Elaina Smith Music

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Rob Patz: Spring and a Grateful Thief

Written by Staff on March 21, 2020 – 9:30 am -

Rob Patz2020 March SGNScoops Publisher’s Point by Rob Patz

Can you believe we are already in the third month of 2020? March also signifies Spring, and for those that live in certain parts of the country, it means the chance that the snow will soon be disappearing from their walkways and streets, and flowers will start to bloom.

 

I know I’ve written in the past that I love Spring and it’s no surprise. I love new beginnings. I love the part of life where things start anew and for me, Spring has always been a signal for the start of many great gospel music events. I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to now run and organize events throughout the United States.

 

Spring also means that Easter is right around the corner. As a Christian, it should be the most incredible time of year. I heard a sermon recently about when Jesus was crucified, and the one thief recognized how amazing Jesus was that he wanted to be with him wherever it was that he was going. I find it very fascinating because this man obviously had lived a life of only caring for himself or taking what he wanted from whoever it was in the society of the time. I did some research and we really don’t know that much about either thief. I know in a lot of circles they call the thief that accepted Jesus as his personal Savior on the cross, as the “grateful thief.’ I think that’s pretty cool.

 

Celebrate the Risen SaviorAs Christians today, we know that our society as a whole is spinning effortlessly out of control. I’m not here to say that I have an answer for how we can fix that, but I do think about the thief on the cross. He knew that Jesus was pure, and was willing to sacrifice who he was for more than just himself. I think as Christians, in this Easter season, we need to learn to sacrifice ourselves more to show those around us what it truly means to be a Christian. Not just Christian in word only, but Christian in deed and action. We are set apart, we are an example.

 

So let me challenge you, as we lead up to Easter, to be an example, to be the Christian that people are drawn to, not the Christian that’s judgemental. Not the Christian that only talks to other Christians but to be the Christian that Christ so desired us to be. To be the person that takes the extra effort to lift up the people that are hurting, those that are looking and seeking for an answer, not just a religion, but a relationship. 

 

That’s my challenge to you between now and Easter. Find someone in your community, find someone in your neighborhood, find somebody at your office, and show them what it truly means to be a Christian. Because the outside world looks at us and they see the image of Christianity, not the relationship we are so blessed to have.

 

March 202 SGN Scoops Magazine

March 202 SGN Scoops Magazine

Let me encourage you to join us in Tupelo, Mississippi, at Barnes Crossing Mall, April 23 – 25. If you need more information, you can call me at 360-933-0741, or email me at events@sgnscoops.com

Until next month, this is the Publisher’s Point.

By Rob Patz

Did you know that you can receive the printed, full-color version of SGNScoops Magazine by subscription? Find out more HERE.
Read SGN Scoops Magazine HERE
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Listen To Todays Gospel Music HERE

 

 


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Dr. Bruce Hartman: Faith and Reducing Coronavirus induced Panic

Written by Staff on March 17, 2020 – 4:01 pm -

Dr. Bruce Hartman: Faith and Reducing Coronavirus induced PanicFaith and Reducing Coronavirus induced Panic  By Dr. Bruce Hartman

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

 

This Saturday, while having lunch at a local restaurant, the general manager came to our table to ask us how my wife and I were doing. We replied, “Very well; How are you?”

 

Our reply set off a lengthy explanation of his panic. He was afraid he might have to close the restaurant with his business off seventy five percent. In his eyes, I could see real fear. The kind of fear that unsettles our stomach, weakens our knees and causes us to labor on the easiest of tasks. 

 

With our friends and family, we also have heard and seen fear. Supermarket shelves are being emptied. Hand sanitizer is being sold on the street for fifty dollars a bottle. True panic seems to abound. 

 

A disquieting sense of being seems to be present in all that we see and hear. Panic caused by a lack of control of people’s lives and events.

 

Each announcement of school and store closings seems to raise the fear level higher.  Watching television, you hear even more information that stiffens your body. The stock market is violently swinging in turmoil, causing people to wonder how much their savings will go down. All around us fear seems to be growing faster than the Coronavirus itself, which is at the root of people’s fear. 

 

But our fear, is just that, fear. People are forgetting that fear breeds fear. Fear is not tangible or something you can touch, but a vicious psychological marauder that seeks harm. Not physical harm, but emotional. 

 

Panic causes bad decisions, when more than ever, good ones are required. Panic causes unsteady steps, when the steps of life need to be sure. 

 

Friends are asking me, “What do we do when things get panicky?”  My reply is, “Have faith and focus on what we can control.” By doing this we gain power over our emotions, no longer letting panic dictate how we feel. 

 

I have been here many times before, whether it was H1N1 or SARS. I have lived through the stock market crash of 1987, September 11th, and the Great Recession of 2009. All dangerous things for the psyche. But this panic seems far more out of control. 

 

Now I am not saying that the risk of catching the Coronavirus isn’t real; it is a dangerous flu. What has become more dangerous, is that the level of panic seems to have exceeded the danger.  

 

We need to remember that the stock market always comes back, and in all cases moves much higher. The virus will run its course and we will all learn more about how to be better protected from getting new viruses. When the danger has passed, and it will, our lessons we learned will make us healthier. Most importantly, life will return to normal. 

 

We should have a healthy level of concern and wash our hands more frequently. We should trust that the civil authorities know what they are doing. But we shouldn’t let panic control us; we should control us.

 

Not changing our lives is a great place to start.

 

Doing the things we always do, no matter how modified, is a good place to start. 

 

We should still say, “I love youto our loved ones, maybe more. We should still hug our children, maybe a little tighter.  We should still call our parents, probably more frequently. We should plant the spring flowers, perhaps a few more this year. We should still help the elderly, especially now. 

 

The problem with the disease of panic, is that it is an easy bed to jump into and a hard one to get out of. But arise we must, because staying there will only make things worse. 

 

Instead of needing to be consoled, we should try to console. Helping others is a wonderful antidote to fear. Try it, you will feel better. That I can guarantee. 

