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Coming Soon!!! A Promise From Jesus!!!

373905_f520a.jpg“Surely I am coming quickly.” —Revelation 22:20

A “COMING SOON!” announcement often precedes future events in entertainment and sports, or the launch of the latest technology. The goal is to create anticipation and excitement for what is going to happen, even though it may be months away.

While reading the book of Revelation, I was impressed with the “coming soon” sense of immediacy permeating the entire book. Rather than saying, “Someday, in the far distant future, Jesus Christ is going to return to earth,” the text is filled with phrases like “things which must shortly take place” (1:1) and “the time is near” (v.3). Three times in the final chapter, the Lord says, “I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:7,12,20). Other versions translate this phrase as, “I’m coming soon,” “I’m coming speedily,” and “I’m on My way!”

How can this be—since 2,000 years have elapsed since these words were written? “Quickly” doesn’t seem appropriate for our experience of time.

Rather than focusing on a date for His return, the Lord is urging us to set our hearts on His promise that will be fulfilled. We are called to live for Him in this present age “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Live as if Christ is coming back today.

Insight

As with today’s text, 2 Peter 3:1-10 deals with Jesus’ imminent return. Peter explains that “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v.9).

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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Still Working and Still Together!!!

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Vivian and Don are in their mid-90s and have been married more than 70 years. Recently Vivian suffered a setback when she broke her hip. This has been additionally difficult because for several years both Don and Vivian have been saddened by the realization that they are no longer strong enough to be active in the life and work of their church.

However, Vivian and Don are still hard at work for the Lord: They are prayer warriors. While they may not always be physically present and visible in the life of their church, they are faithful “behind the scenes” in their service for Him.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 reminds us that we must use the “talentsGod has given us wisely. All of us have God-given skills and abilities at various levels—and we must not bury, unused, what God has given us.

It is not only in our years of strength that God will use us, but also in our youth and age, as well as in our sickness and weakness. Vivian and Don continue to serve by praying. And like them, we honor our Savior by using our skills—“each according to his own ability” (v.15) to serve Him who is worthy.

Lord, You have done so much for me. Please show
me what I can do to serve You—to honor You with
the abilities You have provided. May my life be a
living sacrifice of love and action for Your honor.

God can use you at any age—if you are willing.

Insight

The parable of the talents contains a profound and enduring message to the believer. It drives home the point that we will be justly compensated for the use of our Spirit-filled talents. Both motive and faithfulness will be key factors in how we are evaluated at the judgment (Bema) seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). “Good works” performed in the energy of the flesh or for the wrong motives will be burned up. But faithful, Spirit-filled service will be rewarded (1 Cor. 3:12-15).

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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I saw this on facebook and I just had to share it!!!

girlplayingintherain.jpgSaw this on Facebook and thought it has a great message…worth the read and definitely the share!

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.

It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout.. We all stood there, under the awning, just inside the door of the Wal-Mart.
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.

I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, ‘Mom let’s run through the rain,’ 
She said. 
‘What?’ Mom asked.

‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated.

‘No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mom replied.

This young child waited a minute and repeated: ‘Mom, let’s run through the rain..’

‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mom said.

‘No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,’ the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.

‘This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?’

‘Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘ If God can get us through this, He can get us through anything! ‘ ‘

The entire crowd stopped dead silent.. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain.. We all stood silently. No one left. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.

Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

‘Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just need washing,’ Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They got soaked.

They were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day.

I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.

If you’ve read this all and it’s touched you… share it.

How long did it take before the first tears rolls down your cheek???

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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Will I Bring Myself Up to This Level???

. . . perfecting holiness in the fear of God —2 Corinthians 7:1

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Therefore, having these promises. . . .” I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.

I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived-a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?

Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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The Mystery of Malaysian Airlines 370

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At any moment we may hear the answer. But for now the mysterious disappearance of the 239 passengers and crew of the missing 777 has captured the minds and hearts of the world.

For many of us, the developing story raises disturbing questions of personal risk and security, procedural errors, truth and misinformation in reporting, corporate cover-up, and implied assumptions of responsibility, blame, and guilt.

For others, there is only one real issue. For family and friends of the 239, this is far more personal than words could express. Consumed and overwhelmed by their love, they might cry out in anger, frustration, or fear, or retreat to their homes to worry and grieve in silence. But at this point, they are not so much concerned about solving the mystery, weighing in on a theory, or blaming anyone— as they are in keeping hope alive for someone they love.

Where does such love come from? Could anyone care more for us—or for those we love, than the One who now invites us into the mysteries of our own lives, to share even the smallest hint of his own mind— and heart?

