Chapter 1 -‘Christ, Our Loving Savior’ (Book 42 Non-Fiction ‘Mere Christianity…Lives!’) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 42 Non-Fiction) By C. Paul Di Tullio ‘ Mere Christianity…Lives!’) By C. Paul Di Tullio
Chapter 1 – ‘Christ, Our Loving Savior
‘Drafting off Jesus’ By Michael Sanborn – Teaching Pastor (Granada Heights Friends Church La Mirada CA
’Even though I have not caught the bicycling bug like many of our congregants have, I love the image of drafting off Jesus that the Saucy men (Mark, Ben, and Josh) presented us Sunday.
*************************
‘The image is of a densely packed group of bicyclists, called a peloton, where the rider in the front of the pack is taking on the heavy work of cutting through the air while all the rest behind him are drafting or slipstreaming off of him.
‘Those behind the front rider save energy because the air is flowing over and around them and also curving back behind them to push them a bit, as the image shows. Drafting/slipstreaming is an essential practice for riders to save energy for long races.
************************
‘Drafting off Jesus is an essential practice for disciples of Jesus in the long race of life. One primary way that we draft off Jesus is described in our theme verse for Missions Conference, Hebrews 12:1-2
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
************************
‘According to these verses, we draft off Jesus by continuing to look at Him as our example to emulate. Jesus inspires us. The example that Jesus set is one of endurance through suffering for the sake of a higher good, a joy-filled good, a good that produces true joy.
‘God asks us to consider enduring through our own sufferings, which are strung together into one long race of life, for the sake of this greater joy at the finish line.
‘But this is not the only way that we draft off Jesus. Thankfully Jesus also provides that energy we need to keep going, that invisible but powerful push of wind from behind that is the Holy Spirit – and consider that the word “spirit” also means wind!
************************
‘Here are some Scriptures to ponder about the power the Spirit provides us:
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
***********************
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:26-27 … the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27
‘And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11
*************************
‘All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Galatians 5:16, 22-23 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control
‘The Spirit gives us all kinds of power to accomplish God’s good purposes. But as Mark pointed out on Sunday, the riders who are drafting still have to pedal. They still have to expend some energy of their own. It’s not just coasting, doing nothing. The Scripture he directed us to is Philippians 2:12-13.
‘Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
***********************
‘Work it out, because God is working within. Verse 13 actually provides the motivation, the reason why we should expend energy and effort riding behind Jesus. It’s because the Almighty God has offered to work inside of us!
‘God wants to do incredible works inside us, through us, and to the far reaches of the earth from us. But God wants our cooperation. God wants us to want it too. He wants us to want HIM.
‘We must be convinced that the work is worth it. Just like physical exercise, we must be convinced that the work will have good results.
‘We have to trust that God’s purposes – God’s goals are really the only worthy goals/purposes that exist, because they will have forever effects.
… *******************
‘Thoughts on a Sunday Morning’
‘Crawling to the Finish Line’
Greetings Granada Community… By Michael Sanborn
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us Hebrews 12:1c
‘One of the images that Dr. Rosemary Mbogo gave us on Sunday to ponder is that of a runner crawling to the finish line due to injury. This has happened many times in races.
‘A runner might pull a hamstring, twist an ankle, or get a severe muscle cramp that disables their ability to run. Some runners just stop, but some decide to continue on all the way to the finish line, even if it means that they must crawl.
********************
‘In a physical race, a runner cannot hide their injury and pain. They cannot hide if they collapse and stop, or if they are just crawling. But in the spiritual race of life that we are all in, we can hide our pain, our injury, our anger at not being able to run with joy, and we can hide when we feel like we are just barely crawling along. We can hide behind strained smiles and responses of “doing well” and “feeling great!”
‘There is tremendous social pressure in our Christian circles to always be feeling “great” and “fine”. People who complain are looked down upon. At memorial services we often hear that the deceased was someone who “never complained.” That always feels like a gut punch to me (maybe you feel the same way) because I have definitely done more than my fair share of complaining in my life.
***********************
‘I’m not trying to defend complaining. It’s no virtue, and there is great benefit to learning how not to complain. But what do we do when we’re not feeling “fine” at all?
‘What do we do when we don’t feel joy, when we’re discouraged, angry, disappointed, and even depressed? What do we do when we are NOT content?
‘I think a lot of us might feel stuck in a dilemma. On the one hand, we don’t want to be a complainer or a “Debbie Downer” and bring people down with us.
