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Grace and Cookie Butter

 

Speak the Truth:

Ephesians 2: 8-9 “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Talk the Talk:

I am so thankful that we are saved by grace! If I had to work for my salvation I would be in a bad way! Can I get an AMEN! That’s right; you know you would be in the same boat as me. Salvation, by grace alone, is a free gift that is totally undeserved. It really is mind-blowing and humbling. Recently, a reminder of how thankful I am that God extends grace and doesn’t make me work for my salvation came in an unexpected place through a bunny named Cookie Butter.

My cousin who is in 6th grade joined 4H and decided to raise a rabbit. Thus set off my internet search to find one for her. I’m not much of an animal person, but when I came across these cute, pure white, blue eyed bunnies I was sold. Now, the price tag was a bit more than anticipated. However, when my cousin saw them, she too wanted no other. 4H is supposed to teach kids responsibility, so I had the following conversation with my cousin.

Me: You want the white bunny?

Her: Yes.

Me: You willing to work for it?

Her: No.

Me: Ok, then I guess you aren’t getting the white bunny.

Her: Silence…(and then) OK I will work for it, what do I have to do?

Me: You have to work the entire cost of the bunny off with no complaining.

Her: OK – I will do it! Give me the to do list.
Don’t we all like to be spoiled and to get what we want when we want it? YES! However, typically in life things that we work for mean more to us. I know when I work for something specific, I feel such an accomplishment when I finally attain that goal. I also know that when work is involved sometimes I can get bored and lose motivation. It’s human nature.

Walk the Walk:

God knew that we would never be able to stay focused long enough, to be good enough and to work hard enough to gain salvation…EVER! Thus, his gift of grace – His only Son Jesus died on the cross to take away my sins, all of them – past, present, and future. He washed them away! He did the same for you too.

John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

It’s not about you or me. It’s all about God and his Son. While I hope that working Cookie Butter off is a good life lesson for my cousin, I am thankful that Salvation is a free gift that is not dependent on me doing anything except having faith that what the Bible says Jesus did for me is true.

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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Missions and Discipleship

 

“More of You/Less of Me”

Speak the Truth:

Daniel 1:8– “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the King’s food, or with the wine that he drank.”

Talk the Talk:

I am participating in a Beth Moore’s study on Daniel. Our pastor is doing a concurrent series of messages on Christians needing to be different from the ways of this world. Daniel is the ultimate example of being different in a society in which he was forced to live. Daniel was captured and placed in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Because he was young, intelligent, and of good appearance, Daniel was one of the captives chosen to be trained and indoctrinated into the Babylon culture, thus being prepared to serve the king. In the book of Isaiah (chapter 47) Babylon was described as having the motto: “I am, and there is no one besides me.” Beth Moore explains that Babylon was a city of self-absorption, self-will, complete over-indulgence, and a lack of integrity. Does this sound familiar? Is this what our world has become? Hasn’t our society made appearance, wealth, youth, power, and social status premier? Through social media, magazines, movies, TV, and even music, we are constantly being indoctrinated into our worldly culture. So how did Daniel resist the temptations being offered to him? The Bible says in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.” RESOLVED= determined with his heart. And how did God reward him? Daniel 1:9 says, “And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.” Does this mean we will never have problems, tribulations, or concerns if we follow our one true God? No. What it does mean is that if we put God first, and allow our world to see that we are “different”, we will find peace and satisfaction. As Pastor Darren preached, “We are to filter everything through Scripture.” This is what Daniel did. He prayed, he followed the way of his faith, and he stayed “different”. May I stay focused,surrender my all, and remember “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.” Jude 25

Walk the Walk:

In Colton Dixon’ song, “More of You”, he sings, “I made my castle tall. I built up every wall. This is my kingdom and it needs to fall. I want You and no one else. Empty me of myself until the only thing that’s left is more of You and less of me. He goes on to declare that “This life I hold so close, oh God, I let it go. I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul. So take it all. I abandon everything I am. You can have it. The only thing I need is more of You.”

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Health and Wellness

 

The List.

