This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Thou hast no life to lose, because thou hast given it already to Christ, nor can man take away that without God’s leave.

William Gurnall


This Day's Verse

but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Romans 2:8
The English Standard Version


This Day's Smile

You can’t defeat a praying man.  He finds his answers everywhere he looks.

Margaret Lee Runbeck


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

George Muller had run and orphanage in England in the early 1800s that cared for 5,000 children.  He had made a vow never to ask people directly for anything, but to ask God instead to inspire them to provide food, clothing, money, or whatever else was needed.  He eventually received more that 50 million British pounds in donations, all without ever asking anybody for anything.

Unknown


This Day's Verse

The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

Psalm 116:6
The New International Version


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Believe in the Lord, and He will do half the work–the last half.

Cyrus Curtis


This Day's Verse

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:18
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

The more we love, the more we can forgive, and the more we forgive, the more we can love.

Criswell Freeman


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Our children, relations, friends, honors, houses, lands, and endowments, the goods of nature and fortune, nay, even of grace itself, are only lent.  It is our misfortune and our sin, to fancy they are given.  We start, therefore, and are angry when the loan is called in.  We think ourselves masters, when we are only stewards, and forget that to each of us it will one day be said, “Give an account of thy stewardship.”

Thomas H. Horne


This Day's Verse

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Acts 2:38-39
The New International Version


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all of Christendom.

G. K. Chesterton


This Day's Verse

Pride leads to arguments; be humble, take advice and become wise.

Proverbs 13:10
The Living Bible


This Day's Smile

Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.

Malcolm Muggeridge


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- Pulling Weeds


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

PULLING WEEDS

by Eric Elder
The Ranch

Pulling Weeds

Pulling the final patch of weeds between two trees:
before, almost done, and finished. New grass is coming soon!

I woke up early on Tuesday morning to do something I really didn’t want to do: pull weeds. I don’t mind pulling weeds, but this was the last patch of what had become a week-long project of pulling weeds, and I was wearing out.

At first it was kind of fun. I had put on some headphones, gotten down on my knees, and even took time to pray while I was down there. But after a week of pulling weeds I was wearing out, and I didn’t know how much longer it was going to take. I knew what I had to do though, and that was to just keep pulling weeds.

I decided not to worry about how long it would take, but to just keep going forward with the task at hand: pulling weeds. I got down on my knees again and began to pull. Surprisingly, after an hour of pulling, I was done! And not with just that patch, but since it was the last patch, I was done with the entire project that I had been working on for a week!  The end had been right around the corner. I just didn’t know it. All I knew was that I just had to keep pulling weeds.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with another task at hand: recording a new song on the piano that I’ve been wanting to record for several months now. Unlike pulling weeds, this was a project I really wanted to do. But when I woke up yesterday morning, I felt like I was facing the same final patch of weeds again, and I had no idea when I would ever be able to finish the recording.

All I knew was that I just had to keep going and take the next right step that was in front of me. Amazingly, within an hour I had made huge strides in the recording process and, by the end of the day, I had finished editing all of the individual sound clips in order to turn them into one seamless and beautiful  song. (I still have a few more “next steps” to take until the song is finished completely, so I can’t share it with you yet. But here’s a picture of the final note in the bottom right corner of what has to be the longest and most complicated song I’ve ever recorded.)

Final Note

The final note (marked by an arrow).

One last story. I’ve been working through an unresolved situation with a friend for the past ten and a half months. While I believed there would be a resolution at some point, I felt like I had done everything that I could do on my end, and I had no idea when that resolution might come.

This week I decided to take a personal prayer retreat for three days. While I’m planning to do a prayer retreat with others at the end of the year, I thought it would be a good time to set aside the same amount of time on my own and enjoy my own personal time with God.  Most of my kids were away at a music festival, so I had time to think and pray and play the piano. On my knees that first morning, I laid out the various things I was praying about in my life.

The first night of my prayer retreat, my friend called. And during our two-hour conversation, things were resolved. I told my friend that I had just started a three-day prayer retreat that morning. I said, “If only for this conversation, I am so glad I set aside this time to pray.” And I still had two days of “retreating” to go.

