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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 19 Jan 2014, 12:28 am

CHOOSING LOVE OVER HATE

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Romans 12:14

At the early age of eleven, Sam was living a pious Muslim life in the 
southern Philippines. He prayed at mosques on Fridays and fasted during 
Ramadan.
Sam was the only one of his siblings sent to school where he excelled both 
in classroom and sports. He was everybody’s favourite, popular and 
well-loved.

But everything changed one afternoon. After school, Sam passed by his 
grandfather’s house who happened to be a Christian. He saw a maroon book 
with ‘Kitab
Injil’ (The Gospel) written on the cover. He opened it and started reading. 
“I was drawn to Jesus because his teachings were so different... Help the 
needy,
obey and respect parents, do not be a false witness...they were not taught 
in Islam. Before that, I only knew to repay evil with evil.”

So Sam committed his life to following Jesus and His teachings in the Bible. 
He was just a fifth grader then. Although he was the only Christian in his
family, Sam’s parents and siblings respected his new faith. But outside his 
home, among his friends, it was a different story. “You’re a kafir 
(infidel)!
You are not my friend anymore.”

It was very painful for Sam to be deserted by his friend. His classmates at 
grade school kept a good distance from him. Some mocked him, calling him 
kafir.
There were times during classes when kids would throw their shoes at him. 
They bullied him by writing stuffs on his uniform, filling his bag with 
sand,
and even punching him.

One day, a friend-turned- enemy yelled at him. “You Christians are filthy! 
Christians are garbage!” Sam cried and ran home. There were times when he 
was
tempted to fight back, but he remembered the words of Jesus to love the 
enemies, to bless and not curse. In his heart, he prayed for those who 
bullied
him and repaid them with a kind smile instead.

Sam, now seventeen, has endured physical harassment, insults, and 
discrimination from friends and school mates for boldly telling them that he 
is a Christian.

After Sam joined the Open Doors’ discipleship program for MBB youths, he has 
become even bolder in seizing every opportunity to share his faith in Jesus.
Sam knows that doing so might cost him his life someday.

“When I think of my friends, my heart breaks. I lost them, and though they 
turned out to be my enemies, I don’t hate them. Instead, I pray for them 
that
one day they will meet my Lord Jesus and be changed.”

RESPONSE: Jesus wants me to not repay evil with evil but rather love, bless 
and pray for those who are my enemies.

PRAYER: Help me Lord to live among those who oppose me with the character of 
Jesus and respond to them with love and not hate.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

Today's Speed Bumps to Evangelism

James Tonkowich

“Now that we no longer have a Judeo-Christian basis for our country,” 
explained evangelical theologian Norman Geisler in a recent interview, “we 
are realizing that we are losing all our freedoms along with it." According 
to
the Christian Post,
Geisler went on to say, “Our job is to speak to the culture and help 
re-establish our Judeo-Christian basis or our freedom is going to be swept 
away.”

There is no question that Geisler is correct about our freedom.
As I wrote several weeks ago,
our liberty is being compromised beginning with our religious freedom — the 
freedom on which all other freedoms depend.

And there’s no question that Geisler is correct that our freedoms are 
founded on a Judeo-Christian worldview. History makes it clear that once you 
take that worldview away, freedoms beginning with religious freedom 
evaporate. Every regime that rejects a Judeo-Christian worldview beginning 
with the French Revolution shows us that secularism is the great enemy of 
freedom. And the secular worldview is ascendant in our country.

The question then is: How do we “speak to the culture” in such a way that we 
reestablish freedom by reestablishing a Judeo-Christian worldview?

Part of the answer is evangelism and that’s where the trouble begins. 
Evangelism has always been a challenge, but today it faces three enormous 
speed bumps. They’re in the culture, in the Church, and in our individual 
psyches.

Speed Bump 1: Relativism. While not everyone believes “your truth is your 
truth and my truth is my truth and that’s the way the world is” (not a 
particularly relativistic position when you think about it), we all have 
problems with absolutes.

A friend who teaches high school English tells me that until about ten years 
ago if the concept of evil came up, he could always say, “Hitler and the 
Nazis were evil,” and his students would readily agree. But that’s no longer 
the case. Hitler, they tell him, was probably just doing the best he could. 
Yes, he made some mistakes, but who are we to judge him or his culture?

Two questions come to mind. First, how do we evangelize people who are so 
marinated in relativism that one of the foulest genocidal leaders in history 
gets a free pass? Second, how much have we been impacted by the steady 
drumbeat telling us that being unaffirming and judgmental are the two great 
unforgivable sins?

Evangelism and worldview change demand that we believe and say that there is 
absolute truth. Some things are just plain wrong; some things are just plain 
evil.

Speed Bump 2: Universalism. Walking hand-in-hand with relativism is the 
sense that everyone goes to Heaven. Okay, if you're old school, Hitler and 
his ilk go to Hell, but certainly not the good people: the people who work 
hard, help others, and try to do the right thing even as they reject Jesus 
and the Christian faith.

By contrast, a pastor friend used to pray for those “who are without God in 
this world and without hope in the next.” While I affirm that on paper, I 
confess that I too have lost the visceral sense that it’s true. Even writing 
it makes me squirm. But if there is no threat of Hell, why bother people 
with Jesus? If everyone goes to Heaven, there’s no reason to disturb their 
relativistic, all-affirming, non-judgmental Sunday mornings. Evangelism 
becomes pointless.

Speed Bump 3: No one talks about religion. In his research into the 
spiritual and moral lives of twenty-somethings, Notre Dame sociologist 
Christian Smith found that most people aren’t anti-religion; they’re 
indifferent. They don't object to talking about faith; they just never do 
it.

And it’s easy enough to guess why. Religion only introduces potential 
controversy into otherwise pleasant and placid relationships. Why rock the 
boat with likely disagreements that might leave somebody feeling unaffirmed 
or judged?

Yet evangelism and worldview change require communication. We need to engage 
others with the truth of Christianity.

How do we negotiate the speed bumps? The way we negotiate speed bumps when 
we’re driving: slowly and deliberately. We understand what we believe and 
engage our neighbors with sensitivity motivated by genuine love.

I’m convinced that this begins as we re-experience the Gospel ourselves and 
learn once again that Jesus, who is too good to be true, is not only true, 
but The Truth.

The worldview of the West took decades to get to the freedom-threatening 
state it’s in today. Establishing a new worldview will also take decades — 
assuming that it’s possible at all.

In the near term, progress forward depends on God’s people rejecting 
relativism and universalism as we present Christ lovingly to our friends, 
family and neighbors.

James Tonkowich is a writer and scholar at
The Institute on Religion & Democracy
where his focus is the intersection between faith and the public square, 
where worldview makes all the difference in the world. Jim worked with Chuck 
Colson, managing his daily
BreakPoint
radio commentary, founding a magazine, writing, speaking, and developing 
curriculum including the
Centurions Program.
He is a regular contributor to ReligionToday. com and also works with
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation,
Oxford House Research, and other policy institutes. Learn more about Jim at
JimTonkowich.com.

Today's Quote:

Keep your eye steadily fixed on the infinite grandeur of Christ's
finished work and righteousness. Look to Jesus and believe, look to
Jesus and live! Nay, more; as you look to him, hoist your sails and
buffet manfully the sea of life. Do not remain in the haven of distrust,
or sleeping on your shadows in inactive repose, or suffering your frames
and feelings to pitch and toss on one another like vessels idly moored
in a harbor. The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing
the keel of faith in the shallows, or dragging the anchor of hope
through the oozy tide mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy
breeze. Away! With your canvas spread to the gale, trusting in Him, who
rules the raging of the waters. The safety of the tinted bird is to be
on the wing. If its haunt be near the ground--if it fly low--it exposes
itself to the fowler's net or snare. If we remain grovelling on the low
ground of feeling and emotion, we shall find ourselves entangled in a
thousand meshes of doubt and despondency, temptation and unbelief.

J. R. Macduff

Jesus Knows How You Feel

Remember when you sought a night's rest and got a colicky baby? Remember 
when you sought to catch up at the office and got even further behind? 
Remember
when you sought to use your Saturday for leisure, but ended up fixing your 
neighbor' s sink? Take comfort, friend. It happened to Jesus too. In fact, 
this
would be a good time to pause and digest the central message ...

Jesus knows how you feel.

Ponder this and use it the next time your world goes from calm to chaos.

His pulse raced. His eyes have grown weary. His heart has grown heavy. He 
has had to climb out of bed with a sore throat. He has been kept awake late 
and
has gotten up early. He knows how you feel.

You may have trouble believing that. You probably believe that Jesus knows 
what it means to endure heavy-duty tragedies. You are no doubt convinced 
that
Jesus is acquainted with sorrow and has wrestled with fear. Most people 
accept that. But can God relate to the hassles and headaches of my life? Of 
your
life?

For some reason this is harder to believe.

Perhaps that's why portions of this day are recorded in all the Gospel 
accounts (
Mark 6:1-51
;
Luke 9:1-27
;
John 6:1-21).
No other event, other than the Crucifixion, is told by all four Gospel 
writers. Not Jesus' baptism. Not his temptation. Not even his birth. But all 
four
writers chronicle this day. It's as if Matthew, Mark, Luke and John knew 
that you would wonder if God understands. And they proclaim their response 
in
four-part harmony:

Jesus knows how you feel.

This excerpt is taken from In the Eye of the Storm. Ever wondered if God in 
heaven can relate to you here on earth? In the Eye of the Storm takes you 
through
what Max Lucado calls "the second most stressful day in the life of our 
Savior
Copyright 2013 Max Lucado. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Jan 2014, 11:18 pm

C.S. Lewis Daily
CHARITY
Today's Reading

In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work, it 
gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in 
need’.
Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality: in 
the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point 
on
which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be 
unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing 
a
The Longing of the Thirsty

Isaiah 44:3

When a believer has fallen into a low, sad state of feeling, he often tries 
to lift himself out of it by chastening himself with dark and gloomy fears. 
That is not the way to rise from the dust, but to continue in it.

We may as well chain the eagle's wing to make it fly as doubt in order to 
increase our grace. It is not the law but the Gospel that saves the seeking 
soul at first; and it is not a legal bondage but gospel liberty that can 
restore the fainting believer afterwards.

Slavish fear does not bring the backslider back to God, but the sweet 
wooings of love attract him to Jesus. This morning are you thirsting for the 
living God and unhappy because you cannot find him to the delight of your 
heart? Have you lost the joy of the Lord, and is your prayer, "Restore to me 
the joy of your salvation" ?1

Are you conscious also that you are unproductive, like the dry ground, that 
you are not bringing forth the fruit that God has a right to expect of you, 
that you are not as useful in the church or in the world as your heart 
desires to be?

Then here is exactly the promise that you need: "For I will pour water on 
the thirsty land." You will receive the grace you so desperately need, and 
you will have it in abundance.

Water refreshes the thirsty: You will be refreshed; your desires shall be 
satisfied. Water revives sleeping vegetable life: Your life will be restored 
by fresh grace.

Water makes the bud develop and makes the fruit ripen; and so by God's grace 
you will be made fruitful in His ways. Whatever good quality there is in 
divine grace, you will enjoy it to the full. All the riches of divine grace 
you will receive in plenty; you shall be as it were drenched with it: And as 
sometimes the meadows become flooded by the bursting rivers, and the fields 
are turned into pools, so shall you be-the thirsty land shall be springs of 
water.

1 Psalm 51:12

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 19

verse 2 Hebrews 
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,
www.crossway. org.society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in 
saying that we ought to produce this kind of society. But if anyone thinks 
that,as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted 
company with all Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how 
much
we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can 
spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements,
etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our 
own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all
pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be 
things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure 
excludesthem. I am speaking now of ‘charities’ in the common way. Particular cases 
of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, 
which
God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the 
crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us the great 
obstacle
to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in 
our fear — fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a 
temptation.
Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more 
than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and 
less
than we ought on those who really need our help.
From
Mere Christianity
Compiled in
A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 
© 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of
HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His 
Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights 
reserved.
Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Forgive Our Trespasses
by Charles R. Swindoll

block quote
"Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our 
fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong 
compassion
and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the 
voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us 
through
His servants the prophets." ---Daniel 9:8-10
block quote end

Forgive us, our Father, for being attracted to the pleasures of sin . . . to 
what appears to be full of ecstasy and satisfaction but is, in fact, empty
and stupid. Thank You for bringing conviction, for pointing out our 
rebellion. We need that reminder every day, so that we might invest 
ourselves in that
which endures. We want to pursue the things of God, the things You consider 
important and valuable---a righteous walk, a pure heart, a committed 
lifestyle.
We long to place family above fortune and purpose above fame and 
righteousness above riches.

Our Father, You instruct us and teach us in the way we should go. Thank You 
for that. You shine a bright light on our path from Your Word. Thank You for
the relief that comes with being forgiven and the peace of mind that 
accompanies a clean heart. Finally, thank You for Your mercies, new every 
morning,
and Your grace, needed every day.

We thank You in the dear name of Jesus. Amen.

See also Matthew 6:12; Acts 10:43; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22.

Excerpted from
The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 2,
Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
© 2013 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Jan 2014, 3:07 pm

C.S. Lewis Daily

Today's Reading

In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work, it 
gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in 
need’.
Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality: in 
the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point 
on
which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be 
unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing 
a
society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in 
saying that we ought to produce this kind of society. But if anyone thinks 
that,
as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted 
company with all Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how 
much
we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can 
spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements,
etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our 
own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all
pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be 
things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure 
excludes
them. I am speaking now of ‘charities’ in the common way. Particular cases 
of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, 
which
God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the 
crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us the great 
obstacle
to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in 
our fear — fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a 
temptation.
Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more 
than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and 
less
than we ought on those who really need our help.

From
Mere Christianity
Compiled in
A Year with C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 
© 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of
HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His 
Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights 
reserved.
Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Admin

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Jan 2014, 2:57 pm

Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted
Read Isaiah 55:8–9

God reminds us that his thoughts, choices, and intents are far superior to 
our own. Our humanness limits what we can see and know, but he sees and 
knows everything.

Surviving Disappointment

Disappointment is a sad and terribly lonely place. We all land there at some 
point in life. Our children move away and never call. Colleagues betray us.
The company to which we’ve devoted our years “downsizes,” and we’re on the 
layoff list right along with the newcomer and the slacker. The man we love 
doesn’t
love us back. The perfect child we dream about and tend in pregnancy is born 
with defects that will make the rest of our lives, and all our family 
members’ lives, nothing less than challenging. We get a disease or suffer an injury 
for which there is no relief or cure. Our investments dwindle. Friends 
disappear.
The one we’ve prayed to find Jesus never does. Our dreams shatter, and our 
best-laid plans go astray. Other Christians fail us. People disappoint us. 
We even disappoint ourselves.

