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And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

The “gospel of the kingdom” is to preached.  It is to penetrate throughout “the whole world as a testimony to all nations.” There is no end of times until this is done

The gospel is to be proclaimed by those of us who believe it and know it as truth.  We cannot expect the world to carry its message forth.  The news media will not do it.  Certainly, we cannot expect the educational system or institutions of higher learning to spread the word about it.  No, we must proclaim it and penetrate the entire world with it, spreading around the seed that must be sown upon this earth.
We must go far and wide with the “gospel of the kingdom.” It cannot remain contained behind the stained glass of our sanctuaries.  It cannot simply rest in our hearts.  It must come forth through our active engagement of sharing it with others. 
Let us approach this task as our primary activity while alive on this earth.  We must approach it with faith and fervor, fueled by the Holy Spirit who sets us afire to speak boldly of His endless grace and eternal love.  Let this gospel go forth out of you for all that God has bestowed upon you as one of His own children.
“We may well be ashamed of our own personal imperfections, but we have no need to be ashamed of our doctrine.” – J.C. Ryle

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And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. – Mark 11:25 (ESV)

Problems come up when we have to deal with each other.  Jesus addressed it.  He stated it plainly.  He didn’t sugar-coat the truth.  He offered a solution that many of us just won’t get into at all.

He said for us to forgive.  If you have something against somebody, forgive that person.  If you still hold a grudge, paraphrasing Jesus, don’t just pray to God.  Forgive that person.  Free yourself of the emotional baggage and bondage, then pray to the Father who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Harbor ill feelings about somebody and you won’t get far.  That’s not good.  You will end up at odds with others and out of order with God.  God has forgiven you for your trespasses.  That should help you forgive others, too.

There’s a solution in the Scriptures for the problems in the pews.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12 (NIV)

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“Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them.”
Mahalia Jackson

Faith is expected to be on display.  In one way or another, believers are expected to somehow show that they truly believe what they profess and proclaim.  We are supposed to walk and live by faith.

One way to show your faith is to show it with your appearance.  T-shirts or buttons can show your faith in Jesus.  Your accessories can have inspirational images or messages.  Even your car or truck can display your faith with window decals, bumper stickers or personalized license plate frames. 

This Easter season, Life Path Ministries spreads the Gospel message through our Spread the Love Campaign.  Join the movement and get on board with your church or ministry, even your small group, and spread the love with other believers during the week leading into Easter Sunday.  How could we expect people to show up on Easter Sunday if we never show, share or spread the love of Christ? Check out the Love Your Neighbor t-shirts and buttons that we sell on Zazzle through Life Path Ministries.  These are examples of how you can get others to show it more than they say it.

Read more inspiring quotes: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_faith.html#ixzz1oelnL700

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And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.- Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Some do their own thing and think that it’s okay to do so.  They do as they please and they do what pleases them, living without any concern for others.  Oddly enough, some of these people even claim to be Christians.

Such Christians have accepted the Deity but not the doctrine.  They know that they’re in need of the Savior, but they don’t want to have to deal with the lifestyle of being saved, sanctified and redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  They don’t want to go to hell, so they simply have chosen the better of the two options.

Christianity is not an alternative lifestyle.  It is an absolute lifestyle.  There are some biblical and doctrinal absolutes that you had been start adhering to or face the possibility of losing connection with your faith. 

Do all for Him.  Whether it is in word or deed, do it all for Him.  Don’t let what you do cause you to stray.  Don’t let what you say cause you to stray either.  Do your work for the Lord who did such a mighty work for us.

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One Question

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest for Freedom, 1939 - 1976
Artists must learn to become activists.  Artists must somehow yearn to become activists who speak up and speak out, giving an artistic voice to the voiceless and raising some sense of cultural and social consciousness in the society that surrounds them.  Without doing so, the artist leaves a void instead of a legacy along with a mere dent rather than an impression on life in his or her times.

One Question (originally, published in Words from the Underground by Bruce Jackson)

There is an alert.

Someone sounded the alarm.

They sang out like a herald,

Crying out for change.

Someone said something must be done.

Yet, I raise a question:

Who will do it?

Who will lead the change?

The ones who ask for it merely scatter.

The ones who said it was necessary cringed.

