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Showing posts from March, 2012

Bend But Don't Break

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Isaiah 42:2 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. This verse has some great meaning to us as we get ready for Palm Sunday. One of the most notable characteristics of the palm tree is that they have the ability to bend and not break. In fact there are many instances where hurricane type winds have nearly touched the top of the tree to the ground yet it refuses to break.
The words of Isaiah speak to the resiliency of the believer today. Rivers of opposition may come. Floods of difficulty may rise. The heat could get very intense. But never ever forget: the Lord is with you and that means you will never get swept away and you will not be burned. 
You were made like the mighty palm. This weekend as you think about those branches during your churches Palm Sunday service, let them remind you of your inner strength and ov…

Give Cheerfully

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said,"Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.
Imagine this incredible picture...Jesus sitting in the corner of the church, watching the people as they drop their offerings in the boxes. What? And you thought He did not care about money:)
What's important to Jesus is not what you give as much as it is about your motive and your attitude. We are supposed to be generous on every occasion and the way to do that is to give towards what you need rather than from what you have. You get out of life what you put into it. When you give it comes back …

Say Yes

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Eph 1:5 It’s hard sometimes for me to imagine a God that really wanted to bring me into His family. There were so many reasons why He could have left well enough alone but that is not what He wanted. It gave Him great pleasure to add me to the family, put me in the will and guarantee for me an inheritance that is eternal. The good news today is that He also wants you! All you have to do is say yes! So, what do you think?

Love People

Let me encourage you today by telling you that God is fully aware of all of the things you are doing that please Him. He knows how you have used your gifts and resources to help others. If you have ever felt like you just seem to get nowhere and that all you are doing is in vain, you need to read todays verse. It can remind us of of God feels about hard work, outreach and ministering to others. 
For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. HEB 6:10
God is fair, even when your world is not. That is why you should always tether yourself to His ways and not the worlds system. He won't forget what you have done and continue to do. You do not labor in vain for everything is mixing and mingling together in your life to bring about something beautiful. 
You can never go wrong by remembering these simple two words: love people!

You're Missing God

The youth team took over the church service at The Landing yesterday. Besides the amazing job they did in worship, Pastor Bodie talked to the people about breaking free of this "mundane" life. Look at this scripture:

John 8:23"You're tied down to the mundane; I'm in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I'm living on other terms.24 I told you that you were missing God in all this. You're at a dead end. If you won't believe I am who I say I am, you're at the dead end of sins. You're missing God in your lives. It made me think of areas in my life that are dead ends. Places where I am truly missing God. Jesus taught us about a better way. Fullness of joy, indescribably love and peace that you can't wrap words around. You and I can break out of the mundane and find a better way! So don't miss God today. Don't tie yourself to the mundane. If you are at a dead end, simply turn around and take…

Live Wisely

Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely.They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Titus 2:2
As I grow older I pray that I am learning more and more about how to behave in a way that honors the Lord: to walk worthy of the calling placed upon my life. As I enjoy this Friday, I am thinking about my self-control and how much love and patience actually shows up in my life. This IS the way to live. I know I don't always live up to the standards that I aspire too but I keep trying. I want to live wisely. Take a moment today to look at the message you preach with your words and actions. Let your faith be sound and live a life worthy of respect. And have an incredible weekend!

Always Deliver!

I am sort of a quote guy. I love coming up with them and I love reading them. Today I have one from one of my favorite college football analysts...not that he's a great analyst, but he seems to be a great guy and was a wonderful football coach. His name is Lou Holtz. During the season they even refer to him as Dr. Lou as he gives out the prescriptions needed to be a champions and win games. And the Doc said it like this:

Don't ever promise more than you can deliver,      but always deliver more than you promise.” Now I really take that to heart. Oftentimes we can over-extend ourselves in what we promise to others and then find out at the end of the day that we can't keep the promise. Let me break that down a bit. If you are notoriously late for ALL your meetings, don't promise to be on time! People will respect you more when they know that they can count on you to do what you say. It's usually the little things that can cause huge problems. Today, you may find yourse…

Talking with Purpose

"But certain individuals have missed the mark on this very matter [and] have wandered away into vain arguments and discussions and purposeless talk". 1 Tim 1:6
Today I am considering my speech and wondering if I am using my words to the best of their ability. Do I engage in purposeless talk and find myself in arguments that lead nowhere? 
My words will become my actions and my actions will shape my day. I will not miss the mark! I will not wander away! This morning I choose to be involved in meaningful dialogue and discussions that bring peace and unity to all of those I am associated with. This IS the day that the Lord has made and I am going to REJOICE in it! How about you?