I want to encourage you today that whatever seemingly insurmountable mountain of a task may lay before you, whether it’s pulling weeds or recording a song or reaching a resolution with a friend, keep focused on the task at hand. Do what God has called you to do. Take the steps He has called you to take. And trust the outcome into His gracious and loving hands.

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You for giving us work to do here on earth, whether it’s pulling weeds, recording songs, or building friendships with others. Lord, I ask that You would help us stay focused on the tasks before us, not getting overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done, but moving ahead with the next right thing we know to do. Lord, help us to accomplish all that You’ve put on our hearts to do–for Your sake, for our sake, and for the sake of all those who will be touched by our efforts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S. I’m 99% sure we will go forward with the retreat in early December, both in-person and online. I am working out the final details now and will let you know soon so you can start making plans. Based on my own personal retreat this week, I would like to encourage you, invite you, and welcome you, to join me and see what God can do, not just after three days, but even after day one!


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible type of poverty.

Mother Teresa


This Day's Verse

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6
The English Standard Version


This Day's Smile

He looketh into the heavens where God was lighting His lamps.

Unknown


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one glory, which is eternal.  If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.

Teresa of Avila


This Day's Verse

“I will answer them before they even call to me.  While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!”

Isaiah 65:24
The New Living Translation


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

If I look at myself, I am depressed.
If I look at those around me, I am often disappointed.
If I look at my circumstances, I am discouraged.
But if I look at Jesus, I am constantly, consistently, and eternally fulfilled.

Unknown


This Day's Verse

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4
The New Living Translation


This Day's Smile

You remember that among the Franks whole armies were sometimes given baptism at one stroke and many warriors went into the water with their right hands held high, so that they did not get wet; then they could say, “This hand has never been baptized,” and they could swing their axes just as freely as ever.  The modern counterpart of that partial baptism is seen in many people who have been baptized, all except their pocketbooks.  They hold these high out of the water.

Halford E. Luccock


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Many people have the idea that in each of us there is a reservoir containing a certain supply of energy.  This is supposed to be strictly limited in amount.  If our expenditure is excessive they say, our energy is depleted and we suffer from fatigue.  So we take the attitude of economizing our little store of strength, conserving our resources, lest the stingy springs run dry.  In contrast with this point of view is one akin to the teaching of Jesus.  That is, our energies seem to be used up, not because the flow is checked, but because either the channel is blocked or we have not learned to use our capacities in the right way.  In other words, we are tired not when we do too much but when we do too little.  Our hidden springs are not of body but of spirit; we are not receptacles but conductors.

E. Stanley Jones


This Day's Verse

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9
The English Standard Version


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need.  Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, or keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us.  We know well enough how to keep outward silence, and to hush our spoken words, but we know little of interior silence.  It consists in hushing our idle, restless, wandering imagination, in quieting the promptings of our worldly minds, and in suppressing the crowd of unprofitable thoughts which excite and disturb the soul.

Francois Fenelon


This Day's Verse

Praise the Lord.  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!

Psalm 112:1
The Revised Standard Version


This Day's Smile

Let us live while we live.

Unknown


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- Dropping To My Knees, Part 2


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

DROPPING TO MY KNEES, PART 2

by Eric Elder
The Ranch

Spontaneous prayer backstage last Sunday .
Spontaneous prayer backstage last Sunday.

Last week I wrote to you about how I’ve been doing a lot of praying on my knees lately, something that I’ve done from time to time over the years, but not as often as these past few months. After I wrote that message and sent it out, an interesting thing happened.

I was at church later that night for our Sunday evening service. I was on the worship team at our church for the day and had already played the keyboard for the morning service. We have an identical evening service, so I thought I knew the routine just fine. Our worship team was waiting backstage in the green room for our cue to go out and take our places when our senior pastor, who was preaching on stage, decided to have a special time of prayer with the congregation before we came out to lead worship. With all of the recent violence in the world, he felt we needed to pray in a special way. He didn’t say anything other than to pray along with him.

