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.

Stand Out and Assist by Max Lucado

Max' s Daily Devotional

1 Peter chapter 2, verses 9 and12 read, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.”

How do God’s people live in a godless society? Do they blend in and assimilate? No, this is the time to stand out and assist. We were made for this moment. This is no time to play around. You were made for more than social media and flashy parties. You were made to serve the almighty God and be a temple of his Holy Spirit. Society offers nothing. Hollywood can’t satisfy your needs. Madison Avenue makes big promises but leaves people naked of hope. Godless living is no life to live.


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The Hope The World Needs by Max Lucado

From Max's Daily Devotional:

You know, we’re caretakers of the message of Jesus. As you and I live out our faith, he is delivered into a faith-famished culture. We have the hope this world needs, but sometimes we forget. Billion-dollar industries are conning you by luring you into lifestyles that will leave you wounded and weary.

How about some examples? Pornography is one. Pornography, they say, is a harmless expression of sexuality. Hardly – it is as addictive as alcohol and drugs. Or this one: Whoever dies with the most toys wins. Take on the liability. Borrow the money. But your Maker tells you, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20).

The lies are everywhere, and their consequences are devastating. Be careful! Don’t get too cozy in this culture.

From Mike: Max tells us that we have the HOPE this world needs.  I Peter 3:15 Message Translation: 

 "If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God."
If we become involved with the examples Mav gives in his writing, how can possibly fulfill I Peter 3:15?
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Life if not about you – it is about others by John Gray

Mike: Sometimes we wear our feelings on our sleeves. I did recently and had some bad thoughts towards someone else. I did not feel right about my what was going through my mind so I kept praying for God's help. He helped and I got over it. It did not really amount to a hill of beans as the old saying goes. This morning I remembered John's article. It helped so maybe it can help you!

Jonh Gray: To be offended is a choice we make; it’s not a condition inflicted or imposed on us by someone or something else.



 "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Phil 2:3).

It is not strange that so many folks act as if personal offenses or slights, hurt feelings, differences of opinion and disagreements are sins against them. When our pride is challenged and/or slighted, the devil puts us on the ‘fast-track’ to making a mountain out of a mole hill or creating a tempest in a tea pot.

Folks, if we walk through life with a “Chip” on our shoulder, then a lot of things will “Offend” or “Trigger” us into giving Satan an opportunity to make a mountain out of a mole hill.  We can clearly see that when the Bible speaks of an offense, it refers primarily to some act or series of acts which lead someone into sin. However, irritations and annoyances have the unfortunate inclination to build into far worse bitterness and grudges, which are sins that a person has allowed himself to be led into - in many cases by his own devious mind.

Folks, we need to choose to love instead of pouting.  Focus on forgiving immediately and loving others, rather than the so-called “Offense”. Practice that, and you will begin to take less offense --- “Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions. (Pro 10:12) | --- “above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins [transgressions]:” (1Pe 4:8).

As God grows us, He transforms us into people who can love well. Pray for help to choose the God-honoring avenue.  We should forgive so much that it becomes second nature - our automatic response to irritations in our relationships with others should be --- “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18) | “Strive for peace with all men …” (Heb 12:14).

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I recently placed a piece on this blog about winter written by Max Lucado. Most people associate winter with darkness. This brought about thoughts of people that are experiencing darkness/winter in their lives. One older gentleman lost his wife at the beginning of summer. A former high school classmate lost his daughter to cancer and an additional one recently received a very bad prognosis about his health. Several years ago a boy of eight asked his mother why she gave him away when she delivered him to the State. Almost three years ago another boy of eight told me he saw the devil and evil people with pitchforks coming after him. People today are losing their loved ones to COVID. In every CASA family I’ve worked with there is drug abuse. Unfortunately, the children have followed after their parents. It seems as if darkness/winter is always present and affects all ages and walks of life.

The following are thoughts from F. LaGard Smith’s book, Meeting God In Quiet Places. He writes a chapter titled Darkness. He set out one evening on a walk to Stanton, England about an hour from his home. When he realized darkness was coming on him quickly, he hurried to get home. “Already, a  cold gloomy mist was moving in over the hills.”