 

As Christians, we know to have faith and we should. We may not be sure how this all turns out, but losing our faith doesn’t make sense. How many times in the past has God  answered our prayers? And this we should remember.

 

In these times of stress, God’s arms of help haven’t been shortened. They are just as long as they were yesterday, probably longer. 

 

Faith is something we can count on. It is a place that shields us from panic. A place where the Holy Spirit delivers comfort and wisdom. A quiet place of prayer. On our knees or sitting, we are in commune with God, who will answer us today as happened yesterday. 

 

Panic is an emotional virus that is spread much like a physical virus. Fear breeds fear and left unchecked is an unreasonable pursuer of mayhem. But panic is a disease that is curable. 

 

Deep breaths will diminish its effect. Remembering to continue our lives will tap down its desire to debilitate. Washing our hands often will give us a greater sense of control. 

 

Prayer will provide peace and reassure us. Reading the Bible will give insight. For times like this, I highly recommend reading Philippians and 2nd Corinthians. Both wonderfully uplifting books that provide hope in times of duress.  

 

Things will get better in time, not because I have seen it many times, but because I live by faith. Let panic abate. The flowers of spring will sprout green soon. Hope will replace despair. The streams of light called everyday life, will return. 

 

Be at peace. 

 

JESUS & CO. Connecting the Lessons of The Gospel with Today’s Business World by Dr Bruce HartmanDr. Bruce Hartman

Christian Author and Advisor 

“Dr. Bruce Hartman is both a trained theologian and an expert in business. Marrying these two worlds is now his life passion…” Read more HERE 

SGNScoops extends a special thank you to Dr. Bruce Hartman for this in-depth look at fear and panic. Dr. Hartman has authored two books as well as e-books and devotionals. His latest book is entitled: “JESUS & CO. Connecting the Lessons of The Gospel with Today’s Business World”

For more on the Christian response to the Coronav panic, click HERE.

 


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Katelyn Dyess: To The Girl Who Made A Mistake

Written by Staff on March 12, 2020 – 3:30 pm -

Katelyn Dyess To The Girl

Katelyn Dyess

To The Girl Who Made A Mistake

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. (Isaiah 43:18)

Katelyn Dyess To The GirlWe all make mistakes. One time within the span of four weeks I had gotten myself locked out of a house, scratched the whole driver’s side of my car, and broke the side mirror. I know those aren’t big mistakes but when you make mistakes you can say I’ve learned my lesson, I’m sorry, and I’ll move on from this.

That’s the great thing about Jesus. When you make a mistake you can say, “I realize what I did was wrong, I’m sorry,” and Jesus will forgive you. He’ll forgive you every time you make a mistake. Even when you don’t deserve it, He still forgives.

So today, ask God for forgiveness from whatever mistakes you’ve made. It can be big or small and he’ll still forgive you. It will bring you more freedom than you can ever imagine.

Thanks,
Katelyn

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8
Katelyn Dyess To The Girl


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Jessica Horton: Here I Am Lord

Written by Staff on March 9, 2020 – 12:43 pm -

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton Photo by Kim Lancaster-Brantley

“I will go, Lord, if you lead me.”

As someone who has struggled with anxiety her whole life, I know the massive distress we can feel
reaching out of our comfort zones.

When God moved me into the “spotlight,” so to speak, I had so many
objections. I’m not pretty enough. People will talk about my weight. What if I’m not good enough? What if
people notice how painfully awkward I am? Will they still like me the more they get to know me? Will they
notice how I stutter when I get stressed?

In Luke 22:42 Jesus prayed a prayer that I relate to on so many levels. He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” Wow.

Granted, His prayer came from a place of such despair and suffering that you and I will never understand. But Jesus Himself knows what it feels like to want out of an uncomfortable situation. He knows our anguish and how things can tear us apart on the inside. But then He turns His conversation from a pleading prayer of escape to an unyielding prayer of surrender when He continues, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.”

Jessica HortonThis is the key to saying yes to God,
especially when He leads us out of our comfort zones. We have to surrender our own will to God’s and
trust Him to provide and see us through to the end.

He never promised us a life of perpetual ease and comfort. But He does promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and respond to His direction (Romans 8:28). We have to be willing to compromise, and sometimes abandon, our own comfort to carry out the plans of God.

We can’t do this life ourselves. When we do, we get it all wrong and increase our suffering unnecessarily.
We also don’t have all the abilities to accomplish what He asks. But there are so many characters in scripture that show us that our shortcomings don’t phase the will of God in any way. In fact, it’s when we come to the end of our own abilities that God is most glorified.

It doesn’t matter if I struggle to speak or if I say something weird or if I have a character trait that annoys someone. God knows exactly who I am, and He knows what He has created me to do. My job is to. surrender When we practice surrender, we learn to become less self-reliant, we run more speedily to the Father for direction, and we become more eager to go wherever He leads.

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your love for us. We are so broken and needy, yet You care about every concern. God, give
us the same love for one another that You have for us, so that that we wouldn’t dare hold back from your
invitations to serve and tell the world about You. We love You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Jessica HortonScriptures:
John 17:20-26
Matthew 28:19-20
Acts 13:47
Romans 10:13-14
Psalm 96:3
Joshua 1-9

By Jessica Horton

Find out more about Jessica HERE on Facebook or HERE online.

Jessica Horton is a singer/songwriter from Columbus, MS. She was raised in classic country and gospel, and the soul and sound of these classics often find their way into her music. Her songs feature the acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, and other roots instruments. On stage, Jessica brings a live aspect to her show by playing guitar and including singable old-time hymns and gospel songs. Offstage, Jessica spends a lot of time with her husband, David and her church family. She serves as a worship leader and youth director at Shaeffer’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Columbus, MS… (for more click here.)

For more Gospel Music News, read the latest issue of the SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine PDF Here
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Listen To Today’s Gospel Music Here
This devotion was based on the following modern hymn:
Here I Am, Lord
I the lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I have made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall i send?
Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
I the lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save
Finest bread i will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied
I will give my life to them
Whom shall i send?

