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


Wow! it is already December.

How the time flies.

Now it is time to get serious about Christmas.

Serious in the sense that we need to take the time to reflect on what this season is all about. Christmas songs are filling the air. And as we sing along with the Christmas songs being played on the radio, in stores, on iPod, etc. let’s sing them in remembrance of Jesus, the one whose birthday we are celebrating.

My prayer for you this week:

Creator God we praise you. How good it is to sing praises to you our God, how pleasant and fitting it is to praise you! It is you oh LORD who built up Jerusalem; who gathered the exiles of Israel. You heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. You determine the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great are you Lord and mighty in power; your understanding has no limit. You LORD sustain the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.  Yes we sing to you our LORD with thanksgiving and remembrance; making music to you on the harp. In Jesus name amen.” Psalm 147:1-7

by Alec Niemi
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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

By Alec Niemi
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•  The Christmas Story – the story of Jesus Birth

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He was crouched low as he slowly followed a bit of a trail through the thick underbrush when his Sargent harshly whispered, ‘FREEZE!” He froze immediately and he listened intently for any noise as his eyes darted around trying to spot any danger that the Sarg. might have seen. And then he spotted it. Strung across the path, ankle high, right in front of his foot was a clear nylon trip line… He hadn’t seen it… One step more and… He didn’t want to think about it…

Life is full of trip lines. But praise the Lord for he has given us his Holy Spirit to warn us when to “FREEZE!”

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made both of them. Proverbs 20:12

My prayer for us this week

“Heavenly Father, we are still because we know that You are God. You are exalted among the nations; You will be exalted in the earth. You are with us and are our stronghold. Thank you and praise you, in Jesus name, amen.” Psalm 46:10,11

Have a great week

by Alec Niemi
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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

By Alec Niemi
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When facing stormy weather we seek refuge. Somewhere protected. Somewhere safe.

When facing a life storm it is the same.


In several of the Psalms the Lord is referred to as our refuge.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

If you make the Most High your dwelling–even the LORD, who is my refuge... Psalm 91:9

But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. Psalm 94:22

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.Psalm 142:5

He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Psalm 144:2

No matter what situation we are faced with, He is there for our refuge.

In you, LORD, we have taken refuge; let us never be put to shame; deliver us in your righteousness. Turn your ear to us, come quickly to our rescue; be our rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save us. Since you are our rock and our fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide us. Keep us free from the trap that is set for us, for you are our refuge. Into your hands we commit our spirit; deliver us, LORD, our faithful God.  In Jesus name amen.” Psalm 31:1-5

by Alec Niemi
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Someone once said,

If you believe one-tenth of what you say you believe
 you should be ten times more excited than you are.”

And I ask myself the question:  Where and why do we fall short?

Maybe it’s this .  . .
–    We fail to remember that being called “believers” means we “believe.
–    We fail to remember what it is we believe.
–    And we fail to give thanks.

We believe that God gave.
And we received.

And when we receive a gift, what should be our natural response?
Thanksgiving.

God has given us numerous gifts for which we can be eternally grateful.

Here are TEN to start out with.

#1 – God’s Son

Our Savior Jesus Christ. . . gave himself for us.” (Titus 2:14)

God’s Son wasn’t forced into being our Savior.
Jesus Christ gave Himself freely.

Why?

#2 – Forgiveness of Sins

“. . . that [we] might receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 26:18)

Each of us deserves the worst punishment imaginable for the filth of our sins.
Christ took it on Himself that we might receive forgiveness in its place.

#3 – Family Status

As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God.”
(John 1:12)

We have received the right to be called the children of God.
We have the same family status as God’s own Son.

#4 – Grace

“. . . grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

God’s favor when we didn’t deserve it – when we deserves His DIS-favor – was so certain to be ours that He gave it to us long before He brought anything into existence.

#5 – the Holy Spirit

“. . . ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

The Spirit of truth indwells us, fills us, rebukes us, seals us, and produces His fruit through us.

#6 – Peace

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (John 14:27)

Christ left us His peace.
It is ours – available and apart from any peace we could achieve from any other source.

#7 – Wisdom

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. . . and it shall be given.” (James 1:5)

When we need wisdom, we can ask for it.
And He will give it willingly.
Again and again.

#8 – Victory over death.

“Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57)

Because Christ rose from the dead, death will not have victory over us.

#9 – An Inheritance

“. . . that they may . . . receive an inheritance.” (Acts 26:18)

This inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, does not fade away, and is reserved in heaven for us.
We’re “joint heirs” with God’s own Son.

#10 – Everlasting Life

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Since we believe what we say we believe, let’s be more excited, more joyful . . . more grateful.

Ten times more.

by Bethany Hayes
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Do you still really trust God?


What should I do, do I make the change,” I asked?
as to and fro I paced.

Do you still trust Me?” the Lord asked, in response
to a quandary I faced.

Oh my light, my strength, my helper! “Oh Yes,
I responded without haste.

No words were spoken yet at that moment of ‘yes,’
all my doubts erased.

I trusted… I wasn’t afraid… in His comforting presence
I was embraced.

Go to His loving arms in times of need. Do it now.
There’s no time to waste.

Got a dilemma, struggling with a quandary,
trust God and be graced.

My prayer for us

Creator God, it is with anticipation and joy that we come to you with praise, thanking you for our strength and salvation. Do we still trust you? Unequivocally yes! We bless your holy name. Amen.

