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Sun, Sep 27.20

  Beaver Creek Christian Church : A nondenominational fellowship of believers in Ashe County, West Jefferson, NC Minister's Minute: Minister's Blog - Posted Every Tuesday - Friday

 

GPS – Global Positioning Satelite

Proverbs 3:21-23

Proverbs 3:21-23 -My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.

I usually love my GPS. But Yesterday I was frustrated and angry with it. We were scheduled to leave for the Singspiration at 3:45 p.m. and our van driver, Dwight, was in the hospital. “No problem,” I said, “I’ll drive.” But Tom-Tom had a different idea.

Since I had never been to the church we were going to attend I pulled “ole Tom” from my desk drawer and started it up. The screen turned red and said “No Maps Available”. I plugged it into the computer and it told me I had to download the map and it said it would be 38 minutes to download. We were supposed to leave in less than 20 minutes! So I left Tom-Tom on my desk with the computer.

Mike called and told tried to give me me directions over the phone. When I still sounded confused Mike suggested that I meet him along the way and I could follow him. That was a relief. Then I found out that Ronnie, one of the men riding in the van, knew where we were going. I was relieved! It is always good to know where you are going and have helpful people to guide you.

We got to the Singspiration safely and had a good time of fellowship and singing. I really enjoyed the conversation and joking around in the van on the way there and back too.

It’s funny how much more enjoyable the journey is when you know you a going the right direction and you are with others who will help see you to the end.

We need to be grounded to God’s word in our lives. We also need fellowship and accountability in our spiritual walk. If you think you can find God on the golf course on Sunday morning or have a relationship with him outside of the church you are in danger of being lead the wrong way. The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the rock that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. Their are too many people out there that are trying to sell you pebbles in your shoe rather than the solid stone bolder that is Jesus, our Lord. We want all the benefits of Jesus without having to endure those things we find less pleasant. But you need GPS (God's Practical Solution) in you life.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

Prayer Thought: Dear God, Thank you for Mike and Ronnie helping me to get to the church yesterday. And thank you for those who have guided and helped me in my weight loss journey and in the church. Please be with Dwight and help him to feel better quickly. Thank you for this “great cloud of witnesses” who have clearly marked the path for my journey. You are my GPS and my God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Loren Lung

Apr 29, 14/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

Easter Donuts

Luke 23:46

Luke 23:46 – Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major. Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Dr. Christianson said.

Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can…yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr.

Christianson’s class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

“Sure.” Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.”

Dr. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Dr. Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Dr. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?” With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten pushups.

Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Christianson said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.” And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more Push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten….Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr.

Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it. Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups.

You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr.

Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!” Jason didn’t know what was going on.

Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Professor Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut”

Dr. Christianson said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on. “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?”

Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.

Sweat was profusely dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was no sound except his heavy breathing, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Christianson quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?” Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr.

Christianson, why can’t I help him?”

Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not.

When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve, here is the only student with a perfect grade.

Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups.. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes. Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?” As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, ‘into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.” Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” said the professor, adding “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He spared not only His Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid. Wouldn’t you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it laying on the desk?”

He Is Risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Prayer Thought: Dear God, Thank you for Jesus, the cross, the tomb, the death and the life. I praise you for this day when we celebrate the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ who gave us the victory over sin and death. My God, you are awesome and beyond my imagination! I worship you for you are Lord and King. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Loren Lung

Apr 20, 14/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

Guilt and Shame

Psalm 38:4; Hebrews 10:22

Psalm 38:4 – My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.

Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

I spent sometime talking with a young lady about the problems in her life. It didn’t take long to figure out she was feeling guilt and shame. She is having trouble cooping with her life. She knows the choices she has made do not honor God. And her guilt is eating her up.

She is has been gaining weight really fast as of late. She knows that she can’t deal with the guilt so she sits and watches movies and eats. The weight goes up and she feels more guilt and shame. It is a vicious circle.

I can relate to her because I have been there too. I told her that the only way to deal with her problems is to surrender. You have to give up and trust God. You have to repent of the things that are causing the guilt and ask God to forgive you and remove the guilt and shame. Then you set your eyes on Christ. You look at the love and forgiveness that cleanses you from sin. You look at what God wants you to be.

