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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Aug 2017, 4:42 pm


Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
What Moves You to Minister?
By John Piper

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption,
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
(Galatians
6:8)

Faith has an insatiable appetite for experiencing as much of God’s grace as
possible. Therefore, faith presses toward the river where God’s grace flows
most freely, namely, the river of love.

What other force will move us out of our contented living rooms to take upon
ourselves the inconveniences and suffering that love requires?

What will propel us . . .

• to greet strangers when we feel shy?

• to go to an enemy and plead for reconciliation when we feel indignant?

• to tithe when we’ve never tried it?

• to speak to our colleagues about Christ?

• to invite new neighbors to a Bible study?

• to cross cultures with the gospel?

• to create a new ministry for alcoholics?

• to spend an evening driving a van?

• to invest a morning praying for renewal?

None of these costly acts of love just happens. They are impelled by a new
appetite — the appetite of faith for the fullest experience of God’s grace.

Faith loves to rely on God and see him work miracles in us. Therefore, faith
pushes us into the current where the power of God’s future grace flows most
freely — the current of love.

I think this is what Paul meant when he said that we should sow to the
Spirit (Galatians 6:8). By faith, we should put the seeds of our energy in
the furrows
where we know the Spirit is at work to bear fruit — the furrows of love.
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

A Gentle Spirit
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“He that is faithful l in that which is least is faithful also in that which
is much.”
Luke 16:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
In order to be a missionary, a man had to appear before the superintendent
of missions. His appointment was set for five in the morning. It was a snowy
morning, but he was there. He waited until eight o'clock. Finally the
superintendent came and asked him two simple questions.

Then he said, “Thank you. You're dismissed.”

The aspiring missionary said, “Thank you for your time.”

In his report, the superintendent wrote, “This man will make an excellent
missionary. He came at an early hour without a murmur; that shows
self-sacrifice.
He was there on time; that shows character. He waited without grumbling;
that shows patience. He answered very simple questions in a straightforward
manner;
that shows humility.”

ACTION POINT:
When God asks you to do something, it may not make sense or seem important,
but let God determine what's important.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

When You Don’t Like the Story God is Writing
SHARON JAYNES

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths
straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

If it were up to me, I would have scripted some of life’s stories
differently. So many tragedies have struck people near and dear to me that
if I were
the writer, they would have been changed.

Fortunately, I’m not the author, because each of these women impact
thousands upon thousands of women all over the world with her powerful
stories of God’s
redemption. God turned their pain into purpose, their misery into ministry
and their devastation into anointed messages of hope and restoration. Sudden
glories fill and spill from each of their lives.

Their journeys have led them through dark valleys and back out into the
light on the other side.

But if I had to decide?

My second child would not have passed away before she was born. Carol’s son
would not be in prison. Linda’s daughter would not be a quadriplegic.
Barbara’s
daughter would not be bipolar. Patty’s 21-year-old daughter would not have
been in a fatal car accident. Jennifer’s husband would not have succumbed to
a brain tumor.

Difficult times are pregnant with glory moments -- moments when we see God’s
plan just waiting to be birthed in the lives of those willing to labor
through
the pain. The key is not to allow bitterness and anger to make our hearts
infertile to God’s gifts.

One way to avoid the darkening of the soul is by constant communication
seasoned with thanksgiving -- a continual acknowledgement of God’s presence.

After my husband and I graduated from college, we moved to Charlotte so he
could open a new business. But after we moved, the man who was to be his
business
partner changed plans.

“Sorry, Steve,” he said. “I’ve changed my mind. Good luck, son.”

I was so upset. OK, I was flat-out angry. Angry with the potential partner.
Angry with God. We had prayed, fasted and felt this was where God was
leading
us. We had no money. No job. And school debt.

Three months later, a situation opened up that was far better than our
original plan. It was
Ephesians 3:20 in action: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
...”

Well, why didn’t God do that in the first place? Why didn’t He lead us
directly to that second opportunity when we did all that praying and
seeking? He
could have.

But He is far more interested in developing our character than in doling out
a life of comfort and ease. C.S. Lewis notes: “If you think of this world
as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable.
Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

That’s where Proverbs 3:5-6 comes in: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and
he will make your paths straight.”

We are ever the students. He is the teacher still. Trials rip away the
flimsy fabric of self-sufficiency and become the raw material for God’s
miracles
in our lives. And those miracles are moments of sudden glory.

Oh that we would trust Him even if the twists and turns never make sense
this side of heaven. That’s what trusting God is all about. As
we live and move and have our being in Him, life’s dark places are simply
opportunities to trust that God knows the way -- and the perfect time to
hold
on tight.

Especially since He’s still writing the story.

Father, thank You for always knowing and doing what is best for me. Forgive
me when I don’t trust You but think my way is best. I know that You have
wonderful
surprises in store for me when I simply trust You in all things. Thank You
for being the Teacher. Help me to be a good student of Your Truth. In Jesus’
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28 , “And we know that in all things God works for the good of
those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering
and into His courts with praise! Be thankful
and say so to Him, bless
and affectionately praise His name!” (AMPC)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Check out Sharon Jaynes’ book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go,
Move Forward, Live Bold. Let go of everything that holds you back from
living
the mountain-moving faith God intended, and take hold of all that Jesus has
promised for you. Say goodbye to insecurity and hello to the confidence of
knowing who you are and what you have as a child of God. The book includes a

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that God has forgotten us
during difficult times. How do we see that in David’s words of Psalm 77:1-9?

Now read the rest of the Psalm. What did David do to remind himself of the
faithfulness of God?
How does trusting God change the way you look at difficult situations?
(c) 2017 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Aug 2017, 11:41 am

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Faith Expels Guilt, Greed, and Fear
By John Piper

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good
conscience and a sincere faith.
(1 Timothy 1:5)

Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder
love.

If we feel guilty, we tend to wallow in self-centered depression and
self-pity, unable to see, let alone care about anyone else’s need. Or we
play the
hypocrite to cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships.
Or we talk about other people’s faults to minimize the guilt of our own.

It’s the same with fear. If we feel fearful, we tend not to approach a
stranger at church who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we
may
reject frontier missions for our lives, because it sounds too dangerous. Or
we may waste money on excessive insurance, or get swallowed up in all manner
of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to
the needs of others.

If we are greedy, we may spend money on luxuries — money that ought to go to
the spread of the gospel. We don’t undertake anything risky, lest our
precious
possessions and our financial future be jeopardized. We focus on things
instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage.

Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out
of the heart.

It pushes out guilt because it holds fast to the hope that the death of
Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever
(Hebrews
10:14).

It pushes out fear because it banks on the promise, “Fear not, for I am with
you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

And it pushes out greed because it is confident that Christ is greater
wealth than all the world can offer (Matthew 13:44).

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied
with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Hand In The Dummy - #7961

I was with several members of our Team in the relentless evangelism schedule
of what we called our "Make A Difference" Weekends. We were getting pretty
tired and our minds were totally focused on our outreaches. In fact, so
tired and so focused, that I forgot about a radio station that was calling
me for
a live interview that afternoon. Now, I had just awakened from a brief nap
and the phone rang. Thinking it was one of our Team members, I jokingly
answered,
"Good morning"-at 4:00 in the afternoon. Somehow, I was able to rebound
immediately and go enthusiastically into that interview and I don't think
the folks
on the other end knew I was even surprised by their call.

When I told my Team members about this, Esther said, "Ron, I've seen you
come to life like that a lot of times. You're like a ventriloquist's dummy."
That's
great! I thanked her for sharing that, and then she felt maybe clarifying
that would be a good idea, and we agreed. She said, "No, no. You're like
this."
Then she closed her eyes, she hung her head, and leaned lifelessly against
the window. Then, without warning, she opened her eyes real wide, started
moving
her head from side to side, and said, "Hi, everybody! How ya doing?" I
laughed so hard I could hardly drive.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Hand
In The Dummy".

When I finally stopped laughing, I said to my Team members, "Actually, I am
a lot like a ventriloquist's dummy. The Master puts His hand in me, and
suddenly
I'm able to do all kinds of things I could never otherwise do." I've got
news for you-you're one of those ventriloquist's dummies, too.

Our word for today from the Word of God is Philippians 4:13, "I can do
everything through Him (that's Jesus) who gives me strength." Things I could
never
otherwise do or be, I can do or be because of Christ's hand in my life,
giving me His strength. You might be interested in who the prime candidates
are
for getting major strength and power from God. Maybe you are one and don't
even know it.

Isaiah 40:28-29, "The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends
of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary...He gives strength to the
weary
and He increases the power of the weak." Notice, if you're at a point where
you're weak...or where you're really weary, then you're at the point at
which
God takes over! You're that "dummy", eyes closed, head down, leaning
lifelessly against the wall. And suddenly the hand of God moves in, takes
over, and
gives you His incredible surge of divine life.

Apparently, we are all the weak or the weary at some time. He says, "Even
youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those who
hope
in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah
40:30-31).

Have you ever watched an eagle or a hawk or any other soaring bird? They
usually don't come out until later in the morning when the warm air starts
rising
and creating those thermal currents. They travel, not by the strength of
their flapping wings, but by catching the wind beneath their wings and
soaring.
What a beautiful picture of someone who hasn't been able to do it, no matter
how hard they've flapped their wings; someone who finally relaxes, releases,
and lets God lift them where they have not been able to take themselves.
Soaring like an eagle.

Some of the most powerful words you can speak are these, "Lord, I can't. But
You can." You're exhausted-He's not. You're weak-He's not. You're out of
answers-but
He's not. It's time for the ventriloquist miracle, when a lifeless dummy
suddenly comes to life because the Master's hand has taken over.

It's like the little kids sing, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible
tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes,
Jesus loves me!"
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

I Don’t Understand, But I’ll Obey
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and
sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better
than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
I read an interesting story about Stephen Grellet, a pioneer evangelist to
the lumbermen in the Rocky Mountains. He felt the Spirit of God leading him
to a particular lumber camp to preach. When he got there, the place was
absolutely deserted. He said, “Lord, I don’t understand, but I'm going to be
obedient.”
So he opened his Bible without a soul in sight and preached a full-length
message. Then he pled for people to come to Christ. He said, “Lord, I don’t
know
what that was all about but Lord, I was obedient.” Years later, a man walked
up to him in England and said, “I was the foreman at a lumber camp. I had
come back to the camp to get an ax, and I heard you preaching. I stood
behind a pile of lumber and listened. As you preached, my heart was
strangely warmed,
and I repented of my sin and gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I later
witnessed to four other men. Now, all five of us are missionaries preaching
around
the world.”

How important it is that we obey completely in small things! Naaman was
asked to dip seven times in the river Jordan. At first, he angrily refused.
But
in 2 Kings 5:13 his servants asked him, “… if the prophet had bid thee do
some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?”

ACTION POINT:
Do you know why many of us are not obeying God more than we are? Because
we're not hearing what God is saying. We're not spending time listening to
God.
That's the importance of a quiet time, that's the importance of getting
somewhere alone with God in a nook with this book and reading and listening.

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 14 Aug 2017, 9:45 pm


Geese and Crabapples

"Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of
others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own
interests, but take an interest in others, too." (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

Across from our house is a park that has some ponds which house ducks and
geese. Now there are not many ducks but a lot of geese. They love to come
into our yard to have a meal on whatever they can find. They love to eat the
crabapples.

The geese will sit in a circle around the crabapple tree. One of them will
get up, stretch his long neck, grab a limb and shake it so that crabapples
fall to the ground. Then all get up and start eating. When all are eaten
they will go back to the circle and wait for another goose to get up and
grab another limb. The goose that shakes the limb won't get much to eat but
they do take their turns so that all can eat.

Paul wrote in the Scripture above to the Philippians that this is what we
need to do as Christians. We should not forget about ourselves but do more
for others. This goes further than what Jesus taught when He said to do to
others as you would have them do to you. Paul is saying do more for others
than you would have them do for you.

Prayer: Our Provider, we praise you. We thank you for all your many
blessings. Please forgive us when we get selfish and don't think of others.
Help us to follow the teachings of your son Jesus Christ to do to others as
we would have them do to us. In your holy name we pray, Amen

Thought for the day: Let us stretch our necks out to help others in our day
to day living.

by Dean W. Masters


"Living as Christ's Person in Repentance and Faith" #84-45

Sermon Text for July 9, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on July 9, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Romans 7:14-25
Our text for today is Romans 7 verses 14 through 25. So, Paul says, "I find
this law at work. Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being, I delight in God's Law, but I see another law at work
in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the
law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me
from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God who delivers me
through
Jesus Christ our Lord."

Christ has risen. He is risen, indeed. Hallelujah.

A friend of mine told me about an experience he had at a grocery store while
he lived in New York City. He and his wife were standing in the 10-
items-or-less
express lane. As they waited in line, a commotion began up front. Voices
were raised. Hands waved and pointed. Two older gentlemen were getting into
a
fight. Apparently, it had to do with how many items one of them had-maybe 12
or 14 instead of the desired 10 items or less. That was it! Time to throw
down! Time for one of them to drop the other one "in a New York minute," as
they say.

The store manager rushed over to separate the fighting duo. Groceries were
still spread over the conveyor belt as the men were hustled away and
forcibly
removed. Now, these two senior citizens were probably respectable people.
Each one may have been a grandfather. I can't imagine that either one woke
up
that morning and thought to himself, "I sure hope I can deck a fellow codger
today. One good punch is all I want." No, each one probably woke up, kissed
his wife, had some coffee, and took a little walk. They probably decided to
do their shopping that afternoon, perhaps, as a favor to their wives.

At one time in their lives these men were most likely responsible workers in
productive careers. They were probably not wanted by the police or in any
other kind of trouble. So why the altercation in the 10-items-or-less line?
What happened? What led two normal septuagenarians to be totally out of
control?

Now, I wonder if you can answer that question for me. Just think of
yourself. What makes you lose control? Maybe you had a long day and someone
cuts you
off in traffic on the way home. Perhaps your kids pushed you to the brink.
Is it a thoughtless comment? An annoying habit? The frustration you feel
when
you're in a hurry? Or perhaps a temptation that's too strong. Is that when
your life gets out of control?

You don't wake up in the morning hoping that you'll totally lose your cool
and embarrass yourself publicly. You don't plan to fall into temptation or
anger
or rudeness or thoughtlessness. But what happens? What causes life-your life
included-to become harsh, ugly, or weak?

An insightful diagnosis from the apostle Paul in Romans provides the answer.
"For I," he says, "I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."
That's it, isn't it? You and I have lives that get out of control. In fact,
we all lose control, all the time.

Let me say up front that if you are in control of your life, living every
minute, every thought, and every action in a way that is completely loving
towards
others and totally pleasing to God, you probably don't need to listen to
what I'm about to say today, but if you look at your life and you see that
you
don't always do what's right, you don't always have purity welling up inside
of you, you don't always stand unswerving in hope, and you don't always
remain
strong in the face of temptation, then keep listening.

Verse 18 of Romans 7 says this: "For I know that nothing good dwells in me,
that's in my flesh, for I've got the desire to do what's right, but not the
ability to carry it out." Well, that brings up the question: what can get
control of your life when you get out of control? What can hold on to
you-your
heart, your soul, when you lose your grip on what matters?

How about time? Does it get naturally easier to take control of things just
because you get older? As you get older, do you experience a natural process
that increases self-restraint, that decreases the susceptibility to
temptation, and that puts you in greater control during struggles and
difficulties?
Is time the key to a life that functions smoothly and well?

Well, St. Paul didn't see that happening. The guys at the grocery store
didn't experience that. In fact, I've talked with a lot of older people and
they
tell me a different story. If time is the only factor involved in addressing
your frailty, sin, and weakness, you don't necessarily improve. In fact,
temptations
grow in strength over time. Guilt can rage more wildly over time. Despair
and struggles can descend on you with more intensity. Time does not improve
your
ability to control yourself.

You and I are not like fine wine. If left to ourselves, we don't get better
with age. Time cannot overcome your fallen nature.

Okay. Maybe the answer then is just to stay busy, right? Can activity
overcome your sin? If you get involved in a lot of things, become an active
volunteer,
and try to do a lot of worthy activities, will your life be brought under
control? Once again, St. Paul didn't experience that either. He must have
been
one of the busiest guys of his day. Not only that, he was busy with God's
work, but he still struggled.

You and I, we may be very busy. You may be involved in a number of worthy
and wonderful causes, but you can't crowd sin out of your life. No matter
how
hard you try to suppress it or deny it, sin explodes. It will show itself in
your life.

All right. This is the answer. How about this? Ready? Logic and reason. That
should solve it, right? I mean can you reason your way out of a life that's
out of control? Paul doesn't think so. Paul uses the Greek word for "will"
seven times in these verses. He has a will to do what God wants. The problem
is his will cannot prevail. His sinful actions defy his own logic. In verse
15 he says, "I do not understand my own actions."

The world may tell you otherwise, but God's Word lets you know the truth.
You can't do everything you put your mind to. Many times you're doing what
is
totally against what you know to be true. Young people can graduate from
drug prevention classes and know all there is to know about substance abuse
and
they can still get tangled up in addictions. Parents get into fights at
sporting events. Husbands and wives sabotage their marriages, and people
choose
to live in completely destructive ways.

But if you ask them, "Was this the right thing to do?"-if it was
constructive and logical? You would hear the answer in a great number of
situations. "No
way. No way. It was totally wrong. I know it's wrong. I just keep doing it."
Logic cannot get control of your life, either.

So what can? What can possibly help when we can't deal with these things on
our own? Well, Paul asked the same question in verse 24. He said, "Wretched
man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?" And then he
answers the question in the next verse. "Thanks be to God through Jesus
Christ
our Lord."

What can get control of your life when it gets out of control? Not time. Not
activity. Not even reason and logic. The answer is not in you. It's not by
you. It's not with you. What can get control of your life? Jesus can. The
Lord of life can. Because of His grace, His gift of new life-a forgiven
life-the
Master can master your life. The Master can re-master your life.

Jesus proved that He was the master over temptation when He defeated the
devil in the wilderness. He showed that violence and name-calling did not
sway
Him from His mission to save you and me. Jesus proved He was the Master over
sin that would destroy you. When being nailed on the cross, He took that sin
upon Himself and overcame it in His death and resurrection.

You can't control life yourself, but Jesus took control when He came to
rescue you. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed so that the issue of who's in
charge
of your life could be settled once for all. Jesus Christ, risen from the
dead, Victor over sin, paid the price for you. He is the Lord of life. He is
the
Lord of your life.

The Master Jesus, the one who rescued you and me from this body of death,
takes hold of our life through His Word and Sacraments. He is getting His
gracious
grip on you right now as you listen to this word from the Scripture. In
Baptism and in Holy Communion, the Lord of life takes hold of you in a
miraculous
way. Only the grace of God can get control over the sin that rages in our
lives and rages out of control.

Okay, well the question then is does this really work? Well, it worked for
Paul. He struggled to the end, but God walked with him every step of the
way.
The grace of God brought him through. So, how does that work in your life?
How does it work to have the Master as master over your life? How do you
live
as Christ's person?

Here's one way. Let God act before you do. That's right. Let me say it
again. Let God act before you do. Remember, because of Jesus' death and
resurrection,
it's no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you. When you are
Christ's person, you have the mind of Christ. The apostle Paul said, "Walk
by the
Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Literally, that
means walk by the Spirit and you will not bring the desires of your flesh to
completion.

Walking by the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit is in the lead. Your Lord
is out in front. So, don't jump out in front. Let the Spirit of God be out
in
front first.

But what does that mean? Well, first it means to have your heart and soul
filled with the Word and the presence of God. Second, it means letting God
have
His say before you make your decisions. You may be in the habit of first
going with your gut. You reply to that nasty e-mail too quickly. You fire
off
a text right away. You speak before you think or, even worse, before you
pray. You pull up that website without considering the option not to. You go
along
with your friends because you always do. You veer into despair and
pessimism.

Wait! What if you let God act before you did? What if you let the Spirit of
God lead your decisions and guide your outlook instead of your gut?

As you know, we're in the thick of summer vacation time. You may be able to
experience some down time at home, or you may be planning a trip somewhere.
What if you asked Jesus to send His Spirit into your life to act before you
do this summer? What if you paused long enough to let God use you to bless
the people around you this summer? What if instead of grumpiness towards
others, you offer God's grace? What if instead of launching out on your own,
you
listen to the people in your life first? What if, instead of seeking your
own comfort, you decided to serve others for their comfort? What if, filled
with
the Word of God and the Spirit sent by your Savior, you saw your life
refreshed and renewed this summer in Him?

Jesus gives you and me a gracious pathway of life. It's a lot better than
getting into a grocery store fist fight. It's better than living in despair
or
anger. It's better than hurting people around you. You are Christ's person,
a new creation. You've got a new identity by grace in Him.

That's why I want to end this message in a special way. I want to pray with
you. I want to pray for you. It's a special prayer acknowledging your
repentance
before God. If you haven't heard of repentance, I'd like to introduce it to
you. If you've been trying to be your own person, to live life under your
own
power and you've experienced frustration and failure, you may need a turning
point, a new start. That's what repentance is. It means to turn around. It
means to return to God. You may not be able to get control of your life, you
know, one that's out of control, but Jesus did-and He will hold you in His
grip of grace this very day.

I'm not going to give you a list of things to do, and St. Paul said it's a
battle just to do what we want to do anyway. What we're going to do today is
let God act before we do. By the power of His Spirit, we're going to pray a
prayer of repentance. We're going to acknowledge that our lives are out of
control and that the only way to have control is to be totally in the loving
hands of Jesus Christ. Then after this message is over, you can face the
future
with the Spirit of God out in front, leading the way.

So, you ready? Just bow your heads. Fold your hands. Right with me, right
now, wherever you are. Let's pray.

Oh, gracious Savior, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we lay
our lives before You. Our whole lives. By Your grace and because of Your
saving
work and the power of Your spirit alone, we turn to You right now. We turn
our lives back over to You. We confess that we have sinned. We've done
wrong.

Lord Jesus, right now there are children listening who are rejecting You,
disrespecting their parents. There are parents who are bowing out of their
kids'
lives and shirking their call to be loving, disciplining, and discipling.
There are husbands and wives hearing these words who are checking out of
their
marriages and looking for fulfillment elsewhere in jobs, activities, even
other people. But by the power of Your Spirit today, they are turning to You
in repentance.

Today, then Lord, with that prayer in our hearts and minds, we are overjoyed
that You speak words of forgiveness to each one listening at this very
moment.
We read in Your Word, we trust what You say that You are merciful. You are
forgiving. Grace, Your grace, is what we receive through Jesus' life, death,
and resurrection. Shower us with His grace.

We don't ask all this stuff because we are righteous. We ask because of Your
great mercy. Take us into Your loving hands. Renew our lives, not just our
words but our actions. You know each one of us listening today, Lord. Be
Lord of our lives, master and re-master our lives, and as You make Your home
in
us, lead us. Give us the joy and power of living in Your grace, living life
Christ's way for others.

Lead the way, Jesus, my Savior. By the power of Your Spirit we are in Your
hands, and we pray all of this in Your holy Name. Amen.

Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for July 9, 2017
Guest: Mark Eischer and Greg Seltz
Mark Eischer: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. This is Action in
Ministry-your call to action in response to all that God has done for you in
Jesus
Christ.

Pastor Seltz, I think we all experience times when it seems life is out of
control.

Gregory Seltz: You know, Mark, and then we try to make adjustments to figure
out how to get life back in control until we realize we aren't the ones who
have the power to change those kinds of circumstances.

Mark Eischer: That's right. Repentance and faith in Christ are actually
crucial to getting our lives back in order, and it's important to understand
that
our faith is reasonable. It's something that makes sense, and that's the
subject of this week's resource. It's a booklet titled, Reasons to Believe.

Gregory Seltz: It definitely coheres, and it's not only because it's the way
we were taught, but there are facts that point to Jesus Christ as our
Messiah
and as our Savior.

Mark Eischer: It's fascinating to see how Christianity itself took root in a
context that can be examined. Historical events are documented, not only in
the Bible, but there are also other sources that confirm what we read in the
Bible.

Gregory Seltz: Right. We should also mention that the Bible has a connection
to archeology, the science of digging up the way things were. For example,
did you know that a German excavation near modern-day Baghdad in 1899
uncovered evidence of King Nebuchadnezzar? It even included a notation of a
food
allotment he made to the king of Judah, and that supports the Bible's
account of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., which was recorded in
II Kings
chapter 24.

Mark Eischer: Right. I've also heard that there were scholars who doubted
whether Pontius Pilate existed until all of a sudden a stone tablet showed
up
with his name on it.

Gregory Seltz: Well, and actually they doubted for a time whether Jesus
Himself existed, and now we know all of those people were real.

Mark Eischer: Let's also discuss the role or prophecy. Why is prophecy
important when considering reasons to believe?

Gregory Seltz: Well, when you think about it, first of all, when you read in
this particular booklet, it talks about the existence of complex prophecies.
I mean a lot of the Old Testament prophecies, how they came to fruition,
once you examine the evidence, you have to just go, "Wow!" I mean, there's
no
way the prophet could have known exactly how this was going to come to
fruition, but God gave this word to those people at this time and then
hundreds
of years, often times, it came to fruition. And that especially happened in
the birth of Jesus Christ. When you start to see all the Old Testament
prophecies
and how they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, it's just got to amaze you. If
you're honest with the book as a historical record, which it is, and then
you
see these things come to fruition, there's no way one person or multiple
people could have manipulated it towards that end.

Mark Eischer: Because you had prophecies that were made by different people
over centuries that all came together.

Gregory Seltz: Right. We're talking about hundreds of people over 1,500
years, and all this thing coheres and it stays the same, but it comes to
fruition
in Jesus in this miraculous way. Even there-prophecy-if you just look at it
and go "Wow! He said that!" and look how it came to fruition, it'll blow
your
mind.

Mark Eischer: Creation is yet another reason to believe. How can belief in a
creator change the way we think about God?

Gregory Seltz: Creation is one of the most miraculous displays of God's
beauty, His love, His care. I mean, we see it every day. Our universe is
designed
to support life perfectly. The alignment of the moon, the stars, the sun-all
work in perfect harmony. Man himself has never created something living out
of nothing. We're the re-arrangers. We can do some incredible things with
rearranging God's creation. I think He's put all kinds of things that are
potentials
here that we can kind of, in some sense, mimic what He does, but He does it
out of nothing. He does it with His mere breath, with His Word.

The thing that's really important here is we are the apex of His creation.
There is dignity in being His created people. That's the one thing. Once you
lose that, you will see how nasty things can get in this world.

Mark Eischer: This booklet goes on to tell how the disciples of Jesus
believed so deeply that they were willing to face persecution and even death
instead
of denying what they had already heard and seen. Again, it shows ours is a
faith based on evidence, and for more on this subject we encourage you to
read
Reasons to Believe
.

Gregory Seltz: I think, Mark, we also need to say when it comes right down
to it, what finally is unique about all of this is this Person Jesus-the
unique
work, unique Person, a Savior for the world. And then He even does things
radically differently than we would, and so the Bible is just this page
after
page after page after-wow!-I can't believe God did it that way, and yet it's
something we can look back on. We can see it in history and we can see it
unfold also in our lives as well.

I would encourage anybody to get this resource; you'll be blessed.
Gregory Seltz: Yeah. Great question, Mark. 2017 is the 500th anniversary of
the Reformation. Back in 1517 on October 31st, Martin Luther, a monk and
professor
in Wittenberg, Germany, posted 95 Theses on the castle church door in order
to start a discussion about certain practices in the Roman Catholic Church,
especially the practice of selling indulgences for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark Eischer: And that began a series of events that changed the entire
world. This year, Reformation exhibits and celebrations are taking place all
around
the world. The city of Wittenberg in Germany is holding a summer-long
festival called, "Gates of Freedom," a world Reformation celebration that
focuses
on the seven central topics of spirituality, youth, peace, justice, culture,
and globalization.

Gregory Seltz: Well, it's important for everyone to remember the impact
Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation had on the culture of that day.
The
movement that Luther began influenced education, language, literacy, music,
politics and, of course, religious life.

Mark Eischer: I remember back in 2000, Time Magazine named Luther as one of
the most prominent figures of the millennium. So, what was so significant
about
Martin Luther's historical impact?

Gregory Seltz: We'll continue to hear more about that this year and the many
changes ushered in by the Protestant Reformation and Luther, but it's very
important for listeners to understand that all of these changes sprang out
of a central focus for Luther, and that focus is on the grace of God in
Jesus
Christ alone. Luther's most significant action in history was to redirect
the church and the world back to a simple but powerful truth: that we're
saved
by grace through faith in Jesus. In other words, trying to be good people
doesn't achieve the peace and wholeness that we crave.

Mark Eischer: Because we could never be good enough to meet God's righteous
requirements.

Gregory Seltz: Right. So, Luther rediscovered God's truth in the Bible that
we're dead and powerless in our sins and brokenness but that God has made us
alive in Jesus Christ because He loves us. Wholeness, forgiveness, and
peace-they're God's gifts through faith in Jesus Christ.

Mark Eischer: The message of the Reformation is "grace alone, faith alone,
and Scripture alone."

Gregory Seltz: And that's the central significance of the Protestant
Reformation and Martin Luther. As the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is
saying it
this year: "It's still all about Jesus." I think that's an excellent
summary.

Mark Eischer: Because Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life for us,
died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead for our eternal
salvation,
and that's a message that changes us. Doesn't it?

Gregory Seltz: It does and that's why so many areas of the culture were
affected by the Reformation. Jesus gives life in its fullness and when you
believe
in Him, you're free, really free, spiritually, emotionally. That freedom in
the Gospel results in remarkable creativity, discovery, community,
compassion.
The gift of God's love-it really does change everything.

Mark Eischer: How can we build on the Reformation for the next 500 years?

Gregory Seltz: Now, that's the real question for today. This freedom matters
today just like it did then. Martin Luther helped the world see that we can
easily become complacent and corrupt. We can drift into focusing on
ourselves and the preservation of our power and control.

Mark Eischer: And that's our fallen nature at work.

Gregory Seltz: It is, but when we're called back to walking with God's
grace, we become servants again in Him to others. We remember to love others
as
God loved us. We understand that the church doesn't exist to make us
comfortable but to risk reaching the hearts of troubled and broken people
with the
life-changing news of Jesus.

Mark Eischer: I've heard it said the church is always reforming.

Gregory Seltz: I think that's right.

Mark Eischer: Founded on God's remarkable gift of salvation by grace through
faith in Christ, God's people need to keep learning and growing, reaching
out to others, and stretching into new areas of sharing the Good News of
Christ with others.

And if you'd like to learn more about Martin Luther and the Reformation, go
to lhm.org, click on "Resources and Training" and look for the video series,
A Man Named Martin. You can watch the video, download a discussion guide.
It's all at no cost.

Visit lutheranhour.org

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 13 Aug 2017, 9:28 pm

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Close to the Trail, But Lost - #7956

Allison and her daughter and two friends were out for a trail ride in a
remote area. They were to rendezvous later, actually, in the afternoon with
other
family members at their overnight campsite. When it came time to head back,
they were somewhere on the side of a mountain, picking their way through
very
rocky ground. No matter which way they went, they couldn't find the main
trail that would take them back down the mountain. They could see where they
needed
to be, but the terrain was too rugged to get down any other way. The hours
wore on, dark began to fall, and Allison's two friends finally made an
attempt
to get to a cabin they could see. Well after dark, Allison and her daughter
finally saw flashlights moving up the mountain. Her friends returned with
the
man from that cabin. He helped them pick their way to a point where they
could actually get right back on the trail. Much to their surprise, while
they
had been lost, they had been very close to the trail all along!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Close to
the Trail, But Lost".

It's possible to be close to the trail and still be lost in the great
outdoors or in your search for God. And without a rescuer, you will never
make it
home - to God, to heaven.

Jesus met a man who was, like many of us, almost where he needed to be, but
still lost. What He said to that man gives all of us religious folks
something
to think about. This man, who came to Jesus as an honest spiritual seeker,
indicated that he really seemed to understand and agree with Jesus'
teachings.
Then in Mark 12:34, our word for today from the Word of God, "Jesus said to
him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God." My friend was "not far" from
the trail home, but she was still lost. This man was "not far" from
belonging to Jesus, but he was "not in."

