Audacity of Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-7,13
New Living Translation

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

What is love? Love is sacrifice, compromise, compassion. Love does conquer all. Jesus' love for us conquered hell and death. Dr. King's message of love and nonviolence overcame segregation. Love rejoices with you in good times and is there to hold your hand in bad times. Love accepts you the way you are. Love doesn't give up on you. Love has the audacity to hope, has the audacity to have faith even when circumstances at the time don't reflect the outcome. Love is not afraid of anything. Love is forgiveness.

The audacity of love. Jesus had the audacity to give His life for you. That's love. Dr. King had the audacity to follow the teaching of Jesus and tell people to love people that spat on them, turned hoses and dogs on them, lynched them. When you look back over your life, there has been someone who had the audacity to love you when you were unlovable.

Simply put, God is love.

1 John 4:18 (New American Standard Bible)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Audacity of Faith

-belief and trust in and loyalty to God
-belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
-firm belief in something for which there is no proof
-complete trust
-something that is believed especially with strong conviction

Hebrews 11:1
Contemporary English Version)

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.

There have been recorded in history people who had the audacity of faith. Abraham is the father of faith. God blessed him for his faith (Gen.12). The bible is full of examples of people who exercised great faith. The three Hebrew boys, Daniel, Job, the list goes on. The Bible teaches us that if we have faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. I remember instances in my own life when my faith caused mountains to move. My mother was challenged in her body in 2007. She was taking at least 10 different medications a day. But, our faith said that she would be healed. She has been. She is not 100% yet, but she's getting better. She only takes 2 medications a day. I believe that God will bring it down to zero.

2008 has been a financially challenging year to say the least. There were times when I had to trust God enough to tithe when I didn't know who God was going to provide, but He did. 2008 has been a year that my faith was developed greatly. There were many times when I had no other choice but to trust God. God promised me something 5 years ago. I still have faith that it will manifest. As a matter of fact, have the audacity to believe that it will come to pass in 2009. I have the audacity to believe that God will do miraculous things in 2009. I believe that businesses will thrive, marriages will be put back together, people will be healed,there will be an end to lack, captives(naturally & spiritually) will be set free, deliverance will come.

What do you have the audacity to believe God for? Do this: Dare to believe even when it doesn't look like it is going to happen.

Audacity of Hope

Job 6:10-11 (Amplified Bible)
10 Then would I still have consolation--yes, I would leap [for joy] amid unsparing pain [though I shrink from it]--that I have not concealed or denied the words of the Holy One!
11 What strength have I left, that I should wait and hope? And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient?

-boldness or daring, esp. with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
-effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness

–the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.
-to believe, desire, or trust
–to feel that something desired may happen

President-Elect Barack Obama wrote a book, The Audacity of Hope. He certainly embodies the audacity of hope. Do you? When you are being tested, do you have the audacity to hope against hope. Do you still believe God, do you trust Him? Are you shamelessly bold when standing on the promises of God. Are you confident that what God said, He will do?

When you are not sure about what to do, do this: Hope against hope, to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it. God has it under control.

A Christmas Story

Herman and I locked our general store and dragged ourselves home. It was 11:00 p.m., Christmas Eve of 1949. We were dog tired. We had sold almost all of our toys; and all of the layaways, except one package, had been picked up. Usually we kept the store open until everything had been claimed. We wouldn't have been happy on Christmas knowing that some child's gift was still on the layaway shelf. But the person who had put a dollar down on the package never returned.

Early Christmas morning we and our twelve-year-old son, Tom, opened gifts. But I'll tell you, there was something humdrum about this Christmas. Tom was growing up; I missed his childish exuberance of past years. As soon as breakfast was over Tom left to visit his friend next door. Herman mumbled, "I'm going back to sleep. There's nothing left to stay up for." So there I was alone, feeling let down.

And then it began. A strange, persistent urge. It seemed to be telling me to go to the store. I looked at the sleet and icy sidewalk outside. That's crazy, I said to myself. I tried dismissing the urge, but it wouldn't leave me alone. In fact, it was getting stronger. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, and I got dressed. Outside, the wind cut right through me and the sleet stung my cheeks. I groped my way to the store, slipping and sliding.

In front stood two boys, one about nine, and the other six. What in the world? "See, I told you she would come!" the older boy said jubilantly. The younger one's face was wet with tears, but when he saw me, his sobbing stopped. "What are you two doing out here?" I scolded, hurrying them into the store. "You should be at home on a day like this!" They were poorly dressed. They had no hats or gloves, and their shoes barely held together. I rubbed their icy hands, and got them up close to the heater.

"We've been waiting for you," replied the older boy. "My little brother Jimmy didn't get any Christmas." He touched Jimmy's shoulder. "We want to buy some skates. That's what he wants. We have these three dollars," he said, pulling the bills from his pocket. I looked at the money. I looked at their expectant faces. And then I looked around the store. "I'm sorry," I said, "but we have no --" Then my eye caught sight of the lay-away shelf with its lone package. "Wait a minute," I told the boys. I walked over, picked up the package, unwrapped it and, miracle of miracles, there was a pair of skates! Jimmy reached for them. Lord, let them be his size. And miracle added upon miracle, they were his size.

The older boy presented the dollars to me. "No," I told him, "I want you to have these skates, and I want you to use your money to get some gloves." The boys just blinked at first. Then their eyes became like saucers, and their grins stretched wide when they understood I was giving them the skates. What I saw in Jimmy's eyes was a blessing. It was pure joy, and it was beautiful. My spirits rose.

We walked out together, and as I locked the door, I turned to the older brother and said, "How did you know I would come?" I wasn't prepared for his reply. His gaze was steady, and he answered me softly. "I asked Jesus to send you."

The tingles in my spine weren't from the cold. God had planned this. As we waved good-bye, I turned home for a brighter Christmas.

Author unknown

God’s Promises are Trustworthy

There are literally hundreds of promises in the Word of God, and each one of them is worthy of implicit trust. What does this mean? If we are to trust the promises of God implicitly, what does that trust entail?

Trust, as it is defined by Webster, is “...assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” To trust God’s promises, therefore, means that we rely with assurance on God’s character, ability, strength, and truth as it is revealed to us in His Word.

