This Week’s Sermon From The Ranch – “Brain Washing” In The Best Possible Way!

(Each Sunday, This Day’s Thought is blessed to share Eric Elder’s sermons from his wonderful ministry, “The Ranch“)
The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration
Brain Washing” In The Best Possible Way!

The Conclusion of Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder


Romans Cover…….


Special note:  Today’s the last day of this seriesRomans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.  But that doesn’t mean it has to be over!  You can now order all 40 lessons from this series in a beautiful paperback book that you can use to review what you’ve learned or to share it with others.  Copies are available simply for a donation of any size to our ministry this month.


Also, I’d like to invite you to a special night of “Praise and Feasting” here at Clover Ranch this weekend!  See the two P.S.’s at the end of today’s message for details.  Now here’s the conclusion of our study together…




My son came home from Bible college a few weeks ago and said some people in his town think that all the kids who go to his school are brainwashed.  My son said, “They’re right!  We are!”


Their brains are washed in the best possible way, washed by God Himself, cleansed by His Holy Spirit, and renewed to look more and more like the mind of Christ every day.


As we wrap up this study of Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, I wanted to give you some final thoughts on how to keep your “brain washed” in the best possible way, too.


First, I want to encourage you to keep reading the Word of God.


My wife has been going through chemotherapy the last few months and spending a lot of time reading and memorizing God’s Word.  Once in awhile she’ll read a newspaper or magazine article about cancer and its devastating effects.  It always reminds her how much more hope and joy she has whenever she reads the Bible!  So she picks up her Bible again and starts reading it instead.  We could all do more of that!


As God said to the Israelites:


“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).


Some people might think that reading the Bible all the time is like burying your head in the sand and ignoring the problems in your life.  But there’s a difference between burying your head in the sand and burying your head in God’s Word!  Sand leads to suffocation and death, whereas the Bible leads to fresh air and life!


If you want to keep your mind as fresh and clean as possible, keep reading God’s Word as much as possible, every day, many times a day.  A pastor was once asked which version of the Bible was the best.  His answer?  “The one you read the most.”  Amen!


Second, I want to encourage you to keep surrounding yourself with other Christ-minded believers so they can “re-mind” you of God’s Word, too.


I know that there may be times when you may not feel like going to church.  I know that you may not feel like going to Bible studies and getting to know complete strangers.  I know that once you’ve gotten to know those complete strangers, they may do things that annoy you, or irritate you, or make you wonder why you ever bothered going at all.


But for all the potential pitfalls of interacting with others, there’s nothing more powerful than having a Christian brother or sister encourage you in your faith and life.


As the writer of Ecclesiastes said:


“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).


Renewing your mind is hard work, but God doesn’t want you to do it alone.  He wants you to rely on Him, and He wants you to rely on His people, the body of Christ, who all share the same head, Jesus Christ.


We got a package in the mail last week that made us cry.  It came from a church we used to attend about 20 years ago.  In the package were a stack of cards from the church members and a check from the church.  We were so overwhelmed by this expression of love and care that we couldn’t even open the stack of cards.


When we finally did open them, our tears began to flow again-tears of joy and thankfulness for their thoughts and prayers for us during this time in our lives.  It was such a reminder to us of how the body of Christ works to lift us up in our time of need.


While it can be hard at times to invest your time in getting to know other Christ-minded believers, it’s an investment that will pay dividends for you and for them for years to come… for all eternity, in fact!


So first, if you want to keep renewing your mind, keep reading God’s Word.  Second, keep surrounding yourself with other Christ-minded believers so they can remind you of God’s Word, too.  And third, always remember that God LOVES you, He is FOR you, and He can work ALL THINGS for good in your life!


When I started writing this study almost a year ago, I had no idea what the year might hold.  I had no idea how my life was about to change as my wife was diagnosed with cancer.  Yet, as I’ve been rereading the whole book of Romans again this week, and rereading each of my messages from this past year, I’ve been reminded again just how much God loves me, is for me, and can work all things for good in my life, too.


And I’m positive that God loves you, is for you, and can work all things for good in your life.  How can I be so sure?  You don’t take my word for it!  You can take His!  Here are just a few reminders again of what Paul said in his letter to the Romans:


“But God demonstrates HIS OWN LOVE FOR US in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:3).


“If God is FOR us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b).


