Thursday, November 23

Happy *THANKS-GIVING is EVERYTHING* Day!

"Mere words can only begin to express...
how thank-full we are for God's handiwork, the changing seasons, a roof over our heads, the food on our tables, our family and friends, and, above all, for God Himself, Jesus Christ, and The Person of The Holy Spirit. We would like to proclaim our all-consuming love for God, and our adoration of Him, for WHO He is... The One and Only Living GOD of The Most High! And most of all, because of Who He IS, we offer our constant and eternal thanks!"
Keith, Brenda and The TTM Team



When I was serving on staff at a growing church, I would hear other leaders in ministry over me say how I was being used mightily by God. We were seeing many people give their hearts and lives to The Lord Jesus Christ. We were nurturing all new believers, as well as the more spiritually mature believers, through individual mentoring, and team ministry, efforts. All signs were showing how effective we were in our work but, as I kept doing more and more work for God, I kept feeling less and less confident about how my service was fulfilling God's Will for me and my life. While I did so many good things for God, I couldn't understand why I kept asking myself, "Am I doing the 'right' things?" As 2 Peter 1:10-11 says, "... give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall."
One night, shortly after I began to struggle with that question, I experienced a very vivid and sobering vision! Suddenly I was standing before the all-mighty, all-loving God, giving an account of all the work I had been doing. What I saw in those moments crushed my heart! There I was, humbly bowing before the all-consuming, all-power-full, infinitely-loving God - "Love" Himself - still having the talents and treasures He had fashioned within me, but having no more time to fulfill His divine plan He had prepared for me as well. I had gone on without Him to use my talents for the "wrong" purposes rather than going "with" Him to make sure "we" were working "together" to fulfill His purposes, to His glory. All I could do was beg God to forgive me as I was thinking to myself, "WHAT have I done?!"
The real question was, "What have I NOT done?!" I remember feeling overwhelmed with grief that I had gotten caught up with doing so many things FOR God that I didn't even consider working WITH God where abundant fruit would have come to harvest. I saw unexplainable Love on His Face, so much love for me that all I wanted to do was give my ALL to Him! For all that He IS and ALL that He had done for me, I neglected to seek His Counsel by The Person of The Holy Spirit. I wished that I could have just one more chance to go back and, no matter what it would take, listen ever-intently for His leading and guidance into the fulfillment of "every purpose" that God had placed within me. But, now, my chance was gone... too late!
If you have had an encounter with God, you'll understand wholeheartedly when I say that NO WORDS can even begin to relay His ALL-CONSUMING Love and Power when we are standing in His Presence! To put into words what it felt like for me, kind-of, was like showing up at a Christmas celebration with no gift for Christ Whose Birthday we were gathered together to celebrate. What a terrible, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you fully realize you are standing before The Most High, Holy, One-and-Only Living God, fruit-less! How completely unsettling, and regretful it would be for any of us to end up in that terrible state of being!
On the day of the Gathering of all gatherings, that Great Day when we'll stand before God to be accountable for our life lived, we won't be able to apologize or hide. Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30? Let's commit now, together, to grow our accounts!
We must stop procrastinating. Let's begin to seek God, with all diligence, to find out exactly what He has each of us here on this earth to do, and let's get to it. This is the time that we have set before us to put to use what God so richly deposited into our lives. Now is the time for seeking and following The Person of The Holy Spirit's lead, and working with HIM to sow our words and actions into the hearts and lives of others who He knows are in need of it. Be prepared. Get a clear vision of just Who God IS and Who you are IN Him. "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26)."
To obtain the revelation of Who God is, we are compelled to offer up pure thanks TO Him, as He IS, first. We adore Him for being our Father, Savior, Creator, Lover of our Heart, and Source of ALL of our needs. Then we offer our boundless THANKS for giving us all the things that He has given, and for doing all the wonder-full things He has done, and will do, in our lives. That level of gratitude comes by our seeking God with all diligence, hearing His plan and assignment for us, and working with Him to fully fill His passions in the earth. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He IS, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)." *To understand the kind of faith that pleases God, read "3 Keys to God-Pleasing Faith" in chapter 10 of our book, "LETTERS FROM THE FRONT" available at TowardTheMark.com.*
What is His reward to us for diligently seeking Him? It is Him! It is our being permitted, as Jesus prayed, to enter into God Himself, where we get to see what He sees and hear what He hears. When we become "one" with God, through our diligence in seeking Him, there is a paradigm shift that occurs in our heart. With that shift, we are shown things that are so awesome that our heart fills up with indescribable joy! It is that JOY that compels us to offer up TRUE THANKS, all-consuming GRATITUDE, so much that we cannot contain it! This transformation results in what is best known as "being born again," being able to see through His eyes His passionate love for His children and His reason for creating all things the way He has.
People we meet often ask us, "What is your mission statement, or what exactly do you do?" When we get asked this question, our answer is always the same, "We aim to show God BIG in the eyes of those who see Him small, and to bridge the gap between God and His beloved children." Every morning, we wake up to the vision of what it would be like if everyone we knew and met was truly and wholeheartedly grateful. They would exude gratitude to God for Who He IS, and also to others for who they are. They would have and display a level of uncommon respect for others. They would be quick to speak life. They would be selfless and always looking to help others in whatever way they can. They would be looking to see others through God's eyes, and would always be looking to see, and call out, the gifts that God has placed in them. They would fan the flame in the heart of others for completing the work God has wired them to full-fill. And every one of them would love God wholeheartedly, pursue "oneness" with Him, and tell everyone what He means to them. They would be more keenly aware of the times we are living in, and would do everything possible to lift up the Lord's Name and glorify God in the eyes of others, not because they are told they have to, but because of their unquenchable passion for Him. During this Thanksgiving, and always, for everyone we meet, we aim to ignite a diligent pursuit for Who God IS more than for what He does, or can do! This is our goal and it's our every-day VISION that drives us!
We could not close without sharing with you the Scripture that the Holy Spirit illuminated for me shortly after I had asked God to lead me IN-to Himself, IN-to oneness with Him as Jesus prayed in the garden before His arrest. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name (Psalms 100:4)." The secret to our becoming "one" with our Father and receiving the privilege of working with Him to fulfill His dream though our lives is, and will always be, gratitude to Him for Who He is-- He IS GOD ALMIGHTY!
From your Shealy friends and co-laborers in Christ, and from the faith-full family and friends who help us help others, we pray that the Holy Spirit will settle over you this Thanksgiving with healing and provision where it is needed, and with joy unspeakable, full of His Glory! Thank you for hearing our heart, and this "secret" God has graciously given us!
"Stay GRATE-Full and GIVING full THANKS, Y'all!"
Keith, Brenda and The TTM Team