The long series of disappointments we accumulate in a lifetime can stop us 
from moving forward into all the goodness God has planned for us—and that 
means
they’ll be stopping not only us but also those God has destined us to reach 
along our life’s journey. After all, how can anyone stuck in their own 
disappointment
help others out of theirs? How can we convince others of the wonder of God’s 
promises if we doubt them ourselves? How can we share how God has saved us
when we don’t feel saved at all?

Why is it that we can know in our heads that God has our good in mind and 
that he can redeem any and every circumstance, and yet we can still feel 
hugely disappointed and deeply despondent? Our heads tell us God is trustworthy—but 
in a moment of aching disappointment, our hearts tell us he’s not even 
there.

In these places of deep disappointment, we must remind ourselves of those 
things about God that we know to be true, though they might not feel true at
the moment. We must conclude for ourselves that the valley of death we are 
walking through isn’t, to borrow an image from Pilgrim’s Progress, a Slough
of Despond from which we would never emerge, but simply a shadow, and that 
shadow does not define our lives. Christ does.

There is so much we don’t know. But we do know this: If we are to accept the 
disappointments that we cannot escape in life, we must turn to God’s Word
for hope and encouragement.

Point to Ponder

God knows things we don’t know, and does things in ways we could never 
predict. He is infinite, and we are finite. In good times and bad, we must 
trust
him to know what is best for us.

Undaunted by Christine Caine
Today's reading is adapted from Undaunted
or The Core Issue
by Christine Caine


Good News, Everyone’s Invited
By Jonathan Parnell | Nov 03, 2013 12:00 am

Original
Not everyone will believe the gospel, but everyone should be invited.

We know from Scripture, and experience, that not everyone will trust in 
Jesus and be saved. In fact, many will not. Many today sitting in churches 
across
this country are cold to Christ, harboring impenitent hearts, deceived into 
thinking their works will get them to heaven. And even more not in churches.
They will refuse Jesus, so why should we invite them to trust him?

Why should the gospel go to everyone? Here are three reasons.

1. We don’t know who will or won’t believe.

This relates to
God’s two ways of willing.
There is God’s “will of command” and his “will of decree” — that is, what 
God desires generally (his published will) and what he sovereignty effects 
(his
mostly hidden resolve).

We know two things: 1) that God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 
2:4), and 2) that God has mercy on whomever he wills and hardens whomever he
wills (Romans 9:18).

The latter truth is a secret to us. We cannot look at someone and know 
whether his or her heart will be hardened. Indeed, the gospel — with its 
knock-Saul-off- his-horse
power — demands we never presume to know that. God desires for all to be 
saved, and that’s what we are about. J.I. Packer writes, “We are to order 
our
lives by the light of his law [his will of command], not by our guesses 
about his plan [his will of decree]” (
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God,
96).

We offer the gospel universally because as far as we can discern, every 
person we encounter could believe. God knows whom he will draw (John 6:44). 
Jesus
knows who will hear his voice (John 10:27). We don’t, so we just preach.

2. Jesus really can save anybody.

The invitation to believe the gospel, writes Packer, “is God’s summons to 
mankind generally to come to the Savior and find life” (92). And anybody who
does that — who comes to the Savior — will find life.

“Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). 
This verse tells us two things about “everyone.” First, it is not simply 
everyone,
but everyone who calls. Everyone will not be saved, but everyone who calls 
on the name of Lord will certainly be saved. Second, part of the “everyone 
who
calls” can be anyone at all. It doesn’t matter how messed up your life is, 
or what mistakes you’ve made, or how dismal you see your tomorrow. If you —
hardened criminal, zealous abortionist, reckless teen — if you call on the 
name of the Lord, you will be saved. It doesn’t matter what language you 
speak,
or what color of skin you have, or how much money is in your bank account, 
if you turn from your sins and trust in Jesus, you will be saved.

And therefore, since Jesus can save anybody, we offer this message to 
everybody.

3. Everyone can afford free.

This point is another angle on the previous one. The focus there is on the 
whosoever-ness of faith. The present point is the free-ness of grace.

If grace is free, then it is the market for everyone who can’t pay, and 
everyone cannot pay. Every human being fits that bill. And therefore, 
because every
human owns the criterion of emptiness, every human is in the condition to 
hear the offer of free grace. Every soul is thirsty, every soul is broke, 
and
so it goes for every soul when God says, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come 
to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine 
and
milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).

Grace, in this sense, is the great equalizer. It is the only way that anyone 
can be reconciled to God. The kid who grows up in church, nourished by a 
gospel-centered
stay-at-home mom, and the strung-out crack addict downtown — if they will 
belong to God, it will happen by the same way: grace, grace, grace.

We Invite Everyone

These three reasons explain why we invite everyone to believe the gospel. 
But the root of these reasons is in what Jesus did. We offer this news to 
everyone
because of the foundational certainty that Jesus accomplished. John Piper 
captures it well:
By his death and resurrection, Jesus has acted out God’s discriminating, 
definite electing, regenerating, faith-creating, every-promise- guaranteeing, 
new-covenant
love, and thus has purchased and secured irreversibly for his elect 
everything needed to bring them from deadness in sin to everlasting, 
glorified life
and joy in the presence of God. (Does God Desire All to Be Saved?54)

Because we don’t know who will or won’t believe, because Jesus can save 
anybody, because everyone can afford free, today this gospel goes to 
everyone.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Jan 2014, 8:21 pm

THE BEAUTY OF THE SPIRIT 

I was walking towards the store when I first saw her. She was between eighty
and ninety years old. Her hair was thin, sparse, and as white as the snow on
the sidewalk outside. Her face was red, chapped, and wrinkled from a
lifetime of use. Her mouth was missing most of its teeth. Her gnarled hands
each carried a bag full of groceries. She wore work boots that had clearly
seen better days. As she shuffled slowly towards the door she stopped only
once to put down her bags and button her thin, wool jacket. 

I hurried my pace and opened the door for her. She smiled at me with her few
remaining teeth and said, "Thank you young man." I touched my gray hair and
smiled at being thought of as a young man again. Then I watched as this
ancient angel slowly walked to the food drive collection bin and lifted the
heavier of her two bags up to put into it. She made one last stop on her way
out to say "hi" to a young mother she knew. The mother had her baby girl in
her arms and the elderly woman gently reached down and tickled the child
under her chin. The little girl laughed with joy and kicked her feet. The
old lady laughed as well in her cracked voice and then continued happily on
her way. I stood there watching her and thought to myself: "That was the
most beautiful woman I have ever seen." 

I am so thankful to God for teaching me over the years how to see clearly. I
no longer look at the world through the eyes of society with its plastic
surgery view of what is beautiful and what is not. God has showed me through
His love, His grace, and His guidance to see with the eyes of my soul and to
recognize the beauty of the spirit in each of us. 

I hope that lovely old woman continues to touch others with her gentleness,
kindness, and joy for years to come. May her beauty, love, and light shine
bright on Earth and in Heaven. 

…..Joseph J. Mazzella (joemazzella@ frontier. com) by way “Christian Voices”
(ChristianVoices@att.net) 

He Loves to Hear

Acts 9:11

Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray, the 
Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. When 
our hearts are broken and we bow in prayer, we are often only able to employ 
the language of sighs and tears; still our groaning has made all the harps 
of heaven thrill with music.

That tear has been caught by God and treasured in the receptacle of heaven. 
"Put my tears in your bottle" 1 implies that they are caught as they flow. 
The petitioner, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by 
the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but "prayer is the 
falling of a tear."

Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah' s 
court and are numbered with "the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on 
high." Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be 
unregarded.

Jacob's ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the 
covenant and so climb its starry rounds.

Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it.

He does not forget the cry of the humble. True, He does not regard high 
looks and lofty words; He does not care for the pomp and pageantry of kings; 
He does not listen to the drums of war; He does not regard the triumph and 
pride of man.

But wherever there is a heart enlarged with sorrow or a lip quivering with 
agony or a deep groan or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open.

He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like 
rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when at last 
the volume is opened, there will be a precious fragrance springing from it.

Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise.
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.

1 Psalm 56:8

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 16

verse 2 Titus 2

Click here to learn more about
Truth For Life

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,
www.crossway.org.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Jan 2014, 8:17 pm

How to Know the Will of God 
BIBLE MEDITATION: 
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.” 
John 15:7 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: 
Do you want to know the will of God in your life? 

Here’s a test: how much time do you spend reading the Bible? Do you think
God really believes we want to know His will when we don’t take even 15
minutes a day to read the one book above all books that God has specifically
written to show you His will, to reveal His will to you, to unfold His will
to you? 

Your first step in knowing His will is the surrender principle—surrendering
our will to His. Your second step is the scripture principle. Read His word,
meditate upon it, share it, and study it. When you bow to His will and read
His will, you’ll know His will. 

ACTION POINT: 
Commit to read God’s Word at least 15 minutes a day for 30 days. When the
month is over, re-evaluate what you have learned and ask God to help you be
obedient to daily Bible reading from this day forward. 

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers. 

© 2013 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300 

LIVING DIFFERENTLY 

Several years ago, my husband and I made the decision not to purchase cable
TV. The benefits of our decision went far beyond saving money. In fact,
having recently lived with a family while building our new home, we
discovered what we hadn't been missing. We knew the toxicity of television,
but now with everyday access, we saw in high definition the brazen sexuality
and carnal worldview that permeates many commercials. 

Trapped in a foreign culture, Daniel knew firsthand the challenges of life
in a society steeped in sin. While his story teaches us how to remain pure
and prayerful regardless of what others around us are doing (Daniel 6:4-12),
the events that brought him to Babylon hold lessons as well. 

Though they had been warned by God’s prophets for years, the people of
Israel chose idolatry above their love for Him. They knew how to perform
their rituals, ask for His intervention, and speak the right words, but
their hearts remained in love with the 
Secular culture (Isaiah 29:13). 

Daniel was different, however. A member of the remnant taken into captivity,
he didn’t choose to live in Babylon, but he did choose to live differently
while there. He saw not only the sin of the pagan society to which he had
been transported but, more importantly, he recognized the compromise that
had infiltrated the people of God. Because Daniel cared about God’s
standards more than his own need for comfort or entertainment, God not only
spoke to him but gave Daniel “insight and understanding” (Daniel 9:22). 

The same opportunity is available to us today, and our ability to rise above
an unholy culture begins with repentance. 

…..Regina Franklin by way of Cup ’Cheer (cheer316kim@ sc.rr.com) and
“Christian Voices” (ChristianVoices@ att.net)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Jan 2014, 4:50 pm

Purchased at a Precious Price

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in 
your spirit, which are God-
1 Corinthians 6:20

Matthew 26:28 says, For this is My blood of the new testament, which is 
shed for many for the remission of sins The word testament is from the 
Greek word diatheke, which means covenant. Christ has purchased us with 
His blood. We have entered into a covenant with Him. The church is the 
bride, He is the bridegroom. We are betrothed to Him in a covenant bought 
with His blood.

Samuel J. Stone wrote these powerful words in a hymn we sing in our church,
The Church's One Foundation.” From heaven He came and sought her to be 
His holy bride; With His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Let this powerful truth sink deep into your heart today. Meditate on what it 
meant that Jesus came and sought you, then bought you with His blood.

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit
www.lwf.org.

For Righteous Living
by Charles R. Swindoll
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just 
as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a 
sacrifice
to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not 
even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no 
filthiness
and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving 
of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure 
person
or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of 
Christ and God. ---Ephesians 5:1-5

Our Lord and Master, we live in a world that's lost its way. We are impacted 
by it, we are influenced by it, and we are sometimes intimidated by it. So
twisted is the thinking of society around us in this global atmosphere that 
it is easy to begin thinking we are the weird ones and the world is thinking
straight. Help us each day to put that in proper order.

Purify us, Father. In the process, guard us from foolish pride and from a 
super-pious personality which comes across as fanatical, a personality 
disconnected
from the real world. It's a tightrope we walk, Father. And we need Your help 
to keep our balance, so that we don't turn off our neighbors with too much
Scripture-quoting or turn away a partner in life because of too much rigid 
preaching and not enough reasonable living. Help us know how to relate in 
the
business world without compromising solid ethics and integrity. Make us 
people of our word in the details of life---like keeping our promises, like 
paying
our bills, like respecting others, like cleaning up our foul language.

We need help, Lord, to overcome the bad habits of the past, to resist 
wanting to be liked rather than doing what's right, to be popular instead of 
being
pure. And, Lord, in the process, may we continue to be easy to live with, 
winsome---like Christ---who was the most attractive individual who ever cast
a shadow on earth.

In great measure, Father, we trust You. For Jesus's sake. Amen.

See also Psalm 24:4-5; Proverbs 22:11; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7.

Excerpted from
The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 2,
Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

He Loves to Hear
Acts 9:11

Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray, the 
Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. When 
our hearts are broken and we bow in prayer, we are often only able to employ 
the language of sighs and tears; still our groaning has made all the harps 
of heaven thrill with music.

That tear has been caught by God and treasured in the receptacle of heaven. 
"Put my tears in your bottle" 1 implies that they are caught as they flow. 
The petitioner, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by 
the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but "prayer is the 
falling of a tear."

Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah' s 
court and are numbered with "the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on 
high." Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be 
unregarded.

Jacob's ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the 
covenant and so climb its starry rounds.

Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it.

He does not forget the cry of the humble. True, He does not regard high 
looks and lofty words; He does not care for the pomp and pageantry of kings; 
He does not listen to the drums of war; He does not regard the triumph and 
pride of man.

But wherever there is a heart enlarged with sorrow or a lip quivering with 
agony or a deep groan or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open.

He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like 
rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when at last 
the volume is opened, there will be a precious fragrance springing from it.

Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise.
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.

1 Psalm 56:8

Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 2 Kings 16
verse 2 Titus 2

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

Now Is The Time 
By Steve McVey 

The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, describes Martin Luther as a man “whose
ideas inspired the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of Western
civilization.” That’s quite a statement to be said about a priest who lived
500 years ago. The course of history was changed by one man who had the
courage to point out that what people were being told at church was wrong
and then had the courage to declare the truth. 

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that after eight years of postgraduate
study, I had never actually read Luther’s 95 Thesis until I came across an
English copy on the Internet. I’d only studied about it. You may remember
that when he began to work toward The Reformation that would ultimately turn
the religious world of his day upside down, Luther nailed a paper with his
ninety-five complaints about the Catholic Church and the priesthood on the
door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. 

You can Google it and read the English translation of what he had to say.
The thing that strikes me is how bold he was. He didn’t mince words, that’s
for sure. When told he must recant from what he had written, Luther is
reputed to have said, “Here I stand. I can do nothing else. God help me.” 

The Reformation came because of the resolute determination of a
revolutionary who said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.”
Luther decided to stand firm on God’s Word even if the whole church world
opposed him. 

