Tag Archive | Encouraging

Whose Flag Are You Flying?

Lately piracy in the seas around Somalia has been in the news. Just this past weekend the Captain of the Maersk Alabama was rescued from pirates after being held captive for five days. The US military ships surrounded the lifeboat containing the four pirates and the American ship captain. After a standoff, the Navy Seals shot and killed the pirates and rescued the American when the captain was deemed to be at risk of being shot.

Today the news has included several more reports of hijacking and piracy attempts. A pirate has stated that they are actually searching for American ships with the plans to hijack and kill all the Americans. They are specifically looking for the American Flag flying over a ship. This is in retaliation for the Navy killing the pirates in the rescue.

When a ship out at sea is found to be flying an American Flag that means something. What does it mean? It means that the ship is backed by the US government. All terrorism and attacks against the ship run the very high risk of retaliation by the US government.

My studies in military history have shown there is much in a name. While a small country could be at the mercy of pirates, larger countries are not helpless. Countries such as the US can escort ships and they can retaliate in the case of an attack. Also the US has political sway over other countries, granted not as much as before, but we still do. Small countries are dependent on their political allies. This is much of the reason for the First Gulf War – protecting Kuwait from Iraq. There are Fillipinos who have been held captive by pirates since November and there is little their country can and will do about the situation.

So how does this apply here in our Christian Life?

Whose flag are you under? Are you under the flag of the Lord?

In the Bible, the phrase Yehovah Nicciy means Jehovah my banner. Nec (root word) might be translated as banner, flag or standard while the word Degel is also translated flag, banner or standard.

Exodus 17:15-16
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
KJV

Exodus 17:15-16
15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner,
16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
ESV

Psalms 60:4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah ESV

Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. ESV

Isaiah 13:2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. KJV

We as those who Christ as ransomed have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
ESV

We are flying the Lord’s Banner or Flag with the Holy Spirit as our guarantor.

When others decide to “mess with us” then they run the risk of facing the full wrath and fury of the Lord. We are backed by the Lord and all His resources.

However, just like today with the shipping situation, those under the Lord’s banner also risk being singled out by Satan for attacks. Satan hates the Lord and by association us. Satan will do all in his power to attack those flying the Lord’s banner.

As a matter of fact, the Lord has warned us that this will happen.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ESV

Just as the US has warned American ships to be extra vigilant during the recent pirate crises; the Lord has warned us that Satan is sneaking around looking for those who are caught off guard.

But we shouldn’t live in fear because the Lord is on our side.

Psalms 118:4-8
4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
ESV

Having the Lord as our protection and shield is better than having all the military might of the whole world behind us.

Psalms 18:2-3
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
ESV


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What Are You Doing With What You’ve Been Given?

Ever complain about having enough time or energy to do all that the Lord would have you do?

Do you think you just don’t have any reason to encourage others because your life is so difficult?

Are you grumbling or giving thanks?

Num 14:27 “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me?” ESV

Ps 105:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! ESV

After watching this video see if you can still complain!

About Nick Vujicic

It says in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy, my Brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

It seemed like a tall order to “count” hurt, pain and struggle as nothing but “pure joy” when my birth date arrived. My parents were Christians; my Dad was even a Pastor of our church, so that verse was quite familiar to them. However, on the morning of December 4th , 1982, in Melbourne, Australia, the last two words on the minds of my parents was “Praise God!”. Their firstborn son had been born without limbs! There were no warnings or time to prepare themselves for it. Having no answers at all, the doctors were completely shocked and taken off guard!

The whole church mourned over my birth and my parents were absolutely devastated. “If God is a God of love,”  they questioned, “Then why would He let something like this happen, and especially to committed Christians?” My Dad did not think I would survive for very long. But, tests proved that I was a healthy baby boy with just one hitch, I’d been born without any limbs.

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Are You Preparing For The Next Race?

Below is an email I received from a Christian sister from across the country. I thought it was very encouraging. Who hasn’t squandered their time and not prepared for the upcoming trials? Or who hasn’t had another ask for help during a trial and found that since the last trial they haven’t been in God’s Word or had been slack in church attendance?