“And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).


If you’ve read with me this far, I’m sure that you love God and are called according to His purpose, too, so these words apply to you just as much as they applied to the Romans to whom Paul was writing!  Let God’s Word sink deep into your mind today.  Let Him speak words of love, words of support, and words of encouragement to you every day.


If you need a good “brain washing,” I’d encourage you to take some time to read and reread the whole book of Romans again (then take some more time to read and reread the whole Bible again!)  There’s nothing better to help you renew your mind than to wash it with the Word of God.  Surround yourself with other Christ-minded believers who can speak God’s Word into your life as well.  And always remember that God LOVES you, is FOR you, and can work ALL THINGS for your good.


As I said at the beginning of this study, one of the most powerful forces in the world in an idea.  Revolutions of all kinds have been sparked by mere ideas and even the smallest ideas can grow to either define… or destroy you.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure your ideas are in line with God’s ideas.


As Paul encouraged the Romans, let me encourage you:


“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).


Will you pray with me?


Father, thank You for speaking to us through this amazing book called Romans.  Thank You for Paul’s faithfulness to write down what he learned from You so he could share it with others.  Help us to be faithful with what we’ve learned so we can apply it to our own lives and to help others apply it to theirs as well.  Wash our minds, cleanse our hearts, and fill us with Your peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Romans CoverP.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed studying the book of Romans with me through these messages this past year.  If you’d like to get a copy of all 40 of these messages (38 lessons plus the introduction and conclusion), I’ve put them all in an 8×10 paperback book that you can get through our ministry simply for a donation of any size.  Reading and rereading these lessons can be a great way to renew your mind, as each lesson points you back to the Word of God.  Each lesson also comes with a set of “Questions for Reflection” that you can use  renew your mind, or to go through them with a small group to help others renew their minds, too.  As I’ve been rereading these messages myself as I’ve been putting together this book, I’ve been amazed how each lesson continues to speak to me again and again as I’m now going through a whole new set of circumstances in my life.  The As Hebrews 4:12 says, the Word of God really is “living and active,” and God can use it to speak to us in fresh ways every time we read it.  To make a donation to our ministry and get a copy of the book as our way of saying thanks, just click the link below.

Make A Donation and Get A Book! 

P.P.S.  I’d also like to invite you to a special night of “Praise and Feasting” here at Clover Ranch this coming Friday, June 1st at 6 pm Central Time.  Ever since our day of “Prayer and Fasting” for Lana and her health, we’ve wanted to have a night of “Praise and Feasting,” to celebrate all that God is doing in our lives.  There’s no charge, and all you have to do is bring yourself, a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on, and a dish to pass (if you’d like to add it to our feast!)  We’ll be spending our time in praise and worship and encouraging one another in our faith.  There are hotels nearby if you’re coming from out of town.  We’d love to see you if you can make it!  Just send me an email at and I’d be glad to send you more details and directions.


Questions for Reflection
1. Read  Romans 12:1-2.  The term “brainwashing” is often used in a negative way, referring to someone who has been convinced of something that is untrue.  But in light of today’s study, how can “washing your brain” with God’s Word work in your favor?
2. Who are some people in your life who are so filled with God’s Word that it seems to flow out of them whenever they speak?  What could you do to spend more time learning from and growing together with them?
3. Read Romans 8:28-39.  What verses from this passage stick out in your mind that are particularly helpful to you in your life right now?
4. Skim through the book of Romans again, or take an hour or so to read the whole book again.  Write down any words or phrases that God may be wanting to speak to you.  Hold onto those words and let God use them in the days ahead to continually renew your mind.


To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind,please visit:

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The Visitors From Hell

* Special Note:  This poem is about what happened to me when I was nineteen years old.  My roommate was at work and I was home alone.  I had been doing a Bible Study Group and was reading my Bible in bed.  I must have dozed off when something startled me back awake just as my Bible was slipping from my fingers.  As I grasped it firmly, the sliding doors to my closet at the foot of my bed began to open and I saw three of the most hideous creatures you could ever imagine coming right at me.  The evilness and hatred that emanated from them is something that I will never forget in my entire life.  There are no words adequate enough to describe this experience, any more so than when the Light came to me in my near-death experience 27 years later, but it will give you a feel for what it was like.  