“As I slowly made my way, almost by instinct, I couldn’t help but think of the words of the psalm, ‘You Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ In the deep darkness of that night, I was able to see more clearly than ever just how God’s revelation works in my life. The Bible is not simply the story of human existence, but that upon which I can depend in times of trouble. It is the light in my darkened world of “lostness.” No matter how adverse the circumstances, somehow it always gets me through.” Take note that he doesn’t say God takes away the darkness but gets him through it. Many expect God to eliminate the darkness, but He will see you through it.

Mr. Smith is able to get through his darkness because he has studied Scriptures and relies on God’s message. If you are not studying the Scriptures then don’t expect much help as you experience darkness. He writes: “For me, the Bible is neither a fail-safe mantra to be recited at the first alarm, nor a tag-along security blanket to ward off all potential enemies. Rather, it has become as familiar as the path to and from my home—so familiar, in fact, that I often fail to appreciate it fully until I find myself in some kind of trouble. But it is precisely in those special times of needs that his Word becomes my light, showing the way to safety.”

He continues: “The skeptic might point out that I only see the path by faith—in my mind’s eye. But that is the beauty of God’s Word. It is not only written on the pages of the Bible, but in the inner recesses of my heart, stored there for whenever I need to hear the Lord’s guidance. In times of spiritual darkness—whether I am confronted by temptation, haunted by fear, or overwhelmed by loneliness—I am better able to find my way out of it. It’s almost instinctive, as if I could actually see the way. Wherever I am, whatever the need, because of God’s word which is now part of my very essence , I am always in the grip of the familiar.”

Mr. Smith writes about seeking advice from his dad when he was alive then goes on: “My heavenly Fathers voice is not just a memory. Through His Word and through His Spirit, he speaks to me every day. He is literally with me at every moment. Never am I without his involvement in my life. Far greater even that being in the grip of the familiar, I am in his grip!”

“It must be similar to what King David felt when he wrote in his exquisite 23rd Psalm: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.’ Not even the anticipate darkness of his own death was fearful for David, for throughout his life he had walked God on familiar paths. With God constantly in his life through good times and bad, he lived confidently in the presence of his Lord.” I added the bold to Mr. Smith’s words because they are important. David had an up and down life. Morally, he  had failed God and was punished with the death of his and Bathsheba’s first son, but he still hung on to God! We should also! Who else or what else is going to see you through your bad times?

Mr. Smith continues: “When all is said and done, it’s all about trusting God in the darkness, whatever the darkness be. Certainly, David would have expected nothing less from him who made the first light out of darkness—from him who first said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’!”

“If God could bring physical light itself into existence, why should I ever think that he could not shed his spiritual light whenever and wherever I might need it? Light to show the way when I am stranded in despair and lost in loneliness. Light to lead me in paths of right living. And, in the end, light to lead me safely home.”

When people are in darkness or have just gone through darkness, you often hear them ask “Why?”. My unspoken answer is “I don’t know”. It gives a feeling of inadequacy not to  able to explain their darkness. Explaining God’s mind is not a talent so that’s why I turn to the Bible first then writers like F. LaGard Smith and Max Lucado for their thoughts!


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

Meeting God in Quiet Places – F. LaGard Smith – 1992 – Published by Harvest House Publisher – Used by permission

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WRAPPED IN WINTER - October 1, 2021 by Max Lucado

Mike: If you are like me and have a hard time with the season of winter then the following devotional is for you! Winter is cold often dreary. The daylight hours are shorter and the dark of night comes too early. "Winter" is often used as a description when we are living through a time of troubles. Take HOPE from what Max writes.

Max: Winters are a part of life—some personal, some global—but all are powerful. Try as we might to bundle up and lean into the wind, the heartiest among us can fall. Nights are too long, and the question is all too common: Will this winter ever pass?

God has a six-letter word of encouragement: E-S-T-H-E-R. The book of Esther was written to be read in wintertime for the person who feels outnumbered by foes, outmaneuvered by fate, and outdone by fear. It’s as if God, in his kind providence, heard all the prayers of all the souls who have ever been stuck in an arctic February. And to every person who has longed to see a green sprig on a barren branch, he says, “Follow me. I want you to see what I can do.”

You Were Made for This Moment

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Jesus Values You by Max Lucado

Jesus’ love does not depend upon what we do for him. Not at all. In the eyes of the King, you have value simply because you are. You don’t have to look nice or perform well. Your value is inborn. Period.

