Sorry I’m late! VERY late!

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Ok – here’s the week….I hope you kept reading even though I hadn’t posted anything!!!!

Mon   Exo 28-30     Matt 22:1-22

Tues   Exo 31-33     Matt 22:23-46

Wed   Exo 34-35     Matt 23

Thurs   Exo 36-37     Matt 24:1-28

Fri   Exo 38-39     Matt 24:29-51

Sat   Exo 40    Matt 25

Sun  Leviticus 1-2    Matt 26:1-29

I will do my very best not to be late again!

*~*~Toni~*~*

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Everything happens for a reason….but whose reason is it?

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I know someone who is very fond of saying, “Everything happens for a reason,” meaning that everything that happens is supposed  to happen.   It’s actually a fatalistic view of the world, of course – depending on who says it.

You see, when a Christian says, “Everything happens for a reason,” what he or she means is that the Lord can use anything for the good of His Kingdom.  However, the actual statement, is somewhat faulty.  Let’s examine.

God is in complete control – period.  However, BECAUSE He allows us free will, things happen everyday that are outside the will of God.  For instance:  adultery, murder, homosexuality, unwed mothers, theft, idolatry, gossip, etc., are ALL outside the will of God.   God CAN use those experiences for good, but that is because He can REDEEM a situation – NOT because He condones it.

The things that happened in my past – wait, let me rephrase – the things that I did in my past are there because I chose to do them – NOT because God wanted me to do them, or to have those experiences.  Quite the contrary – had I lived within His will for my whole life, I would have been spared much of the pain of the guilt of sin.  But, I chose my own way for a season.  Some would say, “Everything happens for a reason.”  But, whose reason is it?

The truth is, the things that happened in my past happened for my reasons.  They were what I wanted.  They were not what God had planned for my life.  He knew it would happen.  He allowed it to happen.  And in his infinite grace and wisdom, He chose to REDEEM my life IN SPITE OF WHAT I DID.

That’s the key – in spite of me.  God redeemed my life, saved my soul, and gave me hope not because of me, but in spite of me

God calls us to obedience, and through obedience, He can bless us.  But when we are disobedient, He sometimes allows us to feel the sting of the consequences of our actions so that we can learn a lesson for next time. 

Regardless, we serve a God who is in the Miracle Making Business.  In fact, He has a monopoly on the market.  So, when the world condemns a situation, God can redeem it for His purposes.  This is evidenced by Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  In my KJV Bible, the word His is italicized.  Emphasized.  Special.  It is THE word to take note of in this verse – HIS purpose. 

So, yes, in a sense, I guess everything happens for a reason.  But, we need to be very careful in placing the blame of reason where it rightly belongs.  Did it happen because God supernaturally caused it to happen (and He can!)?  Or, did it happen because we were living outside the will of God and ignored His laws and precepts?

From Helen Keller

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“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.”               Helen Keller

Smart woman….very smart woman.

When you say, “I’ll pray for you”

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Your cousin’s mother-in-law is going for surgery in a week.  Your cousin asks you to pray.  You say you will.

Your best friend says she is worried about her finances and asks you to pray for God to show her what to do.  You promise to pray daily until He answers her.

Your brother asks you to pray for his marriage.  You agree to pray daily, without fail, until his marriage is back on track and winning again.

But, life happens.  You pray, but the prayers are for things you need just to make it through the day.  You ask God to help you find your lost car keys, make it to the doctor’s office on time, and to make that last $50 stretch until payday.  You remember your promises to pray for your friends and family, so you say a rushed prayer while you drive to the grocery store.  You know you should do more, but the time just slips away.

Does this sound like you?  I’m not judging, because I have been there all too often, myself.  The question is, who are we short-changing when we fail to pray like we promised?

In my humble opinion, we are doing ourselves a disservice.  Don’t get me wrong, the person we are praying for definitely receives a benefit, too, but we miss even more.  We miss the opportunity to go before the God of the universe and plead for a fellow believer.  And sometimes, we have the opportunity to plead for the salvation of another human.  We get to wrestle with demons for that person’s eternal destiny!