It’s amazing how the religious world has always opposed grace. Jesus dealt
with it when He showed grace to people. The Apostle Paul dealt with it when
he taught pure grace to the Galatians. Across the ages, those who find their
value in their own religious performance have hated grace. They hate it
because they’re afraid. 

They’re scared that grace might be abused— that people might take it too far
and go sin-crazy. They’re afraid that people might stop doing the things at
the church that make “the wheels of the bus go ‘round and ‘round.” They’re
fearful that, if it’s true, they will have wasted their lives desperately
trying to succeed in a system (legalism) that they now would discover isn’t
even the right playing field. 

What’s the answer for those who know and love the grace of God? Love the
legalist and boldly proclaim the truth. I was a hardcore legalist for the
first 29 years of my Christian life. I loved Jesus. I wanted to make a
lasting spiritual difference in this world. I’ve often said that my problem
wasn’t a heart problem. It was a head problem. I just didn’t understand
grace for Christian living. Thank God, in 1990, all that began to change.
Life has never been the same since. 

We live in exciting times. The world has never been more vulnerable to
destruction and disaster. That type of environment is ripe for the
revolution of grace to gain momentum at an incredible rate. People are
willing to listen when they think that life, as they know it, may change for
the worst. Ahmadinejad, $4.00 a gallon gas, Iraq, Afghanistan, McCain vs.
Obama, real estate bubble burst —the list of reasons why our future could
radically change could go on and on. 

God’s prophets have always shown up in the face of impending disaster. That
is happening now. He is raising up a host of grace prophets who are ready to
take a stand and proclaim His grace in their towns. They are doing it in
their churches, on their jobs, in their homes through Grace Walk Groups.
They have a fire in their souls to share this message. They want to be
revolutionaries of righteousness. 

The time is now. Will you stand with us in proclaiming the grace of God? As
you read the articles in this issue of The Grace Vine, you will see ways you
can make a difference. Do it. The time is now. We've compromised the gospel
long enough. God is doing something big in the arena of grace. Don’t stand
on the sidelines. Take your part in writing history—His story—as we spread
the message of the grace walk everywhere.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 11 Jan 2014, 10:49 pm

God's Complete Control
by Charles R. Swindoll
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. . . .
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. . . .
"Cease striving and know that I am God."
---Psalm 46:1-3, 7, 10

Quiet our hearts, dear Father, and in so doing, remind us that You are 
sovereign--- not almost sovereign but altogether sovereign. Nothing occurs in 
our
lives that has not been masterfully planned and put together by You, our 
eternal God. Help us to enter into the truth of Psalm 46:10 personally and 
consistently.
May that result in being still, enabling us to discover that You are God. As 
we cast our cares upon You, knowing You care for us, release our stress.

We entrust our concerns to You today . . . large and small, new and nagging. 
We long to experience peace-filled living by stepping off this treadmill 
called
pressurized living. We pray that Your mighty presence would take the place 
of the stress, the demands, the struggles, the mess we've created. We ask 
that
You would give us Your shalom---Your peace---like we've never known it 
before. We deliberately choose to trust You and to rest in You.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

See also Psalm 34:4; Proverbs 16:3; Jeremiah 17:7; Philippians 4:19.

Excerpted from
The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 2,
Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Down is up

Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What 
was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” Mark 9:33 (NKJV)

The gospel procession continued to criss-cross the region of Galilee as 
Jesus returned to the coastal town of Capernaum. After settling in, He asked 
His disciples a question.

By now we should know that whenever Jesus asked a question it wasn’t for His 
own benefit or due to a lack of knowledge on His part. He knows everything 
(Colossians 2:3), so when He asked a question, it was actually for the 
benefit of the ones being asked.

That’s what happened here. He knew the disciples had been arguing over which 
of them was going to be the greatest, and asking this question was Christ’s 
way of driving an important lesson into their hearts. Of course, they didn’t 
want to answer, so after a few awkward moments of silence, Jesus taught them 
(and us) something that must never be forgotten:

And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to 
be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 (NKJV)

This is one of the “pillars of truth” when it comes to God’s way of doing 
things: Greatness is defined by humility in serving others. Nothing could be 
more opposite of how the natural order operates. In this world, greatness is 
all about getting a leg up on others, stepping over them, and making them 
serve you.

That’s the mindset the disciples had here, but it was a mindset that was 
incompatible with Christ’s calling on their lives. They would have to turn 
the hourglass of their thinking upside-down…or rather right-side up…because 
in God’s Kingdom, up is down.

If you want to rise in spiritual greatness, be least. Adorn the attitude of 
a servant and serve those in need. It won’t get you a lot of recognition or 
press on earth, but it’s something God is going to notice and reward 
according to His grace.

Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
God's mercy is new every day. That's because it's needed daily. So to help 
you walk through a fresh new day, the Active Word has put together this 
second volume of the 365 Devotional. Our hope in creating this series of 
devotionals, is to help you connect with God's Word 365 days a year. And the 
best thing is, you can start any day of the year. Stay in step with God's 
Word, His will, and learn to live out your faith, daily.
THIS WEEK
Bible Pathway
Through the Bible in one year in 15 minutes a day, from Bible Pathway 
Ministries

Today's Devotional

Miracle Puppy

Job 1:21b – The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name 
of the Lord. (NKJV)

Sometimes, the Lord does a miracle just to show that He loves us. One of 
those miracles was the life of a newborn puppy. He was very large and got 
stuck
in the birth canal. His water sack had broken early on, so he was encased in 
just membrane for over an hour as we worked hard to extricate him, to no 
avail.
It became clear that we could not deliver him naturally, and we needed to 
get to the vet, but it was the middle of the night, and we were forty-five 
minutes
from the emergency clinic. As I made the long drive with my little girl 
howling in the back, I cried and prayed. I had received word just a few 
hours earlier
(in the midst of the delivery) that my sister had passed away that day, and 
I was completely emotionally raw. For fifteen years, she had been battling
cancer of the breast, the other breast, bone, brain, and then liver. My 
prayer was simple: "Lord, I cannot take any more death today. Please, please 
preserve
the life of this little one." I had the strangest sense of peace come over 
me, and I arrived at the clinic feeling assured that the pup would be okay.

The vet was sorry to inform me that the pup was not okay. From what they 
could tell, he was already dead. Rather than C-section for a dead pup, 
removal
by forceps was recommended, and I was asked to leave the room, as he would 
most likely come out in pieces, given his presentation. I insisted on 
staying,
certain that they were wrong. Amazingly, the pup did come out intact on the 
first good hard yank, but he was cold, dark grey-blue, and without any vital
signs. They worked to resuscitate him, clearing his airways, shaking him 
down and applying adrenaline, but they were unable to get him breathing or 
get
a heartbeat. After doing all they could, they packed his body in a little 
cardboard box and sent us on our way.

Once home, I put the pup with his mother under a heat lamp, lay down beside 
them, and fell asleep. When I awoke hours later, the pup was alive and well,
stretching, yawning, and nursing. Needless to say, the vet was shocked and 
stunned when I brought him back for a checkup! Our little miracle boy has 
grown
to be not only healthy in every way, but the sweetest, most loyal dog that 
I've ever had.

I believe that this miracle was not a coincidence, but a legitimate way that 
God chose to show Himself and His love when I needed it badly. I also 
believe
that God cares for all creation and that animals do have a place in God's 
plan for man. However, I don't know why God saved that pup and not my 
sister,
for whom I'd prayed for years, or hadn't healed my children, who both 
continue to suffer with mental illness and addictions, or stepped in on any 
number
of other extremely difficult situations. But I'm a person of simple faith, 
aware that we live in a fallen world in fragile bodies that aren't intended
to last forever. I know that we're just passing through, and I am thankful 
for God's presence and help along life's way, and content to let God be God.

Prayer: Lord, Your ways are a mystery to us, as we cannot see life and its 
events from Your vantage point, and we cannot know all that You know. Help 
us
to cling to our belief that You are wise, loving, kind, and good in all that 
You do. Amen.

Kelly Chafe, Ontario, Canada

Thought for Today: The smallest light still shines in the darkest night.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 11 Jan 2014, 2:08 am

Community Is Where You Find It
Laura MacCorkle

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to 
the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many 
wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers 
were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and 
goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet 
together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate 
together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and
enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number 
daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47, NIV

You know what’s not so great about getting older? Well, for starters there’s 
the gray hair. And then the memory loss . . . no, let’s call that “a recall 
challenge.”

But another issue that really stood out to me as not so great as I’ve aged 
is community. Or the lack thereof. Community truly is the buzz concept these 
days. In churches, there are now “community groups,” otherwise known as 
small groups. And outside of the Christian bubble, it’s interesting to see 
that even Hollywood has covered the topic of community in several recent 
films—The Way,Seven Days in Utopia, The Help, Dolphin Taleandeven Winnie the 
Pooh.

The fact is: We were created for relationship, as we help one another and 
walk this journey together.

I remember how easy it used to be to find community when I was a younger. I 
was four years old on the first day of Sunday school at my new church, and I 
met Holli. She sat by me, and we started talking. By the end of the hour, we 
were buddies. And we’ve been friends ever since. How easy was that?

Continuing through elementary, junior high and high school, it was no 
trouble to find others who were likeminded or wanted to spend time with me 
and had my back. My community was bountiful—almost effortless—and I 
cherished every minute of it. Doing life together with my dear brothers and 
sisters in Christ yielded many meaningful and uplifting moments together, 
and I truly treasure those years.

After college, as people entered into the different life stages (career, 
marriage, parenthood) and some even moved away, it seemed like it wasn’t as 
easy to find community anymore. All of a sudden I didn’t have the community 
that occurred naturally and was readily available to me in structured 
settings such as school or youth group or social organizations.

Now that I was older, I realized I would have to do a little extra work to 
find community for myself.

In
1 Peter 4:10
we read: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, 
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

I love that verse, because it reminds us of our responsibility as believers 
in the lives of others. We are instruments of God’s grace. That means we are 
to be proactive in reaching out, instead of waiting for someone to reach out 
to us. And when we do reach out to others, not only can we help one another 
tangibly, prayerfully and with our spiritual gifts, but we can also find 
community.

In recent years, I’ve found it in some unexpected places, and if you looked 
at my list of friends I consider my “community,” you would find all 
different ages and shoe sizes. I’ve even found community with complete 
strangers. In fact, this past summer I met a lovely father and son while on 
a return flight home from a trip. I’m never afraid to chat up a stranger, 
and it didn’t take us long to get a great conversation going. Throughout our 
discourse, I found out that the father and son were also believers,
and so this added an even sweeter depth to our mile-high discussion.

As the flight prepared for landing, the father leaned over and told me that 
he felt that our meeting on the plane and time spent sharing with each other 
was providential, and that he and his son had been blessed. I wholeheartedly 
concurred and came home from that trip very much encouraged and felt like my 
spirit had been lifted. I didn’t have to reach out to them, and they didn’t 
have to reach out to me. But we did, and God was there in our midst during 
our two-hour conversation.

By God’s grace, I happened to find community on a plane one day. Which just 
goes to show: if you’re looking, community is where you find it.

Intersecting Faith & Life:

Today’s devotional verse describes what community looked like in the first 
Christian church. How does what you read apply to you today? Are you part of 
a thriving community? Do you long to be? Ask God to reveal how you can reach 
out to others and where you should be looking for community in your life 
today.

Further Reading:

Galatians 6:2, NIV

Colossians 3:12-14, NIV

1 John 3:17-18, NIV


The Importance of Thanksgiving
Psalms 9:1

Thanksgiving should always follow answered prayer, just as the mist of 
earth's gratitude rises when the sun of heaven's love warms the ground.

Has the Lord been gracious to you and inclined His ear to the voice of your 
prayer? Then thank Him as long as you live. Let the ripe fruit fall upon the 
fertile soil from which it drew its life. Do not fail to sing in praise of 
Him who has answered your prayer and has given you the desire of your heart. 
To be silent about God's mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is 
to act as poorly as the nine lepers who after they had been cured of their 
leprosy did not return to give thanks to the
healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for 
praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of our 
spiritual lives. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to 
increase our faith. It is a healthy and invigorating exercise that quickens 
the pulse of the believer and prepares him for new enterprises in his 
Master's service.

To bless God for mercies received is also the way to benefit our fellowmen; 
"let the humble hear and be glad."1 Others who have been in similar 
circumstances will take comfort if we can say, "Magnify the LORD with me, 
and let us exalt his name together. . . . This poor man cried, and the LORD 
heard him."2 Weak hearts will be strengthened, and sagging spirits will be 
revived as the saints listen to our "shouts of deliverance. "3 Their doubts 
and fears will be rebuked as we teach and admonish one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They will also "sing of the ways of 
the LORD"4 when they hear us magnify His holy name.

Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels do not pray, but 
they do not cease to praise both day and night; and the redeemed, clothed in 
white robes, with palm branches in their hands, are never tired of singing 
the new song, "Worthy is the Lamb."5

1 Psalm 34:2
sup>2 Psalm 34:3,6
sup>3 Psalm 32:7
sup>4 Psalm 138:5
sup>5 Revelation 5:12

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 11,12

verse 2 2 Timothy 2

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

Burning Brightly for the Glory of God 
BIBLE MEDITATION: 
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the
midst of a bush  Exodus 3:2 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: 
Major Ian Thomas has imagined Moses saying something like this when he
encountered God in the burning bush, “Would you look at that bush? It just
keeps on burning for God. I wish my life could burn for God like that and
keep on burning.Then Major Thomas imagined God replying, “Moses, you think
this bush is so wonderful? Do you see that bush over there? I could do the
same thing with it. Moses, it's not the bush it's God in the bush. Any old
bush will do.

It's not you! It's not me! We are only the vessels of God's anointing. As
you surrender yourself to God today, He will fill you and use you for His
glory. 

ACTION POINT: 
Surrender yourself to God today. And as you do, He will use you. Allow His
flame to burn brightly for all to see. 

