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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 11 Jan 2018, 10:17 pm

Eight Tiny Reindeer

At Christmas time we read and hear a lot of poems, stories and songs about
reindeer. There are those eight tiny reindeer, Rudolph the red-nosed
reindeer and the one that ran over Grandma.

Once Harold Kurtz, a missionary in the Presbyterian Church USA, spoke of
going to Siberia which is in the northern part of Russia. He visited a
reindeer herding people called Nenets. There are about 30,000 in this people
group. Harold wondered how he could let those people know of the love of God
and what Jesus Christ had done for them.

One day he saw one of the men sacrifice a reindeer to their god. He found
out this was done on a regular basis. Harold then thought of the following
Scripture from the book of Hebrews:

" Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the
true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are
continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach.
Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers,
cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in
these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is
impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (
Hebrews 10:1-4, NRSV)

"But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he
sat down at the right hand of God,”" (Hebrews 10:12, NRSV)

Harold told those people about Jesus Christ giving His life. He told the
people that Jesus Christ was their reindeer. All the sacrifices they had
made were useless. There was only one sacrifice for sin and that was made by
Jesus Christ. Since Harold met with them many of the nenets have been
turning to the Lord.

We also must remember that the blood of eight tiny reindeer or millions of
animals will not pay the sin debt for us but only Jesus Christ giving His
life will if we turn to Him. Praise God we don't have to do anything to
appease God to get Him to love us. God showed his love by sending his Son to
live a human life then die on the cross, one sacrifice for sin.

At Christmas time it is nice to remember the manger but we have to leave
there and remember that Jesus came to be our sacrifice. And then to remember
that He didn't just die but rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of
God.

Prayer: Lord god, we thank You for sending your Son as a baby in a manger.
But we thank You and praise You more for sending him to be our sacrifice. In
the name of Jesus Christ who lived and died for us, Amen.

by Dean W. Masters

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"For although in heavy trial of affliction, their overbrimming happiness,
even in spite of their deep poverty, abounded to the opulence of their
unselfishness."
2 Corinthians 8:2 (MontgomeryNT)

list of 4 items
By Answers2Prayer
Subscribe Unsubscribe
More Illustrations
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What I Want

When I was a freshman just starting college I really wanted to be rich. I
even had pictures of a big luxury car and a huge mansion that I had cut out
of
magazines and pasted in my notebook. I wanted to become a wealthy
businessman or a best selling author. I wanted to be both famous and
successful. Of course,
I never did get any of those things and I thank God for that everyday.

You see, in time I realized that what I really wanted was the happiness that
my swollen ego thought those things would bring me. It took me many years
to realize that happiness comes from the love we give and not the things we
get. It took me many years to shrink my ego, grow my humility, and accept
what
God wanted for me. As a result what I want now has become a lot different
from what I wanted back then.

Now I want to do the things that fill my heart with love, my spirit with
joy, and my soul with God. I want to start each morning with the prayer, "I
love
you God and I thank you for my life!"

I want to give my sons hugs and tell them how much I love them. I want to
kiss my daughter's hair when she shares her problems with me. I want to play
fetch with my puppy and laugh when he climbs on my lap and licks my face. I
want to pet my old, gray cat and smile when she curls up on my chest to take
a nap. I want to read and write inspiring words that help hurting hearts. I
want to feel God's love when I look at the flowers of Spring, the sunsets of
Summer, the leaves of Autumn and the snows of Winter. I want to share my
smile, my strength, my laughter, and my love with the world and do
everything
I can to make Earth more like Heaven.

What do you want out of life? What do you want to give to life? Maybe they
are the same.

Always remember that it is in giving that you receive. It is in loving that
you are loved. It is in sharing your joy that you create happiness in the
hearts
of yourself, others, and God.

Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

I want to thank our dynamic group of volunteers for making a difference in
this world. Thanks to them, we can provide you with the many aspects of this
ministry. God is our guide and He blesses others through you! If any of our
subscribers feel called to possibly reach out to others, please let me know..
There is still a need for more volunteers! Many are called, but few answer
the call. Your part would mean a lot to the Lord's work. If interested,
please contact us . Thank you.

Rob Chaffart

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


Jesus never gave any money!

( J.R. Miller , " Woman's Ministry ")

Many shrink from ministering to the poor, because they have no money to
give. But money alone is the poorest alms ever bestowed! There are gifts
which
every true Christian, however poor, has to bestow--which are infinitely
better than money.

The apostles gave no money. They had no silver nor gold to bestow.

Jesus never gave any money! We never read of Him giving a mite to any who
were poor or in distress. And yet no man was ever such a lavish giver of
beneficence
as He. What Christ gave was loving service, pity, sympathy, compassion,
tears and personal help.

These are the coins that the Christian should chiefly give. They are coins
that bear the stamp of Heaven. The image and superscription of Jesus, our
great
King, are upon them. They were
minted in Heaven! They are better than gold--for money is a poor thing to
give, without love. "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my
body
to the flames--but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3

Money will neither . . .
comfort the sad,
nor cheer the lonely,
nor lift up the fallen,
nor strengthen the faint,
nor support the tempted,
nor heal the broken-hearted,
nor soothe weariness,
nor wipe away tears.

Love-gifts are what the poor, suffering, and sorrowing most need.
And these heavenly coins, the poorest Christian may scatter!

Jesus asked nothing nobler on earth than this--and He has made these lowly
ministries forever glorious and divine.

Let Christians go out into the world, and repeat everywhere the tender,
beautiful, helpful ministry of Jesus--and they will do more to bless the
world,
than if they opened a mine of wealth and made thousands rich!

~ ~ ~ ~

You may want to read the whole of J.R. Miller's superb 2 page article, "
Woman's Ministry


8 Ways to Start With Amen
Beth Guckenberger

There are a hundred ways to spend today. I could invest in my family, my
work, my friends, or myself. I could be ambitious and make a plan or do a
project;
or just survive with a body that’s too tired and responsibilities that are
too much. How do I know what to do? How do I still myself enough to listen?
What does a prayer for today even start like?

I’ve long been in the habit of inverting my prayers. I start with “amen”
which means, “so be it” and I set my agenda down right from the start. He
can
move how he wants in any given story and I am committing from the beginning
I won’t get in His way or question. Then I list and talk and ask for all
that
I normally pray about, “Would you please… Thank you for… Forgive me now…”
Afterwards, I finish with some hands-together-form-of-begging, “
Oh, dear Jesus…”

I’ve done that for a while now and it’s resulted in tremendous benefits:
intimacy with God and others, the reward of abundant grace and peace,
reconciled
relationships, and less overall human drama.

So I whisper, Amen. You sell the house. Dear Jesus.

Amen. You move her heart. Dear Jesus.

Amen. You heal that body. You open the door. You provide. Dear Jesus.

And in one syllable this word reorients, calibrating me with a God whose
covenant he will never break.
So be it. I can’t fix anyone, I gain nothing from wringing my hands.. By
inverting my prayers and saying amen, from the beginning I acknowledge his
sovereignty
and my surrender.

The challenge is steep. I wrestle daily to not begin my prayers with
pleading or demands. It takes intentionality to act like His child. When I
do it,
my day can simultaneously look honest, be relational, and remain deeply
spiritual. These best of days, I’ve reminded myself of the ways I can start
with
amen.

1. Recognize people matter. I was convicted about all the previous times I
had put a task or an accomplishment above a relationship. If I am too busy
for
people, what exactly am I doing?

block quote
a. Take time to make a call to someone you haven’t initiated with in a
season, but imagine could use encouragement. Surprise them with simply
asking how
they are doing.
block quote end

2. See vulnerability as maturity. It is habit to answer people who ask how
you are with a response that makes them feel good. It takes more than I want
to offer up to someone, “This hurts.” Or “I am struggling.” But the days I
am real, I find it opens the door to a real exchange and gives someone the
chance
to offer me his or her strength or gifts.

block quote
a. Today when someone asks, “How are you?” give them a sincere answer. Take
a beat before responding, “Fine,” to say something honest.
block quote end

3. Crave his presence. Living amen is a sacred rhythm. It is surrender to
sovereignty in all circumstances. The result is a rapport with the living
God
so intense it permeates everything. It affects how I talk to my husband,
interact with neighbors, spend money, make plans, and raise my kids. It
influences
how affected I am by other people’s thoughts of me or someone else’s crisis.

block quote
a. Sit for at least a moment in silence. Turn the radio off in the car, or
the ringer off on your phone, and enjoy his presence. Give him what’s
weighing
on you and imagine him literally lifting it off your shoulders, or out of
your hands.
block quote end

4. Believe God, rather than just believing in him. I don’t know the exact
moment when it happened, this crossing over from believing in God to
believing
God, although I now know I don’t want to go back. I have finally settled
myself at his feet. Some days I feel anticipation, so I stand there on
tiptoes.
Some days I feel exhausted, so I am facedown, without words. On days with
questions, my hand is raised. On days of celebration, I dance spiritually
like
I wish I could physically.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...
block quote
a. Go somewhere you can be alone and position your body physically to mirror
how you feel today spiritually. Tiptoes? Facedown? Are you shaking a fist?
Dancing with abandon? Tell him the truth, it’s where freedom begins..
block quote end

5. Confess liberally. When I prayed about my load and whether he or I put it
there, when I confessed how good it felt at times to carry something heavy,
or how good it felt to take matters into my own hands, something
supernatural happened. My confession loosened the soil. He pulled out the
lie root from
the metaphorical garden of my heart and planted the truths belonging there
instead.

block quote
a. Write down your confessions just from today. Include thoughts you’ve had,
words you’ve said or actions you’ve taken. Confess liberally, knowing his
grace is more than enough. Afterwards read
1 John 1 :9.
block quote end

6. Say yes more. If amen had an opposite, it would be no. As I begin to fall
apart and find I am losing heart, I can always track the start of the
downward
spiral to a no. (No, that’s not fair. No, I can do it myself. No, I won’t
admit that. No, no, no, no.) Suddenly, I am defensive or overwhelmed. I am
anxious
or offended. I cut off the flow of the Spirit in me and insert my rights
above all else. Turning any ugly moment around begins softly with an
agreement
to so be it. It’s the subtle but powerful yes to lay down your life, to
trust that his life being glorified is better than mine. Yes, you have
another
way, Lord.

block quote
a. Find a mirror and look in it. Admit where you’ve been saying no to
something he’s been inviting you into. Imagine your next steps of saying
yes. Then
still looking in the mirror, raise your hand.
block quote end

7. Give Jesus credit. We have to extend ourselves, and in that extension,
give credit liberally to Jesus. The chief barrier to God building great
stories
among our families and communities isn’t our faith; it’s our pride. He needs
only a mustard seed of faith and will still do biblically sized story lines..
He just asks that we always give him credit for what he’s done.

block quote
a. Tell one person today something Jesus has done in your life. Do so in a
way that when you’re done, they are more in awe of Jesus than they are of
you.
block quote end

8. Listen to the right voices. We have so many factors entering into our
personhood: birth order, temperament, culture, education, gender,
personality,
and family influence, just to name a few. It would be easy to point to any
of these areas and decide living with sin is an inevitable result of growing
up in this family, being a middle child, having a strong personality . . .
It’s Satan’s song he sings over us: “Nothing can or will change. This is
simply
who you are. This is what you get.” The lie couldn’t get any stauncher, and
the stakes from breaking free couldn’t be any higher. There is very little
in life we really have control over, and this is pretty much it: I control
whose voice I listen to and what I do with my soul. Might as well make the
most
of it.

block quote
a. Thank someone today who has encouraged you to listen to God’s voice. Most
of us learn to hear God through another’s testimony. It inspires us
consider,
might God talk to us in the same way?
block quote end

Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, live with their family in
Cincinnati, Ohio, where they serve as co-executive directors of Back2Back
Ministries.
After graduating from Indiana University with degrees in education, the
Guckenbergers moved to Monterrey, Mexico. Since founding the international
arm
of Back2Back in 1997, they have hosted thousands of guests on the ministry
campus. Between biological, foster, and adopted children, they have raised
ten
children.
Beth is the author of multiple books, including Reckless Faith, Relentless
Hope, Tales of the Not Forgotten, and several others. Beth is the recipient
of the 2013 International Network of Children’s Ministry Legacy Award and
the Cincinnati Christian University Salute to Leaders Award for the impact
made
on children internationally. She travels and speaks regularly at
conferences, youth gatherings, and church services. Her style is based in
storytelling
and she draws from her vast field experience as a missionary and parent of
ten children for illustrations of biblical concepts. Visit her website:
www.back2back.org

Image courtesy: Unsplash.com

Publication date: May 2, 2017

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Just Like Us"
January 5, 2018
TEXT: And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the
favor of God was upon Him. (
Luke 2:40 )

Luke ends the story of Jesus' birth with the verse above. At first glance it
isn't very exciting. Jesus grew like any child grows, and became stronger.
He learned to walk, learned to talk, learned to feed Himself, and dress
Himself. He played with His parents and made friends with the neighbors. He
began
to learn His letters and how to count.

But at second glance, this is wonderful! Because this is God Himself, going
through the growing up stages that all of us have been through. He didn't
take
the easy way. He wasn't born knowing how to read or how to tie His sandals.
He grew and learned like we do, sharing our ordinary lives. (If you have a
child handy, blow their minds with this idea: at one point Jesus must have
had homework.)

Jesus came to be in our lives, a part of our lives, one of us. He came to be
our Savior, and that is not a job someone can do by standing safely at a
distance.
Instead, He embraced our human nature-He was born, He grew, He lived,
worked, and suffered, He died. And then He rose from the dead.

Truly we can never say to God "You don't understand." Jesus has joined us to
Himself, and He has redeemed us. Through the Holy Spirit's gift of faith we
are now united with Him as His own people, His own family. And He shares His
gift of everlasting life with us.
Luke writes, "And the favor (also translated grace) of God was upon Him."
That same grace is upon us, too, who trust in Jesus. Thank you, Lord.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for becoming a human being and taking us
to be Your own. You are our Savior, and we rejoice. Amen.

Love Came Down Reflection Questions!
LHM wants to help you reflect on what it means for your life that Love came
down at Christmas. Each day you will receive a link to downloadable
reflection
questions that accompany each devotion.
You can use these questions for personal reflection or to lead small group
discussion. They are also great tools to start conversations with friends,
family,
and those in your community during the Advent season. If you use them as
discussion starters, be prepared for people to give personal answers and
make
sure you’re ready to listen and receive what they have to say.

Download Today's Reflection Questions!
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26
Print this Devotion
Subscribe to this Podcast
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission;
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Change Their World. Change Yours.
This Changes Everything.



The Importance of Thanksgiving

I will give thanks to the Lord. - 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
2 Psalm 34:3,6
3 Psalm 32:7
4 Psalm 138:5
5 Revelation 5:17

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 11 , 12

verse 2 2 Timothy 2

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson

As Christians, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Ultimately, how we think, as shaped by our hearing the Word of God, will
determine how
we will live for God’s glory.

Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson describes this transformative process in
what he describes as a ‘blueprint for sanctification’.
Devoted to God builds a strong and reliable framework for practical
Christian living, stressing several fundamental issues, such as: union with
Christ,
spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s
law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual
to which we can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual
direction.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Friday, November 3, 2017

Today's Devotional

Someone Else

Exodus 4:13 – But Moses said, "Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send
someone else." (NIV 2011)

When I read about how reluctant Moses was to do God's bidding, it makes me
smile. Getting people to volunteer in church for leadership or ministry
roles
can be just as hard, too. Some folks feel as if they're not good enough,
others think that they have too much going on to be effective, while others
hope
that someone else will step forward to do the work. Year in and year out,
volunteers are needed to continue Christ's mission, but it seems lately that
more folks don't feel called to work for God.

I understand how they feel. After more than thirty years in ministry and
attending thousands of meetings, I wonder how effective or essential those
meetings
have been. In the short term, each one of them has been important; in the
eternal scheme of things, however, perhaps not so much.

Moses didn't want to respond to do God's work. He felt that it was a mistake
and that someone else more qualified could do it. But God doesn't make
mistakes,
and He personally sought out Moses for the task. No matter how inadequate or
reluctant Moses felt, God would not be thwarted. Moses was the right person,
so God wasn't going to take "No" for an answer.

Perhaps you've been asked to do something special in your church or have
been invited to consider a leadership role in your congregation. Maybe you
feel
unqualified or overstretched, so you would like to say "No" and have someone
else fulfill the call. However, before you reject the invitation, honestly
ask yourself this question: "Is this something that God wants me to do?" If
it is, then no matter how inadequate or how burdened you feel, know this:
God
does not make mistakes, and He will help you to fulfill the role.

Points to ponder: What can I do for my church? What is God presently asking
me to undertake and accomplish?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your ministry and mission continue in our congregations,
communities, and around the world. You call on Christian people to be part
of Your work on earth. Help us to hear Your invitation and to cheerfully
accept what You need us to do. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart < traqair@aol.com >
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Cross Every Barrier
----------------------------------------------------------

Cross Every Barrier

Posted: 30 Oct 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Transcendent God,
unseen God,
high and holy God,
You have broken down every barrier between
You and
us.
You have come to us and
made Yourself
fully,
humbly,
humanly one with us.

As You are now one with us,
we are one with You.
We share Your life.
We share Your love.
Within our hearts is the love that
breaks down every barrier and
crosses every boundary.
No human being is off-limits to Your great compassion.
No one is too unlovely.
No one is too sinful.
No one is too needy.

Father, live that love through us.
You have broken down every barrier.
May we let none of those old barriers stand in our way –
not race or religion,
not language or geography,
not culture or education,
not sexual orientation or social status,
not comfort, self-centeredness, or fear.
You are the Father of us all, and
Your almighty love respects no boundaries.
Make us bold in You,
loving in You,
joyful in You,
ever sacrificing ourselves freely, completely to You.

O great Father of all,
lead us everywhere Your love longs to go.


Unaffected by Change

For I the Lord do not change. - Malachi 3:6

It is just as well for us that in all the variableness of life there is One
whom change cannot affect, One whose heart can never alter, and on whose
brow
inconsistency can make no furrows.

All other things have changed--all things are changing. The sun grows dim
with age; the world is growing old; the final chapter of the worn-out
vesture
has begun; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they will perish--they
shall grow old like a garment. But there is One who only has immortality,
of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change.

The delight that the sailor feels when, having been tossed about on the
waves, he steps again upon the solid shore is the satisfaction of a
Christian when,
in all the changes of this distressing life, he rests the foot of his faith
upon this truth--"I the LORD do not change."

The stability that the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a
solid hold is like that which the Christian's hope provides him when it
fixes
itself upon this glorious truth. With God "there is no variation or shadow
due to change."1

Whatever His attributes were in the past, they are now; His power, His
wisdom, His justice, His truth are unchanged. He has forever been the refuge
of
His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is still their
sure Helper.

He is unchanged in His love. He has loved His people with "an everlasting
love";2 He loves them now as much as ever He did, and when the creation
itself
is set free from its bondage to decay, His love will still endure.

Precious is the assurance that He does not change! The wheel of providence
revolves, but its axle is eternal love.

Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love.

1) James 1:17
2) Jeremiah 31:3


Facing Adversity and Being in God’s Will
Ron Edmondson

Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David.
1 Samuel 19:1

David was minding his own business one day, tending sheep, when God called
him to be a king. Talk about a God moment.

He didn’t ask to be king, but God said he was the one. He turned out to be a
great king. Imagine that? God made a good pick! David had a heart modeled
after God’s, according to the Bible.

So, since God had chosen to bless David in such a way, why do we later find
Saul trying to kill David?

In fact, for some time Saul chased David. David hid out, all alone, which is
the setting we find him in during the writings of many of the Psalms. David
was God’s choice for king and yet he was placed in incredible adversity.

What does this tell us?

I think it says to me that sometimes God’s will for us will find us in the
middle of trials in life.

That’s right. His will for our lives.

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More importantly, I am learning that I cannot determine whether I am in God’s
will based on whether or not my life is peaceful. Just because I have trials
in my life, doesn’t mean I am not in the center of God’s will for my life.

I love how Alistair Begg once said it.

“We should not seek to confirm God’s will by the absence of adversity.”

Think about Biblical characters who faced great trials.

All of these great servants of God faced persecution, heartache, and trials
beyond most of our imaginations. Yet all them, during the adversity, were
right
where God wanted them to be, in the center of His will.

Yes, we would all like life to be peaceful. It is true that we can have
inner peace and joy even in the middle of the storms of life. But God has
not promised
us a life free of problems.

In fact, we can be perfectly within His will and still be facing adversity.
It is often through the process of life’s difficulties that God makes us
more
like Jesus, teaches us more about Him and ourselves.

Trust Him today, regardless of your circumstances! He is always working a
plan !
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Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"They shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north to east; they shall 
run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it." (Amos
8:12)

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Running To And Fro

I spent a total of over eight months living in a camp in the desert of the 
Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. This included the Christmas season and the 
change
of the year from 1965 to 1966. There were about forty of us living in a 
camp, and we were working on the first oil pipeline ever built in that 
country.

One of the problems that we had was what to do on the many days off that we 
had. Not only did we observe all the Christian and western holidays, but 
also
all the many local Muslim holy days. For a lot of us, these days off were 
tedious, because there was no place to go and not much to do. Many of us 
were
bored and lonely, especially on days that to us were important to be with 
family and friends. New Year's Day was one of them.

A colleague decided that we should have a car rally on New Year's Day, an 
activity that would be interesting and take up a big part of the afternoon, 
and
he asked me to help him lay it out. We took various signs out into the 
countryside and placed them in certain locations indicating where the driver 
and
his companion should go. However, the signs were all to be read carefully. 
For instance, there was a sign that said, "Turn left at the three ginger ale
cans hanging from a tree on the right hand side of the road." But in actual 
fact, there were three Pepsi cans in the first tree, and many turned left at
that point and ended up lost because the three ginger ale cans were further 
down the road, and that is where they should have turned. All the signs were
like that, and they were all meant to mislead the drivers. The result was 
that the men in the car rally were "running to and fro", trying to find 
their
way, because they had misread the signs.

And isn't that the way it is in life so often? People are looking for things 
to make their life more enjoyable. Some are searching for peace in their 
hearts,
but so many are misreading the signs. They are turning at the wrong time, 
and many are running to and fro, trying to find their way.

The Bible tells us to look to Jesus.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest." (Matthew 11:28 NKJV)

"Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near." 
(Isaiah 55:6 NKJV)

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we stand near the beginning of a new year, 
we pray that people will make a New Year's resolution to seek Your will in
their lives, and that they will indeed find peace in their hearts through 
the words of Scripture. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

Joel Jongkind
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

Thanks to PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Announcement:

May your New Year resolurion lead you closer to our Heavenly Father.

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

What Must Someone Believe in Order to Be Saved?

What are the most basic things a person needs to believe in order to be 
saved?

Paul says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." He 
says, "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your 
heart
that God raised him from the dead you will be saved."

So I take texts like that and begin at the core - the death of Jesus. He 
died for our sins, which means I must believe I am a sinner. A person that 
doesn't
believe he is a sinner can't be saved. If there is nothing to forgive, Jesus 
didn't do anything for me. If he didn't do anything for me, I'm not 
believing
him for salvation. If I'm not believing him for salvation, then I'm not 
saved. So you must believe you are a sinner.

You must believe that there is a God who has created the possibility for 
sin. That is, sin by definition is the falling short of the expectations of 
your
Creator. So there has to be a Creator God out there who has expectations of 
humans. God expects humans to trust him, love him and live for him. And we
fail.

Which leads us to the third thing we must believe. Because we fail to trust, 
love and live for God we are under his holy judgment—his wrath. You've got
to believe that.

If you are a sinner and there is a holy God, and if you are defining sin as 
a falling short of that God, then in order to understand what he is doing to
make things right you must understand that God is angry about sin. He is a 
good and just judge.

So, what has he done to solve the problem of our alienation from him? He has 
sent his Son into the world. You've got to believe in the deity of Jesus.

Psalm 49
says that no man can pay a ransom for another man. A few verses later, in
verse 15 , it says God will pay the ransom.

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He couldn't have used John, or Peter or Paul to die for us. He had to have 
the God-man die for us. So the deity of Jesus is essential.

You also must acknowledge what Jesus did. He lived the perfect life. I don't 
think you can believe that Jesus sinned and still be saved. Because then the
sacrifice made for you was not what God required, and you aren't believing 
in what God did for you. So Jesus is the sinless Son of God and he gives 
himself
up to die in my place.

This substitutionary dimension of the death of Christ for my sins is 
necessary. There are lots of ways the Bible talks about this and I think you 
can be
very confused about some of them while still being saved. I don't want to 
start listing off all the ways the Bible talks about the atonement and how 
confused
you can be about them while still being saved. Let's just say that what is 
required is the core of the gospel - that the remedy is that Jesus Christ, 
the
Son of God, who never sinned got in my place and took the wrath of God for 
me. He died in my place.

If he had stayed dead, we would still be in our sins. So you must believe he 
rose from the dead. So now he has risen from the dead.

I am willing to stop there. This is the cluster of essentials for salvation.. 
You might be able to bring to mind some things that are so theologically 
attached
to this cluster that I would say, "OK that has to be included as well." But 
if someone asks, "What do I have to believe to be saved?" My answer is, you
must believe this cluster of things about yourself, about God, and about the 
cross.

One more thing. I am assuming something because the question was, "What do I 
have to
believe?" But I should make clear that you have to believe something about 
belief. Meaning, you must believe that belief is required. If you say, "I 
get
all of what was said, but now I'm going to work so that God can make all of 
this count for me. I'm going to keep the law 85% so that all this redemptive
work will count for me," then you've missed it. You're not saved.

For salvation you must believe that instead of working for this salvation, 
Jesus has already done what needs to be done. We receive it. "As many as 
received
him, who believed in his name, he gave them the right to become the children 
of God." So I think sin, God, cross and faith. That is the summary, the core
of truth surrounding those four things.

By John Piper. ©️ Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org


Anne Graham Lotz - Faith in the God of Creation!
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Faith in the God of Creation!
Sing praises on the harp to our God, who covers the heavens with clouds, who 
prepares rain for the earth.

Psalm 147:7-8, NKJV

Although God was actively involved throughout the Creation process, in the 
beginning the “earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface 
of
the deep” (Gen. 1:2,NIV). If you and I had been present at that time to view 
the earth, we might have had the impression that because we could not see
any evidence of God’s activity, He was not doing anything. Yet at that very 
time, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen.. 1:2, NIV). He
was actively preparing Planet Earth to receive His Word and be transformed 
into a place of beauty and purpose.

Are you concerned for a friend whose life is like “the surface of the deep”– 
undulating, unstable, always changing, and moody? Even though you have 
prayed
without ceasing, have you seen no evidence of God’s activity in that person’s 
life? Have you therefore concluded that God is not active? Place your faith
in the God of Creation and be encouraged! He is active whether or not you 
and I can see evidence of His activity.

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at 
www.annegrahamlotz.org.
To purchase a collection of the Joy of My Heart devotions, please click here 
..
Our mailing address is:
AnGeL Ministries
5115 Hollyridge Drive
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Welcome to the Nugget

October 21, 2017

God's Touch
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By Answers2Prayer
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Members of our church are currently going through very difficult times. 
Their beautiful home just--blew up!

I do not know any of the details about the cause of the explosion, when it 
happened, etc., for I have only been following the story through the 
pictures
on facebook; but where there was once a beautiful home in the country, 
fully-furnished and full of all the important things that we all need, there 
is
now nothing but a pile of rubble. And with winter coming on, times can't get 
much harder than that.

I know that each one of you is facing hard times. The troubles that surround 
you may look very different than the complete loss of a home, but in one way
or another, your negative situations are equivalent to the explosion that 
destroyed this church members' home.

There were some other details of the story that I was privy to. In this home 
that is normally full of children and grandchildren, only two people were
present at the time of the explosion. It didn't happen at night, and as a 
result, the two occupants were not asleep. Neither were they down in the 
basement
where the explosion occurred. These two made it out of the raging inferno 
unscathed, and they were even able to save 3 of their 4 pets.

Perhaps the part of the story that really brought tears to my eyes was the 
piece that was posted on facebook a few days later. A single, fire-scarred 
page
of a bible was found in this family's yard. It was from the Bible that had 
belonged to the mother of the lady of the house, and in the top right-hand 
corner
there was a Bible text underlined and still readable. The text? Matt. 6:34: 
"So don't be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow. 
Live
one day at a time."

Perhaps the lessons to be learned from this story are many and 
multi-faceted, but the one I want to point out today is this: God does not 
abandon us to
our troubles. Right in the midst of them, He is there, and His hand is upon 
us. He also leaves evidence of this so that at the moment of our greatest 
despair,
we can feel His touch on our lives and remember His goodness, mercy and 
grace.

It's true that sometimes we have to look for that evidence. I mean, the 
members of my church, upon finding this fire-scarred page, could have just 
chucked
it into the garbage can without even looking at it. Being on the alert for 
evidence of God's touch on our lives will help to ensure that when we most 
need
it, we will see it...even--and perhaps especially!--in the midst of our 
biggest troubles.

Thank you, God, for taking care of this family. Thank you for keeping them 
safe and for leaving behind an important reminder that You have not 
abandoned
them to their troubles. Help us to remember this story in the midst of our 
biggest problems. Help us to be on the alert for the evidence of Your touch
on our lives. Help us to understand that no matter what, You have
not abandoned us to our problems!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, 
Author -- "
Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", 
Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and
Scriptural Nuggets
, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with 
Answers2Prayer Ministries
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give."


Christians Need to Stop Using These 5 Terrible Clichés
Ryan Duncan

There’s a car in my parking lot with a bumper sticker which reads,

“Feeling lost? Give your heart to God.”

It’s a very encouraging statement, but I can’t help but roll my eyes 
whenever I see it. Too often I’ve heard Christians use this cliché as an 
easy escape
from difficult questions about life. It’s reached the point where it almost 
feels like a product from an infomercial.

“Are your finances in trouble? Marriage on the rocks? Is your hairline 
receding? Well, simply give your heart to God and watch all your worries 
disappear!
Only $29.99 plus shipping and handling.”

Listen, small proverbs can be helpful, but real faith takes more than a 
slogan on a bumper sticker.
Matt Smethurst of The Gospel Coalition
agrees, which is why he created a list of five Christian clichés believers 
should stop using. A few of his top selections (as well as my own) are 
listed
below, starting with…

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.”

“I appreciate the heart behind this statement. It’s true, after all, that 
God can do anything he pleases (
Jer. 32:27 ), that he sometimes redirects our course ( Prov. 16:9
), and that he never abandons his own (
Heb. 13:5
). But if God closes a door in your life, there’s no guarantee he’ll open a 
window. He may not open anything. He may want you to realize you have the 
wrong
address.”

“Scripture is filled with examples of the Spirit closing doors, windows, and 
any other conceivable entrance to keep one from heading in the wrong 
direction
or at the wrong time (e.g., Prov. 16:9; 19:21
; Acts 16:6–7
)… Maybe he wants you to re-evaluate in light of affinity, ability, and 
opportunity—your internal desires, your confirmed giftings, and your actual 
options.”

“This is your cross to bear.”

I’ve heard Christians quote this proverb whenever someone is trapped in a 
difficult situation. The problem isn’t that it’s false, but rather 
misunderstood.
When Jesus called his disciples to “take up their cross” in
Matthew 16:24-26
, he was talking about denying worldly pursuits for the sake of God, not 
enduring a miserable existence because they had no other choice.

Perhaps the most upsetting aspect of this cliché is how Christians 
frequently use it to avoid helping their neighbors. We tell ourselves that 
since it’s
“their cross”, the responsibility of the burden is on them alone. We forget, 
even Jesus had help carrying his cross (
Matthew 27:32 ).

“God will not give you more than you can handle.”

“In a culture that tells us we can be anything we desire, this motivational 
slogan is meant to encourage, to reassure us that life won’t be too hard. 
There
will be challenges, sure, but God knows my limits. He won’t overdo it. The 
problem, however, is that God will give you more than you can handle. He’ll
do it to make you lean on him. He’ll do it because he loves you.”

“The good news is not that God won’t give us more than we can handle; it’s 
that he won’t give us more than he can handle.”

“Speak the truth with love.”

Ugh, let’s be honest, this cliché is the worst. It began as an encouraging 
statement about creating dialogue with non-believers, but over time it’s 
morphed
into a condescending mantra Christians utter just before they say something 
outlandishly rude.
As I’ve written before
, actually speaking the truth with love requires patience, understanding, 
empathy, a close relationship with the person you’re addressing, and 
preferably
a
private setting. If none of these are present you’re not speaking the truth 
with love, you’re just adding to the noise. It’s high time we retire this 
slogan
and stop using it to cover our hastily-typed words on social media.

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“God helps those who help themselves.”

“I’m not aware of a statement more commonly misidentified as a Bible verse. 
And the fact that it originates from Benjamin Franklin—not God’s Word—is the
best news you will encounter today. If God only helps those who help 
themselves, we’re all sunk. But he didn’t come for moral standouts; he came 
for moral
failures (
Matt. 9:12–13 ; Luke 19:10 ). He came for us.”

“While this slogan may be a fine summary of the teaching of other religions, 
the entire message of Christianity hinges on the fact that, as Charles 
Spurgeon
once quipped, ‘God helps those who cannot help themselves.’ Indeed, he helps 
those who humble themselves, who repent and rely on Jesus alone.”

True faith is more complex than some quip on a bumper sticker, and that’s a 
good thing. The richness of Christ’s love, and the mystery of his works are
what give substance to our relationship with him. Take encouragement from 
the proverbs but always remember, Jesus is greater than we could ever hope 
to
imagine.

*Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com


Work Among Afghans in New Delhi
Oct 30, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Acts 4:11-12, NKJV "“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, 
which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any 
other,
for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be 
saved.”"

Pray that the Muslims of India will accept the chief cornerstone. Pray for 
their hearts and minds to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Today's People Group

How do you reach Afghans with the gospel? You go to them! But what could be 
a more dangerous place to reach them than their homeland in Afghanistan? In
that case you must go to them in other places where they seek safety. When 
you find them, you love them. Didn’t Jesus say, “Love one another. By this 
all
men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another?”
There are about 30,000 Afghan refugees seeking asylum living in Delhi, 
India. Even more Afghans travel there on one of the daily flights out of 
Kabul,
Afghanistan, often seeking medical care.
Christian workers are now reaching out to the Afghan community in Delhi. 
Their foremost strategy is through acts of love and the words of the gospel.. 
Christ’s
love is manifested toward them from their first initial contact and is 
followed up by everyone who ministers to their needs. A small community 
center teaches
classes to help these Afghans acclimate to their new environment. Most of 
these Afghans are very open to the gospel. They know that they are needy, so
telling them of Jesus who loves them and wants them to cast all their cares 
upon him is really good news; it’s the gospel!

Pray for a church planting movement to take root and grow among the Afghan 
community in New Delhi.

Learn more at Joshua Project .

Turn with Me to Your Next Prayer
by John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

According to Hollywood, most funerals should include the pastor intoning the 
morbid notes of the twenty-third Psalm. All the black around the pastor 
makes
it seem that much more depressing. Usually, there’s rain.

But there are two things about this that strike me as odd. First,
Psalm 23 isn’t depressing. Yes, it mentions the “shadow of death,” but it’s 
chock full of hope and paths of righteousness ... and oil pouring over 
heads.
You can’t be depressed when oil’s dripping down your nose .... at least in 
biblical terms.

Second, I don’t really hear people pray from the Bible. Sure, they toss in a 
verse or two about being “more than conquerors” or “God working all things
for our good.” But I’ve never seen a pastor reach for Psalm 23 or
any Psalm for that matter when praying in public.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve heard plenty of great prayers from pastors and 
other believers. Some of them have hit home hard. But it seems as if 
Evangelicals
especially are averse to anything that isn’t somehow unique when it comes to 
praying. It’s as if we think that just praying from the Bible isn’t quite
spiritual enough. We have to say something original.

Honestly, that’s too bad. Because the Bible is crammed with better prayers 
than I could ever come up with--ones that fit almost every situation. And, 
really,
that makes sense. After all, God inspired Scripture. These are His prayers 
to us; they’re gifts of His grace.

In the Psalms alone, there are prayers for depression, loss, fear, moments 
when you just gotta praise ... it’s like an encyclopedia of prayers.. Just 
dial
up a Psalm, and you’ve got a template for expressing what may have seemed 
inexpressible a few moments earlier.

Now, I’m not saying we should reject all original prayer-making. I’m just 
saying that there’s no reason to ignore the Bible as a source for some 
pretty
great prayers. We don’t always have to come up with something original when 
God gave us His own Word to pray from. These prayers are creative for you 
creative
types; passionate for those who like passion; and orderly for those of you 
who like things with three main points.

Just make sure that you aren’t praying the Psalms like those pastors in the 
movies. Put some heart behind it.

Intersecting Faith & Life: God’s interest in our prayer is that we spend 
time giving Him everything we’ve got. It’s easy to think that we have to 
have
the right words--or that prayer is a test of our creativity. But it’s really 
a test of our hearts.

There are no original words ... nothing new under the sun. Using the Bible 
as a prayer manual isn’t a cop out; it’s brilliant. Who better to teach us 
how
to pray than God? Start there and see how well God’s Word fits the problems 
you face. Then, if you still need to wax poetic, you can do that, too.

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !


Welcome to the Nugget

October 24, 2017

Singing From the Soul
By Answers2Prayer

"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. 
Come before him, singing with joy."
(Ps. 100:1-2)

I was 8 years old, squirming on a hard wooden pew in our church. I tried to 
follow the sermon but it was a bit over my head at that age. Finally, it was
time to sing the closing hymn. I stood up with a smile. Our church guitarist 
and hymn leader was my music teacher at school and a family friend. I always
loved hearing her sing and I also loved joining in. She started to play and 
everyone in the church began to sing. When we reached the chorus, though, I
felt a sharp elbow hit my shoulder. It was my brother letting me know that I 
was doing it again. You see, even though I always sang from my soul by the
time it reached my lips it was more often than not, much too loud and far 
too off-key.

As I got older I learned how to sing much more quietly to blend in with the 
music and not damage the ears of the people around me. Occasionally, when I
am alone I still burst forth in full voice and even get my dogs to join in. 
Sometimes when I am driving my car down the country roads of my home I will
even sing from my soul at the top of my lungs. I am sure my guardian angels 
don't mind. After all, God only asked us to make a "Joyful Noise" unto Him,
not one with perfect pitch.

There is more than one way to let your soul sing, however. We can sing from 
the soul when we do an act of kindness. We can sing when we give a hug, a 
pat
on the back, and a word of encouragement. We can sing every time we share a 
smile and cause those around us to smile as well. We can sing when we offer
a caring heart and a helping hand to another. We can sing every time we 
shine our light and share our love.

Let your soul sing then. Make your life a "Joyful Noise" that all of Heaven 
can hear. Sing

with all the love inside of you even if it is sometimes loud and off-key.

Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all 
times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
(2 Cor. 9:8)

Wait a minute: If God promises abundance, then why do I have all this need? 
Click here
to find out!

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


When the Bible Blows Your Mind
by John Piper

The Bible teaches us to expect mental jolts when we think about God. It 
teaches us that our familiar ways of seeing things may be replaced. For 
example,
it says, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How 
unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (
Romans 11:33
). Or again, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (
Isaiah 55:9 ).

One of the reasons (not the only one) that some people reject the biblical 
teaching of unconditional election is that it seems and feels to them out of
sync with other teachings in the Bible - like the compassion of God for 
people or the moral accountability of people before God. It seems to many 
that
God can't choose unconditionally to save some and not others and then also 
feel compassion for those he does not choose and hold them accountable for 
their
sin.

The problem here is that our instinct or intuition for what is right or 
possible for God does not fit Scripture. And the danger is that we shape 
Scripture
to fit our feelings.

The Scriptures teach that God chooses who will be saved before we are born 
or have done anything good or evil
(Romans 9:10-12
). "It depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy"
(Romans 9:16
). The Scriptures also teach that we are responsible for the obedience of 
faith and will be judged if we are disobedient. "But for those who are 
self-seeking
and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and 
fury" (Romans 2:8 ). We are chosen (or not chosen) unconditionally for 
salvation.
And we are accountable for our faith (or unbelief).

As I said in my sermon on 12-8-02, I do not fully understand how God renders 
certain the belief of the elect and the unbelief of the non-elect. If you
want to go deeper into this, I recommend Jonathan Edwards' book The Freedom 
of the Will. It is slow reading, but you will grow more from the effort than
you can imagine.

To help you accustom yourself to living with such felt tensions 
(unconditional election and human accountability) consider two similar ones 
from the example
of Christ.

First, we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem because the things of the kingdom 
were "hidden from [their] eyes." But on the other hand we also hear Jesus
say that God has "hidden these things."

>Luke 19:41-42
.. And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would 
that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! 
But
now they are hidden from your eyes."

>Luke 10:21
.. In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the
wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, 
for such was your gracious will."

Second, we see Jesus feeling compassion for those who were sick - 
irrespective, it seems of their faith. On the other hand, we know from 
illustrations
and teachings elsewhere in the Bible that God is finally and decisively in 
control of sickness. So we have Jesus feeling sorry for people who have 
sicknesses
that God's wisdom has ordained (at least for a time).

>Matthew 14:14
.. When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on 
them and healed their sick.

>Exodus 4:11
.. Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, 
or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?"

>1 Samuel 2:6
.. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

Implications: 1) Don't cancel one truth in the Bible because it feels out of 
sync with another. 2) Don't draw emotional or behavioral implications from
God's sovereignty that contradict faith, compassion, accountability, prayer, 
evangelism, or hard work. On the contrary, consider
Colossians 3:12
and let your unspeakably happy condition as "chosen, holy and loved" produce 
"compassion, kindness, humility and meekness."

By John Piper. (c) Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email:
mail@desiringGod.org . Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.


Best Friends Make the Worst Enemies
Marshall Segal / October 24, 2017
Best Friends Make the Worst Enemies

Our best friends always make the worst enemies. Opposition of any kind can 
make life miserable, but opposition of a particular kind multiplies the 
misery.

We rarely give our enemies enough latitude to really hurt us. They can hurl 
insults, stand in our way, and even inflict pain, but we always have our 
guard
up. But with our friends and family, we let them through the gates, inside 
locked doors, to the most vulnerable places. And too often, those we let 
near
in love leverage precious trust to serve themselves at our expense — to 
betray us.

The husband who leaves for another woman.
The wife who gossips about her husband’s weaknesses.
The son who walks away from the faith.
The daughter who keeps making destructive decisions.
The father who over-works to avoid the family.
The mother who relentlessly demands and condemns.
The friend who disappears when we need them most.

Have you been betrayed by the ones you love most? When we have, we can 
retreat for a season — to process, to recover, to repair, and to prepare to 
forgive.
God has given us a safe place to hide and find the strength and hope we need 
to press on in love.

Our Worst Enemies

King David knew the bitter flavor of betrayal.

block quote
It is not an enemy who taunts me —
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me —
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend. (Psalm 55:12–13)
block quote end

My companion. My familiar friend. My loved one. The one I trusted. I sailed 
out into stormy seas with them, filled with hope and affection and 
confidence,
and then suddenly they fled to safety while they watched me drown alone.

We can hide from faraway enemies — from dangerous strangers or foreign 
armies — but we can’t hide from loved ones. The memories creep in everywhere 
we
might hide, but their sweetness has been poisoned by betrayal.

David had his enemies — by the thousands — but the worst enemies had been 
his best friends.

The Prodigal Murderer

We don’t know who the familiar friend of Psalm 55 was, but we do know David 
was betrayed by the ones closest to him. Maybe the most painful betrayal of
all was by his son Absalom.

David’s son murdered his other son to avenge his sister’s rape. Read those 
words again slowly, and think about the awful weight of this father’s 
heartache.
If you have children, think about trying to care for your family in the 
midst of that kind of relational hurricane, all while your own heart is 
being beaten
up and drowned.

Despite the evil Absalom had done, David brought the prodigal murderer home 
(2 Samuel 14:21). He established boundaries (2 Samuel 14:24), but he 
eventually
welcomed his son with a kiss (2 Samuel 14:33). How did Absalom respond to 
his father’s kindness, patience, and forgiveness?

He conspired to overthrow his father’s kingdom (2 Samuel 15:12). He 
slandered his father’s reputation (2 Samuel 15:3). He lied to his father’s 
face (2
Samuel 15:7–8). And he forced his father into hiding for fear of his life (2 
Samuel 15:14). He not only betrayed his own flesh and blood, but he betrayed
the father who had forgiven him for murdering his brother. And his betrayal 
cost twenty thousand men their lives (2 Samuel 18:7).

When Words Are Swords

David may not have written Psalm 55 about Absalom, but he certainly could 
have said this about his son: “We used to take sweet counsel together; 
within
God’s house we walked in the throng” (Psalm 55:14). He could have been 
thinking of his son’s deadly lies in 2 Samuel 15:7–8:

block quote
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords. (Psalm 55:20–21)
block quote end

The soft words of a friend can be drawn swords in disguise — trading 
precious trust for selfish gain — convincingly promising precisely the 
affection and
loyalty he or she surrenders so eagerly. David knew the most intimate kind 
of pain and opposition. Do you?