By Alec Niemi
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•  A Passion for Helping Others – Business leader, Ken Kolek, talks about putting others first and how this affects his business dealings.
•  How to be sure God Listens to your Prayers
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Last night we enjoyed supper and an evening of fellowship with friends. One of our friends said, with a big happy smile, that she was… “addicted to sharing the gospel with people.” A few weeks ago she had mentioned that her hands were getting arthritic and sore but she wouldn’t stop using her keyboard to reach others with the Gospel.

Her obvious ‘being chosen’ reflects her love to serve the one who called… The Lord Jesus Christ, and thus the desire to sacrificially give of herself to serving Him. We are blessed for knowing her.

I pray that that you too can say that the Lord has heard your prayer and has chosen you as a place for Himself as a temple for sacrifices. Amen.” 2 Chronicles 7:12

By Alec Niemi
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My readings for today included the 23rd Psalm. It is probably the most used passage in the Bible. On one of my mission trips into the Ukraine I took a scientist with me to speak to a group of leaders. When he got up to speak he simply rephrased the 23rd Psalm, read it and sat down. I was a bit shocked at first but then had one of the other speakers close with a gospel presentation. Many leaders prayed that day, accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. What a blessing and what a lesson.

And so my prayer for you this week is the 23rd Psalm as he rephrased it.

The LORD is your shepherd; you shall not be in want.
He makes you lie down in green pastures,
he leads you beside quiet waters,
He restores your soul.
He guides you in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
You will fear no evil,
for He is with you;
His rod and His staff,
they comfort you.
He prepares a table before you
in the presence of your enemies.
He anoints your head with oil;
your cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow you
all the days of your life,
and you will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

Amen!!!

By Alec Niemi
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•  Hearing God’s Voice
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I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” Psalm 17:7

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Resolutions. And yes I asked the same question. “Who keeps new year’s resolutions?”

My resolutions for this year are quite simple: Live, Listen, Love, Laugh. I want to ‘live’ more for the Lord, I want to ‘listen’ more to the Lord, I want to ‘love’ more in the Lord and to ‘laugh’ in the freedom of the Lord.

If each day is a new day and each year is a new year, then why not set some attainable, sustainable, measurable resolves? The first three are quite obvious and I should be trying, on a daily basis, to pursue them. The fourth one, to ‘laugh,’ is one that struck me as the one needing the most work.  I have become too serious; I take things too serious; I make things become too serious. It is time to relax a bit, find the humor in things and then find time to share the lighter side of things with others.

Researchers are now suggesting one of the best stress relievers is to smile. Feeling stressed? Smile! Feeling depressed? Smile! Feeling down? Smile!

Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

This is what I call, ‘laugh in the freedom of the Lord.”  Instead of waiting until I’m all out of, ‘doing it myself,’ energy, I stop and laugh and say to myself, “How silly,” and acknowledge that He is with me all the time and always ready to strengthen me. I chuckle and ask, “Will you help me?”  You already know the answer! And it made you smile didn’t it!

So this year join me in Living, Listening, Loving and Laughing It’s worth it!

My prayer for us this week:

Lord help us draw even closer to you this next year. We thank you for your righteousness for it gives us our freedom in Christ, We thank you and sing our praises to You. In Jesus name amen.

Have a great Living, Listening, Loving and Laughing New Year!

By Alec Niemi
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I did a Bible word search for the word “Praise” and it appears 296 times in the New International version of the Bible.  I read through all 296 of them this morning. All but a six are in reference to praising God. It was a good exercise. By the time I finished – all I wanted to do was praise the Lord. There was no reference to man praising man. It actually speaks against it.

1 Corinthians 4:5 says: “...we will receive our praise from God.”

The dictionary defines praise: as a verb to express warm approval or admiration of, to express one’s respect and gratitude toward (a deity); As a noun it is the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something; the expression of respect and gratitude as an act of worship. The words origin: Middle English appraise, set a price on, attach value to; from Old French preisier – ‘to prize, praise‘; from Latin pretiumprice.’

It is apparent that God is worthy of all praise when we recognize who He is and the price He paid for each of us.

My prayer for you this week is that you too are praising the Lord.

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, Praise Him in the heights above.
Praise Him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise Him, sun and moon,
Praise Him, all you shining stars. Praise Him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and you were created. He set you in place for ever and ever; He gave a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, oh great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do His bidding, the mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them Praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the Lord. Amen.” Psalm 148

By Alec Niemi
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Looking back at the different phases in our life is like reviewing a book. Each chapter starts with great anticipation and usually ends with reflection and questions of tomorrow. Following through the story line one can see how each chapter builds on the previous. There are high points and low points, excitements and sorrows, yet throughout the whole story one can definitely see the hand of God’s provision. When choosing to follow God, He puts some very interesting adventures in our path. By putting Him first we can look forward to tomorrow with great anticipation!

My prayer for you

I pray that as you think about tomorrow that you are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, rather than worrying about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear, knowing that all these things will be given to you as well because your heavenly Father knows that you need them. And that you do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Amen. Matthew 6:25-34

By Alec Niemi
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Life’s Lessons can Come from Unexpected Places
God’s Plan – A Study on God’s Destiny for Me?
How to Spend a Day With the Lord
Hearing God’s Voice – a Study by Charles Stanley

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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

By Alec Niemi
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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

By Alec Niemi
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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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