Need a Laugh?

I heard this clip on in an audio sermon and decided to see if I could find it on You Tube. Enjoy the laugh!

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Abundance of the Heart

bible-heart As a child, I’d pop out of bed on Sunday morning and learn that week’s memory verse as I brushed my teeth. I continued to recite it as I dressed and on the ride to church on the blue Sunday School Express. Earning stickers on my chart was a fairly easy endeavor. My spongy, child-sized brain soaked up verses in quick fashion.

My children have memorized scripture since they were three years old through the Awana program. Their brains are much like mine was at their age, spongy. Last week I listened as Kendall recited one of the verses she memorized (I Peter 1:22). It was followed by the question, “What are three ways you can be unselfish toward your friends?” One thing she said was, “You can think about what they want and help them get it rather than focus on what you want.”

“Do you realize that idea comes from the Bible?” I asked.

“Really? Where?” she said.

I turned to Philippians 2:3-4. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

“Oh yeah!” she said. “We learned that verse in Awanas! I forgot about that.”

What struck me about this interaction is that Kendall did not recall the verse from Philippians and yet it flowed out of her when faced with the question of how to treat your friends. It is a part of her thinking, of who she is as a person.

Psalm 119:11 says, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (KJV).  Kendall automatically knew that looking at her friend’s interests was the right thing to do because she had hidden God’s word in her heart. What other things might we be thinking and acting on that are from God’s word and we don’t even realize it? Or more daunting what might be programmed into our being that we are thinking and acting on that is not from God? Hmm, makes one wonder.

Isaiah 55:11 tells us, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. If we plant God’s word in our hearts, it will accomplish a godly mind-set. It will become part of who we are and part of our everyday thinking so that we too will automatically know how to treat a friend, or love our neighbor. We may not be able to quote the verse verbatim or even remember that our thought came from scripture. There is power in memorizing God’s word.

Although my adult brain works less like a sponge and more like a windshield covered in Rain-X, I am endeavoring to memorize some scripture this year. Not only will I set an example of life-long learning for my children, but I’ll be planting the word of truth in my heart which will become part of my thought processes and eventually pour out of me in the way that I live.

A Desperate Rescue by Ron Hunnicutt

It is very diabolical. She said  that her very own husband sold her into prostitution. What kind of man sells his  own wife to a pimp? Now she stands in a window in Amsterdam. Four hundred  windows display women segregated by nationality for wayward, predatory and  obdurate men to purchase for sex. The man who would become her husband was  traveling through Singapore, her home. She was smitten. Her family was  delighted. The day that every little girl dreams about finally occurred. Her  knight had arrived.

But before the honeymoon even  started the knockdown blow of betrayal kicked hard. They arrived in Amsterdam,  her identification and passport was seized, and she was delivered to the pimp.  Unable to speak Dutch, she was embarrassed to tell her family and afraid to go  to the police. So evil set in – every night.

I would know nothing about  “Annie” except that her unfortunate story is told by Naomi  Zacharias of Wellspring International, a division of Ravi Zacharias  Ministries. Wellspring researches and supports ministries that help  rescue women out of these desperately wicked conditions.

Amsterdam flashes world-class  fun, lights, music, glamour and excitement. They don’t advertise in bright  lights that the women, made in the image of God, are being used in the worst  way. They do not flash in neon lights that some strains of gonorrhea are  resistant to antibiotics. They also do not inform unsuspecting wives back home  of infidelity to prevent further spread of disease.

Annie was eventually able to get  a passport and return to Singapore. But once her family learned of her slip into  the abyss they disowned her. They rejected her. What word do we use when evil  strikes hard and then brutally strikes again?

She said that she returned to  Amsterdam because that’s all she knows. Even if she found redemption in a church  her identity in the congregation would be “ex-prostitute” so she shuns that  option. If she returns home the red taint of “prostitute” scorches her. So she  stands in the window with obsequious resignation but deep down she hates the men  who take advantage of her.

