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Old 02-08-2017, 10:15 AM   #1
bluidkiti
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Icon24 Weekly Spiritual Meditations - February 10

Cheerful giving is a testament to God’s grace.

Jesus can set us free.

God is always there — stretching out a hand, waiting to lift us up to continue our journey. God never promised that we wouldn’t face trials or even stumble at times, but God did promise never to stop guiding us. With that promise, we can continue to live in confidence as God directs us. Whenever we stumble, God will lift us up.

Every day, we have choices about what messages we will believe: those that come from the world around us, or those from our God.

Even when we feel completely alone, the words of Jesus remind us we are loved: “Surely I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).

We can trust in God’s promises today and every day.

God can restore us and give us new purpose.

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Listening To Others by Peter Hitchcock
The Samaritans are a national organization in the United Kingdom, whose 20,000 volunteers listen. Every six seconds, day or night, someone contacts them. They help callers talk through their concerns, worries, and troubles.
Many years ago, my late wife and I had the privilege of training new volunteers at our then local branch. Now, the Lord has led me to use that experience to facilitate a course on listening skills at my church. In preparation, I visited the Samaritans' website, and found the acronym S.H.U.S.H. being used in a campaign to encourage the public to become better listeners. The Samaritans are, deliberately, a non-religious organization so that they are available for everybody, but I will add some Bible verses.
Show that you care. Give undivided attention. Remove any distractions. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
Have patience. It may take time before a person is ready to open up. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)
Use open questions, those that need more than a yes/no answer. Focus on feelings rather than facts. Don't jump in with your own ideas. Use silence. "Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues." (Proverbs 10:19 NIV)
Say it back to check that you have understood, but don't interrupt to offer a solution. "To answer before listening — that is folly and shame." (Proverbs 18:13 NIV 2011)
Have courage. Don't be put off by a negative response, and don't feel that you have to fill a silence. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
We will need help from the Lord to put this into practice. Pray for discernment about the decision to really listen to the person rather than to have a two-way conversation, and for guidance to remember that this person is the expert on their own life and that the questions that we ask should guide them towards finding their own solutions.
A 19th century writer said it well: Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take them and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. – Dinah Craik (1826-1887)
Prayer: O Lord, we thank You for Your greatest gift of love. Help us to take Your love and pass it to our neighbours by listening — really listening — to their troubles. Guide us as we listen, so that all that we do is an expression of Your love and so that Your will may be done. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

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Snow, Snow, And More Snow by Rosemary Hagedorn
The sun's rays illuminated the freshly fallen snow outside my living room window. Thousands and thousands of miniature diamonds glistened in the sun.
There's nothing like freshly fallen snow. It is pure white, soft, and fluffy as it falls from the sky to the ground, covering the earth like a warm blanket.
When you open your hand and a snowflake lands, you can see that it is intricate and beautiful. After a time of collecting snowflakes, you realize that each flake is different; no two are alike. To me, these tiny fractals are an enigma. But then, a lot of snow can be quite a nuisance, as well as dangerous.
Snow squalls invaded our area, pummelling us with lots of snow. Snow removal machines were kept busy during the day, as well as during the night. We are fortunate enough to be able to hire someone to come and plow our driveway, whereas others have to shovel the white stuff by hand.
As I look out my back door, I wonder where our snowplow man is going to pile more snow that we are expecting. Perhaps a week of mild temperatures and lots of sunshine will reduce the number of snow hills in our backyard. Perhaps today is the beginning of this much-desired process. But what if we get more snow — will it be too much for our roof?
I find myself beginning to worry.
Yet, God tells us to cast our worries and anxious feelings onto Him. He knows what is going to happen, even though we do not. We have to believe that when the time comes, He will lead us to the right person to look after the snow load on our roof. He could even send us an early spring!
Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (NASB)
1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (NASB)
Are you feeling anxious about something in your life right now or worried about what may happen?
Let us trust in God, Who has everything under control.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for rewarding us with beautiful, sunshiny days. Thank You for showing us the beauty in freshly fallen snow, the intricate snowflakes that lie on our windowsills, and diamonds that glisten on the white ground. Help us to trust in You and to give You thanks, even though we are pummelled with snow. Amen.

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Simple Trust by Karen Lubbers
Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (NIV)
Isaiah 12:2 – Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. (NIV)
Recently, I took some neighbour kids to the pool. The six-year-old twins showed absolutely no fear in the water, especially because they've trusted a few adults to hold them and teach them. I was super-excited to see their joy for learning, but I was shocked when I turned around to see one of the boys jump off the ledge and start "swimming" towards another adult. No adult was aware that the child was going to jump, but when we noticed that the boy was moving towards us in the water, the man held out his arms to assist the young learner. The young boy was full of smiles.
Oh, how I wish that I had that same, simple trust in God. God is always there. His plan for us is rarely what we expect, but He has promised:
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (NIV)
Trusting God means that even during the bad, sad, hard, and miserable times, we still believe that He loves us and that He is good. He will teach us the things that we need to know.
So often, I feel like it's safer sitting on the edge of the pool, maybe dangling my feet in the water. How many times I have jumped into a plan, without God's wisdom! Thankfully, God is always there to pick me up from my worldly choices or unwise ventures and to put me back into His trusting arms.
We need to trust God through all things. He sees our tears and fears; He knows the plans that He has for us; and He wants us to dive into life's situations with the full knowledge of His presence. Trust Him and find joy!
Trust and obey,
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
- John H. Sammis
Prayer: Trustworthy Father, we thank You for always being there for us. You never slumber nor sleep. You know our comings and our goings, so help us to have the faith to trust You with joy! You are ever-present, and we love You. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