Take Cover

If so, you feel far more alone than you really are. Let the “But” in verse 
16 call you out of loneliness and despair into hope again:

block quote
But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety
from the battle that I wage,
for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them,
he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
and do not fear God. (Psalm 55:16–19)
block quote end

Take refuge in the friendship of God. When friends or family leave you or 
fail you, know that he never will. He remains faithful, strong, caring, and 
close
by — evening, morning, and at noon. He is relentless, persistent, unfailing 
in his love for you, and his love for you is strong enough to overcome any
love that has failed you.

You Can Trust Him

Take refuge in the friendship of God, and let God judge the betrayer. As 
difficult as it might be to run into the arms of God when we’ve been 
betrayed
in love, it may be even more difficult to surrender our desire for 
vengeance — our innate longing to make the one who hurt us feel something of 
the pain
we felt.

But the same love that holds and heals us in the wake of betrayal also frees 
us from having to administer justice. God, in unparalleled love, not only
promises never to leave or betray us, but he also promises to punish every 
sin committed against us — either in the horrors of hell or in the death of
his Son. As you wait for him to act, remember that your Judge intimately 
knows your pain. Jesus was not only betrayed to death by one of the worst of 
his
twelve closest friends, he was also denied three times by one of the best — 
and then abandoned by the rest.

Instead of going after his betrayer, David went hard after God. He trusted 
him to bring justice.

block quote
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
But you, O God, will cast them down
into the pit of destruction;
men of blood and treachery
shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you. (Psalm 55:22–23)
block quote end

“But I will trust in you.” Those six words are strong enough to carry you 
over the massive waves of betrayal. Resist the impulse to take things into 
your
own hands (or words), and rest your heart, the relationship, and the future 
in his capable hands. You can trust him.

Is God a Megalomaniac?
John Piper / October 24, 2017
Is God a Megalomaniac?

God seeks our worship, not because it meets his need, but because it meets 
ours. God is the only one beautiful enough to satisfy us forever.

Listen Now

The Final Authority
John Piper / October 24, 2017

Cultures change. Opinions come and go. God’s word stands forever.

Watch Now

The Ink: Robert Estienne (1503–1559)
Matt Crutchmer / October 24, 2017
The Ink

The title page of the 1559 edition of John Calvin’s Institutes of the 
Christian Religion bears the
device of its printer
in Geneva: an olive tree shorn of several branches. The broken-off branches 
are pictured mid-fall and surrounded by the motto
Noli altum sapere, “Do not be arrogant.” The tree also bears bandages where 
other branches have been grafted in.

The Ink sp0t5ugu

An earlier version of this device, seen in the 1531 Thesaurus Latinæ linguæ, 
appends the phrase
sed time, “but fear.” The man in the woodcut could be the apostle Paul, 
author of these words in Romans 11:19–20. Then again, the stones around the 
man’s
feet suggest that the figure could also be Stephen, whose convicting 
preaching and martyrdom is portrayed in Acts 7.

The conjunction of these two biblical allusions here is significant because 
the device belongs to the typographer, printer, and scholar Robert Estienne,
or “Robertus Stephanus.” Estienne’s life and career displayed many of the 
marks of the Reformation.

The Royal Typographer

Estienne was not only a significant printer on the Continent during the 
early- to mid-sixteenth century, but he was a scholar of the Bible and 
classical
literature as well. While working in Paris during the rule of King Francis 
I, such was his skill that Estienne was named “Royal Typographer”: the king’s
printer in Hebrew and Latin in 1539, and then the king’s printer in Greek in 
1542.

The king of France understood well the new humanist impulse toward the study 
of ancient texts. Estienne wrote, “Far from grudging to anyone the records
of ancient writers which he at great and truly royal cost has procured from 
Italy and Greece, he intends to put them at the disposal and service of all
men.”

During his years in France, Estienne compiled and printed many 
linguistically focused books: a
Greek primer , a Latin–French dictionary , and the Thesaurus linguæ latinæ. 
He also began work on the important
Thesaurus linguæ graecæ, which would serve as a standard of Greek — and 
therefore biblical — lexicography until at least the 1800s.

Back to the Sources

As with so many Reformation-era scholars, Estienne’s love of ancient 
classical literature went hand in hand with a focus on the Bible in both the 
Latin
Vulgate translation and its original Hebrew and Greek versions. He printed 
the
Hebrew Old Testament
twice, and his multiple editions of the Greek New Testament were highly 
influential and beneficial to the Reformation’s theological work.

It was Estienne who created the best and final system of verse division and 
numbering
that our Bibles exhibit today. The famous
Editio Regia of 1550 is a masterpiece of scholarship, artistry, and 
technical skill — the first Greek New Testament to include a critical 
apparatus to show
variant readings, variants that Estienne found in the fifteen manuscripts he 
consulted. It is this edition, with its
splendid Greek letters cut by Claude Garamond
, that became the basis for the English-language
Geneva Bible, as well as the study of Scripture for centuries to come.

By 1550, Estienne had printed many editions of the Latin Vulgate Bible in 
Paris, yet his scholarship had led him “in two directions” from that 
ecclesially
authorized text: backwards, “behind the translation to the original texts,” 
and forward, to more full and careful explanations in his texts for the 
“ordinary
educated reader,” which “could hardly avoid encroaching upon the domain of 
exegesis” (
Robert Estienne, Royal Printer , 76–78).

In the 1545 edition, he included both a set of unauthorized marginal notes 
that discussed the legitimacy of the Vulgate’s rendering of the original 
texts,
and his own rendering of Greek and Hebrew texts into a new Latin version 
parallel to the Vulgate. This book ultimately led to suspicion of heresy, of 
“Lutheran
views,” and to Estienne’s fleeing of Paris for the haven of Geneva in 1550.

Geneva’s Publisher

In Geneva, now openly supporting the Protestant movement, Estienne set up 
his press and became the printer
par excellence of the Reformation cause. His 1553 French Bible continued the 
Reformation emphasis on lay reading of Scripture in vernacular languages,
and his editions of Calvin’s
Institutes and Commentaries, with other Protestant writings, all served the 
growing movement in its desire to hear clearly and be governed by the 
Scriptures.

The 1559 edition of the Institutes was “the most comprehensive summary of 
Protestant doctrine during the Reformation” (
John Calvin’s “Institutes”, 219), and arguably the most important volume to 
arise in the Reformation, as evidenced by its translation into six (perhaps
seven) other languages by 1624. Estienne’s edition, effortless to read and 
beautiful even by today’s standards, played a large role in the growth of 
Reformation
churches during the sixteenth century.

For more on Robert Estienne:

Robert Estienne, Royal Printer by Elizabeth Armstrong

John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion”: A Biography by Bruce 
Gordon

The Printer’s Device: Robert Estienne’s Numbering of Verses and the Changing 
Form of the New Testament in the 15th and 16th Centuries
by Pitts Theology Library

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 11:07 pm

"The Greatest Story Ever Told" #85-17

Sermon Text for December 24, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on December 24, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Luke 1:30-32a
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Three small words, but those words are 
part of the greatest story ever told. They tell us that the sacrifice which
was Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection, has been accepted, and His 
rescue work is complete. Now, by the Holy Spirit's power, individuals are 
being
called to forgiveness of sins and faith. By God's grace, chapters of that 
story continue to be written in lives throughout the world. Amen.

The big mistake I made on this day-before-Christmas sermon is I mentioned 
its title to two of my friends. Now these weren't just run-of-the-mill 
friends,
oh, no, I couldn't have done that. These two friends are trivia experts on 
American-made movies. From the moment I said the title of my sermon is The 
Greatest
Story Ever Told, I lost all control of the conversation.

The first of my friends said, "Ken, you don't want to preach on that 1965 
movie. When it came out, The Greatest Story Ever Told, the critics didn't 
like
it, and the movie-going pubic didn't go to see it. My other friend chimed 
in: "If you look at the list of famous actors in the movie, you will be 
impressed.
Sadly, most of them put in some very unimpressive performances. Today, 50 
years later, there is only one character who sticks in people's memories, 
and
that character said only one line." "And just what was that line?" I asked. 
My friends looked at me like I had a screw loose. The first friend said, 
"That
part we're talking about was that of the centurion at Jesus' crucifixion." 
The second friend added, "The line he spoke was 'Truly this man was the Son
of God.'" And the actor who played the centurion and got only one line? 
Together they said, "The centurion was played by John Wayne."

After that they pleaded, "There are so many other movies made by Hollywood 
which can boast of being The Greatest Story Ever Told. Use one of them! 
Well,
it took a while to get them calmed down and understand that my message was 
on the greatest story ever told-the story of God's Son who, according to 
prophecy,
was born into this world to save doomed and damned humanity from the curse 
of the Law. Yes, finally, I got them to understand, and they got me to 
thinking.
What do people think is the greatest story ever told? What story is their 
favorite? Well, rather than wondering about it, I decided to ask some of 
them:
"What is your greatest story ever told?" Now, what they told me is going to 
take a little while to report to you, so I ask you to be patient and stick
with me, your investment in time will be worth it, and no, I haven't 
forgotten this is a Christmas message.

I asked a couple of ladies what their greatest story ever told was. After 
some discussion, they agreed the musical My Fair Lady was special to them. 
Watching
poverty-stricken Eliza Doolittle pull herself out of the gutter through 
sheer dedication and commitment, had meaning for them. Eliza's remaking 
herself,
so she could face society and stand up against the inconsiderate and 
egotistical taskmaster who had taught her to speak properly, appealed to the 
ladies.

I asked some young people and they simply couldn't come to an agreement.. 
There were some who loved Star Wars, especially the first three episodes 
where
Luke Skywalker is taught how to use the force by gifted teachers like Obi 
Wan Kenobi and diminutive Yoda. The force, along with assistance of the 
primitive
Ewoks, help the rebels destroy the fully functional battle star and hand 
defeat the evil empire.

There were others teens, mostly the younger ones, who liked the story of 
Harry Potter. You remember, Harry is a wizard who is the target of 
Lord-He-Whose-Name-Must-Not-Be-Mentioned.
Harry, an orphan, is being raised by an aunt and uncle who unsuccessfully 
attempt to keep a lid on his developing magical powers. As they are Muggles,
which means they have no magic powers of their own, they cannot understand 
Harry is going to need those powers if he is going to survive the ultimate 
battle
against the dark forces which are allied against him.
The rest of the young people I talked to were split in their preferences as 
to the greatest story ever told. Some loved Frodo Baggins, the Lord of the
Rings hobbit who wanted nothing more than to be left alone at his home in 
the shire. Much to his consternation, fate selected Frodo to be the 
ring-bearer,
the fellow who would destroy a powerful, evil ring by throwing it into the 
fires of Mount Doom. To get there and defeat evil-eyed Sauron, Frodo and his
faithful compatriots must face or hide from hordes of Orcs and Goblins.

Various individuals, when I asked them about their submission to the 
greatest story ever told list, came up with other film titles. Let's see, 
there was
the refugee from outer space, ET. That movie shares how ET managed to escape 
the clutches of meddling government agencies and make a collect call to home
using a contraption made of bubble gum and bailing wire. One fellow I talked 
to mentioned Jaws, the story of a small-town sheriff who faces a great white
shark, and, with a well-placed rifle shot into an oxygen tank, turns that 
shark into a mountain of sushi.

All in all, I was impressed by this greatest story ever told list. When I 
asked my family, they added a few more names. There's Spiderman who battles 
villains,
his insecurity and the desire to be like everyone else. There's the Wizard 
of Oz's Dorothy, the meek, from Kansas who scuffles with a wicked witch 
before
she finds there's no place like home. One said we dare not forget Rocky 
Balboa. In seven films Rocky fights against opponents who are twice his 
size, half
his age, and four times as smart. But that lad's got heart, and he's got 
pluck and determination, which means even though he's had his head handed to 
him
during the first half of the movie, in the second half he comes back to win..

My friends, you know these films and their stories. Some of their dialogue 
has become part of our language. They are all immensely popular and some are
on the list of the biggest money-making films of all time. What you may not 
realize is that even though these films are set in different times and have
different heroes and villains, all of these movies are the same. Each begins 
with an inexperienced, ill-prepared underdog hero who must take a stand 
against
a super-villain. Anyone who looks at the situation from an honest and 
logical point of view knows there is absolutely no way the hero can emerge 
victorious.
It can't happen, but it does. Each of these movies tells us good can triumph 
over evil; the weaker can defeat the stronger; and the pure of heart can win
over against those who are corrupt to the core.

There is one other theme these movies share: all of them have made lots and 
lots of money because people flock to see them. Why, because, with all our
hearts we wish to believe that if you are dedicated long enough, if you are 
committed long enough, if you believe in yourself hard enough, you will win..
I like that idea; you like that idea; Jiminy Cricket, the poet laureate for 
such movies liked that idea, too. How did he say it?

"When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you.
If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.
When you wish upon a star as dreamers do, fate is kind: after all,
When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.
There's only one very small, teeny-tiny problem with the Cricket's song, and 
these stories. Life doesn't work out that way. Not really.

In our generation, in every nation, people want peace. But in our 
generation, as is true in every generation, our friends, our fathers, our 
sons, our daughters,
our brothers and sisters are still being trained for and sent to places 
where it seems the dogs of war are about to be turned loose. We work to 
increase
farm productivity, but there is still starvation. There's still pain. 
There's still death. There's still loneliness. And no matter how much you 
believe,
no matter how strong you are, no matter how dedicated all of us are, we are 
not going to create a perfect world. I wish you could, but you can't. No 
matter
how long you wish, those dreams do not all come true.
On your own you can't win is the sad, sorry reality of life. Yes, I know the 
Olympic gold medalists say your dreams can come true through perseverance,
but don't forget they usually say that after they just defeated the rest of 
the world in their particular sport. By God's grace, all of you listening to
my voice this Christmastime will get every gift you want and will find your 
calendars filled with countless days of happiness, sunshine, hope, joy, and
laughter. But, and you know this to be true, you will also have heartache, 
heartbreak, and pain.

Of course, you don't have to believe me when I say these things. But, how 
about believing George Lucas, who wrote the original Star Wars. Unlike the 
other
films we've mentioned, Star Wars is different. It's different because Lucas 
knows, on his own, good doesn't always win-not unless the "force" is 
present.
Of course, Lucas doesn't tell us what the force is, or where it came from, 
or how you get it. He doesn't tell us because he doesn't know. All Lucas 
knows
is that on our own, the good guys, the good guys like you, don't always win.

Which is why, even though these stories appeal to us and touch us, the 
bottom line is they are not, nor can they ever be the greatest story ever 
told.
Those who are in pain, those who are lost and lonely, hurting and afraid 
need to hear another story, a better story than any competition which might 
be
developed by the creative minds of Hollywood.

Today, the day before Christmas, I'm speaking about the greatest story ever 
told. It is a story which begins in the Garden of Eden, the kind of perfect
place only a perfect God with an overwhelming love for His children can 
create. Tragically, the Lord's love was not returned with the same intensity 
it
was given. When a seductive suggestion was made to our first ancestors, they 
thought it an improvement on their present situation, so they turned on 
their
Maker and sinned.

As they had been warned, at that moment everything changed. The peace and 
harmony of the Garden had been disturbed, and they would never again be able
to restore it. Pain, sorrow, and heartbreak found a new home, and death 
began to stalk the globe. The first couple, and all who followed after them, 
should
have been given a punishment which had no hope of parole. Temporal and 
eternal death was their failed future. At least it should have been, but the 
merciful
Triune God decided to write another story, which held out the possibility of 
another ending.
This story still called for death, but now the death sentence would fall 
upon God's Son, who was promised to enter this world to fulfill the Law, 
resist
temptation, and serve as our perfect substitute. For hundreds upon hundreds 
of years, that promise was explained and illuminated through the pens of 
inspired
prophets. Those writers told us where God's Son would be born and how He 
would die. His mother, without complete understanding of all that was 
happening
to her said, "She was the Lord's servant." The Savior's step-father had his 
fears about his bride put to rest, and they both became part of the greatest
story ever told.

On the world's stage, even great Caesar and King Herod became players used 
by the Lord to fulfill His promises to seek and save the lost. Sadly, I do 
not
have the words to illuminate the path the Savior walked. All I can do is say 
that path was too difficult for any other human being who has, or ever will
walk this earth. Look to the Gospel, the story of His earthly life, and you 
will hear a Teacher who hung truth on everything He said. You will watch 
God's
Son embrace an unclean leper and observe Him brush aside the cold and clammy 
clutches of death with a word. Look at the Gospels. Get a front row seat to
the greatest story ever told.

See Jesus turn down temptation with a Bible verse; watch Him heal as no 
other physician could, and hear Him when He says, 'I am the resurrection and 
the
life, and those who believe in Me will not die." That is His irrevocable, 
irreversible, undeniable promise. By the Holy Spirit's power, believe in Him
as your Savior and find out that the Lord has made you part of the greatest 
story ever told. Beginning tonight and for these next weeks, we remember a
story whose earthly beginning was announced by an angel who said, "I have 
good news of great joy... a Savior has been born for you." It's a story 
which
underlines God's good news with the Redeemer's third day resurrection from 
the dead. It's a story which has another angel telling some despondent women
that Jesus was not in His tomb, but had risen and had conquered death for 
Himself-and all who believe.

Yes, Jesus' story is the greatest story ever told. And, by God's grace, it 
is your story, too. Although I claim no gift of prophecy, I'm fairly sure 
your
future has no Orcs, Wraiths and Goblins messing with your mind, but I have 
no such certainty about you being able to avoid those malevolent men and 
women
who will con you, try to steal your identity, or put a virus in your 
computer. The story of your life may never have you face-to-face with a 
great white
shark, but a hateful boss, a betraying friend, an unfaithful love can hurt 
you more. The chapters of your life may never see you testing your skills 
against
someone who is so bad he can't be named, but you most certainly will find 
yourself fighting against evil, the devil and death.

At such times remember you are not alone. The Babe of Bethlehem has grown 
into the Man whose life was sacrificed to pay for your sins and win 
forgiveness.
Jesus' resurrection from the dead is our assurance that His work has been 
accepted. And now, your Redeemer has promised to be with you in a new and 
wonderful
way. Do not stop the Lord as He wishes to open your heart and make you part 
of the greatest story ever told.

To that end, if we can be of help, please, call us at The Lutheran Hour. 
Amen
Print this Sermon
Reflections for December 24, 2017 - "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
MARK EISCHER: Dr. Meyer joins us right now. Dr. Meyer, Merry Christmas!

DALE MEYER: Thanks, Mark. And I wish you and your family a wonderful 
celebration of the Savior's birth. And if I may add, to all the staff and 
the volunteers
of Lutheran Hour Ministries, thank you for what you do. The coming of Jesus 
is what our work is all about! And to you who listen to The Lutheran Hour,
blessed days to you. Jesus came, and He will come again, and that gives our 
lives meaning and purpose!

MARK EISCHER: Pastor Klaus spoke about "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Your 
thoughts.

DALE MEYER: Pastor Klaus is a great teller of stories. Let me key in on that 
word "story." I just had a collection of sermons published, it's called Word
Alive, and in the introduction I write about the great changes that have 
happened in American culture during my 48 years of preaching.

MARK EISCHER: What would you say is the greatest change?

DALE MEYER: People today don't believe in absolute truth. Years ago, people 
believed there was some kind of absolute truth. Maybe it was science, maybe
reason, and for us it was-and still is-the Word of God. In that environment, 
we believed we could prove Christianity from the Bible. But today people 
tend
not to believe in absolute truth. We often hear, "You have your opinion; I 
have mine. Who are you to tell me that I'm wrong?" That befuddles a lot of 
Christians.
If people don't regard the Bible as absolute truth, where does that leave 
us?

MARK EISCHER: Well, we're eager to know the answer!

DALE MEYER: I think it leaves us today with the story-the greatest story 
ever told-that lays a claim on me, on you, on us. We can prove many things 
with
the Bible, but finally we cannot prove scientifically that the Bible is 
true, but we believe it because it brings us Jesus who claims us as God's 
redeemed
people. The story goes to everyone, and some can reject it, but at the end 
of life I, for one, am not going to give God proofs that I should enter 
heaven.
I'll only be able to say, "I'm a sinner, but I have trusted Your Word, Your 
forgiveness, Your story."

MARK EISCHER: I don't want our listeners to be confused that when you talk 
about "story" as though this is something that's just made up in order to 
produce
an effect in the listener. I mean we believe stuff that really happened, 
don't we?

DALE MEYER: Yeah, that's a great point, Mark. Thank you for bringing it up. 
"Story" does not necessarily mean fiction. Judaism and Christianity are the
two historic religions of all world religions. You can go to Israel today 
and see sites mentioned in the Bible. Luke chapter three, for example, lists
all the various rulers when John the Baptist appeared on the scene, so this 
is rooted in history just as the incarnation brought the Son of God into 
real
history. So by "story" I mean something that really happened, the greatest 
event, the greatest story ever told that claims us.

MARK EISCHER: And again as you said, the story that brings Jesus Himself to 
us.

DALE MEYER: That's the key. It's all about Jesus.

MARK EISCHER: Any other thoughts?

DALE MEYER: Pastor Klaus also talked about the hard times we all have in 
life, and that's going to continue on this side of eternity. I think that's 
when
we really hold on to the story, especially to the promises that God makes in 
His Word. There's a beautiful passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, "He who calls
you is faithful; He will surely do it." All of the promises of God are 
fulfilled in Jesus Christ. And I think that's how we witness today. We tell 
the
story of how God in Jesus has blessed us in our lives.

MARK EISCHER: Thank you, Dr. Meyer, and we wish a merry and blessed 
Christmas to all our listeners.
Visit lutheranhour.org
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:
"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"All My Heart This Night Rejoices" by Paul Gerhardt, setting by Johann 
Crüger. From Heirs of the Reformation (©️ 2008 Concordia Publishing House)

"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" From The Concordia Organist (©️ 2009 Concordia 
Publishing House)
Change Their World. Change Yours.
This Changes Everything.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 24 Dec 2017, 12:17 am

You Are Not Obligated to Give Gifts This Year
Jon Bloom / Monday, December 18, 2017 7:00 PM


Christmas gift giving can, and should, be a wonderful experience — but too 
often it’s full of relational complexities instead of wonder. We all would 
want
love to be the motivation behind our gifts, but if we’re honest, other 
motivations often muddy the waters.

Like other people’s expectations, for example. We often give gifts because 
we fear disappointing or offending others. We can feel obligated to give 
certain
people a certain number of gifts at or above a certain financial threshold. 
Motivations like these distort Christmas gifts into appeasement offerings.

And then, of course, we have our own expectations. The kind and quantity of 
gifts we give others and expect from others can have more to do with us than
them. Maybe we use gifts to recapture nostalgic Christmas experiences of our 
past, or to pursue ideal experiences we feel we’ve missed out on. Or maybe
our gift exchanges have more to do with generational traditions than the 
real people we’re giving to. Or maybe we errantly believe our value and 
others’
value correspond to the expense or quantity of gifts we give and receive.

These motivational currents make for muddy Christmas waters, and they are 
strong in our culture. The powerful American Christmas economy is, I 
suspect,
driven more by fear, obligation, manipulation, and personal preference than 
good will toward men.

To whatever degree this is true for us, it need not remain true for us. 
Change is possible, even this year. Gifts can once again become wonderful. 
For
God has shown us a more excellent way.

God Shows Us How to Give Gifts

That more excellent way is found in the most famous verse in the Bible: “God 
so loved the world, that he gave . . . ” (John 3:16). Stop there and linger
for a moment. God
so loved that he gave. God is revealing something profound here. What’s the 
connection between love and giving? It is the very nature of love to give.
And since God
is love, it is the very nature of God to give (1 John 4:8).
Love expressed is love given. Love given is true gift.

Now let’s complete that most famous verse: “ . . . that he gave his only 
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” 
(John
3:16). If love expressed is love given,
supreme love expressed is supreme love given. If love given is true gift, 
supreme love given is the greatest of all true gifts.

This is the glory of John 3:16: supreme love giving the greatest possible 
gift. God can give no greater gift than himself. And there is no greater 
love
than someone giving away his life, his most precious earthly possession, to 
those he loves (John 15:13). So, when God gave his eternal Son, Jesus, to 
become
sin for us lost sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21) and pay our debt in full 
(Colossians 2:14) so that we might have God eternally (John 3:16; 1 Peter 
3:18),
supreme love was expressed in the greatest gift ever given.

This is almost unbelievably glorious. But God wants you to hear just how 
personal this gift is. When God loves “the world,” he’s not loving an 
abstraction.
He loves individual persons. He loves
you. He wants you to know he loves you. God so loved you that he gave his 
Son for you so that he could give his Son, and the Holy Spirit, and himself
to you forever, along with all his overflowing love gifts of the new 
creation.

Why It Is More Blessed to Give

With this in mind, we can better understand what Jesus meant when he said, 
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). This was no 
altruistic
platitude or “prosperity seed” promising a future material harvest for the 
giver. Jesus was clueing us into the secret of volcanic divine joy.

Love is the greatest affection in the heart of God and the greatest 
affection we can ever experience (1 Corinthians 13:13). To truly love is to 
experience
what God enjoys most and what actually brings us most joy.

And here’s the secret: love can’t help but overflow in giving because love 
expressed is love given; love given is true gift. Giving is love 
consummated.
Love unable to give is love stifled. Just like
enjoyment isn’t complete until it is expressed in praise
, love isn’t complete until it is expressed in giving joy to the beloved.

That’s why “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Giving is the 
consummation of love. But the receiver is not at a blessing-disadvantage, 
for he
can reciprocate by giving love in return and so also be “more blessed.” Love 
given and received, given back and received, on and on, results in greater,
amplified joy in the mutual giving and receiving.

What Love Wants to Give

This makes a gift given out of love a different species than a gift given 
out of fear, obligation, selfish expectation, or manipulation — even if the 
gift
item itself isn’t different. Love wants to give the receiver joy. Love 
experiences joy in meeting the receiver’s need or fulfilling the receiver’s 
desire.

Other motivations want to give gifts in order to appease or impress or 
assuage guilt or maintain equitable reciprocity with the receiver. But love 
is motivated
by the receiver’s enjoyment and so gives without expecting in return.

And love gives far more than thoughtful, beautifully wrapped gifts. Love 
gives the gift of patience when Christmas celebrations don’t go as planned. 
Love
gives the gift of
kindness when holiday tempers flare, insensitive comments are spoken, and 
expectations are disappointed. Love gives the gift of
not envying those whose Christmases seem happier, not boasting over social 
media with a picture-perfect (and misleading) holiday moment,
not seeking its own way in a group decision over a holiday leisure activity,
not being irritable with adrenalized children or crabby relatives, and
not carrying resentment over past or present relational offenses (1 
Corinthians 13:4–5).

Make Love Your Christmas Aim

God so loved us that he gave his only Son. He has shown us how to give. He 
expressed his supreme love through the greatest gift possible. And he did it
because it gave him infinite, omnipotent joy to pursue our joy, even to 
death on a cross.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 
4:11). Love expressed is love given. Love given is true gift. True gift is 
love
completed. This is the more excellent way to give gifts.

It doesn’t matter what our past motivations have been, or what our 
motivations have been so far this year. It’s not too late to lay aside the 
motivations
of fear, obligation, and selfish expectations, and to make love our aim in 
all our gifts. It is not too late to view each person as a priceless soul 
God
has made, and to pursue the pleasure love experiences in pursuing their joy..

The Christmas Model for Missions
John Piper / Monday, December 18, 2017 2:00 AM

“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 
17:18)

Christmas is a model for missions. Missions is a mirror of Christmas. As I, 
so you.

For example, danger. Christ came to his own and his own received him not. So 
you also. They plotted against him. So you. He had no permanent home. So 
you.
They trumped up false charges against him. So you. They whipped and mocked 
him. So you. He died after three years of ministry. So you.

But there is a worse danger than any of these which Jesus escaped. So you!!

In the mid-16th century the missionary Francis Xavier (1506–1552), wrote to 
Father Perez of Malacca (today part of Malaysia) about the perils of his 
mission
to China. He said,

The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy 
of God. . . . To distrust him would be a far more terrible thing than any
physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, 
for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers
could hinder us in the slightest degree.

The greatest danger a missionary faces is not death but to distrust the 
mercy of God. If that danger is avoided, then all other dangers lose their 
sting.

In the end God makes every dagger a scepter in our hand. As J.W. Alexander 
says, “Each instant of present labor is to be graciously repaid with a 
million
ages of glory.”

Christ escaped this danger — the danger of distrusting God. Therefore God 
has highly exalted him! As he, so you.

Remember this Advent that Christmas is a model for missions. As I, so you. 
And that mission means danger. And the greatest danger is distrusting God’s
mercy. Succumb to this and all is lost. Conquer here and nothing can harm 
you for a million ages.

True Joy Meets the Needs of Others
John Piper / Monday, December 18, 2017 12:00 AM

The fight for joy in God isn’t just for us, but a battle to bring others 
along with us on the road to satisfaction in Jesus.
Desiring God / Post Office Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Anne Graham Lotz - Love Written in Red

Love Written in Red
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever 
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16, NKJV

For God so loved you that He gave His Son, His only Son, the Son Whom He 
loved – He gave heaven’s most precious Treasure – He gave everything He 
had –
in order to offer you eternal life.

Do you doubt the love of God? Why? Because of the bad things that He allows 
to happen to good people? Because of the unfairness and injustice and 
unkindness
and misery and suffering and pain and cruelty of life? Some questions we won’t 
have answers for until we get to heaven. But one thing we can know for sure
is that God loves you and me. How do we know that? We know it by just 
looking at the cross where He proved His love for the world that mocks Him 
and ignores
Him and despises Him and scorns Him and rejects Him.

We look at the cross and see “I love you” written in red – the red of Christ’s 
blood.

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Fri 22 Dec 2017, 12:22 am

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Blessed"
December 12, 2017
TEXT: (Mary said) "... For behold, from now on all generations will call me 
blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His
name." (
Luke 1:48b-49 )

"Blessed" is a trendy word these days. People use it on Twitter and 
Facebook. Today's posts include people feeling "blessed" for a sports win, a 
college
acceptance, and a new car. The word is so overused that people are beginning 
to use it sarcastically, typing it after describing some minor disaster like
failing a test.

But the serious posts show what most people think being "blessed" is-it 
means having money, getting a job offer, falling in love, or recovering from 
sickness.
Simple. Or is it?
Mary calls herself blessed-more than that, she says that all generations 
will say that about her. And yet look at her circumstances! Pregnant before 
marriage;
at risk of losing her fiancé; soon to be a teen mother; young and female in 
a culture that valued men and older people. And as the years passed, she 
could
add to that list: being a refugee in Egypt; hard work and a large family; 
probably losing her husband early; and seeing her own son put to death.

What could be blessed about that?

Mary says it: "He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is 
His name." What made her blessed is what God Himself had done for her-giving
her Jesus, the Savior of the world.

And that is what makes us blessed, too, no matter what circumstances we are 
in. We have Jesus. We have our Savior, God's own Son, who was born for us,
who died for us, who rose again for us. He has set us free from the power of 
evil and given us new life that will last forever. See how much He loves us!

THE PRAYER: Father, thank You for blessing us with Jesus, our Savior. Amen.

Love Came Down Reflection Questions!
LHM wants to help you reflect on what it means for your life that Love came 
down at Christmas. Each day you will receive a link to downloadable 
reflection
questions that accompany each devotion.
You can use these questions for personal reflection or to lead small group 
discussion. They are also great tools to start conversations with friends, 
family,
and those in your community during the Advent season. If you use them as 
discussion starters, be prepared for people to give personal answers and 
make
sure you’re ready to listen and receive what they have to say.

Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Zechariah 13-14; Revelation 3-4

Festive Feasting

By Skip Heitzig

When I was eighteen years old, I remember seeing a Christian band play at a 
rally at my secular high school. What really grabbed my attention was that
they were playing my kind of music, but they were singing about Jesus and 
doing it with such joy.Later on when I joined a church, I also decided to 
join
the worship team. From the beginning, I just loved the idea of using joyful, 
celebratory music to speak about the Lord.

Celebration is the whole theme of Leviticus 23
, which describes Israel's yearly festivals.
Festival is where we get the word festive, and there's definitely an element 
of joy and festivity in this chapter.
Leviticus 23:1-2
says, "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of 
Israel, and say to them: "The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim 
to be
holy convocations, these are My feasts"'"--or holy get-togethers.

Let's look quickly at these seven feasts. The first was a weekly feast: the 
Sabbath, which speaks of rest (see v. 3). Then there was the Passover (see
vv. 4-5), which speaks of redemption, commemorating when the children of 
Israel were delivered by God from Egyptian bondage. The third holy 
get-together
was celebrated right around the same time: the Feast of Unleavened Bread 
(see vv. 6-8). This festival commemorates when the children of Israel left 
Egypt
in a rush and didn't have time to let their dough rise.

The next feast was the Feast of Firstfruits (see vv. 9-14), where the 
Israelites would take the firstfruits of the barley harvest and wave it 
before the
Lord, showing their faith that there would be an abundant and a plentiful 
harvest. After that was the Feast of Pentecost, or Weeks (see vv. 15-22)--a 
festival
of recognition that God did indeed provide an abundant and plentiful 
harvest.

Verse 23 introduces the Feast of Trumpets (see vv. 23-25), which reminded 
the Israelites to prepare for the very solemn Day of Atonement. The Day of 
Atonement
(see vv. 26-32) was the day when the people's sins were covered and atoned 
for--a time of repentance and fasting rather than feasting.

But after that was one final celebration: the Feast of Tabernacles, or 
Booths (see vv. 33-43). This was a festival of relocation: the Israelites 
had been
provided for and protected for forty years as they relocated from Egypt to 
Canaan, so they celebrated this--and still do--bycamping out in little 
lean-tos
or booths.

But what I really want you to hone in on is verse 40: "And you shall take 
for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of 
palm
trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall 
rejoice before the Lord your God" (my emphasis). Did you notice it's worded 
like
a command? It was as if God was saying, "When you come before Me on these 
special days, I want you to rejoice. You're celebrating Me."

Here's the deal: we all go through hardships, heartaches, and problems. But 
those are exactly the times when we ought to say, "Lord, no matter what I'm
going through, no matter how I feel, You are worth celebrating."

Where's the joy in worship these days? Bars have a thing called happy hour, 
but I think
church should be happy hour. Our happy God should be worshiped by a happy 
people. More than ever during this season, this festival of Advent, let's 
make
it a point to come before the Lord and celebrate Him with joy.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved. 


Do You Feel “Fogged In”?
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” Psalm 116:5

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Imagine you are in a plane, ready for take-off on the runway. The pilot has 
come on the intercom and announced there’s a delay because of fog. You 
glance
out your window. It looks so gloomy and dark. You wonder if the sun is 
shining.

The fog lifts enough for the control tower to give the pilot the green 
light, and the plane takes off. It’s still cloudy, but the plane starts 
climbing,
climbing, climbing. Suddenly, the plane bursts through the clouds, and it is 
so gloriously bright that you have to blink your eyes. Now, you realize the
sun has been there all the time.

That’s the way it is with Jehovah God, the Son of righteousness with healing 
in His wings (see Malachi 4:2-3). He is always loving, always giving. He is
waiting for you to see Him now.

ACTION POINT:
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you today the true condition of the sky—above 
the clouds. Let Him speak to you about what is really there beyond the fog. 
Things
are not always what they seem. And God has His hand upon you.

.. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth 
Finding devotions.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

The Voice of Mark: Work
December 17, 2017

Read: Mark 13:32-37

Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. (v. 
33)

The story is told of a day when St. Francis of Assisi was working in his 
garden. A neighbor came by and said, “Francis, if you knew Jesus was coming 
today,
what would you do?” Without even glancing up, Francis replied, “I would 
continue to hoe my garden.”

It is also reported that in Hartford, Connecticut, during the 17th century, 
a judge was presiding in a court when an eclipse of the sun occurred. 
Because
the people did not understand what was happening, they panicked. They were 
sure cosmic catastrophe was not far off; the end of time was near. But the 
judge
rapped his gavel, calling for order. Then he said, “If this is the end of 
the world, let us at least be found doing our duty. Bring in the candles and
let the trial continue.”

Although Mark 13 pertains to Jesus’ second coming, we can ask the question, 
“What does it mean to ‘watch’ during Advent?” Part of watching is to do our
assigned tasks. It is like a man going on a journey who leaves his house in 
the care of servants, each with work to do. The best thing these servants 
can
do is tend to their work. Watch! It’s another way of saying: do your best at 
work. Listen to your children. Help your neighbor. Find opportunity to share
your faith. Serve God. Watch, and see how God comes to you. —Ken Eriks

Prayer: Lord, help us stay awake and keep working until you come. In Jesus’ 
name. Amen.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Jesus is for People who Hate Christmas
Stephen Altrogge

Don’t get me wrong, I really do like Christmas. I like getting together with 
my family to open presents and sit around the tree and watch reruns of
Seinfeld and The Andy Griffith Show. I’m happy when it snows on Christmas. I 
like seeing tastefully decorated houses. Heck, I even like
some Christmas music (don’t get me started on “Mary Did You Know?”).

But Christmas often brings out the gloomy side of me as well. I’m reminded 
of one of my favorite families who, because of cancer, no longer has a dad 
around
the house. I’m reminded of some of my favorite people who, after many years 
of patiently waiting, are still single. I’m reminded of my sister, who has
been dealing with migraine headaches for years without much relief. I’m 
reminded of my own ongoing battles with intense physical anxiety.

After the tree is down and the wrapping paper put away and the music 
silenced and the egg nog polished off, all the problems still remain. I 
think one
of the reasons we cling so tightly to Christmas is that it helps us forget 
about our problems for awhile. For a few, brief days, everything seems as it
should be. We long for a white Christmas because the snow covers up all the 
mud and muck.

My propensity toward Christmas gloom is one of the reasons I am so grateful 
for Jesus. Not in a “Jesus is the reason for the season,” kind of way, but
in a, “Jesus is a holy warrior,” kind of way.

This morning I was reading in Matthew 8-9
.. In these chapters Jesus cleanses a leper, heals a centurion’s servant, 
heals Peter’s mother-in-law, calms a storm, drives demons out of two raving 
madmen,
heals a paralytic, raises a girl from the dead, heals two blind men, and 
heals a man who is unable to speak. In the comments section of The Gospel 
Transformation
Bible
it says:

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Wherever Jesus goes he brings the reign of God, and where God reigns, the 
invisible powers of the universe in rebellion against him are banished and 
left
powerless to do anyone ultimate harm…. Since believers are united with 
Christ, they share Christ’s victory over evil.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the true meaning of Christmas. Wherever Jesus 
goes he brings the reign of God! Christmas is ultimately about the kingdom
of God coming to this sad, broken, sin-marred world. Christmas is ultimately 
about a baby who would grow into a mighty warrior–a warrior who would crush
Satan, undo sadness, defeat death, and ensure that it would be always 
Christmas and never winter.

Listen closely. For just a moment, tune out the Christmas music and 
television commercials. Do you hear that slow creaking and cracking noise? 
It’s the
sound of Satan’s skull being slowly crushed underneath the foot of our 
conquering Savior. Now we suffer. Now we experience cancer and migraines and 
anxiety
and singleness and sadness and loneliness and poverty. Now we are afflicted 
by sin and Satan and our flesh. But not always.

Ultimately, Christmas should give the most hope to those who hate Christmas.. 
Things won’t always be this way. As it says in
1 John 3:8
, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the 
devil.” Those are such sweet words. Christmas is a celebration of war! 
Jesus himself
has declared open season on Satan. He came to destroy all the works of the 
evil one. He came to wipe away tears and heal broken bodies and lift up 
despondent
hearts and drive out fear and destroy loneliness.

If you’re feeling gloomy, take heart. Jesus is for those who hate Christmas.

Stephen Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church



Known by Name

The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself... even 
Your altars, O LORD of hosts.
PSALM 84:3

I heard the story recently of a couple who, by their tenth anniversary, had 
been unable to conceive any children. Those of you who have experienced this
heartbreak can readily relate to the frustration they felt, the void that 
remained so senselessly empty in their lives.

On days when they allowed themselves to think about it, they'd ponder what 
they might name a child if they were ever to have one. They had always been
able to settle on a boy's name, but they both had a different favorite for a 
girl. The wife liked the name Autumn; the husband preferred Amanda.

But still, no child came. Boy or girl. So they went to Plan B and decided to 
adopt siblings.

You can imagine how they prayed for this opportunity to develop. They asked 
God to work His perfect will, to bind their hearts with just the right 
children
from just the right situation. One day the adoption agency called with the 
news that two sisters--ages three and five--had been relinquished by their 
mother.
Though she wasn't a believer herself, the woman had requested that her 
daughters be placed with a Christian family. That had moved this couple's 
name to
the top of the list.

When they asked the social worker to tell them more about the girls, here's 
what she said: "They're both green-eyed blondes. The five-year-old is named
Autumn. The three-year-old is named Amanda."

How amazing it is when God mends a broken heart and parts the curtain at 
times, showing us beyond the shadow of a doubt that He hears our prayers and 
knows
our hearts. If you've been praying for a similar answer to your need, know 
that He never loses sight of you, that He knows where you are... that He 
knows
your name.

DISCUSS

Be honest about where your faith level is right now. Are you discouraged? 
Fearful? Encouraged?

PRAY
Even when it seems and feels like it's getting you nowhere, keep praying. 
Keep praying.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 20 Dec 2017, 2:29 pm

What Suffering People Wish You Would Do at Christmas
Vaneetha Rendall Risner / Sunday, December 17, 2017 7:00 PM
What Suffering People Wish You Would Do at Christmas

The week after my infant son Paul died, I went to pick up my two-year-old 
daughter from preschool. No one said a word to me other than “Here she is.” 
I
realize they felt awkward, but the silence was crushing. I barely made it 
out the door before bursting into tears.

It’s hard knowing what to say when someone has experienced a great loss. 
Saying “I’m so sorry” feels trite, so it’s easier just to say nothing. But 
for
those who are suffering, silence hammers the hurt even deeper, especially 
during the Christmas season when the ache of loss is intensified. The weight
of tragedies — the death of a loved one, divorce, disease, divided families, 
depression, and disaster — can all feel heavier at the holidays, as the 
festivities
acutely remind us of what we have lost.

I have buried a child, endured four miscarriages, gone through an unwanted 
divorce, parented troubled teenagers, and continue to deal with a painful 
deteriorating
disability — so I understand how difficult this time of year can be.. While 
each person and each loss is unique, from my experience, here are five 
suggestions
for caring for those who are suffering at Christmas.

1. Acknowledge the loss.

Having someone simply acknowledge your grief can be a gift in itself. Though 
our suffering friends may never mention it, the sadness of the situation 
will
be a constant backdrop throughout the season. When we verbally recognize 
their loss, it shows we notice and care. Our words need not be deep or 
profound;
just recognizing the ever-present reality of their pain can be encouraging.

Consider offering:

• “I know this season is particularly hard. I wish you weren’t dealing with 
this agonizing family situation and all of the fallout.”
• “Losing your wife will understandably overshadow everything else that is 
happening this Christmas. We miss her too, and we know your pain is even 
deeper.”

• “I’m guessing these health struggles make it harder to enjoy Christmas 
because you can’t do the things you loved and did before. I’m so sorry about 
that.”

2. Adjust your expectations.

Our friends who are reeling from loss this hoiday may not be able to do 
things they did in years past. Since it may be harder to buy gifts, they may 
not
participate in the usual gift-giving. Social events may be too emotionally 
or physically demanding to attend. Include your friends and offer to go with
them to functions, but be understanding if they cancel at the last minute. 
Suffering people often don’t know what they can do until right before the 
event.

Also, extend grace when they are down or depressed. Tears may appear 
unexpectedly and so can irritability. You don’t need to cheer them up, but 
understand
that their emotions may be constantly on edge. The impact of your support 
and encouragement is appreciated more than you realize.

3. Actively offer assistance.

Deliberately look for ways to help, and then offer specific suggestions. It’s 
hard to follow up on vague offers, so don’t just say, “If you need anything,
call me,” because they won’t call. If you do offer specific support, be sure 
to follow through. They know it’s a busy time of year, but if you have 
committed
to help, they are likely depending on it.

Some things that may be helpful are:

• Offer to help with Christmas shopping, decorating, or even gift-wrapping.
• Since food is a big part of the holidays, offer to cook or bake something, 
or even invite their family for dinner. After my first husband left, it was
a priceless gift to be invited to friends’ homes where we were able to form 
new memories.
• Offer to run errands like grocery shopping, going to the post office, or 
picking up children from school.
• Keeping their children for the afternoon can be a huge help, giving them 
time to be alone, rest, or get needed things done.

