Posted by: Toni Sprandel | February 11, 2013

Love is….

With Valentines day right around the corner I began to think about the word love and what it really is.  We hear it all the time and even more around Valentines Day.  Parents tell their children “I love you”, children tell their parents “I love you”.  Husbands and wives, boyfriends & girlfriends share the same words, “I love you”.  We also use the word love to show our feelings about some “thing”.  We say I love that car, or I love chocolate.  But love is…..?

Have we ever sat down and thought about what the word means?  I remember hearing a pastor preach on the word love.  He explained that there were actually 3 different Greek words for our English word love. Love can be: 1. Agape - God’s unconditional love; 2. Philia – Brotherly love; 3. Eros – romantic love.

Most of us understand philia love; it is the brotherly kind of love that we have for our dear friends, a kinsmenship.  Eros is the love between a husband and wife.  This love is a very special love given to man by God and meant to seal/bond their relationship so that the two shall be made one.

Agape love, God’s unconditional love is probably the least known and understood by the general population.  Those of us who have grown up in church have heard about agape love.  I John 4:8b says “….God is love”.  It is WHO He is.  Love is one of His attributes.  And His love is unconditional.  To me, the greatest thing is that He can’t NOT love, because it is who He is.  I John 4:10 says this, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”.  This tells me that love is initiated by God.  Love is his posture toward the human race, it begins with God.  And the other thing I see about the love the Father has for us, it is sacrificial in nature.  He loved us so much and knew we were separated from Him because of our sin problem, so he sacrificed His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  He who knew no sin (Jesus) became sin for us.  Love is from God.  Love is sacrificial. 

I John 4:11 “…since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”.  God is love and Jesus expressed that love by coming down from heaven and spent 3 years teaching the disciples about it.  John 13:34 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  If we are true followers of Jesus, we will do as He commands us.  And He commands us to love.  Love is to be shared. 

I Corinthians 13:4-8a says this; “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails….”.  Love is a humble servant.

Love is…incredible….amazing….unbelievable…a gift from God.  

  

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | November 20, 2013

Thankfulness in the midst of Life

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about our circumstances and the verses in scripture that teach us to be thankful in all circumstances.  Many friends are posting on facebook things they are thankful for.  I am grateful for their writings as they remind me; there is much to be thankful for.

Today, November 21st, marks the 8th anniversary of Larry’s car accident that changed his and our lives forever.  Life is not always fair, it is not always fun, it is not always as “we” want it to be.  But, our lives are an opportunity for us.  As a follower of Jesus, we are called to be His witnesses, whether it is in our own small town, or anywhere that we go.  So, to that end, we live this roller coaster ride, being a light in the darkness.

We are thankful that the LORD spared Larry’s life that fateful evening 8 years ago.  We are thankful the LORD has blessed us immeasurably with family and friends that have supported us.  We are thankful for all the financial, material and spiritual blessings we have received these past 8 years.  Life has not always dealt us a “good hand”, but the LORD has allowed us to shine like the sun for Him.  We shine for Him by having a thankful heart.

We have a thankful heart not for the car accident, not for the pain and suffering we have endured; but we have a thankful heart because we have His presence in our lives every minute of every day.  We know that He alone is sovereign over all things and that nothing is outside of His control.  So even though we face trials and tribulations aplenty, we can rejoice because we know we are not in this alone.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 have been my refuge and source of comfort these past 8 years.  I lean on them everyday.  “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I never have to worry about what the LORD’s will for my life is, I read these 3 small verses and I have my answer; thankfulness, in the midst of life.

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | November 8, 2013

Our Journey of Faith

How can I put into the words, the experiences Larry and I have had over this past week?  Our emotions have run the gamut of human experiences.

This past week we have been in St Petersburg, Florida.  We have not been there on vacation.  To me, personally, it was a week of Hell.  If Hell is anything like what we have gone through, I fear greatly for all of those who are headed that way.

Almost 4 years ago, Larry & I purchased a wheelchair accessible, handicap ramp van from a seller on Ebay.  Unless you can personally go and inspect a vehicle or send a certified mechanic to go and check it out, please, do not take a chance, no matter how “nice and pretty” it looks.

