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New SGNScoops writer Amy Oxenrider drinks “Sweet Water”

Written by Staff on September 15, 2018 – 6:59 am -

Amy Oxenrider introduces Sweet Water

Amy Oxenrider introduces Sweet Water

Mrs. Amy D. Oxenrider is the newest member of the SGNScoops team and we are pleased to present her first devotional article here. A former member of the ‘Riders, Amy continues to sing and has also taken on several speaking engagements. She continues her ministry through writing articles, speaking at revivals, conferences, and one-on-one counseling. The Sweet Water article will be written monthly by Amy, and she will also be conducting live interviews throughout the country, keeping everyone up to date on their favorite artist. Amy, we are pleased to have you as a member of the SGNScoops family.

Sweet Water by Amy Duncan Oxenrider

According To Your Faith

Imagine a woman sitting in her home day after day wishing she could be normal. An illness prevents her from engaging with her peers and family because she is considered unclean. She has no control. She has spent all of her money on herbs and rituals in hopes of being healed so she could be normal.

She sits thinking to herself, “What do I have now? I’m still sick and have no money for medicine. I am bound to my home, away from friends and family. How long will I have to suffer? How long will I be isolated form society?”

As she sits feeling hopeless, she hears through her small window the crowd becoming excited. She walks closer hoping to hear the cause of the commotion.

Then she hears the name “Jesus.”

She remembers what she has heard about this mysterious man they call “Teacher,” “Son of David,” and “Healer.” “Is it true he has so much power,” she says to herself. “Could it be possible that he could actually heal my disease?”

waterfallSuddenly, without a second thought, she grabs her cloak, wraps it tightly around her upper body and rushes out the door. She begins to follow the crowd but soon realizes she is not the only one that’s heard Jesus is in town. There are so many people running towards him, will she ever make it before he is out of reach?

She sees him from a distance but can’t seem to get close enough to ask him for help. He begins to walk further away and the crowd is getting thicker. She thinks this is her one and only chance and she is not going to let him get away from her. She pushes, steps over the fallen, presses her way through the crowd but he is still too far ahead of her.

She thinks to herself, “This man has so much power, if I can only touch his cloak, I will be well.”

Again, she becomes more and more determined to make her way to him. Finally, she gets close enough to touch the very edge of his cloak. She falls on the ground and reaches between others to touch the very hem of his garment.

Jesus stops.

He turns and looks to her, asking, “Who touched me?”

She knew he was referring to her. Scared and timid, she quietly says, “It was I.”

Jesus did not have to ask her what was wrong or why she felt the needed to touch him, he already knew. He saw the faith she had in him and loving said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you.”

She was instantly healed. After twelve years of suffering, it all went away once the Healer spoke.

One thing I would like for you to notice: Jesus told the woman that her faith was the reason for her healing. We can pray and pray and pray 24/7, but if we do not have the faith that God is able and willing to answer us when we call on him, our prayers will be in vain.

In the same chapter of Matthew 9, Jesus told two blind men, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” He did not say your mother’s or father’s faith, he said your faith. These blind men believed and were healed. The woman with the blood disease had enough faith in Jesus that she would do anything to get to him. What was her result? Healing. According to her faith, she was healed. Remember, for twelve years this woman was considered untouchable.

Isn’t it amazing that our Savior can change a situation that seems unending in less than a second? Immediately, she was healed. Immediately, our bad situations can change when we touch Jesus, knowing he is able to take care of us.

When we completely submit to his will, giving our future to him and being led by his sweet Holy Spirit, the changes that we will see take place in lives will be amazing.

In times of desperation, don’t worry about the correct way to reach God, just reach him. That’s all that matters.

According to your faith will it be done to you.

God Bless You All

By Amy D. Oxenrider

 

Amy Oxenrider introduces Sweet Water

Amy Oxenrider

More on Amy Oxenrider:

Amy was raised in a conservative Christian home, being one of two children of Reverend Grant and Shelia Duncan. She and her sister were on the stage singing as soon as they were old enough to hold a microphone. This legacy continues to be passed on through Amy to her three sons. She has recently signed with Green Family Ministry Promotions as a solo artist and will be sharing the love of Christ wherever the doors may open. Amy has also signed with Holland Management Productions (HMP) as a model. Understanding that beauty is not standard, it is Amy’s desire to express to women that we are all created in the image of God and are beautiful in his sight.