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How To Succeed at Being Yourself by Joyce Meyer
It's tough to enjoy life when you don't like yourself. People who haven't learned to accept and get along with themselves tend to have more difficulty accepting and getting along with others. Yet, the Bible repeatedly tells us to "love your neighbor as yourself." I personally spent years having a hard time getting along with people, until I finally realized through the Word of God how my difficulty with other people was actually "rooted" in my difficulties with myself.
The Bible says a good tree will bear good fruit, and a rotten tree will bear rotten fruit. Likewise, the "fruit" of our lives comes from the "root" within us. If you're rooted in shame, guilt, inferiority, rejection, lack of love and acceptance, etc., the fruit of your relationships will suffer. However, once you have a revelation of God's unconditional love for you and begin to accept yourself and others, eventually these new roots will produce good fruit, and your relationships will thrive.
Here are a few tips I believe will help you succeed at being yourself.
1. Never say or think negative things about yourself, such as, "I never do anything right." "I'll never change." "I'm ugly." "I look terrible." "I'm dumb." "Who could ever love me?" Matthew 12:37 says, ...by your words you will be justified..., and by your words you will be condemned…. Proverbs 23:7 says, …as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he. In other words, the way we talk and think about ourselves reveals how we feel about ourselves.
2. Speak good things about yourself (as private confessions) in line with what the Word says about you. For example: "I am the righteousness of God in Christ." "I am made acceptable in the Beloved." "God created me and formed me with His own hands, and God doesn't make mistakes." I like starting the day making good confessions. Perhaps you can do this while you're driving to work or cleaning house. I also encourage you to look in the mirror and say out loud, "God loves and accepts you, and so do I." You may even try hugging yourself. This is beneficial to people who have lacked love and acceptance in their lives.
3. Never compare yourself with other people. God must love variety or He wouldn't have created us all differently—even down to our fingerprints. You'll never succeed at being yourself if you're trying to be like someone else. Other people can be a good example to you, but duplicating even their good traits will manifest differently through your individual personality.
4. Focus on your potential instead of your limitations. Actress Helen Hayes was told early in her career that if she were four inches taller she'd be the greatest actress of her time. Her coaches tried various methods of stretching her, but nothing increased her height. She refused to concentrate on the supposed limitation of being five feet tall and decided to concentrate on her potential. As a result, she was eventually cast as Mary, Queen of Scotland—one of the tallest queens who ever lived.
5. Find something you like to do that you do well, and do it over and over. If you spend your time doing things you're not good at, it'll frustrate you and cause you to feel defeated and unsuccessful.
6. Have the courage to be different and deal with criticism. Be a God-pleaser, not a man-pleaser (see Galatians 1:10). If you dare to be different, you'll have to expect some criticism. Going along with the crowd—when you know in your heart God's leading you a different way—is one reason people don't succeed at being themselves. You won't like yourself very much if you go against your own convictions.
7. Don't let the way another person treats you determine your worth.
8. Keep your flaws in perspective. People with a high level of confidence have just as many weaknesses as people without confidence, but they concentrate on their strengths—not their flaws or weaknesses.
In conclusion, let me remind you of my opening statement: It's tough to enjoy life when you don't like yourself. When you learn to succeed at being yourself, you'll be well on your way to enjoying life more fully.

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FAMOUS LAST WORDS by Alan Smith
Consider these quotes from the past:
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." - Western Union internal memo, 1876.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." - Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
"But what ... is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, President, Chairman and Founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981
It's amazing that we've accomplished so much technologically in this country considering the pessimistic views held by many (even more amazing when you consider that some of the achievements eventually came from people who at one time held the pessimistic views themselves).
What is your vision for the future? What would you like to accomplish? More to the point, what would you like to see God accomplish through you? There will likely be someone around you ready to tell you that "it can't be done", or "we've tried that before with no success", or "it's too much trouble".
And they may be right. Or they may have a "grasshopper complex" like the ten spies in Numbers 13 who were unable to see what God could accomplish because they were looking so intently at the obstacles in their way.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
May the God who can do more than we can even imagine (and I can imagine a lot!) be with you this day.

