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The Glorious Minority by Ralph S. Cushman

peonies_2015They helped everyone his neighbor; and everyone said to his brother,                                                 Be of good courage!   Isaiah 41:6                                                                              

The Glorious Minority  

 

There are people who carry life’s burdens,

Their own and some others beside;

There are people who stand in their places,

And who stand there whatever betide.

~

When the Kingdom is calling for workers,

Or some cause is seeking supporters,

Or the city is crying for men,

These people will answer just then.

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There are two kinds of people –

you know them,

As you journey along on life’s track-

The people who take your strength

From you,

And others who put it all back.

by Ralph Spaulding Cushman

~

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Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts~Colossians 3:15

River_2014My Devotion:  Colossians 3:12-17

12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

16 Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.

17 And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

My Prayer:

Father God:  Sometimes we just get caught in the muck and mire of life and we need to be guided out.  There are rules for Holy Living and you are a faithful Heavenly Father to show us just how we need to live in order to please you.  Forgive us, forgive me and help us to do as your word instructs us~ in word and in deed.  Praise you Lord…draw me close to your heart. Amen~

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Quality Conflict

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This week I found my self facing many conflicts.  I just wanted to sit down and forget pressing on and pressing through. I felt as if my path was conflict to conflict instead of victory to victory. What a perfect place for the enemy to set up the perfect conflict scenario.

This conflict come quickly and unexpectedly. It riled up my emotions to where I almost was foaming at the mouth with anger.  It was the plan of the enemy  meant to harm me by causing me to lose control and say and do whatever I wanted from an emotional perspective. If I would have asserted my rights I would have lost this relationship and a very big part of me. All I would have had left was my pride but nothing else. All the work I had put into this relationship would have been gone. Still in that moment, I was so mad that I almost didn’t care. All that seemed to matter was vindicating myself.  I almost allowed myself to free form anger. Almost!

I stopped to seek the Lord, He showed me what the cost of my pride would be if I asserted my rights.  Truthfully, even then I didn’t want to humble myself and lay down my rights. I was so mad. That is when the conflict between what I knew was right and what I felt was right reached it pinnacle. I had to really set my heart to obey. I asked for help to obey. Help to humble my heart. That’s when I began to receive His reward for me.

1 Cor. 3: 9-15

For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s [b]garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God’s building.

God is always my co- conflictor if I turn to Him. He knows what needs to happen in every conflict I face. He is willing to help me. I am His field and He is continually at work in me. This is so reassuring to me as I know I need lots of cultivation. God is not going to get exhausted working in me or frustrated or disgusted with me and stomp off.  He is faithfully working in me. This epic conflict was in His plan and would work for my good if I would just stop and seek Him with it. As God’s garden, I am capable of reproducing His seed in my life. His fruit should be abundant and evident. This conflict was just such a moment of harvest.  What fruit would be bore? Would there be a good harvest from my actions or a tainted one?

10 According to the grace (the special endowment for my task) of God bestowed on me, like a skillful architect and master builder I laid [the] foundation, and now another [man] is building upon it. But let each [man] be careful how he builds upon it,

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

God has given me His Grace to skillfully build the relationships in my life, including the one I have with myself. I must not get careless or lazy and slap out words or thoughts even in emotional upsets. I have what it takes to have Godly relationships, which is Jesus as my foundation. He is my special endowment for my task, which is whatever relationship He places in my life. With Jesus as my foundation, I can connect with all people and still be stable and well-balanced. Even if the other person is attacking me. What the other person does or doesn’t do, says or doesn’t say, cannot affect the firm foundation of Jesus in my life.

12 But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13 The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.

His grace building ability shows forth in my person. It cannot be hidden. It is my job to build and during that building, the fire always comes. If I let His Grace be the master builder in my heart, then there is no thing which I am working on, that will be destroyed.  This conflict situation became impassable the minute my emotions rose up to be vindicated. There are some things in my heart that are highly flammable.   Yet, His grace takes the most impossible situations and makes them possible and passable. His grace made a path through my volatile emotions.