No one stepped up.

No one stepped out.

Who will lead the change?

Who will it be?

 
The question lingers on.  Will you lead the change?  Answer for yourself.

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…he did all that God commanded him.- Genesis 6:22 (ESV)

Noah did what God said.  There’s no biblical record of Bill Cosby’s comical rendition of Noah questioning God. That’s comedy, not the Bible.  The Bible shows Noah doing just as God said for him to do.  In fact, verse 5 of the next chapter says: And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

We need more Christians to see the connection between Genesis 6:9 with 6:22 and 7:5.  Noah’s righteousness was connected to his actions due to his beliefs.  We need to make the same connection in our own lives as believers.  We believe, so we should act on our belief.  We need to see how our actions should be rooted in the very faith that we already claim to have in God.  There was no precedent for Noah other than what he had been taught and told of God.  He had to experience growing in faith without a Bible.  We really have no excuse.

Do what God says to do.  Do it in faith.  Do it with the right attitude.  Do all that He says for you to do.

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Election day is upon us again.

In California, we don’t know if it’ll be Meg  or Jerry .  We’re certain that Arnold is done, though.  Could Barbara Boxer  be unseated after all of these years? Who knows but God? That’s about all that we are certain of in this election.

There are numerous laws and ordinances that prohibit many actions at the polls.  These make certain acts illegal.  Some sit and wait, watching to see who will slip up and break one of these sacred political rules.  These political watch dogs usually straddle one side of the fence or the other, rather simply leaning to the left or the right.

Yet, the Christian still has an alternative that outweighs man’s laws and remains legal.*

Pray at the polls today.

You don’t have to walk up and ask anyone for their prayer request.  You don’t have to ask the neighborhood poll captain or the registar of voters can you pray a short prayer.  Simply pray at the polls without disturbing anyone or distracting anyone.  Truly, God knows your heart.

Pray individually or collectively.  Pray by yourself or with others.  Pray all alone or altogether.  Pray.

Pray for our nation.  Pray for Congress, the Senate and the House, even the Speaker of the HousePray for the government as a whole, state and local government, even down to the propositions on the ballot.  Pray for the Democrats, the Republicans, the write-ins, the independents, and all candidates.  Pray for the Tea Party and other conservatives as well as the League of Women Voters and other advocates and activists.  Pray for the voters.  Pray for all involved in the political process.

Pray prior to going to polls.  Pray while in line at the polls.  Pray when you receive and read over your ballot.  Pray prior to submitting your ballot.  Say a little prayer when you get handed that patriotic “I Voted” sticker that they give out as you walk away from the polls.  Pray at the polls.

Pray openly.
Pray privately.
Pray out loud.
Pray silently.
Pray long.
Pray short.
Pray.
Pray at the polls.
Pray about the polls.
Pray about the results.
Pray about each and every election and its impact from that day forward.

Pray for change.
Pray for integrity.
Pray for democracy.
Pray about our freedoms.
Pray for America.

Don’t proposition.
Don’t petition.
Don’t protest.
Just pray.
Simply pray.
All that I ask of you, as a Christian brother or sister today, is to pray.

Pray about the elections.
Pray for the elections.
Pray for safety at the polls.
Pray for those serving at the polls.
Pray for all of those involved.
Pray for all of those who will be impacted by every vote.
Pray that the elections make a difference in the way that we all live in America…
The Land of the free. . .
The Home of the brave. . .

Pray to God.
Pray today.
Pray with all of your heart.
Pray.
Pray.
Pray.
Again, I say, pray.

*This is still legal until someone decides that prayer, even in its simplicity and serenity, is so offensive that they rally and petition enough others to shut down the freedom to pray openly and publicly just in case that it may unduly influence or impact someone who doesn’t have the ability to resist the power of prayer.  Then, when that time comes, we must still pray as Daniel did three times a day, even with his window opened towards Jerusalem while in captivity.  God’s decrees are not constrained by man’s laws.