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers. 
© 2013 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300 


Lord, Send Someone Across my Path 
By Diane Pearson 
A good friend and experienced Christian (she was in her 90s) introduced me
to one of the simplest, yet most powerful prayers you can say: “Lord, send
someone across my path today that I can help.” 
It’s an exciting prayer and one which the Lord delights in answering. The
first time I ever said that prayer, soon after I became a Christian, God
answered in a dramatic way. I was praying in the car on my way to work in
Lafayette, Ind., where I was a teacher. I didn’t even have time to take my
coat off before my office door opened and a student walked in. She was
struggling with panic attacks and needed help. She had no way of knowing
that I, too, had been through the same struggle. God sent her to me because
He knew I could help her. I thanked God for the answer to prayer and that He
chose to use me in that way. 
In this case, the answer was immediate and very obvious. Four things
happened here: 
I prayed. 
I watched for an answer. 
I discerned it was from God. 
I thanked God for the answer. 
Other times, the answer is not so clear, but the same steps apply. After you
pray, go throughout your day in a state of watchfulness and anticipation
that God will answer. When you sense an answer, ask the Holy Spirit to help
you discern if God is acting. And, finally, always thank the Lord for using
you. 
A story in Genesis 24 demonstrates this pattern. Abraham was very old and
asked his chief servant to get a wife for his son Isaac “not from the
Canaanites, among whom I am living, but go to my country and my own
relatives.” (vs. 4) 
The servant traveled to a town where he stopped to water his camels. The
servant prayed: “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today
and show kindness to my master Abraham.” (vs.12) Before he had finished
praying, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder. The servant
“watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey
successful.” (vs. 21) In conversation with her, he discovered that she was,
indeed, a relative of Abraham’s through his brother Nahor. Then the servant
bowed down and thanked God: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master
Abraham. . . . The Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my
master’s relatives.” (vs. 27) 
Do you see the pattern here? Pray. Watch. Discern. Thank God. 
Start your day with that simple prayer: “Lord, send someone across my path
today that I can help.” 
He may seat you next to someone in a doctor’s office who needs encouragement
He may place someone in a check-out line in front of you at the grocery
store. The possibilities are endless, and exciting! 
There may be times when you need to change the prayer to: “Lord, send
someone across my path today to encourage me.” 
God is not averse to you praying for yourself. Encouragement may come from a
phone call, an unexpected knock on your door, or a kind word from a stranger
The steps are the same: Pray. Watch. Discern. Thank God. 
(Published in The Times, Frankfort, IN, February 16, 2008. Copyright
retained by Diane Pearson.) 
Related Links: 
Read more Daily Devotions on Spiritual Life 
Read other Devotions on Prayer 
Read more Devotions by Diane Pearson 
Get more Guidance from Spiritual Life 
Can God change your life? 
God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing
change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can
also send us your prayer requests 
DIANE PEARSON earned a master’s degree in education and taught at Ivy Tech
State College in Lafayette, IN, for fourteen years. God called her to
full-time Christian writing, speaking, and teaching in 1997. Diane is a
published author with nine Devotion books and more than 500 articles in
various newspapers, magazines, and books. She writes a weekly newspaper
column for the religion page of The Times, Frankfort, IN, called “Real Life
Devotions,” true stories of God working in people’s lives. 
Contact Diane at dipearson@comcast. net or check her website at 
wwwdianepearson.org.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 11:50 pm

Community Is Where You Find It
Laura MacCorkle

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to 
the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many 
wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers 
were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and 
goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet 
together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate 
together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and
enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number 
daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47, NIV

You know what’s not so great about getting older? Well, for starters there’s 
the gray hair. And then the memory loss . . . no, let’s call that “a recall 
challenge.”

But another issue that really stood out to me as not so great as I’ve aged 
is community. Or the lack thereof. Community truly is the buzz concept these 
days. In churches, there are now “community groups,” otherwise known as 
small groups. And outside of the Christian bubble, it’s interesting to see 
that even Hollywood has covered the topic of community in several recent 
films—The Way,Seven Days in Utopia, The Help, Dolphin Taleandeven Winnie the 
Pooh.

The fact is: We were created for relationship, as we help one another and 
walk this journey together.

I remember how easy it used to be to find community when I was a younger. I 
was four years old on the first day of Sunday school at my new church, and I 
met Holli. She sat by me, and we started talking. By the end of the hour, we 
were buddies. And we’ve been friends ever since. How easy was that?

Continuing through elementary, junior high and high school, it was no 
trouble to find others who were likeminded or wanted to spend time with me 
and had my back. My community was bountiful—almost effortless—and I 
cherished every minute of it. Doing life together with my dear brothers and 
sisters in Christ yielded many meaningful and uplifting moments together, 
and I truly treasure those years.

After college, as people entered into the different life stages (career, 
marriage, parenthood) and some even moved away, it seemed like it wasn’t as 
easy to find community anymore. All of a sudden I didn’t have the community 
that occurred naturally and was readily available to me in structured 
settings such as school or youth group or social organizations.

Now that I was older, I realized I would have to do a little extra work to 
find community for myself.

In
1 Peter 4:10
we read: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, 
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

I love that verse, because it reminds us of our responsibility as believers 
in the lives of others. We are instruments of God’s grace. That means we are 
to be proactive in reaching out, instead of waiting for someone to reach out 
to us. And when we do reach out to others, not only can we help one another 
tangibly, prayerfully and with our spiritual gifts, but we can also find 
community.

In recent years, I’ve found it in some unexpected places, and if you looked 
at my list of friends I consider my “community,” you would find all 
different ages and shoe sizes. I’ve even found community with complete 
strangers. In fact, this past summer I met a lovely father and son while on 
a return flight home from a trip. I’m never afraid to chat up a stranger, 
and it didn’t take us long to get a great conversation going. Throughout our 
discourse, I found out that the father and son were also believers,
and so this added an even sweeter depth to our mile-high discussion.

As the flight prepared for landing, the father leaned over and told me that 
he felt that our meeting on the plane and time spent sharing with each other 
was providential, and that he and his son had been blessed. I wholeheartedly 
concurred and came home from that trip very much encouraged and felt like my 
spirit had been lifted. I didn’t have to reach out to them, and they didn’t 
have to reach out to me. But we did, and God was there in our midst during 
our two-hour conversation.

By God’s grace, I happened to find community on a plane one day. Which just 
goes to show: if you’re looking, community is where you find it.

Intersecting Faith & Life:

Today’s devotional verse describes what community looked like in the first 
Christian church. How does what you read apply to you today? Are you part of 
a thriving community? Do you long to be? Ask God to reveal how you can reach 
out to others and where you should be looking for community in your life 
today.

Further Reading:

Galatians 6:2, NIV

Colossians 3:12-14, NIV

1 John 3:17-18, NIV


The Importance of Thanksgiving
Psalms 9:1

Thanksgiving should always follow answered prayer, just as the mist of 
earth's gratitude rises when the sun of heaven's love warms the ground.

Has the Lord been gracious to you and inclined His ear to the voice of your 
prayer? Then thank Him as long as you live. Let the ripe fruit fall upon the 
fertile soil from which it drew its life. Do not fail to sing in praise of 
Him who has answered your prayer and has given you the desire of your heart. 
To be silent about God's mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is 
to act as poorly as the nine lepers who after they had been cured of their 
leprosy did not return to give thanks to the
healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for 
praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of our 
spiritual lives. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to 
increase our faith. It is a healthy and invigorating exercise that quickens 
the pulse of the believer and prepares him for new enterprises in his 
Master's service.

To bless God for mercies received is also the way to benefit our fellowmen; 
"let the humble hear and be glad."1 Others who have been in similar 
circumstances will take comfort if we can say, "Magnify the LORD with me, 
and let us exalt his name together. . . . This poor man cried, and the LORD 
heard him."2 Weak hearts will be strengthened, and sagging spirits will be 
revived as the saints listen to our "shouts of deliverance. "3 Their doubts 
and fears will be rebuked as we teach and admonish one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They will also "sing of the ways of 
the LORD"4 when they hear us magnify His holy name.

Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels do not pray, but 
they do not cease to praise both day and night; and the redeemed, clothed in 
white robes, with palm branches in their hands, are never tired of singing 
the new song, "Worthy is the Lamb."5

1 Psalm 34:2
sup>2 Psalm 34:3,6
sup>3 Psalm 32:7
sup>4 Psalm 138:5
sup>5 Revelation 5:12

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 11,12

verse 2 2 Timothy 2

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

Burning Brightly for the Glory of God 
BIBLE MEDITATION: 
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the
midst of a bush  Exodus 3:2 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: 
Major Ian Thomas has imagined Moses saying something like this when he
encountered God in the burning bush, “Would you look at that bush? It just
keeps on burning for God. I wish my life could burn for God like that and
keep on burning.Then Major Thomas imagined God replying, “Moses, you think
this bush is so wonderful? Do you see that bush over there? I could do the
same thing with it. Moses, it's not the bush it's God in the bush. Any old
bush will do.

It's not you! It's not me! We are only the vessels of God's anointing. As
you surrender yourself to God today, He will fill you and use you for His
glory. 

ACTION POINT: 
Surrender yourself to God today. And as you do, He will use you. Allow His
flame to burn brightly for all to see. 

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers. 
© 2013 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300 


Lord, Send Someone Across my Path 
By Diane Pearson 
A good friend and experienced Christian (she was in her 90s) introduced me
to one of the simplest, yet most powerful prayers you can say: “Lord, send
someone across my path today that I can help.” 
It’s an exciting prayer and one which the Lord delights in answering. The
first time I ever said that prayer, soon after I became a Christian, God
answered in a dramatic way. I was praying in the car on my way to work in
Lafayette, Ind., where I was a teacher. I didn’t even have time to take my
coat off before my office door opened and a student walked in. She was
struggling with panic attacks and needed help. She had no way of knowing
that I, too, had been through the same struggle. God sent her to me because
He knew I could help her. I thanked God for the answer to prayer and that He
chose to use me in that way. 
In this case, the answer was immediate and very obvious. Four things
happened here: 
I prayed. 
I watched for an answer. 
I discerned it was from God. 
I thanked God for the answer. 
Other times, the answer is not so clear, but the same steps apply. After you
pray, go throughout your day in a state of watchfulness and anticipation
that God will answer. When you sense an answer, ask the Holy Spirit to help
you discern if God is acting. And, finally, always thank the Lord for using
you. 
A story in Genesis 24 demonstrates this pattern. Abraham was very old and
asked his chief servant to get a wife for his son Isaac “not from the
Canaanites, among whom I am living, but go to my country and my own
relatives.” (vs. 4) 
The servant traveled to a town where he stopped to water his camels. The
servant prayed: “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today
and show kindness to my master Abraham.” (vs.12) Before he had finished
praying, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder. The servant
“watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey
successful.” (vs. 21) In conversation with her, he discovered that she was,
indeed, a relative of Abraham’s through his brother Nahor. Then the servant
bowed down and thanked God: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master
Abraham. . . . The Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my
master’s relatives.” (vs. 27) 
Do you see the pattern here? Pray. Watch. Discern. Thank God. 
Start your day with that simple prayer: “Lord, send someone across my path
today that I can help.” 
He may seat you next to someone in a doctor’s office who needs encouragement
He may place someone in a check-out line in front of you at the grocery
store. The possibilities are endless, and exciting! 
There may be times when you need to change the prayer to: “Lord, send
someone across my path today to encourage me.” 
God is not averse to you praying for yourself. Encouragement may come from a
phone call, an unexpected knock on your door, or a kind word from a stranger
The steps are the same: Pray. Watch. Discern. Thank God. 
(Published in The Times, Frankfort, IN, February 16, 2008. Copyright
retained by Diane Pearson.) 
Related Links: 
Read more Daily Devotions on Spiritual Life 
Read other Devotions on Prayer 
Read more Devotions by Diane Pearson 
Get more Guidance from Spiritual Life 
Can God change your life? 
God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing
change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can
also send us your prayer requests 
DIANE PEARSON earned a master’s degree in education and taught at Ivy Tech
State College in Lafayette, IN, for fourteen years. God called her to
full-time Christian writing, speaking, and teaching in 1997. Diane is a
published author with nine Devotion books and more than 500 articles in
various newspapers, magazines, and books. She writes a weekly newspaper
column for the religion page of The Times, Frankfort, IN, called “Real Life
Devotions,” true stories of God working in people’s lives. 
Contact Diane at dipearson@comcast. net or check her website at 
wwwdianepearson.org.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 10:42 pm

Today's Reading

Though Christian charity sounds a very cold thing to people whose heads are 
full of sentimentality, and though it is quite distinct from affection, yet
it leads to affection. The difference between a Christian and a worldly man 
is not that the worldly man has only affections or ‘likings’ and the 
Christian
has only ‘charity’. The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he 
‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself
liking more and more people as he goes on—including people he could not even 
have imagined him- self liking at the beginning.

This same spiritual law works terribly in the opposite direction. The 
Germans, perhaps, at first ill-treated the Jews because they hated them: 
afterwards
they hated them much more because they had ill-treated them. The more cruel 
you are, the more you will hate; and the more you hate, the more cruel you
will become — and so on in a vicious circle for ever.

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little 
decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The 
smallest
good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months 
later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An 
apparently
trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway 
line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise 
impossible.

From
Mere Christianity
Compiled in
A Year with C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 
© 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of
HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His 
Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights 
reserved.
Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jan 2014, 8:59 pm

Posted by: cakebake
Should Christians Use Their Imagination? 

2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 NKJ 
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at 
the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen 
are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 

Many Christians are afraid of using their imagination, equating 
it with evil. But God surely had a reason to make mankind with 
an imagination. Once, as I was thinking about this, the 
question came to me, "Why did God create man with an 
imagination? " I do believe He is the Creator, don't you? And 
God did make man with an imagination. 

When I asked God if there was any scriptural support for using 
our imagination, it occurred to me to look in Hebrews 11. As I 
began reading the chapter I was shocked at what I found, even 
though I had read it many times before! 

Right in verse 1, faith is defined as ". . .evidence of things 
not seen." I thought, "If it is something you can't see, then 
it has to deal with the realm of the imagination. " People would 
say we were believing something that is just imaginary if it 
couldn't be seen. In fact the dictionary says imagine means: to 
form a mental image of (something not present). What could more 
closely describe the Bible definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1! 

By this time I was excited, but the chapter was just beginning. 
Time and again, I saw that people in this chapter had used 
their imagination; that they had "seen" what was not visible to 
others. I began to realize that faith is linked with 
imagination like wet is linked with water. The two are 
inseparable. 

Then I began to understand why the devil had stirred up such a 
fuss over this subject. No doubt one main reason the devil 
inspired eastern religions to utilize the imagination was to 
muddy the waters and make Christians afraid it might be wrong. 

As I read of Abraham I thought of Genesis 15:5 where God told 
him to "count the stars. . . So shall your descendants be." If 
God wasn't telling Abraham to use his imagination, I don't know 
what He was telling Him to do! 

So be Biblical without fear. Take what God has said in His 
Word, and imagine it that way in your life! 

2 CORINTHIANS 10:5 KJV 
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth 
itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into 
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 

We must cast down imaginations that do not agree with God's 
Word, and keep and nurture the ones that do. 

SAY THIS: Imagination is part of faith, so I will imagine in 
agreement with God's Word.

