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Jan 26, 2010

"SET APART" - January 2010



SET APART by God... or from God?

"You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own."
Leviticus 20:26 NIV


"Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him."
Psalm 4:3 NIV


""Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

The words 'set apart' are 2 action verbs that together mean, 
1. To reserve for a specific use.
2. To make noticeable: character traits that set her apart.

1. set apart - select something or someone for a specific purpose; "The teacher assigned him to lead his classmates in the exercise"

assign, specify, choose, pick out, select, take - pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives; "Take any one of these cards"; "Choose a good husband for your daughter"; "She selected a pair of shoes from among the dozen the salesgirl had shown her"
dedicate - set apart to sacred uses with solemn rites, of a church
detail - assign to a specific task; "The ambulances were detailed to the fire station"


2. set apart - set apart from others; "The dentist sequesters the tooth he is working on"
keep apart, sequestrate, isolate, sequester, disunite, separate, part, divide - force, take, or pull apart; "He separated the fighting children"; "Moses parted the Red Sea"

How are you living your life? Did you even know that God has set you apart? He picked us even before we were born, when we were in our mother's womb. (Jeremiah 1:5 see above). Each person on earth was created by Him, and made to worship Him and do His good work that He has set for us to do. However, due to SIN and worldy views, only a few that He has picked or selected will choose or have chosen to take up our crosses and follow Him. He has set us apart from this world on purpose. As the first definition above states, He has 'reserved us for a specific use'. We are in this world, but not of this world. He has called us all to be His children. However, few are chosen to do His Will and to walk in His ways. Matthew 22:14 says, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

Are YOU set apart BY God? Don't YOU want to be one of the CHOSEN?

As I have said above, we were all made to worship God. Unfortunately some have chosen their own path of life, and they choose to be set apart FROM God. What a world of dismay, bitterness, sadness & hurt it would be without the love and mercy of our Father. Making the conscious (& sometimes sub-conscious) decision to set yourself apart FROM God, is the worst mistake you can make in your lifetime. The only option at the end of your life here on earth is the fiery pit of Hell. It's not all fun and games, and dancing with the devil. It's an eternal burning... just like the Energizer bunny keeps going, Hell keeps on burning and burning and burning. I myself would not want to imagine being in an eternal fire of pain and torture, and mass destruction. Choose LIFE! Eternal life and freedom. Choose to set yourself apart... apart from the ways of this world!

So what does a life show that is SET APART (for God)? Taking the 2nd definition above, 'To make noticeable: character traits that set her apart.' A life that is set apart for God will be noticeable to the world. The easiest difference to see is LIGHT in the DARKNESS. But we should have other characteristics that show forth as well. One of the main ones is LOVE. "The world will know us by our love." There are many different attributes that we should exhibit. Rather than go on our own means, we should follow the example that was set for us by Christ himself. The 'Fruit of the Spirit' are a good start to follow. (Galatians 5:22) Another important one that we should be showing forth is FAITH. We need to be men and women walking in faith. We need to trust the Lord God who created us, and Him who has great plans for our lives.

If we are SET APART for God, and by God we will strive to live the life of worship to our Lord. Worship that is in spirit and in truth. According to Scripture that is what the Lord is looking for in His believers. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24 NIV

The keywords here are SET APART. God didn't set us aside, to leave us on our own, He set us apart as His own to do the Will of God. Jesus came to this earth, and knew even at the young age of 12 that He was sent to do the work of the Father.

The choice is up to you... You have already been chosen, but you now have to choose whether to be a part of God's team or not. Just as Joshua asked his men in the Word, I am asking you, "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living." As Joshua continued and declared, I proudly declare with him, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father we come to you, as those you have SET APART and chosen to live an eternal life with you. God I pray for others who may have set themselves apart FROM you, that they may choose this day whom they will serve. I pray that You will grant us wisdom and discernment in our times of dismay and uncertainty. This world has so much to offer us, and I know that You are offering us that which is greater and better for us. Help us to make the right decisions in life, and to do the Will of You our Father in Heaven. Encourage us in times of trials, uplift us in times of sadness, grant us your Heavenly peace in times of turmoil, and love us and continue to show us Your mercy when we least deserve it. Hold us in Your arms and never let us go. Help us be the shining lights that You call us to be, as we set an example to those around us. Help us choose to do that which is right, and to exhibit characteristics of Jesus Your son, so that they in turn will choose who they will serve. Let us know that You are here, and that You are in control of everything in our lives, from the small to the great. I ask all these things in the name of Jesus, AMEN!

