, women’s ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry, and adult/small group leaders. Visit http://www.group.com to find a wide variety of life-changing ideas that work.

Eight Simple, Interactive Activities Toward Union With God

By E. Raymond Rock

St. John of the Cross claimed that all the pleasures of the world are as crumbs from the table of God. Hmm, saints must be experiencing something pretty outstanding! Actually, meeting God, face-to-face in this very lifetime, no differently than the prophets of old did, is not only possible but becoming a popular pursuit for even us everyday sinners! Delving into the roots of our faith offers a unique kind of experience, an experience that when deepened has no boundaries, as our souls actually merge with God! The problem is; there have been no comprehensive instructions that are decipherable by ordinary people - it's all been kept under wraps. That is until now!

Taking prayer to the next level means getting really close to God. Here's how to do it;

· After your regular prayers, sit quietly in His presence with a quiet mind.

· Keep Him in mind at all times during your day.

· Notice always the worldly things and people that take your mind off of Him.

· Consider how long worldly things and people last.

· Look seriously at your long-term priorities.

· Reflect on how quickly a lifetime passes.

· Determine to go deeply inside and dwell with Him constantly.

· Think about your death every day so that you are ready for it and don't fear it.

· Get ready to psychologically leave the world behind.

As with any regimen, the above steps require discipline. If you are capable of discipline, you will be able to make great strides toward actual union with God. Books that will be helpful are "The Ascent of Mount Carmel," by St. John of the Cross; and "Interior Castle," by St. Teresa of Avila.

Without discipline, our lives fritter away. Discipline instills happiness, even though it doesn't initially feel that way, and an undisciplined mind fosters unhappiness, although it initially doesn't feel that way either. According to Christian belief, we have only this one short lifetime to make our way to the next world. Time is of the essence - ask any senior how quickly a lifetime passes by - as quickly as a flash of lightening.

And the important thing, to everyone else in the world, is that once someone actually makes union with God, his or her actions then reflect that union and the world in turn becomes a better place. Therefore, these individual practices, although they seem self-centered, are not. Once one authentically comes to terms with God, then they have the potential to reach out to others without their egos getting in the way, and then the reaching out will be helpful and not harmful.

Life is such a precious opportunity to really find God. Instead of merely relying on an image of God or an idea of God, we can actually making a real connection with Him. What is more important than this?

E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com

Out Of The Darkness

Remember the dramatic rescue of little Jessica McClure who had fallen down an abandoned well pipe about 16 years ago? According to the trauma experts, the first priority was to send someone as far down the pipe as possible to provide her with constant verbal reassurances and comfort. Trapped in that dark place, the experts feared she might panic, start hitting her head against the pipe or even worse, feel hopeless, abandoned and just give up. The immediate goal of the rescue team was to keep her from slipping into emotional despair.

In 2 Cor. 7 Paul, describes "conflict from every direction, and inside there was fear." We often think of Paul as a blustery, invincible man of God. But, clearly he, too experienced the pit of darkness. God recognized Paul's discouragement and depression. His provision for Paul's distress was to send Titus to Paul's side. It was Titus's arms (in the flesh) that let Paul feel God's touch and remind him he was not alone. Sadly, we don't always have an "in the flesh" comforter to reassure us and calm our fears. In that dark place our hurt, anger and isolation separates us from others and from experiencing God's love. Our self-imposed isolation can leave us feeling disconnected, alone and discourage.

Our isolation can also create a detachment from God as well as the world around us. Alone in our thoughts, our negativity can begin to spin out of control. This spin can increase the potential for distorted beliefs and negative self-thoughts. Alone, and not connected, our "lonely self" can generate thoughts and feelings that suggest "lonely" or all "alone" must mean there is something wrong with me." I must be bad" or "not good enough." Feeling like a "not good enough" self can cause us to distance from others in order to avoid feeling even more alone, shamed and hurt. At this point, the "hurt and alone self" may even be convinced of being unlovable. The "unlovable self" then begins to feel like a "lonely self," and on and on. What a cycle! So what can we do if the continuous looping, negative thoughts and misbeliefs engulf us in our own pit of darkness? First, stay connected to God. Remember, God is there in our dark place even if we don't feel Him. He grieves with us and waits for us to reach out. It is this holy connection that allows for change to take place. "Grieve, mourn and wail...humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you." (James 4:9-10) Second, we must rework the misbeliefs/distortions which keep us isolated and in darkness. Some misbeliefs include: "things will never get better," "Nobody cares," or "I'll never be good enough," "It's my fault." Psalm 139 says we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." It doesn't say we are perfect, but that there is "wonder" in our own creation. To deceive ourselves with distortions and lies counters what God intends for us to experience. God does care. We don't have to be "good enough" to belong and be special in His eyes. Reworking misbeliefs requires modification not denial. When life is difficult an "everything is fine now" statement is denial and distortion. A realistic and believable modification is "This is a difficult time in my life. God still loves me." Some things cannot be changed—this is truth. But, we can modify and change our negative and distorted thoughts. We can embrace God as the One who loves us despite our handicaps and short comings.

Next, connect with others. Not only do we need to be connected to others, but we need to be accountable and responsible for our actions—to ourselves and others. In I Thess. 5:11, Paul says, "Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another..." Love is not something we do alone—it is the result of an established relationship with God and others. If confiding or relating to someone else in an open and honest manner seems like an impossible task then seek out a out a pastor or therapist to help. If suicidal thoughts are present, then ask your doctor about medication. There are many Christ-centered support groups available in the local churches. Find a safe place to initiate change, gain confidence and reach out for connection.

