Category: <span>thoughts by Alec Niemi</span>

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Been there, done that,” is the expression lots of us use when we witness others going through an issue. It’s our way of saying, “I know what you’re going through.” The encouragement comes when we go the next step and extend comfort. A small hug, a hand on the arm or some small gesture of contact if no words come to mind. A gesture that says, “I’m here for you.

And, “I’m here for you,” includes that I’m willing to share the love of Christ with you because that is who helped me when I was ‘there’ doing ‘that’…

“My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:2

“May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 115:15

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. In Jesus name, amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

By Alec Niemi
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19 Ways to Encourage Others

10 Things to Pray for Friends and Family

Come Alongside – by John Fischer

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Why me? Why me?

Why am I stuck in this horrific situation?

When we are stuck in any situation we don’t like, our natural reaction is to question. Yet, what if that situation is a divine appointment? Is this situation an obstacle or an opportunity?

Paul, writing to Titus tells him, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished...” (Titus 1:5). Paul then goes on to give Titus instructions for the task he has for him.

Perhaps the obstacle we feel we are facing is an opportunity to follow the instructions we have been given so that we too might put in order what was left unfinished.

Jesus has given us instructions for the task He has for us, telling us to,

“…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  (Matthew 28:19,20)

And when we look at verse eighteen of the same passage we discover that Jesus has ‘all’ authority in heaven and on earth and then at the end of verse twenty He tells us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” So although one may be ‘stuck’ in any given situation it is good news to know that Jesus, with all His power, is there too!

In His power we can turn the obstacle into an opportunity!

Thank-you Heavenly Father for your ever loving Holy Spirit who is putting us in order that we too might follow your instructions. Thank-you for working in us, keeping us blameless, faithful, obedient, not overbearing, not quick-tempered or dishonest, but rather having us pursuing honest gain, being hospitable, loving what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined, holding firmly to your word, so that we can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. In Jesus name, amen.” Titus 1:5-9

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Come Alongside – what it looks like to come alongside of people while Jesus draws them closer.

Your Life is the Only Bible Some People Read

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It seems that more often than not the first thing people say about other people is negative. There seems to be a permeating ‘spirit of negativity’ prevalent today. I don’t know if it is cultural, spiritual or just learned bad habit and maybe (and probably) it is a combination of the three.

Whatever it is it is still being judgmental and somehow it needs to change.

Perhaps it has to start with me?

My prayer for us

Heavenly Father please help us judge others as you would judge us, for in the same way we judge others, you will judge us and with the measure we use, you will measure us. Help us to not look at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye without paying attention to the plank in our own eye. How can we say to our brother, ‘Let us take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in our own eye? Help us to first take the plank out of our own eye and then we will see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. In Jesus name amen. Matthew 7:1-5

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Forgiveness is Good for Your Health
What Do You Want Jesus to Say?

The Trust Factor
Harsh Judgments Can Kill One’s Spirit

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During a conversation I had with a hitchhiker that I had picked up the other day I was intrigued by his desire to criticize his Christian landlord.

If that is what being a Christian is then I don’t want any part of it,” he would say as he elaborated on things his landlord did.

No matter how I tried to steer the conversation to his need for Christ as his personal Savior he always came back to how much he didn’t like the way his Christian landlord treated him.

After arriving at his destination we sat in the car for a while longer. He remarked that our conversation was softening his heart and he would have to learn to be more forgiving towards his landlord.

I thought WOW, here’s a guy with a desire to be more forgiving to the man that was causing him to stumble and yet missed the truth about the ultimate forgiveness available to him through Christ.

My prayer for us this week

Lord God our Father, whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we do it all for Your glory. Help us as we try not to cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God and help us try to please everyone in every way. For we are not seeking our own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. In Jesus name amen.”  1 Corinthians10:31-33

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More Than Helpful

Beware! We Have Many Observers

Harsh Judgments Can Kill One’s Spirit

Desolate or Fruitful?  How are you with others?


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Today’s reading is in Psalm 105. It is about the Lord’s wonderful work on behalf of Israel. In it is reference to the cloud of covering that the Lord gave the Israelites to shelter them from the hot sun during the day and the fire that He gave for light at night as they wondered in the wilderness.