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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The Discipline of Dismay!!!

mark10_jesus_serving_on_the_way_to_the_cross_slidera.jpgAt the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him… It was a delight to forsake everything else and to throw ourselves before Him in a fearless statement of love… But now we are not quite so sure… Jesus is far ahead of us and is beginning to seem different and unfamiliar…

There is an aspect of Jesus that chills even a disciple’s heart to its depth and makes his entire spiritual life gasp for air… This unusual Person with His face set “like a flint” (Isaiah 50:7) is walking with great determination ahead of me, and He strikes terror right through me… He no longer seems to be my Counselor and Friend and has a point of view about which I know nothing… All I can do is stand and stare at Him in amazement… At first I was confident that I understood Him, but now I am not so sure. I begin to realize that there is a distance between Jesus and me and I can no longer be intimate with Him… I have no idea where He is going, and the goal has become strangely distant…

Jesus Christ had to understand fully every sin and sorrow that human beings could experience, and that is what makes Him seem unfamiliar… When we see this aspect of Him, we realize we really don’t know Him… We don’t recognize even one characteristic of His life, and we don’t know how to begin to follow HimHe is far ahead of us, a Leader who seems totally unfamiliar, and we have no friendship with Him

The discipline of dismay is an essential lesson which a disciple must learn… The danger is that we tend to look back on our times of obedience and on our past sacrifices to God in an effort to keep our enthusiasm for Him strong (see Isaiah 50:10-11)… But when the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come the ability to follow Jesus truly, which brings inexpressibly wonderful joy…

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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Do Not Concern Yourself With Titles!!!

prayer_5_resizeda.jpgWhen the British Broadcasting Corporation asked for examples of important-sounding, obscure, and even bizarre job titles, one writer offered hers: Underwater Ceramic Technician… She was a dishwasher at a restaurant. Sometimes titles are used to make a job sound more important…

When the apostle Paul listed some of God’s gifts to the church in Ephesians 4:11, he did not intend for these to be understood as high-sounding job titles… All the parts of the body are necessary for the body to function properly. No one part is better than another…

What was of primary importance was the purpose of these gifts… They were “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to . . . the stature of the fullness of Christ” (vv.12-13).

It matters little what title we hold… What is important is that we strengthen the faith of God’s people. When we gauge our effectiveness by the standard that the Bible gives us, it will not matter when we are moved to another role or no longer hold a specific title… Out of love for God, we serve to build up fellow believers, and we let God give His commendation in heaven as He sees fit (Matt. 25:21)…

Lord, please use me as Your instrument to touch
others’ lives… Help me not to be concerned
about what title I hold but instead that my
life might show others Your grace…

God’s gifts to us are not for us but for others…

Insight!!!

Today’s reading records Christ giving spiritual gifts to the church, the body of Christ… These gifts include: apostles, those who open up new mission territories to the gospel; prophets, who apply the Word in spiritually compelling ways; evangelists, who have a special ability to share the gospel that often brings a positive response; and pastors/teachers, who communicate the Word so that believers are built up in their faith… The goal of the use of these gifts is that Christians will be “perfected” in their faith and move on to maturity. The effective use of gifts creates a unity that bears witness to the reality of Christ (John 13:35)…

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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God’s Total Surrender to Us!!!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotton Son . . . —John 3:16

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Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness… The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him… When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness… But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself… And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself…

To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point… We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ (see )… The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us…

If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered… Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it… In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us… In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation… The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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When Circumstances Wear You Down

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Where Do You Turn?

March 12, 2014

We are now in the NFL’s equivalent of NASCAR’s silly season, and players are moving from team to team so quickly that it seems impossible to keep up… Some of this is because a certain number of players are highly sought after—but usually it is because the team is wanting to dump some salary, or because they are preparing to replace a player with a younger, cheaper model in the upcoming draft…  Though the superstars in the NFL make millions, however, many players are just happy to have a job—and that is a sentiment easily understood in our current difficult times when life feels very fragile…

Losing your job is losing your job—whether that job is on the gridiron, in an iron manufacturing facility, or ironing clothes in a laundry… The sense of loss and the attack on your self-worth, not to mention the humiliation that a person feels when they are let go from their work, can create a fear that borders on panic, raising an important question: Where do you turn in times like these???

Jesus spoke to people who were living in difficult times as well, and when He did, he offered Himself as the answer to desperation’s question… He said:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…” (Matthew 11:28)

He doesn’t offer easy answers to tough questions, nor does He try to say that our concerns are smaller than they are… He simply offers Himself as the solution to the greatest needs we have. We can turn to Him when we don’t know where to turn. Our God reaffirms the words of His Son when He declares in His Word that, when you are hurting, your best response can be:

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you…” (1 Peter 5:7).

And that is the good, great, and wonderful news for the hurting heart—the God of the universe cares for you!!!

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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Rainbows and Remembering!!!

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The sight of a rainbow can trigger many thoughts. Spotting one might conjure up fairy tales of leprechauns and pots teeming with gold.

In real life, however, rainbows do point to important things. For instance, mariners have long known that rainbows can be used to predict the weather. Generally speaking, weather moves from west to east, thus the old saying, “Rainbow in the morning, sailors take warning; rainbow at night, a sailor’s delight.”

Though a rainbow is typically as trustworthy as a local meteorologist’s forecast, predicting weather was not its original purpose. The rainbow was (and still is) a sign of God’s promise that He would never again use floodwaters to destroy all life on the earth (Genesis 9:12-17). And even though violent storms and heavy rains—even severe localized flooding—still occur, nothing like Noah experienced will take place now or in the future.

God said that when He would see a rainbow, He would remember His promise: “When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life” (Genesis 9:14-15).

Really? Could God actually forget His promise? No way! Our Creator is all-knowing. But, by way of example, He might have been teaching Noah (and the rest of His image-bearers) about the importance ofremembering.

The Bible is filled with stories that teach us certain things our Creator doesn’t want us ever to forget. So the next time you spot a rainbow, think of Noah, and then ask God if there’s something else He wants you to remember about Him and what He’s done.

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Cecil Wood, Christian

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