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Old 11-17-2015, 11:45 AM   #1
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Icon24 Weekly Spiritual Meditations - November 20

Bad situations don't have to make us bitter-they can make us better! God can use the good, the bad, the happy, the sad to mold us into the people He wants us to be. Our goal should be to focus not on what man does to us but what God will do through us. Rest assured, what man may intend for evil, God will use for good. Skip Heitzig

God has placed us precisely where we can serve best.

Distractions, negativity, and temptations can quickly grow deep roots. When they are left unattended, they keep us from bearing spiritual fruit. Jesusí parable of the sower teaches us not to let ďthe cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word.Ē It takes work to keep the ďweedsĒ out of our daily lives. But with diligence, we can put distractions behind us and replace them with Christís love. We can then share the love of Christ with everyone we meet.

When we give our hearts to God, our hands will follow.

With Godís help we can speak blessings to others.

God can free us from bitterness and other emotions that destroy our joy and keep us from forgiving others. We can always rest, knowing that God is just a prayer away to help us change.

God never changes.

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The Spider's Web Author Unknown
During World War II, a young soldier became separated from his unit on a Pacific Island. In the smoke and the crossfire, he had lost touch with his comrades. Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock and quickly crawled inside.
Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it be your will, please protect me. Whatever your will, though, I love you and trust you. In Jesus name, Amen."
When he looked up from his despairing plea for help, he saw a spider beginning to weave its web at the entrance of the cave. As he watched the delicate threads being slowly drawn across the mouth of the cave, the young soldier pondered its irony. He thought to himself, "God really does have a sense of humor. I asked God for protection and deliverance and He sent me a spider instead. I needed a stone wall and God sent a spider. How can a spider save me?"
Soon he heard the sound of his enemies, who were now scouring the area looking for those in hiding. One soldier with a gun slowly walked up to the cave's entrance. As the young man crouched in the darkness, hoping to surprise the enemy in a last-minute, desperate attempt to save his own life, he felt his heart pounding wildly out of control. As the enemy moved cautiously forward to enter the cave, he came upon the spider's web, which by now was completely strung across the opening. He backed away and called out to a comrade, "There can't be anyone in here. They would have had to break this spider's web to enter the cave. Let's move on."
The young man fell on his face and cried out to God, "Lord, forgive me, I had forgotten that in you a spider's web is stronger than a brick wall."
Years later, this young man, who become a preacher and evangelist, wrote about that ordeal. What he observed has stood by me in times of trouble, especially during those times when everything seemed impossible. He wrote: "Where God is, a spider's web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider's web."
We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways, if we would only trust him. Nehemiah reminded the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, "In God we will have success!" (Nehemiah 2:20)
Whatever is happening in your life today, just remember... "Where God is, a spider's web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider's web."

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THE GIFT OF HAPPINESS by Joseph J. Mazzella
It was the Summer of my freshman year of college. Instead of heading home for a nice, long break three of my friends and I had decided to stay and take some extra courses. The four of us had rented the top floor of an old house to live in. My own bed was jammed into a stuffy former laundry room and each night was a new adventure in humidity. Still, it felt exciting to be out of the dorms and in my own place for the first time. After the first few weeks, though, the thrill faded and homesickness set in. I found myself sitting alone in my sweaty bedroom each night thinking of my home, my Mom, and my Dad.
My Summers growing up had always been a special time. I spent hours riding my bike, playing basketball and swimming. I sat on the porch and talked to my Mom while she tended her flowers. I took pride in helping my Dad haul firewood for the Winter. And every night I sat at a dinner table full of delicious food prepared with love while my family filled the room with the sound of sweet laughter. Now I found myself missing them more than ever.
Finally when my spirits were at their lowest I heard a knock at the door. I opened it and was delighted and surprised to see Mom and Dad standing there with big smiles to fill my hungry heart and a box full of food to feed my hungry friends. We spent the afternoon eating, catching up, and just being together. It felt so good, and I felt so loved.
Victor Hugo wrote that, "The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself, or better yet, loved despite oneself." It was that gift of happiness that my Mom and Dad gave me that afternoon and every day of my life. It was their love that gave me a taste of the even greater love that God has for us all. May you always know that you are loved. May you always feel Godís love within you. And may you always share your happiness with the world.

