Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | July 12, 2012

New Beginnings

Proverbs 16:1 (KJV) 1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:49 (KJV) 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. _________________________________________________________

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Time for a fresh start. Out with the old, in with the new. This concept motivated me clean to out my closet. It was not long before I was trying on stuff I had not worn for years. A favorite belt. I remembered having it made, hand tooled, with my name on it. Pulling it out of the box, I noticed the two extra holes I had punched in it, the last of which was near the tip. That was a long time ago. Why did I still have it?

No longer could the belt be adjusted to fit my changed form. It was past time to let it go. I discarded a lot of items but some, though no longer useful, I folded and placed back into boxes. Did I really believe I would use them again? I acknowledged only part of the problem. My logic calculated a rational solution. Yes, the things were too small but my solution was to adjust them so I could keep wearing them. The real problem was weight gain and ‘I’ needed to be adjusted, not my clothes.

How often in our lives do we make ‘adjustments’ rather than allowing God to make lasting changes? What do we hang on to, carrying around in our hearts and minds… unforgiveness, resentment, selfishness, arrogance, pride, or guilt? Many of the issues involved occurred a long time ago. Why do we keep the clutter?

God’s design for believers’ transformation is this: conviction, submission, transformation. The Holy Spirit convicts us of errors in our thoughts, ways, and deeds. He prompts us to be transformed to the character of Jesus Christ. What we have to do is choose to submit to the Will of God. We realize we have problems but rather than surrender matters to the Lord, we get busy thinking, rationalizing, and planning what we feel will cause us the least stress. When there has to be any changes made, we want it to be somebody else.

Your time for a fresh start can be today. Take inventory. Why are you keeping feelings and emotions you do not want? Get rid of the old. God will take it, if you give it to Him. He replaces those areas with renewed joy, peace, and love. God’s gifts adjust YOU. You do not adjust them. Discard unhealthy habits. Get rid of old baggage. He fixes it right, the first time.

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Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | July 12, 2012

Stranger than Fiction

Revelation 21:4 (KJV) 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.    
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Listening to testimonies and true stories of people’s lives validate the saying, “Life is stranger than fiction.” Make-believe allows room for the imagination to wonder about prior events and outcomes of the story. Our lives on the other hand, have real beginnings and real, final endings. There is no sequel or continuation at another time. This is one chance. One lifetime is all we have to get it right…to get it right with God.

When you hurt, it is real. When you cry, it is real. When you anguish over life’s pressures, it is real. Why do things have to be so intense? Why can’t we just move from glory to glory instead of feeling as if we struggle from pain to pain? I used to think that if I wrote the script for my life, many things would be different. My relationships, jobs, home, finances…would all be perfect to please me. To arrange my own circumstances sounded like a good solution.

Then I met the author and finisher of my faith, Jesus Christ. What a difference! Where I could not see, He led. Where I could not hear, He heard. Where I could not go, He went. Where I hurt, He healed. Where I anguished, He replaced with joy. What was intense became less important and peaceful. God directs our lives in a series of learning experiences so that we may know Him better. Our input needs to be consistent prayer and submission to His well-planned authority.

For those of us who know the saving power of Jesus and live in that power, we know the end of the story. We move through the different scenes of life with the final act being death to this world. We proceed off stage into the everlasting presence of the Lord. This new eternal life has no end. The beginning is the moment of your conversion. What goes on between then and the physical death we face is what builds our faith, integrity, and character.

Change is hard. We resist because we do not like the unknown. Saints, we know the ending of our lives with Christ…there isn’t one! We have eternal life in the presence of our almighty God. It is not make-believe. It is real. Go ahead. Re-read the end of the story of your life. That is the best part.

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | June 11, 2012

Wrong Direction

Hebrews 2:1 (KJV)
1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

Jeremiah 23:22 (KJV)
22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

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This was a first. Graham catches the football, tucks it under his arm , spins around and runs as fast as he can. Before today, Graham always fumbled a ball thrown to him. He is about to score a his first touchdown. No opposing team players try to stop him. Wallace, Graham’s father and coach, runs along the sideline, flapping his arms frantically, desperate to get Graham’s attention.

