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Old 04-19-2017, 01:00 PM   #1
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Icon24 Weekly Spiritual Meditations - April 21

With Jesus, no one, no matter how hurt or how broken, is beyond hope.

God gives us different abilities so we can meet the needs of the world.

At times, we forget God’s promise to turn our worst into the best, our bitterness into sweetness, and our ugly situation into a beautiful one. God can bring the best out of the worst. We can trust God even in unpleasant situations.

Even when we don’t feel like it, we can act on our faith, serve others, give generously, and worship faithfully. In this way, we put ourselves in a position to experience what God can do — what God is already doing.

Our obedience to Jesus brings glory to God.

God can handle the weight of our burdens.

When we face challenging parts of our journeys, we can look to Christ. He understands what a difficult road looks like and knows what it means to keep going. God gives us strength to persevere. Today let's follow Jesus’ example of perseverance.

It is amazing to know that despite the turbulence, God is always with us, in the center of every circumstance, and provides the peace that surpasses all understanding. When we draw close to God and ask for help, we can be reminded that Christ is always with us, “to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). When we trust in God, we can find peace.

Never be too busy to spend time with God.

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James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Thirty-eight years ago as a student at Hazard Community College, I developed a good friendship with Tom Zhender, from Louisville. It began as an uncharacteristic friendship, to say the least. I grew up 12 miles south of Hazard in a coal mining community called Scuddy. Dad worked in the mines there as well as in the neighboring coal camps of Stoker and Defiance. Tom was a city boy. He had never been to Southeastern Kentucky. His college studies brought him to Appalachia. Tom was Roman Catholic. I was Free Will Baptist. I remember going to Mass with him for Good Friday service. I felt somewhat out of place until the priest began washing the worshipper’s feet. I whispered to Tom, “Hey, we do that in the Free Will Baptist Church.” Then I discovered an amazing truth—he loved the Lord as much as I did. One day I took Tom on a walk through the woods to the top of a mountain. It was a former strip mine. As we walked along and I was pointing out to him the various species of trees surrounding us, suddenly Tom exclaimed, “Is that what I think it is?!” Looking downward, he was focused on a large block of coal. I said, “Tom, it’s a block of coal.” “Wow,” he replied, “Coal! I’ve never seen coal. I’m taking that home!” I was shocked. I thought everyone had seen coal. After all, dad worked in the coal mines. We burned coal to cook and heat with. We had a pile of it outside the house. Coal was our way of life in Appalachia. But my friend had never seen what I had always taken for granted.
That encounter, though, taught me a valuable lesson. How often do we take for granted what seems commonplace, but in fact, are gifts from God? The sunshine; the air we breathe; the water we drink; the food we eat; the clothes we wear—on and on we can recount the blessings God provides but so often we take them for granted. I pray that I never again take for granted any gift my heavenly Father bestows upon me by His grace and mercy, beginning with this moment, and this new day.

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Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.
Green said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."
Blue interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."
Yellow chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
Orange started next to blow her trumpet: "I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."
Red could stand it no longer he shouted out: "I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."
Purple rose up to his full height: He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey."
Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: "Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."
And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.
In the midst of the clamor, God began to speak: "You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."
Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.
God continued: "From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

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In the late winter and early spring, I look forward to raking out the gardens in our yard. This year the gardens have really needed the cover of fall leaves because our winter has been very cold with frequent snows. Soon, though, I will begin the work of clean-up to ready the gardens for spring growth.
After raking out the dead leaves, stalks, debris, and last year’s plant remains, I usually find the most beautiful spring promise of beauty. Uncovered, open to wind and rain, the gardens show signs of life.
Every one is filled with spring green. Sedum, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and others start to push up clean, fresh green shoots. It is a lovely sight! In empathy with the gardens, I always feel like I can breathe more deeply too. Exercise and outdoor air are such blessings for the body!
The secretly growing gardens remind me of our experience as Christians. Sometimes we go through seasons and times when we feel as if we are burdened under by old problems, attitudes, and mindsets. We continue on, believing and praying, but we are struggling on our Christian way. Some insight or experience, some healing or new hope may clear away our worries and doubts, and we realize that underneath the problems and “dead stuff,” new life has been emerging. We are stronger than we thought with God’s help. Our “God moments” renew us for Christian living.
This fresh life or renewed zest for living brings us great joy. We feel as if we can breathe deeply again, and we rejoice in the blessing of our Lord.
In the spring time, we are reminded of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and once again, we rejoice in the power of God’s love that walks with each of us, renewing us daily, allowing us to grow and blossom, bringing us the sure promise of everlasting life. --Mary-Ellen Grisham