4. Ask how they are doing without putting them on the spot.

Even though everyone at a gathering may know them well and share concern for 
them, it is difficult to be put on the spot with more than a few people 
present
— so ask in private. I have felt awkward and even embarrassed to be asked 
how I am
really doing in front of a group; it’s harder to be authentic when everyone 
is looking at me.

Regularly call or come by to check in with them. The question, “How are you 
doing today?” can open the door to conversation since it acknowledges that
grieving and suffering changes from day to day. It also lets them answer the 
question without feeling they need to summarize everything that has happened
over the month. But don’t ask prying, personal questions or speak in hushed, 
mournful tones. That often makes people feel uncomfortable, and like a 
project
more than a friend.

5. Allow them to grieve and don’t try to fix them.

Instead, point them to Christ and remind them of his faithfulness.

I am still indebted to the friends who let me weep and vent without 
analyzing or judging me. Trying to fix people only deepens their grief. 
Unsolicited
advice feels like criticism. It hurts to be told that others are thriving 
under the same circumstances and then to get suggestions on what to do 
differently.
Everyone’s healing is unique. Negative comparison makes the wound even 
deeper.

Instead, we can remind our friends that the real joy of Christmas is not in 
family or friends or gift-giving or parties, but in the incredible fact that
God Incarnate came to earth and dwelt among us. Jesus took on flesh for us 
so that we would have life eternal in him.

Remind them that God’s grace is sufficient and his word revives the soul. 
But do not bludgeon them with mini-sermons or pepper them with platitudes. 
God’s
ways are mysterious, and we do not understand why calamity comes.

Remind them that our faithful Savior will never fail or forsake them. That 
Jesus walks with them and he weeps with them. Remind them that he knows 
every
detail of their struggle. Remind them that for all of us, the unshakeable 
hope of Christmas lies solely in Emmanuel, for our God has come to us and 
will
forevermore be with us.

Did Jesus Diminish His Divine Power to Become Human?
John Piper / Sunday, December 17, 2017 6:00 PM
Did Jesus Diminish His Divine Power to Become Human?

Jesus is one hundred percent God, one hundred percent man. This union of 
divinity and humanity may be mysterious, but it’s the only hope for sinners.

Listen Now

The Greatest Salvation Imaginable
John Piper / Sunday, December 17, 2017 2:00 AM

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new 
covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah . . . ” (Jeremiah 
31:31)

God is just and holy and separated from sinners like us. This is our main 
problem at Christmas — and every other season. How shall we get right with a
just and holy God?

Nevertheless, God is merciful and has promised in Jeremiah 31 (five hundred 
years before Christ) that someday he would do something new. He would 
replace
shadows with the Reality of the Messiah. And he would powerfully move into 
our lives and write his will on our hearts so that we are not constrained 
from
outside, but are willing from inside, to love him and trust him and follow 
him.

That would be the greatest salvation imaginable — if God should offer us the 
greatest Reality in the universe to enjoy and then move in us to know that
Reality in such a way that we could enjoy it with the greatest freedom and 
the greatest pleasure possible. That would be a Christmas gift worth singing
about.

That is, in fact, what he promised in the new covenant. But there was a huge 
obstacle. Our sin. Our separation from God because of our unrighteousness.

How shall a holy and just God treat us sinners with so much kindness as to 
give us the greatest Reality in the universe (his Son) to enjoy with the 
greatest
possible joy?

The answer is that God put our sins on his Son, and judged them there, so 
that he could put them out of his mind, and deal with us mercifully and 
remain
just and holy at the same time. Hebrews 9:28 says Christ was “offered once 
to bear the sins of many.”

Christ bore our sins in his own body when he died (1 Peter 2:24). He took 
our judgment (Romans 8:3). He canceled our guilt (Romans 8:1). And that 
means
our sins are gone (Acts 10:43). They do not remain in God’s mind as a basis 
for condemnation. In that sense, he “forgets” them (Jeremiah 31:34). They 
are
consumed in the death of Christ.

Which means that God is now free, in his justice, to lavish us with the all 
the unspeakably great new covenant promises. He gives us Christ, the 
greatest
Reality in the universe, for our enjoyment. And he writes his own will — his 
own heart — on our hearts so that we can love Christ and trust Christ and
follow Christ from the inside out, with freedom and joy.

Desiring God / Post Office Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402


The Voice of Isaiah: Yield
December 15, 2017

Read: Isaiah 64:5-8

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our 
potter; we are all the work of your hand. (v. 8)

In our family, I often feel like the only one who cannot make his fingers 
work the way I want. I watch my wife, children, and granddaughters draw, 
paint,
and color. It seems so natural. The work is beautiful. It happened again not 
long ago with clay. They can take a piece of clay and make lively, life-like
shapes. But when I begin working the clay, the step from vision to reality 
is a long one. There are limits to what I can make. I have neither the 
patience
nor the skill to create what I have pictured.

At different times in these verses of Isaiah 64, the prophet is ready to 
give up. He knows that God looks for people who will live, serve, worship, 
and
respond to him. But the people have sinned and gone their own way. How long 
will God wait? How patient is God?

Isaiah hints at the answer to these questions when he says, “You are our 
Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter.” God is not a potter who 
gives
up on the clay. He will work in and through us, trying again to reach us, 
until the day comes when we yield to the potter’s touch. Unlike me, God is 
both
persistent and capable. —Ken Eriks

Prayer: Use this Advent, O Lord our potter, to shape us into the people you 
want us to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org

PresbyCan Daily Devotional
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Today's Devotional

Feeling Lonely

Are you feeling lonely today? Loneliness is a hollow emptiness, a feeling of 
isolation and disconnection, of not knowing what to do, as no one seems to
care.

In reading about this subject, I note that loneliness is increasing 
everywhere. It can be as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Does 
loneliness
make you feel sick and needy?

I am single and live alone, but even married people can feel desperately 
lonely. I have read somewhere that in our modern society, one in five people 
suffer
from loneliness. Both men and women can feel alone and be hurting as friends 
and relatives die or move far away to another city or country. Yes, we talk
on the telephone, but we often feel that we don't really matter to our loved 
ones or friends any more. They are all so busy that they have little time
for us.

Modern life is making us lonelier, and recent research indicates that this 
may be the next biggest public issue. It is on par with obesity and 
substance
abuse. Lonely youth commit suicide or take more drugs. We are social beings, 
and we need to feel that we belong to others and feel connected to one 
another.
Sadly, if people are socially isolated, they can remain in an uncomfortable 
state of loneliness. Is this you?

Research notes that social pain is as real a sensation for us as physical 
pain. Modern researchers have shown that loneliness and rejection activate 
the
same part of the brain as physical pain. We may be really hurting, and when 
we are in pain, it hurts even more to feel so alone.

But Psalm 25:16 may speak to you. "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I 
am lonely and afflicted."
(NIV)

We need to turn to the Lord Jesus, and He will turn to us. He is always 
present with us and will touch our souls with His love. Our loneliness is 
His call
into intimate fellowship with Him. He is all we need.

As I live alone, very often, there are good reasons to feel lonely, but I 
stop and pray about it. It is amazing what happens next. My feelings change,
and I no longer feel lonely. Jesus is with me. Yes, there is a deep, hurting 
feeling all around me, but the Lord can touch and renew those feelings with
His love, and I can laugh and be happy.

You and I need to turn to the Lord Jesus. He cares for us. He reminds us 
that "He will never leave you nor forsake you"
(Deuteronomy 31:6b NIV). All that we need to do is to turn aside to the Lord 
and pray. Yes, Jesus does hear us and touches our souls with peace and 
happiness,
giving us something to do for the Lord. He is present with you and me 
always. We are not lonely. He is with us.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, we know that You are with us every day, and that 
You will help us to share our love for You with others. Please help us to 
reach
out to our neighbours when they are in trouble. May we care for one another 
in true fellowship and in Jesus' precious love. We pray in His name. Amen.

Parksville, British Columbia, Canada

Thought for Today: Never forget what life is like without Jesus.

Verse for Today: Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; 
whoever is led astray by them is not wise. (NIV)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Souls Need Songs: How God Shapes Us Through Singing
Hayden Nesbit / October 7, 2017
Souls Need Songs

I donât sing well  and thats putting it generously. I cant carry a 
tune.  I cant even hum the melody of a familiar song well enough for 
someone to
recognize it. But nothing seems to draw out my hearts emotions like 
singing. There are few things that refresh my soul like singing the doxology 
around
the dinner table with my family, or singing catechisms and hymns to our 
daughter at bedtime.

God made our souls for song. Scripture brims with Gods call for his people 
to sing his praises. Something about singing refreshes and reorients our 
souls.

Teach and Admonish

In the apostle Pauls letter to the Colossians, he instructs the church to 
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one 
another
in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with 
thankfulness in your hearts to God  (Colossians 3:16). Paul desires the 
church members
to instruct each other through various means, including through singing. But 
how can singing instruct?

Heres where the transformative power of Scripture is crucial. Paul urges 
the believers to sing
psalms  the inspired, God-breathed collection of praises and laments. He 
also advises them to sing
hymns  a term that probably describes songs rich with theological truth. 
Finally, Paul even wants the Colossians to sing
spiritual songs  which likely refers to spontaneous praises that overflow 
from the heart. All of which are able to instruct.

The Spirit-inspired Scriptures burst with power to convict us of sin and to 
build up our faith in God. I love that our church makes the effort to sing
psalms. Nothing is more powerfully instructive than the word of God, and a 
beautifully engaging melody readies the heart to receive the word. When we 
sing
hymns that artistically display the truths of Scripture, or spontaneous 
songs that arise from a deep indwelling of that truth, and especially when 
we sing
the very words of Scripture, we draw on the teaching, reproving, correcting, 
and training ability of the word in a way that engages both heart and mind
(2 Timothy 3:16).

Soften the Soul

Paul wanted the church members to sing to one another from overflowing 
hearts affected by scriptural truths, rather than from rote or ritualistic 
motives.
Music isnt spiritual because weve used certain words or notes; music 
becomes spiritual when the Spirit inspires it. And when we sing Scripture 
the
Spirits very words God often uses his word to soften our souls.

God thinks singing is so important that he commissioned groups in Israel to 
ministries of music. For example, the Korahites sole job description was to
sing to the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 20:19, they stood up to praise the Lord, 
the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.† The Korahites singing wasnt 
just
for show; their ministry had a purpose. Singing serves to refresh and 
reorient our souls in ways that other forms of instruction simply dont. 
Singing
helps us love God not only with our minds, but also with our hearts and 
souls and strength (Mark 12:30).

Our souls need song. So God ordained a ministry of singers to drive 
theological teaching deep into the hearts of his people. As believers 
indwelled with
the Holy Spirit, we now possess this gift of singing for our own and others’️ 
benefit.

Singing combines the instructive seeds of biblical truths with the 
soul-softening ministry of music.

Raise a Song

How, then, can we grow in this ministry of singing? How can we sing so that 
our minds are instructed and our souls softened? We can start by letting 
“the
word of Christ dwell in [us] richly† (Colossians 3:16) as we memorize psalms 
and hymns.

The Bible’️s Songbook

Memorizing Scripture brings myriad benefits. One of the more transformative 
advantages is being able to speak or sing the words of Scripture directly 
into
someone else’️s life.

Biblical counselor David Powlison says we should use psalms in at least two 
ways. First, we should use the psalms like classical music. This is the 
technical,
detail-oriented, word-for-word storing of psalms in the heart. When we do 
this, we can powerfully speak the living word of God into our own hearts and
others’️. Second, we should use the psalms like jazz. When we tuck away the 
words of the psalms in our minds, we’️re free to improvise on them — adding 
refrains
or adapting them to a certain melody — in order to drive them deeper into 
our hearts.

Scottish pastor Robert Murray M’️Cheyne suggested singing all of the psalms 
in a year in addition to regular, systematic Bible reading. If we heeded his
advice, we’️d quickly become familiar with many of the psalms and be able to 
“play† them like jazz as they mingle down into our hearts through melody.

Memorizing Scripture, especially psalms, enables us to instruct both the 
mind and hearts of others in powerful ways.

An Arsenal of Hymns

During a week of seminary classes, I and some of my classmates stayed with a 
pastor friend and his family. I’️ll never forget what I heard when we walked
through the door into their home. Soaring from the back bedroom was a 
booming, unpolished voice singing verses from “A Mighty Fortress is Our 
God,† interspersed
with his young daughters’️ giggling.

I don’️t remember a lot from the classes we sat in that week, but this friend’️
singing with his children stuck with me. There was no pulpit; there were
no hymnals or handouts. Just a father instructing his children with the 
theologically rich verses of a hymn, and overflowing with emotion within the 
walls
of their own home.

Having an arsenal of theologically refreshing and reorienting hymns in your 
heart can help you minister to your own soul and the souls of others in 
beautiful
ways.

The Singing Savior

No one knows the ruin that marks the souls of men like Jesus does. And no 
one knows the remedy for such devastation like the Savior of man himself. 
Everything
Jesus does matters, and that includes his singing.

Jesus sang. He sang with people and to people. At the Last Supper, Jesus and 
his disciples sang a hymn together (Matthew 26:30). This was most likely a
portion of what’️s known as the
Hallel Psalms — Psalms 113–118. Jesus, the Word, led these men in singing 
the very words of Scripture he embodied. The very next day, Jesus died with 
a
psalm on his lips. He bore the wrath of God on the cross whispering a psalm, 
so that we might one day sing those same psalms with joy as God’️s children.

It matters that the Savior of souls was a singer to souls, and a singing 
soul himself. It matters that the one who turns hearts of stone into hearts 
of
flesh gave us the gift of song to drive that gospel reality and its 
instructive implications deep into our souls.

Singing matters. Souls need songs.

The Fearless Pacifist: Menno Simons (1496–1561)
Ryan Griffith / October 7, 2017
The Fearless Pacifist

If you are familiar with the contemporary Mennonites, you may be surprised 
to learn that the group’️s founder started as a Catholic priest who had never
read the Bible.

A Priest Without the Bible

In 1524, at the age of 28, Menno Simons was ordained a priest of the 
Catholic Church in Utrecht, Germany. Although familiar with Greek and Latin 
and studied
in Catholic doctrine, Simons had
never read the Scriptures themselves. “I had not touched them during my 
life,† he later wrote, “for I feared if I should read them they would 
mislead me.†

The Fearless Pacifist jy1237lh

In 1526, he began to question the truthfulness of the Catholic doctrine of 
transubstantiation (the idea that the bread and wine transform into the 
actual
flesh and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist). Simons thought this doubt might 
be the devil deluding him, so he reluctantly began to study the Bible. While
he could nowhere find the doctrine of transubstantiation, he discovered the 
gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ! He began sharing his
discoveries with others from the pulpit, propelling him to a place of 
regional prominence as an evangelical preacher.

Smoke but No Flame

Simons’️s study convinced him of the Bible’️s unrivaled authority, leading him 
to examine Catholic doctrine in Scripture’️s light. He also rejected the 
practice
of infant baptism as unbiblical and began to encourage congregants to be 
baptized in accordance with their confession of faith in Christ. Despite his 
embrace
of evangelical doctrine, he remained a priest in the Catholic Church and 
worked for its reform. All the while, however, his fascination with biblical 
teaching
was merely intellectual. He relished the sweet smell of his newfound fame 
but lacked the pure flame of true affection for Christ.

The execution of three hundred Anabaptists at Old Cloister near Bolsward in 
April 1535 brought him to the point of crisis:

I reflected upon my unclean, carnal life, also the hypocritical doctrine and 
idolatry which I still practiced daily in appearance of godliness, but 
without
relish. My heart trembled within me. I prayed to God with sighs and tears 
that he would give to me, a sorrowing sinner, the gift of his grace, create 
within
me a clean heart, and graciously through the merits of the crimson blood of 
Christ, forgive my unclean walk and frivolous easy life.

Overcome by his sins of pride, timidity, and love of comfort, Simons 
decisively renounced his “worldly reputation, name and fame.† “In my 
weakness,† he
wrote, “I feared God; I sought out the pious and though they were few in 
number, I found some who were zealous and maintained the truth.†

Enemy of the State — and the Devil

After being baptized, Simons immediately threw himself into preaching the 
gospel, explaining the Scriptures, and traveling extensively. Simons 
discovered
that the devil had kept him from the Bible and true conversion, and now he 
was determined to be Satan’️s sworn enemy. His preaching quickly drew the ire
of Catholic officials. Emperor Charles V even issued an edict against 
Simons, offering a significant reward to anyone who might deliver him into 
the hands
of authorities.

Nevertheless, Simons exhorted his fellow Anabaptist Reformers to reject 
violent means for accomplishing reform, advocating pacifism and separation 
from
worldly power. His preaching and reforms were so successful that, 
eventually, north German and Dutch Anabaptists would be known as
Mennonites. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of his renunciation of 
Catholicism, Simons’️s health rapidly declined, and he died the following 
day, January
31, 1561, at the age of 66.

Misled No Longer

As the devil misled young Menno, so our enemy would mislead us, too. He 
would keep us from Scripture, from fearing God, from confession of sin, and 
from
humble faith. May we, instead, “with sighs and tears† plead for and joyfully 
receive the gift of grace in our promised Savior, Jesus Christ.

Although I resisted in former times Thy precious Word and Thy holy will with 
all my powers . . . nevertheless, Thy fatherly grace did not forsake me, a
miserable sinner, but in love, received me, . . . and taught me by the Holy 
Spirit until of my own choice I declared war upon the world, the flesh, and
the devil . . . and willingly submitted to the heavy cross of my Lord Jesus 
Christ that I might inherit the promised kingdom. (Simons,
Meditation on the Twenty-Fifth Psalm )

For more on Menno Simons:

All of Menno Simons’️s writings are available online
free of charge. Start with the Preface to Foundations of Christian Doctrine..

The Anabaptist Story: An Introduction to Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism by 
William R. Estep

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

A New Thing  The Shepherds

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
18 Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

Luke 2:10-17 (NIV)
10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of 
great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a 
Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign 
to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. 13 
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, 
praising God and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace 
to men on whom his favor rests. 15 When the angels had left them and gone 
into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Lets go to Bethlehem and 
see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.  16 So 
they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in 
the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what 
had been told them about this child,

It was not a new thing for an angel to appear with a message but one thing 
was new in the message that the single angel brought to the shepherds. The 
message an angel had brought in the past had been for one person or one 
group of people. This message was the Good News for all the people. Another 
new thing in this account is the baby being found in a manger.

What did the shepherds do when they heard what the angel said? They trusted 
the message and did what the angel told them to do. They looked in the 
mangers of Bethlehem until they found a baby. After that, they went out 
praising God and telling everyone what they had seen and Who they had seen. 
They did not know any theology but just what had been told to them and what 
they had seen. That is what they told others

This message is a message for all peoples. Like the shepherds, we need to 
tell all peoples the Good News of Jesus Christ. WE need to tell them just 
what we know. WE dont have to know all the whys and wherefores, we just 
need to tell them what we have been told and what we have experienced.

I saw the results of a survey on a Christian web site of atheists about what 
might reach them. The one thing they thought might turn them to Jesus Christ 
was testimonies of Jesus and how He has worked in someones life.

Jesus commands us to go teach disciples. This may be a new thing god wants 
you to do.

May we obey what the psalmist has told us to do:

Psalm 9:11 (NIV)
11 Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations 
what he has done.

by Dean W. Masters
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 9:14 pm

Unless the Lord Goes With Us
"Then Moses said to him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send 
us up from here.'" Exodus 33:15

Moses was in the middle of his journey through the wilderness, leading the 
people of Israel out of Egypt. The people had just sinned by worshiping the
golden calf. Moses interceded for them and God spared them their lives. 
Moses then talked one on one with the Lord. He knew he could not lead this 
stubborn
people without God's presence. He had come to realize that without God's 
presence, he could not do anything. "How will anyone know that You are 
pleased
with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will 
distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the 
earth?"
(Exodus 33:16)

Moses did not want to move farther without the assurance that God was moving 
with him. He knew it was a life-and-death situation. He sought the Lord with
his whole heart on this one matter.

The question is a good one. If we are to be effective in anything we do for 
the Lord, the Lord must be in the midst of it. Unless the Lord's power is 
seen
among us, we will be just another person who has religion. Unless we 
manifest His life to others, they will see only good behavior that is easily 
counterfeited
by moral people. Moving out in presumption will end in failure and 
frustration. Ask the Lord today to assure you of His presence and power in 
your activities.
Then you will be assured that you will be distinguished among all the other 
people on the face of the earth.

Copyright 2000 by Os Hillman.


Unless the Lord Goes With Us
"Then Moses said to him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send 
us up from here.'" Exodus 33:15

Moses was in the middle of his journey through the wilderness, leading the 
people of Israel out of Egypt. The people had just sinned by worshiping the
golden calf. Moses interceded for them and God spared them their lives. 
Moses then talked one on one with the Lord. He knew he could not lead this 
stubborn
people without God's presence. He had come to realize that without God's 
presence, he could not do anything. "How will anyone know that You are 
pleased
with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will 
distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the 
earth?"
(Exodus 33:16)

Moses did not want to move farther without the assurance that God was moving 
with him. He knew it was a life-and-death situation. He sought the Lord with
his whole heart on this one matter.

The question is a good one. If we are to be effective in anything we do for 
the Lord, the Lord must be in the midst of it. Unless the Lord's power is 
seen
among us, we will be just another person who has religion. Unless we 
manifest His life to others, they will see only good behavior that is easily 
counterfeited
by moral people. Moving out in presumption will end in failure and 
frustration. Ask the Lord today to assure you of His presence and power in 
your activities.
Then you will be assured that you will be distinguished among all the other 
people on the face of the earth.

Copyright 2000 by Os Hillman.


The Voice of Isaiah: Hope
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The Voice of Isaiah: Hope
December 14, 2017

Read: Isaiah 64
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might 
quake at your presence. (v. 1)

Hope is central to the season of Advent when Christians celebrate the first 
coming of Christ at his incarnation. A wreath of evergreens is present in 
many
churches this month as a symbol of life, growth, and the eternity of God. 
Candles are lit, serving as a light of hope as we move toward Christmas. 
Through
the many voices of Advent, we hear a word of hope: God will dwell with us. 
God will save us.

Isaiah takes us back 2,500 years to the Jewish people in exile. Thousands of 
the brightest and best have been deported to Babylon. Their homeland is a
distant memory. The community is politically without power. Its worship life 
is without meaning. Still, they hope that God will intervene.

Advent is a time of incredible hope. While we wait for Christmas this year, 
we also wait for the day when Christ will come for the final time, and the
kingdom of this world will become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his 
Christ” (Rev. 11:15). God will save his people, set the captives free, and 
vanquish
every last trace of evil “far as the curse is found.” While we hope, we 
wait, but with a difference. For our hope knows Bethlehem and the God who 
became
flesh. Our hope knows that God has come and will continue to come to redeem 
and give life. —Ken Eriks

Prayer: Lord God, may our highest hopes be in Christ, the hope of the world. 
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
 
"Leftovers"
October 19, 2017
Psalm 51:16-17 - For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; 
You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a
broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Once upon a time, a Christian church was having a food drive. You know, the 
kind of program where the congregation was asking people to give canned 
goods,
boxed goods, things that -- like Hostess Twinkies -- had a "forever" 
shelf-life.
 
One mother, with her six-year-old, was going through her pantry. As she 
shuffled things around, she came across a bottle of beets. She brought those 
out.
She found some condensed milk, which was also set aside. Lastly, she found 
some lima beans and placed that can with the other two.
 
Surveying her gifts, mom said to her daughter, "There, that will do, and we 
won't miss these things; nobody here likes them."
 
It took but a second for the girl to politely ask, "But if we give them only 
what we don't want, aren't they helping us?"
 
Well, that may have been the case at a Cardiff food bank in Wales, Great 
Britain. The workers at the place were shocked to get a can of soup with 
unusual
markers on the label. An examination of the price tag said the soup had been 
sold so long ago the country was using a different currency.
 
The soup, Heinz kidney soup, was 46 years old. That type of soup itself had 
been discontinued more than 35 years before. In the same donation, was a can
of Green Giant sweet corn whose label revealed it was a recent newcomer, 
having been canned in the 1980s.
 
In spite of the shock, the manager of the food bank put the best 
construction on the gift when she stated, "It's out of a generous heart, but 
I just think
they don't think and don't necessarily look at the dates." They are keeping 
both cans to educate folks on what people shouldn't give.
 
You know, I wonder how the Lord scans the gifts which come in for Him.
 
The story of the widow's mites tell us God doesn't look with disfavor on 
gifts which flow from a solid, sincere heart. He certainly is more impressed 
by
those donations than He is by all those who gave a bunch, but are only 
sacrificing a small percentage of the bounty the Lord has bestowed.
 
The Psalmist tells us the Lord, who really owns everything, is not all that 
interested in sacrifices which cost a few coins, but leaves the individual
untouched. Nor is the Lord going to be overwhelmed by a burnt sacrifice, 
which is only some individual going through the motions.
 
What the Lord wants, first, foremost, and always is a Christian heart which 
has seen the Savior's sacrifice and is moved to respond. That response may
be shown through financial gifts, but it always finds its source in a broken 
and contrite heart.
 
When we take a look at where we once were headed eternally and where we are 
going now, we should be touched with gratitude. When we see the Savior who
left a heavenly throne to die on a cruel cross, we cannot help responding 
with a life of thanks and praise which begins in a new heart.
 
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, accept our hearts which, having been cleansed of 
sin's stain by the Savior's sacrifice, are willing to respond. May our 
gratitude,
like Your grace and love, be undying. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
 
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by Daniel Uria for the UPI on October 7, 2017. Those who wish to 
reference
that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at 
the time this devotion was written:
click here .
 
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
 
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Jeremiah 3-5; Acts 27:1-26
Print this Devotion
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
 
 Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
 
Anne Graham Lotz - Finding Love
Finding Love
We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19, NKJV
Our world is looking for love. As human beings, we need to love and be 
loved. But we’re looking in all the wrong places. We look for it from a 
parent,
from a child,
from a spouse,
from a friend,
But our parents grow old and die,
our children grow up and live their own lives,
our spouses are too busy or too tired,
our friends are superficial or selfish.
Who can truly understand the need of the human heart? Who can meet the need 
of our hearts? Where is love found?
Love is found in the heart of God.
Blessings,
Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at 
www.annegrahamlotz.org
.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 15 Dec 2017, 11:59 pm

4 Steps to Sharing the Gospel with Your Family During Christmas
Tim Brister

I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book,
Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close 
Friends, and Others You Know Well
. This is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to 
share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my
community. I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.

In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps 
for sharing the gospel with your family. I thought they were very thoughtful
and practical. Check them out.

1. If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your 
family. Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.

2. Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving. This may be more 
difficult for some people than others. Regardless of your family’s 
well-being,
thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can 
identify.

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3. You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your 
lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change
them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of 
trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and
self-righteousness, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on 
your darkness of sin.

4. If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian 
to your family. Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with 
bold
confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than 
evangelistic. You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.

#3 nailed me.

One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for 
opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you 
might
be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a 
Christian. In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a 
superficial
level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 
minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the 
conversation
to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.


The Real Santa Claus
by Sarah Phillips, Crosswalk.com Contributor

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the 
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 NIV

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
~ "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore (1823)

My dad used to take my sisters and me down to Miller & Rhodes for a visit 
with the "Real Santa Claus." The trip made for some of my favorite childhood
memories. This Santa wasn't some ordinary mall Santa. The "Real Santa" 
arrived via reindeer-pulled sleigh and -- you bet – slid down a chimney. His 
full,
white beard was genuine, and his beautiful friend, the Snow Queen, glittered 
as she greeted each awe-struck child.

But the real clincher occurred when, after waiting for hours in a sea of 
overexcited children, Santa called my siblings and me
by name to join him on his big, comfy lap.

Of course, come adulthood, I discovered the beloved "Real Santa" was 
actually a local man with a local legacy -- a kind-hearted, Christian 
grandfather
who delighted in bringing joy to children like me. (And, if you're 
wondering, the friendly Snow Queen was wired so "Santa" could hear our names 
as we approached).

I suppose we all have to step off the Polar Express at some point and accept 
that Santa is just a mythological figure. Or is he? As it turns out, there
really
was a Santa Claus. He went by the less marketable title Bishop Nicholas of 
Myra. While he never wore a red suit, smoked a pipe, or slid down chimneys,
his story actually has a lot to do with the true meaning of Christmas.

Stories of the Real St. Nick

Researching the life of St. Nicholas presents a challenge – he seems 
destined to be obscured by legend, even in the history books. But even if 
the facts
are a bit murky, there are some things we know with relative certainty.

We first encounter Nicholas as a compassionate young man in 4
th century Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). Both of his parents had passed 
away, leaving the grief-stricken youth a substantial inheritance. Nicholas 
decided
the money would go to charity.

It wasn't long after this decision that he encountered a family in need. The 
father had lost his daughters' dowries, and in those days this meant the 
three
women had no hope for marriage. As a last resort, the father decided to sell 
them into prostitution.

When Nicholas heard of the family's plight, and the father's horrific 
solution, he did something very much in the spirit of Santa Claus: He 
secretly visited
their home by night, throwing a bag of gold coins through the family's 
window. He repeated his covert act of charity three times, resulting in the 
marriages
of all three sisters. During his third visit, the father discovered his 
identity and expressed deep gratitude for his kindness
.

St. Nicholas went on to assist many others, often anonymously. His generous 
and creative commitment to the needy gave rise to many unconfirmed legends
and miracles over the centuries, but one fact is known for certain: his 
virtue resulted in his appointment as Bishop of Myra.

Defender of the Faith

Though less magical sounding, Nicholas' role as Bishop gives us even greater 
reason to associate this Saint with Christmas.

That's because Nicholas' life unfolded during a pivotal era of Christendom. 
After years of terrible persecution, the rise of Roman Emperor Constantine
in 313 A.D. brought legal acceptance of Christianity. Legend has it that 
Bishop Nicholas was among the many Christians who endured imprisonment and 
torture
for the faith until Constantine freed him.

But the joys of freedom were short-lived because the Church faced a threat 
from within: A heresy called Arianism was spreading confusion among the 
faithful.

Arianism, named after its promoter Arius, denied Christianity's central 
doctrine of the Trinity by claiming that while Jesus was the Son of God, the 
Son
was not one (united in essence, nature, or substance) with the Father. In 
other words, Arius claimed Jesus Christ was
not the eternal Word made flesh
(John 1
: 14), relegating Him to a lesser status -- a sort of "secondary god."

St. Nicholas was one of the defenders of the true Gospel, clarifying Jesus' 
identity against Arius' confusing teachings. Some stories even claim Bishop
Nicholas boldly confronted Arius at the historic Council of Nicea (although 
there are no official records of Nicholas' presence at the Council.)

Thanks to the devotion of Christians like St. Nicholas, St. Athanasius, and 
St. Gregory of Nyssa, Arianism eventually died out. But had it prevailed, we
could not celebrate the true miracle of Christmas: the Incarnation, the Word 
made Flesh, realized in the birth of Jesus Christ. And without fully 
understanding
Christmas we ultimately would have lost the meaning of the Cross, too.

When Did St. Nick become "Santa Claus"?

When did St. Nick trade in the Bishop's miter for a fuzzy, red hat? Not for 
a long time. Bishop Nicholas' generosity and devotion endeared him to the 
masses.
After his death, churches were named after him, and artists portrayed him in 
their works, spreading his popularity throughout the Mediterranean, Europe
and Asia. Over time, St. Nick's legacy was associated with love of children 
and gift-giving, but the widespread lore kept much of the original Christian
context for centuries.

"Santa Claus" is actually a very modern and very American version of the 
Saint. It wasn't until Dutch and German settlers brought their magical tales 
of

Sankt Niklaus (German) and Sinterklaas (Dutch) to the New World that St. 
Nick began to look a little like Santa. From there, St. Nicholas
still didn't take on his plump, elfin appearance or slide down chimney's 
until the early 1800's thanks to a satirical work called
Knickerbocker's History of New York by Washington Irving.

In 1823, the red-suited image of an elf transported by flying reindeer 
finally solidified thanks to the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (later 
renamed
"'Twas the Night Before Christmas") penned by New Yorker, Clement Clark 
Moore. Popular culture and marketing by companies like Coca-Cola further 
ingrained
the icon into American tradition.

While 4th century Christians would not recognize the modern Santa, it's hard 
to imagine a better candidate for the job than a man who helped preserve the
real meaning of Christmas. Bishop Nicholas exemplified the Christian life by 
giving his all to Christ and to those in need. Hopefully, in the midst of
all the glittery commercialism surrounding our modern holiday celebrations, 
we'll be able to prepare for Christmas '16 in a way that genuinely reflects
the spirit of (the real) St. Nick.

Intersecting Faith & Life: : St. Nicholas' legacy demonstrates a balance 
often difficult to achieve: a life steeped in both truth and love. What ways 
can
you show the love of Christ more effectively during the holidays? What ways 
can you stand up for the truth of the Gospel more effectively?

Further Reading

Is 40:1-5, 9-11
Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
2 Pt 3:8-14
Mk 1:1-8
The Real St. Nick - Dr. Warren Throckmorton

Ref

"St. Nicholas" http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=371
The St. Nicholas Center (
http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=35
)
"Santa Claus" wikipedia.org ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus )

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !



How God Feels about the Poor

Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land 
to fail.
( Amos 8:4 )

How do you treat the poor? It is important for us to realize how God feels 
about the poor of this world. I have experienced being poor. My dad died 
when
I was fourteen, and it was up to me to support my mother and sister. I had 
to secure a special permit to get a job. Then, after I was converted and 
felt
called to the ministry, some folk took an interest in me and helped me get 
through school.

In the days of Amos, God accuses them of even making "the poor of the land 
to fail." That is, the poor were brought down to such a low poverty level 
that
they never could escape from it. The poor always suffer more acutely in a 
godless nation - I don't think that statement can be successfully 
contradicted.

Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the 
sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel 
great,
and falsifying the balances by deceit?
(v. 5)

God knew what was in their hearts. "The new moon" and "the sabbath" were 
holy days on which business was not transacted. God is saying that even when 
the
rich went to the temple to praise God, they were so greedy and covetous that 
they were thinking about business the next day and how they could make more
money by cheating their customers. They not only practiced their sin during 
the week, but they carried it into the temple. What a picture this gives us
of Israel in that day - and of modern man as well.

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That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, 
and sell the refuse of the wheat?
(v. 6)

The poor even had to sell themselves into slavery. That was permitted in 
that land under the Mosaic system. They would buy the needy for a pair of 
shoes
- that's how cheap they were! And they would sell the poor the refuse of the 
wheat. That means they got the "seconds," the leftovers which an honest 
dealer
throws away. I have never felt right about giving old clothes to help the 
poor in the church. I have never felt they should be given the leftovers of 
anything.
Remember how David said, "… neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the 
Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing …" (
2 Samuel 24:24 ).

It is no accident that the Lord Jesus, when He was here on earth, sat and 
watched how the people gave in the temple. Was that His business? Yes. And 
He
is interested in how much we give to Him and how much we keep for ourselves.

Maybe the reason I love this man Amos so much is that he talks my language. 
He was a poor man himself, and he says the thing that I understand. You see,
Amos is explaining why Israel was like a basket of summer fruit. The 
goodness of Israel was just as perishable and just as soon deteriorated as 
summer
fruit. One evidence of this was the way they treated the poor.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee began teaching Thru the Bible in 1967. After retiring 
from the pastorate, he set up radio headquarters in Pasadena, and the radio 
ministry
expanded rapidly. Today the program airs on over 400 stations each day in 
the United States and Canada, is heard in more than 100 languages around the
world and is broadcast worldwide via the Internet. Listen to him now at
oneplace.com .
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 14 Dec 2017, 11:44 pm

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

"Never Stranded"
October 11, 2017
Romans 8:37-39 - No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through
Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor
depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from
the
love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
People who travel for pleasure know that you can get a really good deal if
you book your airline and hotel at the same time. People who travel for
pleasure
also know that the opening sentence is true only if you can trust your
airline to pay for the hotel room.

Monarch Airlines, the fifth-largest carrier in Great Britain, was an airline
which couldn't be trusted.

I use the past tense of the verb because last week Monarch Airlines filed
for bankruptcy.

Sadly, Monarch was particularly nasty in the way they went belly-up.

• For instance, two days before they went under, Monarch began a promotional
sale of tickets at discount prices.

• Then Monarch let people show up at the airport only to be told there that
their flight had been cancelled. This was an especially nasty surprise to
the couple who, with 30 family and friends, were traveling to an
overseas location for their wedding. Ten minutes before
boarding
they were told their flight had been cancelled, and they had lost their
money... and good luck booking a same-day flight for 30 people on
another airline.

• Then there were the 110,000 travelers who were stranded in distant
countries. They had no plane coming to take them home.

• Could it get worse? It could. Some of those folks staying in overseas
locations had booked their hotels through Monarch. Sadly, Monarch
never paid
those hotels. As a result, all of those tourists are being charged
a second time for their rooms. Some of them have been locked out of
their rooms; some of them have been informed they will be arrested if they
try to leave without paying; and all of them have been severely
inconvenienced.

• Oh, I forgot to mention Monarch's 2,750 employees were suddenly out of a
job.

Has it ever occurred to you that after Adam and Eve fell into sin, the Lord
could have left humanity high and dry? After all, He had given us everything
we needed; He had granted us a perfect life and made only one very small
request.

In response, our ancestors rejected His request, disobeyed His Law, and
followed an evil stranger.

Truly, the Lord would have been well within His rights to leave us, but He
didn't. He sent His Son to save us, to carry our sins, to die our death, and
change eternity for all who believe. Because Jesus has done everything
necessary to save us, St. Paul was able to confidently write: "I am sure
that neither
death nor life ... nor anything else in all creation, will be able to
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

In short, God will never leave us high and dry.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in this sinful world, people may often let us down.
Thankfully, You are different. For being there, always, even until the end
of
the age, accept our thanks. In Jesus' Name Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one
written by Richard Wheatstone on October 3, 2017 for The Sun. Those who wish
to reference
that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at
the time this devotion was written: click here

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Micah 1-3; Acts 21:1-17

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission;
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).


5 Powerful Prayers from the Bible

If you ever feel at a loss for what to pray, there’s no better guidebook for
petitions to our Heavenly Father than the very book He wrote—the Bible.
Almost
every book in there contains a plea or request, and page after page points
to another reason we need a Savior. So, when you feel like you just don’t
have
words, turn first to the Word.

Although we could list hundreds of prayers, we plucked out five of our
favorites to show just how filled to the brim the Bible is with ways to call
upon
our great God.

The Prayer of Jabez (
1 Chronicles 4:10
)

When the author of Chronicles dutifully provides us with a list of Judah’s
descendants, he can’t help but stop himself. Right in the midst of all these
names, he comes to Jabez, a man he wants us to notice, a man of true honor.
If you’ve ever felt like you’ve caused pain or if you’ve ever wanted to
believe
that God can do more than you can ask or imagine, this prayer is for you:

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and
enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so
that I
will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

The Lord’s Prayer ( Matthew 6:9 –13)

This prayer is the true classic. Most of us have said this prayer and could
likely recite it right now. But there’s much more to this model that Jesus
gave us than rote recitation. This is a prayer with real power: God’s
kingdom coming, God’s will being done, all that we need for the day. It’s
truly power
packed. So, take a closer look at what it teaches:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

Jonah’s Prayer for Salvation (
Jonah 2:2
–9)

We may never be swallowed by a great fish, but we can still experience the
shame and regret that Jonah felt after he ran from God. The prophet’s plea
to
the Father provides a poignant scaffolding for our own prayers of
repentance. And remember that God heard and answered this humble, honest
prayer:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.

You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.

I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’

The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.

To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.

“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.

But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

David’s Prayer for Deliverance (
Psalm 3
)

This one was a tough choice because the Psalms are stuffed full of cries and
petitions. If you ever want a primer for prayer, you can’t go wrong with
this
wisdom book. But we chose
Psalm 3
because it provides a concise portrait of crying out to God in the midst of
great stress. David’s words are no less relevant to our modern workplace and
lifestyle as they were to his battles:

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Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

Hannah’s Prayer of Praise (
1 Samuel 2:1
–10)

When Hannah received the child she begged God for, her first instinct is to
praise the One who provided. She wants to thank Him for His greatness and
His
deliverance. Too often we pray before receiving, but then forget to pray
after God answers. Let this prayer guide you in thanks:

“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

“There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,
and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

----------------------------------------------------------

This article is part of our larger Prayers
resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face
uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering
how to pray
or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows
your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Morning Prayers
Good Night Prayers
The Prayer of Jabez
Short Prayers
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
Serenity Prayer
A Birthday Prayer
Sinner’s Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
Intercessory Prayer
Irish Prayers and Blessings
Advent Prayers
Christmas Prayers
Thanksgiving Prayer
Holy Week Prayers for Each Day
Easter Prayers
Mother’s Day Prayer
Prayers for My Husband
Prayers for My Son
Prayers for My Daughter
Prayer Quotes

Now available is our new Daily Prayer
devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s
prayer and sign up to receive by email.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:59 am

A New Thing – Zechariah

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
18 “Forget the former things;
Do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

Luke 1:57-66 (NIV)
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.
58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great
mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise
the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60
but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61 They
said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name
the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment
he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his
tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 The neighbors
were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people
were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered
about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand
was with him.

Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous people who were aged. They had no
children because Elizabeth was barren. By lot Zechariah was chosen to serve
in the temple one day. While he was serving, an angel appeared and told him
that Elizabeth was going to have a child who was to be named John. The angel
said that God was doing a new thing and their son John was going to usher in
the Messiah. Zechariah didn’t believe what the angel said so the Lord made
it so Zechariah could not speak.

When the baby was born, another new thing happened. The baby was not named
after a relative which was the custom of that day. Instead the baby was to
be named John as the angel had told them.

Zechariah could count on one hand the number of times God opened barren
wombs in the Scripture. They had not had a baby in all those years and it
was impossible for Elizabeth to have one now. This was not a new thing that
God did with Elizabeth but Zechariah still looked at the past and didn’t see
any way their future would be any different.

Today we may look back to something great that we read of as the miracles in
the Bible or even miracles we have heard from in history. WE then may think
that those things don’t happen today. Miracles were for those times but don’t
happen now. God used great men like Abraham, Joshua, Moses, etc. But he can’t
use me. Sometimes we may look at our past and see all our failures and think
that God will not perform any miracles in our lives because of these. WE may
think we have lived such a bad life that God cannot use us. WE hear of
people today who are healed or become great people of God who do many things
like preach to large crowds or become missionaries. WE may think that
because of our past that none of that can happen to us.

AS the verses from Isaiah above say, we have to stop looking at the past.
God is doing a new thing. He can do a new thing in our lives. He still
performs miracles. He calls people to lead from small backgrounds. WE need
to make ourselves available to Him to do what He wants to do with and
through us.

Don’t be like Zechariah. Trust the Lord completely and look for the new
thing He has for your life.

by Dean W. Masters


Welcome to the Nugget

October 12, 2017

CATHEDRALS! Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 5: La Playa de las Catedrais
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Last Tuesday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 4", we learned from the towns of Mediano
and Janovas in Northern Spain that when our advice and help is requested, we
must be there for those requesting it; but when it is not, the only way we
can truly be supportive is to respect their wishes.

But wait. When we see that those we wish to support are making the wrong
decisions and taking the wrong paths, when we see that withholding our
advice
and help may result in disaster, how can we, as loving, caring parents and
friends, simply sit back and do nothing?

We can't, and God used the "cathedrals" at "La Playa de las Catedrais" to
help me understand what it is that we not only
can do, but we must do...

La Playa de Las Catedrais is a beautiful beach near Ribadeo, Spain. Directly
translated, the Spanish words mean "Cathedrals Beach", and when you walk on
the sand at low tide, it becomes quite apparent how this section of
coastline got its name. The cliffs, some over 32 meters high, have, through
the ages,
been sculpted by wind and sea, forming spectacular arches, vaults, cracks,
tunnels and galleries of rock. To make it even more special, from the sands
of this beach, you can look out over the water in the mornings and evenings
to watch remarkable sunrises and breathtaking sunsets.

Although all the rock formations are formidably beautiful, there are a
couple in particular, that if caught at the right angle and in the right
light,
make you forget you are on a beach. In fact, were it not for the bare feet
and rolled up pants, you would feel like you are standing in a spectacular
cathedral.

We had admired so many grand cathedrals throughout Northern Spain,
photographing and appreciating each for its unique architecture and decor;
but as we
stood at low tide that morning, in perhaps one of the most magnificent works
of architecture we had ever seen, we realized something vitally important:
God is the greatest architect!

With that thought came yet another: God doesn't need suspended models such
as were used in the construction of the Sagrada Familia; He doesn't use the
cranes, buttresses or molded decor so commonly seen supporting European
structures; He doesn't worry about funding, and the threats of fire, flood
and
wind don't faze Him in the least. In fact, He
uses the wind and the waves as tools in His hands; and in the end, His
structures stand, as a lasting reminder, that where man fails, God...is!

