Southside's Blog

Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth.

AN UNEARTHLY LOVE - Max Lucado

I have a feeling most people who defy and deny God do so more out of fear than conviction. For all our chest pumping and braggadocio, we’re anxious folk. We can’t see a step into the future, can’t hear the one who owns us. No wonder we try to bite the hand that feeds us.

But God reaches and touches. If he’s touching you, let him. Mark it down: God loves you with an unearthly love. You can’t win it by being winsome. You can’t lose it by being a loser. But you can be blind enough to resist it. Don’t. For heaven’s sake, don’t! For your sake, don’t. Others demote you. God claims you. Let the definitive voice of the universe say, “You are part of my plan!”

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DON’T LIVE WITH A HARD HEART - Max Lucado

Short memories harden the heart, so make careful note of God’s blessings. Declare with David: “[I will] daily add praise to praise.  I’ll write the book on your righteousness, talk up your salvation the livelong day, never run out of good things to write or say” (Psalm 71:14-15 MSG).

Catalog God’s goodnesses. Meditate on them. He has led you and earned your trust. Remember what he’s done for you. And acknowledge what you’ve done against God. The scripture says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts” (1 John 1:10 NLT). Sin-hoarding stiffens us. Confession softens us.

Is your heart hard? Take it to the Father. You’re only a prayer away from tenderness. You live in a hard world, but you don’t have to live with a hard heart.

From Mike: Max is correct! We live in both a hard and harsh world. People write terrible messages to one another on social media. Comments written about news stories on the internet are full of hatred. Russia has invaded the Ukraine. Cost of gas is through the roof. More severe weather is ocurring. Hearts are hard! What are we doing? Are we praying or allowing the world to turn our heats hard? I urge all of us to pray without ceasing!

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BECAUSE GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD - Max Lucado

Life, at times, appears to fall to pieces. It seems irreparable. But it’s going to be okay. How can you know? Because, as John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world.”

Those are God’s arms you feel. Trust him. Believe him. Allow the only decision maker in the universe to comfort you. Since he has no needs, you cannot tire him. Since he is without age, you cannot lose him. Since he has no sin, you cannot corrupt him.

Paul said in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” If God can make a billion galaxies, can’t he make good out of our bad and sense out of our faltering lives? Of course he can! He is not just alive, but he is life himself. John 5:26 confirms for us: “The Father has life in himself.” He is God! And God loves you.

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Overwhelmed by John Gray

John starts his messge by stating that when you feel Overwhelmed , you're spending too much time with the world and not enough time with God... He will be our peace. from Micah 5:5

My spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land” (Psalm 143:4–6).

 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy” (Psalm 61:2–3, KJV).

 Folks, sometimes we feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.  When that happens let us be an encourager – love intentionally, redeem the time, be a blessing to others and leave folks better than you found them. Brighten the corner where you are. Leave footprints of love and kindness wherever you go. Be an encouraging builder of hope – just like Jesus.

From Mike: If only we would practice John's message what a difference we will make in others' lives as well as ours!

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THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE - February 21 - Max Lucado

“The miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11 NLT).

John’s gospel could well have been subtitled That You May Believe. Why tell about the water-to-wine miracle? So you would believe that Jesus can restore what life has taken. Why walk on water, feed the thousands, and raise the dead? That you would believe God still calms the storms of life, still solves the problems of life, and still brings the dead to life.

Need grace? Jesus’ work of redemption is still finished. Need reassurance that it’s all true? Well the tomb is still empty. Need a second chance? The coal fire is still burning on the Galilean shore. All these events call on you to believe that this miracle-working God cares for you, fights for you, and will come to your aid.

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LEAVE IT WITH GOD - February 17, 2022 - Max Lucado

 “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Have you ever left an appliance at the repair shop? You took it to the specialist. You explained the problem and then…offered to stay and help him fix it? Hovered next to his workbench asking questions? Or threw a sleeping bag on the floor of the workshop so you could watch the repairman work?

If you did any of these things, you do not understand the relationship between client and repairman. Leave it with him to fix it. Our protocol with God is equally simple. Leave your problem with him. God does not need our assistance. When he is ready for us to reengage, he will let us know.

From Mike: I don't mess with the repairman because I trust Jay. He's very kind and patient but I'm afraid he might turn around, hand the me tools and say "fix it yourself". God certainly deserves more respect and is far wiser than either one of us.  