Out of the corner of his eye, Graham spots his dad and interprets his father’s actions as ‘enthusiastic cheering’. To the contrary, Wallace wants Graham to change direction. Graham rapidly approaches the goal post. He crosses into the in zone and raises his arms up, in victory. This little ‘Pee Wee’ football player scores points for the other team! The fact that Graham went in the wrong direction crushes both Graham’s and Wallace’s egos. This is forgivable for a four year old. His dad, however, endures teasing by other team members’ fathers.

Mistakes frequently occur because we do not listen or simply choose not to obey the voice of wisdom. We fail to heed warnings. We miscalculate attempts to redirect our attention as meddling or as folks ‘trying to be in our business’.  Read More…

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | June 6, 2012

Pray Now

Luke 18:1 (KJV)
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

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A friend calls and asks, “Will you pray for me?”

“Of course I will. Please…anything for you!”

Just as I got down on my bended knee

I thought of something urgent I must do

 

So off I went, to do a single chore

But before long, something else I started

“I’ve got to pray. I’ll do one thing more.”

Again from my prayer closet, I departed

 

The day moved on, still many things unfinished

I kept my ‘promise to pray’ on my mind

By day’s end, the thought to pray is diminished

Now I lay in my bed comfortably reclined

 

“Lord, hear me now before I go to sleep”

Nothing else said; I did not stay awake

My promise to my friend I did not keep

My friend’s request for prayer, did I forsake

 

Take a moment to send up timber

Anytime is a good time to God, to pray

Satan does not want us to remember

He does everything to cause delay

 

God’s precedence, divinely perfect and true

Does not exist merely with ‘good intention’

Jesus the Advocate, prays for you

What others’ prayers neglect to mention

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | June 5, 2012

Waiting on the Promise

Micah 6:6-8 (KJV)
6 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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God’s faithful promises, our hope in waiting

Yet, impatience reigns, as if it’s a virtue

Unanswered prayer is painful and frustrating

Or is it our will, not God’s, that we pursue?

By what the world offers, we are pressed and stressed

Sin and strain, occurring right in our faces

We forget to focus on how much we are blessed,

Freely joining in those sins, in many cases

“I love Christ. I’m a good person,” your refrain

“I don’t do or want, ways from ‘back in the day’ “

But un-Christ-like thoughts and behavior remain

As if God and His Word don’t prove a new way

We choose not to obey what the Spirit has said

Acting as if we don’t hear what God has to say

Unsatisfied with receiving our daily bread

With want lists longer than our give lists, we pray

Believe the bible when it says God is not mocked

He knows our thoughts and deeds when others do not

On judgment day, I hope you are not shocked

Or think you’ll enter heaven because God forgot

The death penalty for sin is what God forgets

When in His Son, Jesus Christ, your faith is placed

In the world, not of the world…live with no regrets

Choose to live with God’s Word and will, fully embraced

Fulfillment comes only after instruction

God prepares, when He calls each one of us to serve

Do not forget we are saints under construction

Recognize salvation is more than we deserve

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | June 5, 2012

Interview with a Blind Man

Isaiah 43:2 (KJV)
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
 2 Peter 1:5-9 (KJV)
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

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The building is old, raggedy, and on the verge of being condemned. But, to Mr. Sales and twenty other residents, it is home. City authorities repeatedly demand that the landlord to make changes. Somehow sufficient band-aid remedies enable the slumlord to retain the permit to rent the apartments.

Why do residents stay? Some believe they cannot do any better, and some just will not do what it takes to have better.  What is Mr. Sales’ stand? He has outlived several landlords over his forty-year stay in the same place. He married, raised his children, and a couple of grand-kids, in this place. Mr. Sales is of sound mind and good health at age seventy-eight. His children have concern  for his safety.  Mr. Sales insists he will not leave his home. Now, widowed for many years, he lives alone. Oh yes. Mr. Sales is blind!

