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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Song Showers of Blessings

Mercy Drops

To some it probably seems somewhat amazing that we continue to receive some
many blessings from God.

There is an old song titled, "Showers of Blessings," based on the scripture
from Ezekiel 34:26 "And I will make them and the places round about my hill
a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there
shall be showers of blessing."

I don't remember the last time I heard the song sung, I don't think it is
in our present songbooks. One of the lines went like this, "Mercy drops
round us are falling, yet for the showers we plead." One of the reasons I
remember the song so vividly is that my Grandmother Eliza Lawson refused to
sing the song. She said she didn't believe the words were right. She said
that; "God didn't scrimp with His people and only give little drops of
mercy, he showered us with it all the time."

I have to agree with Grandma, God does shower us with blessings all the
time; it's just that we don't often take time to see them. Because of that I
wanted to take some time here to remind us to look at our blessings and
those who bring them to us.

Perhaps it would be good for you to stop sometime during your busy day and
offer a special prayer of thanksgiving for these people through whom God
blesses us. I know it takes time, but drop them a note of encouragement and
thanks, be a blessing to them.

We need to remember also how God answers our prayers. So many times we share
with others our special need for prayer. Perhaps for those who are sick,
hurting or dealing with problems in their lives. Do you ever stop to think
about how many times our prayers are answered? Stop and think about the
outcome of those prayer requests we have made in the past. Perhaps it was
someone whom you have heard about and prayed for. They may not all have been
answered as we would have liked, but God is at work through the prayers and
caring of us here on his world.

Yes, God is alive and working in our world and we are the ones who have his
ear through our prayers, don't forget that.. Ever!

Showers of blessings? Yes! I believe so!

Russ Lawson

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Introductions to books of the Bible

The book of Daniel: Get a free introduction to the Bible book of Daniel at www.abiblecommentary.com/introductiontothebookofdaniel.pptx today.
 
The book of Daniel: Get a free introduction to the Bible book of Ecclesiastes at www.abiblecommentary.com/introductiontothebiblebookofecclesiastes.pptx today!
 
These free introductions to Bible books were put together by Dr. Tommy South.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Paul and Michelle Simmons

The Photograph

The article didn't say why he left home. But when 20-year-old Nicholas
Simmons left his parents' home in Greece, NY, on New Year's Day, he left his
wallet, his cell phone, and everything else behind. When his parents, Paul
and Michelle Simmons, discovered that he had left, they had no idea where he
had gone or how long he would be away. They began a diligent search for
him.

Four days later, Jacquelyn Martin, an Associated Press photographer, was in
Washington, D.C. She had been assigned to the White House, but President
Obama and his family were on vacation in Hawaii. Martin decided to look
around D.C. to snap pictures that illustrated that unusually cold weather in
the area. She found a group of men huddled by a steam gate outside the
Federal Trade Commission. She introduced herself and began taking pictures.
She noticed one person huddled under a blanket that was unusually young.
"It struck me how young he was," Martin said. "I again introduced myself and
shook his hand. He said his name was Nick."

It was the picture of that young man huddled by the steam gate that appeared
the following day (Sunday) on the front page of USA Today. "Nick" was
wearing a ski jacket with a hood over his head and a thick gray blanket
covering his lower body.

His face was unshaven and he was pressed against the steam gate, obviously
trying to keep warm.

Someone who was familiar with the Simmons' search for their missing son
brought the photo to their attention on a Facebook page that had been set up
to help locate him. Michelle Simmons was certain that the young man in the
photograph was her son. The Simmons contacted USA Today who in turn
contacted Martin with a message via Twitter. The location of the picture
was verified and the police were dispatched. They found Nicholas Simmons
and took him to a nearby hospital, where later his family was reunited with
him.

Michelle Simmons expressed her relief on Facebook: "It could have been
months before we had a lead on his whereabouts. My baby looks so lost and I
will be spending the rest of my life making him well," she wrote.

Nick's lost condition "pictures" our own condition in sin.

It is SIN that separates us from God who made us (Isaiah 59:1-2). Because
of our sin, we are lost and struggling in our desperate and deadly state.

But God knows about our condition and He loves us, even though we have
wandered away from Him. He sent His Son Jesus to "seek and to save those
who are lost" (Luke 19:10). In order to save us and give us the gift of
eternal life, Jesus had to die on the cross as payment for our sins
(Ephesians 1:7). Through Jesus, we can be reconciled to God and receive the
gift of life with Him throughout eternity in a heavenly home (2 Corinthians
5:17-21).