Think about that for just a minute. You’re valuable just because you exist. Not because of what you’ve done, but simply because you are. Remember that the next time you are left bobbing in the wake of someone’s steamboat ambition. Or some trickster tries to hang a bargain basement price tag on your self-worth. Remember that the next time someone tries to pass you off as a cheap buy.

Just think about the way Jesus honors you, and smile. I do. Because I know I don’t deserve love like that—none of us do.


Mike: Many people spend their lives trying to earn love from others.  They want to prove their value in a marriage, in a friendship especially in a job. Unfortunately you see it in a child feeling he/she has to earn the parents love. In some cases that's true but not from Jesus. Yes, He has expectations of us but regardless of our failures He still loves. Think about Max's last sentence often today and tell God/Jesus "THANK YOU"!

Remember that He suffered and died for you. No one can be loved more than that!

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Max: You don’t have to hurry or scurry. The Spirit-led life does not panic; it trusts. In Ephesians 1:19 and 20 the apostle Paul reminds us that, “God’s power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world.”

The same hand that pushed the rock from the tomb can shove away your doubt. The same power that stirred the still heart of Christ can stir your flagging faith. The same strength that put Satan on his heels can, and will, defeat Satan in your life. Just keep the power supply open. Who knows, you may soon hear people asking, “What’s gotten into you?” You see, as God’s story becomes our story, his power becomes our power.

From Mike: As you live if you pay attention, it's hard not to see people struggling. In the news and all over the internet the battle with COVID, refugees and the political fighting. But if you look closer, it's much closer to you than the TV or the computer. People at work, at church, and your neighbors. Maybe it's in your own home. Could it be you?
Max challenges us to "keep the power supply open". That power supply is prayer and the Spirit: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - English Standard Version -  "Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." God wants to be the vocal point in our lives and wants us to thankful for what he does in our lives. Your prayer needs not be long nor flowery just sincere. Trust Him! Try it! He loves you! That's a guarantee! Remember Max's last statement: You see, as God’s story becomes our story, his power becomes our power.
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Plug in to God’s Power by Max Lucado

From Max:  I believe we make the mistake the Welsh woman made. She lived many years ago in a remote valley and felt it worth the cost and trouble to have electricity installed in her home. Several weeks after installation, the power company noticed she’d barely used electricity. A meter reader went to see her. “Is there a problem?” he asked. “Oh no, we’re quite satisfied. Every night we turn on the electric lights to see how to light our lamps.”

We’re prone to do likewise. Depend on God’s Spirit to save us but not sustain us. We turn to him to get us started and then continue in our own strength. Scripture urges us “keep in step with the Spirit.” He directs and leads, we obey and follow. Plug in to his power, and leave the switch turned on.

From Mike: At our baptism we receive the Holy Spirit. Go back and reread Max's last two sentences. Don't waste what God has given you. He meant for the Spirit to lead you to a happier, more fulfilled life!

BTW: Max is dealing with some health issues and has requested prayers: "Within the last few weeks, I have been diagnosed with what is called an ascending aortic aneurysm. To be honest, it is a serious issue," Lucado says in a YouTube announcement. The medical condition is an abnormal bulging and weakening in your aorta at the point before the curve. If an aortic aneurysm ruptures, it can cause life-threatening bleeding.

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Final Two Chapters of Facing Your Giants

Chapter 18

 David knows he is at the end of his life and talks about not what he had accomplished but those things he had intended to accomplish. He intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant. David had expected to dedicate his final years to building a shrine to God.  Preparations were made but his intentions did not happen. Max says a conjunction, “but” happened: “Conjunctions operate as the signal lights of sentences. Some, such as “and” are green. Others, such as “however” are yellow. A few are red. Sledgehammer red. They stop you. David got a red light.” God told David that he would not build the home for the ark because of his warring and bloodshed, but his son Solomon would build it.

We all have “but God’ moments in our lives. The question is what we do with them.  Max tells the story of Willem. Willem’s passion was to serve people as a minister. He moved to the coalfields of southern Belgium to begin his service. A mining disaster injured many of the workers, so he threw himself into nursing and feeding these people while ignoring his own needs. He wore old, tattered clothes and lived in a simple hut. He gave his salary to the people to improve their lives.

