Set Aside Time

snowfirstThe snow had just started when Karen’s cousin, Matt Mason posted this yesterday. We are praying for everyone at home today in the snow. It’s 22 degrees and snowing and feels colder because of the wind. But, if it makes you feel better, it’s minus 11 in White Lake, Wisconsin where Hannah and Ava are this morning.
As we are set aside because of the snow this weekend, I would recommend a few things if things get cancelled.

1. Set aside the time you were going to be in Sunday School and District Leadership Training on Sunday and use that same amount of time to read and meditate upon the Scriptures.

2. Set aside your tithes and gifts that you would have given or put on the altar rail and save it for the opportunity to share later.

3. Set aside that time you would have been in corporate worship to listen to good, Biblical preaching on TV or better yet sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to each other making up a melody in your heart to the Lord.

Use this time you are set aside by the snow to bless the Lord and rely upon Him. Don’t forget to check on your neighbors. Love you.

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First Day Revelation

soapjournalToday’s “Through-the-Bible Reading Plan” had me in Genesis 1 and 2 and in Luke 1. The Scripture that stood out in that reading was Genesis 1: 4 and Luke 1: 3. The Observation I made was of God’s work of separation. God takes great care and gives repetitive examples of making a distinction between what is good and what is bad, but also between what is good and what is not as good.

Jesus does this when he tells Martha “but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 42) Mary had chosen to listen to what Jesus said. Martha was busy doing other good things.

God continually asks us to prioritize what we’re doing. This is the purpose of keeping repentance and faith together. Repentance makes the distinction between the choices we have and aligns us with what is better. Faith gives us the power to follow up and follow through.

The Application for me to do this is spelled out in Luke 1: 3 where Luke confesses. “With this in mind …. I decided to write.” This is my first day revelation. I expect yours to be different and framed by what God is asking of you. For me, right before I started reading the Bible, I was challenged by a quote from the writer, Jodi Picoult. “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

We are not allowed to leave our days blank, to make no distinction between the light and the dark. We are not allowed to simply watch the days go by and call it God’s will, make it our excuse for not doing what we know to do.  God makes these distinctions and it is incorporated into all of creation. God commands us to incorporate it into what we do.

My Prayer: Lord, let no day this year lie blank between us. For my part, I will strive to listen and write down what I hear you say. For your part, speak! Speak your Word clothed in fire, formed in grace, wrapped up in swaddling bands, and laid within my soul.  In the most holy name – Jesus. Amen.

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Reading through the Bible in 2017 with our Bishop Sharma Lewis

bishopsharmalewisI know many of you are excited, like me, that we’ve been asked by our Bishop, Sharma Lewis to read through the Bible in 2017. This may be a new experience for many of you and you might think it too great a challenge. I can assure you, you can develop a habit of reading the Bible and responding to it that will lift your spirit, renew your mind, and train your body in righteousness.

To move through this process I recommend you order a Life Journal. Click to learn more about using the Life Journal or using a journal as part of your devotional life as you listen to Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Church. lifejournalhabit

I urge you to find someone who is committed to reading through the Bible and ask them to be your friend in this process and help each other stick with it. Developing the habit together not only may make it easier, it will become a more valuable experience as you share in the application of God’s Word in your life.

I also urge you to follow this blog throughout 2017 and encourage your friends to do so, as well. I’ll be sharing how to follow Jesus up the pathway of grace, sharing some from my devotional journal, and alerting you to resources that will build up your faith and direct you into becoming a greater blessing to others.

P.S. Read the Laurel Hill United Methodist Church newsletter and calendar.

P.S.S. Read the Norman Ramsey Ministries Year End newsletter, The Pathway of Grace.

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Finishing 2016, Starting 2017

How can you make the end of a year a point of breakthrough instead of just a place you start over? Realize God is drawing us forward to repentance. Now is not the time to substitute regret for things undone with repentance of dead works. When we repent, we are aligning ourselves with the new grace and mercy God is giving us today.

What’s the one thing God is fervently stirring you to do? Let every other resolution or goal reflect that priority. You may pursue multiple goals but what you won’t let yourself do is change the order of those goals until God commands you to do it. I’ll repeat that to remind you: We may pursue multiple goals but we won’t change the order of those goals unless God commands us.

Don’t fall into the trap of your day determining your actions. Instead, let’s make sure our actions determine the day! And, let’s make sure our actions reflect our priority.

Remember, God has assured us of the Holy Spirit’s guidance and the instruction of His Word to conform us into the image of His Dear Son. Let us remember to follow.

Norman Ramsey

P.S. Don’t fall into the trap of having priorities – plural. Have a priority. Do it first and then everything else can get in line after that.seekfirst

P.S.S. Read the Laurel Hill United Methodist Church January newsletter and calendar.

P.S.S.S. Read the Norman Ramsey Ministries 2016 Year End newsletter and be blessed as you move into 2017!

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Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

psalm-100-4I know you’ve witnessed this scene. A person is trying to prove he is no threat or danger and moves forward with hands down, palms exposed, nothing hidden or held back.  Yes, his hands are empty. He is helpless if the One he approaches would take advantage of his surrender and his drawing near.

But, nevertheless, the person moves forward.

Then, the person realizes suddenly how beautiful the One he approaches is. Why hadn’t he come forward sooner? How could he have missed the glory, the beauty, or the splendor that now is so attractive?

It’s simple really. The person had never before dared to come this close.

This is the invitation of Psalm 100. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures unto all generations.” (Psalm 100: 4-5)

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What Does Being Thankful Mean?

tenonandmortiseAre you thankful? How do you show it? I am asking something more than are you in a good mood? The Hebrew word for thankful refers to the hand and what we stretch out to the Lord. Being thankful is us acting as a tenon in a mortise and tenon woodworking joint. The mortise and tenon woodworking joint has been used around the world for thousands of years—for good reason. It’s considered one of the strongest woodworking joints for attaching two pieces of wood at 90 degrees.

The mortise and tenon joint functions by inserting one end of a piece of wood into a hole in another piece of wood. It’s that simple. The smaller end of the wood is the “tenon,” and the wood with the hole in it is referred to as the “mortise.” Thus, being thankful is emphasizing God’s strength and not our own. Being thankful is “casting all our care upon the Lord because He cares for us.” (I Peter 5: 7)

I understand that sometimes we don’t feel like being thankful. We definitely feel like the ‘smaller’ piece in things and we are prone to get spiritually depressed and depreciate what the Lord can do in us. We’re the problem and we know it. Yet, it is this particular situation that God recognizes and knows about us and His work in us. God explained it to the Apostle Paul this way, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Do you see it, yet? Being thankful means we acknowledge we are on the receiving end of grace or better yet, grace will receive us even when we feel small and out of joint.

(I apologize for going so long without posting to my blog. Me, being thankful going forward is stretching forth my hand to type something useful and helpful for the growth of our faith in Jesus and something that reminds us of the big picture of God’s grace under which we live. Happy Thanksgiving! Norman)

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

nativity4Keep up with everything during the month of December with our calendar, our newsletter, plus a special page of announcements.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”      (Luke 2: 11)

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