That's what Jesus might say to a whole lot of us church folks, us
Christianity veterans. We agree with Jesus. We go to His meetings. We like
Him a lot.
We look like we belong to Him. But see, you can have all that and still be
lost because there's never been that moment when you fully committed
yourself
to Jesus as your personal Rescuer from your personal sins. You've never
actually grabbed Him like a drowning person would grab a rescuer and you've
said,
"Jesus, you're my only hope! Save me!" It's His death for your sins on the
cross that really is your only hope of having your sins forgiven...of having
a relationship with your Creator...of going to His heaven when you die.

But the Rescuer has come to you right where you are - close to the trail,
but still lost. He's come looking for you today. We'd never find Him. He'd
have
to come looking for us. The sheep never finds a shepherd. The shepherd
always comes and finds the lost sheep.

He's come to where you are today to bring you home to Him. Maybe these words
right now are His way of reaching out to you. He's ready to bring you home
to the relationship you were made for; the relationship you've been missing
your whole life. Let this be the day that you finally actually belong to the
One you've been around for so long. Tell Him, "As of today, Jesus, I am
Yours."

You know, our website is a destination for people who want to be sure they
belong to Jesus Christ and their eternity is settled and their sins are
forgiven.
I want to urge you to get there as soon as you can today. Meet me there. It
is ANewStory.com. Your new story can begin there today.

You may be very close, but you're not in. Could there be a greater tragedy
than for you to get to the gates of heaven one day and hear Jesus say, "You
were so close, but you're not in." That can change this very day. You can go
to sleep tonight knowing that you belong to Him!

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

Anne Graham Lotz - According to God’s Purpose
View this email in your browser


According to God’s Purpose
In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been
called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28, NIV

Romans 8:28 says, “in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In other words, when
you
are in the purpose, or will, of God, everything that comes into your life
can work for your good. You may immediately question how the pregnancy of
your
unmarried daughter can work for your good, or how God can work even a
divorce for your good, or how the loss of your job can be for your good, or
how your
terminal illness can be for your good. If, by “good,” Romans 8:28 meant your
comfort, convenience, health, wealth, prosperity, pleasure, or happiness,
we would all question it! But your ultimate good is conformity to the image
of Jesus Christ. And when you are in God’s will – “called according to his
purpose” – everything God allows into your life is used by Him to make you
like Christ. Everything!

Blessings,

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 12 Aug 2017, 8:19 pm

For the Days You Feel Defeated: Hope from Gideon’s Story
by Debbie McDaniel

Some days can seem hurried, pressured, and tense. We know God’s truth, we
believe His goodness, and yet we still find ourselves struggling, minds
racing,
before our feet even touch the floor in the morning.

Our focus gets blurred. We start listening to the lies of other voices that
do more harm than good. The constant media headlines tell us how dark and
broken
our world is. Images and reminders all around us shout that we’re “not
enough.” The enemy’s great at heaping on guilt, condemnation, and fear. The
problems
we face seem more like giants of impossibility than anything good that God
can ever bring from it.

The truth is, some days we don’t feel like much of a strong warrior for God’s
purposes. We just feel really weak. Afraid. Alone. Defeated.

But often, out of His goodness and grace, when we find ourselves right smack
in the middle of huge feelings of defeat, God shows up strong.

"When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with
you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12

Gideon certainly had no reason to feel strong, mighty, or anything like a
warrior at that moment. He and his people were facing great suffering and
defeat
at the hand of the enemy. He doubted God was even with him. In fact, when
the angel showed up, he was threshing his wheat in the pit of a winepress,
not
up on a hilltop where this was usually done. He was fearful and trying to
keep hidden from view of the enemy who’d been raiding their land. Gideon
questioned,
"If God was with us, then why did this happen?"

Sounds familiar...

Ever been there?

If God is really here, then why?

If God is really good, then when?

If God really cares, then how?

I love how God is so gracious, patient, loving, and kind - even with the
questions, even after His people had turned their backs on Him. God still
sends
an angel to encourage, to strengthen, to remind Gideon and all of the
Israelites that He is surely with them.

And yet even while staring straight into a heavenly messenger, Gideon
continues to persist in defeated thoughts. He still questions, "But I am the
weakest,
I am the least...how can God save Israel?"

“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you...’" Judges 6:16

Five powerful words. That can see us through anything we face in this life.

“I will be with you.”

God's Presence is real. He gives us strength for every day. The battle can
be intense. And some days especially, the enemy seems really strong, and we
feel really weary. We can find ourselves wrestling again with the same
defeated thoughts that we thought we'd finally laid to rest just the night
before.
Disappointments come. We struggle with feeling like we haven't measured up,
we listen to the lies that we are "less than..."

But God still answers us. Just like He did for Gideon.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

He sees "mighty" when we see "weak."

He sees victory when we see defeat.

He gives hope, when we're filled with disappointment.

He's still with us, no matter how we might feel, or what struggles flood our
thoughts. He is filling us with the power and grace of His Spirit, just
enough
for the day.

For this day.

A reminder for your heart, in whatever you might be facing,

"The Lord is with you...mighty warrior."

Grace.

7 Verses of Strength:

"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." 2 Cor. 12:9

"But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior..." Jer. 20:11

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I
will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right
hand." Is. 41:10

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,
and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Josh. 1:9

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Ps. 27:1

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the
Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deut.
31:6

"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take
great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will
rejoice
over you with singing." Zeph. 3:17

Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a
lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page,
http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel , for daily encouragement in
living strong, hope-filled lives.

Encouragement for your week: It's all in the attitude

Can't see the images? Visit carolaround.com
for the online version of Carol's blog posts.
View this email in your browser

It's all in the attitude
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in
it”—Psalm 118:24 (ESV).

When I saw the following post on a friend’s Facebook page, I had to share it
with my readers:

A famous writer was in his study and compiled the following list:
1. Last year, my gallbladder was removed. I was in bed for a long time.
2. The same year I reached the age of 60 and had to leave my favorite job. I
spent 30 years with this publishing company.

3. The same year my father died.
4. The same year my son failed his medical exam because he had a car
accident. He was hospitalized with a cast on his leg for several days. The
destruction
of the car was a second loss.

His concluding statement: “Alas! It was a bad year!”

When the writer’s wife entered the room, she found her husband looking
dejected and sad. She read what he had written, left the room, and came back
with
another piece of paper. The husband read her version of his account of the
year’s events:
1. Last year I finally got rid of my gallbladder which had given me many
years of pain.

2. I turned 60 with sound health and retired from my job. Now I can utilize
my time to write with more focus and peace.

3. The same year my father died at the age of 95 without depending on
anyone, without any critical conditions, and met his Creator.

4. The same year, God blessed my son with life. My car was destroyed, but my
son was alive and without permanent disability.

She concluded: This year was an immense blessing.

The moral? It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that
makes us happy. There is always, always something for which to be thankful.
Our attitude is everything and the one thing we can control.

In a recent “Our Daily Bread” devotional, the author shared the story of Dr.
Virginia Connally. In 1940, at the age of 27, she braved opposition and
criticism
to become the first female physician in Abilene, Texas. A few months before
her 100th birthday in 2012, the Texas Medical Association presented her with
its Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor a Texas physician can
receive. Between 1940 and 2012, Dr. Connally embraced a passion for sharing
the
gospel message globally. During her many medical mission trips, she lived a
life of service to God and to others—one day at a time.

Her pastor, Phil Christopher, said, “Every day for her is a gift.”

In a letter to her pastor, Dr. Connally wrote, “Every tour, trip, effort, I
wonder if this will be my last and ultimate? Only God knows. And this is
enough.”

What if we quit focusing on yesterday’s disappointments and tomorrow’s
uncertainties and focused on God’s unmatchable gift of today? Wouldn’t our
attitudes
change?

When we embrace each day as a gift from God, we can’t help but have a
positive attitude.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Saving Faith Loves Forgiveness
By John Piper

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in
Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:32)

Saving faith is not merely believing that you are forgiven. Saving faith
looks at the horror of sin, and then looks at the holiness of God, and
apprehends
spiritually that God’s forgiveness is unspeakably glorious.

Faith in God’s forgiveness does not merely mean a persuasion that I am off
the hook. It means savoring the truth that a forgiving God is the most
precious
reality in the universe. Saving faith cherishes being forgiven by God, and
from there rises to cherishing the God who forgives — and all that he is for
us in Jesus.

The great act of forgiveness is past — the cross of Christ. By this backward
look, we learn of the grace in which we will ever stand (Romans 5:2). We
learn
that we are now, and always will be, loved and accepted. We learn that the
living God is a forgiving God.

But the great experience of being forgiven is all future. Fellowship with
the great God who forgives is all future. Freedom for forgiveness flowing
from
this all-satisfying fellowship with the forgiving God is all future.

I have learned that it is possible to go on holding a grudge if your faith
simply means you have looked back to the cross and concluded that you are
off
the hook. I have been forced to go deeper into what true faith is. It is
being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus. It looks back not
merely
to discover that it is off the hook, but to see and savor the kind of God
who offers us a future of endless reconciled tomorrows in fellowship with
him.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 10:13 pm

12 Things To Do When You’re Criticized
Mark Altrogge

We will all be criticized at one time or another. Sometimes justly,
sometimes unjustly. Sometimes others’ criticism of us is harsh and
undeserved. Sometimes
we may need it. How do we respond to criticism? I haven’t always done well
and I’m still learning, but here are a few things I try to think of when
others
criticize me.

Be quick to hear. (James 1:19)

This can be hard to do because our emotions rise up and our minds begin to
think of ways to refute the other person. To be quick to hear means we
really
do try to listen to and consider what the other person is saying. We don’t
just write it off. Even if it seems unjust or undeserved.

Be slow to speak (James 1:19).

Don’t interrupt or respond too quickly. Let them finish. If you speak too
quickly you might speak rashly or in anger.

Be slow to become angry.

Why? Because James 1:19-20 says the anger of man does not produce the
righteousness of God. Anger won’t make someone do the right thing. Remember,
God
is slow to anger, patient and long-suffering with those who offend him. How
much more should we be.

Don’t rail back.

“When (Jesus) was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he
did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly”
(
1 Peter 2:23). Talk about being unjustly accused – Jesus was, yet continued
to trust the Lord and did not revile in return.

Give a gentle response.

“A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). Be gracious even to those
who offend you, even as God is gracious to us when we offend him.

Don’t defend yourself too quickly.

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Defensiveness can rise out of pride and being unteachable.

Consider what might be true in the critique, even if it is given in a poor
way.

Even if it is given with the intent to hurt or mock, there still might be
something worth considering. God might be speaking to you through this
person.

Remember the Cross.

Someone has said that people won’t say anything about us that the Cross hasn’t
said and more, which is, we are sinners who deserve eternal punishment.
So actually, anything anyone says about us is less than what the Cross has
said about us. Turn to God who accepts you in Christ unconditionally despite
your many sins and failures. We can be discouraged when we see areas of sin
or failure, but Jesus has paid for those on the cross and God is pleased
with
us because of Christ.

Consider the fact that you have blind spots

We can’t always see ourselves accurately. Maybe this person is seeing
something you can’t see about yourself.

Pray about the criticism

Ask God for wisdom – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you
should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (
Psalms 32:8).

Ask others for their opinion

Your critic could be right or completely off-the-wall. If this is an area of
sin or weakness in your life, then others will have seen it too.

Consider the source.

Don’t do this too quickly, but consider the other person’s possible motives,
their level of expertise or wisdom, etc. They may be criticizing you to hurt
you or they may not know what they’re talking about.

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend

Today's
Turning Point
Friday, July 7

The Gift of Music

And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would
take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and
well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

1 Samuel 16:23

Recommended Reading
1 Kings 10:11-12
It’s a natural instinct—singing to calm a fussy infant. Yes, there’s usually
rocking and bouncing involved, so maybe it’s not just the singing. But most
parents don’t rock or walk with a fussy infant in silence. There’s just
something about gentle singing that seems to help.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
And not just with infants. Very few people, after a tiring and stressful day
at work, come home and turn on hard rock or heavy metal music. But they will
turn on something soothing, uplifting, or encouraging. Given the amount of
music that apparently fills the halls of heaven (Revelation 5:9-10, 13;
14:1-3;
15:3-4), it should be no surprise that we, made in the image of God, respond
so positively to edifying music. Such music certainly helped King Saul when
he was distraught. David playing on the harp soothed Saul’s soul when
nothing else would.

We are so surrounded by music via various media that we can easily forget
the power of edifying music. Remember to incorporate beautiful music into
your
daily routines.

The sole object of all music should be the glory of God and pleasant
recreation.
Johann Sebastian Bach

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Proverbs 24 – 26
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website

The Pathway of Spiritual Growth

Romans 8:29

God predestined us to grow into His likeness, but this doesn't happen at the
moment we are saved. While we are redeemed by the Savior's precious blood
and immediately have a new heart, our transformation is a lifelong process.

The Holy Spirit enables this journey. Growth is impossible without Him,
regardless of our efforts. Yet we can welcome or hinder His transforming
hand.

One way we give God willing access to our lives is by obeying this mandate
in Romans 12:2
: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind..."

Everyone chooses either a biblical or worldly philosophy as his or her
source of truth--and that choice shapes the mind and spirit. Therefore, the
Lord
tells us to immerse our mind in Scripture, allowing Him to mold us into His
beautiful image.

The Bible story about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness illustrates
this principle. After saving them from Pharaoh's abuse, God did not bring
them immediately to the Promised Land. The Lord knew doing so would bring
sinful ways with them. Instead, He led them to the wilderness and gave the
Ten
Commandments. Only after they learned to obey and turn to almighty God were
they ready for the next step.

The process of sanctification isn't always pleasant. In fact, it's often
painful for us, just as it was for the Israelites. In God's amazing wisdom
and
love, however, He knows what we need to leave our old ways that lead to
death. And He builds new character in us--full of life and joy.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please
visit
www.intouch.org .
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights
Reserved.

The Big Ask
July 8, 2017

Read: Exodus 3:7-10

I will send you . . . (v. 10)

God’s mission is stunning, his call is daunting, and his task towers over
our lives, but for some reason God chooses us. God told Moses, “I will send
you.”
God invited a shepherd to rescue his people from a king. There is a mystery
in this story: if God can talk from a flaming plant, can’t he just wipe out
Egypt in one cosmic sweep of his hand? Well, God did destroy Pharaoh and his
army in dramatic fashion, but not before Moses acted. For reasons that still
sometimes baffle us, God carries out his mission through human beings.

Just as daunting as confronting a pharaoh was God’s call to a virgin to give
birth to a king. God could have rolled back the clouds to enter our world
but instead he chose a small-town girl who was already engaged to give birth
to the Savior of the world. God could have chosen renowned philosophers but
instead picked uneducated fishermen to carry the gospel to the ends of the
earth. And similarly, God chooses you, too.

God still sees people all around the world who do not know him. God hears
their cries of pain and sighs of sadness. God knows the suffering they
endure
and the injustice they bear. We might see a bit of this through the news,
but God sees it all. We might demand of God, “What are you going to do about
all this suffering?” But God whispers, “I will send you.” —Jon Opgenorth

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to be captured by the significance of your
mission.
Our mailing address is:
Words of Hope

A Note of Encouragement

Send this Note to a friend.
Shane Hale underneath an umbrella looking to the sky

Why all the umbrellas?
...by Shane Hale

Home Depot sells umbrellas for $5. A real bargain. I bought a couple back in
the Spring of 2016. A few days later I passed a fella pushing a shopping
cart
down the I-65 service road as a wall of those big dark Mobile rain clouds
approached. I stopped and handed him one of my umbrellas. "You might need
this."
He agreed, smiled and thanked me.
Giving a blessing.

Homeless man pushing a loaded cart in the rain
A few days later I saw another fella quickly walking through a neighborhood,
tool bag over his shoulder, dirty from the day. It had just started to rain
and he was about to get soaked. I rolled down my window and handed him my
other umbrella. He was all smiles. Told me very enthusiastically, "Boy you
ain't
nothing but a blessing, just a blessing!" Then as he looked down to open the
umbrella, he said, "God is so good to me!"

That last statement really rang with me because he wasn't talking to me. He
was talking to himself. Like he expected it. God's
favor, that is. A $5 umbrella...hand-delivered out of the blue...by a white
dude...as it began to pour rain. It all not only brightened this man's day,
it re-affirmed his faith in God's timely provision. The man's enthusiasm,
his witness, did the same for me. Blessing in return.

Blessings reach more than those who receive them.

The next morning I went back to Home Depot and bought 20 more umbrellas. The
lady ringing up the sale asked, "Why all the umbrellas?" I looked at her
very
seriously and said, "Because it is going to rain." I let it hang for a few
seconds as we just looked at each other. Then I explained to her that I buy
them to give away.
Being a blessing.

Two women sharing an umbrella in the pouring rain
I put most of the umbrellas in my shed and left a handful in my truck. Soon
after I was riding across town with my boys and Captain Questions asked me,
"Daddy, why do you have so many umbrellas in your truck?" Fair question. I
told them the stories, that it is a way I can directly help other people in
a time of need, that there is joy in giving, that God love's a cheerful
giver, and that everything we have God has given us. The lesson alone was
worth
the $100.
Another blessing...Dividends.

Here's the thing. The point of the story is not, "Look at Shane. Look at
Shane." The point is, you don't have to perform great dump-truck-size,
biblical
parting of the seas, "I just destroyed the Death Star" acts of giving to
make a difference in someone's life.

God uses those who make themselves available.

Small, simple acts of kindness can make a big difference in another person's
day AND YOURS! There is a real joy that is found in giving and I believe
with
all my being that God multiplies our efforts for His glory. I mean,
seriously, why wouldn't He? He's God.

Bright colored leaf against a dark stone in the water
Need a win? Don't walk around looking for a blessing. Step out and be one!
On many occasions God has answered my distress call in a time of great need
and it was always, ALWAYS I SAY, delivered not by a bolt of lightning or in
a puff of smoke but by another human being. By someone who chose to make
himself
available to God's calling.

I'm telling you, living in God's will is an awesome experience. Make
yourself available to His call and He will give you a job for The Kingdom.
Believe
it!
Get in the boat. Do your part. Be a blessing.

Eliminating Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes we all feel as if our prayers lack the power to penetrate our
ceilings. It seems as though our petitions fall on deaf ears and God remains
unmoved
or unconcerned about our passionate pleading. Why do these feelings haunt
us?

There are several reasons why we are sometimes frustrated in prayer. One is
that our expectations are unrealistic. This, perhaps more than any other
factor,
leads to a frustration in prayer. We make the common mistake of taking
statements of Jesus in isolation from other biblical aspects of teaching in
prayer,
and we blow these few statements out of proportion.

We hear Jesus say that if two Christians agree on anything and ask, it shall
be given to them. Jesus made that statement to men who had been deeply
trained
in the art of prayer, men who already knew the qualifications of this
generalization. Yet in a simplistic way we interpret the statement
absolutely. We
assume the promise covers every conceivable petition without reservation or
qualification. Think of it. Would it be difficult to find two Christians who
would agree that to end all wars and human conflict would be a good idea?
Obviously not. Yet if two Christians agreed to pray for the cessation of war
and conflict, would God grant their petition? Not unless He planned to
revise the New Testament and its teaching about the future of human
conflict.

Prayer is not magic. God is not a celestial bellhop at our beck and call to
satisfy our every whim. In some cases, our prayers must involve the travail
of the soul and agony of heart, such as Jesus experienced in the Garden of
Gethsemane. Sometimes young Christians have been bitterly disappointed in
"unanswered"
prayers, not because God failed to keep His promises, but because
well-meaning Christians made promises "for" God that God never authorized.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Do you have unrealistic expectations that account for seemingly unanswered
prayers? Are you treating God like a celestial bellhop?

Psalm 102:17-18: "He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not
despise their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, that
a people yet to be created may praise the Lord."

Psalm 141:2: "Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of
my hands as the evening sacrifice."

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul
is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more
information, please visit
www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343.
(c) R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 07 Aug 2017, 11:31 pm

The Most Meaningful Prayer Request

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you know what the average prayer request is about? Physical healing. 
“Pray for my aunt who is a Christian and she is about to die.” “Pray for my 
saved
uncle who is having heart surgery.” How many prayer meetings have you been 
to where people asked for prayer for their lost neighbor who is going to 
hell?

More often than not we are more interested in keeping the saints out of 
heaven than we are in keeping the lost out of hell. It is not a tragedy to 
die
and go to heaven. It is a tragedy to die and go to hell. Friend, it’s time 
we elevated our prayers outside of the physical realm of life into the 
spiritual
realm.

ACTION POINT:
Take a look at your prayer list today—where are the lost who need to be 
saved? What are you doing to help them find their way?

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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you would like to send a comment, prayer or praise, please visit us
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. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth 
Finding devotions.

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wanted to receive these devotions from Love Worth Finding Ministries.

Our mailing address is:
Love Worth Finding Ministries

Not Fair!

2 Samuel 6:6-7 (NKJV)
6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to 
the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger 
of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his 
error; and he died there by the ark of God.

David took men to Judah to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. They 
were on the road with musical instruments, singing and dancing. It was a 
great day! The Ark was coming to Jerusalem! The Ark represented God. 
Wherever the Ark was, there was the blessing of God.

They had put the Ark on a cart drawn by oxen. In the Scripture above we read 
where the Ark was about to fall off the cart when Uzzah touched the Ark. God 
killed him right then and there.

I’m sure a lot of those people who saw this said, “God, that’s not fair! Did 
you want the Ark to hit the ground?” God is not fair, Our heavenly parent is 
just. If God was fair, God might let something slip by but God is not fair. 
God is just. That means that our heavenly Parent expects all the 
commandments to be done to the letter of the law. If they aren’t then there 
are consequences.

David and those in charge of the Ark must not have known the laws on how to 
handle the Ark. Either the laws had not been handed down from the fathers or 
not read. It was to be carried with poles that went through rings at its 
base. The Ark represented God and was to be considered holy. Nothing unholy 
could come in contact with it. If it did, there was a consequence.

Today we have no excuse to not know what God wants of us. WE don’t have to 
rely on The Word being passed down by mouth from generation to generation or 
for it being lost. Most of us have at least one Bible. WE need to read the 
Bible to know what God expects of us. WE need to not only read it but 
meditate on it. We need to pass it on to the children as well. Then we will 
all know it well enough to know what to do in most situations.

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

by Dean W. Masters

5 Steps to Peace in a Really Bad Situation
by

How do you get peace in a really bad situation? You may be in the fight of 
your life financially and about to lose your home. It may be that you've 
been
diagnosed with lung cancer as my father-in-law was. It may be that your 
marriage is falling apart. You fill in the blank. We're either headed into a 
crisis,
in the midst of one, or coming out of one. Now, coming out of one is great. 
We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from 
that.
But how can we get peace if we're headed into or in the midst of a crisis? 
God tells us how to do just that in
Philippians 4:4-9.

The first thing you have to do is focus on God instead of your situation. 
That's easier said than done, but that's what Paul means when he says, 
"Rejoice
in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice" (
Philippians 4:4). He's not saying that we're happy about what we're going 
through; he's not even saying to rejoice in our difficulties. He's saying 
rejoice
in the Lord, and that's something altogether different.

Biblical joy is the knowledge that God is in control of your circumstances 
and allows only that which is good for you into your life (
Romans 8:28). That's why James says to consider it joy when a trial comes 
your way (
James 1:2). It's not that the trial brings joy; it's what God is doing for 
us through the trial; His good work is coming into our lives. Because we 
know
that, we consider the trial joy; we rest in the Lord. In essence, we worship 
Him. That's what Job did when he lost his possessions and his family; he 
said,
"Blessed be the name of the Lord" (
Job 1:21).

The morning my father died was sad; not only were we very close, but it 
pained me to see my mother suffer as well. At the same time, we knew that 
God was
involved in every detail and was doing a good thing in our lives through our 
hurt. As we focused on that, we were able to worship, find joy, and tell 
others
about the goodness of God and the good times we had with my dad. A couple of 
deacons from the church arrived within an hour of his passing. As they came
into the room, we were laughing about some story as we'd been reminiscing, 
and one of them made the comment, "Somehow I knew there would be joy in this
house today." Again, it's not that we were happy about my father's death. 
But we forced ourselves to focus on God and in so doing we found joy.

But that's only the beginning; we can't stop there because Satan and the 
flesh have a way of coming back to bite us. From our focus on God, we have 
to
literally engage in serving others. Paul says, "Let your gentleness be known 
to all men; the Lord is at hand" (
Philippians 4:5). As you rejoice in God, that should move you to then focus 
on others. Let your gentleness, kindness, patience, and heart be known to 
others.
How can you do that? Paul says the Lord is at hand; God is near and will 
help you.

And it's not just that God wants you to serve others in the midst of your 
trouble. It's that He knows our weakness. Our tendency will be to focus on 
ourselves
and spiral down into despair. But if we focus on others, we'll be distracted 
and not have time to spiral down. More than that, we'll derive a certain joy
in serving others before the Lord.

The morning my father died, a man's car broke down in front of our house. He 
was taking his daughter to school, and the car just quit on him. I saw him,
went out to help, and gave them a lift to school so the little girl wouldn't 
be late. The man and I came back to check on the car. While we were doing
that, I remember looking over as the funeral home folks were carrying my 
father out of the house and thinking, "That's just like the Lord to be kind 
enough
to get my focus on someone else. Thank you Lord."

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Now, that's well and good. But what happens when we're alone or when it's 
time to go to bed? We have to give our trouble to God through prayer. I 
remember
tossing and turning one night as my mom was to have open heart surgery the 
next day. I couldn't get any peace. I did remember God's Word though: "Be 
anxious
for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (
Philippians 4:6). Well, that's what I was doing; I was praying over and over 
again but I still couldn't get any peace or sleep! And then I realized; I
was praying like the pagans do (
Matthew 6:7-8). I was worried if I didn't say just the right thing, mention 
every possible problem, or pray with just the right attitude, that God 
wouldn't
hear my prayers. When I realized what I was doing, I simply gave it to the 
Lord. That's why He says to pray; He means for us to tell Him what's 
burdening
our hearts and give it to Him so we can rest. He gives us permission (and 
commands us even) to stop thinking about our problems and let Him deal with 
them.
When we do that, He gives us the peace. When I did that, I went right to 
sleep. If we pray and leave our burden with God, "the peace of God, which 
surpasses
all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (
Philippians 4:7). God's peace, like a Roman soldier, will guard our hearts 
and minds so that no troubling thing plagues us.

It doesn't work! That's what we say when we're filled with worry, fear, or 
despair. The truth is we can't take any one of these things without the 
other.
Each of the things we're talking about forms a whole. God is telling us what 
to do in the midst of a troubling state of affairs. He's telling us to focus
on Him and others; to think about Him, to pray to Him, and to think about 
Him again. It's not enough to pray. Once we pray, Paul says we're to force 
ourselves
to think about the things of God and not what's bothering us. It's not easy; 
that's why it's called a battle. But the way we fight is to change what 
we're
thinking about.

You might say certain thoughts plague you because you're in a longterm 
dilemma that seems never ending. Yes, but you don't have to dwell on the 
difficulties.
Reorient the focus of your thoughts. Paul says, "Finally, brethren, whatever 
things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, 
whatever
things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good 
report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything 
praiseworthy--meditate
on these things" (Philippians 4:8
).

Take it one step further. The more you meditate on the things of God, as 
Paul says, the more you'll know God and His ways. You'll know that He is 
indeed
working these things for good in your life. You know that "the Lord God is a 
sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He
withhold from those who walk uprightly" (Psalms 84:11
).

But there's one more thing. You've moved your focus from your troubles to 
God and others. Paul says now to make sure you keep doing that. Keep doing 
the
things God has told you to do. "The things which you learned and received 
and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" (
Philippians 4:9). If you do what God is teaching you to do, you'll have 
peace. And don't overlook the nuance of what Paul says here. Earlier, he 
said that
the peace of God will guard your heart. That's true; that's what we want. 
But here he says the God of peace will be with you. That's even better! You 
get
peace because you have the God of peace walking with you through the fire.

Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and 
He'll be with you in your fiery furnace as well (
Daniel 3:25). They were at peace even though they didn't know whether God 
would actually keep them alive or not (
Daniel 3:17-18). All they knew was that God was with them and would see them 
through one way or the other. And that's what you need to realize; God is
with you and will see you through one way or the other. And that's not 
resignation or defeatist. That's confidence. God has a plan for you and it's 
good.
You walk with Him because He's walking with you. That's how you get peace in 
a really bad situation.

Dr. Paul Dean invites you to discover more about yourself, God, and others . 
. . and develop a Christian worldview. Dr. Dean is a pastor, cultural 
commentator, and author.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Aug 2017, 5:33 pm

New Post on KenBible.com - from Prepare Yourself for Worship
----------------------------------------------------------

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Posted: 23 Jun 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Worshiping in the Darkness

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me. (Psalm 23:4, NASB)

Father, sometimes all I can do is
worship You in the darkness.
Sometimes, whether from
sickness,
sorrow, or
moods I can’t control or understand,
I can’t sense Your presence.
I can’t feel Your love.
I can’t see You working.
I can’t span the distance between us.

You offer no explanations.
You seem silent,
unconcerned,
gone.

But God, I know You are my Father.
I know You are always good.
I know You are always here, even when I can’t
see You or
feel You.

So even when the darkness engulfs me,
I will remember who You are, and
I will worship You,
praise You, and
trust You.

A Quiet Request
June 27, 2017

Read: Mark 5:25-34

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be 
healed of your disease.” (v. 34)

What a contrast we see in the people who come to Jesus for help in Mark 5. 
Yesterday we saw Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue. Today it is a woman who
was not allowed to come near the synagogue. She was considered “unclean” 
because she suffered from constant bleeding (see Lev. 15:25-30). In Mark’s 
account
she remains nameless—just some woman in the crowd. No one knew her or cared 
about her. Except Jesus.

That’s how it is with Jesus. He has compassion on those who suffer. And her 
suffering was both physical and spiritual. She had sought help from doctors
and spent all the money she had, but they were unable to help.

Like Jairus, this woman was desperate. She didn’t know where else to go for 
help. Then she heard about Jesus. Self-conscious about her malady, she tried
to approach Jesus from behind quietly and in secret. The moment she touched 
him, the bleeding stopped and she was healed.

But she had been found out. Jesus knew immediately that power had gone out 
from him. So the woman fell to the ground in front of Jesus, trembling with
fear. But Jesus was not angry. He called her “daughter,” praised her, and 
blessed her on her way. No one who comes to Jesus need be afraid. No matter 
who
you are or what your need, Jesus will not turn you away. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for caring so deeply for us. Amen.
Our mailing address is:
Words of Hope

You Grow as You Help Others Mature
By Rick Warren

“The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust 
to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”
(2 Timothy 2:2 NIV).

If you want the special blessing of God on your life, you need to learn from 
other believers who are more mature than you, and you need to mentor 
believers
who are younger than you.

Every Christian needs both a Paul and a Timothy. A Paul is somebody who’s 
been a Christian longer than you and is helping to train and encourage you. 
That
person may only be a month older than you, but he or she knows a little bit 
more and can mentor you.

To have a Timothy means there is somebody in your life who hasn’t been a 
Christian as long as you, and you are helping build that person's faith. You 
are
offering your Timothy encouragement and discipleship as he or she grows in 
the Lord.

So you have a Paul and a Timothy in your life. But you are also a Paul and a 
Timothy to someone else.

In 2 Timothy, Paul says this to Timothy: “The things you have heard me say 
in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also 
be
qualified to teach others”
(2 Timothy 2:2 NIV).

There are four generations in that verse. Paul says to Timothy that he 
helped mentor him, and now Timothy must find somebody to mentor, and then 
that person
can find somebody else to mentor.

Don’t be intimidated by the word “mentoring.” Mentoring is as easy as taking 
someone to breakfast once a month and asking, “How’s it going?” You just 
need
to be a friend. Listen to, encourage, and pray for that person. You don’t 
have to be the perfect Christian to do this. You just have to be willing.

When you do that, you will receive a blessing from God in your life that you 
cannot imagine.
This devotional (c) 2017 by Rick Warren
. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
The Powerful Root of Practical Love
By John Piper

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the 
brothers.
(1 John 3:14)

So, love is the evidence that we are born again — that we are Christians, 
that we are saved.