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Melody without Measure: Telling God What To Do

Written by Staff on March 4, 2020 – 1:38 pm -

Melody without Measure
This issue of Melody without Measure written by Jaquita Lindsey
We are all familiar with the story of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. You can read it in John chapter 11. Lazarus, who Jesus loves (v3), is ill. His sisters send for Jesus, knowing that he can heal Lazarus. Instead of leaving immediately for Bethany, Jesus intentionally stays put for another two days. Lazarus passes away, leaving behind a grieving family and some questions of Jesus’ whereabouts in the situation.
Jesus meets the two sisters separately, four days later, as he nears town, meeting Martha first. We already know how outspoken she can be (read Luke 10:38-42), as she scolds Jesus for being late. Verse 21: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I imagine that to sound more like, “If You had come the first time I called, my brother would still be alive and I wouldn’t be going through this right now!” She tells Jesus she knows he can still fix this, yet objects in verse 39 when he tells the guys to “take away the stone” from the opening of the tomb. Like, girl, make up your mind what you want!
Mary’s approach to Jesus is quite different than her sister’s. She has been grieving at home when Martha tells her, “Jesus is looking for you.” In her broken state, she sprints in the direction of Jesus, falls down at his feet and says the exact words in verse 32 that Martha said in verse 21 about his delay. The difference is the heart behind it. How do I know? Mary’s plea troubled Jesus to the point of tears (verses 33-35).
11th Hour brings dynamic talents to A Lot With A Littl

Jaquita Lindsey (far left) with her group 11th Hour

A few weeks ago, I stood on the stage listening to our lead vocalist recall this story leading into a song. I had secretly been dealing with feelings, some of which I was too embarrassed to tell even my closest people.

As Katy said last week, people like to flaunt their “highlight reel” on social media. Watching those, amplified the lies of which the devil was trying to convince me. My personality changed, from the one who encouraged others and made everyone laugh, to this withdrawn person who hated life.

Melody without Measure

I would cry bitterly when no one was watching, acknowledging my faults and almost demanding that God help me out of the hole I was sinking in. When life got worse instead of better, I started putting up a guard towards God.

“You are working in everyone else’s life, so why not mine? I know I have done wrong in the past but so has everyone else…”
“Everyone else is getting what they want in life, why can’t I?”
“Lord, why won’t you heal me of these feelings already?! Why am I affected by all this and the person who offended me is not?!”
I prided myself that I had mastered a smile to mask what was killing me on the inside. I would be completely exhausted at the end of the night from hiding what was wreaking havoc on my heart.
But that night, I heard Jesus speak: “You’ve treated me like I’m four days late.”
Wait, what? No, Jesus, that’s not true. I trust You (or at least I say I do from my lips). The thought made me tear up!
“No, your actions are treating me like I’m four days late working in your life.”
I realized that I had the heart of Martha, demanding that God do what I thought he should be doing. God has a timetable and he’s sovereign enough not to consult with us first! We all should have the heart of Mary, humbly broken as we seek the Lord for his presence.
What if the only way God can get you to communicate with him is to remove whoever, leave whatever, or fix it whenever He sees fit?
The weight holding you down may look different from mine but the feeling is the same. And, so is the healing! Lazarus’ name means “God is my help.” That being the case, do you really think God wasn’t going to send help?
If he did it for Lazarus, he will rescue you from what’s “killing” you as well.
No person of the opposite sex, no how-to book, no new house or car, nor a job promotion will call the death out of you like the voice of Jesus will.
Instead of focusing on the answers, focus on the one giving the answer.
By Jaquita Lindsey
Read more Melody without Measure HERE.

Melody without Measure

Life is like a melody, with highs and lows and everything in between. But what’s a melody without harmony, touching lyrics, and beautiful orchestrations? Katy, Ashley, and Jaquita have a desire to be that kind of support, encouraging and inspiring all who read to find the sweet melody in the chaos.
11th Hour: Powerful Prayers and Opening Doors

Jaquita Lindsey of 11th Hour

Jaquita Lindsey grew up in Camden, Arkansas, where music and ministry have always been a major part of her life, from singing in choir at school and church, to singing and playing drums with local groups. In January of 2014, she joined the Southern gospel trio, 11th Hour. Ministry is beyond the edge of the stage for her. “While songs and messages are an amazing source of encouragement for me, it goes beyond that during hard times of life. Nothing ministers to me more than having a friend tell me they’ve prayerfully had me on their heart. God can use us to build up each other.”

Josh and Ashley Franks

Josh and Ashley Franks

Ashley Easley began singing at the age of four, in her home church in Heflin, Alabama. That day, music became her first love, until several years later when she met Jesus. She began traveling at the age of 15 and has always loved the ministry. In 2007, she met Josh Franks, and one year later they were married. The two have been married almost 12 years and have two children: Priscilla, eight, and Eli, five. The Franks family continues to travel week to week and sing, but every Sunday and Wednesday you will find them on Airways Boulevard in Savannah, Tennessee, where Josh is the Senior Pastor at People’s Tabernacle Church.

Melody without Measure

Katy Peach

Katy Peach, as a young girl from Columbus, Ohio, had big dreams of traveling the country on a bus, singing Southern gospel music. She was extremely blessed to have done just that for many years. But shortly after the arrival of twin boys, Clayton and Shelton, Katy’s dream changed to that of a mother whose desire was for her children to have a normal life. Although Katy can still be found in the studio on occasion, she now works in banking, while her husband, Troy Peach, of The Perrys, continues to travel full-time. “I have certainly learned over the years that you don’t have to be on stage to be used by God and although I miss traveling and singing at times, I’m thankful for opportunities to minister and encourage from home.”

