This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

The disappointments of life are simply the hidden appointments of love.

C. A. Fox


This Day's Verse

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:3
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

Now let us do something beautiful for God.

Mother Teresa


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

In the evening of our lives we shall be examined in love.

John of the Cross


This Day's Verse

Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.  As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9
The Revised Standard Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Special Note


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Special Note from Eric Elder, founder of The Ranch: Our daily thoughts will be posted shortly, but before that I wanted to ask for your help.

I’ve recently published one of the most important books I’ve ever written. It’s called, Loving God & Loving Gays: What’s A Christian To Do? For those who may not know it, I used to be involved in homosexuality myself until I put my faith in Christ and married a woman beyond my dreams.

With so many Christians being impacted personally by this issue today, I felt it would be helpful to share what I’ve learned over the past 30 years of not only dealing with same-sex attractions myself, but also having ministered one-on-one to hundreds of others who have experienced such attractions.

Loving God & Loving Gays: What's A Christian To Do?
Would you be interested in reading this new book and sharing it with others?

If so, there are three simple ways to get a copy, any of which would help greatly in spreading the word out about this important new book.

1) Post a 1-2 sentence review on Amazon. If you’d be willing to read the book and post a short review on Amazon, I’ll send you a complimentary PDF version of the book that you can read first. After reading it, just post a 1-2 sentence review on Amazon. If you email me afterward with a link to your review and your mailing address, I’ll send you a paperback version of the book as well! Your reviews are so helpful in encouraging others to read this biblical perspective on such an important topic. To request a PDF copy to review, just email me at eric@theranch.org.

2) Make a donation of any size to our ministry. If you’d like a copy without posting a review, just make a donation of any size and I’ll send you a paperback version of the book, anywhere in the world, as our way of saying thanks. Your donations help us to continue creating resources like these so even more people can hear about the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Click here to make a donation and request a paperback.

3) Order the book directly from Amazon. You can also get a copy of the book, in paperback or ebook versions, directly from Amazon. All proceeds go directly back into our ministry to create more resources like these. So whatever way you get it, know that you’re blessing others as well as yourself. This book is also available in Spanish thanks to one of our subscribers who helped us get it translated so we could share it with even more people. Click to order a copy in English or click here to order the Spanish edition.

Could I ask 2 more things before I close?

1) Would you be interested in joining an online “Book Discussion Group” on this topic? If there’s enough interest, I’d like to host an online book discussion group starting next week, May 31, and continuing for 12 weeks, discussing 1 chapter per week. We would meet on Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30 pm Central Time using an online chat tool where you can join the conversation via audio, video, smart phone or regular phone. If you’d be interested in joining such a group, email me at eric@theranch.org for more details.

2) Could you pray for me? I’ve been asked to speak on this topic several times in recent months, which I’ve been very happy to do. Each time, I’ve seen a significant response in those who have heard this message as they learn more about a topic that is close to so many people’s hearts. You can watch some of these talks online at these links: Eastview Church (7 minutes), Eastview Youth (42 minutes), Ax Church (56 minutes; my interview starts 31 minutes into the video). Would you pray for me as I continue sharing Christ in this way in the coming months, that even more people would hear the life-changing power of Christ? And if you’d like to talk about having me speak to your group or church, just email me at eric@theranch.org.

Thanks for your help and for reading this special announcement. Our daily thoughts will follow shortly!

Eric


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.

Meister Eckhart


This Day's Verse

Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 35:10
The New International Version


This Day's Smile

Every ordinary thing in your life is a word of God’s love: your home, your work, the clothes you wear, the air you breathe, the food you eat, the flowers under your feet are the courtesy of God’s heart flung down on you!  All these things say one thing only: “See how I love you.”

Caryll Houselander


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Speak, move, act in peace, as if you were in prayer.  In truth, this is prayer.

Francis Fenelon


This Day's Verse

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6
The Revised Standard Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Grace is not sought nor bought nor wrought.  It is a free gift of the Almighty God.

Billy Graham


This Day's Verse

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9
The New International Version


This Day's Smile

Peacefully do at each moment what at that moment ought to be done.  If we do what each moment requires, we will eventually complete God’s plan, whatever it is.  We can trust God to take care of the master plan when we take care of the details.

Katharine Drexel


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This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Moral Issues: Sex

by Rob Harbison

When sex is about intimacy in marriage it is beautiful. When it is about lust and lewdness it is tarnished.

Many people who are unfamiliar with the Bible think that it presents sex as an ugly—although necessary—thing for the purpose of procreation. Many Christians who are unfamiliar with the Bible think the same thing.

Both are wrong. And both of those misguided perspectives have caused problems for people regarding their sexuality.

SEX IS GOD’S IDEA

God Created Sex. Whoever thinks there is something dirty about sex itself doesn’t understand God’s perspective on it. When He created man and woman He provided them with the ability to procreate—then encouraged it (Genesis 1:27-28). The Bible says this of all God’s work, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31).

God Recognized Man’s Need For Companionship And Intimacy. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” (Genesis 2:18). He created woman. Then man was complete.

Marriage And The Marriage Bed Are A Special Thing. Sexual relations between a husband and wife are not just a concession in order to achieve procreation. They are also designed for a couple to share love, acceptance, intimacy, emotional bonding and satisfaction (Hebrews 13:4).