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YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD by The Daily Encourager
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
A story is told of a man crossing the Atlantic by ship. One night, as he was confined to his cabin due to seasickness, he heard the cry, "Man overboard!" He felt that there was nothing he could do to help, but he said to himself, "I can at least put my lantern in the porthole." He struggled to his feet and hung the light so it would shine out into the darkness.
The next day he learned that the person had been rescued and had told others, "I was going down in the dark night for the last time when someone put a light in a porthole. As it shone on my hand, a sailor in a lifeboat grabbed it and pulled me in."
God has chosen us to reach out and bring light into the darkness, to light up lives, no matter how small or insignificant we may feel!
"To the world you might just be another person, but to one person you may be the whole world."

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Real Hope by Angela Mitchell
In the world we live in today, it can be hard to find hope. If you turn on the news, you can become discouraged by one hopeless situation after another. It seems the world would have us believe that all hope is lost. But, thanks be to God, that is not true for those who believe and trust in Jesus!
In truth, we never have to experience hopelessness. That is not to say that we will never feel hopeless, or discouraged, or lonely, but we do not have to stay in those lowly positions. If we allow ourselves to focus on negative circumstances rather than on Jesus, we may feel hopeless, but if we focus on Jesus and hope in Him, we “may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Our family has learned through difficult times that Jesus is our true hope. He is our strong tower and refuge. Colossians 1:27 tells us that we have Christ in us, “the hope of glory.” We, as believers in Jesus, have the best hope there is – the hope of His glory – the hope of getting to spend eternity in His Presence. Isn’t it wonderful to have this hope?
One of my favorite hymns begins, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” I pray that if my children have learned anything from us, it is that they always have hope in Christ.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that in you we have hope. Help us to remember, regardless of what happens in this temporary place we live in, You have promised to be with us always. We are never alone. Our hope is in You, Lord. Help us to live out that hope today.