SGNScoops is thrilled to welcome the talented trio of Melody without Measure to their host of elite writers. Be sure to check out their website for more from the wise pens of these lovely ladies HERE

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Melody without Measure: Highlight Reel

Written by Staff on February 19, 2020 – 8:23 am -

Melody without Measure

Melody without Measure: Jaquita Lindsey, Ashley Franks, Katy Peach

I recently had lunch with an old friend. As we were finishing up, it became clear that she was pretty discouraged as she scrolled through social media.

She started commenting on how all of her Facebook friends seemed to have it all together.
“They look so in love.”
“Their house always seems to be clean.”
“They have such a great job.”
She went on and on. She then quickly turned her phone around and pointed to a picture of me and my boys and said, “See? You have it together too. My kids would never smile for a picture like that!”
I immediately laughed and said, “You should see the 12 pictures we took before that one! I only post the good pictures.”
I realized at that moment, that I, like most people, am guilty of sharing my “highlight reel” on social media. I’d like to say it’s mostly because I refuse to complain on Facebook and I’m fully committed to avoiding dramatic or negative posts, but if I’m being totally honest I’d also have to admit that, perhaps, I’d hate for anyone to know that I really don’t have it all together.
Heaven forbid people see that I’ve gotten fat, or that my house is messy, or that my kids don’t always behave, or even worse that I do indeed struggle with sin, just like everyone else.
Maybe it’s natural for us to subconsciously hide the parts of ourselves of which we’re ashamed, and showcase the good stuff, but I’d like to think if we were all a little more real and honest, we might just be more encouraged and realize we’re not alone.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:25-26
I shared with my friend that I believe none of us really have it all together and it’s not a good idea to compare our own flawed and messy existence to others’ filtered and perfected social media lives. Comparison is a tool the devil has most certainly used to bring us all down at some point and make us feel less valuable. But God says we’re priceless!
By Katy Peach

Melody without Measure

Life is like a melody, with highs and lows and everything in between. But what’s a melody without harmony, touching lyrics, and beautiful orchestrations? Katy, Ashley, and Jaquita have a desire to be that kind of support, encouraging and inspiring all who read to find the sweet melody in the chaos.
11th Hour: Powerful Prayers and Opening Doors

Jaquita Lindsey of 11th Hour

Jaquita Lindsey grew up in Camden, Arkansas, where music and ministry have always been a major part of her life, from singing in choir at school and church, to singing and playing drums with local groups. In January of 2014, she joined the Southern gospel trio, 11th Hour. Ministry is beyond the edge of the stage for her. “While songs and messages are an amazing source of encouragement for me, it goes beyond that during hard times of life. Nothing ministers to me more than having a friend tell me they’ve prayerfully had me on their heart. God can use us to build up each other.”

Josh and Ashley Franks

Josh and Ashley Franks

Ashley Easley began singing at the age of four, in her home church in Heflin, Alabama. That day, music became her first love, until several years later when she met Jesus. She began traveling at the age of 15 and has always loved the ministry. In 2007, she met Josh Franks, and one year later they were married. The two have been married almost 12 years and have two children: Priscilla, eight, and Eli, five. The Franks family continues to travel week to week and sing, but every Sunday and Wednesday you will find them on Airways Boulevard in Savannah, Tennessee, where Josh is the Senior Pastor at People’s Tabernacle Church.

Melody without Measure

Katy Peach

Katy Peach, as a young girl from Columbus, Ohio, had big dreams of traveling the country on a bus, singing Southern gospel music. She was extremely blessed to have done just that for many years. But shortly after the arrival of twin boys, Clayton and Shelton, Katy’s dream changed to that of a mother whose desire was for her children to have a normal life. Although Katy can still be found in the studio on occasion, she now works in banking, while her husband, Troy Peach, of The Perrys, continues to travel full-time. “I have certainly learned over the years that you don’t have to be on stage to be used by God and although I miss traveling and singing at times, I’m thankful for opportunities to minister and encourage from home.”

SGNScoops is thrilled to welcome the talented trio of Melody without Measure to their host of elite writers. Be sure to check out their website for more from the wise pens of these lovely ladies HERE

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Kristen Stanton: Prisoner of War

Written by Staff on February 17, 2020 – 8:42 am -

Kristen Stanton

Kristen Stanton

Prisoner of War 

The Bible says that the enemy comes to steal,  kill, and destroy. When the enemy comes he will always seek to do one of those things. If you aren’t prepared for the battle – if you fall for the lies Satan perpetrates — you will become a prisoner of war.

This battle is not against flesh and blood, but you can become caught up in the deception and end up on the losing side of the battle.

One example that we see is the story of Lot and his wife in Genesis 19.  In order to fully understand the story we have to go back to Genesis 13:5-18.  Abraham (at that point still known as Abram) and Lot were traveling together and had become so wealthy in flocks and herds that Abram told Lot to choose what land he wanted and he would go the opposite way.  Genesis 13:10 says, “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the Garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as you come unto Zoar.”

Lot saw – he relied on his experience based upon what he saw – and he saw how beautiful everything was. He did not seek God as to where he should go. He did the same thing Eve did in the garden. He looked with his eyes and made a judgment that it was good. In verses 11-12 it says, “Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves one from another. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.”

Fast forward to Genesis 19. Genesis 19:1 tells us that Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot left Abraham and chose the plain and pitched his tent toward Sodom, I highly doubt he ever thought he would end up living in the midst of Sodom.  Yet here he was sitting on the gate of the city. This is just how clever Satan is. The deception caused Lot to become a prisoner of war, and he would be caught right in the middle of the battle.  He made a decision to go into Sodom, yes, but he didn’t make a conscious decision to leave God and enter into the wickedness.

If Satan held up a sign that said “Follow Me” how many would actually follow?  Most of us would naturally run the other direction. So he reverts to warfare–and in this case it was lust of the eyes. Lot saw the plain. And he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Oh, what harm can there be in looking?