14 If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward.

15 But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.

Every conflict, has one of  two outcomes, reward or loss. By and through the Grace of God this conflict brought me reward. The fire came and He brought me through it. There have been many times I have faced a similar conflict and come out with only loss. This time was different because I let Him Help me.

shadrach-meshach-and-abednego   Just like Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego, whom the king threw into the fiery furnace, and whom God brought out in victory, He brought me out too.

Daniel 3:28-27

Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

This test was a trial meant to destroy my relationship and part of me in process. Yet, as I went into it, I went with my heart humbled before my God not bowed downed to my emotions or my rights. Jesus met me there and walked me through it. This conflict had no power over me. It was hot and I was hot but I lost nothing. In fact I gained the reward.  I honored God and He honored me.

This test showed the quality of my work in letting Jesus truly be the Lord of my life.  I always profess Jesus but today I got to show Him. I am not ruled my emotions, circumstances or people, I bowed down only to my God. My work survived this fire and hopefully, by His grace continue to do so.

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Be Careful

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Attitude of the heart is everything…

Things you regularly say are clear indicators of the attitude of your heart.

Pointing out the faults of everyone else won’t erase your own.

We all are guilty of it sometimes, but if we aren’t careful, it will take over our heart. We are at war with the spirit of this world…gotta stay alert and keep each other encouraged.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,be put away from you, with all malice” Ephesians 4:31″Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

Lord, today I ask that you give me grace to allow your Word to penetrate my heart…and cut away the uncleanness that’s in it. Help me to speak only words of encouragement. Help me to live by example in Jesus name.

❤ percy

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Forgiveness

Who controls you? Lets talk forgiveness. I was 5  years old when my brother tried to molest me. I forgave my brother but before you send many replies about how could you, I want you to know Jesus loves me and he has pursued me much longer then I deserved to be pursued. I am forgiven therefore I forgive. Forgiving is not easy it actually take much more courage then most people have. I walk in freedom because I let that go and no longer have to carry that burden. Its at the cross and God can take it. I don’t have to be a victim because in Gods light I am victorious. Saying you forgive does not mean you need to forget. Forgiving the wrong does not excuse the pain but it does mean you walk in grace and choose a higher road. Now I am sure that God wept that day and maybe that’s why He fought so hard for me. I am a chosen child of our Father. I am thankful I can walk in grace and forgive. I am thankful for the free will He has given us. There a lot of people thirsty for love and looking in all sorts of places. But I can tell you the only way to quench your thirst is not in the bottom of a bottle, in drugs, sex or food…it is in the Living Water. With that water running through me I am able to forgive not just seven times but many more. I have the ability to go to the only source I need and say I am here Father…take me where you need me to go, have me see what you see, hear what you hear and have a heart to receive.

If your a survivor of abuse I urge you to take it to the cross. For man may hurt you God’s arms are waiting and you can leave all that at the cross and be victorious.

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Grace (study) pt 5

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

Want here indicates need. Learning is a process that takes time.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:12)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

When read in context, this scripture isn’t talking about signs and wonders…it’s talking about being content in all situations…and being at peace with God.

TV preachers promise return on blessing which usually somehow winds up equal to materialistic gain.

The greatest blessing we can hope for is absolutely possible to receive while we are hungry and broke!

Paul said that he was fasting & hungry often…..

So what’s the benefit of living for God if He isn’t going to fix all the problems? The benefit is learning that happiness, peace and joy are completely independent from this world.

How else does the world know who the real people of God are?

Two houses…one on a rock and one on the sand. The difference was what happened when the rain came.

Few Christians get to the point that they can be trusted with great trials. We must determine in our hearts that we will learn to trust Him….and refuse to allow fear cause us to just be spectators.

Many days that I have the most pressure…the most strife…the least amount of patience are the days when I didn’t start out by going boldly to the throne of grace.

Grace gives us the strength to SHOUT over the testimony without yet seeing the completed work!