From this passage we are reminded of the need to be thankful for the grace that has been bestowed upon us through the covering we have in the blood of Jesus. He is now giving us the ‘protection by day‘ and ‘light by night‘ that we need.

His Grace:

Saves us… “For by grace we are saved through faith, it is the gift of God.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

Gives us strength... “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness“. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Guides us... “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with my eye“. Psalm 32:8

Provides for us… “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Renews us… “but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Gives us rest… “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.Exodus 33:14

Lights our path“the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness,Psalm 18:28.

My prayer for you this week: Thank-you gracious and mighty God for your ‘protecting’ cover by day and the ‘directing’ fire by night. And also for your ‘providing’ loving arms that carry us all the time. In Jesus name, amen. Psalm 105:39

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Life’s Lessons can Come from Unexpected Places

We Plan – God Directs

To Whom Are You Listening?


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While reading Psalm 116:12-19 this morning I was reminded again of God’s goodness and love to us.  My thoughts echo the psalmist’s and I pray that yours do too.

“How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the LORD—in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.”

My prayer for you:

Heavenly Father we love you. You heard our voice; you heard our cry for mercy. Because you turned your ear to us, we will call on you as long as we live. In Jesus name, amen.” Psalm 116:1,2

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In a sound test lab a couple of trained audiophiles were listening to a classical music piece. Their job was to listen to a new speaker design that was being developed. They were to evaluate the quality of the sound being generated. To do this they would take one of their favorite pieces of music that they had listened to many times before. While listening, one of the men turned to the other and excitedly said, “Wow, these things are so clear that this is the first time I have ever heard the sound of the conductor turning the page of music!”

The trained human ear is still the best equipment for testing the quality of sound.

We too need to train our ears to hear the sound of the Master as He turns pages in our lives.

Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.
Mark 4:24

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.John 10:27-28

My prayer for us

Heavenly Father, we receive your words and treasure up your commandments with us, making our ears attentive to wisdom and inclining our hearts to understanding; yes, we call out for insight and raise our voice for understanding, we seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, in hope that we will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. In Jesus name, amen.Proverbs 2:1-5

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“Give yourself a pat on the back – you’ve done such a great job!”

Ever notice how difficult it is to give yourself a pat on the back?

It takes someone else to do it for us. When we do it ourselves it becomes a self proclamation and is boasting. Scripture tells us…

“Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed. 1 Samuel 2:3

If we are going to boast then let’s boast about the Lord… My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice.” Psalm 34:2

“Heavenly Father please let those who boast – boast in You. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom You commend. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 10:17,18.

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The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.Psalm 37:23

It is so encouraging to know how to delight the Lord. Just walk in the steps He sets for us!!!

As we go out this week let’s remember to act with courage and do well that we might experience His light and Joy.

Act with courage, and may the Lord be with those who do well.2 Chronicles 19:11

Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:11

Heavenly Father may our steps be established by you and our acts of goodness strengthened by you so that you might be delighted and that we might enjoy your blessing and joy. In Jesus name amen.

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The dictionary defines confidence as the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; and the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.

We read that, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. Hebrews 11:1

It is exciting to know that we can rely on God for the ‘something‘ He did in sending ‘someone‘, namely his Son Jesus, and be ‘certain about the truth’ of this to establish our faith in the salvation of His atoning work on the cross.

My prayer for us this week

Lord God, our faith is in you. Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, we throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And we run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. We consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart. In Jesus name, amen.Hebrews 12:1-3

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Hope you had a good week.”

Hope you have a wonderful time.”

Hope you make it.”

Hope, hope, hope…

Hope is an interesting word. It can be used as a noun, as a feeling of expectation. It can be used as a verb, in wanting something to happen or to be the case. It is also seen as a virtue, as a belief in a positive outcome in one’s life. For a follower of Christ It is a spiritual gift from God and is used primarily as a noun, that God is our ‘hope‘, rather than a verb, ‘hoping’ that God will give good things and make life happier.

Building our hope on the Rock of Righteousness gives us peace through the storms of life as well as in the good times.

I trust that your ‘hope‘ is Christ.