‘But on the other hand, we just want to be honest about how bad we are feeling or how crummy our spiritual life really is. We don’t want to have to hide the pain and frustration that just won’t go away.
‘What I desperately hope for our church community is that we can be a safe, gracious place for people to be honest about how they are really feeling. A place where people are not criticized, denigrated, or lectured for not feeling “fine” or “great!”
************************
‘How much healing work could God do among us if we were able to be honest with one another and allowed the grace and truth of God to flow in our interactions?
‘Consider the example of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, just before He was arrested, Matthew 26:36-38,
‘Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
‘His disciples ended up falling asleep. They failed to be of any comfort to Jesus. But notice that Jesus did not hide from them the intense anxiety and sorrow that He was feeling.
‘The words used to describe what Jesus was feeling are extreme words, and the grammar indicates that these feelings were visible, not hidden inside.
************************
‘In fact, Jesus flat out tells them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” If Jesus could feel overwhelmed to the point of death AND share it with his friends, it must be okay for us to do the same.
‘To be fair, Jesus shares this with His three closest friends – Peter, James, and John. These three had developed a bond where this kind of vulnerability was safe. If everyone was this vulnerable to everyone all of a sudden, we would not be able to shoulder the tremendous emotional weight. It would crush us.
‘BUT, the church community is a spiritual family of brothers and sisters in Christ who are growing together, on a journey together, being built up by God in our collective walk upwards towards heaven. Our capacity to care for each other CAN grow and SHOULD grow.
************************
‘And this capacity WILL grow step by step as we learn to be vulnerable and share how we’re really feeling, and as we learn to graciously listen and empathize with those who are vulnerable. We will never be able to care for everyone, but let’s not let that stop us from growing in caring for those that God does present to us.
‘We will never be able to share with everyone how we’re really feeling, but let’s not let that stop us from sharing with some. Let’s never give up, running with perseverance all the way to the finish line. Even if we’re crawling…
May God shine on you today, Mike Sanborn
********************
When God Leads You to an Obstacle, What Should You Do?
Written by Tiffanie Butts
‘I’m an ordinary girl saved by grace, falling more in love with Jesus every day, and living to inspire others to do the same. http://www.tiffaniebutts.com is where I share my story – challenges, lessons, and faith journey – and encourage young men and women to walk confidently in their purpose.
*************
Transformation isn’t neat and pretty. Nope. It can look messy and it not without obstacles. It’s like putting a piece of furniture together…
Transformation isn’t neat and pretty. Nope. It can look messy and it not without obstacles. It’s like putting a piece of furniture together. At first it’s neatly in a box, but it can’t be used that way. So you have to take out all the pieces, which makes a mess, and begin the process.
You have to do it in a specific order or it won’t work. Finally, when you’re done, the mess will be gone and you’ll have a product that’s ready to be used for it’s purpose.
************************
It’s no different with us. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ. It’s during these times that our lives and situations look the messiest.
We know that God is working behind the scenes and putting all the pieces together, but we have no idea what step He’s on or how much longer it will take. We only see the mess, the unfinished product.
Weeks, months, and even years go by and we wonder if the promise will still come to pass or if we should just give up?
The answer is simple. We don’t give up or lose hope. We abide in Jesus and in the promise, trusting that He is faithful to fulfill EVERY promise he has made to us. I know it’s difficult. You may lose relationships, you will be persecuted and mocked, you will look foolish at times to other people, and what God instructs you do will not always make sense in the natural.
***************************
However, at some point we have to resolve to follow Him no matter the cost, and trust Him with our whole heart. That’s the reason for the tests and trials; to develop your character so you can produce the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Consider It Pure Joy, My Brothers And Sisters, Whenever You Face Trials Of Many Kinds, Because You Know That The Testing Of Your Faith Produces Perseverance. Let Perseverance Finish Its Work So That You May Be Mature And Complete, Not Lacking Anything. – James 1:2-4 Let’s look at the story of the Israelites as an example, when they we’re fleeing Eqypt after 400 years of slavery.
God not only promised the Israelites freedom from the Egyptians, but also a land of their own. They would no longer be subjects to a King, but a free people governed by God.
However, there would be obstacles between there current situation and the promise. The first one was the Red Sea. In order to get to the promised land they first had to cross the Red Sea.
