Take that Mountain: From Victory to City Light
Once upon a time, a young church was planted in a pretty little city. This church grew from just a few members to a nice little congregation, one able to help people. She became known as a friendly church, one who smiled and opened her arms wide for any visitors. Like any other church, she wasn’t perfect, but she loved, and she tried to follow God. She wanted to be the kind of church that would show her city the love of God, and help people learn about Jesus, the Savior of the world.
God eventually moved the little church to a lovely little building where she’d have room to grow and learn and prosper. It had an auditorium with red carpet, light brown pews, and a big stage up front with a baptistry behind it. There was a small balcony in the back and one entire wall of stained glass window panes that filled the room with color each morning.
There were classrooms and spaces for nurseries, allowing the church to teach her children about God, and have a safe fun place for babies to be cared for during the services.
A nice fellowship hall, with a kitchen and another fireside room all served for after-meeting fellowships, wedding receptions, Bible studies, music practices, book store space, and Awana programs. Teen activities and counselling times, and discipleship all took place here, as well as extra things like couple’s nights and Harvest festivals. The church grew there and learned how to do more than care for herself. She learned how to show the city God’s love.
This was a place where people could come and have their questions answered, where lives could be enriched, where outreach was planned and where real help could be provided. This was a place of Victory.
Then one day the pretty city told the growing church that she’d have to give up her building. The whole building would be torn down to make room for more city. The city wasn’t being mean, but it was a city – not a church. It didn’t understand the good things she was doing there, and it wanted the land for something else, and so the church was going to have to leave.
Victory was scared, not at all sure what she was going to do or where she was going to go. What would happen to her? Who would help the people she’d leave behind? Where would her people meet? How would they find her if she moved?
She prayed though, hoping that God would change the mind of the city planners, but it was not to be. The city was not going to change things, and so Victory would have to move.
She looked and looked for a place where she could meet as a church, but in this city, it was hard to find a place where a church would be allowed to stay and grow roots. Eventually though, a warehouse was located in another spot in the city where they’d be allowed to meet – but it was going to take money. The warehouse was a building, but it wasn’t ready for people to meet inside. There were no rooms in the warehouse, and no chairs. No classrooms or baptistry or kitchen or fellowship hall like she’d had before.
Despite all this, young Victory was overjoyed! God had given her a new place to stay. A place of her own, where she could really settle in someday and grow and be a beacon for the people in her city. This was a victory, too. She didn’t need a wall of colorful glass to light her way. She could be a light to the city.
Still, the new place needed to have a lot of work done, and that always means one thing – lots of money to be paid. Victory wasn’t ever a rich church, and now she needed more money than she’d ever needed for anything ever before. This would have to be a victory from God.
In the meantime, she found a temporary place where she could meet – a garden where she could feel safe for a little while before stepping out and doing some big, big things for God. In the garden she was able to do some things she’d never done before. She learned how to use more people to do everything. Being in the garden meant everyone had to work together to set up the spaces they needed each week. Moving to a new place meant everyone had to watch out for each other. It meant no one wanted anyone else to be left behind, so she had to shine brightly.
It was in the garden that she grew to understand God’s victories in her life, and started calling herself a light for the city – City Light.
From the garden she had to step into one more temporary building – a school. This was where she learned even more valuable lessons. Such as doing big things for God often means taking unexpected detours. And doing big things for God doesn’t always look glamorous from the outside. It usually isn’t very glamorous at all. She was taking a step toward that final goal though – the new building – the one that still needed lots of work, and that still meant lots of money.
Over two years, while she hovered in the garden and in the school, she worked hard and earned money to get lots of work done on the new building. The people prayed, and God showed them victories, and God let them be a light while they waited still. And she rejoiced.
To be used by God is all she ever really wanted. A building doesn’t have to have a fancy kitchen or pretty chandeliers or a fireside room in order to be used by God.
Now the victorious church with a new name stands in its last place. Nowhere else in the pretty city wants a church her size to meet there, even temporarily. The only place left to her is the new building – the one that still needs lots of work, and thus lots of money.
But she’s seen God work victories already. She’s already given more than she’d ever thought possible, and grown in ways she’d never imagined. She’s already seen God save lives, and seen miracles in people the rest of the world had given up on. She’s already seen God take them from a place of comfort, to a place of safety, to a place of anticipation for the next step.
And she knows this light in the city isn’t ready to be put out yet. She knows God has a place for her.
This will be a place where a young man can walk in after trying locked doors all over the city, and find an unlocked door with a person inside who can answer his questions.
This will be a place where a young lady who’s lived an unbelievably difficult life can come and find comfort and rest and love.
This will be a place where an older couple can come and help younger people learn to live for God, while getting their own needs met and learning how to handle their own challenges.
This will be a place where the talents God gave you will be the talents you use to serve God.
This will be a place where the Bible is taught and young children are raised to love God and love their fellow man.
This will be a place where people can be challenged with the needs of a community around them, and equipped with the resources they need to meet those needs.
This will be a place where a community can come with their questions, and find answers from the only One who actually has those answers.
