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A Terrible Day
Joel 1:1-20

Read
Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring the leaders and all the people of the land into the Temple of the LORD your God, and cry out to him there.

The day of the LORD is near, the day when destruction comes from the Almighty. How terrible that day will be! Our food disappears before our very eyes. No joyful celebrations are held in the house of our God. The seeds die in the parched ground, and the grain crops fail. The barns stand empty, and granaries are abandoned.

How the animals moan with hunger! The herds of cattle wander about confused, because they have no pasture. The flocks of sheep and goats bleat in misery. LORD, help us! The fire has consumed the wilderness pastures, and flames have burned up all the trees. Even the wild animals cry out to you because the streams have dried up, and fire has consumed the wilderness pastures. (Joel 1:14-20)

Reflect
Joel was a prophet to Judah, Israel’s southern kingdom. The book does not mention when Joel lived, but many believe that he prophesied during the reign of King Joash. The date of Joel’s book is not nearly so important as its timeless message, however: Sin brings God’s judgment—yet with God’s justice there is also great mercy.

The “Day of the LORD” is a common phrase in the Old Testament and in the book of Joel (see Joel 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14). It always refers to some extraordinary happening, whether a present event (like a locust plague), an event in the near future (like the destruction of Jerusalem or the defeat of enemy nations), or the final period of history when God will defeat all the forces of evil.

Even when the “Day of the Lord” refers to a present event, it also foreshadows the final judgment. This final event of history has two aspects: (1) the last judgment on all evil and sin, and (2) the final reward for faithful believers. Righteousness and truth will prevail, but not before much suffering (Zechariah 14:1-3).

Respond
If you trust the Lord, looking toward this final day can inspire hope because it is then that all who are faithful will be united forever with God. Begin to pray for those you know who haven’t yet trusted Jesus as their Savior. Pray that they will find the hope that you have in God.




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What Makes a Church Powerful?

1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

What factors determine whether a church is powerful or weak? Oftentimes people make such evaluations based on appearances and human reasoning rather than on God’s Word.

For instance, large congregations with dynamic worship services and programs for every age and interest group look impressive. Or a church could be viewed as powerful because of its prominent location, a big budget, or the pastor with a magnetic personality. In contrast, small churches—especially those with few members, a rural setting, and little money—are often considered lesser.

The point is that we can’t judge a church’s strength or weakness based on outward factors like size, location, prosperity, or prominence. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians points out that a strong church is one that is founded on the message of the cross and grounded in God’s wisdom rather than the world’s.

God’s power is given to the church for His purposes, not for human agendas. And it isn’t a persuasive sermon but the gospel of Christ that can save souls. Some pastors may be able to manipulate people, but only God’s Spirit brings the genuine conviction of sin that leads to repentance and salvation.

For divine power to flow into and through a local body, that church must hold firmly to Scripture. What’s more, it cannot use techniques derived from worldly thinking but must rely on God’s direction.

A faith community cannot be powerful unless the people within it are individually submitted to Christ and empowered by Him. This means our commitment to Jesus affects our churches for better or for worse.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 25-26

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Rebuilding the Altar
Ezra 3:1-5

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In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the LORD each morning and evening.

They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the LORD. The people also gave voluntary offerings to the LORD. (Ezra 3:1-5)

Reflect
Almost immediately upon returning to Jerusalem—in the middle of its ruins—the Jewish exiles built the altar for sacrifice. The people began worshiping God even before the Temple foundation was laid. The altar demonstrated their identity as God’s people and their commitment to serve God alone. Zerubbabel sacrificed burnt offerings as the law of Moses instructed (Leviticus 1–7). The sacrifices demonstrated that the people wanted to be right with God—seeking his guidance, living as he commanded, and asking his forgiveness.

After many years in captivity, the Jewish people had learned their lesson—they knew that God does not offer special protection to those who ignore him, even when they are his own people. They had been deported from Israel when they were relatively strong. Now, back in their own land, they were few, weak, and surrounded by enemies. They were forced to rely on God’s power. They had no other hope.

Respond
Sometimes depending on God requires losing everything else we’ve depended on. Then we can focus on what’s most important—having a right relationship with God. More than a temple for our religion or walls for our safety, we need God. Are you relying on something other than God?

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There are no great acts of love, only small acts done with great love- Mother Teresa
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There are no great acts of love, only small acts done with great love- Mother Teresa
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There are no great acts of love, only small acts done with great love- Mother Teresa
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The Landmine of Pride

Proverbs 16:17-20

The Christian life is like a long walk that begins at salvation and ends in heaven, and along the way are obstacles to overcome and dangers to avoid. One such hazard is the spiritual landmine of pride. It is like an explosive device that’s been buried in the ground to cause great physical harm—pride may lie hidden and unrecognized in our heart, causing great spiritual damage in both our life and our relationship with the Lord.

Our enemy Satan lays spiritual landmines in our path to trip us up, and one of his most effective ones is pride. Therefore, it’s imperative that we learn to detect it quickly in order to guard against sin. Often we are slow to see and admit that we have a problem with pride, because it tends to hide behind feelings of inadequacy.

Whatever the form, pride is all about self. It may be displayed with loud self-promotion or quiet self-reflection, but the root is the same. It’s a vain attempt to fill an area of personal emptiness. But God alone can fill that void, and the only way to come to Him is in humility.

Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” That’s why we cannot serve Him while clinging to our own self-importance. When God is given second place in our life, the work of the Holy Spirit is hindered. Then we make foolish mistakes because we are focused not on Him but on ourselves.

The key to overcoming pride is to fix our eyes on God and the depth of His character. He alone is worthy of all exaltation.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 39-41

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Amen!

There are no great acts of love, only small acts done with great love- Mother Teresa
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I haven't posted anything in quit a while and just wanted to say Hi emoticon

CarolAnn 65 in SINY
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Keep moving forward!
I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!!!


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The Call to Kindness

Sunday's Gospel tells of the different groups that came to John to be baptized. Luke mentions the crowds and then specifies tax collectors and soldiers. After their experience of baptism they all ask, "What should we do?" They know that their repentance calls for a change in how they live, the choices they make. John gives them some examples and in the second reading St. Paul names it, "Your kindness should be known to all." We are called simply to be kind, peaceful and joyful men and women.

This season of Advent focuses on our experience of Emmanuel (God is with us).
In His life, death and resurrection Jesus revealed our God to be a loving and forgiving parent who is always present to and with His children. We try to imitate His kindness in our dealings with others and to be at peace in our trust in His love, care and protection of us. We make the prayer of the Psalm our own, "God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid."

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MBPP50's Photo MBPP50 Posts: 49,901
12/3/18 9:32 P

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There are no great acts of love, only small acts done with great love- Mother Teresa
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (855,337)
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12/3/18 9:25 P
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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
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293.5
246.75
200
MBPP50's Photo MBPP50 Posts: 49,901
12/2/18 10:38 A

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There are no great acts of love, only small acts done with great love- Mother Teresa
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (855,337)
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12/2/18 10:20 A
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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
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