Friends, when our offers of advice and assistance are rejected; when we are
forced to stand by and look on while those we care about make the wrong
choices;
when any assistance on our part will only break the fragile connection that
hopefully still remains between us, remember La Playa de Las Catedrais. Just
as God uses the wind and water to expertly sculpt the beautiful arches and
vaults found along this beach, He uses the "wind" of our poor choices and
the
"water" of our circumstances to form us into something of even more beauty
and higher value: "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time."
(Eccl. 3:11 NLT); "And we know that God causes everything to work together
for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose
for them.
" (Rom. 8:28 NLT).

What, then, can we do when our assistance is rejected?

We can release the situation into the hands of the Master Architect. We can
trust that the same creative hand that uses the wind and waves to sculpt
something
of formidable beauty along the beach at Ribadeo, will also mold something of
great value out of the circumstances and bad decisions made by those we care
about. The most important thing we can do to support our loved ones through
the hard times is to release them into God's hands.

Wait. We are fixers. Letting go and letting God is not always easy. Isn't
there anything we can
do?

Yes, there is. We can pray. Prayer is like the machinery that opens the
sluice gates on the locks so that the water can raise the ships. Prayer is
like
the electrician who repairs the broken power lines so that electricity can
flow into homes and provide power and light and heat. Prayer is like us
pulling
the trigger on the gas pump so that gas will flow into and power our
vehicles. Prayer is what unleashes God's creative power to change the
situations we
can do nothing about.

So just what does it look like to be supportive?

It is being there for someone, providing advice and assistance when it is
requested, and it is knowing how and when to let go. But most importantly,
it
is releasing the situations that we cannot change into the hands of God, the
Master Architect, and then praying His creative power into those situations.

But what if we release the situation into God's hands, what if we commit
ourselves to prayer, and...nothing changes? Isn't there anything
else we can do?

Join us Saturday for the conclusion of this series: "CATHEDRALS! Part 6: Die
Schlosskirche".

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two,
Author -- "
Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer",
Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and
Scriptural Nuggets
, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Answers2Prayer Ministries
. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

Announcement:

John the Baptist said, "The time has come...The kingdom of God has come
near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15). But what exactly is
the Kingdom
of God? Check out "
Basics of Basileia
", a four-part mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan designed to help us
have a better understand of God's Kingdom!

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

From: lyn@sermonillustrator.org
http://scripturalnuggets.org/

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Today's Devotional

Hosanna In The Highest Heaven!

The approach of Christmas certainly stirs up memories of yesteryear. Changes
are replacing the ways of the old days.

It was Advent, which means "coming", and the Finnish Lutheran church that I
attended as I grew up was preparing the sanctuary meaningfully for the
celebration
and anticipation of the coming of Jesus. Men and women together as a church
family were placing Christmas decorations around. Many helping hands brought
in the huge spruce Christmas tree, more than five metres tall, complete with
cones, and dressed it with lots of lights and baubles. To see the male folk
together in the spirit of Christmas was a special blessing.

A large wreath had a special place for all to see at the front of the
sanctuary, and four candles were set upon it, one more to be lit on each of
the four
Sundays before Christmas. The white one in the centre was the Christ candle,
lit on Christmas Day. On the first Sunday of Advent, the congregation
watched
in anticipation as the first candle was lit to bring its light into the
darkness. It brought hope to hearts tenderly opening to help from above.

That Sunday, we also waited for the singing of "Hosanna in the highest
heaven!" It signified opening our hearts, as we waited for the Lord to
come — just
as we also did on Palm Sunday, as at the coming of Jesus into Jerusalem,
"Hosanna!" rang out from the people, meaning, "Lord, help! Save us!" This
was
a united cry to God in repentance and sorrow for our sins, with hearts sorry
for our wrongdoings, disobedience, and rebellion against God Almighty. With
one voice, in unison, we were calling, "Lord, help! Save us!" Individually,
we were invited to self-examination in advance of the coming of the Lord.
Hosanna!
The Lord is coming!

It was good to be in church together before God — and it still is. There,
God is present in His Word, in song, in prayers, and in silent reflection.

The meaning of Christmas begins with Advent: waiting, preparing us to be
filled with the hope, love, joy, and peace of God our Saviour that we so
much
need. Christmas hymns and spiritual songs enhance and stir our hearts to
repentance.

In Jesus, our Redeemer, we have the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus has
come as the Light into the world — into our darkness.

May Advent in our lives today be filled with true waiting to meet our
Saviour. King of glory, come!

Prayer: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of
the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
(Matthew 21:9b NIV 2011) Amen.


Breakfast with Jesus

Jesus said to them, 'come and have breakfast.' - John 21:12

In these words the believer is invited to enjoy a holy nearness to Jesus.
"Come and eat" implies the same table, the same food, and perhaps it means
to
sit side by side, and even lean our head on the Savior's shoulder. It is
being brought into the banqueting-house, where the banner of redeeming love
waves
in welcome.

This invitation gives us a vision of union with Jesus, because Christ
Himself is the only food that we can feast upon when we eat with Him. What
union
is this! It has a depth that reason cannot fathom. Ponder His words:
"Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."1

It is also an invitation to enjoy fellowship with the saints. Christians may
differ on a variety of points, but they all have one spiritual appetite; and
if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the Bread of Life sent
down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and
one cup. As the loving cup goes around, we commit our lives to one another.
Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in
spirit
to all who like yourself are supported by the same heavenly manna. If we
were nearer to Jesus, we would be nearer to one another.

We also see in these words the source of strength for every Christian. To
look at Christ is to live; but for strength to serve Him, you must eat what
He
provides. We work too often in a sense of unnecessary weakness because we
neglect this perception of the Master. None of us need to put ourselves on a
low diet; on the contrary, we should fatten ourselves in the Gospel so that
we may derive strength from it and extend every power to its limit in the
Master's
service. Then if you would realize nearness to Jesus, union with Jesus, love
to His people, and strength from Jesus, "come and have breakfast" with Him
by faith.

1) John 6:56

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Kings 19

verse 2 1 Thessalonians 2

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson

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How to Take a Holy Pause before the Christmas Crazy
Julie Gillies

Every year, my precious Gram assured me, Christmas arrived faster and
faster. At eight years of age, I looked up into her baby blue eyes and my
eager heart
could scarcely fathom her point. All kids knew Christmas took forever to
arrive. We waited eons before it finally showed up.

Fast forward many years, and I seriously understand what she meant. The year
zooms by at warp speed. First comes New Year’s Day. Five minutes later it’s
Valentine’s Day, followed immediately by Good Friday and Easter. A week and
a half later, I am sweeping up firecracker and sparkler debris from my
driveway,
and
bam! It’s Thanksgiving.

And then it’s Christmas time. Again.

I hardly have time to catch my breath, let alone purchase gifts, find cute
wrapping paper, and Christmas-tize my house. Or spend time with the One it’s
all about.

If, like me, you’d love for life to slow down, particularly as the holiday
season begins to ramp up, it’s important to understand that in spite of our
long to-do lists, the shopping and baking and the fun (and let’s face it,
the sometimes not-so-fun) aspects the holidays bring our way, we can choose
to
still our hearts. It may not be easy, but if we desire the authentic, heart
transforming experience of Christ’s presence in the midst of the Christmas
crazy,
we can choose a holy pause.

A holy pause is the opportunity to step out of the madness, the demands, and
the haste of the season (indeed, of life itself), and into His presence. It’s
the decision to shut ourselves away from the endless noise and commotion and
quietly engage our hearts with His. It’s the chance to trade His stillness
for our rushing, His peace for our panic, and His joy for our irritability.

Life doesn’t stand still, but we can. Scripture invites us to do just that:
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will
be honored throughout the world.”
( Psalm 46:10 NLT)

God desires for us to honor Him by spending the expensive currency of our
time, even in the busyness of the season. To engage in the difficult but
oh-so
rewarding discipline of quieting our minds, bowing our hearts, and pausing
before Him. It’s then that we can begin to experience the beauty of His
awesome,
all-sufficient presence.

What if, at the very start of the Christmas season, before we drag out boxes
of tangled lights, sift through glittery decor, and tenderly unpack nativity
sets, we allow ourselves the luxury of a holy pause? What if instead of
permitting the briskness of the season to scoot us forward on its endless
current,
we stopped and bowed our hearts before the One who stepped out of heaven, in
awe and wonder of all He has done?

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What if we allowed our hearts to marvel at His unfathomable journey from
eternity into an unassuming, most unroyal manger? What if we pondered the
miracle
of His birth and the reason behind it? What if we asked Him to fill our
hearts to overflowing with the reality of the priceless gift of His
presence?

What if, instead of pinched stress across our faces, our families saw eyes
that reflect our wonder-struck hearts?

And what if this became our daily goal this holiday season? A holy pause. An
exquisite time in His presence. A life-changing, refreshing time with the
One the season is all about.

Prayer

Lord, I bow my heart before You and honor You. Help me to choose not one but
many holy pauses this holiday season. Please nudge me by Your Spirit and
remind
me to step away from the Christmas crazy and get alone with you. In Jesus’s
awesome name, Amen.

Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine
teaching!

( James Smith , "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

"Open my eyes--that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law." Psalm
119:18

God's Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .
of God's power in creation,
of His wisdom in providence,
and of His grace in redemption.

It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights,
fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths--but as we are
taught of
God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it,
must unfold and reveal it to our minds--or we shall never . . .
see its glory,
be impressed with its majesty,
or rejoice in its divine truths.

Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine
teaching
. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse
of God's blessed Book--for there is a
fullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .
instruct our intellects,
sanctify our hearts, and
regulate our lives--we beseech You to . . .
enlighten our minds to understand it,
open our hearts to receive it,
give us faith to believe it, and
enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

O may we be given grace . . .
understand the sublime doctrines,
believe the precious promises, and
practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!
Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies--and apply to our
hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the
Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to catch the meaning,
taste the sweetness, and feel the power--of Your holy truth! O Lord, open
our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts,
and bring home Your Word with power!

"Then He opened their understanding--that they might understand the
Scriptures." Luke 24:45

"Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?" Job 36:22


The Failure of History
John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
( Romans 5:6 )

To their credit, my two little girls sat patiently as the Cherokee peace
chief explained his slit ears, metal breastplate, and high-heeled shoes. On
the
table in front of him sat a rifle, swan feathers, a clay mug, and other
shards of the past. This is exactly what I love to do on a Saturday morning.

You see, I love the way history feels because I’m something of a nostalgia
junky. The narratives that draw together people, locations, and wars latch
onto
me. The connections that run through mountains, rivers, and small towns dig
under my skin. The history of grace absorbs me.

I have to be careful, though. Otherwise, I’d spend too much time living back
there and not paying attention to grace here and now.

There’s something in history that we often overlook. Sure, learning about
the past supposedly keeps people from repeating mistakes (though I’ve yet to
see that be the case). And we need to see where we’ve come from, to
understand the ebbs and cycles in the story of civilization. But it’s more
than that.

History--much more than just a learning tool--is the story of human failure.
If that sounds morbid, it is. The big picture of our history is how humans
have failed to love, failed to live up to God’s standards. There are tiny
currents that push back against the raging waters of failure (and those are
some
great stories to focus on), but the overall direction has been clear.

What we learn, if we care to glance back, is that humanity has no
chance--that is, no chance apart from grace. Our history lays bare the need
for a raw,
relentless love. We’ve stumbled and scrambled, fought and exiled. And yet no
amount of human effort has ever satisfied the searching, the wanderlust. We’ve
pushed on, pressed on, killed on. And never reached our goal.

But always there is God. The history we have points to the sparks He created
in the darkness, the fires He kindled in the tragedies. Always there is God,
appearing where you least expect. Always there is God, breaking through.

I love history because God’s there in the midst of our failures. He never
lets go; He never disappears.

Intersecting Faith & Life: One reason I always challenge others to keep a
journal or a blog is because it gives us all a place to record our own
histories.
It’s a place where we can see the pursuing love of God as He picks us up
from our failures and loves us anyway. It’s a place to learn from past
mistakes.
Take a moment today to capture your own story and keep at it. You’ll always
be amazed at the grace that shimmers through.

Further Reading

Romans 5

A Source That Will Never Dry Up
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His
compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy
faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you know what Lamentations 3:22-23 means? It means that God never runs
out of compassion.

Have you ever gone to Niagara Falls and watched the water rampaging with
torrential force? I’ve thought, “Surely the water is one day going to dry
up.”
But it hasn’t. Friend, greater than Niagara is the compassion of the Lord.
His compassions fail not.

In 1923, Thomas O. Chisholm wrote one of the greatest hymns of all time and
this stanza is the refrain of this truth, “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God
my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy
compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.”

ACTION POINT:
God is faithful. What are you facing today? Dear friend, lean upon Him and
His faithfulness. He will never, no never, leave you nor forsake you
(Hebrews
13:5).


Your Testimony
by Chuck Swindoll

Acts 26:1-23

One time-honored and effective method of evangelism is the giving of your
personal testimony. The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your
church,
but he or she cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been
changed. The skeptic may stop his or her ears to the presentations of a
preacher
and the pleadings of an evangelist, but this person is somehow attracted to
the human-interest story of how you found peace within.

Believe me; the steps that led to your conversion and the subsequent
ramifications are far more appealing and appropriate to the non-Christian
than a pulpit
exposition of John 3 or Romans 5. If you have not discovered the value of
telling others how God rearranged your life, you've missed a vital link in
the
chain of His blessing.

On six separate occasions between Paul's third missionary journey and his
trip to Rome, he stood before different audiences and presented Christ to
them
(Acts 22–26). Six times he stood alone. Six times he addressed unbelievers,
many of them hostile and rude. Do you know the method Paul used each time?

His personal testimony.

Each time he spoke, he simply shared how his own life had been changed by
the invasion of Christ and the indwelling of His power. Not once did he
argue
or debate with them. Not once did he preach a sermon. Why? Because one of
the most convincing, unanswerable arguments on earth regarding Christianity
is
one's personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ. No persuasive
technique will ever take the place of your personal testimony. I challenge
you to give
serious consideration to thinking through and then presenting the way God
saved you—along with the exciting results of His presence in your life.

Tomorrow, I'll share with you some specifics of a dynamic testimony. Until
then, you might want to think of three specific and important changes Christ
has accomplished in your born-again life; these can become a part of your
spoken testimony to unbelievers. And, if you know your testimony could use
some
written work and planning, schedule a time for it now—and write it on your
calendar. We'll dive in more deeply tomorrow. This is exciting stuff!

Believe it or not, your personal testimony is one of the most powerful and
compelling tools God has given you in reaching nonbelievers with the gospel.
Now, I'm not talking about the common, garden-variety, churchy "braggamony."
We have all yawned and groaned as others rambled and preached their way
through
a so-called testimony—which was about as fresh, appealing, and tasty as
warm, month-old lettuce.

That kind of testimony never attracted anyone!

I'd like to help you carry out the project of preparing your testimony, that
it might become an effective, powerful missile launched regularly from your
lips into the ears of the unsaved. Consider these five suggestions:

1. You want to be listened to, so be interesting. No one, no matter how
gracious, enjoys being bored. It's a contradiction to talk about how
exciting Christ
really is in an uninteresting way. Work on your wording, your flow of
thought, your key terms. Remember, the person isn't saved, so guard against
religious
clichés and hard-to-understand terminology.

2. You want to be understood, so be logical. I suggest that you think of
your salvation in three phases . . . and construct your testimony
accordingly:
(a) before you were born again—the loneliness, lack of peace, absence of
love, unrest, and fears; (b) the decision that revolutionized your life, and
(c)
the change, the difference He has made since you received Christ.

3. You want the moment of your new birth to be clear, so be specific. Be
extremely careful here. Don't be at all vague regarding how you became a
Christian.
Speak of Christ, not the church. Refer to the decision you made, the moment
of time when you received the Lord. Be simple and direct. Emphasize faith
more
than feeling.

4. You want your testimony to be used, so be practical. Be human and honest
as you talk. Don't promise, "All your problems will end if you will become
a Christian," for that isn't true. Try to think as an unbeliever thinks as
you are speaking. Refuse to pick theological lint. Restrain yourself from
plucking
the wings off religious flies. Theoretical stuff doesn't attract his or her
attention as much as practical reality.

5. You want your testimony to produce results, so be warm and genuine. A
smile breaks down more barriers than the hammer blows of cold, hard facts.
Be
friendly and sincere. Let your enthusiasm flow freely. It's hard to convince
another person of the sheer joy and excitement of knowing Christ if you're
wearing a jail-warden face. Above all, be positive and courteous.

Give thought to this, my friend. Ask God to open your lips and honor your
words . . . but be careful! Once your missile hits the target, you'll become
totally dissatisfied with your former life as an earth-bound, secret-service
saint.

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

IFLM 2018 Calendar
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Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved
worldwide.


Encouragement for your week: Finding God in the ordinary

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Finding God in the Ordinary

“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and
walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what
God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so
well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead,
fix your attention on God”— Romans 12:1-2(MSG).

Summer flowers have died. Leaves are changing colors. Life goes on.

Seasons change in our lives. We experience cycles of trials and calm. Life
goes on.

Many affected by the destruction of nature’s wrath this year are still
struggling. But life goes on. Even then, we sometimes forget to recognize
the extraordinary
in the midst of the ordinary—and life goes on.

Sometimes we’re reminded of God’s extraordinary in the midst of our
ordinary. A friend’s relative lost his home last spring in a Missouri
tornado. Six
months later, through the efforts of his small church family, he is almost
ready to move into a newly constructed house. While funds for the
construction
have dwindled at times, leaving the crew wondering if they’d ever be able to
complete the project, God has shown up in the midst of their uncertainty to
reveal how much He cares for His children.

In a moment of divine intervention at an Arkansas baseball game, the leader
of the construction crew met a stranger. During their conversation, he told
her of the church’s efforts to finish the house. This woman was not just any
stranger, but was from a neighboring Missouri town and was part of a church
seeking to help tornado victims.

After learning of the need for funds to finish the tornado victim’s house,
she arrived at the church the following week with a donation. The donation
was
$2,100—the exact amount needed to purchase the air and heating system for
the new home.

However, that wasn’t the end of God’s extraordinary provision. After hearing
about the need for cabinets, a deacon at the tornado victim’s church
volunteered
to build them. Another church member is making the counter tops. Both
contributions to the project have been donated to the house that God built.

Sometimes, in our ordinary, busy lives, we don’t see the extraordinary. God
doesn’t always provide as He did for this tornado victim. But nothing can
stop
God’s amazing work in our lives. He even crosses state lines to orchestrate
His plan.

As Christians, we are called by God out of our ordinary lives to be His
hands and feet. We’re asked to step out of our comfort zones, to use the
gifts
He has given us to do extraordinary things for His kingdom.

While we might overlook the extraordinary each day, His amazing grace is
evident in the things we take for granted. In nature, we see the carefully
planned
creation of a God who loves to astound us with the myriad of colors amid a
variety of creatures, foliage and weather. Without diversity, life would be
a dull grey.

Life goes on, but God shows up in extraordinary ways in the midst of our
ordinary.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.
If you need a speaker for your women's event, please check out my website at
www.carolaround.com or email me at carol@carolaround.com.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright ©️ 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Nov 2017, 10:22 pm

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Isaiah 6:1-8 (GNB)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on his
throne, high and exalted, and his robe filled the whole Temple. 2 Round him
flaming creatures were standing, each of which had six wings. Each creature
covered its face with two wings, and its body with two, and used the other
two for flying. 3 They were calling out to each other: “Holy, holy, holy!
The Lord Almighty is holy! His glory fills the world.” 4 The sound of their
voices made the foundation of the Temple shake, and the Temple itself was
filled with smoke. 5 I said, “There is no hope for me! I am doomed because
every word that passes my lips is sinful, and I live among a people whose
every word is sinful. And yet, with my own eyes, I have seen the King, the
Lord Almighty!” 6 Then one of the creatures flew down to me, carrying a
burning coal that he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 He
touched my lips with the burning coal and said, “This has touched your lips,
and now your guilt is gone, and your sins are forgiven.” 8 Then I heard the
Lord say, “Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?” I answered, “I
will go! Send me!”

Isaiah saw God high and lifted up. It was an awesome sight! There were these
creatures that were praising God continually. They didn’t just say God is
holy. In the Hebrew language, they didn’t have punctuation so to stress a
word or phrase, they would repeat it. That is why it was printed that God
was holy, holy, holy. He is completely holy, completely without sin. He has
always been, is living now and will always live and will always be holy.

When Isaiah heard and saw this he said he was a man of unclean lips. That
may have been his main sin but here is what Jesus had to say:

Matthew 12:34 (GNB)
34 You snakes—how can you say good things when you are evil? For the mouth
speaks what the heart is full of.

Whatever is in your heart is what will come out of your mouth. Sin starts in
the heart then comes out in the actions that we take. When we see how
completely sinless God is, we can see how sinful we are. Isaiah saw this and
confessed this. The angel touched the hot coal to Isaiah’s lips which
symbolized the cleansing of his lips or heart. Isaiah’s sins had been
forgiven because he saw he was sinful and confessed that he was a sinful man
and all the people he lived with were sinful. He realized that no person is
sinless.

God asked who would go for Him. Isaiah was filled with awe and had just been
cleansed. He wanted to go do whatever God wanted him to do.

WE do need to see God as a friend who will provide what we need but we also
need to see God as the Holy, Almighty God. WE need to see our sinfulness so
that we can confess it and be forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Then we need to be ready to do what God wants us to do, go and make
disciples, take care of the poor, whatever He puts on our hearts.

by Dean W. Masters


10 Reasons to Go to the Funerals of Unbelievers
Casey B. Hough

Funerals can be awkward. Funerals are often sad, but funerals for
unbelievers are truly tragic. The loss of life is not merely temporal, but
eternal. Naturally,
a Christian might feel as those they should avoid the funerals of
unbelievers, feeling that they have no consolation or hope to offer in light
of the circumstance.
This, however, is not true at all. Christians are the “light of the world”
that shine into dark places and situations. If anyone needs to be at the
funeral
of an unbeliever, it is the Christian.

There are several reasons why a Christian should attend the funerals of
unbelievers, but for the moment, I will offer the top ten reasons for your
attendance:

1) To Reunite with Friends and Family Members from the Past

Proverbs 17:17
tells us that a "friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time
of adversity." When an unbeliever dies, others hurt as well, and sometimes
our presence at a funeral can be just what our friends need to make it
through the trial. Friendship and brotherhood exist for such times. Funerals
often
reunite friends from former days and allow for the renewal of relationships.
Such reunions can serve to help one another in the grieving process.

2) To Demonstrate Respect for a Fellow Image-Bearer

James 3:9-10
teaches Christians that God expects them to speak with respect for those who
are “made in the likeness of God.” Even though unbelievers are not being
conformed to the image of the Son of God
(Romans 8:29
), they still bear the image of God and are worthy of respect from
Christians. Attendance at the funeral of an unbeliever affirms the dignity
of all human
beings.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
, Paul wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of all mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our
affliction,
so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the
comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (ESV) This passage
teaches
Christians that God comforts them to be a comfort to others. The funerals of
unbelievers provide Christians with an opportunity to be the comfort that
God has designed them to be for others.

4) To Show Love for the Unbeliever’s Family, especially their Children

In Matthew 22:37-29 , we find Jesus saying, “You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This
is
the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love
your neighbor as yourself. ” Love for our neighbors is to be second only to
our love for God. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has lost a loved
one. Imagine how they must feel. Now, imagine someone showing you love in
the
midst of your loss. You would want that type of love, right? Then you should
show such love to the family (especially children) of the unbeliever who has
passed away. Love for God leads us into empathic love for others.

5) To Mourn with Those Who Mourn

Paul tells Christians that they should “mourn with those who mourn”
(Romans 12:15
). There is hardly a better opportunity to fulfill this command than at a
funeral of an unbeliever. Sometimes Christians fear such situations because
they
do not know what they should say to those at the funeral. Tears, however,
speak a universal language that the hurting understand without a word.
Sometimes
we do not need to say anything at all. We just need to mourn with those who
mourn.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

6) To Offer Hope in Christ for those Who Are Hopeless

According to Acts 17:26-27
, God has “determine allotted periods of time and boundaries for our
dwelling, that people would seek Him, in the hope that they might feel their
way toward
Him and find Him.” This means that our circumstances and encounters with
others are not accidents. God knows the “number of days”
(Job 14:5
) and brings us into contact with people right when He wills it. In
situations like the death of an unbeliever, God may have appointed for you
to be the
person that a hopeless person encounters in their sorrow. Funerals are an
opportunity to offer hope to the hopeless. So, do not miss out on the
opportunity!

7) To Remember Your Own Mortality

In Hebrews 9:27
, Christians are reminded that they are “appointed to die once and after
this comes the judgment.” Such reminders offer opportunities for sober
reflection
on life and death. Christians only have one life to live for Christ, and it
is only the things that they do for Christ that will last forever. Funerals
remind us that one day it will be us in the casket with loved ones gathered
around in the parlor. Such reminders should cause us to evaluate the things
that we are living for in this life. As Leonard Ravenhill’s tombstone asks,
“Are the things that you are living for worth Christ dying for?”

8) To Contemplate the Reality of the Resurrection

The funeral of an unbeliever is not the last time that the person will be
seen physically alive. A day of general resurrection is coming for all
people
prior to when they will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Western
society has practiced physical burial because of the influence of the belief
in the resurrection. One day, the dead in Christ will rise first, then the
rest of the dead will come forth (Revelations 20:4-6 ). Christian do well to
contemplate the reality of a resurrection at the funerals, especially those
for an unbeliever.

9) To Be Like Jesus (Kind Of)

Jesus was no stranger to a funeral. He did not fear those who were dead nor
those who mourned for the dead. In fact, Jesus wept alongside those who
mourned
the dead
(John 11:35
). In this regard, when you attend the funeral of an unbeliever, you are
walking in the footsteps of Jesus. The major difference between you and
Jesus
is that Jesus had a knack for “ruining funeral plans” by raising the dead.
Even still, while we do not raise the dead like Jesus, we can still be like
Him in His example to be present among the hurting.

10) To Be Motivated to Share the Gospel with Unbelievers Who Are Still Alive

God takes no pleasure in the death of the unbeliever (Ezekiel 33:11
). Furthermore, He waits to returnbecause he is "patient toward us, not
wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance"
(2 Peter 3
:9). It is tragic for an unbeliever to die without hope in Christ, but that
does not mean that we should allow others to die in unbelief. As long as
there
is breath in the lungs of our unbelieving friends, there is hope that Christ
will save them. Let the funerals of unbelievers motivate us to minimize such
tragic events by sharing the gospel with the lost!

Casey Hough serves as the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of
Camden, Arkansas. In addition to his pastoral work, Casey also serves as an
Associate
Research Fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the
Southern Baptist Convention and blogs regularly at
www.TheRenewedChurch.com .

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 21 Nov 2017, 10:08 pm

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Souvenirs Of Sin - #8019

If you grew up on a farm, there's probably a dog in your memories. For my 
farm girl, Karen, that dog was a Collie cattle dog named King. King was 
great
at rounding up her Dad's cattle. All Dad would have to do was to whistle 
that certain whistle, and King would start circling and circling those 
cattle
until he herded them in. But there was a problem. One day a chicken got out, 
and King killed that chicken-which gave that valuable dog the taste of 
blood.
They tell me if you can't cure that in a dog, you can't afford to keep that 
dog. The dog either has to be killed or disciplined so he'll never forget.
So Dad took that dead chicken (now, get this) tied its legs around King's 
neck with some twine. Needless to say, this dog tried everything to shake 
that
dead chicken, but as the day wore on, the bird he killed did not improve 
with age. No, by the end of the day, King's head and tail were hanging very 
low.
Look, it's a painful way to learn the seriousness of what he had done, but 
not nearly as painful as the alternative.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Souvenirs of Sin."

If you have to carry some of the consequences of what you've done wrong, it 
can be powerful incentive not to do it again-which can save you from 
consequences
that will be far worse. Now that's why God sometimes allows you and me to 
experience some unpleasant results of our sin. It's not that He didn't 
forgive
us or that He doesn't love us. It's actually because He does.

God had great plans for Jacob-among other things, he would father the 
fathers of twelve tribes of Israel. But all his life this stubborn, 
self-willed,
survival-oriented man had been wrestling with God for the control of his 
life. And then came the final wrestling match. Our word for today from the 
Word
of God, Genesis 32:24, "Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him 
till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched 
the
socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the 
man."

Eventually, Jacob realizes who he's been wrestling with that night-and all 
these years. The Bible says, "Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is
because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared...He was limping 
(the Bible says) because of his hip" (Genesis 32:30-31). As far as we know,
Jacob walked with a painful limp for the rest of his life. Was he right with 
God? Well, he asked for God's blessing that night, and God changed his name
from Jacob, the cheat-to Israel, which means prince with God.

But even though it seems Jacob had made his peace with God, he was like that 
Collie, King. In essence, he carried the dead chicken around with him the
rest of his life to remind him of how much it hurts to be self-willed and 
stubborn and manipulative. It wasn't that my father-in-law didn't value that
dog of his-he did value the dog. That's why he made him live with those 
consequences, because the alternative was destruction.

That may be why God has allowed you to continue to experience some of the 
scars and pain and consequences of your sin. If you have brought that sin to
Jesus' cross in true repentance, God promises He will "remember that sin no 
more" (Hebrews 8:12). Isn't that awesome? You are forgiven, you are clean,
your sin is forever covered by the blood that Jesus shed for it. But God 
doesn't ever want you to go back where you were. So maybe today there are 
still
the memories, the regrets, some of the brokenness, those scars. God has left 
you with that aftermath so you will be protected by those consequences from
ever doing it again. You won't forget how much it hurts. You won't forget 
how much it costs.

It's another dimension of that same grace that forgave you and cleansed you. 
It's God's keeping grace; enough pain from the past to keep you from ever
going back to what would destroy you. Sometimes God in His grace saves us 
from the consequences of our sin and sometimes He leaves the consequences 
there.
Either way, it's His love.

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

Movin’ On Up?

“Movin’ On Up” is the theme song of the television sitcom “The Jeffersons”. 
George Jefferson worked very hard with his dry cleaning business so that he 
could move his family to a ”deluxe apartment in the sky”. There have been 
many through the ages and still are those who want to move up to that deluxe 
apartment in the sky known as heaven. The question is, how are they trying 
to do this? Are they trying to work hard like George Jefferson did?

Some people believe in reincarnation which is an outgrowth of this idea that 
one can work his way into heaven. Reincarnation is the idea that the spirits 
of living creatures move to another creature after one dies. If you have 
done enough good things you get to move up the scale and finally into 
Nirvana but if you have done more bad things than good you drop back to a 
lower class of creature. Does this fit with what the Bible says?

If reincarnation were true, wouldn’t all creatures had to have been the same 
type creatures first and then the good ones became better ones? This couldn’t 
be because in the book of Genesis we find that everything in the water and 
in the air was created on day five. The next day all the animals and other 
creatures were created. Man was also created on that day as the crowning 
glory. There was no time for death and there was no death until Adam sinned. 
God planned for nothing to die at the beginning but man messed things up.

If reincarnation is right then we would have to die a number of times with 
our souls moving from creature to creature. This cannot be as we read below:

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Man is created with a body, soul and spirit. When a man dies that is the 
end. He is then judged. At that point he either goes to heaven or to hell. 
His soul does not leave and go into another creature.

WE cannot work our way into heaven. The only way to get to heaven is to 
trust Jesus Christ for our salvation. John writes it this way:

John 6:29 (NKJV)
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you 
believe in Him whom He sent.”

So the only work that we can do is to believe in Jesus Christ. Paul also 
writes about working our way to heaven:

Romans 4:1-4 (NKJV)
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the 
flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast 
about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham 
believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him 
who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 11:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the 
election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; 
otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer 
grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Galatians 2:16 (NKJV)
16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith 
in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be 
justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the 
works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of 
yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Some may say, “Wait a minute! How about this verse?”

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence 
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear 
and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for 
His good pleasure.

It states that we are to work out our salvation, not work for our salvation. 
To work out your salvation means to do the work the Lord wants you to do, 
not to earn your way to heaven but because He wants you to do it. WE are not 
just to sit idly by and let other people do the work of the ministry. We 
each have a part to do.

Someone else might bring up the following:

Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)
27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, 
and then He will reward each according to his works.

Our works will be tested but, as Paul wrote, if we belong to Jesus Christ, 
we won’t lose our salvation because of the little work or bad things we do:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NKJV)
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is 
Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, 
precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for 
the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire 
will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he 
has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is 
burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through 
fire.

So you see that good works won’t get you into heaven. Jesus Christ has 
already done the work. All you have to do is trust him for your salvation. 
Repent of your sins and follow him. Then do the work he tells you to do 
because you love Him.

by Dean W. Masters


Meant for Service

And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty 
days and forty nights. -
1 Kings 19:8

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, 
not for indulgence or pride. When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on
the coals and the jar of water placed at his head as he lay under the 
juniper tree, he was not being given a special treat that he could lie back 
and enjoy–he
was being sustained so that he could fulfill his responsibilities for the 
next forty days and forty nights. When the Master invited the disciples to 
come
and eat with Him, after the meal was over He said to Peter, "Feed my sheep," 
then added, "Follow me."

It is the same for us; we eat the bread of heaven so that we can expend our 
strength in the Master's service. We come to the table and eat of the 
paschal
lamb in a spirit of readiness, so that we may leave as soon as we have 
satisfied our hunger.

Some Christians are for living on Christ but are not so anxious to live for 
Christ. Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place 
where
saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and 
they serve Him day and night in His temple. They eat of heavenly food and
offer perfect service.

Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ, work for Him. Some of 
us have a lot to learn concerning the design of our Lord in giving us His 
grace.
We are not to hide the precious grains of truth without giving that truth an 
opportunity to grow: We must sow it and water it. Why does the Lord send the
rain upon the thirsty earth and give the sunshine? Is it not in order that 
sun and rain may help the fruits of the earth to yield food for us? Even so
the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls so that we may use our renewed 
strength in the promotion of His glory.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Kings 8

verse 2 Ephesians 5

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson

As Christians, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
Ultimately, how we think, as shaped by our hearing the Word of God, will 
determine how
we will live for God’s glory.

Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson describes this transformative process in 
what he describes as a ‘blueprint for sanctification’.
Devoted to God builds a strong and reliable framework for practical 
Christian living, stressing several fundamental issues, such as: union with 
Christ,
spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s 
law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual 
to which we can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual
direction.


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



Meant for Service
And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty 
days and forty nights. -
1 Kings 19:8

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, 
not for indulgence or pride. When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on
the coals and the jar of water placed at his head as he lay under the 
juniper tree, he was not being given a special treat that he could lie back 
and enjoy–he
was being sustained so that he could fulfill his responsibilities for the 
next forty days and forty nights. When the Master invited the disciples to 
come
and eat with Him, after the meal was over He said to Peter, "Feed my sheep," 
then added, "Follow me."

It is the same for us; we eat the bread of heaven so that we can expend our 
strength in the Master's service. We come to the table and eat of the 
paschal
lamb in a spirit of readiness, so that we may leave as soon as we have 
satisfied our hunger.

Some Christians are for living on Christ but are not so anxious to live for 
Christ. Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place 
where
saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and 
they serve Him day and night in His temple. They eat of heavenly food and
offer perfect service.

Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ, work for Him. Some of 
us have a lot to learn concerning the design of our Lord in giving us His 
grace.
We are not to hide the precious grains of truth without giving that truth an 
opportunity to grow: We must sow it and water it. Why does the Lord send the
rain upon the thirsty earth and give the sunshine? Is it not in order that 
sun and rain may help the fruits of the earth to yield food for us? Even so
the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls so that we may use our renewed 
strength in the promotion of His glory.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Kings 8

verse 2 Ephesians 5

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson

As Christians, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
Ultimately, how we think, as shaped by our hearing the Word of God, will 
determine how
we will live for God’s glory.

Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson describes this transformative process in 
what he describes as a ‘blueprint for sanctification’.
Devoted to God builds a strong and reliable framework for practical 
Christian living, stressing several fundamental issues, such as: union with 
Christ,
spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s 
law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual 
to which we can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual
direction.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Justice Will Be Done
By John Piper
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it 
is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
(Romans 12:19)
block quote end

All of you have been wronged at one time or another. Most of you, probably, 
have been wronged seriously by someone who has never apologized or done 
anything
sufficient to make it right.

And one of the deep hindrances to your letting go of that hurt and 
bitterness is the conviction — the justified conviction — that justice 
should be done,
that the moral fabric of the universe will unravel if people can just get 
away with horrible wrongs and deceive everyone.

That is one of the hindrances to forgiveness and letting grudges go. It’s 
not the only one. We have our own sin to deal with. But it is a real one.

We feel that just to let it go would be to admit that justice simply won’t 
be done. And we can’t do it.

So we hold on to anger, and play the events or the words over and over again 
with the feelings: It shouldn’t have happened; it shouldn’t have happened;
it was wrong; it was wrong. How can he (or she) be so happy when I am so 
miserable? It is so wrong. It is so wrong!
We can’t let it go. And our bitterness starts to poison everything.

This word in Romans 12:19 is given to us by God to lift that burden from us.

“Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” What does this 
mean for you?

Laying down the burden of anger, laying down the practice of nursing your 
hurt with feelings of being wronged — laying that down — does
not mean there was no great wrong against you. There was.

But it also does not mean there is no justice. It does not mean you will not 
be vindicated. It does not mean they just got away with it. No they didn’t.

It means, when you lay down the burden of vengeance, God will pick it up.

This is not a subtle way of getting revenge. This is a way of giving 
vengeance to the One to whom it belongs. Vengeance is mine says the Lord. 
You lay
it down. I will pick it up. Justice will be done.

What a glorious relief. I do not have to carry this burden. It is like 
taking a deep breath, perhaps for the first time in decades, and feeling 
like now
at last you may be free to love.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

How to Get Past What You’ll Never Get Over
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
John F. Westfall's new book,
Getting Past What You'll Never Get Over: Help for Dealing with Life's Hurts
(Revell Books, 2012).

Life in this fallen world is full of suffering, and Jesus warned us to 
expect trouble in it. Various kinds of hardship – such as illnesses, 
injuries, broken
relationships, financial crises, and the deaths of people we love – come 
into everyone’s life.

When suffering hits, people often try to simply “get over it.” But the truth 
is that you can’t ever get over serious hardship; some painful experiences
irrevocably change your life. The good news is that you can get
past whatever you can’t get over, by learning how to deal successfully with 
the new realities in your life. Here’s how you can get past what you’ll 
never get over:

Recognize the reality of your brokenness. Accept the reality that your life 
will never be the same as it was before your painful experience happened. 
Realize
that God’s work in your life will never be finished until you meet Him face 
to face in heaven. Rather than worrying about trying to become finished and
perfect in this life, focus on trusting God in your unfinished state, 
relying on God’s power working through you to help you grow.

Be authentic and transparent. Don’t waste time or energy trying to hide, 
pretend, or cover up your suffering, in the face of pressure from other 
people
to present a certain type of appearance. Keep in mind that God accepts and 
loves you just as you are, unconditionally.

Stop trying to change the past. Accept the reality that what’s done is done, 
so you can’t change the past or undo the damage from it. However, you can
decide to live as well as possible despite your losses and pain, and you 
also can move forward into a new and better reality.

Take baby steps toward a new reality. Start where you are to move forward 
into a more abundant life – one in which you do your best to live every day 
that
God gives you to the fullest. Enlist the support and encouragement of people 
who love you and want to help you live a better life from here on.

Live beyond your depression. While you may not be cured of depression, you 
can learn to live as well as you can while managing it. Do your best to eat
a healthy diet, sleep well, and nurture your relationships with friends and 
family. Pursue counseling and medication too, whenever appropriate.

Overcome your fear. If you wait to start living a fuller life until after 
your fear is gone, you’ll never take the risks God wants you to take to 
enjoy
that better life. So face your fear, and in the process of doing whatever 
you’re afraid of, you’ll learn how to get past it. In the future, you may 
still
feel afraid, but the fear you feel will no longer limit your life. You can 
live an adventurous life filled with exciting growth and change, despite 
fear.

Invite God to pull you out of the mire of regret. Let the cords of God’s 
love and kindness pull you out of regrets that have kept you from moving 
forward
to fulfill your highest potential in life so far. Ask God to give you a 
fresh vision of the hope that He offers you for the future, despite your 
past regrets.
Make the most of the new opportunities God gives you in life, keeping mind 
that God is not finished with you yet and still has great plans for you.

Respond to guilt in healthy ways. The guilt you feel about your past 
mistakes may lead you to either healthy or unhealthy outcomes. If you simply 
wallow
in it, the guilt can turn into shame, making you feel that you’ve not only 
done something wrong, but that you are wrong and worthless as a person. It’s
never God’s will for you to feel shame, since in God’s eyes, you are always 
valuable. However, there is a good purpose to the guilt you feel; it 
motivates
you to confess and repent of your sins so that you can move forward in the 
freedom and joy of the forgiveness and inclusion that God offers you.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Confess your anger so it doesn’t lead you to sin. The suffering you endure 
from the injustices in our fallen world can rightly make you feel angry. But
you need to be careful how you respond to the anger you feel. If you respond 
in destructive ways, your anger can break relationships, damage your health,
distort your perspective of reality, and hold you back from living in 
freedom. However, if you respond to your anger by confessing it (honestly 
acknowledging
your situation and the emotion of anger that you feel), you understand what 
made you feel angry and explore your options for resolving the underlying 
issues.

Forgive those who have hurt you so bitterness won’t poison your soul. If you 
refuse to obey God’s command to forgive the people who have hurt you, 
bitterness
will take root in soul and poison it, distorting your thinking and blocking 
your ability to give and receive love. But if you choose to forgive others
and rely on God to help you do so, you can experience the loving 
relationships that God wants you to enjoy with Him and other people.

Place your trust in God to help you deal with a world that’s not fair. Even 
though life isn’t fair, you can develop the faith and courage to live well
despite that. Even though people can be untrustworthy, you can still trust 
God to help you relate to them in loving ways. Even though you’ve made 
mistakes
in the past, you can ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, emotions, and 
will so you can make a fresh start.

Share healing stories with others. Talk with some people about what God has 
been doing in your life to help you move beyond struggles to healing, listen
to their stories, and encourage each other to keep changing and growing as 
God leads you all into new adventures.

Adapted from Getting Past What You’ll Never Get Over:
Help for Dealing with Life’s Hurts , copyright 2012 by John F. Westfall. 
Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand 
Rapids, Mich.,
www.revellbooks.com .
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a 
Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s
site on angels and miracles

Reset Your Gratitude Meter
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for? We gather, every year at this time, to reflect on 
the blessings of God over the past year. But in most families, Thanksgiving
is less about real gratitude and more about stuffing your face, watching 
football, and hanging with the family. Some actually dread Thanksgiving, 
because
they're forced to sit in a room with people they really don't enjoy.

Now I'm all in favor of the food and the football. But this year, let's make 
Thanksgiving about giving and about thanks. This year, more than any, might
force us to dig deeper. For many, it will mark a year since they've had 
employment .For others, Thanksgiving will bring another reminder that they 
haven't
found that significant other. And there are those couples who have to face 
the family questions of why they still can't have children.

For many, this was a year marked by pain. So how do we summon the gratitude? 
Well, if you're a Christian, you're basis is not your circumstances, but 
something
greater. Paul tells the people of Thessalonica that they could "give thanks 
in everything." Why? Because this was the "will of God in Christ."

In other words, followers of Christ believe that every piece of hardship is 
a grace gift from the Lord, sent for their growth, sanctification, and 
further
intimacy with the Almighty. We don't believe we're here on this earth all 
alone. We believe God is firmly in charge.

Though life may get hard--and it does--it all falls under God's sovereign 
will. And so we give thanks.

As Americans, we really have cause for gratitude. I have to periodically 
remind myself of this and remind my family. We so easily get caught up in 
the
easy lust for more stuff. Bigger house, nicer car, better clothes, newest 
gadgets. But then I remember my travels to third world countries, where I've
seen real poverty--and real gratitude on the part of the Christians there.

Tonight, my kids will go to bed with full stomachs. They'll have a roof over 
their hRon Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Souvenirs Of Sin - #8019

If you grew up on a farm, there's probably a dog in your memories. For my 
farm girl, Karen, that dog was a Collie cattle dog named King. King was 
great
at rounding up her Dad's cattle. All Dad would have to do was to whistle 
that certain whistle, and King would start circling and circling those 
cattle
until he herded them in. But there was a problem. One day a chicken got out, 
and King killed that chicken-which gave that valuable dog the taste of 
blood.
They tell me if you can't cure that in a dog, you can't afford to keep that 
dog. The dog either has to be killed or disciplined so he'll never forget.
So Dad took that dead chicken (now, get this) tied its legs around King's 
neck with some twine. Needless to say, this dog tried everything to shake 
that
dead chicken, but as the day wore on, the bird he killed did not improve 
with age. No, by the end of the day, King's head and tail were hanging very 
low.
Look, it's a painful way to learn the seriousness of what he had done, but 
not nearly as painful as the alternative.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Souvenirs of Sin."