The first condition we must meet in order to trust the promises of God is to trust Christ for salvation. When this happens, we know it, because God’s Word clearly states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the son of God” (1 John 5:13).

The promises of God open the doors to salvation for us. Many of us were saved in response to the faith that rose in our hearts when we heard God’s promises being declared. Some of the promises related to salvation are:

But as many as receive him, to them

gave he power to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe on his name.

(John 1:12)

For God so loved the world, that he

gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish, but have

everlasting life. (John 3:16)

For by grace are ye saved through

faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the

gift of God: Not of works, lest any man

should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)

Each of the above Scriptures are salvation promises. When they are proclaimed to the heart of an unbeliever, faith is imparted that enables the unsaved to belive and receive God’s blessed promise of salvation. When this happens, a marvelous miracle of personal transformation takes place.

The same process occurs when we listen carefully to any promise of God. His promises are worthy of trust because He is our faithful Father. When we know God’s Word, we leaarn His promises, and faith to appropriate His promises is imparted to us in the manner Paul outlines: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17)

This phenomenon goes into operation whenever we hear any promise of God. The promise is proclaimed, and faith comes to back it up. Then we choose to believe and receive it. We claim the promise through prayer. Praying God’s promises, therefore, is claiming God’s promises. Believing God’s promises is receiving God’s promises.

The Word of God promises so many things to us. Some of those blessings/promises are as follows: abundance, victory, hope, faith, peace, joy, growth, righteousness, wisdom, power, protection, eternal life, revival, rest, faith, trust, stability, stregth, love, the Holy Spirit, patience, kindness, goodness, prosperity, health, peace, security, deliverance, dominion, authority, truth, forgiveness, and countless other gifts from the hands of God.


How well do you know the Christmas Story? Take the test. See how well you do. The answers are at the end. Then you can test your friends at work or church.

1. Joseph was originally from... (Luke 2:3)
A. Bethlehem
B. Nazareth
C. Hebron
D. Jerusalem
E. None of the above

2. What does the Bible say that the Innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
A. "There is no room in the inn."
B. "I have a stable you can use."
C. "Come back later and I should have some vacancies."
D. Both A and B
E. None of the above

3. A manger is a...
A. Stable for domestic animals
B. Wooden hay storage bin
C. Feeding trough
D. Barn

4. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus' birth?
A. Cows, sheep, goats
B. Cows, Donkeys, goats
C. Sheep and goats only
D. Miscellaneous barnyard animals
E. None of the above

5. Who saw the star in the east?
A. Shepherds
B. Mary and Joseph
C. Three Kings
D. Both A and C
E. None of the above

6. According to the Bible, how did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem?
A. Camel
B. Donkey
C. Walked
D. Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey
E. Horse-drawn chariot
F. Who knows?

7. How many angels spoke to the shepherds? (Luke 2:10)
A. One
B. Three
C. Multitude
D. None of the above

8. What did the angels say/sing? (Luke 2:14)
A. "Glory to God in the highest, etc."
B. "Alleluia"
C. "Unto us a child is born, Unto us a son is given"
D. "Joy the world, the Lord is come"
E. "Glory to the newborn King"

9. What is a heavenly host?
A. The angel at the gate of heaven
B. The angel who serves refreshments in heaven
C. An angel choir
D. An angel army
E. None of the above

10. There was snow that first Christmas...
A. Only in Bethlehem
B. All over Israel
C. Nowhere in Israel
D. Somewhere in Israel

11. What is Frankincense?
A. A precious metal
B. A precious fabric
C. A precious perfume
D. None of the above

12. In Matthew, what does "wise men" or "Magi" refer to?
A. Men of the educated class
B. Eastern Kings
C. Astronomers
D. Sages

13. What is Myrrh?
A. Middle Eastern Money
B. A drink
C. An easily shaped metal
D. A spice used for burying people
E. None of the above

14. How many wise men came to see Jesus? _____

15. Where did the wise men find Jesus? (Matthew 2:11)
A. In a manger
B. In a stable
C. In Nazareth
D. In Saudi Arabia
E. In a house
F. None of the above

16. When the wise men found Jesus he was... (Matthew 2:11)
A. A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
B. A young child
C. A boy in the temple
D. A grown man

17. The "star in the east" that the wise men followed... (Matthew 2:9)
A. Stayed in the same place their entire journey
B. Disappeared and reappeared
C. Moved ahead of them and stopped over the place where Jesus was
D. Was just a mirage
E. None of the above

18. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem... (Matthew 2:2)
A. To inform Herod about Jesus
B. To find out where Jesus was
C. To ask about the star
D. To buy presents
E. None of the above

19. Where do we find the Christmas story?
A. Matthew
B. Mark
C. Luke
D. John
E. All of the above
F. Only A and B
G. Only A and C
H. Only A, B, and C

20. When Joseph found Mary was pregnant, what happened?
A. They got married
B. Joseph wanted to break the engagement
C. Mary left town for three months
D. A and B
E. B and C

21. Who told (made) Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem? (Luke 2:1-5)
A. The angel chorus
B. Mary's mother
C. Herod
D. The shepherds
E. Caesar Augustus


THE ANSWERS: (read the scriptures beside the questions)

1. A. He worked and lived in Nazareth, but he was returning to Bethlehem - "his own city" (See Luke 2:3).

2. E. The innkeeper didn't "say" anything (See Luke 2:7)

3. C. Feeding trough - Interestingly enough, most mangers in New Testament times were made of stone. If you visit Israel today, you can see stone mangers used by Solomon to feed his horses at Megiddo.

4. E. The Bible doesn't say, we just "assume" that since Jesus was born in a stable that there were various barnyard animals present.

5. E. This is a "trick" question. The "magi" saw the star. However, the Bible doesn't say how many there were and they were not kings, but astronomers (see answer 15).

6. F. Although the modern "pictures" in my Children's Bible show Mary on a donkey with Joseph beside her, the Bible doesn't say!

7. A. Luke 2:10

8. A. Luke 2:14

9. D. The word means "army" - literally thousands. Now, since there was a "multitude" of the heavenly army" (hosts), there could easily have been from 10,000 - 100,000 angels there that night! No wonder the shepherds were "sore afraid"!