Willem’s superior came to visit, and Willem’s lifestyle shocked the church official. He told him that this was not the proper appearance for a minister and dismissed Willem from the ministry. He was devasted because all he wanted was to build a church and serve people to honor God.

David faced his disappointment with turning the “but God” into a “yet God”.  Even though he was not allowed to build the shrine to God, David said “yet” God has provided for me my whole life. His attitude was: Who am I to complain?”

David trusted God.

Willem in spite of his hurt and anger stayed the coal village not knowing where to turn.  He noticed an old coal miner bending beneath an enormous weight of coal and begin to sketch the weary figure. Although Willem did not know it he discovered his true calling.

Max closes the chapter:

 “Not the robe of clergy, but the frock of an artist.”

“Not the pulpit of a pastor, but the palette of a painter.”

“Not the ministry of words, but of images. The young man the leader would not accept became an artist the world could not resist Vincent Willem van Gogh.”

“His  “but God” became a “yet God”.

“Who’s to say yours won’t become the same?”


Chapter 19 

Max opens this chapter: “He vies for the bedside position, hoping to be the first voice you hear. He covets your waking thoughts, those early pillow-born emotions. He awakens you with words of worry, stirs you with thoughts of stress. If you dread the day before you begin your day mark it down: your GIANT has been by your bed.”

Your giants stay with you almost every moment of the day. They throw doubts at you about most everything. How do you face your Goliaths?  By facing God first!

Max offers this thought: “Focus on giants----you stumble. Focus on God----your giants stumble.”

David selected five smooth stones for his sling shot when he went to face Goliath. Max relates these five stones to the “five stones” in our lives to help us face our giants:

  1. The Stone of the Past;
  2. The Stone of Prayer;
  3. The Stone of Priority;
  4. The Stone of Passion;
  5. The Stone of Persistence.

1. Prior to David facing Goliath in battle, he was responsible for overseeing Saul’s sheep. He killed a bear and a lion that were after the sheep. When David volunteered to face Goliath, he reminded Saul of these past deeds. He remembered that God had enabled him to kill both animals. Max gives this encouragement: “Catalog God’s successes. Has he not walked you through high waters? Proven to be faithful? Write today’s worries in sand. Chisel yesterday’s victories in stone. Pick up a stone from the past.”

2. Throughout David’s ordeals especially before facing Goliath, he prayed. When David prayed in preparation, God blessed him but at the times he did not pray like seducing Bathsheba he was not in favor with God.  “God will keep in perfect peace all who trust in God, whose thoughts are fixed on God.” Isaiah 26:3 MSG.

Max comments: “Invite God’s help. Pick up the stone of prayer.”

3. Max says: “See your struggle as God’s canvas. On it, he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Your cancer is God’s chance to flex his healing muscles. Your sin is God’s opportunity to showcase his grace. See your struggles as God’s canvas.” Make God your priority and watch him work.

4. With great passion, David ran toward his giant. Max writes: “David ran towards his giant. Do the same! What good has problem-pondering gotten you? You’ve stared so long you can number the hairs on Goliath’s chest. Has it helped? No. Listing hurts won’t heal them. Itemizing problems won’t solve them. Categorizing rejections won’t remove them. David lobotomized the giant because he emphasized the Lord. Pick up the stone of passion.

5. Goliath had four brothers who might have decided to act David.  He had four extra stones in that case.  He was persistent in his preparation. David was not going to give up.

Max closes the chapter with this: “Imitate David. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One day or month of resolve might not suffice. You may get knocked down a time or two … but don’t quit!

Facing Your Giants – Max Lucado – 2006 – Thomas Nelson Publishing – Used by Permission

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Recently, I finished the book, The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw. Heard a lot about the book but never bothered to read it. It was in a box of books I bought in an online  auction, so it seemed like a good opportunity to read it. It begins with telling the story of the lives of men and woman just prior to World War II and follows them through the war and afterward. The vast majority of the people were ordinary folks with a few celebrities and politicians in the final chapters.

Mr. Brokaw writes about the patriotism and commitment these people held for our country. There was racism against African Americans, Asian people and Native Americans. Women were ill-treated as well. All of these people were treated as second class citizens, yet they were very patriotic. Their way of life and beliefs were in danger. When the war ended, most of them came home to restart their lives with a devotion to their family, commitment to friendships created during the trying times of war, a strong dedication to employment and the community they lived in. He does not mention religion very often, but it seems most of them also had a desire to live their lives based on a belief in God. Lives were lived based on lofty standards!