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God Never Changes by David Edwards
God never changes who He is. He is always consistent. He is not fickle. He was not a different God in the Old Testament or to your grandparents. He is and always has been the same God.
He is holy - He keeps His promises
He is righteous - He always does what’s right
He is good - He loves us and is always working in us, for us and through us.
These things never change.

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
Choose to move forward, and leave that which is redundant behind. There are things in your life that you need to let go of because they are no longer relevant to where you are now. These are circumstances, issues, and associations that no longer fulfill a useful purpose in your life. That which you refuse to leave behind will become an anchor that will hold you back spiritually, says the Lord. Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.

You are still working out the kinks in the process of transitioning out of the old era and entering the new order. Take your challenges in stride while maintaining a sense of stability. I will give you the grace and peace to do all that is necessary. I will show you the way, says the Lord. You are moving from complexity into simplicity. 2 Corinthians 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

Keep your heart by deliberately walking in the way of righteousness and peace. You are My representative to those around you, some of whom will only see Me through your attitudes and motivations, says the Lord. Let My Spirit manifest through you. Proverbs 4:23-26 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.

There are things that will demand your attention and things that need to be adjusted to function properly. Your test is to determine whether or not you will get frustrated with the process, which will make things worse, or trust Me to give the wisdom you need to establish the necessary order. You must take the time required to accomplish what is set before you as a necessary step to be taken before you can proceed, says the Lord. John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

You have faced opposition, and you have opportunities to respond in ways that are not pleasing in My sight, says the Lord. I would have you be righteous in all things and to choose to forgive and treat everyone with love and kindness regardless of injustice. Make choices that will reap a blessing instead of a curse. Luke 6:35 "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil."

I understand that it seems like you have been in a complex maze and that finding your way has been frustrating at times. You are very close to the end of this particularly difficult time, and I want you to be aware that I have been preparing the way before you and leading you along the way. Take the time to look back and acknowledge the miraculous events of that journey, says the Lord. Isaiah 42:16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
If God be for you who can be against you? If God is for you, you will indeed prosper, you will have victory, and will receive healing. He will undertake on your behalf and will go before you and lead you into the fullness of that which He has for you. That fullness will include victory and a knowledge of God that you have never had before. Because His love is bestowed upon you, God will arise and carry you into and through this season in a position of absolute victory. You will have victory over hindrances, over infirmity, and over every divisive thing that comes into your life. You will have victory if you will trust and believe.

You have heard what I have spoken. You should stop and take a breath. Stop the chaos and be renewed in the Spirit. Get into a position of walking with Me. I will always take you forward to the position of favor and victory. I will be with you to bring you through to victory over everything that the enemy presents against you--victory over infirmity, doubt and unbelief. I will bring you forth in My kingdom and establish you in the blessings of this season, says the Lord.

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THIS LIFE IS REALLY ABOUT HIM by Sheila Gosney 2005
It's amazing the things the Father will teach you
after you've walked in His presence & grown.
For the wisdom He bestows in His perfect timing
is unlike anything you've ever known.
For He takes your hand while your faith is in infancy
and shows you what you can digest.
Till you start really seeing just how awesome He is
and each day that you live leaves you blessed.
He changes & transforms even your very mind
till each circumstance comes right back to Him.
And you find yourself seeking His perfect will
for each venture before it begins.
The 'old you' that once sought the applause of the world is more
interested in exalting His name.
And you start seeing people as souls He longs to redeem
and the whole reason Christ even came.
At one time you used to think this world held it all,
but now you know He's the "all" you'll ever need.
For your identity is established as an heir to the King
and you love Him in word and in deed.
You can hardly wait for what He shows you in the future
because He proves Himself time and again.
He's the center of your life and He's already shown you
this life is really all about Him.

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When trouble comes, we often say, "Why did this have to be?"
But blessings come in many ways that sometimes we can't see.
Everything that happens is part of God's eternal plan.
Today what seems a mystery in time we'll understand.
Remember prayers are with you to give you strength today.
Call on those of us who love you to share with you along the way.
Let's continue to pray for one another.
Author Unknown

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James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Paul said to the Ephesian elders, “We must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” - Acts 20:35

Our steps are made firm by the LORD, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the LORD holds us by the hand. - Psalm 37:23-24

With a strong hand and outstretched arm — God’s faithful love lasts forever! - Psalm 136:12

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28

"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:38-40

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The Living Bible Author Unknown
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.
The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!)
By now, the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. The deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?
It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion.
When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. "Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read".
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

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Give us Wisdom
Father in Heaven, You have blessed us with many gifts. You chose us before the world began, To be Your adopted sons and daughters, And to live through love in Your presence. Give us wisdom and insight to know Your purpose; Give us courage to follow where Your Spirit leads us, Give us generosity to serve You in our brothers and sisters. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Read Through The Bible
Psalm 53
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. 5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. 6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

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Loving Jesus, thank you for your light which shows us the way. Help us always to strive to live in your light. 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: http://www.bluidkiti.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130 .
Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
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We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
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