Archive for December, 2010

Truth is spoken openly

JESUS SPEAKING

                The high priest then asked Jesus about his disciples and his doctrine.  Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world.  I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet and have said nothing in secret” (John 18: 19-20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus was standing before the Jewish leaders who were seeking to find something in his teachings by which they could condemn him.  These Jewish leaders had heard all of his teachings in the temple.  In the first century, a rabbi would speak publicly so everyone had the opportunity to question him; in fact, the Jewish leaders had sent many people to question Jesus; they wanted him to incriminate himself so they could prove that he was not the messiah; yet every answer Jesus gave was perfect.  So the Jewish leaders arrested him and began to question him in secret.  He reminded them that he had never said anything in secret; the truth never needed to be kept secret; it needed to be proclaimed from the roof tops; a task that Jesus had flawlessly completed.

                Recently, a couple of people have been arrested for leaking all kinds of top secret communications to the public.  These communications include pleas to the United States to intervene militarily against a certain Muslim country.  When the information was made public, it caused a great deal of embarrassment and shame.  How does this relate to our personal lives?  How many times have we said something about someone we would not have said had they been present?  Gossiping is saying something in secret that you would not say publicly.  If you would not say something to a person’s face, don’t say it.  We have all been guilty of this offense.  The truth never needs to be spoken in secret; the truth can be proclaimed boldly for all to hear, without shame or embarrassment.

                Today as followers of Jesus Christ we should not gossip.  Everything we say should stand up to scrutiny.  If what we say cannot be printed on the front page of the news paper, should we say it at all?  No.  We need to speak the truth (God’s truth, not speculation or opinion) without regret.  [Sometimes the truth is not going to be nice.  We have heard our mothers say many times, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  However, Jesus was no pushover; he spoke out against many people who were evil; speaking the truth is not gossiping, if it is spoken in love.  All of our communications should be done in love; the truth can hurt a person, but may still need to be heard, because we care about those who must hear it.]  Speak openly, speak truthfully, and speak lovingly, and you will never be ashamed.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask and pray that You would help us to speak every word openly, and to never gossip or speak out of hate, or out of contempt, but out of love.  We wish to speak just as You and Your Son Speak; by the power of Your Holy Spirit we ask that You make us speak only the truth, and only what You desire us to say.  Use our mouths in this place, to glorify You, and to bring Your truth to others.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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How important is the Word of God?

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil.  And in those days he ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, he was hungry.  And the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”  But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”  (Luke 4: 1-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                There is currently a battle happening in the lives of every man woman and child on the face of this earth.  The battle is between the Spirit and the Flesh.  People who are fleshly are dominated by the desires of the body; hunger, sex, possessions, power, drugs or alcohol, feeling good, etc.  The devil seeks to exploit these fleshly desires for his own end.  He does not want anyone to do the will of God.  God is Spirit, and when He dwells in a person’s heart, His Spirit begins to control the fleshly desires; fasting is a display of dominance of the Spirit over the desires of the body.  God willed Jesus too fast for forty days in the wilderness to display His dominance.  The devil sought, through pride and hunger, to make Jesus disobey His Father, saying “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”  Jesus quoted an Old Testament scripture saying, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”  The word of God is more important for life than the very bread that we eat.  The Spirit of God is more necessary for living than the water we drink, or even the air that we breathe.  Without the word and the Spirit a person begins to be consumed by their own desires, and the result is death.

                Drug addicts and alcoholics are examples of victims of carnality.  A person can get to a point of such great spiritual bankruptcy, that their fleshly desires have nothing to control them; they begin to retract from the world, doing drugs, stealing to support their habit, even using friends and family to continue on in a lifestyle that leads only to misery and death.  Some addicts do recover; many in the church have been healed over night (not because they had a mental breakthrough) but because God’s Spirit returned to them.  Their hunger for the word of God began to grow, and in turn, they had victory over their desire to get drunk and use drugs.  Many today have problems in life they would desperately like to fix; but the problem isn’t the problem; they think, ‘if I can just stop drinking, or stop being promiscuous, then my life would change;’ such problems are merely symptoms of the true problem (their relationship with God is lacking.)  They have refused to make God the center of their lives and, in turn, they have gone on to experience misery and death.  God has to be more important than food and more of a priority than water.  His word has to be the number one priority in life.

