Hurry up and wait..

Thought this was a great reminder for all of us! This article is from Dr. David Jeremiah’s daily devotional email.  Check it out.

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Thursday, April 21

If She Doesn’t Hurry…

Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
Psalm 37:34

When J. K. Rowling was having trouble finishing her fifth Harry Potter book, her fans grew impatient. One was quoted as saying, “If she doesn’t hurry, we’re going to move on to caring about something else.”

That reflects our age. Our attention spans are short, and we want things in a hurry. Our watchwords are now, instant, quick, fast, rush.

The Lord doesn’t work that way. To Him, a thousand years are like a day, and a day is like a thousand years. He’s in no hurry; He dwells in eternity. He knows our needs, and He works in His timing to do what’s best. He waited 400 years after the Old Testament to send the Messiah. Jesus waited till the fourth watch to rescue His disciples on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:25).

The Bible tells us to wait on the Lord. When we’ve done our best, we have to leave things in His hands and give Him time to work. Don’t think God is inactive. In our waiting, He is working. He will work all for good—in His timing.

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glasgow

You can get more info on Dr. Jeremiah and details on daily devotionals by clicking below:

 http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/Default.aspx

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The good news…

ihave-testimony

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” 
Mark 16:15

This past weekend at our services, Heith talked about shame, guilt and fear.  These are powerful tools that Satan can use to hold us back in our relationship with God that stagnates our spiritual growth, and to prevent us from sharing our faith with others.  There are tons of excuses; “I’m not eloquent enough.”  “I don’t know the scriptures like I should.”  “I’m not living right enough to tell someone else about Jesus.”

We can’t let these excuses hold us back.  You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to share the gospel.  Every believer has his or her own personal testimony.  We all know our personal story of our encounter with Jesus and it is just as valid and as true as any encounter we read about in the New Testament.  This is the gospel that we should be sharing with others.  On that note, I’d like to share my personal gospel.

I was saved in my later junior high years.  Many people remember all the intimate details of the moment when they were saved.  I can’t tell you the time and the exact place, but I remember the feeling of knowing that my life had changed.  But that’s only the beginning of my story.  Through high school I was on fire for Jesus.  I was there every time the church doors opened, worked in several ministries at our church, started a Christian organization at my high school for believers.  Things changed when I went off to college.  I was young and dumb.  There’s no other excuse  for it.  I made a little turn to the left to see what that path had to offer and then another and another.  Pretty soon, I had no idea how to get back to the main road.  I call that time in my life my wandering in the wilderness.  I didn’t have to wander as long as Moses, but I was pretty close.  For almost 40 years I was away from all the things God wanted to offer me and the joys he had reserved for me.  The amazing thing for me was that, while I had given up on God, He never gave up on me.  He worked really hard to bring me back home to him.  He moved me to Texarkana, gave me a job where a wonderful Christian woman was working.  Pat Weaver invited me over and over to visit her church and I had any number of excuses not to go.  God waited patiently till I overcame my stupidity and took her up on her offer and visited City Church one Sunday morning.  God put the message he had for me right into Robert McCarver’s heart and he preached a wonderful sermon that Sunday morning.  It was titled, “Make the boat better”.  It was about the differences between the boat Jonah was on and the boat that Paul was on.  When I heard it, I knew I had spent most of a lifetime and hadn’t made the boat I was traveling in better.  Tanya (my wife) and I began going to church and knew that our path to making the boat better was by getting involved by serving.  We began helping in our church and serve right up to this day.  The two things that mean the most to me in my personal gospel are that God never gives up on us and that there is abundant power in prayer.

Every one of us has a personal gospel and I urge you to share yours with your friends, family, and coworkers.

Robert Hester
Member City Church Texarkana

Super Tuesday?

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday. The day where we (In Texas and Arkansas and 9 other states) are to go vote in the presidential primaries. The social media world is on fire with people pushing one candidate or another with all sorts of information on why “real christians” should or shouldn’t vote for one person or another.  I was reading today on ChristianToday.com and saw a quote that read:

“Evangelicals are set to play a deciding role for Republicans in the Super Tuesday states, according to Pew research.”