Surrender Your Dream to Jesus

"I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with
a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything
through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT)

You'll never achieve your dream until you learn to give it up. It sounds
counterintuitive, but it's true.
Surrendering your dream to Jesus is always the safest decision you'll ever
make in regards to your dream. God typically takes your dream through six
different stages. I've seen him do it hundreds of times in my life and
thousands of times throughout the lives of others.
. God gives you a dream.
. You decide to go after the dream.
. Your dream is delayed.
. Your dream encounters difficulties.
. Your dream hits a dead end.
. God delivers your dream.
Throughout each of these stages, you're working on your dream while God is
working on you. More than anything else, God wants you to trust him. The
Apostle Paul says it like this: "I have learned the secret of living in
every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or
little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength"
Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT).
The Bible says emphatically that you can do anything - along with God's
help. You'll need much more than positive thinking as you pursue your
God-given dreams. You'll need the power of God.
Many people have read one motivational book after another and still haven't
made progress toward their dreams. We need the supernatural help of God.
Have you been trying to sail to your dreams on your own power? If so, I
guarantee you're getting nowhere - at least on the dreams that really matter
in your life. The wind is dead.
Surrender your dream to God. Let him empower them.
. Why is it so difficult to consider handing our dreams to Jesus? What
do you think we're afraid of?
. What does it mean to give Jesus our dreams?
. What area of your dream have you not given to Jesus?

Tracy Duffy
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways my ways," saith the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8
How Do We Pray?

Matthew 6:9

This prayer begins where all true prayer must start, with the spirit of 
adoption: "Our Father." There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, "I 
will arise and go to my Father." 1 This childlike spirit soon perceives the 
grandeur of the Father "in heaven" and ascends to devout adoration, 
"hallowed be your name." The child lisping, "Abba, Father" grows into the 
cherub crying, "Holy, holy, holy." There is but a step from rapturous 
worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure expression
of filial love and reverent adoration-" your kingdom come, your will be done, 
on earth as it is in heaven."

Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God-"Give us this 
day our daily bread."

Being further illuminated by the Spirit, the one praying discovers that he 
is not only dependent but sinful; so he cries for mercy, "Forgive us our 
debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" ; and being pardoned, having the 
righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he 
humbly prays for holy perseverance, "Lead us not into temptation." The man 
who is really forgiven is anxious not to offend again; the possession of 
justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification.
"Forgive us our debts"- that is justification; "Lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil"-that is sanctification in its negative and 
positive forms.

As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, 
"For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen." We 
rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from 
the river even to the ends of the earth, and of His dominion there shall be 
no end. So from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning 
Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul. Lord, teach us then to 
pray.

11 Luke 15:18

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 10

verse 2 2 Timothy 1

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

The Syrophoenician Woman

Her character: Though a Gentile, she addressed Jesus as "Lord, Son of 
David." Her great faith resulted in her daughter' s deliverance.
Her sorrow: That her child was possessed by an evil spirit.
Her joy: That Jesus freed her daughter from spiritual bondage.
Key Scriptures:
Matthew 15:21-28
;
Mark 7:24-30

Her Story

Her body jerked and twisted, arms thrashing the air. Wide-eyed, the little 
girl spoke to ghosts her mother could not see, her face changing as rapidly
as clouds in a sudden storm. Fear, surprise, and then a crazy kind of 
laughter, as though someone had stolen her soul. Dark hair stuck in gummy 
strands
against her cheeks.

Her mother wondered what had become of the sweet child who had followed her 
like a puppy wherever she went. How she missed those soft kisses and the 
button
nose that had nuzzled her cheek. She had hardly slept these last few nights 
for fear of what her daughter might do to herself. Neither of them, she 
thought,
could stand much more.

Just that morning she had caught wind of a Jewish healer who, friends said, 
had come to Tyre hoping for relief from the crowds that mobbed him in 
Galilee.
It didn't matter that Jews seldom mingled with Gentiles. She would go to 
him, beg his help, throw a fit herself if necessary. She would do whatever 
it
took to get him to listen. It didn't take long to find him.

She approached Jesus, pleading, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My 
daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession. "

But Jesus ignored the woman, making no reply.

Finally, his disciples said to Jesus, "Send her away, for she keeps crying 
out after us."

But Jesus knew it would not be that easy to get rid of her. The only way, in 
fact, would be to answer her prayer. He told them, "I was sent only to the
lost sheep of Israel."

Hearing him, the woman fell at his feet again, imploring, "Lord, help me!"

Then Jesus turned and said, "It is not right to take the children' s bread 
and toss it to their dogs."

But the woman would not give up. "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs 
eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

"Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted," Jesus said.

So the Syrophoenician woman returned to her daughter, who was delivered from 
the evil spirit the very same hour that Jesus had spoken.

Scripture doesn't describe the little girl of this story in any detail; it 
says only that she was possessed by a demon. But judging from similar 
incidents,
such as that of the Gerasene demoniac, whose story is told in
Luke 8,
or the little boy in
Matthew 17,
who kept throwing himself in the fire, the signs of demonic possession were 
probably both obvious and frightening.

But why did Jesus seem so rude to the poor woman, ignoring her request and 
then referring to her and her child as dogs?

His response may sound a little less harsh when you realize that the word he 
used for "dogs" was not the derisive one Jews ordinarily reserved for 
Gentiles.
Instead, it was the term used for little dogs kept as pets. Jesus was also 
making it clear that his primary mission was to the Israelites. Had Jesus 
performed
many healings and miracles in Tyre and Sidon, he would have risked the same 
kind of mob scenes he had just left behind in Galilee, thus inaugurating a
ministry to the Gentiles in advance of his Father's timing.

The woman couldn't have known the reason for his silence, however, and it 
must have tested her faith. But rather than give up or take offense, she 
exercised
her quick wit, revealing both a deep humility and a tenacious faith. It was 
a combination Jesus seemed unable to resist—fertile soil in which to grow a
miracle. The Syrophoenician woman must have rejoiced that day to see the 
daughter she loved safe and sane, grateful for the life-giving bread that 
had
fallen from the Master's table.

Her Promise

What possible promise can be found in a pagan woman whose little girl was 
possessed by an evil spirit? The Syrophoenician woman wouldn't have known 
what
to do about her daughter had she not heard about Jesus. Somehow, she was 
given the faith to believe that he was capable of saving her child.

Evil spirits, unfortunately, are not creatures of a former age. We, too, 
must fight the evil powers in own lives. The difference now is that Jesus 
has
won the ultimate victory on the cross. As believers, we share in his 
victory. He has given us authority over the evil forces that threaten us. We 
may still
be fighting the battle, but, strange as it might sound, the victory is 
already won!

Today's devotional is drawn from
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture
by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit
AnnSpangler. com
to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.

Today's reading is drawn from Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda' s devotional
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture.

Available at the Bible Gateway store!
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 7:03 pm

KEPT ALIVE BY A WALL OF PRAYER

A missionary who works in a small mission hospital in Africa, travels every two weeks by Bicycle through the jungles to a nearby city for supplies of drugs and other necessities. And because the journey last two days it requires him to camp over the night in one of the jungles.

In one of his journeys, he met two men fighting and obviously one of them had been seriously injured. The missionary treated the injured man and spoke to them about Jesus.

The duo realising that the missionary had money and drugs in his possession called their other friends and trailed him to where he camped that night. They decided they will kill him and cart away his money and drugs. A plan the missionary was oblivious of.

Two weeks later, the missionary repeated his journey on his arrival; he was approached by the man whom he treated. The man told him that he and his friends went after him into the jungle with the intention to kill him and cart away his money and drugs. But as they entered the campsite they saw 26 armed guards surrounding him.

The missionary laughed and said "I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite" . But the man insisted "No sir, we saw the guards, my five friends and I". We counted them they were 26 fully armed guards.

The missionary now back in the United States on furlough was sharing this experience when someone from the congregation interrupted him and asked the missionary for the exact date and time of the incident. The missionary told him then he said on the night of the incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was about to go play golf, when the Holy Spirit impressed it upon my heart to pray for you. The urge was so strong so I called other men in the church to join me in the sanctuary to pray for you. Then he asked all the men who join him on that day to stand to their feet and the missionary counted them they were 26 in number.

Your prayer could help spare the life of a missionary in danger in a far away land. Behind every successful work of God are bended knees says D. L Moody. Let's make it a point of duty to pray for missionaries daily.

Thanks for keeping watch.

Pastor Okpan O. Kingsley

To view all previous intercession for the nations postings on our facebook page https://m.facebook.com/pages/World-Mission-Resource-Centre/128028127277226?id=128028127277226&_rdr

Evangelism and the Self-Disciplined Christian
Peter Beck

Okay, we all admit that the church isn't doing enough to reach the lost. 
Sure, there are libraries full of evangelism how-to books and enough 
training material to start a university, but those things aren't making much 
of a difference. Some people don't know which books are worth reading. 
Others have been trained in EE and CWT and any other acronym of your choice 
and it's still not helping. The art of personal evangelism is struggling 
these days.

If you're struggling, let me offer some practical suggestions:

Make sure that you're a believer yourself. Ask yourself the hard questions. 
Do I believe the Bible? Do I think Jesus is the only way to salvation? Have 
I trusted him implicitly with my soul? Does my life bear out my testimony? 
Am I living like a Christian?

Many who are sharing their faith, or trying to, are doing so without the 
benefit of a real faith. They come to church. They like the fellowship. It 
salves the wounds of their daily lives. They want others to know the joy 
they find in church. That's not evangelism. That's recruiting.

If you're find yourself in this predicament, don't panic. Church history is 
full of stories of "believers, " very often ministers, who came to the 
painful realization that they were not true believers even though they were 
engaged in the work of the Lord. If that's you, repent. Ask God to forgive 
you of your sins. Trust Christ as your substitutionary atonement. Then tell 
others about the marvelous work He's done in your life.

Make sure that you're reading the Bible. We cannot do evangelism without the 
Bible. You don't have to have it in your hand every time you're sharing your 
faith but you need to have it in your heart. You have to know it in your 
mind. The faith that we share is the faith that we find detailed in the 
Bible. You've got to know it to share it.

You need to be reading the Bible regularly. Start reading the Bible daily. 
In a few short weeks it will become a habit. In a few short months it will 
become an addiction. Challenge yourself. Read the Bible all the way through. 
There are plenty of reading plans available. Find one that fits your 
schedule and personality and stick to it.

Read the Bible but don't just read it. Make it your goal to understand it. 
I'm not saying that every Christian has to be a Bible scholar. I am saying 
that every Christian should be a person of the book.

(Three books that I would recommend for the novice are: Living by the Book 
by Howard and William Hendricks (a basic primer on how to read and interpret 
the Bible accurately); The Message of the Old Testament and The Message of 
the New Testament both by Mark Dever (these readable commentaries help the 
reader see the big picture of every book in the Bible).)

Make sure you know what you believe. One of the best evangelistic tools that 
you can use is your own testimony of God's work of grace in your life and 
your own beliefs.

You need to be able to engage unbelievers without notice, to answer their 
questions and challenges without a second thought. Tell your co-workers 
about what you believe. Be ready to explain why Easter is so important. 
Don't be afraid to defend the key tenets of the Christian faith. When you're 
equipped to explain your beliefs, you can challenge them on theirs.

This one requires some work on your part. You need to read the Bible. You 
need to struggle with sdifficult issues. You need to be willing to seek 
theological guidance when you hit a dead end. You need to do it because the 
lost person you're trying to share your faith with doesn't want to know what 
your pastor or the pope believes. She wants to know what you believe and 
why. Know what you believe and tell her.

(There are many wonderful resources to help you in this part of your 
journey. Several entry-level theology books are very helpful: Introducing 
Christian Doctrine by Millard Erickson; Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem; 
and Concise Theology by J. I. Packer. The most important tool, however, you 
need to create. Write down your confession of faith. Ask yourself what you 
believe about things like the Person and work of Christ, the doctrine of 
creation, and abortion. Don't stop there, however. Dig into
the Bible and see if you're beliefs are biblical and then write down the 
verses to back up your beliefs.)

Make sure that you're living the Christian life. Christians need to be 
discipled and they need to be disciplined. You can seek the former. You can 
control of the latter. See what the Bible says about Christian living and 
live it.

One of the biggest complaints aired against the church is that it's full of 
hypocrites. It sounds like a trite diversionary tactic offered by the 
unbeliever. Unfortunately, it's all too often true. Too many people in our 
pews live like unbelievers. When unbelievers hear them preaching the Gospel 
but living like world, they ask themselves why bother. They can live the 
same way and sleep in on Sunday. We need to practice what we preach. 
Unbelievers expect it. Christ demands it.

(In addition to the Bible, I would recommend Spiritual Disciplines for the 
Christian Life and 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, both by 
Don Whitney. These books discuss Christian practices like prayer, Bible 
reading, and fasting and help you find ways to implement them in your 
Christian walk.)

You see, evangelism is about more than memorizing some polished presentation 
or inviting people to church. It's sharing the Gospel with your whole life. 
It's believing it, studying it, and living it. When you become a 
self-disciplined, Gospel-saturated Christian, you'll be evangelizing and not 
even know it.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 9:13 pm

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
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Today's Turning Point
Weekend, January 4 & 5

A New Year to Embrace Change

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he 
would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was 
going.

Hebrews 11:8

Recommended Reading
Jeremiah 29:11
A lot of us need a change of pace this year; but what we're really having 
trouble with is the pace of change. All change -- even the good -- is hard. 
It
involves adjustment, moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from the 
settled past into the unknown future. As Anatole France said, "All changes, 
even
the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a 
part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."

We can embrace change by knowing we serve an unchanging God. At the 
beginning of this new year, we confess with Joshua: "We have never been this 
way before."
But our faithful, changeless Lord will show us the way to go, guide us at 
every juncture, bless us at every step, and provide goodness and mercy every
day of our lives.

Let's not dig in our heels and cling to the past. Heed the words God gave to 
Joshua: "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among
you .... As I was with Moses, so I will be with you" (Joshua 3:5, 7).

Everyone is in favor of progress; it's change they don't like.
In The Mentor

Read-Thru-the- Bible
Genesis 13-20
David Jeremiah' s

Turning Point's mission is to deliver the unchanging Word of God to an 
ever-changing world.

Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2014 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jan 2014, 9:52 pm

Dying Pastor's Letter to Editor 
Teresa Neumann (Oct 9, 2012) 
"I' ve known that life is brief, death is certain, and an appearance before 
the Judge of all the Earth is coming. Yet, my life is more of a 
disappearing vapor" than I imagined. Indeed, the one great thing in life is 
to be ready to die. It is simple, but big." -Pastor Robert C. Jennings 
(Sedalia, MO)On September 30, the Sedalia Democrat published the following 
letter to the editor by Robert C. Jennings, a pastor who is dying of 
pancreatic cancer. Our prayers go out to Pastor Jennings and his family, and 
also to the folks who read his poignant farewell. May they come to know the 
all-consuming love of Christ as a result. 

