Riding a Bike by Larry Refsland
Have you ever helped a child learn to ride a two-wheeled bike? The way most people teach kids how to ride a bike is they have the trainee get on the bike while you, the trainer steady the bike by hanging on to the back of the seat. You encourage the trainee to start pedaling while you continue to steady the child and walk or jog beside them. Pretty soon the trainee gets the hang of it and, after all, you can only run so far, so you let go as the child pedals like mad!
Usually, your trainee is concentrating so hard that he doesn’t notice when you actually let go. Eventually, the child realizes he is riding a bike all on his own! Of course, that’s when they fall down!
That’s a lot like when we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. We don’t know all there is to know about trusting him and serving him. But that’s okay because he is there to steady us and keep us going in the right direction. It’s only when we think we can make it without him that we fall. If you’re struggling with how to keep on the right track, ask Jesus to steady you and guide you and keep you from falling. That’s what He wants to do more than anything! Keep pedaling and have confidence that the Lord is able to keep you from falling. If you have fallen, ask Him to help you get back up and get on your bike and ride, friend, ride!
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“And now it’s time for today’s Top Ten List!” I used to stay up after the news just to hear David Letterman’s Top Ten List. Many writers and news outlets use them, but actually God had the first Top Ten List. They’re called the Ten Commandments!
These 10 commands were given by God to his people—not as cold, rigid restrictions, but actually as liberating laws of life. When viewed from a proper perspective, we learn that the commandments were given as guidelines to enjoy life, not keep us from having fun. They could be called “Top 10 Ways to Have a Successful Life”.
The most important function of God’s Top Ten List is to help us understand our need of forgiveness and mercy. No one has been able to perfectly keep every command throughout his or her entire life. The Bible says if we have broken one item on the list, we’ve broken them all and therefore need forgiveness. Jesus came to set us free from the accusation of the commandments. He changed the commandments from being a taskmaster to Laws of Liberty! In fact, Jesus summed it up in Matthew 22:37-40 simply by saying, “Look, just do these two things:
If I am living a life of love towards God and my neighbor, I’ll be enjoying God’s promises for those who keep his commands. Practice these secrets for a successful life and have an awesome day!
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Even mediocre teams have respectable records at home, but it’s the away games that make the difference. If a team can’t win on the road, there’s no hope of post-season play.
You know, the same is true about our lives. Some people have winning records at home or in their hometown. They lead lives of character and integrity. But when they hit the road, the temptations are stronger and the idea that “no one knows me out here” makes it easier to let down their guard and do things they’d never do at home. Someone said the true test of character is what you do when no one is watching.
Some of you are hitting the road this morning. You’ve got a meeting in another city, you drive truck over the road, or you’ve got a sales route that takes you all over. Here is a promise from God’s word that will help you win on the road this week, found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. “There is no temptation overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God will make a way of escape from the temptation.
Trust God to keep you from falling. Don’t leave your integrity at home. You’re a champion! You’ve got to have a winning record at home and away from home. Come back home victorious from this road trip! God bless you and have an awesome day!
May I ask a personal question? What’s the condition of your Bible? Do you have one of those big Family Bibles at your house? Lots of folks have one. They look great on the coffee table or on a special stand. The problem with them is that they rarely get used. Nobody actually reads them. That kind of Bible is more for decoration, like the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine setting just so on your end table.
There’s nothing wrong with these Bibles—it’s one way to silently witness to your faith, and they can serve as a reminder to look to God for help to life’s questions. But the Bibles I like to see are the well-worn ones with lots of highlighting and personal notes written in the margins. Someone said, “If your Bible’s falling apart, you probably aren’t!” I believe that to be true! The Bible is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It is not an outdated book of myths and fables, but the living, active, ever-relevant Word of God.
Here’s a challenge for the week: Spend some time everyday reading the Bible. See if it does speak to you and if it helps you. If you don’t have a clue on where to begin, let me suggest the Gospel of John. If you don’t have a Bible, there are plenty of places to get them—even online for free! I’ll be glad to give you one too. Become a student of the Word. It is the manual for life and the living record of God’s plan for successful living. Have an awesome day!
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God Chose You by Larry Refsland
When kids decide to play ball, the first thing they have to do is choose sides. For many kids, this is one of life’s most dreaded moments. No one wants to be picked last, as kind of a leftover that neither team wants but one is going to get stuck with by default. Everyone wants to be chosen. Everyone wants to be noticed and accepted. We all want to make a contribution, not a liability.
The Bible assures us that we have been chosen by God to be on his team. It says, “We have not chosen Him, but He chose us and appointed us to bear fruit—fruit that will last.” God doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t pick us based on how good we are, but on how good he is! In fact, the more a person thinks he has to offer God; the less God can use that person. He likes to pick the smallest, the weakest person through whom he can do something great. He knows that kind of person will not rely on his own strength, but will depend totally on God to accomplish what he is called upon to do.