 

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TO REALLY LIVE, YOU HAVE TO DIE

Written by Staff on May 3, 2016 – 5:30 pm -

Death

To Live or Die

We Christians rejoice in the significance of new life in Christ – and rightly so. Apart from Jesus Christ we cannot know the joy of true life.

But we seldom give much thought to the fact that in order to receive that new life, Christians have to die. We tend to skim over the Scriptural passages that speak of our need to die. We don’t do it deliberately, but we are understandably more enthused about the life in Christ that we now live than the death of leaving things behind.

The life we enjoy in Christ is, however, very much a result of death. Above all it is the result of Christ’s own death for our sins. Without his death on our behalf, it would be impossible for us to enjoy eternal life.

But the Scriptures also speak of ways in which we ourselves must “die” – a death that can be anything from a minor, inconvenient loss of something we cherish, right through to the most stressful and traumatically life-changing experience. All of us, if we are to fully enjoy life in Christ, must experience “deaths” of various kinds.

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We’re All Human by Jeff Steele

Written by Staff on April 24, 2015 – 8:16 am -

Dr. Jeff R. Steele

Dr. Jeff R. Steele

Three Reasons For Trouble

A lot of people don’t like to hear this but sometimes God allows trouble to come into our lives. One need only to look at the life of Job to realize that God does this from time to time. I believe there are three reasons God allows trouble to come to us. One is…He’s preparing us for what’s coming. Why is there Spring Training in baseball? Why are there Preseason workouts and two-a-days in the blazing hot summer for football? To get the players ready for the actual season that is still to come. Does the military just throw otherwise able-bodied men into the conflict of service? No, they first run them through “basic training” to prepare them for their real service.

I had a friend of mine when I was in high school. His dad owned a jewelry store where we lived. We visited that store often. This guy’s dad had solid white hair. I now know (with the perspective of years) that at the time I was visiting his store he was probably younger than I am right now. One day he was talking about the rigors of his basic training in the army. I (being a stupid teen-ager) said, “That must be where that white hair came from, the toughness of basic training.” He became very serious as he looked at me and said, “No, Son. Basic training didn’t give me this white hair. World War II gave me this white hair!”

The difficult thing that you’re going through…that trouble you’re facing…don’t be so quick to get mad at God for allowing it to come. He could be putting you “through the paces” so you will be prepared for the REAL battle that’s much tougher than this so you’ll be prepared when it comes.

Secondly, I believe He allows trouble to come in order to test us. When we were in school (if we’re honest) our least favorite part was test day. You know what, though? The teacher didn’t just give a test to determine whether we passed or failed the subject. They gave us the test to determine whether we had retained what we were supposed to have learned to see if we could move forward. There’s no sense going to what’s next if we haven’t yet retained the knowledge and skill we are supposed to have learned in the previous lesson. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Don’t put that on your car as a bumper sticker until you have passed the test that lets you know for a certainty that it’s true!

Thirdly, God will allow trouble to come to chasten us. Scripture tells us that the Lord chastens those He loves. Now we don’t like that but listen; chastening from the Lord is one of the things that prove we’re SAVED! I run into people all the time who tell me they’re not sure they’re saved. I ask them: “Is God chastening you?” If He IS, then that’s a sign you ARE indeed one of His children. As His children we are called to live our lives according to HIS will for us.   When we began to follow our own desires and leave His will for us then He will chasten us to get us away from where we ARE and take us BACK to where we are supposed to be!

Don’t get mad when God allows trouble to come. Just realize that it’s all part of His perfect plan for your life and that He’s using it to build you into what HE wants you to be.

First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in February 2015.

Connect with Dr. Jeff R. Steele on Facebook.

Read Jeff’s latest column in the current issue of SGN Scoops on the SGN Scoops’ Mainpage.


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David Staton: What Will You Do In 2015?

