I Spy God

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I am sure you have all played the “I Spy” game. When Fiela and Tanaka were a little younger, they enjoyed playing the “I Spy” game at home, at a restaurant, and particularly, in the car.  This game keeps us entertained for long distances during road trips. We play this game to pass the time.  We play this game to observe some details we, otherwise, would miss.   I recently read about a game called the “I Spy God game.”  To play the game, you look for places and times where God is working throughout the day.  Be conscious to “spy God at work in your life.”

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In the fast-paced world in which we live, it is easy to miss small but important details.  We are so busy such that we gloss over God’s cues and directions. It is often easy to “get in the zone,” with work and fail to see the evidence of God’s work around, in and through us.  We end up running on fumes; working to help just one more family, drive this person, do one more thing.  By the end of the day, we are exhausted and extremely tired.  We wake up early to repeat the tiring process again.  Phew!!

If you slow down enough, you will recognize God’s work around you.  If you pay attention, you will see what He is doing in your life.  If you “spy” on Him, you will see Him doing amazing things in your life. If you are alert, you will notice His signs when you are lost.  If you listen closely, you will feel His touch when you are lonely.  You may not see it, but God is at work in your life.  God is using you to touch the lives of those around you.  If you have been wondering if you are making a difference, I say “yes, you have been.”

  • Start looking at what is happening around you.
  • Look for places and times where God is working throughout the day.
  • Be conscious to “spy God at work in your life.”
  • Have you spied on God today?
  • What is God doing at your work or school?
  • How is God working in your life, family?
  • Have you sensed God nudge towards something lately?
  • Don’t miss the cues!

Try to share with someone everyday what you spy God doing.

It’s amazing how we will notice that in the busyness of life, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

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I’ll Find My Way at the Cross

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John 14:6, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

When we were in London for the Boundless Congress in July 2015, I was thrilled to finally get off the London underground train at the Charing Cross Station.  The local Londoners call it for short, “the Cross.”  Being at “the Cross,” reminded me of a story I heard from a British minister many years ago.  He said, “A five-year-old boy at play wandered away from home and was lost. He tried one street after another. Nothing looked familiar – nothing. Soon the lad was crying as he peered at buildings and signs, searching for home.

A helpful policeman found the frightened boy. He wiped away tears and asked the standard questions: do you remember the name of your street? – no; how about your house number – I don’t know; telephone number – it has a five in it, that’s all I remember. The policeman looked pensive. Suddenly the boy brightened and through his tears said eagerly, “Sir, take me to the Cross. I can find my way home from there!”

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  •  Busyness. As Christians, we often find the daily grind taking away from the path.  Some wander away due to the busyness of life.  They find themselves slowly drifting away from meeting with God due to the demands of a full schedule.
  • Suffering. Others wander away due to anger and sadness.  They recently experienced trying difficult times.  They have told themselves why stay on the path which brings so much pain?
  • Sin. Others have wandered away from the path due to temptations and sin.  The cunning lure of darkness has slowly pulled them away from the straight and narrow.  They are no longer the pious, holy people they used to be.  Sin is slowly devouring them.
  • Apathy.  Others have wandered away due to apathy.  They just do not care for anything.  They want to be left alone.  They do not care if they worship God or not.  Life is just bland.  Who cares, right?
  • Pleasures. Others have wandered away due to the luring joys and pleasures of this world.  The temporary joys and pleasures of the world have screamed louder and louder for their attention.  Without any shame, they have willingly walked away from God, to pursue these pleasures.

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Whatever the condition.  However you have ended where you are.  You will find our way home, if you go back to the Cross.  The way home goes by the Cross.  The Way of Salvation leads through Calvary.  If you find yourself wondering how you got where you are, just go back to the Cross for the best directions home.

Are you lost?  Are you wandering away from the Truth?

Hit the reset button.  Come back to the Cross.

There, you will find your way to Christ.

