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The Pastors Corner

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Jim McCracken is a Teaching Pastor at Twin Cities Bible Church in West Monroe, Louisiana. He has a lovely wife Debby, and has 3 delightful girls. He was one of my pastors in Peoria and was instrumental in making my mother in law very comfortable during her last days with us…she came to love him because of his heart; for which I will be forever grateful. Jim is very sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and on two occasions has changed his sermons at the last hour. God, through Him, met real needs in my life through these sermons. He has also meant a great deal to my 3 children. Just a word to the folks at Twin Cities Bible Church, you are indeed blessed.

In His Love, Marilyn

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How are you doing?

How are you really doing…today… in your walk with Christ? I’ve asked the Lord many times at many junctures in this walk, "How am I doing? Am I doing the right things in order to most cooperate with Your plans?" Let me share His encouragement to me from one of my recent quiet times in I Kings.

Most of us know the request Solomon made in response to God’s offer of "Ask what you wish me to give you". Solomon, as the new king on the block (a time of great transition and testing), wisely asked for wisdom. God was pleased with Solomon and gave him what he asked. God also heaped other blessings on Solomon for which he hadn’t even asked. God was pleased to bless Solomon.

Why? Was Solomon doing the right things to evoke God’s blessing? Had he figured out the will of God and was he following it perfectly? Well, yes…and no. Did you ever notice where Solomon was and what he was doing when God made this grand offer and blessing? I usually expect God to do such magnanimous things for people (or for me) when they (I) have been on track, keeping priorities in line,…doing the right things. What was Solomon doing? "The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place". That may initially sound good, but there was a potential problem; the use of high places was an idea the Israelites wrongly borrowed from their idol-worshipping neighbors and tried to make fit with worship of Jehovah. So, here’s Solomon worshipping Jehovah at a place he shouldn’t…and God, apparently ignoring this erroneous worship, gives him the greatest blessing of his life!?! How can this be? Would God do this if Solomon was wrong?

Let me give some possible contemporary parallels to this question. Would God bless your church even if they handled ministry in a less-than-perfect manner? Would God bless your family as they pursued some big change, but made errors in judgment or missed a cue for the next step? Would God bless your family even though you have some priorities out of whack? Would God bless the mother who failed three days in row to follow her own convictions about discipline for her child? Would God bless the worshipper who can’t decide whether he’s comfortable or not raising his hands? Would God bless the boy or girl who let a friend talk them into a foolish purchase at the mall? Well, would He?

I believe the answer to all of these is potentially "yes", just like it was for Solomon. I say, "potentially" because there is a factor…an all-important factor…in Solomon’s life at that time. Just prior to the verse telling of Solomon’s trek to Gibeon and the granting of wisdom by God, there is this verse: "Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places." (I Kings 3:3). Solomon wasn’t perfect, but first and foremost, "Solomon loved the Lord"! It was proven by a life generally and typically obedient and faithful – "walking in the statutes of his father David". The underlying reality that Solomon loved the Lord in heart and action was the basis upon which God blessed him. Solomon fell short in a significant area of life…worship! He was wrong; he didn’t do the right thing in this case; he made a serious error of judgment.

But our God, being full of grace, looks at the heart. When you have truly purposed for your life to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might", you are blessed of God. He overpowers failure and even sin by His magnificent love and grace! This is no license to sin; this is motivation to love and live for Him even more passionately!

How are you doing? How are you really doing…today… in your walk with Christ? I guess the better question is, "Do you love the Lord?"…"Do I love the Lord?". Let’s purpose together to love Him and live according to His statutes, and then let’s watch God work!

Jim McCracken

Teaching Pastor

Twin Cities Bible Church

West Monroe, Louisiana

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The design for the Loveis2 was created by Scott Spuller who is the Communications assistant at Grace Presbyterian Church, and the best friend of my son, Steve. The design was done for the wedding of Lisa and Lon Kennelly on January 22, 2000.

Love is 2

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One of My favorite Pastors is Dr. Charles Frazier Stanley, I admire the teachings he shares on the IN TOUCH television and radio broadcasts. He is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta. Here is one of my favorite lessons from him, and a link to his web page.

In His Love, Marilyn

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Be A Butterfly


        orange butterfly Imagine that before you knew Jesus Christ as your Savior, you were nothing but a caterpillar. All you could do was crawl around like a little worm, weighed down by your sin and unable to change your condition. Maybe you tried to crawl into a cocoon to hide from the truth.
         Then Jesus changed you. He pulled you out of that cocoon, and guess what you were? You were a beautiful butterfly. You could fly freely in His grace because of this fresh, new beginning. butterfly
         But one day as you were soaring above the meadow, you looked down at all your old caterpillar friends and missed them a little bit. You flew down and decided to join them for a while. You just folded up your wings and settled right in.
        butterfly So, did you suddenly become a caterpillar again? No. You¹re still a butterfly, but you chose to live in your old ways. No matter how much you try to make yourself look like a caterpillar, you're still a butterfly at heart. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
         In fact, you have this promise in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." butterfly
         You might be feeling a lot of guilt right now for your caterpillar ways. But your wings are still there, and God wants you to fly again in His never-ending grace. It's never too late to be the person He made you to be, if you'll only stop and let Him.

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Copyright© 1998, IN TOUCH MINISTRIES. All rights reserved.
Used With Permission
March Magazine -- Updated 2/27/98

A Second Chance, Article and link to Dr. Stanley's Webpage


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ButterflyButterfly

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