Early one morning, before dawn, screaming sirens awaken Mr. Sales. He jumps up, grabs his robe, which he always draped over the chair by his bed, and goes to the door to listen for voices and other sounds. The sirens  are now silent. Mr. Sales smells smoke. Fire is in the building. No one knocks on the old man’s door to alert him. None of the residents thinks about him until they are safe outside of the blazing structure.

Destruction is rapid. In a matter of minutes, the roof collapses on one end. It is too dangerous for anyone, including the firemen, to enter. Mr. Sales hurries and wets a large towel in the kitchen sink and puts it on his head. He drops to the floor and crawls out of his third floor apartment into the hallway. His pace is steady and methodical. Being blind for so many years aided Mr. Sales in developing a keen sense of direction within familiar surroundings. Though he had never crawled the path before, Mr. Sales discerns the ‘stride’ to his crawl as compared to the number of steps as if he was walking. He hears the building falling apart and fire crackling around him. Read More…

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | May 16, 2012

Lead Me

Exodus 15:13 (KJV)
13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

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LEAD ME

 

Lead me, O Lord, to live and do as you say

To follow you, Lord, do I choose this day.

Guide, even when the road I can not see

Make my life what you would have it be.

 

From time to time, off your lit path I stray

When I lose focus and choose not to obey

Your loving kindness draws me again and again

With a repentant heart, I confess my sin.

 

Complete holiness, my goal; however I miss the mark

Though I am a child of the Light and not of the dark

You forgive and forgive, more than I deserve

That’s why it is you, Jesus, I love and serve.

 

Lead me, O Lord, with mercy, grace and care

Fellowship with me, our relationship to share

Remain near, Lord; walk with me all my days

Thank you, Lord, for being with me always.

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | May 15, 2012

Well Dressed

Ephesians 6:10-12 (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (KJV)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
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What a sight! Did you see that lady? She is naked. Believe me, it is not a welcome view. She is wearing clothes but her weaknesses, bruises, flaws and old wounds are easy prey to the attack and influence of the world. What a shame. This Christian is blessed to be well dressed, by the world’s standards. She failed to dress for success in the kingdom. she failed to pray to God for preparation for her daily battle.

If the lady had put on her helmet of salvation, she would have withstood Satan’s charge to control her thoughts. Her mind would reflect the mind of Christ. If she had worn her breastplate of righteousness, her heart would be for things of God and not of this world. Had this fine upstanding woman not left home without her belt of truth, she would not have fallen victim to Satan’s lie of self-sufficiency. Her responses to challenges would demonstrate God’s revealed truth and not her emotions.

Read More…

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | May 13, 2012

Bland Diet

Matthew 5:13-14 (KJV)
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Revelation 3:16 (KJV)
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

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I went to visit my great aunt, who was in her 90s. She offered me some of her dinner. I respectfully and politely declined. She chuckled and said she did not want it either. The doctors had put her on a bland diet–no salt, no fat, no sugar, nothing fried. You get the picture. The doctors chose this diet for my great aunt to achieve the desired health results.

Psychologists determined the color of surroundings influence employees’ production rates. Many offices and cubicles are beige or gray. Though we consider these neutral colors, the stated psychological significance is that the earth tones hold us to earth and materialistic thoughts. The decor, for example, would be gray walls, gray carpet, gray chairs, gray computers, gray cabinets, grey telephones, gray staplers. Bland but effective for business. Got the image?

Read More…

Posted by: mountainsinthevalley | March 27, 2012

Surrounded

The car sped past me on the highway, weaving in and out, cutting people off,  barely escaping initiating  an accident. “Where are the cops when you need them?” Checking my rear view mirror, I saw a police car in the distance, heading my way with flashing lights. “Finally, justice”, I remember thinking.  I pulled over to yield and to my unpleasant surprise, the officer pulled over behind me. I received a warning ticket for a malfunctioning signal light! Was this justice? Where was this guy when I had to swerve out of the other driver’s path?

Many deal with situations and ask, “Where is God when you need Him?” Circumstances fill Christian lives where God is visible only with a discerning spiritual eye searching wholeheartedly for Him. We walk daily by faith, living in His presence, whether we see Him or not. Read More…

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