If you have to carry some of the consequences of what you've done wrong, it 
can be powerful incentive not to do it again-which can save you from 
consequences
that will be far worse. Now that's why God sometimes allows you and me to 
experience some unpleasant results of our sin. It's not that He didn't 
forgive
us or that He doesn't love us. It's actually because He does.

God had great plans for Jacob-among other things, he would father the 
fathers of twelve tribes of Israel. But all his life this stubborn, 
self-willed,
survival-oriented man had been wrestling with God for the control of his 
life. And then came the final wrestling match. Our word for today from the 
Word
of God, Genesis 32:24, "Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him 
till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched 
the
socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the 
man."

Eventually, Jacob realizes who he's been wrestling with that night-and all 
these years. The Bible says, "Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is
because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared...He was limping 
(the Bible says) because of his hip" (Genesis 32:30-31). As far as we know,
Jacob walked with a painful limp for the rest of his life. Was he right with 
God? Well, he asked for God's blessing that night, and God changed his name
from Jacob, the cheat-to Israel, which means prince with God.

But even though it seems Jacob had made his peace with God, he was like that 
Collie, King. In essence, he carried the dead chicken around with him the
rest of his life to remind him of how much it hurts to be self-willed and 
stubborn and manipulative. It wasn't that my father-in-law didn't value that
dog of his-he did value the dog. That's why he made him live with those 
consequences, because the alternative was destruction.

That may be why God has allowed you to continue to experience some of the 
scars and pain and consequences of your sin. If you have brought that sin to
Jesus' cross in true repentance, God promises He will "remember that sin no 
more" (Hebrews 8:12). Isn't that awesome? You are forgiven, you are clean,
your sin is forever covered by the blood that Jesus shed for it. But God 
doesn't ever want you to go back where you were. So maybe today there are 
still
the memories, the regrets, some of the brokenness, those scars. God has left 
you with that aftermath so you will be protected by those consequences from
ever doing it again. You won't forget how much it hurts. You won't forget 
how much it costs.

It's another dimension of that same grace that forgave you and cleansed you. 
It's God's keeping grace; enough pain from the past to keep you from ever
going back to what would destroy you. Sometimes God in His grace saves us 
from the consequences of our sin and sometimes He leaves the consequences 
there.
Either way, it's His love.

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

Movin’ On Up?

“Movin’ On Up” is the theme song of the television sitcom “The Jeffersons”. 
George Jefferson worked very hard with his dry cleaning business so that he 
could move his family to a ”deluxe apartment in the sky”. There have been 
many through the ages and still are those who want to move up to that deluxe 
apartment in the sky known as heaven. The question is, how are they trying 
to do this? Are they trying to work hard like George Jefferson did?

Some people believe in reincarnation which is an outgrowth of this idea that 
one can work his way into heaven. Reincarnation is the idea that the spirits 
of living creatures move to another creature after one dies. If you have 
done enough good things you get to move up the scale and finally into 
Nirvana but if you have done more bad things than good you drop back to a 
lower class of creature. Does this fit with what the Bible says?

If reincarnation were true, wouldn’t all creatures had to have been the same 
type creatures first and then the good ones became better ones? This couldn’t 
be because in the book of Genesis we find that everything in the water and 
in the air was created on day five. The next day all the animals and other 
creatures were created. Man was also created on that day as the crowning 
glory. There was no time for death and there was no death until Adam sinned. 
God planned for nothing to die at the beginning but man messed things up.

If reincarnation is right then we would have to die a number of times with 
our souls moving from creature to creature. This cannot be as we read below:

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Man is created with a body, soul and spirit. When a man dies that is the 
end. He is then judged. At that point he either goes to heaven or to hell. 
His soul does not leave and go into another creature.

WE cannot work our way into heaven. The only way to get to heaven is to 
trust Jesus Christ for our salvation. John writes it this way:

John 6:29 (NKJV)
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you 
believe in Him whom He sent.”

So the only work that we can do is to believe in Jesus Christ. Paul also 
writes about working our way to heaven:

Romans 4:1-4 (NKJV)
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the 
flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast 
about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham 
believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him 
who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 11:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the 
election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; 
otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer 
grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Galatians 2:16 (NKJV)
16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith 
in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be 
justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the 
works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of 
yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Some may say, “Wait a minute! How about this verse?”

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence 
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear 
and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for 
His good pleasure.

It states that we are to work out our salvation, not work for our salvation. 
To work out your salvation means to do the work the Lord wants you to do, 
not to earn your way to heaven but because He wants you to do it. WE are not 
just to sit idly by and let other people do the work of the ministry. We 
each have a part to do.

Someone else might bring up the following:

Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)
27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, 
and then He will reward each according to his works.

Our works will be tested but, as Paul wrote, if we belong to Jesus Christ, 
we won’t lose our salvation because of the little work or bad things we do:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NKJV)
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is 
Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, 
precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for 
the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire 
will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he 
has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is 
burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through 
fire.

So you see that good works won’t get you into heaven. Jesus Christ has 
already done the work. All you have to do is trust him for your salvation. 
Repent of your sins and follow him. Then do the work he tells you to do 
because you love Him.

by Dean W. Masters


Meant for Service

And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty 
days and forty nights. -
1 Kings 19:8

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, 
not for indulgence or pride. When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on
the coals and the jar of water placed at his head as he lay under the 
juniper tree, he was not being given a special treat that he could lie back 
and enjoy–he
was being sustained so that he could fulfill his responsibilities for the 
next forty days and forty nights. When the Master invited the disciples to 
come
and eat with Him, after the meal was over He said to Peter, "Feed my sheep," 
then added, "Follow me."

It is the same for us; we eat the bread of heaven so that we can expend our 
strength in the Master's service. We come to the table and eat of the 
paschal
lamb in a spirit of readiness, so that we may leave as soon as we have 
satisfied our hunger.

Some Christians are for living on Christ but are not so anxious to live for 
Christ. Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place 
where
saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and 
they serve Him day and night in His temple. They eat of heavenly food and
offer perfect service.

Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ, work for Him. Some of 
us have a lot to learn concerning the design of our Lord in giving us His 
grace.
We are not to hide the precious grains of truth without giving that truth an 
opportunity to grow: We must sow it and water it. Why does the Lord send the
rain upon the thirsty earth and give the sunshine? Is it not in order that 
sun and rain may help the fruits of the earth to yield food for us? Even so
the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls so that we may use our renewed 
strength in the promotion of His glory.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Kings 8

verse 2 Ephesians 5

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson

As Christians, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
Ultimately, how we think, as shaped by our hearing the Word of God, will 
determine how
we will live for God’s glory.

Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson describes this transformative process in 
what he describes as a ‘blueprint for sanctification’.
Devoted to God builds a strong and reliable framework for practical 
Christian living, stressing several fundamental issues, such as: union with 
Christ,
spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s 
law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual 
to which we can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual
direction.


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



Meant for Service
And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty 
days and forty nights. -
1 Kings 19:8

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, 
not for indulgence or pride. When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on
the coals and the jar of water placed at his head as he lay under the 
juniper tree, he was not being given a special treat that he could lie back 
and enjoy–he
was being sustained so that he could fulfill his responsibilities for the 
next forty days and forty nights. When the Master invited the disciples to 
come
and eat with Him, after the meal was over He said to Peter, "Feed my sheep," 
then added, "Follow me."

It is the same for us; we eat the bread of heaven so that we can expend our 
strength in the Master's service. We come to the table and eat of the 
paschal
lamb in a spirit of readiness, so that we may leave as soon as we have 
satisfied our hunger.

Some Christians are for living on Christ but are not so anxious to live for 
Christ. Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place 
where
saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and 
they serve Him day and night in His temple. They eat of heavenly food and
offer perfect service.

Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ, work for Him. Some of 
us have a lot to learn concerning the design of our Lord in giving us His 
grace.
We are not to hide the precious grains of truth without giving that truth an 
opportunity to grow: We must sow it and water it. Why does the Lord send the
rain upon the thirsty earth and give the sunshine? Is it not in order that 
sun and rain may help the fruits of the earth to yield food for us? Even so
the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls so that we may use our renewed 
strength in the promotion of His glory.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Kings 8

verse 2 Ephesians 5

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson

As Christians, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
Ultimately, how we think, as shaped by our hearing the Word of God, will 
determine how
we will live for God’s glory.

Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson describes this transformative process in 
what he describes as a ‘blueprint for sanctification’.
Devoted to God builds a strong and reliable framework for practical 
Christian living, stressing several fundamental issues, such as: union with 
Christ,
spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s 
law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual 
to which we can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual
direction.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Justice Will Be Done
By John Piper
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it 
is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
(Romans 12:19)
block quote end

All of you have been wronged at one time or another. Most of you, probably, 
have been wronged seriously by someone who has never apologized or done 
anything
sufficient to make it right.

And one of the deep hindrances to your letting go of that hurt and 
bitterness is the conviction — the justified conviction — that justice 
should be done,
that the moral fabric of the universe will unravel if people can just get 
away with horrible wrongs and deceive everyone.

That is one of the hindrances to forgiveness and letting grudges go. It’s 
not the only one. We have our own sin to deal with. But it is a real one.

We feel that just to let it go would be to admit that justice simply won’t 
be done. And we can’t do it.

So we hold on to anger, and play the events or the words over and over again 
with the feelings: It shouldn’t have happened; it shouldn’t have happened;
it was wrong; it was wrong. How can he (or she) be so happy when I am so 
miserable? It is so wrong. It is so wrong!
We can’t let it go. And our bitterness starts to poison everything.

This word in Romans 12:19 is given to us by God to lift that burden from us.

“Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” What does this 
mean for you?

Laying down the burden of anger, laying down the practice of nursing your 
hurt with feelings of being wronged — laying that down — does
not mean there was no great wrong against you. There was.

But it also does not mean there is no justice. It does not mean you will not 
be vindicated. It does not mean they just got away with it. No they didn’t.

It means, when you lay down the burden of vengeance, God will pick it up.

This is not a subtle way of getting revenge. This is a way of giving 
vengeance to the One to whom it belongs. Vengeance is mine says the Lord. 
You lay
it down. I will pick it up. Justice will be done.

What a glorious relief. I do not have to carry this burden. It is like 
taking a deep breath, perhaps for the first time in decades, and feeling 
like now
at last you may be free to love.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

How to Get Past What You’ll Never Get Over
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
John F. Westfall's new book,
Getting Past What You'll Never Get Over: Help for Dealing with Life's Hurts
(Revell Books, 2012).

Life in this fallen world is full of suffering, and Jesus warned us to 
expect trouble in it. Various kinds of hardship – such as illnesses, 
injuries, broken
relationships, financial crises, and the deaths of people we love – come 
into everyone’s life.

When suffering hits, people often try to simply “get over it.” But the truth 
is that you can’t ever get over serious hardship; some painful experiences
irrevocably change your life. The good news is that you can get
past whatever you can’t get over, by learning how to deal successfully with 
the new realities in your life. Here’s how you can get past what you’ll 
never get over:

Recognize the reality of your brokenness. Accept the reality that your life 
will never be the same as it was before your painful experience happened. 
Realize
that God’s work in your life will never be finished until you meet Him face 
to face in heaven. Rather than worrying about trying to become finished and
perfect in this life, focus on trusting God in your unfinished state, 
relying on God’s power working through you to help you grow.

Be authentic and transparent. Don’t waste time or energy trying to hide, 
pretend, or cover up your suffering, in the face of pressure from other 
people
to present a certain type of appearance. Keep in mind that God accepts and 
loves you just as you are, unconditionally.

Stop trying to change the past. Accept the reality that what’s done is done, 
so you can’t change the past or undo the damage from it. However, you can
decide to live as well as possible despite your losses and pain, and you 
also can move forward into a new and better reality.

Take baby steps toward a new reality. Start where you are to move forward 
into a more abundant life – one in which you do your best to live every day 
that
God gives you to the fullest. Enlist the support and encouragement of people 
who love you and want to help you live a better life from here on.

Live beyond your depression. While you may not be cured of depression, you 
can learn to live as well as you can while managing it. Do your best to eat
a healthy diet, sleep well, and nurture your relationships with friends and 
family. Pursue counseling and medication too, whenever appropriate.

Overcome your fear. If you wait to start living a fuller life until after 
your fear is gone, you’ll never take the risks God wants you to take to 
enjoy
that better life. So face your fear, and in the process of doing whatever 
you’re afraid of, you’ll learn how to get past it. In the future, you may 
still
feel afraid, but the fear you feel will no longer limit your life. You can 
live an adventurous life filled with exciting growth and change, despite 
fear.

Invite God to pull you out of the mire of regret. Let the cords of God’s 
love and kindness pull you out of regrets that have kept you from moving 
forward
to fulfill your highest potential in life so far. Ask God to give you a 
fresh vision of the hope that He offers you for the future, despite your 
past regrets.
Make the most of the new opportunities God gives you in life, keeping mind 
that God is not finished with you yet and still has great plans for you.

Respond to guilt in healthy ways. The guilt you feel about your past 
mistakes may lead you to either healthy or unhealthy outcomes. If you simply 
wallow
in it, the guilt can turn into shame, making you feel that you’ve not only 
done something wrong, but that you are wrong and worthless as a person. It’s
never God’s will for you to feel shame, since in God’s eyes, you are always 
valuable. However, there is a good purpose to the guilt you feel; it 
motivates
you to confess and repent of your sins so that you can move forward in the 
freedom and joy of the forgiveness and inclusion that God offers you.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Confess your anger so it doesn’t lead you to sin. The suffering you endure 
from the injustices in our fallen world can rightly make you feel angry. But
you need to be careful how you respond to the anger you feel. If you respond 
in destructive ways, your anger can break relationships, damage your health,
distort your perspective of reality, and hold you back from living in 
freedom. However, if you respond to your anger by confessing it (honestly 
acknowledging
your situation and the emotion of anger that you feel), you understand what 
made you feel angry and explore your options for resolving the underlying 
issues.

Forgive those who have hurt you so bitterness won’t poison your soul. If you 
refuse to obey God’s command to forgive the people who have hurt you, 
bitterness
will take root in soul and poison it, distorting your thinking and blocking 
your ability to give and receive love. But if you choose to forgive others
and rely on God to help you do so, you can experience the loving 
relationships that God wants you to enjoy with Him and other people.

Place your trust in God to help you deal with a world that’s not fair. Even 
though life isn’t fair, you can develop the faith and courage to live well
despite that. Even though people can be untrustworthy, you can still trust 
God to help you relate to them in loving ways. Even though you’ve made 
mistakes
in the past, you can ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, emotions, and 
will so you can make a fresh start.

Share healing stories with others. Talk with some people about what God has 
been doing in your life to help you move beyond struggles to healing, listen
to their stories, and encourage each other to keep changing and growing as 
God leads you all into new adventures.

Adapted from Getting Past What You’ll Never Get Over:
Help for Dealing with Life’s Hurts , copyright 2012 by John F. Westfall. 
Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand 
Rapids, Mich.,
www.revellbooks.com .
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a 
Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s
site on angels and miracles

Reset Your Gratitude Meter
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for? We gather, every year at this time, to reflect on 
the blessings of God over the past year. But in most families, Thanksgiving
is less about real gratitude and more about stuffing your face, watching 
football, and hanging with the family. Some actually dread Thanksgiving, 
because
they're forced to sit in a room with people they really don't enjoy.

Now I'm all in favor of the food and the football. But this year, let's make 
Thanksgiving about giving and about thanks. This year, more than any, might
force us to dig deeper. For many, it will mark a year since they've had 
employment .For others, Thanksgiving will bring another reminder that they 
haven't
found that significant other. And there are those couples who have to face 
the family questions of why they still can't have children.

For many, this was a year marked by pain. So how do we summon the gratitude? 
Well, if you're a Christian, you're basis is not your circumstances, but 
something
greater. Paul tells the people of Thessalonica that they could "give thanks 
in everything." Why? Because this was the "will of God in Christ."

In other words, followers of Christ believe that every piece of hardship is 
a grace gift from the Lord, sent for their growth, sanctification, and 
further
intimacy with the Almighty. We don't believe we're here on this earth all 
alone. We believe God is firmly in charge.

Though life may get hard--and it does--it all falls under God's sovereign 
will. And so we give thanks.

As Americans, we really have cause for gratitude. I have to periodically 
remind myself of this and remind my family. We so easily get caught up in 
the
easy lust for more stuff. Bigger house, nicer car, better clothes, newest 
gadgets. But then I remember my travels to third world countries, where I've
seen real poverty--and real gratitude on the part of the Christians there.

Tonight, my kids will go to bed with full stomachs. They'll have a roof over 
their heads. They will have two parents in the next room. They will ride in
a nice car. They will have a future that includes a good education. All of 
those are things most kids in the world don't have. And so, they should be 
grateful.

Let's not sit around the table carping about the election, complaining about 
our job status, whining about injustices from friends. Let's instead reset
our gratitude meters and offer genuine, heartfelt thanks to God. For 
salvation in Christ. For His daily care. And for friends and family He 
graciously
provides. Oh, and for wives that allow us to stuff our faces and watch 
football.

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is
Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. 
website: danieldarling.com .eads. They will have two parents in the next room. They will ride in
a nice car. They will have a future that includes a good education. All of 
those are things most kids in the world don't have. And so, they should be 
grateful.

Let's not sit around the table carping about the election, complaining about 
our job status, whining about injustices from friends. Let's instead reset
our gratitude meters and offer genuine, heartfelt thanks to God. For 
salvation in Christ. For His daily care. And for friends and family He 
graciously
provides. Oh, and for wives that allow us to stuff our faces and watch 
football.

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is
Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. 
website: danieldarling.com .
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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When Your Burden Feels Too Much to Bear
GLYNNIS WHITWER

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the
righteous be shaken.”
Psalm 55:22
(NIV)

When we adopted our two daughters from Africa, we didn’t expect it would be
easy. But we couldn’t have imagined how hard it would be.

Our family of five (my husband, our three boys and I) clearly heard God’s
call. We knew our family was supposed to grow to seven. And as we looked at
the
picture of two little sisters standing in a dirt lot strewn with trash, our
hearts confirmed these were our children.

The joy of bringing these precious girls to their forever home was
overflowing ... for about a week.

Then reality set in.

What we could not see from the initial picture, and what the orphanage
couldn’t tell us, was the wounding that had happened in one of their hearts
during
her early years. The neglect and abuse caused deep gouges in her heart that
wouldn’t be healed easily.

Our days were filled with challenges that took their toll on everyone. Days
turned into years, and the issues we hoped would receive healing only got
worse.
Our house was like a tinder box, ready to explode at any minute. And it did.
Often.

Multiple counselors and treatment centers didn’t seem to touch the
underlying issues, and I began to feel hopeless. I couldn’t help my
daughter, and I
couldn’t seem to protect my family. Guilt overwhelmed my husband and me.
Surely there was something we were doing wrong, or not doing right. And how
could
we manage the intense emotions?

It truly seemed too much to bear.

Before that, I’d never understood what it meant to get to the end of
yourself. Life had been relatively easy, and problems seemed fixable. But at
that
point, I faced a situation beyond my abilities. I needed the Lord like I’d
never needed Him before.

That’s when Scriptures like Psalm 55:22 took on a new meaning: “
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the
righteous be shaken.”

I had to give this situation to the Lord, or I would fall apart with the
burden of it. My desperation took me to a new place of dependence. If the
Lord
didn’t sustain me, my heart felt like it would crumble to pieces, and I was
afraid of how my body was reacting to the stress.

There was no lightning bolt moment, but bit by bit, I felt more peace. A big
part of that peace came when the Lord showed me I’d done all He’d asked me
to do. We weren’t to “fix” our daughter; that was His job. We were to be a
part of her journey and show her God’s love as best as we could. That truth
sustained me through the most difficult times.

Our story is still being written. Friends ask if we’d do it again, knowing
what we know now. And our answer is an easy yes, for two reasons. The first
is we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, God told us to do it. And the second
reason is we experienced the power of God in so many ways. We learned:

God will show up when you need Him most.

As a young believer, I’d heard testimonies of God working miracles, showing
up when He was most needed. But I figured that was for other people, until
I had a need so deep and a burden so heavy, I couldn’t manage alone.

Sometimes we don’t experience God, because we simply don’t
need Him ... or so we think. When life is firmly under our control, we
operate in our strength. But when life is falling apart, our deep need opens
our
eyes. In our darkest times, we see God’s power, feel His presence and
experience His peace like never before. That’s what happened to me.

Today if your burdens feel too much to bear, there is hope. Pour out your
heart in prayer to our Heavenly Father -- hold nothing back. And when you
feel
your burden lightening even the slightest bit, thank Him for His
faithfulness. He’s been there all the time, just waiting to help.

Lord, thank You for being ever-present in my life. And thank You for the
hard times. I might not have said that then, but I see now how faithful You
were
(and are) to meet my needs. Help me walk so closely with You that I never
return to my independent self. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 5:6-7
, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift
you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Many of us carry burdens that feel too much for us. In addition to prayer,
there’s practical help to manage life. Glynnis Whitwer’s newest book,
Doing Busy Better
, offers a compassionate approach to managing an over-busy life.

CONNECT:
Connect with Glynnis on her blog for more encouragement.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you ever resist asking God for help? If the answer is yes, what might be
the reasons?

If you’ve been carrying a burden alone for a long time, read Psalm 55, and
write a prayer of your own.

(c) 2017 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries


Bibles for the World
Today's Devotional
Psalms 33:4-5 NKJV "For the word of the LORD is right, and all his work is
done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the
goodness of the LORD."

Pray that those reached by Bibles for the World will have the faith to know
that God loves righteousness and justice, and that the earth is filled with
his goodness.

Today's People Group
Head-hunters in India? The Hmar tribe was labeled the “worst head-hunters,”
killing at least 500 people in 1871. But nothing is impossible with God, and
the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ changed this entire tribe. God
transformed their lives when a missionary from Wales introduced the Hmar
tribe
to the gospel. During the missionary’s five-day stay, God’s word impacted a
man whose conversion was the seed for the organization Bibles for the World,
ministering to unreached people groups in developing nations.
John Pudaite is president of Bibles for the World, and his father and
grandfather were members of the head-hunting Hmar tribe. Pudaite’s father
started
the ministry that is based in Colorado Springs, CO. Although it ministers to
the unreached in developing nations, it has an emphasis on India – where it
all began with the conversion of the Hmar tribe to Christ.
Bibles for the World not only provides Scripture distribution, but also
includes Christian education, healthcare, and relief and development to
unreached
people groups. Pudaite says, “We were one of those unreached people groups,
but within a generation, as the gospel spread across our people, it
captivated
them. It continues to move out from tribe to tribe ... and now across the
world through this ministry.”

Pray for God’s wisdom for Bibles of the World’s ongoing ministry. Pray they
will find new and interesting ways to spread the gospel and fulfill the
GreatCommission.
Learn more at Joshua Project .
read more
Like Bibles for the World on Facebook
Copyright ©️ 2017 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.



How to Trust God's Heart When He is Silent
Dena Johnson

Pexels.com

When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart.

This quote hangs on my wall as a constant reminder that God is always
working, even when it seems He is completely silent.

So often, I hear others complaining about God’s silence, wondering where He
is and why He is not answering their prayers. I understand. I’ve been
there…many,
many times. I cried out to God as I watched Him save other marriages, bring
redemption to other women. I’ve begged Him to hear my prayer, to save me
from
my circumstances.

And yet I waited.

Over the years I’ve tried desperately to cling to the truth God is always
working, even when He’s silent. I’ve tried to remember that His heart toward
me is always good, that His plans for me are to prosper me, to give me a
hope and a future. I’ve recited the verses that remind me that all things
work
together for the good of those who love God.

And I’ve continued to wait.

Today, I stand on the other side. I’ve seen His promises to me fulfilled as
I pledged my life and my love to the most amazing man. I have the joy of
looking
back on this journey and knowing God has repaid everything I have ever
lost…and more.

Today, I can look back and see where God was working in the silence.

And I want to share a little of that crazy perspective with you.

In the fall of 2009, I was newly separated and walking through a nasty
divorce. I was hurting, lost, lonely. I was looking for love and acceptance
and
security wherever I could find it. I was a complete mess.

Facebook was fairly new (to me) at the time, and I was enjoying reconnecting
with old friends from high school and college. Among those old friends? Roy
Martin. Bubba. One of the friendliest guys in our high school. Just a good
guy with an infectious laugh.

I remember sitting in a movie theater with my kids and sending him a
message. We began to chat, and I told him what was going on in my life—about
the affair
and the divorce and the hurt and the pain. I also told him about my hope in
Christ, that God would use this mess to do something amazing.

I’ll never forget his message back to me: “You don’t know how you are
ministering to me right now.”

That message stuck with me and I began to pray for him, sensing something
was definitely wrong. Within a couple of days, I received yet another
message
in which he told me his wife had filed for divorce and he was devastated.

Over the next few months, Roy messaged me and texted me frequently. He was
stationed overseas, but I received a message most every morning that simply
said, “Good morning, gorgeous.”

I’ll be honest: I rejected him. I knew he was hurting, and I knew I didn’t
need to get involved with him. We were both messes and had no business being
in any type of relationship. I also knew it was unlikely to go anywhere
because he wasn’t here physically.

Rum and Coke became his best friend…

I tried to be a friend as he drowned his sorrows in alcohol and women. Even
as he went about his wild living, he never forgot me, sending me a “Good
morning,
gorgeous,” text more mornings than he didn’t.

I, on the other hand, fell deeply in love with Jesus, seeking His face,
begging Him to do a mighty work in me so He could do a might work through
me. I
spent hours on my knees, asking Him to take that man who would one day be my
husband and do a mighty work in him as well. I asked God to take away
anything
that would cause an addiction. I asked God to bless his works and his
finances and his relationships. I asked God to make him the husband and
father he
needed to be. I asked God to help him surrender, to increase his faith and
teach him to walk closely with God.

For five years, I prayed. For five years, Roy ran. For five years, our
friendship grew. He turned to me, his “Godly” friend, to seek advice. He
reached
out to me when he was lonely and sad. He told me when he was being deployed
to dangerous places.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

And I stood by his side, doing my best to encourage him to surrender to God.
I smiled at his sweet texts, always reminding me of my beauty. I laughed at
his silliness and his jokes that flowed so easily.

I remember one day I asked him to go to a movie with me and my kids. After
the movie, Cassie gave him a big hug. Then, she turned and confided in me
that
he smelled
really good (and he did!). It was so cute to watch her reach out to my
friend that way.

I also watched as he changed into a new creation, one who went to church and
posted about his relationship with God. I watched as he became a new dad to
his children, desiring to become all they deserved and all God intended him
to be. I watched as he began to desire to know God, to walk in all his ways.
I watched as he poured his life into church and serving God. I listened as
God’s words began to flow from his mouth, as he became the encourager.

And for seven years, I’ve received “Good morning, gorgeous” texts.

Somewhere along this journey, God got Roy’s attention. It came one night in
church when the Francesca Battistelli song
Holy Spirit pierced his heart and his soul and he fell to his knees telling
God He was welcome to take over his life, to have complete control.

And while I thought God was silent, He was hard at work softening a heart
that had become hardened. While I thought God was silent, He was answering
my
prayers in the life of a man I had know all my life. While I thought God was
silent, He was transforming a man He had brought back into my life at the
very moment I humbled myself and began to pray
(Daniel 9:23 ).

And now I know…

When I couldn’t see God’s hand, I could trust His heart.

And so can you, my friend. Maybe you can’t see what God is doing. Maybe your
heart is aching as you pour out everything in prayer. Maybe you are
wondering
when it will finally be your time. Maybe you are struggling because of His
silence.

Trust His heart.

Somewhere. Some way. He is working. He is orchestrating your story so you
can proclaim His goodness and His grace. And one day, you will be able to
look
back with a smile and know His heart toward you is good. Always and forever.

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Restlessness
----------------------------------------------------------
Restlessness

Posted: 13 Sep 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Earth has nothing I desire besides you (Psalm 73:25, NIV).

Look at your shelves and closets. Think back, and be honest. How many of
your purchases were driven by a vague restlessness, by an indefinable
discontentment?
How often were you reaching for something new to stimulate your life?
Without even realizing it, were you searching for some spark that might make
life
just a little better, a little more fulfilling?

Purchasing is only one expression of that restlessness. How many of your
desires – both the small, daily ones and those that are deeper and more
long-term
– are driven by that same searching? We reach for personal achievement or
recognition; for personal pleasure, from eating to immorality; perhaps for
travel
or a new job. The possibilities are as endless as the varied facets of our
personalities. I can’t discern your motivations, but I have seen it in
myself:
a wanting, a searching, an aspiring and dreaming. The desire usually enters
unrecognized. I scratch without even realizing it itches.

As I look back, I see that I satisfy old desires only for new ones to take
their place. Seldom do I gain any happiness – a bit of comfort sometimes,
but
not happiness. Such a pattern can stretch into a lifetime of chasing our
tails. Our blind attempts at satisfying ourselves only make our lives more
complex
through addictions and cumbersome habits. We accumulate “conveniences” to
repair and worry about, spending ourselves on “treasures” that just sit on
the
shelf and mock our weakness. We are only buying new dissatisfactions.

I’m not condemning all these things. I’m only sharing a bit of
self-understanding that might help you as well. And I’m sharing a discovery:
God does not
fit this pattern. I have come to know Him as a real Being, an intriguing
Person who is continually with me and lives within me. The more I turn to
Him,
the more He proves Himself fulfilling, on both deep and practical levels –
beyond what I ever could have imagined. The more I know Him, the more I want
to know Him and interact with Him.

I can’t tell you how to lose that restlessness, that itch that expresses
itself in so many ways. But you can do what I’m doing: every time you
recognize
that restlessness, turn it on God. Look to Him instead of to anything else.
The more you carry your needs and desires to Him, the more you’ll discover
that
He is your joy. He is that stimulation and inner spark. And He will be as
satisfying and personal to you as you allow Him to be.

Loving Christ – truly loving Him – can simplify life.

Do You Only Have A “Prayer Life”?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
You are to pray when you are adding up prices in the grocery store line. You
are to pray when you are changing a tire. You are to pray when you are
singing
a song. You are to pray when you are teaching a little one how to read.

We are commanded to pray all the time. But how do we do this? Think of a
mother who has a child who is ill with a fever. Finally, the fever breaks
and
the mother and child settle down for some much-needed sleep. Not a noise
from the television, from the street, or from the phone could awaken that
mother.
But one whimper from her child and she’s awake, right? That’s because even
when she is asleep, she is in tune with that child—just as we are to be with
God…constantly communing and attuned to His voice.

ACTION POINT:
Prayer to us should be as natural and continual as breathing. Jennifer
Kennedy Dean asks an important question: “Do you ‘have a prayer life’—or are
youliving a praying life?” Think about the difference.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright ©️ 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.



October 29

What Is Your Purpose in Life?

Josh McDowell tells about an executive "headhunter" who recruits corporate
executives for large firms. This headhunter once told McDowell that when he
interviews an executive, he likes to disarm him. "I offer him a drink," said
the headhunter, "take off my coat, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk
about baseball, football, family, whatever, until he's all relaxed. Then,
when I think I've got him relaxed, I lean over, look him square in the eye
and
say, 'What's your purpose in life?' It's amazing how top executives fall
apart at that question."

Then he told about interviewing one fellow recently. He had him all
disarmed, had his feet up on his desk, talking about football. Then the
headhunter
leaned over and said, "What's your purpose in life, Bob?" And the executive
said, without blinking an eye, "To go to heaven and take as many people with
me as I can."

"For the first time in my career," said the headhunter, "I was speechless."

No wonder. He had encountered someone who was prepared. He was ready. His
purpose, "To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can."

What is your purpose in life?

What is your purpose today?

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
How to Fight Anxiety
By John Piper

[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the
battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have
no anxieties. Instead the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.

For example, 1 Peter 5:7 says, “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he
cares for you.” It does
not say, you will never feel any anxieties. It says, when you have them,
cast them on God. When the mud splatters your windshield and you temporarily
lose
sight of the road and start to swerve in anxiety, turn on your wipers and
squirt your windshield washer.

So my response to the person who has to deal with feelings of anxiety every
day is to say: that’s more or less normal. At least it is for me, ever since
my teenage years. The issue is: How do we fight them?

The answer to that question is: we fight anxieties by fighting against
unbelief and fighting
for faith in future grace. And the way you fight this “good fight” (1
Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7) is by meditating on God’s assurances of future
grace
and by asking for the help of his Spirit.

The windshield wipers are the promises of God that clear away the mud of
unbelief, and the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit.
The
battle to be freed from sin — including the sin of anxiety — is fought “by
the
Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The work of the Spirit and the word of truth. These are the great
faith-builders. Without the softening work of the Holy Spirit, the wipers of
the word
just scrape over the blinding clumps of unbelief on the windshield.

Both are necessary: the Spirit and the word. We read the promises of God and
we pray for the help of his Spirit. And as the windshield clears so that we
can see the welfare that God plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), our faith grows
stronger and the swerving of anxiety straightens out.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


The Love of God

The world's viewpoint about God's love is such a watered-down version of the
Truth. They view Him as a benign and insipid force. They think that His love
is so unconditional that He will happily overlook all of their faults. They
think that God is not concerned about what religion they belong to or what
they believe.

As Christians we know that our God is loving and merciful, yet He is also
just in His judgments. We know that although His love is not based on our
accomplishments,
His love is conditional upon Christ's death on the cross and upon our
acceptance of that gift.

Our human brains cannot comprehend the infinity of God's love. The apostle
Paul wrote to the Ephesians: "And I pray that you, being rooted and
established
in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and
long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that
surpasses
knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"
(Ephesians 3:17-19 ).

God's love does not come cheaply. God's love came at the cost of His own
Son. Jesus endured immeasurable physical and emotional pain when He was
separated
from the Father in order to carry our sins. The perfect, holy, righteous
Jesus Christ died in order to pay the wages of our sin. That kind of
sacrificial
love is incomprehensible. How great is God's love that He would give Himself
for us. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only
Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we
loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for
our sins" (1 John 4:9-10
).

We did absolutely nothing to earn God's love. We were born into sin; we were
at enmity with God. We were unlovable and undeserving. Yet Christ still died
for us. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous
man, though
for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his
own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:6-8 )

God's love is so abundant that He not only saved us from eternal damnation,
but He adopted us as His own children. "How great is the love the Father has
lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what
we are!"
(1 John 3:1
). He changes our very nature upon salvation so that we can become more like
Him. "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed
remains
in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God" (1 John
3:9
).

God does not want a one-sided relationship with us. He did not send His own
Son to die a painful death on the cross for us in order for us to merely
accept
His forgiveness and continue our lives without Him. He did not adopt us as
His children only to receive the occasional visit in return. He wants a
daily,
close, personal relationship with us. He wants to see us commit our time and
hearts to Him in prayer. He wants us to talk to Him, praise Him, and worship
Him every day.

The more we comprehend the magnitude of God's love for us, the more we will
love Him back. The more time we spend in prayer learning about Him and
developing
a relationship with Him, the more our love for Him will grow. Spend time in
prayer today just adoring Him. Praise Him for His amazing love. Pray that
the
Holy Spirit will guide you in how to show the immensity of God's love to the
world.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor
depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love
of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD." -
-Romans 8:38-39

****

Fearless Living in Troubled Times

Imagine a life of peace and purpose in the midst of global instability,
national tension, and personal crisis. Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book
Fearless
Living in Troubled Times provides the vital information needed to unlock
that life. Living in constant fear and anxiety are not God’s plan for your
life,
and this book focuses on living a God-honoring life, overcoming fear through
the right perspective, and understanding the true nature of the end times.
Get your copy today for your gift of any amount.

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

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Leading The Way
" at OnePlace.com


Encouragement for your week: Do You Remember When?

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Do You Remember When?

“But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful
deeds of long ago”—Psalm 77:11 (NLT).

“Do you remember when we were arguing over who had the most frogs in their
jar and accidentally let them loose in Mom’s car?”

I laughed as my sister and I recalled some of our childhood antics. The frog
story was funny, even though our mother didn’t think so. The escaped frogs
hopped across the floorboard and over her feet as she drove. And yes, we did
get in trouble.

We all have memories. Some elicit laughter. Others bring tears. However, it’s
nice to recall the past, especially with someone who was present when they
occurred.

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, the Lord told Joshua to
choose 12 men, one from each tribe, to take 12 stones from the Jordan where
the
priests were standing. They were to place them in a pile as a memorial at
their campsite that night. Gathering another 12 stones, Joshua piled them in
the Jordan where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were
standing.

Later, Joshua tells the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask,
‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the
Israelites
crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river
right before your eyes, and He kept it dry until you were all across...”
(Joshua
4:21-23).

As Christ followers, we must never forget what He has done for us, including
His sacrifice on the cross. I enjoy sharing what I call my “God moments”
with
others. It’s my testimony to His faithfulness.

Psalm 105:5 tells us to remember the wonders God has done—His miracles and
the judgements He pronounced. God is the essence of goodness, mercy and
love.
But sometimes, we forget what He has done for us.
A JollyNotes.com article offers the following five ways to remember what God
has done for us:
1. Think about what God has done. Remember to count your blessings (Samuel
12:24, Psalm 105:1-5)
2. Thank God for what He has done. “When we take time to thank God for what
He has done, the event becomes even more real to us and becomes more stuck
in our brains.” We also release more blessings for ourselves and for others
too.

3. Write down what God has done. “It’s helpful to write down significant
events as they happen and as we remember, so we can recall them later.” Has
God
answered a prayer? Did you witness a miracle in your life or in the life of
a loved one? Write it down so you don’t forget.

4. Tell others what God has done. Luke 8:39 says, “Return to your home, and
declare how much God has done for you.”

5. Create something to help you remember what God has done in the past.
“Memorials, personal or family traditions and other inspiring reminders are
very
helpful ways to help us recall what God has done for us in the past.”

We must never forget.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.
If you need a speaker for your women's event, please check out my website at
www.carolaround.com or email me at carol@carolaround.com.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright ©️ 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.

Don’t Fear the Future
September 15, 2017

Read: Revelation 1:8-19

But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the
last, and the living one.” (vv. 17-18)

Even when things seem bleak, God was, is, and will always be in control. On
the island of Patmos, God reveals visions of the future to John so that he
can write them down. Some of the images are terrifying, but “the Alpha and
the Omega” (Rev. 1:8), “the first and the last,” the one who conquered sin
and
death and holds “the keys of Death and Hades” says to John, “Fear not” (vv.
17-18).

Over the past two weeks we have noted repeatedly throughout Scripture how
God comes near when his frightened people cry out. Chris Tomlin’s song “Whom
Shall I Fear” expresses the same encouraging truth: “I know Who goes before
me, I know Who stands behind: The God of angel armies is always by my side!”
We can claim this promise of Jesus the victor! He will strengthen us for any
trials and struggles we face.

When we’re afraid we’re not going to make it, afraid of the future, afraid
of not having control, afraid that “this is the end,” it is enough to know
that
God is with us. In her book
The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp says, “It takes courage to listen with our whole
heart to the tick of God’s timing, rather than march to the loud beat of our
fears.” God is in control and will carry you through to the end. —Denise
Vredevoogd

Prayer: God, we know you hear us when we cry. We put our futures in your
hands.

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When Your Burden Feels Too Much to Bear
GLYNNIS WHITWER

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the
righteous be shaken.”
Psalm 55:22
(NIV)

When we adopted our two daughters from Africa, we didn’t expect it would be
easy. But we couldn’t have imagined how hard it would be.

Our family of five (my husband, our three boys and I) clearly heard God’s
call. We knew our family was supposed to grow to seven. And as we looked at
the
picture of two little sisters standing in a dirt lot strewn with trash, our
hearts confirmed these were our children.

The joy of bringing these precious girls to their forever home was
overflowing ... for about a week.

Then reality set in.

What we could not see from the initial picture, and what the orphanage
couldn’t tell us, was the wounding that had happened in one of their hearts
during
her early years. The neglect and abuse caused deep gouges in her heart that
wouldn’t be healed easily.

Our days were filled with challenges that took their toll on everyone. Days
turned into years, and the issues we hoped would receive healing only got
worse.
Our house was like a tinder box, ready to explode at any minute. And it did.
Often.

Multiple counselors and treatment centers didn’t seem to touch the
underlying issues, and I began to feel hopeless. I couldn’t help my
daughter, and I
couldn’t seem to protect my family. Guilt overwhelmed my husband and me.
Surely there was something we were doing wrong, or not doing right. And how
could
we manage the intense emotions?

It truly seemed too much to bear.

Before that, I’d never understood what it meant to get to the end of
yourself. Life had been relatively easy, and problems seemed fixable. But at
that
point, I faced a situation beyond my abilities. I needed the Lord like I’d
never needed Him before.

That’s when Scriptures like Psalm 55:22 took on a new meaning: “
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the
righteous be shaken.”

I had to give this situation to the Lord, or I would fall apart with the
burden of it. My desperation took me to a new place of dependence. If the
Lord
didn’t sustain me, my heart felt like it would crumble to pieces, and I was
afraid of how my body was reacting to the stress.

There was no lightning bolt moment, but bit by bit, I felt more peace. A big
part of that peace came when the Lord showed me I’d done all He’d asked me
to do. We weren’t to “fix” our daughter; that was His job. We were to be a
part of her journey and show her God’s love as best as we could. That truth
sustained me through the most difficult times.

Our story is still being written. Friends ask if we’d do it again, knowing
what we know now. And our answer is an easy yes, for two reasons. The first
is we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, God told us to do it. And the second
reason is we experienced the power of God in so many ways. We learned:

God will show up when you need Him most.

As a young believer, I’d heard testimonies of God working miracles, showing
up when He was most needed. But I figured that was for other people, until
I had a need so deep and a burden so heavy, I couldn’t manage alone.

Sometimes we don’t experience God, because we simply don’t
need Him ... or so we think. When life is firmly under our control, we
operate in our strength. But when life is falling apart, our deep need opens
our
eyes. In our darkest times, we see God’s power, feel His presence and
experience His peace like never before. That’s what happened to me.

Today if your burdens feel too much to bear, there is hope. Pour out your
heart in prayer to our Heavenly Father -- hold nothing back. And when you
feel
your burden lightening even the slightest bit, thank Him for His
faithfulness. He’s been there all the time, just waiting to help.

Lord, thank You for being ever-present in my life. And thank You for the
hard times. I might not have said that then, but I see now how faithful You
were
(and are) to meet my needs. Help me walk so closely with You that I never
return to my independent self. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 5:6-7
, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift
you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Many of us carry burdens that feel too much for us. In addition to prayer,
there’s practical help to manage life. Glynnis Whitwer’s newest book,
Doing Busy Better
, offers a compassionate approach to managing an over-busy life.

CONNECT:
Connect with Glynnis on her blog for more encouragement.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you ever resist asking God for help? If the answer is yes, what might be
the reasons?

If you’ve been carrying a burden alone for a long time, read Psalm 55, and
write a prayer of your own.

(c) 2017 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries


Bibles for the World
Today's Devotional
Psalms 33:4-5 NKJV "For the word of the LORD is right, and all his work is
done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the
goodness of the LORD."

Pray that those reached by Bibles for the World will have the faith to know
that God loves righteousness and justice, and that the earth is filled with
his goodness.

Today's People Group
Head-hunters in India? The Hmar tribe was labeled the “worst head-hunters,”
killing at least 500 people in 1871. But nothing is impossible with God, and
the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ changed this entire tribe. God
transformed their lives when a missionary from Wales introduced the Hmar
tribe
to the gospel. During the missionary’s five-day stay, God’s word impacted a
man whose conversion was the seed for the organization Bibles for the World,
ministering to unreached people groups in developing nations.
John Pudaite is president of Bibles for the World, and his father and
grandfather were members of the head-hunting Hmar tribe. Pudaite’s father
started
the ministry that is based in Colorado Springs, CO. Although it ministers to
the unreached in developing nations, it has an emphasis on India – where it
all began with the conversion of the Hmar tribe to Christ.
Bibles for the World not only provides Scripture distribution, but also
includes Christian education, healthcare, and relief and development to
unreached
people groups. Pudaite says, “We were one of those unreached people groups,
but within a generation, as the gospel spread across our people, it
captivated
them. It continues to move out from tribe to tribe ... and now across the
world through this ministry.”

Pray for God’s wisdom for Bibles of the World’s ongoing ministry. Pray they
will find new and interesting ways to spread the gospel and fulfill the
GreatCommission.
Learn more at Joshua Project .
read more
Like Bibles for the World on Facebook
Copyright ©️ 2017 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.