Written by Guest Blogger: Katie Tamblingson

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Speak the Truth:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Talk the Talk:

What is on your list? I mean that list of things that you feel like you “need” to be doing or else you are a bad mom, wife, daughter of God, woman etc. We do have things we need to do to be all those things, but so many times we add a lot of things to that list that are good but don’t need to be done. My list happens to be very long. I “need” to feed my family a hot homecooked meal every night after I get off work. I “need” to have learning time with my two year old (because every other kid has their colors and animal sounds down already). I “need” to have a spotless house at all times (did I mention I have a two year old, please laugh with me at this one). I “need “ to work in every ministry of the church that could possibly need help. I “need” to do a Bible study every time the church offers one. I could keep going. My list is pretty long. But guess what, most of those aren’t needs. They are things that I have seen other ladies doing and instead of realizing that all that isn’t for me at this moment in my life, I take it on and make it a need. But when I try to do all those “needs”, I get burned out and then can’t do the things I actually need to do. Like spending time with my husband, cuddling with my son, serving in the area that God called me to serve in church, spending time with God and even (insert gasp) resting. God doesn’t call us to be a stressed out mess. He says that His yoke is easy. He says to give the list to Him. I am called to take on what He gives me and let the rest of the list go. I don’t have to do everything someone else is doing. I only have to do what God has given me to do.

Walk the Walk:

Think through your list. Are there “need to do’s” that God hasn’t actually called you to? Try to take some time today to rest and give Him those things that don’t have to be on your list to Him.

 

Going the Second Mile….

Speak the Truth:

Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  Matthew 5:41

Talk the Talk:

What would the world look like if we all lived by this rule?  Whoever compels you…..back in first century Palestine, a Roman soldier could compel (make, require, demand) a conquered citizen (Rome had conquered a lot then)  to carry his backpack for one mile, but one mile only.  He probably didn’t ask nicely or explain a dilemma of being worn slap out.  The soldier required it.  Back then, Roman soldiers did not evoke warm and fuzzy feelings in the hearts of the people.  In other words, the people weren’t real happy about this rule to being with.  Then….Jesus comes on the scene and one ups the game, so to speak.

Who: Jesus

What: Sermon on the Mount

When: First Century Palestine

Where: The Mount

How: Teaching

Why: Because He loved them….Them (The people….fast forward…you and me)

Go with him two.  Yes, I know he made you do the first one.  Go with him another one.  Do you mean volunteer, Jesus?  Yes…..and do it with a happy heart, a heart that loves me.  Hmmmm……how quiet do you think that Mount was?

I do see second mile stuff acted out on a regular basis……sometimes by Christians, sometimes not.

You go visit a restaurant and it is raining; the young man in uniform meets you at the car door with an umbrella offering to escort you inside.

You are at the gym.  It is all you can do to finish the work out.  The guy who finished first is encouraging you, waving you on.  Then he runs the last mile with you, all the while feeding you words of encouragement.

You are driving down the road trying to get home when you see someone stranded.  You stop to help, but also give them extra help, resources, you fill in the blank.

As Christians, we are required to go the first mile.  We are required to uphold God’s commandments, love the Lord and one another.  What compels us to go the second mile?  Love.  Love for Jesus.  The burning desire to be more like Him.  Think about the ministry of Jesus.  What got the people talking?  The fact that He was a law abiding, knowledgeable, talented teacher?  Maybe, but I think it was the second mile stuff.  The very personal encounters with individuals that compelled them to tell others of what He did.  The casting out.  The healing.  The fellowship.  The drawing in the sand.  The questions. The unabashed boldness.  The staying longer than you have to or talking longer than what is required because why?  Because you care.  Because you are compelled by the love of Jesus to go Mile 2.

I think thirsty souls would find their way to Jesus if we could point from the vantage point of the second mile.

Walk the Walk:

Aren’t you glad Jesus carried the cross that second mile for you and for me?  Aren’t you profoundly grateful that He didn’t stamp ‘Good Enough’ on the fact that He came to enlighten us about the Father?  Aren’t you thankful for His obedience, His willingness, His love?

Lord Jesus,

Give us your eyes so that we may travel that second mile to meet someone where they are.  Help us to be unsatisfied with ‘good enough’.  Compel us, Lord Jesus.