Sex In Marriage Is For Rendering Affection. Actually, what some people might consider “dirty” is a beautiful expression of love between two people who are committed to one another in marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Sensuality and sexuality in marriage are applauded, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you are all times; and always be enraptured with her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19).

What a beautiful expression of love! Some of the problems we experience today with adultery come because we are not developing such an intimate union with our spouse. If you are enraptured by the love of your wife, someone else’s wife isn’t going to be able to attract you nearly as strongly, “For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” (Proverbs 5:20). Keep it at home where God intends for it to be.

The Bible Is Not Responsible For Sexual Repression. Sin is the cause of irresponsible sexual expression. Anyone who uses the Bible to stifle sexuality in marriage, doesn’t understand either the Bible or sexuality.

SEXUAL SINS ARE MAN’S IDEA

Man Invents Abuses Of Human Sexuality. There’s the rub. We are not advocating some old-fashioned, puritanical sexual suppression. We are trying to identify those things that GOD says are an abuse of human sexuality—things that are not a diversity of sexual expression but a perversity of it!

How Much Sexual Freedom Do We Have? Some people say that no one has the right to say what can and cannot happen in someone’s bedroom. God does! Make no mistake about it! He says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4).

Fornication. It is the sin of sexual contact with anyone besides your spouse—anyone! Or maybe we should say anything too (Hebrews 13:4; Galatians 5:19-21)!

Adultery. It is the sin of sexual contact with another married person. Lack of fulfillment in a marriage, loss of love, marital difficulties—none of these are acceptable reasons for having an adulterous affair (Hebrews 13:4; Mark 7:20-23).

Homosexuality. The gay and lesbian lifestyle is gaining more popularity as we throw off moral restraints. Nevertheless, as expressions of our sexuality, they are condemned by the Bible (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Multiple Expressions of Sexuality. Incest. Bestiality. Phone sex. Fisting. Voyeurism. Sexual abuse. Pedophilia. Multiple partners. Unmarried cohabitation. Orgies. Do we need to continue? We cannot list them all.

Our Obsession With Sex Is Disturbing. According to a weekly report from Webtracker (which tracks the most popular search engine queries), of the top 500 keyword queries on popular search engines, 20% to 25% of the searches are pornographic.

God made sex a beautiful thing between a husband and wife. One Old Testament book—the Song of Solomon—is very sensuous. It shows the beauty and intimacy of married love.

When sex is about that intimacy, it is beautiful. When it is about lust and lewdness, it is tarnished.

God’s instructions for our sex lives will lead us to the greatest fulfillment. Those guidelines give us something that sinning against our own bodies—through some of these other outlets—can never give us (1 Corinthians 6:15-18). They give us physical and emotional satisfaction.


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

There is nothing that God cannot accomplish.

Marcus Tullius Cicero


This Day's Verse

The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Psalm 29:11
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

Speak only well of people and you’ll never have to whisper.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.

Thomas Aquinas


This Day's Verse

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26-27
The New King James Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

The hardest part about letting God fight your battle is that He sometimes waits until the eleventh hour so you will have no doubt of where the power is coming from.

Stormie Omartian


This Day's Verse

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe;

Hebrews 12:28
The Revised Standard Version


This Day's Smile

We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us.  What matters is the part we choose to act on.  That’s who we really are.

Sirius Black


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—is the long, terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

C. S. Lewis


This Day's Verse

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.

Psalm 31:24
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

A forgiving heart grows stronger with exercise.

Amish proverb


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This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

A Recipe For Successful Parenting

by John Hamby

 I made a startling discovery soon after our child was born, they do not come with an instruction manual. The way that we dealt with this emergency was to call our moms, with questions that went something like this, “Mom she doing so and so, is she suppose to do that?

Most parents feel a little like the story I heard about a young student of child behavior who frequently delivered a lecture called “Ten Commandments for Parents.” He married and became a father. The title of the lecture was altered to “Ten Hints for Parents.” Another child arrived. The lecture became ‘Some Suggestions for Parents.” A third child was born. The lecturer – so the story goes – stopped lecturing. [Paul Lee Tan. Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations. (Rockville: Maryland: Assurance Pub., 1979. # 635] The truth is that we never have more opinions about child rearing than when we do not have any ourselves. We say things like, “MY, children will never do that!” Those words can sure come back to haunt you.

Mark Twain, the humorist, had these words of advise on raising children. He said, “When they become teenagers put them in a barrel and fed them through the knot hole. When they turn sixteen stop up the knot hole!”

Two children were heard discussing their parents. The first said, “I’m really worried. Dad slaves away at his job so that I have everything I need, so I’ll be able to go to college some day. Mom works hard washing and ironing, cleaning up after me, taking care of me when I am sick, driving me everywhere I want to go. They spend every day of their lives working for me. But I’m worried.” His friend asked, “What have you got to worry about?’ The first little guy replied, “I’m afraid they’re going to try to escape some day.”

James Dobson in his book “The Strong Willed Child” said, “ Child rearing is like baking a cake. You don’t realize you have a disaster until its too late.” But success in both child rearing and cake baking is best achieved by following the recipe, so this morning I would like to offer you “A Recipe for Success for Parenting.