Are You Heading the Wrong Way?

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II Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Sir Wilfred Grenfell was a missionary to Labrador, and Newfoundland, Canada. A generous donor gave Sir Grenfell a boat for him to use on his missionary trips.  The boat would help the missionary navigate the treacherous waters around the islands.  One night, Sir Grenfell received a call for help from someone needing urgent medical attention.  He jumped into his new boat and headed towards the island from which the call had come.

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Though Sir Grenfell knew the location of the island, finding the island in the midst of the dark night proved difficult.  Sir Grenfell had to rely on the guidance of the compass.  He soon realized the compass was giving him wrong directions.  He could not spot any land in sight.  In fact, he was heading into the open sea waters.  He turned around the boat to return home.  He was fortunate to make it home safely.

On the following day, Sir Grenfell examined the boat compass.  He discovered the compass was malfunctioning.  The person who had affixed the compass onto the boat had used some steel screws instead of all brass screws.  Steel attracts magnets.  The steel screws had pulled the magnetic compass needle toward itself. Instead of following the True North, the boat compass had provided directions to itself.

The same is true of us humans.  We are born bent on following our self-interests rather than following the True God!  As humans we fail to chart our course towards God, instead we chart a course towards self-sufficiency.  We are born with an inherent desire to be self-centered, selfish, self-absorbed.

II Cor. 5:17 states we become new creatures at our conversion.

Colossians 1:13 States Jesus has rescued us from the powers of darkness.  He has brought us into the Kingdom of God.

Since Jesus came into our lives, we are now under new leadership.

Galatians 2:20 states our old selves have been crucified with Christ

Although we are now new creatures, the old self often rears its head.  Christ must reign.  We must, therefore, seek to follow His leadership.  We must no longer follow our former way of self-centeredness and selfishness.

  • Where are you headed?
  • Are you following God’s directions or your own?
  • How is it working for you?
  • What would your life look like if you followed God’s directions?
  •  What do you need to give up so you can follow God?

Keep Doing Good!

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Many of us invest much time and resources in doing good for others.  Thank you.  However, we tend to get tired and discouraged along the way.  We tend to lose heart as we see less positive results.  We tend to give up when the harvest yield is below expectations. Doing good is especially hard when it’s not complimented or encouraged.  Doing good is difficult when it is not reciprocated. Doing good is challenging when fatigue sets in.  Doing good is hard when the recipients do not notice; do not care; or do not want it. Doing God is hard when opposition rears its head.

Giving up becomes enticing.  Throwing in the towel seems appealing. But, before you take any drastic measures, I want to remind you, God sees all the good you do.  God will bless you for all you do.

Here are some encouraging words for you?

Galatians 6:9-10, ”Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

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John Wesley,Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

 

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

 People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

 

Praying the Scriptures

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I had a wonderful time with God during prayer this morning.  I prayed through various Scriptures.  I am still meditating on Psalm 40, which blessed me much. Here are few notes I wrote this morning:

There are times when I dwell on my challenges and failures.
There are times when I feel overwhelmed and defeated.
There are times when negative and depressing thoughts fill my mind.
Praise God that He speaks to us through His Word.  The devil is a liar.
God is still on the throne.
Though life may seem hard,
Though sin may threaten to destroy us;
We will be victorious, if we remain faithful to God.

We praise God when we do not feel like it.
We praise Him when the going gets tough.
We praise Him in the midst of the good, the bad, and the painful.
We praise Him in the midst of confusion and questions.
We praise Him because we know He hears us.
Our Almighty God will deliver us.  He will surely fight for us.