Be blessed and CHOOSE this day whom you will serve, and live the life of one who is SET APART.






Jan 16, 2010

Everyone needs COMPASSION...

“POINTS TO PONDER” – January 16th part 2
Written by M. Hall
Please feel free to agree or disagree with points made, and feel free to comment if so desired.
If you would like, you could write your own thoughts on the verse of the day, and include that in your own comments below. Thank you and may you be blessed!! =)

“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” ~ Colossians 3:12

Just sitting here thinking of the people of HAITI, and praying… We are told to clothe ourselves with COMPASSION. Everyone needs compassion!


Compassion by definition is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorry for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. To often we stop at the first part of that definition and think we are feeling compassion for others. Just feeling sorry for someone does not make you a compassionate person, you also should have a desire to help them in their pain.


Check out http://www.lovehaiti.com/ for more information regarding the crisis in Haiti. YWAM is also involved, check out our friend’s site at http://www.ourlovingfather.com/ He quotes, “While many agencies are looking to ship donated goods into Haiti, YWAM Santo Domingo is buying supplies locally and transporting by land directly into Haiti. You can help: Contact info – info@ywamdr.org Tel. 809 307 5914”


Here are some verses found with http://www.biblegateway.com/ regarding compassion:
1. Romans 9:15
For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
2. Matthew 14:14
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
3. Mark 8:2
"I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.
4. Matthew 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
5. Mark 1:41
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"
6. Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
7. Matthew 20:34
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
8. Mark 6:34
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
9. James 5:11
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
10. Philippians 2:1
[ Imitating Christ's Humility ] If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
11. Matthew 15:32
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way."
12. Luke 15:20
So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
13. 2 Corinthians 1:3
[ The God of All Comfort ] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,


GOD BLESS YOU!


Listen to this clip, MIGHTY TO SAVE by Hillsong




TRAIN or TURN? -- January 16th, 2010

“POINTS TO PONDER” – January 16th
Written by M. Hall
Please feel free to agree or disagree with points made, and feel free to comment if so desired.
If you would like, you could write your own thoughts on the verse of the day, and include that in your own comments below. Thank you and may you be blessed!! =)

TRAIN or TURN?
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 NIV

The verb “train” in this sentence means (according to dictionary.com);
To develop or form the habits, thoughts or behaviour of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction; to make proficient by instruction and practice, as in some art, profession or work; to make (a person) fit by proper exercise, diet, practice, etc., as for an athletic performance; to discipline and instruct (an animal), as in the performance of tasks or tricks; to treat or manipulate so as to bring into some desired form, position, direction, etc; [horticulture] to bring (a plant, branch, etc) into a particular shape or position, by bending, pruning or the like; to bring to bear on some object; point, aim, or direct as a firearm, camera, telescope or eye; to entice, allure.


WOW! Training a child can be a difficult task. Think of all the things that they need training for, toilet training, training to walk, training to read, etc. They do not however need training to CRY. One of the first things that babies can and will do by themselves is to CRY. It is the easiest thing to do.


(Editor’s SideNote: *This devotional was going to be about training our children, so that they will not turn, however it is also taking a new direction thanks to the Holy Spirit. We need to teach ourselves, and our children to cry out once again!*)


Why is CRYING so hard for us to do as adults? CRYING itself is seen as a form of weakness. CRYING OUT to God is what He desires. We need to listen to the Father’s heart, and CRY out to Him for what we desire, but also for what He desires for us. We need to train our children to cry out for what they need. Unfortunately, we learn its not okay to cry. When there are babies crying in their cribs, crying and crying, as parents/caregivers we are taught time and again to ignore them, and they will eventually stop. Why do WE get so frustrated when we cry out, and think that God is not listening or acting on our behalf? God our Father does not ignore our cries, he bottles our tears. He hears our cries, and responds accordingly. We can always CRY out to Him! Lord we cry out for Your Grace and Mercy and Love!