Guilt is one of the tools in Satan’s toolbox. He wants to remind you of the mistakes you’ve made. He wants you to take your eyes off Jesus. He wants you to see the dirty rags you once wore and remind you of the mess you made of things. With your eyes off Jesus you fall into the raging sea just like Peter did when he got out of the boat to walk to Jesus.

Guilt is misdirected anger accompanied by sorrow and self-pity. It doesn’t do anything productive. It is worldly sorrow. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no guilt, but worldly sorrow brings death,” 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Did you know that guilt is mentioned in the Bible almost 200 times. Most of the verse that deal with guilt are found in the Old Testament. That is because Christians are free of guilt. When we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to remove all our iniquity! We are 100 percent clean. Our sins are as far is East is from the West.

Don’t let Satan trick you into living a life of guilt! Keep your eyes on Jesus. Walk in the light as he is in the light.

Prayer Thought: Dear God, Thank you for your grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Thank you for freeing me of the chains of guilt. I ask you to be with those who are suffering in the same way this morning and bring them to your loving, forgiving, cleansing grace. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Loren Lung

Apr 10, 14/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

What Is Lenten?

Matthew 3:1-3

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

Many church denominations celebrate what is called the Lenten season. It is the forty days prior to the Passion week. It is a call for followers of Christ to prepare themselves for Easter. During this time followers are called to give up something for the sake of Christ.

All throughout Jesus' ministry he told those who followed him that they should be prepared. They should be found to be faithful servants when the Jesus comes into his kingdom. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells three parables that give light to how we are to be prepared.

Preparation is not just for the season leading up to Easter. As faithful followers of Jesus we need to be prepared at all times. We need to be waiting patiently for the return of Christ by being about the work of our Lord and Savior.

Are you ready? John prayed "Maranatha" at the end of the book of Revelation. It means, "Come quickly, Lord". I remember telling the congregation that this should be our prayer too. And one little old lady said, "Just not today!"

Prayer Thought: Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for the marvelous gift of grace that came from the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. I want to be prepared at all times. Remind me that I need to be vigilant in following your way. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Loren Lung

Apr 4, 14/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

Hope and the Spirit of God

Romans 15:13

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I have talked with many people who are obese. They tell me that the hardest part of their situation is the total lack of hope. They struggle with depression and self-loathing. I can relate because I have been there with them too. And it doesn’t feel good not being able to see your toes, let alone touch them.

The greatest comfort to me in my life and on my weight loss journey is that God is with me and it is he who gives me hope. When life feels empty and void God can fill you with peace, hope, and yes, even joy. He can make the difference and change our sorrow to joy.

We so underestimate the Holy Spirit. I don’t think we understand God’s Holy Spirit as much as we understand his Son, Jesus. Jesus is “God with Us” but the Holy Spirit is “God in us”. It is this spirit that guides, helps, and comforts us. His Spirit even prays for us when we don’t even know how to put our experience into words. How awesome is that?

God’s Spirit isn’t just here to help us with the religious stuff. His Spirit helps us where ever we need it. Yes, the Holy Spirit is moving in my life and helping me to lose weight. It makes sense, God has called us to be a living testimony of his power, love, and grace and we need to be healthy and strong as his living testament to what he can do in our lives.

The problem is that not many of us want to give up control of our lives. That is probably why the Word tells us not to put out the fire of the Holy Spirit. When we put our will over His than we are throwing water on the Lord’s Spirit in our lives. We need to fully trust him so that he can fill us with hope. Then we will see how the power of the Holy Spirit can overflow from our lives and affect others for the kingdom.

“Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them.”

-Vincent McNabb

Prayer Thought: Dear God, Thank you for being my creator-God. I praise you for Jesus and the sacrifice he made by taking my sins on himself and dying on the cross. I praise you for the victory over death, sin, and Satan when Jesus rose from the grave. I worship you for the Spirit you have given to me. I ask that you fill me with hope, peace, love, and power through your Spirit so that I may be a bright light and a testament to your glory. I love you, Lord. Thanks for loving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Loren Lung

Mar 18, 14/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

Learning That It’s A Learning Experience

Hebrews 3:16-17

Hebrews 3:16-17 – Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?

I often wonder about the Hebrew people. Why were they so hard to get along with? Why were they so stubborn? Why did they keep biting the hand that feds them? Why did they grumble and complain so much?