Holy and Blameless

Read Colossians 1:22-23 today. It talks about those who have asked Jesus to be Lord and are living the life of a fully devoted follower of Christ. You see our bad choices alienated us from God and severed the relationship. But God reconciled us to Himself by sending His only Son to pay the price for those sins. Now we can be holy and blameless! Did you get that?But don't miss the next verse. Living a holy and blameless life will require us to continue believing, keep standing firm and trusting God and to stop drifting away from the truth we already know. To do this you need faithful folks around that keep you doing faith-filled things. Take a look at yourself today. Do you still believe? Are you standing firm or do you tend to drift?

I Trust You!

O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me. (Psalm 13:1-6 NLT)
In just a few verses of this psalm we can see some spiritual progress. Perhaps you too know what it feels like to be forgotten or struggling? Ever been in the place where it seemed you were losing every battle?
David starts writing as if he is defeated and overwhelmed. It doesn't take long till he is praying for God to answer his prayer and restore the sparkle to his eye. And then, courage comes upon him and he proudly proclaims "I trust you&qu…

People Pleaser

There were seasons of my life that I would say I was a "people pleaser". I did the things I did and said the things I said for the approval and acceptance of others. What was right and wrong did not always have a major part in the decisions...it was all about making other people happy.
Lots of folks today get into relationships this way. They operate at the office like this too. And what usually ends up happening is that the person or people that we try to please aren't pleased enough and then everything changes. So what's wrong? Is it me? Is it what we were doing? Is it how we were talking?
I can suggest that our answer might be found in Colossians 3:17 where it says,
 "and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
We need to do what we do for the Lord and not for man. (vs 23) The approval that matters is the Lord's and when we do what is right and what makes Him hap…

Character

Character-it's who you are when no one else is looking. Your character is made up of the distinctive qualities about you that truly define the person that you are. It's important for you to have great character. It also matters to God.
In 2 Timothy 2:2 we are encouraged to "commit these things to FAITHFUL men who will able able to TEACH others also". God commits to character. It's more important than talent. Incredible talent, your divine gift, according to the Book of Proverbs can take you into the presence of kings but it is your character that will always determine how long your stay will be.
What makes you different today? Are you honest, trustworthy, kind, and compassionate? Do you act the same when there is no one around to impress?
God is looking for some faithful and loyal folks who know that their connection to the "vine" is what truly brings out the best in them. Be a person of great character!

What you are thunders so loudly that I cannot hea…

What's Your Net Worth?

Let's get back to our fisherman. He picked up his nets again, got into the boat and went deeper. He was guided to an area that he had never been. He reluctantly agreed to go and once they had arrived to the place Jesus had picked, he let down the nets again. In his head he was grumbling,"this is the wrong time of day to fish and this water is way too deep." Still he obeyed. Suddenly the water began to ripple and in just a few moments there were more fish than he had seen in a while. The nets were filling up and because of the amount of fish they were catching, they began to tear. The fisherman yelled out to his fellow fisherman and asked for help because now the boats were full too and starting to sink. The fisherman humbled himself and fell at the feet of Jesus for he was sad that he had not believed. He would change. He would listen more. And he would continue to obey! Those nets represented the fisherman's life. He was putting them away, frustrated and defeated. Jesu…

Launch Out!

One day a fisherman had just come in from a long nights expedition. The trip was unsuccessful for no fish had been caught and he was folding up his nets and putting them away. A crowd entered the area by the boat dock and was gathering around Jesus. The boat of the fisherman was right by waters edge so Jesus asked if he could use it to preach from. He got in the boat and began to do what he did best...heal hurts and mend hearts. When he was done speaking he looked at this fisherman and told him to launch out into the deep water and let the nest down for a catch. The fisherman was surprised for in his mind he was done for the day. His time was over and the end result was not beneficial. And now Jesus was saying go back out there...deeper. Getting back on the horse was Jesus' idea. Trying again and trying harder was not Avis' slogan.  Jesus said it that day. In fact all of those wonderful motivational ideas and slogans probably have their origin with Jesus. Have you stopped fishing…

March Madness

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We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. (2 Corinthians 4:8 NLT) It's March Madness and the brackets are set and for the next three weeks the best college basketball you could see will be played all over the country. In the end, one team will rise to the top of the bracket as the champion. As I watched a few of the Division Championship games I noticed one principle that most teams use at one point or another. They call it a full court press. It reminded me of this scripture and being pressed on every side, boxed in, trapped. Some defenders are so good at this that the team being pressed on surrenders the ball. A full court press can be a game changer. How comforting to know today that though we may feel like life has us trapped; like we are being pressed in on every side, we will not be crushed. We will not surrender. We will win! So get ready to move down the court and be all that you were designed to be. You are…

Never Alone

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)Life can get busy and we can easily become overwhelmed. Unfortunately in my life I let this happen all too often. For some reason I seem to think that I can fix anything and that I must always be available! Are any of you guilty of that too? I realize that life does not revolve around me and that I certainly can't do everything. As I get older I simply want to be more like Christ and learn the lessons he showed us through his Word. There was always a demand on His time. There were always people that needed Him. And He had the ability to help them ALL! But He didn't. There were times that he withdrew to lonely places. Times when He needed to refresh and recharge. People today have a fear of being alone. So they attach to people that they sholdn't and become participants in things that wear them out because they simply do not want to be by themselves. Jesus told us we would never be alone. He is always th…