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The Gallery of Unfinished Projects By Roy Irwin
Ever have one of those weeks where everything you do seems to go wrong??? At the beginning of this past week I single-handedly managed to turn our living room into the "Gallery of Unfinished Projects"! Follow me as we start our tour...and please watch your step!
Our first stop is the gas grill that came 90% assembled. It's obvious that they stopped at 90% because the last 10% requires a team of engineers from NASA to finish it. To the right of that is the chair that came in a box marked with the 'warning' "Some Assembly Required". As you step over the paper on the floor to your right, you'll see the programming instructions for our VCR. After celebrating the minor success of making the timer stop flashing "12:00", I'm now waiting for my seven-year-old nephew to show me how to program something on the VCR other than the "Snow Channel" that I have become so good at taping!...
For a time, each of these projects consumed my every waking (and sleeping) thoughts. The harder I worked on these projects, the worse their condition became and the madder I became. Perhaps you can relate to similar situations that you have had. I'm amazed at how easy it is to be so busy with the trivial, that we lose focus of what is really important.
It wasn't until the end of the week when my wife suggested letting the 'Gallery' sit for a couple of days, did I calm down, collect my thoughts, pray for God's forgiveness and wisdom and finish each of the projects. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to just stop - stop 'doing' and start 'listening'. Let me share with you a couple of examples of what I mean.
I read a story recently about an ad that ran during the Depression Years requesting a Telegraph Helper - someone who could send and receive Morse Code, the dot and dash code for communicating. A young boy went to the office where the job was being offered. The office was already full of other applicants, each desperately needing a job.
Everyone was watching the door marked 'Private', for behind that door sat the manager who would make the hiring decision. The room was filled with conversation. Suddenly, the young boy who had arrived last, jumped up and walked past the waiting applicants, and into the manager's office. Everyone was stunned into silence!
A few moments later the boy came out and announced that everyone could go home because he had been awarded the job. The crowd erupted in anger! Who was this boy who had jumped ahead of each of them? The boy explained that while they were all talking, he was listening. The manager had been taping on the door in Morse Code, "Whoever hears this message may come in and have the job." Each of the men had been too busy to hear the sound of the offer!
I met someone years ago who told me that God gave us two ears and only one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. I've learned over the years the wisdom of this advice!
The Bible says in James 1:19-20 "...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (NIV)
Perhaps Psalm 46:10 sums it up best: "Be still, and know that I am God... " (NIV)
Are you busy? Are you frustrated by some problem? Is something occupying your time, thoughts and energy and robbing you of God's peace? May I share with you a lesson learned once again this past week - a reminder if you will - that Jesus Christ is alive and well. He is the Alpha and Omega - the beginning and the end. There is no problem that is too big for Him to handle. Take your burden to Him. But most of all, He wants each of us to spend time with Him and enjoy His rich fellowship. It is only in spending time with Him that we learn to be more like him.
"Dear God, it is so easy for us to become busy with trivial things and not hear your voice, or see you at work in our lives. Help us to be still, and to spend time at your feet, listening to what you have to share with us. Help us to become the people that you want us to be. Help us to be more like you every day. Amen."

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
There are situations in your life that you have all but given up on. But, I tell you that it is not time to quit. You have an opportunity right here, right now, to strengthen your commitment and to go forth with new hope. I am with you not only to stabilize your current position, but to make it a springboard that will be the impetus for a new beginning and possibilities beyond your ability to imagine, says the Lord. Ephesians 3:20-21 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.

Carefully consider your options for change. Use discernment in finding help to achieve your goals. Most of the people you encounter will be more concerned about what they can gain by helping you than caring about your interests. Put your trust in Me to lead you in the way you should go. I will take you through obstacles that would subvert your efforts, says the Lord. Psalms 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

Perseverance will be your optimum state of mind in the days ahead. Don't give up. Stay the course. Be mindful of your purpose even in the face of opposition, obstacles, difficulties, and discouragement. Rise up in the face of adversity and overcome with persistence, says the Lord. Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

I would have you take the land for My kingdom, says the Lord. But, I speak to you in spiritual terms. There are parts of your heart that have become bitter and hardened because of the difficulties you have faced. Those hard places of discouragement, rejection, and frustration must be plowed up like fallow ground and planted with seeds of faith and trust. You must take the ground of your own heart before you can do the external work. Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

In a vision I saw myself looking down into a deep well, and I heard the Lord say, "Go deep. Many of you, My people, have skimmed the surface of what you consider to be relationship with Me. You have become complacent and satisfied with the shallows of the familiar. I want you to explore the depths. I want you to grow spiritually and go beyond your comfort zone to know Me better." John 4:11-14 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

Consider well the spiritual seeds that you plant at this time, for they will indeed produce an abundant harvest. Refuse to sow unrighteous seeds of anger, bitterness and division because they will produce a harvest that you will not like. What you do now will either bring great joy or sorrow. Your choices will determine the outcome of your actions, says the Lord. Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
This is a dynamic spiritual time. So, I say arise and go forth with good expectations in these days regarding those things I will do on your behalf. For the darkness of this world is invading our space and is coming to bear upon this planet. But, you are children of the light. You are those I have chosen to spread the glory of My presence and power in these days. Know that I have chosen you for this special time, and I will empower you according to My word, and bless you according to My ways. Go forth in the power that I have provided.