Sometimes the Bible makes our holiness and our love for people the condition 
of our final salvation. In other words, if we are not holy and not loving,
we will not be saved at the judgment day (e.g., Hebrews 12:14; Galatians 
5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:10). This doesn’t mean that acts of love are how we 
get
right with God. No, the Bible is clear again and again as Ephesians 2:8–9 
says, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own 
doing;
it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.” No, when the 
Bible says that we are saved by faith but that we must love people in order
to finally be saved, it means that faith in God’s promises must be so real 
that the love it produces proves the reality of the faith.

So, love for others is a condition of future grace in the sense that it 
confirms that the primary condition, faith, is genuine. We could call love 
for
others a secondary condition, which confirms the authenticity of the primary 
and essential condition of faith which alone unites us to Christ, and 
receives
his power.

Faith perceives the glory of God in the promises of future grace and 
embraces all that the promises reveal of what God is for us in Jesus. That 
spiritual

sight of God’s glory, and our
delight in it, is the self-authenticating evidence that God has called us to 
be a beneficiary of his grace. This evidence frees us to bank on God’s 
promise
as our own. And this banking on the promise empowers us to love. Which in 
turn confirms that our faith is real.

The world is desperate for a faith that combines two things: awestruck sight 
of unshakable divine Truth, and utterly practical, round-the-clock
power to make a liberating difference in life. That’s what I want too. Which 
is why I am a Christian.

There is a great God of grace who magnifies his own infinite beauty and 
self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust him. 
And there
is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook or cranny of 
life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Love Will Lift You

Love lifts a broken heart--not just any love, but the love of God. Most of 
us have sung James Rowe's hymn, "Love Lifted Me." The first verse contains 
these
words:

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more.
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me--now safe am I.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help, love lifted me!

Sometimes nothing can lift our hearts like the love of God. Friends abandon 
us. Colleagues try to bypass us. Even our families may fail to understand 
us.
But God's love for us never changes.

Even when we act unlovable, God continues to love us. When we are 
undesirable, He embraces us. When it seems that the world has turned against 
us, God's
love remains. He has promised never to leave us hopeless.

Difficulties in life can certainly leave us feeling broken and confused. 
Many times, disappointments come in order to teach us more about the depths 
of
God's love. In desperation, we turn to God. This is when we discover that 
only His love can truly lift us up and restore our sense of hope.

We may struggle to find another way around our problems, hoping that someone 
or something will bring relief, but nothing can help us outside the love of
God. Only His love has the ability to satisfy our every need.

Maybe you are wondering if God really loves you. Have you yielded to sin? Or 
have you allowed the world and its trappings to come between you and your
Savior? Cry out to Him and He will restore the joy of your salvation. When 
nothing else can help, love will lift you.

****

This month, generous partners have committed $500,000 to
Leading The Way and are challenging all our partners to help match their 
gifts. Join us as we boldly proclaim the Gospel through 24/7 broadcasting; 
disciple
new believers in closed countries; and help the persecuted around the world. 
Consider a generous gift to
Leading The Way this month, and help us press on to see lives transformed by 
the hope of Christ.

Give Now!

We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and 
around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately 
proclaim
uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at
http://www.ltw.org/

Listen to Michael Youssef on Today's Broadcast of "
Leading The Way
" at OnePlace.com

Anne Graham Lotz - Do You Believe This?
Do You Believe This?
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even 
though he dies."

John 11:25, NIV

Do you believe this? Do you believe that . . .

when there is no hope,

when there is no recourse,

when there is no answer,

when there is no help,

when there is no way,

when there is no remedy,

when there is no solution,

when there is nobody,

there is hope if you have Jesus?! Do you believe that Jesus can make a way 
when there is no way?

With Jesus, all things are possible!

Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Doggy Doors"
July 1, 2017
James 1:14-15 - But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by 
his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and 
sin
when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Ask around and the experts will tell you about the greatest fights in 
history. In the top 10, most would likely list the "Thrilla in Manila" 
between Muhammad
Ali and Joe Frazier. Others would mention the 1952 battle between Rocky 
Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott. That battle was won by Marciano who 
finished his
career undefeated.

Truly, those were epic contests, but they were mere skirmishes when compared 
to the 2016 battle waged by "Boone the boxer." Before I go further, allow
me to share that Boone the boxer is a dog owned by the Scott Gray family of 
Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Dog or no, right before Halloween last year, Boone 
got
himself into a prime-time fight. And if you're wondering how this battle 
began, I can tell you: the Gray's house has a dog door to make Boone's 
comings
and goings more convenient.

Unfortunately, that dog door can be used by other animals -- other animals 
like skunks, for example.

The Grays were not at home the night an uninvited skunk came in through the 
doggy door. A few hours later when the family returned, Boone and the skunk
were still at it. Mr. Gray managed to corner the skunk in a bedroom and have 
it removed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Experts were called in to tell how the Grays might restore their home to 
pre-fight conditions.

What the experts said was this: get rid of your clothes; toss your 
furniture; tear the sheet rock off its studs, and begin over. The insurance 
company
agreed that doing those things would be the way for the Gray family to 
proceed. Oh, the insurance company also said something else, something like 
"While
we feel sorry for you, and deeply regret what has happened to your home, you 
should know your homeowner's policy does not cover your domicile for damages
done by skunks that gained entrance through a doggy door left open."

As this devotion is written, the Grays have shelled out $70,000 and they 
estimate they will spend another $50,000 before they are done reclaiming 
their
home.

Now there ought to be a devotional point to this sad story -- and there is. 
The point is we need to watch what comes into the homes of our hearts.

James talks about the process of how a sin begins in a simple way. It all 
starts when a heart which ought to be owned by the Lord has been built with 
a
doggy door. It doesn't take too long before an unchristian temptation 
saunters in. Left unchecked, that desire will grow and become a sin which, 
as James
says, "brings forth death."

Now, unlike the Gray family, we do have good news for those who find their 
hearts have been befouled by sin. We have a Savior who can, for people of 
faith,
remove that sin and set things straight. Scripture is clear: if we confess 
our sins, the Lord wall forgive us our sins. But, the Bible tells us God's 
people
are smart if they don't leave open a doggy door for sin, in the first place.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the faith and the wisdom to stop sin before 
it starts. Keep my heart dedicated to giving thanks for the Savior who has
done all to win my forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by Adalberto Toledo for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on June 6, 2017. 
Those
who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which 
was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please
click here .

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12; Acts 10:24-48
Print this Devotion
Subscribe to this Podcast
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's
Turning Point
Monday, July 3

Desired

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I 
sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5

Recommended Reading
Psalm 139
David was forgotten. Instead of being summoned to join his father and 
brothers when they met with Samuel, he was left in the field tending sheep. 
David
was only sent for after God had confirmed, one by one, that none of his 
brothers would be the next king. Gideon was hiding from the enemy when God 
called
him to be a mighty warrior. God knew Gideon, his strengths and weaknesses, 
and what he was capable of with God's strength.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Regardless of your current situation, God sees you. Whether you are tending 
sheep or serving in the kings court, you are not overlooked. God has not 
forgotten
you and knows your purpose. If you are feeling stuck or unsure, look to God. 
He has made each of us with unique strengths and weaknesses, even if we 
cannot
see or articulate them.

Depend on Him for meaning, purpose, and insight into your strengths and 
weaknesses. You exist because He thought of you, formed you, and gave you 
life.
Our best course of action is to trust in our loving Creator.

A humble person is not one who thinks little of himself, hangs his head and 
says I am nothing. Rather, he is someone who depends wholly on the Lord 
for
everything, in every circumstance.
David Wilkerson

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Proverbs 12  14
David Jeremiah's Website
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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A Loving Father and a Caring Savior
June 26, 2017

Read: Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing 
him, he fell at his feet, and implored him earnestly. (vv. 22-23)

I love this story because it is about a father and his daughter. I have only 
one daughter and although I love my sons, there is a special bond that I 
have
with my daughter. I’ve heard others say, too, that the father-daughter bond 
is an especially strong one.

Jairus, in our story today, must have had such a relationship with his 
daughter. Certainly parents are greatly affected by the things that happen 
to their
children, especially when they encounter danger or illness. And Jairus’ 
daughter was gravely ill, at the point of death. His back was to the wall. 
He was
desperate, and although he was one of the leaders of the synagogue, Jairus 
came to Jesus.

That was a huge step for Jairus to take. Above all, it meant swallowing his 
pride. The ruler of the synagogue seeking out the one who had been run out
of the synagogue? Unthinkable! Yet that was exactly what he did. And Jesus, 
wonderfully displaying the love and power of God, received Jairus warmly and
raised his daughter from the dead.

No matter who you are or what you have done, our Lord will receive you and 
help you. What a blessing to know that! Why not go to him now? He won’t turn
you away. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, help us cast all our cares upon you, because you care for us 
(see 1 Peter 5:7). Amen.

The Lesser Blessings
by

God has the very best for us but most of us never get there. We settle for 
blessings like money or security or other things we can acquire. While these
things are considered blessings, they should be considered as second-rate 
blessings. In other words, you can do better.

Let me explain. When most American talk about “being blessed,” they are 
talking about material things: houses, cars, boats, jobs. Without doubt, 
these
things are provided by God – and they are blessings. But sometimes the 
acquisition of these blessings has cost us something of much greater value. 
While
it is not always the case, some lesser blessings cost us greater blessings. 
We have traded. If financial gain is the best blessing you have, you are not
experiencing God’s best. According to Jesus, you can’t serve both God and 
money (Matthew 6:24
).

Plainly put, if you skip worship to go out for a day of relaxation, your 
relaxation is a more valued blessing to you than experiencing God’s presence 
with
your church family.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

If you make a lot of money on your job but you neglect your family in doing 
so, your money is a more important blessing than your family. You have 
blessings,
but they are lesser blessings. You have settled for second-rate.

Life has fooled us. Many of us have been duped into thinking that money = 
blessing. Dig a little deeper and you get to real blessings:: relationships,
love, eternal life, the Presence of God. These are first-rate blessings – 
Greater Blessings!

Jesus asks you a very straightforward question: “What do you benefit if you 
gain the whole world but lose your soul?
” (Mark 8:36) I think we know the answer: lesser blessings.

Don’t settle for the lesser blessing. Let God give you His very best!

You Cannot Handle Your Pain
J.A. Medders / July 1, 2017
You Cannot Handle Your Pain

Do you know how to lament?

Pain, suffering, sorrow, illness, and grief are unavoidable in this world — 
but God has given us a way to find hope in the rubble of life. Lament is an
underground tunnel to hope.

An entire book of the Bible is an exercise in lamenting before the Lord. We 
have numerous psalms of lament. So, why don’t we lament more in the church
today? Why do we put the noise-cancelling headphones over our hearts, 
keeping ourselves busy to avoid the pain? Let’s not busy ourselves to avoid 
lamenting;
let’s learn to lament well.

Relearning Our Humanity

Of course, we want to avoid suffering, grief, and trauma, but the reality is 
we can’t. The rippling effects of Adam and Eve gnashing into that fruit 
still
affects us and the world today.

Everyone we know and love will return to the dust. Family members will hear 
heavy words from their doctor. Great loss will strike dear friends. We will
weep. And pretending like we can manage our sufferings on our own won’t 
help. We weren’t built to handle them. We need the body of Christ — and we 
need
Christ himself, our sympathetic High Priest, the man of sorrows, the one who 
shouldered our grief.

When we act like we can handle our suffering on our own, we commit 
idolatry — acting like we are God, capable in ourselves. Lamenting is 
relearning our
humanity. Lamenting is admitting that we can’t handle it, knowing we need 
God’s power, mercy, and grace. If we could handle our sufferings, we wouldn’t
need Jesus, his cross, his power, and his resurrection. Lamenting is how we 
grieve as those who have hope.

More Than You Can Handle

You’ve heard people say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” 
Wrong. Tucked into this dollar-store saying is a sense of self-reliance: I 
can
make it. I should be able to do this on my own. But Christianity is the 
abandonment of our self-reliance: “God, I need you!” His power is made 
perfect
in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). For all of our I-can’t-evens, there 
is our God who
can and our Savior who did.

Christianity is picking up our cross, dying with Christ, rising with Christ, 
living with Christ. Every day is more than we can handle. Without Jesus, we
can’t do anything (John 15:5), certainly not bear the unbearable in front of 
us. We will regularly experience more than we can deal with, which is why
we need God to be our refuge, our shelter, our dwelling place. Lament 
teaches us to uncork our hearts and pour them out to God in faith.

We all are either suffering now or know someone who is. Lamenting is 
incredibly relevant at this moment. Cancer, death, illness, heartache in our 
families,
betrayal, loss, injustice in the world, personal fears — in all of these 
dark valleys, God gives us a proven pathway to himself in lament.

What Is Lament?

Lamenting is the honest vocalizations of grief to God. And often within 
earshot of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Open Lamentations and hear 
Jeremiah’s
vocalizations of suffering, pain, and grief. “Though I call and cry for 
help, he shuts out my prayer” (Lamentations 3:8). Jeremiah feels like God 
isn’t
listening to him. Today, we’d say, “When I pray, it feels like my requests 
don’t make it past the ceiling. I pray and I don’t feel anything.” Honest. 
Uncomfortable.
Real.

Moses laments in Psalm 90:13, “O Lord! How long? Have pity on your 
servants!” He’s not sure how much longer he can hold up. He’s weary. How 
long do we
have to face this? Today, we’d pray, “Lord, how much longer will my friend 
have to endure this? Please, Lord, in your kindness, bring their wayward 
child
home.” Lament is personal pleading — vocalized emotions and thoughts.

Jeremiah and Moses show us that we lament not just for the sake of getting 
things off our chest — but for the sake of getting our eyes back on God.

Lament Leads to the Lord

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah recalls the yet of God’s mercy. “But this I call 
to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never 
ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your 
faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope
in him’” (Lamentations 3:21–24).

Moses remembers the faithful love of the Lord, knowing he can find 
supernatural joy — a satisfaction that surpasses all understanding — in the 
midst of
his suffering. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we 
may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you
have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil” (Psalm 
90:14–15). We plead with God to satisfy us with himself, the one who gave 
his only
Son for our sins so that by faith in him we might have eternal life.

Biblical laments don’t leave us dangling; they lead us back to the Lord. 
Satisfaction in the hope of the gospel sustains us in our suffering. We 
process
our pain and recall the steadfast love of the Lord. Remember your crucified 
and risen Savior. An empty grave serves as a sure tombstone for all your 
sufferings.
One day, in the twinkling of an eye, he will make all things new. The 
trumpet is being tuned now.

Until then, vocalize your grief to God and rest your hope on him.

What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate: Part 1
John Piper / July 1, 2017

Jesus calls us to keep our marriage covenant in a way that tells the truth 
about him.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

A Spiritual Barometer Check

True knowledge of God manifests itself in love for all the saints. Growing 
maturity in Christ evidences itself in growing love for His people. Does an
individual possess a lot of knowledge regarding doctrine and theology? 
Great, we can never gain enough knowledge of doctrine and theology. Let us 
pursue
knowing God with all our minds. The man who stops growing in knowledge of 
God ceases seeking God. But here is the essential question, has that 
knowledge
heightened our love for the saints? What does our love for our brothers and 
sisters in Christ look like? Christians love Christians. And the more we 
grow
in Christ, the more we will love His bride.

In Colossians 1, Paul thanks God for the love that the Colossian Christians 
have for all the saints (1:4). Agape love—that over-analyzed and still 
misunderstood
word in our Evangelical circles—contains the idea of pro-active care or 
concern for another. A concern so great that a person willingly sacrifices 
their
own interests for another. This kind of love marks the Colossian Christians.

Such love only flows from union with Christ (Colossians 1:4). If a person is 
not in union with Christ, they will never have this kind of love. But if a
person is in union with Christ, they will be marked by this kind of love. If 
we asked, “What is that black and white striped animal?” Most would know the
answer instantly. If we asked, “What is that animal that has a mane and a 
loud roar?” Most would reply instantly. A zebra and a lion are known by 
their
respective attributes. They are identifiable. The Christian is identified by 
his or her love for the saints. “They will know you by your love for one 
another,”
said the Lord Jesus (John 13:35).

If we claim to know Christ but do not love the people He died for, we are 
simply deluding ourselves. If we claim to love God but harbor disdain for 
the
Church, our proclamation proves vacuous. Paul links love for God and love 
for His people together. “We thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus AND of 
the love that you have for all the saints” (Colossians 1:3-4). Christ links 
love
for God and love for His people together, “This is my commandment, that you 
love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

If a person is a Christian, they love Christians. And that love grows as we 
mature in the faith. Despite all the trials we may endure in relationship 
with
other believers, we fall more in love with them because they are Christ’s. 
He died for them and we are united with them for all of eternity. We love 
our
Lord, so we love His Church.

It is not always easy to discern where we are at in the Christian faith. Am 
I more mature today than I was yesterday, last week, or last year? Do I 
cherish
Christ more? Am I storing treasures in heaven? Or is my heart set upon the 
things of earth and my love for Christ is waning? One of the easiest ways to
assess ourselves is to examine our love for all the saints. Do I love God’s 
people more today? If so, it is assuredly true that I also love Christ more.
It is a good barometer of our spiritual health. One that I must seek to 
employ regularly for it does not lie. If I love God, I will love His people.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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The Daily Gospel” by Timothy Brindle

When Paul said, “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in 
Rome,” he was writing to Christians (Romans 1:15). Celebration of the gospel 
does
not cease after you become a Christian, and Timothy Brindle explains why it’s 
the Christian’s source of joy daily.

And when I see my beautiful Savior who suffered
For all of the numerous ways I have blundered,
I’m then moved to be truly gracious to others
And exhibit the Spirit’s fruit of patience to brothers.
But most of all, the gospel brings me close to my Father,
So in the warmth of his love I can soak like a sauna.
So now I want to obey him and show him my honor,
Not to earn his love, but as a chosen responder.

Preaching to the Streets vosqfh67

“Take Me There” by Trip Lee (feat. Jimmy Needham)

Paul saw death as gain because death meant fellowship with Jesus, which he 
said is “far better” than life on earth (Philippians 1:21–23). Trip Lee and
Jimmy Needham also long for a better country on “Take Me There.”

Hey, I ain’t know about you, but I can’t wait till the day
When I’ll be with my Lord and everything is okay.
And I’ll be just like him, so my sin ain’t in the way.
Baskin’ in his glory, that’s where I wanna stay.

The Missing Link Between Bible and Prayer
David Mathis / June 23, 2017
The Missing Link Between Bible and Prayer

The Christian discipline of Bible meditation is the most important, 
underrated, and misunderstood of all the ways of receiving God’s word.

Desiring God
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Minneapolis, MN 55402
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Bragging Rights

1 Chronicles 16:23-27 (NRSV)
23 Sing to the Lord , all the earth.
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
25 For great is the Lord , and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.

We don’t have bragging rights in ourselves but n the Scripture we have the 
right and are commanded to brag about our great God to the whole world. WE 
are to sing God’s praises everywhere.

God is a great God who made heaven and earth and everything therein. God is 
not an idol made of wood or stone that does not live. To God belongs all 
honor and majesty. WE need to let everyone know this.

WE should be so excited about what God has done for us and the whole world 
that we can’t help but tell everyone what God has done. WE should want to 
let everyone know so they can know God also. WE should be bragging every 
chance we can about everything God has done. WE need to bring people face to 
face to Almighty God so they can see how great and loving God is before they 
have to come face to face with God on Judgment Day and face God’s wrath. As 
Charles Spurgeon wrote:

If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. 
If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let 
no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

by Dean W. Masters

.Scott Hubbard / June 23, 2017
Learn How to Be Brought Low

You don’t need to be anyone special to know what it means to be brought low.

You don’t need to be Job to know that God gives and takes away (Job 1:21). 
You just need to know the heartsickness of hope deferred (Proverbs 13:12), 
or
the bitterness of solitary pain (Proverbs 14:10), or the ache of God’s 
seeming silence (Psalm 13:1). In other words, anyone with a pulse knows what 
it
means to be brought low.

But can we stand up, square our shoulders, and say with the apostle Paul, “I 
know how to be brought low” (Philippians 4:12)?

Can we say, “I know how to face financial disaster,” or “I know how to be 
betrayed,” or “I know how to endure years of chronic pain”? The words stick 
in
my throat.

School of Faithful Suffering

There was a time when Paul didn’t know how to be brought low. We know that 
because he says a verse earlier, “I have
learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

There was a time when Paul didn’t know how to give thanks from the dirt 
floor of a prison cell. But God taught him (Philippians 1:3–5). There was a 
time
when he didn’t know how to rejoice when others in ministry stabbed him in 
the back. But God taught him (Philippians 1:17–18). There was a time when he
didn’t know how to gaze at the blade of Caesar’s sword and say, “To me to 
live is Christ, and to die is gain.” But God taught him (Philippians 1:21).

And God can teach us. So, let’s take a seat in this bittersweet classroom 
and learn, with Philippians as our study guide, three lessons in being 
brought
low.

1. God works wonders in the low places.

When Paul drafted his plan to evangelize the known world, he surely didn’t 
write at the top, “Get stuck in prison.” We can safely assume a jail cell 
didn’t
fit neatly in his five-year personal ministry goals or church-planting 
strategies.

But it fit into God’s. And at some point, shackled to a Roman prison guard, 
Paul realized as much. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened
to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known 
throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment
is for Christ” (Philippians 1:12–13).

Paul’s imprisonment did not sabotage God’s plan to advance the gospel. 
Prison was God’s plan to advance the gospel. And the same is true for us. 
Being
brought low may ruin our plans, but not God’s better, wiser, kinder plans 
for us. If we will learn how to be brought low, we will one day testify, “I 
want
you to know, brothers, that this bankruptcy has really served to free me 
from money’s stranglehold.” Or, “I want you to know that this betrayal has 
really
taught me how to forgive.” Or, “I want you to know that this sickness has 
fueled my hope for heaven like nothing else.”

It’s okay if you’re still too low to look back and chart the sweep of God’s 
good purposes over the expanse of your sorrow. But while you’re there, 
remember
this, on the testimony of Scripture and a thousand saints: God works wonders 
when he brings us low.

2. Jesus knows the low places.

Perhaps the most painful part of being brought low is the loneliness. Even 
the most faithful comforters cannot plumb the depths of our sorrows, or 
always
speak the right word in the right tone, or discern our ever-changing needs. 
But there is one who has promised, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
And he is one who knows the low places.

For us, being brought low is usually a passive experience. We’re thrown, 
dragged, and kicked into this pit; we don’t jump in ourselves. Who would 
choose
this grief?

Jesus would. He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but 
emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness
of men” (Philippians 2:6–7).

Jesus traveled from the highest place to the lowest place on purpose. He 
left the praises of angels to face the scorn of men. He left the happiness 
of
heaven to feel the horror of Gethsemane. He left the right hand of his 
Father to endure the forsakenness of the cross.

Jesus has seen every shade of sorrow, heard every tone of grief, and tasted 
every flavor of pain. So, as Zach Eswine writes, “When we search for 
someone,
anyone, to know what it means to walk in our shoes, Jesus emerges as the 
preeminent and truest companion to our afflictions” (
Spurgeon’s Sorrows , 85).

The time will come when we’ll sit in the bright light of hindsight, and 
praise will cascade from our mouths in fountains. But until then, we are not 
walking
this trackless waste alone. We have a man of sorrows who is acquainted with 
grief (Isaiah 53:3), and he leads our way.

3. God will raise you up from the low places.

But Jesus does more than comfort and console when he meets us in our pain. 
He also promises, with all authority in heaven and on earth, that we will 
not
stay there.

Jesus embraced a lowly station, and he submitted to the lowliest death 
humans have devised — “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8) — but he did 
not
stay low, and he did not stay dead. He rose up from his humiliation in a 
blaze of resurrection glory, and took his seat in the highest place, 
receiving
from his Father “the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

And now this King of heaven pledges to all who are his that he will 
“transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that 
enables him
even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20–21). Jesus’s 
living, glorified, death-conquering body declares that the low places do not 
last
forever, that the grief of the tomb gives way to Easter gladness. Whereas 
God’s wonder-working power (lesson one above) assures us that he is doing 
good
things right now that will bear fruit for this life, his promise to raise us 
up guarantees that one day we will be done with pain altogether. We will be
done with being brought low.

When Jesus breathes life into your lowly body and raises it up in glory, you 
can be sure it’ll be the end to everything else that’s broken. Your poverty
will turn to riches, your heartache to healing, your loneliness to steadfast 
love. You’ll finally gain Christ himself (Philippians 1:21–23; 3:8). You’ll
bow and sing beneath his lordship (Philippians 2:10–11). You’ll know the 
power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10).

Your citizenship does not lie under this shadow of sadness, but in the 
bright skies of heaven, from which “we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus 
Christ” (Philippians
3:20).

Grieve and Give Thanks

Those who know how to be brought low do not play the stoic, as if these 
lessons could shield us from the stabs of our sorrows. Instead, we move 
forward
in faith, learning to let joy and sorrow mingle together in the same heart, 
learning what it means to feel, and speak, and act in a way that is 
“sorrowful,
yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

We are not sorrowful only, as if this low valley has swallowed all that is 
high and lovely and good. Nor do we only rejoice, as if the valley is not 
really
a dreadful place after all. No, we grieve and give thanks. We sob and we 
sing. We say with George Herbert, in his poem “Bittersweet,”

I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament, and love.

God Loves Good Hip-Hop
David Daniels / June 23, 2017
God Loves Good Hip-Hop

Music is arguably the most influential art form on earth.

This influence is not only attested to by music psychology, but also by the 
Bible in its attention to at least two realities. First, all art forms are
powerful, but those which involve words exercise extra influence.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will 
eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). God used words to create the world, and 
our
use of words is a way we mirror him as image bearers (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 
1:27). God also uses words to save the world. “How are they to believe in 
him
of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone 
preaching?” (Romans 10:14).

The preaching of Christians through hip-hop has been used by God to move 
many listeners to call on the name of the Lord.

Music and the Mind

Second, Scripture affirms the effect of music on the mind.

In 2 Kings 3, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha when a harpist played. 
In 1 Samuel 16, a harmful spirit from God tormented Saul
until David played a lyre. God used music in these passages as a means to 
breed serenity.

Matthew Henry said in his commentary on 1 Samuel, “Music cannot work upon 
the devil, but it may shut up the passages by which he has access to the 
mind.”
It’s no wonder why a group of harp, tambourine, flute, lyre-wielding 
prophets is mentioned in 1 Samuel 10.

John Piper encouraged readers of his book When I Don’t Desire God
to “wield the weapon of music in the fight for joy in God” because the Bible 
repeatedly commands us to sing and to play instruments (Exodus 15:21; 1 
Chronicles
16:23; Psalm 33:2–3; 57:8; 81:2; 96:1; 150:1–6).

“Surely God has not created music as a pointless distraction from rational 
apprehensions of God,” Piper said. “Surely, this too is part of the creation
that is ‘declaring the glory of God.’”

A Perfect Place for Joy

The genre of Christian music that has arguably used words the most 
influentially since the mid-90s has been hip-hop. And Christian hip-hop has 
often been
significantly influenced by Reformed theology, especially
Christian Hedonism .

Artists like Trip Lee, KB, Shai Linne, and S.O. have each waved the banner 
of satisfaction in Christ alone throughout their discographies. Jackie 
Hill-Perry,
a Desiring God contributor, dedicated an entire album called
The Art of Joy to the concept.

Outsiders may condemn hip-hop entirely because secular artists wave banners 
of misogyny, violence, and substance abuse. But hip-hop is a perfect place
to proclaim our message of joy in God for his glory, for at least two 
reasons.

Authenticity

At its roots, hip-hop culture demands authenticity. Pioneering hip-hop emcee 
KRS-One once said, “It’s not about a salary. It’s all about reality.” Where
better for us to declare the
reality that our highest happiness is rooted in knowing the infinitely 
valuable Creator and Lord of the universe?

Authentic artists who truly believe “God is most glorified in us when we are 
most satisfied in him” will organically express this satisfaction in their
art. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Artists 
will write and rap so that their joy in God may be complete (1 John 1:4).

Boastfulness

An even more central characteristic of hip-hop is braggadocio. “The art of 
the brag has been integral to hip-hop since the very beginning,” top hip-hop
website DJBooth said.

The art of the brag precedes hip-hop (by several thousand years). God told 
the prophet Jeremiah, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands
and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and 
righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24).

By definition, “boast” is synonymous with praise or glorify. God created 
humans to glorify him (Isaiah 43:7). Emcees who boast in talent, money, or 
women
are doing what they were designed to do — only with a mistaken supreme love.

Trip Lee grasps this. The teaching pastor, rapper, and founder of a ministry 
named Built to Brag released a single in 2011 titled “Brag on My Lord,” 
which
says,

We don’t wanna waste our time braggin’ on small pleasures, you know?
We wanna brag on the greatest treasure.

A Playlist of Pleasure in God

Below are some examples of Christ-exalting hip-hop found at Rapzilla’s 
playlist on Spotify. These songs pass a test given by Piper in
When I Don’t Desire God:

“Is this joy [that music awakens in us] rooted in something good about God? 
Is it shaping my emotions into a Christ-exalting configuration? Is it 
stirring
my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at 
the cost of my own comfort?”

Preaching to the Streets p0dez0wf

“Give My All” by KB

KB began his 100 EP with a similar heartbeat to Paul in Acts 20:24, “I do 
not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may 
finish
my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify 
to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Funny how I don’t want the stuff people dream of,
Rich living in a beachfront, eased up with my ease up.
So what if they think you the man?
That don’t mean nothing in the kingdom.
So what I want y’all to remember me for?
If you forget my name, please remember my Jesus.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Jul 2017, 11:43 pm

The Five Qualities of Friendship

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as 
brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”
1 Peter 3:8

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are five qualities of friendship.

1. Harmony. We are to be of one mind, not necessarily singing the same note, 
but complimenting one another.
2. Sympathy. We hurt when friends hurt. The world is looking for friends 
like this.
3. Fraternity. We are to love one another like brothers. There is no 
brotherhood like the brotherhood in Jesus Christ.
4. Pity. If you want to be a real friend, you’re going to have to feel 
deeply. You’ll need to put yourself in the place of the other person.
5. Humility. Genuine courtesy is thinking of the other person’s needs before 
your own. You are less concerned with your rights, and more concerned about
the relationship.

ACTION POINT:
Begin to develop these characteristics of friendship in your life and watch 
God change your world!
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
The email address this message was sent from does not accept replies. If 
you would like to send a comment, prayer or praise, please visit us
here
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth 
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.


We know a dance would be more fun, but we believe we must go through hell to 
get to heaven, so we keep marching
. -- Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom

Christ gets overshadowed by Christianity all the time. Christ is a person. 
Christianity is a religion. Big difference.

“Christ gets overshadowed by Christianity all the time. Christ is a person. 
Christianity is a religion.”


Sometimes we get so immersed in the religion that life becomes dominated by 
manmade do's and don'ts. Seriously, think about all the traditions and 
routines
we’ve created that have nothing to do with Christ. All the standards about 
when you're supposed to sit and stand, and what you're supposed to look 
like,
and what movies you can go to, and what you can drink, and how much you are 
supposed to give, and what words you can say, which rock bands are okay, and
blah blah blah. And as long as you stay in line, everybody is happy.

It probably looks really "Christian" on the outside, but what religion 
really does is teach you to march. Worse yet, we begin to see Jesus as the 
master
drill sergeant.

If I’m marching and I mess up, I’m like, “Oh no!” What’s the drill sergeant 
gonna say? “BRISCOE! What are you doing? How many times have we gone over 
this?
Give me twenty. Now, get back in line and do it right this time!”

Jesus, on the other hand, is like the dance instructor that Libby and I had 
at Billy Bob's. He's not into religion and rules, he's into
relationship. He knows that if we keep our eyes on Him and follow His lead, 
we will be free to move to the music – His Spirit – within the boundaries of
His Word. But if we are focused on the routines, traditions and rules, we 
spend our life marching, trying to get it right, trying to get better and 
trying
to improve, trying to stop messing up, and trying to stop sinning... and we 
miss the dance with Him.

