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Monthly Archives: January 2015

On Being a Butterfly – Harold Lee Wilson II

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“On Being a Butterfly”
by Harold Lee Wilson II

Imagine the butterfly. It’s a thing of beauty, colorful and exquisite in nature. It can fly, flutter, and soar through the skies. It has a calm elegance of which many designers have tried to capture in their clothing and household goods. The butterfly is a mystery of God’s greatness – once in a hairy, crawling creature; now a beautiful, flying picture of a perfect design.

We are each called to be that butterfly. Once in our lives, we were the crawling insect, unworthy of the attention and concern that the Father gave us. We were sinful and evil, filled with darkness and deserving to crawl on our bellies for the rest of our existence (and, maybe, even beyond). We were not holy, good, kind, joyful, or any other positive adjective. We were a member of Satan’s army, whether we knew it at the time or not.

But, along comes the chrysallis, Jesus. He wrapped us in His arms, covered us with His blood, and began the process of changing us. No, not changing…TRANSFORMING. A change is a minor thing, something that we do in an instant (i.e. changing our minds). Instead, Jesus comes to transform us, to work through us in order for us to become something better, something more holy, over a period of time. This is an act of perfected transformation.

God’s Word tells us that, in order to truly be considered a new creation in Christ, we have to undergo this transformation:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Our mind, the resting spot of our thoughts and intellectual processing, has been too long conformed to this world. We think like Satan wants us to think. He has no power to make things happen in this world, so he implants thoughts into our minds and tries to get us to act on them. But, instead of doing so, we need to transform our mind, make it new each day, in order to become more like Christ. We need to process information as Christ would process it. We need to filter what we see and hear through the Word of God, to discover if it is biblical or fleshly. We need to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when we make decisions on how to act (or, as is the case in many situations, react). We have to allow Jesus to come in with a paintbrush and redesign the format of our minds. We need to be transformed.

Each day, we are being transformed a little at a time. “And we…are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Each day, we are being remade to become more like our ultimate and perfect example, Jesus. God, the Potter, is molding us into what He desires us to be – the perfection of His Son. He is transforming us inside and out to ensure that we are ready to accept the inheritance that He has planned for us. We need to look to Jesus as the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Our faith, the essence of our walk with the Lord, is to be transformed each day into what God desires us to be. We are to be like the butterfly, wrapped in the arms of Jesus, changed into the perfection that comes only through Him, and emerging as a true Child of God.

Live today like the butterfly. Allow the transforming power of God’s Word to fill your mind. Embrace the transforming energy that comes from the Holy Spirit. Ask God to show you the path of transformation that He has planned for you, and begin to walk down that path.

But, most of all, spread your wings and fly, Butterfly.

This Cup – Tracy Leigh

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THIS CUP
by Tracy Leigh

 

give me a drink

wooden cup

living water with an unquenchable thirst

cup offered with holes

sip of rejection

drawn from the well

this cup of deceit

let it pass

mocking gulp

this cup, oh, this cup

not my will but Thine

swallowed abuse

I thirst!

sour, bitter gall given not taken

drink from this cup, my cup

taste of suffering, torture

Eloi, Eloi, lama, sabachthani

this cup of living water never runs dry

cup of sacrificial love

Testimony is Spelled with a Lower Case “i” – Harold Lee Wilson II

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Testimony is Spelled with a Lower Case “I”
by Harold Lee Wilson II

There is an epidemic going through the Christian church. It is called the “Me Syndrome.” It is very contagious, and many people even teach others to fall prey to it much easier than they should. The epidemic is worldwide and has but one cure…the cure of the little “i.”

We all have a testimony. God saved us from something. Jesus healed us from something. The Holy Spirit has kept us from falling into something. Our testimony is powerful, helpful and enlightening. It can help people going through the same things we went through and keep others from having to experience these things in the first place.

