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Words of Encouragement
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masquemx
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November 25, 2008 - 3:47 pm

GUIDING GRACE
by Charles R. Swindoll

Colossians 3:17 NLT

In his letter to the Romans, Paul goes into great detail regarding the issue of personal freedom---greater detail than almost anywhere else in his writings. In the fourteenth chapter, for example, he sets forth four very practical guidelines that can be followed by all who are serious about releasing others in grace. My hope is that we not only learn what they are but, equally important, that we spend our days following them.

Guideline 1: Accepting others is basic to letting them be. The problem was not a meat problem; it was a love problem, an acceptance problem. It still is. How often we restrict our love by making it conditional: "If you will (or won't), then I will accept you." Paul starts there: "Accept one another!" In other words, "Let's allow each other the freedom to hold to convictions that are unlike our own . . . and accept them in spite of that difference." Those who didn't eat (called here "weak in faith") were exhorted to accept and not judge those who ate. And those who ate were exhorted to accept and not regard with contempt those who did not eat. The secret lies in accepting one another. All of this is fairly easy to read so long as I stay on the issue of eating meat. That one is safe because it isn't a current taboo. It's easy to accept those folks today because they don't exist!

Guideline 2: Refusing to dictate to others allows the Lord freedom to direct their lives. I especially appreciate the statement at the end of verse 5: "Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind." Give people room to make up their minds. Do you have a few new converts who are a part of your life and ministry? Do you want to help them grow toward maturity? Here is how: Let them grow up differently. Let them learn at their own pace, just like you had to learn, including failures and mistakes. If you really want grace to awaken, be easier on them than others were on you. Don't make up their minds---let them! Don't step in and push your weight around---give them plenty of space. Whatever you do, don't control and manipulate them to get what you want.

Be an accepting model of grace. Refuse all temptations to be a brother hasher or sister smasher. We already have too many of them roaming around the religious landscape. And nothing catches the attention of the unsaved world quicker than those times when we Christians beat up on one another. Don't think the unsaved world doesn't notice our cannibalism.

Guideline 3: Freeing others means we never assume a position we're not qualified to fill. This, in one sentence, is enough to stop any person from judging another. We’re not qualified. We lack full knowledge. How often we have jumped to wrong conclusions, made judgmental statements, only to find out later how off-base we were---then wished we could cut out our tongue.

Guideline 4: Loving others requires us to express our liberty wisely.  In other words, love must rule. I'm not my own, I'm bought with a price. My goal is not to please me; it is to please my Lord Jesus, my God. It is not to please you; it is to please my Lord. The same is true for you. So the bottom line is this: I don't adapt my life according to what you may say; I adapt my life according to the basis of my love for you because I answer to Christ. And so do you.

Reprinted by permission.  The Grace Awakening Devotional, Charles R. Swindoll, © 2003, Thomas

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July 26, 2008 - 10:31 pm

Build and Keep Your Household
By : Marcia Malzahn

Proverbs 14:1 (NLT)
A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.

Proverbs 31:17 (NLT)
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

Proverbs 31:27 (NLT)
She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.

As working women, we have many responsibilities. Sometimes we don’t know how to prioritize the major ones such as keeping and running our households and our jobs. But when we have our priorities right—God first, our family second, and our job third— God will give us the grace to successfully manage our careers and our households.

A job should not be used as an excuse to not keep our households. As a wife and/or mother, we have the responsibility to establish a clean and orderly household for our family. We are to be a blessing to our children and an ally (not a burden) to our husbands.

The good news is, when our house is in order, we will be more focused and productive—even if our office is in the home. Even though you are responsible for properly maintaining your household, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself.

Wise women learn to delegate. For example: assign tasks and chores to your kids, ask your husband for help, or consider hiring a cleaning service (if you can afford it). It doesnÂ’t matter how you get it done; what matters is that you properly care for your home.

When you purpose in your heart to build and keep your household, God will honor your efforts and will help you every step of the way.

--------------------
Source: Devotions for Working Women by Marcia Malzahn.
Excerpt permission granted by Expert Publishing, Inc.

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July 23, 2008 - 6:29 pm

If You Have Been Given a Negative Report
By : Larry Ollison, Ph.D.

The world is full of negative reports. It seems that everywhere you go, there is someone telling you, "You won't make it." "You can't win." "God doesn't want to heal you." "Faith doesn't work," and so on and so on. The world does not want you to make it. But here's the good news. God does!

God's Word is positive. His Word says in Psalm 103:3 that He heals all our diseases and in Psalm 34:19, His Word says "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

When some people hear a negative report, they become discouraged. God does not want us to become discouraged. He wants us to believe Him. He wants us to believe that He will deliver us like He said He would. He wants us to trust in Him so He can perform His Word in our lives.

Discouragement is a combination of fear, depression and a lack of hope. We could almost call it "anti-faith." Discouragement is not from God and He does not want you to have it.

