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October 2020

Ordinary

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The Bible is not the tale of strong men who served God. The Bible is the story of God working through anybody who would treasure his presence. The Bible is the tale of those nobodies who practiced the presence of God. —Calvin Miller

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13, NIV)

Just ordinary people
God uses ordinary people
He chooses people,
just like me and you
who are willing
to do as he commands
God uses people that will give him all
no matter how small
your all may seem to you
because little becomes much
as you place it in the Master's hands —Danniebelle Hall

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)


Greatest Fear

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My greatest fear is that God would remove His hand from me. —Billy Graham

Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious. A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise or box like one throwing aimless punches, but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.                                (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, TPT)

Do not quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19, NIV)

Comrade, “quench not the Spirit,” and he will lead you thus to know and love God, and God will make you the instrument of His own power. —Samuel Brengle

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. (Ephesians 4:30, MSG)

When the Spirit grieves, the Spirit leaves. —Albert Orsburn


Safety

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Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? (Mark 4:40, NLT)

It probably would have been safer for the children of Israel simply to remain in Egypt. It would have been safer for Moses to remain a shepherd. It would have been safer for Esther not to approach the king. It would have been safer for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to bow down to the idol. It would have been safer for Paul to avoid going to Jerusalem. … Safety is not one of God’s core values. And it is not a core value for God’s people either. Mirroring the character of God, God’s people value faithfulness and obedience. … Set us free from the idol of safety. —Nik Ripken

Those who trust in the Lord are as unshakeable, as unmovable as mighty Mount Zion! Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord’s wrap-around presence surrounds his people, protecting them now and forever. (Psalm 125:1-2, TPT)

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

                                                                            —Jim Elliot

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1, NIV)

Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you. ― C.S. Lewis


Reflect

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Much of Scripture is intended to help us become the kind of people God wants us to be. As much as God seeks our obedience—and as important as it is to follow God’s laws and guidelines—God’s deeper desire is that we become people who will simply reflect His heart and His character. —Nik Ripken

All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9, NIV)

You are the look on Christ’s face. You are the tone of His voice. You are the touch of His hands. You are the physical representative of His Grace. —Paul David Tripp

Live honorable lives as you mix with unbelievers, even though they accuse you of being evildoers. For they will see your beautiful works and have a reason to glorify God in the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12, TPT)


Silence

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The sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. (John 11:3-6, NIV)

Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? ... His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. ... If God has given you a silence, then praise Him—He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. —Oswald Chambers

Sometimes God speaks very clearly. Sometimes God shows up at the first sign of a need. But sometimes God is quiet. Sometimes God doesn’t need to show up immediately. In those moments, it may be that God is trusting us with a silence. And when that happens, we should simply carry on, watch and wait. We can be sure that He will act in the right way at exactly the right time . . . no matter what it looks like in the moment. —Nik Ripken

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:43-44, NIV)

Wait for the Lord and keep his way. (Psalm 37:34, ESV)


Now

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So how do we walk with God in the moment? We go with it. Now. As it is unfolding. That is the only way to have any real relationship with Jesus Christ. Now is the time, dear friend. — John Eldredge

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7, NRSV)

If He is with me always, He is with me now. The Lord’s always is a splendid perpetual now. —J.H. Jowett

God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT)


Vulnerable

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Here I am with Rio, my "grand-dog." She is a sweet one—so smart, so fun, so affectionate, so entertaining. She is a "good and perfect gift" from God (James 1:17). I love her, and that is dangerous and good, for in that "love" my heart stays soft, God-like and . . . vulnerable.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. —C.S. Lewis

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19 ESV)

To love means to open ourselves to suffering. Shall we shut our doors to love, then and ‘be safe’? —Elisabeth Elliot

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13, NIV)


Suffering

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Suffering bring us to an awareness of spiritual status. It is heavy but it produces a sensitive life. It is a “de-clutterer” of the throne room of the heart. Suffering is the last, best instructor of things eternal. — Calvin Miller

Together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. (Romans 8:17-19, NLT)

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. — C.S. Lewis

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13, NIV)

I’ve come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons. And if we’ll trust Him for it, we can come through to the unshakable assurance that He’s in charge. He has a loving purpose. And He can transform something terrible into something wonderful. Suffering is never for nothing.

                                                                                — Elisabeth Elliot


Kindly

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My Savior, wilt Thou teach me the power of the smallest ministries? May I not despise the things that are least! May I pay heed to all the courtesies of life! Help me to be kindly in speech, and tender and graceful in behavior. —J.H. Jowett

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5, NIV)

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. —Henry James

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4, NLT)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)