Dear Editor: 
Terri and I moved to Sedalia with one child in 1983 to pastor a new church 
which has met at Highway M Chapel since 1987. Alas, pancreatic cancer showed 
up two years ago. Apart from divine intervention, I'm near the end of the 
road. Permit a farewell to my dear community. 
In the almost 30 years we have raised our five children, lived our lives, 
gone in and out of the businesses, talked on the sidewalks, preached indoors 
and out, and I've written maybe 300 letters to the editor. This appears to 
be the last. The songwriter says, "Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears 
all its sons away." 
Especially being a Christian, I've known that life is brief, death is 
certain, and an appearance before the Judge of all the Earth is coming. Yet, 
my life is more of a "disappearing vapor" than I imagined. Indeed, the one 
great thing in life is to be ready to die. It is simple, but big. 
Yes, I'd like to stay on with my family, with my church, and with the souls 
of men to try to serve. But God's will is sovereign. And, I am ready to die, 
in that I was saved from my sins by the grace of Christ 41 years ago. Heaven 
is OK! 
This world is passing away, ruined by sin. There is no fix to all the misery 
A new president cannot fix the land. Hospitals remain, law courts remain, 
the jail house remains, the military remains, and tears will continue to 
fall. 
My closing exhortation to fellow-Sedalians is that Christ is the only hope. 
Make sure you have Him. That's all one can have, ultimately. All else is 
stripped away. He will fix you; He will fix it all. He conquered the grave. 
I go down with a glad shout, "O grave, where is your victory?" When the Lord 
Jesus returns I will rise again with all the Christians to a new heavens and 
new Earth. There is a Heaven to gain; there is a Hell to shun. 
Farewell to all. It has been a well-spent journey here in Sedalia. 
Robert C. Jennings 
Source: Sedalia Democrat 

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD 
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a 
future."
Love Worth Finding Ministries
Let Your New Life Push Out the Old!

BIBLE MEDITATION:Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are 
passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Our eyes delight to see those trees in autumn which turn glorious colors, 
then drop their leaves one by one. But there are certain trees that hold 
their
leaves until spring. They wither and turn brown, but they don't drop. Not 
until spring do these trees lose their leaves—when the new leaves push out 
the
old leaves.

That's exactly what happens to our old habits and our old lives when we find 
the Lord Jesus. The new life pushes that old life off.

ACTION POINT:
It's not a matter of plucking off this leaf and knocking off that leaf. The 
Christian life is not forged in that manner. Our new life replaces our old
life when we are born again.

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Today's Message
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
© 2013 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jan 2014, 8:40 pm

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE 

The Lord Jesus Christ: Saviour of the World 

The Holy Bible gives God's Son manifold titles. However, the one that means
so much to all of us as poor, helpless sinners is "Saviour" - which
immediately instills hope within one's heart concerning salvation. The very
name Jesus means "salvation. " Matthew 1:21 states, Thou shall call his name
JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Multitudes today are
trusting in man-made rituals to get them inside God's heaven. Yet, there isn
t a ceremonial rite in all of Christendom&# 39;s churches that can save a man.
Jesus Christ alone is the only way to eternal life. 
Christ's saving power 

In that tremendous portion of Scripture often described as the "Magnificat, "
Mary, the mother of Jesus, cried out, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my
spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (Luke 1:46,47). In Luke 2, the angel
of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, saying, Behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born
this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (verses 10
11). 

Also in Luke 2, Simeon had been waiting for the consolation or hope of
Israel. He jubilantly exclaimed, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart
in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation
(verses 29,30). He was looking upon the Christ child as he spoke those words


Again in John 4, a wicked woman-who had five husbands and who was living
under common law with number six-turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness.
Then she excitedly ran back to the city and told the people about her
newfound joy in this Saviour who had blotted out her sordid past. The men of
that city listened to the Lord's discourses for two days and exuberantly
stated, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him
ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world
(verse 42). 

In Acts 5, Peter and some of the apostles were threatened with punishment,
even unto death (verse 33). However, the great Apostle Peter so loved Jesus.
He believed so strongly in the fact that Jesus was the only way of salvation
and eternal life that he was willing to die in order that the message might
be proclaimed. I can almost hear this impulsive preacher saying, We ought to
obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye
slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a
Prince and a Saviour (verses 29-31). 

Acts 13:23 calls Him a Saviour, Jesus. Ephesians 5:23 says, Christ is the
head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Compare this verse
with 1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one
body. The body of Christ, into which one is implanted at the time of
regeneration, is the Church, and Ephesians 5:23 states that Christ is the
Saviour of this body. Baptism, reformation, confirmation, works, creeds,
and human efforts cannot place one into the true Church because only the
Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour of this body. Amen! 

The Apostle Paul stated that one of the reasons he was willing to endure
suffering, torture, and even death was because of his trust in the Saviour.
Death could only mean that the One who saved him would welcome him home to
heaven. Hear him in 1 Timothy 4:10. For therefore we both labour and suffer
reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men,
specially of those that believe. 

In 2 Timothy 1:9 and 10, Paul went on to say that it was not a system of
self-attainment through works that would place him eternally in the glory
land, but rather a precious Saviour whose name was Jesus Christ. Listen to
the simplicity of these instructive verses. [God] hath saved us, and called
us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his
own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world
began. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ
who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel [or through the good news]. 

Again, He hath abolished death. What wonderful words! And [He] hath brought
life and immortality to light through the gospel. Immortality speaks of
eternal life-and it comes through the gospel or the "good news." Do you get
the impact? Eternal life is through the gospel andgospel means "good news." 

This good news is explained in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 where we find that
Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures. Put it all together and it simply says that everlasting life
does not come through one's denominational record or good works. It comes as
a result of one's acceptance of the Saviour' s death by the shedding of blood
and of His resurrection. Titus 2:13 speaks of Christ's return by stating,
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Notice that it is not Buddha, Mohammed, or
Zoroaster who is the Saviour, but only the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no
other Saviour-Jesus is the only way. Second Peter 1:1 again calls Him our
Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Christ's earthly ministry 

"Saviour" is not some honorary title which was bestowed upon the Lord Jesus
Christ in recognition of His wonderful teachings. Rather, it depicts His
ministry upon earth and speaks of His saving power. 

Presently, we are living in a time of rebellion. Corrupted mankind is trying
to destroy all of our foundational structures. This trend can also be
witnessed in the religious world as apostate, liberal clergymen mock the
doctrines of the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His blood atonement upon
the cross, and His bodily resurrection. Many laugh at the statement "Jesus
Saves" as if the word "saves" were an invention of some simpleton. 

Our God predicted this would happen, and it is one of the signs of the end.
Second Peter 2:1,2: But there were false prophets also among the people,
even as there shall be [one of the signs] false teachers among you, who
privity shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought
them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow
their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil
spoken of. 

There are two things one can do for these poor misguided souls: (1) pray for
them, and (2) thank God for their presence because it means that Jesus
Christ is coming soon to call Christians home. Let them laugh. The term
saved was placed in the Bible scores of times by a holy God. One had better
investigate and accept this truth if he is interested in eternal life. 

I could quote numerous verses proving that salvation is of God and that God
put this word in the Bible. However, let's limit our discussion to those
which speak exclusively about Christ being the way of salvation: Thou shalt
call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew
1:21). For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost (Matthew
18:11). God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that
the world through him [Jesus] might be saved (John 3:17). 

Jesus said, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved
(John 10:9). I came not to judge the world, but to save the world (John
12:47). 

Paul said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts
16:31). For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [not rites, ceremonies,
rituals, the Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments,
but the gospel or the good news of Christ]: for it is the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth (Romans 1:16). We shall be saved from
wrath through him (Romans 5:9). If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the
Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from
the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9). 

In 1 Corinthians 15:1,2 we find this statement, Moreover, brethren, I
declare unto you the gospel[the good news] which I preached unto you, which
also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved.
How? Verses 3 and 4: Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
and...he was buried, and...he rose again the third day according to the
scriptures. This alone is the message of the gospel, the good news, the only
way of salvation. Christ died, shed His blood, and rose again. 

Christ's redeeming blood 

Christ's power to save all the world was wrought through His precious blood
shed on Calvary. Leviticus 17:11: It is the blood that maketh an atonement
for the soul. Acts 20:28: The church of God, which he hath purchased with
his own blood. First Peter 1:18,79: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not
redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain
conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious
blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Revelation
1:5: Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
Yes, without [the] shedding of blood [there] is no remission [of sins]
(Hebrews 9:22). 
It is not enough simply to state that Christ died-as so many intellectuals
do today in order to do away with the sacrifice of His blood. A bloodless
death on the cross would not have saved anyone. Let me repeat that. Had
Christ died of a heart attack or of suffocation upon the cross, mankind
would have been lost forever, for it is the blood that maketh an atonement
for the soul.Because of this fact, Christ came to earth to take upon himself
a body with blood so that He might shed that blood for our sins (see Hebrews
10:5). When one receives this sacrifice of the shed blood of Jesus Christ,
he is saved immediately. 

Christ's redemptive purpose 

If the Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour and has saving power, we may
conclude that He came to earth because sinners need saving. This is exactly
what Paul said. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (Timothy 1:15). Not
only does this statement include everyone we know, but ourselves as well.
Christ would have all men to be saved, including you and me (see 1 Timothy
2:4). [Christ] gave himself a ransom for all (I Timothy 2:6). 

The only reason some people will never get saved is that they do not realize
that they are lost. They think they were born into sainthood just like the
Pharisee in the temple. He said, I thank thee, that I am not as other men
are (Luke 18:11). However, Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, Except your
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees,
ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Why? The Pharisees were so caught up in the admiration of their own goodness
that they were convinced they needed nothing from God-nothing at all! Yet,
God says in Isaiah 64:6, We are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Galatians 3:22: The scripture hath
concluded all under sin. Thus, God not only wants to save mankind from the
misery of sin in this life, but also from the eternal penalty into which sin
will drag those who reject Christ. He that believeth not the Son shall not
see life; but the wrath of God abideth [eternity] on him (John 3:36). Why?
Because he won't receive the Son. 

Oh, my friend, if you are lost, the Saviour longs to save you. You need
saving because all are sinners and only through His blood can you be washed
white. You may be whitewashed because you've had all the rituals of the
Church performed upon you, but you really need to be washed white to inherit
eternal life! Why not call on Him right now, saying, "Lord Jesus, come into
my heart." www.jvim.com 

  Rev. Joe Diaz 111 
Boldly proclaiming the word of God 
Website: www.hisloveextended.com
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Jan 2014, 7:39 pm

Posted by: "Dean Masters" 
 The Discipline of Scripture Reading

With each New Year that comes, it is time to rethink our plans and 
priorities. To help us settle in on what the Lord desires for each of us, we 
need to refresh our minds with God's plan. One key passage is I Timothy 4:7.

Paul says we are to discipline our selves towards godliness. What are the 
disciplines that encourage a godly life? The first and foremost discipline 
is the Discipline of the Scriptures.

Time alone with God in His Word, the Scriptures, is the great necessity of 
our spiritual lives. We need to be alone with God daily! We need to find 
times to get away alone. E. Stanley Jones once described time in the 
Scriptures as a "time exposure to God." He used the analogy of his life 
being like a photographic plate which, when exposed to God, progressively 
bore the image of God in keeping with the length of exposure.

Please open with me to the center of your Bibles and find Psalm 16.11. "You 
will show me the path of lif ; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your 
right hand are pleasures forevermore. "

The Lord wants you to discipline yourself to get in His Scripture each day 
(daily bread, not by bread alone) so He can arrange, accompany, and 
authorize your life. Is your life authorized by God? Do you live under His 
authority? Is he making the arrangements for you to have the best life there 
can be here on earth? Does He accompany you through every moment of every 
day - filling your days and nights with joy? That is what the Lord offers us 
in the Scriptures.

~If you will listen to the Lord speak to you through the Word you can rest 
in His arrangements for your life. "You will show me the path of life"

~If you will listen to the Lord speak to you through the Word you can enjoy 
His companionship through life. "In Your presence is fullness of joy;"

~If you will listen to the Lord speak to you through the Word you can rest 
in His authority over your life. "At Your right hand are pleasures 
forevermore"

How can we start cultivating time alone with God?

Continue reading
http://www.christianity.com/devotionals/discover-the-book-john-barnett/discover-the-book-dec-29-2010-
11643331.html
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Jan 2014, 7:36 pm

Reach Out!
By Skip Heitzig

One time, a friend asked me to speak at his church in California. Lenya and 
I flew to Los Angeles International Airport, and as we waited for him by the 
curb she told me, "He is not coming. You're not speaking here this weekend." 
And then she pulled out some tickets to Hawaii and explained that she’d had 
him invite me because she knew she couldn’t get me to go on a vacation any 
other way. It was a pretty cool surprise.

Where are you going this next year? You might have plans already made, but 
God might have some surprises for you. He might be saying, "You' re not going 
to do that. You're going to do this. I have a whole new life, a whole new 
future in store for you."

In the New Year, we can either “veg out” or we can reach out. “Vegging out” 
is when we stop and just look back on what God has done. And that way we 
eventually become irrelevant. Instead, we should reach out and say, "Thank 
You for what You've done, but Lord, please do more in the future!"

Here are four principles from Philippians 3 that you can use in navigating 
the New Year.

Principle 1: "Don' t settle down, buckle up." By that I mean, anticipate 
great things in this next year from the hand of a great God! Even Paul the 
apostle said there was still room for him to grow (see vv. 12-13). So we’ll 
never reach perfection this side of heaven. And it's our sense of 
imperfection that drives us upward and onward. A growing Christian is never 
satisfied with his or her present spiritual state.

Principle 2: Don't do everything; choose one thing. Narrow your focus. Note 
the phrase "but one thing I do” in verse 13. Jesus called the rich young 
ruler to do the one thing that was missing from his life (Mark 10:17-21), 
and He pointed Martha to the one thing that was needed (Luke 10:38-42). So 
“keep the main thing, the main thing.” Concentrate on what God has 
specifically for you. Say yes to the right things and don’t get distracted 
by everything else.

Principle 3: Don't look backward, move forward. "Forgetting those things 
which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” in 
verse 13 reminds me that some Christians are spiritual cripples who have 
been paralyzed by past hurts, bitterness, and grudges that they hold. 
Letting the past dominate the present puts a stranglehold on the future. So 
let it all go!

Principle 4: "Don' t travel alone, walk together." In verse 16, Paul says, 
"let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind." In other words, 
don't isolate yourself, move forward together. Runners do better in packs; 
they encourage one another. And we as Christians do better when we move 
forward together.

If you’re just sitting in the bleachers: Be a participant, not just an 
observer! The church needs all of us. If you're not utilizing your gifts 
within the church body, you're robbing the rest of us of your participation! 
God wants you to be engaged in the process, with everything in you. So 
surrender your will to God and simply ask, “Where are we going, Lord? What 
do you want me to do?”