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“We have been created for a purpose.”- Rick Warren
The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
In this day and age, it is pretty hard to figure out who hasn’t heard anything about Rick Warren.  Whether good or bad, his name has come up in a conversation about a best-selling book, a political agenda and relationship with President Obama, or Saddleback and its pastor hosting a political debate or “forum” (I truly do not see the difference beyond theory and definition).  Some atheists and church-haters despise Rick Warren and everything that he stands for, while some Christians and non-Christians live upon every aspect of The Purpose-Driven Life.  That is until The Shack or some other best-selling book sweeps Christendom and its outer realm like Jabez and Benett’s Book of Virtues once did.
What I admire admire about Rick Warren is that he is unashamed about what made him successful as a pastor.  I’ll even say how God made him successful in that realm. 

Look deep into The Purpose-Driven Church and see a man following God’s lead, both prayerfully and faithfully.  Prior to pastoring, Rick Warren had faith.  Prior to having a mega-church status, Rick Warren sought to please God.

Stop for a moment.  Think about what I just put out there.  Substitute “Rick Warren” with your name and his status with your achievements and accomplishments.
Prior to becoming a parent and a spouse, ______________ sought to please God.
Prior to getting a driver’s license and a car, _________________ sought to please God.
Prior to teaching Sunday school and leading VBS, ________________ sought to please God.
Prior to (whatever it is that people see as your big thing), did you seek to please God?
Now that you have done it and achieved it, do you still seek to please God? Do you seek to please Him more and more?
There’s no middle of the road with God.  I don’t believe that He’s nonchalant about how we handle His kingdom business.  We either please or grieve God.  There isn’t a safe place where we can straddle this way or that way.  Either we please Him or we simply do not, and then that’s when we grieve Him.
I could have used T.D. Jakes, Robert H. Schuller, Billy Graham, or the late Oral Roberts.  Imagine if I had used someone like Kirk Franklin, Brian Welch from Korn, or Steven Baldwin.  Each of these men have a story that speaks about times when their very own lives grieved God as well as the dramatic turnaround that led to them seeking to please God.
God is either pleased or grieved with us and our actions.
Do you please God? Do you grieve God? 
Seek to please Him today and forever.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.- Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

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“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

Exceed expectations. Are you getting any closer to excellence?  Merely meeting expectations is a minimum.  When you exceed those same expectations, you start to enter into excellence.  We are to offer God our best every step of the way.  Excuses do not excuse us from the expectations of our Eternal Father.

We have to go further than we have ever gone before.  We have to take actions that will lead to exploring new territory.  Excuses are just excuses.  They do not excuse us from His expectations.  They can hinder us from doing His will or walking by faith.  They can harm progress in our spiritual maturity.  They may not even help us at all.  We have to see what excuses really do for us.  They offer nothing but trouble because they lead to procrastination, problems and poor performance or pitiful productivity.  That’s what comes forth out of excuses.

Let excellence serve as your trademark.  Lead by example.  Let excuses go.  Let others see the distinct qualities that set you apart from the crowd.  Demonstrate that you are not simply going with the flow.  In fact, if you live for Him, it may even cause you to go against the grain at times.  You begin to discover that God has put more in you than you think, but you won’t discover it until you have been put to the test.  When the tests, trials and troubles come your way, it won’t be time for excuses.  That will be the time you set your heart on excelling beyond expectations.  At that point, you become David facing a giant called GoliathRight then, you become Moses standing before a raging Red SeaIn the midst of  it, you stand out like Paul, writing as a concerned parent to his dear children, addressing believers in Rome with an assurance that every Christian is more than a conqueror.  We overcome with overwhelming strength supplied by the Supreme God, God Almighty.

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“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What we discover when we read this quote from Bonhoeffer is horrific and even terrifying when we think of Anne Frank, Corrie Ten Boom and other accounts of the terrors of the Holocaust.  As a minister and pastor in WWII Germany, Bonhoeffer probably watched on as other demographic groups were isolated as threats to the regime within the Fatherland.  However, by his own admission, he ignored much until the day came when they came for him and his comrades.

Advocacy is about being a voice for those who have no voice of their own.  Think of how you may be able to address the needs of children and the disabled.  How about the elderly and immigrants? You may not agree with everyone’s values and ideals, but you do have to agree that there are some certain civil and human rights that we should ensure that people have as a matter of human decency.

Where is your voice? Who have you spoken up for?  for whom have you stood up and spoken out on principle?  Where is your voice?

“We often expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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