Written by Staff on March 6, 2015 – 12:50 pm -

David Staton

David Staton

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t make a “to do” list in the evening and plan my day, I will not get much done the next day. Everyday life has too many distractions that will keep me from getting done what I need to get done. I’ve never met anyone who was successful who didn’t create a plan on how to achieve their goals. Most people will never retire unless they map out a plan in writing with advisors and a team of people that know how to make it happen.

If I had a business that didn’t do very well this past year, didn’t grow, didn’t make a profit and I sat down with a successful business person, they would ask questions like: “How much money did the company profit last year? What is your product? What is the process for getting the product to the consumer?” Then they would ask a very important question: “Can I see your business plan that makes you think next year will be more successful?” If I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, I am almost guaranteed to fail.

We carefully plan our lives and take practical steps to make the things that we care about happen. Many people say that their number-one priority is following Christ, but something is wrong. When Jesus asked the disciples to follow Him, He told them, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” In other words, “I will show you how to share the Gospel with people.” Then just before He ascended, He told all of us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, baptizing them and making disciples. In other words, He is telling us that when we follow Him, He will teach us how to share the Gospel. It was important enough that the disciples took the time to write down important events and the words Jesus said so they and we would know how to share the Gospel.

Road Ahead            I know many churches that have had about the same attendance every week for the last year, two years, five years, 30 years. I have asked the pastors what they have planned for evangelism in the coming year and what their plan was to share the Gospel with the tens of thousands of people that live in their community. Some have a well thought out plan, but too many churches plan on doing nothing different than they did the previous year. I can tell you that most of those churches will not see significant growth. Why? They dream of their church growing, but dreaming is not enough. The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline, a plan of action.

How can we say that ministry and serving Christ is our top priority and yet we never sit down and write down a “to do” list for sharing the Gospel. Learning how to share the Gospel effectively with the people and culture that we live in is essential if we are going to make an impact on the world around us. If you are a gospel singer and claim to be a ministry and you can’t open your Bible and lead someone to Christ, do us all a favor and don’t claim that ministry is a priority in your life! That last sentence may have been a little opinionated, but it’s just some free advice.

photo-michael-ryu-n-213            Maybe you are a singer or in a gospel group and if you’re like most, 2014 was a tough year. Good dates are getting harder to come by and church budgets are getting too tight to have any kind of outside singers or evangelists come in. Crowds seem to be getting smaller, but you think 2015 will somehow be better. Let me ask you what your plan of action will be to make it better?

If you have ever said that ministry is a priority in your life, and sharing the Gospel is the most important thing in your ministry, then let me encourage you to sit down with someone that can help you achieve more in 2015. If you’re a pastor or church leader, let’s work together to do more to share the Gospel in 2015 than we ever have. When we ask God to direct our paths and sit down and create a plan based on His will and His leading, we will be amazed at what He will do in and through us! A New Year that wins more people to the Lord is guaranteed to be a Happy New Year!

David Staton is a Gospel music artist and writer who has a monthly column in SGN Scoops digital magazine. Find his latest column in the current edition of SGN Scoops HERE.

For more information on David Staton click HERE. 

 

 


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We’re All Human by Dr. Jeff Steele

Written by Staff on February 20, 2015 – 8:38 am -

file7611265488101Parable of Two Sons

Text: Matthew 21:28-31

This is not a parable that is preached on very often. Here’s the deal: Jesus has had His authority questioned by the religious crowd. These are the bean counters, the rules and regulations guys, and the ones who always question everybody else’s authority. Right, they never question their own authority, just everybody else’s.

Jesus poses a question to them. He says a father had two sons: to the first one he said, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” The first son says, “I will not!”

Don’t judge him too harshly because that’s what we all say when the Heavenly Father knocks on our heart’s door. We all say, “No… we’re going to set up our own set of rules and regulations and we’re going to keep them and that’s how we’ll be right with You, God.”

The scripture says all we like sheep have gone astray…we’ve turned everyone to his own way! We have all sinned and come short of God’s glory. There is none righteous, no not one.