 Have you asked yourself this question? I have. I talk myself into going by the shoes in the mall just to look. And then sometimes I find myself in a quandary: I found some shoes for a good price that would be so awesome to have! I don’t really need another pair of black heels but well, they are just different enough that I could justify buying them. So what started out as a leisurely window shopping day turns into a fight between do I buy the shoes or not buy the shoes? Yes, it’s okay to laugh because it’s a silly example, but it’s the truth of the situation we often put ourselves in.

We can avoid sin altogether but we don’t understand the battle.  Understanding that there is a battle behind every decision would help us to identify that we are pitching our tent towards Sodom. We are walking right into the trap our enemy has set, and he is about ready to take us as a prisoner of war.  He will hold us captive until we understand the war we are in and that the only thing that can set us free is the blood of Christ.

So in Genesis 19, we see that Lot was now living inside one of the most wicked cities ever to exist. He was now a prisoner of war. Somewhere along the line he stopped looking and started participating. Maybe his wife complained that there was nothing to do in the plain. Maybe his daughters complained that they were bored. Maybe the servants said it was too much work to go into the nearest city for what they needed. Maybe Lot himself forgot the Giver of the Blessings. Maybe Lot just thought it would be more convenient. Maybe he thought his family would be safer if he were in the city because more people would be around to help if trouble came.

All of these thoughts, if they passed through Lot’s mind, are fiery darts of the enemy. Deception and dissension. Excuses. Fear. They are all things that take place on the battlefield of the mind.

But here we are and, not only is Lot living in the city, he is smack dab in the middle of all the sin. In fact, his family is so entrenched in the sin that they don’t recognize it for what it is. It’s just the way things were. Everybody else was doing it so it couldn’t be all that wrong. Right? WRONG.

The attitude of everyone else should not bear on what our attitude is. The war is raging and this manipulation tactic is winning out in our world today. The viewpoints of the world, when in conflict with God’s Word, are the viewpoints of the enemy, trying to infiltrate the mind.

Lot’s wife became a prisoner of war who died in the war, not knowing that she was even a captive. When the angels warned Lot to get his family and get out of the city because God was going to destroy it, verse 26 says, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”  She looked back longingly at her place of captivity and did not want to leave. If given a choice, she likely would have stayed. 

Sin will destroy you. It destroys your ability to make proper decisions. You can no longer filter things through your mind and understand that it’s a tactic of the enemy because your mind has become tainted.

Think of it like this: you are making frosting. You need the frosting to be white but you accidentally put a drop of red food coloring in it thinking that it will just be a really light tint… and you notice that the more you mix it the more you can no longer find any white. And by now you realize your icing is pink… it’s not the color you had originally designed and you can’t go back and change it. That pink food coloring is the deception that taints the mind. Once the mind is tainted you can no longer go back to the way it was. You have to make a new batch of frosting.  God has to renew your mind.

Satan wants you to think that it’s not possible for your life to change.  But when you leave it in the hands of God– when you cast yourself into His arms – He will break those chains, wipe away your past, and renew your mind.  When Satan tells you that God can’t use you, remember that even though Lot was living in the middle of Sodom, God still provided a way of escape. If you feel paralyzed– convicted by Satan’s lies–  trust in God, and He can change your status from captive to captor, freeing you from being a prisoner of war.

Kristen Stanton

Kristen Stanton

By Kristen Stanton

Kristen Stanton is a dynamic singer, speaker, and writer. From discussions on Facebook, to live concerts on any stage, Kristen’s main focus is to share her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She says: “I was saved when I was four years old. I’ve been in church my whole life. I went to a Christian college. I don’t have the experiences of walking away from God and how He brought me back. But I do have the experience of how God continuously reveals Himself to me… of how He answers prayer. I want people to understand who God is so that they can be more of a reflection of Him. My goal is to help others see God in a way that meets every need in their life.”
Following a trio of No. 1 songs from her debut project, “Destiny by Design,” Kristen recently  released her second solo project, “Love As Jesus Loves” and is currently writing songs for her new album. Kristen is also an Attorney-at-Law, serving clients in Northwest Ohio.

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Cheryl Smith: This is a test, this is only a test…

Written by Staff on January 28, 2020 – 11:52 am -

Cheryl Smith this is only a test

Test. 1.2.3.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
James 1:3
(ESV)

When I was a little girl growing up in Ohio, Mom and Dad used to regularly listen to Moon Mullins’ bluegrass radio show on a station called WPFB. They also loved to listen to a station called WYSO on Saturday nights, when a bluegrass show came on every week. Our house was full of old-time country, gospel, and bluegrass music, with Dad often taking out his five-string banjo or guitar, as he and Mom and I would belt out those old bluegrass, gospel, and country tunes.

As Mom, Dad, and I would listen to that music coming through our house stereo or car speakers, we would sometimes hear an annoying, loud, alarm, siren-type noise, accompanied by a radio announcer’s voice saying, “This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the emergency broadcasting system. This is only a test.” It was like the announcer was wanting to let listeners know as quickly as possible that there was no imminent danger or cause for concern—it was simply a test to make sure equipment was working that would be used should there ever be a real emergency of which we all needed to be made aware.

Those words have been coming back to me a lot lately as I have considered the fiery trials that come into the lives of those who follow Jesus. Sometimes, they can seem to be way too much, am I right? Sometimes, they stretch us to the very limit of our endurance, and then some. Sometimes, the overwhelm feels like a tidal wave that knocks us off our feet and threatens to hold us under until we drown. It is hard to find our footing after such a bombardment.

The word “trial” means –
test to assess suitability or performance

In a nutshell, trials are tests, and I got to thinking and wondering how it would affect us if each time one was presented to our lives, we would immediately hear God’s voice say, “This is a test. I am conducting a test of your endurance and faithfulness. This is only a test.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but if I audibly heard God’s voice saying that to me, I believe it would completely transform the way I walk through the tests He allows to come into my life. Let me tell you why.