The Bible has been translated many times since it was first written and inspired of the Lord. When things get translated, and re-worded many times sometimes they lose their original meaning, as in the infamous ‘Telephone Game’. In the MESSAGE, which I do like because it is in ‘readable and understandable’ English, this verse takes on a whole new meaning. It says, “Point your kids in the right direction— when they're old they won't be lost.” This version is the one I believe that some (a high percentage unfortunately) are following. There is a BIG difference between ‘pointing your kids in the right direction’ and ‘training your kids in the way they should go’. If you are put in charge of a heavy piece of machinery for example, would you want someone just to point the way that you should go, or would you actually like them to train you and show you how to use it?


Pointing the way to go, may seem helpful at the time, in the sense of the times when you ask people for directions to a place. But pointing is not really helpful, especially if you have no knowledge of the places you will be going, or even passing by for that matter. For me, giving directions and I don’t get along too well. I use LANDMARKS instead of street names most times. I do know the street names, but sometimes I cannot picture the intersection for example, unless you use a landmark. McDonalds, Malls/Plazas, etc… are good landmarks for me to know where you are talking about. North, South, East and West have no bearing for me either. (no pun intended). This is the same with children, or other people (for that matter). They have to have prior knowledge of the ‘area’ or even better, have a MAP to the places they are going. If you have a MAP or directions written down you can find the ‘place you want to go’ easier, and you have less of a chance of getting lost. Sooner or later, you will have ‘memorized’ the map and the directions, and it will be common knowledge, so that you can know go to the places you need to go.


Such is the life of a CHRISTIAN… a true Christ follower. On our own, we are left to be pointed the direction to go. We are given two directions… one leads to life, and one to death. Obviously any right-minded person would choose life, however unfortunately most don’t. We are given the options, but truly have no knowledge of either place. THE BIBLE is the MAP that has been given to EVERYONE (not just Christians), because we all were LOST. (Romans 3:23 –“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.") But Christians (true Christians) are the ones that choose to follow the map’s directions, and are no longer LOST. (“In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” –Read Matthew 18:12-14.) They ‘memorize’ the Scriptures and ‘directions’ in the map, and soon it becomes common knowledge in their physical mind and spirit. They now know which path to follow, and how to get there. Unfortunately, for us, the path to follow is a difficult one, and the other path looks oh so easy and more fun.


This is a lesson that needs to be TRAINED in people both young and old. However, if you train your children when they are young, they will hold on to what they know, and it will become common knowledge as was said above. They choose the path they wish to take, not just by us pointing the direction, but by us coming alongside them training them in the ways of the Lord. We need to come alongside any and everyone, physical children, and spiritual children.


The first definition of ‘train’ above says, “To develop or form the habits, thoughts or behaviour of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction.” Our habits, thoughts and behaviours DEVELOP. Developing is a process. It doesn’t just happen. As I said in the beginning, training is a difficult task. Using the example of photography, a photographer isn’t just going to develop his film by ‘pointing’ the film to the developing room. He has to physically walk with it, and put it in the solution, and WAIT. Waiting is something that we as 21st century adults have no time for. However, I want to make the point that we have no time to WASTE.


Our children need us. [For future reference, when I use the word ‘children’ it can mean both ‘physical children’(those age 0-17) or ‘spiritual children’ (those who are babies in the faith and also those who you have taken under your wing.)] This is why such things as mentoring are important, but also why Sunday School, and Saturday/Sunday services should be an important part in the lives of our ‘Children’. These are places where are children are equipped and trained.


Too many times our children are ‘pointed’ in the way to go, or they are unfortunately ‘trained’ in the wrong sense of the word. So many children have been trained according to some of the definitions above, “to discipline and instruct (an animal), as in the performance of tasks or tricks; to treat or manipulate so as to bring into some desired form, position, direction, etc”. Some of our children have been manipulated or treated as animals and this is NOT how they should be treated. However, because of this we need to gain their faith and trust back, so we must assume caution when dealing with them.


One of the best definitions of ‘train’ is regarding horticulture, and you may think that has nothing to do with training children, but it certainly does. The definition states, “to bring (a plant, branch, etc) into a particular shape or position, by bending, pruning or the like.” In the Bible, we are likened unto branches. Jesus tells us in John 15 verses 1-8, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” The Father prunes us like branches, training us in His ways. We are trained through this pruning, and bending. He stretches us in ways we will and can not even imagine. Which we really shouldn’t be shocked about, because in Ephesians 3:20 it states, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” The Father knows what is best for us, and just like our physical parents He disciplines us and trains us for the work that He has for us to accomplish. BUT, we need to be trained to follow His ways, before He can and will direct and lead us in our lives. If we do trust in Him and come to the ‘COMMON KNOWLEDGE” of His map and ways, He will in fact lead and direct our path in ways to righteousness. (Proverbs 3:5-6 and Matthew 6:33.)