I had just stood up to get ready to go on stage, along with the rest of the worship team, as we were watching him on the monitor in our room. Without giving any other direction, our pastor simply knelt down on the stage and began to pray. When he dropped down to his knees, I remembered my message from earlier that morning which I had titled “Dropping To My Knees.” I thought, “I should probably get down on my knees right now.” But I also thought, “But they’re about to send us out on stage; I’d better be ready.” Yet without another moment’s hesitation, I was compelled, once again, to drop down to my knees. I did,and began praying backstage.

Within seconds of my going down, I noticed our whole worship team had done the same. There was no question; no hesitation. It was the only response that seemed right. I was floored, quite literally. We all prayed like that for several minutes, and when we were done, we simply stood up and walked onstage to lead worship. It didn’t interrupt the flow one bit. In fact, I’m sure it helped the flow tremendously.

Why am I so resistant sometimes to just drop down on my knees when it seems to be the most natural thing in the world after I’ve done it? Later that night, I saw that the production assistant who was giving us our cues backstage had snapped a picture of our prayer time and posted it on Facebook, thankful for a church and a worship team who were willing to get down on their knees and pray. I normally wouldn’t post a picture like this, as it seems odd to do so. But like the production assistant, I too was just so thankful. I felt there was no better response that I could make to our pastor’s call to pray than to join him by praying on my knees.

Last night, I had another experience down on my knees. I was playing a game with my kids out in the backyard when the ball we were playing with bounced out into a field of soybeans that had grown to about two-feet high. We could see the direction the ball went, but we couldn’t find it when we walked out into the field. I said to my son, “If we could just lay down on the ground and look under the leaves at the base of the beans, I think we could see it. But,” I added, “I really don’t want to lay down on the ground.” A moment later, guess where I was! Laid out flat on the ground!

Not seeing anything, I got back up onto my knees. And there, a few rows over, nestled at the base of the plants, and hidden from view by the leaves above, was the ball. I was instantly transfixed, thinking, “Some things are simply seen better when we’re down on our knees.”

As it is with finding lost balls, so it is with prayer: some things are simply seen better when we’re down on our knees.

 

Will you pray with me? (I also have two Post Scripts below, one with a retreat update, and one with a new song I’ve just recorded that I’d love for you to listen to!)

Father, thank You for letting us get down on our knees at any time (in our hearts at least, even if it’s not possible physically) and come to You in prayer. Thank You that You hear our prayers and answer them, sometimes showing us things that we never would have seen had we not been on our knees. Thank You for others who model this kind of prayer for us, whether it’s our pastor, our friends, or even Your Son, Jesus in the garden. Thank You for helping us to see on our knees what we might never see any other way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S. Retreat Update! I also asked last week if any of you would want to join us for a guided prayer retreat in December, whether in person or online, saying that if 20 people would respond by today to tell me that they were “strongly interested” in coming to such an event in-person, then I would strongly consider booking it! As of this morning, I’ve had 21! So I’m strongly considering booking it.

I’ve also had over 50 people respond to say that they would like to join us for the retreat online, writing from places like Kenya, England, Turkey, Nigeria, India, Ireland, Uganda, Jersey (an island in the English Channel), Zambia, Canada, South Africa and Seychelles (an island off the northern tip of Madagascar). Praise God! Some days I have to remind myself just what a blessing it is to live at a time like this when we can interact with people around the world instantaneously! Thanks for your responses as they really help us to know how to proceed.

P.P.S. New song! I’ve also just  recorded a beautiful song on the piano this weekend for a friend’s wedding in Scotland in a few months. The song is so beautiful, rich and moving that I wanted to share it with you, too. You can listen to it for free on The Ranch website at the link below. It’s called “Fairytale,” written by Ludovico Einaudi. Enjoy! Click here to listen.


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday & Reminder


Reminder: If you would be interested in joining us for a “guided prayer retreat” later this year to learn how to have a more effective prayer life, please let us know by  this Sunday, July 17th. We’re thinking of hosting this retreat in a way that people can join us either in-person or online. If there’s enough interest, we’ll keep moving forward with our plans. Click here to learn more about the idea, then let us know by Sunday if you’re interested. (No commitment is needed now; we’re just trying to gauge the level of interest. Thank you!)