But, this is where we go wrong. We call it “our testimony.” We make it a story about us – what we went through or what we overcame. We have a habit of spelling the word t-e-s-t-i-m-o-n-y, focusing on the “I” in the word. We place ourselves before the true reason we have the testimony in the first place – God.

The Greek word for testimony is martyreo. It means “to give testimony, to testify, to speak well of, vouch for.” When we give our testimony to others, we have to keep in the front of our minds the reason for that testimony. What is the source of power that allowed us to overcome? Who provided the necessary path for us to be successful? What power removed the obstacles from our path?

When we give a testimony, we have to focus on just Who we are vouching for. Who are we willing to be a martyr for (notice how close the Greek word is to our English word?). We are standing up to tell the story of what GOD did. We are not standing up to tell the story of ourselves. Yes, we play a role in it. But, we are not the one we are vouching for. We are talking good about GOD. We are standing up for GOD. We are vouching for GOD. We have to become the lower case in the word and allow the great I AM to be the reason behind our story.

When you tell others about what the Lord has done in your life, where is your heart? Are you focused on what you can get out of the story? Are you focused on what others will think about you – how holy and blessed you are? Are you focused on making others recognize your spiritual presence of the holiness that you think you have within you?

Instead, we should be focused on the power of God. We should be telling others what God hid, what Jesus saved us from, and what the Holy Spirit kept us from falling into. Instead of focusing on the I, we need to focus on the I AM. Instead of bringing glory to the ego, we need to bring glory to the Creator. Out testimony is not about us. It is about what God has done through us. We are simply the vessel for the power of God to be shown.

The next time you stand up to give a testimony, ask yourself the reason behind it. Are you praising God for His works? Do you want to lead others to do the same? Only once you have decided this is the reason for your testimony, give it. If, on the other hand, you find yourself still settled in the state of the “me syndrome,” pray that God helps to humble you and that you can begin to say more, “God did” statements that “I” statements during your telling.

God bless you all as you go through your day.

Yet I Still Care – Nolan Hall

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“Yet I Still Care”

The world we live in is in such turmoil –

Oceans are polluted along with the soil.

Yet I Still Care…

 

Contaminated air has made us all aware –
That the fabric of our ozone has a tear…

Yet I Still Care…

 

Children are born with more defects and diseases –
Animals are crying out “how long?” begging “please!”

Yet I Still Care…

 

Terrorism and death are at an all-time high –
Which begs the question how-vs-why?

Yet I Still Care…

 

Record breaking temperatures seem to rape the land –
From ice in the Arctic to the desert sand.

Yet I Still Care…

 

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and even storms –
Have become increasingly more out of the norm.

Yet I Still Care…

 

Young and old are getting high for thrills –
Fathers and mothers are parenting children with pills.

Yet I Still Care…

 

Prisons are being built at an alarming rate –
People are homeless with no food on their plates.

Yet I Still Care…

 

The news warns us but often it’s too late –
The Food and Drug Administration says don’t eat the food you already ate.

Yet I Still Care…

 

We teach children to walk and talk when they are only a few pounds –
When they are older we tell them to shut up and sit down.

Yet I Still Care…

 

Confusion plagues us when things are unclear –
That which most don’t understand, they fear.

 Yet I Still Care…

 

Often when I’m troubled I look to the sky and stare –

I know things will be alright because Jesus is there.

Yet Jesus Still Cares…

 

Written by Nolan Hall

The Gift – Tracy Leigh

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“The Gift”

Read Matthew 1:18-25

This time of the year is full of the hustle and bustle, buying gifts for those we love.

Remember the song Jesus Loves Me?

God has a gift for YOU! He thought about it and in love too deep to imagine gave you a very costly present. His only Son Jesus! God did all the work, wrapped the gift in swaddling clothes and offered it to you. John 3:16

All you need to do is take it and make it yours. Romans 10: 9-10. Take the gift that keeps on giving and then pass it along. Hebrews 13:5-6

What are you waiting for?

Pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus,
Forgive me of my sins. I believe you were born, came to earth, died for my sins, rose from the grave and I want You to be in control of my life. Teach me Your way. Amen

Now…
Go to a Bible teaching church
Pray
Read God’s Word to you
Find a Christian friend or friends that will help hold you accountable

Now, what is your gift to God?

Tracy Leigh

A Sign From God- Jeff Dean

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“A Sign From God”
by Jeff Dean

Pontius Pilate had a conversation with Jesus about whether or not He was King of the Jews. Finally, he told the chief priests, “I find no fault with this man.” No fault?

A sign was placed on Jesus’ cross which read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” The people wanted it to say, “I am the King of the Jews.” After all, that was His claim and His crime. Pilate said, “I have written what I have written.” Was the Roman governor starting to see the light? That sign was written in Hebrew, Aramiac, and Greek so everyone could read it. Was that sign God’s message to all that this was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews?”

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, and Joseph of Arimethea was a Sanhedrin council member. Nicodemus helped prepare Jesus’ body for burial and Joseph of Arimethea donated an expensive tomb, a tomb fit for a king. Both of these men were secretly students of Jesus. Nicodemus even admitted that Jesus was a teacher sent from God. I find it amazing that these two Jewish leaders came out of the “Christian Closet” and admitted love for their Maker between His crucifixion and resurrection.

On Calvary, the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, two criminals hung on either side of Him. One of them said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Up to this point, he was a criminal, opposed to doing right. Did he read the sign?

The Bible is God’s Word, one of the ways He communicates with us. One of the ways. I’m convinced that God inspired Pontius Pilate to write that sign that way. The sign didn’t just tell people who was hanging there, but through it, God was telling people who was hanging there.

Thank You For Each New Day – George K. Walker

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“Thank You for each new day!”

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

It is because of what Jesus did on the cross that we have mercy and grace. He loved us so much that He died for us, so that we can live. We are not consumed by this world because His compassion to save us fails not.

The Lord’s mercy and compassion are new every morning and not just at the beginning of a year. In Isaiah 33:2 he prayed: “O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” We can depend on you every morning to be there for us because You are faithful that promised. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering: (for he is faithful that promised)” Hebrews 10:23.
I encourage you to run to His compassionate and merciful arms every morning. He will be there waiting for you because He is faithful to His promises.

George K. Walker

Make an Abode – George K. Walker

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“Make and Abode”

“Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23

One day while praying, I was thanking God for creating me, loving me and forgiving me. Then I asked God to set up shop in me and to never leave. I asked Him to rest in me, to sit down and put His feet up, and to make His home within me. Then the word “abode” came to mind. So I immediately went to the back of my Bible to the concordance. The word abode had six scripture cites, one in Exodus, one in Deuteronomy, three in John and one in Acts. Next to each scripture cite it gave that word with part of that scripture. This is what it said for John 14:23: “make our abode with him” – Wow! Thank you Lord.

I went to that scripture and kept reading it and closed my eyes and just kept saying it and the words “make” and “abode” stuck out. So, I pulled out my dictionary and looked up make and abode. Abode had one definition, seven words – the place where one stays or lives – Hallelujah! The word make had a lot of definitions. So I started praying; thanking God for Him causing me to be the place where He lives. I thanked Him for establishing Himself in me. I thanked Him for preparing me in an appropriate manner so that He can stay in me. I thanked Him for providing me with the most satisfying experience of my life with His presence in me. Thank You Father for being so good to me!

George K. Walker

Holy Spirit Acronym – Tracy Leigh

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Holy Spirit Acronym

H astens our conscience to submit obediently to God’s Word.

O ne God, trinity union, all powerful.

L istens to our heartaches and woes.

Y earns for intimacy with us to take us into His presence.

S piritual counselor, helper, teacher, gift distributor, lover.

P rovides forgiveness of even the worst sinner.

