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Archive for the ‘Editing’ Category

~ Written by Samantha Freds

For the past few years I have asked God to give me a word for the year. One word to study and to grow in throughout the year. There’s nothing distinctly biblical about the practice but I’ve found it to be very formative. Whenever I hear my word I am reminded that God is interested in transforming me.

The first time I tried this I started praying in September for what word God would have me focus on in the next year. I was tempted to choose something like “intentional” so that I would be reminded to try harder and be more disciplined in my spiritual journey. I had big plans for the year! My Heavenly Father knew me better than that.

The word He kept putting in front of me was “dependent.” So, I spent a year being reminded to stay connected to the Vine – to depend on Him for everything. It was a year of uncertainty. I quit my job, moved to a new town and went back to school to start on a completely different vocational path. My life felt out of my control and I had to learn to depend on Jesus (something I will always be learning).

This year my word is “present.” I don’t know exactly what’s in store, but I chose the word because I’ve sensed for awhile that I need to be more present. More aware of the hurting, needy people God places in my path. Willing to allow interruptions to distract from my to-do list. Perceptive of the fact that God is always present in my life. Content with the current. For the next 52 weeks I am committed to learning how to be present.

Will you join me in that endeavor? Has God placed a different word and direction on your life?

May you be blessed in the coming year by the presence of the Most High God.

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~Written by Cassie Rayl

Christianity is uncomfortable. If there’s anything I’ve learned this past year with a vengeance it would be just that. I haven’t stuck around Jesus and his standards to be comfortable. If ease was truly what I sought in 2019, I’ve followed the wrong God.

I used to share such thoughts with confidence and be surrounded by knowledgeable nods and knowing smiles. This past year, more than ever before, I found myself around people who acted disgusted that I had stayed with Christ. After all, in their minds, I could blame this Jesus for everything our family had been through, so why stay?

During one conversation where a friend asked me why I still believed following Christ was a good idea, all I could say through the tears was, “Because He’s everything, and I trust Him.”

Our culture is slowly becoming less and less “Jesus friendly.” If we as the Body of Christ can’t cement in our hearts why we trust Him, and if we can’t purpose in our minds just how much we are willing to give Christ no matter our circumstances, standing strong will only become harder.

In 2020, let’s strive to stand with purpose in allegiance to the only One Who is always enough. The world needs the light of Christ more than ever.

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~ Written by Viki Rife

Don’t use a GPS to get to my house. You won’t make it there. Despite their amazing ability to track where you are, Global Positioning Systems will claim that you have arrived about a half mile before you actually reach our place.

Believe me, I’m not criticizing. I remember all too well the days of navigating LA freeways with a map in hand. I’d take my eyes off the road, finally find my place on the map, look up to check the road and lose my place on the map. It was just as dangerous as texting while driving.

So my recent trip to California felt like a breeze. My favorite feature of my GPS is the fact that it tells you ahead of time which lane to get into so you’re ready for the next exit. And I absolutely love its ability to redirect after I’ve taken a wrong turn.

It got me started thinking about how much I appreciate our spiritual GPS: God’s Purpose Secured. God has a purpose for me, and all I need to do is pay attention and follow directions. 

Even when He tells me to get into a lane I don’t want to be in, He is positioning me for whatever exits He wants me to take that will lead to arriving at His purpose for me. And He never gives up on me when I take a wrong turn. Praise God, He will fulfill His purposes for me. And He won’t stop until He brings me safely to my destination.

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

I shrieked when I saw it. The temperature was bearable! For the last week, Indiana had been seeing temperatures which would make even Alaskans cringe. I was getting tired of feeling as if I was having an asthma attack just because I stepped outside to get to my car. But finally. My phone boasted the truth:

It was warm enough to snow.

When I stepped out my front door, I was met with a wintery wind. Still, I celebrated the relative warmth. I then promptly turned around to get my hat and gloves. Sure, it was warm. It wasn’t that warm.

I can sometimes treat my spiritual growth the same way I treat the weather. I see some type of breakthrough in a sin cycle and I want to act as if that simple crack in the rock means the mountain of sin is no longer there. I celebrate the shift in action for a day, maybe a week, before I’m met with sin’s blustery reality.

Yes, because of Christ, I saw victory in my ungodly habits, but I’m still a sinner.

I have a choice. I can either stand in the “wintery winds” of my sinfulness and eventually die of hopelessness. Or, I can turn around and look at my Savior and allow Him to give me what I need to be prepared for what lies before me spiritually.

Just like the weather warming up, our sanctification is a process. Allow God to be a part of that process. He is not shocked when the winds of life take our breath away.

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~Written by Viki Rife

It happened again today. I was reading an article in a respected Christian magazine. As it described a young pastor’s battle with cancer, it referred to it as a tragedy. And I couldn’t help wonder: is it right for God’s people to describe a death, ordained by God, as a tragedy? Why are we buying into the world’s definition?

The word “tragedy” and its companions (disaster, horrendous, etc.) are descriptions of how the world sees such situations. But what are we communicating when we use those terms? That God is not in control? That He isn’t good? There is something about these descriptions that draws our attention away from trust and replaces it with helplessness and hopelessness. Of course these situations are hard and painful for those of us who remain, but it just seems to me that someone’s graduation to glory should never be couched in those terms.

As long as we use the world’s terminology to describe our circumstances, we will be just as fearful as they are. Let’s pray that God will give us eyes to see beyond to the victory He is accomplishing.

