Creed? What is it and Why Do I Need It?

Creed

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting.

This is called the Apostles’ Creed because it contains a summary of their teachings. Where I attend worship we say this most every Sunday. At other times we recite the Nicene Creed and on one Sunday out of the church year we recite the Athanasian Creed which is a much more in depth and a long one. I particularly like the Apostles’ because it is a simple statement of faith. Reciting and memorizing it protects one from false teaching. It explains the trinity being God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you were to attend at my church you would know what we believe without having to ask. There is a certainty here in this statement of faith. The Bible supports this statement.

Why Do I need it?

Because I am a fickle person and my flesh is weak. Without it, I could so easily grow complacent in my faith and lose sight of the fact that I need God. I find reassurance too when it is recited in my church.  We all believe the same and worship in spirit and in truth.

Some may question it or call me foolish but that is their opinion. If according to the naysayers, I am wrong then I have nothing to lose but if I am right in my belief, and I know that I am, then I have everything to gain. I would rather err in believing than to die in unbelief. God has in more ways than I can count proven His love to me. This creed is my statement of faith and nothing can change my heart.

If you wish to know more click this link.

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

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Distressed? Call upon the Lord!

David called out when he was distressed.

Who Are You Going to Call?

David Called Out to God When He was Distressed.

When I am distressed, whom shall I call on for help? This is a very good question. I was reading the 25th Psalm during my quiet time. In verse 16-18, David cried out to God in his distress. There are several other places that David called unto God for His distress. David distress often came from the threats of King Saul. Here are just a few of the verses;

Psalm 4:1b You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

Psalm 18:6, In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Psalm 31:7, I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,

Psalm 59:16, But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.

David’s tone was different each time he called out to God. Sometimes he pleaded and other times he appeared to be demanding. In Psalm 59:17, I find that David turns to God in distress because of God’s steadfast love and God has been a fortress and a refuge for David. It seems to me that when David was distressed he knew who to call.

Psalm 107, I found four times where David reminds the reader that when God’s people were in the desert, they cried out to God in distress and God heard and answered them. Maybe my troubling thoughts are my thorn in my side to make me aware of my need for God, therefore, when I am distressed or in distress, I will cry out to God who through His Son, Jesus, will deliver me from my distress.

Telephone 1(1)

What about you? Who are you going to call when you are distressed?

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Sweet Serenity, How is it Attained?

Serenity

How is Serenity Achieved?

Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

  I am sure that most people are familiar with the first part of the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
But how many know that there is more to it? The second part is where serenity is truly sought.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

Discussion

It is in asking God to help me live one day at a time and one moment at a time. God helps me to be in the present not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Accepting hardships as a pathway to peace, now this is another matter. God helps me to understand that the struggles that I go through serve a purpose. No it is not fun nor easy but God has a purpose and a plan for me. 
 
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is. Jesus did after all tell us that there will be trouble. Yet, He has overcome the world. Now comes trust.  I am to trust in Jesus because He will make all things right if I surrender to His will. By my surrender to His will, I will be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy in the next. Again, there is no greater joy than knowing Jesus.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may others come to know You more so that they, too, can know serenity. Amen.
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Trusting in Jesus, Easier Said than Done!

Trusting in Jesus

What Does Trusting Jesus Look Like?

I had a dear friend ask me how does one know if he/she is trusting in the Lord. I told her that I would have to explore that some, so I turned to my Bible dictionary and trust means to have confidence in. To trust in the Lord is to place one’s confidence in Him that He is there with you whatever comes your way; having confidence that He will comfort you when you are hurting, give you the strength to stand or the words to say. It is also having confidence that He will keep His promises to never leave nor forsake you. It is taking Him at His word. Therefore, I will be trusting in Him in good and in bad times.

No, we are not promised a rose garden. Jesus said that there will be trouble but to take heart He has overcome the world. The joy of the Lord is our strength. This joy comes from knowing Him intimately and knowing that this world is not our home. Yet, while we are here we are to love and serve Him and let His light shine in us that others can come to know Him, too. There is no greater joy than knowing Him.

  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.  Isaiah 26:4 ESV

David trusted God to give him the kingdom long before it happened. Noah trusted God when God told him to build the ark and time and again when Noah sent the dove out. Peter trusted Jesus when Peter first stepped out of the boat but when he took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink. Thus,  David and Noah placed their confidence in God and not in themselves. Peter fell short when withdrew his trust. Therefore, trusting is placing one’s confidence and hope in God and no one else.
 