As soon as we took possession of the vehicle we knew it had problems.  But we were totally unaware of the exact condition of the van.  After an attempt on our part to have the seller make restitution to us, we contacted a lawyer in the area he is in and spoke with her.  We contracted with her and she sent him a letter asking him to take the van back and give us our money back.  He never responded.

It was finally decided that we needed to move forward with the issue because the problems with the van and its condition were such that we knew we had been “had”.  Our lawyer filed suit against the seller and the journey began.  In April of 2012 we made our first trip to Tampa to meet our lawyer and give our depositions.  At that time an Auto Damage Expert examined the vehicle and it was declared to be unsafe and unfit to be on the road.  And we still had a 1000 mile journey to get home.  Safe, we did not feel.

Getting home safely was our goal.  About 40 miles from home the van began acting up and we were unsure if we would make it home.  We did and I declared to Larry, we were done driving that van and I took the license plates off and it has sat in our driveway since then.

This past Monday was the beginning of what we thought was the end to our long and arduous journey with that van.  But what transpired was not pretty.  I have never in my life ever had such a strong and pervasive sense of evil!  I felt like I was in the presence of satan himself.  My urge was to get up and run, every time the opposing lawyer got up to speak.  The heart wrenching, gut wrenching feelings of being around and near to such evil was incredible.  The fact that someone could try to distort the law and maintain that evil is ok just made me ill.

I want to Praise the LORD for His divine presence during this time.  I wrote I Thessalonians 5:16-18 on a piece of paper and just kept repeating it, writing it and praying it.  I also kept writing and praying Psalm 43:1-3.  The LORD truly sustained and upheld us during this time.  Thursday when things were going so poorly, I just kept praying that the LORD would contend with those who content with us his dearly loved children.  And my undying love for Him allowed me to pray, “For yet I will praise the LORD.”

I can continue to praise Him because He has not changed, He has not forsaken us, He has not left us.  He continues to be Sovereign over ALL things.  And I continue to believe that Romans 8:28 was meant for just such a time as this: “For ALL things work together for good to those who love God”.

After 4 days of legal wrangling, the judge who had never presided over a case like this (he is a family, domestic judge), explained he was unable to make a judgment on the law of what should be given to the jurors, so he declared a mistrial.  Have you ever felt like you have been shoved through a wringer washer and pulled out the other side?  We did.  Our desire and need for closure on the issue has been denied.

We have no idea what the future holds, but I can truly assure you, I do KNOW who holds that future, thank you dearest LORD Jesus.  Ultimately, through this trial, our faith and trust is strengthened  and the LORD is glorified as we allow His perfect Will to be done in our lives.

One of the biggest blessings of the week was when our son flew down to be with us so we would not be alone.  The blessing of our daughter’s constant contact with us was also huge.  She was unable to get away to join us.  Without the support of our kids, their families, and all the love and support of you our dearest friends and neighbors, we would have been lost.  By the grace, love and compassion of the LORD, we made it through.

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 18, 2013

Time for some time off…

Hello to all of you my dear faithful readers.  I apologize for being absent.  As life does, it changes our plans sometimes.

First, the physical issues that my husband has been having are continuing along with some new issues.  We don’t believe they are terribly serious but they are a “thorn in his side”.   Also, we leave 2 weeks from now to head to Tampa, Florida for a trial regarding a misrepresented handicapped van we purchased.  We requested the seller to give us our money back and we would return the van.  He refused.  So we are finally after 3-1/2 years, are going to trial.  

Writing this blog has been one of the most gratifying and  spiritually encouraging thing I have ever done.  The love and encouragement you share with me has warmed my heart.  I am so sad but I need to take the time off so I can concentrate on Larry and physical needs and our upcoming trip to Florida.

I hope that I will only be gone a few months.  If things in our life settle down, I hope to be back on by the first of the year.  Thank you so much for your love and commitment to me and my blog.  I look forward to being back real soon.