Being a child of that generation, the book brought back thoughts and memories about my childhood. Many of these memories are good because of the lofty standards and principles but yet there is sadness because the values of today do not seem all that lofty. Each morning school started with the pledge of allegiance. Hats were always removed during the National Anthem, and  everyone was on their feet. It seems now we are never sure what will happen. The radio station in my car is tuned to Duck 93.3. Each day at noon some grade school class in the area repeats the pledge of allegiance followed by a recording of the National Anthem. That’s great!!

For my generation, the big changes started in the 60’s. In 1962  the Supreme Court took prayer out of public school. American flag burnings to protest the war in Viet Nam became acceptable, other protests against the “establishment” occurred and there was a noticeable increase in drug use. Cults begin to flourish. Racial issues continued to grow.

The 1970s are remembered as an era about women's rights especially as abortion was made legal. Gay rights came to the forefront. My memory is that people living together without marriage was wide spread and acceptable.

The 1980’s biggest issues were the rise of AIDS; abortion became more of a political battle and cable channels invaded our TVs. MTV and other like channels brought on moral issues. Movies became more risqué.

The 1990’s found divorces growing the number of single parent families. Kay taught four-year-old kindergarten in a Christian private school. In her class of fifteen students, seven came from broken homes. The previous trends of the generations continued to expand.

For me, the 2000’s continued the past trends expanding and becoming even more acceptable. Gay marriage, the birth of children outside of marriage, and the continuation of decaying morals is still rising.

In the final chapters, Mr. Brokaw uses a quote from former Senator Daniel Inouye: “The one time the nation got together was World War II. We stood as one. We spoke as one. We clenched our fist as one, and that was a rare moment for all of us.” Unfortunately, I don’t think a book about a great generation will be written about my generation. As our differences expand, we don’t seem to do anything as one!

Keep in mind these are the memories and thoughts of a 71+ year old. Your memories of the generations may be different, but I believe you will agree that overall the nation has moved further away from God. Many of our political leaders are now making a huge push for us to become a socialist country. I believe many of the tenets of Marxism/socialism are against the Gospel teachings.

Romans 13:1-2 “Every Christian ought to obey the civil authorities, for all legitimate authority is derived from God’s authority, and the existing authority is appointed under God. To oppose authority then is to oppose God, and such opposition is bound to be punished.” I’ve read a number of commentaries about these verses over the years and must admit the lack of a clear understanding. Many times I look at our leaders and ask God “Why him or her?”.

One of my former bosses told me to never present him with a problem without presenting possible solutions as well. I’ve stated what I see as a problem so in keeping with Bill’s instructions, the only solution that includes me is to hold very tightly to my Christian principles and pray. It does not seem that most of our government leaders lean on God for guidance. It’s apparent they feel they possess all the wisdom needed. We need God’s intervention, and my prayers are for that daily!

Hopefully, we can return to the style of the Greatest Generation. They were far from perfect, but I believe life was much better.


Your thoughts?

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

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A PRECISE PRAYER - August 31, 2021 by Max Lucado

From Mike: Some like to mock those of us who talk about a personal rrelationship with Christ. Max's comments points to that personal relationship. Your relationship with Christ is YOURS and does not come about because you are a member of a group. Others can affect your relationship but it's up to you to cultivate a healthy, loving relationship with Him. He waiting for you!!


Max: Jesus will tailor a response to your precise need. He is not a fast-food cook. He is an accomplished chef who prepares unique blessings for unique situations. When the crowds of people came to Christ for healing, “One by one he placed his hands on them and healed them” (Luke 4:40 MSG).

Had Jesus chosen to do so, he could have proclaimed a cloud of healing blessings to fall upon the crowd. But he is not a one-size-fits-all Savior. He placed his hands on each one, individually, personally. Perceiving unique needs, he issued unique blessings.

A precise prayer gives Christ the opportunity to remove all doubt about his love and interest. Your problem becomes his pathway. The challenge you face becomes a canvas upon which Christ can demonstrate his finest work. So offer a simple prayer and entrust the problem to Christ.

