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Old 01-10-2017, 12:43 PM   #1
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Icon24 Weekly Spiritual Meditations - January 13

Wherever we are, we can celebrate the presence of God and the gift of Jesus Christ.

God hears us even when we do not know what to pray for.

God’s love is deeper, stronger, and more perfect than a human parent’s love could ever be. As God’s beloved children, we can lean into that love and receive help to be the people God calls us to be. God is our perfect parent who shows us how to love.

Remember to keep Jesus first at all times.

Jesus can use anyone to reach the hearts of humanity.

Jesus Christ can change ordinary into extraordinary.

We can focus on God instead of the people around us and be free to worship God at any time. Today, let us praise God wholeheartedly. Let's praise the Lord no matter who is watching us.

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The Backlash by Lynne Phipps
Matthew 7:3 – Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (NIV)
Every morning, I clean up the manure in the corral. I use a short rake and a large shovel for picking it up and tossing it into either a sled or a wagon for hauling, depending upon the season. This morning as I was going about this daily chore, my shovel was very full as I began carrying it back to the sled, which meant negotiating an icy incline. As I was carefully making my way down the slope, it crossed my mind that if I slipped and fell backwards, there would be a backlash, as the contents on the shovel would fly up and backward into the air, ending up all over me! What a thought and what a laugh I had as I considered the consequence of this possible scenario! I wasn't laughing, however, as my next thought led me to consider the comparison with what happens to those who judge others unfairly.
Matthew 7:1-2 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (NIV)
It can be very easy for us, as human beings, to judge others: how they look, spend their money, speak, act, or believe. In judging, we may also become guilty of falling into the habit of yet another sin, the sin of gossiping to others concerning what we feel are our own righteous judgements against these people. Most of us like to bolster our own self-confidence and opinions by having others agree with us.
So beware, for as we judge, so shall we be judged. Judging others is much like the icy slope that I was navigating this morning: it only takes one slip to have the manure you have been slinging at others to come flying back into your own face.
Prayer: Father God, help us to choose kind and caring thoughts towards others, especially those who are different from ourselves, those who choose other paths that we may not agree with. May we be merciful, patient, and wise, loving and accepting others for who they are, just as You love and accept us. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

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You Have Circled This Mountain Long Enough by David Langerfeld
"You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north." (Deuteronomy 2:3)
Will 2017 be any different than 2016? Will you "press on" in your faith this year or will you continue to wallow in self-pity or live in the "Land of What If" or the "Land of If Only"? Will you focus on what lies ahead or will you continue to focus on your past?
Listen to this wonderful challenge from Ruth Graham. "Either we can be victimized and become victims, or we can be victimized and rise above it. Often it is easier to play the victim than take off our masks and ask for help. We get comfortable with our victim status. It becomes our identity and is hard to give up. The Israelites often played the victim card, and I love what God finally tells them, 'You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north' (Deuteronomy 2:3). Turn north! It's time to move on! Self-pity, fear, pride, and negativity paralyze us. Taking off our masks takes courage, but if we don't do it, we will remain in our victim status and end up stunted."
What about you?
Do you keep talking and talking and talking about something you just can't get over?
Are you living in the past because you just can't "let it go"?
Do you keep wallowing in self-pity wondering what "could have been"?
Have you discussed it over and over with different people but you've never taken action?
Have you worried and worried about it but you've never done anything?
Are you still living in misery because it's something you can't forgive or forget?
Have you circled and circled and circled this issue all your life?
The time has come!!!
You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north!!!

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Finding God’s will in your trials by Senior Living
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. — 1 Corinthians 10:13
A man noticed an emperor moth struggling to emerge through a small hole in its cocoon, and decided he would try to assist it. So he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the cocoon. The little moth emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
Sadly, the moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
Later the man learned the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.
When the struggles of life come our way, it’s natural to want to find the easiest way out of them we can. But the easiest way out may not be what God intended – because our struggles often make us stronger.
So instead of jumping at your first chance to get out of a trial, ask God what He’s doing through your trial. He’ll lead you out – but not one minute before He’s done using your struggle for your good and His glory.
Prayer Challenge: Ask God to give you His perspective on the trials you face, and to show you His purpose in them.
Questions for Thought: How do you think your perspective on your struggles might change if you saw them the way God does? What trial are you facing today that you can see God using for your good and His glory