One of my favorite verses is in James is chapter 1 verse 5 where it tells me that God does not find fault in me when I ask for wisdom, therefore, I do not believe that God will find fault in me if I ask for Him to help me trust Him more. One of my many favorite hymns puts it together so well is Trust and Obey. The link has the lyrics to this simply beautiful hymn.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
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The Mind of Christ?

It Is at Cross Purpose to 
That of the World.
Philippians 2:5; Proverbs 22:4
First and foremost is humility. Humility is being neither arrogant nor self-righteous. Romans 12:3 states that one is not to think too highly of one’s self but to think soberly. I have to admit that I struggle with being humble. It is in my selfish nature to want to promote myself. Yet, when I have chosen to think less of myself and put other interests before my own, I have been blessed and God has rewarded me. One the other hand when I try to promote myself, I take a fall and my pride is dealt a blow. This is an ongoing battle within myself. 
Proverbs 22:4  tells me that the reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. This is contradictory to what the world promotes. The world calls me to promote myself and my interests before that of others. This only leads to loneliness and pride. 
The key to living a life with the mind of Christ is to look to Christ as my example and prayer. In Ephesians 3:19-21, I find that God is more than able to do all that I ask according to the power at work within me for His glory. It is when I forget this that I fall short and become self focused. God is after all able to supply all my needs but I must come to Him in complete trust, God confidence, and ask knowing that He will hear and answer my prayers. This is an ongoing relationship between me and my Lord Jesus. 
My Challenge to you is where is your mind focused?
My Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, forgive me for putting my focus on myself and not on You. Grant me the desire to seek to follow your example and think less of myself and more on You and the interests of others. You alone are able to do this and ore than I can possible ask. Amen.
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Heart That God Desires

Profound Respect for God;
Understanding Fully that He is God;
Responsive to His Touch
God desires a heart that fears Him which will lead me to worship Him with an awe-filled reverence and profound respect. God desires for me to keep all His commandments so that it may go well with me and with my children forever (Deuteronomy 5:29). This is the type of heart that I desire in me to worship Him with all of me.
God desires to change me from the inside out to know Him, understanding fully that He is Lord; I will be His and He will be my God. I will return to Him with my all of me (Jeremiah 24:7). I know that this is why David was a man after God’s own heart for though he sinned, he always returned to God with his whole heart. I, too, want to want others to see me that same way. When I fall short, I pray that I will return to God with my whole heart.
God has given me a new one and put a new spirit within me. He has taken my heart of stone and given me one of flesh, that is responsive to His touch, that I may walk in His statutes and keep His commandments and obey them (Ezekiel 11:19-20). Therefore, He has made me new and given me a heart that desires to serve, love, and worship Him. When I find myself in a foul mood, I need to return to Him and ask Him to renew a steadfast spirit within me.
God alone has the power to change any heart. What is the condition of your heart today?
My Prayer: Lord God, You alone have the power to change my heart. Forgive me, Lord, when I stray or when my heart has become one of stone. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. Amen.
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God is Sovereign; In Control

God is sovereign

In Light of Today’s Political Environment

God Remains Sovereign!

 Sovereign means supreme; preeminent; indisputable. It also means greatest in degree; utmost or extreme. Therefore, God is supreme; preeminent; indisputable; greatest in degree and utmost. He is above all of the current affairs of man. I am reminded of Daniel 2:20b-22;

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
He removes kings and sets up kings; 
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with Him.”
God alone knows the outcome of our elections and He has a purpose in it. I may not like the choices set before me but as a believer, it is my duty, privilege, and honor to cast my vote. God knows my future and I know that this is not my home. At the appointed time, I will go to be with Him in heaven but for now, I am giving a task to be His ambassador to take forth the message of reconciliation. His grace is enough for me. Yet, I too often forget and begin to fret. Reading my Bible and taking time to spend time with God, He so easily reminds me that HE is in control.
 Related link; Study in Daniel
My Prayer: Dear Sovereign Lord, You have the power to remove kings and set up kings. You are in control and I am to trust You in whatever comes my way. You alone know what the future holds and I am to be secure in that knowledge. Forgive me, Father, when I question You. I ask for wisdom to understand what is taking place. Amen.  
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Christ’s Ambassador(?)