Well, let us think about it for a minute. They had just come out of 400 years of slavery. They weren’t used to thinking for themselves. They weren’t used to taking care of themselves. They weren’t used to making decisions for themselves. They couldn’t raise an army, put together a government, or even organize their labor. No wonder they drug their feet so much.

It only takes a few months for them to travel the 350 miles to the Promised Land. And yet, God makes them wander the wilderness for another 40 years. Yes, it was because of their sin and lack of faith. But it was also a time which God used to train them to be “His people”. He wanted to break some old habits and teach them a new way of life.

I look at my time on earth with the church as that trip through the wilderness. God is giving me the tools, incentives, and important ingredients to become a man of faith and integrity. I have to patiently wait and be open to learn his will and his ways. He is using this time to teach me and to break a lot of old habits. He is using this time to train me so that I’ll be ready for whatever he has for me to do.

Are you learning that it is a learning experience? Are you frustrated with you growth in the Lord? Are you looking for a short-cut or thinking about quitting all together? Remember that there is something for you to learn and discover about yourself and how you live.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

-Attributed to Harry S Truman

“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”

-Mark Twain

Prayer Thought: Dear God, It is easy to give up. It is harder to submit. Please help me to stop looking for the quick fixes in my life and learn how to live, love, and do the things you want me to do. Help me to grow in my life to be the person of integrity and faith that you are teaching me how to be. I pray this in the name of my savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Loren Lung

Mar 10, 14/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

Excitement Building

Ephesians 3:20

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

I am excited at what is going on at Beaver Creek Christian Church. Plans are being made for Vacation Bible School. People are a buzz talking about what God is doing in their lives. Wendy and I are getting to meet and develop relationships with more and more people. You can feel the spirit of the Lord moving in people's lives.

What is it that you want to see God do among his people? Whatever it is you may be thinking too small. God is able to do more than we can ask... or even imagine. So don't be putting binders on God as to what he can do or can't do. Don't limit the power of his spirit at work in us.

I am looking forward to seeing God continue to move in our lives, our church, and our community!

Prayer Thought: Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for your power, strength and direction in my life and in the ministry at Beaver Creek Christian Church. I ask your blessings to be on us as we seek to follow your will and to get out of the way so you can do even more than is in our puny little minds. I love you, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Loren Lung

Feb 27, 14/ preacher/ Ministers Minute/

Shout for Joy!

Psalm 100

I just love Psalm 100. The writer is showing the joy and excitement that there is in worship and sacrifices of praise to God. In the Biblical days, it would be a thrill to go to the synagogue, temple, or tabernacle. These places represented God's presence among the people. It must have been exciting to "come before his presence with singing".

How often do we have the same joy and excitement when we come together for our worship service? Do we have an attitude of joy as we join in fellowship with God, his son, Jesus, and with each other? Do we sing with joyful songs or do we grumble at the music on Sunday? Do we enter the doors with thanksgiving or do we sneak in at the last minute and bolt out the door as soon as we can? Do we look at church with true worship and praise or do we just think we are fulfilling our obligation to be here?

I challenge you this week to "Shout for Joy to the Lord!" See God as our shepherd and creator who is worthy of our time, talents, and treasures. Let's enter the doors with thanksgiving and into the sanctuary with praise for all that God has done for us through the blood and sacrifice of the perfect lamb, Jesus Christ.

Let me give you one more challenge. I challenge you to invite your friends to join us in fellowship, worship and service. If they see the joy and excitement in you than I am sure they will want to experience it too.

Prayer Thought: Dear God Almighty, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and praise. Forgive me of the times that I have begrudgingly come to church. How could I ever think that I was doing you a favor by my presence? You have provide your love, grace, provision, protection, and your guidance. You are my God. I shout for joy at the thought of being able to be near you in fellowship. I pray this in the name of Jesus, my mediator and my savior forever, Amen.

Loren Lung

Feb 11, 14/ preacher/ Ministers Minute/

Be As Shrewd As Snakes And As Innocent As Doves

Matthew 10:16

Although this probably sounds a little funny to us today, this saying was most likely pretty common in Jesus' day. There are several places in the scripture where Jesus used common terminology to apply truth to a given situation. In this case, he was sending out the 70 followers to teach and evangelize.

The image that Jesus is producing here is that we need to be deliberate and calculating with our moves. We don't just want to rush in and do things just because we can or because everyone else is doing them. We want to think before we act.