10. D. Another trick question. There is always snow on Mt. Hermon

11. C.

12. C. The word "Magi" literally means "star-gazers". Although there is no Biblical record of exactly who they were or their point of origin, I personally believe that they were descendants of the "wise men" of Babylon. I believe that God, in His great providence, used Daniel (while he was in captivity in Babylon), to teach these men about future events - including the birth of the Savior of the world. Read Daniel 5:11 - Daniel was put in charge of these men!

13. D. Herod was buried with over 150 lbs. of Myrrh wrapped in his burial clothes.

14. They were magi, not wise men - but the Bible doesn't give the number. Many people assume that there were three because of the three gifts. However, in ancient times these men usually traveled in caravans of ten to twelve, along with a full entourage for protection.

15. E. Read Matthew 2:11 (see next answer)

16. B. Read Matthew 2:11 When the Shepherds found Jesus (Luke 2), he was a "babe" in a manger. The Greek word used in Luke 2 is for a "newborn baby". However, by the time the Magi appeared, Jesus had been moved from the manger to a house (verse 11) and the Greek word used in Matthew is for "toddler or young child". He was probably somewhere between 12-24 months old.

17. C. Read Matthew 2:9 Most people miss this question. The star did not stay stationary over the manger or the house. This verse makes it clear that the star moved "in front" of the magi and guided them till it "stood over where the young child was".

18. B. Read Matthew 2:2

19. G. Isn't it amazing how God divinely inspired these two gospel writers to write His exact words, but, yet, He used their interests and professions to recall different aspects of Jesus' birth. Matthew, a tax collector, records the genealogy of Jesus (used for taxation) and the "magi" - men of means from a foreign country. Luke, a physician, records the pregnancy and birth.

20. E. Joseph wants to "put her away" secretly and Mary left town to see her sister Elizabeth. Matthew 1:19 and Luke 1:39, 56

21. E. "There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus... everyone into his own city... " (Luke 2:1-5)

Who Are You?

Malachi 3:2-4 (The Message)

But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?

He'll be like white-hot fire from the smelter's furnace. He'll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He'll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He'll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they're fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.

Ever wonder who you are, really? Are you the same person at church as you are when someone cuts you off in traffic? When you are going through a rough time, do you get closer to God or pull away? The true character of a person comes out when they are going through. Trials and tribulation are for our growth and benefit. God uses them to clean us up. Anything in our character that God can't use comes out when He turns up the heat on us. The wonderful thing about God is that He knows how much heat we can stand. You can control the heat of the fire. If you learn quickly that God is trying to do something in you, you time of refinement will be shorter. If you are slow to get what God is teaching you, your time will be extended.

I have heard many people refer to 2008 as a tumultuous year. Some have even described it as the worst year of their lives. I believe it was a year of refinement. As I grow spiritually, I look back on trials as just that refinement. This ministry was birth through a series of trials. It took me about 6 months to realize that it wasn't the devil but a loving God removing things in my character that needed to go. I have seen people I love go through a rough time this year. One has moved closer to God,praying more, praising more, worshipping more, going to church whenever the door is open. The other has been up and down, going back to old destructive patterns. How has 2008 been for you? Did you move closer to God or pull away? However you reacted is indicative of your character. For some, the season of trial is coming to an end. For others, you have to stay in the fire until what is holding you back is destroyed.

God Bless

Is Anyone Missing Baby Jesus?

About a week before Christmas, the family bought a new nativity set. When they unpacked it, they found two figures of the Baby Jesus.

"Someone must have packed this wrong," the mother said, counting out the figures. "We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two."

"You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes, saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats. It is freezing out there."

The manager of the store copied down mother's message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, "If you are missing Baby Jesus, call 7126." All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang, mother would say, "I'll bet that's about Jesus.", but it never was.

Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested to just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it.

"Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do!" said the children. "Surely someone will call," mother said. "We'll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls."

When no call had come by 5:00 PM on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father just run down to the store to see if there were any sets left. "You can see them right through the window, over on the counter," she said. "If they are all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight."

"Run down to the store?" father thundered. "It's 15 below zero out there!" "Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you," Tommy and Mary began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered.

Tommy and Mary ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. "They're all gone, Daddy," she shouted. "Every set must be sold."

"Hooray" Tommy said. "The mystery will now be solved tonight!"

Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When they got back into the house, they noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. "Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine," my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. "You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother's present."

Then the phone rang. Father yelled "answer the phone and tell 'em we found a home for Jesus." But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk..

"Now what has she gotten us into?" my father groaned as we bundled up again. "205 Chestnut. Why that's across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can't we all just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this!"

When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, "They're here, Oh thank God, you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies."

"Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?" my father asked. "We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way."

"Never mind all that now," my mother interrupted. "There is no heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn't know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don't you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy."

My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children's mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

"I been din washin' and ironin' for people and cleanin' the five and dime," she said. "I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going' through my mind... 7162... 7162."

"Said on the box that if a person was missin' Jesus, they should call you. That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willin' to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your missus. I'm not missin' Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin' heat. I have no money to fix that furnace."

"Okay, Okay" said father. "You've come to the right place. Now lets see. You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I'll look it over, see what it needs."

Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared with wide eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother sat before them.

Father finally got the oil burner working but said, "you need more oil." "I'll make a few calls tonight and get some oil."

"Yes sir, you came to the right place," said the woman...

On the way home, father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. "Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say, Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you've got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck?"

"You do?"

By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, Father let them ride along in the back of the truck.

No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn't a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that's what He does.

By Jean Gietzen from the book "If You're Missing Baby Jesus"

The Best Christmas

The Christmas party was over. Several of the men were sitting at a table reminiscing about the Christmas days of their childhood. The conversation turned to the best Christmas of their lives. As they went around the table, they noticed one man hadn't said anything. They asked, "Come on.. Frank, What was your best Christmas?"

Frank said, "The best Christmas I ever had was when I didn't even get a present." The others were surprised. They had to hear the story. Frank began to talk.. "I grew up in New York. It was the great depression and we were poor. My Mother had died when I was just eight years old. My Dad had a job but he only worked two or three days a week and that was considered good. We lived in a walk up and we just barely had enough food and clothes. I was a kid and didn't really notice."