In fact, if you look through all the accounts of Jesus in the Bible, you’ll 
see that the only people Jesus ever yelled at were the drill instructors who
were leading the only people Jesus ever yelled at were the drill instructors 
who were leading the forced march of religion. The only ones
. Think about that.

So let me ask the question: Do you see Jesus as a dance instructor or a 
drill sergeant?

Who would you rather spend the rest of eternity with?

Jesus, today, I want to follow You for who You truly are, not who religion 
has made You to be. Tell me the truth about who You are in Your Word. Give 
me
the ears to hear that truth so I can stop marching and start dancing with 
You! Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at 
OnePlace.com

Why We Need Jesus Every Day
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Contributor

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never 
go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"

John 6:35

Not a day goes by that we're not in need of God's grace and peace. Every 
morning we need His Spirit to fill us again, to strengthen us for what's 
ahead.
Every day we need a fresh word that He speaks to our hearts, that keeps our 
focus on what's most important. Trying to run this race of life without Him,
will do nothing but drain us dry.

The people of Israel spent 40 years in the desert. Wandering in circles. 
Times were intense, hot, dry. I'm sure they got weary. But God met them 
where
they were. He made sure they had what they needed. They learned through 
every hard and grueling step, how much they had to rely on Him.

They were hungry. And God sent manna. Every day a miracle was there, right 
before their eyes. They just had to pick it up.

“When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the 
desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is
it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is 
what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. 
Take
an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And 
when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have 
too
much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had 
gathered just as much as they needed.Then Moses said to them, “No one is to
keep any of it until morning.”

Exodus 16:14-19

And just like the people of Israel had to gather it fresh every morning in 
the wilderness, so it is with us. They couldn't store it up; they had to 
look
for it daily. And God always provided. Each morning it was there, waiting 
for them. Every day He made sure it met their needs, they were satisfied, 
they
were nourished, they were cared for. And they never lacked, for God's 
resources never run dry.

That's what He does for us every single morning. Sometimes we miss it, out 
of busyness or stress. We try to get things going too fast, spinning wildly,
trying to get it all done, and sometimes we might start to forget what 
matters most.

But even for those times, His grace is there. He waits for us. His patience 
and His peace, it never runs dry.

Each day, His miracles are all around, right before our eyes. We just have 
to choose to look for them, to pick up His provision, and stay close to His
Presence.

God's got our past covered, our future secured, and there's more than enough 
grace for this day.

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never 
go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'" John 6:35

Jesus is our Bread of Life. He promises that as we come to Him, and pick up 
with words, spend time first with Him, and allow His truths to nourish our
spirits and lives, we will be satisfied.

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Sometimes life may be hurried and stressed. But 
choose not to allow the enemy to steer you away from God. It’s those times 
you
need Him most. Make the choice to come to Him daily. Allow Christ to meet 
your deepest needs and His Spirit to bring refreshing to your soul. He is 
enough.
He is more than enough.

Further Reading:
Matthew 11:28-30
Matthew 5:6
Exodus 16
John 15:5
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 29 Jul 2017, 6:46 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

When You Don't Know What to Do

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those
who weep."1

"John Patton, in his book, From Ministry to Theology,
relates the story of a rather green chaplaincy
resident, naive to many of the pressures and pains of a
teaching hospital. While on call one night, the intern
was summoned to the room of a woman whose baby had been
stillborn a few hours earlier. 'We want our baby
baptized,' the young mother said, cradling her lifeless
daughter, her husband at her side. 'Her name is
Nicole.'

"The intern didn't know what to do, but asked them to
come to the chapel a few minutes later. In the meantime
he tried to find another, more experienced chaplain to
take over, but to no avail. He was on his own and quite
unsure as to how to proceed. He had not only
professional uncertainties about what he had been asked
to do, but theological qualms as well. Still, he knew
he had to meet with grieving parents. He sketched in
his mind something to say, hoping it would be
appropriate to the moment.

"The young parents arrived at the appointed time, but
the chaplain found he could not say what he had
prepared. Instead, and almost without realizing what he
was doing, he took a tissue, wiped at the tears in the
eyes of the parents, then wiped his own tears and
touched the tissue to the baby's head and said,
'Nicole, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' He said nothing
else--the tears were more eloquent than words could
have been."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me an
understanding and tender heart so that I will always
rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who
weep. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 12:15 (NKJV).
2. Thomas R.Steagald, "More Eloquent Than Words,"
Michael Duduit in The Abingdon Preaching Annual, 1995
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994), pp. 316-317. Cited
on www.sermons.com .

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php . Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
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U.S.A.

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Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2016
ACTS International.

What Holds the Key to Your Heart?
LYSA TERKEURST

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell 
everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in 
heaven.
Then come, follow me.’” Luke 18:22 (NIV)

I long to be a woman who follows hard after Jesus. And I’m not talking about 
a plastic-Christian life, full of religious checklists and pretense. No, 
that
would be hypocritical at best and deadening at worst.

I want the kind of soul-satisfying closeness that can only come from daily 
keeping pace with Him. A rich and deep level of intimacy that frantic 
attempts
at rule-following will never produce.

Rules and regulations were an everyday reality for God’s people in the Old 
Testament. Lists of dos and don’ts to help sinful people maintain fellowship
with a holy God. First the Ten Commandments. Then law after law about 
sacrifices and ceremonies, food and cleanliness.

But in the New Testament, Jesus shows up on the scene and turns everything 
upside down with His message of grace. A message that declares, “Following 
rules
won’t get you into heaven. Being good won’t earn you bonus points. Lay down 
your checklists ... your agendas ... everything ... and follow Me. Believe
in Me. Receive Me.”

It was a complete shift in thinking. One that left people perplexed, like 
the rich ruler in Luke 18 .

We first meet the rich ruler when he approaches Jesus with a question: “Good 
teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18 b, NIV)

Jesus, already knowing his checklist-mindset, begins naming several of the 
Ten Commandments. It’s a list the rich ruler feels he has kept well. But 
Jesus
has more to say: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and 
give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow 
me”
(Luke 18:22 b).

It would be so easy to gloss over this moment and think Jesus is simply 
talking about money. We could be tempted to label this a story for “those” 
people
-- the ones we think have more money than they know what to do with. But the 
words in this conversation are for every single one of us. Because the core
issue Jesus is getting at is this:
What holds the key to your heart?

Oh, how I want my answer to be “Jesus.” I want to want Him most. To live 
completely captured by His love. Enthralled with His teachings. Living proof 
of
His truth.

There have been others who have gone before me who desired this as well. 
Imperfect heroes of faith we read about in the Bible who, despite their 
shortcomings,
pleased God. And it wasn’t perfect actions that carved a path to God’s 
heart. It was something else. Something less defined that can’t be outlined 
and
dissected. Something that was sometimes messy and offensive. But something 
that was so precious at the same time it caused God to pause.

Abandon.

It’s a word used to describe a little girl leaping from the bed’s edge, 
completely confident her daddy will catch her. It’s the same thing that 
fueled
David’s courageous run toward Goliath with nothing but a sling and five 
smooth stones. It’s what fueled Joshua. And Moses. And Noah. And Paul.

And it’s the one thing Jesus is asking of the rich ruler. Not for a life 
lived perfectly, but a heart of perfect surrender. So this is my prayer:

“Everything I have. Everything I own. Everything I hope for. Everything I 
fear. Everything I love. Everything I dream. It’s all Yours, Jesus. I trust 
You
in complete and utter abandon.”

Sadly, it’s also the one thing this man felt he could not offer. He stood on 
the edge of everything uncertain with the arms of all certainty waiting to
catch him. And he just couldn’t jump; he lived his life entangled in lesser 
things.

He was not captured by, enthralled with or living proof of the reality of 
Jesus. And so he walked away from the only One who could ever truly satisfy 
his
soul.

Oh, friends. Let’s not allow this to be the tragedy of our lives. Let’s be 
found captured by Jesus’ love, enthralled with His teachings and living 
proof
of His truth. Let’s be found living with abandon.

Because the life that follows Jesus with abandon is the life that gets to 
experience His presence, His provision, His promises, His soul-satisfying 
abundance.

Father God, please forgive me for all of the times I have settled for lesser 
things. I want to want You most. Today, I am handing You the key to my 
heart.
The key to everything in my life. I love You. I need You. And I want to 
follow hard after You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 16:24 , “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my 
disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:

Did you know deer release the old by shedding their antlers every year, 
causing them to grow a new set?

We’ve partnered with Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson for this “Making You 
New” necklace -- made from shed deer antlers -- to remind us that God is 
doing
a new thing and we can trust Him in our own seasons of release!

You can order yours here today.

CONNECT:
Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 
writing team with our free First 5 app .

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Spend some time prayerfully reflecting on whether or not there is anything 
that holds your attention and your affection more than Jesus. Ask Him to 
show
you one practical step you can take this week to help you start seeking Him, 
and Him alone, for true soul satisfaction.

(c) 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks
----------------------------------------------------------

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not be anxious about anything, but in 
everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests 
to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your 
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4, 6-7, NIV)

When I feel stressed, I tend to be impatient and
unkind to those around me.

Lord, help me make friends with
interruptions,
unfinished tasks,
unpleasant surprises,
delays,
demands,
uncertainties, and
feelings of inadequacy.
They are going to come.

How do You want me to react to them, Lord?

1. Rejoice in who You are.

2. Commit my need to You.

3. Give thanks for what You are already doing to meet that need.



Welcome to the Nugget

June 13, 2017

Too Much Stuff

By Answers2Prayer
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"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust 
destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in 
heaven,
where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."
(Matt. 6:19-21 NLTI)

I was driving to the grocery store on a warm morning in May. The trees which 
had looked like skeletons only two months before were covered in lush, 
robust,
green leaves. Birds were flying to and from their nests to gather food to 
feed their newborn babies. Butterflies were floating along the roadsides 
looking
for freshly blooming wild flowers. The fields were full of buttercups and 
dandelions. The sweet scent of clover was filling the air as well. I smiled 
as
I watched the golden sunshine reflecting off the leaves. It was such a 
peaceful and heavenly time. I felt happy to be alive.

My calm was broken, though, as I rounded a curve. A huge moving truck was 
coming my way several feet over the center line. I swerved as far onto the 
berm
of the road as I could to miss it. It was followed by not one but two other 
moving trucks just as large. I wondered if all the stuff inside of them 
belonged
to the same person. I slowed down my car and waited for my heart rate to 
follow. It was then that I noticed a self-storage business along the side of 
the
highway, building new units for all the people who couldn't fit their 
possessions into their houses. I saw a young couple carrying boxes into one 
of the
units. It seemed strange that a couple just out of their teens could already 
have too much stuff.

I lost my own taste for owning stuff when a house fire in the middle of the 
night destroyed everything my family owned when I was only eleven years old.
The only thing I had left was the underwear I was wearing. Yet, our whole 
family had awakened in time to escape and we thanked God for our lives. In 
the
weeks that followed friends and family gave us a lot of stuff to get us back 
on our feet, but none of it seemed as important any more. What was important
was seeing my Mom's smile, giving my Nana a hug and a kiss, and watching my 
Dad snooze in his chair after a hard day's work. What was important was the
stuff of the soul, not the stuff of this world.

Since then I have tried to limit the things I purchase. I didn't want too 
much stuff crowding up my life. I wanted to only buy what I needed and to 
spend
my days in learning, growing, and loving others.

In this life we are given a limited amount of time. We can spend it loving 
each other, enjoying this beautiful world God made for us, and making it a 
better
place or we can spend it acquiring stuff. One gives us joy. The other gives 
us work. One builds us treasures in Heaven. The other takes our treasures 
here
on Earth. One fills our lives with peace, kindness, and happiness. The other 
fills our days with worry, fear, and regret. Make your choice wisely then.
Fill your life with love not with stuff.

Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed 
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a 
righteous
man is powerful and effective."
(NIV) Send your prayer request here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three 
come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give."

We Never Face Our Battles Alone: A Reminder that God is with Us
by Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Contributor

“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you..." Judges 6:16

Some days can seem hurried, pressured, and tense. We know God’s truth, we 
believe His goodness, and yet we still find ourselves struggling, minds 
racing,
before our feet even touch the floor in the morning.

Our focus gets blurred. We start listening to the lies of other voices that 
do more harm than good. The constant media headlines tell us how dark and 
broken
our world is. Images and reminders all around us shout that we’re “not 
enough.” The enemy is great at heaping on guilt, condemnation, and fear. The 
problems
we face seem more like giants of impossibility than anything good that God 
can ever bring from them.

But often, out of His goodness and grace, when we find ourselves right smack 
in the middle of huge feelings of defeat, God shows up strong.

Many others have been there too. All through the Bible, story after story 
tells us of those who needed God’s reminders that He was near. With them. 
Close.

And He never failed, not once.

Gideon found himself feeling weak and afraid. In Judges 6
, we find that he and his people were facing great suffering and defeat at 
the hand of the enemy. He doubted God was even with him. In fact, when an 
angel
showed up, he was threshing his wheat in the pit of a winepress, not up on a 
hilltop where this was usually done. He was fearful and trying to keep 
hidden
from view of the enemy who’d been raiding their land. The angel spoke 
straight through to his fear and weakness, "When the angel of the Lord 
appeared to
Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."
Judges 6:12

Don’t you love that he called him “mighty warrior” right at the time he felt 
so discouraged and afraid?

But God sees "mighty" when we see "weak." He sees victory when we see 
defeat. He gives hope, when we're filled with disappointment.

Gideon questioned, "If God was with us, then why did this happen?"

Sounds familiar...ever been there?

“If God is really here, then why?”

“If God is really good, then when?”

“If God really cares, then how?”

And even with the questions, after His people had turned their backs on Him, 
God is still gracious, patient, loving, and kind. He sends his messenger to
encourage, to remind Gideon and all of the Israelites, that He was surely 
with them.

Yet while staring straight at an angel, Gideon continued to persist with 
defeated thoughts, "But I am the weakest, I am the least...how can God save 
Israel?"

“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you..." Judges 6:16

Five powerful words. That can see us through anything we face in this life.

“I will be with you.”

God's presence is real. He gives us strength for every day. The battle can 
be intense. And some days especially, the enemy seems really strong, and we
feel really weary. We can find ourselves wrestling again with the same 
defeated thoughts that we thought we'd finally laid to rest just the night 
before.
Disappointments come. We struggle with feeling like we haven't measured up, 
we listen to the lies that we are "less than..."

But God still answers us. Just like He did for Gideon.

He's still with us, no matter how we might feel, or what struggles flood our 
thoughts. He is filling us with the power and grace of His Spirit, just 
enough
for the day.

For this day.

A reminder for your heart, in whatever you might be facing, "The Lord is 
with you...mighty warrior."

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: How do you need to be reminded of God’s Presence? 
Is there an area you’ve been struggling to carry on your own?Just like 
Gideon,
God never asks us to fight the battles we face all be ourselves. He reminds 
us that He fights for us, and most importantly, that He’s with us. Give Him
your struggle again today, lay it down, and trust God to work powerfully on 
your behalf.

Further Reading:
2 Corinthians 12:9
Joshua 1:9
Deuteronomy 31:6
Psalm 27:1

Sent Home
June 25, 2017

Read: Mark 5:18-20

Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you. 
(v. 19)

The man who had been demon-possessed was a changed man. He was changed so 
much that he begged Jesus to be allowed to go with him. But Jesus said no.

Does this surprise you? Here was a willing worker, someone who obviously 
wanted to follow Jesus and serve alongside of him in this exciting new 
venture.
But Jesus told him no.

Jesus wasn’t rejecting him. He had something else important for this man to 
do: “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for 
you,
and how he has had mercy on you” (v. 19). God has ministry for every person. 
As Jesus looked at this man who was so greatly changed from a wild maniac
into a peaceful disciple, he knew immediately that his ministry was to be in 
his home territory. Jesus realized the tremendous impact his life could have
on those who knew his past. In him, they would be able to see how much the 
Lord had done for him. He could be more greatly used at home than “on the 
road”
with Jesus and the Twelve.

Each one of us is unique. Our Lord knows best where we can serve him the 
most. Not all of us are sent overseas to foreign cultures to witness. For 
some
of us our ministry will be close to home. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, whether it’s home or far away, please use me to share how much 
you have done for me. Amen.
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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Expectation

Matthew 7:11 – If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good 
gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good 
gifts
to those who ask Him! (NIV)

I saw the notice on the community bulletin board, and I knew that reading it 
was risky, but I read it anyway. They wanted to give away three Siamese 
kittens.
I thought,
Oh, my! They will go quickly! and willed the ad out of my mind. A couple of 
weeks later, however, the ad was still there. I thought to myself, Well, 
maybe
I'll just call, for surely they are all gone now, and once I know that they 
have all been well situated, I won't think about them any more. I called. 
All
three were still available. You guessed it. One came home with me.

I always make sure that I get a male kitten. Females can be difficult, as 
far as I'm concerned. Fortunately, they had a lovely male, whom I named Leo.
He was just the sweetest, most loving little fellow. He learned his name 
very quickly; he came whenever I called him; and he got along well with the 
dogs
and the other felines. I knew that a male would work out best.

Before long, Leo turned six months old, and I took him to the veterinarian 
to be neutered. She gave him a thorough checkup and told me that he was in 
great
shape. There was just one problem which involved genetics — a problem that 
he was born with. He was a she. Leo was actually Cleo. What a laugh we had 
about
that mistake!

To make a long story short, Leo becoming Cleo still ended up perfectly, for 
she was exactly what I had wanted: a loving, affectionate kitten that got 
along
with everyone. That caused me to think about what I would have missed if I 
had known that she was a female and said "No", instead of bringing her home.
God knew exactly what I was looking for and what would fit the bill. I'm so 
glad that the owners made a mistake when they sexed the kittens, or else I
would have missed out on this special blessing.

I wonder how often this happens to us in our everyday life experiences. We 
miss out on God's special blessings because we already have our minds made 
up
about what we want or think should happen. When it doesn't measure up to our 
expectations, we get discouraged, miffed, peeved, or just plain mad about
the whole thing. Yet, if we would trust that the gifts that God gives us are 
good, as He has promised that they would be, instead of trusting that what
we want will make us happiest, we just might discover everyday joys and 
blessings that are right there in front of us waiting to be embraced and 
relished.
What special blessing might you be missing today, because the gift that you 
received wasn't the one that you wanted?
Prayer: Father God, thank You for being such a good God Who promises us good 
gifts. Help us to have hearts and minds open to Your will amidst our own 
longings
and desires, that we might not miss the special blessings of the good gifts 
that You choose to bless us with. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
Lynne Phipps < lynnephipps@hotmail.com >
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

3 Untruths You’ve Probably Said to Hurting People
Erik Reed

Christians like to encourage people. This is a great thing. When someone we 
care about is hurting or enduring trials, we are quick to give words of 
encouragement
and comfort. When we are suffering, others are generous to do the same for 
us.

But an important question regarding this is, What kind of counsel are we 
giving or receiving?

Unfortunately, the comforts often given in these situations are not helpful 
or biblical. They may be popularly used, but they are rarely 
biblically-grounded.
In fact, some people have heard the following statements and words of 
comfort so often that they assume they’re in the Bible.

Here are three of the most common unbiblical phrases people use to comfort 
those who are hurting. Brace yourself, as you have most likely used or heard
these!

This is not true. Things may not always “turn out okay.” The cancer does not 
always go away. The relationship does not always get repaired. The job 
promotion
does not always come. The wayward child does not always return. Things do 
not always turn out okay, even when we exhibit extraordinary faith and pray 
fervently.

Nevertheless, we should absolutely pray and put our faith in God! Yes, we 
avoid treating God like a genie who guarantees our requests, but we 
certainly
do not lose faith or believe our prayers are meaningless.

God’s will for our lives is good, even when it hurts. We put our faith in 
God, trusting his wisdom and love. We pray for humility to submit to 
everything
he brings to us. But it is not our faith or our prayers that guarantee our 
outcomes. We choose to trust God and ask him to strengthen our faith during
trials, regardless of our circumstances.

Some of you are gasping right now. You would swear this is in the Bible. But 
it’s not. The verse being misinterpreted here is 1 Corinthians 10:13. There,
Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God 
is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but 
with
the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able 
to endure it.”

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

The verse is commonly quoted to imply that God will never put more on us 
than we can handle, but is actually about temptations to sin. It has nothing 
to
do with our trials, pain, or suffering. And it is certainly not a promise 
that our loads will be manageable.

The truth is this: God will absolutely put more on you than you can handle. 
Why would he do that? So that you will quit trying to “handle” everything on
your own and die to your self-reliance. God loves us too much
not to break us of our independence from him. Our trials and tribulations, 
which are often more than we can handle, are used by him to teach us humble
dependence.

I’ve been guilty of using this phrase before. But it’s not in the Bible; it’s 
believed to be from a poet in ancient Persia. The idea is that suffering
is cyclical and seasonal, so “just endure it” and it will go away. Yet, it 
may not. Some people will endure a lifetime of difficulty and pain. We have
brothers and sisters in Christ who live in parts of the world where 
difficulty is as inherent as life itself. So there is no guarantee it will 
pass.

Instead of counseling with this antidote, we should encourage people to 
trust in the all-sufficient grace of Christ available to us (2 Corinthians 
12:9).
He promises to be our hope, help, and strength in our weakness. Rather than 
clinging to the hope of our trial passing with time, we should instead cling
to Christ and know he is with us
in the middle of our trials.

Yes, one day all suffering will cease when Christ returns and the New 
Jerusalem is established. For now, pain is a part of life on this fallen 
earth. So,
as sufferers and comforters, may we comfort biblically. May we point people 
to the Christ who is more than enough for us—even in our bitter providences.

This article originally appeared on UnlockingTheBible.org
. Used with permission.

Erik Reed is the pastor of The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN. His passion is 
to lead the local church to show Jesus as incomparably glorious. He loves
preaching, leadership, and pouring into other leaders. Erik is married with 
three children. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a B.A.
in Religious Studies and of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a 
MDiv in Pastoral Studies. Erik is a regular contributor to LifeWay Pastors.

Image courtesy: Pexels.com
Publication date: June 7, 2017


No Place for Islands
by Chuck Swindoll
Romans 15:1-7

Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the 
chain is broken.
Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and 
the game is forfeited.
Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one 
musician and the symphony is incomplete.
Nobody is a whole play. Each one is an actor. But take away one actor and 
the performance suffers.
Nobody is a whole hospital. Each one is a part of the staff. But take away 
one person and it isn't long before the patient can tell.

Cars are composed of numerous parts. Each one is connected to and dependent 
upon the other. Even if a tiny screw comes loose and falls out of the 
carburetor,
it can bring the whole vehicle to a stop.

You guessed it. We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. 
Isolated islands we're not. To make this thing called life work, we gotta 
lean
and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and 
forgive. And reach out and embrace. And release and rely.

Especially in God's family . . . where working together is Plan A for 
survival. And since we're so different (thanks to the way God built us), 
love and
acceptance are not optional luxuries. Neither is tolerance. Or 
understanding. Or patience. You know all those things you need from others 
when your humanity
crowds out your divinity.

In other words:

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each 
other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 
Rejoice
in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When 
God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice 
hospitality.
(Romans 12:10–13 NLT)

Why? Because each one of us is worth it. Even when we don't act like it or 
feel like it or deserve it.

Since none of us is a whole, independent, self-sufficient, supercapable, 
all-powerful hotshot, let's quit acting like we are. Life's lonely enough 
without
our playing that silly role.

The game's over. Let's link up.

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright © 1985, 
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

The Little Red Book of Wisdom
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Being There For the Garbage - #7943

Hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people had fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq after 
the 1991 Gulf War, and they were spread over miles of mountainside on the
Turkish border. Christian agencies were flooding in with food, medical help 
and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But most of the Christian workers connected
with the people there only from trucks and distribution points, where they 
handed out food and blankets. But the missionaries from one particular 
mission
organization really broke through the barrier that others were encountering 
when they tried to talk about Jesus. They had a unique way of getting close
to the people and winning their respect and their trust. You ready to hear 
their radical outreach strategy? These missionaries picked up the garbage. 
See,
it was everywhere on those mountainsides, and it was getting pretty gross. 
Nobody wanted to do the garbage, but those who were willing to were the ones
those people listened to.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Being 
There For the Garbage."

What opened doors and hearts among those needy people on that Iraqi 
mountainside is the same thing that will open doors and hearts where you 
are-a willingness
to win the right to be heard by being there for people's garbage.

It's what Jesus did. In Philippians 2:5-7, our word for today from the Word 
of God, He tells us: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ 
Jesus:
who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God 
something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of 
a
servant, being made in human likeness, He humbled Himself and became 
obedient to death-even death on a cross."

This is the Jesus who touched the lepers that no one else would touch, who 
stopped for people that everyone else walked by, who washed the dirty feet 
of
His followers, who defined His day by the needs of people who came to Him 
for help, and who allowed men He had made to beat Him and crucify Him. The 
King
of heaven came to us as a servant and He stole our hearts away.

You have neighbors who really need your Jesus, coworkers, friends and family 
members. How are you ever going to get them interested in the Jesus who is
their only hope? By serving them; by being there to help them with the 
garbage of their lives. In Jesus' name, be there when their health levels 
them,
when their marriage is struggling or over, when they lose a loved one. Be 
there when all the funeral folks have gone home. Be there when they're 
struggling
financially, when they don't have enough help, when their business is in 
trouble, when their kids are in trouble, or when they've lost their 
reputation
and nobody wants to be around them any more.

Their moment of loss is your moment of loving opportunity to show them 
Jesus' love in action. When others walk out, you walk in. Then you will be 
ultimately
in a position to explain to them where this love comes from. You're just 
loving them like you've been loved. By a Jesus who had poured everything out 
for
you, because He died of a cross to clean up all the garbage of your life and 
the garbage of theirs.
First, you show them Jesus by serving them in the midst of their garbage. 
You win the right to be heard by being there to help pick up the pieces and 
pick
up the garbage. Initially, they may not be interested in your message, but 
who can be against someone who picks up their heavy burden and helps them 
carry
it; who is there when nobody else is? You can't be against that. It's that 
kind of love that will open their heart to the greatest love of all!
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

The Harvest Is Sure
June 20, 2017

Read: Mark 4:1-20

And other seeds . . . produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding 
thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. (v. 8)

As Jesus continued his ministry outdoors, he saw a farmer sowing seeds. He 
used that as an illustration of what happens when the gospel is shared with
people. We sow the seed of the Word in the lives of people in the hopes that 
they will come to know the truth of the gospel.

But not everyone believes. Like the seed on the side of the road, some 
people reject the gospel forthwith. They think they are doing fine without 
it and
it never has a chance. Like the rocky soil, some people initially hear the 
gospel but don’t continue in it—they never reach a mature faith and the seed
dies.

Seed planted in the weed-choked soil represents those who accept the gospel 
and live by it, but as time goes by and life gets filled with so many 
interests
and activities, the seed of the gospel is crowded out. Things like sports, 
work, entertainment, or even family start taking priority.

But the good news is that our sowing of seeds is not in vain. The harvest is 
sure. Some will hear the gospel, accept it, live by it, and pass it on to
others. The disciples needed to hear that and so do we. No matter what 
obstacles Satan throws in our way as we present the gospel, God will have 
his way.
So keep on sowing! —John Koedyker

A Tale of Two Prodigals
by Steve Arterburn

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have 
is yours.But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours
was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” --Luke 15:31-32

In The Return of the Prodigal Son, one of Rembrandt’s most 
emotionally-charged paintings, you see a father and his two sons. But if you 
look more closely,
you’ll see a tale of two prodigals.

At first glance of the oil painting, you will see the rebellious son who 
takes center stage. Remember him? He is the wayward son that demands an 
early
inheritance, leaves home to see all that the world has to offer, and comes 
to his senses in a smelly pigsty. In spite of his sin, he returns home.

When the younger son sees his father, he humbly admits, “‘Father, I have 
sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called 
your
son,’”
(Luke 15:21
). The father recognizes that he is truly repentant, forgives him, and 
celebrates his homecoming.

But if you gaze carefully at Rembrandt’s masterpiece, you will see the older 
son who lurks in the shadows. He is the son that does everything right and
always obeys--at least, on the outside. But deep down inside, bitterness 
and anger consume him.

Listen to what the brooding brother says: “‘Look! All these years I’ve been 
slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders...But when this son of yours
who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the 
fattened calf for him!’”
(Luke 15:29-30 ).

Out of these two prodigals, which one do you identify with the most? 
Perhaps you’re like the wayward son who acted out; yet, believe it or not, 
you might
actually relate more to the envious son who acted in.

And let’s face it. Whether we’re rebelling outwardly or inwardly, we are all 
prodigals.

Intersecting Faith & Life: It’s not too late to stop reacting and start 
responding appropriately to the circumstances that you are facing. No matter 
what
you’ve been through or what you’ve done, God wants you to take your life 
back so that you can live with Him and for Him.

So, what are you waiting for? Go home to your Father. After all, He is 
waiting to welcome you home with open arms.

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m a prodigal and have wandered far from home. Today, 
I realize that I need to take responsibility for allowing my past and my 
pain
to control me. Give me courage to step out of the shadows, and help me to 
lean into your grace-filled embrace.

For Further Study:
Luke 15
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The Touch of the Master’s Hand
June 10, 2017

Read: Mark 1:40-45

Moved with pity, [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him. (v. 41)

Here, as in so many places in the Gospels, we see Jesus filled with 
compassion. When Jesus encountered human suffering and sickness, he simply 
could not
turn away. He was moved to the core of his being, thus displaying the heart 
of God.

And what suffering he saw in this leper. The physical suffering in leprosy 
would have been bad enough—the skin becomes ulcerated, the eyebrows fall 
out,
the whole appearance of the face changes, and breathing becomes labored. But 
there was also emotional and spiritual suffering. Lepers were outcasts from
the community. Considered “unclean,” they were required to keep their 
distance from healthy people.

But Jesus touched this man. Imagine the stir that must have caused! Jesus 
did not see an “unclean” person” but he saw someone who was suffering and in
desperate need.

My father-in-law loved reciting famous poems and short stories. One poem he 
liked to repeat was “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra Brooks Welch.
It tells the story of an old violin being auctioned off. Initially the 
auctioneer could barely get three dollars for it. Then a man came forward, 
dusted
the instrument off, tightened the strings, and played magnificently. 
Subsequently the auctioneer received three thousand dollars! The difference 
was the
touch of a master’s hand. Has Master Jesus touched you? When he does, it 
will change you forever. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, thank you for touching us and making us new.

Encouragement for your week: Praising God Through the Trials and Turmoil

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Praising God Through the Trials

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? 
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God”— Psalm 
43:5
(ESV).

Gulley-washing rains have plagued parts of the country during the past 
months, leaving a path of destruction behind in many areas. Lives have been 
lost
and property has been destroyed due to the flooding.

Living close to the lake, I’ve seen the aftermath. My house is on higher 
ground but some of my neighbors have had to contend with rising water 
because
their homes are lakefront property. One neighbor has even been fishing off 
his front deck, and a road running in front of his property is no longer 
passable.

While on my daily walk through the neighborhood, I’ve watched as the rising 
waters have left the neighborhood lakeside picnic area unusable. The three
concrete picnic tables and the large fire pit were swallowed by the rising 
lake levels.

When the rain abated for a week, the tops of the picnic tables came into 
view, as did part of the fire pit. The torrential rains returned and they 
disappeared
once again. Now, as the water begins to recede, driftwood debris graces the 
shoreline. Some of the pieces are beautiful, even with the ugliness left 
behind.

While I contemplated the mess left behind by the storms, I thought about the 
trials we face in life. They come and go, just like the lake water levels
rising and falling with our capricious weather.

In the book of Mark, we read about a terrible storm. On a boat crossing the 
Sea of Galilee, the disciples were with Jesus when a “furious squall came 
up.”
Among the 12 disciples were some seasoned fishermen but even they were 
afraid for their lives.

They wondered if God cared. After all, they had been handpicked by Jesus. 
They were His confidants, His closest friends. They had obeyed Jesus when He
told them to “go over to the other side.” Why, now, were they going through 
such a turbulent time?