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Rely on God Author Unknown
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God...
He delivered us...
He will deliver us...
He will continue to deliver us..." (2 Corinthians 1:9-11)
I quit!
I've tried my best to live God expects me to my family expects me to
I want to do the best, but I always fail.
I give up!
There's no use trying!
I just fail...
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God...
He delivered us
He will deliver us
He will continue to deliver us"
Again and again and again
like food,
like sleep,
God will give us strength every day.
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God"

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When a Trickle Becomes a Stream by Sally I. Kennedy
As he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7
The situation had been rolling around in the back of my mind. The more I thought about it, with all its possibilities and ramifications, the worse it seemed to get. A molehill was becoming a mountain, and all in my mind.
A trickle can do that. If it continues it may turn into a stream, and then a brook, then maybe a river. Before I know it, I'm dealing with an ocean of unchecked thoughts.
A classic by James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, has many great quotes; a few are:
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.
Right thinking begins with the words we say to ourselves.
These are wise and true sayings. This, too, is wise and true: in a wrap-up to a cyclical letter to the church at Philippi, St Paul says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." (Phil4:8)
If I follow this suggestion, I can expect that if a trickle even gets close to becoming a stream, it will be checked and stopped in its path.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to be aware when fear is creeping into my thoughts, so that I may turn my mind toward You and what you suggest is best. Thank you, in Jesus' name.

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On the Horizon by Steve May
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island, et al) spent much of his life struggling with serious health issues. In spite of this, he remained eternally optimistic.
One day, when his fever was running high and he couldn't control his coughing attacks, his wife said, somewhat cynically, "I suppose you still believe it's a wonderful day."
Stevenson replied, "Yes, I do. I will never permit a row of medicine bottles to block my horizon."
Are there rows and rows of problems and fears attempting to block your horizon today? Can you look past them and see the goodness of God?
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)

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The Actor Author Unknown
There was once a Shakespearean actor who was known everywhere for his one-man shows of readings and recitations from the classics; He would always end his performance with a dramatic reading of Psalm 23.
But one night, just before the actor was to offer his customary recital of Psalm 23, a young man from the audience spoke up, "Sir, do you mind if tonight I recite Psalm 23?". The actor was quite taken back by this unusual request, but he allowed the young man to come forward and stand front and center on the stage to recite the Psalm, knowing that the ability of this unskilled; youth would be no match for his own talent.
With a soft voice, the young man began to recite the words of the Psalm. When he was finished, there was no applause. There was no standing ovation as on other nights. All that could be heard was the sound of weeping. The audience had been so moved by the young man's recitation that every eye was full of tears.
Amazed by what he had heard, the actor said to the youth, "I don't understand. I have been performing Psalm 23 for years. I have a lifetime of experience and training -- but I have never been able to move an audience as you have tonight. Tell me, what is your secret?" The young man quietly replied, "Well sir, you might know the Psalm... but I know the Shepherd."
Do you know The Shepherd? Do you have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you spend time daily with Him?
Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
I want to change your view so that you can see things from My perspective, says the Lord. I want you to look beyond your personal concerns and desires to see yourself and your circumstances as temporary. I would have you consider what is important spiritually and eternally, and I will open your eyes wide to see with precision. Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.