1. I would immediately know that there is no cause to panic.
Just as relief washed over our minds when we would hear the voice of the emergency broadcasting system’s announcer letting us know there was no imminent danger, that it was only a test and not the real thing, my mind would be quickly set at ease to hear God telling me He was merely conducting a test, and there was NO threat for me to be concerned about.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” I Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

2. I would be reminded that God is the One who is in control.
Not the person who appears to be the root of the trial. Not the devil. Not the overwhelming circumstances. I would know that even though it feels like the whole world is reeling out of control, every, single thing is still under His feet and nothing can operate outside of His permission and command.

“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.” I Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)

3. I would know that the trial is only temporary.
Those tests of the emergency broadcasting system didn’t last very long. It was relieving to know that the annoying sound would soon stop, and life would resume normalcy. Being told that at the onset of the noise made the irritating commotion bearable. When we are walking through a season of testing, it can feel like it is going to last forever. We look ahead, and all we see is more of the same, with no way out. We aren’t given an ending date for the testing season, so we have no idea of its duration. The truth is, this life, every season, and everything about it, is temporary, and there is a beginning and an end to every trial. Tests start. We walk through them. They end. Life goes on.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
I Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

4. I would realize that my profession of faith isn’t worth its salt if it is never tested.
Even though those emergency broadcasting sirens were beyond irritating, they seemed to be so unnecessary, and they interrupted what we would rather be doing and listening to, there was a reason they happened. The person administering those tests was not just causing them to happen to punish us or make us miserable, but in reality, the testing was for our own good and benefit. Those tests were to make sure all of us could hear and make necessary preparations in case they one day needed to sound that alarm for real. What if a real emergency had happened, and due to inadequate testing, the emergency broadcasting system’s alarm had an undetected malfunction that was never discovered? What if this negligence prevented innocent, trusting people from being duly warned of real impending danger? What if they hadn’t performed those regularly-scheduled tests and just assumed that because they had been told all was working properly, there was no need to test their equipment? We can sing, “Living By Faith,” lift our hands in worship, and raise a hallelujah all day long, but can’t anyone and everyone do that? What good is a testimony that hasn’t been adequately tested? When life is going along unruffled, it is an easy thing to praise God and rejoice, but can we still rejoice when the Teacher is completely silent during the test? Do we still believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? (Hebrews 11:6) Do we really believe what we say we do, and how will we really know unless we are put to the test from time to time? Don’t we really want to know if what we have on hand is real before we face God on Judgment Day? Isn’t it better to have it tested now while there is still time and space for repentance and adjustment before the REAL thing happens one day and we find ourselves standing one-on-one, face-to-face with Almighty God?

“Examine me, God, and know my mind, test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any offensive tendency in me, and lead me in the eternal way.”
Psalm 139:23-24 (ISV)

5. I would remember that at the end of testing, there is a guaranteed reward.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (Berean Study Bible)

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 (ESV)

“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21 (ESV)

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Hebrews 12:11 (KJV)

As I was seeking God earnestly in prayer recently, He took me to Genesis 22:1-14, and OH, the lessons He began and continues to teach me through that passage! Truly, Abraham was presented with the ultimate test. God told him to take his son, his only son, Isaac, the son God had promised and given him at a ripe, old age, and sacrifice him on an altar!

Can you imagine what Abraham must have felt like and the questions that were swirling through his mind? After all God had promised him, now He was asking him to lay down the son whom the very promises hinged upon? Seriously? But, without hesitation, we see Abraham begin to make preparations to make the three-day journey to the specific place where God wanted to conduct this test.

Looking at this remarkable story from the vantage point of history, we know that it was NEVER God’s intention for Abraham to kill his own son! But, when God presents us with a test, we do not know His mind or intentions. All we are given is a specific set of instructions and a choice as to whether or not we will be obedient in that test.

After Abraham and Isaac made the three-day journey and climbed the mountain God specifically designated as the test site, Abraham bound Isaac, just like he would have bound an animal sacrifice. He then took the next natural step and raised the knife to kill his son, as God had instructed. At the moment his arm was raised, the testing period was over. Abraham had completely followed God’s plan, he had proven that he would walk out obedience to God no matter what the directive, and he had aced the test with flying colors.

God said, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Genesis 22:12

And, the next verse is the one that has been ringing in my head for days—
“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.”
Genesis 22:13

Only after his test of obedience was 100% complete, did Abraham see the ram—what had been God’s plan from the beginning.
I believe that ram had been there all along. Abraham just couldn’t see it because he was in the middle of a test. Had he seen the ram, he would have known God had everything under control, and even though it looked like he would be required to kill his only son, he would have known that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

What are you going through? I’d like to ask you to stop and consider your current circumstances and identify any test(s) you are currently walking through, and as you think about that, may I please encourage you?

This is a test. It is only a test. You are not going under. You will not be overcome by your circumstances. There is a ram. It is caught in the thicket by its horns. You can’t see it, but it is there. It has been there all along, and once you reach the point of proving complete faithfulness to God, in HIS time, He will say, “Enough!” THEN, my friend, you will do this —

You will lift up your eyes and look, and there behind you, (something you have not seen before) will be a ram. Caught in the thicket by its horns. Unable to move or be shaken or stolen from your grasp. God placed it there. He orchestrated the “catch of its horns.” He caused it to become lodged in such a way that all of earth and hell below cannot wrench it away from its designated purpose—YOUR DELIVERANCE! Your reward for being faithful to walk out God’s plan and the sacrifice needed to substitute for what it looked like was being taken from you. When the ram becomes evident and visible to you, you will courageously go and take the ram and use it for its God-ordained purpose.

“Taking the ram” may require some work on your part. God did not loose the ram, pick it up, and place it on the altar for Abraham. God placed the ram there and allowed it to become lodged and rendered incapable of leaving the very spot most visible to Abraham, but once Abraham saw it and recognized what God was doing, he had to put forth the necessary effort to free the ram’s horns from the thicket, so it could provide for his needs.