***************************
Oh, and did I mention that Egypt’s army was pursuing them as well? So turning back was not an option. Now God could have led them a different way to the same destination. He didn’t have to take them through the Sea. So why did He? To show His glory, build their faith, and protect them.
For When I am Weak, Then I am Strong He parted the sea and Israel crossed on dry land. Right after, He closed the waters and allowed the Egyptians to drown so they would no longer be a threat.
This route led the Isrealites directly into the wilderness. It’s there that they were able to see God’s power one-on-one, and it’s also where God tested them. They were out of Egypt, but Egypt was not out of them. God needed to free them from old habits and ways of thinking before He could entrust them with more.
*************************
“I Am The Vine; You Are The Branches. If You Remain In Me And I In You, You Will Bear Much Fruit; Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing.” – John 14:5
We may never know the entire reason God does something a particular way, but we can trust that His plan is perfect. It’s for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
The Israelites could have given up, or attempted to take matters into their own hands and go another way, but they didn’t. They trusted God and witnessed Him make a way where there was no way.
It’s easy to get disillusioned by the situation you’re stuck in, the battle you’re facing, or the trial that won’t seem to end – and begin to doubt God’s provision. I want to assure you that He’s still at work. You’re just in the middle right now and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. However, God has a bird’s-eye view.
He knows everything that lies ahead of you and is going before you to prepare the way. This isn’t the the time to make decisions based on your circumstances or limited wisdom, it’s crucial to be obedient.
****************************
Your transformation won’t come without obstacles and opposition because challenge gives birth to growth.
How can you reach new levels of faith in God if you’re not challenged to believe bigger, prayer bolder, and walk by faith and not by sight? If you abide in Jesus and don’t give up, you WILL see the victory. Like the Israelite’s, you will see God do what only He can do. Nothing is impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26).
Being Confident Of This, That He Who Began A Good Work In You Will Carry It On To Completion Until The Day Of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6
*********************
Be the ONE Person to Make an Impact
Written by Charles Hamrick
‘I am very simply a follower of Christ. While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest.
‘I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis. I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.’
**************************
When attending a professional sporting event, it only takes one fan to ruin an experience. It’s not much different in Christianity. Be the one to make a positive impact!
I have been lucky enough over my life to attend many sporting events of all levels. Football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, and more. I love the aspect of live sporting events especially in a big stadium with thousands of people cheering for the same team. But, it only takes one person to make an impact.
Regardless of the sport, or venue, there is always one constant. The fans. I also love people watching and meeting new people, which may be a primary reason I enjoy these events.
**********************
You can always count on finding that one person (or sometimes multiple people) that make the environment either more enjoyable or not as enjoyable as it should be. Bad fans are everywhere, even at your favorite team’s stadium; whether you want to admit it or not.
It amazes me that one person can have an impact on your experience when there are thousands of positive and welcoming fans around you.
I was at a professional football game this past weekend. I was wearing my team’s colors in the opposing teams’ stadium. It was a great experience!
Almost every fan I encountered was welcoming and had a good time cheering against us in their stadium. But there was one fan that was rude and inconsiderate towards the end of the game. This fan soured my perception of the fanbase.
If you ask me where some of my favorite places have been to watch sporting events, the majority of them are not based on the venue itself; they are mostly based on the fanbase.
Now translate that to church and Christianity.
***********************
It only takes one person to turn someone off from church and/or Christians. One sentence, one word, one bad interaction. People don’t get turned onto the church based on the building or location, no matter how beautiful it is. They are turned on and stay around based on the people they interact with.
Think about all the people that were turned off even back in the old testament times with the Pharisees or other groups that had strict rules and regulations associated with being in the church.
********************
4 Secrets to Developing Stronger Friendships
Now if you run into that one fan or person at a game that helps you enjoy the experience, it can be just as beneficial, and the other can be hurtful.
That was Jesus in His time here on Earth. He shared so much Love with everyone he encountered it changed the perception as a whole of what it meant to follow Christ.
****************************
We each need to be that ONE person for someone else.
There are plenty of people looking and waiting for merely someone to be nice to them or ask them to church. And plenty of people that have been turned off by organized religion.
Be the change, be the one person to someone else. Don’t let a different person do the opposite. We are in a fight for souls!
How can you be the one person to make an impact today?