Pay attention to how you respond to life and circumstances, and make changes that are necessary in order to always do what is right and good. Always choose the most righteous option in making decisions. Do no harm to anyone, but always regard those around you, says the Lord. You must do this if you are going to prosper in all things. Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

In transforming you into My image, I must shine a light that is brighter than the sun, a light that will penetrate every area of darkness in your soul. I want you to see with precision all that lurks in the shadows beneath your exterior. These will be things that must be relinquished before you will be able to see Me face to face, says the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

If in your heart, you seek My face and My will, I will direct you in the path of righteous living. And, your actions on that path will please Me very much. If you depart from that path to have your own way in satisfying your flesh desires, you will also depart from My presence, says the Lord. Choose wisely. Romans 9:8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

I have sanctified and set you aside for Myself--separated from the world and worldly values to spiritual and eternal values. I am raising up a people whose hearts wholly belong to Me without compromise or hypocrisy. You are called by My name and no other. Be one with Me, says the Lord. Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
Rejoicing in My goodness brings you into the glory of the land of the living, and brings you into the place where I can bless you exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that you can believe. If you can allow the understanding that I bring you today and bring to life a rejoicing spirit within you, then you shall indeed receive all that is available in this season, says the Lord.

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This Path by John H.
Walking on this path of life
I'm bound to have some pain;
But it's up to me whether to choose to be
miserable and insaneó
or to make the choice to use my voice
and ask God to help me through it.
It's an awesome thing what prayer can bring
if I just take the time to do it!

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Let There Be Peace On Earth by Jill Jackson / Mark Miller
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

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I pray that the Lord will bless and protect you, and that he will show you mercy and kindness. May the Lord be good to you and give you peace.Ē -- Numbers 6:24-6

"Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-8)

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilís schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:10-13)

We are Godís handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10

The Lord says, ďAs the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish . . . so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Ē - Isaiah 55:10-11

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. - Ephesians 4:26

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

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Look Up by Joseph J Mazzella
I had to get a new pair of eyeglasses recently. Stigmatism had started to mix with my nearsightedness making things a little bit blurry with my old prescription. Also I had to finally give in to another sign of my aging body and get my first pair of bifocals.
It has taken me several days to get used to the new pair. While it was great seeing clearly at a distance again and wonderful being able to read a book without it being an inch from my face, the combination lenses were a challenge for me. The problem was that whenever I was looking at something far away I had to keep my eyes up or else I got a wave of blurriness when I accidentally looked through the reading part of the lenses. I am glad that my eyes are now getting the hang of it. It is no fun living in a blurry world.
I am grateful for this new pair of glasses for another reason too. They have taught me a truth that I will hold close to my heart forever: whenever you need to see the road ahead clearly, Look Up! Too often in my life I have kept the eyes of my soul looking down to the ground. When I did the world seemed like a scary, blurry, and depressing place. When I raised those eyes up to Heaven, though, my vision always became breathtakingly clear. I saw that God loves me. I saw that this is Godís world. I saw that life is good and when I help others I make it even better. I saw that no matter what each day may throw at me, I can face it with a loving heart and a joyful spirit.
Whenever your life seems blurry then, look up! Whenever your life seems frightening or overwhelming, look up! Whenever you arenít sure what you should do, look up! God is in His Heaven and He is in your heart as well. Open the eyes of your soul and see clearly just how much God loves you and just how much you can love as well.

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Dear Lord, I give you may hands to do Your work; I give You my feet to go Your way; I give You my eyes to see as You see; I give You my tongue to speak Your words; I give You my mind that You may think in me; I give You my spirit that You may pray in me. Above all, I give You my heart that You may love in me Ė love the Father and love all humankind. I give You my whole self, Lord, that You may grow in me, so that it is You who lives, works and prays in me. Amen.

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Read Through The Bible
Job 31
1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? 2 For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? 3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? 4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? 5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; 6 Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. 7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; 8 Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. 9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door; 10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. 11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. 12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase. 13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? 16 If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; 17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; 18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;) 19 If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; 20 If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: 22 Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. 23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. 24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; 25 If I rejoice because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; 26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; 27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: 28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above. 29 If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: 30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. 31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. 32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: 34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door? 35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. 6 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. 37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him. 38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; 39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: 40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

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Dear Lord, Help us to rid our lives of distractions and to fill our thoughts and hearts with your love. Lead us into your word where we can find strength, direction, and renewed hope. Amen.

Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again. If you do not have Jesus in your life and wish to ask Jesus into your life please go to this link now to do so: .
Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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