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

The life of the Spirit is not our life, but the life of God within us.

Teresa of Avila


This Day's Verse

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:14
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

If you try to surrender just a little bit to God, He’ll know.  It’s like trying to carry on a conversation with someone who’s preoccupied with the newspaper: most unsatisfying and practically useless.

Karon Phillips Goodman


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

A wise man does not wish to change his situation, because he knows that  it is possible to fulfill the law of God, the law of love, in every situation.

Leo Tolstoy


This Day's Verse

The man who wants to do right will get a rich reward.  But the man who wants to get rich quick will quickly fail.

Proverbs 28:20
The Living Bible


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday & Special Note


Special note from The Ranch: Would you be interested in joining us for a “guided prayer retreat” to learn more about how to have an effective prayer life? We’re thinking of hosting one later this year, either in-person or online, and we want to know if there’s enough interest for us to put it together. Click here to learn more about the idea, then let us know by this Sunday, July 17th, if you would be interested in joining us. (No commitment is needed now; we’re just trying to gauge the level of interest. Thanks!)


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Man needs but little for his body; but all his strength is insufficient to elevate his soul.

Michelangelo


This Day's Verse

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.

Psalm 149:4
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

Anybody who brags about what he is going to do tomorrow probably did the same thing yesterday.

Unknown


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

God does not dispense strength and encouragement like a druggist fills your prescription.  The Lord doesn’t promise to give us something to take so we can handle our weary moments.  He promises us Himself.  That is all.  And that is enough.

Charles Swindoll


This Day's Verse

Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.

Proverbs 10:12
The Living Bible


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

It is vanity to desire a long life and to take no heed of a good life.

Thomas Kempis


This Day's Verse

“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;”

Deuteronomy 6:9
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

Sometimes our dreams were so big that it took two people to dream them.

Marie T. Freeman


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- Dropping To My Knees


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

DROPPING TO MY KNEES

by Eric Elder
The Ranch

 

 

I normally write a message on the weekends to try to encourage you in your faith, but today I need your input. This fall, I’m hoping to start a new series of messages on the topic of prayer and how you can have a more effective prayer life.

I’ve been working on this series for more than five years, but for various reasons I have not yet felt it was ready to share with you. But the past few months, I have found myself dropping to my knees more often than ever, and I feel the time is right to share these messages with you now.

Recently, when I hear about something that’s happening, or someone shares with me what’s going on in his or her life, it often seems like the only appropriate response is to literally get down on my knees and start praying. As a side note, I’m not normally prone to just drop down to my knees. I’ll pray, yes, and I have prayed on my knees before, but what’s new lately is that I feel compelled that there’s nothing better I could do than to physically get down on my knees and pray–whether that means getting out of a chair, turning around, and kneeling down, and putting my head and my hands down on the chair I was sitting on, or putting my head face-down in my pillow in the middle with my knees tucked up under me on my bed, or sometimes even dropping down to my knees as I’m going about my day, wherever I happen to be. In one way, I feel awkward doing this. But in another way, I feel this is often the only thing that seems right to do in the moment. It reminds me of how Abraham Lincoln must have felt when he said:

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

There are so many things in life that require prayer, and no other response seems to compare. All of which leads me to the question that I’m needing your input on today.

In conjunction with this new series on prayer that I’m hoping to start sharing with you this fall, I wonder if you would like to join me, in person or online, for a “guided prayer retreat”–a time when we could come together and pray–but not just alone in silence. I would like to take 3 days to share with you some of the ways that I’ve found helpful to pray, and I would invite some of my friends who I know to be strong men and women of prayer to share with you ways that they’ve found helpful to pray. Then we’d spend some time in prayer and worship and meals and fellowship interspersed throughout those three days. I think it could be a powerful time, a healing time, a learning time, a prayerful time.

I’ve been praying about a retreat like this for quite a while, and I think it would be awesome. But now I need to ask if this is something you would be interested in joining me for. And if so, would you want to join me in person or online?