Jay is not even close to being God so why do I pester God when He's working on my problem? Mainly because of my impatience. "Fix it right now God!" I need to remember these passages:

Psalm 62:5 - For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

 

 

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WHERE GOD IS PRAISED - February 16, 2022 by Max Lucado

The devil is a splitter, a divider, a wedge driver. He divided Adam and Eve from God in the garden. He would like to separate you from God as well. He wants to take all unbelievers to hell and make life hell for believers.

Our weapons are prayer and worship and Scripture. When we pray, we engage the power of God against the devil. When we worship, we do what Satan himself did not do: we place God on the throne. And when we pick up the sword of Scripture, we proclaim truth.

According to Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, [Jesus] made a public spectacle of [the forces of evil], triumphing over them by the cross.” Satan will not linger long where God is praised and prayers are offered. Satan may be vicious, but he will not be victorious. God has already won.

From Mike: Prayer takes time and much thought. Worship is not just being in the building and occuping a chair on Sunday!

 

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GRANDPA SAYS – “THINK ON THESE THINGS” - John Gray

 
As you go, be an encourager – love intentionally, redeem the time, be a blessing to others and leave folks better than you found them. Brighten the corner where you are. Leave footprints of love and kindness wherever you go. Be an encouraging builder of hope – just like Jesus. Be someone who makes everyone feel like they have value. Make a positive difference in someone’s Life. Be willing to lower yourself for the benefit of the others. Be willing to make your interests and purposes subservient for the good of other folks. Never underestimate the power of planting the seeds of the Gospel or giving encouragement --- “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic 6:8).

Folks, there are two questions we must answer each and every day of our journey through this world: (1) If a blind person could hear you, could they tell if you were a Christian? And (2) If a deaf person could see you, could they see Christ living through you?”

 

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Max Lucado Devotion

After Jesus walked on water through a storm, he went “up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23). He prayed even though his robe was soaked and his hair was matted. Do his actions here describe his first course of action: to pray for his followers? Romans 8:34 says, “Christ Jesus…is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Ponder this promise. Jesus, right now, at this moment, in the midst of your storm, is interceding for you. The King of the universe is speaking on your behalf. You do not fight the wind and waves alone. It is not up to you to find a solution. You have the mightiest Prince and the holiest Advocate standing up for you.

Where is Jesus in your storm? He is in the presence of God, praying for you.

From Mike: Storms seem to be constant in some peoples' lives. No matter what the nature of your storms are or how big they are we should carry Max's thoughts with us constantly.  Jesus is talking with God right NOW about you and will be all day. You pray as well and take heart that Jesus loves you!

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BELIEVE HIM - February 7, 2022 from Max Lucado

Imagine you are ten years old, and you stumble down the stairs and twist your ankle. You scream for help. Into the room walks your dad, the world’s foremost orthopedic surgeon. He examines the injury. Your anxiety kicks in. “Dad, I’ll never walk again.” “Yes, you will.” “No one can help me!” “I can. Do you know what I do for a living?”

Actually you don’t. The next day he drives you to his office and shows you the diplomas on his wall, and you begin to see your father in a different light. If he can conduct orthopedic surgery, he can likely treat a swollen ankle.

“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5). Our biggest fears are sprained ankles to God. And a lot of people live with unnecessary anxiety over temporary limps.

From Mike: Research shows that approximately 20% of adults struggle with anxiety. Professionals that treat anxiety recommend different types of meditations and prescriptions. The best meditation is found in the scriptures. God makes promises we should rely on. Pray about anxiety whether it's yours or someone you know.

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The Christian Spirit by John Gray

GRANDPA SAYS – “THINK ON THESE THINGS”: “Everyone is a tale of two spirits.”
 
“THE STRENGTH OF THE CHRISTIAN’S SPIRIT ALIGNMENT WITH GOD’S SPIRIT IS IN DIRECT CORRELATION TO WHAT THE CHRISTIAN CHOOSES TO FOCUS ON (OR WHICH DOG THEY FEED – THE GOOD DOG OR THE BAD DOG).
 