So that is pretty much the way we all responded when God first came calling.  We just said like the first son here: “No!”  Then the scripture goes on to say that after a while he/we regretted that decision and did go and do the work! That also is what we do. The Father keeps calling, the Holy Spirit keeps wooing us and eventually we realize the truth of the gospel message, realize the futility of trying to do it ourselves and we get saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Jesus continues, “He came to a second son and said the same thing.”  That being, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” This son said immediately, “Sure I’ll go sir…I’ll do it.”  But he did not go!  No work was done.

This son is a picture of religion. This is the crowd that says “I’ll do it…just put me in charge. Make me the head of the committee; make me the boss, the chief over the whole thing. You do that and I’m ready to go.”

The problem is that when people have that mentality they spend their whole life not working but rather protecting their new position of authority. They can’t turn loose of it and they work the rest of their life to protect the position they now have and the WORK goes undone.

Do you wonder why attendance in churches is down? Why is giving down? Why is the overall level of excitement and enthusiasm down? Quite frankly it’s because the second son has taken over and everybody has a title, position and their name on the sign but nobody is doing the work.

jeff steele

Dr. Jeff Steele

Religion has taken over the church and religion won’t ever save you…only Jesus will.  Religion is not the answer; it is the problem!  So Jesus asked the religious bean counters: “Which of the two sons did the will of his father?” And the religious crowd said, “Why, the one who first refused and then later went and did the work.”

Jesus said, “You’re right and I tell you that tax collectors, prostitutes, robbers, crooks and thieves will enter the kingdom of God before you religious bean counters.”              Isn’t that amazing? Religion will give you an upset stomach, send your blood pressure sky high, make you stew at home over what “others” are doing down at the church…ultimately it’ll kill you!  Then at the end of the way it will not deliver you into God’s Heaven.  Religion won’t save you…only Jesus will!

First published October 2014 in SGN Scoops digital magazine.

For current articles by Jeff Steele, see the latest edition of SGN Scoops on http://www.sgnscoops.com/

 


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High Notes with Kelly Nelon Clark

Written by Staff on February 4, 2015 – 2:20 pm -

The Nelons

The Nelons

Sam of Maryland

 In our travels, we meet so many interesting people and I always love to hear their stories. Mr. Sam was at a concert one weekend and invited us to his restaurant. As we ate, he began to share some of his life story. He had a lot of tragedies in a short timeframe of his life. Enough trials to make a person want to give up; but not Mr. Sam.

At the age of six years old, both of his parents were killed in an automobile accident. He and his older brother and younger sister then lived with his grandparents. At the age of 14, they also passed away. He really wasn’t sure what would happen next but an aunt in Maryland took him, and his grandmother’s sister took the other two children. Sam’s aunt raised him and put him through college.

photo_6223_20080605I asked him if he ever felt sad about losing so much and he said. “No, I’ve always been an optimistic kind, with the glass half full. Plus everywhere I went I always felt loved.”

There were two things that struck my heart about his story. First of all, that it matters how you react in life to its blows and punches. And secondly, that love will get you through a lot of things.

I can’t say that in my situations I always stayed positive, but I did know the Lord could handle everything I was going through and His love covered me too!

Maybe you need to know that someone loves you! God cares about your life, your health, your mind, and everything else that pertains to you. You are not alone!  He goes before you, behind you and walks beside you!

Kelly Nelon

Kelly Nelon

By Kelly Nelon Clark

First published in the November 2014 edition of SGN Scoops digital magazine.

For more High Notes by Kelly Nelon Clark, see the latest issue of SGN Scoops digital magazine at www.sgnscoops.com


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The Seat in the Middle by Kelly Nelon Clark

Written by Staff on October 24, 2014 – 12:45 pm -

Kelly Nelon Clark and The Nelons (Jason Clark not in picture)

Kelly Nelon Clark and The Nelons (Jason Clark not in picture)

I’m sitting here on my first leg of two flights today. This flight is from Jacksonville to Las Vegas and to say the least, it is a full flight. Jason, Amber and Autumn are all sitting somewhere else in the plane.

