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The Lounge / Re: Members birthdays
« Last post by Amanda_George on December 14, 2017, 11:56:13 AM »
Three more birthday bods today!

:jumping0045:

Happy birthday to ArmyWAG-X, peaches and musicken - hope you all have the best day possible today!
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The Lounge / Re: Members birthdays
« Last post by Amanda_George on December 12, 2017, 10:25:46 AM »
Another couple of birthday's today!

bday1 to popsicle and Clara44 - hope you both have the best day possible!
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Christian / Re: Devotional
« Last post by Pip on December 10, 2017, 10:07:09 PM »
Wednesday, July 26, 2017   

Prayer as Response (Oratio)
Jan Johnson

Today’s Verse
“The one thing I ask of the LORD the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.  Hear me as I pray, O LORD.  Be merciful and answer me!  My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’  And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming.’”  Psalm 27:4, 7–8

Have you ever spoken to someone and they didn’t speak back to you?

Maybe they didn’t notice you. Or maybe they did, but they just kept going. It sounds odd to say this, but we do this with God when we read a Bible passage, think, What a great little nugget of truth, and go on to the next thing in life.  If we have been attentive, God has spoken to us through the Scripture passage and we would be wise to tell God about our response. Maybe we’re upset by what has been said, or maybe a deep hole in our soul has been addressed, or maybe we have a question.  This prayer response (called oratio) is the next natural phase in the conversational back-and-forth rhythm of lectio divina. This brings so many benefits. First of all, your relationship with God is strengthened just as your relationship with anyone is strengthened by ongoing conversation. Also, you receive so much more from the passage, both in terms of content as well as your relationship with God. The typical result for many of us is that even more comes to us and our relationship with God becomes more interactive than ever.
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Christian / Re: Devotional
« Last post by Pip on December 10, 2017, 09:56:42 PM »
Tuesday, July 25, 2017   

Reading and Reflection (Lectio and Meditatio)
Jan Johnson

Today’s Verse
“I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.  I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.  I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.  Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.”  Psalm 119:14–17

Stillness and peace in God’s presence prepare us to read Scripture reflectively and meditatively. This kind of unhurried reading is done slowly, the way we slow down when we’re having deep, delightful conversations with a friend.  Such meditative reading usually causes us to want to pray to respond to God who has spoken to us. This back and forth process of reading, meditating, and praying is so common among all kinds of Christians that centuries ago nearly back to the early church new Christians learned to do this in a process called lectio divina. (This is Latin because in those days Latin was a common language, perhaps more so than English is today.) Lectio divina means “sacred reading.” It wasn’t like reading a bill of sale which might be skimmed, but more like reading every word of the best letter that you’ve ever received.  The first phase of the lectio process is this slow, meditative reading, being attentive to what God might say. Such reading affirms that the Spirit has inspired the writing of the Scripture and today inspires us as readers to hear God.  Reading flows into reflection (the second phase, meditatio). A word or phrase in the Scripture passage stands out to us almost seems to shimmer! and we think, I’ve never seen that before! But we have. The Spirit knows these words are what we need to hear today. Then we carefully ponder: Why would the Spirit cause this to stand out to me today?

What do I need to know?

Resist the urge to make things up or try to be too spiritual and trust that God wants to speak to you and will speak.
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Christian / Re: Devotional
« Last post by Pip on December 10, 2017, 09:46:43 PM »
Monday, July 24, 2017   

Silence (Silencio)
Jan Johnson

Today’s Verse
“LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty.  I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.  Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  Psalm 131:1–2

For many people, prayer consists of talking to God. Some people even have long lists that they pray through. But prayer is meant to be a conversation between God and you about matters that concern you both: people you love, causes you care about, work that you’re pouring yourself into, well-being in all of life, the Kingdom of God moving forward. Sometimes I picture prayer as Jesus and me sitting on a park bench side-by-side. There I process with Jesus (sometimes even complain) and receive guidance, maybe in the form of simple nudges. Other times ideas come to me that don’t sound like anything I would or could come up with!  In order for such conversation to happen, we need to be willing to listen to God as well as talk to God. Backing up even more, we need to be attentive to God’s presence with us just as we turn to listen to someone who speaks to us. If we are to give the other person our full attention, we need to surrender all the chatter in our heads. We have to decide that it’s not up to us to solve every problem; some matters are “too great or awesome” for us and we can trust God to address them.  In conversations with people, we hear what the other person is saying to us best if we are at peace within. In conversation with God, we are more likely to be glad to be in God’s presence and to interact with God when we have an inner stillness and quiet mind. Being still doesn’t come about by forcing ourselves into it; we ask God to help us and that stillness becomes God’s gift to us.
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Christian / Re: Devotional
« Last post by Pip on December 10, 2017, 09:40:27 PM »
Friday, July 21, 2017   

