Sunday, July 28, 2013

Our Daily Bread- A Personal Testimony

Why our Daily Bread?

I've heard it said that YOU don’t read God’s Word it reads you.  When we read those words of life, they remind us, exhort us, inspire us, convict us and encourage us, and we need that on a daily basis.  Why? Because we behold ourselves in the mirror then turn away and immediately forget what manner of man we are.

James 1:23-24 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

Here now for your encouragement, is the testimony of one such man in his own words.

“My testimony is simple – basically I picked up a Bible and began to read the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – and somewhere in the book of Acts I looked up from the pages and realized that all the frustration, turmoil, doubts, fears and anxieties that had become resident inside of me was all gone.  That’s right!  Gone!  The Lord Jesus Christ had reached inside of me and removed all of these things and replaced it with peace; the peace that passes all understanding.
          I remember at that moment that if this was what it meant to be born again – that’s what I wanted. 

Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Money, fortune and fame means nothing if one does not have peace inside.  I turned my life over to Jesus and began a new life.
          At that point I did what most Christians do; I read through the entire Bible cover to cover and then put it on the shelf and started going to church.  I read it.  I believed it.  I figured application I would learn from those inside the church buildings who had been doing it longer than me.
          Time passed and soon frustration, turmoil, doubt, fear and anxiety crept its way back inside of me.  What happened?  I was going to church faithfully every Sunday, trying to live out this Christian walk by trying as hard as I could to get my flesh under control.  After a few years of banging my head against the wall, at the end of my rope I had finally ran out of gas.

          I enrolled into a Bible course and was forced to read the Bible for class.  A few months into the course I realized that the frustration and chaos inside my heart was dissipating.  It was then I figured out what I had been doing wrong. 
          I put myself on a daily reading program.  I began by reading to my Mom every night before we went to sleep.  After a while I had found a rhythm in reading 3 chapters a day; 1 out of the Old Testament, 1 out of the New Testament and a Psalm or Proverb.  I looked at it as Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
          The peace that passes all understanding returned as I pressed into my daily reading.  In just a few short years I had made a wreck of my life and those bad seeds began to harvest into nightmares.  I kept reading.
          I had developed some very damaging and destructive habits that needed to be stopped.  I kept reading.
          The Enemy of our souls kept coming at me and accusing me and condemning me for all the things I had done wrong to myself and all those around me.  I kept reading.
          It took some time; in fact years before I had stopped planting bad seeds and started planting good seeds and when those good seeds came to harvest joy followed.  It took some time to have more good seeds than bad but eventually the good overtook the bad and I had found the straight and narrow road that Jesus talked about.
          What is it then?  This daily reading?  What does it all mean?  Here’s my philosophy on it.
          Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life” (John 6:48) and in teaching us how to pray said, “Give us this day our DAILY bread” (Matthew 6:11); in the Gospel of John it begins with “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
          Inside of us there is a war going on, a Spiritual war between the Flesh-man and the Spirit-man.  The Flesh-man gets fed all day long through the lust of the eyes and the hunger pangs of the stomach, however, the Spirit-man’s food is the WORD OF GOD.
          When you’ve got two dogs battling it out inside of you the one that will win is the one you feed the most.  If you want the Spirit-man to control you – then you have got to feed him.  His food is the WORD.  If you will begin to feed your Spirit-man on a daily basis he will rise up inside of you and allow you to become strong; stronger than your Flesh-man, and indeed, will over-power him and put him in submission.
          Then, and only then, will the peace that passes all understanding guard your heart and mind.  This state of being is worth all the gold on earth.  I wouldn’t trade what I have now for any amount of fame, wealth or health.  I know who I am and where I’m going and nothing this earth offers can compare to that."

The mission of this ministry is to humbly obey the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, reach out in His love with the Gospel truth of Salvation to the lost, work across denominational lines to inspire Unity in the Body of Christ and impact this world by CHANGING LIVES ONE AT A TIME.  That directive started with our own lives.  We yielded, submitted and surrendered to the Lord and He has done and continues to do a great work of gracious change in our hearts and minds.  Do you have a testimony of how Gods Word has changed your life?  Share it here and encourage others to receive the blessing of Gods grace in their lives!   Just click on Comment below this post.
GOD BLESS YOU EACH DAY AS YOU READ HIS MATCHLESS LIVING WORD!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

IMAGINATION

About 8 years ago I received a postcard in the mail, eye catching picture similar to the one I've shared here, with the caption boldly splashed across the top:

IMAGINE WHAT GOD COULD DO...