In verse 14, we read,
“And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

Cheryl Smith. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people

Cheryl Smith, author of the Inner Views and Homespun Devotions

I am not sure who God may be talking to through this post, but I know without a doubt that God has a ram for you! Stay the course until the ram becomes evident. Walk in obedience to the path of testing God has placed in front of you. Don’t quit. When God hits the “Stop” button on the test timer, you will look behind you and see the ram. When you do, go and place full trust in God’s plan of deliverance. Take the ram and enjoy the blessing of it providing exactly what you need.

This is only a test. It will come to an end. Keep trusting God and walking forward in faith and watch as God amazes you with what has been His plan all along!

Written by Cheryl Smith and originally published at www.homespundevotions.com.

Cheryl Smith describes herself as a “passionate disciple and follower of Jesus Christ.” She says: “I am married to the sweetest, most patient man for over 30 years…Mama to one miracle son God sent to us after 12.5 years of infertility…Homeschool Teacher who learns way more than I ever teach.I love to spend time with my husband and son in the mountains, sing and play Bluegrass music, and write. I am so thankful for your visit and hope you will visit my blogs: homespundevotions.com/ and biblicalminimalism.com/ It is my goal to encourage you in your walk with Jesus and to inspire you to let go of this world for the sake of a higher call. It is His call that I hope you hear. So compelling, so intense, so far above anything this world has to offer. It is the call His disciples heard as they went about a normal, ordinary day, fishing. It is a call they could not refuse. A call that caused them to drop everything they had and walk away from life as they knew it, without a backward glance. Can you hear it? Are you listening?”

Prayer Action Leader for Concerned Women for America

 


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Kevin Chambers: Are you “gifted” or “called”?

Written by Staff on November 12, 2019 – 11:57 am -

Kevin Chambers: Are you "gifted" or "called"?Be Who You Are — For God’s Glory! By  Kevin Chambers

I surrendered the call to preach in 1997. It was some time after that when I began to seriously study the scriptural concepts of gifts and calling. I’d like to share some things that I learned on that journey, in the hope that it might help you in your daily pursuit of Godly wisdom.

The best place to begin a study of these concepts is Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” I found in my studies that gifts is plural but calling is singular. I searched the Bible diligently for every occurrence of any form of the words “call,” “called,” “calling,” etc. 

Kevin Chambers: Are you "gifted" or "called"?After extensive study, I found exactly one calling in the Bible. It is the call to be saved, to come to Christ, to join the family of God. I discovered that every other religious use of that word was something invented quite recently (in terms of the age of the Church) and outside the Bible.

I learned that when John Bunyan wrote of his calling in his amazing autobiography, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” he meant something notably different from what we think of today. In the section “Imprisonment in November 1660,” he wrote of being examined by magistrates who urged him to “content (himself) with following his calling” and not preach, since that was against the law! Bunyan himself answered that he could “…do both these without confusion, follow my calling and preach the Word also.”

My point is that any religious “calling” (other than salvation) is a new concept that was not known as recently as Bunyan’s day. In that courtroom, all concerned knew that Bunyan’s calling was as a tinker (one who repairs pots and pans). In 1660 England, one’s calling was their regular job. There was no religious connotation in the word.

Eagle's Wings with Kevin Chambers

Eagle’s Wings with Kevin Chambers (far right)

I also noted in my Biblical studies in I Timothy 3:1-7, qualifications for a Bishop, generally understood to be equivalent to the modern idea of a pastor/shepherd/overseer, there is no mention of a calling. Verse one says “…if a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good work.” Honestly, there is no call to preach in the Bible at all. There are numerous commands to preach. There is desire to preach. But, you must look elsewhere to find the call to any ministry.

I learned that in the early church, any man who was of age, past his bar mitzvah, was welcome to read from scripture and make comments, or preach. They were to speak by two or three at most in any meeting to avoid confusion, and the pastor, literally “overseer,” should watch and call out any errors in love, not hostility; see I Corinthians 14:29-32. There was no “clergy” class. This was something conceived much later, for very questionable motives in the organized church hierarchy.

So, what does this have to do with Southern gospel music? I’m glad you asked.

Eagle's Wings with Kevin ChambersThere are many people in the ministry; preaching, singing, teaching, who at some point claimed or still claim an extra-Biblical “calling” on their lives. Once they made this claim and started down the path, they were trapped. They often have discovered that they do not have the gifts truly needed for that particular pursuit. That is not to say they do not have gifts, but they are afraid to manifest those gifts, since they have said that God called them to do some other specific thing, their “calling”.

Many times, this drives a person to literal despair, all while staying busy and active in their professed calling, knowing inside that they are not equipped to do the job.

The Bible is amazingly clear on the very plural subject of gifts. Paul, in Ephesians 4:7 and 4:11-12, speaks of the various gifts God has given to equip the Church. He also explains, like the body with many parts in I Corinthians 12, that we all have something valuable to contribute. Romans 12 puts it so beautifully. Please read Romans 12:3-8 if you get nothing else from this article.

Some people say they are specially called and that is between them and God. Others wait, pray and beg God for countless years, waiting for a mysterious calling, one that God never mentioned as necessary. Some believe they are gifted in one specific area, but, if they would be honest with themselves and God, then act logically and use their God-given strengths or gifts, they could lead much happier lives.

My earnest desire for you, the reader, is that you, courageously, “Be who you are… for God!”

We are all gifted in some way (Romans 12:3-8) 

We are all called (Philippians 3:14)

God has a plan for you (Ephesians 4:12) 

Don’t try to be something you are not (Psalm 84:10)

Never be afraid of failure (Proverbs 24:16)

Don’t let man’s idea of success be your standard. Noah and Jeremiah had public ministries that were dismal failures, by man’s account. Just do something to the glory of God. Keep trying until you find your gift. Remember this: “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” (Daniel 11:35)

Like the prospective pastor in I Timothy 3:1, if you have a desire to spread the good news of the Gospel in songs or sermons or books or any other way, then that desire is a good thing. I don’t believe the devil ever plants desires like that.

If you get to sing, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Amazing Grace,” to a group of 10 people, God is praised. And one of them might understand a little bit more of the love of God, or how amazing his grace really is, that is a successful ministry.