God Will Help You

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TAKE YOUR NEEDS TO JESUS - August 30, 2021 by Max Lucado

Mike: Notice that Max writes with special emphasis on "all your needs". God does not limit us to just some needs but Philippians says EVERYTHING. Nothing about us is  inconsequential to God. Notice Philippians also tells us to be thankful to Him. He loves us like no one else! Try Him!

Max: Jesus was attending a wedding with the disciples and his mother, Mary, when she approached him with a seemingly irrelevant problem. “‘They have no more wine,’ she told him” (John 2:3). Mary presented the problem, Jesus commanded a solution, and the wineless wedding was suddenly wine flush. And we are left with this message: our diminishing supplies, no matter how insignificant, matter to heaven.

Listen, if Jesus was willing to use divine clout to solve a social faux pas, how much more would he be willing to intervene on the weightier matters of life? He wants you to know that you can take your needs—all your needs—to him. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

God Will Help You

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The Holy Spirit and Ms. Neese

Ms. Neese was my fourth-grade teacher. She fit the typical image of a teacher in the early 1960’s. She always wore a scowl, wore her hair in a bun, wore dark dresses that came well below her knees. Ms. Neese wore something extra, a large black onyx ring on her right middle finger. The ring was not just a piece of jewelry, but it was for a far more ominous purpose. It was for thumping me in the head when I misbehaved. Sometimes she thumped even before I misbehaved. She seemed to know what was in my mind. Very few of the boys escaped a good thumping on occasion. Never did she ever thump a girl. If she was around today, she definitely could not be a teacher.

At times when faced with a temptation, a thump on the head happens. It’s not Ms. Neese but the Holy Spirit thumping to keep me from giving in to the temptation. Part of my prayer is for the Holy Spirit to keep thumping so sin can be avoided! However, I do not believe the Spirit wears an onyx ring.

We all need some thumping in our lives from time to time!


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

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KNOWN BY JESUS - August 25, 2021by Max Lucado

The folks in the Waverly area are struggling today and will for a time to come. I'm not sure how you can over come watching others drown especially your own children. Pray that the folks of that area feel Jesus's arms around them!

According to Philippians 2:7, Jesus took “the very nature of a servant.” He became like us so he could serve us. He entered the world not to demand our allegiance but to display his affection.

He knew you’d be sleepy, he knew you’d be grief stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth. And the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ on the cross is: Jesus understands.

When we feel lonely, knowing someone understands can make all the difference. You can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely if you don’t feel known. And you can be alone but not feel lonely if you are known. God became flesh, so we would always feel known by him.

God Will Help You

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BEING STUCK - August 18, 2021 by Max Lucado

This devotional by Max Lucado alines with the post by John Gray.


The man near the pool of Bethesda didn’t use the word stuck, but he could have. For thirty-eight years near the edge of a pool, it was just him, his mat, and his paralyzed body. They must have made a miserable sight. Crowds of people—blind, lame, despondent, dejected, one after the other—awaiting their chance to be placed in the pool where healing waters bubbled up.

All the gospels’ stories of help and healing invite us to embrace this wonderful promise: “Wherever Jesus went he healed people of every sort of illness. And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help” (Matthew 9:35–36 TLB). Jesus had a heart for the hurting in his day. He still does today.

God Will Help You

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John Gray - Preaching Ideas Public Group
"Why Me Lord” | Kris Kristofferson
Why me Lord what have I ever done
To deserve even one of the pleasures I've known
Tell me, Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth lovin' you or the kindness you've shown
Lord help me, Jesus, I've wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
But now that I know that I've needed you so
Help me, Jesus, my soul's in your hand
When so many bad things are happening to us it is easy for us to say --- “If The Lord is with me, why has all this happened?” Have you ever felt that way? When everything in life is going wrong and you feel abandoned by God - it’s an uncomfortable and dark place. You feel like God has forgotten you or worse, abandoned you in your time of need. Your mind tells you that God doesn’t care. Folks, He is with you even when you cannot see His hand or feel His presence. He is with you when your life is so dark that you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
God’s presence in our lives isn’t proven by our circumstances. God groans with us and for us—even before pain and trouble open our heart to Him --- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4).
As we turn to Him for comfort and love during trials, it also empowers us to help others. No wonder Paul learned to see purpose in his own suffering: It gave him the opportunity to receive God’s comfort, which he could then use to bless others (2 Cor 1:3-5).
Sometimes it's hard to keep our eyes on the prize of Jesus, but He is what makes sense when nothing else does. When He said --- "I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6), He was showing us the path through all our "Why Me?" experiences.
Kristofferson had one more verse to his song that I would like to leave for the reader to consider …
“Try me, Lord if you think there's a way
I can try to repay all I've taken from you
Maybe, Lord I can show someone else

