More “Highlights” - from Courtney Etzel

By Courtney Etzel

I have many Bible verses that I like. Some are for guidance, verses that spoke to me at a specific point in my life, and some are just reminders of God’s promises.  Here are a few of the verses that I have highlighted.

Philippians 4:6-7Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I tend to be a worrier so this a verse I turn to time and time again. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG)No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

What a great reminder that I am not the only one who is tested, nor am I the first to be tested. I love how the Message says it.

Joshua 23:10Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised

 I love the reminder in that God is always in our corner, fighting for us.

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These are just a few verses that I have book marked.  What verses have impacted you?  

 

Producing Fruit

By Jim Sukup

The men’s group I am a part of is reading through the Bible with the goal of finishing it in one year. The interesting thing about the Bible is that no matter how many times you read it there always seem to be new things that jump out like you’ve never read them before. 

Jewish rabbis compared the word of God to an onion, and each time you read it, it was like peeling off another layer. Anyway, when I was reading in Luke about John baptizing people, there was something that jumped out at me and I wondered how I missed it all these years. 

In Luke 3, John tells the people to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and then warns them in verse nine that every tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. After hearing this warning there were several people who asked John the very important question, “What should we do then?”

What I had missed all these years while reading this portion of scripture was that John didn’t just give some generic answer like “do good works”! But to each one he gave a very specific answer that I’m sure resonated with those that asked. As I read this I was at first thinking “preach it John, let those sinners have it!” Then I thought, if I asked that question what specific things would God say to me? Would he talk to me about my generosity (or lack of it), or my integrity or maybe the way I treat other people. Many times our lives are on autopilot and we never stop to ask the tough questions and take a look to see how we’re really doing. “What should I do then” is a question that God would love to hear us ask.  

Dealing with Problems? Why It’s Important to Find Out What God Says.

By Jim Sukup

I became a Christian during the Jesus People movement (we were the “original” Jesus Freaks). The fellowship I went to was an interesting mixture of people from all different backgrounds with the oldest person in their early twenties. This group met in a barn that was owned by a woman named Nancy Kuzmic, who treated all of us like her own kids. 

Because we thought Nancy had all the answers, we would go to her whenever we were going through difficult times or had some crisis that we didn’t know how to work out. Nancy would listen patiently as we told her about our problems. We would tell her how our situation was hopeless, there was no way out and it was the end of the world. Her response would always be “but what does God say?” 

We would just ignore her answer and go on explaining our desperate situation. She would again say “but what does God say”? Meaning what did God’s Word say about the situation we were going through.

Whenever she would respond that way I was never satisfied, I wanted a better answer, something more spiritual. I would always say “but you don’t understand!” 

In reality she did understand. She knew that God has given us solutions to those tough times and situations that we all face and that is his Word. Since that time when I was 18 years old, I have worked through numerous personal problems and have come alongside countless others as they struggled with difficulties. I now realize that when someone gets in trouble, usually they are in someway out of step with God. They are doing something contrary to what God’s Word says about their situation.

When presented with God’s solution it’s surprising how many people will choose to continue to do things their way and then ask why something is happening. It’s really not rocket science. Jesus said “if you abide in my word….you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:31-32). There is a right way and a wrong way of dealing with problems. So when you are dealing with trouble ask yourself “but what does God say” and then follow confidently knowing that “HIS” way leads to freedom.