Those running the race must work hard before each trial. We cannot show up at the “Olympic” Trials without having spent serious time in preparation.

1 Cor 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ESV

2 Tim 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ESV

Heb 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ESV

To all my dear sisters in the Lord:

Something has been long on my mind and moreso recently. It is my hope that you will be edified by what I have to say and that it encourages all of us to seek first the kingdom.

I thoroughly enjoy it whenever I hear from any one of you – I really do. But, I’ve noticed that oftentimes those moments only come when there is stress and turmoil in your lives or there is some need for prayer. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying…I do want to know how I might pray for each and every one of you and I would not want you to take this as me saying, ‘you only contact me when you need something’. It really isn’t the point of me writing. We are to bear one another’s burdens and to pray for the brethren.

However, what I want to touch upon is this…how are we spending our time in the interlude of the trials? Are we daily seeking God in prayer and in the Word? Are we under sound teaching that exhorts us to run the race with endurance? Are we having true Christian fellowship with other sisters and talking about the things of God? Are we daily mortifying sin in our lives? Are we willing to lose sleep if necessary to have moments with God?

I know many of us are busy either in the home with children and spouses or outside of the home in the workplace. Our time is filled with duties and responsibilities – on that, we can all agree. But, how often do we truly take advantage of the windows of time I know we are all afforded? Do we sit at the computer involving ourselves in things that do not profit the soul? Do we sit in front of the tv? Do we attend to things for our good (and temporal) pleasure? I know that most of us can admit to squandering away precious time doing nothing that profits us spiritually. There are times when I could have chosen not to sit at the computer so long or taken in the nightly news and used that time wisely to invest in knowing the God of scripture, building myself up in the faith, praying for the saints or encouraging someone else.

The reason I ask these things is because I want us to think about how we are spending our time. How will we stand in the day of trial (and they come often), when we neglect so great a salvation and our spiritual well-being? The time to prepare for battle and trials is not in the midst of them. We will have nothing with which we can fight. The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh and yet, I find that oftentimes, those who have begun to grow weary, become overwhelmed, cold in their affections toward Christ and despairing have been neglecting the Word and prayer. I can say this because I have been guilty as well. I also do not propose we will do it perfectly all the time, every time, but how much better would we fair if we had given our affections to Christ?

We will have difficulties, trials and suffering in this life, but we are assured that God will not give us more than we can bear. We can still bear the fruit of joy even though the tempest rages around us. Let us always be looking to God and crying out to him in our distress, despair and afflictions know that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He cares for us.

Often, trials come by the hand of God in order to prune us, to test us and humble us to know what is in our heart and whether we would keep His commandments (Deut 8:2). When we neglect the things of God and attend to our own ways, He will let us eat the fruit of them until we repent. We can be sure that a child of God will be disciplined because He loves us as a Father – and He is not a derelict Father.

This is not to say that all trials are for discipline, but we cannot afford to become lax in our daily seeking the things of God – seeking what is pleasing to Him, seeking to know Him intimately, resting in His strength and not our own, and trusting Him in all things knowing that He causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). We need to seek Him daily as our daily bread for our very lives depend upon it. We must daily renew our minds and present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice WHICH is our spiritual service of worship (Rom 12:1-2).

We should consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (not necessarily works that others see although it may involve this) and encouraging one another (Heb 10:24).

‘Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end…’ (Heb 3:12-14)

None of us does this perfectly, but it should be our heart’s desire to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to quickly run back to our first love when we fail. We need godly women that we can share our struggles with and ones who will always turn us back to the Lord and the cross.

I often feel lacking in what to say to comfort someone else. I want to be careful in what I say so that it is not my words and my attempts to simply make someone feel better. I do not like to see anyone suffer – especially a believer. But, I also know that the ONLY thing I truly have to offer you (or anyone) is Christ and the truth that has been revealed to us in scripture. I will always strive to point you back to Him for I know that He is much more acquainted with your situation and weaknesses. He alone can speak truth into your heart and give you peace and comfort.