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~ Written by Viki Rife

It happened, of all places, in a doctor’s office. For years I have struggled to grasp the elusive meaning of the invitation to abide in Christ given to us in John 15. What does that look like? How can I know I’m doing it?

That particular day I had taken my parents to a doctor’s appointment and we had already been there almost three hours. We were all weary, hungry and frustrated. I had too many deadlines hanging over me to be sitting there wasting time. I found myself mentally transferring items from the day’s to-do list to the next day’s list.

Suddenly, it hit me. Nothing—not one single thing on my list of complaints—mattered at that moment. All that mattered was that I live this very moment with an attitude that brings glory to God. He had already given permission for the delays to happen to us. My time belongs to Him, and if He decides to use it this way, that is His right. This moment sitting with my parents is as sacred to His glory as the ones I spend reading my Bible and praying.

It’s my response to the situation that makes the difference. That is what it means to abide in Christ—to live every moment as if it is ordained by Him. Because, after all, it is!

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

Adoption is a beautiful thing. I just found out that friends of mine finally brought their little girl home… after over two years worth of praying, loving and pursuing. Two years. She’s home. She’s actually home

I have other friends who are still in the midst of the battle. They’ve agonized over the paperwork between governments, the fundraisers, the frustrated prayers and longing for their son. It never seems to end.  

As the joyous tears fell freely this morning in joint celebration that my friends had been given their daughter, I became just as quickly frustrated that my other friends were being kept from their son. I was happy for one and heartbroken for the other. I wanted to fly to Texas and kiss the little girl’s cheek and I want to fly to Africa and give the government a piece of my mind and single-handedly take my friends’ son back to America with me. 

As I wrestled over the friction in my heart this week, I was struck with the beauty of it. In a very small nutshell, I was being shown the heart of my Father God. He is overjoyed to have His children within His family present, but His heart breaks over the ones He doesn’t share that identity with just yet. 

Just like my friends pursuing their son in Africa, I was reminded of one simple Truth: My God doesn’t give up easily. No matter the cost, no matter the distance, our God will pursue each child with utter abandon until His Family is complete. 

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~ Written by Cassie Harris 

“For every day of the year he learned a new Bible verse.” Everyone smiled as friends reminisced about Roy Snyder’s legacy in his heart for missions and his even bigger heart for Africa. At 93, it was obvious at his celebration of life that he had learned the true definition of missions — in order to receive, you must give. Roy understood that.

As one of the youngest people at the celebration, I was humbled to see Roy’s example of doing everything he could to represent Christ well. Up until his last week on this side of Glory, he had a verse, hymn, or missions prayer request to share with anyone who cared to listen. He didn’t exactly care about America’s expectations of the older generation. He had a message to share; Christ was all he lived for. He didn’t know what retirement meant.

It is becoming more and more popular to believe that the end goal is retirement when we get older. Though I must admit retirement sounds nice, what would our world look like if we served till our last breath with our one goal to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

What if we were like Roy and so many others like him and we loved Jesus deeply and were never heard saying the phrase, “I’ve done my time”?

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~ Written by Gladys Deloe 

Bite your tongue! Are you serious? Shouldn’t the question be, “Is life without God worth the risk? That premise is almost as incredulous as a screen-saver I saw which said, “Without risk it is impossible to please God.” Really?  

“Risk” is defined as taking a gamble! It’s investing in an unknown; it’s a danger, hazard, peril or threat. The world says the antonym for risk is security, immunity; a guarantee or insurance. Right! I’ll have one guarantee for $500, please!  

Would a better question be “What’s the risk?” I urge you to search the Scriptures for evidence of the premise that a life of faith can co-exist with a life of risk. No…don’t do that! Instead, look up verses that promise you a risk-free faith! Do you really think that the Creator of the universe can’t take care of you at any time, in any place, and under any circumstance?  

In Deuteronomy 3:16 the Lord said, “Don’t be afraid of the nations on the other side of Jordan. The LORD your God will always be at your side and He will never abandon you.” 

And the risk is: __________________________ (You tell me.)

OK…that’s for a nation. Want some personal ones?  

How about Isaiah 8:11-19, “Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty; He alone is the Holy One. If you fear Him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe. …I will wait for the Lord to help me. …My only hope is in Him.” Don’t you love it? 

Or I Peter 3:12-14, “Who will harm you for doing good, but if you do, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry.” 

It’s the unbeliever who’s at risk. Trust me… No, trust Him! So, Girlfriend, start marking those “risk-free faith” verses!  

 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

When I buy a new phone, the first thing I do is download a tornado app. It tells me when a tornado might be coming, and also gives me detailed instructions for what to do before, during, and after the storm hits.

What kind of app do we have to help us weather persecution? Too bad it isn’t that easy. But there are some things we can do so we’re ready for whatever comes our way. Daniel 11:32 tell us: …the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. Key components for taking action include:

1. Scripture study and memorization: persecuted believers throughout the world bear witness that knowing God’s Word has had an impact in helping them to stand firm in hard times.

2. Prayer: we have been promised wisdom, we need only to ask for it. Remember that this assurance in James 1:5 comes in the context of Christians who are suffering persecution for Christ.

3. Live now as a citizen of heaven: surrender your rights to Christ, bless your enemies and pray for them, seek the good of others.

4. Anticipate the glory, as glimpsed in Revelation, that awaits those who stand firm. Keep your eyes above the waves of today and focus on the joy of hearing Jesus say, “Well done!”

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