*********************
30Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 42 Non-Fiction) By C. Paul Di Tullio ‘ Mere Christianity…Lives!’) By C. Paul Di Tullio
Chapter 1 – ‘Christ, Our Loving Savior
‘Drafting off Jesus’ By Michael Sanborn – Teaching Pastor (Granada Heights Friends Church La Mirada CA
’Even though I have not caught the bicycling bug like many of our congregants have, I love the image of drafting off Jesus that the Saucy men (Mark, Ben, and Josh) presented us Sunday.
*************************
‘The image is of a densely packed group of bicyclists, called a peloton, where the rider in the front of the pack is taking on the heavy work of cutting through the air while all the rest behind him are drafting or slipstreaming off of him.
‘Those behind the front rider save energy because the air is flowing over and around them and also curving back behind them to push them a bit, as the image shows. Drafting/slipstreaming is an essential practice for riders to save energy for long races.
************************
‘Drafting off Jesus is an essential practice for disciples of Jesus in the long race of life. One primary way that we draft off Jesus is described in our theme verse for Missions Conference, Hebrews 12:1-2
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
************************
‘According to these verses, we draft off Jesus by continuing to look at Him as our example to emulate. Jesus inspires us. The example that Jesus set is one of endurance through suffering for the sake of a higher good, a joy-filled good, a good that produces true joy.
‘God asks us to consider enduring through our own sufferings, which are strung together into one long race of life, for the sake of this greater joy at the finish line.
‘But this is not the only way that we draft off Jesus. Thankfully Jesus also provides that energy we need to keep going, that invisible but powerful push of wind from behind that is the Holy Spirit – and consider that the word “spirit” also means wind!
************************
‘Here are some Scriptures to ponder about the power the Spirit provides us:
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
***********************
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:26-27 … the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27
‘And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11
*************************
‘All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Galatians 5:16, 22-23 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control
‘The Spirit gives us all kinds of power to accomplish God’s good purposes. But as Mark pointed out on Sunday, the riders who are drafting still have to pedal. They still have to expend some energy of their own. It’s not just coasting, doing nothing. The Scripture he directed us to is Philippians 2:12-13.
‘Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
***********************
‘Work it out, because God is working within. Verse 13 actually provides the motivation, the reason why we should expend energy and effort riding behind Jesus. It’s because the Almighty God has offered to work inside of us!
‘God wants to do incredible works inside us, through us, and to the far reaches of the earth from us. But God wants our cooperation. God wants us to want it too. He wants us to want HIM.
‘We must be convinced that the work is worth it. Just like physical exercise, we must be convinced that the work will have good results.
‘We have to trust that God’s purposes – God’s goals are really the only worthy goals/purposes that exist, because they will have forever effects.
… *******************
‘Thoughts on a Sunday Morning’
‘Crawling to the Finish Line’
Greetings Granada Community… By Michael Sanborn
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us Hebrews 12:1c
‘One of the images that Dr. Rosemary Mbogo gave us on Sunday to ponder is that of a runner crawling to the finish line due to injury. This has happened many times in races.
‘A runner might pull a hamstring, twist an ankle, or get a severe muscle cramp that disables their ability to run. Some runners just stop, but some decide to continue on all the way to the finish line, even if it means that they must crawl.
********************
‘In a physical race, a runner cannot hide their injury and pain. They cannot hide if they collapse and stop, or if they are just crawling. But in the spiritual race of life that we are all in, we can hide our pain, our injury, our anger at not being able to run with joy, and we can hide when we feel like we are just barely crawling along. We can hide behind strained smiles and responses of “doing well” and “feeling great!”
‘There is tremendous social pressure in our Christian circles to always be feeling “great” and “fine”. People who complain are looked down upon. At memorial services we often hear that the deceased was someone who “never complained.” That always feels like a gut punch to me (maybe you feel the same way) because I have definitely done more than my fair share of complaining in my life.
***********************
‘I’m not trying to defend complaining. It’s no virtue, and there is great benefit to learning how not to complain. But what do we do when we’re not feeling “fine” at all?
‘What do we do when we don’t feel joy, when we’re discouraged, angry, disappointed, and even depressed? What do we do when we are NOT content?
‘I think a lot of us might feel stuck in a dilemma. On the one hand, we don’t want to be a complainer or a “Debbie Downer” and bring people down with us.
‘But on the other hand, we just want to be honest about how bad we are feeling or how crummy our spiritual life really is. We don’t want to have to hide the pain and frustration that just won’t go away.
‘What I desperately hope for our church community is that we can be a safe, gracious place for people to be honest about how they are really feeling. A place where people are not criticized, denigrated, or lectured for not feeling “fine” or “great!”