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Nothing to Be Rejected
When they had all had enough to eat, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” - John 6:12 (NIV)
I often make desk calendars with my church students as part of a program to welcome in the new year. Two years ago, however, after making our yearly desk calendar, I felt that throwing away the leftover paper would be wasteful. I put the scrap paper in my desk drawer for future use. Over the next two years, whenever I cleaned my desk, I wondered whether I should throw the paper away. The decision was never easy. The paper was high quality and came in a variety of pretty colors.
This year, while making cards of encouragement and consolation, I remembered the paper in my drawer. I used it to make several beautiful cards. Scripture reminds us of the importance of having the faith to receive God’s gifts with thanksgiving. If we look on our surroundings with hearts full of gratitude, even old paper can become postcards that offer encouragement and strength. --Eun-hye Cha
Thought for the Day: If we receive with thanks, we have nothing to throw away.
Prayer: Loving God, who created us with care, give us faith to see the beauty in all creation. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Wonderful, Isn’t It?
Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? - 1 John 5:5 (NRSV)
My father always sought to show us real-life stories of how God acts in our lives. One of those stories occurred in 1962, after the beginning of Angola’s liberation struggle, when we were forced to take refuge in the woods far from our fields. One day my father and my cousin Martha were looking for food on the banks of the Dande River. While attempting to return to the other side, my father — already loaded with goods and walking on a log bridge — slipped and fell. He was immediately swept away by the strong current of the waters. Since he did not know how to swim, he fought desperately for his life. When he became exhausted, he thought, Lord, thy will be done.
(See Matt. 6:10, 26:42.) Then as the waters carried him away, suddenly he felt something solid beneath him. Reinvigorated, he realized that he had been washed onto a large rock at the side of the turbulent river.
What a wonderful example of how we can all relinquish control of our lives to God’s unending care! This story reminds me of times I have struggled to solve problems on my own, only to have the solution unexpectedly appear when I’m finally able to let go and turn the problem over to God. -Tito Bombo
Thought for the Day: “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God” (Luke 18:27).
Prayer: Dear God, in times of distress, help us to remember that our salvation is in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Gift
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with his name embossed in gold. Angry, he raised his voice at his father and said, "With all your money, all you give me is a Bible?" With that he stormed out of the house. Many years passed.
The young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family. He realized that his father was already very old and thought perhaps he should patch things up with him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take charge.
When he arrived, a wave of sadness and regret enveloped his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to leaf through the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11. "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation and the words PAID IN FULL.
Sometimes we under estimate our heavenly Father's plan and power and we do things on our own will. But our God knows what to give and when to give. --Author Unknown

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The Cat
A man recently told a true story about the pastor of his church. He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent
down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. He did all this, checking his progress in the car frequently, then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved a little further forward, the rope broke. The tree went "boing!" and the kitten instantly sailed through the air - out of sight.
The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen a stray kitten. So he prayed, "Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping," and went on about his business.
A few days later he was at the grocery store and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. Now this woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?" She replied, "You won't believe this," and told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, "Well if God gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it?" She told the pastor, "I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won't believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her."
Never underestimate the Power of God and what may appear to be breaking on one end, is answering prayer on another. --Author Unknown

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
Beloved, you will have opportunities to make adjustments that will simplify and streamline various aspects of your existence. These opportunities will come unexpectedly in ways that might even seem unrelated and irrelevant, but you will see the value of these challenges as you progress, says the Lord. Go with the flow and trust Me. Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Self-control is not only the fruit of My Spirit; it is a virtue. Position yourself to exercise restraint as you choose to walk in the Spirit, and everything will work out to your benefit. I will lead you in the ways of ighteousness and peace, says the Lord. Trust Me to undertake on your behalf. Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Be quiet and stay calm. Negative emotions will only take you off course and keep you from seeing things as they really are. Refuse to allow chaos and confusion any place in you. Allow peace to lead you in everything. It is a very narrow path that will bring you to know righteousness and wisdom. Stay firmly on that path, and let Me direct your steps, says the Lord. Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

Stay the course, says the Lord. I will provide you with rare and valuable opportunities to establish your relationship with Me that will surpass your greatest expectations. You must also watch for the pitfalls along the way that would keep you from your maximum spiritual potential. Deception abounds in the earth, which if you believe the lies, will keep you from clarity and truth. James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

I have already told you that the rule of the path to discovery is light. You must walk in the light always in order to discover My plans and purposes for your life. This path is the only place where you can hear Me or see clearly what I want to show you, says the Lord. This is a narrow path, which you can stray from easily. You must stay focused and stay on track. Matthew 7:14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I am calling you to a higher place than you've ever been. Are you ready? Are you ready to connect with Me in the purposes I have set before you in this year? I want to bless you, My people, abundantly beyond anything imaginable. I want you to have victory over the things that have hindered you in the past. I want to bring you forth into the glory of My blessings in this specific time. So, I am setting the clock; it is time for you to become what I have called you to be. It is time for you to know Me as I am. It is time for you to learn who I am in you. So, walk with Me and you will be blessed in this season. You have My promise, and it is good for all who hear it and all who embrace it and all who walk it out with Me.