Love to you all,

Toni :)

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 6, 2013

Push a Button, Share Christ

Toni Sprandel:

This is worth a minute of your time. :)

Originally posted on Calvary Training:

Share buttons can be found at the bottom of this post.

and remember to visit Regalos DeAmor

What is it worth to change a child’s life?

Would you push a button?

These children have nothing.

I’ve walked in their homes and seen walls plastered with newspaper to keep out the elements.

They live in dirt.

We bring them Christmas presents, a Bible, and the good news of Jesus Christ.

I need you to help.

You can push a button and share.

A button. Push a button and change a child’s life.

And if you want to do more, follow the link and visit the Regalos DeAmor website.

See the work that is done.

Consider giving to bring Christmas, a Bible, and the gospel to a young child.

Thank you.

You’re pushing that button or clicking that link will mean so much to a child this Christmas.

Thank you

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Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 5, 2013

A 4-Fold Strategy for Making Disciples (That Really Works)

Toni Sprandel:

Awesome post about discipleship!

Originally posted on multiply:

4-Fold-D-Strategy

Note from the editor: This blog post by Robby Gallaty originally appeared here at Replicate Ministries on September 23, 2013.

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When you stop and think about yourself and all of the Christians around you, how many people are true disciples of Christ in the way that God intended? I have a sneaking suspicion that the number is not what it should be. This is one of the reasons Paul challenges Timothy, in this last letter to his spiritual son, to not only make more disciples but to teach other people how to make disciples as well.

Let’s take a look at 2 Timothy 2:1‒2:

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

This is one of the texts that…

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Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 4, 2013

What shortcut am I taking?

A shortcut to work?  A shortcut at work with my work?  Am I shortcutting my family/friends?  Do I shortcut my responsibilities whether at home, work or church?  What about my relationship with God?  Am I shortcutting that too?

First, some shortcuts are wonderful, needed and very helpful.  But some are not.  I was thinking about my relationship to Christ and how I came to know Him.

At first, I just thought that since I knew there was a God, and if I believed in Him, I was going to be all right.  I just trust in God and I get my free pass to Heaven.  Ummm… no, not going to happen.  A wonderful Saint, who has gone on to be with Jesus, explained I could not shortcut my attempt to get to Heaven to be with God.  I figured it was God & me and that was all I needed, right?

Well, not exactly.  She explained to me that God is Holy, perfect, pure and unattainable in my sinful state.  What??  She went on to explain that you just can’t “go to God”.  That would be taking a shortcut that does not exist.  She said there is one Man between the Holy God and that is the Person of Jesus Christ.

She went on to explain to me that it was like a valley, with me standing on one edge, the open gorge and the Holy God on the other side.  She said I had no access to the Holy God if I did not use the bridge that God had ordained to be used.  She told me that if I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as my payment for my sins, repented and asked for forgiveness, Jesus would gain me the access I could not get on my own.  There is no shortcut to God.  We must go through Jesus.

I have heard people say they “found God”, but they don’t mention Jesus.  First, when did God get lost? We are lost, not Him.  And then I think that maybe they mean they have come to know Him.  But how can they get to know God, if they don’t know Jesus?

Looking back at an old Hymnal, so many of those great hymns spoke of following Jesus, being a soldier of the cross, and that we lay down our lives for Jesus as thanks for all He has done for us.  I am just bewildered that we in the church are becoming “politically correct” so that we don’t offend anyone with Jesus’ name.  If I only talk about GOD, and research shows 90% of the people believe in “God”, am I shortcutting  Jesus out of the picture, so that I don’t offend anyone and everyone is happy?

Jesus knew that there was and would aways be opposition to Him.  But that didn’t make him shortcut the system and say, ‘”Ok GOD, you take over now, they don’t like me and my message, you handle it from here.”

Jesus didn’t take a shortcut, even though his life was uncomfortable and uneasy at times.  We can’t either.  The world needs to know the truth, that Jesus is Way, the Truth and The Life, and when He says no one comes to the Father, except through me, He isn’t kidding.   And He even goes a step further to say that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us.  Unless we are wearing the righteousness of Christ, we have no access to GOD.

There is no shortcut to God, only the path that the LORD GOD Almighty made for us, it is known as the “Narrow Gate”, and His name is Jesus.