Be who you are, for God. Don’t let religious language and concepts keep you from finding and using your God-given gifts to glorify him.

I hope this helps someone in their daily walk with the Lord.

Hey Y'all Media

Eagle’s Wings

By Kevin Chambers

Kevin Chambers sings vocals, plays mandolin, bass and guitar with Eagle’s Wings. He is the music director at Central Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama. He is also a maritime security analyst.

Kevin’s credentials include: “U.S. Air Force Active Duty, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Civil Air Patrol-USAF Auxiliary, US Coast Guard AMSC Civilian… 35 years of working “in/for/with” the military in one capacity or another… I just hope we can keep a free country for the next generation… Then it would be worth all the trouble.”

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Cheryl Smith: Letting go of “if onlys…” and “what ifs?”

Written by Staff on November 7, 2019 – 8:17 am -

 letting go of "if onlys" and "what ifs?"By Cheryl Smith

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

— Jesus’ words in John 14:27

How many times have you uttered the two little words, “if only?”  “If only I hadn’t gone so far into debt.”  “If only I had been more respectful of my parents and their needs.”  “If only I had spent more time with my kids.”  “If only I hadn’t gained so much weight.”  “If only I hadn’t spoken such unkind words.”  “If only I had chosen a different path.”  “If only I had listened to wise counsel.”

How about those other two little words, “what if?”  “What if the bottom falls out?”  “What if something bad happens?”  “What if I try again and fail again?”  “What if other people talk about me?”  “What if this relationship doesn’t work out?”  “What if I never find my purpose?”  “What if we can’t make ends meet?”

Your “if onlys” and “what ifs?” may be worlds-apart different than mine, but there’s a good chance, if you have lived very long at all, you have amassed a huge pile of “if onlys” and “what ifs?” all your own.

These are the things “if onlys” and “what ifs” are made of.  “If onlys” communicate remorse and regret over the past.  “What ifs” convey fears and anxiety over the future.  Both prevent us from living in complete joy in the present.  If you are like me, you may teeter between the two on a regular basis.  It sort of feels like an irreconcilable, futile tug-of war, lamenting one minute over things I wish I had done differently in the past and dreading unforeseen potentially bad things that may or may not happen in the future.

Can you envision just for a moment how much happier and more serene present life would be if we decluttered all “if onlys” and “what ifs” and never uttered those four words again?  “If onlys” and “what ifs” are a complete waste of time and energy because the truth is, we cannot go back and make alterations, nor can we see or control what happens beyond the moment in front of us.  “If onlys” and “what ifs” hold the power of rendering us incapable of experiencing joy in the beautiful parts of our own reality and they rob us of being able to live the peaceful life we all crave.

Remember the serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference?”  (Written by Reinhold Niebuhr)

Acceptance, courage, and wisdom are quite possibly the three main qualities we all need on this path to a minimal life.

 

Acceptance of the things we cannot change—


What we sow will grow, and it is impossible to go back and unearth any of the seeds we have planted.  We will never find a sense of peace until we make the choice to let go of regret and embrace that what has already happened cannot be undone.  Regrets are past deeds for which we refuse to forgive ourselves.  Surrendering the grudge we are holding against ourselves is extremely liberating and conducive to peace.  It is completely okay to finally forgive yourself for doing the things you wish you hadn’t, leave the past where it happened, let it go, and walk on.

 

Courage to change the things we can—


Since we can’t rewrite the history of our own actions, why not focus our energy on learning the lessons our regrets have taught us and start courageously applying that knowledge to present and future behavior?  Why don’t we stop obsessing over what we can’t do and redirect that energy to what we still can?  While we can’t change the way we may have treated departed loved ones, we can recklessly and wholeheartedly love and care for the important people who are in our lives today.  Whenever possible, we can say we’re sorry to people we may have hurt along the way.  We can nourish relationships with our children and do our best to make up for lost time with them, regardless of their current age.  We can scale back on unnecessary commitments and obligations and set our current priorities in order.  We can pay off past debt and stop buying things on credit.  We can make better eating choices, start exercising and lose excess weight.  We can do whatever it takes to change career paths and start doing something we really love.  We can start today by mustering the courage to do the things we wish we had done in the past.  Life is incredibly short, no one is getting any younger, and there is no time like the present.  Start today to make the changes you wish you had made years ago.

 

Wisdom to know the difference—


There is a sense of relief that can be found in the mere act of compartmentalizing the things that bother us.  Just as it helps us feel more productive to place unwanted physical possessions into minimizing boxes that are labeled, “Donate,” “Sell,” “Trash,” and “Put Away,” tossing troublesome “what ifs” and “if onlys” into the “Things I Can Change” and “Things I Cannot Change” categories will help us feel that we are making progress and taking a step in the right direction.  Making the distinction between what we can change and what we cannot change empowers us to take control over hypothetical circumstances and realign our thoughts with what is real and doable.

The enemy of our souls wants to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in our lives.  If he can convince us to dwell on “if onlys” and “what ifs,” he can take our eyes off the blessings God so faithfully and bountifully pours into our lives.  Jesus came to give us life.  Not just existence, but life that is abundant.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

“If onlys” produce regret.  “What ifs” generate anxiety.  Both are toxic to our well being, and regardless how much progress we may have made in minimizing stressful situations and letting go of excess physical possessions, they can rob our newfound peace and cause our otherwise simple lives to feel unnecessarily complicated.  The next time you are tempted to say, “if only” or “what if,” make the intentional decision to think of something about present life that you are thankful for, turn your eyes upon Jesus, and thank Him for that instead.

Cheryl Smith. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people

Cheryl Smith, author of the Inner Views and Homespun Devotions

By Cheryl Smith

First published at www.biblicalminimalism.com  The post can be found HERE.

Cheryl Smith is a Blessed & Grateful Wife to Kevin and Homeschool Mama to Zach 

Prayer Action Leader for Concerned Women for America

For more Gospel music features, read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
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