"My Dad was a proud man. He had one suit. He would wear that suit to work. When he came home, he would take off the jacket and sit in his chair still wearing his shirt, tie and his vest. He had this big old pocket watch that had been given to him by my mother. He would sit in his chair, the chain from watch hanging out, connected to the fob in his vest buttonhole. That watch was his proudest possession. Sometimes, I would see him, just sitting there, looking at his precious watch. I bet he was thinking of my mother."

"One year, I was about twelve, chemistry sets were the big thing. They cost two dollars. That was big money but every kid wanted a chemistry set including me. I began to pester my Dad about it a month or so before Christmas. You know, I made all the same kid promises. I would be good. I would do my chores. I wouldn't ask for anything else again. My dad would just say, 'We'll see.."

"Three days before Christmas he took me to the carts. There was this area where all the small merchants keep their street carts. They would undersell the stores and you could get a good buy. He would take me to a cart and pick out some little toy. "Son, would like something like this?" I, of course, would tell him, 'No, I want a chemistry set.' We tramped to nearly every cart and him showing me some toy car or toy gun, and me refusing it. I never thought that he didn't have the money to buy a chemistry set. Finally, he said, we better go home and come back the next day."

"All the way home, I pouted and whined about the chemistry set. I repeated the promises. I said I didn't care if I never got another present. I had to have that chemistry set. I know now that my Dad felt guilty about being able to give me more. He probably thought he was a failure as a Father and I think he blamed himself for my mother's death. As we were walking up the stairs, he told me, that he would see what he could do about getting me the chemistry set. That night I couldn't even sleep. I could see myself inventing some new material. I could see the New York Times.. 'Boy wins Nobel Prize!"

"The next day after work, my Dad took me back to the carts. On the way, I remember, he bought a loaf of bread, he was carrying it under his arm. We came to first cart and he told me to pick out the set I wanted They were all alike, but went through them, like I was choosing a diamond. I found the right one and I almost yelled. 'This one.. Dad!'"

"I can still see him, reaching into his pant's pocket, to get the money. As he pulled the two dollars out, one fluttered to the ground, he bent over to pick it up and as he did, the chain fell out of his vest. The chain swung back and forth. 'No watch.' In a flash, I realized that my Dad had sold his watch. He sold his most precious possession to buy me a chemistry set. He sold his watch, the last thing my mother had given him, to buy me a chemistry set."

"I grabbed his arms and I yelled, 'No.' I had never grabbed my Dad before and I certainly had never yelled at him. I can see him, looking at me, a strange look on his face. 'No, Dad, you don't have to buy me anything.' The tears were burning in my eyes. 'Dad, I know you love me.' We walked away from the cart and I remember my Dad holding my hand all the way home."

Frank looked at the men. "You know, there isn't enough money in the world to buy that moment. You see, at that moment, I knew that my Dad loved me more than anything in the world."

That is the way that God loves us. He didn't just say it. He showed it. He gave the most precious thing anyone could give. He gave His Son. John 3:16, says, "For God so loved the world (you and me) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life." He gave His Son, Jesus, That you and I might have everlasting life. If you haven't accepted that great gift.. Accept it now.. Just ask him to forgive you and to come into your heart.. And be your Lord and Savior. It is that easy.

Author Unknown

My Vision is Chasing Me

Habakkuk 2:3 (King James Version)

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Awhile ago, God gave me a vision for a business. I ran with it at the time. It was going well at first, other people were excited and were helpful at first. Then they began to drop off. Others remained supportive and consistent. It became overwhelming. So I put the vision on the back burner. I realized that the vision was not necessarily for that time. I am beginning to see that the appointed time has come. My vision is chasing me. God is sending people to help with the vision without me asking.

What is the vision God gave you? His timing is not ours. He gives us visions to act on immediately and others are for an appointed time. Have you noticed that God is opening unexpected doors? Your vision could be chasing you!

For My Good

Romans 8:28 (Amplified Bible)

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Recently, I have been praying to God for clarity about a situation. To my amazement, He answered my request quickly. I was also surprised to find out that I didn't get the answer the way I wanted. On the surface, the answer wasn't the one I wanted. I thought that God's answer was no. Needless to say, I was hurt and confused. I was sure that it would be yes and that it was a promise from God. My heart was broken. I cried and prayed. It wasn't the no that brought me to tears. It was the feeling of disconnection between God and I. I thought I had not heard Him and that I was trying to impose my will on Him. He reassured me as only God can. I was able to see the heart of the matter and that what happened was supposed to happen and was for my good. God told me to hold on to my faith. It was just the enemy trying to get in the midst. He said that it was necessary and for my good. He reminded me that His promises are sure. Whatever is going on in your life right now is for your good.

God Bless

Nobody Remembered

Author Unknown

"There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man." Ecclesiastes 9:14-15

Disaster was averted and lives were spared.
..."But nobody remembered that poor man."

Wise words of counsel were given and heeded and lives were blessed innumerably.
..."But nobody remembered that poor man."

Could sadder words be spoken? I think not.
..."But nobody remembered that poor man."

This time of year, we naturally think of giving more so than we do in any other season. But the best thing you can give this season - or any season - isn't for sale. It comes freely, but it only comes deliberately - and because you can't touch it, it can never wear out. It's called "appreciation."

This season, as you give, give your heart. As you share presents of possessions, also share presents of your heart to encourage the spirit of others - tell them of your appreciation for them.

Remember that poor man - and all the people like him. All the people God has sent your way and steered you away from destruction, time and again, all your life. Bless them today by remembering them. Those you know well and those whose names you know not. Give those you know what they need - your appreciation. Give those who have blessed you and you never knew it, what they need - your kindness, and so, your appreciation.

Your appreciation of the lives of others may very well be the very best gift you can ever give. So give it often. For it costs you little and those who receive it will be wealthy indeed.

"How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" 1 Thes. 3:9

Manifested Promises

You have entered a season of manifested promises. You are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. God has been moving mightily on your behalf. You are entering a season of breakthrough. Look around, you are at another level without even realizing it. You have sowed in tithes, prayer, praise, and sometimes tears. God is pleased with your obedience and faith during your dry and barren season. God is about to blow your mind. There will be unexpected blessings within the blessing that you prayed for.

God Bless

Deuteronomy 28:11-13 (New American Standard Bible)

11"The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.

12"The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

13"The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,

One Praise Away!