 “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Rom 7:15, NASB).
Every person has a ring-side seat where they see the battle of their spirits (the mind of Christ and the mind of the world) for the title of – “Governing/Dominating Spirit.” The inclination of a mind like Christ is to do “Righteousness,” i.e., to hate evil and love what is righteous. A person will find the effect of their former habits (ways of thinking) lingering in their mind and annoying their peace for years. Thus, it is with every vice and sin. It is one of the effects of bad habits - “The very passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves and artifact or pollution behind it,” and where sin has been long indulged, it leaves its withering, desolating effect on the soul long after repentance, and produces that state of conflict (that interferes with our peace of mind) with which every Christian is familiar. God can forget but we are governed by our dominating spirit.
The same conflict of conscience has been experienced and described in ancient writings, e.g., Xenophon Araspes said --- “Certainly I must have two souls; for plainly it is not one and the same which is both evil and good; and at the same time wishes to do a thing and not to do it. Plainly then, there are two souls; and when the good one prevails, then it does good; and when the evil one predominates, then it does evil.” So also Epictetus said ---” He that sins does not do what he would, but what he would not, that he does.” With these passages it would almost seem that Paul was familiar with them when he wrote Romans 7:15-25 --- “For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. But if what I would not, that I do … So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not …. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord….”

We may fail to obey, giving way to passion by the allurements of temptation; but we know that we ought to obey righteousness. The great crises of life arise when conscience is issuing one command, while self-interest, or passion issues another. The question (which must be decided) is which of the two is to be obeyed. But how does anyone know which of the choices is the right and which is wrong? Folks, the heart (the conscience – the dominate spirit) can only give back what it has been fed! ---- “Thy word [the truth] have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11).

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THE PRICE OF PRIDE - February 2, 2022 from Max Lucado's Daily Devotion

The other day I saw some children at play on a large vacant lot where someone had dumped a mound of dirt. They were playing the greatest of kid games: King of the Mountain. The rules are as simple as they are brutal: fight your way to the top, and shove off anyone who threatens to take your spot.

Versions of King of the Mountain are played in every dormitory, classroom, boardroom, and bedroom. And since mountaintop real estate is limited, people tend to get shoved around. Mark it down: if you want to be king, someone is going to suffer. Your arrogance might prompt a broken marriage, an estranged friendship, or a divided office.

Pride comes at a high price. Don’t pay it. Consider the counsel of the apostle Paul: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Romans 12:3).

From Mike: We all know someone that Max's writing describes. My question is: Does it describe me? I need to think deeply and be honest with myself. Do I need to make changes?

Do his thoughts describe you?

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You Are Heard in Heaven by Max Lucado

“Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard” (Daniel 10:12). Those words were spoken by an angel to the prophet Daniel. The moment Daniel began praying, the answer was issued. Demonic forces blocked the pathway of the angel. The impasse lasted a full three weeks until the archangel Michael arrived on the scene with his superior authority. The standoff was ended, and the prayer was answered

Have your prayers been met with a silent sky? Have you prayed and heard nothing? Are you floundering in the land between an offered and an answered prayer? If so, I beg you, don’t give up. What the angel said to Daniel, God says to you. You have been heard in Heaven. Angelic armies have been dispatched. Reinforcements have been rallied. Do what Daniel did – remain before the Lord.

From Mike: When I pray about people and their circumstances but nothing happens, I wonder about that. I've been praying for one of the CASA families for at least three years. The father and the boys keep getting in trouble with the law because of drugs. Is it time to shake the dust off my feet and move on? It seems that Max's last paragraph may be the answer. Keep praying, be patient and wait of the Lord!

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Delivering Happiness - from Max Lucado's Daily Devotional

 Albert is a mail carrier in Waco, Texas. He makes daily deliveries to the furniture store where my daughter Sara used to work. Being a start-up, the business had a constant level of chaos. That’s why they all loved Albert. Sara remembers, “He’d ask how each of us was doing. He looked us in the eyes and said, ‘God bless you.’”

Albert delivers more than mail. He delivers happiness. I’d like to challenge you to do the same. Set out to alter the joy level of a hundred people over the next forty days. Pray for people, serve more, practice patience, and bring out the best in people. Keep a journal to describe the encounters and what you learned. At the end of forty days, would your world be different? Would you be different? I took the challenge, and I certainly am.

From Mike: A very good challenge, especially if you are having difficulty with finding your way to serve God. Albert not only brought happiness and goodness to others but to himself as well. I'm not good at journals and maybe you are not either but we shouldn't let that stop us. Let's try it!!                        