What I've been through myself, on my way back to you”


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When we are in the midst of the problem, it’s difficult to see a way out. When we have limited resources, it’s difficult to imagine being able to work with what we have. But God already knows how he will solve your problem, my friend. And God has infinite resources. You are the human; he is the divine being. Let Him help you. Let him intervene.

The next time you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself of the one who is standing next to you. What bewilders you does not bewilder him. When you present your needs to him, he never, ever turns to the angels and says, “Well, it finally happened. I’ve been handed a code I cannot crack. The demand is too great, even for me.”

You may feel outnumbered, but he does not. Give him what you have, offer thanks, and watch him go to work.

God Will Help You

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Andrew said to Jesus, “There is a boy here with five loaves of barley bread and two fish. Oh, but what are these things when there are all these people?” (John 6:9).

What is your version of “all these people”? It might be something as pedestrian as “all this homework” or “all these long days.” The disciples counted the hungry people, the money in their bag, and the amount of bread and fish. They did not, however, count on Christ. And he was standing right there! The idea of soliciting his help did not dawn on them. Even so, Jesus went straight to work.

The impossible challenge of feeding “all these people” became the unforgettable miracle of all these people fed. What we cannot do, Christ does. And he will help you.

God Will Help You

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From Mike: Do you really believe Max"s closing two sentences or do you try to control the situation yourself? Do you not trust Him to handle your problems the "right" way? I don't believe He's going to barge in and take control. He is just waiting for an invitation. Put your situation in His hands and "Jesus will go straight to work". I understand it's difficult because I stuggle with it also but give it a try!


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Jesus Has What You Need by Max Lucado

From Mike: As I thought about Max's message, it brought to mind my relationship with God. From a young age I've always believed in God. The problem was that belief alone was not enough and belief alone is not a real relationship. It takes much more.  The relationship relies on my desire, prayer, study of the Scriptures, and obedience as major parts of the relationship.

As I've worked with CASA familes, I've found two things in common with them all: drug abuse and no relationship with God. These things have destroyed the family. If only they would grow their relationship with God, they could take to heart Max's message.

Think about your relationship as you read Max's message! God wants the relationship! Go to Him!

Max: We can calmly take our concerns to God because he is as near as our next breath. This was the reassuring message from the miracle of the bread and fish. In an event crafted to speak to the anxious heart, Jesus told his disciples to do the impossible: feed five thousand people.

You aren’t facing five thousand hungry bellies, but you are facing a deadline in two days, a loved one in need of a cure. On one hand you have a problem. On the other you have a limited quantity of wisdom, patience, or time.

Typically, you’d get anxious. You’d tell God, “You’ve given me too much to handle.” This time, instead of starting with what you don’t have, start with Jesus. Start with his wealth, his resources, and his strength. And before you lash out in fear, look up in faith. Turn to your heavenly father for help.

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

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CONTAGIOUSLY CALM - July 28, 2021 - Max Lucado Daily Devotion

Remember that as you read Max's devotion that gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians. It will improve not just your life but the lives of those around you. If gentleness does not come naturally, then work at it and pray.


Contagiously Calm

How many disasters have been averted because one person refused to buckle under the strain? It’s this kind of composure Paul is summoning when he says: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:5-6 NIV).

The Greek word translated here as “gentleness” describes a temperament that’s seasoned and mature. It envisions an attitude fitting to the occasion, levelheaded and tempered. This gentleness is “evident to all.” Family members take note. Your friends sense a difference. Coworkers benefit from it.

The gentle person is sober minded and clear thinking. The contagiously calm person is the one who reminds others God is in control. Pursue this gentleness. The Lord is near. You are not alone. You may feel alone, you may think you’re alone, but there is never a moment in which you face life without help.

God is near—be anxious for nothing!

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

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