In our own dark places, our Heavenly Father, the "Ultimate Expert," reaches out to calm our fears and offers us constant comfort and reassurances. He knows we, His children, need to feel His connection and encouragement as we make our way out of the darkness and into the light of His loving arms.

Copyright (c) 2008 G Susan Rivers, LMFT

By: G Susan Rivers, LMFT

G. Susan Rivers, LMFT, has been in private practice for over 20 years. As a Christian Therapist, Susan enjoys helping clients move beyond their "stuck" places and embrace their true self as the person God created them to be. Her practice is in Goodyear, AZ. For more information visit her website: www.gsusanrivers.com .

Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. (Hebrews 11:21, Genesis 48:1-22, NKJV)

When Jacob was old, sick and dying, his son Joseph came with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, so that Jacob might bless them. Jacob had conspired with his mother to deceive his father, Isaac, into giving him the greater blessing which was reserved for the eldest male child, Esau. Now, Jacob purposely gave the greater blessing to the younger of Joseph's two sons, Ephraim. While Isaac had planned to bless Esau in preference to Jacob, Jacob had learned to follow the Lord's leading, in spite of Joseph's objections:

... your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine....

Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, ... And he blessed Joseph...

Now when Joseph saw that his father {Jacob} laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. And Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head."

But [Jacob] refused and said,"I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations."

So he blessed them that day, saying,"By you Israel will bless, saying, 'May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!'" And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh. (Genesis 48:5,14-15, 17-22, NKJV)

Jacob, after a life of thievery and conniving, had finally learned to obey the Lord. He was finally content to allow the Lord to accomplish His will, in His own way, without any interference from Jacob himself.

Jacob purposely gave the greater blessing to Ephraim. In fact, when the nation of Israel originally left Egypt, the tribe of Ephraim was larger than that of Manasseh (Numbers 1:32-35), and after the kingdom was divided, the prophetic name for wayward Israel was Ephraim (cf: Psalms 78:67-68, Isaiah 11:12-13, 17:3, 28:1-4, Jeremiah 4:15, 7:15, 31:9), even though the capital city of Samaria was actually in Western Manasseh.

As a result of Jacob's obedience in his prophetic blessings of Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob was enabled, by the Holy Spirit, to pronounce prophetic blessings over all twelve of his own sons (Genesis 49:1-28). Some of the prophecies contained in those blessings are still being filled today (Oil was recently found in what once was the territory of Asher - Genesis 49:20, Deuteronomy 33:24).

So what can we learn about faith from Jacob? First, it is always better to act, in obedience to the Lord, than to be forced to comply (remember Isaac). Second, faith produces and empowers more faith. In other words, the more we act in faith, the more faith we will receive with ever increasing power. Third, the more we allow faith to empower the spiritual gifts the Lord has given us, the greater the effectiveness of those gifts (Since Jacob prophesied over Ephraim and Manasseh according to the Lord's leading, he was given even more prophecies about his own children.). Fourth, the more effectively we use the gifts the Lord has given us, the more of a blessing will be to others, especially our own children.

Lord, cause us to continually grow in faith, so that we may continually grow more effective and powerful in the use of the gifts You have given us, thus becoming an ever increasing blessing to others!

Copyright (c) 2008 Jon Straumfjord

By: Jon Straumfjord

Jon Straumfjord is the author of numerous articles about the Seven Spirits of God and the God of the Bible. He is also the creator of the website www.7-spirits.com , and is the author of the book "The Seven Spirits of God."

Are The Dead Raised Up In Resurrection?

By Dona Hatherley

Man wonders about life after death and usually basis their belief on experiences of their own or someone else's that is close to them. Does this mystery captivate you betimes? Perhaps I can help to clear up the nagging question in your soul.

In the Holy Bible is one recording of the answer in 1 Corinthians 15: 35-58. In verse 51 Paul calls it a mystery.

Some will ask. How are the dead raised up? With what body do they come?

All flesh is not the same flesh? Man ,beast, fish, and birds, celestial, terrestrial,sun moon and stars are all different. Resurrection is a different matter also. Living again in a different way, in a different body, that is spiritual instead of natural. Being heavenly instead of earthly is resurrection.

Jesus Christ along with many others at that time had died and been resurrected in bodies unlike the natural earthly ones we are accustomed to. In these glorified bodies they could go through locked doors and suddenly appear and disappear. Still they could be touched and eat food and drink. Jesus floated upward out of sight when He left the earth. He is supposed to come again in the same way according to the angels present there at that time. Acts 1:9-11

Jesus raised several people from the dead, Lazarus being the one buried for four days. It is not recorded that any of these ones had the heavenly body but returned to their former state, only healed. My sister Geraldine was brought back to life by a hospital team in Elliot Lake. Her experience was peaceful as far as the time out of her present body. She found herself in a waiting room being asked by Jesus if she wanted to continue on to Heaven or return to earth. She replied that she had two young children and so should go back to them. She returned to her bruised body as the work to revive her was strenuous.

Resurrection involves a changed body that becomes incorruptible, glorious, powerful and spiritual. Immortality is awaiting the human body,soul and spirit because it is the will of God for the human race. Where each of us goes in these new bodies is also decided by God at the white throne judgment.