None of us is exempt from the storms of life. However, through the tough 
times, we can learn that no storm is too great to prevent God from 
accomplishing
His will in our lives. While we may not understand at the time why the 
trials happened, we must thank Him that through them we can know Him better. 
Thank
Him? For the trials?

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever 
you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your 
faith
produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be 
mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Author Kay Arthur, says if we’ll quit moaning and crying, “God can use those 
things to make us into someone He can use in the lives of others to show 
them
that no matter where they’ve been, no matter how deep the hole, no matter 
how painful the trial, there’s hope. There is victory.”

Trust God. He’ll use your trials for His glory.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with 
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with 
others.
Thank you for subscribing.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most
David Mathis / June 14, 2017
The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most

God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory.” When your soul hungers, 
when your tank feels empty, when you’re running on fumes, when you open your
Bible in the morning and ask for God’s help, a great go-to request is this 
simple, honest, humble plea: “Father, show me your glory.”

God made the world to show and share his glory. He made us in his image to 
reflect him in the world. But we will not fully reflect him if we haven’t 
yet
stood in awe of him and enjoyed his beauty in our hearts. And our hearts 
cannot look on him in awe if we haven’t yet
seen him with the eyes of our souls. Changed lives (and a changed world) 
begin with seeing glory. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being 
transformed
into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 
3:18).

“God, show me your glory.” History hangs on him answering that request. And 
one great evidence of his work in a human soul is feeling, and then 
expressing,
that longing.

Two Memorable Models

It’s not only a wise request to make for ourselves, but also for others. The 
apostle Paul prayed for Christians that “the eyes of your hearts [would be]
enlightened” so they might know “the riches of his glorious inheritance in 
the saints, and . . . the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who
believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19). Instead of starting with your wife’s 
convenience, what if you prayed, “Show her your glory”? Along with your 
neighbor’s health,
“God, show him your glory.” Even before your children’s safety, “Father, 
show them your glory.”

But don’t miss the opportunity to begin with yourself and pray often for God 
to show you his majesty. When we make this sacred and powerful request 
today,
we do well to consider the two biblical figures who asked the question most 
memorably.

Moses’s Audacity

First is Moses. Before leading God’s people up to the Promised Land, Moses 
wants to know more about God. Will he handle his stiff-necked, unworthy 
people
with grace, or is it just a matter of time before he breaks forth in 
righteous anger against his people’s sin? Who is God most deeply? So, Moses 
asks,
“Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God responds,

“I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my 
name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will
show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19)

God will show his glory to Moses by putting his goodness on display. 
Something stronger than wrath, and higher than mere power, drives the heart 
of God
with his chosen people. Most deeply, he is a God of grace and mercy.

The next morning God hides Moses in a cleft of the rock on the top of the 
mountain and draws near.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the 
name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the
Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast 
love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving 
iniquity
and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, 
visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s 
children,
to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5–7)

Moses has his glimpse into the heart of God. He bows in worship. He asks God 
to draw near to his people, pardon their iniquity, and make them his own 
(Exodus
34:8–9).

Philip’s Folly

God meets Moses’s audacious request with favor, but some fifteen centuries 
later, one of the Twelve receives a different answer to a very similar plea.

Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know
me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show 
us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is
in me?” (John 14:8–10)

Why does God honor Moses’s plea, while Jesus meets Philip’s with mild 
rebuke? Because now the glory of God is standing fully embodied in Philip’s 
presence,
looking him in the eyes as he makes his misguided request. Does he not yet 
realize he already has seen more than Moses as he looks on the face of God 
himself
and asks to see the Father?

Jesus’s gracious rebuke comes not because Philip had a sinful longing. It 
was good that he wanted to see the Father. It was admirable that, like 
Moses,
he asked to see the glory. But the kind correction he needed, standing in 
the very presence of God himself in the person of his Son, was that his 
search
to see the very glory of God had come to an end when he came to Jesus.

We Have Seen His Glory

God had said to Moses, “You cannot see my face” (Exodus 33:20). But now 
Philip was seeing God. He was looking on the glory. As John 1:14–18 reveals, 
what
glory God hid from Moses, he now shows us in the person of his Son.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory 
as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from
his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given 
through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever 
seen
God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 
1:14, 16–18)

Jesus has made the Father known. Period. The person of Christ so truly and 
fully reveals God that the Gospel writer can say — with no need to nuance, 
condition,
or qualify — “he has made him known.”

God’s Glory in Jesus’s Face

Jesus is “the [visible] image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Do 
you want to see God? Do you long to look upon his face? Where will we see 
“the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God”? Answer: “in the face of Jesus 
Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Which means, the lowliest Christian already has
seen more of God’s glory than Moses saw on the mountaintop.

Soon we will see Jesus with our physical eyes. “When he appears we shall be 
like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). But for now, we
look on his beauty with the eyes of our hearts. One day God will remake this 
world, and in that new heavens and new earth, there will be “no temple in
the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” 
(Revelation 21:22). And get this: “the city has no need of sun or moon to 
shine on
it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” 
(Revelation 21:23).
Lamp, singular. Jesus, the Lamb, is the singular lamp from which streams the 
glory of God that gives light to the world to come.

Jesus is not one lamp among many. He is the singular source of the light of 
the glory that illumines the world to come.

Where We Turn Next

God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory,” and he doesn’t leave us 
in the dark as to where we should turn our soul’s gaze to have our prayer
answered. Once we pray this audacious, wise, and necessary plea, we’re not 
left clueless as to where to focus next.

When we ask God today to see his glory, he may answer our requests in 
countless ways. He may show us some attribute of his character we’ve missed 
or minimized.
He may open our eyes to his smile behind a frowning providence. He may meet 
some temporal need in a way that warms our soul and fills us with gratitude.
He may give a relational breakthrough that was so long-standing that 
reconciliation seemed humanly impossible.

But the fullest response to our plea “Show me your glory” is to turn the 
eyes of our soul to Jesus. “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells 
bodily”
(Colossians 2:9). And our knowing the fullness of his answer doesn’t mean we 
shouldn’t ask. On the contrary, it inspires us to ask all the more.

7-Minute Clip: Kids Delight to Fear Good Dads
John Piper / June 14, 2017

Earthly fathers represent our heavenly Father. Until our children can know 
God on their own, they know him through Dad.


Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Wheat In The Weeds

" Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer 
who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his 
enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the 
crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s 
workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good 
seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “ ‘An enemy has done this!’ 
the farmer exclaimed. “ ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “ ‘No,’ 
he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until 
the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them 
into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’ ”" (Matthew 
13:24-30, NLT)

" Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples 
said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” Jesus 
replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field 
is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The 
weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the 
weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and 
the harvesters are the angels. “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned 
in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send 
his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin 
and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, 
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will 
shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear 
should listen and understand!" (Matthew 13:36-43, NLT)

When the disciples heard this parable they knew about the weeds that enemies 
would sow among wheat to make the wheat be of less quality. When both plants 
are young you cannot tell them apart. When they mature you can see the grain 
on the wheat and tell which plant is which. But by then the roots of the 
weeds have grown so and meshed with the roots of the wheat so that if the 
weeds were pulled the wheat would come up with them.

What does this parable say to us?

First, Jesus is telling us that there will be a judgment.

Second, Jesus is telling us it is not our place to condemn people. Why are 
we not to condemn? One reason may be that even though we might know the 
Bible from cover to cover we might think we know who is wheat and who is a 
weed but we could be wrong. It could be like once when I was younger when my 
mother took me out to a flower bed. She pointed out the different flowers 
then told me the other plants were weeds and that I was to pull them up. 
Later when she checked on me I found out that I had pulled some flowers and 
left some weeds. I thought I knew what should stay and what should go. The 
same would happen if we were in charge of the condemning.

Another reason we are not to condemn is that we may not be able to tell the 
wheat from the weeds. The disciples didn’t know there was a weed among them. 
At the Last Supper Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. The 
disciples didn’t point at Judas. They asked, “Lord, Is it I?” We need to 
examine ourselves to see if we are truly trusting in what Jesus did for our 
salvation and whether we are living the way He would want us to.

So that is all this parable is saying but that would mean that we are not to 
condemn but just let the weeds be and let them be thrown into the fire 
later. If we read the Bible we know that Jesus wishes that no one would 
perish so it is up to us to show the world His love.

We need to show love to other wheat (believers) to encourage them and not do 
things to uproot them. We need to show the love of Christ to the weeds 
(unbelievers) also. In nature a weed can never become wheat but a human weed 
can become human wheat. As we show the love of Christ to the unbelievers 
they might become believers. So let us all be wheat in the weeds.

by Dean W. Masters

Never Alone" #84-41

Sermon Text for June 11, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on June 11, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: John 7:37-39
"Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told 
them to go, --and when they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has 
been given to Me. Therefore 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. And surely I am with
you always, to the end, the very end of the age.'"

Christ has risen. He has risen indeed. Alleluia.

Have you ever really been stumped? Has life ever completely confused you? 
Have you experienced an event that left you saying, "Dear Lord, I have no 
idea
what to make of this? Show me the way on this one"? A countless number of 
tragic events, one after another, they can cause confusion. Already this 
year,
barely halfway over, we've seen people die in storms in California, 
Mississippi, Texas and a number of other places. One was a teenage girl who 
was a senior
in high school. She loved her music. Her bubbly personality lifted up 
everyone around her. This 18 year old girl lost control of her car during a 
storm
and was killed in a tragic accident. Everyone close to her was devastated. 
There are all kinds of crazy things that happen in people's lives and some 
of
them cause us to ask, "What is going on, Lord? What is going on?"

Have you ever asked that question in your life? I know I have. You might ask 
it about a tragedy in your life. You might ask it because your job is 
torturous
or you don't have a job at all. You may ask it about illness, world events, 
and hurt-filled relationships. "What's going on, Lord? What is going on?" If
you ask that question and you have a desire to be or to continue to be a 
follower of Jesus Christ, we are in a strange, yet wonderful position in 
this
life, aren't we? We are in the position of trusting God, even being His 
public witnesses of making disciples as Jesus commands in Matthew 28 when 
we, ourselves,
don't have all of life figured out.

We're in a position of having Christ's certainty, even though we often carry 
a load of doubt like everyone else. Now this is not unique to being a 
follower
of Jesus. In fact, all of life operates with this dynamic of certainty and 
doubt, and yet you and I carry on business, raise children, plan our days 
and
hope for the future without having all that figured out. You observe life's 
events and face important decisions with the possibility of all kinds of 
doubt.
How do you do anything then, let alone communicate God and His work to other 
people when you always have some doubt? Again, let's look to the Bible then
because it handles difficult questions like this by talking straight.

Look in this lesson, for instance. People standing in the presence of Jesus 
who had risen from the dead, and what does it say? Some doubted. Incredible!
Are you kidding me? Some doubted? That's what it says. Let me say it again. 
Some doubted. The 11 disciples were asking the question, "What's going on,
Lord?" But Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on 
earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And behold, I am with 
you
always, to the very end of the age." Jesus was saying, "Even with your 
doubt, you are called to go out." All throughout the Bible the point is 
this. There
is no power, no strength, no certainty in us as sinners.

We are full of sin, doubt, discouragement, even despair, but the Bible says 
even more boldly, Christ's strength, His power and grace can work with 
people
just like us, just like that. We can be people even with doubt who are 
called to go out with the certainty of the love of Jesus even in the midst 
of our
own struggles. Now how does that work? How is it possible to be a light for 
Jesus Christ from day to day while you carry doubt with you? The answer is
this. Be clear about what you don't know and be clear about what you do 
know. What don't you know? Probably the same thing the disciples didn't have 
much
of a clue about.

First, the disciples doubted the miraculous. They wondered how the 
resurrection of Jesus could have taken place. They were stumped about how 
Jesus was
defying earthly science and sense. They scratched their heads as they 
pondered whether or not they should believe all of this was really even 
happening.
You and I go through the same thing. Whether it is pondering the remarkable 
and mighty acts of God in the Bible or witnessing the wonderful and 
miraculous
actions of God today, you can easily be filled with questions. Did God 
really answer your prayer? Did His word really change the heart of the 
person you
love? Is Jesus really dwelling in you as you eat and drink the bread and 
wine of Holy Communion? You can see a miracle today and question it 
tomorrow.
The miraculous work of God is hard to fully get our minds around.

Second, the disciples, they doubted the meaning. Now I'm referring to the 
meaning of what God was doing, His divine plan, His progression of events. 
Think
about what the disciples witnessed. They saw their teacher suffer and die. 
Then Jesus rose from the dead. He appeared to them a number of times. What 
was
happening? Why was it happening in this way? What was God's big picture? You 
may go through the same thing when you try to make sense of everything that
is happening in your life and in this world. The events can stump you. The 
way the world unfolds can be very puzzling. The meaning of life is often 
hard
to understand.

Third, the disciples doubted the method. They may have wondered why God was 
working in this particular way. Why was this His plan? Why did He choose 
this
timing? As you reflect on life, the world and God's involvement in all of 
this, there may be times when you thought you would do things differently 
than
God. Perhaps you would tone down the mysterious aspects of God. You know, 
like being triune, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Maybe you would give more 
details
about the creation of the world in six days. Perhaps you wouldn't wait so 
long to put an end to sin, chaos, pain and brokenness in this world. With 
the
disciples, we too can doubt God's method of working. It's not easy to 
understand. That's what you don't know. That's what you can't completely 
explain.
The miraculous, the ultimate meaning of all things and even God's method. 
It's good to be clear about that. There are things you and I can't figure 
out.

The Bible even says, "Oh, the depths of the riches, and the wisdom and the 
knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His
ways," but you also need to be clear about what you do know. Yes, there's 
doubt, but what about certainty? Did you notice that Jesus made sure that 
the
disciples were certain about some things? First, the disciples were certain 
about the place. They knew where to meet Jesus. He showed them where it was
and He directed them there. The disciples were certain about the location. 
They knew where to meet Him. You can know that too. You can be certain about
the place. Jesus said, "You search the scriptures because you think that in 
them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me."

You meet Jesus in the Bible, the living Word. Wherever you find the name of 
Jesus proclaimed, there He is to meet you with His grace. Jesus said, "Take
and eat. This is my body. Take and drink. This is my blood for the 
forgiveness of sins." You meet Jesus in Holy Communion, and Jesus said, "Ask 
and it
shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be 
opened unto you." You meet Jesus in prayer, in worship. You can be certain
about the place. Wherever His name is at, there is Christ for you. You know 
where you and the people in your life can meet Jesus to receive His grace,
to be transformed by Him and be encouraged with His eternal hope. There is 
no doubt about where to find Christ. Jesus locates himself in known and 
accessible
places so you can be saved and so that you can connect others to Him. You 
can be certain about the place.

Second, the disciples were certain about the program. Jesus said, "Go 
therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have 
commanded you." Jesus is here to save people, to wash away their sins and 
give
them new life. Do you know God's great and gracious program? Actually, it's 
a proclamation of how things are in Jesus Christ, and an offer to live in 
that
grace and mercy now and forever, so have you heard about to outstretched arm 
of Jesus Christ for you today? God's focus is not to build an organization
or to complicate your life with rules and regulations. God's program is to 
seek and to save the lost, to restore the broken and the wounded, to give 
hope
to the hopeless, to forgive sins and to defeat the enemy of death. That is 
what He accomplished through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.

No matter how mysterious God is, the certain fact is that you know Him 
because He is the savior from sin and death. Through Jesus Christ your sins 
are
washed away. God's program is salvation, rescue, restoration and redemption. 
His program is focused on your life. You may have questions about timing and
events and how God does His work, but you can be certain about His program 
of life and salvation for you through His son, Jesus Christ. The place to 
meet
Jesus is certain. His program of rescue and relief for you is certain.

Third, the disciples were certain about His presence. I'm talking about the 
presence of Jesus through it all. You heard what Jesus said. One of the 
greatest
promises He could ever give: "Behold, I am with you always to the very end 
of the age." There may be a lot that you don't know about your life, this 
world
and the unsearchable ways of God, but you do know one thing because of the 
promise of Jesus: you know His presence. Jesus is with you right now. You 
might
doing wonderfully in life. Everything might be going very well or your life 
might be a wreck. You may be struggling and suffering and stressed out, but
Jesus is with you and when Jesus is with you, He gives you His strength. He 
fills you with peace that passes all understanding. He carries you through
trials, and He gives you wisdom and humility through successes. He teaches 
you so you can shine His light and talk to your loved one about the great 
hope
that you have in Him.

I can't even count the number of people who have said to me, "Pastor, as I 
sat alone in the hospital, waiting for my test in that flimsy gown, 
wondering
what they would find, I knew that I was never alone." Others said to me, 
"Pastor, even though my heart was broken, I was filled with grief, I had the 
strength,
I really did. It was almost miraculous to make it through. Pastor, when I 
needed the courage to pray with a friend, Jesus gave me the exact words she 
needed
to hear. Pastor, when the pressure was on and I thought I couldn't take it 
anymore, I was filled with peace and confidence that Jesus was right by my 
side."
I'm so glad that you're willing to all share those things with me. They cut 
right to the heart, but they cut right to the promise of Jesus. All this is
true for each of you today. God loves you too much to let you walk through a 
very tough life on your own. You have it in writing. You can be certain 
about
the presence of your savior, so listen up.

You may not be certain about the miraculous or the meaning or God's methods, 
but you can be certain about the place to meet God, the program of His 
salvation
and His presence with you always. In fact, here's another wrench in our 
plans in life. Satan will try to jumble those things up for you. He will 
tempt
you to think that life has to totally make sense in order for you to believe 
and trust in God, and yet he will tempt you to doubt the presence of God 
with
you and God's program of salvation from sin. He will try to get you to doubt 
the certain solution. Satan will turn everything around and tempt you to 
trust
only lightning bolts and signs from heaven. At the same time, he will try to 
get you to doubt the places that God has given you to meet Him, His word and
sacraments. That's why reading the Bible gets push aside so easily today.

That's why people are intent on looking elsewhere to find God. People are 
looking for Him in nature, on golf courses, in new age religious fads, but 
they
so easily forget that God meets them in the very present and accessible 
Word, and in His wonderful gifts of Baptism and Holy Communion. Don't let 
yourself
be tempted to forsake gathering with your fellow believers around the 
reading and learning of God's Word, the encouraging fellowship the church 
provides.
Satan will tempt you to get into complex theological arguments about 
puzzling Biblical truths, and yet make you hesitant to teach and proclaim 
and live
out the clear truths that Jesus gives so generously, so what do you do? What 
do you do? Be clear about what you don't know and be clear about what you
do.

You can talk about your faith even when you ask the question, "What's going 
on, Lord?" All you have to say is, "There's a lot I don't know, but what I
do know is this." In fact, that's not just a message. That's a joyous way to 
live life. Amidst the questions of today and tomorrow, you can meet them 
head
on because you know the place to meet your savior in repentance and in 
worship and be filled. You live by the power of His program for salvation in 
life.
That's everlasting life that He gives and you know the joy of His presence 
with you always. Even in doubt, you go out. Even in doubt, you know plenty.
You know what is most important. Stick with it. Keep reading and hearing 
Jesus' good news for you and know this. You are never, never alone and 
that's
good news to have and good news to share. God be with you always in the name 
of our risen and ascended Lord Jesus. Amen.
Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for June 11, 2017
Guest: Rich Cohrs and Marc Debrick
Mark Eischer: You're listening to the Lutheran Hour. This is Action in 
Ministry, your call to action in response to all that God has done for us in 
Jesus
Christ.

Gregory Seltz: Mark, can you imagine walking and talking with Jesus as the 
disciples did, seeing firsthand the miracles He performed, hearing Him 
preach
to the crowds, seeing Him show mercy to the despised? And yet, here it 
comes, they too had many questions about this person that they were 
following.

Mark Eischer: That's right. Even the disciples had to be told who this Jesus 
really was. Like us, they also had their times of doubt and uncertainty.

Gregory Seltz: Right.

Mark Eischer: This week we're offering a resource for you that's titled Do 
You Know Who Jesus Is? It's a booklet designed for children, and joining us
today is Rich Cohrs along with Marc Debrick. Mark is the principal at Zion 
Lutheran School in Harvester, Missouri. Rich and Mark, it's great to have 
you
with us.

Marc Debrick: You bet.

Rich Cohrs: Thank you. Thank you.

Mark Eischer: Rich Cohrs, this booklet was your idea. Tell us how it came 
about and what is it.

Rich Cohrs: There was a time when I was tasked to present the Easter story 
to children at the Easter egg hunt. That was really hard for me to come up 
with,
so I came to the coworkers at Lutheran Hour and said, "Let's put a booklet 
into their hands." From that, developed this series of booklets. It is the 
booklet
that tells the story of Christ from the time of the promise to Adam and Eve.

Mark Eischer: Wow.

Rich Cohrs: All the way through the Ascension. It's written in four line 
rhyme with illustrations. It is great for little children.

Mark Eischer: I mean, when you rhyme, it sticks inside too. You can hear it 
and you remember it, right?

Rich Cohrs: Yeah. All the time.

Mark Eischer: Why is it important to put this booklet into the hands of 
children then?

Rich Cohrs: You know, it's said that Christianity is one generation away 
from extinction and even if one child doesn't hear about Christ, that means 
that
all the seceding generations will not hear about Him. Children today need to 
know the saving love of Jesus. What's interesting is if we can reach the 
children,
sometimes we can reach the parents and sometimes we can reach the 
grandparents with it too.

Greg Seltz: Yeah, it's amazing what the word of a child who really does know 
Jesus Christ can do.

Mark Eischer: Marc, as the principal of a Lutheran school, how have you been 
able to use this booklet and how does it appeal to different ages?

Marc Debrick: It's a great booklet because the story of Jesus' love and the 
Gospel and His forgiveness for us is a great story, and it can be a simple
story too especially to kids. That simple story kids can use to tell others 
and especially to go home and tell their parents or their grandparents, 
whoever
might be there, so they have that chance to go home and spread that great 
news. Sometimes it's the first time these parents have heard that story. 
Those
parents then, they know their kids are loving school and enjoying that, 
learning so many things. They want to become a part of that too, so many 
times
at our youngest grades, we go all the way up through eighth grade, but our 
youngest grades is where we have the unchurch families and they're going to
hear that story. They become members of our church then too.

Greg Seltz: Yeah. There's nobody like Jesus and when people meet Him, even 
from the mouth of young children, it's like, "Wow. Who is that person? Who 
is
he?" Rich, there are some other ways that this booklet has been used too.

Rich Cohrs: There's an organization that runs a food bank and they include 
this booklet into each bag of food that they hand out. That way, the mothers
can read it to their children, but if the mothers have struggles with 
English, then the children might be able to read it to their parents too.

Greg Seltz: Okay. Well, double blessing.

Mark Eischer: Rich, what did you find most challenging about telling the 
story of Jesus in this way and making it both simple, rhyming and true to 
scripture?

Rich Cohrs: That's the answer to the question. Simple and rhyming and true 
to the scriptures. It's very difficult. When you look at the complexity of 
the
scripture and the simple message of Jesus loves you, but then to add to it 
the dimensions of the rhymes, that will capture the children's imagination,
to use the vocabulary that the children will understand and then to have the 
wonderful illustrations.

Mark Eischer: Yeah. What rhymes with kerygma?

Greg Seltz: What a great way to share the love of Jesus Christ. You guys 
have been talking about this simple non-threatening, easy to understand. A 
great
idea, well-used. Thank you both for coming in and sharing this great 
resource, and folks, you need to get this. Thanks for coming in.

Marc Debrick: You bet. Thank you.

Rich Cohrs: Thank you.

Gregory Seltz: That's our Action in Ministry segment today, to bless, to 
empower and to strengthen your life in Christ for others.

Mark Eischer: Once again, the title of this booklet is Do You Know Who Jesus 
Is? For your free copy of this resource, go to lutheranhour.org and click
on Action in Ministry, or call 1-855-John 316. That's 1-855-564-6316.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for June 11, 2017
Topic: Why am I still exhausted after my vacation?
Announcer: We are back with Pastor Gregory Seltz. I'm Mark Eischer, and 
today's question is, "Why am I still exhausted after my vacation?"

Gregory Seltz: I can relate to that question. How about you, Mark?

Mark Eischer: Well, I've been there, I think.

Gregory Seltz: Yeah. Here we're approaching vacation time for many of our 
listeners. Summer is swinging into play as soon as the kids get out of 
school,
so let me just say at the outset that planning a vacation, it may or may not 
be restful. Even vacation time can make you tired. Sometimes you come home
from a trip and you need a vacation from your vacation.

Mark Eischer: What do you think is the key to real rest?

Gregory Seltz: Let's start where rest, where real rest begins. Jesus says, 
"Come to me all you who are laboring and are heavy-laden, and I will give 
you
rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me and you will find rest for your 
souls." Now please understand I'm not trying to give you a simplistic Jesus
answer to the question. Jesus' words actually dig deeply into what true rest 
is. Sometimes I think we mistake escape for rest.

Mark Eischer: Well, tell me more about that. You know, what is the 
difference between them?

Gregory Seltz: We can escape in any number of ways, but escape typically 
results in added restlessness and stress. For example, you can become very 
stressed
or experience terrible difficulty and heartbreak, but instead of seeking 
rest, you may try to escape the pain and discomfort by drowning your sorrows 
in
alcohol or seeking temporary refuge in drugs. You may veer into buying 
things that give you a short term boost of satisfaction or even take risks 
that
make you forget your troubles, but these are escape mechanisms. In fact, 
they'll leave you feeling worse in the long term and they'll eventually 
complicate
your life.

Mark Eischer: But I can understand how the idea of escaping from fatigue and 
stress might be tempting.

Gregory Seltz: Well, it is tempting. I mean, many times escape is the easy 
path, but Jesus doesn't want you to hurt yourself or others by escaping. He
provides for us real rest.

Mark Eischer: What does look like?

Gregory Seltz: It starts then with God being your refuge and strength in 
times of trouble. It begins with being filled with His encouraging word, 
going
to the Lord in prayer and receiving His presence and communion. It continues 
by following the pattern He established in creation. God rested on the 
seventh
day. He invites us into that rhythm of rest.

Mark Eischer: Here God is getting very practical with us.

Gregory Seltz: He does. We're not made to go at break-neck speed 24 hours a 
day, seven days a week, and we are not created for constant absorption of 
everything
the world throws at us. We need stillness, God's stillness. We need to be 
refueled with God's grace and truth.

Mark Eischer: Here we think of Psalm 23 where it says that our Good Shepherd 
restores our souls.

Gregory Seltz: Exactly. This calls for healthy practices of rest in our 
lives. God's rest on the seventh day is where we get our word Sabbath from. 
It
means seventh, so I'll ask our listeners, do you have a day or time when you 
unplug from your phone, texting and email, when you turn off the TV news 
blitz
and when you plug into stillness with God in His restoring word of life? Do 
you have a rhythm of conversation and fellowship with a friend who can 
listen
to you and speak that word into your life? That's why God created the 
Church. It's not for the purpose of making us more busy. It's for the 
purpose of
remaking our souls and hearts as they get tired and battered.

Mark Eischer: A big issue today is establishing healthy boundaries and 
patterns that allow for rest and replenishment.

Gregory Seltz: To that point, Jesus was tenacious about a rhythm of rest and 
replenishment, so it's important that the commotion stops in our life at 
times
to hear God's voice and receive His restoration.

Mark Eischer: It also sounds to me like you're advocating control over 
whether to be connected or not.

Gregory Seltz: Most definitely, Mark. I mean, we can lose ourselves to the 
control of technology. We do need to disconnect and not feel guilty. We can
lift up the value then of Sabbath, a time of stillness, a recouping of 
relationships and personal identity. We do need to unplug regularly and be 
plugged
into the things of God, to be still and know that God is our savior, friend 
and hope each day.

Mark Eischer: To sum this all up, God is calling us to find rest in His word 
and there to find new strength for when we go back to our regular routine
after the vacation is over.

Gregory Seltz: Indeed.

Mark Eischer: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of 
Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Visit lutheranhour.org
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:
"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 
Concordia Publishing House)

"O Day of Rest and Gladness" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia 
Publishing House)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 11:30 pm

Worship in Your Waiting
Kristin Tabb / June 10, 2017
Worship in Your Waiting

Our daughter, like many sons and daughters, loves Christmas. One December, 
when she was three, she asked us if Christmas was here yet . . . every. 
single.
day. “Just wait,” my husband and I would say. “It’s coming.”

To her delight, we assembled and lit our Christmas tree early in the month. 
She went to bed eagerly that night. The next morning she ran downstairs, 
full
of expectation and hope. The tree was dark and empty. Her face crumpled, and 
she turned to me with a wail, “I have
waited and
waited and Christmas is not coming!” I smiled, but she had my full sympathy. 
I have waited many a day, sometimes with hope, and sometimes not.

Waiting for What We’ll Be

All of us spend most of our lives waiting, whether for “big” things like a 
job, a spouse, a baby, or healing, or something that feels “smaller,” like 
summer
vacation or for little ones to grow to maturity. Waiting can be good, and 
hard, and it isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Often when we’ve 
received
something big that we’ve waited for expectantly, we assume happiness will 
follow, and our desires will be permanently satisfied. Instead, we quickly 
find
ourselves waiting for something else — and sometimes several things at once.

Waiting is a standard part of life in a finite world. Regardless of whether 
our waiting feels easy or hard at the moment, how we wait is shaping the 
people
we are becoming. Worship is essential to that wait because a Godward 
perspective helps us to persevere with patience and hope. Endurance, Paul 
tells us,
“produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us 
to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the 
Holy
Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:4–5).

Worshipful Waiting

If we long for the endurance that produces character and leads us to hope, 
we must be fueled by Godward
worship. Psalm 27 illustrates this principle in action so beautifully. 
Though the psalm opens with the confident question, “Whom shall I fear?” we 
find
that the psalmist actually has much to fear, as he waits in a seemingly 
endless season for deliverance. He faces evildoers, adversaries, and foes 
(Psalm
27:2), an army encamped against him in a rising battle (Psalm 27:3), and 
enemies all around him (Psalm 27:6).

In our waiting, fear longs to ensnare us, replacing faith in our hearts. The 
psalmist feels the oppressive nature of this temptation; he is not blind to
what assails him in his wait.

And yet his eyes can see more than the distressing nature of his 
circumstances, and worship makes all the difference — such a difference, in 
fact, that
the psalmist requests that God might let him “dwell in the house of the Lord 
all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire
in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).

His time of worship in God’s dwelling place is so powerful that he leaves 
enraptured with God’s beauty (Psalm 27:4), reminded of God’s promise to be a
refuge for those who fear him (Psalm 27:5), to answer the prayers of those 
who cry out to him (Psalm 27:7), and to not forsake those he has committed 
to
save (Psalm 27:9–10). This time of worship is so eye-opening, spiritually 
speaking, that he proclaims joyfully in the midst of all his trouble, “And 
now
my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer 
in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to 
the
Lord” (Psalm 27:6).

The end result of his worship is courage and confidence in the Lord — and a 
willingness to wait for God’s deliverance, and to wait with hope. “I believe
that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! 
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the
Lord!” (Psalm 27:13–14). The psalmist exhorts those around him with renewed 
trust in God’s character, promises, and even timing.

What We Really Need

You see, what my daughter needed most that morning wasn’t a Christmas tree 
loaded with presents. The fact that we had taken the time to set the tree up
and adorn it, not to mention our track record of trustworthiness in general, 
could help her recall what was true of us in that moment when she could 
barely
wait for what she dearly wanted. What she needed most was to
trust us, our character and our promises. And that is what God’s children 
need, too, in moments of waiting: to recall who he is, what he has done, and
what he has promised to do.

During worship, God opens our eyes so that we are able to see him — to see 
all the resources available to us in Christ. We have been bought by his 
blood.
He has us, and he will not let us go. During our times of waiting, let us 
not look to false saviors, but rather to our good Father whose heavenly host
surrounds us every moment, even while we wait and wait.

When, in our worship, we catch a bigger vision of the strong and kind heart 
of our God, then we are well prepared for the waiting that lies before us as
long as we live on this earth. We will not stagnate in our waiting, but 
grow, and be blessed by it. In corporate worship, as we turn our eyes 
heavenward,
we wait together for the one we long for most: our God who brings salvation 
(Hebrews 9:28). This is a hope that will not disappoint. When the waiting is
over, we will worship the one who fulfills our expectations beyond what we 
could imagine.