You are just one praise away from your victory. Hold on, don't give up. You are on the verge of your miracle. You need to start praising God right now. Your praise calls God to action.

Bottom Line: satan wants you to quit! Don't Do It!

Fellow saint, do not leave the vineyard God has assigned to you (John 21:15-17). The very thing you are facing is preparing you for greater fruitfulness. Nothing of lasting value comes without a struggle. Tend the flock and concentrate on your noble calling. Fainting? Read Luke 18:1-8.

Do not remove your hands from that plow. Stop looking back. There is nothing back there but a slippery slope. You know that. Look up. People are depending on you. Weaker saints are looking to you. You are valuable to God. You are loved greatly (1 John 3:1).

Do not listen to your emotions. They are a fertile field for the enemy's attack. Your feelings will tell you to abandon the ship. Satan will tell you it isn't worth it any longer. He lies. He always lies. Resist him (James 4:7). Tell him to go to his future home (Revelation 20:10).

Do not listen to the negative talk from worldly, skeptical people (James 4:11-12) even if they are friends and family. Listen to your Father in Heaven. Some have never faced a battle like this. Perhaps you think at times that you are not going to make it. Some are not only fed up and ready to throw in the towel, but the whole kit and caboodle. Don't do it.

God is fashioning you for better things. Do not live by your carnal desires and human understanding. More important than avoiding the negativity of others is to stop being negative yourself! Bring those thoughts unto the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Remember, Jesus is your burden-bearer. This trial will end. God is a master artist. You are being made into something beautiful (1 John 3:2) because God is beautiful (Psalm 90:17). As for now, you only see a small part of the picture. Let His master strokes have their way and you get out of the way. Your untrained brush will simply ruin a masterpiece in the making.

The flood, the fire, the wind and the waves will not overtake you! "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2).

Even in your weakness, God "will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11).

Listen, you're going to make it. Yes, you've made mistakes, but He is protecting you and gently guiding your life into the place of victory. Some of you have been in the desert for years. Before he began his ministry, Paul served time in the desert (Galatians 1:17) and now you are about to come out of yours. Don't fear, you'll come through this and then you will start shouting like never before!

So get up, dust yourself off and take a stand! The devil is afraid, not you.

God Bless, the portion in italics was taken from Al Thomas on Elijah's List

Can You Hear Them Open?

Revelation 3:7-8 (The Message)

To Philadelphia
Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David's key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
"I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough.

We serve a God who can open doors that no one can close. You have been faithful during these times of difficulty and trouble. You did not understand why you had to go through what you went through but you still held on. You wanted to let go, give up, and turn back but you kept going. It was go dark at times you could not see the next step, but you held on to God's hand and continued to walk. God is pleased and you are going to enter a season of opportunities you never imagined. You are about to see the answer to prayers you prayed long ago as well as a quick answer to prayers you just prayed.

Can you hear the doors being opened in the spirit? They are opening so quickly. can you feel the breeze? God has been quiet, sometimes silent but now you will begin to see what you couldn't see. Praise Him!

God Bless

Thankful For The Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a "minor" automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.

Troubles had multiplied. Her husband's company "threatened" to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come on her long awaited holiday visit. What's worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

"Had she lost a child? She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. "Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered. "For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child's?"

"Good afternoon, can I help you?" Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk.

"I.... I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.

"For Thanksgiving?" Sandra nodded. Do you want the beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the 'Thanksgiving Special'? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong." Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer, "Hi, Barbara... let me get your order." She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.

"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk.

Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed. "Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again." She said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, "That lady just left with, uh.... she left with no flowers!"

"That's right, said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."

"Oh, come on! You can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!" exclaimed Sandra.

"Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do, today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery."

"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk. "For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel."

"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.

"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I NEVER questioned Him why those GOOD things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, "WHY? WHY Me?!" It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about the thought that her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is, I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."

Just then someone else walked in the shop. "Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man. "My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement... twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?"

"No... I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem. The Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us." As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too... fresh."

"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.

"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."

It read:

My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."

Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns.

Author Unknown

Praise Him in Advance

Thank Him

Dear GOD:

I want to thank You for what you have already done.

I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards, I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better, I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me, I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears , I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed.

I am thanking you right now.

I am thanking you because I am alive.

I am thanking you because I made it through the day's difficulties.

I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles.

I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.

I'm thanking you because FATHER, YOU haven't given up on me.

God is just so good, and He's good all the time. THANK HIM.

Thankful for the Journey

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Amplified Bible

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

This morning I was reflecting on this holiday season. In about 5 weeks or so, we will enter into 2009. This is Thanksgiving week, so I asked myself what am I thankful for. Of course, I thank God for my daughter, parents, family, friends, and all my needs being met. I also thank Him for my refinement. My expectation of 2008 was different from what the reality was. My new beginning was in the form of a lot of doors closing. God must close some doors for others to open. For a long time, I fought to open the doors He closed. I kept pulling on them but He closes doors that no one can open...not even me. That was a lesson. I pride myself on being a strong person but my strength does not compare to His. I am most thankful to God for the journey. This year I had to lean on God like never before. In the past, I could lean on my parents. I still can (God blessed me with wonderful parents) but they have their own issues to deal with.Even though my circumstances are not what I would like them to be, I am giving Him thanks in the midst. I believe 2009 will be a year of deliverance and manifestation.

I found out that refinement is an ongoing process. There is always something in us all that God loving removes. He knows how hot to allow the fire to get to expose and remove impurities. I thank God for all of you.

"Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks]"

God Bless

I Long for Him

Job 23:8-9 (New International Version)

8 "But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.

9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.

Have you ever been in a dry place where you long to hear from God? I'm sure you have. I know I have. Job understood this feeling too. At times on our Christian journey we experience times when God seems distant. Isn't it funny how those times seem to be when you are in crisis and need Him most? The enemy loves to try to get in and magnify the situation. He loves to say where is your God now? The funny thing about God is, when He seems distant is when He is closest. That is not an easy thing to understand. In our worst times, we fast,pray, and cry out to the Lord. We worship like never before, we praise like we are losing our mind, and nothing! Or so it seems. He don't have the ability to track or track God. But now this, when He doesn't seem to be speaking...He is working things out.