This will be a place where "Take that Mountain" is the battle cry for seeing spiritual victories in each other's lives.
Whenever she does get into the new building, now she knows that her victories have been turned into a light that will shine upon the city, guiding people to the only True Light – Jesus Christ.
Please pray with us that God would give us the money to complete the work on the new building so we can begin to use it for His glory.
James 5:16 (KJV)
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
If, out of the kindness of your heart, you'd like to help this young church fix her building to the point where it's an acceptable safe meeting place, please visit this site: CITYLIGHT
Today I thank God
I'm thanking God today that as a woman in America I can be educated, place my own vote, voice my opinion in public, and show my face uncovered outside of my house. In some countries that isn't true.
I'm thankful that it's illegal for a man to beat me up, and that I could defend myself if necessary.
I'm grateful that we have a country where we can protest if we see an injustice happening.
I'm thankful we don't see tanks in the streets shooting people who speak out against government officials.
If we ever did start having our rights taken away, I'd like to be able to speak out without fear of being jailed for my opinion alone, as is the case in many other countries. I'd like to believe that if my rights were to start being stripped away, there would be a vocal group out there fighting for me.
I'm grateful that we have a system whereby regular folks can petition the White House with anything they deem important.
I'm grateful that we have the right to stand for what's right.
I'm thankful that there is a group of people here in America who fear fascism, because I was starting to think they didn't exist anymore.
I'm grateful that we have a system that allows us to teach those people what fascism really is, and what sort of policies we should be wary of.
Thank you God, for what we have in place here.
There's a lot of controversy over this right now, and most of that controversy comes from an imperfect understanding of how the Electoral College works, and why we need it.
There are some great videos out there teaching us exactly why, and I'll link to one of the best, and shortest, that I found:
PragerU Electoral College Explained
Watch the video - sign up at their website for more videos about how our elections work, and all sorts of great topics.
Now let me give you my favorite analogy, and it's a BASEBALL one at that. This says that the Presidential election can be compared to the World Series. The World Series is the best 4 out of 7 games, right? Well, if the Election were judged on the popular vote, it would be like the World Series winner being whoever got the most runs in those 7 games.
So let's break down this year's World Series.
First off, congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for pulling off a victory in the World Series after 108 years!
I think they'd be surprised to learn that they did NOT win if the World Series was judged like a popular vote.
Let's break down the 2016 World Series competition.
Seven games were played this year - all seven because there was no clear winner earlier then that.
Here are the games:
Gm 1: CLE (6-0)
Gm 2: CHC (5-1)
Gm 3: CLE (1-0)
Gm 4: CLE (7-2)
Gm 5: CHC (3-2)
Gm 6: CHC (9-3)
Gm 7: CHC (8-7)
Who won the World Series? Well Chicago did - becausee they won Games 2, 5, 6, and 7. Right?
Ok, let's look at the tally of runs in the games.
Cleveland's runs from the games were – 6, 1, 1, 7, 2, 3, 7
Chicago's runs were – 0, 5, 0, 2, 3, 9, 8
Count up those runs...
Yes, they each equal 27. If we were to count the total runs for both teams, then the World Series should have had at LEAST one more game played. We still don't know who the 'real' winner is - IF we were to judge the competition this way.
Let's change some numbers to illustrate further.
Cleveland won two of the games as shut-outs - Chicago got zero runs in those games. One of those games - Game 3 - was 1-0 for Cleveland, but Game 1 was 9-0 for Cleveland. What if Cleveland had scored 9 runs in Game 3? That would have been 9-0, and have given Cleveland a 35-run total as the final tally.
So that would mean - if we were calling the runs 'votes'... Cleveland got 35 'votes' as compared to Chicago's 27 'votes.'
In that scenario, Chicago would NOT have won the World Series if you tallied the runs like a popular vote.
If that had been the case, I would not have wanted to be there when you told the Chicago Cubs fans that the Cubs didn't actually win the World Series.
Please pass this on. We need some better understanding of how and why our Electoral College works for ALL Americans.
I'm very excited to announce a new website that I have the privilege of helping with, along with several other talented bloggers and authors.
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What to do when you think you're being judged by someone else:
First, consider whether or not that person is actually talking to you.
Whether their words apply to your situation or not, are they talking directly to you?
If not, then don't get offended.
Second, if that person IS talking directly to you, consider whether or not there's something you can use in what they're saying.
Is there any part of what they've said that is true?
If there is even one grain of truth in their words, then be grateful for what they've said and learn from it.
Don't get offended.
Third, does this person want what's best for you? Do they care about you as a human being?
Yes? Then don't get offended, because they're only trying to help.
No? No, they don't really know you or your situation and they don't have a vested interest in your life? Well in that case, take their words with a grain of salt. They don't know you, and they may in fact be reacting to a misconception. Have you ever reacted to a misconception? Yes? Then don't get offended, because they're doing nothing different than what you've done before yourself to someone else.
Fourth, if you've considered all of the above, and have determined that this person is saying nothing at all that you can learn from, has no interest in your life, and doesn't care whether you listen to them or not... then consider why you care so much about what they're saying.