How to Trust God's Heart When He is Silent
Dena Johnson

Pexels.com

When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart.

This quote hangs on my wall as a constant reminder that God is always
working, even when it seems He is completely silent.

So often, I hear others complaining about God’s silence, wondering where He
is and why He is not answering their prayers. I understand. I’ve been
there…many,
many times. I cried out to God as I watched Him save other marriages, bring
redemption to other women. I’ve begged Him to hear my prayer, to save me
from
my circumstances.

And yet I waited.

Over the years I’ve tried desperately to cling to the truth God is always
working, even when He’s silent. I’ve tried to remember that His heart toward
me is always good, that His plans for me are to prosper me, to give me a
hope and a future. I’ve recited the verses that remind me that all things
work
together for the good of those who love God.

And I’ve continued to wait.

Today, I stand on the other side. I’ve seen His promises to me fulfilled as
I pledged my life and my love to the most amazing man. I have the joy of
looking
back on this journey and knowing God has repaid everything I have ever
lost…and more.

Today, I can look back and see where God was working in the silence.

And I want to share a little of that crazy perspective with you.

In the fall of 2009, I was newly separated and walking through a nasty
divorce. I was hurting, lost, lonely. I was looking for love and acceptance
and
security wherever I could find it. I was a complete mess.

Facebook was fairly new (to me) at the time, and I was enjoying reconnecting
with old friends from high school and college. Among those old friends? Roy
Martin. Bubba. One of the friendliest guys in our high school. Just a good
guy with an infectious laugh.

I remember sitting in a movie theater with my kids and sending him a
message. We began to chat, and I told him what was going on in my life—about
the affair
and the divorce and the hurt and the pain. I also told him about my hope in
Christ, that God would use this mess to do something amazing.

I’ll never forget his message back to me: “You don’t know how you are
ministering to me right now.”

That message stuck with me and I began to pray for him, sensing something
was definitely wrong. Within a couple of days, I received yet another
message
in which he told me his wife had filed for divorce and he was devastated.

Over the next few months, Roy messaged me and texted me frequently. He was
stationed overseas, but I received a message most every morning that simply
said, “Good morning, gorgeous.”

I’ll be honest: I rejected him. I knew he was hurting, and I knew I didn’t
need to get involved with him. We were both messes and had no business being
in any type of relationship. I also knew it was unlikely to go anywhere
because he wasn’t here physically.

Rum and Coke became his best friend…

I tried to be a friend as he drowned his sorrows in alcohol and women. Even
as he went about his wild living, he never forgot me, sending me a “Good
morning,
gorgeous,” text more mornings than he didn’t.

I, on the other hand, fell deeply in love with Jesus, seeking His face,
begging Him to do a mighty work in me so He could do a might work through
me. I
spent hours on my knees, asking Him to take that man who would one day be my
husband and do a mighty work in him as well. I asked God to take away
anything
that would cause an addiction. I asked God to bless his works and his
finances and his relationships. I asked God to make him the husband and
father he
needed to be. I asked God to help him surrender, to increase his faith and
teach him to walk closely with God.

For five years, I prayed. For five years, Roy ran. For five years, our
friendship grew. He turned to me, his “Godly” friend, to seek advice. He
reached
out to me when he was lonely and sad. He told me when he was being deployed
to dangerous places.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

And I stood by his side, doing my best to encourage him to surrender to God.
I smiled at his sweet texts, always reminding me of my beauty. I laughed at
his silliness and his jokes that flowed so easily.

I remember one day I asked him to go to a movie with me and my kids. After
the movie, Cassie gave him a big hug. Then, she turned and confided in me
that
he smelled
really good (and he did!). It was so cute to watch her reach out to my
friend that way.

I also watched as he changed into a new creation, one who went to church and
posted about his relationship with God. I watched as he became a new dad to
his children, desiring to become all they deserved and all God intended him
to be. I watched as he began to desire to know God, to walk in all his ways.
I watched as he poured his life into church and serving God. I listened as
God’s words began to flow from his mouth, as he became the encourager.

And for seven years, I’ve received “Good morning, gorgeous” texts.

Somewhere along this journey, God got Roy’s attention. It came one night in
church when the Francesca Battistelli song
Holy Spirit pierced his heart and his soul and he fell to his knees telling
God He was welcome to take over his life, to have complete control.

And while I thought God was silent, He was hard at work softening a heart
that had become hardened. While I thought God was silent, He was answering
my
prayers in the life of a man I had know all my life. While I thought God was
silent, He was transforming a man He had brought back into my life at the
very moment I humbled myself and began to pray
(Daniel 9:23 ).

And now I know…

When I couldn’t see God’s hand, I could trust His heart.

And so can you, my friend. Maybe you can’t see what God is doing. Maybe your
heart is aching as you pour out everything in prayer. Maybe you are
wondering
when it will finally be your time. Maybe you are struggling because of His
silence.

Trust His heart.

Somewhere. Some way. He is working. He is orchestrating your story so you
can proclaim His goodness and His grace. And one day, you will be able to
look
back with a smile and know His heart toward you is good. Always and forever.

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Restlessness
----------------------------------------------------------
Restlessness

Posted: 13 Sep 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Earth has nothing I desire besides you (Psalm 73:25, NIV).

Look at your shelves and closets. Think back, and be honest. How many of
your purchases were driven by a vague restlessness, by an indefinable
discontentment?
How often were you reaching for something new to stimulate your life?
Without even realizing it, were you searching for some spark that might make
life
just a little better, a little more fulfilling?

Purchasing is only one expression of that restlessness. How many of your
desires – both the small, daily ones and those that are deeper and more
long-term
– are driven by that same searching? We reach for personal achievement or
recognition; for personal pleasure, from eating to immorality; perhaps for
travel
or a new job. The possibilities are as endless as the varied facets of our
personalities. I can’t discern your motivations, but I have seen it in
myself:
a wanting, a searching, an aspiring and dreaming. The desire usually enters
unrecognized. I scratch without even realizing it itches.

As I look back, I see that I satisfy old desires only for new ones to take
their place. Seldom do I gain any happiness – a bit of comfort sometimes,
but
not happiness. Such a pattern can stretch into a lifetime of chasing our
tails. Our blind attempts at satisfying ourselves only make our lives more
complex
through addictions and cumbersome habits. We accumulate “conveniences” to
repair and worry about, spending ourselves on “treasures” that just sit on
the
shelf and mock our weakness. We are only buying new dissatisfactions.

I’m not condemning all these things. I’m only sharing a bit of
self-understanding that might help you as well. And I’m sharing a discovery:
God does not
fit this pattern. I have come to know Him as a real Being, an intriguing
Person who is continually with me and lives within me. The more I turn to
Him,
the more He proves Himself fulfilling, on both deep and practical levels –
beyond what I ever could have imagined. The more I know Him, the more I want
to know Him and interact with Him.

I can’t tell you how to lose that restlessness, that itch that expresses
itself in so many ways. But you can do what I’m doing: every time you
recognize
that restlessness, turn it on God. Look to Him instead of to anything else.
The more you carry your needs and desires to Him, the more you’ll discover
that
He is your joy. He is that stimulation and inner spark. And He will be as
satisfying and personal to you as you allow Him to be.

Loving Christ – truly loving Him – can simplify life.

Do You Only Have A “Prayer Life”?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
You are to pray when you are adding up prices in the grocery store line. You
are to pray when you are changing a tire. You are to pray when you are
singing
a song. You are to pray when you are teaching a little one how to read.

We are commanded to pray all the time. But how do we do this? Think of a
mother who has a child who is ill with a fever. Finally, the fever breaks
and
the mother and child settle down for some much-needed sleep. Not a noise
from the television, from the street, or from the phone could awaken that
mother.
But one whimper from her child and she’s awake, right? That’s because even
when she is asleep, she is in tune with that child—just as we are to be with
God…constantly communing and attuned to His voice.

ACTION POINT:
Prayer to us should be as natural and continual as breathing. Jennifer
Kennedy Dean asks an important question: “Do you ‘have a prayer life’—or are
youliving a praying life?” Think about the difference.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright ©️ 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.



October 29

What Is Your Purpose in Life?

Josh McDowell tells about an executive "headhunter" who recruits corporate
executives for large firms. This headhunter once told McDowell that when he
interviews an executive, he likes to disarm him. "I offer him a drink," said
the headhunter, "take off my coat, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk
about baseball, football, family, whatever, until he's all relaxed. Then,
when I think I've got him relaxed, I lean over, look him square in the eye
and
say, 'What's your purpose in life?' It's amazing how top executives fall
apart at that question."

Then he told about interviewing one fellow recently. He had him all
disarmed, had his feet up on his desk, talking about football. Then the
headhunter
leaned over and said, "What's your purpose in life, Bob?" And the executive
said, without blinking an eye, "To go to heaven and take as many people with
me as I can."

"For the first time in my career," said the headhunter, "I was speechless."

No wonder. He had encountered someone who was prepared. He was ready. His
purpose, "To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can."

What is your purpose in life?

What is your purpose today?

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
How to Fight Anxiety
By John Piper

[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the
battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have
no anxieties. Instead the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.

For example, 1 Peter 5:7 says, “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he
cares for you.” It does
not say, you will never feel any anxieties. It says, when you have them,
cast them on God. When the mud splatters your windshield and you temporarily
lose
sight of the road and start to swerve in anxiety, turn on your wipers and
squirt your windshield washer.

So my response to the person who has to deal with feelings of anxiety every
day is to say: that’s more or less normal. At least it is for me, ever since
my teenage years. The issue is: How do we fight them?

The answer to that question is: we fight anxieties by fighting against
unbelief and fighting
for faith in future grace. And the way you fight this “good fight” (1
Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7) is by meditating on God’s assurances of future
grace
and by asking for the help of his Spirit.

The windshield wipers are the promises of God that clear away the mud of
unbelief, and the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit.
The
battle to be freed from sin — including the sin of anxiety — is fought “by
the
Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The work of the Spirit and the word of truth. These are the great
faith-builders. Without the softening work of the Holy Spirit, the wipers of
the word
just scrape over the blinding clumps of unbelief on the windshield.

Both are necessary: the Spirit and the word. We read the promises of God and
we pray for the help of his Spirit. And as the windshield clears so that we
can see the welfare that God plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), our faith grows
stronger and the swerving of anxiety straightens out.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


The Love of God

The world's viewpoint about God's love is such a watered-down version of the
Truth. They view Him as a benign and insipid force. They think that His love
is so unconditional that He will happily overlook all of their faults. They
think that God is not concerned about what religion they belong to or what
they believe.

As Christians we know that our God is loving and merciful, yet He is also
just in His judgments. We know that although His love is not based on our
accomplishments,
His love is conditional upon Christ's death on the cross and upon our
acceptance of that gift.

Our human brains cannot comprehend the infinity of God's love. The apostle
Paul wrote to the Ephesians: "And I pray that you, being rooted and
established
in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and
long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that
surpasses
knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"
(Ephesians 3:17-19 ).

God's love does not come cheaply. God's love came at the cost of His own
Son. Jesus endured immeasurable physical and emotional pain when He was
separated
from the Father in order to carry our sins. The perfect, holy, righteous
Jesus Christ died in order to pay the wages of our sin. That kind of
sacrificial
love is incomprehensible. How great is God's love that He would give Himself
for us. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only
Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we
loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for
our sins" (1 John 4:9-10
).

We did absolutely nothing to earn God's love. We were born into sin; we were
at enmity with God. We were unlovable and undeserving. Yet Christ still died
for us. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous
man, though
for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his
own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:6-8 )

God's love is so abundant that He not only saved us from eternal damnation,
but He adopted us as His own children. "How great is the love the Father has
lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what
we are!"
(1 John 3:1
). He changes our very nature upon salvation so that we can become more like
Him. "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed
remains
in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God" (1 John
3:9
).

God does not want a one-sided relationship with us. He did not send His own
Son to die a painful death on the cross for us in order for us to merely
accept
His forgiveness and continue our lives without Him. He did not adopt us as
His children only to receive the occasional visit in return. He wants a
daily,
close, personal relationship with us. He wants to see us commit our time and
hearts to Him in prayer. He wants us to talk to Him, praise Him, and worship
Him every day.

The more we comprehend the magnitude of God's love for us, the more we will
love Him back. The more time we spend in prayer learning about Him and
developing
a relationship with Him, the more our love for Him will grow. Spend time in
prayer today just adoring Him. Praise Him for His amazing love. Pray that
the
Holy Spirit will guide you in how to show the immensity of God's love to the
world.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor
depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love
of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD." -
-Romans 8:38-39

****

Fearless Living in Troubled Times

Imagine a life of peace and purpose in the midst of global instability,
national tension, and personal crisis. Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book
Fearless
Living in Troubled Times provides the vital information needed to unlock
that life. Living in constant fear and anxiety are not God’s plan for your
life,
and this book focuses on living a God-honoring life, overcoming fear through
the right perspective, and understanding the true nature of the end times.
Get your copy today for your gift of any amount.

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

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


Encouragement for your week: Do You Remember When?

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

Do You Remember When?

“But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful
deeds of long ago”—Psalm 77:11 (NLT).

“Do you remember when we were arguing over who had the most frogs in their
jar and accidentally let them loose in Mom’s car?”

I laughed as my sister and I recalled some of our childhood antics. The frog
story was funny, even though our mother didn’t think so. The escaped frogs
hopped across the floorboard and over her feet as she drove. And yes, we did
get in trouble.

We all have memories. Some elicit laughter. Others bring tears. However, it’s
nice to recall the past, especially with someone who was present when they
occurred.

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, the Lord told Joshua to
choose 12 men, one from each tribe, to take 12 stones from the Jordan where
the
priests were standing. They were to place them in a pile as a memorial at
their campsite that night. Gathering another 12 stones, Joshua piled them in
the Jordan where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were
standing.

Later, Joshua tells the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask,
‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the
Israelites
crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river
right before your eyes, and He kept it dry until you were all across...”
(Joshua
4:21-23).

As Christ followers, we must never forget what He has done for us, including
His sacrifice on the cross. I enjoy sharing what I call my “God moments”
with
others. It’s my testimony to His faithfulness.

Psalm 105:5 tells us to remember the wonders God has done—His miracles and
the judgements He pronounced. God is the essence of goodness, mercy and
love.
But sometimes, we forget what He has done for us.
A JollyNotes.com article offers the following five ways to remember what God
has done for us:
1. Think about what God has done. Remember to count your blessings (Samuel
12:24, Psalm 105:1-5)
2. Thank God for what He has done. “When we take time to thank God for what
He has done, the event becomes even more real to us and becomes more stuck
in our brains.” We also release more blessings for ourselves and for others
too.

3. Write down what God has done. “It’s helpful to write down significant
events as they happen and as we remember, so we can recall them later.” Has
God
answered a prayer? Did you witness a miracle in your life or in the life of
a loved one? Write it down so you don’t forget.

4. Tell others what God has done. Luke 8:39 says, “Return to your home, and
declare how much God has done for you.”

5. Create something to help you remember what God has done in the past.
“Memorials, personal or family traditions and other inspiring reminders are
very
helpful ways to help us recall what God has done for us in the past.”

We must never forget.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.
If you need a speaker for your women's event, please check out my website at
www.carolaround.com or email me at carol@carolaround.com.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright ©️ 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.

Don’t Fear the Future
September 15, 2017

Read: Revelation 1:8-19

But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the
last, and the living one.” (vv. 17-18)

Even when things seem bleak, God was, is, and will always be in control. On
the island of Patmos, God reveals visions of the future to John so that he
can write them down. Some of the images are terrifying, but “the Alpha and
the Omega” (Rev. 1:8), “the first and the last,” the one who conquered sin
and
death and holds “the keys of Death and Hades” says to John, “Fear not” (vv.
17-18).

Over the past two weeks we have noted repeatedly throughout Scripture how
God comes near when his frightened people cry out. Chris Tomlin’s song “Whom
Shall I Fear” expresses the same encouraging truth: “I know Who goes before
me, I know Who stands behind: The God of angel armies is always by my side!”
We can claim this promise of Jesus the victor! He will strengthen us for any
trials and struggles we face.

When we’re afraid we’re not going to make it, afraid of the future, afraid
of not having control, afraid that “this is the end,” it is enough to know
that
God is with us. In her book
The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp says, “It takes courage to listen with our whole
heart to the tick of God’s timing, rather than march to the loud beat of our
fears.” God is in control and will carry you through to the end. —Denise
Vredevoogd

Prayer: God, we know you hear us when we cry. We put our futures in your
hands.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 20 Oct 2017, 9:40 pm

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's
Turning Point
Thursday, August 31
Casting
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18

Recommended Reading
1 John 4:17-21
Most fishermen know all about casting, but some take it very seriously. In
1881, the first casting championships took place in the outskirts of London;
this event led, over time, to the founding of the International Casting
Sport Federation. Today, the Federation organizes championships around the
world
for all ages. Casters are judged by distance and accuracy.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Christ-followers know a lot about casting too. Psalm 55:22 says, “
Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you.” Proverbs 22:10
says, “
Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave.” Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “
Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.”
Ezekiel tells us to
cast away our transgressions (Ezekiel 18:31). Jesus told us to
cast out our nets for a catch (John 21:6); Paul told us to cast out the
works of darkness (Romans 13:12); and Peter told us to
cast all our care on Him, for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

The apostle John, who was, after all, a fisherman, added a special word in 1
John 4:18. We should remember how much God loves us, he said, and that love
will cast fear from our hearts. “Perfect love casts out fear.”

The chains of love are stronger than the chains of fear.
William Gurnall

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Ezekiel 23 – 24
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website


Five Stages Toward Making Worship a Habit
"I can't make it to the services because of my work schedule … well maybe
sometimes, but I can't go on Sundays."

"I get up early all week; Sunday's the only chance I have to sleep in."

"It's so hard to get everyone dressed and ready to go on time."

"There are so many things happening on the weekends, we don't have time to
go to church."

"I really do want to go, but something always gets in the way, Satan must be
really working overtime to keep me from church."

Haven't we all heard these excuses for not going to church? I can relate to
the Apostle Paul's lament in
Romans 7:15
: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but
what I hate I do" (NIV). Regular worship attendance is a lifestyle made up
of
several habits which can be changed just like others. For most families,
altering the Sunday routine is a major lifestyle change. Understanding how
people
change can help you move from where you are now to where you know the Holy
Spirit is leading you.

People change in five stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation,
action, and maintenance. Before becoming a Christian a person is in the
precontemplation stage. Seeing no need to change, there is no intention of
changing. People who are seeking Christ or who have just become Christians
are
in the
contemplation stage. They're thinking about changing, but haven't decided
yet to change. Whether we're aware of it or not, we weigh the pros and cons
whenever
we consider making a lifestyle change. What will be the consequences?

The third stage is preparation. People in this stage have made some early
efforts and are collecting information. New Christians are in the
preparation
stage of making changes in their Sunday morning habits. Unfortunately, even
mature Christians get stuck here. We can't move on to the action stage until
we've first determined what it will take to change.

When a person has decided to change and determined what it will take, he or
she is ready for the
action stage. At this point it's important to remember everything learned in
the preparation stage.

The last stage is maintenance. Perhaps many of the more mature Christians I
mentioned really aren't stuck in the preparation stage; they just haven't
reached
the maintenance stage. With any habit change, it's easy to get discouraged
when you "fail." People often give up on a diet when they slip up and regain
a couple pounds. In the same way, missing a few Sundays is no reason for
giving up on regular church attendance. This is sometimes called relapse.
But
it's not relapse unless you never go back to your efforts to change the
habit.

Are you and your family trying to make worship a habit? At each stage of
change, there are things you can do to help make worship a more significant
part
of your lifestyle. You must at least be at the contemplation stage or you
wouldn't be reading this article. Start with prayer; ask the Holy Spirit to
help
you with this lifestyle change. Paul says in
Romans 8:26-27
, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans
that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of
the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with
God's will" (NIV).

List the advantages and disadvantages of regular worship. What are the
consequences of changing? Or of not changing? Reviewing these lists will
motivate
you when you're tempted to give up on making changes in your lifestyle.

As you move into the preparation stage, gather the family together and
brainstorm. What is hindering you from making regular worship a part of your
Sunday
routine? For every obstacle, discuss at least one solution. For example, if
getting everyone dressed in time is a problem, lay clothes out the night
before.
Turn the television off to avoid distractions and have simple breakfast
items ready. Get to bed early enough on Saturday night and set the alarm. If
Sunday
just doesn't work, consider finding a Saturday night service. Be creative!

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

As a family, make a plan. Now you're ready for the action stage. Put your
plan to work. Don't be disappointed if you don't have immediate success
every
week. Any lifestyle change takes time. After all, you're changing many
habits all at once. And for a family, you're changing the habits of several
people.
With any change it's good to make short-term and long-term goals. If you're
only going to church occasionally now, you might want to make going to
Sunday
school and church three times a month for three months a short-term goal and
regular attendance a long-term goal.

At the end of three months, reevaluate your plan and make any necessary
changes. Challenge yourself even more. Offer to serve in your church in some
way
and make another short-term goal. Everyone likes a reward and I think habit
and lifestyle changes should be rewarded. When you've met your goals, reward
yourself and your family in some small way, perhaps with brunch after church
at a favorite restaurant. You will find that rewards are built in when it
comes to making worship a habit.

As you meet your short-term goal, and make a new short-term goal, you are
entering the maintenance stage. It's easy now to let down your guard. You've
changed your habits and made a lifestyle change that includes regular
worship. But what if job changes, vacation plans, or illness conflicts with
worship
times? What if one Sunday after another, life just seems to get in the way?
Don't worry about it; just start your lifestyle changes again the following
week. Remember, it's not relapse unless you never go back to your efforts to
change a habit or lifestyle.

Cherry Pedrick is the coauthor of The OCD Workbook Second Edtition
, The Habit Change Workbook (also in Polish), The BDD Workbook
(also in Polish), Helping Your Child with OCD (also in Chinese), and
Loving Someone with OCD: New Harbinger Publications;
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders: Lerner Publications.
You can visit her website at
CherryPedrick.com.

Reasons to Surrender

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

As we learned yesterday, God tells us to surrender our lives to Him. This is
no small task. All our plans, every desire we feel, each entitlement that
once seemed our right--everything is put aside in order to make way for our
King’s will. But perhaps you have wondered why God can ask this of us.

The Lord has every right to demand that we give Him our all. First,
Scripture teaches us that He is sovereign--the King and Ruler over the
entire universe.
As a result, we are under His authority, whether we choose to submit or not.
Next, through His death and resurrection, Jesus saved us from our sin and
its consequences. Therefore, we are indebted to Him more than we could ever
repay. And finally, He sustains us; we should consider each breath and
heartbeat
a gift from Him.

Undoubtedly, God is entitled to ask that we yield our life to Him. At the
same time, surrender is in our best interest. The Father promises that
following
Him leads to hope and an established future. Psalm 31:19 states, “How great
is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You . . .” So,
while He is the Almighty One with all authority to demand our life, He
promises to care for us and to do what will benefit us most.

Are you willing to put yourself aside in order to follow Jesus? His way is
best, and it offers hope, joy, and peace. We will not always like everything
He chooses at the moment, but He promises to work all things for good. Will
you trust God enough to hand the reins over to Him?

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

Standing on the Edge of the Red Sea
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness
shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be
removed,
saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”
Isaiah 54:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Sometimes the grandest revelations come through confrontation. Why did God
bring the Israelites to the Red Sea? That they might have a confrontation
with
Him and discover His greatness and deliverance.

Many times the things we think are tragedies and problems are God’s way of
drawing us to Himself. God shuts
this door; God shuts that door…it seems that there’s no way out.

But we must cling to the fact that God makes Himself known to us in the
storm and He plants His footsteps in the sea.

ACTION POINT:
Are you standing at the edge of your “Red Sea”? Have you stopped to consider
that this could be your Father drawing you to Himself by the only way He
knew
He could get your attention? The God who parted the Red Sea and stilled the
surface of Galilee is the One Who is your Shepherd.

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.
Copyright ©️ 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

The Hardest Prayer You Can Pray
by Liz Kanoy, Crosswalk.com Editor

“Jesus said, ’Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing’”
( Luke 23:34 ).

The context of this verse occurs when Jesus is being crucified. Though He
was innocent, He carried His cross alongside two criminals to the place
where
they would be crucified, called The Skull (Golgotha). On the cross, the Son
of God--situated between two sinners deserving of death--spoke to His Father
and said, ’Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing’”
( Luke 23:34). This was and is the worst crime in the history of the world;
the only innocent Man to live on this earth, the only Man undeserving of
death
and punishment was put to death in the most humiliating and unfair way ...
and He said what?

This prayer was directed toward the taunting crowd, religious leaders
happily observing His death, apathetic Roman soldiers placing bets for His
clothing,
and the criminals on either side of Him. Could you forgive someone for a
terrible crime simply because they do not know God? This is the hardest
prayer
anyone can pray. To forgive someone undeserving of forgiveness; to forgive
someone who does not even recognize their need for forgiveness.

Could you pray this prayer for terrorists, for killers, for gunmen, for
bullies, for family members who hurt you deeply, for friends who stab you in
the
back, for co-workers who use you, for any number of circumstances that cause
you or someone you love pain.

On my own, I know I cannot pray this prayer--for I am far too angered by
injustice, by acts of evil, by selfish deceit. But with the Holy Spirit as
my
Helper and my Advocate, I can seek to grow in this prayer. To see people as
not just wrong or evil but incredibly lost ... and to pray most of all for
God to make Himself known to them, for He is the One whom all wrongs are
ultimately committed against.

Jesus forgave those who murdered Him not only on the cross but also in their
hearts. He saw their state of lostness and just as He had compassion on the
crowds who surrounded him during his ministry he had compassion on His
persecutors.

Intersecting Faith and Life: If Jesus is our utmost example for Holy living
according to God’s will, then we can follow His example even in this--the
offering
of forgiveness to those who persecute us. Let us pray for our persecutors
and our enemies that they might know the love of God and the freedom of
forgiveness
and grace.

Further Reading:
Acts 3:17
Acts 13:27
Acts 14:16
Acts 17:30
Acts 26:9
Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Miracles With Damaged Goods - #7999

As Lenny left our headquarters, I said, "Man, you have really made a
difference around here!" He really had. A company that was getting rid of a
lot of
office furniture donated about a dozen desks to our ministry, and we were
thrilled to get them! Good desks, but well, not exactly beautiful desks.
They
were all scarred and beat up, and on the surface they didn't look
particularly useful. In fact, the company that donated them actually was
getting ready
to discard them before they learned about our need. So, here in a storage
area were all these ugly desks...until Lenny got his hands on them. One by
one,
he went to work with his magic touch and he slowly restored their original
beauty. By the time he was done, it looked almost like we had just gotten a
shipment of expensive new desks.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Miracles
With Damaged Goods."

As our amazing desk restorer stood in my office with hands so stained that
they actually looked like they'd never be clean again, I thanked him for the
amazing difference he'd made. He just broke into a big smile and he said,
"Oh, I love doing this."

I know someone else like that. His name is Jesus and He, too, is in the
restoring business. It took His hands being stained with His own blood to
make
His restoring work possible. But as He looks at countless scarred and
undervalued lives that He has restored, I believe He says, "Oh, I love doing
this."
And He would love to do it for you.

There's a simple, five-word promise Jesus made that might mark for you the
possibility of a fresh new start. That promise is in our word for today in
the
Word of God in Revelation 21:5. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new."
Did you get that, "All things new"? That may be exactly the kind of miracle
you need right now. Because, like that office furniture we received, life
has left you pretty beat up...scarred, maybe deeply scarred. You feel
broken-useless.
You've never been able to answer that haunting question, "Why am I here?"
You're carrying a lot of regrets over things that, well, you wish you had
done
differently. You carry a lot of pain from things that have been done to you,
and things you've done to others.

But then there's Jesus, the one who makes all things new, but at a very high
price-to Him that is, not to you. He said at the Last Supper as He broke a
loaf of bread and handed it to His friend, "This is My body, which is given
for you." (Luke 22:19) He was broken so you could be fixed. He paid for your
sin on the cross so you wouldn't have to. That's what was happening on that
horrific cross when He died. And in dying for your sin and then coming out
of His grave, He broke the power of the thing that ultimately causes all the
scars, and the regrets, and the hurts-the spiritual cancer called sin. And
with hands that bear nail prints from His sacrifice for you, He reaches out
to you and says, "I will make all things new." The promise of the Bible in
2 Corinthians 5:17 is this, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."
That could be you.

The Bible says He will restore what sin has taken from you (Joel
2:25)...that He will "bind up the brokenhearted." He'll, "release the
prisoner from darkness."
He'll, "exchange the ashes of your life for beauty." And then the Bible
says, "...He'll turn a 'spirit of despair' into a 'garment of praise'."
(Isaiah
61:1-3) You don't have to be defined any longer by your pain or by your sin.
You can now be defined by who you belong to forever-to Jesus Christ, God's
Son, the King of all kings. Your life-changing relationship with Him begins
when you come to Him and you say, "Jesus, You're my only hope. You died for
me. Forgive me. Change me. I'm Yours."

I want to be sure you belong to Him. That's why we've got our website.
That's really what it's for, and I want to urge you to go there and check it
out
as soon as you can today...ANewStory.com.

Because of Jesus, who is the Master Restorer, your life doesn't have to be
more of what it's been for so long. No, see, He makes all things new, and
right
now He is waiting to do that for you.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

Welcome to the Nugget

September 7, 2017

Eat Dessert First

By Answers2Prayer
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Devotionals
Contact us

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits
his soul."
(Matthew 16:26).

My wonderful daughter made me a red velvet birthday cake this year using her
own special combination of creativity and love. It was huge and I cut myself
the biggest piece. With the first bite I closed my eyes and smiled. It was
so moist and sweet. The butter cream icing on top was delightfully thick. It
had countless calories and it was so delicious without being necessarily
nutritious. I didn't mind, though. I savored every bite and added a few
scoops
of ice cream as well. My sons and I polished off every bit of it. When we
were done our bellies were full, our souls were satisfied, and dinner was
still
four hours away. We had followed that wise saying of a happy existence:
"Life is short. Eat dessert first!"

I have spent way too many years of my life putting off the desserts I was
given until everything else was done. Like far too many people in our
society,
I thought that work came first, duty came second, and joy was somewhere way
down the list. It took me a long time to see God's simple truth that: "We
work
to live but we live to love." Without love, without laughter, without joy,
without goodness, without all the simple pleasures life can bring, our
existence
becomes a dull and miserable journey.

Thankfully, I finally realized that when you put love first in your life,
everything else tastes so much sweeter. Don't put off the simple joys that
life
can bring. Don't put off the beautiful love that you can give. Eat dessert
first! Give your kids hugs before homework. Jump in the leaves before
bagging
them. Dance on the floors before sweeping them. Do random acts of kindness
and goodness. Play with your dogs. Pet your cats. Watch the sunset. Give
thanks
to God. Shine your smile. Spread your sunshine. And share your love with
everyone. You will be amazed at how wonderful life will be when you "Live to
Love"
while you "Work to live."

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


He left Heaven for us!

( Thomas Brooks , "The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures")

"If anyone would come after Me--he must deny himself and take up his cross
and follow Me." Matthew 16:24

Let the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, work us into a gracious
willingness to embrace sufferings for His sake, and cheerfully and
resolutely to take
up His cross and follow Him.

Did Christ suffer, who knew no sin--and shall we think it strange to suffer,
who know nothing but sin?

Shall He lie sweltering under His Father's wrath--and shall we cry out under
men's anger?

Was He crowned with thorns--and must we be crowned with rose-buds?

Was His whole life, from the cradle to the cross, made up of nothing but
sorrows and sufferings--and must our lives, from the cradle to the grave, be
filled
up with nothing but pleasures and delights?

Was He despised--and must we be admired?

Was He debased--and must we be exalted?

Was He poor--and must we be rich?

Was He low--and must we be high?

Did He drink of a bitter cup, a bloody cup--and must we have only cups of
consolation?

Let us not think anything too much to do for Christ,
nor anything too great to suffer for Christ,
nor anything too dear to part with for such a Christ, such a Savior--who
thought nothing too much to do, nor too grievous to suffer--so that He might
accomplish
the work of our redemption!

He left Heaven for us--and shall not we let go of this world for Him?

He left his Father's bosom for us--and shall not we leave the bosoms of our
dearest relations for him?

He underwent all sorts of sufferings for us--let us as readily encounter
with all sorts of sufferings for Him.
~ ~ ~ ~
"Fellowship with Christ!"
Charles Spurgeon, helpful 44 minute sermon!
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)


Anne Graham Lotz - God Is Active in Big Ways
God Is Active in Big Ways
He counts the number of the stars; He calls them by name.

Psalm 147:4, NKJV

Astronomers estimate there are more than 100 billion galaxies. And each
galaxy has more than 100 billion stars! And each of those hundreds of
billions
of stars was personally hung in space by the Creator Who has not only
numbered them all but knows each of them by name! The very first words of
Genesis
tell us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens. . . .” I can’t conceive
of any activity much bigger than that!

What big things are you facing? A big decision about a career change or a
child’s schooling or a marriage proposal? A big commitment like buying a new
house or beginning a new job or becoming a new parent? A big responsibility
such as caring for elderly parents or supervising an office staff or being
the sole provider for your family?

God is active in big ways!

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

Post  Admin on Thu 12 Oct 2017, 11:08 pm

Does Prayer Change God’s Mind?
by Kimberly Carroll

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces
wonderful results.” -
James 5:16(NLT)

Following the tragic death of a dear friend, I often felt speechless when I
tried to pray—as though my heart and mind had shut down completely. For 8
months,
I pleaded with my entire being for Him to heal my best friend. But He chose
to call her home instead. In my grief, I couldn’t help but wonder whether my
prayers were in vain.

When we pour out our hearts to God in earnest prayer but receive an outcome
opposite of what we hoped for, we might wonder:
Does prayer change God’s mind?

Disclaimer #1: Christians across the world dedicate their lives to questions
of this nature and have yet to reach a consensus. While Christians agree
that
prayer has powerful effects, whether it changes God’s mind is debatable.

Disclaimer #2: Although it’s important to critically examine questions like
this to arrive at Biblically-sound and educated beliefs, we can never fully
know the mind of God. His ways are far more infinite than anything our human
minds could possibly conceive:

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it
is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Romans 11:33
(NLT)

The Theological Debate

In Across the Spectrum
by Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy, the authors compare differing viewpoints held
within the spectrum of evangelical Christianity. During the authors’ debate
of freewill, one argument suggests that throughout Scripture, “a great deal
of what God does in the world is influenced by whether his people pray.”

In a subsequent chapter regarding the degree of God’s foreknowledge, a
similar argument states:

“Scripture describes God’s character as unchanging (Mal 3:6), but it never
teaches that God is unable to change in
any respect (e.g., his intentions, experiences) … And it teaches that God
sometimes
chooses not to change his mind (Num 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Ezekiel 24:14
; Zechariah 8:14) but never that he cannot change his mind.”

Most people agree God does not always change His mind in response to
prayers.

But is it true that some prayers of God’s people in the Bible did influence
His decisions?

A Look at Scripture

Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites repeatedly turned away from God
and angered Him to the point that He threatened to destroy them. In
desperation,
Moses intervened on their behalf and pleaded with the Lord to withhold the
destruction He had planned. Time and time again, God answered Moses’ prayers
with mercy and chose not to bring about the destruction He had threatened.

For example, in Exodus 32 the Israelites created a golden calf and
worshipped it in place of God. The Lord in his fury threatened to destroy
His people

(Exodus 32:10). Moses threw himself at God on behalf of the Israelites,
pleading for Him to relent:

“Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against
your people!”
(Exodus 32:12 NLT).In his unfailing mercy, “the Lord changed his mind about
the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people”
(Exodus 32:14 NLT).

What would have happened if Moses had not turned to God in prayer?

“So he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in
the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them” (Psalm 106:23
NIV).

Even the Psalms imply that if Moses had not pleaded for God’s mercy on their
behalf, the Israelites would have been destroyed. But God in His
faithfulness
responded to Moses’ pleas and spared His people.

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Like the Israelites, the people of Nineveh also experienced God relenting
from His plan of destruction after they turned towards Him:

“When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil
ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had
threatened.”
Jonah 3:10 (NLT)

With both the Israelites and the Ninevites, God chose to spare them in
response to human prayers and repentance. This decision on God’s part to act
a certain
way
because people cried out to him is, I believe, a recurrent theme throughout
the Bible.

Similar examples of God choosing to relent from His plans in response to the
prayers and sufferings of people are seen in
Numbers 11:1-2; Numbers 14:12-20
; Numbers 16:20-35, Numbers 41-48; Deuteronomy 9:13-14
, Deuteronomy 18-25; Judges 10:13-18, Judges 11:1-33; 2 Samuel 24:17-25
; 1 Kings 21:27-29; 2 Kings 13:3-5; 2 Kings 21:27-29; and
1 Chronicles 21:15.

In both the Old and New Testaments, God responded in mighty ways to the
prayers, petitions and needs of His people. He provided incredible military
victories
against impossible odds, sent rain in the midst of droughts, created food
during times of famine, freed slaves from bondage, healed the sick,
delivered
people from demonic possession, and raised the dead back to life.

Had His people not cried out to Him in prayer, would the outcomes still have
been the same?

The more I study the character and actions of God throughout the Bible, the
more I believe it demonstrates that God changes His mind and plans in
response
to the prayers of His people as He sees fit.

Intimacy with God as the Highest Goal

We serve a God who cares deeply for His creation and longs desperately to be
in relationship with each of us. Prayer is essential to that relationship,
for it is the method by which we talk intimately with Him.

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, in his book “ Letters from a Skeptic
,” explains it this way:

“It’s not that God needs our petitions to be informed or empowered to do
anything…But because a loving relationship with Him is His highest agenda
for
us, He constructs the order of things such that a loving relationship with
Him will be facilitated. And thus He ordains that some things will only be
done
through prayer.”

In other words, because God’s ultimate desire is for us to live in a loving
relationship with Him, and because prayer is the means he created in order
for that relationship to exist, God might very well determine that some
things will only come to pass through prayer.

Ultimately, it’s not about God giving us what we want. It’s about
communicating with our Creator and living intimately with Him.

When God Doesn’t Change His Mind

With all that said, however, we will experience times when God answers our
prayers with a “no” for reasons beyond our understanding.

But in the words of Dr. Boyd, “…Far more important than knowing the
mechanics of answered prayer is knowing that God’s on your side even when
the prayer
is unanswered."

Regardless of whether we believe prayer changes God’s mind, if we trust that
God is sovereign and that His love always prevails in the end, we can trust
that our prayers are not in vain and He is at work redeeming all things—even
things that look like unanswered prayers in this life.

Image Credit: Unsplash.com

Kimberly Carroll is a military spouse, mother of two, and graduate of UNC
Chapel Hill. She has a heart for the weary and broken-hearted, holds tightly
to her eternal hope in Christ, and wants nothing more than for her life to
be an outpouring of God's never-ending love to those around her. On her
blog,
Kimberly discusses mental illness, grief and the importance of never giving
up. Follow her blog at
https://kims88. wordpress.com .

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 07 Oct 2017, 6:27 pm

What “One Little Word” Will Fell Satan?
Bryce Young / August 19, 2017
What “One Little Word” Will Fell Satan?

What is that “one little word” that will fell Satan?

The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.

Somehow it took me about twenty years to realize that I had no idea what
Martin Luther was talking about in this line in “A Mighty Fortress Is Our
God.”
Now, a confession: I am a Baptist, not Lutheran — I’m willing to admit there
may be a real, mystical meaning of the “one little word” that only Lutherans
can understand. But probably not.

The identity of this word should matter to us. Most Protestant churches
still sing this “Battle Hymn of the Reformation” regularly in worship. It
does
little good to know that a single word will take down the raging Prince of
Darkness if we have no idea what that word is. So, what word might Luther
have
in mind?

“Jesus”?

When I was a little kid, the only act of spiritual warfare I knew was simply
to say out loud the word “Jesus.” Somewhere, I picked up the idea that
demons
scatter when you mention Jesus’s name
. Maybe Luther’s one little word was “Jesus”?

While it may be a popular and catchy idea to mention “Jesus” for protection
against Satan, the Bible doesn’t specifically commend that approach. The
demons
themselves are not afraid to say Jesus’s name — they even talked directly to
Jesus, knowing exactly who he was (Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7).

The common idea that “Satan flees at Jesus’s name” may come from the
narratives in the Gospels and Acts where demons are cast out “in the name of
Jesus”
(Mark 9:38; Acts 16:18). It is repeated in a well-known worship song: “The
Enemy, he has to flee at the sound of your great name.”

But we know from the Bible itself that demons feel no fear simply at the
sound of Jesus’s name. Some “itinerant exorcists” adopted this verbal
formula
of simply citing Jesus’s name only to be driven out by the evil spirit
“naked and wounded!” (Acts 19:13–16). It is clearly not the mere sound of
those
two syllables that commands Satan, but the authority from God that lies
behind them (Mark 1:25–27).

Jesus’s name is not a magic spell used to take down evil spirits.

Jesus, the Word of God?

Perhaps Luther meant the Word, Jesus himself (John 1:1). While it is
certainly true biblically that Jesus will be the one to finally destroy the
devil
in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), it’s probably not what Luther refers
to here.

It is unlikely that Luther would refer to Jesus, the ascended King reigning
now over every name in heaven and on earth, as a
little word (in Luther’s German, wörtlein). Indeed, “the Word was
God.”

Ultimately, our hope of victory against Satan’s schemes is secured by his
final destruction, but more than that, we have hope
now. Even while Satan prowls this earth like a lion (1 Peter 5:8), we are
not at the mercy of our supernatural foe. “His rage we can endure” now,
before
his destruction, by another word.

That Little Word

Martin Luther actually identified the word he had in mind, the one little
word to fell our foe:

“Devil, you lie,” . . . Dr. Luther sings so proudly and boldly in those
words of his hymn, “One little word shall fell him.” (“Against Hanswurst”)

Speaking of himself in the third person, Luther says that the one simple
proclamation that defeats Satan is the simple verdict “Liar.”

Satan is a “liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). From the very
beginning, Satan has twisted and contorted the truth of God into a lie
(Genesis 3:1).
And from the very beginning, Satan’s favorite lie has been to declare
“unclean” what God has made clean, to declare “guilty” those whose sins God
has covered.

There’s nothing Satan wants more than to eat away your faith in Jesus. Satan
wants nothing more than for you to forget who you are in Christ. Over and
over, the Bible warns us not not play games with this devouring, roaring
beast of a being. His rage we can
not endure if our strategy is just to disregard him.

The Word of Faith

The text Luther most likely had in mind was Revelation 12:10, where John
writes that “the accuser of our brothers [who is Satan; 12:9] has been
thrown
down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” So there is an
accusation, a lie — Satan speaks “guilty” against the ones God has redeemed.
It’s
the same lie that Satan always speaks to God’s people (Zechariah 3:1).

The answer to this age-old lie is not to repeat Jesus’s name like a mantra.
Nor is it simply to remind ourselves that Satan’s days are numbered. The
answer,
for Luther and in the Bible, is to believe the truth, the gospel. The answer
is to believe the promises of God, that in Christ you are justified (Romans
5:1), clean (1 Corinthians 6:11), holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), loved
by God (Colossians 3:12), a branch saved from the fire (Zechariah 3:2).

The one, little word against Satan — “Liar!” — is the word of faith. When we
take all of Satan’s lies, his accusations, his reminders of our sins and
place
them in the blood-sealed file marked “Lies,” it is a profession of our faith
in Christ’s promises over against Satan’s accusations. This word is “the
victory
that has overcome” not only the world, but Satan himself (1 John 5:4).

We Tremble Not for Him

Satan is the grim Prince. He is deadly. He is a devouring, fearsome dragon
(Revelation 12:9).

But he is nothing against “the victory that has overcome the world — our
faith” (1 John 5:4). We tremble not for him because every one of his
accusations
— “guilty,” “condemned,” “unrighteous” — are shown to be nothing but lies
before Christ.

So, the next time you sing Luther’s hymn, sing these words with all the more
confidence and joy in Jesus. Say with Luther, “I admit that I deserve death
and hell. What of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on
my behalf.
“His name is Jesus Christ.”
The Final Divide: Eternal Life or Eternal Wrath
John Piper / August 19, 2017
The Final Divide

When your life is over on this earth you will either meet God in eternal
wrath or eternal life.

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Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved


Remember Your Baptism
by Liz Kanoy, Crosswalk.com Editor

"And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive
the
gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children
and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to
himself.'"

- Acts 2:38-39

Three years ago on Pentecost, I attended my godson’s baptism. The pastor
encouraged parents and godparents to remind their children and godchildren
of
their baptisms often. He also encouraged all believers to continually
remember their own baptism and to remember what baptism means for those in
the body
of Christ.