Raise Your Expectations for Sunday Morning
John Piper / June 10, 2017

God’s glory shines everywhere, but in corporate worship there is a unique 
exhibition of glory that we do not see any other way.


Build Your Life on the Mercies of God
John Piper / June 10, 2017

The mercies of God ground our life in Christ. Because he’s immeasurably 
gracious, we have endless riches forever in him.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Why Are We Here?

We live to the Lord. - Romans 14:8

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of 
conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for 
immortality
that we should linger here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven 
and to be found fit to partake in the inheritance of the saints in light, 
even
though he has only just believed in Jesus. It is true that our 
sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be 
perfected until we lay
aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, if the Lord 
had wanted to, He could have changed us from imperfection to perfection and 
have
taken us to heaven at once.

Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single 
moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on
the battlefield when one charge might give them the victory? Why are His 
children still wandering here and there through a maze when a single word 
from
His lips would bring them into the center of their hopes in heaven?

The answer is--they are here that they may "live to the Lord" and may bring 
others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed,
as plowmen to break up the fallow ground, as heralds publishing salvation. 
We are here as "the salt of the earth,"1 to be a blessing to the world. We 
are
here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, 
and as workers together with Him. Let us see that our life fulfills this 
purpose.
Let us live zealous, useful, holy lives, to "the praise of his glorious 
grace."2

Meanwhile we long to be with Him and daily sing--

My heart is with Him on His throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
"Rise up, and come away."

1 Matthew 5:13
2 Ephesians 1:6

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Deuteronomy 15

verse 2 Psalms 102

Where was God when that happened?: And other questions about God’s goodness, 
power, and the way He works in the world.

By Christopher Ash

When a personal tragedy strikes, or when we find ourselves struggling to 
make sense of horrifying world events, do we begin to doubt if God is truly 
in
control? After all, if God is good then why do bad things happen?

Christopher Ash addresses this question head on. In his book, Where was God 
when that happened? , he offers remarkable insight into the challenging 
topic
of God’s sovereignty within a world filled with sadness and pain. This warm, 
pastorally hearted and accessible book will help those struggling with this
question to see the grand vision of the Bible’s answer -- and the tragedy of 
adopting any other viewpoint.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good 
News
Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,
www.crossway.org .

Weary mariner on life's tempestuous ocean!

( David Harsha )

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His 
rebuke--because the Lord disciplines those He
loves, just as a father disciplines the son he delights in." Proverbs 
3:11-12

To the children of God, afflictions are sent in mercy. They are directed by 
love.

They are designed . . .
to draw us more closely to the Savior,
to mortify indwelling sin,
to purify our hearts,
to wean us from earth,
to elevate our affections to that blessed world where there shall be no more 
pain.

Every breeze of earthly sorrow is only wafting us to those high and heavenly 
abodes, where
temporal ills are forever unknown!

Oh, then, when ready to sink under the accumulated ills of life--let us come 
to the Savior in the time of trouble.

Weary mariner on life's tempestuous ocean, when afflictions cloud your sky, 
and billows roar around you--then cling to the Savior in grateful, confiding
love.

Amid all your difficulties and dangers, He will whisper consolation to you, 
and support your fainting soul with the richest consolation and the choicest
promises. You will then be enabled to bear the
trials of life with composure--knowing that, like the Captain of our 
salvation, you must also be made perfect through suffering; and that these 
light
and momentary afflictions are working for you a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory!

You will then experience the sweetness of the divine promises--and in the 
midst of outward trouble, enjoy inward peace.

How to Pray when You Can't Find the Words
Kelly Stanley
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what 
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through 
wordless
groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because 
the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

( Romans 8:26-27 , NIV)
One Sunday morning, a man visiting my church stood to give his testimony. In 
broken English, he described the scene in which he first saw the woman who
would become his wife, the moment when he first felt God calling to him.
“These people were singing, but not with their mouths,” he said. “It was a 
deeper song.”
That’s when my tears started. Because isn’t that what most of us want? To 
reach God, to commune with Him? With or without words.
Let’s face it. I am a writer, and even I have those times when the words won’t 
come.
Usually when we’re without words, it’s because we’re hurt. Cynical. 
Disillusioned. Heartbroken. Weary. We may have lost a parent or sibling or 
child or
friend. We may be facing a broken marriage, a suicidal teen, an addiction, 
financial devastation, or abuse.
Or maybe we’re just uninspired. Tired. Worn out from carrying our fears 
around. Exhausted from overscheduling and under-resting. Dealing with 
depression
or illness or a million tiny little worries.
I’ve been there, desperate for God but unable to draw my mind in, unable to 
reach out to Him, either verbally or in writing. And even in those moments,
I’ve felt the irony. The only One who can truly make a difference in the 
situation is the One I can’t seem to talk to.
But the truth is that words are not required. Prayer, in its most simple 
definition, is communion with God. I often think of it as a conversation, 
but
it doesn’t have to be.
Have you ever sat in companionable silence with a spouse, parent or friend? 
Enjoyed a peaceful afternoon on the porch with a grandparent, no words 
needed?

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When I gave birth to my children, I had no words to describe what I felt, so 
I just sat there, looking at that beautiful new creation, soaking in 
gratitude.
When my mom died, as I stood in the receiving line, some of my favorite 
people walked up, looked into my eyes, hugged me, and moved on. Without 
saying
a single word, they communicated everything I needed to hear. Everything 
they wanted to say.
Next time you feel stuck, when you stumble over words or are wrestling with 
emotions you can’t seem to wrangle, why don’t you try something new? Sit in
silence, your mind focused on God. Look around and find the beauty in your 
environment. Draw a picture, doodling names and images and offer it as 
prayer.
Work your way through your daily tasks, and keep the mindset of dedicating 
your work—laundry, cleaning, dishes, gardening—to God as an act of worship.
Listen to a piece of worship music and let yourself get lost in the sound.
Or sing a new song, from a deeper place.
It just might help you get past whatever it is that is blocking your path. I 
promise you, God will receive it. He will understand that it is prayer. He
will know what your heart feels and what your soul needs.
And before long, the words will come. But even if they don’t, you’ve still 
prayed, and in the process, you’ve drawn closer to God. Because wherever God
is, lives are changed.
With or without words.

Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of
Praying Upside Down
and Designed to Pray
. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also 
a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing
everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She 
blogs at
kellyostanley.com
and calls small-town Indiana her home.
Publication date: May 25, 2016

The Origin

We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:19

There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and 
there is no true love for Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the 
Lord
Jesus Himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, 
all our love to God must spring.

This truth is foundational, that we love Him for no other reason than 
because He first loved us. Our love for Him is the result of His love for 
us. When
studying the works of God, anyone may respond with cold admiration, but the 
warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God's Spirit.

What a wonder that any of us, knowing what we're like, should ever have been 
brought to love Jesus at all! How marvelous that when we had rebelled 
against
Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. We 
would never have had a grain of love toward God unless it had been sown in
us by the sweet seed of His love for us.

Love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: But 
after it is divinely born, it must be divinely nourished. It is not like a
plant, which will flourish naturally in human soil--it must be watered from 
above. Love for Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received
no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts, it 
would soon wither. As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly
bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on 
high. Love must feed on love. The very soul and life of our love for God is
His love for us.

I love Thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord; but all the love is Thine,
For by Thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in Thee.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Deuteronomy 16

verse 2 Psalms 103
Where was God when that happened?: And other questions about God’s goodness, 
power, and the way He works in the world.

By Christopher Ash

When a personal tragedy strikes, or when we find ourselves struggling to 
make sense of horrifying world events, do we begin to doubt if God is truly 
in
control? After all, if God is good then why do bad things happen?

Christopher Ash addresses this question head on. In his book, Where was God 
when that happened? , he offers remarkable insight into the challenging 
topic
of God’s sovereignty within a world filled with sadness and pain. This warm, 
pastorally hearted and accessible book will help those struggling with this
question to see the grand vision of the Bible’s answer -- and the tragedy of 
adopting any other viewpoint.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 

4 Ways to Keep it Together When Your Life is Falling Apart
Cindi McMenamin

Are you one to crumble at life’s circumstances? Or do you allow them to make 
you stronger?

When life brings something painful or you simply feel like your life is 
falling apart, how you respond makes all the difference in the world.

You and I can either react emotionally and escalate the drama of the 
situation. Or we can respond biblically and grow through it.

As I was writing my book, Drama Free
, it occurred to me that there are two kinds of drama in life: 1) The drama 
that life brings and God allows; and 2) The drama that we create through our
response to life.

The drama that life brings is inevitable. Yet how we respond to it 
determines whether or not it will be fruitful in our lives in conforming us 
to the image
of Christ. Our response to the drama also determines whether God gets the 
glory or we shine the spotlight on our frailties, insecurities, and 
emotional
instability.

With help from God’s Word, plus some practical guidance, you and I can be 
drama free – even when the unthinkable happens. Even when you are clearly a 
victim.
Even when life takes an unexpected turn and you are caught in an 
overwhelming whirlwind of circumstances that would make any person lose it.
Even then.

Here are four ways that you can keep it together when it feels like your 
life is falling apart. (These four steps spell the word “CALM” which is what 
you
can be if you practice them.)

C - Consider the bigger picture.

Life – and therefore every circumstance you encounter – is meant to conform 
you to the image of Christ. We know this because Romans 8:28-29
tells us: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those 
who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God
foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Once 
you consider this, you can relax and realize God knows what He’s doing in 
the
circumstances He’s allowing. And you can focus on passing the test, rather 
than failing it through unnecessary drama.

A – Acknowledge God is in control.

You are not at the whim of the weather or the most likely predicted outcome. 
You are not going to consider “averages” or statistics. You are going to 
trust
the God of miracles and whatever He decides to do or not do, for your 
greater good. Try taking a look at God’s track record in the stories of the 
Bible.
People went through trial after trial, but when they acknowledged God’s 
control and remained faithful to Him in spite of their circumstances, they 
experienced
deliverance, protection, comfort, and peace. God has an excellent track 
record of honoring those who trust Him.

L – Look for the lesson.

The lessons are everywhere. And sometimes they aren’t the ones you think. 
Ask God to show you what He wants you to see in the moment, and then stay 
tuned
to His instruction. I find it is helpful, and a reminder to me that God is 
working in my life, when I say aloud, “God, show me what You want me to see
in this situation” or, “Mold me through this, God,” or, “Open my eyes to the 
truth of Who You are through this situation and my pain.” Maybe your short
prayer is simply, “Change me through this, Lord Jesus.” By acknowledging 
that God is doing something through our situation, we won’t miss the lesson.

M – Make it a point to praise.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are instructed to “give thanks in all 
circumstances: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Note that 
command says
in
all circumstances, even the unexpected, uncomfortable, and unwanted 
circumstances. As we thank God for our circumstances – and for whatever He 
determines
to do through them – it will change our perspective and make us people who 
anticipate His provision, rather than dread the worst. That is displaying 
faith,
rather than demonstrating fear or doubt.

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Here is a prayer to start with, that encompasses each step toward finding 
your CALM:

Lord, Thank You that what is happening in my life right now did not take You 
by surprise. You understand the bigger picture of what is going on and I 
trust
You with Your plan and purposes for my life. Thank You that You are in 
absolute control and You are fully able to conform me to the image of Christ 
through
this ordeal as I surrender it to You. Show me what You want me to learn 
through this and help me to remain teachable and sensitive to Your Holy 
Spirit.
I thank You that You are with me, that You will never leave me, and that You 
are drawing me closer to You through this situation so I can experience a
more intimate relationship with You. May You receive glory for how I respond 
to all that Your loving hand has allowed in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk 
with God and their relationships. She is the author of 15 books, including
the best-selling
When Women Walk Alone
(more than 125,000 copies sold),
When God Sees Your Tears
, and her newest book,
Drama Free
: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You, upon which this article is 
based. For more on her speaking ministry, or free articles to strengthen 
your soul,
marriage, or parenting, see her website
www.StrengthForTheSoul.com .

The Necessity of Prayer
June 8, 2017

Read: Mark 1:35-37

Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and 
went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (v. 35)

I was watching a television program the other day and one of the main 
characters found himself in a very dangerous situation. He didn’t know what 
to do.
His enemies were surrounding him and humanly speaking, he saw no way out. So 
he prayed. His prayer went like this: “Lordy, I know I haven’t talked to you
in a long time, but I sure need your help now. So if you’re listening, 
please get me out of this—quick!”

That man typifies how many people see prayer—as the last option. When 
nothing else works, ask God. Instead, Jesus saw prayer as part of the 
regular rhythm
of life. Prayer was more communion with God than request for God’s 
assistance. Jesus was extremely busy. There were always needy people around 
him. He
“gave out” so much that he realized that he also had to “take in.” He needed 
to be renewed and encouraged by his heavenly Father. So he prayed—early and
often.

A wise person once said, “Not to pray is to be guilty of the incredible 
folly of ignoring ‘the possibility of adding God to our resources’” (William 
Barclay,
quoting Albert D. Belden,
The Practice of Prayer). Jesus knew that if he was to meet with people, he 
must first meet with God. If prayer was necessary for Jesus, how much more 
is
it necessary for us! —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, help us to pray early and often, like Jesus. Amen.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 20 Jul 2017, 11:19 pm

Every Day God Gives Opportunities to Help Others
By Rick Warren

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to 
act”
(Proverbs 3:27 NIV).

Every day God gives you little opportunities to show kindness to people 
around you. As he does, he’s watching to see if you’re going to be 
self-centered
or if you’ll notice the people who need a word of encouragement or a pat on 
the back or an errand done for them or some other practical means of help.

The Bible says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is 
in your power to act”
(Proverbs 3:27
NIV). You won’t always have an opportunity to help. So when you do, take the 
Nike approach: Just do it! You probably have people in your life that you’ve
thought about helping. You have the best intentions, but so far, you’ve done 
nothing. Why?

You didn’t act immediately.

We make excuses. One of the most prominent: “I’ll do it when things settle 
down.” Guess what? Things never will. If you’re going to do any good in your
life, the time is now. The Bible says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, 
you will never get anything done”
(Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB).

Do good now because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow.

Jesus says, “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the 
one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and 
all
work comes to an end”
(John 9:4 TLB).

God has assigned tasks for all of us to do in our lives. And our lives are 
ticking away. Don’t wait for perfect conditions; every day, look for the 
opportunities
God gives you to help and encourage others.

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over:

• What are some excuses you’ve may have heard for not doing good quickly?
• Can you describe a time when you “meant to” do good but waited and lost 
the opportunity?
• How is God asking you to do good for someone? What step can you take today 
to make that happen?

For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !

Anne Graham Lotz - God Takes the Initiative
God Takes the Initiative
Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?

Isaiah 40:13, NIV

“Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his 
counselor?” The answer that reverberates through the millenniums is . . . no 
one . .
. no one. God stands in the august solitude of Himself. When He acts, it is 
because He Himself has taken the initiative and made the decision to do so.

God took the initiative

to create the universe: “And God said . . . ,”

to create man: “Let us make man in our image . . . ,”

to create woman: “I will make a helper. . . .”

And God took the initiative to send His Son to be our Savior.

How unbelievably awesome is the One Who created everything!

Our heads should bow,

our wills should yield,

our hearts should love

the One Who took the initiative and revealed His glory through His eternity, 
deity, and activity.

Blessings,

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Word: in Weakness and in Power
----------------------------------------------------------

The Word: in Weakness and in Power

Posted: 05 Jun 2017 09:55 PM PDT

In the beginning, into the silence of nothingness came the Word of God.
The Sovereign of the universe expressed His will,
and it became reality.
The Word of God spoke,
and creation came to be,
and all the morning stars sang for joy.
His powerful Word continues to resound,
sustaining all that is.

Into the darkness of our sin came the Word of God.
God spoke His loving will,
not as an almighty conqueror,
but as a helpless infant.
He didn’t shout;
He whispered.
He didn’t command;
He invited.
The Word of God spoke, not in power,
but in weakness.

And when His Word speaks to us,
He still speaks in weakness, not in power.
He doesn’t demand in harsh tones.
He speaks gently, inviting, drawing us to Himself.

But at a time He alone has chosen,
the Word of God will again speak with absolute power.
The Sovereign of all reality will express His will,
and all that is will respond.
Creation will again be an Eden of
holiness and beauty,
truth and love,
completely one with its Maker.
To those who have listened to His inviting Word,
this will mean sharing the fullness of His life forever.
To those who have ignored His Word,
this will mean eternal exclusion, separation from Him, and death.

He is still speaking in a gentle whisper,
calling, inviting, drawing.
Hear the Word.
Receive the Word.


Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
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Today's

Turning Point
Friday, June 9

Cleared for Takeoff!

For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and 
we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:52b

Recommended Reading
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Richard and Catherine Dotson, both born in 1797, were married for fifty 
years. Catherine died in 1877 and Richard in 1884. They were buried in the 
family
cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. During World War II, an airport was built 
nearby; and after the war, a runway was built through the cemetery. Most of 
the
graves were moved, but the Dotson family refused permission for their 
ancestors to be exhumed. So the runway was built over their graves, and 
markers were
placed in the runway honoring their remains. That’s why Savannah has the 
only airport in the world with grave markers embedded in its runway.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
On reflection, we can see the appropriateness of that. For Christians, our 
cemetery plots are not our final resting places. They are the runways or 
launching
pads from which we’ll be caught heavenward when Christ returns. The 
resurrection of the body will be sudden, literal, physical, and glorious. We’ll 
be
snatched up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

Without death, there would be no resurrection. That’s why death holds no 
terror for the Christian. We’re living on a higher plane.

Our resurrection bodies will never wear out or grow old. Your new body will 
be designed for eternity. It will not be subject to accident, disease, 
aging,
or death. It will never wear out and never die; it will outlive the stars.
David Jeremiah

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Psalms 22 – 27
David Jeremiah's Website
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point's mission is to deliver the unchanging Word of God to an 
ever-changing world.
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.


How to Pray when You Can't Find the Words
Kelly Stanley
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what 
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through 
wordless
groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because 
the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

( Romans 8:26-27 , NIV)
One Sunday morning, a man visiting my church stood to give his testimony. In 
broken English, he described the scene in which he first saw the woman who
would become his wife, the moment when he first felt God calling to him.
“These people were singing, but not with their mouths,” he said. “It was a 
deeper song.”
That’s when my tears started. Because isn’t that what most of us want? To 
reach God, to commune with Him? With or without words.
Let’s face it. I am a writer, and even I have those times when the words won’t 
come.
Usually when we’re without words, it’s because we’re hurt. Cynical. 
Disillusioned. Heartbroken. Weary. We may have lost a parent or sibling or 
child or
friend. We may be facing a broken marriage, a suicidal teen, an addiction, 
financial devastation, or abuse.
Or maybe we’re just uninspired. Tired. Worn out from carrying our fears 
around. Exhausted from overscheduling and under-resting. Dealing with 
depression
or illness or a million tiny little worries.
I’ve been there, desperate for God but unable to draw my mind in, unable to 
reach out to Him, either verbally or in writing. And even in those moments,
I’ve felt the irony. The only One who can truly make a difference in the 
situation is the One I can’t seem to talk to.
But the truth is that words are not required. Prayer, in its most simple 
definition, is communion with God. I often think of it as a conversation, 
but
it doesn’t have to be.
Have you ever sat in companionable silence with a spouse, parent or friend? 
Enjoyed a peaceful afternoon on the porch with a grandparent, no words 
needed?

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When I gave birth to my children, I had no words to describe what I felt, so 
I just sat there, looking at that beautiful new creation, soaking in 
gratitude.
When my mom died, as I stood in the receiving line, some of my favorite 
people walked up, looked into my eyes, hugged me, and moved on. Without 
saying
a single word, they communicated everything I needed to hear. Everything 
they wanted to say.
Next time you feel stuck, when you stumble over words or are wrestling with 
emotions you can’t seem to wrangle, why don’t you try something new? Sit in
silence, your mind focused on God. Look around and find the beauty in your 
environment. Draw a picture, doodling names and images and offer it as 
prayer.
Work your way through your daily tasks, and keep the mindset of dedicating 
your work—laundry, cleaning, dishes, gardening—to God as an act of worship.
Listen to a piece of worship music and let yourself get lost in the sound.
Or sing a new song, from a deeper place.
It just might help you get past whatever it is that is blocking your path. I 
promise you, God will receive it. He will understand that it is prayer. He
will know what your heart feels and what your soul needs.
And before long, the words will come. But even if they don’t, you’ve still 
prayed, and in the process, you’ve drawn closer to God. Because wherever God
is, lives are changed.
With or without words.

Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of
Praying Upside Down
and Designed to Pray
. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also 
a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing
everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She 
blogs at
kellyostanley.com
and calls small-town Indiana her home.
Publication date: May 25, 2016

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Most Dangerous Time of All - #7936

When you think of being a tourist in Hawaii, you think about fabulous 
beaches, luaus, enchanted islands-fun stuff. My first visit to Hawaii was on 
a stopover
from a mission to Singapore and I saw some of the fun stuff. But there's one 
thing to see in Hawaii that isn't very happy - Pearl Harbor. It was really
touching for me to stand at the USS Arizona Memorial in the middle of Pearl 
Harbor, right over the wreckage of one of the ships sunk by Japanese bombers
that awful December morning. Entombed inside that ship are hundreds of 
American servicemen who went down with her. How could such a total surprise 
attack
have happened? Actually that's been debated by historians for a long time. 
But one reason the attack was so tragically successful was this-it came at 
7:00
A.M. on a Sunday morning-in a place where everyone felt pretty safe...and at 
a time when everyone's guard was down.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most 
Dangerous Time of All."

Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God in Deuteronomy 
6:10-12. It's a warning from God about when His people tend to be the most 
vulnerable
to spiritual disaster. "When the Lord your God brings you into the land He 
swore to your fathers...to give you a land with large, flourishing cities 
you
did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things that you did not 
provide, wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did
not plant-then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not 
forget the Lord, who brought you out of...the land of slavery."

God says, "Look, when times are comfortable and you're doing well, look out. 
That's when My people forget Me." Like Pearl Harbor, we're most vulnerable
to an enemy victory when it's a quiet time, a relaxing time-a time when our 
spiritual guard is down. So if these are basically good times right now, you
could be in the most dangerous time of all.

Why? Because when things are tough, we've got no choice but to depend 
totally on our God. When the Jews were in the wilderness, they couldn't 
afford to
forget what God wanted-they needed Him for the next day's manna, for water 
to drink, for protection from their enemies. But now they're in a season 
where
they've got what they need...they're enjoying God's wonderful gifts to them, 
but they're not feeling the need for God like they did during those lean 
times.
Good times are the times we're most likely to forget the Lord.

That doesn't necessarily mean you wander off into gross sin. It's usually 
more subtle than that. You just gradually stop putting Jesus first. He's 
still
officially #1, but His Lordship is more honorary than real. In good times, 
we tend to become more and more self-focused-spending on ourselves rather 
than
sacrificing for God's work, increasing the time we spend on ourselves and 
decreasing our involvement in the work of Christ, missing our daily time 
with
the Lord-which was our life preserver when times were harder. It's just a 
general spiritual laxness, casual. And boy, your enemy has been waiting for 
this.

In those times when actually you're not consciously putting Jesus first like 
you were when it was tougher, that's when he hits you with his Pearl Harbor
attack and he does damage you never could have dreamed. And when you have 
stopped putting Jesus first because things are going well, you know what 
He'll
do? He'll inevitably do what it takes to make you remember how much you need 
Him.

So, if this is a relatively comfortable time right now, enjoy those great 
gifts from God. But don't ruin it by losing your Jesus-focus and trading it 
for
your old self-focus. Seek first His Kingdom as much in the good times as you 
do in the bad times.

In the wilderness, God brought you out of yourself and He brought you deep 
into Him. Now don't forget Him when you're in the Promised Land He's given 
you.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 19 Jul 2017, 6:40 pm

3 Things to Tell Yourself When Social Media Makes You Envious
Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:42 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
3 Things to Tell Yourself When Social Media Makes You Envious
Jennifer Heeren
Summertime and the living is easy. People are going on big, fancy, week-long 
trips. Others are going to the beach every weekend. Everyone is having more
adventures than you are. At least, that’s what it can feel like on social 
media.

The single person sees pictures of families having fun in the sun and longs 
to have a family of her own one day. A barren woman sees jokes about it 
taking
so long to gather children and their belongings together before an outing 
and longs for the chance to have that kind of chaos. Families struggling to 
pay
the bills each month wonder how others can take extravagant vacations.

Yes, social media can cause you to long for something other than what you 
have.

Social media is a place where you consciously or unconsciously compare your 
life with other people’s lives. When you do this, you’re often comparing 
your
everyday life with someone else’s highlights. This isn’t a fair comparison. 
It is like comparing your just-woken-up face with the cover of a magazine 
where
the model has spent three or more hours having her hair and makeup done. 
People typically post the best things about their lives on social media but 
this
is not their whole life. If you saw everything, you might not be tempted to 
covet their world.

When the temptation to compare arises, fight it as quickly as you can 
because jealousy is like cancer in the bones
(Proverbs 14:30b). Theodore Roosevelt said comparison is the thief of joy 
and he was right. You come home from a fun evening at a carnival with your 
kids.
Everyone is all smiles. But then you turn on social media and see that the 
family down the street is living it up with Mickey Mouse. Suddenly, you’re 
feeling
down that your kids didn’t get to go to Disney World. Your joy deflates.

Keep the following three things in mind when you’re tempted to envy:

1. “The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful 
inheritance!”
(Psalm 16:6)

The first thing to do when you’re comparing your lot with someone else’s lot 
is to count your blessings and then focus on them. If you’re having trouble
thinking of blessings, think harder. There’s always something that you take 
for granted. Your location doesn’t have to be exotic to be wonderful. The 
smiles
of kids at a carnival look the same as smiles at Disney World. You can have 
fun anywhere when you try, even your own backyard.

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2. “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the 
satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to 
anyone
else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”
(Galatians 6:4-5)

The next thing to remember is that you are an individual and the person you’re 
comparing yourself to is an individual as well. You’re not meant to live
your lives in the exact same way. You’re each unique with unique purposes in 
life. When you spend so much time worrying about how you compare to them,
you waste precious time. You should be concentrating on what you need to be 
doing. You’re not responsible for them and your work may remain undone while
you’re wondering about their life.

3. “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as 
Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his 
steps.”
(1 Peter 2:21)

There is one whom we are called to compare ourselves to and that’s Jesus, 
while he walked on the earth. This is the only comparison that can bring out
the best in us. Do you care about people as you live your life? Are you 
looking for ways to serve each day? Do you live out the freedom he gave us 
by walking
in the path he created you to walk? Or are you wishing for other 
circumstances?

God’s plan for you is not the same as his plan for another. And his plan for 
them is none of your concern. Jesus once said something like this to Peter:
“What is it to you about another person’s lot in life? You follow me”
(John 21:22, my paraphrase).

Follow Christ and don’t worry about where your life falls in line with 
others. Your place in life was designed for you—walk in it and notice the 
blessings.

“Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy 
their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”
(Ecclesiastes 4:4)

Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people 
are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write 
devotional
articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is 
always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She 
regularly
contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her 
husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com .


Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Tai Lue Breakthroughs
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Tai Lue Breakthroughs
Jun 06, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Jn. 9:27, NET "He answered, “I told you already and you didn’t listen. Why 
do you want to hear it again? You people don’t want to become his disciples
too, do you?”"

Pray that those healed by the Lord will have the boldness to stand up for 
Jesus like the man born blind did.

Today's People Group

Working with the Tai Lue people is a slow process, but God has provided an 
opportunity. Many of them suffer from physical, mental, and even demonically
caused illnesses. One missionary, Amy (not her real name), has been 
witnessing to “Auntie Andrea” who suffers from glaucoma. Auntie Andrea 
complained that
she felt hopeless about her failing eyesight. Amy told her the Bible story 
of Jesus and the man who was blind from birth. Amy then asked her if she 
would
like prayer for her eyes. She said, “yes.” Startled after the prayer, she 
said, “I can see the mountains now that I could not see before!” Amy prayed 
for
her eyes two more times, and each time her vision improved. Auntie Andrea 
then asked Amy, “Does this mean I have to follow Jesus?” Amy told her no, 
but
added that Jesus did love her and wanted her to know him.
This kind of opportunity and response has been repeated several times with 
Tai Lue villagers suffering from demon possession, addiction, and 
depression,
as well as other illnesses. Amy faithfully shares Bible stories with all of 
them and gives them tapes to listen to. Even though the Tai Lue are touched
by Jesus, forsaking all other gods is a very difficult decision for them to 
make.

Pray for Amy and other workers who are ministering as Jesus did, praying for 
healing, praying for deliverance, and faithfully discipling them in God’s
love. Pray that the Tai Lue will be convicted and convinced of God’s love 
for them.
Learn more at Joshua Project 
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 17 Jul 2017, 1:42 pm

vYour Deeds Follow

Revelation 14:13 (ESV)
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead 
who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that 
they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

The last phrase in this verse reminds me of the account of Jacob and Esau. 
Jacob stole Esau’s birthright then his blessing. He then left and went out 
on his own. After a while he wrestled with God. He then wanted to make up 
with Esau but knew Esau would be mad. He split his flocks into a number of 
smaller flocks and sent them ahead of him as the following Scripture tells 
us:

Genesis 32:19-20 (ESV)
19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the 
droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, 20 and you 
shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’ ” For he thought, “I 
may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I 
shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.”

Jacob had the idea of bribing Esau but that wasn’t necessary. There are 
people who try to bribe God and get into heaven by their good deeds. AS the 
verse above says, our deeds follow us, they do not go ahead of us like Jacob’s 
flocks. No amount of deeds can get us into heaven. When we meet Jesus Christ 
we will meet face to face. There will be nothing between us and Him. He then 
will either say, “Get away from me. I never knew you no matter how many good 
deeds you did.” Or “Welcome my child.”

This does not mean we are not to do good deeds. WE are to follow all of the 
commands of Jesus including loving one another and making disciples. The 
deeds that follow us will be tested:

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 (ESV)
13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, 
because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of 
work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the 
foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned 
up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as 
through fire.

Your deeds will follow you in another way. They will have some effect here 
on earth while you are here and after you are gone. You may not know what 
effect you have had.

I once read of a missionary in the 1800’s that went from England to Africa 
to work with a tribe that had never had a missionary to visit. He worked 
very hard with the tribe. After a year he had only led one boy to Jesus 
Christ. He was so despondent and depressed that when he went home on 
furlough he did not go back to Africa. He thought, “What is the use?” Many 
years later he had a chance to go back to that tribe. When he got there he 
saw a hut with a steeple on top. He met that boy who was now a young man 
and found out that that guy had led most of the tribe to Jesus Christ.

BE sure, your deeds will follow you.
by Dean W. Masters
Owner of the Master's List
To join the Masters List send a blank message to:
If you would like to receive The Sunday News which I write, please write to:
dwmasters15@gmail.com
Unedited redistribution approved 

How Should Christians Respond to Other Religions?
by Theologically Driven

by Ben Edwards

Recent decades have provided Christians with an increasing evaluation of and 
interaction with various world religions. The growth of immigration from 
non-Christian
nations combined with a greater global awareness through travel and 
communication have confronted Christians with the reality of diversity in 
faith and
practice. Protestant Christians have responded in different ways to this 
reality. Often, these responses are grouped in three broad categories. 
However,
with the rise of postmodernism a fourth category has appeared. I will 
endeavor to explain and evaluate these four approaches below, concluding 
with the
approach I believe best adheres with biblical Christianity.

Universalism

The first approach to world religions may be classified as universalism. 
Universalism proposes that all religions are more or less equal, with no one 
religion
able to claim supremacy. Two common illustrations are used when explaining 
this approach, but provide slightly different nuances. The first is to 
picture
salvation or truth as a mountain top and various religions as paths up the 
mountain. At points along the way these paths may appear different, but when
followed to the end they lead to the same place. Thus, all religions 
ultimately teach the same thing. If adherents merely took the time to 
interact with
one another they would discover how much they actually agreed. This 
perspective would eschew proselytizing, opting instead for simple dialogue.

