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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Inspired by . . . every thought

 

I, Paul, make my appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ.

I'm the one who is humble when I'm with you but forceful toward you when I'm not with you.
I beg you that when I am with you I won't have to deal forcefully with you.

I expect I will have to because some people think that we are only guided by human motives.
Of course we are human, but we don't fight like humans.
The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans.

Rather, they are powerful weapons from God.

With them we destroy people's defenses, that is, their arguments
and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God.

We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.

 

Another version translates "arguments" as sophistries. That translation helped me better understand what I believe Paul is saying here.

Sophistry: the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false

Remember, the most dangerous lie is the one that has an element of truth to it. Satan is the master when it comes to effective lies, and our culture is ripe with sophistry!

That is why we need to know the TRUTH. We use God's Truth {in His Word} to fight against the intellectual arrogance, the sophistries of those who oppose the knowledge of God.

James warns us:

My dear brothers and sisters, don't be fooled.
Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above,

from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars.

The Father doesn't change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon.

 

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Textured with Bonnie's Old World Charm 4

 

No matter how intelligent it sounds, or how much you want to believe it – if it doesn't line up with scripture – IT'S FALSE – NO EXCEPTIONS

So what does it mean to "take every thought captive in obedience to Christ." ?

It means that every thought matters.

Seemingly innocent thoughts, that you know are wrong, when justified can grow into sin. That is why James says:

 

When someone is tempted, he shouldn't say that God is tempting him.

God can't be tempted by evil, and God doesn't tempt anyone.
Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him.
Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.

 

Here's a quote from C.S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters that gives us a chilling insight on how this might work from the Tempter's point of view:

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

If you are a Believer then you have died to sin and have been raised to life with Christ. We must aspire to the realm above. Fix our thoughts on that higher realm, not on this earthly life. {Col 3:1-3}

But how do we do this when the earthly life is screaming the loudest?

By wrestling with the will. Fighting the good fight. Our enemy {Satan} prowls around like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. {1 Peter 5:8} The New Testament is rich with images of battle – because the Christian life IS a battle! But before you give in, before you say you're too weary for the fight, remember: It's only exhausting when we try to fight in our own power!

 

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Begin each day by receiving your power from the Lord {Ephesians 6:10} and by putting on the armor that God supplies {Ephesians 6:11}.

 

Armor

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The Bible tells us to "work out" our salvation – that doesn't sound like the couch potato life to me! {Phil 2:12}

We are aliens in this world, and while we are here we should be uncomfortable. Our minds should be seeking a better place. {Heb 11:13}

 

To live is Christ,

to die is gain.

 

Blessings,

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inspired by . . . be still

 

 

Be still, and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the heathen,

I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

 

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Textured with kk_simple

 

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Textured with kk_play and kk_rest_magic

 

 

 

Blessings,

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Inspired by . . . the voice of the Lord

 

A psalm by David. Give to the LORD, you heavenly beings. Give to the LORD glory and power.
Give to the LORD the glory his name deserves. Worship the LORD in his holy splendor.
The voice of the LORD rolls over the water. The God of glory thunders. The LORD shouts over raging water.
The voice of the LORD is powerful. The voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars. The LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip along like a calf and Mount Sirion like a wild ox.
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD makes the wilderness tremble. The LORD makes the wilderness of Kadesh tremble.
The voice of the LORD splits the oaks and strips the trees of the forests bare. Everyone in his temple is saying, "Glory!"
The LORD sat enthroned over the flood. The LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
The LORD will give power to his people. The LORD will bless his people with peace.  
Psalm 29

 

What does the voice of the Lord look and sound like to you?

If you're a visual person, the Bible paints a graphic picture of His voice for us in Psalm 29.

The voice of the Lord rolls over the waters, it is powerful, majestic. It breaks cedars and strikes like lightning.

 

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Have you heard His voice lately?

Crashing trees and flashes of lightning would be hard to miss.

Now that God has revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ, and given us His word in written form, I think He might choose to speak to us a little differently than He did in the Old Testament.

Or not.

One thing I know for sure: He speaks to us.

Sometimes His voice is like the wind. You can't see it or hear it, but you can see, hear, or feel it's effect.

Often His voice is like the bass beat. You can feel it, but it is just a little too far away to actually hear.

How well are we listening for the voice of the Lord? Are we so busy that we're missing the voice of the Lord amidst the mundane things of life? {click here to read my Time post}

Maybe your child came to you recently, gave you a hug and whispered, "I love you, mommy," just when you needed it the most. Or the sun broke through the clouds and a bird sang just as you were working yourself into a good pity party. Are these examples of the voice of the Lord?

Or perhaps the voice of the Lord has been more like crashing trees and flashes of lightning. God has needed to intervene rather violently in my life a couple of times to halt my progress on the slippery slope of sin.

 

Mountains

 

Looking back at these times, I can see that He tried to speak to me, more gently, several times before He "split the oaks and striped the forests bare."

The term "voice of the Lord" is found 47 times in the Bible {KJV}. Except for Psalm 29 every reference is about the consequences of obeying {or not} the voice of the Lord.

The Psalmist ends by saying:

The LORD will bless His people with peace.