I have, indeed, called you My friend. Have you heard My voice calling to you? For, if you have heard My whispers, I have called you to come near. Let us walk together in this place of friendship, this place of unity of soul and spirit. Come to Me all you who are heavy laden and relieve your burden. For, I will take it from you and give you joy and gladness. I will give you the favor that is yours to receive in this time. Trust Me. Relieve yourself of unworthiness and condemnation. I shall clothe you with new garments. You shall go forth from victory to victory because it is your destiny, says the Lord.

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Eagles by Irene Bedard Martin
Lord, help me to soar like an eagle,
strong and true,
steadfast in my faith of you.
Lord, help me to soar like an eagle.
Let me fly with the angels.
Let me soar with the joy of knowing you.
Let each heart beat bring me closer to you.
In the wind I hear your voice whispering my name.
Higher and higher I go,
I'll never be the same,
Your love has changed me.
No longer tethered,
instead set free,
To soar.

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"A Lovely Day To Praise The Lord" by Helen Gleason
It's a lovely day to praise the Lord
For a day that's fresh and new,
That's filled with nature's beauty,
Created just for you.
It's a lovely day to look, to see,
The flowers, the trees, the birds,
The music of their voices rings,
None sweeter can be heard.
It's a lovely day to thank the Lord,
As all around we see
The vastness of blue skies above,
and feel the summer breeze.
It's a lovely day to think of how
He cares for us each day.
As we journey in this life,
He's there to lead the way.

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Philippians 4:4-5 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. - Colossians 3:15

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:4

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. - Psalm 9:10

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. - Hebrews 12:1

Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” - Philippians 4:4

God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. - 2 Corinthians 9:8

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Lights In The Darkness by Walter Haldorson
2 Corinthians 4:6 – For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (NRSV)
In our younger years, my wife and I lived with our two children for a number of years in a tiny, isolated, Canadian arctic settlement on the west coast of Hudson Bay. The settlement was accessible only by air on an airstrip that had been quickly constructed by the military in 1957 to facilitate the construction of a radar station in the settlement. However, the project was abandoned almost before it began.
Although the airstrip was capable of accommodating the DC3 aircraft that were primarily in use in the north at that time, it was unlit, and when planes were expected to arrive at night, we residents of the settlement had to put out kerosene-burning flare pots, one on each corner of the strip and two or three along each side, to guide the plane in. Those instances were usually for medical emergencies, but at that high latitude in winter, the daylight hours were very short, and the flare pots were sometimes required for regularly scheduled flights as well. Obviously, the incoming pilots had to have absolute faith in us that we had properly placed the flare pots and that the runway was clear. It was literally a life-or-death situation, and the outcome of any mistakes or negligence on our part would have been unthinkable. Despite their trust in us, those pilots must have approached that air strip in the inky blackness of an arctic night with a high measure of anxiety.
Just as those pilots needed flare pots to guide them in, we all need figurative flare pots in our spiritual life to guide us in to Jesus. We have them in the Scriptures, where we read that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, that He rose from the grave, that He promises eternal life with Him in heaven if we but believe and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, and that He will be with us to the end of the age. We can be assured that He has properly placed the flare pots, and that we can approach Him with absolute faith and confidence, living for and trusting in Him both on our day-to-day journey and in our hope for eternity. Although we may still sometimes find ourselves anxiously circling around in the darkness, we have the assurance that we can in any situation approach those flare pots of promise with absolute confidence. They will see us safely in!
John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." (NRSV)
Prayer: God of light, illuminate our pathway to Jesus, and help us to illuminate those in the world who are struggling or overcome with darkness. Amen.

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O God, inspire us to discover and use our talents in daily service to others and to do so with joy. Amen.

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Read Through The Bible
Psalm 63
1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. 9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

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Dear God, give us the courage to share the good news with others. Thank you for helping us overcome shyness, hesitation, and fear so that we can share the message of your love. 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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