Let me encourage you while I encourage me. God is working out that situation right now. When the enemy brings doubt, hold on and know that He is God. A change is coming soon. It is only a test. In verse 10 of Job 23, it says after the test, you will come forth as pure gold.

God Bless

The Parable of the Fern and the Bamboo

One day, I decided to quit. I wanted to quit my job, to quit my relationships, to quit my spirituality; I even wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. "God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"

His answer surprised me. "Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"

"Yes", I replied.

"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo."

"In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo."

"In the third year there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit."

"In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit."

"Then. in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge they could not handle." He said to me.

"Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you! Don't compare yourself to others. The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come," God said to me. "You will rise high".

"How high should I rise?" I asked.

"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.

"As high as it can?" I questioned.

"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can. And remember.. I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I will never give up on you. I will never, ever quit on you."

Author Unknown

The Quilt of Holes

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles. An angel sat before each of us, sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life

As my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult - the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.

I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally, the time came when each life was to be displayed - held up to the light and the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.

My angel looked at me and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter, but there had also been trials of illness and wealth and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it.

I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

Now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image - the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

Author Unknown


There is so much going on in our world. The economy is bad. People are losing their homes, cars, jobs. Violence has increased. People are murdering innocent people, men are beating women, parents are beating children. Marriages are falling apart, families are in crisis. God, Your word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet. I don't know about you but lately, I have wondered how to keep going when I have just enough light to see where I am. God began to reassure me that my walk with Him is a faith walk. I can't see down the road and want to stop going. At times, my heart fills with fear. I have to fight off doubt. But,He reminded me that His word is a lamp unto my feet. So how do I keep walking when I can't see my way out of being overwhelmed with bills, being lied on, my health being challenged? Go to His word. God's word is full of promises. I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging bread. I am the head and not the tail. I am a lender and not a borrower. God has spoken somethings to you in your spirit. Stand on His word.

Psalm 119:105
New International Version
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Handling Difficult Circumstances

Read Philippians 1:12-20

Paul's letter to the church at Philippi was written during his Roman imprisonment. Chained continuously to a guard while awaiting trial, he wrote encouraging the Philippians not to worry over him, because he was learning some valuable lessons.

"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am," he told them. (Philippians 4:11)

Notice the verse does not say that he was always happy; happiness depends upon circumstances. Contentment, on the other hand, indicates we are so anchored in God that we can thank Him in the midst of pain. Paul's surroundings were among the worst in the world, but he scarcely mentioned his situation. Instead, his focus never wavered from God. (Philippians 1:20; 3:10)

Paul did not see himself as a victim. He believed that he was under the sovereign hand of the living Lord - in God's place at God's time for God's purpose. All around him, Paul saw the good result of his time in prison. The entire Praetorian Guard, the elite soldiers who guarded Caesar, had heard about Jesus, thanks to the apostle's consistent witnessing. His imprisonment was also having the opposite effect of what his enemies had planned. Instead of driving Christians into hiding, Paul's example of contentment in the face of hardship made them bolder.

Like Paul, we must choose our response to pain and hardship. We can become resentful and bitter, consequently allowing a wonderful opportunity for spiritual growth to defeat us. Or we can turn to God, cry out for help, and be victorious.

"In a Plain Brown Wrapper"

The song service is finished. The sermon begins. During the first three sentences, expectant faces look toward the preacher. A single mother sighs, praying her children will let her make it through the sermon, maybe even listen. An older man in failing health turns up his hearing aid. Frustrated and angry with diminishing strength and energy, he searches to make sense of his losses.

A high school sophomore listens with an MTV-conditioned attention span. She is not trained to listen long. A successful business person caught in the depths of depression hopes for an alternative to suicide. A Bible class teacher dealing with major failure clings to faith by a fingernail. A married couple, sitting together in the pew but hardly speaking at home, hopes for renewal of lost affection. A frustrated parent of an angry teen looks for confidence. A widow's eyes fill with tears as her hand touches the empty seat beside her. A cancer patient needs a reason to suffer through another chemo session. The mate is desperate for strength to persevere.

A contractor, competing with kickbacks and cheats, wonders if his ethics are antiquated. A nurse, exhausted from a twelve-hour-pressure-filled shift, hopes for renewal. A lonely soul hopes for connection with others. New Christians listen to build faith. Long-time members hope for revival from spiritual lethargy. Debaters want a convincing argument. Condemners want a reason to feel superior. Tired church volunteers long for a boost. Frazzled church staffers need a shot in the arm. Elders need power to persevere through the pressure.

Deacons need to be uplifted. The confused seek wisdom. The guilty seek forgiveness. The sad seek help. The mad seek release. The glad seek rejoicing. The preachers stands. For three sentences everyone listens intently, wondering, "Is there a word from God for me today?" Who dares to rise to preach in the face of such need? Who can meet such a multiplicity of expectations? God can. Only God can. God speaks through the preacher's faltering words, stiff outlines, and overused illustrations. God speaks through his words, his tears, his personality, his humor, his gestures, his spirit.

God uses unworthy vessels to anoint hearts, persuade minds, lift spirits, comfort pain, and enlighten understanding. The power in preaching is not the preacher. It is God. God speaking through a man, gives a beautiful gift in a plain brown wrapper.

God has a word for you. Shhhhh. Listen
Greg Cummings

24 Day Prayer Focus to Declare the Breaking of a New Day

Declare the Breaking of a New Day

Day 1: Memorize Isaiah 50, especially verse 4: "The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned" (NKJV). Ask the Lord to give you a right word for every moment throughout your day ahead.

Day 2: Read Psalm 5. Set you alarm clock, get up, and let God hear your voice at the breaking of the day.

Day 3: Read Psalm 30, especially verse 5: "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (NKJV). Decree that when day breaks, joy will also break loose within you.

Day 4: Read Song of Solomon 6, especially verse 10: "Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?" (NKJV). Ask the Lord to cover you with His banner. His banner over you is LOVE.

Day 5: Read Exodus 14, especially verse 24: "Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians" (NKJV). Ask God to trouble your enemy during this time. When you sense the Lord's presence, ask Him to cause your enemies to go into confusion.

Day 6: Read Exodus 34, especially verse 2: "So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain" (NKJV). During this watch ask the Lord to set your boundaries for the future. Present yourself to Him and tell Him that you are not willing to go into the day without Him.