Check this out.  Psalm 40:1-5 (I encourage you to read Psalm 40 and 107 a few times a day)

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;  he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.  Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.  Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.  None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”

Reasons Why You Should Give To God

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  1. God expects you to give. In Malachi 3:10, God says, “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse”.  The storehouse refers to the place where you worship.  Give to God through your home church, the place where you are spiritually fed.
  1. Giving is a sign of spiritual growth.  God tells us in Luke 16:11, “if therefore you have not been faithful in the use of money, how can you expect Him to entrust greater riches to you?”  We have been blessed by God. Recognizing God’s blessings, prompts us to reciprocate through giving back to Him. All we have belongs to God.  God provides our needs.
  1. Giving shows you trust God.  When you give, you are trusting God to provide and take care of you. You give because He first gave you.
  2. Giving is an investment for eternity.  In Matthew 6:19, Jesus told us to “store up treasure in heaven.”  When you give your tithes and offerings to the Lord’s work, you are investing your money in souls for the Kingdom, and helping to get people to heaven.
  1. When you give, God will bless you.  In Galatians 6:7, God says, “do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap.”  God is watching, and whatever you give to Him, He will give back to you.  Giving unlocks heaven’s gates on your behalf.  You cannot out-give God.  The more you give to Him, the more He’ll give back to you.

Try Him.  See how He will bless you when you give.

  • What keeps you from giving? Why?
  • What is one thing you spend your money on that is unhealthy for you or is a waste of money?
  • What is something you bought on impulse that you realized later you didn’t really need?
  • If you think back to one of the most financially generous things you ever did for the Lord’s work, what was it?
  • What practical steps are you taking to make sure you continue to give to the work of the Lord?

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10 Amazing Things That Happened to me in 2016

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In 2016, I saw the Lord.  Psalm 126:3 states, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

  1. Preaching ministry. Had the humbling privilege of preaching the Gospel in  Zimbabwe, Hawaii, Canada, Missouri, West Virginia,  and local churches.

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  1. Brengle Institute. Had the opportunity to teach at The Salvation Army’s Brengle Institute in Zimbabwe.

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  1. My bride Rutendo graduated with a BA degree in Christian Counseling from Nazarene Bible College.

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  1. The move. In May, we received our marching orders.  After serving for five years as the leaders of The Salvation Army El Cajon Corps, we were being appointed to be the leaders of The Salvation Army Pasadena Tabernacle.  It hurt to leave our friends and family in El Cajon.  But, we were blessed to meet our new family and friends in Pasadena – our new home!
  1. Master’s Degree. I had the privilege of graduating with a Master of Science in Leadership degree from Grand Canyon University.

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  1. Cruise Ship. It was my longtime dream to go on a cruise.  Spending two weeks on the floating city was a dream come true! http://www.celebritycruises.com/htmlpage/mediterranean-cruises#photo_container
  1. Lands of the Bible Study Tour.  We flew to Germany, then on to Greece.  We got on the cruise ship in Athens on to Ephesus, Turkey. Rhodes, Greece.  Cyprus.  Israel.  Malta.  Italy. Home.

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  1. General Cox. We had the great honor and humbling privilege of hosting the International leader of The Salvation Army, General Andre Cox, and his wife Commissioner Silvia Cox.

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  1. Doctorate Program Acceptance. In November, I received an acceptance into the doctorate program – Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/edd-organizational-development
  2. Crestmont Advisory Council.  In November, I received the letter of my appointment to serving at The Salvation Army College For Officers Training’s Crestmont Advisory Council. “The Crestmont Council is the educational authority for the College for Officer Training at Crestmont, an educational unit of The Salvation Army, and is responsible for the oversight of education and training of The Salvation Army’s candidates for officership, including the approval of the liberal arts/ministry curriculum and the quality of the training and practical field experience.

The Council in its authority is obligated to carry out its oversight of the college by adhering to The Salvation Army Western Territory policies and procedures in its educational, accreditation, and administrative duties as well as standards imposed by our external accrediting body.

The Crestmont Council is responsible for the quality, integrity, and financial stability of the College and for ensuring the religious and moral content of the programs and courses of study are consistent with Salvation Army beliefs and principles and are congruent with the standards of the ACCJC and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).”