I dreamed once that I was at the top of a set of stairs that are not normally seen in my mother's kitchen. I was waiting there with a room full of people saying where is she? It is after nine o'clock. I called to her and she came out of her room looking radiant and happy. She flowed up the stairs in a lovely white dress right past me into the arms of a large man similar to my father who went on to be with Jesus in 1980. Over his shoulder she was waving to an old friend that had also gone on home to glory earlier. At present my mom is ninety-one and a half. Am I to go ahead of her ?

This kind of dream is in keeping with the Christian belief that if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved and death will have no power over us. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
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Dona Hatherley creates roads to wellness in all areas of life by pointing out ways and means as well as the expectations you can have from God's viewpoint. http://newfreshcreatedjustforyou.blogspot.com/

Do Dogs Really Go To Heaven? I Think, Yes


By Patricia Hubbard

My parents had a strange attitude about animals. Animals needed to stay outside, "Because... they were...animals!" they would say. I guess that was the usual attitude of parents in my young days. But I didn't agree.

I never understood that because to me, they were not just animals, they were my pets, my cat or puppy, my friends, who never judged or said "no" or got mad at me because I didn't do what they wanted. If they didn't appreciate my too, loving nature, they just ran away or up into a tree or just went out of my reach. But, they always came back. They always remained my furry friend. They would let me stroke them and cuddled up in my lap, if I sat still enough, long enough.

I learned a lot about life from my pets. They taught me about trust and loyalty and fairness. I could tell them my most secret feelings and they would never tell. They were trustworthy and protective of me should another dog or cat trample on our property. My dogs would chase a strange dog away and my cats would hiss and snarl if the intruder came too close. To me they were not "animals." They were friends.

After becoming an adult, the recognition that I was not my parents, even though I loved them very much...new found, freedom of choice, allowed me the ability to make my own rules. And I did.

Through the years my children accumulated many in-house pets; cats, dogs, gerbils, turtles, fish and even white rats, eek! (I was a good mother to tolerate those creatures.) We all found out that they were cannibals, but we won't go there, right now.

We housed really intelligent dogs and sweet cats and nasty, opinionated, snotty cats. Some died and were buried in the back yards of wherever we happened to live. They were given proper "last rites" and my children assured that they would go to Heaven.

Those same children have grown into parents themselves and have had various and sundry, favorite cats and dogs of their own, in-house cats and dogs.

Sometimes their dogs have come to visit "Grandma's" house when their human parents went away for a few days and needed someone to love and tend to their needs. I say dogs because my CAT, Tiger would absolutely, not tolerate another cat in this household.

Two of my favorite, Grand-dogs came with much humility and respect when entering this thresh hold, because Tiger demanded it, like a sentry with his rifle at hand ready to defend any unauthorized entries.

They learned immediately, that Tiger was in charge here. Ribsey, pet to my son Gerald and family, was a large, unusual looking dog in that she had one blue eye and one brown one. She was a cross between a large Terrier and a Husky. Her fur was long, coarse and curly. She weighed about 65 pounds. Her strangeness was her charm. She was gentle and loving and loved by all who knew her. Her first attempt at friendliness with Tiger resulted in a scratched nose and a loud yelp. Soon to be followed by an interesting approach to self-protection. From that time forward, Ribsey managed to never look in the eye of Tiger again. When they encountered each other, she turned her head in a way that appeared snooty and yet funny at the same time. After a few days of co-existing, Tiger allowed her to be in the same room and not hiss and yawl at her. Ribsey tried so hard to contain her natural desire to be friendly, but that had gotten her a scratch on the nose...she was not going there again.

Ribsey spent many years as a member of her family and sometimes visits to "Grandma's." That I always looked forward to because she was such a sweet dog.

But as all favorite pets do, she passed on at 14 years. She was diagnosed with Addison's disease, where the body attacks its own organs. The animal becomes anorexic and loses a great deal of weight. For two years, IVs extended her life, but in the end, the disease won out. We all grieved her loss. She was buried in a respectful way and life went on, eventually, without her.

There was no doubt that Ribsey had gone to Heaven. She deserved to go to Heaven, because she was such a great member of the family.

Another favorite pet dog was a tan Boxer, named Belle. Belle had been my youngest son, Joe's, family dog for a number of years, but when they moved into a new rental home, no dogs were allowed. With a heavy, but, thankful heart, he gave Belle to his older brother Chris.

Belle, sweet, loving dog that she was, fell right into her new family very quickly and loved her new large yard to run in. She was well behaved, and loved by my grandchildren and was a joy to have around.

Belle thought that everyone who came to the front door was a special guest who came to see her. She wagged her tail so hard her whole back end looked as if she was trying out for a hula dance competition. I could swear she was smiling, too. Her wide mouth looked like a U. Her gums showed and her eyes glistened. I loved that dog.

Belle gave many years of joy to Chris' growing family, but about 6 months ago, in her 11th year, she had begun to have seizures and was put on a barbiturate to curb that. She became slow and dull and the glow was gone from her eyes, even though she tried to be her old self, she was not Belle anymore.

One Sunday, around Christmas, they thought she was going to die. I made a special trip after Church, hoping I could see her one more time before she left this earth plane.

She tried to welcome me and be friendly, but with great effort.. I haven't seen her since then.

Last night, I had a dream that Belle was at my back, patio door. She was dancing around shaking her body in joy to see me and seeming to want to come in. I said to her, "Belle, what are you doing here? How did you get here? I wondered if my son knew she was here. They lived on the other side of town. Suddenly, I saw a distant round circle of light in the sky that seemed to beckon to me....Then I knew what it was all about. I knew she was dead and I said, "Go to the light Belle, go to the light." Belle listened and then excitedly, ran off into the distance.

I woke up after that. I thought about the dream and felt as if I needed to tell my son about it. Perhaps it would offer him comfort if she did die soon.

All day it crept back into my consciousness again and again. Finally I called Chris. I asked him if Belle was OK. He said, "Mom, we just didn't tell you because we knew you loved her. We figured we'd tell you later. We had to put her down."

I asked, "When?"

He said, "On New Years weekend."

I said, "I thought she must have passed because I had this dream last night."

I told him about the dream.

He said, "That gives me chills. I had a dream last night, too. Belle was running and jumping around as if she was still alive. She was happy. I knew she was dead, but the dream made me feel good," he said. "Now you tell me you had almost the same dream."

I said, "It tells me that dogs do go to Heaven."

"Yes, I'm sure she went to Heaven," he said.

You, my readers, may not believe this and you may be laughing and shaking your head, but I don't care. Belle came to tell me that she was happy, again. I believe it and that's that!

Anyone with similar stories? Email me at butterfly15332002@yahoo.com, because my opt-in box does not work. Use the word "stories" as a subject, because I do get a lot of junk mail and delete most of it..


Thanks for listening.


For more tips and tools on how to survive divorce and loss and make healthy relationship choices you are invited to visit http://www.butterflyintonewlife.com/


Patricia Hubbard has Facilitated a Support Group for Separated, Divorced and Widowed people for the past 12 years. And has been an animal lover for more years than that.

Freewill - Does Mankind Have It? Further Evidence That He Doesn't

By Charles Crosby

For those of you who were not convinced or persuaded by my first article on this subject, I thought I would add to it with more evidence. If you haven't done so, it will help if you read my first article "Freewill - Does Mankind Have It" before this one. Thank you.

As it happens, someone e-mailed me recently questioning my 'claims' that mankind does not have freewill. As always, I will remind readers that The Truth is not something that is claimed, it is something that is declared in confidence or preached as news - the Good News, and then either accepted or rejected. Now this man made his remarks based upon the idea that Paul reasoned with the Jews in the synagogues. Which he did not, please see my article: "Did The Apostle Paul Reason With The Jews In The Synagogues?" He then went on to say:

"You claimed to refute the idea that Paul reasoned with the Jews, and implied that logical reasoning is evil and worldly. But I ask to you: if reason is evil, then why can Christians use it so effectively to minister to atheists? If reason is evil, then why can Christians use it so effectively to minister to atheists?

Now here he is missing the point or points, because there is nothing wrong with reasoning if it's accompanied and guided by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but in too many cases it isn't, and that includes the men who translated the Holy Word of God into the English of the King James Bible. Now this carnal reasoning is the problem and yes it is evil if it's applied to the Holy Word of God without the Holy Spirit. Finally he said:

"However, I do believe that God can use the faculties He has given us to lead us to Himself."

Here again, we see the mainstream Christian inability or the trinity blindness causing them to be unable to see the Father and The Son as two supreme beings, not one being, and this is precisely the issue. It's the Father that leads us, not to Himself, but to His Son - The Lord Jesus Christ and no man or woman can come to The Lord Jesus Christ unless The Father calls us. John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

By this, too, I trust you all understand that the act of salvation is not in the hands of man, but, rather, in the hands of The Father God alone and no one else. This is why the mainstream Christian slogans "I have found Jesus" or "I have accepted Jesus as my saviour" are not true - they're just delusional lies. When The Father calls, the answer can only be as it was for Samuel and Jeremiah. In Samuel's case it was a simple answer "Here am I Lord". In Jeremiah's case it was predestination - Jeremiah was always going to be Jeremiah the prophet, come what may, so where was Jeremiah's freewill in this scenario! It wasn't, it wasn't there at all, because Jeremiah didn't have freewill!

"I know that you're probably thinking that those people can't see your truth because they are incapable of doing so. However, this denies the freewill that is the core of what it is to be human. After all, God "created man in His own image." If we are created in God's image (which I am sure you believe) and we lack free will, then that implies that God doesn't have free will either.

Yes we were created in the image of the Godhead but unfortunately this man has forgotten one catastrophic event - man's fall from the benefits that came with being created in God's image. As you know man chose (and chose for the last time) to believe a liar instead of his Creator who told him the Truth, always. Once man fell he lost any freedom he once had and became a slave to sin and the curse of death and a servant of the Devil. Again, as you must know slaves and servants just do as they are told, they have no freedom and certainly no freedom to choose, so they have no freewill. We have to be free in order to have freewill.

The fallen and lost have will, yes, but it's not free because the only will they can perform is the Devil's will for he is the god of this world (age or its systems) and he deceives the whole world. Man is in a rebellious frame of mind continually against his Creator. Even if man does good he is still in the overall fallen condition for he has the knowledge of good and evil within that fallen condition. This means he will sometimes do good and sometimes do evil but he is still fallen and in slavery and/or in bondage.

John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Freedom only comes with being Born Again. Anyone not Born Again is not free so therefore has no freewill. If we say we have freewill what is this freedom the Lord is referring to? Freedom is freedom you cannot have categories of freedom, it's either freedom or slavery.

I do not make any claims, for The Truth is not something we claim it is something we either have or do not have so we tell it like it is, i.e. through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in order for The Lord Jesus Christ to make His home with us. Once this has occurred we can only speak The Truth. Claims are for Bible intellectuals who do not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

'Christians' can minister to atheists until they are blue in the face but unless the Father is calling those atheists they will remain atheists.

"At the end of your article, you said that those who claim that you were using reason to convince them of reason's evil were in essence wrong, because they were using reasoning to do so. In doing so, you created a circular logic that comes across as "the only reasoning that is true is that which I declare to be true"--something that has turned many intelligent nonbelievers away from the Lord."

My 'reasoning', as you call it, only appears circular because reasoning without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can only be circular. This was the problem the first century Church had with Hellenising Greeks with their philosophers who infiltrated the Church and corrupted it with their non-gospel. Once Born Again His Spirit joins our spirit and all our reasoning then points in a straight line to Him and is no longer circular.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

It's a Spiritual thing not a reason based logical thing and this is where so many go wrong within mainstream Christianity.

Thank you for taking the time for e-mailing me back. While I still do not completely agree with you, especially on the point that persons without Christ do not have free will (if our will is not free, then God determines who will be saved and who won't, which is against His plan for us, for "it is not God's will that any should perish." ), it is good to know that you are not one of those people who considers himself above responding to people with honest questions."

I thanked him for his reply and pointed out that, in part, he had answered his own queries.

He was right, it is not God's will that any man should perish and that is precisely what will happen - God's will, will happen. Is God all powerful or not!? God's will is not our will for His ways are not our ways (unless we are Born Again) which, if it is God's will that is being done it proves that our will is not in the picture - free or otherwise. The Lord Jesus Christ came and conquered death so if any man dies and remains dead i.e. has not been a part of any resurrection then He and the Father will have failed. Nothing is conquered completely if any fraction of it remains unconquered. The Lord did not come to this earth to partly conquer sin and death, He came to conquer it all completely and He did!

With regards to his point about our 'freewill' he had not understood the issue that it's only being Born Again that gives us freewill. Adam and Eve lost their 'freewill' - the first Adam. We are under the grace of the second Adam and have been restored to an even better position than the first Adam before he fell. We are, in effect, more free than the first Adam so we have freewill if we are Born Again, but the lost and unsaved do not have freewill, they can only do the Devil's will - that is the fallen condition.

If we believe that the lost and unsaved have freewill then by default we are saying that they have a say in whether they are saved or not. By default you are saying man's decision overrides or overrules The Father's decision and man has the power to control God's will. This is a tail wagging the dog scenario of cataclysmic proportions that he is describing here, whichever way you look at it, and makes God look very weak indeed. This, too, is the foundational flaw in all mainstream Christian denominational teaching and it renders all adherents to it as believers in a non-gospel.

Once we embark upon a spiritual journey of salvation based upon man's decisions or upon man's authority, which, if it is our decision then it must be based upon our authority, we then have a spiritual journey of Spiritual insecurity. That is why mainstream Christians are always questioning the validity of their salvation and in turn why they live lives of worry, fear, guilt and doubt about their position in Christ. Why? I will tell you why, because it all started on a sandy foundation of their decision based upon the myth of their freewill when all the while it is not their decision at all but, rather, The Father's decision alone.

I told him, I hoped it would help him in his understanding and we parted on good terms with him saying he thought I made some very interesting points. He said he would have to think long and hard on this subject. He thanked me again for being willing to sacrifice my precious time, so it was refreshing and encouraging to part amicably.
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Charles Crosby.

If you, too, have any queries on this or any other subject please feel free to e-mail me: yes2faith@yahoo.co.uk

The Birth of Moses

By: Jon Straumfjord

Copyright (c) 2008 Jon Straumfjord

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. (Hebrews 11:23, Exodus 1:1-2:10, NKJV)

But when [his mother, Jochebed] could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. And his sister {Miriam} stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river.... and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and ... had compassion on him, ...

Then his sister {Miriam} said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?"

And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So [Miriam] went and called the child's mother. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, "Because I drew him out of the water." (Exodus 2:4-10, NKJV)

350 years before Moses was born, the family of Israel had come into Egypt as honored guests of Pharaoh, but that history had become lost to the current king of Egypt. The former guests of the state were now slaves of that very same state, suffering forced hard labor under cruel Egyptian task masters. But in spite of their continual trials, the descendants of Israel kept increasing in number.

Pharaoh had become alarmed at the ever-increasing numbers of Israelite slaves, and feared an insurrection that would leave both him and his nation subservient to Israel. In an effort to prevent the toppling of his kingdom, Pharaoh instituted a plan of genocide: the killing of all new-born male children. If that wasn't bad enough, Pharaoh ordered the midwives, whose occupation was to deliver new-born Israelite children, to perform the unceremonious executions immediately upon birth.

During this period of state-instituted genocide, Moses was born. He was kept hidden by his parents for about three months, but by that time it was virtually impossible to keep him hidden from the continually patrolling executioners whose job was to ensure that Pharaoh's orders were carried out in spite of the efforts of fearful parents.

Amram, Moses' father, and Jochebed, his mother, were faced with an impossible situation: they couldn't continue hiding him, but if they did nothing, their child would have been discovered and cast into the river and died. So, even though they were very much afraid, they made a small boat for the child, set him in the river, which would have been his grave, and waited in faith to see what the Lord would do.