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Are you making Christ real to others? by John Gray

GRANDPA SAYS – “THINK ON THESE THINGS”: “

“THERE ARE OBSTACLES IN OUR DAILY LIVES THAT CAN ENCUMBER OUR MINDS AND HINDER OUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS, BUT ONLY IF WE LET THEM.”

Christians are --- “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Eph 2:10). These last four words --- “to do good works” epitomize the behavior that glorifies God and makes Christ real to others. Granted, there are obstacles in our daily lives that can encumber our minds and hinder our spiritual progress, but only if we let them. Nonetheless, Christians are called to live lives that are --- “holy and pleasing to God” (Rom 12:1).

Faith must be proven by actions. Christians are a chosen people, belonging to God so that we may declare His praises (1 Pet 2:9). To “declare His praises,” it is essential that we spend time in His Word so we can learn how to behave in Christian fashion. However, knowledge alone is not enough; we are called to do more than to know and believe. Christians are to be --- “doers of the Word” (Jam 1:22). As the apostle James informs us, we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are spiritual by only hearing the Word. Hearing is not the same as doing --- “Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead [by] itself.” (Jas 2:17).

Folks, it is easy to show love to those who walk as we do. It’s not always so easy to be kind to those who ridicule our beliefs, show contempt for our Savior, or make a mockery of the principles that Christians hold sacred. Yet Christ taught us to love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us. Recall how He dealt with the woman caught in adultery. Her captors wanted her dead; our Savior showed compassion even though He was the One who would die for her sinful behavior (John 8:11).

Christian behavior includes heeding Jesus’ call for us to be His witnesses to --- “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are to share the gospel, which Paul defined as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). The validity of our witness is in how we live our lives.

We are to --- “offer your bodies as living sacrifices” (Rom 12:2). This, ultimately, is the essence of true Christian behavior – surrendering our hearts and yielding our bodies to Christ so He might continue God’s work through us. We are to be beacons of light in a dark world.

 From Mike: Some have the attitude, "Look I have a hard enough time taking care of me and mine so don't lay the responsibility on me about others! As far as "good works", I do the best I can so that will have to do! God understands!" Yes He understands but He expects more.

John's third paragraph is a strong reminder for me. Christians are under attack from a great many in our society so loving our detractors is a challenge for me, especially our elected leaders. I remember the church sign that offered this thought: "Love everyone and let God separate them!" A great idea to practice.

Hopefully, as you read John's article you conducted a realistic inventory of yourself and didn't rationalize your failings. The Holy Spirit will helps us if we allow him to guide us. As John says, "Think on these things"!

Thanks

Mike - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

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GOD’S IDEA - January 18, 2022 from Max Lucado's Daily Devotional

 

“This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

"A divine spark indwells you. When you say yes to God he blows on that holy ember, and it begins to flame. It grows day by day within you. Are you perfect? No. But you are being made perfect. And he has a wild and inexplicable love for you. You are God’s idea, God’s child."

"You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth. You aren’t an accident. You are being made into God’s image. You are a diamond, a rose, and a jewel, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the eyes of God you are worth dying for. Would you let this truth find its way into your heart?"

From Mike: Notice Max writes that "when" we say "yes" to God he will stoke our fire. Saying "yes" to God is not just a one time action but an everyday event. I'm finding that many people believe a one time statement of belief will carry them forever. A  fire not tendered will extinguish itself. Don't allow yours to go out! Nurture your fire with scripture reading and prayer!

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Make Your Deals with God by John Gray

The following article was written by John Gray and published on the preaching group that offers these articles.

As you read the article, examine your life. Do you always make your “deals” with God, or do you occasionally work a side deal with Satan? We can rationalize that a deal with Satan every once in a while won’t do damage or will it. If that’s your attitude, pay close attention to John’s fourth paragraph. Once you make one side deal with Satan it becomes easier to make more and more until you are only dealing with Satan. This article is a good reminder for everyone and excellent reading for young people.

God Bless!

GRANDPA SAYS – “THINK ON THESE THINGS”: The road best traveled is the road less traveled --- “Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.” (Mat 7:13-14).

DEVOTION ASSERTIONS: (1) Good times tend to make us hard of hearing. We learn more in hard times because we are more ready to learn. (2) Choose wisely who you are going to partner and dance through life with because it is a decision with eternal consequences. (3) Satan is the father of lies and deception – “… for he is a liar, and the father thereof.” (Joh 8:44).