When we are discouraged, we do not function in the spirit realm the way God wants us to. When we are discouraged, it becomes difficult to hear God and easier to listen to the discouraging words of the world.

Listen to this. When the Hebrews left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, God told them that if they would go into the Promised Land, He would fight all their battles for them.

When they reached the Promised Land, they sent out twelve spies and when the spies returned, they all gave their reports. The spies did not all agree. Two of the spies gave a positive, encouraging report and ten spies gave a negative, discouraging report.

At that point, the people had a choice. Which report would they believe? Would they believe the report of the majority or would they believe God's promise? Would they go by what they saw or would they go by what God said?

Well, sadly, the people chose to believe the negative report instead of the positive report. The Bible says the people had became discouraged because of the negative report and decided not enter into the land God had for them.

Today many Christians are doing the same thing. Because they choose to believe the negative report of the world, because they choose to believe what they see and hear instead of believing what God promised, they miss many blessings God has set aside for those who believe.

In Mark 16:17, Jesus said, "These signs shall follow those who believe." He didn't say these signs shall follow those who doubt, fear or worry. He said, "These sign shall follow those who believe." Who are those who believe? They are the ones who believe that God will do what He said He would do. They have total trust, belief and faith in Him.

Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." In order to receive from God, we must believe Him and His Word.

So, today let me say this. If you have just been given a negative, discouraging report, you have a choice to make. Do you believe the evil report or do you believe God? Do you put your belief in what you see or do you put your faith in what God says?

Remember, 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "For we walk by faith and not by sight."

-------------------------
Copyright © 2002 Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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July 15, 2008 - 1:00 pm

God Will Turn it Around
By : Keith Butler

"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10).

God can turn any situation around regardless of how grave, how despicable, or how hurtful it may be. Do you have something happening in your life that you need God to turn around? If so, you are a prime candidate for restoration. Job had some terrible things happen to him, but God turned it around.

From the time Satan attacked Job until things started to turn was about nine months. Most will agree that when you're in the middle of tests and trails, it seems like ninety years; however, when restoration comes, your captivity begins to turn. How did Job's captivity turn? The Lord turned Job's captivity when he prayed for somebody else.

Here lies the first lesson to learn about restoration. If you want something good to happen to you, then you have to do something good for somebody else. That will always be God's principle. You might as well drill that in your head - if you have a problem, find somebody else with a problem and help them.

Anytime you give, it comes back to you. That's a law of the kingdom and it works.

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord turned his captivity and restored everything back to Job - plus some. The word "restore" means to return what has been taken or lost, a renewal, recovery, restitution, revival, reestablish, healing, and a replacement. Those words describe restoration.

Now this shows you how powerless Satan is, because the moment you pray for somebody else, not only are inviting God into your affairs, but you're also inviting God into their affairs too. And when God is invited into your affairs, He will restore, plus give you more.

God will restore to you double. The Lord blessed Job in the latter end of his life more than what he lost. You may not be in your latter end right now, but you can call those things that be not as though they were. Restoration comes by faith.

Notice what Job lost: his family, his health, and his money - but God restored double. I mean, the second family was better than the first; he had more money than before, and he was healthier than before. God gave him 140 more years, so Job died being full of years.

Remember, God will not do anything on the earth unless somebody invites Him. So invite God into your affairs and God will turn it around - He will restore BIG TIME!

Scripture References: Psalm 126:1-6

-----------------------------------------------------
Copyright © 2001 Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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May 21, 2008 - 12:11 pm

Faith Talk Strengthens Faith Walk
By : Dwight Thompson

The second principle I would like to share with you is this: You can become trapped by the very words that come out of your mouth! Your words set in motion the direction that you will take. Your level of faith in God will never rise above your confession of faith.

Why? Because every word that comes out of your mouth either brings faith or fear. If you speak fear, that fear will destroy your faith. You can become trapped, snared, by fear even though you want to be a person of faith.

By the same token, your positive statement of faith...the words of faith that come out of your mouth...will create new faith which will destroy fear and doubt.

Your words will either create a trap or spring you from a trap. Your words either bring victory or bring defeat. You cannot have a faith walk with fear talk. Faith talk brings a faith walk.

Your tongue and your words will be to your life what a steering wheel is to a car. Whichever direction the steering wheel turns, the car follows. In the same manner, your direction is determined by your words...your feet will follow your mouth.

Everything that comes out of your mouth makes its impression and leaves its influence upon your life. Learn to guard the words that come out of your mouth. Honestly listen to the way you say things and guard your words.

You may very well find that you have created a trap for yourself by speaking words that are contrary to God's Word! Believe for God's best and speak forth words that confirm God's best in your life. Do not get caught in the mouth trap!

-----------------------------------
Copyright © 2003
The Mouth Trap by Dwight Thompson
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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