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    How to Establish the Truth

    HOW can we ESTABLISH the TRUTH? 

    God has not left us to guess whether certain things are right or wrong.

    Three connected parts are necessary to establish the truth.

    1. OBJECTIVE – separate from any personal feelings, situations, or opinions
                 (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalms 18:30-31)
    2. UNIVERSAL – applies to all people in all places
                 (Psalms 103:19, Psalms 97:5)
    3. CONSTANT - does not change with time…
                (Isaiah 40:28, Ecclesiastes 3:14)

    The Source of Truth can be found in only in God!

    John 14:6

    There are basic elements of truth that can always be counted on no matter what I feel, no matter where I am, and no matter what my age!

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    Put down your phone

    12 WAYS YOUR PHONE IS CHANGING YOU by Tony Reinke

    Interesting chapter titles says it all...  What do you think?

    1 We Are Addicted to Distraction  . . . . . . 41

    2 We Ignore Our Flesh and Blood . . . . . . 55

    3 We Crave Immediate Approval . . . . . . .65

    4 We Lose Our Literacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

    5 We Feed on the Produced . . . . . . . . . . 91

    6 We Become Like What We “Like” . . . . .109

    7 We Get Lonely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . 119

    8 We Get Comfortable in Secret Vices . . .131

    9 We Lose Meaning . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . .145

    10 We Fear Missing Out . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

    11 We Become Harsh to One Another  . . . .163

    12 We Lose Our Place in Time . . . . . . . . . .177

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    Lent - Mardi Gras Tuesday - Ash Wednesday - Self Denial - Fish - Easter - Gospel Story

    LENT(Old English for Spring) is a 40-day period (before Easter, excluding Sundays) of fasting and repentance culminating in the celebration of Holy Week. LENT began by early Christians in an effort to identify with biblical 40 day periods of trial and fasting(Genesis 7:12, Exodus 34:28, Numbers 13:25, Numbers 14:34, 1 Samuel 17:16, 1 Kings 19:8, Luke 4:2, Acts 1:3)leading up to Easter. The Lenten season beacons us to deepen our understanding and appreciation for the abundant grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ's saving work on the cross.

    MARDI GRAS Pre-Lenten celebrations (Carnival, Festival)culminate with FAT TUESDAY(Mardi Gras in French or Shrove Tuesday)the day before Ash Wednesday. Since Christians have often chosen or been taught to fast from all sweet food during Lent, including milk, eggs, and meat, the traditional dinner on this night is pancakes to use up their milk and eggs and syrup so there won't be any of the tempting stuff around during Lent. Many have mutated this season as an excuse for indulgence before the fast. It is often looked on as one last “binge” before having to give something up for 40 days. These celebrations foster the unscriptural notion that you can do whatever you want on Fat Tuesday, as long as you show up in church on Ash Wednesday.

    ASH WEDNESDAYbegins the Lenten season and is six and a half weeks before Easter every year. Ash Wednesday isthe tradition (not a requirement)of putting ashes on the forehead in the form of a cross as a sign of humility and recognition of our own sin (the ashes usually come from the dried and burned palms from Palm Sunday the year before). "From dust you came, and to dust you shall return. Turn from your sin and receive the good news." By reminding ourselves of our need and willfully submitting to Christ's authority, we prepare our heart to celebrate Easter with a renewed sense of joy and amazement!

    Many equate LENT with SELF DENIALand give up something enjoyable (like meat or chocolate or movies)for the 40 days as a way of focusing more intently on the meaning of the season. While there is certainly nothing wrong with preparing for Easter through some form of self-denial or intentional good works, it is important to realize that these will not win us God's favor, earn special blessing, or increase His love for us. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is! If you plan to give up something, please make sure to use the margin created to grow in love and appreciation with Christ. Remember the Lenten season is about preparing the heart; so, if you plan to give up something, then make plans to REPLACE it with something that would turn your heart more toward Christ! Maybe take the challenge to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), memorize certain scriptures, or read the Purpose Driven Life daily devotional book during Lent. (free YouVersion Bible App for reading plans & FighterVerse App for scripture memory)

    FISH Catholic traditions often practice various acts of penitence and spiritual self-discipline during Lent. One of those disciplines is a fast that requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. The rule is based on the authority of the Church, not on the authority of Scripture. The stated reason for Catholics not being allowed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent is to remind the faithful that Jesus died on a Friday. Jesus gave up His body (His flesh), and Catholics, in an effort to attain greater communion with Christ, refrain from consuming flesh.

    EASTER  Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Christ on the third day after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based(1 Corinthians 15:3-4,14). The four Gospels make it clear that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the Jewish Passover (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-15; John 18:28,39; 19:14). The four Gospels also make it clear that Jesus was raised from the dead three days later, on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1,19). Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Whether we call it “Easter” or “Resurrection Sunday,” what is important is the reason for our celebration, which is that Christ is alive, making it possible for us to have eternal life (Romans 6:4)!