The germane issue is this: good  men can do something. Those of us who are struggling day in and day out to be  numbered among good men can support Wellspring. Wellspring helps organizations  that rescue these women out of these horrific situations. And like one good man said if we do for one what we wish we could do  for many then we have done something great for both the one and our own  soul.

Naomi Zacharias also spoke of  another woman who wished to jettison prostitution and acquire the skills of a  chef. With Wellspring’s benevolence she now delights the palates of patrons at a  four star hotel. So the grand idea is to support Wellspring and then find out  who you helped later in heaven. That works for me.

Anyone who listens and observes Ravi  Zacharias will quickly conclude that he is a faithful ambassador for  the things that are important to God. For those who seek the truth with a  modicum of intellectual honesty Dr. Zacharias is an invaluable resource. Engage  with due diligence and research. Prove to yourself that Wellspring is one of the  best nonprofits on the planet. And remember that most of us in America are rich  beyond imagination compared to most in the world. We can give when we really  want to.

Presume that when you support  Wellspring you are rescuing your very own daughter or sister because in God’s  economy that is precisely the case.

Want to help and make the most  impact in situations like this? What if one hundred percent (100%) of your  donation went directly to those in need? Wellspring International is  an arm of Ravi Zacharais  International Ministries. Ravi is a well-known International speaker and  defender of the Christian Faith. Administered by Ravi’s daughter Naomi Zacharais , Wellspring  covers their own expenses, investigates all requests for funds thoroughly, often  going to the location. They do the research so you can be confident that your  money goes where you want it to. One Hundred Percent (100%) of  your money goes to help women  and children in crisis.

Ron  Hunnicutt is a guest writer from Faithwriters.

Changed Tomorrows

This evening my daughter received a blessing. I watched as she held the phone to one ear and scribbled furiously with her free hand trying to keep up with Grandma’s words. She interviewed Grandma Patti about her life for a school project. As I watched her writing and caught snippets of Mom’s voice on the phone, I knew what life details were being shared, and my eyes welled with tears. Mom poured into my daughter words of life and hope. And I rejoiced.

Annalise now knows how Grandma fell in love with Jesus, and can quote Grandma’s favorite verse, Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. She also has snippets of Grandma-wisdom to carry with her. Things like, “You can’t change what happened yesterday, but you can make a difference tomorrow.” And one my siblings and I all heard a time or two: “It’s easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.”

As Annalise shot questions at Grandma and Grandma talked away, I thought of the story in Joshua chapter 4 when God commanded Joshua to have 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel, take a stone from the middle of the Jordan River and set them up as a memorial to what God had done for them. Then when future generations asked what the stones meant, the Israelites were to tell them how God had delivered them into the Promised Land. Annalise’s biography of Grandma’s life will be like a stone along the Jordan River, a reminder of what God has done.

Other verses came to mind as well. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. And Joel 1:3 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.

If my children do anything with their lives, the thing I desire most for them is that they walk in the ways of Christ and serve Him always. In that quest, they are blessed to have Grandma Patti’s story ringing in their ears;  a story of  broken yesterdays turned into changed tomorrows which will live on in the hearts of granddaughters that love and serve Jesus. Thanks Mom for taking time to love on my girls and pour into them a story of redemption and life-saving grace.

 

 

Abiding

  John 15:5 – 6

  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.

Are you remaining in Christ? Are you abiding in him daily? As he moves, are you moving with him? Does the fruit you bear give evidence to life in Christ?

John 15:10

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. Just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

Are you walking in obedience or are you living a life of compromise? Do you sit in church on Sunday yet disobey his word on Monday? Or are you seeking him with your whole heart on a daily basis and striving to live in obedience to what he asks of you? What does your Bible look like? If you died and your family came across it, would it bear witness of pages read?

John 15:12
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Do you love your Christian brothers and sisters the way that Christ has loved you? He sacrificed everything, including his blood for you. Do you show sacrificial love to others?

I ask these questions, not just of you my friends, but of myself as well. Although I love Christ and I am endeavoring to serve him, I have much work left to do. May his word and his love permeate every fiber of my being and yours. Let’s join together to be the salt of the earth, bearing fruit that shows we are Christ’s disciples.