I am seated in the middle seat between two elderly ladies. The one on my right is very petite and very kind. The one to my left is very tall and slender and, well, I don’t know if I can explain her. She is very eccentric and has her one leg on my side of the seat and is continually elbowing me in the side as she is half way in my seat and can’t seem to get settled.

On take-off she asked the lady on my right (we will call her P-lady) to raise the shade because she is claustrophobic. The lady looks at her and slowly raises up the blind. She whispers to me, “Wouldn’t it be terrible to be that way?” I nod in agreement. 

I am desperately trying to keep both arms in my lap but it is a three-and-a-half hour flight. I think I am going to go crazy. The eccentric lady (we will call her E-lady) is dressed to a tee in a navy blue suit and her jewelry is very expensive. It seems as if she is very well off and used to everything being her way. She stands up in the aisle every chance she gets, until a voice comes on the speaker telling her to sit down. Reluctantly she plops down in the seat, flips open her magazine and continues on with poking me in the side. I wait for every opportunity for her to stand up as it is my only time to relax.

We’ve been on the plane now for 20 minutes. Only three hours and 10 minutes left. It’s snack time and she gets out her banana nut bread and something else that looks and smells disgusting. I put my jacket over my nose and say my nose is cold so not to hurt her feelings but I think I’m going to gag. She also gets some cookies from the flight attendant and crumbs are everywhere. I’ll finish this note later; maybe I can close my eyes and the time will fly by.

Oh no, now she is sneezing uncontrollably. I wish I had earplugs. Her husband or companion is seated in the seat across from her and I guess she doesn’t hear well because he speaks on volume 10 to her. I’m going to try and sleep now. 

Well that was short lived. The air is bumpy and I guess it is scaring her or making her nervous. She is hopping around in her seat. I’m starting to feel a little sorry for her; she is on my side and flings the arm of my jacket toward me as if it is in her way. I want to laugh but holding it in. The poor petite lady on my right tries to sleep. Wish I could.

E-lady accidentally pushes the steward button instead of the light. The flight attendant comes and she tells him it was a mistake. “But since you are here will you tell me what time it is here and what time it will be in Vegas?”  He tries to explain but she doesn’t quite get it. P-lady looks up and asks, “What State are we flying over? Is it Arizona?”  “No Ma’am, it’s Oklahoma.” “Very interesting,” she says. Now both are reading with their lights on. Me – I’m giving you a play by play of my flight.

Five minutes later, I kid you not; E-lady is standing in the aisle again. You can’t make this stuff up. She is hopping from one leg to the other. She decides to make her second trip to the restroom. I may join her. Hoping my battery will last until we get off this flight. Twenty minutes later she has still not returned from the restroom. Maybe she is standing in the back. I knew I should have gone.

kelly 2Thirty minutes later she is back. She reaches down to get her purse and it’s huge. She can hardly maneuver it. She gets a snack out and then frantically tries to zip it and get it back under her seat. She tries from the inside but can’t get it through her legs. Finally she tries from the outside in and successfully gets it in. She proceeds to ring the flight attendant for a drink. Whew. I’m worn out! Crumbs from her cookie are everywhere.

As I sit here I think, “What would Jesus do?”  First thought in my head is, I am not Jesus. But I am supposed to be like Him. Jesus was in the middle one time too. It was while He was on the Cross. He was loving and forgiving in a very dark time in his life. So I try to think of something to connect with. She does not talk, at least to anyone but her husband and the flight attendant so I open my purse and I offer both the E-lady and the P-lady some gum. They both accept and smile. Ten more minutes and we will be on the ground. It really wasn’t so bad at all!

By Kelly Nelon Clark, monthly columnist for SGN Scoops

First published by SGN Scoops in September 2014

For current issues of SGN Scoops please visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/

 


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If Rambo Had a Wife, It Would Not Have Been Me!

Written by Staff on September 26, 2014 – 9:56 am -

Sherry Anne

Sherry Anne

By Sherry Anne

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

One of the more enjoyable skits I have ever done was for an overnight ladies retreat in the Adirondack Mountains, New York. The theme was a “lighten-your-load-get-rid-of-your-baggage” kind of theme. Our ten-minute opening presentation was a hit. Three of us ladies each portrayed (and quite appropriately, too!) a character on her way to a very important event if they could just navigate their way through the woods to get there!