The expression “reaching forward” in verse 13 depicts an athlete straining 
to reach the finish line, putting everything into the race. If you were to 
put as much effort into pressing on in your spiritual life as you do on your 
hobbies, what would your life look like a year from now?

So walk boldly into the future, allowing Him to do something wonderful in 
and through you. Let Him give you the ticket to a new destination, a whole 
new adventure you never thought of and never planned on. Be open, and be 
excited to see what He will do!

Copyright © 2013 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.

For more from Skip Heitzig, visit
ConnectionRadio.org,
and listen to today's broadcast of The Connection with
Skip Heitzig at OnePlace.com.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Jan 2014, 6:23 pm

The Lift 

Off The Throne 
(By Steve Troxel, God's Daily Word Ministries, www.gdwm.org) 
[Edited] 

After the birth of Jesus, Magi (wise men) came to Jerusalem and asked, 
Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). When
King Herod heard about this he became greatly disturbed. Herod had been
appointed King of the Jews by the Roman government; but he was only
partially Jewish and not well accepted by the people. 

King Herod knew of the Jewish scriptures and how the people were waiting for
the Messiah; "The government will be on His shoulders" (Isaiah 9:6). He
heard the words of the prophet which told where the new ruler would be born;
"Out of you {Bethlehem} will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel"
(Micah 5:2). Herod viewed the news of this new ruler as a great threat. How
would this affect his right to be king? Would he lose power? prestige?
control? ...comfort!? The potential harm was unbearable so Herod decided to
take action. 

Matthew 2:16 "He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its
vicinity who were two years old and under." 

Many people today are not much different than Herod. Even when they
recognize Jesus and clearly see their need, they fear losing the ability to
direct their own path. They may not actually take steps to destroy Christ,
but the thought of releasing control seems unbearable. Somehow, they've been
taught that submission equates to failure. But the reality is that true 
success" is only found in Christ, and true comfort is only obtained by being
set free from the power of sin and the entanglement of this world. 

Jesus was, and always will be, very threatening to those who insist on
sitting on a throne. It's foolishness to think Jesus will accept the
position of Co-King. Those who attempt to enter a relationship with Jesus
while trying to maintain their "right to rule" will either give up their
right or end up absolutely miserable. 

Jesus will give Himself to "whoever believes in Him" (John 3:13). But in
return, He asks for our total devotion: "Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
strength" (Mark 12:30). We give Him proper worship - the worship He deserves
- only as we submit and exalt Him above all else; "He must become greater, I
must become less" (John 3:30). 

As we get ready to begin this new year, let's ensure our relationship with
Jesus is aligned with God's plan. He is the rightful Ruler and King - the
Savior and Lord! Let's trust and worship Him with all our heart, and refuse
to be threatened by His right to lead. Let's decide once and 
for all.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 5:57 pm

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year
Don Whitney

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with 
Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" 
(Haggai 1:5)
he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, 
and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told 
them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about 
the direction of their lives. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week 
to another without ever stopping to ponder where we're going and where we 
should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our 
bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the 
presence of God.

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of 
God?

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this 
year?

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the 
quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this 
year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do 
about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this 
year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in 10 
years? In eternity?

In addition to these 10 questions, here are 21 more to help you "Consider 
your ways." Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question 
each day for a month.

11. What's the most important decision you need to make this year?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you 
could simplify in that area?

13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?

15. Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?

16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the 
most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the 
quality of your work life this year?

18. What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another 
who ministers to you) this year?

19. What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy 
you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do 
about it this year?

22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this 
year?

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do 
about it this year?

24. What's the most important trip you want to take this year?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount 
this year?

27. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the 
quality of your commute this year?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this 
year, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they 
say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What's the most important new item you want to buy this year?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do 
about it this year?


The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the 
simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, 
just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is 
more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn't 
considered the question.

If you've found these questions helpful, you might want to put them 
someplace — in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc. — where 
you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let's evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year 
with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead 
surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let's also remember 
our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" 
(John 15:5).

Since 2005, Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Biblical 
Spirituality at the southern baptist theological seminary
in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also serves as Senior Associate Dean. 
Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six 
Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 
Kansas City, Missouri, for ten years. He is the founder and president of The 
Center for Biblical Spirituality.
@donwhitney.
Visit his website at
http://biblicalspirituality.org
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 7:28 pm

Something Big Is Happening Here 
Sermon 2 of 3 from the Soul Food: Ephesians for the 21st-Century series by
Dr Ray Pritchard, Keep Believing Ministries 
Ephesians 3:10 
July 2010 Sometimes you discover a new truth by accident. 
That happened to me recently as I was reading through Ephesians. Actually
I've been reading and re-reading Ephesians for the last few months. When I
read David Powlison's advice that we should master Ephesians and be mastered
by it because in a pinch you could do all counseling from Ephesians and
It's all there: the big picture that organizes a myriad of details, I
decided to go back and make it the focus of my daily Bible reading. So
thats what I've been doing for the last few months. Sometimes I read a few
verses, sometimes a chapter or two, sometimes I read the whole book.
Occasionally I ponder a single verse. 
I've been struck repeatedly by how Paul emphasizes the cosmic dimensions of
God's plan. He does it in Ephesians 1 where he talks about God bringing all
things together under the headship of Christ (v. 10) and how Christ is now
seated far above all authority and power (v. 21). He does it again in
chapter 6 when he says that we wrestle against principalities and powers and
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (v. 12). Paul sees what
happens here on earth as being closely connected to events in the spiritual
realm. So with that in mind, I'm reading along in chapter 3 where Paul talks
about how in the church Jews and Gentiles stand on an equal basis, with the
same standing and the same privileges. That's a tremendous truth to think
about. Then you come to this verse: 
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God
should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms
(Ephesians 3:10). 
That's the sort of verse you might read quickly and not think about. But it
deserves closer examination. Paul says that God has arranged things so that
the church of Jesus Christ displays the manifold wisdom of God. The word
means many-colored.Picture a bouquet of multi-colored flowers or a piece
of fabric with a vast variety of colors, red and pink and blue and brown and
green and yellow. I have seen computer programs that promise that they can
print pictures in millions of colors.That's the idea here. God's wisdom
has many hues, many varieties, and God intends to use the church (meaning
those of us in the church) to display that wisdom. 
Ray Stedman explains it this way: 
The word translated manifold here is literally the many-colored wisdom of
God. Why did the apostle choose this poetic adjective? It is because life
consists of many colors. We all have blue days. And red hours of anger and
passion. And golden moments of glory. And dark, somber valleys through which
we must pass. And lush, green pastures into which we are sometimes led.
God's love is manifest in all of these hues of life. So when you go through
a blue time, it is God's love that you are learning. When you go through a
dark and pressured time, the love of God is being manifested there. You may
not see it, but God knows how to make it clear. And even the joyful times
are manifestations of the many-colored wisdom of God. 
So far, so good. 
When you go through a blue time, it is God's love that you are learning. 

But then look at that last phrase. God intends to display his many-colored
wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.That can only
be a reference to the angelic beings watching from heaven. When Ligon Duncan
preached on Ephesians 3:8-13, he painted this word picture: 
The Apostle Paul is saying that God has put you up on the stage of history
and that when you look up into the galleries and into those expensive boxes
you are going to see the angelic powers of heaven, good and evil, because
God is putting them in graduate school to learn from you of His wisdom and
glory. In other words, God is going to display His glory to good angels and
bad angels. He's going to display the wisdom of His plan to principalities
and powers through you as the church. 
Kenneth Wuest offers this succinct summary: 
The Church thus becomes the university for angels, and each saint a
professor. 
The Church becomes the university for angels. 
Folks, that's a mind-blowing insight. It's telling us that what happens to
us on earth has a purpose that goes far beyond us personally. God intends to
use the events of this life, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad,
the positive and the negative, all of it together and each part individually
to make a display for all the universe to see. He does it so that the
angels scattered across the universe, in all their various ranks and orders
and levels, will see something of God's wisdom worked out through what
happens to us here on earth. 
Unanswered Questions 
I find this perspective helpful because so much of what goes on around us
seems to make little sense. I'm thinking of the heartaches of life, how one
person gets cancer and dies while another person is spared cancer and yet
another person gets the same cancer, goes through chemotherapy and survives.
Why does one child live and another die? Why is one family hit with a
seemingly endless series of trials? Why did this husband decide to walk away
from his marriage? Why did the car wreck leave this man crippled but the man
next to him walks away unscathed? The list goes on and on and on. 
Why was this person promoted and that one passed over? 
Why do some people want to get married but never find the right person? 
Ephesians 3:10 offers us a unique perspective that we need to consider. I
can say it in one simple sentence: 
Something big is happening here. 
Something much bigger than us. 
Bigger than our own personal agenda. 
Bigger than anything we've ever dreamed. 
If we are Christians at all, we know that life isn't about us. 
We've heard that for years. 

If we are Christians at all, we know that life isn't about us. 
We've heard that for years. 
But here is an insight that may bring light on some of those why questions

God intends to use us as a demonstration of his wisdom to a whole galaxy of
angelic beings who watch with great interest as we move through life on our
way to heaven. They see us struggle, they watch us grapple with tragedy,
they see us deal with setbacks, they pay attention when we cry out to our
Father for grace to helpin the nick of time. They see in ways we don't
see how God's plan is moving forward through our suffering and pain and
tears. 
Now if this is and this seems to be exactly what Paul is inferring in
Ephesians 3:10, lots of things that happen aren't just about us. Something
much bigger is going through our struggles in this world. We wouldn't
understand it even if God tried to explain it to us. But we get little hints
of it in verses like this. 
As I pondered this some more, I remembered that Jonathan Edwards commented
that in heaven we will spend the vast stretches of eternity marveling with
other believers about how the wisdom of God was displayed in his plan to
save us and shape us into the image of his Son. When I first heard that, I
thought to myself, Well, fine. But I think after maybe 250 years or so,
I'll have fully covered all the mysteries of my own earthly journey. I
admit that's a very human way to look at it, but that's what I thought. But
suppose God intends to use our life journey as a canvas on which to paint
the richness of his wisdom for the angelic beings to study. Suddenly that
lifts us into a realm of cosmic purpose that will truly stretch across the
endless ages of eternity. 
Something much bigger is going through our struggles in this world. 

I think it means that at some point when we face hard times and when life
makes no sense whatsoever, we need to stop and say to ourselves, Something
big is happening here." God never wastes anything. Not even the tiniest tear
falls without a purpose. 
We are giving lessons to a heavenly audience. 
Sometimes we think that life should get easier as we get older. I doubt that
is the case for most people. If anything, the mysteries of life become more
profound as we realize how little we understand about why things happen the
way they do. 
Two people die every second. 
But you are not dead. 
Why? 
Three Quotes 
As a means of helping us think about this a little deeper, consider these
three quotes gathered from very different authors in very different places. 
The first quote comes from a pastor who asked the following question, Where
in the Bible did God ever give someone an easy job to do? Now we may
quibble with the question, but I think the larger point is quite true. It's
hard to think of anyone in the Bible to whom God gave a truly easy job.
Now why is that? God puts all of us to the test so that we will be forced to
trust in him. If he only gave out easy assignments, we wouldn't have to
trust him very much. Maybe we would conclude we didn't need him at all. But
hard assignments drive us to our knees in prayer. 
Earthly prosperity tends to be no friend of spiritual growth. 

The second quote comes from a certain TV preacher. A few months ago, while
listening to a snippet of a program, I heard him offer this insight: God
will never bring us to the place where we no longer need him." 
And all God's children said, Hmmmm.
That'll make you stop and think. Down deep there is a part of us that would
like to come to a place where we don’t have to trust in the Lord so much.
Not that we don’t want to pray, but secretly we’d like to be in such a place
of earthly fulfillment where we didn’t have to pray desperate prayers to the
Almighty. It would be wonderful (or so we think) if things were going so
well that all we had to do was to praise the Lord all day long. 
Not going to happen. 
Not this side of heaven. 
God will never bring us to the place where we no longer need him. 

If all our needs were met, we'd end up forgetting God just like the children
of Israel did in the Old Testament. Earthly prosperity tends to be no friend
of spiritual growth. And total prosperity generally means total disaster. I
think that preacher was right on in what he said. God intends to bring us
again and again to the place where we are crying out to the Lord, begging
for his mercy and his grace. 
That's not a fun place to be. 
But it's where we need to be. 
Anything that drives us to our knees is good for the soul. 
The third quote comes from my friend Peter who pastors a house church in
China. Last month he and his wife came to the U.S. for a special seminar in
Dallas where they spent a week with leaders from other countries at a fancy
retreat center. Peter said it was a very good week, but there was one
drawback. We had a beautiful room, wonderful meals, and everything we
needed was provided for us. We didn't even need to pray. 
It's always easier to pray when we have a consciousness of our own need.
While we were with Peter, he prayed powerfully for us and for my wife in
particular who was going through some physical difficulties at that time. It
was a transforming moment to hear this Chinese pastor pray so fervently to
the Lord. 
So much faith! 
So much earnest desire! 
Later he told us that the Chinese church has no choice but to pray and ask
God for healing. Given the pressures of the last sixty years, the church has
learned to call upon the Lord fervently. I know I've used that word twice,
but then I think of James 5:16, which in the King James Version tells us
that the fervent prayers of a righteous man avail much with God. 
The end of the whole matter is clear. Do not lose heart when hard times come
Something big is happening here. 
Do not lose heart when hard times come. 

Something bigger than you can see. 
Something bigger than you can imagine. 
Something so big that you can't begin to figure it out. 
I believe God brings us back again and again to these times of desperation
so that we will see that it's not about us and our problems. God intends to
use our trials to teach us to pray and to trust him more so that (and this
is the point of Ephesians 3:10) the angelic beings will behold in us the
many-colored wisdom of God. 
When we see a fellow saint going through hard times for which there seems to
be no earthly explanation, let us erect over that spot a sign with these
words: 
Quiet: God at Work 
When I was a teenager, I used to attend country churches where they would
sing, We'll understand it better by and by.Back then I didn't appreciate
the depth of theology behind that song, but with the passage of many years I
see it more clearly now. And in this one verse Paul pulls back the curtain
to give us a peek at God's purposes that we would not otherwise know. As you
face the trials of life, keep this truth in front of you and make it a
bedrock of your faith: 
Something big is happening here. 
RELATED BOOK 
Why Did This Happen to Me? 
At least once in your life, something so difficult and painful will happen
to us and we will ask God, why is this happening to me? Find God's
strength through life's greatest heartaches. 
Get more details 
God bless you! 
Rev. Joe Diaz III 
Founder, His love Extended Ministries, International (Circa 2000) 
www.hisloveextended.com 
May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6 24-26
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 7:03 pm

THE COURAGE THAT MADE CHRISTMAS POSSIBLE

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, 
because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21

Chinese evangelist, Brother Xi, was travelling one very cold Christmas Eve 
in the rugged province of Gansu. As he came to the next village he sensed 
something
was wrong. He introduced himself as a bearer of good news. A small man 
interrupted, “Well we have only bad news here right now. A couple has just 
had their
baby stolen.” In the poorer areas of China, where couples are restricted to 
one child, it is not uncommon to have child snatching, even stealing babies
for wealthy childless couples in the cities.