** Image source:

Today’s Sermon From Kevin Litchfield

This Day's Thought

A New Year

by Kevin Litchfield

John 15:5-15:5

Can you believe it? Having just celebrated Christmas Day, we look to the end of our past year and the beginning of a new year. This morning , as we reflect upon this new year, I would to share with you once again a message entitled A New Year. It is my hope that this year’s resolutions will remember Christ and our personal relationship and worship with Him. As the year draws to a close, what kind of year has it been for you? Has it been a year to cherish or a year to quickly forget? Whatever the year’s tone for us, this week fills us with hope. A hope that a new year will bring a change for us. A chance for a fresh new start- a new beginning. And with that many of us make new year resolutions- pledges or promises to yourself or to God that you will personally be different this year. This morning I want to focus upon some new year’s resolutions that each of should consider for ourselves, but before we delve into our topic, I thought you might enjoy a few stories of failed resolutions: A story is told that At the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the bulletin board. As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. “Why weren’t my resolutions posted?” She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions. Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year. Or how bout this one…A son called his parents to wish them a happy new year and when his Dad answered the phone, He asked his dad,” well Dad, what’s your new year’s resolution? His dad replied, To make “To make your mother as happy as I can all year,” When his mom got on the phone he asked. her the same question. His mom replied my resolution is “To see that your dad keeps his New Year’s resolution.”

Or some of you may have given up on resolutions taking the same attitude as the characters in the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes: The cartoon character Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes once said, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind I’ll never die.”

Regardless of past successes or failures… I want you to give a new year resolution one more try but this time realize that keeping this promise is a team effort. Invite the Holy Spirit to join you this year…

The disciples were faced with a new day. Their master Jesus had died. Their hopes were crushed. Their dreams shattered. As per Jesus instructions, they assembled in an upper room knowing what needed to be done but lacking both the power and the desire to carry it out. It was here in their doubt that the Holy Spirit entered the picture. Turn with to Acts chapter 2 beginning in verse 1. The Holy Spirit powerfully entered their lives and they became bold preachers of the Gospel. Jesus spoke of this same Holy Spirit in John chapter 14 verse 26 when he said: But when the father sends the Counselor as my representative- and by the counselor I mean the Holy Spirit- He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you. As we contemplate a new year’s resolution, we must do so realizing that we can not be successful in keeping it apart from God. John 15:5 b says… Apart from me you can do nothing. And the me is clearly God. So you are not alone. With these thought in mind, I would like to offer to you some good resolutions for you to consider.

First, Find time for God- Build that Personal relationship with Christ

In the course of each day make time to creatively spend with God. You know I have a saying that if you want something to happen write it down, put into an active calendar, and guess what the odds of it happening just increased. Look at your day… where in that day can you make an appointment to spend with Jesus. Then write under that time slot in your calendar Jesus. Invite Jesus to meet you. In this time you can read your bible, read a inspirational magazine or book, pray, sing, walk, journal, etc. How boring are our friendships where we say and do the same things every time we are together. Also start with short amounts of time… Us the exercise principles, If you spend a hour exercising in the beginning, you will be too sore to exercise at all the next day. I remember in College I found this place called a weight room come to think of it was probably a result of a new year’s resolution to be a muscle man. I go into the gym and I see a tiny girl pumping the iron machines… I infer if she can do it so can I… I did realize that she had been working out like this for years… I was so sore the next day that I did go back there for a year… Pace yourself. Jesus would rather meet with you for one minute a day that 20 minutes one day a year. As you build that relationship, you will learn to hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit, and The Holy Spirit will then personally convict ,guide, rebuke, teach, counsel, comfort, you name each of us. And when that happens our relationship will deepen and we will grow.

Second, Stay or become active in a local church’s worship and Bible Studies

If not this one, find one that you can become involved in. But if it is this one, don’t just come on Sunday morning or once a month or year and expect to personally grow. I strongly believe that in order to become all that we can be we need each other and even more than the fellowship we need to be with each other in a small group bible study that can be Sunday school or a weekday Bible study. But choose to study God’s word within a group. Listen to a letter a pastor got from a church member:

Dear Pastor:

You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated.