 

PEACE

No matter how He speaks to you,
peace is the result when we listen.

 

Shalom,

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inspired by . . . light

Pulling an image from the archives today, to share at Kim's texture party. Her prompt for the week is:

light. . . simply light

 

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Hibiscus SOOC

 

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed,

but I am bound to live by the light that I have.

I must stand with anybody that stands right,

and stand with him while he is right,

and part with him when he goes wrong.

– Abraham Lincoln

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Hibiscus Textured with Kim's Sunkissed

 

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:

he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

Blessings,

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Inspired by . . . June

Hello there, Inspired by . . . readers! Jonathan Graham here. I've high jacked June's blog to make a couple of announcements and brag a bit on June, since I know she won't do that herself!

The big news this week is that Heart's Desire is now available on Kindle!

HD_Kindle

 

Don't have Kindle? No worries, Amazon offers a Free Kindle Reading App for smartphones, tablets and PC's. Or you can read books instantly in your browser. Just go to Amazon.com for more information or to access the free downloads.

 

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For those of you in Texas, June is going to be at the Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne, Texas on Saturday, March 1st between 10am-2pm. The library is hosting it's first Local Author Book Expo in the Community Room. The event will showcase the talent and diversity of local authors. Hope to see you there!

 

Now if you'll allow me to brag on June a little.

We're so thankful for the ladies that have come along side of us in helping to promote her work. These ladies have posted reviews of the books and, in some cases, sponsored giveaways of June's books.  I know June has thanked you all personally. She really does appreciate each one of you.

Here's a review of Starflower that was recently posted on Brooke's blog:

 

"More than anything, I enjoyed the scripture that saturated this book. In almost every circumstance, the characters turned to God and His Word for help. Starflower was written with great sensitivity toward the Holy Spirit and things of God."

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"I mentioned earlier the intelligence with which Starflower was written. It is a murder mystery/Christian romance. Both the romance and the mystery balanced each other fully, neither one drowning the other out. It takes skill to do that. Also, it made me think, trying to guess who the villain could be."

Read the full Starflower review here: Brookes Book Blog

 

As always, you can learn more about June and read excerpts from her books on her website: junecaedmon.com

 

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We're recently added a new Paypal purchasing feature that allows you to buy signed copies directly from June's website. She offers personalization and gift wrapping, too!

 

Finally, June's working hard on the re-release of her novel, No Tomorrow, and is hoping to have it available by early April. Here's a snippet to whet your appetite:

 

NT_Cover

 

When she reached the beach, Petra threw aside her sandals and sank her toes deep into the sand. Seeing there were low clouds on the horizon, she leaned back on her elbows, anticipating a spectacular sunset. The air was cool and the sand was still warm from baking under the sun all day. The breezes hinted at the island’s secrets as they flitted by, coating her skin with a fine mist from the sea. With a sigh, she closed her eyes, enjoying the last kiss of the sun before it descended into the ocean.

This was the real reason she had come to the Islands. She would just have to find a way to enjoy the romance of Hawaii in spite of the frogs she may have to kiss along the way.

Well, that's the update from here! I'd better get this posted before June finds me and makes me re write everything!

 

Happy reading!

Jonathan

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Inspired by . . . gnarled limbs

It's been an unusually hard winter throughout much of the U.S. this year as many of you, my dear readers, know first hand.

I have to admit the months weeks of cold weather we've been having here in SOUTH Texas are making me a bit grumpy. I have tried not very hard not to whine about the weather. After all, those of you in other states have had it MUCH harder. Reports on the news keep reminding me how thankful I need to be. And, truly, I am thankful.

And today, with the {glorious} sun shining and the temps edging closer to 70 {yea!} I was even more thankful to grab my camera and head out.of.the.house!

There is not much left to take pictures of, in the way of flowers and such, and it was a cloudless day. So that left the trees.

I love trees.

I once read that we are to the trees as butterflies seem to us. {sigh}

They are so large and silent, I think we often forget that they are living, growing, changing things. Old and, I like to think, wise.

If found this tree among the oaks. It's smooth, white bark stood out against the dark, gnarled limbs of the oak trees.

 

WhiteTree

 

It seem so pure against the darker, seemly disfigured trees.

As I sat beneath the trees and looked up at their gnarled branches I wondered what made them change direction and grow as they did. God fashioned them, of course. Using some article of nature that an arborist could probably explain to me in scientific terms.

And God fashions us – on paths that are not always straight. Just like the gnarled limbs of the oak tree.

I thought about my attitude lately. About how discontentment can lead to sin. Little sins maybe, but left unchecked . . . .

 

OakTree

 

The gnarled limbs reminded me that a change of direction is in order.

Repent – to turn back, literally or figuratively

The choices we make – like to repent, or not  - can change the direction of our path and affect our day, our week, our year, and sometimes . . .

our life.

I had said goodbye to the trees and was heading home when I spotted this tree:

 

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Something had stopped it's growth abruptly and headed it off in a completely new direction.

Jesus did that in my life.

And I need to remember that no hardship in this life, no matter how great, compares to eternal life with Him.

 

Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us

an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. 2 Cor 4:17

 

God used the trees to speak to me today.

How is He speaking to you?

 

Blessings,

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