When I was baptized at 23, the pastor prefaced my baptism by saying “there
is nothing magical about this water,” and he was right. There is no magic in
the water and the water itself will not change you, but there is
extraordinary power and hope in the One who makes baptism possible - the One
who baptizes
in the Spirit and transforms the heart.

Whether you lean toward infant baptism or a believer’s baptism
theologically, Christians can all agree that baptism is a symbol of eternal
hope in Christ.
For Christian parents their baby’s baptism is a symbol of their promise to
raise the child to know and love God. For believers, baptism is a symbol of
the lasting hope they possess and a reminder of the promise that has been
fulfilled.

Remember your baptism, but don’t just remember the day or the act - remember
the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives purpose to all baptisms. Remember
that the Lord called you to Himself, and He chose you by name - not by any
merit of your own but by His free gift of grace.

Throughout the Bible, we can see that God chose people whom we might
consider not so deserving - polytheists, murderers, adulterers, harlots,
liars, and
all other sorts of sinners and sins combined. His point in showing us the
flaws of the people He chose is to remind us that no one is deserving. He
can
give mercy to anyone He chooses because all have fallen short of His glory,
and no one can be justified and sanctified apart from Jesus.

When you remember your baptism, remember that you were nothing and God made
you new. You were without hope, but He called you His own. He has adopted
you
as His child and heir. Remember the sin that caused the world to fall,
understand the consequence of sin for every human being, and realize your
continual
need for the perfect Savior who lived and died and rose for all who would
believe.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Thank your Savior Jesus Christ for your baptism
today, thank Him for the baptism of all those in the body of Christ and
those
in the covenant family, and pray for the baptism of many more--for no one is
without need of grace and no one is beyond God’s reach.

Further Reading
1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27;
Mark 16:16
What is Baptism? Is Baptism Necessary for Salation?

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


Members without a Club
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but
through me.
John 14:6

"I don't respect [believers] who don't proselytize. I don't respect that at
all. If you believe that there's a heaven and a hell, and that people could
be going to hell, or not getting eternal life, or whatever, and you think,
well, it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it
socially
awkward... how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How
much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is
possible,
and not tell them that? I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that
a truck was coming at you, and you didn't believe it, but that truck was
bearing
down? There's a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important
than that."

Wow, great words. Completely sums up what's at stake with Christian
evangelism, and why it's so important, not to mention commanded. Who said
that? Famous
pastor? Leading revivalist? World-traveled evangelist?

An atheist. One who later in the same speech will say, "I know there's no
God," and "religion does a lot of bad stuff," but who was nonetheless
touched
by a genuine gesture that a simple, normal, respectable gentleman made in
giving the gift of a Gideon Bible.

The atheist in question is Penn Gillette, of the famous magic act Penn &
Teller. You can check out his story of being offered a Bible following one
of
his shows
on YouTube .

I am sure Mr. Gillette and I - and you - disagree on a lot of things. But
he's so right about this. Our pastor was recently addressing some of the
tough
questions about Christianity in a sermon series, including the one about
"how can Christians claim to know the true way; aren't all ways equally
valid?"
And he settled on our verse today -
John 14:6
- which is always our beloved starting prooftext for how Jesus himself
stated that no other way would work.

While that is blessedly true, our pastor suggested we have tended to invert
(if not pervert) the subtlety of Jesus's message here. That is, we've
behaved
like we're privileged members of an exclusive club, one that has all sorts
of rules to keep others out. One that gets to tell them how wrong they are.
One that should be full of joy and open arms, but is instead full of stern
sobriety and pointing fingers. One that nobody would really want to join
anyway
, even if it were a club, which it isn't.

For one thing, we're on a journey toward perfection rather than cloistered
in a cozy clubhouse, and in the same chapter Jesus told his followers that
the
many rooms in his Father's house were being prepared. We aren't living in
them yet. Our clubhouse is not our current home. We have merely started the
trip,
and yet...

We forget where we come from.

Christianity is flawed in part because it is full of losers - yes, those who
have humbly admitted their own shortcomings and acknowledged The Answer is
found outside themselves. My own father - before his conversion - said he
viewed Christianity as a crutch for weak people. "Exactly," was my response.
"But realize, Dad, that also means you're saying it exists and has real
value just as a crutch does." Christ did not come for the healthy, but for
the
sick, the weak. That's us whether we admit it or not. We have no claim to
exclusivity. The message of John 14:6
, similar to how eloquently Mr. Gillette put it, is that anyone is welcome
for
INclusion, provided they... what? Please us? Donate? Stop being so mean? No.
They must simply believe. Our job is to tell them that truck is bearing
down,
politely and sincerely... to give the Bible and to read it ourselves... to
model a life not based on legalism or even moralism, but on the joy of every
day's opportunity along the narrow road and the freedom we have to choose to
follow it or not... to preach the gospel and, when necessary, use words to
do so.

When Jesus told His followers that He was the way and the truth and the
life, it was a statement of
comfort. He had just told them He would be leaving, but that if they had
seen Him (and they Had) then they had seen the Father, and that "you know
the
way to the place where I am going."

Intersecting Faith & Life: Comfort others with this verse. There are a lot
of hurting people in this world who point to this text as the source of
their
conundrum with Christianity. Remind them that we're not about keeping people
out, evoking a membership privilege or condemning them to a more dire fate.
Let God do His job. Our own part has so little to do with do's and don'ts,
and everything to do with sending out party invitations via grace, freedom,
and acceptance. I was lost, and someone pointed me to this road. Many others
had tried before, but their words finally took hold and my eyes were opened
to see it was indeed the right road. Pure blood was shed for you as it was
for anyone who would accept it, repent, seek forgiveness, know joy. Here's a
Bible. Won't you read it and join us on our merry Way?

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !


Do Women Have to Show They are Christians with Their Clothing?
Debbie W. Wilson

The woman’s long black dress flapped in the wind as she strode toward us
revealing a split that ran from her left ankle to her rib cage. Underneath,
her
slender figure and black bikini bottoms winked at us. Shocking? No, she
strolled a beach.

In Israel, a young woman in a long white dress caught my eye at a historic
sight. Her sheer lacy overdress also revealed a slender figure and black
undergarments.
In this setting her outfit screamed, “Notice me.”

Heavy long dresses and veils clearly identified the Muslim women on my visit
to Jerusalem. Long black coats, prayer shawls, and black hats identified the
men from the strict Hasidic Jewish sect.

Do women have to show they are Christian with their clothing? If so, what
does that look like?

In addressing this topic, Paul wrote, “And I want women to be modest in
their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not
draw
attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or
pearls or expensive clothes”
(1 Timothy 2:9 NLT).

Modest, decent, and appropriate…

The Need for Modesty

In Little Women, Big God
I wrote, “God created women to appeal to men, but using sexual attraction
against a man is ugly. Designer Jessica Rey cites research where Princeton
performed
brain scans on men looking at women dressed in various levels of covering.
The scans showed that when some men look at a scantily dressed woman, the
part
of their brains that deals with thoughts, feelings, and intentions shuts
down. Analysts from National Geographic concluded that bikinis cause male
brains
to see women as objects or as something to be used, not as people to connect
with.”

What’s Appropriate?

In Genesis 38, Tamar covered herself with a veil when she seduced her
father-in-law. That sounds modest. “
But she was dressed in temple prostitute attire . Temple prostitutes wore
veils to create the illusion that the sexual act was taking place with the
goddess
being worshipped. Just as red lights have been used to signify areas of
prostitution, Tamar’s veil identified her as a temple prostitute.”

To avoid sending the wrong message, Christ’s followers must dress not only
with appropriate modesty but also with suitable awareness of our culture’s
interpretation
of symbols.

While our culture calls moral standards outdated, God values sexual purity.
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any
kind of impurity,… because these are improper for God’s holy people… For you
were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of
light”
(Eph. 5:3, 8).

Did you catch the reason we seek purity? God calls us holy! We are children
of light. God gave us new natures that, like Jesus, want to please Him. If
we see ourselves as He sees us our dress will reflect it. If we don’t see
ourselves that way, we need to learn about our identity in Christ.

Modesty doesn’t mean drabness. Look at the beautiful colors and patterns God
chose for rainbows, flowers, fish, feathers, and fur. Dull and boring doesn’t
convey godliness.

Love and Respect

Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God with all your being and
to love your neighbor as yourself. Love guides us even in what to wear.
Modesty
shows respect for:

• Myself—as God’s child (Phil. 2:15).
• God—as His ambassador (2 Cor. 5:20).
• Others—by not being offensive, seductive, or distracting (Phil. 2:3).

Dressing seductively invites the wrong kind of attention. God’s children
aren’t needy.

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Some women hope a frumpy exterior will make them invisible to men. Accepting
femininity, instead of denying or flaunting it, shows respect to the Creator
of genders.

Clothes for Every Believer

Too often we focus on externals while the Bible focuses on the heart. We
sometimes use the term
habit to describe clothing associated with an action. A nun’s habit and a
riding habit tell something about those wearing them. Choosing the right
attitude
should come before selecting the perfect outfit.

“For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe
of his righteousness”
(Isaiah 61:10).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
(Colossians 3:12 NIV).

The religious teachers in Jesus’ day created many rules. Yet their human
laws didn’t make them holy. They crucified God’s Son while keeping their
laws!

Paul said this about man-made rules, “If you have died with Christ to the
world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s
as though you were still under the world’s influence. People will tell you,
‘Don’t handle this! Don’t taste or touch that!’ All of these things deal
with
objects that are only used up anyway. These things look like wisdom with
their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body.
But
they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt
nature”
(Colossians 2:20-23 GW).

Love Sets the Limit
The Bible says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there’s liberty (2 Cor.
3:17). It also says not to let our freedom cause our brother for whom Christ
died
to stumble
(Romans 14:13-20). God gives us freedom to express our unique personalities,
but makes clear it is better not to wear anything that will cause a brother
to fall. Love produces freedom that protects.

Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary
God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a
Christian
counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks and writes to help
others discover relevant faith. She is the author of
Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break
. Share her journey to refreshing faith at
her blog .

What Jesus Really Said about Poverty
by Jesus’ Economy

by John Barry

In Jesus, God came as a poor man, lived as a poor man, and died as a poor
man. He is good news to the poor. And as such, Jesus cared deeply about the
impoverished.

Being What We Believe

What we do with our beliefs is as important to Jesus as what we believe.
Jesus is about complete commitment to loving him and others. Jesus loves
belief-filled
actions, as his saying to a wealthy young man shows: “If you would be
perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have
treasure
in heaven; and come, follow me”
(Matthew 19:21; see 19:16–30 ESV). The man walks away sorrowful. Jesus then
says his famous:

“Truly I say to you that with difficulty a rich person will enter into the
kingdom of heaven! And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go
through
the eye of a needle than a rich person into the kingdom of God”
(Matthew 19:23-24).

Jesus’ disciples then ask, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looks at them and
says: “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are
possible”
(
>Matthew 19:25-26). Jesus is not suggesting it is impossible for a rich
>person to enter the kingdom of heaven, or be saved—He is saying it is only
>possible
with God. And for God to enter a person’s life they must be open to Him
entering.

Many of us are just like the rich young man. Out of one side of our mouth we
speak allegiance to Jesus, but out of the other side we’re speaking
allegiance
to the trappings of wealth. I know, because the rich young man asks the same
questions I would ask. Look at the events that prompted Jesus to make his
statement about the wealthy:

“And behold, someone [the rich young man] came up to him and said, ‘Teacher,
what good thing must I do so that I will have eternal life?’ And he said to
him, ‘Why are you asking me about what is good? There is one who is good.
But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments!’ He said to him,
‘Which
ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘Do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not
steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and your mother, and
love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these I
have observed. What do I still lack?’”
(Matthew 19:16-21).

Jesus is clearly frustrated and perhaps even offended: “Why are you asking
me about what is good?” The man is asking the wrong question. He doesn’t ask
how he can follow Jesus, or what it means to be a disciple—or what good
thing he can do for the world on behalf of a good God. He asks, “What must I
do
so that I will have eternal life?” If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t
that the question many of us are asking God today? Jesus is unsatisfied with
that
question.

Eternal life (salvation) is God’s great gift, but it’s meant to be a gift
that prompts action. It is meant to give us purpose.

When I was confronted with the reality of the story of the rich young man, I
again asked another question that he asks: “Which [commandments]?” Jesus
cites
to the man all the relational Ten Commandments, and in doing so, basically
implies, “All of them.” The man tells Jesus he has observed these and then
asks,
“What do I lack?” It is this question that gets to the root of the issue.
Jesus tells the man that he lacks self-sacrifice for others—he lacks giving
to
the extent that it is painful to him. He lacks an ability to put aside his
wealth for the sake of the gospel. Wealth is meant to bless others—plain and
simple (see
Genesis 12:1-3 for an example). It is not for hording, and it will—if not
given up, when God prompts you—keep you from fully experiencing the
blessings
of God.

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But do not fear, fret, or worry—instead, pray. Remember: “With human beings
this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

What Jesus Would Say to Us Today

Put simply, when we apply Jesus’ sayings today, they look like withdrawing
from any relationship, occupation, event, or thing that stands between you
and
following Jesus—permitted that you can do so while still honoring the
commandments Jesus tells the rich young man to keep: “Do not commit murder,
do not
commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your
father and your mother, and love your neighbor as yourself”
(Matthew 19:18-19).

Jesus has called us to join him in His work—to believe in it with all we
have. The cost may be hard to bear or understand at times, but when it’s put
in
the perspective of all that Christ has done for us—dying for our sins—it
seems like very little.

Jesus’ Currency and “Owning” the Problems of Poverty

The currency of Jesus’ kingdom is different than ours. Jesus’ economy is
based on self-sacrifice and His currency love. For Jesus, belief and actions
are
one and the same—you cannot have one without the other.

The more I reflect on the problem of poverty—and what Jesus had to say about
it—the more I realize that we own the problems of the impoverished as much
as they do. Our inactions have created many of them. We—all of us—are at
fault for the state of our world. But we can also join Jesus in changing the
state
of our world.

If Jesus believed that belief is about action, why don’t we? Why have we not
dedicated ourselves to bringing true discipleship and love to others, when
it’s what Christ told us to do? What good is belief without it offering true
hope?

God has asked us to demonstrate our belief by bringing good news to those
who feel hopeless. We are called to drop everything for Him—what is He
calling
you to drop for Him? This is Jesus’ view of the economy. He envisions what
the world could look like and calls us to join God in the process of making
that vision a reality. It’s about exchanging the currencies of this world
for the currency of love.

An adapted/modified version of this article was originally published by "on
faith"/"faith street" as "
Five Sayings of the Homeless Jesus ."

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy

When You Expect More from the Church
Gina Smith

You walk into the church and quietly find a place to sit. You purpose not to
make eye contact with anyone because you really don’t want to make
meaningless
small talk, nor do you want to get into any kind of in depth conversation.
You just want to be left alone. The fact that you even showed up today feels
like a big accomplishment.

Life has been so hard lately and you feel like no one has been there for
you.

Sitting quietly, you observe others as they make their way down the aisle.
One by one they find a place to sit and settle in for the church service.
One
by one, as you see them walk by, you are reminded of the ways you have been
let down. Thoughts begin to fill your mind and take away the desire to even
be in church at all!

If it wasn’t time for the service to start, and the kids weren’t settled,
you would just get up and go home. You are so discouraged. You expected more
from this church. You expected more from the Church.

The Church. It can be a confusing place at times. You walk through the front
doors expecting people to somehow be different than the outside world. You
expect loyalty, friendship, sensitivity, and an extended hand. You expect
compassion, fellowship, support and to feel included rather than excluded.

You expect more than what you are experiencing. You feel like walking away.

But what if everyone chose to walk away just because they are disappointed
and disillusioned with the Church? What if everyone gave up. There would be
no one left. And you know what? If that happened, there would probably be
at least one person (if not more than one!) who walked away because they
felt
disappointed by YOU! Yes. You. Because as much as we want to believe we don’t
act like “those hypocrites in the Church”, we do. I do. We have all let
someone down in one way or another. It can’t be avoided.

So what do we do?

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Stop expecting more. BE more.

It must begin somewhere. And when we decide that we are going to stop
sitting there reminding ourselves of all the ways we’ve been let down, and
choose
to
be MORE than what we see. MORE than what we’ve been. Then we will begin to
see the people, who we feel have let us down, through eyes of grace. We
will
begin to see how we have also let others down. And we will begin to purpose
to look for ways to strengthen the Church.

Stop expecting more. BE more.

How can you reach out and strengthen the Church today?

This article originally appeared on GinaLSmith.com
. Used with permission.

Gina Smith is the author of Grace Gifts: Celebrating Your Children Every Day
, and writes at her personal blog GinalSmith.com
She has also been featured on HSLDA'S
Homeschool Heartbeat Radio. She has been married to her husband Brian for 29
years and they have 2 adult children


No Weeping in Heaven

I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard
in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. -
Isaiah 65:19

In heaven the glorified do not weep, for all outward causes of grief are
gone. There are no broken friendships, nor unfulfilled longings in heaven.
Poverty,
famine, danger, persecution, and slander are unknown there. There will be no
pain to distress us, no anxious thoughts of death or bereavement to sadden.
Those there do not weep, for they are perfectly sanctified. No evil heart of
unbelief prompts them to depart from the living God; they are faultless
before
His throne and fully conformed to His image. Well might they stop mourning
since they have stopped sinning. They do not weep, because all fear of
change
is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they
are shut in. They are safe in a city that will never be taken; they bask in
a sun that shall never set; they drink of a river that will never run dry;
they pluck fruit from a tree that will never wither. Countless cycles may
revolve,
but eternity will not be exhausted; and while eternity endures, their
immortality and blessedness shall endure with it.

They are forever with the Lord. They do not weep because every desire is
fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything that they do not have. Eye and ear,
heart
and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire and will-all the faculties are
completely satisfied; and although our present ideas of what God has
prepared
for those who love him are imperfect, still we know by the revelation of the
Spirit that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which
is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the
bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite blessing. That same joyful rest awaits
us. It may not be too long before the weeping willow is exchanged for the
palm-branch of victory, and sorrow's tears will be transformed into the
pearls
of everlasting bliss. "Therefore encourage one other with these words."1

1 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 15

verse 2 Romans 13

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne

Name above All Names helps us to see and meditate on the incomparable
character of Christ--a spiritual exercise that enables us to readily respond
to the
exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon the King of kings, and to
better understand just how great Jesus really is.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good
News

No Weeping in Heaven

I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard
in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. -
Isaiah 65:19

In heaven the glorified do not weep, for all outward causes of grief are
gone. There are no broken friendships, nor unfulfilled longings in heaven.
Poverty,
famine, danger, persecution, and slander are unknown there. There will be no
pain to distress us, no anxious thoughts of death or bereavement to sadden.
Those there do not weep, for they are perfectly sanctified. No evil heart of
unbelief prompts them to depart from the living God; they are faultless
before
His throne and fully conformed to His image. Well might they stop mourning
since they have stopped sinning. They do not weep, because all fear of
change
is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they
are shut in. They are safe in a city that will never be taken; they bask in
a sun that shall never set; they drink of a river that will never run dry;
they pluck fruit from a tree that will never wither. Countless cycles may
revolve,
but eternity will not be exhausted; and while eternity endures, their
immortality and blessedness shall endure with it.

They are forever with the Lord. They do not weep because every desire is
fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything that they do not have. Eye and ear,
heart
and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire and will-all the faculties are
completely satisfied; and although our present ideas of what God has
prepared
for those who love him are imperfect, still we know by the revelation of the
Spirit that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which
is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the
bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite blessing. That same joyful rest awaits
us. It may not be too long before the weeping willow is exchanged for the
palm-branch of victory, and sorrow's tears will be transformed into the
pearls
of everlasting bliss. "Therefore encourage one other with these words."1

1 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 15

verse 2 Romans 13

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne

Name above All Names helps us to see and meditate on the incomparable
character of Christ--a spiritual exercise that enables us to readily respond
to the
exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon the King of kings, and to
better understand just how great Jesus really is.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good
News

13 Scriptures to Meditate on When Your Future Is Uncertain
by Mark Altrogge

At one time or another, all of us will face times of uncertainty.

Maybe you graduated from college and have no idea what you will do this
coming January. Perhaps you just lost your job. Or you’ve just moved to a
new area
where you know no one. Maybe you’ve just started a new job and feel
overwhelmed at the challenges that loom before you. Maybe you’re single and
wonder
if you’ll ever get married. Your life may even be so uncertain you don’t
know where your next meal will come from.

The reality is that none of us are secure in this world except in Christ.
Nothing is certain. We aren’t guaranteed our next meal. We aren’t even
guaranteed
our next heartbeat. Even when we feel secure, we are incredibly fragile and
completely dependent on the Lord for every breath. But when we are
particularly
tempted about the future it is important for us to meditate on these bedrock
truths. My suggestion would be to copy these verses and put them somewhere
so you can see them regularly, like in your Bible or on your fridge. Even if
you only meditate on the first three or four, God will use his word to
encourage
your heart.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel
you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man
of peace. Psalm 37:37

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not
also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all
the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs
23:17-18

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are
sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it,
there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we
drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these
things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to
you. Matthew 6:31-33

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which
God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them
eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of
my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no
one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,
for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the
rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall
not be
burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts
in you. Isaiah 26:3

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous
forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25

Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Shadows and Streams
By John Piper

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they
smoke! I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my
God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice
in the Lord.
(Psalm 104:31–34)

God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond
themselves to God himself.

God means for us to be stunned and awed by his work of creation. But not for
its own sake. He means for us to look at his creation and say: If the mere
work of his fingers (just his fingers! Psalm 8:3) is so full of wisdom and
power and grandeur and majesty and beauty, what must this God be like in
himself!

These are but the backside of his glory, as it were, darkly seen through a
glass. What will it be to see the Creator himself! Not his works! A billion
galaxies will not satisfy the human soul. God and God alone is the soul’s
end.

Jonathan Edwards expressed it like this:

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be
satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than
the most
pleasant accommodations here. . . . [These] are but shadows; but God is the
substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but
streams; but God is the ocean.

This is why Psalm 104 (verses 31–34) comes to a close like this, with a
focus on God himself. In the end it will not be the seas or the mountains or
the
canyons or the water spiders or the clouds or the great galaxies that fill
our hearts to breaking with wonder and fill our mouths with eternal praise.
It will be God.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have asked to receive updates from
Solid Joys.


Anne Graham Lotz - God Is the Potter
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God Is the Potter
You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the
work of Your hand.

Isaiah 64:8, NKJV

The principle that suffering leads to glory is illustrated in Scripture by a
vivid description of clay on the Potter’s wheel – clay that was once
cracked,
shattered, and broken, clay that was totally useless and ugly. The Potter
took the clay and broke it down even further, grinding it into dust then
moistening
it with water before He put it on His wheel and began to remake it into a
vessel pleasing to Himself. The cracks and chips and broken pieces
disappeared
as the clay became soft and pliable to the Potter’s touch.

But the clay was still soft and weak, the color dull and drab. So the Potter
placed the vessel into the fiery kiln, carefully keeping His eye on it as
He submitted it to the raging heat. At a time He alone determined was
sufficient, the Potter withdrew the pot from the furnace. The blazing heat
had radically
transformed into a vessel of strength and glorious, multicolored beauty.

You and I are just little clay pots destined for glory!

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 07 Oct 2017, 6:26 pm

What “One Little Word” Will Fell Satan?
Bryce Young / August 19, 2017
What “One Little Word” Will Fell Satan?

What is that “one little word” that will fell Satan?

The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.

Somehow it took me about twenty years to realize that I had no idea what
Martin Luther was talking about in this line in “A Mighty Fortress Is Our
God.”
Now, a confession: I am a Baptist, not Lutheran — I’m willing to admit there
may be a real, mystical meaning of the “one little word” that only Lutherans
can understand. But probably not.

The identity of this word should matter to us. Most Protestant churches
still sing this “Battle Hymn of the Reformation” regularly in worship. It
does
little good to know that a single word will take down the raging Prince of
Darkness if we have no idea what that word is. So, what word might Luther
have
in mind?

“Jesus”?

When I was a little kid, the only act of spiritual warfare I knew was simply
to say out loud the word “Jesus.” Somewhere, I picked up the idea that
demons
scatter when you mention Jesus’s name
. Maybe Luther’s one little word was “Jesus”?

While it may be a popular and catchy idea to mention “Jesus” for protection
against Satan, the Bible doesn’t specifically commend that approach. The
demons
themselves are not afraid to say Jesus’s name — they even talked directly to
Jesus, knowing exactly who he was (Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7).

The common idea that “Satan flees at Jesus’s name” may come from the
narratives in the Gospels and Acts where demons are cast out “in the name of
Jesus”
(Mark 9:38; Acts 16:18). It is repeated in a well-known worship song: “The
Enemy, he has to flee at the sound of your great name.”

But we know from the Bible itself that demons feel no fear simply at the
sound of Jesus’s name. Some “itinerant exorcists” adopted this verbal
formula
of simply citing Jesus’s name only to be driven out by the evil spirit
“naked and wounded!” (Acts 19:13–16). It is clearly not the mere sound of
those
two syllables that commands Satan, but the authority from God that lies
behind them (Mark 1:25–27).

Jesus’s name is not a magic spell used to take down evil spirits.

Jesus, the Word of God?

Perhaps Luther meant the Word, Jesus himself (John 1:1). While it is
certainly true biblically that Jesus will be the one to finally destroy the
devil
in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), it’s probably not what Luther refers
to here.

It is unlikely that Luther would refer to Jesus, the ascended King reigning
now over every name in heaven and on earth, as a
little word (in Luther’s German, wörtlein). Indeed, “the Word was
God.”

Ultimately, our hope of victory against Satan’s schemes is secured by his
final destruction, but more than that, we have hope
now. Even while Satan prowls this earth like a lion (1 Peter 5:8), we are
not at the mercy of our supernatural foe. “His rage we can endure” now,
before
his destruction, by another word.

That Little Word

Martin Luther actually identified the word he had in mind, the one little
word to fell our foe:

“Devil, you lie,” . . . Dr. Luther sings so proudly and boldly in those
words of his hymn, “One little word shall fell him.” (“Against Hanswurst”)

Speaking of himself in the third person, Luther says that the one simple
proclamation that defeats Satan is the simple verdict “Liar.”

Satan is a “liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). From the very
beginning, Satan has twisted and contorted the truth of God into a lie
(Genesis 3:1).
And from the very beginning, Satan’s favorite lie has been to declare
“unclean” what God has made clean, to declare “guilty” those whose sins God
has covered.

There’s nothing Satan wants more than to eat away your faith in Jesus. Satan
wants nothing more than for you to forget who you are in Christ. Over and
over, the Bible warns us not not play games with this devouring, roaring
beast of a being. His rage we can
not endure if our strategy is just to disregard him.

The Word of Faith

The text Luther most likely had in mind was Revelation 12:10, where John
writes that “the accuser of our brothers [who is Satan; 12:9] has been
thrown
down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” So there is an
accusation, a lie — Satan speaks “guilty” against the ones God has redeemed.
It’s
the same lie that Satan always speaks to God’s people (Zechariah 3:1).

The answer to this age-old lie is not to repeat Jesus’s name like a mantra.
Nor is it simply to remind ourselves that Satan’s days are numbered. The
answer,
for Luther and in the Bible, is to believe the truth, the gospel. The answer
is to believe the promises of God, that in Christ you are justified (Romans
5:1), clean (1 Corinthians 6:11), holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), loved
by God (Colossians 3:12), a branch saved from the fire (Zechariah 3:2).

The one, little word against Satan — “Liar!” — is the word of faith. When we
take all of Satan’s lies, his accusations, his reminders of our sins and
place
them in the blood-sealed file marked “Lies,” it is a profession of our faith
in Christ’s promises over against Satan’s accusations. This word is “the
victory
that has overcome” not only the world, but Satan himself (1 John 5:4).

We Tremble Not for Him

Satan is the grim Prince. He is deadly. He is a devouring, fearsome dragon
(Revelation 12:9).

But he is nothing against “the victory that has overcome the world — our
faith” (1 John 5:4). We tremble not for him because every one of his
accusations
— “guilty,” “condemned,” “unrighteous” — are shown to be nothing but lies
before Christ.

So, the next time you sing Luther’s hymn, sing these words with all the more
confidence and joy in Jesus. Say with Luther, “I admit that I deserve death
and hell. What of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on
my behalf.
“His name is Jesus Christ.”
The Final Divide: Eternal Life or Eternal Wrath
John Piper / August 19, 2017
The Final Divide

When your life is over on this earth you will either meet God in eternal
wrath or eternal life.

Listen Now
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved


Remember Your Baptism
by Liz Kanoy, Crosswalk.com Editor

"And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive
the
gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children
and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to
himself.'"

- Acts 2:38-39

Three years ago on Pentecost, I attended my godson’s baptism. The pastor
encouraged parents and godparents to remind their children and godchildren
of
their baptisms often. He also encouraged all believers to continually
remember their own baptism and to remember what baptism means for those in
the body
of Christ.

When I was baptized at 23, the pastor prefaced my baptism by saying “there
is nothing magical about this water,” and he was right. There is no magic in
the water and the water itself will not change you, but there is
extraordinary power and hope in the One who makes baptism possible - the One
who baptizes
in the Spirit and transforms the heart.

Whether you lean toward infant baptism or a believer’s baptism
theologically, Christians can all agree that baptism is a symbol of eternal
hope in Christ.
For Christian parents their baby’s baptism is a symbol of their promise to
raise the child to know and love God. For believers, baptism is a symbol of
the lasting hope they possess and a reminder of the promise that has been
fulfilled.

Remember your baptism, but don’t just remember the day or the act - remember
the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives purpose to all baptisms. Remember
that the Lord called you to Himself, and He chose you by name - not by any
merit of your own but by His free gift of grace.

Throughout the Bible, we can see that God chose people whom we might
consider not so deserving - polytheists, murderers, adulterers, harlots,
liars, and
all other sorts of sinners and sins combined. His point in showing us the
flaws of the people He chose is to remind us that no one is deserving. He
can
give mercy to anyone He chooses because all have fallen short of His glory,
and no one can be justified and sanctified apart from Jesus.

When you remember your baptism, remember that you were nothing and God made
you new. You were without hope, but He called you His own. He has adopted
you
as His child and heir. Remember the sin that caused the world to fall,
understand the consequence of sin for every human being, and realize your
continual
need for the perfect Savior who lived and died and rose for all who would
believe.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Thank your Savior Jesus Christ for your baptism
today, thank Him for the baptism of all those in the body of Christ and
those
in the covenant family, and pray for the baptism of many more--for no one is
without need of grace and no one is beyond God’s reach.

Further Reading
1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27;
Mark 16:16
What is Baptism? Is Baptism Necessary for Salation?

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


Members without a Club
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but
through me.
John 14:6

"I don't respect [believers] who don't proselytize. I don't respect that at
all. If you believe that there's a heaven and a hell, and that people could
be going to hell, or not getting eternal life, or whatever, and you think,
well, it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it
socially
awkward... how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How
much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is
possible,
and not tell them that? I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that
a truck was coming at you, and you didn't believe it, but that truck was
bearing
down? There's a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important
than that."

Wow, great words. Completely sums up what's at stake with Christian
evangelism, and why it's so important, not to mention commanded. Who said
that? Famous
pastor? Leading revivalist? World-traveled evangelist?

An atheist. One who later in the same speech will say, "I know there's no
God," and "religion does a lot of bad stuff," but who was nonetheless
touched
by a genuine gesture that a simple, normal, respectable gentleman made in
giving the gift of a Gideon Bible.

The atheist in question is Penn Gillette, of the famous magic act Penn &
Teller. You can check out his story of being offered a Bible following one
of
his shows
on YouTube .

I am sure Mr. Gillette and I - and you - disagree on a lot of things. But
he's so right about this. Our pastor was recently addressing some of the
tough
questions about Christianity in a sermon series, including the one about
"how can Christians claim to know the true way; aren't all ways equally
valid?"
And he settled on our verse today -
John 14:6
- which is always our beloved starting prooftext for how Jesus himself
stated that no other way would work.

While that is blessedly true, our pastor suggested we have tended to invert
(if not pervert) the subtlety of Jesus's message here. That is, we've
behaved
like we're privileged members of an exclusive club, one that has all sorts
of rules to keep others out. One that gets to tell them how wrong they are.
One that should be full of joy and open arms, but is instead full of stern
sobriety and pointing fingers. One that nobody would really want to join
anyway
, even if it were a club, which it isn't.

For one thing, we're on a journey toward perfection rather than cloistered
in a cozy clubhouse, and in the same chapter Jesus told his followers that
the
many rooms in his Father's house were being prepared. We aren't living in
them yet. Our clubhouse is not our current home. We have merely started the
trip,
and yet...

We forget where we come from.

Christianity is flawed in part because it is full of losers - yes, those who
have humbly admitted their own shortcomings and acknowledged The Answer is
found outside themselves. My own father - before his conversion - said he
viewed Christianity as a crutch for weak people. "Exactly," was my response.
"But realize, Dad, that also means you're saying it exists and has real
value just as a crutch does." Christ did not come for the healthy, but for
the
sick, the weak. That's us whether we admit it or not. We have no claim to
exclusivity. The message of John 14:6
, similar to how eloquently Mr. Gillette put it, is that anyone is welcome
for
INclusion, provided they... what? Please us? Donate? Stop being so mean? No.
They must simply believe. Our job is to tell them that truck is bearing
down,
politely and sincerely... to give the Bible and to read it ourselves... to
model a life not based on legalism or even moralism, but on the joy of every
day's opportunity along the narrow road and the freedom we have to choose to
follow it or not... to preach the gospel and, when necessary, use words to
do so.

When Jesus told His followers that He was the way and the truth and the
life, it was a statement of
comfort. He had just told them He would be leaving, but that if they had
seen Him (and they Had) then they had seen the Father, and that "you know
the
way to the place where I am going."

Intersecting Faith & Life: Comfort others with this verse. There are a lot
of hurting people in this world who point to this text as the source of
their
conundrum with Christianity. Remind them that we're not about keeping people
out, evoking a membership privilege or condemning them to a more dire fate.
Let God do His job. Our own part has so little to do with do's and don'ts,
and everything to do with sending out party invitations via grace, freedom,
and acceptance. I was lost, and someone pointed me to this road. Many others
had tried before, but their words finally took hold and my eyes were opened
to see it was indeed the right road. Pure blood was shed for you as it was
for anyone who would accept it, repent, seek forgiveness, know joy. Here's a
Bible. Won't you read it and join us on our merry Way?

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !


Do Women Have to Show They are Christians with Their Clothing?
Debbie W. Wilson

The woman’s long black dress flapped in the wind as she strode toward us
revealing a split that ran from her left ankle to her rib cage. Underneath,
her
slender figure and black bikini bottoms winked at us. Shocking? No, she
strolled a beach.

In Israel, a young woman in a long white dress caught my eye at a historic
sight. Her sheer lacy overdress also revealed a slender figure and black
undergarments.
In this setting her outfit screamed, “Notice me.”

Heavy long dresses and veils clearly identified the Muslim women on my visit
to Jerusalem. Long black coats, prayer shawls, and black hats identified the
men from the strict Hasidic Jewish sect.

Do women have to show they are Christian with their clothing? If so, what
does that look like?

In addressing this topic, Paul wrote, “And I want women to be modest in
their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not
draw
attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or
pearls or expensive clothes”
(1 Timothy 2:9 NLT).

Modest, decent, and appropriate…

The Need for Modesty

In Little Women, Big God
I wrote, “God created women to appeal to men, but using sexual attraction
against a man is ugly. Designer Jessica Rey cites research where Princeton
performed
brain scans on men looking at women dressed in various levels of covering.
The scans showed that when some men look at a scantily dressed woman, the
part
of their brains that deals with thoughts, feelings, and intentions shuts
down. Analysts from National Geographic concluded that bikinis cause male
brains
to see women as objects or as something to be used, not as people to connect
with.”

What’s Appropriate?

In Genesis 38, Tamar covered herself with a veil when she seduced her
father-in-law. That sounds modest. “
But she was dressed in temple prostitute attire . Temple prostitutes wore
veils to create the illusion that the sexual act was taking place with the
goddess
being worshipped. Just as red lights have been used to signify areas of
prostitution, Tamar’s veil identified her as a temple prostitute.”

To avoid sending the wrong message, Christ’s followers must dress not only
with appropriate modesty but also with suitable awareness of our culture’s
interpretation
of symbols.

While our culture calls moral standards outdated, God values sexual purity.
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any
kind of impurity,… because these are improper for God’s holy people… For you
were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of
light”
(Eph. 5:3, 8).

Did you catch the reason we seek purity? God calls us holy! We are children
of light. God gave us new natures that, like Jesus, want to please Him. If
we see ourselves as He sees us our dress will reflect it. If we don’t see
ourselves that way, we need to learn about our identity in Christ.

Modesty doesn’t mean drabness. Look at the beautiful colors and patterns God
chose for rainbows, flowers, fish, feathers, and fur. Dull and boring doesn’t
convey godliness.

Love and Respect

Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God with all your being and
to love your neighbor as yourself. Love guides us even in what to wear.
Modesty
shows respect for:

• Myself—as God’s child (Phil. 2:15).
• God—as His ambassador (2 Cor. 5:20).
• Others—by not being offensive, seductive, or distracting (Phil. 2:3).

Dressing seductively invites the wrong kind of attention. God’s children
aren’t needy.

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Some women hope a frumpy exterior will make them invisible to men. Accepting
femininity, instead of denying or flaunting it, shows respect to the Creator
of genders.

Clothes for Every Believer

Too often we focus on externals while the Bible focuses on the heart. We
sometimes use the term
habit to describe clothing associated with an action. A nun’s habit and a
riding habit tell something about those wearing them. Choosing the right
attitude
should come before selecting the perfect outfit.

“For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe
of his righteousness”
(Isaiah 61:10).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
(Colossians 3:12 NIV).

The religious teachers in Jesus’ day created many rules. Yet their human
laws didn’t make them holy. They crucified God’s Son while keeping their
laws!

Paul said this about man-made rules, “If you have died with Christ to the
world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s
as though you were still under the world’s influence. People will tell you,
‘Don’t handle this! Don’t taste or touch that!’ All of these things deal
with
objects that are only used up anyway. These things look like wisdom with
their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body.
But
they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt
nature”
(Colossians 2:20-23 GW).

Love Sets the Limit
The Bible says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there’s liberty (2 Cor.
3:17). It also says not to let our freedom cause our brother for whom Christ
died
to stumble
(Romans 14:13-20). God gives us freedom to express our unique personalities,
but makes clear it is better not to wear anything that will cause a brother
to fall. Love produces freedom that protects.

Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary
God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a
Christian
counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks and writes to help
others discover relevant faith. She is the author of
Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break
. Share her journey to refreshing faith at
her blog .

What Jesus Really Said about Poverty
by Jesus’ Economy

by John Barry

In Jesus, God came as a poor man, lived as a poor man, and died as a poor
man. He is good news to the poor. And as such, Jesus cared deeply about the
impoverished.

Being What We Believe

What we do with our beliefs is as important to Jesus as what we believe.
Jesus is about complete commitment to loving him and others. Jesus loves
belief-filled
actions, as his saying to a wealthy young man shows: “If you would be
perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have
treasure
in heaven; and come, follow me”
(Matthew 19:21; see 19:16–30 ESV). The man walks away sorrowful. Jesus then
says his famous:

“Truly I say to you that with difficulty a rich person will enter into the
kingdom of heaven! And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go
through
the eye of a needle than a rich person into the kingdom of God”
(Matthew 19:23-24).

Jesus’ disciples then ask, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looks at them and
says: “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are
possible”
(
>Matthew 19:25-26). Jesus is not suggesting it is impossible for a rich
>person to enter the kingdom of heaven, or be saved—He is saying it is only
>possible
with God. And for God to enter a person’s life they must be open to Him
entering.

Many of us are just like the rich young man. Out of one side of our mouth we
speak allegiance to Jesus, but out of the other side we’re speaking
allegiance
to the trappings of wealth. I know, because the rich young man asks the same
questions I would ask. Look at the events that prompted Jesus to make his
statement about the wealthy:

“And behold, someone [the rich young man] came up to him and said, ‘Teacher,
what good thing must I do so that I will have eternal life?’ And he said to
him, ‘Why are you asking me about what is good? There is one who is good.
But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments!’ He said to him,
‘Which
ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘Do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not
steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and your mother, and
love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these I
have observed. What do I still lack?’”
(Matthew 19:16-21).

Jesus is clearly frustrated and perhaps even offended: “Why are you asking
me about what is good?” The man is asking the wrong question. He doesn’t ask
how he can follow Jesus, or what it means to be a disciple—or what good
thing he can do for the world on behalf of a good God. He asks, “What must I
do
so that I will have eternal life?” If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t
that the question many of us are asking God today? Jesus is unsatisfied with
that
question.

Eternal life (salvation) is God’s great gift, but it’s meant to be a gift
that prompts action. It is meant to give us purpose.

When I was confronted with the reality of the story of the rich young man, I
again asked another question that he asks: “Which [commandments]?” Jesus
cites
to the man all the relational Ten Commandments, and in doing so, basically
implies, “All of them.” The man tells Jesus he has observed these and then
asks,
“What do I lack?” It is this question that gets to the root of the issue.
Jesus tells the man that he lacks self-sacrifice for others—he lacks giving
to
the extent that it is painful to him. He lacks an ability to put aside his
wealth for the sake of the gospel. Wealth is meant to bless others—plain and
simple (see
Genesis 12:1-3 for an example). It is not for hording, and it will—if not
given up, when God prompts you—keep you from fully experiencing the
blessings
of God.

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But do not fear, fret, or worry—instead, pray. Remember: “With human beings
this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

What Jesus Would Say to Us Today

Put simply, when we apply Jesus’ sayings today, they look like withdrawing
from any relationship, occupation, event, or thing that stands between you
and
following Jesus—permitted that you can do so while still honoring the
commandments Jesus tells the rich young man to keep: “Do not commit murder,
do not
commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your
father and your mother, and love your neighbor as yourself”
(Matthew 19:18-19).

Jesus has called us to join him in His work—to believe in it with all we
have. The cost may be hard to bear or understand at times, but when it’s put
in
the perspective of all that Christ has done for us—dying for our sins—it
seems like very little.

Jesus’ Currency and “Owning” the Problems of Poverty

The currency of Jesus’ kingdom is different than ours. Jesus’ economy is
based on self-sacrifice and His currency love. For Jesus, belief and actions
are
one and the same—you cannot have one without the other.

The more I reflect on the problem of poverty—and what Jesus had to say about
it—the more I realize that we own the problems of the impoverished as much
as they do. Our inactions have created many of them. We—all of us—are at
fault for the state of our world. But we can also join Jesus in changing the
state
of our world.

If Jesus believed that belief is about action, why don’t we? Why have we not
dedicated ourselves to bringing true discipleship and love to others, when
it’s what Christ told us to do? What good is belief without it offering true
hope?

God has asked us to demonstrate our belief by bringing good news to those
who feel hopeless. We are called to drop everything for Him—what is He
calling
you to drop for Him? This is Jesus’ view of the economy. He envisions what
the world could look like and calls us to join God in the process of making
that vision a reality. It’s about exchanging the currencies of this world
for the currency of love.

An adapted/modified version of this article was originally published by "on
faith"/"faith street" as "
Five Sayings of the Homeless Jesus ."

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy

When You Expect More from the Church
Gina Smith

You walk into the church and quietly find a place to sit. You purpose not to
make eye contact with anyone because you really don’t want to make
meaningless
small talk, nor do you want to get into any kind of in depth conversation.
You just want to be left alone. The fact that you even showed up today feels
like a big accomplishment.

Life has been so hard lately and you feel like no one has been there for
you.

Sitting quietly, you observe others as they make their way down the aisle.
One by one they find a place to sit and settle in for the church service.
One
by one, as you see them walk by, you are reminded of the ways you have been
let down. Thoughts begin to fill your mind and take away the desire to even
be in church at all!

If it wasn’t time for the service to start, and the kids weren’t settled,
you would just get up and go home. You are so discouraged. You expected more
from this church. You expected more from the Church.

The Church. It can be a confusing place at times. You walk through the front
doors expecting people to somehow be different than the outside world. You
expect loyalty, friendship, sensitivity, and an extended hand. You expect
compassion, fellowship, support and to feel included rather than excluded.

You expect more than what you are experiencing. You feel like walking away.

But what if everyone chose to walk away just because they are disappointed
and disillusioned with the Church? What if everyone gave up. There would be
no one left. And you know what? If that happened, there would probably be
at least one person (if not more than one!) who walked away because they
felt
disappointed by YOU! Yes. You. Because as much as we want to believe we don’t
act like “those hypocrites in the Church”, we do. I do. We have all let
someone down in one way or another. It can’t be avoided.

So what do we do?

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Stop expecting more. BE more.