************************
‘How much healing work could God do among us if we were able to be honest with one another and allowed the grace and truth of God to flow in our interactions?
‘Consider the example of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, just before He was arrested, Matthew 26:36-38,
‘Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
‘His disciples ended up falling asleep. They failed to be of any comfort to Jesus. But notice that Jesus did not hide from them the intense anxiety and sorrow that He was feeling.
‘The words used to describe what Jesus was feeling are extreme words, and the grammar indicates that these feelings were visible, not hidden inside.
************************
‘In fact, Jesus flat out tells them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” If Jesus could feel overwhelmed to the point of death AND share it with his friends, it must be okay for us to do the same.
‘To be fair, Jesus shares this with His three closest friends – Peter, James, and John. These three had developed a bond where this kind of vulnerability was safe. If everyone was this vulnerable to everyone all of a sudden, we would not be able to shoulder the tremendous emotional weight. It would crush us.
‘BUT, the church community is a spiritual family of brothers and sisters in Christ who are growing together, on a journey together, being built up by God in our collective walk upwards towards heaven. Our capacity to care for each other CAN grow and SHOULD grow.
************************
‘And this capacity WILL grow step by step as we learn to be vulnerable and share how we’re really feeling, and as we learn to graciously listen and empathize with those who are vulnerable. We will never be able to care for everyone, but let’s not let that stop us from growing in caring for those that God does present to us.
‘We will never be able to share with everyone how we’re really feeling, but let’s not let that stop us from sharing with some. Let’s never give up, running with perseverance all the way to the finish line. Even if we’re crawling…
May God shine on you today, Mike Sanborn
********************
When God Leads You to an Obstacle, What Should You Do?
Written by Tiffanie Butts
‘I’m an ordinary girl saved by grace, falling more in love with Jesus every day, and living to inspire others to do the same. http://www.tiffaniebutts.com is where I share my story – challenges, lessons, and faith journey – and encourage young men and women to walk confidently in their purpose.
*************
Transformation isn’t neat and pretty. Nope. It can look messy and it not without obstacles. It’s like putting a piece of furniture together…
Transformation isn’t neat and pretty. Nope. It can look messy and it not without obstacles. It’s like putting a piece of furniture together. At first it’s neatly in a box, but it can’t be used that way. So you have to take out all the pieces, which makes a mess, and begin the process.
You have to do it in a specific order or it won’t work. Finally, when you’re done, the mess will be gone and you’ll have a product that’s ready to be used for it’s purpose.
************************
It’s no different with us. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ. It’s during these times that our lives and situations look the messiest.
We know that God is working behind the scenes and putting all the pieces together, but we have no idea what step He’s on or how much longer it will take. We only see the mess, the unfinished product.
Weeks, months, and even years go by and we wonder if the promise will still come to pass or if we should just give up?
The answer is simple. We don’t give up or lose hope. We abide in Jesus and in the promise, trusting that He is faithful to fulfill EVERY promise he has made to us. I know it’s difficult. You may lose relationships, you will be persecuted and mocked, you will look foolish at times to other people, and what God instructs you do will not always make sense in the natural.
***************************
However, at some point we have to resolve to follow Him no matter the cost, and trust Him with our whole heart. That’s the reason for the tests and trials; to develop your character so you can produce the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Consider It Pure Joy, My Brothers And Sisters, Whenever You Face Trials Of Many Kinds, Because You Know That The Testing Of Your Faith Produces Perseverance. Let Perseverance Finish Its Work So That You May Be Mature And Complete, Not Lacking Anything. – James 1:2-4 Let’s look at the story of the Israelites as an example, when they we’re fleeing Eqypt after 400 years of slavery.
God not only promised the Israelites freedom from the Egyptians, but also a land of their own. They would no longer be subjects to a King, but a free people governed by God.
However, there would be obstacles between there current situation and the promise. The first one was the Red Sea. In order to get to the promised land they first had to cross the Red Sea.
***************************
Oh, and did I mention that Egypt’s army was pursuing them as well? So turning back was not an option. Now God could have led them a different way to the same destination. He didn’t have to take them through the Sea. So why did He? To show His glory, build their faith, and protect them.
For When I am Weak, Then I am Strong He parted the sea and Israel crossed on dry land. Right after, He closed the waters and allowed the Egyptians to drown so they would no longer be a threat.