The other image is "innocent as doves". This one is a little easier to understand. Innocence is often characterized as trusting, loving, submissive, and oblivious to the evils of this world.

Jesus is projecting a balance here. We need to be aware of our surroundings and move cautiously and calculating. But we also need to trust God and be submissive to his will while all along keeping from being entangled in the affairs of this world.

Martin Luther King, Jr said, "“We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.”

Prayer Thought: Dear Lord, God Almighty, I praise you for the opportunity to serve you to this fellowship of believers and the community here. I ask that you will help me to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Give me the strength, courage, and the words to say as I reflect your glory. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, your Son and my Savior, Amen.

Loren Lung

Feb 7, 14/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

We Are Not In This Alone

Ephesians 2:11-22

So often I have found myself trying to do it all by myself because I am self-sufficient and don't need to rely on anyone. Besides, no one does it like I do or as good as I do and so it is better to do it myself.

When you put it down on paper or listen to yourself say it the words are rather egotistical and harsh. But it is really what most of us are thinking when we take to a task.

In His book, Basics, by Francis Chan, he tells us, "This type of individuality is common among Westerners. We’re raised with the mind-set that we create our own identities and shape our own destinies. We’re taught to pull ourselves up by our bootstrap. If you believe it , you can achieve it – even if the whole world tries to stand in our way.”

But this is not the case when we begin to look at what fellowship is all about. Christ has joined us together as one body. He has made us citizen's of God's Kingdom and members of his own household. As Christ pulls us together he builds us into this magnificent building for the purpose of worshiping and serving God together.

There is no ego in church work. Our identity is in Christ. Our purpose is in Christ. Our mission is in Christ.

So here is the real question: How can I learn to put God first and begin to work together for the furtherance of His kingdom? Think about it.

Prayer Thought: Dear God in heaven, Help me to get my own ego out of the way and work together with my brothers and sisters to advance the gospel of Christ and expand your kingdom on earth. Let us work together in unity and love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Loren Lung

Jan 27, 14/ PREACHER/ Ministers Minute/

What Doesn't Kill Us...

James 1:2-3

I really don't like it when people share that old saying, "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger". I find it even more intolerable when they say it with a big old smile on their face. That saying may be true but it doesn't help the hurt feelings, bruised ego, and frustrations of the troubles we may be enduring at the time.

Sometimes we try to comfort people by quoting Romans 8:28 to people. I know that God can take the worst problems we are going through and make something good out of it. But it is not much comfort.

So what do you do with a verse like James 1:2-3? "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

How can we be joyful in the face of adversity? Here are some helpful thoughts:

1. Realize that joy doesn't come from outside circumstances like happiness. Joy comes bubbling up from down in our hearts.

2. Joy comes from trusting in God and realizing that when circumstances are outside of our control that God is still very much in control.

3. Joy is a conscious choice that we make. It is a result of letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives.

4. When you need a little joy you can always ask God for it.

5. There is always something to praise God for.

Recently, when we were going through a rough patch and I was feeling sorry for myself, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he was thankful that he had cancer. After reading his post I was humbled and reminded that my troubles were really small compared to what some are having to endure. If my friend can be joyful with a life-threatening disease than I should find my joy too.

May the joy of the Lord guard your heart and mind in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Prayer Thought: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for being with me in the good times and the bad times. I want to praise you in all circumstances and worship you with joy. Help me to sing and be joyful. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Loren Lung

Jan 20, 14/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

What Manner of Love

1 John 3:1-3

I love what the Apostle John says in this passage. "Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God! And that we are!..." We are God's children adopted by him through the amazing grace and love that was provided for us through Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul states in Romans 5:6-9, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!"

Do you see why John is so excited about this? We deserve to die for our sins. But God's love for us is made complete in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

As children of God we receive his protection, his provision, and his blessings. He has given us his word and his Spirit as a guide through life. He has given us the fellowship of fellow children of God in the church. And he has given us the promise of eternal life with him.

That excites me! "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us...!"

Prayer Thought: Dear God, Thank you for your incredible love and grace. I cherish being called a "child of God". I ask right now that you will help me to make the right choices and keep me from "tarnishing the family name." I pray that when others see me they will see the light of God burning in me. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

Loren Lung

Jan 15, 14/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

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