The first character, Jane, was the female equivalent of Indiana Jones. Dressed in cargos, she was equipped with her hat, compass, and map to locate the mystery cabin. Think of the second character, Chris, as the female counterpart to Rambo. This dame came equipped with a machete and a Swiss Army Knife, along with all the skills needed to survive the jungle. Enter my character: Tiffany. Yup, the brunette version of Elle in Legally Blonde! Oh yes, it’s true! She came prepared with her three suitcases, ten dress outfits, five pairs of high heels, two bottles of hairspray and a large case containing makeup, toiletries, and other odds and ends that served absolutely no purpose in steering her in the right direction. She looked great but was ill-suited for the task at hand. She was definitely not fit to travel with her action hero companions!

So, there we were— the three of us—on an adventure to accomplish a goal, encountering several setbacks along the way: injuries, hunger, and getting lost. Tiffany’s plan was to pray for a man (i.e. Tarzan) to show up and solve all her problems. Know anyone like that? Chris, on the other hand, just wanted to get ahead as she hacked everything up, relentlessly destroying not only potential food sources but also leaving us trailing behind in the wake of her mess. We can be this way, too, with words or job positions—tearing people down to further our own agenda and egos. Meanwhile, Jane was so busy looking down to read, study, and analyze the plans that she didn’t see the small boat right in front of her that would take all of us safely over to the other side. I think anyone living in the media-crazed twenty-first century can relate to Jane!

After several hours in the woods, Tiffany, whose stockings and mascara were now running, eagerly entered the boat. But, when she went to get in with all her luggage in tow, it began to sink. Her baggage had become her blockage, or hindrance, to where she was going. Even though she had used and needed all of these things in the past, they were of no use to her where she was going. In order to survive and reach her ultimate destination, Tiffany had to drop her excess baggage to cross over to the other side, where the blessing was.

Similarly, the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” For our benefit, and for necessary growth, we need to let go of many things we are holding onto from our past and allow God to fill us up with the new things He has for us in the future. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

New adventures await you! What do you need to let go of? Who are you willing to put in God’s hands and not yours? What is the thing that is keeping you from getting to the other side where you are appointed (and anointed) to be? Think about that today as you pray this prayer: Father, help me to lighten the load of my past and leave baggage behind so I cross over to the new future you have for me. Thank you for providing me what I need, daily, to take the next step. Amen

By Sherry Anne

First published in July 2014 by SGN Scoops digital magazine.

Sherry Anne is a monthly contributor to SGN Scoops magazine. For current issues, visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/

 


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Breaking Down The Walls

Written by Staff on September 19, 2014 – 1:35 pm -

courtesy waynestiles.com

courtesy waynestiles.com

By Dr. Jeff Steele

Jericho was a very immoral city. Part of the reason for their immorality was the power they believed was in their city walls. They didn’t even believe God could get through their walls and affect them. As long as they were inside those walls they thought anything and everything they did was hidden from, and they were protected from, God. So bad was this city that when the spies went in to scout it out they only found ONE “believer” and that was a prostitute named Rahab!

She actually owned and operated a house of ill repute right there in the red light district of Jericho. I know some folks that are so holy and righteous that they don’t want to believe that but read the bible. She is what they found and that is what she was doing! That ought to prove to all of us that you can’t judge a dog by its mother and you can’t judge a book by its cover. No matter how we categorize people and judge them to be the kind of person God would never use or speak to God can speak to whomever He chooses, whenever He chooses, wherever He chooses!