The first Ingredient in our Recipe for Successful Parenting is the Recognition that Your Child is a Gift from God. If we are going to survive the challenges of parenting, we must remember that your child is a gift from God. Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. (4) Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. (5) Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; …”. (NKJV)

If you want to survive parenthood remember that your child or children are worth the struggle and are a gift from God even if they sometimes act like the devil.

The Second Ingredient of our Recipe for Successful Parenting is Unconditional love. Deal with your child as God, your heavenly father, deals with you, that is with patience, grace and unconditional love. Never allow your child to think that your love is conditional to his behavior.

The Third Ingredient of our Recipe for Successful Parenting is Recognize and Work with our Childs Natural Bents.

If you want to survive parenting we absolutely must realize we have a duty to “train up our children.” There is nothing anymore challenging or rewarding than the privilege and responsibility given by God to parents to raise their children. Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJV) Training children in the way they should go has always been a huge and vital task in every generation because of all this is involved in the process, however, there has never been a time when the challenges were greater than now.

Sometime this verse is taken as a guarantee that if we are good parents we will always produce good children. That is not what this verse says. So what does it say? Well I am glad you asked! A paraphrase might read something like this, “Adapt the training of your child so that it is in keeping with his God-given characteristics and tendencies; when he comes to maturity, he will not depart from the training he has received.”

Every child has natural bents both good and bad, these are the basic tendencies unique to this child. You might be surprise to learn that the root word of “train up” in the Hebrew is a word used to describe the palate or the roof of the mouth. It was used to describe the actions of a Hebrew mid-wife who after helping to deliver a baby would dip her finger in a paste made of dates and rub it on the gums of the new baby to create thirst and start the baby’s feeding instinct. (Charles Swindoll. You and Your Child. ( Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1977)

The parent is in like manner to create a thirst in their child for the right things. What is your favorite food, my guess would be that it is what you grew up enjoying. The Christian parents job is to create such a thirst in our children for the things of God. Deut. 6:5-7 says , “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (6) And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (NKJV)

The Fourth Ingredient of our Recipe for Successful Parenting is Consistent Discipline. Perhaps the greatest responsibility we are given is to discipline our children. We are reminded in the book of Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” And again in verse 17, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” (NKJV) These Proverbs clearly remind us that godly discipline of children will bring delight and rest to your soul, but failure to do so will bring shame and heartache.

Some years ago the city of Houston Texas waged an ad campaign to deter juvenile crime, the Houston Police Depart-ment came up with “Twelve Rules for Raising Juvenile Delinquent Children.”

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think that it is cute.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and then let him “decide for himself.’

4. Avoid use of the word “wrong.” It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful, that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they won’t be shocked when the home is broken up later.

8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own.

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified.

10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.

12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will likely have it. [Quoted by Charles Swindoll. You and Your Child. (Nashville, Nelson Pub., 1977) pp. 63-64.]

Ephesians 6:4 has two words which describe the responsibilities and methods that we are to use in child rearing.

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (NKJV).

The first word translated, “training” (paideia) it is the word we get pedagogy from. It can refer to discipline but normally contains the broader meaning of education , the entire training particularly of the very young.

The second word, “admonition” (nouthesia) comes from the combination of two Greek words one meaning “mind” and the other “to place” and involves the idea of reasoning and gentle or friendly reproof. It is more appropriate to the child as he gets older when they can have a better understanding of the spiritual and moral issues of their own behavior.

We must recognize the necessity of discipline. Five simple reminders about discipline:

1. Never discipline in anger.

2. Pick your battles, not everything is worthy of a battle.

3. Realize that even children need to express anger from time to time.

4. Choose the best time and place to discipline. Never discipline in anger. Always discipline in private.

5. Choose your words carefully and speak in a soft tone of voice.

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NKJV) Discipline of course, means conflict and far to often parents attempt to resolve conflict with a yelling session with their children. This does no good and may do a lot of harm.

The Fifth Ingredient of our Recipe for Successful Parenting is Be willing to admit when you are wrong.

Every parent is also a human and all humans make mistakes. When you make a mistake with your children admit it. It may come as a shock to you but, your children all ready know that you are not perfect, seeing and hearing you admit your mistakes will make it easier for them to recognize and admit their own mistakes in life.

You may be thinking well my children are all grown. Then invest your wisdom and experience in a young couple with children. Be a mentor. And if you have the privilege of grandchildren be a godly influence in their lives.

The idea that good parents always produce good children and bad parents always produce bad children is just not true. We all know families were the parents were a walking disaster, yet their children turned out to be very decent people, good citizens and responsible adults. By the same token we’ve all seen godly parents who sought to raise their children up to know the Lord, yet one or more or those children ended up in serious trouble.

Scripture give us governing principles for training our children, not guarantees. Parents who apply these principles are far more likely to produce godly children than those who do not. The bottom line is to know God’s word, use it, trust it, pray consistently for your ability as a parent and for your children, love them deeply, take nothing for granted and cling to the Lord.


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

The most profound essence of my nature is that I am capable of receiving God.

Augustine


This Day's Verse

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Isaiah 51:11
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

Enjoy life.  It’s later than you think.

Muhammad Ali


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Just to be is a blessing.  Just to live is holy.