The possibilities seemed endless and breathtaking!  Imagine what God could do!  On the other side it advertised some Christian gathering and the theme of course was just that - Imagine what God could do and expanded that a bit with the word  "if".

IF you attended this conference...imagine what God could do in your life!
IF you gave an offering...imagine what God could do for you in return!
IF you just fell in line with the belief system and theology and behavior and dress and if you just fell in step with this ministry and it's teachings...imagine what God would be willing to do for you.

Flash forward about 8 years.  I don't remember much about the ad on the other side, but every time I open my refrigerator and without my even really being aware, I'm "seeing" that picture and those words.  Even the time we've been in the RV traveling it was taped to the fridge, it had so captured my imagination!  Then this week it hit me!  IMAGINE WHAT GOD COULD DO???  Nothing is impossible with God!  There is NOTHING God is not capable of doing nor is there anything He withholds from His children.  And praise God, it most certainly isn't dependent on ME what God could do or we would be in some serious trouble.  And we are in serious trouble, when we've come to the place where, even subtly, we think of God in terms of our control or subject to our actions.

Everything that every human being does is in RESPONSE to the Almighty God, Creator and Master of all heaven, all earth and everything in it.  This prevailing, subtle, sneaky and extremely DANGEROUS idea that God moves, works, thinks, feels or acts in response to us is the devils most clever lie EVER since the Garden of Eden!  In II Timothy specifically the end of chapter 2 and into chapter 3, Paul is warning against just this kind of captivity of lies an deceits that man is of the utmost importance and the universe behaves in response to man.  You should read all of this book for a full picture, but let's take a look at a piece of it.

II Timothy 2: 26, 3: 1-9  ...and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.  But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power and from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

Paul goes on to instruct Timothy not only how to avoid this foolish behavior but to follow righteous behavior leading to true godliness.  Please bear with me while I repeat myself for instructions sake.  Everything a human being does is in response to the Almighty Father in Heaven.  Whether that response is acceptance or rejection, WE DO THE RESPONDING.  We are instructed to pray, yet Jesus clearly tells us God already knows what our needs are  (Matthew 6: 8).  We believe Christ died for us and receive the gift of salvation according to Gods plan (Ephesians 1:4), not ours. God already has everything in place and IF we respond according to His instructions we receive the blessing.    The land of Canaan already belonged to the Israelites, God had already declared He had given it to them.  They needed to respond to Gods gift in order to receive it.  It is subtle, but important.  It is a heart matter, that the very thought pattern, to be righteous, must be "God has provided, so I will ask and receive" and not "I will ask so God will provide".

So it struck me hard the other day, when I passed by the fridge and glanced at the familiar postcard that we have it wrong!  It isn't and can not be  IMAGINE WHAT GOD COULD DO...for there is nothing impossible with God, but really ought to be IMAGINE WHAT WE COULD EXPERIENCE if we trusted and believed GOD and responded accordingly and obediently.  We would experience the JOY of the Lord that is our strength, the power of the Holy Spirit in our situations, the PEACE of God that passes all understanding and the FELLOWSHIP with our Heavenly Father that knows no bounds!

II Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, thoruroughly equipped for every good work.

IMAGINE WHAT YOU COULD EXPERIENCE IF YOU TRULY TRUSTED
 AND BELIEVED GOD TO THE END THAT YOU OBEY HIM IN ALL THINGS!

Turn the Tide Ministries is dedicated to changing lives one at a time for the increase of Gods Kingdom and the Glory of God the Father.  Starting with our own lives and moving outward, we obey our Lord as surrendered living epistles of His great and glorious grace.  Join us every Sunday for practical applications to your everyday lives of Gods rich and wonderful WORD OF TRUTH to His children until He comes to gather us HOME.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Manure in the Garden of Life

Several years ago I was sitting at the kitchen table of a sister in Christ and we were chatting aimlessly about this and that and whatever came up.  We found our conversation turned to the age old question that haunts young children and echoes in the heart of every adult - WHY?  WHY does this or that happen in my life? Why is life so messy and innocent people suffer and wickedness seems to go unpunished and....

WHY - WHY - WHY - WHY ? ? ? ?

I don't know.  One day, when we get to heaven, we can ask the Maker of all things, if we even still need to.