I ntercedes for us when we are broken, unable to find words to pray.

R eceives our meager gifts and offerings to use for His glory.

I nstalls God’s Word, purpose, plan into our hearts, minds and lives.

T ests, refines, guides us into our spiritual goals and maturity.

by Tracy Leigh

When Enough is Enough – Harold Lee Wilson II

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When is Enough, Enough
Harold Lee Wilson II

It is obvious that not everyone in this world can show love without expecting something in return. Some show love in order to be shown love. Others show love for money, attention, adoration, or simply to feel the high of being in control of another person. It can be very confusing to know who to love, when to love, how to love, and just when to decide that enough is actually enough.

Jesus is the perfect example of love. He didn’t show any restraint in loving those many people considered unlovable. In fact, He went out of His way to show love to those others had ignored, exiled, outcasted, or simply treated with disrespect and disdain. He taught those others thought to be unteachable. He blessed those others thought to be unworthy. He touched those others considered unclean and untouchable. He walked with the lame, looked into the distance with the blind, and listened to the sounds of the world with the deaf. Jesus never held back from loving everyone He could as much as He could whenever He could.

But, we are not Jesus. Yes, we have been imparted with His divine nature when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, but we still have an ongoing war with our flesh. We love for the wrong reasons. We give to others secretly trying to not think that God may bless us in return. We help others in order to be helped. We simply cannot meet the standards on love that God has given us. I mean, can you honestly sit there reading this and say that you love in the following manner:

• Patiently
• Kindly
• Unenviously
• Meekly
• Selflessly
• Gently
• Calmly
• Goodly
• Rejoicing in truth
• Protectively
• Trustingly
• Hopefully
• Perserveringly
• Unfailingly
• Unendingly
• Without expecting anything in return
• Maturely

I show love. I give my time by crocheting gifts to be given to sick and homeless individuals. I give other inmates store items (foodstuffs and hygiene). I talk with people who I would not normally talk to. I even treat with respect those that make it their daily duty to disrespect me. I don’t say this to brag about myself, instead, I want to prove a point. Even with all of this “goodness” in my actions, I find myself hating (a strong word, I know) the person I have decided to show “love” to. I regret giving away something when I find myself in need and no one is there to help. I curse others for their words, laugh at the mistakes and misfortunes of others, and ignore some who many have deemed “one of them.” I love, but cannot love enough.

So, when is enough, enough? When can I say, “Lord, I have done what You asked and loved the sinner and not the sin. I have ‘taken this world as it is, not as I would have it,’ just as your Son, Jesus, did. I have given my last to help my fellowman and now I come before You asking You to bless me for doing Your will.”

When can I look within myself and say that, yes, I have shown love to others as God has shown love to me? I may not have given the life of my only son to do so, but I have made sacrifices to bring blessings to others and have given them my time and energy whenever I could? At what point can I say I obeyed Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”?

The answer, surprisingly, is simple. I can reach this point of showing true, Godly, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 (the list from above) kind of love when I have let Jesus be the One doing the loving through me. Only when I have allowed God to control my mind, to lead my actions, and to speak through my lips can I say that I have loved in the agape way. Only when I have placed my trust in Jesus and asked Him to help me love others as He would can I say that I have given without hope of return, worked without desire for payment, and prayed for others without hoping they are also praying for me. At this point, a point much harder to actually reach than many of those in here seem to claim it is, can I look at any other person I meet and say, “I love you,” meaning it to the bottom of my heart.

Do not fret because you have not made it there yet. The blessed thing about being a Christian is that God doesn’t expect us to be a spitting image of Jesus in the blink of an eye. We are a work in progress. Better still, we are a work of progress in the hands of God. With Him as our shaper, how can we not look forward to the day when we can use the word love and apply it to anyone, at any time, in any circumstance, and with anything we have to give.

God bless you all and may He keep you in His loving arms. (And may we one day learn just how to do the same for others).