Day 7: Read Genesis 19. Ask the Lord to deal with iniquitous structures in your life, family and city. Get up and stand before the Lord and decree that there will come a cleansing to the land that you are a part of.

Day 8: Read Genesis 22, especially verse 3: "So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him" (NKJV). Let the Lord show you how to meet Him in the midst of your faith being tested. Watch for Him to reveal Himself as Jehovah-Jireh.

Day 9: Read Genesis 26, especially verse 31: "Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace" (NKJV). During this watch, ask the Lord to re-dig "wells" of revival from your past. However, ask the Lord to bring you into a new place of enlargement.

Day 10: Read Genesis 28, especially verse 18: "Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it" (NKJV). Read Luke 11. Ask the Lord to open the heavens and connect Heaven and Earth where you are. God has a place to connect with you, and you to connect with Him so He can establish your future.

Stabilize Your Emotions and Break Open a New Supply Line

Day 11: Read Joshua 6 and Romans 9. Learn the principle of Firstfruits as you enter a new season. Jericho was the firstfruits of a new land. If you give God the best at the beginning, all the remainder will be blessed. Declare that everything that is invincible, that would keep you from advancing into the fullness of God's promise, will be removed.

Read Joshua 7, especially verses 14 and 16: "In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes shall come according to families; and the family which the LORD takes shall come by households; and the household which the LORD takes shall come man by man...So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken" (NKJV).

If you feel like you have missed a step somewhere and your path seems blocked, ask the Lord to show you anything in your home that should not be there. Protecting Your Home from Spiritual Darkness can help you discern any items that are giving demons legal right into your home.

Day 12: Read Ruth 2, especially verse 7; read Ruth 3 (especially verses 13-14), and Ruth 4. Watch God shift you from gleaning to reaping.

"And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house." Ruth 2:7 (NKJV)

"'Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you - good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.' So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, 'Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor'" Ruth 3:13-14 (NKJV).

From the gleaning of the day before, ask God how to favor you in such a way that your past can be redeemed and your future established.

Day 13: Read 2 Chronicles 20, especially verse 20: "So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper'" (NKJV).

Sing a song to the Lord. Ask the Lord to send confusion into the enemy's camp. Declare that you will take the spoils of the enemy. New songs break old cycles, so spend time listening to new songs and new sounds. Worship and watch the enemy go into confusion.

Day 14: Read Ecclesiastes 11, especially verse 6: "In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good" (NKJV). Ask the Lord what to sow in the morning so that your seed will prosper.

Day 15: Read 2 Kings 7. Know that He can change supply lines and economic conditions around us in a day!

Day 16: Read Isaiah 58, especially verse 8: Fast today! "Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard" (NKJV). Declare that your health will spring forth at the breaking of the day. Ask the Lord for you to judge righteously and not form a critical, religious spirit.

Day 17: Read Matthew 20, especially verse 1: "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard" (NKJV). Ask the Lord to help you find the help you need for the coming day. Ask the Lord to position you in the harvest.

Confront Powers Contending for Governmental Rule and Break Forth a New Day

Day 18: Read Mark 1, especially verse 35: "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed" (NKJV). Find a place to have a quiet time before you enter the day ahead.

Day 19: Read Matthew 6:24, Ephesians 6 and Daniel 10. Declare that you will not be ruled by Mammon. Ask the Lord to find your footing so you can stand.

Day 20: Read Isaiah 21, especially verse 12: "The watchman said, 'The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; return! Come back!'" (NKJV). Tell the Lord what you see. Read Isaiah 28, especially verse 19: "As often as it goes out it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass over, and by day and by night; it will be a terror just to understand the report" (NKJV). Declare that any shroud of death that has been holding you captive will be removed. Also, declare that your spirit will be free of all vexation.

Day 21: Read 1 Samuel 1-3. Ask the Lord to break any spirit of barrenness. Many times during this watch you will experience travail. Travail like Hannah to bring forth the future. Declare that in the war from your last season, you are overcoming the structures that would hold you and keep you from your next promotion. Declare that all mocking spirits are defeated. Declare that what the Lord has conceived in you can be brought forth.

Day 22: Read 1 Samuel 4-6. Declare that an old system will let go and be judged. Stand and decree that the PRESENCE of GOD will return in fullness to your life, the church, your city, and this nation.

Day 23: Read I Samuel 7-9. Ask the Lord to have us agree with Him on the decision of the leader for our future and not just demand our own desires. Refuse to have a Saul structure reigning in our midst. Refuse to be a nation and people who can no longer be heard by the Lord!

Day 24: Read Psalm 84. Celebrate the BREAKING OF A NEW DAY by singing a new song to the Lord! Read Revelation 4, 5 and Psalm 100. Declare a new strength will arise in you.


Chuck D. Pierce
Glory of Zion Ministries

A Day of Action

Romans 4:13-15
The Message

That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God's decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That's not a holy promise; that's a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God's promise at that—you can't break it

This morning I kept hearing the song, "The Blessings of Abraham" in my spirit. Today is a call to action. You are an heir to the promise that God made Abraham. You are the seed of Abraham. Go get your inheritance! Get it, get it! The Bible says that faith without works is dead. Today you must use crazy (radical) faith. Believe God for big! What He's shown you is not even the whole picture, but a glimpse. I don't know about you but the glimpse He showed me is big! So I know the picture is much bigger. I had to move on some things He told me in the last couple of days. Get busy.

Let me share this word that confirmed what God shared with me today:

Cultivate God's Faith in Your Heart

True supernatural faith flows out of the spirit and affects the mind. Not the other way around. Faith defies logic and natural reality for a higher spiritual reality. It causes the natural to line up with what God has already accomplished in the spirit. We must live in the Word and constantly renew our minds.

Faith is born out of heart revelation. When truth is revealed to your mind and heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word, faith comes alive on the inside of you. John 8:32 says, "And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." Soak your mind and spirit in God's Word by constantly setting your mind on it, and revelation of truth will produce supernatural faith in your heart. Heart faith produced by revelation of truth is the ultimate key to operating in God's power.

"Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]." Hebrews 12:2

Add Action to Your Faith

One thing you must understand about the power anointing is that it comes for a reason and with an intended purpose. Isaiah 61:1 says: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."