What I have observed is that we are very much like plants in a garden.  Rich soil is key to cultivating the best from the plants we are trying to grow.  I remember each spring for a certain season of time, helping my grandfather shovel stinky manure from the back of his station wagon onto his garden.  Months later we enjoyed the fruits of that unpleasant labor in the form of carrots (my favorite) and tomatoes and cucumbers and many other vegetables along with beautiful flowers to decorate our dinner tables.

I've observed that life can be pretty messy and thanks to sin is filled with - - MANURE.  Manure is made up of the trials and tribulations, heartache and consequence of poor decisions in our lives.  We can rot in the stink of it or try to pretend it doesn't really smell at all.  Or we can acknowledge it and turn it over to the only ONE who can take that manure in our lives and by working all things together for GOOD, turn the negative and painful into a blessing.

Each one of us has diverse need as we are all wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139) by an infinitely creative God who gives each of us individual character and personality, just as plants are different.

  • certain plants thrive in certain types of soils and climates
  • some plants thrive in sun, some in shade
  • different plants have different purposes, some bloom with beautiful flowers, some bear fruit for food, some just leaves for shade, some are useful in healing, some are poisonous
  • plants process light and water differently to accomplish the purpose they were designed to serve
So it is with people in the Body of Christ, we all have a different but uniformly necessary purpose. 

 Romans 12 : 3-5 For I say through the grace given to me that every man that is among you not to think more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body and all the members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ and every one members of one another.

The one True God, Almighty Maker and Creator, made each of His creations uniquely with a specific purpose according to His perfect plan.  Though we are all part of the same Body we all have different things to contribute to the good of that Body and so we must pursue the gifts and talents God has called us to. But like plants in a garden, we have need of  ingredients in order to grow and realize our fullest potential which God has provided for us:

      SON - supplying what nothing else is able- ETERNAL LIFE
      WATER – the power of the Holy Spirit that refreshes us
      ROCKS - for irrigation and cleaning purposes, as the Blood of Christ cleanses us  (did you know that the very act of water rushing over rocks in a river is what cleans that water and makes it taste so fresh and good? )

Due to sin, the soil of the garden is compromised and unfortunately comes with some unwanted ingredients:

WEEDS – that suck up the nutrients and choke the good plants, while providing no benefit
BUGS – which feed on plants making them sickly and weak or killing them altogether

Just as plants need good strong ROOTS in order to grow and thrive, so we need a strong foundation of roots founded in FAITH.  Just as the roots gather the nutrients, the sustenance the plant needs, so faith provides us the sustenance for growth.  We grow our faith when we read Gods Holy Word and apply those principle's to our everyday lives.   A weak root system will cause:
  • Discouragement
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Fear 
  • Giving up and quitting on our lives

Strength comes from dealing with adversity, having to struggle a little to gain water and nourishment.  Pushing through the very soil that feeds it and fighting to provide water and nutrients to it's branches and leaves is what causes the root system to grow STRONG.  Without a strong root system, the plant will lack and fail to flourish and wither and die without ever producing the beautiful bloom or juicy sweet fruit God intended.  So it is with us that dealing with adversity in our lives brings about strength when we do so according to Gods commands and not our own ways!

Cultivating good soil begins with cultivating a healthy, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.  Recognizing that we are sinners, we repent - turn away from our sin, ask for and RECEIVE forgiveness because of the sacrifice Jesus made, giving His life in exchange for your life and mine, when He allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross over 2000 years ago.  We cannot avoid the manure of life or the stench of it, but we can trust that in the hands of a Holy God who Loves us, it will be used it to strengthen us so that we become MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM!  Obedience to Him provides what we need to overcome the attacks of WEEDS and BUGS in our lives and grow as healthy, thriving Christians.

Don't despise the manure in your garden of life, but don't wallow in it or use it as an excuse, either.  Instead, let God have His way in the soil of your life.  Our gracious Savior takes our mess, all the manure of our past, and He turns it into FERTILIZER that benefits us, strengthens us and I am so thankful it provides the rich environment needed to bear fruit to His glory so that instead of just remaining a stinky mess!  I am so thankful when I called upon the name of Jesus, I was healed and delivered and He gave a testimony I can share to encourage others!  Manure isn't pleasant and we'd all prefer not having any in our lives, but isn't it great to know that since we've all got it, God is able to take it and make something beautiful from it?