Another picture is of a group of blind men approaching an elephant, with 
each man grabbing a different part of the animal and concluding partially 
true
statements about it. However, none of them fully understands the elephant. 
In this illustration, no one religion has a claim to all truth. Instead, one
must recognize that all religions have part of the truth, so the best 
approach is to incorporate beliefs from different religions.

Though this approach is popular among more liberal Protestants, attempts to 
defend it biblically are scarce. This scarcity is not surprising since there
is little to no biblical support for universalism. Throughout the Old 
Testament, the God of the Jews is set in opposition to the gods of the 
surrounding
peoples. The first commandment in the Decalogue places Yahweh as the supreme 
God. The nation is called to abandon other gods for the true God. In the New
Testament, Jesus points to himself as “the way,” claiming that “no one comes 
to the Father except by [him].” Paul refers to the worship of idols as the
worship of demons and applauds the Thessalonians for turning from idols to 
serve the true and living God. Nor are believers called to look to other 
religions
to gain a better understanding of God. Jesus claimed that those who knew him 
knew God and that those who rejected him rejected God.

Universalism also creates logical difficulties. A thorough study of the 
different religions reveals that they do not all teach the same thing but 
often
proclaim explicitly contradictory truths. Some religions are monotheistic, 
while others are polytheistic or pantheistic. Some believe that life is 
cyclical,
while others hold to a linear view of history. Clearly all religions are not 
teaching the same thing. Arguing that all religions only have part of the
truth does not ultimately solve this dilemma, for the only way to know that 
each religion has part of the truth is to have access to all of the truth.
Those who hold universalism may have a laudable goal of reducing conflict by 
emphasizing unity, but they do injustice to the Bible and to other 
religions.

Relativism

With the rise of postmodernism a modification of universalism has emerged 
that could be classified as relativism. Whereas universalism claims that all
religions lead to the truth or contain part of the truth, relativism says 
that all religions have their own truths. In essence, a relativist would say
that religions are not different paths up one mountain but different 
mountains altogether. This approach recognizes the clear differences between 
religions,
but states that these different truths are not ultimately contradictory 
because they are true in themselves. There is no universal truth by which to 
judge
the truths of the various religions. Again, the relativist sees no need for 
proselytizing, since no religion could be judged as better than another.

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The relativist approach runs into the same biblical problem as the 
universalist approach. Christ not only claimed to be “the way” but also “the 
truth.”
He called his followers to go throughout the world making disciples, which 
entails conversion to the truth. God is never portrayed as one choice among
many but as the only God.

Ultimately, a relativistic approach to religions crumbles under the same 
difficulty as relativism in general—it is a self-defeating philosophy. 
Relativism
proceeds on the idea that ultimate or universal truth is non-existent, but 
the claim that there is no universal truth is itself a universal truth. 
Further,
relativism is incapable of condemning any action or attitude, since there is 
no standard by which to judge. In relativism, acts of terrorism and acts of
charity are equally valid ways to demonstrate one’s commitment to religion. 
However, most people easily recognize these acts are not equally valid 
because
of their universal sense of right and wrong. Though some may argue for a 
relativistic approach to religion, they never fully embrace it because of 
these
difficulties.

Inclusivism

A third approach to religion is inclusivism. In inclusivism, one’s own 
religion is the supreme religion, but other religions have truths that will 
ultimately
lead to the truth found in the supreme religion. From a Christian 
perspective, that means that one can only be saved in Christ, but the Bible 
is not the
only revelation of Christ. On the more liberal end of this perspective, 
proponents argue that sincere worshippers in other religions may be saved if 
they
follow their religion and never have a chance to hear of Christ and 
Christianity. They believe the Quran has truths in it inspired by the Holy 
Spirit,
so a devout Muslim who never hears of Christ may be saved by following these 
inspired truths in the Quran. On the more conservative end of this approach,
proponents believe that someone may become a Christian by believing the 
gospel of Christ but continue to worship in their original religion. Thus, a 
Muslim
may put faith in Christ but continue to practice as a Muslim because of the 
inspired truths in the Quran. An inclusivist would practice proselytizing 
but
may not consider it an urgent matter.

Inclusivism does take seriously the biblical teaching that salvation is in 
Christ alone. It also recognizes the biblical teaching that some revelation
of God has gone out to all people, i.e., general revelation. However, it 
fails to incorporate the Bible’s teaching on how an individual is saved 
through
Christ. There are no biblical examples of a person being saved without 
knowledge of Christ. Rather, Paul states that people cannot believe in 
someone of
whom they have never heard. Jesus’ command to go and make disciples would be 
less significant if salvation were possible apart from the proclamation of
the Gospel. Inclusivism actually makes general revelation salvific in nature 
when the Bible never indicates that general revelation is able to lead to
salvation.
Romans 1 and Romans 2 both point to general revelation as important for the 
condemnation of all people, since people universally suppress the truth God
has revealed about himself and his moral law, leaving unbelievers with no 
excuse.

On the more conservative end, proponents fail to incorporate the biblical 
teaching of conversion. Though they rightly recognize that salvation comes 
through
faith in Christ, they minimize the transformative effects of that salvation. 
Salvation includes regeneration, which enables believers to turn from their
sinful ways and turn to serve Christ alone. One of the evidences of 
regeneration is a rejection of false religion to embrace biblical 
Christianity. The
proponents also distort the teaching of inspiration. The Bible claims 
inspiration for itself but does not extend that inspiration outside of 
itself. Any
truth in other religions can be traced to general revelation and common 
grace rather than inspiration.

Exclusivism

The final approach to world religions is exclusivism. This approach teaches 
that there is only one true religion and only one way of salvation. For a 
Christian,
Christ is the only way of salvation and the Bible is the only source of 
saving revelation today. Other religions are sourced in man’s rebellion 
against
God and/or demonic influence. Though other religions may have some truths in 
them, they are not saving truths. Exclusivism encourages proselytizing since
it is the only hope for adherents of other religions to be saved.

This approach best lines up with the teachings of Scripture and of the 
beliefs held by the majority of Christians in church history. A potential 
danger
in this approach is that one may develop an arrogant attitude that assumes 
possession of the truth entails superiority. However, a true understanding 
of
salvation in Christianity minimizes this danger. Since the Bible teaches 
that salvation is a work of God graciously given to unworthy sinners, those 
who
have been saved have no grounds for boasting. They do not have the truth 
because they have greater intelligence, morality, or wealth. Rather, they 
have
the truth because they received grace and mercy and should desire to see 
others experience that same grace and mercy.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 16 Jul 2017, 11:37 pm

Six Words to Say Through Tears
Nancy Guthrie / May 28, 2017
Six Words to Say Through Tears

This week I went to the graveside service for a young woman who struggled 
with lots of hard things in this life. As I gave her mother a hug, she 
whispered
in my ear, “She’s safe. I know she’s safe.”

This mom has had many difficult days and sleepless nights during her 
daughter’s life when she didn’t have that confidence. But as they put her 
daughter’s
body into the ground, she was taking hold of something solidly true — that 
her daughter’s soul is now “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), 
where
she is safe in his care.

Grasping for Truth

This is not the first time I’ve been around grieving people and heard them 
repeat something similar — a statement or idea they had taken hold of in 
order
to try to make sense of their loss or to find comfort in the midst of loss. 
I’ve heard people repeat things like, “She was just too good for this 
world,”
and, “Death was the only way he could finally find any peace,” and, “I guess 
God just needed him more there than we do here.” And, of course we often say
and hear, “He’s in a better place.”

When we’re reeling from the loss of someone we love, we look for something 
solid to grab hold of to find stability in a storm of sadness and clarity in
a sea of confusion. Some of the things we grab hold of are profoundly true 
and therefore prove to steady us in the storm. But some of the things we 
grab
hold of emanate from the vacuous spirituality and shallow beliefs of our 
modern culture, instead of from the solid truth of God’s word. They might 
sound
nice, but they simply aren’t true. Or, perhaps more often, they are only 
partly true. Some of the very spiritual-sounding things we say to ourselves, 
or
hear others say to us, in the midst of grief have no scriptural basis, or 
even contradict Scripture.

C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Comfort is the one thing you cannot 
get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the 
end.
If you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth — only 
soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

So, as we search for something to grab hold of in the midst of grief that 
will bring comfort, or as we search for words to say to someone else who is 
grieving,
we want to make sure that what we’re grabbing hold of, or offering to 
someone else to hold onto, is profoundly, fully, and eternally true.

Six Words: “I Can Trust God with This”

Since the graveside service this week, I’ve been asking myself, what are 
those profoundly and eternally true things we can grab hold of in the midst 
of
grief that will serve as an anchor for the soul, when the winds and waves of 
grief are coming over the bow and threatening to take us down for good? I
think the answer is essentially one thing that has many iterations or 
implications, which is: “I can trust God with this.”

Recently I wrote a whole book
about what to say to grieving people, because when we speak to grieving 
people, our words really matter.

But when we are the ones who are grieving, what is far more important than 
what other people say to us is what we say to ourselves — what we say to 
ourselves
in between sobs, when we have more questions than answers, when the 
emptiness feels overwhelming, when anger is getting a foothold in our heart.

When the grief is fresh and intense, we might take some wild ideas for a 
test drive, but to move toward healing and return to joy requires that we 
press
this one idea deeply into our souls until it begins to impact us at the 
level of our feelings: “I can trust God with this.”

“I can trust God with this” has all kinds of implications that bring peace 
in the midst of grief’s chaotic thoughts and emotions. It means:

• I can trust God with the timing of my loved one’s death.
• I can trust God with the way my loved one died.
• I can trust God with the unknowns about my future.
• I can trust God with my unanswered questions until faith becomes sight.
• I can trust God to heal the hurt.
• I can trust God to fill the emptiness.
• I can trust God to illumine this darkness.
• I can trust God to restore joy to my life.
• I can trust God to speak to me through his word.
• I can trust God to supply sufficient grace and divine power for facing 
whatever comes.
• I can trust God to cause this to work together for my good and for the 
good of others impacted by this, and to conform us more closely to the image 
of
Christ.
• I can trust God that resurrection day is really coming and it will be 
worth all the waiting.

Even if, or perhaps especially if, we’re unsure if the person who died was 
genuinely joined to Christ by faith, we can say:

• I can trust that God knows who belongs to him, even if I don’t know if my 
loved one belonged to him.
• I can trust that God will do what is right, even if I don’t know what God 
will do.
• I can put my trust in a God who is merciful and loves to save, even if I 
don’t know if my loved one trusted in that mercy or took hold of that 
salvation.

Speak to Your Thoughts

When the sorrow of life seemed to mock his dependence on God, the psalmist 
wrote,

My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3)

His agonized emotions were speaking to him, suggesting that God had 
abandoned him, so he challenged that voice, rather than believe it. He 
confronted what
was being said to him, rather than letting it determine his outlook. The 
psalmist poured out his complaint to God, but he also intentionally spoke to 
his
own soul in both a questioning and instructive tone:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5)

Rather than listening to his own desperate thoughts, he spoke truth to his 
thoughts. Rather than trusting his feelings, he challenged them. Rather than
talking about the truth of the gospel as something out there for other 
people, he applied it to himself personally. Praying to God, he preached 
hope to
himself.

That’s what we must do in the midst of our tears. That’s what my friend did 
this week in the midst of her tears. When she whispered in my ear, “I know
she’s safe,” in essence she was saying, “I can trust God with this. I can 
trust God to keep her safe.”

What’s the Point of Your New Trilogy of Books?
John Piper / May 28, 2017
What’s the Point of Your New Trilogy of Books?

John Piper believes nothing is more important for his remaining years than 
to focus on the authority and the meaning and the heralding of God’s word.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved


When You Feel Like You’ve Lost Time: God is Able to Restore the Years
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. You will have 
plenty...and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked 
wonders
for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know...that I 
am the Lord your God, and that there is no other." Joel 2:25-27

If we’ve lived long enough, we know this to be true...sometimes, life is 
hard. It doesn’t always go our way. Things don’t always work out in our 
timing.
And often, it seems we get hit from all sides. Problems can leave us 
spinning, wondering why we didn’t see it coming.

Days, months, even years can go by. We look back and wonder how it all went 
so fast, yet seemed so slow when we trudged through the difficulties. And 
though
we might try our best to live our lives in a way that honors God, it doesn’t 
erase the fact that we live in a fallen world. We’re constantly face to face
with so many battles - hardship, struggles, broken relationships, illness, 
and our own weaknesses too.

In the midst of all that, we may sometimes feel like we’ve lost time, missed 
opportunities, or blown chances along the way. We may struggle with feeling
as if we’ve walked through too many broken years of pain. Like God could 
never work through that stuff, it’s just too messy, or too difficult.

But the good news is this: there’s still hope. For He alone is our 
Hope-giver.

He is Able.

He is faithful.

He is greater than anything we face in this life, and much bigger than our 
own brokenness or weakness.

Keep moving forward in His grace and power.

Intersecting Faith & Life: If you need God to redeem your time and restore 
the years the “locusts have eaten,” through the difficulties or hard 
circumstances
you’ve faced, bring it before Him today. All of it. Ask Him for His power to 
work mightily through all you have faced, bringing good and renewed strength
for this next season still in store. God alone brings hope, choose to focus 
on all the blessing that He can bring from the struggle. He is able to turn
it around to work in your favor, and for His greater glory.

Further Reading:
Jeremiah 29:11
Isaiah 43:19
Job 23:10
Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com 
A Sweet Aroma To God
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and 
maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are
unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that 
perish.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-15

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
“Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ!” And when we 
are enjoying this victory, we will be sending off a sweet, pervasive perfume
of His glory.

Do you know how incense is made? By cutting or breaking herbs, then crushing 
them into a fine powder. Then water is added to this powder to create a clay
to form into sticks or cones. What is the purpose of incense? To burn and 
create a fragrant aroma.

ACTION POINT:
When we are praising God in the midst of trials, singing songs of glory in 
the midst of persecution, claiming His victory when a problem arises, then 
we
are emitting a sweet aroma that is unmistakable to the nostrils of God. This 
is the sweet smell of victory!

Discover Jesus | Donate | Today's Message

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you indicated at www.lwf.org that you 
wanted to receive these devotions from Love Worth Finding Ministries.

Anne Graham Lotz - Energized and Strengthened
Energized and Strengthened
We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from 
God.

1 Corinthians 2:12, NKJV

The Holy Spirit Who now lives in you is the same Holy Spirit in Genesis 1 
Who hovered over the formless, empty, dark blob of earth that dangled in 
space.
As He powerfully energized and pulsated the atmosphere, He prepared the 
planet to receive God’s Word and be transformed into a place of purpose and 
beauty
that ultimately, in the end, reflected the image of God.

That same Holy Spirit is now powerfully at work in your life, hovering over 
your heart, preparing you to love God and be fully aware of His love for 
you.
He hovers over your mind, preparing you to understand spiritual things and 
the truth of His Word. He hovers over your will, preparing you to make 
decisions
that are pleasing to Him. All the power of God – the same power that hung 
the stars in place and put the planets in their courses and transformed 
Earth
– now resides in you to energize and strengthen you to become the person God 
created you to be.

Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

A Prayer for When You’re Stuck in the Waiting Place
By Marlo Schalesky

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – 
Romans 8:25

Waiting. I've never been a fan. But it seems I have a PhD in the art. 
Waiting for the results of infertility treatments, waiting for an offer for 
a job,
waiting for a change in a relationship, waiting for a change in life.

And recently, waiting for test results that could mean cancer or mean 
nothing. Once again, I was in the waiting place, and while there, I wrote 
this:

I find myself here again, in this waiting place. The place where I know God 
is sovereign. I know He holds my life in His hands. I know He is there. I 
know
He cares. I know the very hairs on my head are numbered... as are my days.

And yet there is a knot in my stomach and my eyes flicker to the phone. 
Again. And again. It does not ring. Not yet. Of course, not yet.

But I watch anyway. I swallow. And remind myself of all the things I already 
know.

Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? (Matthew 
6:27 ,Luke 12:25)

When we're feeling stuck in the waiting place, our culture says, "Get out of 
that rut! Life's too short. Stop the excuses. Do something." You'll be told
to smile more, care less, be happy, and think good thoughts.

Good advice, but sometimes change is outside our control. Sometimes we're 
not in charge. Sometimes we're stuck, just like Abram and Sarai were in 
Haran.
On their way to the promised land,
Genesis 11:31
tells us, "Terah took his son Abram... and his son Abram's wife, Sarai...and 
arriving at Haran, they settled there." Haran wasn't the promised land. But
because of Terah, they got stuck there anyway, and Sarai didn't have the 
power to choose to continue the journey. God had to remove a barrier before 
she
could move forward. In their case, Terah himself had to die.

If you’re in a waiting place, know you are not alone. God is right there 
with you. Let’s pray to Him now.

Father, can I be honest? I am tired of waiting. Waiting is hard, painful, 
exhausting. But I know that learning to wait well is a beautiful, 
sanctifying,
hope-giving thing. So help me wait well. Help me cling to you as I wait. 
Please Lord, let your peace rule in my heart. Help me live by your grace 
each
day of this waiting. And help me bring you glory as I wait expectantly. In 
Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Editor’s Note: The following is an abridged version of How to be Faithful 
When You're Stuck in the Waiting Place
by Marlo Schalesky. 

Sons and Servants

Martin Luther, the great Reformer, said, “A Christian is free and 
independent in every respect, a bondservant to none.” In the very next 
sentence he stated,
“A Christian is a dutiful servant in every respect, owing a duty to 
everyone.”

We see this reality throughout the Scriptures. Christians have been set free 
and yet that freedom leads the Christian to duty. As an example, Paul 
emphasizes
this truth to Philemon as he appeals for him to receive Onesimus back. 
Onesimus is a runaway slave, who has apparently also stolen from Philemon 
(v. 18).
How does Paul appeal to Philemon? He emphasizes the gospel. Paul reminds 
Philemon multiple times in the first seven verses that he is a child of God, 
a
recipient of grace (v. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7). He will remind Philemon multiple 
times again before the letter closes (v. 9, 16, 17, 19, 20, 25). Philemon 
received
abundant love, forgiveness, and grace in Christ. Paul implies that this 
truth matters as we live with others. “Remember the gospel” is Paul’s charge 
to
Philemon.

In fact, Paul will make this appeal directly in verse eight. He tells 
Philemon that he could command him to do “what is required.” Paul is clearly 
pointing
to Philemon’s duty in Christ. Yet, Paul chooses not to demand based upon his 
authority as an Apostle, rather he gently appeals to Philemon as he calls
to his remembrance the gospel. “What is required” pertains to every 
recipient of grace.

A Christian husband and wife have hurt one another deeply. There is pain, 
anger, and even bitterness. Neither is happy. One spouse desires to walk 
away,
believing it is time to start over. This is an all-too-common-scene. As a 
pastor, I have been in many of these conversations over the years. In those 
situations,
I am bold enough to demand, as Paul said (v. 8), that they remain together, 
but that accomplishes little. Rather, I have found that when we begin to 
remember
the gospel together and all that this individual received in Christ, what 
was hard ground begins to soften. Remembering the gospel allows the door of 
iron
that has come upon their heart as result of pain, sorrow, and injury, 
sometimes through little to no fault of their own, to begin to swing open a 
little
on its hinges. Maybe it is but a crack, but that crack allows gospel grace, 
love, and forgiveness to find their way in and even to flow out.

“Remember the gospel Philemon.” It frees us, but it also binds us. That is 
one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. We are free by God’s grace and 
are
bound to act because of God’s grace. We are a slave to none, but then we are 
a slave to all. We have been set free from duty and yet now all duty is 
required
of us. “Oh, Philemon, Christ has purchased you, do what is required of you 
for love’s sake, for Christ’s sake.” Remember the gospel.

The Christian needs this reminder daily. The beauty of the gospel delights 
our minds and sustains our souls; and it also provides drive, energy, and 
vision
for the will. As it affects our persons, it informs our actions. Never 
underestimate the power of the gospel to claim lives from death and give 
them purpose in the present.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 14 Jul 2017, 9:36 pm

Anne Graham Lotz - Never Separated Again
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Never Separated Again
Neither death nor life . . . nor things present nor things to come, . . . 
shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:38-39, NKJV

I love the sea. Every summer, I spend as much time there as I am able. I 
love to see the vast expanse of sky and water. I love to hear the waves 
crashing
on the shore. I love to walk along the beach and feel the sand beneath my 
feet and the breeze blowing gently in my face. But the sea separates 
families
and friends and entire continents from each other! In Heaven, there will be 
nothing to separate us from each other or from God. Ever!

No hard feelings or hurt feelings,

No misunderstandings or critical spirits,

No divorce or death, . . .

No sickness or weakness,

No dangers or hardships. . . .

Nothing will ever separate us in My Father’s House.

Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Finding Hope When Good Intentions Go Bad

finding hope-god-s-promises-when good intentions go bad
Good Intentions

This year would be different. After all, gardens take work–and energy. I 
planned to minimize and maintain, nothing excessive this year. No need to 
buy
new flowers. That’s why I planted
perennials .

It all started with five bags of mulch
–one bag per rose. That should make a soft cushy bed for my new rose garden 
and an easy way to discourage weeds. Veggies from previous years, too 
deprived
of necessary sun, lost their place to this heartier variety of Knock-Out® 
rose.

But then I looked over at the azalea bed a few feet away, and the newly 
planted potato vines for this year. Hmm. Old mulch from past years had 
disintegrated
or washed away. And everywhere I looked, our bushy creatures had been at 
play–or work. New little oak trees were springing up everywhere from the 
squirrels’
buried acorns.

azalea-potato-vine-garden

And what about my prized perennial gardens in the back? After close 
inspection, I discovered the same thing. Lots of new little green things: 
weeds. Very
few little brown things, except dirt. They, too, needed mulch to make them 
grow beautiful.

perennial-flower-garden

Back to the store. Fifteen more bags should do it.

Not Enough

They didn’t. And I spread it thinner than I should.

I walked around the to the back yard again. More azalea beds–with weeds. 
What happened to last year’s mulch? And what about the tree ring plants? Oh, 
and
we need to transplant those climbing roses so we can give the new hydrangeas 
a resting place in the shade. That whole adjoining bed will need more mulch,
too. Otherwise, they’ll get too dry.

Hydrangea-Flower-Beds

Back to the store. Fifteen more bags.

Still not enough. What about the front rose bed? And the hostas? Oh, yeah, 
when we transplant the roses to the side, they’ll need some. That bed has 
none!

I walked around the house, checking out all the possible places that needed 
help. Wow! Wouldn’t it be great to mulch down ALL the garden beds, front, 
sides,
and back–even the ones that have never had any. Don’t they need TLC too? And 
I probably need to thicken up the thin layers I spread in the back.

Rose-Flower-Bed Knock-Out-Rose Front-Hedge Hostas

One Bag Led to Another

I didn’t plan it that way. One bag led to another. And another. And another. 
By the time we finished, we’d loaded the back-end of our pickup five or six
times at the local home improvement store with a total of seventy-seven (77) 
2-cubit bags of that deep brown, moisture-retaining stuff.

At least I found them on sale.

When Good Intentions Go Bad

Good intentions are often like that. This year will be different. I’ll 
discard that habit. I’m going to do better. No more going backward.

We didn’t plan it that way. But then one thought, one word, one temptation, 
one action leads to another, and before you know it, we’re trapped in a 
dilemma
bigger than a truckload of brown bark.

Moderation turns to excess. We bury discipline under weedy distractions that 
keep popping up daily. The petals of those fragrant plans we made fade and
drop to the ground, one by one, eventually crushed and beyond recognition. 
And suddenly life has taken a downward turn.

That’s when our lives may feel like empty, dry dirt plots instead of 
healthy, growing gardens. Good intentions have turned into one big mulch 
cover-up.

Finding Hope Is Possible

But finding hope when good intentions go bad is possible and not as 
difficult as it sounds–with faith in the One who stands ready to help. I 
love the promise
in Isaiah 58:11, NIV:

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched 
land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, 
like a spring whose waters never fail.

You’ll hear more about God’s promises in the next few weeks. I’m 
re-discovering and re-believing (is that a word?) those truths I sometimes 
misplace. I’m
pulling out those weedy lies I often believe, and reclaiming those verses as 
they blossom once again in my spirit.

God promises us:
1. His Guidance
2. His Provision of Our Needs
3. His Strength
4. His Transformation

I’d say that’s a good place to start. Wouldn’t you?

Like the cushioning effect of deep mulch, I believe God and His Word will 
cover us with moisture-retaining protection. I want to grow, don’t you?

At least in the case of my mulching escapade, I actually enjoyed spreading 
those earthy smelling sprigs (Does anyone out there share my passion?). And
then, there’s the miracle of surprising energy God gave me to do the job. A

And the mulch was on sale.

But what I really love is seeing the finished product of anything my garden 
will grow with a little help–the Creator’s help, for sure.

So it was all good.

God’s Other Takeaways

God did encourage me with a few other helpful takeaways from that 
experience, however:

Better to spread mulch than gossip or lies.

Better to scatter sprigs of love and joy than hatred and discord.

Better to count your blessings than needless bags of mulch.
It’s Your Turn to Share

What about you? Ever had any good intentions go bad? How is God helping you 
to find hope when your good intentions get out of control? How have you 
experienced

Light and Darkness

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. -
Genesis 1:5

Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of 
time in the first day? Then it should be no surprise if I have also changes
in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of 
adversity. It will not always be the sunshine of noonday, even in my soul; I 
must
expect at times to mourn the absence of my former joys and seek my Beloved 
in the night. I am not alone in this, for all the Lord's loved ones have had
to sing the mingled song of judgment and mercy, of trial and deliverance, of 
mourning and delight. It is one of the arrangements of divine providence 
that
day and night will not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation 
until we reach the land of which it is written, "there will be no night 
there."1
What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.

What, then, my soul, is it best for you to do? Learn first to be content 
with this divine order and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the 
hand
of the Lord as well as good. Then work at beginning and ending your days 
with joy. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises and for the gloom 
of
evening as it falls. There is beauty in both sunrise and sunset; sing of it, 
and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, sound your notes at all hours.
Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall 
heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously 
against
the darkness of grief. Continue your service under all circumstances. If in 
the day your watchword is work, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour
has its duty; so continue in your calling as the Lord's servant until He 
shall suddenly appear in His glory.

My soul, your evening of old age and death is drawing near; do not dread it, 
for it is part of the day, and the Lord has said in essence, "I will cover
him all the day long."

1) Revelation 21:25

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Deuteronomy 5

verse 2 Psalms 88

Where was God when that happened?: And other questions about God’s goodness, 
power, and the way He works in the world.

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 13 Jul 2017, 1:32 pm

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Real Love"
May 24, 2017
Romans 5:7-8 - For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though 
perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows His 
love
for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

On January 1, 1968, the Federal Government's seat belt law went into effect. 
After that date all vehicles had to be equipped with seat belts. From 1968
to 1975 all the States in the Union adopted child car-seat laws, which were 
to help protect youngsters who were riding in vehicles.

The question for our Daily Devotioners is this: what protected children when 
they were in the car
before car seats and safety belts? (Youngsters may want to visit with 
grandma or grandpa for the answer to this question.) The answer is whenever 
an accident
or a fast stop seemed imminent, mother would stretch out her arm to hold the 
passengers and children securely in their seats.

A mother's arms are wonderful things, indeed. They are able to enfold a 
child who is hurting, or they can push a little one to safety. As proof, I 
share
the story of Diane Aluska and her 16-year-old daughter Jenna.

This past Mother's Day the two were coming from Mass at Our Lady of 
Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, New York. They left worship and stopped at a 
donut shop.
As they exited the shop, Diane saw a Toyota Corolla racing toward them in 
reverse. At the wheel of that vehicle was an 80-year-old lady who had 
mistakenly
put her car into reverse and stepped on the gas.

In far less time than it takes to tell, Diane pushed her girl out of the 
path of the car. The daughter received only a glancing blow from the Toyota, 
while
the mother took the full force of the vehicle's momentum.

Both mom and daughter were taken to the same hospital. The daughter lived, 
while mom did not.

That story shows the power of a mother's love is both tragic and uplifting; 
it is sorrowful, beautiful, and inspirational. One could easily wonder if 
there
is any form of love that might be equal to, or even better than, this 
mother's sacrifice.

While I personally stand in awe of Diane's sacrificial commitment, there is 
no question that, if she had had a choice, things would not have happened as
they did. By that I mean, if Diane could have slowed down, or sped up their 
activities so the duo could have completely avoided that Toyota, she would
gladly have done so.

In contrast, we see our Lord's divine love. We see Jesus who was born into 
this world for the purpose of fulfilling the Law and carrying our sins to 
the
cross, where His life paid their price. Rather than running from His 
substitutionary death, Jesus embraced it so we might be saved.

We also need to remember Diane died for her own loving daughter. She might 
not have been similarly inclined to do the same for someone else's child. In
contrast, the Bible reminds us that while "one will scarcely die for a 
righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to 
die
-- but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ 
died for us."

And that, my friend, is what love is all about.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I who have received such unearned love may 
reflect it to all those around me. May the lost and unloved be brought to
see the greatness of Your saving grace. This I ask in my Redeemer's Name. 
Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written By Daniel Prendergast, Kevin Sheehan, and Priscilla DeGregory for 
the New York Post 
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Psalms 12-14; John 8:28-59
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Purpose
by Chuck Swindoll

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Monotony and mediocrity mesh like teeth in gears. One spawns the other, 
leaving us yawning, bored, and adrift. In referring to monotony, I do not 
have
in mind a lack of activity as much as a lack of purpose. We can be busy yet 
bored, involved yet indifferent. Life becomes tediously repetitious, dull,
humdrum, pedestrian. In a word, blah.

Look into the faces of entertainers off the stage. Talk to physicians out of 
the office and hospital corridors. Those in the political arena are equally
susceptible. Show me an individual who once soared, whose life was 
characterized by enthusiasm and excellence, but who no longer reaches those 
heights,
and I'll show you a person who has probably become a victim of the blahs.

A blah attack may sound harmless, but it can leave us in an emotional heap, 
seriously questioning if life is worth it.

Yet even during your drab and seemingly meaningless assignments of life, God 
is there! He cares! He knows! From your yesterday to your tomorrow—God. From
the little involvements to the big ones—God. From the beginning of school to 
the end of school—God. From the assignments that will never really make the
headlines (which seem to be mere busy work) all the way to those things that 
gain international attention—God. He is there! So the very next time you 
feel
those clammy, cold fingers of the blahs reaching around you, remember, "From 
yesterday until tomorrow, You, O Lord, are there. You care!"

Excerpt taken from Dear Graduate: Letters of Wisdom from Charles R. 
Swindoll, copyright © 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved 
worldwide.
For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .
Family Tree Fun quiz
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.

The Perfect Medicine to Heal a Heart of Negativity
TRACIE MILES

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the 
bones.†
Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

We sat in an empty waiting room for hours, anxious for an update on my 
sister’s surgery. When the doctor finally entered the room, the news wasn’t 
good.

He explained how her medical situation was worse than expected, and the 
surgery more extensive than originally thought. He then proceeded to explain 
a
difficult, lengthy recovery and how her life would be changed forever.

You could’ve heard a pin drop under the weight of silence and sorrow. As the 
doctor walked away, my family and I just sat there -- our eyes filled with
tears, and our hearts filled with worry.

But the silence came to an abrupt halt when another group entered the room 
with lots of talking and chaos. I tried to tune them out, immersed in my 
negative
feelings ... until I heard the name of Jesus spoken several times. In that 
moment, when fear and anxiety hung heavy in the air, the mention of Jesus’ 
name
seemed like music to my ears.

As I lifted my head to see who had spoken His name, I saw a beautiful 
elderly woman with snow-white hair across the room. She was sitting in a 
wheelchair
praying aloud for her husband. Despite the fact that she, too, was in this 
hospital waiting room, waiting to receive uncertain news about a loved one,
she glowed with optimism and had a spirit of encouragement. Joy and 
positivity dripped from each of her words.

She eventually looked up and noticed me staring at her. I quickly averted my 
eyes, hoping to avoid any interaction. But to my dismay, she immediately 
hollered
across the room, "Hey, honey! How are you?† I had no choice but to 
acknowledge her and manage a pitiful smile. “I’m fine, thank you.† I hoped 
that would
be the end of our conversation, but she had other plans.