                Today, standing up to the devil is the result of standing near to God.  The words of God printed on the pages of every bible give life to those who read them.  Anyone stuck in bondage can be set free by God’s Word.  Anyone who is experiencing a problem will find the solution between the first sentence of Genesis, and the last sentence of the Book of Revelation.  Did you read the word of God today?  Did you feed your Spirit?  You ate breakfast, probably lunch, and maybe dinner, but how much of God’s word did you take in today?  The very Word of God is our lifeline in a dark place; it is our roadmap for living; it is our strength; it is our very life.  Read the Word daily, and be strengthened in this battle you find yourself in.  Give God His proper place in your life, and you will know a miracle, and you will have the victory you seek; and true life will eternally by yours.   

                 “Lord Heavenly Father we lift you up as an awesome and mighty God, and come before You now in humility.  Please reveal when the devil is attempting to manipulate us.  Help us to see him from afar off.  Give us the wisdom and the words to rebuke him; give us the truth to speak in return for his lies.  Help us to understand the importance of Your Word in our lives, and give us a hunger for Your Spiritual food.  Nourish us, and make us strong Father, and allow us to remain in You.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

The Family of God

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then his brothers, and his mother came, and standing outside they sent to him, calling him.  And a multitude was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.”  But he answered them saying, “Who is my mother, or my brothers?”  And he looked around in a circle at those who sat about him, and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother” (Mark 3: 31-35.) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                During the Holiday season, families gather to celebrate the birth of Christ.  What makes a family is a common parent.  Christ says, that “unless a man be reborn, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  He is referring to the spiritual birth, the inward birth, that makes a person a son or a daughter of God.  Everyone who calls Jesus Christ Lord, also calls the eternal God, their Father.  In another scripture, we read, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but spirit gives birth to spirit.”  His mother and brothers had come to see him (they were his family by means of a fleshly birth.)  Yet all those sitting around him, listening, were his brothers and sisters and mother, by means of a spiritual birth.  The evidence that they had become sons and daughters of God was in their actions.  Jesus says, “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother.”  God is loving, so his children are loving.  God seeks the lost, so too, his children seek them.  God is kind to both the evil and the good alike; his children pray for evil people, show them kindness, and love them.  God gives to everyone who asks of him; therefore Jesus says, “Give to everyone who asks.”  God forgives even the worst sinner who turns to him; Jesus instructs his followers to forgive everyone in like manner.  God hears everyone who speaks to him, so his children should be good listeners.  God is patient; so a child of God must also be patient.  Whatever God does, those who call him Father will also do.

                In the animal kingdom, there are a variety of different species.  Each species is unique in the way they are shaped, in the way they behave, in the way they find food, and even in the way they procreate.  Mating is a huge part of life for all of God’s creatures.  When a wolverine gives birth, it gives birth to one of its own kind.  Kangaroo’s give birth to kangaroo’s, frogs to frogs, horses to horses, goats to goats.  Every newborn is raised to act and behave as it has been designed to do, and as it has been taught by its parents.  Human beings are different.  Though we are all made in the image of God, inside, every person is the offspring of two possible Fathers.  There are those whose father is the devil, and they do the works of their father (They strive to get ahead; they strive for money, for power, for beauty, for self-fulfillment; they store things up in abundance that they cannot use; they seek to take advantage of others, and to turn other people away from God.)  Then there are those who are the offspring of God and they do the works of their Father (they strive to love others, to give to others, and to be self-less; they strive to care for those in need, to reach out to the lost, and to bring hope to the hopeless; they desire to set others free from the bondage of sin, and restore them to healthy living.  They strive to please their Father, and to turn others away from the devil and back toward God.)     

                Who is your Father?  Are you doing the works of God, or the works of the devil?  Are you serving others, loving others, reaching out to others, or are you serving yourself, trying to get ahead, and seeking the lusts of the flesh?  If you are serving God and doing His will, you are brother and sister and mother to those who have come to call God their Father.  You have a family of people who were reborn of The Spirit of God; who are doing all of the works He has asked of them; fellowship with your new family and gain strength from them.  Always remember, you are not alone, and God is with us (If you have never been born of the spirit, you can be.  God is calling everyone.  He is standing at the door of your heart and He is knocking.  You simply need to let Him in.  If you would like to open the door and let Him in, then go somewhere quiet and ask Him to come in to your heart, and to come in to your life.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins; ask Him to be your teacher, your Father, and your guide.  Ask Him for His Holy Spirit and a new birth.  Ask this all in the name of Jesus, and your life will never be the same.  [Then get a bible and begin reading and applying it to your life.  Get involved in a fellowship, and call someone right away and tell them about the decision that you have made.  And, remember, if you have given your life to Christ, then you have an entire family of people you’ve never met just waiting to get to know you.  I myself am now one of your new brothers, and I would love to chat with you; you can call or email me at any time, for prayer, for support, for anything.])