Led by the Spirit

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Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,being tempted for forty days by the devil. (Luke 4:1, 2 NKJV) It always seemed strange to me that the Holy Spirit would lead Jesus to a miserable place in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. For forty days he was bombarded with selfish thoughts, evil ideas and loveless deeds. Then I noticed that he had been filled before he would be drilled. I am able to relate to this as most of my hardest challenges come right after my greatest victories. Perhaps that is your story too.There is nothing that you and I will ever be subject to that God won't give strength to endure or a way to escape. You can face anything with faith and win! So today, if you find yourself being led into a wilderness area, know that God is getting ready to strengthen you so that you will be able to rise higher and do more!

Let it Grow

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James 1:3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
OK, so today I have a goal. That goal is to become a bit more enduring. Like this scripture says, I want my endurance to have a chance to grow. Why? Because only when it has developed will I be satisfied.
Too many people have adopted a Rolling Stones philosophy and accepted the lie that they just "can't get no satisfaction". Today, I want to encourage you to hang on and hang in there because when the time is right, when your endurance has fully developed,YOU are going to be perfect, complete and you won't have a need that cannot be met!
So are you going to hang with the Stones, or come to the Rock of Ages? The choice is yours!

Faith Prayers

In James 5:15 it talks about an effectual and fervent prayer. What exactly is an effectual, fervent prayer? One translation calls it a prayer offered in faith. A "faith prayer". In other words, when we talk to God about something going on in our life we ought to believe that it will change. Of course it must be in line with His Word. But we must believe that what we are asking will actually happen.
I think too often we negate the very words we pray with our own words of doubt and unbelief. Every word spoken in doubt needs a word of faith to cancel it out. What could happen in your life today if you had an attitude adjustment and began to actually believe that God could come through like YOU need Him to for you? Would you act differently? I would hope you would begin talking as if the answer were already dispatched in your direction because it is!
An effectual(constructive, worthwhile) and fervent(intense,passionate) prayer will do a whole lot of good. Isn't it time your …

If You Dream It...

Someone once said that if you can dream it you can achieve it. Part of great success and those that have found it comes by being able to visualize the desires that God has placed in your heart.
I encourage people to journal and write down things that happen in their lives. Prayer journals are good too because they allow you to see when you pray and how God answers. Part of my personal process is to always write down something that I feel strongly about. If I see it then its much easier for me to walk in the direction of what I see.
What kind of images are you looking at today? Do you words match up with the things you see? I believe with all my heart that this is the year when people of God are going to start seeing the things that they desire come to pass like never before. Will there be challenges? Yes! Will you ever get to the end of your rope? Yes! To win you must stay TENacious and hold on until the promise comes to pass. I want you to know that I am praying for you today and tha…
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Today, The Landing Community Church will celebrate the first decade of dreams realized:) It may not have been a perfect TEN, but we have finished well and are poised and ready for another decade of dreams to be realized by those lives we will touch. Thank you to everyone of you that has ever enjoyed an audio mp3, an article here at Cup of Joe, or any of the five books that God has allowed me to write. Your prayers and support are felt each and every day and its because of friends and followers like you that I am personally able to do the things that God has designed for me to do. To God be the glory...great things He has done. I thank Him for giving me a part in this amazing story! My love and blessings go out to all of you!
Joe S. Jones aka Pastor Joe Check us out at www.thelanding.tv

Decade of Dreams Celebration!

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This weekend at The Landing we will celebrate a milestone: TEN years of ministry! TEN years, being TENacious and holding tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm...Hebrews TEN:23
I've gone through an incredible "awakening" through the process of going down memory lane to prepare all we will do this weekend. It seems like just the other day that I signed the lease on our first building!
One of the most enlightening things I have learned in the last decade is how the seasons and cycles change in the local church. There used to be a time when people would find a career, work there for 30-40 years and retire. When it came to church they were baptized and buried by the same preacher! They found a church home and they planted themselves there. But times have changed. people are mobile and they do not stay long periods anywhere. Statistics show us that the average person will have 6 careers. I would guess that means at least a few different churches too!
This has caused m…

Training is Everything

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Today I am feeling a bit nostalgic and grateful. It's very clear to me that I would not be any where near the place I am without the proper training. This word of wisdom from Proverbs tells us to train up a child in the way they SHOULD go, and when they get older they will not depart from it.
What it should have really said was if you raise your children right, even though they may venture off the right path, somewhere down the road they will find it again.
Thanks mom and dad for doing the best you could. Thank you "life" for bringing one experience after another. And thank you Jesus for always answering whenever I would call. I'm so grateful I have found you and the way to being happy again!