    GOSPEL STORY[BAD NEWS]Since SIN is any thought, attitude, word, or action that falls short of God’s perfect, holy standard and deserves punishment, we are separated from the Source of LIFE and we ALL desperately need RESCUED! [GOOD NEWS]Love motivated Jesus Christ to step out of heaven and sacrificially give His innocent life on a bloody cross for the just punishment of our sin and also conquer sin’s penalty (death) by victoriously rising from the grave! [Romans 10:9-10][Ephesians 2:8-9]To reject this Gospel story is to condemn your self to death. To receive this Gospel story for your own is embracing LIFE!

    FMI – Questions – Share a Decision: northshorefamilychurch@gmail.com

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    Love and Respect

    Ephesians 5:33
    Let each one of you LOVE his wife as himself,
    and let the wife see that she RESPECTS her husband.

    The Language of Love & Respect
    Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate
    Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

    MEN: How to Spell LOVE to Your Wife? COUPLE

    Closeness: She wants you to be close.

    Openness: She wants you to open up to her.

    Understanding: Don’t try to fix her; just listen.

    Peacemaking: She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”

    Loyalty: She needs to know you’re committed.

    Esteem: She wants you to honor and cherish her.

    MEN:  You don’t motivate your wife to become more respectful by acting in unloving ways.  [Tony Evans] The less a woman feels appreciated, needed, and valued as an equal with you, the less responsive she will be following your functional lead as head in your house. 

    LADIES: How to Spell RESPECT to Your Husband? CHAIRS

    Conquest: Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.

    Hierarchy: Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.

    Authority: Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.

    Insight: Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.

    Relationship: Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.

    Sexuality: Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

    LADIES: You don’t motivate your husband to become more loving by complaining and criticizing to get what you want.  The less a man feels respected, the less motivated he will be to want to treat you well, love you, and be good to you.

    [got ?'s quote] God’s commands for husbands and wives are not conditional. Submission is not contingent upon love, and love is not contingent upon respect. Taking the first step in obedience, regardless of the actions of the other, goes a long way to breaking down the conflict and establishing new patterns of behavior.

    LADIES: What would you think of a man that is consumed with CHRIST and empowered to LOVE you and your family with the self-sacrificial love of Christ?

    MEN:  What would you think of a lady that is consumed with CHRIST and honors your position as husband with endless respect?

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Dark Clouds

Dark Clouds

How can I escape dark clouds of depression?

Clouds of depression affect millions of people, Christians and non-Christians alike.

There are so MANY external and internal factors that trigger dark clouds of depression!

We can focus too long on the state of the world, the opposition to truth, or be overwhelmed by the suffering encountered.  We can get out of balance physically... from needing more sleep to having a medical condition requiring doctors and medications.  We can get out of balance emotionally... from dealing with a traumatic event to losing hope that things will change requiring professional help.  We can get out of balance spiritually... from dealing with our body’s response of living in sin to attempting to manufacture our own happiness.  It could be spiritual warfare or just be an ongoing feeling that doesn’t match our current circumstances... complicated to say the least!

Whether it is you or someone close, you are NOT alone and depression is NOT a death sentence!
Reach out to God!  A personal relationship with Him is vital to dealing with the dark clouds of depression.  We need Someone who can guide us when we can’t see... [Jesus said], behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:20

I have been encouraged by Psalms of the Bible when dealing with these dark clouds.  Being depressed is not a sin, but our response can be!  The author of Psalm 42 seems to understand and point us in the right direction.

Psalm 42, As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and appear before God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”  These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.  Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.  My soul is cast down within me;  therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.  By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.  I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me?  Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”  As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”  Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Here are some practical steps to escape dark clouds of depression based on the this Psalm.

Pour out your SOUL to GOD (v4)  Verbally speak or write out your thoughts to God.  It just has a way of untangling our thoughts and cleansing our spirit in preparation for help.  Take a walk.  Sit down with a journal.  Dr. Caroline Leaf in Switch on your Brain says, “The design of the brain allows us to capture and discipline chaotic thoughts.  Catching our thoughts is necessary because it calms our spirits so we can tune in and listen to God.”  > Psalm 62:8, Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah  > Lamentations 2:19, “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children

ANALYZE your HOPES (v5) Sometimes depression is self-inflicted, so it is important to examine our lives for the sources of our hope and happiness.  King David wrote while fleeing from his oldest son Absalom who initiated a coupe.  David had wrapped up his hope in the love of his family and the love of the people around him, so when it was gone, he realized it needed to be God > Psalm 3:3, But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory [hope], and the lifter of my head.

SIMMER in God’s TRUTH (v6-8) When you are going through a hard time, there is nothing as good as “feasting on the truth” of God’s Word.  Read it.  Listen to it.  Memorize it.  Post it.  Meditate on it.  Act on it.  >John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

PREACH the CROSS to Self (v9)  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are LISTENING to yourself instead of TALKING to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”  > If GOD is FOR me, who can be AGAINST me... self!  >> God loves me enough to step out of heaven and sacrifice His life on the cross, so I might know a connection with Him... self!  >>>Nothing can separate me from the love of God... Self!  Romans 8:38-39, For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Reducing clouds of depression is a process, not an event.

Listen to the complete message, HERE

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