Before I knew it, she’d rolled her wheelchair across the room and stopped 
right at my feet. I tried to gather what was left of my personal space by 
sliding
my chair back, but it was already against the wall. I was stuck.

She leaned in and began telling me all about her husband in surgery, but I 
wasn’t in the mood for small talk. Honestly, these details about someone I 
didn’t
know felt kind of bothersome, but soon, something strange began to happen -- 
her joy and optimism began to feel contagious.

Her smile stretched ear to ear while happiness exuded from her face. She 
shared what a wonderful man her husband was. I found myself hanging on her 
every
word, secretly wishing I could write down each hopeful, uplifting comment 
and holy promise she spoke. Her faith-inspired, cheery disposition was like 
a
soothing balm pouring out of her heart right into the empty spaces of mine.

But then, she said something that took my breath away. Something I will 
never, ever forget as long as I live.

“Honey, I hope God blesses your sister. And if He can only save one person 
today, I hope it is her. My husband is 85 years old and has lived a long and
fruitful life."

Huge tears began to slide down my face. How could she even consider the 
thought of putting a total stranger's life ahead of the life of her precious 
husband?
And without even hesitating? I was stunned and speechless.

She then took my hands, wrapped her cold, thin, frail fingers around mine 
and began to pray out loud for my sister. Suddenly, it felt as if we were 
the
only two people in the waiting room, and we had an audience of only One. 
Tears dripped from my eyes onto my lap as she prayed. After she said amen I 
thanked
her and prayed for her husband in return. Then, she disappeared as quickly 
as she had appeared.

In today’s key verse, Solomon assures us a cheerful heart is good medicine 
for the soul, the mind and the body. Positive thoughts lead to a positive 
outlook
which leads to a positive heart and a positive life. Negative thoughts lead 
to a broken spirit which impacts our minds, emotions and our lives.

You see, negativity holds the power to drain our strength and crush our 
spirits like dried up bones. Optimism has the power to do just the opposite 
...
positive thinking leads to positive living.

This amazing woman whose name I’ll never know was living proof of the value 
tucked into Solomon’s wisdom. She intentionally filled her heart with joy in
Christ, instead of sadness in circumstances. This equipped her to have 
cheerful thoughts, a positive outlook and an unsinkable faith, no matter 
what.

That day, I walked out of the hospital with a changed heart and a more 
cheerful spirit. I’d seen a glimpse of Jesus in the face of a frail woman. 
Her optimism
and joy kept her heart cheerful and brought healing to the heavy hearts of 
others. Including mine.

Lord, help me have the strength to choose to be cheerful and full of joy, 
despite negative circumstances. Heal my heart and outlook with Your joy, and
use me as a cheerful light in this world filled with negativity. In Jesus 
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 15:13
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the 
spirit is broken.  (NASB)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
God's Design in Detours
By John Piper

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Have you ever wondered what God is doing while you are looking in the wrong 
place for something you lost and needed very badly? He knows exactly where
it is, and he is letting you look in the wrong place.

I once needed a quote for a new edition of my book Desiring God. I knew I 
had read it in Richard Wurmbrand. I thought it was in his devotional book, 
Reaching
Toward the Heights. I could almost see it on the right hand side of the 
facing pages. But I couldn't find it.

But while I was looking, I was riveted on one page, the devotional for 
November 30. As I read it, I said, This is one of the reasons I have had to 
keep
looking for my quote.Here was a story, not for me, but for parents of 
broken children.

Having broken children is like looking in the wrong place for what you have 
lost and cannot find. Why? Why? Why? This was the unplanned reward of 
wasted
moments.

In a home for retarded children, Catherine was nurtured twenty years. The 
child had been [mentally handicapped] from the beginning and had never 
spoken
a word, but only vegetated. She either gazed quietly at the walls or made 
distorted movements. To eat, to drink, to sleep, were her whole life. She 
seemed
not to participate at all in what happened around her. A leg had to be 
amputated. The staff wished Cathy well and hoped that the Lord would soon 
take her
to Himself.

One day the doctor called the director to come quickly. Catherine was dying. 
When both entered the room, they could not believe their senses. Catherine
was singing Christian hymns she had heard and had picked up, just those 
suitable for death beds. She repeated over and over again the German song, 
“Where
does the soul find its fatherland, its rest?† She sang for half an hour with 
transfigured face, then she passed away quietly. (Taken from
The Best Is Still to Come, Wuppertal: Sonne und Shild)

Is anything that is done in the name of Christ really wasted?

My frustrated, futile search for what I thought I needed was not wasted. 
Singing to this disabled child was not wasted. And your agonizing, unplanned 
detour
is not a waste  not if you look to the Lord for his unexpected work, and do 
what you must do in his name (Colossians 3:17). The Lord works for those who
wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


A Deposit of Power
Many Christians view their conversion something like a car wash. You go in a 
filthy clunker, and you come out with your sins washed away--a cleansed 
clunker.
But conversion is more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power! It 
is as if a brand-new Ferrari engine was mounted in your frame. God removed 
the
old motor that was caked, cracked, and broken with rebellion and evil; and 
he replaced it with a humming, roaring version of himself.

The Apostle Paul described it as being new creation, old things have 
passed away; behold all things have become new  (2 Corinthians 5:17 ). You 
are fully
equipped. Do you need more energy? You have it. More kindness? Its yours.
Hebrews 13:21
promises that God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. Just 
press the gas pedal. God has given you everything you need for living a 
godly
life!

From Glory Days
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com

Jesus Likes Me, This I Know
ALICIA BRUXVOORT

He saved me to His delight; He took joy in me.
Psalm 18:19b (VOICE)

I wasn’t expecting anything profound to slip from my 4-year-olds lips while 
we chatted over lunch on that hot summer day. I was just trying to keep my
capricious girl at the table long enough to finish her peanut butter 
sandwich before she raced off to play.

What did you learn at Vacation Bible School today?  I asked as I leaned 
over Maggies pink plastic plate and wiped a drizzle of peanut butter from 
her
chin.

My daughter lifted her sandwich to her lips, took a bite and peered at me 
over the crust like a friendly neighbor peeking across a backyard fence.

I learned that Jesus really likes me ... she said with a giddy grin. 
Soooo much!

Her words floated through the air on the wings of a happy-sing-song. Then 
she reached across the table and gave my hand a tender squeeze. And, 
Mommy, 
she said as she laced her sticky fingers through mine, I think He
really, really likes you, too! 

She waved her arms like a baby bird taking flight, and I felt as if my heart 
might take flight, too.

After all, Ive long believed that Jesus loves me -- the cross is proof of 
that -- but some days when I look at the woman in the mirror, its hard to 
believe
my Savior
likes me, too.

I don’t know about you, but some days, I just feel unlikeable.

Some days I feel messed up and maxed out, exasperated and exhausted.

Some days Im not grateful or gleeful, flexible or fun.

Some days I dont bring delight to my husband, my kids or even my dearest 
pals.

And to be totally honest, some days I dont even like myself.

Yet like a forgiving friend, the Bible echoes my little girls winsome 
words.

Scripture reminds us that the One who took our place on Calvarys cross 
doesnt merely tolerate us through gritted teeth or embrace us because of 
holy
compulsion. As preposterous as it sounds, the One who first loved us, 
actually
likes us, too. And heres proof:

 Todays key verse says God takes joy in us.
 Psalm 149:4 declares He delights in us.
 Zephaniah 3:17 affirms He rejoices over us.
 And Psalm 147:11 proclaims that we bring Him pleasure.

Its crazy when you think about it -- that the perfect Prince of Heaven 
takes joy in His flawed followers on the dust of earth. But when I remember 
this
simple truth, it changes the way I pursue my Savior.

When I acknowledge that Jesus enjoys me, I look for ways to enjoy Him, too.
I seek His company as I go throughout my day, whether its talking to Him as 
I drive across town or laughing with Him over my children’s goofy antics.

I notice His kindness in the depths of my daily grind -- the brazen sunset 
over the trees in my backwoods, or the unexpected phone call from a friend 
on
a hard day.

And I relish His presence in the midst my pandemonium. I savor the song of 
the birds beyond my window, the unexplainable peace in my hurry, the echo of
an encouraging Scripture verse that runs through my mind.

In short, when I remember how the One who died for me also delights in me, Im 
drawn to delight in Him, too.

So, Im gonna keep singing that Sunday School song I learned as a child:
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

But Im also going to celebrate that oft-ignored truth that a 4-year-old 
once spoke to my soaring soul through a mouthful of peanut butter.

Jesus really likes me ... And you know what? I think He really really likes 
you, too ... soooooo much.

Dear Jesus, Thank You for loving me enough to save me and liking me enough 
to savor me. Teach me how to delight in You, as You delight in me. In Jesus
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 147:11, But the Eternal does take pleasure in those who worship Him, 
those who invest hope in His unfailing love.  (VOICE)

Zephaniah 3:17 , The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who 
saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer 
rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.  (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
If you need a reminder of how much God not only loves you, but likes you, 
you dont want to miss our life-changing summer Online Bible Study. Jennifer
Rothschild is partnering with us to help set women free of their negative 
self-talk and replace it with the powerful truth of God's Word. Registration
for the Me, Myself, and Lies
P31 OBS is now open! Learn more here .

CONNECT:
For more encouragement and for a giveaway that will inspire you to savor 
your Savior, join
Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog today.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How might knowing that Jesus likes you change the way you approach your 
Savior on a daily basis? What is one way you can enjoy Jesus more today?

Prayerfully consider sharing one of the verses listed in todays devotion 
with a friend who needs to know that Jesus doesnt just love her, but He 
likes
her, too.

(c) 2017 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 12 Jul 2017, 3:22 pm

If I Have Enough Faith, Will God Heal Me?
Randy Alcorn

Okay, first let me say this: if you don’t have much time, just skip through 
what I’ve written below and go to the video at the end where Joni Eareckson
Tada is interviewed by Todd Wagner. What Joni says in this video is more 
important than what I say below (though I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think 
it
was also important).

When I became insulin-dependent in 1985, I wondered who wanted me ill, Satan 
or God. The obvious answer? Satan. But I’m also convinced, as was the 
apostle
Paul, that the ultimate answer is God. Paul, under the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit, saw God’s sovereignty, grace, and humbling purpose of his 
disease
(see 2 Corinthians 12:7–10
). I have clearly and repeatedly seen the same in my own life.

Upon learning of my disease, well-meaning people sometimes ask whether I 
have trusted God enough to heal me. I respond that when I was first 
diagnosed,
I and others
did ask God to heal me. After a while, when God chose not to answer our 
prayers that way, I stopped asking.

When I say this, I sometimes get looks of alarm and quotes about persevering 
in prayer and having faith as a mustard seed. I point out that Paul asked
God to remove his disease
three times, not a thousand times or a hundred or even a dozen. Just three 
times he asked—but God made it clear the affliction had come from His 
gracious
hand. Paul had no desire to ask God to remove that which his Lord wanted to 
use to create in him greater Christlikeness and dependence upon God. (Those
who claim anyone with enough faith will be healed must believe they have 
greater faith than Paul and his fellow missionaries who suffered from 
ailments,
including Trophimus, Epaphroditus, and Timothy.)

I have asked God to heal me more times than Paul asked God to heal him, and 
I’ve cooperated with people who say they feel led to pray over me that God
would heal me. But I don’t regularly ask Him to do so anymore. Of course, I’d 
rejoice if God suddenly healed my pancreas and I no longer needed to take
insulin or deal with low and high blood sugar and the toll they take. I’d 
feel grateful if an ethical medical technology could heal my disease. Yet if
I could snap my fingers and remove my disease—apart from some direct 
revelation from God that I should do so—I would not use that power. Why not? 
Because

God actually has the power to heal me, and He has chosen not to.

Interestingly, when we study the prayers of Scripture, we find that they 
deal far more with spiritual growth than with physical health. Notice the 
focus
of Paul’s prayer for the Colossians:

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and 
may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in 
the
knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his 
glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and 
joyfully giving
thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of 
the saints in the kingdom of light. (
Colossians 1:10–12 )

It’s striking what Paul doesn’t pray for: an elder’s bout with cancer, the 
flu bug going around Colossae, an Asia Minor recession, kidney stones, back
problems, and good weather for the church picnic. Did they have these issues 
back then? Sure. They had diseases, discomforts, financial strains, and bad
weather. And did they pray for them? No doubt. But Scripture’s recorded 
prayers seldom concern such things. They involve intercession for people’s 
love
for God, knowledge of God, walk with God, and service to God.

We should pray for ourselves and our suffering loved ones, not simply try to 
pray away suffering. “God, please heal this cancer” is appropriate. “God,
please use for your glory this cancer, so long as I have it” is equally 
appropriate.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

When you pray only for healing, what are you praying to miss out on? 
Christlikeness? Shouldn’t we learn to pray that our suffering causes growth, 
that
God will give us little glimpses of Heaven as we seek to endure, and that He 
would use us?

Let me be clear: God can and sometimes does heal presently, and we should 
celebrate His mercy. I have often prayed for healing and sometimes witnessed
it. But ultimately, all healing in this world is temporary, since people’s 
bodies inevitably deteriorate and die. Resurrection healing will be 
permanent.
For that our hearts should overflow with praise to our gracious God.

No one has greater credibility to speak on this subject than Joni Eareckson 
Tada, who in July will mark the 50th anniversary of the accident that left
her a quadriplegic. We recently
featured Joni
after she spoke at our church earlier this year. In a conversation with 
Pastor Todd Wagner of Watermark Church, she answers the question, “If you 
have
enough faith, will God heal you?” I encourage you
to watch
and listen carefully to this interaction between two people who, over the 
years, have both become my friends. You’ll be glad you did. Todd asks great
questions, and what Joni says is gold.

This article originally appeared on EPM.org
Eternal Perspective Ministries. Used with permission.


Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's Turning Point
Wednesday, May 24

A Battering Ram for Prayer

I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant 
in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

Jonah 4:2

Recommended Reading
Ephesians 3:14-21
When theologians talk about the attributes of God, they are referring to His 
characteristics, qualities, and features. As we study the vastness of 
creation,
we discover what God is like. He is infinite, without beginning or ending in 
time. He is omnipresent—always present in every place. He is holy, without
a trace of evil or deception about Him. He is a loving God. He is powerful.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Sometimes we compile lists or studies of the attributes of God so we can 
study Him more carefully. Pondering God is the highest and happiest pursuit 
of
the human mind. We can do this in prayer. When we pray, it’s vital to focus 
on the wonderful qualities of God. Prayer isn’t simply a matter of bringing
our needs to the Lord; it’s a matter of getting to know the God to whom we 
bring our needs. For every problem we face, there’s an attribute of God to 
help
us.

Are you concerned about a loved one far from home? God is there, too. Are 
you worried about the future? God already knows what tomorrow holds. Are you
distressed about world events? God is powerful, sovereign, and in control of 
all things. Try praying the attributes of God and your prayers will gain a
new focus.

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
Corrie ten Boom

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Nehemiah 11 – 13
David Jeremiah's Website
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Who controls your life?
Ciloa logo
May 21, 2017
Volume XVII, Issue 21
A Note of Encouragement
F 15 fighter jet in flight at sunset

Where God Wants You To Be
...by Chuck Graham

Pilot in an F-15
Once upon a time I was sitting in my office when a friend called. Oh, I 
don't know, let's call him...Geoff. His voice was at a considerably higher 
pitch
than normal as he jabbered away at ninety miles a minute. All I could make 
out was
Gottacomeandtellyouallaboutitbye!

"It" was a ride-along in the rear seat of an Air Force jet, something that 
starts with F and ends with teen. (Probably an F-15.) This was his dream 
flight,
made possible by a former employer who also happened to be fairly high up in 
the Air National Guard.

The flight took place at Dobbins Air Reserve Base just north of Atlanta, 
Georgia. Though the Base is an hour away, he made it to my office in half 
that
time. The experience was so fresh that the outline of the oxygen mask was 
still visible on his face.

The day was awesome...until he took control.

F-15 going vertical
Geoff described the briefing class, his flight suit, and his stroll (think
Top Gun) to the awaiting rocket ship. After a smooth take off, they leveled 
off at an altitude of 10 feet. Yes, you read that right. That all changed,
however, with the words, "Steep Ascent approved."

The pilot turned on the afterburners, Geoff's eyes shot back into his skull, 
and suddenly they were vertical. Leveling out somewhere between Earth and
the Moon, they cruised to the Snowbird MOA where Geoff experienced barrel 
rolls, loops, hard g-force turns, and, I suspect, the vomit bag.

Then the pilot offered Geoff the chance to fly the jet. He quickly grabbed 
the stick and became one with the F-15. Such awesome power! What incredible
control! The "Cool Gauge" was off the chart. He glanced left for only a 
moment, then returned forward to find the jet tilted left.

"She's very sensitive," the pilot said as he took control.

Give control to the One who knows what He's doing.

This got me thinking. Isn't Geoff's adventure a lot like our walk with God? 
(Well, except that we don't get to wear a cool flight suit with our name on
it.)

Man facing a night sky filled with stars and the Aurora Borealis on the 
horizon
When we follow God, we give up control to Him. He brings us on a journey we 
would never have without Him. We're along for the ride. And when He turns on
the afterburners, we reach heights we've never known as God takes us to 
where
He wants us to be.

The only time things go wrong is when we take the controls. We glance away 
from the direction God has given us. And when we look back, we're no longer
flying straight.

Is God at the controls of your life? Are you where He wants you to be? Let 
go of the controls and allow God to take you to heights you could never have
imagined. And think of the stories you'll share!

Whoever clings to an earthly life will demand control over it,
but whoever gives control to Jesus will have life worth clinging to.1

Take care & be God's,
Chuck

Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international 
ministry devoted to sharing God's encouragement and teaching others how to 
"encourage
one another as long as it is called Today!" He is also an author, speaker, 
teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville,
Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at
www.Ciloa.org .

1. Based on Matthew 10:39...If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but 
if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
NLT

Ciloa Lawrenceville, Georgia, U.S.A. www.Ciloa.org
Ciloa is funded entirely by contributions from those wanting to share God's 
encouragement with the world.
We invite you to partner with us.
Click the link: Partner with Ciloa to encourage others
Ciloa is a registered service mark of Ciloa, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization. A Note of Encouragement is a copyright interest held by Ciloa, 
Inc.

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Walking, Talking Refreshment Stands - #7923

I admire my friends who are marathon runners. I don't want to be one of 
them, but I admire them. I actually did have a bit of a running program 
going when
my kids were little. Every morning, I used to run around the block twenty 
times, until my son moved the block! Sorry. I've never run a marathon. I've 
watched
some, and I've talked to my friends who have done the whole 26-mile 
distance. If you've ever watched or run a marathon, you've seen those 
volunteers, probably,
that are stationed all along the way-the ones with the orange slices and 
water. As the miles become more and more grueling, the body can actually 
begin
to shut down. Water is desperately needed to avoid dehydration. The 
potassium in those orange slices replenishes an important deficit in your 
body. I think
it's probably questionable if many runners could make it if it weren't for 
those little like refreshment stands.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Walking, 
Talking Refreshment Stands."

In a way, I guess all of us are marathon runners. Just look at the course 
you have to run every day, every week, every month, and so on. And all of us
reach those points where we feel like we can't go on; where a vital system 
seems to be shutting down. And that's where the refreshment folks are 
desperately
needed. I hope the folks around you consider you one of those.

Every one of us needs people who will be our refreshers. We all know people 
who need for us to be their refresher. In fact, here's a great example of 
one
of those unsung heroes, as recorded in our word for today from the Word of 
God. It's in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, and Paul is writing about this lonely season
of his life. He's isolated in Caesar's prison, awaiting what will ultimately 
be his execution. Now this man who has helped so many run their race needs
someone to help him finish his.

And along comes a man with a name that's a mouthful and a ministry that is 
wonderful. Paul says, "May the Lord show mercy to the household of 
Onesiphorus
because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the 
contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 
May the
Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day!" Onesiphorus: 
the name literally means "profit-bringer." That's something all of us can 
be-someone
who makes a person richer because they have been with you.

To be one of God's refreshment stands, you're there for someone when it's 
awkward and you don't know what to do or you don't know what to say. You're 
there
when it's hard, when it's inconvenient, when they're un-loveable, or when 
you have to "search hard" to find a way to get to them. You go out of your 
way
to bring some love and some support to a person who needs it. You walk in 
when everyone else is walking out. Your ministry of refreshment can take 
many
forms. Sometimes it's just a hug. Other times it's a compliment, or a word 
of encouragement, a letter or e-mail, a text, a visit, noticing something 
good,
or praying with them.

It's usually just a matter of obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit 
instead of quenching that prompting. My guess is He's prompting you all the 
time
to make a move in someone's direction, because He knows who needs what you 
could give. Learn to listen to those promptings from God. I'll tell you 
what,
it's one of the ways you lead a supernatural life. Don't blow off the Holy 
Spirit's promptings.

God's promise to you is this: "He who refreshes others will himself be 
refreshed." He'll give back to you with the measure you give. So what effect 
are
you having on the people around you? Are you making it harder for them to 
run the race? Or are you one of those holy heroes whose offering them the 
refreshing
care that they need? You actually may be the difference in someone running 
the distance!

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA


 Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend
Today's
Turning Point
Thursday, May 25

What Will You Remember?

I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders 
of old.
Psalm 77:11

Recommended Reading
Psalm 77
We are a forgetful people. In the heat of an argument, we forget a friend’s 
kindness and focus on their faults. When the devastation of a financial loss
occurs, we forget God’s previous provision. Worry crowds out trust because 
they cannot co-exist. The way to shrink our worry is to meditate on God’s 
character
and truth.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
What we allow our minds to ruminate on affects our thoughts, actions, and 
emotions. We are creatures of habit, and cycles of worry are difficult to 
break.
One of the best antidotes to worry is a journal. Whether your journal is a 
list of ways God has provided for you or a rant over the concern crowding 
your
mind, the worry antidote occurs when you read back over your journal—months 
or even years later. God’s sustenance of you through the valleys and 
mountain
peaks of your days will become evident. There is nothing more powerful than 
meditating on His Word and promises and seeing them fulfilled in our lives.
Pray that He gives us the eyes to see and the mind to remember all He has 
done for us.

We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of 
vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as
an invitation to prayer.
John Ortberg
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.


I CHOOSE

"I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I 
trust.'" (Psalm 91:2)

Mrs. S. had lived alone for many years and got out only with the help of a 
wheelchair. Every Sunday she wheeled herself into the side aisle of our 
sanctuary
(one without handicap access) where she worshiped enthusiastically. She 
always seemed to be "up." People smiled when they were around her.

One evening Mrs. S. spoke to the youth of the church and was asked how she 
could always be so alive, so full of joy. She responded, "Because I *choose*
to. I had no choice about living the last half of my life as a widow or 
having one of my sons killed in the Korean War. And I certainly I didn't 
choose
to have to ride around in this chair for the past ten years. But one thing I 
did choose - to be happy. I decided to make the best of every day and to see
the best in every person."

A friend who had been a missionary in South America told me of taking some 
American visitors through his city. One of them spotted a beautiful, large 
poinsettia
tree in front of a small house as they passed by. The visitor wanted to take 
a picture and, not realizing that the plant was brittle, reached up to pull
down a branch for the camera. A six-foot length of flame-red poinsettia 
snapped to the ground.

At that moment the woman of the house stepped out of the door and confronted 
the gringos standing there, poinsettia branch in hand. Humiliated, they 
offered
to pay for her loss. But they could no more fix the personal damage than 
they could repair the tree. Still, instead of adding to their embarrassment, 
the
woman cheerfully asked them in for tea. She chose to forgive them, to 
overlook their clumsy behavior. She chose to offer them grace.

Nothing is more crucial to the quality of our lives than the choices we make 
about how we approach the circumstances and relationships of each day. In
the end it is that attitude which largely determines the outcomes we will 
find. The Lord made today, but it is we who decide how we will live in it. I
*choose* God as my refuge . . . I *choose* to believe . . . I *choose* to 
find a way.
Copyright 2007 Dr. Michael A. Halleen



What Does Service Really Look Like?

I don’t know about you but when I think about the words service, calling, 
following Jesus, or discipleship I don’t always think about my refrigerator.
Or my dining room table. Definitely not about my toilet or bathroom. I tend 
to think far off fuzzy thoughts about important titles and business cards,
auditoriums, book contracts, or radio interviews. And then there’s an 
afternoon when Play-Doh® is strewn all over the floor in hard little dribs 
and drabs,
the counters are covered in plates, and there have been a steady stream of 
people through our house by the end of the week, and it shows. Then, I 
remember,
that this is what service mostly looks like.

We are everyday ministers of the gospel. It shows up in our homes like 
neighbor kids, friends who need a ride to the airport, hosting a home group, 
making
a meal for a friend, or even better, welcoming a stranger at church. We can 
become blind to our own ministry that takes place every single day outside
the spotlight but is caught in the bright glare of heaven’s gaze.

Because that’s where we will actually make our names. A name for being the 
place where neighbor kids feel welcome showing up unannounced. A name for 
opening
the door even when it’s inconvenient. A name for making time, giving time, 
being available. Because our open front doors and sometimes nearly-bare 
refrigerators
and sticky dining room tables will be the places we literally practice what 
we preach before we dare go take that message anywhere else.

I’m not always that good at making this obvious connection. I get irritated 
and tired and I like my own personal space. Admittedly, there are days I 
want
to be wanted by important people with important titles more than I want to 
open my fridge to visitors who know me by name and have seen me in my 
Saturday
afternoon sweatpants. But while I may have those thoughts, I don’t want them 
to be the boss of me.

I want my dining room table to be the boss of me, especially when I’m 
tempted to set my sights on something “better† than my right now, right here 
friends
and neighbors. That table with the big, wide, country planks that have 
crumbs filling up the cracks. That table with the squeaky chairs we 
constantly have
to repair. That table that can seat stray college students and Tuesday night 
friends. That table that is doing its best work when it’s messy and has 
sticky
streaks and an extra bench added down one side. That table and my front door 
are teaching me that the one seat I need to focus on is the one next to me,
not the one across the room or the aisle or even the other end of the table. 
It’s the seat right next to me right now that is supposed to be my teacher.
Whether my best friend, a new friend, a relative, a stranger, or one of my 
own children is sitting in it.

Dear God, please help us not to miss the beauty of the seat right next to 
us. Help us to stop worrying about being impressive and instead to feed the 
hungry
who show up at our tables. To feed them our best, our friendship, our time. 
To feed them our patience, our interest, our availability. Perhaps our 
friendships
are only as big and deep as our hospitality. And I’m not talking about our 
decor or our skills in the kitchen. I’m talking about our willingness to 
invite
people in despite our decor, not because of it.

This is living. Not just the making room for it with clean floors and 
plates, toothbrushes put away, and sinks wiped down. (Why on earth can’t 
they ever
remember to rinse the sink? I mutter every night.) No, this is what those 
spaces are made for. They hold room for the people. And it’s the people who 
make
us extraordinary.

We Saved You a Seat
Excerpted from the Bible study
We Saved You a Seat
by (in)courage
© 2017. LifeWay Christian Resources

6 Things Every Christian Does According to the Gospel
Jaquelle Crowe

Meet Paul. He was born like you and me—a sinner, with a tiny fist curled in 
rebellion against God that grew to be a giant fist that declared, “I hate 
Jesus
so much, I’m going to persecute his followers.† An incalculable antagonist 
to Jesus, Paul wanted to squelch his following. He wanted Christians dead, 
and
he worked against them every step of the way.

And then Jesus found him and said, “Paul, you are mine† (see Acts 9). Like 
the sudden snap of a switch, the Jesus-hater became a Jesus-follower.

Everything in Paul’s life swiftly and radically changed. Once persecuting 
Christians, he now became their greatest champion.

He also authored thirteen books of the New Testament. In one of these books, 
Philippians, Paul gave a definition of what a Jesus-follower—a Christian—is.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of 
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all 
things
and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in 
him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that
which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends 
on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may 
share
his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I 
may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:8–11)

What is a Christian? According to Paul, a Christian is someone who does six 
things: (1) treasures Christ, (2) devalues everything else, (3) puts faith
in Christ alone, (4) knows him, (5) suffers for him, and (6) becomes like 
him.

1. Christians Treasure Christ

Paul suggests that everything—even the most valuable, mind-blowingly awesome 
treasure out there—is worthless when compared with Jesus.

Jim Elliot knew this well. A missionary to Ecuador in the 1950s, Jim was 
murdered by Huaorani Indians, the very people he was serving, before he 
turned
twenty-nine years old. Here was a man who adored Jesus so much, he was 
willing to lose everything to tell others about him. Jim wrote a famous line 
that
stands as a statement of his life: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot 
keep to gain that which he cannot lose.†

2. Christians Devalue Everything Else

When Paul says that he counts “everything as loss,† maybe you think that he 
doesn’t mean everything.What about popularity? Comfort? Friends? To Paul, 
that’s
like comparing fruit cores to a king’s feast. They are indescribably 
inferior. No, that doesn’t mean all of those things are necessarily sinful 
or unimportant;
what it means is that when they are compared to Christ, they’re nothing only 
because Jesus is everything.

Paul was the quintessential example of devaluing everything because of how 
much he treasured Christ. He suffered brutal shipwrecks and bloody beatings,
lashings and imprisonments, starvation and snake bites, thirst, discomfort, 
loss, loneliness, and pain all because Jesus was worth it (2 Cor. 11:23–28).
All because Jesus was better.

3. Christians Have Faith in Him Alone

We live in an age of self-help, where following your heart is the 
contemporary path to salvation. If you can just muster the strength and 
summon the courage,
you’ve got this. You’re the hero. We’re consistently told, believe in 
yourself.

Yet there may be no message more destructive to biblical Christianity. It is 
one so hideously and thoroughly rotted with self-idolatry that Jesus came
to destroy it. Jesus came instead to call us to die daily to ourselves and 
trust in him as the true and perfect Savior (1 Pet. 2:24).

4. Christians Know Him

You cannot be a Christian unless you know God. Not just know about him. Even 
the demons know about God
(James 2:19). You have to know him as Savior, as Lord, as Redeemer, as 
Justifier, as King, as Friend. This relationship is not one-sided, 
impersonal, surface-level,
or long-distance. It’s present and active and messy and real and fearful and 
divinely wonderful. It is a holy God loving imperfect humans and making a
way for authentic communion with them.

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5. Christians Suffer for Him

To say that Christians won’t suffer is a lie. Suffering is a reality as 
certain as salvation itself. Just ask Paul or Jim Elliot . . . or Jesus. 
When
God saves you, you sacrifice a life of ease. “Then Jesus told his disciples, 
‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross
and follow me’† (Matt. 16:24). Christians should expect suffering, while 
also recognizing that we have a great responsibility in the midst of it—to 
glorify
God (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

6. Christians Become Like Him

Jesus-followers strive to become more holy as God’s Spirit works in our 
hearts to make us more like him. We demonstrate our allegiance to Christ by 
daily
conforming to his image (1 Pet. 1:15–16).
The gospel changes everything.

That means we understand the beauty of the gospel. That means we join with 
the community of his church, and we become a family who lives to worship God
together. That means that we run from sinandrepent and glory in grace. That 
means we cultivate disciplines in our lives that make us more like Jesus.

That means we grow in maturity and use our time in a way that is profitable. 
That means we foster relationships that will build us up by rejoicing in our
family, nurturing good friendships, and considering romantic relationships 
from God’s perspective.

What is a Christian?

Being a Christian means that we love God more. Every day we die a little 
more to our old selves and live a little more like Christ
(John 3:30). That’s why we are called Christians, because we are of Christ, 
for Christ, with Christ, and in Christ alone.

This post is adapted from the book This Changes Everything: How the Gospel 
Transforms the Teen Years
by Jaquelle Crowe, published by Crossway 2017.

Jaquelle Crowe (BA, Thomas Edison State University) is a young writer from 
eastern Canada. She’s the lead writer and editor in chief of 
TheRebelution.com
and a contributor to the Gospel Coalition, desiringGod.org, and Unlocking 
the Bible. Her first book is
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years .
Publication date: April 6, 2017
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