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Credit to: Bishop Chester Wright

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Grace (study) pt 4

Grace_wordleI am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

God intends for his grace to be the only source of my ability to do anything.

The greatest blessing you can pray for someone is to pray for grace & peace from the Father be upon them.

 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:   John 1:12

The power is God’s GRACE to live!
We notice that there’s a colon at the end of that verse, so we must continue on….

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

If Jesus is full of grace and truth, what should we also be full of?

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16

The more we yield to the will of God, the more grace He provides. He only uses what we yield to Him. It isn’t God’s will to wrestle with us until we give in to His will. He is seeking those that will just let go.

What have we to fear in letting go? The devil?

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

The devil can’t do anything to me that the Father doesn’t allow (remember Job?). We aren’t vulnerable to the devil. Our God is not frail and weak. He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). So anything that the devil throws at you is intended to grow you toward God.

God loves us so much that He will allow things to happen just to get rid of the parts of our nature that separate us from Him. Those attacks should be reminding us to humble ourselves, to seek God and to live a repentant lifestyle.

You can’t fear God & the devil at the same time.

Job was doing fine as long as he continued to worship God, but then he began to claim he didn’t deserve what he was going through.  Saying, “why me, I don’t deserve this trouble” is a way of blaming God for it.

We blame God when we can’t see past what’s happening to see what God really is doing.

How do I love God during trouble? Grace through faith.
Grace helps us to have the right attitude during the worst storms.

Credit to Bishop Chester Wright. This study can be found on YouTube by searching his name and “grace”

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You cannot Hide from God

Walking through the street with a flip flop beat.Car broke down; can’t hide

Can’t hide me, cause I don’t have a ride

Car broke down; can’t’ hide,

Can’t hide you, cause I don’t have a ride.

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Got my five senses reaching out

and making me want to shout.

They are reaching out in front of me,

feel, taste, touch, smell and see.

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There she was again.

All alone without a friend.

A grey wooly blanket covering her body so nothing was bare.

With the sun beaming hot on her matching wooly hair.

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I heard a voice telling me to say hello.

So I traveled to her and said very low,

“this is for you,” and I handed her a bill.

She looked up at me and time stood still.

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I heard a thank you with a harsh gloomy voice.

My heart trembled that she was there without a choice.

I looked right at her sad eyes,

and her sclera and teeth yellow while her soul dies.

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I asked  “you come from where?”

She answered “I come from nowhere”

I asked, “you are going where?”

And she answered, “I am going nowhere.

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With tears in my eyes

to her I surmise,

“God loves you,

and He is true blue.”

.

She looked at me and nodded her head,

and then turned away without anything else said.

I stood up and walked away

knowing that I completed my day.

.

I walked away hitting that street with my flip flop beat.

Car broke down; can’t hide

Can’t hide me, cause I don’t have a ride

Car broke down; can’t’ hide,

Can’t hide you, cause I don’t have a ride.

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Grace (study) pt 3

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 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Want to know if you are spiritual? What percentage of your prayer is about eternal things?

The average Christian prays – IF they pray – for God to alter the temporary pain, problems and pressure of their life. Many Christians live in the natural with spiritual things sprinkled in for flavor when God wants us to live in the spiritual with the natural sprinkled in.

Is prayer intended to change things we don’t like or is it intended to get us to the place where we can be at peace with what’s going on in our life?

The reason Jacob wrestled with God was because he didn’t like what was going on in his life. He wrestled until God took his ability to fight away (touched the hip). Jacob didn’t win that match. You can’t out will God!

Now, let us look back at Hebrews 4: 15-16:

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

The words “let us” implies that is it a CHOICE and “boldly” means with confidence.

Crying in brokenness in prayer is fine, but begging God….as in “poor me, God why don’t you feel sorry for me” just isn’t necessary.

In the OT was mercy, but in the New Testament Jesus Christ brought grace. (John 1)

Mercy = God doesn’t give me what I deserve.
Grace = God gives me what I don’t deserve.
Mercy = Deals with my past
Grace = Never considers my past

Mercy does NOT deal with the future or present tense, it is the removal of past transgressions.