             Pray this prayer, RELAX, and watch what God will do...
           "Dear Father God, in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of all lords, I lay my life at Your Feet. I come before You, confessing that I am a sinner, and I ask for You to forgive me of all my sins - those that I know I have committed, as well as those that I am not even aware of.  I ask that You come into my heart and be my Lord. I lay my life, and everything in it, at Your Feet, and ask that You please take me and begin to change me to be like YOU. I ask that You redeem the time that has passed, and allow me the opportunity to become exactly what You have predestined me to be, from before the foundation of the earth. I commit my life to You now, and thank You for receiving me as Your own. In the wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, I pray, Amen."  And AMEN!!!

            WELCOME HOME!

            We want to congratulate you for making the greatest decision that you'll ever make! By accepting Jesus Christ, or rededicating your life to Him, as your personal Lord and Savior, you have begun the wonder-full process of being grafted into the family of God, and we welcome you "Home" to God's Family. We would also like to invite you to contact us so that we can send you information that will help you begin growing in your relationship and daily walk with God. We would encourage you to begin attending a Holy-Spirit-filled, Bible-believing church right away.


            Begin reading The Holy Bible daily, whether you understand it or not. Always remember, God's written Word in The Holy Bible is like no other book that has ever been written! When we rendezvous with The Person of The Holy Spirit as we read what God has written there, it becomes stored in our heart for The Holy Spirit to access it to bring to our remembrance.  You will find that the Scriptures will become applicable to whatever you are going through, at any given time!

            There are wonderful Bible teachers on television and on the radio that can, especially early in your walk with God, help you to begin receiving good teaching, and encouragement, right away. Although very informative, these programs are never to be a substitute for close relationships with people who love and serve God. At times, the transformation process that you have now begun will be difficult, and you will be tempted to go back to your old ways of living your old life. It will be during times like these that hanging out with strong Christian friends and mentors will be crucially important. There really IS strength in numbers!

            To help you grow in your journey to, as Jesus prayed in the garden, become *one* with our Father in Heaven, we have teaching resources that, if taken to heart, will help lead you INto ONEness with Christ Jesus. We have books, music CDs, customized individual teachings, blogs, podcasts, Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn messages, and videos you can take advantage of simply by contacting us. We would like to be among the first to welcome you into the Family of God... right where you "belong", now and always! (Selah)

            And remember, no matter what, Keep PRESSIN' IN...  learnin', and growin' *with* our Lord and Savior.  You might consider using our book  LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, the special collection of keys to defeating hindrances that have kept many of God's servants from walking with the confidence and authority that Jesus Christ died to give us! Twelve life-changing teaching chapters:

;
Sin Makes Ya Stewpit!
The Cart's Before the Horse
The Crisis of Eroding Integrity
The Fruit's on the End of the Limb
Too Quick to Compromise
The Rarest of All Breeds!
Please...Stop Stinkin'
Three Keys to God-Pleasing Faith
Let It Go
Understanding the Fear of The Lord
Into the Secret Place
Give to Give


  To help you further your fight to victory through the battles that confront every one of us in these turbulent times we live in, get your copy of our book, " LETTERS FROM THE FRONT." In this collection of 12 letters written from the front lines of battle fought in the spiritual, natural, and theater of the mind, Keith's Scripture messages will build your faith and help you reach God's full potential for your life.
"LETTERS FROM THE FRONT"
available at
TowardTheMark online.


We pray God uses this message, and all of our resources, to fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full Ways, and His Plan and Purpose for you in this life. If you have any questions about our work, or if you would like to make a special tax-deductible donation, place a special order for any of our books, magazines, or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please  e-mail us. Also feel free to write a letter and mail it to TOWARD THE MARK, P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.
May God bless you greatly as you carry this truth in your heart. We are eternally grateful for our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this blog, and all of our resources, possible by their faithful prayer and monthly financial support!
Your friends and servants in Christ,
         

    
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.

We couldn't do this without the help of our friends!
This blog message, along with the complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other Bible-based resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. is made possible by the faithful prayer and financial support of the TTM Sponsorship Family. We'd like to invite you to come on-board, to become a part of the TTM Family as well, by becoming a monthly financial partner. Your support will go toward fulfilling our God-given calling to help provide effective, contemporary outreach tools that are available to everyone, the churched and un-churched alike, who desire to know more of 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)

Keep PRESSIN' IN!

We INVITE You ... to follow and share these resources that are also available, for helping build your faith in God, His Will, and His Ways: 




 




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"Blessed be The LORD my Strength which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My Goodness, and my Fortress; my High Tower, and my Deliverer; my Shield, and He in Whom I trust; Who subdues my people under me (Psalm 144:1-2)."



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