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we lift You up.  You are an awesome and mighty God; worthy of praise.  We ask You now to help us to be more like You.  We desperately seek to do Your work in this place.  We want You to be our Father, and we desire to be closer to You, and closer to all those who call You Father.  Give us a desire to be loving, to be caring, to read Your word and to do Your will in this place, so others would look at us and see You, and praise You for the works that You are doing through us.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  May God bless all of you.

Warning against harming children

JESUS SPEAKING

                “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea.”

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Children are filled with goodness and a natural faith.  Evil seeks to corrupt and defile what is good.  Children are innocent, and for the most part, adults desire to keep them from experiencing things that can rob them of their innocence.  God is an enemy of anyone who would actively seek to harm any child; Jesus forewarns about the harshness of the punishment for such actions.  The punishment is so harsh that death is a more desirable option.

                [This illustration is rather intense; I felt led to share it because it accurately describes the warning of this scripture.]  I grew up in a home with a stepfather who was a child molester.  He was a Boy Scout troop leader and a respected lawyer in the community.  He was also very skilled at hiding his evil deeds.  He molested many in my family (including myself), and many in the small community where I grew up.  This man robbed so many children of their innocence.  Some of his victims went on to lead sinful lives as a result.  Many became alcoholics and drug addicts.  Most victims struggled through life as they attempted to deal with the pain he inflicted upon them; relationship problems, psychological disturbances, job difficulties; I believe one victim even went on to commit suicide.  Yet, while his evil went unseen by others, it didn’t go unseen by God.  God’s wrath was being stored up; after over 11 years of robbing children of their innocence, he was led away from his law office in handcuffs and publicly shamed; in one day his entire life suddenly became a nightmare.  Truly, it would have been better for him “if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea” (just as Jesus proclaimed in this scripture.)  The judge sentenced him to decades in prison.  Everyone he had known turned their backs on him; his freedom was taken; his clothing, his work, his family, his privileges; a comfortable bed was exchanged for a cot; his suites were replaced with prison issued clothing.  We later learned that he was most likely being sexually abused in prison.  The very atrocities he had brought in to the lives of little children were being visited upon him.  He eventually died in that place.  (I can only hope that he accepted the Lord before his death.  I have forgiven him of what he did because God has given me a new heart.  But his life is an example of how God’s wrath comes to visit those who harm children.)

                Today, as believers, and as Christians, we should seek to protect children from the evils of the world.  We have to be careful about how we behave, and what we might expose the innocent too.  Movies for instance that are inappropriate for certain ages should not be watched if they could be harmful to the development of a child.  We should use proper speech, and behave in a ways that model Jesus Christ.  Children have the Lord as their defender, so we should tread carefully, and always seek to edify them, build them up in the faith, and protect them from evil.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we lift You up.  You are just an awesome and mighty God.  We pray for all those who would seek to harm a child, and we ask that You would enter their hearts and transform them.  Please continue to protect children from those who would seek to abuse them or destroy their faith in Your Son.  And Lord, help us to be good examples to the youth that are in our lives.  We don’t want any of our actions to cause children to behave in a manner that is not in keeping with Your will.  Help us Father to be good examples, and good role models.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you. 

Praising God; Personal Testimony

JESUS SPEAKING

             A blind man calls out to Jesus saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” […] So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to him.  And when he had come near, he asked him, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”  And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God.  And all of the people when they saw it, gave praise to God (Luke 18: 40-43.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

             There are two people in this scripture; a blind man, and God; there is a man in need, and there is the God who can fulfill that need.  The man’s belief in God’s ability to provide him with his sight was worthy of praise from God.  Jesus himself pointed to the man’s faith saying, “your faith has made you well.”  God honors faith in man, while man honors God by praising Him for the needs that He fulfills in the lives of those who ask Him.  The man who was healed followed Jesus and outwardly praised God’s miracle.  Those who witnessed the healing, as well, gave praise and honor to God for what he had done.  What is it you need? 