You can’t hold on to your past and expect to have a future at the same time. We must first accept God’s mercy and then receive grace (Hebrews 4:16).

To “find grace” means to pursue it until it has been found.

Anyone that claims to have the grace of God at work in their life but has not repented of sin is not walking in biblical grace.

The clearest definition of grace can be found in Philippians 2: 12-13

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

So, what phrase is most misused in Christianity? “saved by grace”
It has become the anthem of unrepentant hearts. “God understands my hang ups. I’m saved by grace anyway.” Or “I don’t have to do all those good deeds. I’m saved by grace.” What about, “Boy, I messed up big time. Oh well, I’m under grace. I’m forgiven.” But not sorry and never repented……Or even someone saying they are so thankful for grace in their life, yet living with a shopping addiction.

Grace does NOT excuse us from obeying God. It is not a salve for our conscience. Grace is actually the means by which we are able to obey and do the works that we previously weren’t able to do.
Lord, I’m thankful for your mercy. It is Your mercy that heals the past so my scars no longer have to be wounds. Today I am casting all the unhealed wounds on You, Jesus…because you promised to comfort all who mourn. Today I accept the unconditional love of God into my life so that I can begin/continue to be made whole. I understand that upon repentance, I find mercy and I then can obtain grace. I know that when I come to the end of my own strength & ability that I can go to the throne of Grace w/ confidence….and repent for trying to do it on my own in the first place…..then Jesus will give me grace to do what needs to be done.

I will seek God FIRST so that I will already have empowerment from God to do what I cannot do myself. By grace I can choose healthy foods, by grace, I can exercise, by grace I can apologize, by grace I can forgive, by grace I can get the job done, by grace I can seek a holy lifestyle-separated form the things of the world, by grace I can succeed!!! Today I receive God’s grace by faith and today is a GOOD day in Jesus name!

Credit: Chester Wright

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Grace (study) pt 2

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When the Word of God is revealing to me that my heart isn’t what it ought to be, rather than despair, I can rest assured that God understands.

Hebrews 4: 14-16 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

How presumptuous of us to believe that we wake up, breathe, get dressed, move and work all by ourselves. Do we think that we do this all on our own because we don’t take time to pray about every little thing?

There is NOTHING I can do by myself. I am stealing glory from God if I don’t acknowledge the fact that it is in Him that I have my being.

God is limitless in what He will do through someone He can trust to give Him the glory.

So, how do I know if I am taking God’s glory?
When I wonder what people think about me after I sing, helped in outreach, witnessed, gave testimony, taught a lesson, and preached a sermon…..

How do I know if I am giving God the glory?
When what I do changes people’s opinion of God and causes them to want to get to know Him better.

So…that having been established….

This ain’t heaven.

God never promised to make our life pain free or pressure free.

In fact, it seems as if He always leaves an amount of trouble in our life so we will always remember that we need Him.

It doesn’t matter how long we’re here on earth. What matters is whether or not we allow God to complete the work He started [that is intended] to equip us for eternity.

What’s more important…what you can see, or what you can’t see?

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Notice….”we preach not ourselves.” The reason is, because whoever is supplying the power is getting the glory.

If I’m living my life myself, then I’m not out of the way  for Him to manifest His life in me.

I can’t save anybody. I can never come up with a good enough method or program or outreach strategy to do anything.

Acts 9:5 “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

An ox goad was a stick with a pointed piece of iron on its tip used to prod the oxen when plowing. The farmer would prick the ox with it to steer it in the right direction. Sometimes the animal would rebel by kicking out at the prick, and this would result in the prick being driven even further into its flesh. In essence, the more an ox rebelled, the more it suffered.

What I have to do is put myself out of the way and depend on Jesus to order my steps through the empowerment of His grace….it takes FAITH to walk that way!

Credit to Bishop Chester Wright