Abraham Joshua Heschel


This Day's Verse

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13
The New Living Translation


This Day's Smile

We are each other’s harvest:
we are each other’s business;
we are each other’s magnitude and bond.

Gwendolyn Brooks


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say thanks to God.  They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ’s sake and count it gain.

John Piper


This Day's Verse

For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

Luke 21:15
The New International Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

God, with all His giving heart, can only give us Himself as we recognize the depth of the need in our own lives.

Eugenia Price


This Day's Verse

Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8
The Revised Standard Version


This Day's Smile

The road is smooth.  Why do you throw rocks before you?

Ancient expression


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This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Commitment To Trust

by Steve Shepherd

 
Two partners from a small law firm were having lunch when suddenly one of them looked alarmed. He announced, “I have to go back to the office right away! I forgot to lock the safe!”
“What are you worried about?” asked the other lawyer. “We’re both here.”

Do lawyers trust lawyers? Does anyone trust a lawyer? Can you trust anyone these days? If not, we’re all in deep trouble. Trust is a real problem in our society.

I have watched with some interest the TV reality show, “Survivors.” Every week they have a different contest to see who will win immunity and keep them from getting kicked off the show. The survivor contestants talk to one another in small groups, trying to gain support from one another. It’s a matter of trusting one another, but the truth is…no one trusts anyone else! Why? Because the last remaining survivor will win a million dollars! And when you’re talking about the possibility of winning money, no one trusts anyone!

In fact, when it comes to money, most people won’t trust anybody. Would you mind loaning me a $1000 bucks? Well, then what about $100? See what I mean?

This is pretty much the way it is in life. It’s a dog eat dog world and it’s every man, woman and child for themselves. This is why many people are not trustworthy. We are self-centered, self-absorbed, etc. We’re out to take care of number one!

Here’s another story of distrust, dated Nov. 17, 2005. Calling her actions “a new low,” a federal judge today imposed a five-year prison term for a former Shreveport, LA, woman who lied and told people she had an inoperable, malignant brain tumor in order to get thousands of dollars from them.

“You have breaded distrust where there was no distrust before,” Judge Maurice Hicks told Tina Larry as he sentenced her in federal court in Shreveport. Larry, he said, “Was trying to create a perpetual money machine. It is, indeed, a new low.”

Tina’s ex-husband, former Shreveport police officer Tony Larry, was sentenced along with her and received a three-year, five-month sentence.

The Larry’s, both 38, were both convicted of conspiracy charges earlier this year. She had pleaded guilty earlier to health care fraud and also to filing bogus claims on the city’s dental insurance plans.

The same jury acquitted the Larry’s of charges they conspired to burn their rental home to collect insurance money. That jury also acquitted Tony Larry — who insisted he knew nothing of his wife’s scheme — of the fraud charges against him.

Tina Larry cried as she spoke to the judge about leaving her children behind and told of “a lie that snowballed.”

“I just got caught up in something I created,” she said. “I’m not as smart as you guys have given me credit for. I am sorry to every person I hurt, I feel like a fool and I’m embarrassed. I don’t have a criminal heart. I don’t have a criminal mind.”

Afterward, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mignonette Griffin replied, “Well, she’s good. I’ll give her that, your honor.”

I DON’T HAVE A CRIMINAL HEART. Well, what kind of a heart and mind do you have, lady? Greed is good to many people and they’ll lie in every conceivable way to get money.

Is there anybody out there we can trust?

The famous preacher Dwight L. Moody once said, “Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment. Trust in your friends and they will die and leave you. Trust in money and you may have it taken from you. Trust in your reputation and some slanderous tongue may blast it. But trust in God and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Ps. 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”

Ps. 146:3 “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.”

Don Dwelt of Ozark Christian College was one of my favorite professors and preachers. In fact, his oldest son, Dan, baptized me into Christ about 40 years ago. I never once saw Don falter and fail when it came to the Christian faith. I am sure that he knew when he faltered, but I never saw it in him. I always considered him a man who could be trusted, no matter what. He never once failed me. However, as great as Don was to me or in my eyes, he could save no one. He could only tell people how to be saved.

At other times I have put my trust or faith in some people whom I knew were very human but I thought, also faithful. But I found out I was wrong. I have discovered that some people will not only fail you but also deceive or betray you, just as Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss.

It’s sad to think that there are some people you can’t trust BUT if there is one person we can trust, it is the Lord! He remains trustworthy even when human beings are not.

II Tim. 2:13 “If we are faithless (or untrustworthy), He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”

Deut. 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

I Cor. 1:9 “God, who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

I Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”

Heb. 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

God can be trusted even when we don’t understand all His dealings with mankind. He is the Mt. Everest of trust.

In this message let’s consider some of the benefits or blessings of putting our trust in the Lord and not man.

1-Delivery from evil

2-Delight in the spirit

DELIVERY FROM EVIL

Remember the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves”? Where is that in the Bible? It’s not. And it’s not a Biblical truth. The Biblical truth is this: God helps those who can’t help themselves!

Want proof of this? Will your righteousness take you to heaven?

Is. 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

II Cor. 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Christ is our righteousness. We are unrighteous. Without His righteousness there is no salvation. God helps those who can’t help themselves.