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 3, 2013

” Oppression “

Toni Sprandel:

Great thought provoking post.

Originally posted on Mind Traffic:

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Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 3, 2013

Jeopardy for Jesus Followers

Answer: WAJW = Walk as Jesus Walked

Question: WWJD = What Would Jesus Do

I used to ponder this question, ‘WWJD’,  a lot.  So I started reading the scriptures to see just what Jesus did.  And as I was thinking about what Jesus would do, the still soft voice of the LORD said ” if you really want to know what Jesus would do, you have to know Jesus, and know how He handled different situations in His life.”  The only way to know Jesus and see what He did is to “Look in the Book”.  So I started searching the scriptures and asking Jesus to reveal to me how I should respond to different situations in my life.

After spending time with Jesus and the Word, the thought came to me that said “if you really want to know what Jesus would do, then you need to walk as Jesus walked.”  It all made sense to me.  If I didn’t know Jesus, how would I be able to walk as He did?

This was a wonderful revelation to me.  If I draw near to Jesus, get to know Him personally – then I will know how to walk as He walked and I will have my answer to the question: What would Jesus do.

Dear LORD Jesus, I want to thank you for teaching me these truths.  That as long as I continue to seek you with my whole heart, and desire to know you more, I will be able to answer the question each time it comes up in my life.  Thank you for loving me enough to teach me these things.  I love you LORD. Amen

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | October 1, 2013

Abide in Me

We had a great Bible study last night.  We are working our way through the book of John.  It is a great book.

We were discussing Chapter 15.  In this chapter, John shares Jesus’ words as He describes our relationship with Himself and His Father.  Jesus starts out in verse 1 saying “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”  I looked up the meaning of the word vinedresser and it means “gardener”.  We believers are the branches.

In verse 4 Jesus tells His disciples: “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”  First, I think this is so personal.  Jesus is asking us to come to Him, make ourselves at home and stay there.  And not only that, He wants to come and be with us!  Do you realize how totally amazing, incredible and awesome this comment is?  If we come to Him, He will come to us.

Verse 5 says it perfectly:  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  Jesus let us know, we need Him to bear fruit.  So what fruit is He talking about? The fruit of soulwinning is one, but the fruit of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience,  kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These will be evident in increasing measure as we draw nearer to Christ.  For us to be able to bear fruit, we have to allow ourselves to be influenced, guided and directed by Jesus.  Without Him in our life, our efforts will be “fruitless”.  We can not do it on our own.

This morning as I wasitting here thinking about these scriptures, my thought was; if we live our lives through Christ, it will bring much glory, honor and praise to the LORD.  How much does my life reflect Christ’s?  Am I abiding in Him?  His life was the embodiment of the fruit of the Spirit.  Does my life resemble His?

As I draw closer to Christ, abiding in Him, these fruit will become more evident in my life.  As I live my life for Christ, these fruit will be who I am.  Christ will be seen in me.

Dear LORD, I pray that as I draw nearer unto Thee, the fruit of the Spirit will be seen in me.  Help me to abide in the vine, and I thank you for Your presence in me.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Posted by: Toni Sprandel | September 29, 2013

The “Affordable” Care Act

Toni Sprandel:

Is October 1st our Armaggedon?

Originally posted on The Eagle Has Landed:

20130926-102230.jpg John Deering cartoon/Strange Brew

The boondoggle called “The Affordable Care Act”, or “Obamacare”, seems destined to be implemented starting with the Healthcare Exchanges on Oct. 1 and complete implementation on Jan. 1, 2014.
The IRS is the government agency charged with overseeing it. What could possibly go wrong? It was revealed yesterday that the IRS can’t account for more than $67 million in funds that has been earmarked for costs associated with the implementation. I realize that $67,000,000 is nothing to Washington. However, if, as the government has asserted, there are over 30 million Americans (and illegal immigrants) who don’t have health insurance, couldn’t we just give each of them $2 mil to pay for their coverage?
The current resident of the White House promised that we could keep our current insurance and premiums would not go up. I don’t know of anyone who has had lower premiums.
The cost…

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