I Need Thee Every Hour
Edie Littlefield Sundby

Today’s Verse

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11–13 (NIV)

I grew up listening to my father sing God’s praise as he worked in the fields and milked cows. Mother’s songs could be heard above the Oklahoma prairie wind as she hung clothes out to dry.  Walking the old California Mission Trail, I was often overcome with joyous memories of childhood days. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, after walking 200 miles in 12 days without a break, I arrived at Mission San Fernando on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It was too late to attend Sunday services, and I sat alone in the quiet chapel, listening to the organist practice the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.”  I closed my eyes and it felt like I was a child again, sitting with my family on a wooden church pew in our small rural Baptist church in Oklahoma. Every head was bowed as the congregation gently swayed back and forth with the music of this same hymn. It was not just a song it was a prayer.  The prayer lingered for days afterward as our family went about our chores humming the words, our hearts affirming our need for God. My mother cooked the evening meal, and I heard the soft sound of her voice: “Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh. I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain; come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.”

My consciousness returned to this time and this place, to old Mission San Fernando. There would be more battles ahead for me. I knew there would be hardship and suffering. The organist stopped her practicing. Long after the final vibration, I sat softly humming, softly singing, smiling and with tears flowing. “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; every hour I need Thee; oh, bless me now, my Savior; I come to Thee.”

Dear Lord, how much we need you.
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Christian / Re: Devotional
« Last post by Pip on December 10, 2017, 09:32:22 PM »
Thursday, July 20, 2017   

The Power of Song
Edie Littlefield Sundby

Today’s Verse

“I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to God as long as I live.”  Psalm 104:33 (NIV)

God created music with a soul-stirring power, and the Bible is the greatest songbook that has ever been written. The Bible is filled with songs of praise, of lamentation, of redemption. Whatever befalls us, there is a song recorded as chapter or verse to speak to our heart and bring us closer to God.  Whenever I feel alone, scared, and in need of God’s tender mercies, I go outside into the hills to walk and pray. Sometimes my focus in prayer is inward: I walk in silence, seeking God in the stillness between breaths. Other times, when my physical body is overwhelmed and drowning in chemo or healing from surgery or when difficult emotions have a choke hold on my heart, I need to focus my prayer outward, away from what is happening within. That’s when I turn to music.  For me, any God-inspired song will do. It can be a traditional hymn, like “It is Well with My Soul” a song that has transformed my hurting heart into a place of peace, acceptance, and grace. It could even be a popular favorite like “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Oscar Hammerstein’s enduring classic of inspiration and resilience. Both songs remind me to hold fast to hope and God’s peace, even in experiences of tragedy. They bring to mind God’s promise in Isaiah, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (43:2).

There is a reason many of the greatest songs ever written are inspired by the Bible, for music is a gift from God a beautiful mystery that speaks to us, reaches deep within our hardened or burdened hearts to touch us, and brings us peace. Through song, may “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).
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The Lounge / Re: Members birthdays
« Last post by Amanda_George on December 10, 2017, 10:59:27 AM »
We've got 2 birthday babies on the forum today!

:sign0072: to zeemiller and Emma_Mc!
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The Lounge / Re: Members birthdays
« Last post by Amanda_George on December 08, 2017, 09:56:27 AM »
Belated birthday wishes go to Allan_T - I'm so sorry I missed your birthday yesterday... I was having computer issues!  I hope you had the best day possible though?

anim_65
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Fun Stuff / Re: Jokes thread
« Last post by Pip on December 08, 2017, 12:33:22 AM »
"If you'll make the toast and pour the juice, sweetheart," said Tracy the newlywed bride, "breakfast will be ready."

"Good, what are we having for breakfast," said Dewey, the new husband.

"Toast and juice," Tracy replied.
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