Moses was rescued by the daughter of the very man who commanded his death, was nursed by his own mother at Pharaoh's expense, and raised as a prince in the household of Pharaoh himself. This was the ultimate paradox: Pharaoh, Moses, greatest enemy, had become his savior and ultimate benefactor. God is good! And since children are the immediate benefactors of their parents faith, it is little wonder that Moses became the man of faith that he did.

There are several lessons we can learn from the situation: first, faith is a conscious choice made in spite of circumstances. Second, true faith overcomes fear. Third, God responds to genine faith with generosity, love, and power. Fourth, true faith enables and empowers the hand of God Himself. Fifth, true faith, enables us to hear the Lord speaking, even though initially it may only seem like our own good idea.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV)
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Jon Straumfjord is the author of numerous articles about the Seven Spirits of God and the God of the Bible. He is also the creator of the website http://www.7-spirits.com/ , and is the author of the book "The Seven Spirits of God." Article Source: Free Article Directory - http://www.articleManiac.com Search And Submit Articles

Bible Translations are Used in Outreach Programs Around the World

Author: Susan Slobac

There are approximately 6,800 different languages spoken by cultures spanning the globe today. Roughly 2,000 of those languages are spoken by 97% percent of the world. These numbers are very significant for non-profit Christian organizations that have tasked themselves with creating and recording Bible translations that can reach the majority of the people on earth today. Since many of the people Christian followers would like to spread the Word of God to cannot read, audio Bibles and Bibles on CD have become one of the best ways to share the scriptures with them and help them understand the teachings of Christ.

One popular way for volunteers to share audio Bibles with illiterate people in underdeveloped countries is to arrange for daily or weekly 'listening groups' of Bible translations. During the listening groups, volunteers can play the scriptures in the mother language of the village and also hand out written versions so the listeners can follow along. By doing this, many illiterate children and villagers can actually begin to learn to read and teach others in their village how to read the Bible as well. Sometimes volunteers will even bring Christian movies to the villages to play so they can see dramatizations of the Bible brought to life before their eyes.

While listening to the Bible in new audio and video format is a great way to evangelize the teachings of Christ, it is also becoming a popular passtime for Christians living in technology-driven countries in North America and Europe. For instance, young Christians who have iPods can listen to an MP3 Bible while they are walking to school or riding the bus. They can listen to audio bible downloads while they are at the gym or on their way to work; they can even listen to a Bible on CD while they are on a road trip with their friends. The audio formats have really opened the door to take the Bible with you almost anywhere you go.

For Christians seeking a daily dose of inspiration from famous pastors and priests in the Christian community, you can now get audio Bible downloads in the form of Podcasts. Or, if you would like to learn another language or become bilingual, you can download a Spanish audio Bible to help you along the way. However you choose to incorporate a new audio Bible online into your life and those around you, it will help you grow in faith and inspire those around you.
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Susan Slobac first learned about audio bible downloads from her church's Bible study group. She began listening to MP3 bible readings during her daily routine and found it to be a great supplement to her studies in addition to a powerful tool for refocusing her energy throughout the day. She is working with her church to implement Spanish Audio Bible into their community outreach program efforts.

The Blessing of God Is Part of His Covenant

By: Bishop Eddie L. Long

The whole bible is a story about a father and a son. It’s a generational thing. Some are living better lives because of the generational transfer of those that came before. There is an inheritance, flow and covenant that God made. When you study Melchizedek, you will understand that there has to be order in the kingdom. Someone has to be in charge. When you join the arm, you willingly submit to a sergeant; however, in the body of Christ, many have the attitude that God told me. So chaotic order is going on. There is disunity because no one wants order. There has to be set leadership that helps hold the standard to ward off things that are not healthy for the body. Leadership is actually the body of Christ’s immune system. Remember the law of Moses my servant…with the statutes and judgments. Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet… and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:4-6)

This is addressed to spiritual folk. There must be an order. If not, there will be a curse throughout the land. We risk losing the spiritual heritage of our fathers because we did not want to submit to the spirit in which God has ordained. Just as there is a natural relationship between a father and a son, so too is there a relationship between a pastor and the congregation. It is a covenant. Why did God make a covenant between himself and His Son? After speaking in the fourth chapter of Malachi, God did not speak again to man until 400 years later, meaning, we really need to pay attention to the last thing He said. We had 400 years to study and meditate on it. The next time God speaks is at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13–17). And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, This is My beloved son in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). Jesus had not done one miracle yet. He needed the announcement, pronouncement and blessing of God the father on Him so He would be fully equipped to do what God ordained; He needed the Father’s blessing so He could carry the fullness of the Father as an inheritance. That’s the order of God. This whole story is how God moves from father to son, from father to son.

Today, we have lost this understanding. Even Jesus had to wait for God to affirm Him, allowing the fullness of what He was walking in to be transferred to Him because of covenant and covenantal agreement, which brings inheritance.
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Bishop Eddie L. Long is an acclaimed teacher, entrepreneur, author, and modern day prophet to the nations. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia just outside Atlanta. Visit him at http://www.NewBirth.org or go to bellministries.org

When Is A Christian Like An Airplane Co-Pilot?

By Terry Weber

One of the greatest mysteries people pondered during the thousands of years before 1903 was this: How is it possible that birds can spread their wings, leap from the ground, and fly? Obviously, there is nothing holding them up and some of them even fly without moving their wings very much. How can this be? What holds them up? It looks impossible! Or, study some of the flying insects; what they do up there in the air above the ground is simply amazing. They can move backward, forward, hover in one place and change direction with the greatest of ease.

Then, along came the Wright brothers. They made it possible for man to maintain controlled flight for extended periods of time, and their discoveries changed the world forever.

I've piloted airplanes in my time and, in order to do that; I first had to learn the technical details about how and why airplanes fly. In short, there was a lot I had to learn before I could climb into a plane and take off like a bird.

In the course of my pilot training, I learned that it takes faith to fly. For example, I had to have faith in: the airplane, the engine, the electrical system, the compass and all of the other instruments. Also, I had to have faith in my instructor, my reactions, my brain, my muscles and much more. Yes, every pilot needs an extra large helping of raw faith to do what he does. As a matter of fact, for me, the best part of learning how to fly was the way that ability increased my faith in God.

As a Christian, I trust God. I know He is in control. I have first-hand knowledge of His love for me. He tells me things like: "fear not; do not be discouraged; be of good cheer; don't worry; trust in and rely on Me." He says I should remember, "All that happens is for good..." God, through His Word, His pastors and His other Christians has taught me to have complete faith in Him. The result is that I can "fly" through each new day with the sure faith and knowledge that I'm not flying solo anymore. I have faith that God is beside me. I am his co-pilot. But God, my trustworthy and ever loving Captain, is always beside me in the pilot's seat and HE is in command

http://www.OriginalsByWeber.com

Terry Weber is a retired advertising/direct mail sales letter copywriter and inventor of several useful items. Terry and his wife Doris are Habitat For Humanity, RV Care-A-Vanners who, for the past eight years have volunteered to help build more than 39 houses all over the USA. They travel to and from the 2- week long builds in their RV. The money they make on their Originals By Weber website helps them pay their expenses to and from those volunteer Habitat builds.

P.S. Due to the high cost of gasoline and the current health problems of my wife, we can no longer drive the RV to Habitat builds. The RV is parked until gasoline prices come down and health improves

Road Rage

I've heard it said that character is who you are in private, not what you are in public. This sounds fairly reasonable to me, but, unfortunately I think I may have found a loophope. You see, the other day I did something privately that I would never do publicly. So, in order to redeem myself, I have decided to make my private failure a public one.

Yesterday, after driving through a toll booth in Chicago, I did something that Christians should never do. I lost my temper. I pulled over to the side of the road and slammed my fist against the steering wheel as hard as I could. After apologizing to my wife, I began to think about what made me so upset.

The incident that prompted my road rage was passing through a toll booth thinking that I could use a credit card (I have done that many times because usually the toll is around $3.00 in most places I go). First of all. I didn't know there was going to be a toll booth. Secondly, I figured that I could use my card if there was a toll booth. Thirdly, I didn't have any change and, unfortunately, in this case, the toll was only 80 cents.

The man behind the counter gave me no mercy. To him, I was a pennyless low-lifer mooching my way through life at other people's expense-at least that was the impression I got during our 20 second encounter.

So why did I lose my temper? It wasn't because of the huffy toll booth operator. It was myself that I was mad at. I was humiliated that I couldn't scrape enough change for something so simple.

I ask that you, my readers, think about this incident for a moment. If I, a Christian, could lose my temper out of humiliation for not scraping together 80 cents to pay a toll booth operator, just imagine how millions of men and women around the world feel living in slums and barely surviving? Do you think they feel humiliated? Even nature itself teaches that fathers have an instinct to want to provide for their families. I wonder how men who live in cardboard boxes feel when they are unable to provide a decent living for their wives and children?

Furthermore, how do you think the masses of people around the world feel when they watch films about life in America while they are barely able to put food on the table? Do you think that they might feel angry, humilitated, robbed, or dare I say...cheated? My point here is not to say that Americans are to blame for the world's poverty. I am absolutely unqualified to make such judgments. My point is to take you into the minds and hearts of the world's poor. I wonder if, in their minds, we are the toll booth operators of the world.

The problem with poverty is not its physical effects, but its emotional and spiritual effects. Poverty is the ultimate dehumanizer because it cuts to the heart of human self-worth. This is why it is all the more remarkable that Jesus uttered these four words that have changed human history "Blessed are the poor." For Jesus, value comes not from one's net worth or even the ability of one to provide for himself. For Jesus, value comes from being loved by God-something that all can claim-whether rich or poor.

There are some who are poor because of laziness, but there are multiplied others who are poor because of oppression. Still others are poor because of just plain bad luck. Yes. I said the word "luck". Even the Bible says, "Time and chance happen to all." If we Christians can learn to see the poor of this world through the eyes of Jesus, then the world would be a much better place.

By: Aaron Taylor

Aaron Taylor is an author and a speaker. If you would like to invite Aaron to speak at your church or event, you can contact him at www.greatcommissionsociety.com

Rebuilding the Walls

By Tim Russ

(Nehemiah 1:3 KJV) And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Jerusalem is the city of God. He chose it and blessed it so that it would prosper forever. In fact, the name of the eternal city where God will live with Christians forever is Jerusalem. Yet, even with favor there is sometimes discipline.

The Jewish people had always had a problem with idolatry. Idolatry isn't just worshipping idols in the sense that they are stone or wood or metal figurines of gods. Idolatry is anything that has a higher priority than God in our lives. God warned the Jews to repent and remove idolatry from their lifestyle. They would temporarily repent then they would revert to their old ways.