This lady Rahab is even in the genealogy and lineage of Jesus. The question is not “why would God speak to a prostitute?” The question is “why would He speak to me and why would He speak to you?” It is called grace. Noah found it in the eyes of the Lord. Rahab found it through a red cord. Jonah found out about it sitting under a gourd and thank God I found it in God’s Word, the Sword. Grace is the gift of God to sinful (and what other kind is there?) man and no, we don’t always understand it, but where we need to question it the most is when we recall how it was extended to US!
Joshua had a very unusual encounter just before the Children of Israel that were under his command approached Jericho. It is found in Joshua 5 beginning in verse 13:

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Who was this visitor that appeared to Joshua with his sword in his hand? I believe it was none other than Jesus himself! Why do I believe that? Well in Revelation 1:17 John saw Jesus in His glorified state in heaven. This was the post-crucifixion, post-resurrection, after-the-earth-experience Jesus. When he saw Him, John said, “I fell at His feet like a dead man.” Joshua did the same thing! The scripture says, “he fell on his face on the earth and worshiped.” This commander told Joshua to “take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” That is the same thing the Lord said to Moses from the burning bush! This was Matthew’s messiah. He was Mark’s wonder worker. He was Luke’s Son of Man and John’s Son of God. He was none other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth who was and is the Son of the Living God! Forgive me, but when you’ve been with Him the walls that surround your life don’t seem nearly so big and tall anymore.

Note that Joshua didn’t even ask what this visitor’s name might be. Rather he asked Him “are you for US or are you for our enemy?” The soldier answered, “Neither. See I did not come to take sides, I came to take over!” That is the message many need to hear from God today about your own life. “I’m not here to take sides, I’m here to take over.”

Dr. Jeff Steele

Dr. Jeff Steele

Abraham Lincoln, arguably our greatest president, once said, “I’m not nearly as concerned about whether God is on OUR side as I am whether we are on GOD’S side.” He is the take-over God. He is ready to take over what we will GIVE over to Him. That marriage problem, that financial problem, that church trouble, that medical situation, that child who just WON’T do right! God is ready to take over and when He does the walls that surround you don’t have a chance. They HAVE to fall, they don’t have a choice because “greater is He that is in YOU than he that is in the world!” It’s time to get behind the man with the sword in His hand. It’s time to see the walls fall and conquer the city.

By Dr. Jeff Steele. First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in June 2014.

For current issues of SGN Scoops visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/


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What Is Your Scent? By Kelly Nelon Clark

Written by Staff on September 12, 2014 – 8:21 am -

kelly 2Magnolia blossoms and honeysuckle blooms almost immediately take me back to my childhood. For just a moment I can smell their sweet fragrance in my head. My neighbors had a beautiful magnolia tree in their yard and on our way to the creek behind their house the smell of that flower would follow us. I would stop each time to take it in. I had never smelled anything so lovely.

Have you ever thought how the sense of smell has so much value in our life? I mean it brings back so many memories to us. Would life be quite as rich without it?

I can’t imagine having to give up my sense of smell. Did you know that a recent study at Rockefeller University states that our noses are far more sensitive than we ever thought?  According to the study, researchers determined that we can actually detect more than one-trillion smells. That’s a lot of memories!

What are some of the fragrances that you recall? What meaning do they have to you? Here are a few of my life memories:
The sweet honeysuckle has a beautiful smell and also has a sweet taste. I spent many a day in the summer sipping on a honeysuckle.
Something I never drank, and still do not, is coffee. For someone who doesn’t drink it I love to smell it and it forever reminds me of being at home with my mom and dad and the percolator every morning. I woke up every morning to that wonderful smell.
I have always been afraid of shots. My brother and I would go to great lengths as children to avoid them. The smell of alcohol still to this day brings back that fear of the needle. I think I have anxiety attacks just thinking of it.
One of the worst smells is the smell of a skunk. But for me I relate it to my times on the road in the bus. We were always hitting a skunk but the smell does not bring up bad memories but rather good times spent with friends and family. And everyone on the bus hollering out “Skunk!”

 

IMG-20140704-00397The power of scent turns each breath that we take into a puff of the world that’s ours alone. It’s personal to our memory and to our stories.

We can choose each day how we live before the Lord. What scent will we bring to Him? Will He be ashamed of us or will He be pleased with our lives? I’m praying today that the smell that I bring before the Lord is pleasing and a sweet savor to Him.

“For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (II Corinthians 2:14,15).
Written by Kelly Nelon Clark of The Nelons.

Kelly Clark is a monthly writer for SGN Scoops digital magazine.

For current issues of SGN Scoops, visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/


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