Now, I know not all evangelicals are Republicans and I am in no way going to tell you who you should vote for; but i will say this- Pray. Yes, pray and seek God on what YOU should do and then go vote.  Remember Paul’s encouraging words…

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 

Evangelicals will play a role in the election by either voting or staying home. I believe we should vote and have a voice. I also read a survey that stated:

“in recent elections, about 2 of every 5 of self-professed Christians took that right for granted and did not vote. About 1 in 5 self-professed, eligible Christians are not even registered to vote.”

Tomorrow is the day, so pray today!

Jim

Is there anything God can’t do? Yes!

Is there anything God can’t do? Yes! Ok, so before you get angry – take a breathe and read on! I once was asked “since with God nothing is impossible let me ask you a question. Can God make a rock so big He can’t pick it up?” Of course we encounter questions that get us to thinking and this morning I was looking through my notes and was reminded of 10 things God can’t do along with scripture to back it up.
So on this rainy Monday I thought I would share it with you…..

10 Things God Can’t Do

  1. God can’t get tired.
    Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.
    —Isaiah 40:28
  2. God can’t take on a job he can’t handle.
    Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.
    —Jeremiah 32:17
  3. God can’t be unholy.
    And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
    —Isaiah 6:3
  4. God can’t be prejudiced.
    In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him.
    —Acts 10:34-35
  5. God can’t break a promise.
    My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips.
    —Psalm 89:34
  6. God can’t remember sins he’s chosen to forget.
    I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
    —Isaiah 43:25
  7. God can’t make a loser.
    Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.
    —2 Corinthians 2:14
  8. God can’t abandon you.
    Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
    —Deuteronomy 31:6
  9. God can’t stop thinking about you.
    How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with you.
    —Psalm 139:17-18
  10. God can’t stop loving you.
    Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
    —Jeremiah 31:3

Aren’t you glad God can’t do those things?

Jim

How important is being involved in church?

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How important is it to be involved in church instead of “just going”? Here is a great article from foreverymom.com that is worth reading. Note: it seems there is an exception to every rule – BUT we read in God’s word that we as parents should be involved in teaching our kids about Him! That also means to live as examples.

Why Kids Grow Up and Reject God—Even When They Have Amazing Parents

By Rick Malm

This pastor dad couldn’t figure out why his church friends’ kids were walking away from God when they hit 18—until now.

Bob and Carol were an amazing couple. As a young husband and father I looked up to them as role models. They were godly. They had a strong marriage. Every Sunday their family sat together in church. They even homeschooled their kids. I hoped that someday Jana and I could have a marriage and family as solid as theirs.

One day, in passing, I asked Bob why he didn’t attend the mid-week service. “Oh, that’s our family night.”

I was impressed. We tried family night a time or two, but with small kids it felt impossible. I wished I had the discipline these folks had. But, I also thought: Why not come to church and use any other night for family night?

I also noticed they didn’t put their kids in the children’s ministry and youth programs. That was a little different but these were awesome parents and I could sure see great value in having the kids sit with them at church.

Time passed and something weird happened. As Bob and Carol’s kids went off to college I noticed their kids didn’t attend church. When my kids left home for college or work they not only immediately found a church but they got active serving in that church.

I couldn’t figure it out. I was such a lousy parent compared to Bob and Carol. Our “family nights” consisted of dumping our kids in the nursery, kids church and later youth group while we attended the adult service. I was never able to pull off consistent home devotions. We sure weren’t the model family. Why were my kids passionate about God, while the kids in this “perfect family” were running from God as soon as they could break free?

Bob and Carol could have been a fluke, but I’ve seen this same pattern over and over – great parents but their kids leave the church.

I didn’t give it much thought until folks started asking me why my kids never ran from God? As a pastor I wanted to help them keep their kids on the right path but I had no idea what made the difference. I prayed and asked the Lord.

You’ve probably heard “Family first. Don’t get so busy with church activities that your family suffers.” While I agree with that I think we get into trouble if we forget our family is just a tiny part of something much bigger – God’s family.