The power anointing for healing and miracles will only manifest if you are praying for sick people to be healed. We must be intentional in looking for opportunities where the power anointing will be needed. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20).

The power anointing is given to help other people in a supernatural way, and in the process, reveal God's heart and nature to them. Don't allow yourself to get discouraged. You must stay focused and tenacious. No matter what you see in the natural, set your vision higher, know and understand God's will and truth, and allow His faith to move you to action. This action will release the power of God and produce the miraculous.

*- excerpt from a word from Matt Sorger on Elijah's List added in italics



One day I decided to quit...
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality. .. I wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

"God", I asked, "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me....
"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"

"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them.

I gave them light.

I gave them water.

The fern quickly grew from the earth.

Its brilliant green covered the floor.

Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo..
In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.
"In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.

But I would not quit.
In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would
not quit." He said.
"Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared
to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. ..But just 6
months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.
It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.
I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle."
He asked me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots".

"I would not quit on the bamboo.

I will never quit on you."
"Don't compare yourself to others."

He said.

"The bamboo had a different Purpose than the fern.

Yet they both make the forest beautiful."
"Your time will come", God said to me.

"You will rise high"
"How high should I rise?"

I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.
"As high as it can?" I questioned.
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."
I left the forest and brought back this story.

I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you.
Never, Never, Never Give up.
For the Christian Prayer is not an option but an opportunity.

Don't tell the Lord how big the problem is,tell the problem how Great the Lord is!

Unemployed Graduate

An unemployed graduate woke up one morning and checked his pocket. All he had left was $10. He decided to use it to buy food and then wait for death as he was too proud to go begging. He was frustrated as he could find no job, and nobody was ready to help him.

He bought food and as he sat down to eat, an old man and two little children came along and asked him to help them with food as they had not eaten for almost a week. He
looked at them. They were so lean that he could see their bones coming out. Their eyes had gone into the socket. With the last bit of compassion he had, he gave them the food. The old man and children prayed that YHWH would bless and prosper him and then gave him a very old coin. The young graduate said to them 'you need the prayer more than I do'.

With no money, no job, no food, the young graduate went under the bridge to rest and wait for death. As he was about to sleep, he saw an old newspaper on the ground. He picked it up, and suddenly he saw an advertisement for people with old coins to come to a certain address.

He decided to go there with the old coin the old man gave him. On getting to the place, he gave the proprietor the coin. The proprietor screamed, brought out a big book and showed the young graduate a photograph. This same old coin was worth 3 million dollars. The young graduate was overjoyed as the proprietor gave him a bank draft for 3 million dollars within an hour. He collected the Bank Draft and went in search of the old man and little children.

By the time he got to where he left them eating, they had gone. He asked the owner of the canteen if he knew them. He said no but they left a note for you. He quickly opened the note thinking it would lead him to find them.

This is what the note said: 'You gave us your all and we have rewarded you back with the coin,' signed YHWH the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. 1 Kings 17 :10-16; Matthew 11:28-30

Have you given all to Yahshua Christ? If you haven't, do so today and he will surprise you.

My Father Is On Deck

Author Unknown

In the days of the sailing vessels, a captain from Liverpool commanded a ship sailing to New York. On one voyage, his family went with him. During the night, when everyone was asleep, a storm arose and struck the vessel, throwing her over on her side. Everything inside the ship tumbled and crashed. The passengers awoke in great fear and in imminent peril. Everyone on board was alarmed. Many of the passengers sprang from their berths and began to dress so that they might be ready for the worst.

The captain's eight-year-old daughter was on board, and awoke with the other passengers. “What is the matter?” the frightened child pleaded.

They told her that a storm had struck the ship.

“Is my father on deck?” she asked.

“Yes, your father is on deck.”

The little girl dropped back on her pillow and, without a fear in the world, in just a few moments was again sleeping soundly in spite of the wind and the waves - because her father was on deck.

Never forget that our Father is on deck. Whatever the storm of life or the storms of this world may bring, God is in charge. Our Father is on deck.

Underestimating Your Anointing

"Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves." Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil" (2 Kings 4:1-2).

In meditating on this scripture, I believe the man of God knew that this widow had something in her house more valuable than what she was looking to receive from him. The only problem was - she didn't know it!

Throughout the Bible oil is representative of anointing. It represents the presence and power of the Holy Spirit upon a person or vessel. The Bible says that her husband served the man of God and feared the Lord. This was an anointed man. For years an anointing rested in their home. The man of God knew as long as there was anointing in the house everything she needed was likewise in the house. She was looking for money when God had given her something greater - an anointing. Money is the least of God's blessings. As long as our focus is on money we will miss out on what God, through His anointing, can do in our lives. As a matter of fact, the anointing will cause money to show up when it is activated in a situation. When we begin to operate in our anointing, we have God's presence and power accompanying our efforts. With God all things are possible.

Every Believer is anointed and carries within them the very same Holy Spirit Jesus Christ (The Anointed One) had upon Him. Like the jar of oil that sat on the widow's shelf overlooked and underestimated, many of us have done the same thing to the anointing that is present in our lives. We turn to people and other tangible things for answers, when God has already placed the answer within us, in the form of His Holy Spirit. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a Comforter, Guide, Teacher and Revealer. He has the answer to what perplexes us. In many cases, we don't need more money, or other tangible surrogate, we need revelation of our situation. We need discernment, enlightenment and direction to make a right decision. If we were to give the Holy Spirit free course in our lives, He would show us the abundance that God has already placed within us, but has thus far gone overlooked and underestimated.

The Holy Spirit wants to give you life in ever respect of the word. If there is anything dead, unfruitful or dying in our lives, we must give the Holy Spirit access to it, so that He can breathe upon it the breadth of life. The anointing, representing the presence of the Holy Spirit, was given so that we could experience life to its fullest. He can out produce anything, anyone or any system anywhere. However we must trust Him!

Never underestimate your anointing. It is God's most precious provision for us to prosper in our lives. It is the anointing that breaks the yoke of bondage and causes us to overcome our situations - whatever our situations may be!
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing" (Isaiah 10:27).

Excerpt from J.C. Matthews' book: "Your Situation is not Your Destination"


2 Thessalonians 3:3
"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His mother, in the house and looking out the window, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs.

That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead.

The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not, and will not, ever let you go.