This on-again-off-again relationship continued throughout the entire Jewish history and saturated all of Israel. It was a part of their culture. Finally God allowed the King of Babylon to invade and take Israel captive. The Jews became slaves. Jerusalem, their capital city, had been protected by walls and gates.

The walls were beaten and damaged in the attack and the gates were burned. It was a city completely defeated and anyone who looked at it could see its disgrace. God eventually allowed a prophet by the name of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and to restore its gates. He also rebuilt the Temple. Israel never returned to their relationship with idolatry after that.

The United States is a nation favored by God. It is a nation that was created for the express purpose of worshipping God freely. The freedom we enjoy in our country is unparalleled. Yet we have a fascination with idolatry. We live in a society that encourages us to put everything above God. "Serve yourself!" is the cry we hear constantly.

God won't tolerate idolatry in our lives. Whenever something becomes more important in our lives than he is, he will allow us to go through times of captivity to bring us to our senses. This is the love of God at work in our lives. It is best for us to periodically examine our lives and see where the walls of our worship have crumbled and where our gates have been broken down. By working on the problem we will find harmony with God and be restored to intimate fellowship with him.

God waited 70 years before he offered someone the privilege of rebuilding Jerusalem. But he has given us direct access to his throne. It is time to rebuild our relationship with God and exit the disgrace that displays the ruin in our life.

(Nehemiah 2:17 KJV) Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.

Tim Russ is the Publisher & Editor of Believers Bay Magazine. Believers Bay is published monthly but has an active forum which creates a close community of believers from around the world.
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To read more quality articles of this type visit us. http://www.believersbay.com

Straight From The Heart

By Nellie Gadson


As I waiver here and there wondering when the Lord will liberate my mind and my tongue, or if He ever will, so that I can pray what he wants me to pray and say what He wants me to say, I still usually end up saying the things that I want to say. Stumbling over my words and not really knowing if what I am saying is getting though or not, a man simply not knowing the Bible and what pleases God brings me to tears with a simple prayer that he always prays. Why can't I think like that? Even the least of these who don't really know the Bible can teach us "so called" hard nosed, Bible thumping, Christianese a lesson. God uses whatever and whomever he chooses to do His Will. I wanted to just fall on my knees and pray the same prayer. I didn't exactly ask this man to pray for me, but to pray in agreement with me and I wanted him to start. That is when he told me what he says to the Lord each night. I actually thought that I would be the one to bring him to tears, but listen folks, we don't serve a God of emotions. I can't even tell you what was I thinking at that moment. I had a minute of stupidity. That is not the reason I pray! I pray wanting God to hear my prayers and bring healing to the nations, bring healing to my family, bring forth change and I know that He does, but I wasn't seeing any change in my finances, my marriage, my life, period. That is the reason we should pray.

What was I doing wrong? This man is a long distant truck driver and travels all over the world. He sees a lot of things and sits back and takes all of it in. He sees on cold, snowy nights, a man outside of the bus station with no coat just a plastic trash bag that he has punched out holes to stick his arms through. He says in his heart, "He just needs a break, He just needs someone to help him out a bit. If I had riches, I would buy him a coat". He sees a mother walking down the street with a little child and a little further down the road, he sees her car with the hood up and smoke billowing out. He says in his heart, "She just needs a break. If I was driving a car and I had riches, I would pick her up, take her where she needs to go and have her car fixed". He sees at the truck stop, a man and his wife who are poorly dressed and a little dirty who are begging for a few dollars for something to eat. He sits in his truck and watches who stops and who doesn't so he intentionally gets out and walks in their direction readying two or three dollars or whatever he has in his pocket, to give them. He says in his heart, "Lord, they just needed a break, Thank you for giving me this two or three dollars just to be able to give to these people. If I had riches, I would take them to a hotel and pay their bill". Remember, folks, this man is not terribly religious or spiritual.

One day I was off work, I was a little worried concerning my bills; rent, car insurance, telephone bill and so on. I remembered the Bible said, "If any two of you shall agree, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be given to them by My Father which is in heaven." So I asked him to pray with me. That is when he got stuck because, I guess, he never thought in a million years that anyone would ever ask him to pray out loud for them. So I tried to make it as practical as possible. This is when he said to me the phrase that brought me to tears. He proceeded to say "Well, what I say each night is, "Lord help the homeless people and Lord help them find a better way. then I say the names of my family and ask the Lord to protect them, keep them safe and last of all I ask the Lord to protect me out here on these dangerous highways and byways." Well the first thing that touched me was that He was praying for the homeless when he knew he had a nice warm bed and apartment to come home to. The second thing that touched me was that He wanted to pray for everyone else first before praying for himself. After telling me about the things that he sees and what his heart spoke to him, the phrase that resonnated in my spirit was that his heart would always cry out "Lord, If he had riches...".

My words to him today would be "Fella, you don't know it yet, but you have all the riches in the world because you have a heart for all those who are hurting in the world." "You are doing the Will of God for your life because when you gave that two or three dollars to those people who needed to eat, The Bible says: "When you have done this to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me!" Sir, I take my hat off to you and I say in big words, "THANKS FOR TEACHING ME HOW TO PRAY!".

"Nellie Gadson is an Administrative Secretary to a First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, NC. She attended The Washington School for Secretaries in Washington, DC and has a passion for helping people find their calling reach their full potential."