God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus
before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the
forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). Then God will continue to cleanse
and one day "take home" those who continue to walk in the light of His Word
(1 John 1:7).

God doesn't need a PHOTO to know who you are and where you are. He already
knows. And, He wants YOU to be His child and enjoy eternal salvation.

Won't YOU accept His offer on His terms?

David A. Sargent

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD (Isaiah 55:8)

It's obvious to even the most casual observer that different people have
different standards that are acceptable to them. In some cases it makes no
real difference in life, yet in other cases it does.


For example; for the past couple of weeks my wife has been ill and because
of that I have been 'helping' with some of the household duties. (I offer a
special thank you to each of the ladies in our church who have offered to
help.) Yesterday I had solid proof that my wife is recovering. How? By the
fact that "husband clean," was no longer sufficient for her. It was just
little things, but I picked up on them. Things like the comment: "You know;
the kitchen floor really needs moped." I thought it looked fine. I had wiped
up the spots where I had dropped food! Then there was the fact that she
grabbed the hand vacuume and cleaned up flower pedals and assorted other
things in the living room that I hadn't even seen. So, "husband clean," was
not up to her standards of what is acceptable. I have no excuse; after all,
I am a husband and my ways are not her ways of doing things.


One of the things about standards is that they often change. You don't have
to look to hard to understand that our society's standards have shifted
dramatically concerning what is right and wrong or what is acceptable or
unacceptable. God has set standards in regards to what is acceptable in
terms of morality, acceptable worship and ethical behavior.


Our society, for the most part, says there are no hard fast standards for
morality; just do whatever makes you feel good. Our society says, there are
no standards for worship, just do whatever makes you feel good. Our society
says there are no standards for ethics; just go with whatever profits you
the most. Look at the corruption of our world. Think about the
thoughtlessness of our government leaders for the people they govern. Think
about the immorality that is flaunted by the world's entertainment community
and is mimicked by those they influence.


These standards of living and action are not acceptable to our God, even
though men say it makes no difference. God said through the prophet Isaiah,
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)


The problem is that there are so very many in our world who either don't
take the time to read what God says concerning His standards, or they
disregard His words as being old fashioned and say that God wouldn't
possibly expect us live by those standards proclaimed in His book today.


Paul writes these words of warning in 1Corinthians 6:9-11, "Or do you not
know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men
who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor
slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what
some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our
God."


Now I'm pretty sure that some who read these words will take offence at
them, but you know what, you aren't offended at me, you are offended at God.
He wrote them, I just pointed them out to you. God tells us basically, "My
standards are not your standards, and your ways are not my ways, what you
call right is not really right, what you call clean is not really clean."
You see, it's no different than my cleaning the house for my wife, what is
an acceptable standard to me is not to her. And if truth be told, I like her
standard of cleanliness and God's standard for living better.


Russ Lawson

Friday, January 10, 2014

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

It is amazing to me how easy it is to get behind in doing things, even
things that are really important to you. You may have that problem also, but
I hope not. One of the really, really important things I meant to do is to
encourage you to make a commitment to read some of God's Word each day
during 2014.

I slipped up! My wife and I started doing this already, (yes we completed
last year's reading on schedule). By the time you read this we will probably
be 12 days into the New Year, but that's OK, if you haven't yet, get started
anyway. It's amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it and if it is
really important to you.

I know there are lots of things that interfere with your plans and your
"best intentions". That's OK; you are not unusual, it happens to all of us!
There are times, (even though I try to read daily), something comes up and I
miss a day and have to make up that day's reading.

You need to understand that no one is grading you on your ability to read,
or even your ability to read "THE WHOLE" bible. God directs us to spend time
with Him and in His Word, but doesn't tell us how to go about it.

I heard a story about a youngster who excitedly told his father, "I just
figured out what BIBLE means!" His fathers somewhat intrigued ask him to
share this new found discovery. The youngster said, "Basic Instructions
Before Leaving Earth."

I believe he got it right, don't you! Everyone wants to know, "What happens
next?" don't they? Is there life after death? What is my purpose for living?
These are questions of importance which have plagued mankind since the
beginning. The thing that many people don't realize is that all of the
answers are there, you just have to read the instruction manual, God's Word.

David tells us in Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light
on my path."

How about it, won't you join us in reading through God's Word again this
year, or maybe for the first time! Let God light your way!

Russ Lawson

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