     Since the dawn of creation, mankind has always wanted to do things their own way.  Folks, going your own way without the right compass can have disastrous side effects which not only impact us directly, but also our loved ones and others we encounter - choices have consequences.

     Every day there is someone who enters into a pact with the devil and believes that it will be the best thing that ever happened to them.  Making a pact with the devil may seem like a good decision at first. But eventually, payment will be demanded (by Satan) as we painfully realize that the price which must be paid is much greater than the promised benefits --- “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  (Mar 8:36).  Satan is good at blinding us with the promises and pleasures of sin – for a season (Heb 11:25).

     Folks, God loves us so much that He offers us a “Sincere Deal”. He will save our souls, giving us everything our hearts truly needs for eternity, in exchange for nothing but our obedient faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. In a great exchange, Jesus has appeased God’s wrath for us, taking our sin and its penalty upon Himself (1 John 4:10; 1 Pet 2:24). In Christ, God will make us alive, and He will fill our futile lives (on this side of eternity) with meaningful work and joyful anticipation of eternal bliss.

     Before we are saved, we are all in bondage to the devil, as 1 John 5:19 says --- “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Praise the Lord, we have a new Master, One who can break the chains of any sin and set us free (1 Cor 6:9-11; Mark 5:1-15).

     Let us make all or our “Deals” with God! He keeps his promises!

If you want to contact me, I have a new email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

______

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GOD IS ON THE THRONE - January 17, 2022 from Max Lucado's Daily Devotional

From Mike: In one fashion or another many people are facing struggles in life. Health, marriage, children, older parents, spouses health, struggling with the death of a loved one, job, drugs etc. The last paragraph is a message we need to carry with us at all times. You don't have to go to the church building to worship Him! In your prayers give appraise and thanks!

"God’s answer for troubled times has always been the same: heaven has an occupied throne."

"During the eighth century BC, ancient Judah enjoyed a time of relative peace, thanks to the steady leadership of King Uzziah. He kept enemies at bay for fifty-two years, then Uzziah died. Isaiah the prophet was worried. What would happen now that Uzziah was gone?"

"Or, in your case, what will happen now that your job is gone? Or your health has diminished? Does God have a message for his people when calamity strikes? He certainly had a word for Isaiah. The prophet wrote, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up…” (Isaiah 6:1). Uzziah’s throne was empty, but God’s was occupied. He was, and is, alive, on the throne, and worthy of our endless worship."

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ABOVE ALL, LOVE - January 14, 2022 from Max Lucado's Daily Devotional

"We did a lot of shouting on our elementary school playground. All the boys marched around the playground shouting, “Boys are better than girls!” In response, the girls paraded around the school announcing, “Girls are better than boys.” We were a happy campus."

"Shouting feels good. But does it do any good? It seems to me there is a lot of shouting going on. On the airwaves, on bumper stickers, on social media."

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It is one thing to have an opinion; it’s something else to have a fight. Let’s reason together. Let’s work together. And if discussion fails, let love succeed. If love covers a multitude of sins, can it not cover a multitude of opinions? Resist the urge to shout."

From Mike: Our politicans are acting just like they are on the playground!! I'm afraid that's leaking over to some Christians. We cannot control how the politicians act but sure must contol ourselves as Christians. We must show "deep love to everybody". We are to pray for the politicians even those that we abhor! Think about it!

 

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IF YOU KNEW… - January 12, 2022 from Max Lucado's Daily Devotional

I don’t know the day and the hour of Christ’s return.  But I do know the Bible urges us to look for specific signs:

  • The preaching of the gospel to all nations (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10)
  • Days of distress in which saints will suffer and the creation will tremble (Mark 13:7-8, 19-20)
  • The coming of the Antichrist, an enemy of God who will deceive many (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10)
  • Salvation of many Jews (Romans 11:12, 25-26)

If you knew Jesus was returning tomorrow, how would you feel today? Anxious, afraid, unprepared?  If so, you can take care of your fears by placing your trust in Christ.  If your answer includes words like happyrelieved, and excited, hold tightly to your joy.  Heaven is God’s answer to any suffering you may face.

If you knew Jesus was coming tomorrow, what would you do today?  Live in such a way that you would not have to change your plans.

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