I do not say these things from a lofty position because I know that I also must believe and accept what I say to be true. I need this as much as any of you so that I might stand in the day of trouble and to know in Whom I have believed and placed my faith. I need to live rightly before my God and to be mortifying sin in my life. I pray the Lord would help me in my own weaknesses.

I do not pretend to know how any of you spend your days, but I know that I often squander precious time that could have been spent in building myself up on my most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping myself in the love of God, and waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life (Jude 1:20). I want to know the One whom I will spend eternity with. If we want no part of Him in this age, we will have no part with Him in the next.

I do not want any of you to stop asking me for prayer or to feel that I want more of your time or friendship. Let us find ways to encourage one another in our faith and holy living. Simply, I want to encourage us all to be daily standing at the gates to apply ourselves to God’s wisdom and seeking and to ‘lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which SO EASILY entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…’ (Heb 12:1-2). He is worthy of our time and devotion – the One who purchased us with His own blood and saved us through no merit of our own. Let us not neglect so great a salvation!

In Christ with the utmost love and affection ~ Melissa

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Recession Not All Bad?

Yesterday on the news some think tank group the observes the economy officially declared the US to be in recession. According to them we have been in recession for eleven months now.

Economists group calls a recession

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit economists group in Cambridge, Mass., says the current economic recession began in December 2007…

But here are a few good things about being in a recession:

The price of gas –

We locally can buy gas for $1.69 a gallon. But just a few months ago we were paying almost $4.00 a gallon.

Couples staying together because of poor economy

Sometimes the financial implications of a divorce are so grim that a couple whose marriage is on the rocks decide to give it another try.

Kent Peterson, a longtime divorce mediator in Wayzata, Minn., said a young couple from the Minneapolis area were moving toward separation until they got a look at all the costs involved in divorce.

“The thinking was they need to work a little harder and stay together because of the changing asset picture,” he said.

Good for our lives –

Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon “… it will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people,” when discussing the 1929 crash of the stock market.


Repairing instead of replacing –

NPR had a news article today about how Americans are repairing older cars instead of buying new ones due to the economy.

It may improve your health.

But best of all it may cause you to reevaluate your relationship with God.

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Are You So Blessed As To Be ~ Tied Down

Tied Down

“They tie you down,” a woman said,
Whose cheeks should have been flaming red
With shame to speak of children so.
“When babies come you cannot go
In search of pleasure with your friends,
And all your happy wandering ends.
The things you like you cannot do,
For babies make a slave of you.”

I looked at her and said, “’Tis true
That children make a slave of you,’
And tie you down with many a knot,
But have you never thought to what
It is of happiness and pride
That little babies have you tied?
Do you not miss the greater joys
That come with little girls and boys?

They tie you down to laughter rare,
To hours of smiles and hours of care,
To nights of watching and to fears;
Sometimes they tie you down to tears
And then repay you with a smile,
And make your trouble all worth while.
They tie you fast to chubby feet
And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.

They fasten you with cords of love
To God divine, who reigns above.
They tie you, whereso’er you roam,
Unto the little place called home;
And over sea or railroad track
They tug at you to bring you back.
The happiest people in the town
Are those the babies have tied down.

Oh, go your selfish way and free
But hampered I would rather be,
Yes rather than a kingly crown
I would be, what you term, tied down;
Tied down to dancing eyes and charms,
Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms,
The fettered slave of girl and boy,
And win from them earth’s finest joy.

~ Edgar A. Guest

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Are You A Peculiar Person?

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Cor. 6:17.

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. KJV Titus 2:14

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” KJV 1 Peter 2:9

We are called to be a “peculiar” people. That isn’t a word we use very often anymore.

Synonyms of Peculiar – odd, strange, weird, unusual, irregular, abnormal, uncharacteristic, atypical, uncomformable, exceptional; abnormal, out of place, unnatural, off the beaten track, etc.

Are you a peculiar person or do you fit right in? Be peculiar today and everyday. If you’ve never been accused of being “peculiar” maybe you should reevaluate the way you live your life.

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