Oh Lord our creator and Heavenly Father, thank you that we can find rest for our soul in You alone; our hope comes from You. You alone are our rock and our salvation; you are our fortress, We will not be shaken. Our salvation and our honor depend on You oh God; You, our mighty rock, our refuge. We trust in You at all times; we pour out our hearts to You, for You are our refuge. Amen.” Psalm 62:5-8

Have a great week

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Christmas lights adorn the neighborhood setting the scene for festive celebration. It is easy to get into the mood of celebration amidst all the decoration. As we celebrate let us remember that Christmas is the celebration of the boy child Jesus who came as the light to a dark world. Just as He has opened our eyes with the truth of salvation, let’s use this celebratory season to shine our light for Jesus too!

My prayer for you

Thank you LORD, you have called us in righteousness. Thank you for taking hold of our hands and keeping us and making us to be a covenant and a light to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Amen.” Isaiah 42:6, 7

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As disciples we have been set apart to expend our time, talent and treasures on Christ’s message.

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17

The apostle Paul, speaking to the church in Corinth, gives us insight into how we should do this. (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

The first thing he tells us is that we are to be generous. “whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (v 6b) Being generous means showing a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected.

Secondly he tells us to be intentional with what we do. “what you have decided in your heart to give,” (v 7a) A deed is an action that is performed intentionally of consciously.

The third thing is that we are to do it voluntarily, “not reluctantly or under compulsion.” (v 7b)

His fourth instruction is that we do it cheerfully, “for God loves a cheerful giver.”(v 7c)

And then he tells us why… that, abounding in His grace, we might be sufficiently supplied…  “God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (v8)

…for everything we do in furthering the Kingdom of God. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” (vs 10,11)

As we do what we have been called to do, let’s do it generously, intentionally, freely and cheerfully.

Heavenly Father thank you for teaching us that if we sow sparingly we will also reap sparingly, and if we sow bountifully we will also reap bountifully. You tell us that we must do just as we have purposed in our heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for You love a cheerful giver. And You are able to make all grace abound to us, so that we will always have all sufficiency in everything, that we may have an abundance for every good deed. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

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Beautiful meadow lands sprawl along the flowing river. The land is covered with grasses to feed the animals and trees to shade them as they rest. However, tangled canopies of wild blackberry bushes, some over twelve feet high are taking over acres of the meadow lands. Under this canopy is beautiful soil where grasses grew and animals ranged but the land is becoming useless because of the blackberry bushes.

This large canopy of bush is created by a few main roots and long runners that climb all over everything including the shade trees.

Pushing through the blackberry bushes with a front end loader drops the canopy and pulls the runners away exposing the ground beneath it. A few passes with the machine quickly opens a large area of ground that can now grow the grasses that were being smothered out.

Our lives are similar. We let things grow into our lives that can smother us. When we let sin root itself in our lives it produces branches that can take over everything else and makes our Christian walk unproductive. By getting to the root of the problem we can clear out the bad things and get on with the things the Lord would have us do.

Lord and Heavenly Father please help us prepare our minds for action that we would keep sober in spirit, fixing our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, we will not be conformed to the former lusts which were ours in our ignorance, but like You, the Holy One who called us, will be holy ourselves also in all our behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” In Jesus name amen.” 1 Peter 1:13-16

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Jesus was at Peter’s house when Peter’s mother got a fever. Jesus healed her and her ‘response’ was to get up and serve him.

Later that evening when others who were sick were brought to him he drove out evil spirits from those who were possessed and healed many others who were sick. Their ‘response’ was to bring in more people to see the show.

And he moved on… Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Matthew 8:23-25

He calmly responded in word and action, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26. His ‘response was one of action.

Jesus had been very busy showing the disciples his power and authority and yet they missed it. Their ‘response was fear and worry.

We have been told not to worry but rather give the situation to God… “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you1 Peter 5:6-7

Notice the sequence of our response? Humility, patience, action.

My prayer for us

Lord Jesus thank-you for your ‘response’ to all our needs. You give us salvation, you give us eternal life, you give us the way and you give us peace! This week we humble ourselves, give you the storms in our lives that you might rebuke the winds and the waves and give us your calm. Our ‘response’ is to say thank-you, thank-you, thank-you… and let you know that we are waiting, ready and willing to serve you as you lay out the action plan you have for us. In your precious and holy name, amen.Matthew 8:26

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