Ps. 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

From what does the Lord deliver us? From all kinds of evil that can happen in our lives. I think many times we have been spared, protected and/or delivered and we never knew it. Or perhaps we saw it sometime later, after the fact.

In the early winter of 1968 I was headed out of Joplin, MO, in my new Pontiac Firebird. I was going to some small town in Iowa to preach a trial sermon at a church. I didn’t get 10 miles out of Joplin when suddenly I hit a patch of what many people call “black ice.” I was only traveling about 50 mph and immediately I lost control of my car and started going in circles. It made a couple circles while I was clinging to the steering wheel (because that’s all I could do) and suddenly slid sideways off the highway, jumped a ditch and ended up in a farm field. I got out, looked the car over and decided there was nothing visibly wrong with it.

I got back in, put it in gear and drove out of that farm field at the nearest entrance. I then proceeded to drive on to Iowa so I could preach. When I returned home I discovered that both of my front tires were badly worn to one side. Consequently, I had to buy two new tires and get the front end of that car aligned.

Brothers and sisters, I considered that incident to be a kind of deliverance or protection even though I had to buy new tires. My car could have flipped over and I could have been killed. God is our deliverer from evil!

Ps. 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

Prov. 29:25 “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”

Ps. 56:11 “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me.”

Ps. 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

Matt. 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Someone wrote: All I will ever need to know I learned from Noah.

1- Don’t miss the boat.

2- Remember that we are all in the same boat.

3- Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark .

4- Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big.

5- Don’t listen to critics, just get on with the job that needs to be done.

6- Build your future on high ground.

7- Speed isn’t everything. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

8- When you’re stressed, float awhile.

9- Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.

10- No matter what the storm, when you are with God there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Noah was a man of faith. Noah trusted God and what did God do for him and his family? Obviously, he saved them. God saved Noah and his family from certain destruction.

God can be trusted to do that for us as well. He can deliver us from certain destruction and/or all evil.

Perhaps you’ve read the book or seen the movie, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” The story of David Wilkerson’s first five years in New York is told in The Cross and the Switchblade, a book he co-authored in 1963. The book became a best-selling phenomenon and more than 15 million copies have been distributed in over 30 languages.

In 1969, a motion picture of The Cross and the Switchblade was released, starring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz, the teen gang member whose life was dramatically transformed by Christ.

Nicky was only 3-1/2 years old when his heart turned to stone. As one of 18 children born to witchcraft-practicing parents from Puerto Rico, bloodshed and mayhem were common occurrences in his life. He suffered severe physical and mental abuse at their hands, at one time being declared the “Son of Satan” by his mother while she was in a spiritual trance.

When he was 15, Nicky’s father sent him to visit an older brother in New York. Nicky didn’t stay with his brother long. Instead, full of anger and rage, he chose to make it on his own.

Tough, but lonely, by age 16 he became a member of the notorious Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus (named after a bloodthirsty African tribe). Within six months he became their president. Cruz fearlessly ruled the streets as warlord of one of the gangs most dreaded by rivals and police.

Lost in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and brutal violence, his life took a tragic turn for the worse after a friend and fellow gang member was horribly stabbed and beaten and died in Nicky’s arms.

As Cruz’ reputation grew, so did his haunting nightmares. Arrested countless times, a court-ordered psychiatrist pronounced Nicky’s fate as “headed to prison, the electric chair, and hell.”

No authority figure could reach Cruz – until he met a skinny street-preacher named David Wilkerson. He disarmed Nicky – showing him something he’d never known before: Relentless love. His interest in the young thug was persistent. Nicky beat him up, spit on him and, on one occasion, seriously threatened his life. Yet the love of God remained – stronger than any adversary Nicky had ever encountered.

Brothers and sisters, the story of David Wilkerson and the salvation of Nicky Cruz could only have happened because of the faithfulness of God and His power to deliver people from evil.

What God did for David Wilkerson and what He did for Nicky Cruz, He can do for us too! God can be trusted to deliver us from evil!

II. DELIGHT IN THE SPIRIT

Ps. 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

MY HEART LEAPS FOR JOY. That sounds like delight to me. When we learn to trust Him fully He brings joy into our lives and spirit.

Rom. 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Richard Wethersfield, at age 22, having studied piano, violin, and voice, got his first chance to conduct an orchestra. “The moment I picked up the baton, I knew this was what I wanted to do.” His parents however, urged him to be more practical. So he got a master’s degree in business and took a well-paid position in international investment banking.

But Richards’s passion for music never ebbed. After putting in 12-hour days on Wall Street, he’d stay up nights writing music scores. His vacations were spent guest conducting for orchestras around the country. One year he got his big break when a famous European conductor (Erich Leinsdorf) had to bow out of 5 guest appearances with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Westerfield, who was his understudy, took over to critical acclaim.

On the last night of the Philharmonic, Richard learned that his father had terminal cancer. “I realized then that life is too short not to do what’s really important to you.” He quit his job and started fulfilling his passion– full time conducting. Today he earns half of his old salary, he’s had to simplify his life, but he has finally found the joy he never knew in business.

Brothers and sisters, there are many people who are not happy and it’s simply because they have followed the wrong pursuit in life. No matter what we do in life and no matter how much money we make, there will never be any great joy or delight until we are linked up with the Lord.

Why is this true? Because deep in the heart of every person looms the certainty of death. And when death is on the horizon and you are not sure of what is going to happen to you, how can anyone find joy or delight in this life? However, on the other hand, if you know where you are going when this life is over and you are certain of eternal life, HOW CAN YOU NOT EXPERIENCE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF JOY?

Ps. 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

One day when George MacDonald, the great Scottish preacher and writer, was talking with his son, the conversation turned to heaven. “It seems too good to be true,” the son said at one point. A smile crossed MacDonald’s whiskered face. “Nay,” he replied, “It is just so good it must be true!” IT IS TRUE. We must believe God’s Word. We must trust Him. He can be trusted.

Col. 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

If we are ever going to find any happiness in this life then we must realize there is more to life than this life. We must focus on that which is eternal! We need to change our focus from earth to eternity. We must anticipate, not dread what is going to happen. We must glory in it. Prepare for it. Sing about it. Dream about it. Live for it.

C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

To find some happiness in this life and be effective as a Christian, we must set our focus on eternity and heaven!

There is more to come. More life to come, especially to the follower of Christ. There is good to come. The greatest good of all! And this great good brings delight to our souls!

Charles H. Spurgeon was England’s best-known preacher in the 1800’s. He often preached to audiences of 10,000 without a PA system. He said one time, “I would recommend you either believe God to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two.”

BELIEVE GOD TO THE HILT. Believe Christ to the hilt. We must trust the Lord and nothing but good will come from it. Make a commitment to trust Him more!


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Remember the three powerful resources you always have available to you:

LOVE
PRAYER
FORGIVENESS

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


This Day's Verse

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.  (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 2:4-5
The New Living Translation


This Day's Smile

If the sun shines in your soul, does it matter if it rains outside?  Happiness within overlooks any sadness the outside world may bring.

Unknown


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

We all want our children to be smart.  Unfortunately, people have largely forgotten that there is a huge difference between intelligence and wisdom.  Intelligence is a measure of things you know.  Wisdom is your ability to discern right from wrong and make moral choices.  A wise person will follow God.  An intelligent person may or may not.

Sonya Haskins


This Day's Verse

“We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved,”

Acts 15:11
The New International Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

There is nothing the body suffers that the soul may not profit by.

George Meredith


This Day's Verse

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

2 John 1:3
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right.  Just dance.

Anne Lamott


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Truthfulness is much more than the absence of lies.  It is genuine communication of minds and hearts.  Real truthfulness reflects the character of God, who is always exactly what He says He is, and who speaks painful but joyful truth, never any small talk to our hearts.  Think of Jesus: ever kind, but relentlessly truthful.

Tim Stafford


This Day's Verse

O my God, in thee I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.  Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Psalm 25:2-3
The Revised Standard Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.

Thomas Kempis


This Day's Verse

The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

Nahum 1:7
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.

Norman Vincent Peale


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This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

BE YOURSELF, EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN

by Wayne Lawson

Genesis 27:19-24 & 1 Samuel 17:37-50

I want to spend a few minutes this morning building this message about the importance of being you. As we continue to grow this ministry and define various leadership roles, I believe that it will be important for us to understand the value of simply being yourself and not focus upon anyone else, or attempt to be something that we are not. I challenge us this morning to understand the gifting that God has placed in you and operate in your gifting, simply be yourself, everyone else is taken. We run into many problems not only in Church but also in life in general when we never become comfortable with whom we are, and the great value we have to offer. We each have a treasure hidden in our lives that we take for granted and if we aren’t careful, we allow the enemy to rob us of the very thing God has entrusted to us. We have then, in essence, under-priced God’s precious gift to us.

I believe that God is calling us to take an assessment today and see if we have placed too low a price on the gifting that God has provided for us as Christians. Perhaps there is even a second question here – Have you short-changed your gift by trying to be like someone else? I have often heard over the years many Christians say they don’t have a gift or unsure as to the gift they have and how to operate in it. Let’s try to address all of these issues this morning.

Let’s run over and visit our initial text read in our hearing. As writer Frederick Beuchner pointed out in The Magnificent Defeat, “This was not a blessing in our sense of the word, a vague expression of goodwill that we might use when someone is going on a journey and we say, ‘God bless you.’ For Jacob the blessing is a word of great power. It conveys the very energy and vitality of the blesser’s soul into the one blessed. Just like Elijah when he was carried into heaven by chariots of fire. As he was taken up he dropped his mantle on his successor by the name of Elisha who then received a Double Portion of the Anointing. From that point Elisha would go out and do extraordinary things for God. So, this final blessing by Isaac of his son is to be the most powerful of all blessings. Let us also remember that once it is given it can never be taken back.

There was a rivalry between these twin brothers. The boys mother, Rebecca, would tell you it could be traced back right to the womb. When she was pregnant with them it was like WWF wrestling match going on inside her. It was so intense that she feared for her life and prayed to God about it. God said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” In other words, God was pronouncing blessing upon the youngest child in her womb. Now, that’s not the way it works in Hebrew culture – everyone knows that the first born is the preferred child, not the youngest! But God decreed it would be otherwise and Rebecca heard it.

In our text, we find the twins father, Isaac is advanced or old in age and his eyes have begun to dim. Old Man Isaac waits now for his eldest son, Esau, to appear. After awhile, he hears someone enter the tent and say, ‘my father’. “Who are you, my son?” The boy Jacob lies and says that he is Esau. He says it boldly. Isaac almost believes, but not completely. The weak-eyed father asks, ‘Are you really my son, Esau?’ The boy Jacob lies a second time. In the silence of that black, goatskin tent, Isaac reaches out both of his arms and says, ‘Come near and kiss me, my son.’ Let’s identify the first problem – Jacob’s hands are smooth. His brother’s hands are hairy. But the boys’ mother Rebecca is in on the whole thing with Jacob. She has covered the backs of Jacob’s hands with the hair of animals. Jacob stretches his hands into Isaac’s and Isaac is fully deceived. He blesses him saying, ‘See, the smell of my son is the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.’ Then Isaac gave Jacob the great blessing. Jacob is now the recipient of the blessing that belongs to his brother and takes advantage of his own father’s blindness. Right here he has broken three of the Ten Commandments – “You shall not steal.” “You shall honor your father and mother,” “You shall not bear false witness.” Yes, I agree with you studious Bible readers, there was a fourth commandment violated as well – the one against coveting – however, this one had gone by the wayside years before.

Lest we be too harsh on Jacob, I have heard many Bible teachers and others claim that Jacob was a thief. But the Bible in the New Testament – HEBREWS 12:16 tells us plainly that Esau “FOR ONE MORSEL OF MEAT SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT” and in the Old Testament record GENESIS 25: 29-34 it states clearly that he “SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT UNTO JACOB” and bound the sale with an oath, for “ESAU DESPISED HIS BIRTHRIGHT.” The real Jacob is not the schemer – trickster nor is he perfect. Rather it is the journey of a man to become his best self. Jacob is our patriarch because of his journey, not despite it. When we consider our lot in life or our current position or status it is because of our Journey, not Despite it. Jacob is not many figures, but one – one with an intricate and complex character, but one, nonetheless. For us to understand who we are, we must understand Jacob’s struggle and how important it is that we can all identify with it.

• We all struggle with life choices

• We all regret some of the choices we have made

• We have all been on a journey, away from the name we feel we sometimes deserve, and towards the name we wish to deserve

• Inside each of us is Israel: the one who struggles with God

As did Jacob, we too, can become Israel if we grow and learn from our mistakes, and journey to be our best selves

So we see in Jacob a tragic flaw from the offset. He believed if he was going to get ahead in this life he was going to have to hustle and strive and be knifing – even if it meant hustling his own brother. And the strange irony of it all is that Jacob didn’t need to hustle. God had already promised him this blessing. While he was still in the womb God proclaimed to Rebeccah that the younger one would be the blessed one. And when you have God’s blessing what more do you need? The problem was that Jacob didn’t believe it – even though he must have heard it many times from his mother while working alongside her, but he still didn’t believe it.

• All he could see was Esau – the strong one

• All he could see was Esau — the popular one

• All he could see was Esau — the first born

• All he could see was Esau — the skilled hunter

• All he could see was Esau — the preferred one of his father and the rest of the world

• He figured the only way he’d ever be blessed would be to steal it from Esau

I wonder how many of us are like Jacob, always watching somebody else, coveting their gift in spite of the gift God has given us. Esau is pictured as a self-centered, irresponsible man, caring far more for sports than for the responsibilities that come with being an adult. He did not want to be saddled with the responsibility of family affairs and business. Jacob was the exact opposite of Esau. Jacob was a mature, quiet, settled man who looked after the affairs and responsibilities of the family. He stayed right with the tents, the workers, herds, and affairs of the family. It is unfortunate that they were not able to embrace their differences and work together. This is how it is within the church at times. If we are not careful we begin to watch what everybody else is doing and then desire to be like them instead of embracing what God has given us. I am always concerned when I travel and visit smaller churches and they have 50 members and 20 of them are in the pulpit. It is usually a clear indication of a church that does not understand the importance of embracing the various giftings that operate within each of us – I like to encourage them to be yourself, everyone else is taken.

Being who you are is the most natural thing there is and takes less effort than trying to be someone that you are not. I may never preach like T.D. Jakes, but that is okay, I am not T.D. Jakes, I may never teach like Creflo Dollar, but that’s okay, I am not Creflo Dollar. I many never speak before tens of thousands like Billy Graham, but that is okay, I am not Billy Graham. All too often, in the church, we spend too much time trying to be like somebody else. I am glad I am who I am, and there is no one else just like me.

Jacob wasted 20 years of his life hiding from his brother – simply because he wanted to be like his brother. In spite of what God had already promised him while he was still in the womb, Jacob could not take his eyes off of being like his brother. It would ultimately cost him years of frustration. He would never see his mother alive again, not even able to attend her funeral in an attempt to add closure. You see my brothers and sisters; it is not worth it in the long run – be yourself, everyone else is taken.

David understood this at a very early age. When we consider the life of King David, we can really understand the value of Being Yourself. David would become the most loved and respected King that ruled over God’s people. Here it is thousands of years later and we are still talking about his life and what he accomplished. Unlike Jacob, David had more than just one brother to contend with. David was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse from the kingly tribe of Judah.