God chose Gideon to lead the Israelites to victory, even though Gideon was from the smallest tribe, the least significant family in the tribe, and he was the least in his family. God chose David, a little shepherd boy, to defeat Goliath, a strong and experienced warrior. So it is no surprise that God would choose you and me to follow Him and serve Him. There is no limit to what God can do through a man, woman or child who is on God’s team. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Why not make that your battle cry as you face the day? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
Have an awesome day!
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Are you the type of person who sees a glass half full or half empty? I don’t think we are born positive or negative; it’s just that life’s circumstances shape us into one or the other. I mean, when you have positive expectations that just don’t pan out, it can be very disappointing. And, let’s admit it, disappointment hurts! No one wants to experience that pain over and over again. So, instead of high hopes, a person who has gone through the pain of disappointment tends to settle for low or no expectations. After all, if you aren’t expecting much, you probably won’t be disappointed when nothing happens.
But is that the way to get the most out of life? I believe God is a positive force, not a negative one. When we think positively, positive things are more likely to happen. When we think negatively, negative things are more likely to happen. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 to think of things that are pure and lovely, and true and noble, things that are excellent and praiseworthy. It also says in Proverbs 23:7 that whatever a person thinks in his heart, so is he.
You become what you dwell on. You can be a negative person or a positive person. Believe me, it’s more pleasant to be with positive people. Even in a negative situation, a follower of Christ can hold to the promise of God in Romans 8:28, “…all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Expect the best—God will not let you down.
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In Sync With God by Larry Refsland
Do you have a good sense of timing or are you one of those rhythm-impaired people? There are people that have rhythm and there are those who don’t. That’s true about clapping along to an upbeat song and it’s true about life, like the person who always seems to be at the right place at the right time.
It’s like being “in sync” with the rhythm of life. Being out of sync always ends up in disappointment. One person described it like this, “When my ship came in I was at the train station!” Even being a little off can have disastrous results over time. Like a person sailing across the ocean without the proper bearings, even one or two degrees off course could make the difference between landing on a warm sandy resort beach or in the middle of a tribe of cannibals!
One way to be “in sync” with life is to be sure of whom you are following. If you follow someone who themselves is off the beat, you obviously will be off as well. If you follow someone’s life example that is off-course, your life will be off-course too.
The Bible says, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him” (2 Chronicles 15:2). In other words, get in sync with God. Follow his principles and plans that are spelled out in the Bible. Seek his direction in every aspect of your life and watch how he helps you succeed in every area. Staying in sync is key to your success and happiness. Pick up the rhythm for your life from the one who set the universe in order and has perfect timing. God bless you and have an awesome day!
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A study just came out about how rudeness is contagious. In the workplace, if someone is rude it can negatively affect everyone, and in future incidences people will perceive rudeness where there may be none. Some workplaces have viral rudeness, but God can help us to clear the air with positive words that build one another up. Let me share how.
In a court of law, anyone about to give testimony must be sworn in, and I think it’s interesting that part of the oath is to ask for God’s help to tell the truth. The Bible tells us that God can help us with what comes out of our mouth. God is truth. He cannot lie. When God is in control of our lives, his character naturally is revealed in our lives.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew and Luke. One of his disciples, James, compared our speech to a river when he wrote, “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh and bitter water?”
We need God’s help to cleanse our inner being—our speech will reflect whether he has done that or not. Let me encourage you to ask God to “set a watch over your lips and guard over your mouth” (Psalm 141:3). He will help us to not only tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, He will also help us to speak works of healing, encouragement, and love.
Just as one person can influence a conversation negatively, one person can also influence a conversation positively. The Bible encourages us to think of things that are pure and lovely and of a good report. These thoughts will come out in the words you choose. Let us be the people with words of truth and love, so help us God!
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!” That old rhyme ranks right up there as one of the most inaccurate clichés ever. Careless words or purposefully harmful names, in fact, do hurt us. They inflict more damage than most of us realize. “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “You don’t see Bobbie crying like you are, do you?” “You’re stupid, you’ll never amount to anything.” These types of statements are like seeds being planted in a person’s life. Repeated a few times and they, very likely, will become reality. How better it would be if our speech reflected something positive.
There is incredible power in the tongue. We can heal or hurt with the words we use. The Bibles says the tongue is like the spark that sets off a whole forest fire! It compares the tongue to the rudder o a large ship. It’s a small part of the ship, but it can change the direction of the whole thing. We can alter the direction of our children, employees or spouse by the words we choose to use.
A word of praise and encouragement gets better results than a word of rebuke or correction. How about catching someone doing something right and letting him or her know you noticed? Try it out on a cashier at the gas station or with the next person you cross paths. Let your speech produce positive results. Guard your words carefully; they’re hard to put back once they come out. And, as my mom always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Tune Up Your Life!
Our hope is that you will find encouragement from the brief but thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) musings of Pastor Larry.
Take East of Backus on Hwy 87 to Cass County 49. Take 49 to Shortcut Rd and then left on 8th St NE to church.
You can also type in 812 8th St NE in Pine River, MN into your GPS, but if your GPS steers you differently, we recommend following the directions above.
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Interactive Bible Course – 2:00 pm
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For immediate requests, please contact Pastor Larry or Patti Refsland at 218-348-2202.