But, all too often, we don’t.  We miss the boat.  We throw up a quick prayer and hope God counts it as a real one.  Yes, quick prayers are good sometimes – sometimes they are all we can manage in certain situations!  But, when there is something big – salvation, health, marriage, etc – at stake, we owe God and the recipient more than a few seconds.

I challenge you to spend a minimum of 3  minutes of prayer for EACH person or situation you have agreed to pray for – daily.  For 5 people, that only adds 15 minutes to your prayer time.  You can do it!  (You may need to get up an extra 15 minutes earlier, but, you can do it!)

Check out this Super Bundle!

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The Victorious Living Super Bundle is a fabulous package offered by Cindy Rushtonand gives insight and instruction on the spiritual battles we face in our lives.  Cindy is a fabulous mom, homeschool teacher, wife, and writer.  You will be encouraged and strengthened through her words.  Make sure to use the above link to place your order, today!

Bible Reading Challenge!

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Ok gang….sorry I haven’t posted this sooner.  But to be honest, I hardly even crawled out of bed yesterday!  And for me to stay away from the computer completely, well, you know I must be sick!

Anyway, here’s how this will work.

Each Sunday, I’ll post reading schedules for Monday thru Sunday.  Sometime during that week, at least once, to be a “TRUE” participant, you’ll need to post a comment about that week’s readings.  You can post everyday, or you can post once for the week.  Of course, I’d love for you to post each day, but we are all very busy, I understand.  Also, tell your friends, teens, kids, family, etc., to stop by and join our challenge!  I’ll be accepting new participants as the year goes by, but they won’t have the advantage of reading through from the beginning as we will.

Some ideas and hints for your readings:

Because this is reading through the Bible in a year, you may consider making these readings separate from your daily quiet times.  That way, you don’t get caught up on something and fall behind.  Instead, keep a notepad handy, and jot down verses you’d like to go back to later.

Consider making this a family endeavor. Reading aloud may take a bit longer, but the rewards earned by participating as a family will be worth it.

You’ll have two readings each day.  You can read these all at once, or split them up.  The most obvious way to do it is once in the morning, and again in the evening.  However, there are other ways to work it in:  read during your lunch hour at work; read while the kids are napping; in the doctor’s office;  while waiting for your daughter’s ballet class; read during baseball practice, etc.  The most important thing to do is to make it a habit.  It needs to be something you do everyday without fail, without question. 

Finally, and actually the most important of all, pray. Pray before you begin each reading session asking God to open your eyes, ears, heart, and mind to His wisdom and instruction.

Ok, now those are the “rules.”  Here is the schedule through Sunday, January 4, 2009:

Jan 1:  Genesis 1-2             Matthew 1

Jan 2:  Gen. 3-5                   Matt. 2

Jan 3:  Gen 6-8                    Matt 3

Jan 4:  Gen 9-11                 Matt 4

Next installment of schedules due out on the 4th!

Happy reading!

Toni

Hope you had a fabulous, blessed and peaceful Christmas!

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I know we had a great one!  The Christmas season seems to pass by so quickly within the worldly scheme of things.  And yet, we know, that Christmas, as our teacher said yesterday at church, is not simply a “winter event.”  Christmas is a miraculous, wonderful, blessed encounter with the Incarnate Christ!  Immanuel!  Let’s remember that throughout the year – as well as reminding others of the miracle of His birth, His death on the cross, and His resurrection.  As our teacher pointed out, again, these are the very pillars of our faith.  (Ok, he pointed us to Paul, who pointed that out.)  It was an awesome sermon/teaching session.  I think our teachers/church leaders always do a fantastic job, and yesterday they did not deviate from their goal of providing excellent “meat” for us to chew, and making sure they were in line with the Word.

May we Christians spend the entire year being true to the Word – not watering down the Gospel as we present it to the lost world.

Have  a blessed New Year…..and don’t forget to share a few of your New Year’s Goals with us!

Blessings,

Toni

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