One good thing to note is that if you were not TRAINED properly, you can TURN your life around. One of the definitions of ‘turn’ is ‘to change or alter the course of’. God does allow U-turns. Turning back to Him is also a great course to follow. There are U-turns in the MAP. See the book of Jonah for more info.


Prayer:
WOW! Praise you Lord for the words from Your Word and Your Spirit. May it be used to Your glory, and to further Your Kingdom. Lord, I thank You for Your ways, which are definitely higher than my ways. I thank you for Your plans for my life, and those whom I love. Help me to help equip the ‘next generation’ of Your children (physical children and spiritual children). Help me to dig into your “Map of Life”, and let Your Word become ‘common knowledge’ in me. Encourage me as I encourage others to choose your path of righteousness. Thank You Lord for all Your many benefits and blessings that You have given and will give to us, most of all being the life of Your precious Son Jesus, and it is in His name that I pray all these things and more. AMEN!


BE BLESSED as you sow GOOD seeds and keep CRYIN’ out to God!

Jan 2, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ~ WHITE AS SNOW...


" 'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."
ISAIAH 1:18 NIV

So here in Southwestern Ontario, we had a GREEN Christmas... how sad is that. Well it was still a blessing celebrating the BIRTH of our SAVIOUR with friends and family. But now, that it is the 2nd day of 2010, our city is full of the WHITE STUFF! Looking at the SNOW makes you think of many things. Some people have feelings of JOY when they think of sledding, snowball fights, building a snowman, making snow angels, skating, and more... Others may have feelings of FEAR, as it brings the thoughts of accidents, and getting lost in the snow. Me, I love SNOW, because of the fun things that were mentioned alongside JOY, but also because it reminds me of the Bible Verse that Jesus washes us white as snow. It is a NEW YEAR, and if we have asked for repentance, we have a NEW clean slate to start out our lives with. I reminded our Junior Church 'ReignForest of Faith' Children of this true and exciting fact. Some people hate change, and new things... but I love it!

In the Bible, it says that JESUS came to set us free, and He died for our sins. He sends our transgressions from us as far as the East is from the West. That is exciting news for all of us. Our BLACKENED hearts that are full of sin, can now be washed WHITE as SNOW, because of the RED blood of Jesus!

Do you have this FREEDOM? Have you accepted JESUS as your LORD & SAVIOUR? Well what better way to start the NEW YEAR than with Jesus by your side. He is your Pilot, not your co-pilot. He will lead you into GREAT new things, and will do EXCEEDINGLY and ABUNDANTLY more than you can ask or think or imagine! ("Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV)

To experience this FREEDOM, it's as easy as ABC...
It only takes a moment, to change your life forever. If you so desire, you can re-commit your life to Him as well too ~ it's never too late, while you are alive anyway.


A- - Admit to God you are a sinner, and repent and turn away from your sin


B- - Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He gave His life for you and me


C- - Confess your faith in Jesus as your Saviour and your Lord forevermore

This simple prayer will change you from the inside out.




Another thought regarding the SNOW, is that it is fresh and unmarred... one of my dear friends wrote this quote... it is worth pondering. "On this New Year's day, as I look at the beautiful white blanket of snow--no footprints--nothing but an expanse of white : I'm reminded of how much it is like today---a whole year before us--untrodden-unmarred. May the footprints we make-if followed, lead others in paths of peace and righteousness and point them toward the ONE leading us." (E.K.) Isn't that so true? We have a NEW path set before us this year. May we truly walk in the path that the Lord is leading us on, and not live by our own desires and dreams. May we remember that God does have a plan for each of us, and that plan includes living eternally, where none should perish! "FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU SAYS THE LORD..."

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,' declares the LORD, 'and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'" JEREMIAH 29:11-14 NIV 

We were reminded by our Pastor on Christmas Eve, that God indeed does have a plan for all of us. No matter what we've done, where we've been, or who we've been with, God still deeply loves each one of us, and wants the BEST for us! Remember this truth, as you begin your NEW YEAR!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you and bring you peace! (Numbers 6:24-26)

~Blessings;

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