It’s dangerous to separate our family from the bigger picture. The kids were seeing that their family gatherings at home had priority over gathering with other believers. It says “we” (my family) are more important than “WE” (the Family of God).

No one intended it but they were being taught that their family was the center of the universe around which everything else revolves – rather than God and His people being the center around which our lives rotate.

Suddenly it all made sense. No wonder these kids wandered away from church – which almost inevitably leads to wandering away from God. Church – gathering with the people of God – was optional, a nice thing to do once a week as long as it was convenient and didn’t conflict with family or other plans.

Off at college they saw no need to get connected to the local church. The were busy with their lives, their schedule, their priorities.

I know this probably sounds hyper-legalistic but let me encourage you – when the people of God gather (a.k.a. church) you need to be there and be involved.

Not out of obligation – Jana and I never went because we had to. It just made sense, and our kids grew up knowing it was what we all did. “Family first” meant when God’s folks gathered we would be there. If traveling, on vacation, visiting family, whatever, our plans, priorities and schedule revolved around connecting with God’s eternal “Family First”.

Here’s why.

Next time you barbecue, after the coals are nice and red-hot, take about six of them out and set them aside. Then set one aside by itself and watch what happens.

The “family” of six coals will stay hot awhile but not as long as the big gathering. And the poor coal that is “living on his own” – off at college or working – will cool very quickly apart from the other coals.

If you want to stay red hot in your walk with God stay connected to the big pile of coals.  Keep your little family tied into the pit. As often as possible gather with the other coals where you can draw heat from them and help others by sharing your heat.

 We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.
– Hebrews 10:25

 Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual he went into the synagogue on the day of worship.
– Luke 4:16

original article:   http://www.foreverymom.com/why-kids-grow-up-and-reject-god-even-when-they-have-amazing-parents/

True meaning of Christmas

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Christmas season is here (well almost.) I remember as a child waiting for all the Christmas cartoons to come on TV, and was so excited when I knew they day they were about to show. Looking back I think we have lost those moments. The moments of expectation and excitement. In our new world dominated by see it/get it now technology things are so different  This morning i came across this article that as I read it brought a smile to my face and also brought back that “real” feeling lost in this hurried and politically correct world. I hope it does the same for you!   Jim

Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas

Jason Soroski
wordpress.com

This week A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on national prime time television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 50 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.

I am a fan of all things nostalgic and all things Christmas, and so when the two are combined I am hooked, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special falls squarely into that category.

I was in the first grade back when they still performed Christmas pageants in schools (less than 50 years, but still a very long time ago), and our class performed a version of the Charlie Brown Christmas. Since I was kind of a bookworm and already had a blue blanket, I was chosen to play the part of Linus. As Linus, I memorized Luke 2:8-14, and that Scripture has been hidden in my heart ever since.

But while working so diligently to learn those lines, there is one important thing I didn’t notice then, and didn’t notice until now.

Right in the middle of speaking, Linus drops the blanket.

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Charlie Brown is best known for his uniquely striped shirt, and Linus is most associated with his ever-present security blanket. Throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and others all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket. And even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the otherwise mature and thoughtful Linus, he simply refuses to give it up.

Until this moment.  When he simply drops it.

In that climactic scene when Linus shares “what Christmas is all about,” he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it: when he utters the words, “fear not” (at :38 seconds).

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Looking at it now, it is pretty clear what Charles Schultz was saying, and it’s so simple it’s brilliant.

The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.

The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves.

The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to Him instead.

The world of 2015 can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, 2015 is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.”

But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found.

As a writer and musician, Jason Soroski strives to communicate in a way that is insightful, meaningful, relevant, and mindful of the small things that we may otherwise overlook in our everyday lives. He effectively taps into his experiences as a worship pastor, classroom teacher, husband, and homeschooling father of five to relate poignant stories from real-life experiences. Jason holds an M.Ed. from Missouri Baptist University, has been featured in various print and web publications, and currently resides in Houston, TX. Read more from Jason at his blog The Way I See It.

 

http://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/just-drop-the-blanket-the-moment-you-never-noticed-in-a-charlie-brown-christmas.html

 

Article originally published at The Way I See It. Used with permission.