The foundation of My government has been established in the hearts of My people. Now, My house will be built, and My kingdom will be established. Divine order will become the present work of My Spirit in this year. Order must be established in the lives of My people because disorder will govern the world and its systems. Make every effort to establish yourselves in My order. You can do this by staying in touch with Me, and by allowing My Spirit to guide you from day to day. Stay connected!

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Our Father, up in heaven, hear this fervent prayer
May the people of all nations be united in thy care.
For earth's peace and man's salvation can come only by Thy grace
And not through bombs and missiles and our quest for outer space.
For until all men recognize that "The Battle is the Lord's"
And peace on earth cannot be won with strategy and swords.
We will go on vainly fighting, as we have in ages past
Finding only empty victories and a peace that cannot last.
But we've grown so rich and mighty and so arrogantly strong,
We no longer ask in humbleness "God, show us where we're wrong"
We have come to trust completely in the power of man-made things,
Unmindful of God's mighty power and that He Is "King of Kings"
We have turned our eyes away from Him to go our selfish way,
And money, power and pleasure are the gods we serve today.
And the good green earth God gave us to peacefully enjoy,
Through greed and fear and hatred we are seeking to destroy.
Oh, Father, up in heaven, stir and wake our sleeping souls,
Renew our faith and lift us up and give us higher goals.
And grant us heavenly guidance as war threatens us again
For, more than guided missiles, all the world needs guided men.
--Helen Steiner Rice

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O God, our Help in Ages Past, our Hope in Years To Be,
Look down upon this present and see our need in Thee.
For in this day of unrest, with danger all around,
We need Thy hand to lead us to higher, safer ground.
We need Thy help and counsel to make us more aware
That our safety and security lie solely in Thy care.
And as we fight for freedom make our way and purpose clear
And in our hours of danger may we feel Thy Presence near.
--Helen Steiner Rice

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Isaiah 43:16,18-19 – This is what the Lord says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Mathew 18:20

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Psalm 136:1 and 26 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Psalm 3:3 – But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Psalm 37:3

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Philippians 4:6

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Standing Strong Against Temptation by Daily Devotionals
The same weapon by which Jesus defeated Satan is available to you: the Word of God
After fasting forty days and forty nights, [Jesus] was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread... Throw yourself down... Bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from Me, Satan!” — Matthew 4:2-3, Matthew 4:9-10
What a sweet time with the Lord this morning, the sun warming your back as God’s truth warmed your heart — and then came the phone call: “I got a pink slip, honey.”
The enemy’s timing can be too perfect. Too horribly perfect. A rich time with Jesus can fade to nothingness when the world crashes in.
In Matthew’s gospel, This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. — Matthew 3:17 is immediately followed by, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. — Matthew 4:1
Soul-wrenching temptation by the too-clever devil crashed in after Jesus’ empowering baptism and forty-day communion with the Father.
Yet, despite physical weakness after a forty-day fast, Jesus stood strong in God’s truth, countering Satan’s temptations with the Lord’s Word, and finally commanding the tempter to leave.
The devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him. — Matthew 4:11
The same weapon by which Jesus defeated Satan is available to you: The Word of God.
Your Turn: You can have had a full day at a conference or weekend at a retreat of remarkable spiritual encouragement, exhortation, Spirit-infused worship, and closeness with God Almighty, and before you hit the door to go home, get an email of horrible, scary news that takes the wind out of you. The enemy is good at his job and he knows just when and how to strike to do potentially the most damage. Hold strong, friend! God is with you! Reread the Scriptures that tell how Jesus responded and do the same. Speak back to the Devil and tell him to get behind Jesus!

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Dear heavenly Father, thank you for being with us and answering our prayers. Help us to know that your love and grace are more than sufficient. Amen.

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Read Through The Bible
Psalm 49
1 Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: 2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together. 3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. 5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? 6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: 8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) 9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. 10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. 12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. 14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. 16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. 20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

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Dear God, help us to believe in you and to obey your word regardless of how things appear, trusting in your love and faithfulness. Amen.

Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again. If you do not have Jesus in your life and wish to ask Jesus into your life please go to this link now to do so: .
Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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