             Before I new Jesus Christ I was sitting in a one bedroom apartment, doing drugs and hording things; staying up all night, thinking of killing myself.  I had an answering machine that was completely full of messages (I was fearful of listening to them.)  I had a warrant out for my arrest; I had no money in the bank; I had been writing bad checks; I spent some time in a psychiatric facility.  I had already attempted suicide but failed.  I was smoking cigarettes out of the trays because I couldn’t afford a new pack.  I believed I was one of the world’s smartest people and that no one truly understood me.  I couldn’t hold down a job, or even look for one.  Laziness had swallowed me up.  I was watching huge amounts of pornography.  My laundry was dirty, there was garbage lying around my apartment.  I had nearly died of an overdose; in that moment when I was near death, I cried out to God, “Jesus Help me.”  I didn’t know it at the time, but as I look back, that was the moment my life began to change.  Jesus Christ began his work in me.  Everything I needed, he began to provide.  Soon after I was shipped out to California to get sober; I began working full time; I began showering, doing laundry, paying bills.  I began to get healthy physically; I began praying daily and growing closer to God.  I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, and began to read the bible on my lunch breaks.  I bought a car, and began to pay off my old bills.  I started to call my family.  I discontinued fornicating, and watching pornography.  I started to tell other people about what God had done for me; I started buying things for strangers, helping orphans, doing ministry.  Today, I sit and listen to people and take time to give people rides.  I teach bible studies and pray for others.  I look around my room today and it is neat and tidy; the books are neatly placed upon the shelves, the floor is clean; my laundry is hanging and folded.  Everything is swept and in order.   I no longer smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol.  I’m working full time in a care giving field.   I love and feel deep empathy for other people today.  My heart has come alive.  My mind has been healed, and the insanity has left me.

             I had cried out in desperation just like the blind man, and just like the blind man, I had been healed.  The man I am today is not the result of my doing but of God’s doing.  My life had gone from Chaos to order because God is Good; because he hears the cries of those who seek Him.  God receives all of the honor, and all of the glory, and all of the praise for the dead man He brought back to life.  Praise God for all of his wonderful works.

             What chaos remains in your life?  What insanity is their still inside of you?  Cry out to Him and He will hear you.  Ask Him in desperation and your needs will be met?  For God is good, and He can and will provide you with a miracle, if you are only willing to ask Him, and let him lead you!  Life for you will never be the same; give Him that opportunity.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we thank You for all of the lives that You have changed.  You are so awesome, and so praise worthy.  So we praise You now.  May all honor and glory be Yours.  Give us what we need Lord, and increase our faith, that we may know Your power and experience Your goodness.  Heal us now from anything that is a sickness in us, and give us new hearts, with new desires.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.             

No Fellowship, No Faith

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mathew 18: 19-20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                God has always desired to dwell within groups of people.  In the Old Testament, the Jewish people wandered in the desert for forty years.  They traveled from place to place, setting up camp where ever God directed them too.  Everyone had a tent, but God dwelled in the tabernacle tent, set up right in the middle of the people.  The idea being, that God was at the center of their nation; He was brought them together.  The Jews shared many things; language, ethnicity, physical features, common practices; but only God could make them one.  Jesus said that in order for him to be present among them, or in the midst of them (dwelling at the center of the group), two or three, or more had to be gathered together.  The Lord promised that their common prayers would be answered by God.  God was meant to be shared; God was meant to bring the believers together; it was impossible to separate fellowship from a true belief in Jesus Christ.  This was reflected when Christ taught his followers how to pray.  He taught them to pray saying, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven; and give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us; and lead us not in to temptation, but deliver us out of the hands of the evil one; for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.”  There is no ‘I’ or ‘my,’ in this prayer; instead there is an ‘us’ and an ‘our.’  God is to be shared between people.  He is meant to be at the center of every relationship, of every group, and of every heart.

                I have been privileged to answer prayer lines at church.  Many callers are in very serious spiritual conditions.  Many are in drug addiction; some are noticeably intoxicated over the phone.  Many have serious emotional problems.  Many are also stuck in some sin; adultery, fornication, dishonesty, etc.  One thing seems to tie many of these struggling people together; when asked where they attend fellowship, many say, “I don’t attend fellowship anywhere right now.”  I ask them, ‘are you a part of a small group bible study;’ many reply, “No, I used to be, but not now.”  I ask, ‘where are you serving;’ they answer, “nowhere, but I have been thinking about getting involved.” I say, ‘do you have any close friends or Christians you talk to on a regular basis;’ often the answer is, “No, not really.”  Somewhere along the way, many got the wrong impression; they came to believe they could have a relationship with Jesus Christ in the absence of others.  They began to move away from God, and the result was selfishness, isolation, and disconnection.  Closeness with God is often directly proportional to a person’s closeness with others.  God brings people together, sin pushes people apart.