We welcome your comments and honor all prayer requests.  Click on "comment" below this post to add your testimony and share your story!  Know someone who could use some encouragement about the manure in their lives?  Please share this post with them!  May Gods grace abound toward you in abundance as you surrender to Him!






Sunday, July 7, 2013

Contradictions

Every once in awhile I am reminded that PEOPLE wrote Gods word.  As they were moved by the Holy Spirit, to be sure, theo pneunustos - "God Breathed", and over the many years since, God has diligently protected His word and kept it available to believers age after age.  I've NO DOUBT He will continue to do so until the day Jesus returns to gather the Saints to Himself...."and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

So when I say I am reminded people wrote the Word, what I mean by that is they received the inspiration (II Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness...)  but they wrote according to their vernacular, their syntax, in the language they understood.  Which when translated to different languages can easily result in a misunderstanding on the part of the reader.  That's how apparent "contradictions" exist.  Men have argued, fussed, fought and even killed over these supposed contradictions.  I am of the opinion that if Gods word appears to contradict itself, we need to dig a little deeper to dispel those contradictions, by expanding our overall understanding.

Hebrews 6: 4-6  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance  since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame.  
Yet in James 5: 19-20 we read  Brethren, if any of YOU err from the truth and another converts him, let him know that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sin.  And again in I John 1: 8-9  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

These three verses would appear to be a contradiction, wouldn't they.  James is clearly talking to "Brethren" or brothers (and sisters) in Christ, those born again, members of the Household of Faith.  John is clearly talking to to believers with the use of the word "we".  So, is Hebrews speaking to unbelievers, or believers?  If we SIN after receiving salvation are we damned?  Or do we confess and receive forgiveness?  Hebrews would also clearly indicate that "re-salvation" is not an option, as it puts Christ to shame, like the first salvation "didn't take" and wasn't good enough.

Sounds like quite the confusing contradiction, and men have debated it for ages.  Scholars have applied all their great wisdom, and yet many of them still contradict each other.  Jesus said something similar to the Jews during His time of ministry on the earth.  Remember this scripture?  Luke 9: 62 " No one having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Jesus was addressing a certain people group - the Israelites, or Hebrews.  His own Jewish people.  The book of Hebrews was written to the same people group. There are LONG dissertations which explain this seeming contradiction in great detail, and if you are interested, just ask and I will gladly expand for those who have an interest.  For the sake of brevity here, then, is the short version.  There is NO CONTRADICTION AT ALL.  Taken as a "stand alone" verse, it would seem Hebrews 6 is a dire warning.  However, read in context and in light of all the information available, those particular verses are referring to those who have NOT had a true and heart changing encounter with the Lords Salvation gift.  The writer in Hebrews isn't specifically saying those in Christ who fall away are damned.  He is saying it is IMPOSSIBLE for those truly "born again" of Gods spirit to fall away.  

Yes, a believer may indeed sin - we know that we do in the weakness of our flesh, but we are convicted of that sin by Gods spirit that lives in us, and we repent, turn away from the sin, and God forgives us.  If someone is struggling mightily with sin a fellow believer may step in, praying for them and discipling them until they have the strength to stand on their own, as James indicates, and that is a GOOD THING.  Go back and re-read Hebrews.  Leave out all the man inserted chapters and punctuation and read the whole letter.  The writer of Hebrews is making a great, and valid point.

THOSE TRULY BORN AGAIN NEED NEVER CRUCIFY JESUS AGAIN, NEED NEVER "BE SAVED" A SECOND TIME, THEY NEED ONLY TO ASK AND RECEIVE FORGIVENESS.  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ONE WHO TRULY REPENTED AND RECEIVED SALVATION TO "LOSE IT" TO THE END THEY NEED A SECOND DOSE.

Happy week to all.  We'd love to hear from you.  Comments are welcome below, and you are always welcome to email us directly.  REMEMBER:  WE ARE PRAYING FOR ALL OF YOU!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

FREEDOM - AMERICAN STYLE

As a ministry focused on FREEDOM IN CHRIST, we usually try not to be political -
sometimes, it just can't be helped.

On this, the 4th of July, as we Americans celebrate the formation of what was the greatest country on this earth, we direct your attention to what's going on with the FREEDOMS our forefathers and every soldier has fought and died for since 1776.
Will the flag still wave in America?

This article from the American Thinker says it all. Click the word "article" to read - PLEASE!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA.  WILL THERE BE ANY MORE??