What Does It Mean to be His Ambassador?
As His ambassador, God so desires to make His appeal through me (paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 5:15-20). I no longer live for myself but for Christ, therefore, I am to regard no one according to worldly standards and values. In Christ, I have been made new and the old is gone. Having been reconciled to God through Christ and made new by the Holy Spirit, I have been entrusted with the message of reconciliation.
Ambassador – an authorized messenger or representative. In the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:20, ambassadors are those appointed by God to declare His will. An interesting note:To do injury to an ambassador was to insult the King who sent him. Therefore, God is insulted when His ambassadors are injured.
I am to forget the former things and not dwell on the past for God is making things new (Isaiah 16:18). In doing so, I can forget what is behind me and strain toward what is ahead pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13b-14).
Now I must examine myself as to how I am living my life as His ambassador.
Am I stuck in the past?
Have I regarded others according to worldly standards and views? 
How am I handling His message of reconciliation?
Am I straining toward what is ahead and pressing on to win the prize?
I must be honest and say that I am not doing a very good job at it but I know that with His help I can do better and strive to be His ambassador and carry forth His message of reconciliation.
My Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I admit that I am not doing a good job as Your ambassador. I struggle to refrain from using worldly standards and values when regarding others. I do not handle Your message of reconciliation properly. Forgive me Lord. Cause me to be a better ambassador and give me grace to handle Your message. Amen.
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Chew On This!

You Are What You Eat; 
Ever Thought of God’s Word as Food?
How does one chew on the Word of God? You maybe be familiar with Psalm 34:8 which tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” But there are other places in the Bible that describe God’s word as food. Even Jesus said that man cannot live on bread alone but the by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). The prophet, Jeremiah, ate God’s words and they became a joy and a delight to his heart (Jeremiah 15:16) then he was called by God. Another prophet, Ezekiel, was instructed to eat a scroll given to him and it tasted sweet as honey (Ezekiel 3:1-6) and then he was called to prophesy to the house of Israel. The apostle John while in exile and in the spirit also received instructions to eat a scroll. He was told that it would be bitter on his stomach but sweet as honey in his mouth (Revelation 10:8-11). He, too, was then to prophesy about many people and nations and kings. King David found God’s words to be sweet as honey to his mouth as well (Psalm 119:103). Taking in God’s word, these men were sent to share it with others.
How can digesting God’s word help one to share it with others? By digesting it, it becomes a part of me much like the food I eat. When the opportunity presents itself, I find that God’s word comes to my mind and I am able to impart it to others. His words are in my thoughts and in my prayers. Yet, when I deprive myself of it I am prone to grumble/complain as well as be a bit self-centered in my thinking. I am thankful to have God’s word so that I can spend time reading and digesting it. I am called to share what God has given me.
My challenge to you is to chew on the Word of God and taste and see that He is good.
My Prayer: Lord God, give me a hunger and thirst for Your word so that I may take it in and make it a part of me. Forgive me for times when I am neglectful to read and digest Your word. Amen. 
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More Spiritual Abundance

More of God’s Gifts.
Supplies: Philippians 4:19,
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  
Entrance: 2 Peter 1:10-11,
10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (The qualities mentioned here are found in verses 5-7 of the same chapter. Read the first 15 verses. There is a lot of great wisdom here.)
God bids me to come and ask having the faith which is more than believing; it is  knowing that He will provide. I have experienced His abundance and answers to many a prayer. I use scriptures to pray because all God’s promises are yes in Him. There are many times when I have had to wait on God’s timing and times when I have stepped out on my own only to fall on my face. God is more than gracious to forgive me and has taught me many valuable lessons from my wrong steps. There is a big difference between need and want. Philippians says that God will supply all my need not my want. I do want to use caution here and remind you that 2 Peter is not promoting works for salvation. Paul is pointing out the qualities that are desirable in a believer and that there is a reward in heaven for those who practice these qualities. There is to be fruit that bears witness to what I believe.
My Prayer: Dear Lord, hear my prayer, cause me to develop these qualities in my life that I may bring You glory and show others the way to You. Forgive me when I fall short and I will more times than not. Help me to forgive myself and show grace and mercy to others. Amen.
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