For an in-person retreat, I am thinking of hosting it at the Billy Graham retreat center in Asheville, North Carolina called “The Cove,” on December 7, 8 and 9, 2016 (we’d start on Wednesday night, meet all day Thursday, and wrap up on Friday morning). The cost to use the center would be $269 per person, which would include 2 nights of lodging in a double room (a single room would cost more), 5 meals, and full use of the center and their meeting space. (I wouldn’t charge anything extra for the retreat itself. Your cost would only be for lodging, meals, and use of the center.) I am considering an end-of-week event because it is more economical for you than for a weekend. Plus I know that many of you are involved in ministries at your own churches and this would allow you to attend the retreat during the week and still serve at your local church on the weekend.

Before I book the event, however, I would need to know if there are 20 people who would be interested and eager to attend an in-person retreat like this on those dates. If so, I can book it right away to reserve the spot. I wouldn’t need you to commit or register now, but I would need to know if you’re strongly interest. If so, please reply to this note or write to me directly at eric@theranch.org BY NEXT SUNDAY, JULY 17th. If I hear from at least 20 of you who are strongly interested, I will strongly consider booking it right away!

I am also considering hosting the retreat online, perhaps live-streaming the actual event over the Internet, or doing it solely over the Internet if we don’t do an in-person event. It takes a different kind of planning and setup to record and stream an event like this, but I’m willing to do it if there is significant interest in doing so. If you would be interested in joining us for an online retreat rather than in person, please let me know that too by responding to this note or by writing me directly at eric@theranch.org.

I’ve just been on my knees right now again, praying for you, that God would speak to your hearts if this is something He wants you do to–and thereby letting me know if it’s something He wants me to do! I would be glad to do it, and am looking forward to doing it, but I would love to hear from you if you’re interested in doing it, too.

I’ll include two links at the bottom of this message where you can learn more about The Cove in Asheville. Click the first link to watch a short video about the retreat center and the second link visit their website.

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You that we can come to You in prayer anytime, day or night, whether on our knees, on our chairs, on our beds, or walking throughout this magnificent world You’ve created for us. I pray that You would speak to our hearts today about how our prayer lives can be more effective and how we can have richer conversations with You. Speak to our hearts in a way that only You can do, guiding us in the best next steps we can take to grow in our faith, to grow in our devotion to You, and to touch the lives of others through prayer. We ask this all in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Christmastime at The Cove
Christmastime at The Cove

Here are the links to more information about The Cove:


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Faithfulness today is the best preparation for the demands of tomorrow.

Elisabeth Elliot


This Day's Verse

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:22-23
The English Standard Version


This Day's Smile

His thoughts were slow,
His words were few and never formed to glisten.
But he was a joy to all his friends,
You should have heard him listen!

Unknown


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

There is nothing anybody else can do that can stop God from using us.  We can turn everything into a testimony.

Corrie ten Boom


This Day's Verse

Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart.

Psalm 97:11
The New King James Version


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

God’s goal is not to make you happy.  It is to make you his.

Max Lucado


This Day's Verse

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

VALUES

The Greatest Handicap–Fear
The Best Day–Today
Easiest Thing To Do– Find Fault
Most Useless Asset–Pride
The Greatest Mistake–Giving Up
The Greatest Stumbling Block–Egotism
The Greatest Comfort–Work Well Done
Most Disagreeable Person–The Complainer
Worst Bankruptcy– Loss of Enthusiasm
Best Teacher–One Who Makes You Want To Learn
Greatest Need–Common Sense
Meanest Feeling–Regret At Another’s Success
Best Gift–Forgiveness
Greatest Knowledge–God
Greatest Thing In The World–Love

Ollie Mitchell


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing in sea or sky, nothing in city streets, nothing in books.  It were far better to sail forever in the night of blindness with sense, and feeling, and mind, than to be content with the mere act of seeing.  The only lightless dark is the night of darkness in ignorance and insensibility.

Helen Keller


This Day's Verse

We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.

1 Corinthians 8:4
The New International Version


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

O Lord, forgive what I have been, sanctify what I am, and order what I shall be.