This route led the Isrealites directly into the wilderness. It’s there that they were able to see God’s power one-on-one, and it’s also where God tested them. They were out of Egypt, but Egypt was not out of them. God needed to free them from old habits and ways of thinking before He could entrust them with more.
*************************
“I Am The Vine; You Are The Branches. If You Remain In Me And I In You, You Will Bear Much Fruit; Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing.” – John 14:5
We may never know the entire reason God does something a particular way, but we can trust that His plan is perfect. It’s for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
The Israelites could have given up, or attempted to take matters into their own hands and go another way, but they didn’t. They trusted God and witnessed Him make a way where there was no way.
It’s easy to get disillusioned by the situation you’re stuck in, the battle you’re facing, or the trial that won’t seem to end – and begin to doubt God’s provision. I want to assure you that He’s still at work. You’re just in the middle right now and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. However, God has a bird’s-eye view.
He knows everything that lies ahead of you and is going before you to prepare the way. This isn’t the the time to make decisions based on your circumstances or limited wisdom, it’s crucial to be obedient.
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Your transformation won’t come without obstacles and opposition because challenge gives birth to growth.
How can you reach new levels of faith in God if you’re not challenged to believe bigger, prayer bolder, and walk by faith and not by sight? If you abide in Jesus and don’t give up, you WILL see the victory. Like the Israelite’s, you will see God do what only He can do. Nothing is impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26).
Being Confident Of This, That He Who Began A Good Work In You Will Carry It On To Completion Until The Day Of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6
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Be the ONE Person to Make an Impact
Written by Charles Hamrick
‘I am very simply a follower of Christ. While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest.
‘I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis. I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.’
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When attending a professional sporting event, it only takes one fan to ruin an experience. It’s not much different in Christianity. Be the one to make a positive impact!
I have been lucky enough over my life to attend many sporting events of all levels. Football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, and more. I love the aspect of live sporting events especially in a big stadium with thousands of people cheering for the same team. But, it only takes one person to make an impact.
Regardless of the sport, or venue, there is always one constant. The fans. I also love people watching and meeting new people, which may be a primary reason I enjoy these events.
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You can always count on finding that one person (or sometimes multiple people) that make the environment either more enjoyable or not as enjoyable as it should be. Bad fans are everywhere, even at your favorite team’s stadium; whether you want to admit it or not.
It amazes me that one person can have an impact on your experience when there are thousands of positive and welcoming fans around you.
I was at a professional football game this past weekend. I was wearing my team’s colors in the opposing teams’ stadium. It was a great experience!
Almost every fan I encountered was welcoming and had a good time cheering against us in their stadium. But there was one fan that was rude and inconsiderate towards the end of the game. This fan soured my perception of the fanbase.
If you ask me where some of my favorite places have been to watch sporting events, the majority of them are not based on the venue itself; they are mostly based on the fanbase.
Now translate that to church and Christianity.
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It only takes one person to turn someone off from church and/or Christians. One sentence, one word, one bad interaction. People don’t get turned onto the church based on the building or location, no matter how beautiful it is. They are turned on and stay around based on the people they interact with.
Think about all the people that were turned off even back in the old testament times with the Pharisees or other groups that had strict rules and regulations associated with being in the church.
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4 Secrets to Developing Stronger Friendships
Now if you run into that one fan or person at a game that helps you enjoy the experience, it can be just as beneficial, and the other can be hurtful.
That was Jesus in His time here on Earth. He shared so much Love with everyone he encountered it changed the perception as a whole of what it meant to follow Christ.
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We each need to be that ONE person for someone else.
There are plenty of people looking and waiting for merely someone to be nice to them or ask them to church. And plenty of people that have been turned off by organized religion.
Be the change, be the one person to someone else. Don’t let a different person do the opposite. We are in a fight for souls!
How can you be the one person to make an impact today?
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About pauld2leo

What I have to offer is a gift from God, to me, and I offer these gifts to you, free. May we enjoy Friend to Friend, together! Sincerely, Paul Di Tullio - Writer...I am a graduate of Temple University, Philadelphia PA with a major in communications. I’ve been a free lance stringer for various magazines around the country contributing features and the inside story with emphasis on interpreting news that needed immediate follow-up. I am a prolific writer since I commenced focusing on novels, short story collections, plays, novellas, etc, several years ago in Southern California. I love writing about people, places and things, especially, with emphasis on slices of life, meaning, what happens in our life stories as we live each day.
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