He stepped inside the house to find both husband and wife staring quietly at 
him. The couple’s grief hung heavy in the air. He said, “I’m so sorry to 
hear
about your plight, but I know someone who may help...God. Let me pray to 
Him.”

There was no reaction on the couple’s faces, so he went into prayer, feeling 
very uncomfortable indeed. “Dear Father, many years ago at this same time
of year you sent a child into the world and rescued us all; we ask today 
that you will send back this child to us, and deliver this village from the 
sadness
which grips it, Amen.”

Suddenly the young husband spoke, “Shut up and go away. We have prayed to 
our gods and nothing has happened. Why should yours be any different?” He 
was
grabbed from behind by the other villagers and propelled out of the village. 
“Don't you dare come here again!” they bawled.

He wandered the hills in a daze of humiliation, tears, and crying to God. 
Then he thought l went to that village expecting a hero’s welcome, or at the
very least, I relied on being a curiosity, quizzed and entertained by people 
who live very dull and isolated lives. Instead, I had only been treated a
little like Christ was treated.

Kneeling there in the snow, he knew what he had to do—go back to that 
village, knowing for sure he would be despised. This was to follow in the 
Master’s
footsteps. With a pounding heart he turned and began to walk slowly back 
towards the village. Suddenly, across the still late afternoon air, he heard 
a
baby’s cry coming from what appeared to be an old well shaft.

Sure enough six feet down was a little baby, wrapped in a thick blanket, 
lying at the bottom of the dry-well. He climbed down to hug some warmth back 
into
it. It was a baby girl. Those who snatched it did not know it was a girl, 
and finding later that it was, left it in this old well to die.

He walked back to the village with the precious bundle of life. The 
villagers came running. They were amazed and overjoyed as they led him to 
the cottage
of the poor couple, and the smile on the mother’s face as he placed her baby 
into her lap was unforgettable. “Come, warm yourself by the fire” said the
husband. They drew up a chair for him, and as the other villagers crowded 
round, he asked, “Who was that God you prayed to?”

What an invitation. Here he was, the honored guest, looking at thirty eager 
people, waiting with bated breath to hear the Gospel. “Well,” he began, “He
came to earth in the form of a little baby, just about this time 2000 years 
ago...”

RESPONSE: Today I will praise God that He is truly in control and can work 
out all situations for good.

PRAYER: Thank God today for the coming of His Son to earth in humble yet 
powerful glory!

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
You Who Are Troubled—Rest! 
BIBLE MEDITATION: 
“And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be
revealed from heaven with His mighty angels…” 2 Thessalonians 1:7 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: 
Are you troubled today? Listen: “And you who are troubled rest with us.”
That is, be at ease. Quit your worry. It is not over yet. There is an
unfinished story. If you are troubled, rest with us. 

You say, “Pastor, it’s so dark.” Yes, it’s gloriously dark, because the
darkest hour of the night is just before the sunrise. Our hope is not in
politics, our hope is not in sociology, our hope is not in science. The only
sure hope for our world is the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Think about who is coming again. Underscore this: “when the Lord Jesus shall
be revealed.” The Lord Jesus is who is coming again. We’re not looking for
some event in history. We’re looking for Jesus Christ to be revealed. And
when He’s revealed, He’s going to be revealed as the Lord Jesus. Today He is
despised. He is rejected. He is mocked. But He is coming as the Lord Jesus
to be glorified and admired. 

ACTION POINT: 
If you are unsaved, if you’re not one of His saints, His coming will strike
stark terror in your heart. But if you are saved, you’re going to say, “Oh
glory to the Lamb. Isn’t He beautiful?” Say this aloud if you can say it and
mean it: “Lord Jesus.” The Lord Jesus is coming. 

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers. 

© 2013 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 28 Dec 2013, 5:54 pm

A Christmas Devotional
Christmas
After Christmas, brand new articles from Mel Lawrenz.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they 
had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. -
Luke 2:20

At the birth of Jesus, amidst the dirt and straw of a stable, millennia of 
promises, prophecies, and hopes were fulfilled. In the birth of a child, 
something
that happens every single day all over the world, something happened that 
would change the world. Everything the faithful were anticipating took 
shape.
It was the alignment of all that was meant to be. But the birth of Jesus has 
that power and significance only if he really is who he said he was.

The shepherds heard, they saw, and it was all just as they had been told. In 
a perfect conjunction of heaven and earth, God came to earth, connecting the
two for his eternal purposes. Years later, Jesus would tell us in so many 
different ways, I have come into the world as a light (John 12:46); I 
have
come that they may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10); For 
this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the 
truth, (John 18:37).

When we are sensing the dirtiness of life in this world, we can focus on the 
purity of Christ.

When we feel weak, we can lean on the power of Christ.

When we are ill, we can remember that he is the great physician.

When we are confused, we can turn to his words to get our bearings.

When we are damaged, we can remember that he said that he would not break a 
bruised reed nor snuff out a smoldering wick.

When we know we have sinned, we can know his forgiveness.

When we are wayward, we can remember he called himself the way.

When we have been lied to, we can remember he called himself the truth.

When we feel like our energy and our enthusiasm is waning, we can remember 
that he called himself the life.

And so, we can pray:
Thank you Lord Christ for humbling yourself and taking the form of man. 
Thank you for pushing back the darkness of this world and of my life. Thank 
you
for fully living before us so that we can see just how much life we can 
have. Let me live for the next 52 weeks in the light of your ongoing 
presence and
power in this world. And then let me celebrate Christmas again with joy.

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook 
Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for 
thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help 
Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, 
the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to 
Engagement.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 27 Dec 2013, 8:01 pm

The Fir Tree
By Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish writer in the nineteenth century who 
penned many stories like the one below. His most famous was "The Ugly 
Duckling."
While the reality of this particular story is questioned even by the author, 
the truth revealed by the tale cannot be questioned. See if you agree.

In a small cottage on the borders of a forest lived a poor laborer, who 
gained a scanty living by cutting wood. He had a wife and two children who 
helped
him in his work. The boy’s name was Valentine, and the girl was called Mary. 
They were obedient, good children, and a great comfort to their parents.

One winter evening, this happy little family was sitting quietly round the 
hearth, the snow and the wind raging outside, while they ate their supper of
dry bread, when a gentle tap was heard on the window, and a childish voice 
cried from outside, "Oh, let me in, I pray! I am a poor child, with nothing
to eat, and no home to go to, and I shall die of cold and hunger unless you 
let me in." Valentine and Mary jumped up from the table and ran to open the
door, saying, "Come in, poor little child! We have not much to give you, but 
whatever we have we will share with you."

The stranger-child came in and warmed his frozen hands and feet at the fire, 
and the children gave him the best they had to eat, saying, "You must be 
tired,
too, poor child! Lie down on our bed; we can sleep on the bench for one 
night."

Then said the little stranger-child, "Thank God for all your kindness to 
me." So they took their little guest into their sleeping-place, laid him on 
the
bed, covered him over, and said to each other, "How thankful we ought to be! 
We have warm rooms and a cozy bed, while this poor child has only heaven for
his roof and the cold earth for his sleeping-place. "

When the father and mother went to bed, Mary and Valentine lay quite 
contentedly on the bench near the fire, saying, before they fell asleep, 
"The stranger-child
will be happy tonight in his warm bed."

These kind children had not slept many hours before Mary awoke, and softly 
whispered to her brother, “Valentine, dear brother, wake, and listen to the
sweet music under the window.”

Then Valentine rubbed his eyes and listened. It was sweet music indeed, and 
sounded like beautiful voices singing to the tones of a harp:

Oh holy Child, we greet thee! Bringing
Sweet strains of harp to aid our singing.
Thou holy Child, in peace art sleeping,
While we our watch without are keeping.
Blest be the house wherein thou liest,
Happiest on earth, to heaven the nighest.

The children listened, while a solemn joy filled their hearts, then they 
stepped softly to the window to see who was singing.

In the east was a streak of rosy dawn, and in its light they saw a group of 
children standing in front of the house, clothed in sparkling garments and
holding golden harps. Amazed at the sight, the brother and sister were still 
gazing out the window when they heard a sound behind them. Turning they 
discovered
the stranger-child standing before them. "I am the little Christ child," he 
said. "I wander through the world bringing peace and happiness to children.
You took me in and cared for me when you thought I was a poor child, and now 
you shall have my blessing for what you have done."

A fir tree grew near the little house; and from this the Christ-child broke 
a twig and planted it in the ground. He looked directly at Valentine and 
Mary
and said, "This twig shall become a tree, and shall bring forth fruit year 
by year for you."

No sooner had he done this than he vanished, and with him the choir of 
angels. The fir-branch grew and became a Christmas tree, and on its branches 
hung
golden apples and silver nuts every Christmas.

Such is the story told to German children concerning their beautiful 
Christmas trees, though we know that this is only a fable. The real 
Christ-child can
never be wandering cold and homeless in our world, because he is safe in 
heaven by his Father’s side; yet we may gather from this story the same 
truth
which the Bible plainly tells us--that to anyone who helps another person, 
it will be counted to them as if he had done it to Christ himself. "In as 
much
as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto 
me."

Family Moment

Kindness. When you think of that word, what picture comes to mind? Who or 
what do you think of? What have they done or said that has made you feel 
warm
and that you mattered?

Every day, we have the chance to represent Jesus to anyone God brings our 
way. We can be kind in what we do, what we say, even in our body language 
(posture,
eye contact) to others who may just want to see if their lives matter to 
other human souls.

Ask family members how they best express kindness.

Now, ask them how they can improve a little bit more in being kind to 
others.

An Advent Prayer

Dear kind Lord, thank you that kindness is part of your character from which 
we can learn. You were kind to everyone who needed kindness. You reached out
to touch those who needed your touch; you said the right words to those who 
were hurting; you showed by every action in your life that people were more
important than anything else on earth. Help us to learn from the examples 
you set for us, but help us to learn this lesson best. We want to be kind to
others, for in doing so, we show we are being kind to you. In Jesus’s name, 
amen.

Today's Advent reading is from
25 Days of Christmas
by Greg Johnson. Greg Johnson is the author of more than 20 books. He is 
President of WordServe Literary Group, a Denver-based literary agency that 
servesmore than 100 authors (www.wordserveliterary.com)

Hark! The Herald Angels!

Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for 
those who will inherit salvation?
Hebrews 1:14

Recommended Reading
Hebrews 1:10-14
Angels appear six times in the biblical story of Christmas. First, Gabriel 
visited Zacharias in Luke 1. Then he paid a visit to Mary. An angel appeared
three times to Joseph. And the sixth (and perhaps most awesome) angelic 
appearance was over the shepherds' field when an innumerable multitude of 
angels
assembled the greatest mass choir in history.

Listen to Today's Radio Message
But don't think angels are limited to the Christmas season. The Bible 
contains 234 passages about angels, and there are references to angels in 39 
books
of the Bible. The range of angelic activity spans the Scripture from Genesis 
3:23 to Revelation 22:16. Nor is angelic activity limited to Bible times.
The Bible teaches that angels are active today in the lives of God's 
children, transporting blessings to our lives, delivering us from judgment, 
protecting
us in danger, guiding us in unseen ways, and watching over the events of our 
world. So in addition to all the carols you'll sing about angels this 
season,
don't forget another song -- the old African-American spiritual that says, 
"All night, all day, angels watching over me

TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah' s Website http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx
Turning Point's mission is to deliver the unchanging Word of God to an 
ever-changing world.
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2013 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

The Unfinished Story of Christmas 
BIBLE MEDITATION: 
¦when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all
them that believe 2 Thessalonians 1: 7, 10 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: 
The Jesus who came the first time is coming again, and Christmas is not
complete without the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The incarnation without
the coronation would be like east without west. It would be like an
engagement without a marriage. The story is not complete until Jesus comes
again. 

You may have thought that this was a good Christmas for you but, friend, I
want to tell you the best is yet to come! The Heavenly Father has so much
more in store for us when Jesus comes again. 

You see, we get all wrapped up in the little baby, the baby that was born,
and we then go beyond the birth of the baby, saying, Yes, He came to die
for our sins†(thank God He did that), but I want to remind you that the
First Coming of Jesus and the Second Coming are linked together. 

The Christmas Story in Luke 1 and 2 speaks not only of the Jesus who
redeemed, but the Jesus who reigned. Not only Jesus who came the first time,
but Jesus who is coming the second time to sit upon the throne of His father
David, to rule over the house of Jacob forever and ever. 

ACTION POINT: 
Imagine for a moment what your life would be like without the Resurrection,
the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. The most glorious fact of the
past is that Jesus came the first time. The most glorious fact of the future
is that this Jesus is coming again. The one sure hope of this jittery old
world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers. 

© 2013 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 26 Dec 2013, 11:46 pm

The Innkeeper
Lori Ciccanti
Luke 2:7 “ And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in 
swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for 
them
in the inn. (KJV)

Although Scripture does not specifically mention him, the manager of the inn 
was responsible for turning Mary and Joseph away on the first Christmas 
morning.
Have you ever wondered what type of person he was? For years, I pictured him 
as a mean, cold-hearted, and worldly sort of individual. Then one day, while
reading through my Bible study lesson, I was challenged by the following 
question:

"What do Christians have in common with the Bethlehem innkeeper?"

Now I had to re-evaluate my judgment of the innkeeper' s character. It is 
certainly feasible that he did not refuse Mary and Joseph, but sent them to 
the
barn; it was just a simple case of "no room". My previous impression that he 
was not even concerned about a young mother about to give birth may have 
been
quite wrong.

Yet in one way or another, I think that we can all relate to the innkeeper' s 
story. Many times, we also shut God out in the cold without ever realizing
it. We become so preoccupied with trivial matters; even as we celebrate the 
Lord's birth, He sometimes gets left out. Unfortunately for the innkeeper,
he never knew that it was God's Son whom he turned away.

Christmas or not, it is business as usual for most of the world. 
Nevertheless, as for the innkeeper, this special day may come to those who 
are not seeking
it. Hence, how can we, as believers, take this opportunity to share the glad 
tidings of our faith with others? Moreover, in what ways can we make more
room for Jesus in our personal lives?

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the precious gift of Your Son Jesus. May we 
always have room for Him in our hearts so that others will see His love 
reflected
in us. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.
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