If they don't know your situation, are operating under a misperception or under some sort of delusion, and have no real interaction in your life, then why would you be offended? Why does it matter if they're judging you unfairly?
Think about it.
Can any of you add any thoughts to this? I'm sure this isn't all there is on the subject.
Prayer is one of the most neglected areas of our Christian life, as well as in the life of the church. We could all improve in the skill of talking with God. We all know of the power of prayer, but how often have we actually experienced it? I have been doing a personal Bible study on prayer, and knowing that one of the most important things behind the power of our prayers is obedience, one of the first things I wanted to do was to find a list of things that we are commanded to pray for. How can we say we are obedient, if we are not even following God's command to pray for certain things? The following is a list of thirteen things that we are commanded by God to pray for every day. Use them to create your daily prayer list, and obey God in the area of your prayer life.
1) Pray for your leaders
“That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.” (Ezra 6:10) The people of God are commanded to pray for their leaders, whether we like them or hate them. In this season of contentious political contests, we would do well to remember that our president needs prayer. I Timothy 2:1-3 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;” This command to pray extends to all our leaders. Senators, congressmen and women, city council leaders, mayors, and police chiefs all need our intercession before the Lord. Make a list and pray for them by name.
2) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122:6) This one comes with a promise – Pray for the peace of Jesrusalem and love her, and God will prosper us. Who doesn't want that?
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. (Jeremiah 29:7) This one also comes with a promise. Praying for your city to have peace will cause the peace to “spill” on you. We all need more peace!
4) Pray for your enemies
“and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44e) This one I have trouble with – I always end up “forgetting” it when I am in conflict with someone else. But God commands us to pray for even those that persecute us. But it does help us to avoid anger and bitterness, and to have the right attitude about life.
5) Pray for missionaries
“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2) We should be praying for more laborers for the harvest of souls, because there are not many to bring in the great harvest of souls that God wants to reap. Careful! Praying for this one every day may cause you to realize God is calling you to be one of those laborers! II Corinthians 8:4 says, “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” We should pray for our missionaries, and how we can give of our time, talents, and treasure to participate in the fellowship of ministering to the saints.
6) Pray that you enter not into temptation
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt 26:41) We are supposed to pray that we do not enter into temptation. Being tempted is one thing, but indulging in it will cause us to stumble, because our flesh is weak. We definitely need the power of God to resist temptation every day!
7) Watch and pray for the Rapture
“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mk 13:33) Because we do not know when the Rapture takes place, we should prepare ourselves for Christ's imminent return every day by prayer.
8) Pray for your fellow church members
This one is a big one, and has several facets. Luke 22:32 says, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” We should pray for our fellow church members, so they can strengthen other church members. Who knows when we will need to be strengthened by someone we have made a habit of praying for?
Ephesians also tells us to pray for all the saints, everywhere. Chapter 6, verse 18b says, “and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”.
We are also to pray that fellow church members are completely in the center of God's will. “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12) This, among other things, helps promote unity in the church of God.
We need to pray that our church family's faith is growing in the sanctification process. “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?” (I Thessalonians 3:10)
Pastors should pray for the members of their flock. “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,” (Philemon 1:4)
Pray for the afflicted, the sick, and the backslidden in your church.
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the
elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith
shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess
your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much.” (James 5:13-14)
We are supposed to be tending to the care of our fellow church members, and this can best be done by first praying for their needs. If we care enough to be involved to where we know their needs, we will also care enough to meet their needs.
9) Pray for your deacons
“Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:6-7) Praying for your church's deacons helps to promote the work of the church – seeing more souls saved.
10) Pray for your Pastor
“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23) As our spiritual leader, our Pastor needs our prayers more than anything else. We should be spending time daily praying for him.
11) Pray for the spread of the Gospel
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:” (Colossians 4:3) Souls are the heartbeat of God, and we should be spending time daily praying for the Gospel's spread. I Timothy 2:4 says, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Souls should be a major topic of our prayer life.
12) Thanksgiving for our food
“which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (I Timothy 4:3c-5) We should always thank God at every meal for the food He has provided. Some countries pray after they eat, some before they eat, but we should acknowledge His provision at every mealtime.
13) Ask for wisdom
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) How many of us have all the wisdom we will ever need? Then we should be praying for it every day. When God told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted, he asked God for wisdom. (I Kings 3:5, II Chronicles 1:7) God blessed Solomon with much more than wisdom, because he asked for that which pleased God. Oh, that we would ask for the wisdom that we need every day!
There are many things that we could ask God for in our daily prayer life. But these thirteen things should be on our prayer list every day. Let us transform our prayer life by our obedience to God's command. If we ask for what He tells us to ask for, will He not give it?
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Life is full of Adventure
Welcome to my world. We've got lots going on here. Usually I post little things like devotionals and sometimes book reviews. However, please check out the other links there at the top: My Books will take you to the books I currently have out for sale. Editing services is for anyone whose manuscript or project might need some polishing.
Cliffhangers is the link to our family's online sales stores, including Bricklink (LEGO), eBay, and Bonanza (an up and coming auction site).