Christmas Holidays (the Sunday before & after) 2
New Years (the party lasted too long) 1
Easter (get away for the holidays) 2
July 4th (national holidays) 1
Labor Day (need to get away) 2
Memorial Day (visit hometown folk) 1
School closing (kids need a break) 1
School reopens (one last fling) 1
Family reunions (mine & wife’s) 3
Sleep late (stayed up too long Saturday night) 9
Deaths in family 2
Anniversary (second honeymoon) 1
Sickness (one per family member) 5
Business trip (a must) 1
Vacation (three to four weeks) 6
Bad weather (ice, snow, rain, clouds) 2
Ball games 2
Races 2
Unexpected company (can’t walk out) 2
Time changes (spring & fall) 2
Special on TV (superbowl, etc) 3

Pastor, that leaves two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the 4th Sunday in February and the 3rd Sunday in August unless we are providentially hindered. Sincerely, A Faithful Member Guys, it is you that miss out by not risking getting involved.

Third, Choose to become a regular tither this year

There are very few times in the Bible will God dares you to test Him, but This is one of them. Listen to MalachI 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be enough food in my temple, If you do, says the Lord Almighty, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great that you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you. Beginning in the new year at the first paycheck give God the first fruits of that check. Before a single bill is paid give God his 10 percent. Trusting that God will provide if we obey his word. I truly believe that we miss a blessing because we don’t trust God with our money. It ‘s all God’s anyway. God could demand 100 percent but he only asks for ten percent. By not obeying and tithing we are disobeying God and we are sinning against the very God that we say we love. This year try it test God and obey Him by tithing you personal money. What would happen if everyone that attend this church obeyed and tithed what more could happen for God’s kingdom here and abroad. You can’t expect to receive to have a close relationship with god and experience His abundant blessing if you keep sin in your heart and life. Today say in this year I or my family will be a tither. I will test God. I will try it.

A fourth resolution is simply to put any undesirable habit, addiction, sin, you name it into the hands of God.

Too many of us start here with our resolutions, we try to treat a symptom without addressing the root cause. Unless you abide with Christ and choose to invite the Holy Spirit into your life and into your problem there is no hope. You will always try to quit and you will most always fail.

I have got to know most of you enough to know where you are hurting and where your difficulties are. Where hidden pains or sins are. It is time to break the cycle. You can’t change by yourself. You need the powerful presence of God. If you want to change start by building that personal relationship with Christ and let God begin to cause you to hunger for change to thirst for righteousness.

This new year that quickly comes. Make it a year where you place it all into the ever capable hands of our God.

As we close listen to this poem entitled The New Year

I am the new year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time. I am your next chance at the art of living. I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months. All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination. All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires. All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have — these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose. I am your opportunity to renew you allegiance to Him who said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

My Bible Lessons

As on the porch I sit
with my little kitty-kit

My Bible lessons I’m doing
while God I am pursuing

That’s what my parents say
so I do them every day

But I’d rather go play!

When I am all grown
and the truth be kown

Having done it I’ll be glad
and think it wasn’t so bad

But here and now today
don’t care what they say

‘Cause I’d rather go play!

Teresa Marie  8/26/11

Today’s Sermon From The Ranch – Asking God For His Truth

(This Day’s Thought is pleased to bring you Eric Elder’s new series of sermons on the book of Romans.) 

Asking God For His Truth

Lesson 4 from the series
Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder

Of all the passages in the Bible, the one that has changed my thinking and the direction of my life more than any other is the one that we’re looking at today—a passage at the end of Romans chapter 1.  
It’s a little hard for me to talk about, though, because what God spoke to me through this passage was very personal and specific to me. While this passage may not speak to you as personally, the principle that I learned from reading it does apply to every one of us:  if you ask God for His Truth—and listen for His honest answer with an open heart and ears to hear—God will answer you!
What happened to me was that I was reading another passage in the Bible that puzzled me.  It said that all of us had sinned and that the penalty for sin was death.  Therefore, all of us would eventually die because of our sins (see Romans 3:23 and 6:23).
I thought this was a little strong because I felt I had been a pretty good kid all my life.  I hadn’t done anything that I felt I would even get put in jail for, let alone that could possibly kill me.  But the Bible seemed to say otherwise.  So I shared my question about these verses with the guys in my small group Bible study.  One of them suggested that I ask God what He thought about how good I’d been.
I thought that was a fair question, so I went home that night and got ready to pray.  But before I did, I started to wonder:  What if it was true?  What if I really had done something that could possibly kill me?  I wondered if I really wanted to hear God’s answer to that question or not. 
But as I thought through His possible answers, I decided that what I wanted more than anything was God’s truth.  Either what the Bible said was true and what I thought was wrong, or what I thought was true, and the Bible was wrong.  Both couldn’t be true.  So I asked God to show me the truth.
Within two weeks, God answered my prayers.  He brought me to Romans chapter 1, where I read Paul’s words about what happened to people when they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25a).  God had my attention, for I wondered if I had ever exchanged His truth for a lie.  As I read the words that followed, I was amazed to see that Paul, writing almost 2,000 years ago, described the same path that I had taken in life a just few years earlier.  Paul said:
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:25-32).
Even though I felt I had been pretty good all my life, there was one area that I had kept secret from most people.  When I went off to college, I became sexually involved in a series of relationships—with other men on campus.  While at one level I felt that what I was doing was wrong, on another level it seemed so “right” because it seemed to fill a legitimate need that I had in my life for close male friends.
What I didn’t know was that I was trying to meet that need in a way that could have possibly killed me.  AIDS was just beginning to surface at the time, but it didn’t seem like that big of a threat to me.  I never even considered the possibility that I might die from what I was doing.
But as I read this passage in Romans, I began to see what I had been doing in a whole new light.  I began to see that not only did homosexuality go against the way that God had designed my reproductive organs to work—they would never produce life in this way—but it could have actually led to my death instead.  And God didn’t want me to die.  He wanted me to live!  But because of the decisions that I had made, I might already be carrying the seeds of my own destruction within me.
I didn’t want to die.  I wanted to live.  But I wondered how I could possibly undo what I had done.  I couldn’t take it back.  I also wondered how I could possibly change my thoughts and feelings about other guys.  I couldn’t think of any way to do it myself, and I didn’t see how anyone else could change me either—not my family, or my friends, or a counselor—no one.
But then I read another story in the Bible about Jesus and how two blind men came to Him for healing.  They called out to Jesus:  “Have mercy on us!”
Instead of just touching their eyes or telling them to dip in a particular pool of water, Jesus asked them a question.  He said:
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  (Matthew 9:28b)
It seemed as if Jesus was asking me the same question.  I didn’t want to live my life in a way that could possibly kill me, but I didn’t know how to change it either.  But as I read this passage, I felt like Jesus was asking me:  “Eric, do you believe that I am able to do this, too?”
I thought about everything that I had ever heard about Jesus—how He healed the sick, walked on water, and raised the dead.  I thought to myself, If anyone can do it, Jesus can.
As I thought about this, I just put my hand up in the air and said, “Yes, Lord, I believe.”  
And as soon as I said those words, Jesus reached out to me just like He did to the blind men.  He touched me.  He healed me.  He changed my life forever.
The next day I went to a church service where I heard how Jesus came to die for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to.  For the first time in my life, I realized that I was a sinner and needed a Savior.  I went home that night and knelt down on my bed, with my head on my pillow, and I asked God to forgive me for everything I had done that had gone against Him and His plans for my life.  I put my faith in Him, and asked Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit so that I could live the life He wanted me to live.
I woke up the next morning with a whole new perspective on life.  Even though I got up and ate breakfast and went to work just the same as the day before, I knew that God had given me a new shot at life.  He picked me up off the path of death and put me on the path of life.  
On this new path, God has given me a wife, six children of my own, and the promise of eternal life with Him forever.  I’m now on a path of life and life abundant!  It’s been twenty-four years and counting since that day, and I’ve never looked back. 
I took a risk on the day when I asked God to reveal His Truth to me.  But it was the best risk I’ve ever taken in my life.  I realized that day that God was right and I was wrong, that I had exchanged the truth of God for a lie.  I put my faith in Him—and His Word—from that day on.  
Maybe you have days when you feel like God is distant—that He doesn’t seem to care about you or what you’re going through—that He’s simply not interested in the details of your life or the direction that it takes.  But nothing could be further from the truth!  God loves you so much!  The truth is that God wants you to know His will for your life even more than you want to know it!  And He’d love to reveal His Truth to you if you’re willing to ask Him.
I want to encourage you to ask God to renew your mind today.  Ask Him to reveal His Truth to you on those topics that are close to your heart.  Ask Him to pour out His thoughts into your thoughts.  Ask Him to give you a new way of thinking about your life and the direction that you’re headed.  If you’re on course, God will tell you.  But if you’re not, God will tell you that, too—if you’ll listen for His voice with an open heart and ears to hear.
If you want to renew your mind, ask God your questions, open His Word, and listen for His answers.  
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank You for letting us come to You with our honest questions.  We pray that You would give us Your honest answers, too.  We do want to know Your Truth.  We do want to know how to live our lives in ways that we can have life abundant.  Open our ears so that we can hear You clearly, and open our hearts to Your Word that You’ve given to us on the pages of the Bible.  Help us to put our faith and trust in You for everything in our lives, including the forgiveness of our sins and the promise that we can live with You forever when we put our faith in Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What God Says About ...

