The Carpenter

An elderly carpenter told his contractor of his plans to retire. The contractor asked him to build one more house as a personal favour.

The carpenter agreed to do it. Yet, this time, the carpenter didn’t put his heart into his work; he used cheap materials and bad workmanship.

After the house was finished, the contractor came by and told the carpenter, “Here is the key to the front door. The house is my gift to you for your years of service.” What a shock! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well. So it is with us. We are now living the life we have built.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Each action you take is a nail hammered, a board placed, or a wall erected. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and choices you make today.

Quotes: “Do not throw the arrow, which will return against you.” – Kurdish Proverb

“Anyone can predict your future, all they have to do is take a close look at the actions that you are taking today”

As He Is, So We Are

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world – 1 Jn. 4.17.

The beginning of our Christian experience according to John was the gift of the power to become sons of God. If no other portion of the scripture was written to expatiate on this, we would have been locked, as we think, to a state far away from God’s transcedence; a state that we can only escape bye and bye.

That power works in us now, not just to reveal Christ in us, but to do the same through us. He came to this world and “… became what we are that he might make us what he is” (Athenasius of Alexandria).

The love of God is perfected to us in that as His beloved “…now are we the sons of God…” because as he is, so are we in this world. What a glorious basis for boldness when we shall appear before Him.

Let this mind be in you.

Christ, Head of the Church

By J. Michael Shannon

Can you believe it? The head of a baby Jesus statue was knocked off and carried away by vandals at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church, Wauwatosa, Wis.. The church members are angry and looking to get the statue fixed. If the head is not found, the church will have to replace the entire statue at $12,000.

Disturbing! Isn’t it? We often have done something worse without even knowing it. The Bible says Christ is the head of the church, and frequently we assume we are. Understanding that Christ is the head of the church will not solve all our problems, and we still will debate and discuss what we think Jesus would have us do; but it is guaranteed that if we take Jesus away from His place as head of the church it is a prescription for disaster.

His Will Must be Done

The night on which He was betrayed started as the night in which He reclined at the table with them in a festive mood for the last time. He ate with them with His eyes on the future. Salvation at last has come to mortals; for those who shall believe, provision of eternal redemption was about to be made. Hence he said, this is my body… this is my blood….

Amazingly, they left the table with a wrong perspective. The concern of some of them was who shall be the chiefest. Let it not be so among you”, he said in response.

How things should be henceforth is found in the garden called Gethsemane. He struggled with the flesh as He stood close to the implementation of the way out for sinners who have been all their lives subjected to vanity. Their salvation would require that flesh should be put under. His humility was not yet complete, not until the cross.

“Not my will”, He said, “but yours be done”

This is the weekend to reflect on our pursuits and ambitions to align them with His; time to use the willingness of the spirit to subdue the weakness and the vulnerabilities of the flesh; time to say not my will but yours be done.

We can dream bigger dreams and have our eyes on the world as the constituency of our service,; but it must be in tune with His will.

God bless you

IAT™

Easter and the Cross

In a church marketing newsletter just a few years ago, a campaign was suggested to attract people to church during the season of Easter. In this public relations campaign, it was suggested the cross be removed from the altar. According to the author, a survey has revealed the cross is one of those symbols the new generation of churchgoers considered too churchy. One pastor interviewed for the campaign gave his wholehearted endorsement. “We are going to attempt to concentrate on the resurrection, and not the death of Jesus.”

Easter without the cross. Is it possible to have resurrection without crucifixion? No. It distorts the entire gospel if crucifixion is separated from resurrection. The road to the empty tomb will forever pass by a cross. The One who is raised from the dead is none other than the crucified Christ. Easter without a cross is a hoax

Trust God And Keep Going

“Gideon crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit” – Judges 8:4 NKJV

Are you thinking of quitting? You believed you could make a difference until they poured criticism and cold water on you. At that point you decided it was easier to adjust your expectations to their opinion and just keep smiling. Don’t do it; God has too much invested in you! The comfort zone is for those who are exempt from pain but denied progress; protected from failure but held in the grip of mediocrity. Get up and get out of there while you still can: ‘… Strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die… ‘ (Revelation 3:2 NKJV). Open your Bible and begin to fill your mind with God’s promises; they’re powerful motivators. Pray, believing God for great things. Plug in at church. Rekindle your desire, for ultimately that’s what determines your destiny! Jesus suffered the loss of His disciples, His friends, and even His clothes (John 19:23-24). But they couldn’t rob Him of ‘… the joy that was set before him… ‘ (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV). Even while He was dying He continued to minister. Then He went into hell, came out with the lock and keys and announced, ‘I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore… ‘ (Revelation 1:18 NKJV). And He is your example!

When Gideon fought the Midianites we read that he ‘… came to the Jordan, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit’. Because Gideon refused to let the Jordan River intimidate him, or fatigue stop him, God gave him a great victory! And He will do the same for you.

The Word for Today and scripture citations are copyright.

When God Says “No”

Communication is an interesting matter. We all see and hear through a filter that has been shaped by our life events and how we have processed them. Our filters often like to hear “yes,” and we can even tolerate “wait,” as long as that wait is short-term. But we aren’t fond of the word “no” from God. In fact, when we hear “no,” we tend to believe it is the enemy blocking us, and so we muster our faith to rebuke the resistance.

In reality, it may be the “wind” of the Holy Spirit—that metaphor so often used to describe God’s presence and working in our lives—that is causing the resistance. I read a commentary on Acts 16 that described this passage like part of St. Patrick’s benediction that says, “May the wind be always at your back.”

This was true for Paul’s second missionary journey as they started to nurture the believers: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5, NIV). In two instances, God says “no” to Paul regarding the direction he and his band of missionaries are about to take.

As we know, the wind can blow in some unexpected directions, as it did for this group. Though we don’t know the method God used to speak “no,” it was clear that they had been “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (v. 6). Then again, when they tried to enter Bithynia, “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So …’ (vv. 7-8).

The wind was blowing against them in some manner, but they seemed to understand the “no” of God was simply a redirection. Notice the word “so” in Acts 16:8. It was their response to God’s “no.” They knew the change of the wind wasn’t intended to cause them to stop moving, nor was it for them to press into the wind and go against it.

Paul and his team had also come to discern the difference between being tossed to and fro by the wind rather than being led by it.

“How does God guide his church to the right place for mission? There will be ‘closed’ as well as ‘open doors.’ There will be guidance addressed to individuals as well as to the entire team. There will be guidance via circumstances, sometimes extraordinary, as well as through the use of reason in evaluating circumstances in the light of God’s Word. And specific guidance will come only to those who are already on the road, living out their general obedience to the Great Commission. Being able to say, ‘God sent me; I come with the wind at my back,’ is a strong witness to one’s hearers that one’s message is from God and true” (IVP New Testament Commentary Series, published by InterVarsity Press).

Do you feel as if a strong wind is blowing against you? Listen for God’s “no,” and see if He isn’t redirecting you. There may be people waiting for you in your “Macedonia” (see Acts 16:9-15).

By: Tammy Dunahoo, Foursquare Vice President and General Supervisor

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