                Fellowship is essential for all who believe in God.  Without communion with other believers, there is no way to share God and experience the true love of Jesus Christ.  Our faith is not exercised in a vacuum; God hears common requests that are lifted up to him in gatherings.  If you are not in a group fellowship, or involved with other believers, how can you practice the faith?  If you have always isolated yourself, it’s time to know the true power of love; the true fullness of the faith; a true connection with the body of believers; it’s time to allow the Lord to answer your requests as they are offered up in love.  Go to your church; find a bible study that works for you.  Make friends and begin to call them and pray with them.  Get involved in serving others in the church and in the community.  Share yourself with others.  Come to know your eternal brothers and sisters.  Gather together and give yourselves to one another in the bond of peace, and in the love of Christ.

                “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  They Kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  And give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us, out of the hands of the evil one; for yours is the kingdom and the power, and the Glory, forever and ever, Amen.  Father we desire intimacy with others, and closeness with them.  We ask that you would help us now to let go of isolation, and begin to build true friendships with others; help us to enjoy gathering together with other believers, and give a heart of true unity.  We love You Father; we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.     

Blessed are the poor, Cursed are the rich

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now for you shall laugh.  Blessed are you when men hate you […] for the Son of Man’s sake […] for indeed your reward is great in heaven […] But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.  Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6: 20-26.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The Jewish people were very familiar with blessings.  Many would bring their children up to the Rabbi’s to be blessed.  A blessing was a prophetic pronouncement of some future good in a person’s life.  The opposite of the blessing, was the cursing.  A cursing was a prophetic pronouncement of some future calamity in a person’s life.  Jesus combined the blessings and cursings.  Those who had wealth and material possessions in excess were being called to give them away to gain eternal life.  Those who were constantly feeding themselves were being told that in the coming life, they would go hungry.  Those who were living lives filled with the pleasures of the world, would enter eternal sorrow.  Those who, in this life, were well liked and of good reputation would be rejected by God eternally.  Jesus lived a life of self denial; a life in which the needs of others were more important than his own, to the point of death.  To follow Christ in to eternal life, self denial and self-sacrifice in the present life are required.  The sacrifices are wealth, power, property, selfish fun (often sinful pleasures), and a good reputation (a desire to be well liked by everyone.)  People hated this message, and today it is still hated.  But people’s hatred for the message will never change the message.  Enduring pain, and denying your own wants and desires in this life is a requirement for entrance in to heaven.  Jesus said, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

                We need only look at credit cards to understand this scripture.  Denying pleasure is pain, and many use credit cards to avoid denying what they want.  When someone goes out shopping or out to have fun and they can’t afford it, many will pay with a credit card to avoid denying themselves of some pleasure.  Food, possessions, recreation, lust; pleasure can take various forms, but usually costs money.  But paying for things with money you don’t have doesn’t make the pain go away, it simply postpones it.  Eventually the credit card company is going to want their money, and the pain you avoided will have to be endured.

                Many people have spent an entire lifetime avoiding pain and indulging in pleasure; but the pain hasn’t been avoided, only postponed.  Eventually they are going to have ‘pay the check.’  Chasing after wealth, material possessions, careers, food, and even a good reputation will lead to an eternity of pain.  Saving up money for the future, and making recreation and personal time a focus of your life will only lead to destruction.  Vacations in Hawaii, hours of television time, golf, weekend partying, lying, lusting, unholy relationships, and other forms of pleasure will end in a curse.  Self-denial is the way to eternal blessings.  Volunteer work, giving excess money away to the needy, spending time listening to others, giving up T.V. time to evangelize, visiting widows, orphans, the elderly, working with someone caught in addiction, caring for the sick, loving others, giving people rides, to name a few.  Where can you refuse your own desires to better serve others?  What do you have in excess?  Is it time, money, knowledge; what can you give away?  When you deny yourself, and make others more important, you are serving The Living God in this life, and in turn, you will serve him in His eternal Kingdom.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask and pray that You will help us to endure pain and to give away what we have in excess; to deny our own wants and pleasures to fulfill Your purposes in the lives of others.  Father, help us to deny ourselves and to take up the cross and to follow You.  Reveal to us where we can be more self-less; where we can be more giving; and where we can be more like You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.