P.S. I know that today’s message touched only briefly on a topic that’s at the forefront of many people’s minds these days.  If you’re interested in hearing more, I’d be glad to send you a copy of a book I wrote on this topic and others related to it called What God Says About Sex.  It contains much of my own story about how I learned what God says about sex.  It’s available in either paperback or eBook formats and I’d be glad to send it to you for a donation of any size to our ministry.  Just click the link below to make a donation and get the book:
P.P.S  And if you have a group, whether large or small, that’s wrestling with this issue and think it would be helpful for me to share more of my story with them in an interactive way, I’d be glad to share it with your group, either in person or over the Internet via Skype.  Just let me know your interest and a few details about your group using the request form at the link below.  God has much to say to us today about this topic, just as He did to the people who were wrestling with it in Rome in Paul’s day almost 2,000 years ago.
Speaking Request Form
Questions for Reflection
1.  Read Romans 1:24-32.  Looking at this passage, what are some ways that the people in Rome got off track when they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie”?
2.  What are some ways they could get back on track if they wanted to?
3.  Why is it sometimes hard for us to hear God’s Truth in our lives?
4.  After reading this passage and hearing this story, is there any particular Truth from God that you’d like Him to reveal to you?
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The Holy Spirit

Since the Holy Spirit lives
inside of you and me,
to us His presence gives
eyes that we may see,

The sinful nature that we keep,
we’re born with from the start,
what we have hidden down deep
from which we must depart.

He gives us strength in weakness,
helps us stand our ground.
When we live in meekness,
all grace does then abound.

He picks us up also
those times that we do fall,
though reaping what we sow
He answers when we call.

Great wisdom does He impart
with every word that’s said,
listen closely with your heart
then follow where you’re lead.

The Holy Spirit is a gift
that’s give from heaven above.
Your spirit He does lift
while filling you with love.

From the Father and Son
if you would only ask,
but when you’ve once begun
be up to the task.

The Spirit guides the way
to the truth you seek
if you practice every day
listening for Him to speak.

From the Word you read
many lessons you will learn,
getting the answers you need
with every page you turn.

There is so very much more
than what I have written here,
will you open your heart’s door
for Jesus to draw you near?

Teresa Marie   3/25/09

My Heart Bleeds

My heart bleeds and I weep
With sympathy for Your pain
I am forever Yours to keep
And in You I will remain
Though my trials may run deep
I pray that I not complain

When nothing compares to the shame
This world has put You through
Yet You never lay the blame
On the ones who crucified You
For us You sacrificed Your name
To pay the debt not Your due

For all the world to see
You are the Son of Man
Who had come here to be
The fulfillment of God‘s plan
That would set His children free
From the curse our sin began

I find if hard to tolerate
All the wickedness of today
My anger grows as they debate
How exactly it got this way
When we took the devil’s bait
And put it on display

Showing contempt for God’s law
Has ruled the daily news
Unlike anything that I ever saw
But to repent they just refuse
Their excuses rub me raw
And it’s us that they accuse

They say it’s their job to tell
What the public wants to know
But the lies they do sell
Makes the realm of evil grow
As the demons dance in hell
Waiting for their conquered foe

Who are to spend eternity there
In the fire of Satan‘s pit
Hear the cries of their despair
When reality of it all does hit
Knowing that suffering beyond compare
Awaits them to never quit

When all they had to do
Was just go the other way
Take up their cross, follow You
And in Your footprints stay
Then their hearts would beat anew
For it’s in You that salvation lay!

Teresa Marie    3/14/09