Publication date: December 14, 2015

Offended?

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It seems we have become a society where everything offends someone! Check out this great article from Dr. Everett Piper, President the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

Dr. Everett Piper, President
Oklahoma Wesleyan University

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university!

original source:
http://www.okwu.edu/blog/2015/11/this-is-not-a-day-care-its-a-university/

Teach them to your children……

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You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, when you rise.   Deuteronomy 11:19

The Bible instructs us to teach our children the values that we as Christians hold dear.  These life lessons will be forever etched in the very heart God has placed inside their chest.  As they grow, forever they can reach back and recall how God showed Himself mighty.  Take this opportunity and carry your children and grandchildren to the prospective location.  Walk around the building 7 times and explain to them that City Church is asking God to do what only He can do by providing this building as His new church.  Explain the needed space, for the growth about to happen.  Have them pray with you each day about this move when you are talking and sitting in the house, when you are walking, when you lie down and when you rise.

Into the Rabbit Hole I Went

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“To expect much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”

Flannery O’Connor

Last week I went into a downward spiral.  We’ve all had them and I was due for a good one.  I didn’t just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  I woke up complacent and apathetic.  I start my mornings as often as possible in prayer.  If I have time, I open my Bible and read some of it.  Grouchy as I was, there I sat…reading Ecclesiastes and Job.  So further into the rabbit hole I went.

On the way to work as I was tuning out K-LOVE on the radio…they sent me over the edge.  All I could remember hearing was the DJ spouting off, “You’re loved, you’re special, and your life makes a difference.” I turned it off and thought, “No wonder people hate Christians.”  Happy little K-LOVE-isms screaming ridiculousness to us. There’s always some story of some woman two weeks sober out of prison praising Jesus for her sobriety.  Two weeks in, give me a break.  My heart was in a bad place.

The night before I couldn’t sleep.  The family of an acquaintance of mine had just lost their twelve-year-old adopted son.  He took his own life.  Every bit of media I saw the day before was hopeless.  North and South Korea were at it again.  There were new videos of this abortion business going around and don’t even get me started on the political mumbo-jumbo that was coming at me.

Every politician and everyone on my news feed seemed to be shocked about this or that thing.  Someone shares a post yada yada, put God back in our schools yada yada or if they only knew their history that flag wouldn’t bother them, like and share if you think sagging should be illegal.  The stock market was taking a hit but gas prices were below $2.00 so people were still losing their faith in humanity but praising Jesus for the low gas.

So, this was my take…

Of course we’ve all lost our faith in humanity.  Of course we’ve lost our faith in government.  Why would we have put our faith there in the first place?  We were given an IQ test and we’ve all failed.

We are only casually and temporarily valuable to everyone except Jesus.  Your life, my life, our lives, black lives, illegal immigrant’s lives, confused socialist’s lives, all will end on earth and all of this stuff that mattered will be completely forgotten.  These tired little K-LOVE-isms are not the truth and it’s scary to believe it. Our society seems to be feeding itself a false sense of identity and importance and the repercussions of this is false hope.

What I find is that we seem to take everything with everyone seriously except a persons place in eternity.  We find the time to talk incessantly about everything but the eternal.  We are bothered by everything but hell and discontent with heaven.

So, what do we do?   Well, we go to church right.  We pray, but we forget to check our character at the door before our knees hit the floor.  We walk into the worship services with our hands raised high, heart melting in song about the return of our God and when the song ends we put our hands right back into our pockets.

We spend one or two hours a week listening to these thought provoking sermons and God given calls to action and the second the air conditioning hits and the guacamole and chips arrive at the table; the second our belly’s become full we forget.  It’s like the images of cancer patients or starving orphans, out of sight out of mind.

God seems to be constantly reminding us that we are not as important as we like to think we are, so when is it enough?  When is it enough?  We know this ground beneath us has been cursed and because of it, our lives as evangelical Christians should be exhausting right?  I don’t always know what God has called me to do, but I don’t think he has called me to comfort or for me to feel important. When are we going to recognize that we don’t matter, that our feelings are irrelevant. We don’t matter, but Jesus does, and it is Him that lives in us that matters and the only thing that should matter to us about other people is if Jesus is living in them.  That’s it, that’s all, full stop.

