Daily Archives: September 20, 2012
FALL IN LOVE
With summer winding down, it’s time to start thinking ahead to cooler temperatures, especially when it comes to love. Not sure what to do or where to go with your guy? Between outdoor adventures and season-specific outings, fall can be a lot more fun than you think.
There’s no better way to eat seasonal and local than by heading to the closest apple farm to pick your own fruit. Not only will you be enjoying the fresh air, but you can gather enough goodies to go home and try your hand at baking a pie together. The crisp, fall air is energizing and apple picking is something you can only do in the fall, which makes it special. Check out PickYourOwn.org to find a farm near you.
Cotton candy and rides and games, oh my! What could be better than a day spent arm in arm with your man while you take in the action at a local state fair? Greasy food, silly rides and the chance for him to win you a stuffed animal all combine for a laid back but ultra-fun day for two. Fall is prime time for fairs, so do a quick search here to find the closest one to you.
A fall hike is a great way to get to know someone better or boost your bond with someone you’ve been seeing for a while. Whether you’re six months into a relationship or six years, a brisk walk through some gorgeous trails makes for a romantic (and athletic) afternoon. Local Hikesprovides a comprehensive list of hiking trails near metropolitan areas making it easy to find one near you. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the fall colors.
Too blustery out for a hike or trip to the fair? There’s nothing more romantic than staying in and cuddling up under a blanket together for a cozy night in. Stock up on your favorite snacks, choose some movies you both want to watch, light some candles, open a bottle of wine and spend the afternoon or evening relaxing in the warmth of your living room.
Whether it’s to hike further afield, check out a cute town you’ve never been to, or simply do something different for a day, taking a mini road trip is a fun fall date that goes beyond your usual activities. The best reason to get out of town in the fall? To see the fall foliage! Check out where to head to see the bursts of yellow, red and orange with a handy fall foliage map.
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Read: Ephesians 3:8-13
True confession: When I found out that astronaut Rex Walheim would be taking a copy of Our Daily Bread with him into space for the last mission of the shuttleAtlantis, I looked ahead to find out which devotionals I had written that he would be reading. The idea of having my words read in outer space seemed, well, pretty amazing for this small-town kid.
No sooner had I satisfied my curiosity, however, than I had another thought. Why do I consider this such a big deal? My words are heard in heavenly places whenever I pray. What has happened to me that I take for granted the concept that the God who created the universe listens to my words? In Christ, I can approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12). Why be more awestruck at having a human read what I have written than having Almighty God hear what I pray?
If that idea isn’t enough to rouse me from complacency, there’s this: The Lord is using the church to make known His wisdom to the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (v.10). Imagine. God not only hears our prayers, but He uses us earthlings to teach heavenly beings the plan of redemption He has accomplished through Christ. Now that’s a big deal!
Oh, to know that He is near!
Earth recedes and heaven opens,
God is waiting, God is here. —O. Smith
by Joyce Meyer – posted September 20, 2012
And Elisha said to him, Take bow and arrows. And he took bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put your hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it, and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window to the east. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria. For you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek till you have destroyed them. Then he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, Strike on the ground. And he struck three times and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him and said, You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had destroyed it. But now you shall strike Syria down only three times. —2 Kings 13:15–19
It’s easy to say, “I believe,” but the true test comes when we have to act on what we believe. In this story, the king came to Elisha the prophet to seek his help in obtaining deliverance from the Syrians. The prophet told him to strike arrows on the ground as a symbol of Israel’s attacks against their enemy, but the king stopped after shooting only three arrows onto the ground.
Unbelief is disobedience. Period. Had the king believed, he would have struck arrows on the ground many times. Because of his unbelief, he stopped before he’d even gotten a good start. It is not surprising that Elisha became frustrated and angry with him. Incidents of unbelief are recorded throughout the Old and New Testaments. Unbelief seems to be at work in nearly every direction we turn. Matthew 17:14-20 records the story of a man who brought his epileptic son to Jesus for healing. He said, “And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to cure him” (v. 16).
This boy’s father was hurt and disappointed in the disciples’ lack of ability to emulate their Leader. We might have agreed with him had we been in his place that day. After all, Jesus had been traveling with these twelve men for several months. They had repeatedly observed as He performed miracles wherever they went. In Luke 10, we learn that Jesus sent out other followers, and they performed a number of miracles and healings. Why couldn’t the disciples do them in this instance? Jesus had constantly encouraged them to heal the sick and do the things that He did.
Yet they were unable to heal the boy, and Jesus said: “O you unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me” (v. 17). Jesus cast out the demon, and the boy was cured. Unbelief leads to disobedience.
But here’s the end of the story. When the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t heal the boy, Jesus’ answer was clear: “Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust] . . .” (v. 20).
I feel sure that Jesus’ answer caused the disciples to examine their hearts and to ask what held them back. Why didn’t they believe? Perhaps they had allowed negative thinking to enter their minds. Perhaps they weren’t able to grasp the fact that Jesus wanted to use them and empower them to perform miracles.
Of course, we know from reading the book of Acts that once they were filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples demonstrated God’s supernatural power at work—but not in this story. He said to them, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).
The promise remains valid to this day. Unbelief will keep us from doing what God has called and anointed us to accomplish in life. It will also hinder us from experiencing the sense of peace He wants us to enjoy as we find rest for our souls in Him (see Matthew 11:28,29 KJV).
When God tells us we can do something, we must believe that we can. It is not by our power or our might that we are able to do what He tells us to, but by His Spirit working on the inside of us that we win in the battle of unbelief.
Lord Jesus, forgive my lack of faith. I know that when I don’t believe, I am disobeying You. In Your name, I ask You to help me push away every bit of unbelief so that I may focus on faithfully following You. Amen.
From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21, NIV.
Every word you speak matters. Something you say may seem insignificant to you, but to someone else those words can be life changing. When you use your words to lift someone’s spirit and speak words of vision and life over them, you are depositing seeds that will last throughout eternity.
It’s especially important to speak vision into our children. As a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend, the children in your life need to hear on a regular basis that they can do something great with their lives. As parents, our words carry incredible weight. That’s why you should never put a child down. Don’t ever say, “You’re slow, clumsy or dumb. Why can’t you make good grades like your sister? Why can’t you hit the baseball like your cousin?” Those words are seeds. They can take root and affect that child many years later. Too many people have been crippled by low expectations. But today, all of that can change. Today, you can start to speak vision over yourself and over the people in your life. Today, you can call out the seeds of greatness in others and stir up the gift of God inside. Today, speak life, speak hope and speak vision!
Prayer for Today:
Father, today I choose to speak life. I choose to speak hope. I choose to speak vision. Let me see the people in my life the way You see them. Let me see the potential You have placed in them so that I can call forth their seeds of greatness in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright © 2012 Joel Osteen Ministries