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Faith and Spirituality

 

30 Days Left!

Amanda Williams:

For September 12…
Please join us in praying for the Kite family as they get ready to move forward in their journey….

Originally posted on kitefamilyonmission:

30 days until we are fully funded, homeless and packing for Canada.

It’s time to finish strong…  We are praying that God finishes this 100 day journey in such a way that we all stand in awe of His handiwork.  Many people have already committed to joining this partnership team that will engage the people of the Greater Toronto Area with the Gospel.  At the same time, there are some that are praying about their involvement while others are just now learning about the opportunity.  Please pray that God speaks and His people listen and obey.

Our family is ready to do our part – there is a brewing excitement in our home as we consider what God has done already.

  • Today there is a couple that is coming to look at our home for a second time.  We are hopeful that they will make an offer today.
  • On Friday…

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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Forgiveness of Others

Speak the Truth:

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Talk the Talk:

It hurts. Period. You say to yourself, ‘Why did he treat me that way?’  The situation, whether it is personal or aimed at someone you care about, causes you to be angry about what has happened and you want the satisfaction of payback. An at-the-moment attitude might be that you want that person to feel the pain he or she has caused you.

Have you been in this situation? Everyone has. It’s hard to not want revenge when you have been hurt by someone in your life and it’s harder still to offer forgiveness to that person when pain surrounds your every thought.

The Bible is clear on the point that Jesus makes. In our relationships with our fellow human beings, God says we are under an obligation to God to forgive that person.

If we receive forgiveness from God, we must give it to others who hurt us. Holding grudges or seeking revenge is the wrong path to travel. We are to trust God for justice and forgive the person who offended us. Forgiveness means releasing the other from blame, leaving the event in God’s hands, and moving on.

God models generosity in His love, grace, and mercy.  He also models generosity in His willingness to forgive us.

Walk the Walk:

In thinking about this subject, a song entitled ‘Forgiveness’ by Toby Mac came to mind.

’cause we all make mistakes sometimes
and we’ve all stepped across that line
but nothing’s sweeter than the day we find
forgiveness, forgiveness
and we all stumble and we fall
bridges burn in the heat of it all
but nothing’s sweeter than the day,
sweeter than the day we call out for
forgiveness.

There is a sweetness and a peace that washes over us when we follow the example of God. Nehemiah 9:17b states, “But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” Let go of the pain, release the other from blame, leave it in God’s hands, and move on.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Attitude

 

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A Threefold Cord

 

Speak the Truth:

9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

Talk the Talk:

Several years ago I was blessed to become friends with someone very different than me, in an unlikely place, and an unlikely friendship. We met through training for our first ever triathlon. She first became my “eat my bubbles” training partner, because when we would swim at the gym, she would always be behind me. After the triathlon was completed I figured that would be the end to our friendship, however, such was not the case.

I still remember the text I received from her asking to meet me before or after Bible study at church to “talk about something important.” I had no idea what this could be. So, after Bible study she approached me and said she had been praying for a prayer partner and my name kept popping in her head. She thought it was weird, because we were so different, me single & she married with 2 kids, but nonetheless God kept pointing her to me. So, in her obedience she asked. She said I didn’t have to answer right away, but it didn’t take me long to pray and my answer was YES.

Thus began our real walk through life together. She is my best friend who knows me inside and out, the good and bad. I can be real with her, even when it’s not pretty. She loves me no matter what. Yes, we have had some bumps in the road, because we are both sinners & imperfect, but we have come through stronger on the other side. I know I can count on her for anything.

Walk the Walk:

The reason our friendship is so strong is we both put Christ at the center, as the common thread that binds us together. Our relationship with Christ brings accountability into our relationship with one another. We can call each other out because of the truth of scripture, even when the other doesn’t want to hear. When the going gets tough, and we don’t have the words to say, the Holy Spirit never fails to reveal scripture to share with one another bringing comfort. I hope you have someone like my friend in your life. If you do, even more fervently I hope that you both have a relationship with Christ, because only then will you have a threefold cord that cannot be broken.

 

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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Attitude, Health and Wellness

 
 
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Angela Thomas

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