Thomas Wilson


This Day's Verse

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Colossians 3:12-13
The New King James Version


This Day's Smile

We must learn our limits.  We are all something, but none of us are everything.

Blaise Pascal


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- Telling Your Story


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

TELLING YOUR STORY

by Eric Elder
The Ranch

 

Last year, for the first time in my life, I decided to sit down and write out my full story–the story of how I came to put my faith in Christ and what’s changed in my life since I took that momentous step.

I wrote the story under a pen name because, even though I had told it many times, I had never shared the details in such a personal way. I wasn’t sure if I would publish it at all, and I didn’t want anyone to know I had written it in case I decided against publishing it when I was done.

But by the time I got to the ending, I knew that this was a story that had to be told, with all its ugly bits and happy bits and funny bits intact. I offered the book to several publishers, many of whom were initially interested, but none of whom would eventually publish it, saying it was too secular for the Christian market, and too Christian for the secular market.

So I published it myself. Within the first day, it went to #10 on Amazon’s best seller list in the category where stories like mine are posted! Hallelujah! (I would still love for a publisher to pick up the book and take it to places I could never take it on my own, but in the mean time, I’ll just keep sharing it with as many people as I can!)

After I began sharing my story in this way, other people said they were touched by it and asked if I could help them tell their stories about how God had worked in their lives. I said I’d be glad to help.

So this year, I’ve prayed about and committed to helping five other people tell their stories, two of whom have just finished their first drafts. And what incredible stories they are! It’s amazing to see what comes out when people are given the freedom to tell their stories, holding nothing back, and to see how interesting, unique, and genuinely intriguing each story is. As a friend told me when I was writing my story:

“Everyone has a million dollar book inside of them. They just have to tell their own story–but they have to be brutally honest when they tell it.”  

I’m looking forward to sharing my friends’ stories with you when they’re finished. One is by a professional model who came to Christ to help her deal with the ugliness she still felt inside. Another is by a woman whose husband went through a horrendous health crisis, sending my friend back to the foot of the cross daily. While the details of each story are different, the theme is the same: God has walked with them through it all.

Such stories are endless. As the apostle John said after writing down his story:

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

Maybe you’ve considered writing down your story. Maybe you’ve already started. Maybe you’ve wanted to tell your story, but you’re afraid of what others might think about you when you do. But as author and pastor Rick Warren says:

“Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” 

Can I encourage you today to tell your story? Write it down, pass it around, and let others see what Christ has done in your life!

I, for one, am fascinated by stories of faith to see how God has worked in other people’s lives. In fact, that’s why I love reading the Bible so much. It’s filled with stories of real people, who have lived real lives, and who have interacted with the real and living God.

I’m thankful that others have taken the time to write down their stories so I can learn from them. If you’ve been encouraged by hearing what God has done for others, think how others would be encouraged to hear what God has done for you.

What’s your story? Maybe it’s time to tell it.

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You for walking with us through the stories of our lives. Help us to be willing and eager and ready to tell our stories with others who desperately need to hear the words of hope that we can give them, hope that You will be there for them every step of the way as they live out their own stories. Use our words to touch people in a way that no one else could ever touch them. And as we share, may Your name be magnified, glorified, and honored all along the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fifty Shades of Grace AudioBook

P.S. You can now listen to my story in audio! You can also still get a copy of the paperback from our ministry for a donation of any size, or order the paperback or Kindle editions directly from Amazon at the links below. (Please note that my book is for mature readers only, as it describes, in a tasteful yet emotional way, the story of how I went into homosexuality and came out of it through the love of Christ and the love of my friends, one of whom eventually became my wife. It’s called, appropriately, Fifty Shades of Grace, and is written under my pen name, Nicholas Deere.)


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Friday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

We have given too much attention to methods and to machinery and to resources, and too little to the Source of Power, the filling with the Holy Ghost.

J. Hudson Taylor


This Day's Verse

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Proverbs 10:28
The English Standard Version


This Day's Smile

There are many timid souls whom we jostle morning and evening as we pass them by; but if only the kind word were spoken they might become fully persuaded.