The biblical King David of Israel was known for his diverse skills as both a warrior and a writer of psalms. In his 40 years as ruler, between approximately 1010 and 970 B.C.E., he united the people of Israel, led them to victory in battle, conquered land and paved the way for his son, Solomon, to build the Holy Temple. But most of us really don’t understand what it was that bought David before King Saul. We don’t know what his gifting was that moved him to become the most prominent King in history. His first interaction with Saul came when the king was looking for someone to play music for him, and the king’s attendant summoned the skilled David to play for him. Saul was pleased with David and kept him in his service as a musician.

It was not his courage or his leadership that bought him before the King. David was gifted as a skilled musician. Apparently someone had heard David play various instruments and it was that Gift that bought him before the King. Could you imagine if David had been more concerned about trying to be like his brothers. David appreciated what God had placed in him. My brothers and sisters, I really think that is key – we must learn how to appreciate what God has imparted unto us. When we learn how to appreciate our gift, it is only then that God will be able to move us into another realm – just be yourself, everyone else is taken. We all know that David would come to prominence because of the battle that was brewing between the Israelites and the Philistines. There was a giant in the land by the name of Goliath. The Philistine Army was the most feared of any in the Ancient Near East. Their superior armaments during the middle of the eleventh century, BCE, enabled them to threaten Judea. They had already colonized areas along the coastline. So, here we have Goliath the Philistine of Gath, a giant, who is nine feet tall and a champion warrior. No one in the army of Israel really wants to face up to such a giant. The entire Israelite army, including King Saul, was filled full of fear and felt defeated before they even considered facing such a giant. It didn’t help matters much when Goliath took advantage of every opportunity to verbally insult them and the LORD God. What were they to do?

David the musician shows up and stands before King Saul. After a conversation King Saul sends this boy David out to fight against the giant. He then attempts to equip David for his encounter with the giant. Saul clothes David with his own armor. He puts a bronze helmet on David’s head and clothes David with his own big coat of mail. David straps Saul’s sword over the armor. Then David tries to take a step. He quickly realizes that he had not earned any of that equipment. He quickly remembers the Gift that he has – the gift beyond being a Musician. David remembers that he is good at throwing rocks. That is the gift that David had which ultimately would bring him before the King and set him on the path of his destiny. We know the rest of the story; he would be victorious over the giant.

What would cause David to walk in his Destiny is the fact that he understood his gift was Throwing Rocks. What a strange gift to have. We must identify the Gift that God has given us and understand no matter how big or small we think that gifting is — to simply operate in it. We read in PROVERBS 18:16 A MAN’S GIFT MAKETH ROOM FOR HIM, AND BRINGETH HIM BEFORE GREAT MEN. This strange gift of throwing rocks would usher David into his destiny – it would bring him face to face before King Saul because he was Gifted at Throwing Rocks. I don’t know about you but I am glad today that David was comfortable with who he was, he understood how important it was to be yourself, everyone else is taken.

• If my gift is throwing rocks – I’ll throw Rocks in Jesus name

• If my gift is Playing Instruments – I’ll play in Jesus name

• If my gift is serving on the Usher Board – I’ll serve in Jesus name

Whatever my gift is, I’ll wait, because God promised my gift will make room for me and take me to great places.

Paul understood this when he talked and counseled with a young preacher by the name of Timothy. Paul would go on to tell Timothy that he would grow to be a great preacher one day and then gave him sound advise according to I TIMOTHY 4:14 NEGLECT NOT THE GIFT THAT IS IN THEE, WHICH WAS GIVEN THEE BY PROPHECY, WITH THE LAYING ON OF HANDS OF THE PRESBYTERY.

— Your gift will take you to places you never dreamed

— Your gift will elevate you in due season

— Don’t neglect the gift that God has given you

— Don’t set your sight on what others have and are doing

— Allow God to continue to grow the gift that He has placed with you


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

I have been all things unholy.  If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.

Francis of Assisi


This Day's Verse

Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:18
The Revised Standard Version


This Day's Smile

Gratitude is the soil of joy.

Unknown


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us.  You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created.

C. S. Lewis


This Day's Verse

I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak,

Ezekiel 34:16
The New International Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

The cross we carry is never so heavy as the chains from which we were freed.

J. A. Lacy


This Day's Verse

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

1 Timothy 6:6
The New Living Translation


This Day's Smile

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Bumper sticker


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Prayer is such an ordinary, everyday, mundane thing.  Certainly, people who pray are no more saints than the rest of us.  Rather, they are people who want to share a life with God, to love and be loved, to speak and to listen, to work and to be at rest in the presence of God.

Roberta Bondi


This Day's Verse

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

John 14:12-14
The New King James Version


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This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

So wait before the Lord.  Wait in the stillness.  And in that stillness, assurance will come to you.  You will know that you are heard; you will know that your Lord ponders the voice of your humble desires; you will hear quiet words spoken to you yourself, perhaps to your grateful surprise and refreshment.

Amy Carmichael


This Day's Verse

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 95:2
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

Wholehearted, ready laughter heals, encourages, relaxes anyone within hearing distance.  The laughter that springs from love makes wide the space around it—gives room for the loved one to enter in.  Real laughter welcomes, and never shuts out.

Eugenia Price


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