Rev. Kevin Struyk of Saint Andrews Chapel said this:

“A true disciple of Jesus will, by God’s grace and because of his new nature, imitate Jesus by loving the helpless, the wounded, and the lost.  Our love will demonstrate itself through word and deed ministry…proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and discipling his people both to know and live in the light of God’s word.  Our deeds will show our willingness to leave behind earthly comforts, material goods, safety, even our very lives in order to save a soul from Hell.”

As Dr. J.D. Greear stated:

You see, “God has never commanded us to go save the world for him; He calls us to follow Him as he saves the world through us.”

Why do we seem to get that so wrong, that we don’t matter, but it is Christ in us that matters? We are loved, but we are just not that important and these issues that get us all worked up are not eternal.

I cannot believe that God would bless us to sit around idle and wallow around in our blessings moaning about the un-blessed, the cursed, or the lost. I’m going to use you if you are willing to serve me in amazing ways., but you need to stop and remember what I did and who I am.

It’s time for us as his church and as his people and as his disciples to stop being in fear.  Why should the Christian fear for himself in this world when he’s already saved?  I think we should stop being so afraid of others and share the word of God with them.  The only thing that matters is if you’ve made Jesus the Lord over your life, is if they’ve made Jesus the Lord over their lives.

We seem to have built these churches with these beautiful crosses mounted on the walls and sitting in the corners and for some reason we forget to realize that the cross is really pretty when their isn’t a bloody body hanging on it.  It’s like we’ve made everything serious but eternity, but Jesus.

We recognize we have a calling.  Pick up our crosses and follow him.  Stop talking about everyone else who has the wrong cross or the one whose cross is heavier than the other persons or the one who set his cross down for a while.  We have one job to do, and it’s eternal and that is all that matters.

So maybe I’m having a bit of a breakdown.  Of course I’m emotional, aren’t you? Haven’t you seen what I’ve seen?   I’m not talking about all this silly, waste of time, end of day Armageddon news, but that bloody cross.

We have been invaded by the incessant noise of ridiculousness and most of it comes in the form of temporary controversy or lies about you or anything other than eternity being important.

So from now on, I’m going to pray bigger about being bolder, I’m going to pray about a yoke that’s lighter in a world that’s crazy, I’m going to pray about telling of a bloody cross and a savior whose blood I will no longer allow to be watered down.  I will take one thing first before all issues…and that’s Jesus, and let him handle the rest.

Patrick Duke
Member
City Church Texarkana

Walking with God

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When I called, they did not listen; So when they called, I would not listen, says the Lord Almighty.       Zechariah 7:13

I walk almost every morning.  My morning walks are the time I set aside each day to spend with God.  I go before the world has awakened, and spend time in quiet prayer and conversation with God.  I can’t tell you how important these mornings are to me.  In a stressful day, in a stressful business, with a million gnats buzzing around for attention during the day, this is the magic hour for me.

I don’t walk far, usually about 30 minutes, but this when I leave my cell phone at home and set aside time for conversation with God.  It has made my days a lot easier to navigate, and it surely has a calming effect on my life.  It’s not an easy habit to get into, but if you can start the first day, the rewards are immeasurable.  It is something that we have to devote ourselves to daily.

In the beginning, I had to drag myself down the stairs and out into the often bitter cold mornings of winter.  After a few days though, I found myself looking forward to that time.  I get to praise God a bit, and then take my burdens and my prayer requests and leave them with Him.  The last part of my walk, the most important part, is when I try to be still and quiet, and listen to see what God wants me to hear.  This is why I consider it a conversation with God.  I’m sure we’ve all had to talk to any number of narcissists in our time, the kind that drones on and on about themselves and their wants and needs.  I don’t find those conversations pleasurable, and I’m pretty sure God feels the same.  My prayer for each of you is that you’ll make the time, not just to pray and talk to God, but take that extra time and listen, and make it a true conversation with Him.

Robert Hester
Member
City Church Texarkana