Fanny Crosby


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Thursday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Sin is largely a matter of mistaken priorities.  Any sin in us that is cherished, hidden, and not confessed will cut the nerve center of our faith.

Catherine Marshall


This Day's Verse

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life.  Human effort accomplishes nothing.  And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

John 6:63
The New Living Translation


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Wednesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Live near to God, and so all things will appear to you little in comparison with eternal realities.

Robert Murray McCheyne


This Day's Verse

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:4
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

If my life is surrendered to God, all is well.  Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!

Elisabeth Elliot


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Tuesday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

We’re prone to want God to change our circumstances, but He wants to change our character.  We think that peace comes from the outside in, but it comes from the inside out.

Warren Wiersbe


This Day's Verse

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 4:23
The New International Version


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Monday


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

God uses our most stumbling, faltering faith-steps as the one door to His doing for us “more than we ask or think.”

Catherine Marshall


This Day's Verse

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

Psalm 44:7
The King James Version


This Day's Smile

Choices can change our lives profoundly.  The choice to mend a broken relationship, to say “yes” to a difficult assignment, to lay aside some important work to play with a child, to visit some forgotten person–these small choices may affect many lives eternally.

Gloria Gaither


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore


This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- Being Who I Am


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

BEING WHO I AM

by Eric Elder
The Ranch

 

 

I was having dinner with a friend when the conversation became awkward. We were talking about a subject we hadn’t talked discussed in a long time, and we didn’t know where each other stood.

I could tell I was holding back from saying what I wanted to say, and my friend could tell the same. To ease the tension, my friend said, “Eric, how about this: why don’t you just be who you are, and I’ll be who I am. Then we’ll take it from there.”

Whoosh! In an instant, all of the tension left my body.

Rather than worrying about how my words might be perceived, I felt I had the permission to just “be who I am”–in this case to speak freely–thereby advancing our conversation by leaps and bounds.

A few days later I was flying out west to meet with some people I had never met before. I was nervous about the meeting, and I was afraid I might feel “very small” in the presence of people who were rightly considered by many to be “very big.”

As I was praying about the meeting, asking God to use our meeting to bear fruit for His kingdom in whatever way He wanted, I began worrying about what I should or shouldn’t bring up during our meeting. In answer to my question, I felt like God said: “Be yourself, Eric. Be who you are. And I’ll be who I AM!”

Whoosh! In an instant, all of the tension left my body.

Rather than worrying about how my words might be perceived, I felt I had the permission to just “be who I am”–in this case to relax and enjoy the time of meeting new people–knowing that God would be who He IS: the great “I AM.”

Over the next few days, as I met with person after person during the meeting, I was able to truly be myself and enjoy the moments as they came. I laid down any agenda I might have had and often just thought, “What would I do if I were to just be who I am?” When I saw one of the “very big” people walking towards me carrying a stack of chairs to the meeting room, rather than thinking of what I should say or how I should say it, I thought, “What would I do if I were to just be who I am?” I answered, “I’d offer to help carry the chairs!” I offered, he accepted, so I began making trips back and forth with him carrying chairs.

It was so simple! I knew I could trust that if God had something more for me to say or do, He would prompt me to do or say it. But in the absence of His prompting otherwise, it was easy to know what to do next: just be who I was! And in so doing, not only was I blessed, but so were those around me, even if it was in the most simple ways.

This isn’t to say that “being who I am” isn’t without risk. There’s always some risk in letting down our walls–and some walls are good and right for the protection of ourselves and of others. Even my friend warned me during our dinner conversation that dropping walls doesn’t always end well. Life is messy. People are messy. But what a blessing to be able to share what was truly on my heart that night. And as my friend said later, “I know you, Eric, and I had to trust that no matter where our conversation went, something good would come of it.”

I’m still experimenting. I’m still exploring. But I’m enjoying the process, asking not only what God wants me to do, or what Jesus would do–which are both terrific questions–but also “What would Eric do?” What would I do, given the way God has created me, gifted me, and wired me? Then doing it, just being who I am, letting others be who they are, and letting God be who He is: the great “I AM.”


Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore