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Wednesday, May 27

Keith and Brenda Shealy--TOWARD THE MARK: TTM Pays Tribute to ALL Who Answer Their Call

Keith and Brenda Shealy--TOWARD THE MARK:  Answering The Call: AMERICA IS THE SUM OF HER MEMBERS! Because of those who fulfilled their call ... America's freedoms are enjoyed by us ALL!

Monday, May 25

TTM Pays Tribute to ALL Who Answer Their Call

Because of those who fulfilled their call ... America's freedoms are enjoyed by us ALL!

"There is a debt of gratitude we owe to every individual who built up or protected our land, our borders, or our national interests. Without all those folks who contributed of themselves what God entrusted to their care, this Nation of America would not be 'the home of the brave and the land of the free!'"  
Keith and Brenda

With the military experience I (Brenda) have, and with our family's undying love for God and Country, I can't help but give a great big shout-out to my colleagues and fellow service members in uniform, both past and present!  I also, with Keith, salute those military families who serve now or formerly, in support of loved ones who committed to years of duty to this great Nation of ours, especially loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Needless to say if you are fortunate enough to know military family members of American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, or Coast Guard members but, for folks who aren't aware, they are some of our most-amazing unsung heroes!  To all who stood faithfully alongside loved ones as they wore a uniform to protect and defend our country, we want to say "THANK YOU!"  And not only do we pay you special tribute this week that is set aside for Memorial Day celebrations, but we honor you, in our hearts, every week of the year!

For many more messages of faith and vision, similar to this one that you're about to read, request your copy of "Keep the FAITH Keep Your VISION" by visiting the always-available TowardTheMark,Inc. Website today.

We dedicate this message to all who have played a part in the building of this great Nation!  Just think, if not for the contributions of the American workers and developers - scientists; doctors; engineers; business, church and community leaders; manufacturers of innovative products and lasting products that are proven timeless; and all who helped build our society by doing their individual part - imagine where we'd be, or n-o-t be.  Every individual who gave of their skills, talents, gifts and abilities to make our Nation great, as we know it, we stand in honor of them.  We take time to give special recognition to those who gave of themselves, and made the ultimate sacrifice.  In the words of the patriotic song many sing on behalf of our uniformed service members, "All gave some; and some gave all."  Nothing of freedom comes free.
I think there's a key word to describe the power of people, when we're bringing our gratitude to the credit of the mentors and leaders who raised us, and taught us, so we could now fulfill our part in building our beloved America -- that word is HONOR.  I heard once from a wise mentor that, if you watch a person, you can, in due time, tell a whole lot about to whom they accredit the skills and abilities they've developed.  So, as we talk about Memorial Day, remembering folks who we owe a great amount of HONOR to in our life, we recognize how they helped shape the way in which we view and value our relationships, work, and community, and we take time to HONOR them.  We HONOR each one of those wonderful people who imparted into our lives those disciplines we have come to follow.
In your years of school and work, who can you recall that had the greatest impact on you?  Maybe the one who had the greatest impact on you was your dad or another parent, or a wonderful teacher, supervisor, pastor or other faith leader, sports coach, or ... the list could go on and on.  For you, who do you credit for what you have learned that has helped make you who you have come to be, today?  Who was it that showed you what it looks like to work hard?  Who showed you what integrity is?  Who taught you how to be committed to doing, and completing, what you are uniquely called to do in your life?

Was there a definite individual who took their time and showed interest in pulling out your natural skills and talents, when you didn't recognize them on your own?  Was there a significant person who helped you understand what to expect of yourself and others, and how to be accountable to God and others?  If so, it's more than likely that, your identifying these people defines them as great examples of mentors, those who paved the way for you to do and to be what you were created by God to do and be.  Without those specially-present men and women being there to speak into our lives, or coming to adopt us as the son or daughter they never had, there would be no need to honor folks, or a need for a Memorial Day set aside to remember them.

The fact is, whether those who we honor include God or another person in our lives, none of us can fulfill God's call on our lives without the help of those around us.  That being said, to those who played a tremendous role in making our way in life, we remember and honor them.  We owe them a debt of gratitude.  Absolutely everyone desires to have that one person, or more than one, who believes in them.  Who would you pay tribute to for paving the way for your understanding of who you are, compared to who you have the potential to be?  Who was it that encouraged out of you the things God made you to do or to be, in your life?  Who was it that looked into your life and saw the wealth of what God deposited there, when you were convinced that you have no worth at all?

Just think about the list of people who helped us along the way.  If we do anything great, it is, at least in part, because of wonderful people in our lives.  Today we have a great opportunity to praise God for them, and to remember them.

When we use the word "remember," does it mean we just "think about," or is there more to it than that?  To answer that question, let's read the Scripture where Jesus is hanging on the cross, completely innocent and perfect in His own life, being crucified for all of our sins, for all of mankind.  There were two criminals also being crucified on a cross of their own on either side of Jesus.  The one to His left recognized his wrong-doing and Jesus's wrongly suffering for doing nothing wrong.  The one to the right of Jesus was really an angry person!  He just tested everybody and was a very bitter person, sadly, to his life's bitter end.  That malefactor told Jesus to save Himself, and the author of the Bible passage below describes that man as "talking with Jesus in numbness."  Luke 23:39-43 reads like this, "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise."

The pain of crucifixion is so tormenting! It is because the people designed it that way. When the person was nailed to the cross and the cross was stood upright, hanging there with the force of gravity at work, their body would pull apart from the downward pressure and the weight of the body. Their bones would pop out of joint. The rib cage would come in on the lungs, constricting the lungs.  Now, you've got this excruciating pain, with these spikes running through your hands and feet, your body being pulled apart and ripped into pieces, and, on top of that, you can barely breathe, lesser yet being able to get air enough to even speak!  Now, wait a minute!  Why would someone, suffering this kind of tormenting pain, spend his last dying breath to ask Jesus to "think about" him when he comes into His Kingdom? He wasn't!

The malefactor, with his last dying, painful, all-but-impossible-to-get breath, cried out to Jesus, "Lord, I am broken in pieces! My life has been torn apart! Please, when you come into Your Kingdom, would You PUT ME BACK TOGETHER?!"

We all have areas in our lives where we have been broken.  And, just like the malefactor on the cross asked Jesus to please "remember" him, the great news is, if we ask Jesus to please "remember" us and make us whole, He will do it for us as well!

See, when God fashioned the human heart, only He knew just how intricately complex it is.  Having that in mind, God gave Jesus a special anointing j-u-s-t for healing broken hearts.  Luke 4:16-20 reads like this, "And He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him."

Contrary to popular belief, "time" does not heal broken hearts; only Jesus can do that! A broken heart cannot be healed over time. Time never has and never will heal broken hearts.  Jesus Christ, and Him alone, has a special anointing God gave Him just for healing the broken-hearted and making them whole. This is what we call "redemption."

Let me share with you something that the Holy Spirit whispered to me one Saturday afternoon, concerning redemption.  There I was, mowing my lawn, on a beautiful sunny day, when I was finishing up and looked up the street and saw that, in the park, a group of people had gotten together to hold a flea market.  I cleaned my self up a bit and headed to check out what that flea market down the road had to offer.  I love flea markets and I could hardly wait to get there.  Just as I walked into the entrance of the park flea market, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, very plainly, "Keith, Jesus l-o-v-e-s flea markets!  And, the fact that you love flea markets too, means that Christ's Nature is in you."  You see, flea markets are filled with a bunch of items that were once worth good money but, now, because of ordinary life, and often from abuse, they are broken and now sitting on the side of the road to be sold for a nickel on the dollar, if that much.  Then, as Jesus, "Life's Consummate Flea-Marketer", comes strolling through the aisles of the flea market, He sees what is broken, buys it back, and heals it, making it better than new.

Just like the items that lay on the tables at flea markets, are you broken?  Have you lost pieces of yourself along the way of life?  Does it feel like you have left parts of yourself on the side of the road of life?  Are you scarred?  Do you feel as if people have robbed you of the best parts of "you"?  Do you feel that you have wasted your life doing something that God never intended for you to do?  Have you had people use you in a way like folks would use a priceless end table as a stepping stool?  Have you had people in your workplace, family, or church misuse you and your valuable gifts for things that God did not create for you to do and be?

Just as the malefactor on the cross who, himself, was broken and torn apart, cried out and asked Jesus to "re-member him", do you need Jesus to "re-member you"?  If so, I would like to quote for you the chorus in a song that I've written, "I'll Fix Your Broken Heart."  It goes like this...

"I'll fix your broken heart; heal your broken mind.
Gonna give you a brand new start, gonna make up wasted time.
A Love like you've never known comin' down from The Father's Throne, He'll give you eyes to see; He'll set your feet on stone."

We want you to know that we attest to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Great Redeemer.  And, just as He is redeeming the two of us, and the partners of this ministry, He will redeem your life too!  He can make you whole, and He will if you ASK Him to.  He is in the process of making us whole, healed, and put back together again - and NOT like the old Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.
In Humpty Dumpty, he fell off the wall and, as the story says, it took all the king's horses and all the king's men to put Humpty Dumpty back together again; to re-remember him.  Right?  He fell and had become "dis-membered"!  With all due respect to the king's men, and as cute as this rhyme might be, the truth is, and I repeat, God has given Christ Jesus, and Him alone, the anointing just for healing broken hearts. Being "dis-membered", we just need to call out on Jesus, and He will answer and will put us back together.  He w-i-l-l make us whole.  He is the only Person in all of the universe that can bring us to the place of wholeness, so that we can walk in the fullness of the joy that the Scripture talks about.
Call on the Holy Spirit today. Ask Him to illuminate The Scriptures to you, to bring fullness into your life, to help you overcome those bad habits, to bring that kind of healing and change that you desire, to lead you to begin walking in the newness of life that we're promised in Christ Jesus.   It's beautiful that we all can have Jesus in our lives, and He w-a-n-t-s to be invited in and to put us back together, to make us even better than we were before!

The Holy Spirit is the only Person that knows you better than anybody else on the planet. To put you back together, or to re-remember you, it takes only God's voice in the Holy Spirit.  Jesus had to first sacrifice, and go through the death, burial, and resurrection, for us to be "redeemed" and, then have the Holy Spirit.

When you meet the Holy Spirit, you feel "celebrated"!  The area in your life that has been hurting, that has been haunting you, begins to come into wholeness.  With the Holy Spirit, all of your broken pieces come back together again.  The Holy Spirit has the full ability to "remember" us - to bring everything back into wholeness.  Get into God's Word and study it, and watch how it comes to life!  As you do, wholeness will come, joy will come, and you will then be able to REJOICE!
All of us who are God's Children must remember that satan is seeking to find those who have little, or no, knowledge of God and His Word because they are the ones who are most likely to fall prey to his deception and destruction.  Remember, there is no authority that satan has over our lives, unless we open ourselves up to his ploys and temptations, which then, also, separates us from God and His Will and protection.  We must be ready for battle at all times.  We may not win every battle but, in the end, we win the war!

Just as we, as God's Children, suffer through times of brokenness and confusion, often regretting decisions we've made and actions that have put us into situations of compromise with our relationship with our Heavenly Father, so, too, has the leaders of our great Nation made poor choices along the way.  So often, we have allowed political correctness to drive a wedge between us, as Americans.  We can't let that happen!  Now, like no other time in our history, we are splintered, broken, and torn as a Nation.  No matter what it is that comes from the enemy to divide us, we cannot stand by and allow satan and his minions to work through the ungodly among us, to destroy this great Nation that our ancestors have suffered, sacrificed, and died to provide for us!  It is time, now more than ever, for us as Americans, to cry out to Jesus Christ asking Him to please "RE-MEMBER US"!

THANK YOU for connecting with us this Memorial Day week!  Also, we always appreciate when you download copies of this blog to share with others, and to keep handy for your own reading and encouragement, time and time again!

What a privilege it is for all of us to “press Toward The Mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" together (Philippians 3:13-14)! We would like to encourage you to write your comments, questions, and prayer requests to us.  Our hope is that all of us become even more passionate about sharing the divine wisdom and understanding, insights and experiences, as God provides along the way into "one-ness" with Him.

Find many more messages based on real-life matters like this one, in our book called, "Keep the FAITH, Keep Your VISION."  And, to ask questions, to place an email request for large-quantities of books, or if you would like to share a special Memorial Day or testimonial experience with us, please send us an e-mail or letter by mail at the address that's available on our website, and also shown below.

We pray God bless you greatly as you have greatly blessed us and the entire Toward The Mark, Inc. Family!

Your friends & servants in Christ,
Read and Re-read Blog @:  http://pressingintowardthemark.blogspot.com/2015/05/TTM-pays-tribute-to-ALL-who-answer-their-call.html #Luke23:39-43

To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… 
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.  The complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. are made possible by the prayer and financial contributions of the TTM Support Family.  We'd like to welcome you onboard TODAY!

We INVITE You ... to follow and share these other resources and tools available as well, to help build your faith in God, His Will, and His Ways:

This blog message, as well as each of our Bible-based resources, is made possible by the support of our faithful partners. Would you consider helping us expand our outreach capabilities by becoming a monthly financial partner? Your support will go toward fulfilling our God-given calling to help provide effective, contemporary outreach tools for the churched and un-churched alike to know the love, truth, and salvation of Jesus Christ. We invite you to partner with us as we "press Toward The Mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

CLICK HERE to make a tax-deductible contribution securely by PayPal.
Every gift is tax-deductible and helps, and we thank you for it!

Mail tax-deductible contributions by check to the order of:
Toward The Mark, Inc., P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.

Thank you in advance for sowing your financial seed into the fertile soil of this ministry! We pray God bless you with a 100-fold return for your generosity!

Saturday, May 9

NINE passages in God's Word to identify a GODLY MOTHER's nature...

A mong your countless qualities as a GODLY MOTHER, your strength, honor, wisdom, gratitude, modesty, grace, and virtue are clear and abundant in your nature.  For giving of yourself so generously, to the glory of God and for the well-being of your children and family, your eternal reward will be great!

NINE passages in God's Word to identify a GODLY MOTHER's nature...
1. Proverbs 31:25-31,  "Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
2. Matthew 12:47-50,  "Then one said unto Him (Jesus), Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee. But He answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is My mother? and who are My brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother."
3. 1 Chronicles 16:8-11,  "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His Name, make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk ye of all His wondrous works. Glory ye in His holy Name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually."
4. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,  "Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
5. Psalm 73:26-28,  "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works."
6. 1 Timothy 2:8-10,  "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works."
7. Proverbs 11:16a,  "A gracious woman retains honor:"
8. Titus 2:1,3-5,  "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
9. Proverbs 12:4-7,  "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that makes ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit. The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them. The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand."

Thank you so much for sharing in the honoring of mothers who carry with them, and live a life that proclaims, the character and nature of God, our Heavenly Father Himself.  As you “press toward” the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, we pray that God bless you 100-fold through abundant harvest of the good seed you sow in His Name! Honoring MOTHERS--Celebrating the High Calling of Motherhood available at BetweenTheLines Podcast Channel. If you have any questions or would like to place a special request for Between The Lines music or other ministry resources, please send us an e-mail or order by mail at the address shown below.
Your friends & servants in Christ,

This message, and all of our Bible-based resources, is made possible by the support of our faithful partners. Would you consider helping us expand our outreach capabilities by becoming a monthly financial partner? Your support will go toward fulfilling our God-given calling to help provide effective, contemporary outreach tools for the churched and un-churched alike to know the love, truth, and salvation of Jesus Christ. We invite you to partner with us as we "press Toward The Mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

CLICK HERE to make a tax-deductible contribution securely by PayPal.
Every gift is tax-deductible and helps, and we thank you for it!

Mail tax-deductible contributions by check to the order of:
Toward The Mark, Inc., P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.

Thank you in advance for sowing your financial seed into the fertile soil of this ministry! We pray God bless you with a multiplied return for your generosity!