It must begin somewhere. And when we decide that we are going to stop
sitting there reminding ourselves of all the ways we’ve been let down, and
choose
to
be MORE than what we see. MORE than what we’ve been. Then we will begin to
see the people, who we feel have let us down, through eyes of grace. We
will
begin to see how we have also let others down. And we will begin to purpose
to look for ways to strengthen the Church.

Stop expecting more. BE more.

How can you reach out and strengthen the Church today?

This article originally appeared on GinaLSmith.com
. Used with permission.

Gina Smith is the author of Grace Gifts: Celebrating Your Children Every Day
, and writes at her personal blog GinalSmith.com
She has also been featured on HSLDA'S
Homeschool Heartbeat Radio. She has been married to her husband Brian for 29
years and they have 2 adult children


No Weeping in Heaven

I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard
in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. -
Isaiah 65:19

In heaven the glorified do not weep, for all outward causes of grief are
gone. There are no broken friendships, nor unfulfilled longings in heaven.
Poverty,
famine, danger, persecution, and slander are unknown there. There will be no
pain to distress us, no anxious thoughts of death or bereavement to sadden.
Those there do not weep, for they are perfectly sanctified. No evil heart of
unbelief prompts them to depart from the living God; they are faultless
before
His throne and fully conformed to His image. Well might they stop mourning
since they have stopped sinning. They do not weep, because all fear of
change
is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they
are shut in. They are safe in a city that will never be taken; they bask in
a sun that shall never set; they drink of a river that will never run dry;
they pluck fruit from a tree that will never wither. Countless cycles may
revolve,
but eternity will not be exhausted; and while eternity endures, their
immortality and blessedness shall endure with it.

They are forever with the Lord. They do not weep because every desire is
fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything that they do not have. Eye and ear,
heart
and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire and will-all the faculties are
completely satisfied; and although our present ideas of what God has
prepared
for those who love him are imperfect, still we know by the revelation of the
Spirit that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which
is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the
bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite blessing. That same joyful rest awaits
us. It may not be too long before the weeping willow is exchanged for the
palm-branch of victory, and sorrow's tears will be transformed into the
pearls
of everlasting bliss. "Therefore encourage one other with these words."1

1 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 15

verse 2 Romans 13

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne

Name above All Names helps us to see and meditate on the incomparable
character of Christ--a spiritual exercise that enables us to readily respond
to the
exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon the King of kings, and to
better understand just how great Jesus really is.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good
News

No Weeping in Heaven

I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard
in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. -
Isaiah 65:19

In heaven the glorified do not weep, for all outward causes of grief are
gone. There are no broken friendships, nor unfulfilled longings in heaven.
Poverty,
famine, danger, persecution, and slander are unknown there. There will be no
pain to distress us, no anxious thoughts of death or bereavement to sadden.
Those there do not weep, for they are perfectly sanctified. No evil heart of
unbelief prompts them to depart from the living God; they are faultless
before
His throne and fully conformed to His image. Well might they stop mourning
since they have stopped sinning. They do not weep, because all fear of
change
is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they
are shut in. They are safe in a city that will never be taken; they bask in
a sun that shall never set; they drink of a river that will never run dry;
they pluck fruit from a tree that will never wither. Countless cycles may
revolve,
but eternity will not be exhausted; and while eternity endures, their
immortality and blessedness shall endure with it.

They are forever with the Lord. They do not weep because every desire is
fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything that they do not have. Eye and ear,
heart
and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire and will-all the faculties are
completely satisfied; and although our present ideas of what God has
prepared
for those who love him are imperfect, still we know by the revelation of the
Spirit that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which
is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the
bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite blessing. That same joyful rest awaits
us. It may not be too long before the weeping willow is exchanged for the
palm-branch of victory, and sorrow's tears will be transformed into the
pearls
of everlasting bliss. "Therefore encourage one other with these words."1

1 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 15

verse 2 Romans 13

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne

Name above All Names helps us to see and meditate on the incomparable
character of Christ--a spiritual exercise that enables us to readily respond
to the
exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon the King of kings, and to
better understand just how great Jesus really is.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good
News

13 Scriptures to Meditate on When Your Future Is Uncertain
by Mark Altrogge

At one time or another, all of us will face times of uncertainty.

Maybe you graduated from college and have no idea what you will do this
coming January. Perhaps you just lost your job. Or you’ve just moved to a
new area
where you know no one. Maybe you’ve just started a new job and feel
overwhelmed at the challenges that loom before you. Maybe you’re single and
wonder
if you’ll ever get married. Your life may even be so uncertain you don’t
know where your next meal will come from.

The reality is that none of us are secure in this world except in Christ.
Nothing is certain. We aren’t guaranteed our next meal. We aren’t even
guaranteed
our next heartbeat. Even when we feel secure, we are incredibly fragile and
completely dependent on the Lord for every breath. But when we are
particularly
tempted about the future it is important for us to meditate on these bedrock
truths. My suggestion would be to copy these verses and put them somewhere
so you can see them regularly, like in your Bible or on your fridge. Even if
you only meditate on the first three or four, God will use his word to
encourage
your heart.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel
you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man
of peace. Psalm 37:37

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not
also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all
the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs
23:17-18

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My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are
sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it,
there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we
drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these
things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to
you. Matthew 6:31-33

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which
God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them
eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of
my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no
one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,
for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the
rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall
not be
burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts
in you. Isaiah 26:3

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous
forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25

Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Shadows and Streams
By John Piper

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they
smoke! I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my
God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice
in the Lord.
(Psalm 104:31–34)

God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond
themselves to God himself.

God means for us to be stunned and awed by his work of creation. But not for
its own sake. He means for us to look at his creation and say: If the mere
work of his fingers (just his fingers! Psalm 8:3) is so full of wisdom and
power and grandeur and majesty and beauty, what must this God be like in
himself!

These are but the backside of his glory, as it were, darkly seen through a
glass. What will it be to see the Creator himself! Not his works! A billion
galaxies will not satisfy the human soul. God and God alone is the soul’s
end.

Jonathan Edwards expressed it like this:

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be
satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than
the most
pleasant accommodations here. . . . [These] are but shadows; but God is the
substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but
streams; but God is the ocean.

This is why Psalm 104 (verses 31–34) comes to a close like this, with a
focus on God himself. In the end it will not be the seas or the mountains or
the
canyons or the water spiders or the clouds or the great galaxies that fill
our hearts to breaking with wonder and fill our mouths with eternal praise.
It will be God.

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.
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Anne Graham Lotz - God Is the Potter
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God Is the Potter
You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the
work of Your hand.

Isaiah 64:8, NKJV

The principle that suffering leads to glory is illustrated in Scripture by a
vivid description of clay on the Potter’s wheel – clay that was once
cracked,
shattered, and broken, clay that was totally useless and ugly. The Potter
took the clay and broke it down even further, grinding it into dust then
moistening
it with water before He put it on His wheel and began to remake it into a
vessel pleasing to Himself. The cracks and chips and broken pieces
disappeared
as the clay became soft and pliable to the Potter’s touch.

But the clay was still soft and weak, the color dull and drab. So the Potter
placed the vessel into the fiery kiln, carefully keeping His eye on it as
He submitted it to the raging heat. At a time He alone determined was
sufficient, the Potter withdrew the pot from the furnace. The blazing heat
had radically
transformed into a vessel of strength and glorious, multicolored beauty.

You and I are just little clay pots destined for glory!

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

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Loneliness Is Longing for Relationship with God
By Rick Warren

“It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 b NIV).

What you often call loneliness is really homesickness for God. You’ve just
never recognized it. You were made to have a personal, intimate relationship
with Jesus Christ, a relationship that God is dying to have with you. In
fact, his Son
did die so you could have it. Nothing is ever going to compensate for
that -- no person, no experience, no drug, no success, no thing, no
possession. Nothing
is going to fill that aching hole in your heart that God created for
himself. He wants you to know him.

How do you get to know God?

1. Open your life to Jesus Christ. Say, “Jesus Christ, I want to get to know
you. I want to learn to love you the way you loved me, even before I knew
it. I want to have a relationship with you.” You were made for a
relationship with God -- not a religion of fear, rules, regulations, and
rituals, but
a relationship where you talk to God all the time and he works in and
through you. That is the antidote to your deepest loneliness.

2. Join a church family. We weren’t meant to be Lone Ranger Christians. Find
a spot where you can get involved. Join a small group where other people get
to know you and where you find the support network you need when you’re
going through those tough times. Take a chance. Take a risk. Join a small
group.

The real reason so many Christians are lonely is because they’re sitting
when they should be serving. All around us is a world full of people who are
lonely
and waiting to be cared for. That elderly person who hasn’t had a visit in
two years. That teenager who is all messed up and wonders, “What am I going
to do with my life?” That single adult who goes home every night to a lonely
apartment. That widow who has just buried her husband. That employee who
heads
for the bar every night after work because there’s nothing else to do.

The world is full of people waiting to be loved. Stop saying, “I don’t have
any friends!” and start saying, “God, who can you use me to minister to? Who
can I show your love to?” If all you do is commit yourself to being a friend
to lonely people, you’ll live a significant life. That would be a valid,
worthy
life goal. Get involved in ministry.

You will go through lonely times in your life, but you’ll never go through
it alone if you have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.



Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
God Has an Important Announcement - #7977

Our plane was racing down the runway, preparing to take off from Nashville.
I was so exhausted, I was already drifting off into la-la land. Then came
those
jolts as the front wheels left the ground. The team member who was with me
said, "Have you ever felt anything like that?" I said, "No." And I dozed
off.
I wouldn't sleep for long; the flight attendant suddenly was announcing that
we had blown a rear tire on takeoff and we were heading back to Nashville.
For the next 45 minutes or so, we were circling the area, burning up as much
fuel as possible for what could well be a crash landing. I called my wife
from the plane. I asked her to get people praying. My team member joined me
in committing this whole situation to the Lord. The flight attendants went
into emergency mode to begin to prepare us for the landing. They
demonstrated how to brace for the landing. They had us pull out our
emergency instruction
card from the pocket in front of us; something they had asked us to do
before we took off; something hardly anyone did. But as the attendant began
her
briefing she prefaced it with a simple exhortation, "This time I want you to
really listen." We really did!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "God Has
an Important Announcement."

I'm very thankful to God for the way He answered prayer and brought our
crippled aircraft in safely for a welcome from an armada of emergency
vehicles
and personnel. I was impressed with how the crew had prepared us. I was
impressed with the way we all listened. And why did they have our total
attention
the second time when they reviewed those exits and evacuations? It's
obvious, because we were in a critical situation now; because the
information could
be life-or-death.

Our word for today from the Word of God, Hebrews 2:3. "How shall we escape
if we ignore such a great salvation?" God has been trying to communicate
life-or-death
information to some of us for a long time. That word "salvation", that's not
just a religious word. That's serious stuff. Salvation is how to get out of
a plane that might be on fire; how to get out of a burning building. But
like those passengers on that flight, we don't pay much attention to
salvation
information until we're suddenly in a critical situation...until we finally
realize that what we do with this could be the difference between life and
death.

God is used to people, as it says here, "ignoring such a great salvation".
Maybe He's been trying to get your attention with the most critical
information
you will ever hear - that we're under an eternal death penalty for running
our lives our way instead of God's way. And that His one and only Son,
Jesus,
absorbed all your sin and all the hell of it when He died on the cross, and
that your only hope with God is putting your total trust in Jesus, like a
person
in a burning building would pin all their hopes on the rescuer who came to
save them.

You've heard that news before, and maybe you've even accepted it with your
head. That's what I did with the rescue information from that flight
attendant
the first time around. I got it with my heart though when I realized my life
could depend on knowing and acting on it.

For you, ignoring what God has done to save you puts you in the danger zone.
Maybe it's been that God has even shaken things up recently. He's asking for
your attention before it is eternally too late. He says, "This time I want
you to really listen". This isn't just some religious belief you sign up
for.
This requires an action step of making Jesus your personal Savior. If you
haven't done that - if you've been putting that off - consider this God's
emergency
call to make your peace with Him.

I believe there's someone listening right now who's saying, "I don't think I
should risk one more day without the Savior." Are you ready to begin this
life saving relationship, to open your heart to Him? Tell Him that right
now. I want to help you, in every way possible, make sure you belong to Him
before
you hit the pillow tonight. So go to our website - ANewStory.com. That's
what it's there for.

God simply says, "How will you escape if you ignore such a great salvation?"
Especially after what it cost. It cost God's one and only Son His life!
Please,
don't ignore this any longer. Your life - your eternity depends on it.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

Don't Idolize the Past

Oh, that I were as in the months of old. - Job 29:2

Many Christians are able to view the past with pleasure but regard the
present with dissatisfaction. They look back upon the days that they have
spent
in communing with the Lord as being the sweetest and the best they have ever
known; but as to the present, it is as if they were smothered by a heavy
blanket
of gloom and dreariness. Once they lived near Jesus, but now they feel that
they have wandered from Him, and they say, "Oh, that I were as in the months
of old." They complain that they have lost their evidences, or that they no
longer have peace of mind, or that they have no enjoyment in the means of
grace,
or that their conscience is hardened, or that they are no longer as zealous
for God's glory as they once were.

The causes of this mournful state of things are many. It may arise through a
comparative
neglect of prayer, for a neglected closet is the beginning of all spiritual
decline. Or it may be the result of idolatry. The heart has been occupied
with
something else, more than with God; the affections have been set on the
things of earth instead of the things of heaven. A jealous God will not be
content
with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best. He will withdraw the
sunshine of His presence from a cold, wandering heart. Or the cause may be
found in self-confidence and self-righteousness. Pride is busy in the heart,
and self is exalted instead of lying low at the foot of the cross.

Christian, if you are not now as you "were . . . in the months of old," do
not be content to simply wish for a return of your former happiness, but go
at once to seek your Master and tell Him your sad state. Ask His grace and
strength to enable you to walk more closely with Him; humble yourself before
Him, and He will lift you up and allow you once more to enjoy the light of
His countenance. Do not sit down to sigh and lament; while the beloved
Physician
lives there is hope; there is a certainty of recovery even for the worst
cases.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 1

verse 2 Romans 1

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson


Handling Difficult Circumstances

Philippians 3:8-11

The apostle Paul understood how to handle tough circumstances. Even while he
was confined in a prison cell, he kept his eyes on Christ and trusted firmly
in the Savior. Therefore, despite being in chains, he was able to celebrate
the Lord’s work in his life. In fact, the epistle he wrote from jail to the
Philippians was filled with rejoicing (1:18; 2:18; 3:1).

Focusing on Christ is neither a natural reaction nor an easy one. Our
instinct is to dwell on the situation at hand, searching for solutions or
stewing
over the pain and difficulty. As a result, troubles look scary and overwhelm
us with a sense of defeat.

However, fear and defeat cannot live long in a heart that trusts the Lord. I’m
not saying you’ll forget what you’re going through, but you can choose to
dwell on His provision and care instead. He is the Deliverer (2 Cor. 1:10).
He is the Healer (Deut. 32:39). He is the Guide (Prov. 3:6). The believer
who lays claim to divine promises discovers that God pushes back negative
emotions. In their place, hope, confidence, and contentment take up
residence
(Phil. 4:11). You aren’t going to be happy about a difficult situation, but
you can be satisfied that God is in control and up to something good in the
midst of trouble.

The Lord’s principles and promises don’t change, no matter how severe or
painful the situation is. Focus on Christ instead of the circumstances--God
will
comfort your heart and bring you safely through the trial. Then you can
answer Paul’s call to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4).

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please
visit
www.intouch.org .

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights
Reserved.


How I Know That It’s Never Too Late
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Twenty-five years ago, I held a newborn baby in my arms.

She was beautiful, tiny.

Mine.

And I was young -- 19 to be exact.

I was a unmarried teenage mom and a sophomore in college. The year of my
daughter’s birth was one of the most difficult years of my life. It was
hard --
very hard.

A positive pregnancy test set off a string of new realities in my life, one
of which was a strong feeling of a lack of worth. I had messed up and
disappointed
the people I loved. I was on my way to being “mom” in a season of life where
I planned on being a kid. I was no longer the “good girl” I’d once tried to
be.

I wondered, sometimes out loud, Does God still love me?

Pain mixed with a little shock, a ton of remorse, and lots of uncertainty
left me feeling unlovable, unredeemable and out of God’s good graces.

I knew He loved me, but didn’t feel it. Instead I felt alone, in the dark
and cold.

During one of those lonely moments, I reached for my Bible and searched for
reassurance of God’s love for me. I believed God loved me no matter what,
yet
I just needed
proof. I needed a reminder to rest in and rehearse so I wouldn’t forget or
doubt the reality of His love in my life.

I wrote one verse down on a sheet of notebook paper. That one verse became
two, then five, then over time became two pages of Scripture to remind me
how
God loved me.

I kept those notebook papers with me at all times -- folded in my pocket or
my purse or my backpack as I went to class.

Over time, I’ve learned to believe God’s love for me is unconditional. While
He does indeed desire for me to obey His Word and walk in righteousness, His
acceptance of me does not ride or die on whether or not I measure up.
Consequences ebb and flow with my choices, but His everlasting love does
not.

As I rehearsed those verses that represented a lifeline to His love, I
learned to believe in His love for me in a very deep and real way. And the
more
I understood His love, the more I wanted to live a life that exemplified the
love I desired to offer to Him in return, just as our key verse reminds us:

“We love because he first loved us”
(1 John 4:19
).

I recently dug out those pieces of paper. They’re still intact, though they’ve
yellowed with time. As I held them in my hands, I was overcome by the gift
of God’s love to an imperfect person like me.

Not only does God love me unconditionally, He loved and always loves me
first. God doesn’t wait on me to come to Him ready with everything together
or
with all my ducks in a row. He’s loved me -- and continues to love me -- to
live the life of the girl He created me to be.

Since those college days, I have had my fair share of hard times. But one
thing hasn’t changed.

I know He loves me. And I’ve learned more deeply over time to believe in my
value to God and trust what He thinks of me, regardless of where life has
led
me thus far. I understand more about how He wants me to live my life,
knowing He has made me beautiful, strong and powerful in Him.

As long as I still have breath in my lungs, it’s never too late to choose to
live her life ... the life of the girl who feels lost. Or forgotten. The
girl
who’s made mistakes.

Or the life of the girl who simply needs to stop wasting time and move
forward with what she knows she should do.

How do I know it’s never too late to know the love of God? Because it wasn’t
too late for me.

And here’s what I know -- it’s never too late for you to seek His Word, His
face, His heart and His hopes for the life of the girl in you.

Dear Father, sometimes I struggle to believe You love me and You can redeem
my story and life, however it’s played out thus far. I want to be exactly
who
You created me to be. Give me the confidence to believe in Your love for me
and Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 5:8
, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)


Mercy in Misery
By Skip Heitzig

When I was growing up, my dad used to say, "You know, son, the Bible says
God helps those who help themselves." But when I finally started reading the
Bible, I found out that it doesn't say that anywhere. In fact, the Bible
says that God helps helpless, downtrodden people. "[God] delights in mercy,"
the
prophet Micah wrote
(Micah 7:18 ).

Did you know the word mercy appears close to 300 times in the Bible? If it
pops up that many times, that tells me it's a priority. Certainly one of
Jesus'
most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy
toward people who were hurting. Now, the Roman world in which He lived was
not
big on mercy; it glorified courage, strength, and justice. But into that
merciless world stepped a merciful Savior, who we see in
John 5
heal not only a miserable man's body, but his spirit as well.

Let's read about it: "After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus
went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool,
which
is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great
multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of
the
water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up
the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water,
was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who
had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and
knew
that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, 'Do
you want to be made well?'"
(John 5:1-6 ).

It doesn't take much to imagine the sight and the smell of these people
wasting away by the pool of Bethesda, waiting for the movement of some
subterranean
spring to bubble up, brought on by the actions of an angel, as the story
went. These people were totally desperate and helpless.

And Jesus, the text tells us, saw a man lying there. Among throngs of
people, Jesus' eyes rested on one individual man who He knew had a disease.
The point
is this: mercy begins by how we see people. I often find myself asking God
to keep me sensitized to what I see, because I see a lot of suffering as a
pastor.
Matthew 9
says that when Jesus saw the multitudes, "He was moved with compassion" (v.
36)--with mercy.

What Jesus saw at the pool of Bethesda then informed what He did: "When
Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that
condition
a long time, He said to him, 'Do you want to be made well?' The sick man
answered Him, 'Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is
stirred
up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.' Jesus said to him,
'Rise, take up your bed and walk.' And immediately the man was made well,
took up his bed, and walked"
(John 5:6-9 ).

Pop down to verse 14 for a moment: after Jesus healed this man, He "found
him in the temple, and said to him, 'See, you have been made well. Sin no
more,
lest a worse thing come upon you.'" What could possibly be worse than
thirty-eight long years suffering from a debilitating disease? I'll tell you
what:
eternal suffering as a result of unrepentant sin. Disease robbed this man of
the best years of his life, but unrepentant sin would rob him of eternity.
Jesus loved him enough to confront him with this truth.

And that's mercy. Mercy is ultimately shown by preaching the gospel and
caring for broken souls, not just broken bodies. There's no other message
like
the gospel that can bring healing.

Showing mercy isn't easy, but it's imperative. If you follow the One who is
merciful, it naturally follows that you will show mercy to others. So ask
the
Lord to change your heart, if it needs changing in this area. Learn to
notice those who are hurting around you. Reach out not just physically, but
spiritually
as well, knowing that God doesn't help those who help themselves--He helps
those who can't. And praise Him that He does.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.


We need more sermons in shoes!

( Theodore Cuyler )

"Live such good lives among the pagans, that . . . they may see your good
deeds and glorify God!" 1 Peter 2:12

"Whoever says he abides in Him--ought to walk and conduct himself in the
same way in which He walked and conducted Himself." 1 John 2:6
(Amplified version)

We need more sermons in shoes--men and women going up and down the roads of
life preaching Christianity by their imitation of Christ!

The demand of the day is for a higher standard and style of Christian life.
Every follower of Christ must represent His religion purely, loftily,
impressively--before
that multitude of "Bible-readers" whose only Bible is the Christian!

"The true test of religion, is in the street. It lies in the common walks of
life--even more than in the worship of the sanctuary. The test of our
religion
is not the regular manner in which we go to church, or the way in which we
read our Bibles, or any elaborate religious ritual we perform. Its test is
the
kind of people it makes us--the kind of life it produces in us."

"A fine illustration of the worth of Christian character was seen in a
teacher of one of the government schools of Japan. His contract was that he
was
not to teach Christianity--and, so far as
words were concerned, he kept it faithfully. But all the while his
life was so blameless and beautiful--that it did the work without words. As
evidence of this, forty of the students, without his knowledge, met in a
grove
secretly, and signed a covenant to forsake idolatry--for the religion of
their teacher. Some of them are now preaching the gospel in their native
land."

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and
praise your Father in Heaven!" Matthew 5:16

"That you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a
crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the
universe!"
Philippians 2:14-15

"So that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior
attractive." Titus 2:10

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of
love--just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us" Ephesians 5:1-2


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today's Devotional

Down In The Dumps

Sometimes, when situations arise over which I have no control, and I feel
particularly overwhelmed, retreating to the comfort of my bed is wonderful.
It
is especially nice if I am having a good dream. In our dreams, we escape
from pain and suffering and reality.

Depressed people do not want to get out of bed, because they do not want to
face the problems that they have internalized for whatever reason, or they
are enduring an illness either in themselves or in a loved one. We long for
something to heal us from the deep hole into which we have sunk and from
which
we sometimes find it impossible to escape.

We need a sense of purpose. We need our inner being, our life, and our
hearts filled with something, in order to replace the emptiness that has
infected
us and affected us negatively.

Jesus knows what we are going through. He has been there. Jesus suffered so
much that His sweat was mixed with blood dripping down His face as He
anticipated
being nailed to the cross.

Luke 22:43-44 – Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him, for
he was in such agony of spirit that he broke into a sweat of blood, with
great
drops falling to the ground as he prayed more and more earnestly. (TLB)

Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for
good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His
purpose.
(NASB)

Is any of us feeling down in the dumps? Do we feel that life is too hard to
bear? There is help. Jesus can fill this void in our lives.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You baptized Your Son with a purpose: to share Your
love for all of mankind and to reconcile sinners to You. Fill our emptiness
with Your love. We thank You for equipping doctors and psychologists with
wisdom and discernment in order to help the oppressed and mentally
challenged.
Grant them empathy and love as they minister Your healing and serve Your
children today. Amen.

Rosemary Hagedorn < rosyhagedorn@gmail.com >
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today's Devotional

Down In The Dumps

Sometimes, when situations arise over which I have no control, and I feel
particularly overwhelmed, retreating to the comfort of my bed is wonderful.
It
is especially nice if I am having a good dream. In our dreams, we escape
from pain and suffering and reality.

Depressed people do not want to get out of bed, because they do not want to
face the problems that they have internalized for whatever reason, or they
are enduring an illness either in themselves or in a loved one. We long for
something to heal us from the deep hole into which we have sunk and from
which
we sometimes find it impossible to escape.

We need a sense of purpose. We need our inner being, our life, and our
hearts filled with something, in order to replace the emptiness that has
infected
us and affected us negatively.

Jesus knows what we are going through. He has been there. Jesus suffered so
much that His sweat was mixed with blood dripping down His face as He
anticipated
being nailed to the cross.

Luke 22:43-44 – Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him, for
he was in such agony of spirit that he broke into a sweat of blood, with
great
drops falling to the ground as he prayed more and more earnestly. (TLB)

Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for
good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His
purpose.
(NASB)

Is any of us feeling down in the dumps? Do we feel that life is too hard to
bear? There is help. Jesus can fill this void in our lives.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You baptized Your Son with a purpose: to share Your
love for all of mankind and to reconcile sinners to You. Fill our emptiness
with Your love. We thank You for equipping doctors and psychologists with
wisdom and discernment in order to help the oppressed and mentally
challenged.
Grant them empathy and love as they minister Your healing and serve Your
children today. Amen.

Rosemary Hagedorn < rosyhagedorn@gmail.com >
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada


It Looked Better in My Head
by John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to
your own
interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-4

Your calling looks better in your head than in real life. Inside, safely
tucked away in your synapses, the visions of what God wants to do through
you
come with puppies, double rainbows, and guilt-free cheesecake. It’s amazing
how perfectly our brains can sand down the obstacles ahead, plaster over the
voices of dissent, and generally build a future much like the highlights
from someone else’s life.

With such a build-up, it’s easy to see why we get disappointed. After all,
stories like these are all over:

· The country preacher has a vision to reach rural America with the
gospel, to burn so brightly that a whole community is changed. But the
church
never grows. He sees nothing dramatic happen and finally moves on.

· A woman faithfully loves and serves her unsaved coworkers for
years. She pours hours of prayer into the thing, hoping that at least one
will
really absorb what she’s been sharing with them. But all she seems to take
with her when she retires are the pictures from her cubicle.

· A Christian missionary community, after years of serving the
poorest in their adopted country, finally has a breakthrough when a local
leader
professes faith in Jesus. Days later, militants attack the area and murder
the new convert, his family, and many of the missionaries.

And maybe something like that has hijacked your calling, too. You started
out strong, pushing forward even when turbulence hit. You just knew God
would
work all things together for your good, and you had that verse,
Romans 8:28
, firmly planted in your noggin (and maybe scribbled on a Post-It Note on
your mirror--just to be sure).

But along the way, the future you had imagined became more and more distant
from the slog-it-out reality. You doubt that God was ever really in the
thing
to begin with, and, so, you try to forget that something ever happened, that
something got you excited and charged up in the first place.

Don’t write off your calling just yet.

The thing about God is that He’s big, really big. And He sees much farther,
clearer, and better than us. From our perspective, we can’t always see
progress.
But usually that’s because we’re trying to see the land ahead from a valley.

Intersecting Faith & Life: The truth is that we may not see progress in the
short-term, maybe not even in our lifetime. But we’ve been called to
faithfully
serve where Christ puts us. We get bogged down when we imagine that all our
service and work should produce results that we can experience. Our joy
comes
from seeing things happen, and not so much the serving.

But God never promises that we’ll see what He’s up to--at least, not while
we’re camping here on earth. He’s called us to look out “for the interest of
others,” both believers and the unchurched. Whether we see something happen
or not.

For Further Reading
1 Corinthians 12
Ephesians 4
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 21 Sep 2017, 3:57 pm

The Dark Cloud

2 Chronicles 6:1 (NCV)
1 Then Solomon said, “The Lord said he would live in the dark cloud.

Psalm 18:11 (NASB95)
11 He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.

Many people, even Christians, go through what they feel like are dark
clouds. Trouble seems to come from all sides. WE might feel lonely,
depressed, in despair, in agony or one of many different feelings. We don’t
know why we are going through these circumstances and may want to give up
but we can take comfort that God will be there in our dark clouds. Just
because we are in a cloud doesn’t necessarily mean that God has left us even
though we may feel like He has at the time. Jesus himself told those of us
who belong to Him that He will never forsake us. Take heart, the clouds will
vanish in God’s time. Until that happens, let God refresh your soul through
knowing He loves you, through prayer, Bible study and meditation. We need
these more in these times in the clouds than when we have blue skies.

When we are in the dark cloud we may not know why we are there but, like C.
H. Spurgeon, we may find out later how this time can be used by God:

Spurgeon once tells of how he was utterly depressed in spirit and soul,
discouraged, and failing in health. Just before leaving for a recuperation,
he preached on “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The experience
was so sad that he wished it would never happen again.
Afterwards, a man come to see him. Spurgeon described him later as “one step
away from the insane asylum,” his head bulging, his hands nervous and his
spirit totally depressed. The man told Spurgeon that after hearing his
sermon, he felt that Spurgeon was the only one who could understand him and
so he had come. Spurgeon comforted him as best he knew how from his own sad
experience.
For five years, Spurgeon did not see the man. But “just last night” (he was
delivering the above lecture to students at the College), “I saw him: it was
like night and day. He was completely changed.” Spurgeon concluded that he
was willing to undergo hundreds of such experiences now that he knew God
permitted it to happen so that he could know and sympathize with people
under similar predicament.
-taken from Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations

by Dean W. Masters

Losing Our Bearings - A message from Dan McNerney.
During the past two years, I have been invited to speak in a wide variety of
church settings in many different parts of our country. Recently, a number
of these engagements have taken place in what is commonly called the "Bible
Belt," where church attendance is still high -- but so are emotions of anger
and fear in regard to Muslims or people radically different from the
majority culture. In one such setting this summer, when I was teaching on
the similarities
and differences between Islam and Christianity, a middle aged man stood up
and said, "Pastor, I know what you are trying to do, but I am sorry, I moved
to this town purposely with my wife and children a few years ago to be in a
place where we could be surrounded by people like ourselves. I do not want
a Muslim anywhere near me. What I say probably does not sound so good, but
that's where I am at." As I stood there at the podium, I applauded this man
for his honesty and I continued with my teachings from the Gospels. By the
end of the weekend seminar, this man had made a 180 degree change. He joined
a chorus of other people from his church who came up with the idea of
inviting Muslim students to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in their
homes this
fall and winter. He said that being reminded of the teachings of Jesus had
softened his heart.

This honest man represents so much of America today, not just in the Bible
Belt, but in every state in our union. American Christians are sadly
spending
an increasing amount of time on social media, religiously listening to their
televisions and forming spiritual and emotional opinions from the secular
news sources of their choice. Secularism is growing at a rapid rate in our
country, surrounding churches and practicing Christians as never before.
Technology
now offers us opportunities to be bathed in images and people talking to and
making impressions on us 24 hours a day. Christians are filling their minds
with words and images from the world, not from the kingdom of God, to the
point where they can hardly distinguish between the two.

We are at a moment in history when we need to remind ourselves that the
world has its own prince, its own kingdom, which is incredibly alluring,
seductive
and cunning. It is not the same as the kingdom of God. In fact, God's
kingdom is slowly coming to earth to replace the kingdom of this world.
These two
kingdoms are in opposition to each other. Think about it, every time you say
the Lord's Prayer, you are reminded of this fact: "Thy kingdom come, thy
will
be done, on earth as it is in heaven." The kingdom of this world is often
crass, self-serving, power hungry, cynical, in love with money, violent and
divisive.
And, on a daily basis, it is recruiting you to join its cause. If Christians
are not careful, they will find themselves espousing values of the world,
not knowing how much they are in opposition to the kingdom of God. The only
thing that can keep you from falling into this trap is making time to listen
carefully and often to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook announced that
his company has a new mission statement. He now envisions and wants Facebook
"To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer
together." He says, "Facebook is now about community-building and not just
connecting
with friends." In recent interviews, Mr. Zuckerberg says he sees the world
changing with less people going to church and joining other older
established
community organizations. He thinks Facebook can fill that gap and create the
new kind of community people need. Oh really? Can Facebook create the same
kind of community the Church of Jesus Christ has for the past 2000 years?
Can an organization that celebrates self-promotion, self-importance,
self-aggrandizement,
and image glorification, at a distance, ever replace face-to-face gatherings
of humble, praying, faithful people getting together to break bread, share
stories and resources, read the Word of God, look at each other in the eye,
and bind up each other's wounds through the loving grace of God? It is up to
faithful Christians today to answer this question.

Jesus instructed his disciples to get together often; in fact, many of them
lived together. He did not say, stay in your own rooms and relate to each
other
through a collection of images. He did not say, walk down a street, sit on a
donkey, or eat a meal at a restaurant with your head buried in some kind of
communication device. He said, forgive someone who owes you money, pray for
those who persecute you, love people radically different from yourself,
judge
not or you will be judged, give away a second shirt if you have two, love
those who hate you, turn the other cheek, reconcile with your adversary on
the
way to court, listen before speaking, wash each other's feet, because the
last shall be first and the first last.

Koreans, Chinese, Brazilian and Nigerian missionaries are sending themselves
as missionaries into the Western world, as never before. They know that in
the United States, Europe and Canada especially, secular society is making
major inroads into Christian community, heavily influencing how people
think,
drawing them further and further away from the teachings of Jesus. For this
reason, Nigerian missionaries have started new churches throughout the
United
States, now numbering in the thousands. Some African mission organizations
hope to establish a church in every city in the United States in the near
future.
They hope to revive the American Church so that people are not tempted to
leave worshipping God and satisfy their need for community in unhealthy and
ungodly
ways; so that the kingdom of the world does not choke out the kingdom of God
in North America.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the people in Philippi, the following words;
"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is
just, whatever
is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any
excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these
things.
Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and
seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9) In
other
words, our minds should be filled with grace, not rancor. Our first impulse
should be to serve quietly, not call attention to ourselves. We should be
ambassadors
of reconciliation, not divisiveness and anger. We should not allow spirits
of fear or anxiety to rule our lives. As followers of Jesus, we need to be
incredibly
vigilant as to how the messages of the world might be slowly creeping into
our lives and into our daily thoughts. The earmarks of our lives should be
faith,
hope and love.

Many media sources today are providing non-stop commentary on everything
that moves; and we are eating it up. We are becoming a society that fears
silence
and prizes chatter. If we do not make an image of ourselves and send it to
someone, the moment might not have value, or so our thinking goes. Clearly,
we are racing towards creating greater internet community, but at what cost?
We are uncomfortable with silence because we are uncomfortable with
ourselves.
In our subconscious, we reason, if there is no God, then we are truly alone,
and that frightens us to death.

We are now in September, the beginning of the new "school year:" it is when
people are most inclined to join a Christian community, or seek a greater
understanding
of Jesus, his teachings, and his Church. What if this year, you would allow
yourself one hour a week to sit still in a church service and just listen to
what is being said about the life of Jesus; or take 15 minutes a day to read
and pray through one of the Gospels on your own? We are in constant need to
renew our minds in the grace of our Lord. No one ever said it better than
the Apostle Paul when he wrote the following to the Romans; "I appeal to
you,
therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual
worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God -
what is
good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2)

If you feel as if somehow you have recently lost your bearings, don't panic.
There are may people in our country who feel the same way. But, there is a
way home. And, this way is through the words of Jesus. If we listen to him,
he will lead us safely to his calm waters -- to his peaceful kingdom in our
hearts and minds.


The Emotions of Faith

“‘Serving the Lord with all humility and with tears ... remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.’ ... They began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him.” Acts 20:19-37 NASB

It can be easy to think of Paul as a scholar. A spiritual and intellectual giant. Yet in his last visit with leaders of the Ephesus church, Paul revealed an emotional side of his nature.

He spoke about serving the Lord “with all humility and with tears” through times of testing. While obeying God, he felt the pain and struggle of each test. Then, he showed how much he cared for the Ephesians by admonishing them “with tears” and telling them about trials they would face. These were the words of a man of passion and emotion, who cared about these people as they knelt together, prayed, and wept aloud.

We must avoid the tendency to allow our emotions to control our lives, but the Bible encourages us to understand that there is a place for emotion. There are times when we need to express our struggles and frustrations, our concerns and feelings, and to be emotional about our faith. Even for strong men like Paul.

We, too, might feel the need for emotional release when we are stretched beyond our limits, when we struggle, or feel severely tested. When we see great needs and feel compassion for others. When we experience an inexpressible elation in the Spirit.

Remember that God has given you emotions for a reason. Seek to be controlled by the Spirit, but, as He leads, do not hold back your emotions. Tell Him how you really feel. Allow Him to stir your heart with concern for others. And care about your own faith, and fate of the world.

Prayer

Father, stir me with emotion about the things that concern You. Give me a passion for Your Word and for souls. Set me on fire with a burden to serve You. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Pray that Inspiration Ministries’ staff would have a spirit of compassion for the Lost.
Extended Reading
Acts 20

Talent
August 8, 2017

Read: Romans 12:1-8

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all
the others. (v. 5 NIV)

My wife loves to crochet. She’s done blankets, beanies, boot cuffs, and
more. As rewarding as the finished product is, her favorite part is seeing
pictures
of people wearing and enjoying her creations. Whether it’s for a friend, a
customer, or a family member, she loves to personally put these creations
together
for each person to use. However, a crocheted creation sitting in a box just
takes up space.

God gave you a talent. He might have given you more than one gift. He’s made
each of us differently with a specific purpose in mind. But more
importantly,
God gave us each a gift so it can be used for his church.

When we don’t put our talents to use, not only do we suffer, but so does the
body of Christ. Scripture reminds us that we’re interconnected. Each of us
“belongs to all the others” (v. 5 NIV). We need each other! Let’s be sure
not only to put our talents to use, but to identify and help others to do
the
same.

Using your talents for God’s glory won’t always go as we plan, but it’s far
better than the certain failure of not using them. It’s also a great way to
depend on God! —Joel Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me a talent. Help me to discover and
deploy it for you and others. Amen.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org

Witness
August 10, 2017

Read: Acts 1:1-11

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you
will be my witnesses. (v. 8)

A couple years ago I served on a jury. The trial wasn’t anything like the
ones you see on TV or in the movies. The people all seemed pretty normal and
just shared what they saw as it related to the case. In that moment
something struck me: being a witness is fairly simple. You share what you
see and answer
questions to the best of your ability. The only thing you have to be is
credible and authentic. Those were the witnesses I believed, and through a
series
of them I and my fellow jurors came to a verdict on the case.

Two things apply to us as Christians. First, we witness in power. We are not
on our own. With the Holy Spirit living in us, each of us is uniquely and
divinely empowered to be Jesus’ witnesses in our world. Second, the call to
witness isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. The witnesses in my trial weren’t
volunteers; they were legally required to be there. God has done a miracle
in and around us and calls us to obediently tell the story as only we can.
Faith
that walks is also a faith that talks, bearing witness to the grace and love
of Jesus. Think about how God has revealed himself to you and start telling
others about it! —Joel Plantinga

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help us to be sensitive to your leading and obedient to
your calling to bear witness to your work in and around us. Amen.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
How to Get Into a Closed Heart - #7974

Over the years, I've had the privilege of meeting a lot of men and women who
work in law enforcement and man do I appreciate and respect them. Some of
them have helped out with security at events where I've spoken. In one city,
I met some pretty impressive guys who worked on a SWAT team; those guys were
sent in as rapid assault teams in those particularly dangerous situations.
Bobby was one of them. They called him "The Slammer." Sounds like someone
from
the World Wrestling Federation. But they call Bobby that because he's the
one who takes out the door when they're raiding a residence. And looking at
how
he's built (I mean, I think his arm is bigger than my waist) you can see
they picked the right man for the job. If you want a door removed, "he da
man!"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to
Get Into a Closed Heart."

That often can be the toughest door of all to get open-the door on a closed
heart, maybe you can think of somebody who's got one right now, especially
if that heart is closed to Jesus. That's really hard. Somewhere in your
personal world, there's a person whose only hope for this life and the next
life
is Jesus. But so far, their heart seems closed to Him. Key words: so far.

Our word for today from the Word of God demonstrates a powerful work that
God does that changes the closed heart equation. Paul had just landed in his
new mission field of Europe, in the town of Philippi. Near the river, he and
his team met a successful businesswoman named Lydia. And Acts 16:14 says,
"The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message." Paul found a door
God had already opened. But, then, he of all people would have understood
the
power of God to open a heart. After all, was there ever a heart more closed
to Jesus than his heart when he was Saul of Tarsus-a hit man against
Christians?
But God showed up in a way he couldn't ignore and, in a moment, slammed open
that locked and bolted door.

It's important for you to remember why you are where you are. Jesus has
positioned you there to give the people there a chance to know Him; to have
a chance
at heaven. You are that chance. But maybe you've been intimidated or
frustrated by closed doors in your community, in outreach opportunities, in
individual
hearts. Maybe even in the heart of one you care about very deeply. Here's
some good news: the Lord who opened your heart knows exactly what's needed
to
open theirs so He can do His life-saving work through you. My friends on
that SWAT team don't wait for the door to open, they go to the door before
it
opens, believing that their "Slammer" will get it down.

That's what you have to do. You can go to the door with your personal Hope
Story, with the story of Jesus and let God do the rest.

The Bible makes clear that the Father is the One who draws them to Jesus
(John 6:44), that God will literally give you the words when it's time. Paul
asked
people to pray that "whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me"
(Ephesians 6:19). That's a good prayer. The reason you can dare to open your
mouth
and tell them about the man who died for them is this: it's not about you.
It's all about Him. You show up and let Him do His life-saving thing through
you.

Here's an empowering prayer from Colossians 4:3-4, "Pray that God may open a
door for our message ... pray that I may proclaim it clearly." Every day,
pray what I call that three-open prayer: "Lord, open a door" (that's like a
natural opportunity to bring up your relationship with Jesus), then "Lord,
open their heart," and then "Lord, open my mouth!" And by the way, you don't
need to say, "If it be Your will." It is!

God's going to provide an opportunity, God's going to open a heart, God will
convict of sin, God will give you the words, and God will draw them to
Jesus.
It may not happen all at once, but it may never happen if you don't go to
the door and give them a chance to hear what Jesus can do. Jesus has come to
where you are to rescue people you know, and He's inviting you to go in with
Him. I can tell you this, you will never do anything more important in your
life!
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Cat

John 9:35 – Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him,
he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" (NIV)

My neighbours were going away, and they asked if I would drop in daily to
feed their cat, Riley. I told them that I would be happy to look after him.

The first two days, Riley greeted me happily. On the third day, it took me
twenty minutes before I found him upstairs hiding under a table. He looked
frightened
and stressed. The fourth day, I couldn't find him at all. I e-mailed his
owners to see if they knew of any special place that he might be hiding.
They
couldn't think of anywhere, and they were worried about him. I told them
that I would go back over and look again, and if I found him, I would bring
him
to my house for the duration of their holiday. After an extensive search, I
discovered him jammed into a very dark narrow spot. Pulling him out, I put
him into a cat carrier, collected all his gear, and took him to my place.
Within a few days, Riley was his contented, old self.

Riley became scared and depressed after his owners left him alone. He
probably felt abandoned and thus withdrew, hiding himself away, not
understanding
what had happened or why.

In John 9:1-34, we can read the story of a man born blind, whom Jesus
healed. After he was healed, the Pharisees, the church leaders, did not want
to believe
in this miracle. When they discovered that it was true, and when he
testified that it was Jesus who had healed him, they became angry and
ultimately threw
him out of the temple. How devastating this must have been for this poor
fellow to be tossed out, abandoned. But when Jesus heard about this, He went
and
found him. He also revealed to the man just Who He was. He was more than a
prophet; He was the Son of Man. The man embraced this truth and worshipped
Him.
He was no longer an outcast but a follower of Jesus.

What might have happened to him, I wonder, if Jesus had not taken the time
to find him and draw him to Himself?

Many people today, like the man from this story, suffer abandonment or
rejection for various reasons and from various sources. Much like Riley the
cat,
they become frightened and depressed. They often withdraw and hide
themselves away, perhaps feeling that it is their own fault or that they
can't trust
people again. If any of us knows someone like this, I pray that we might be
like Jesus and take the time to go and
find them and reassure them of both our love and the Lord's eternal love for
them. For in so doing, like Jesus, we, too, may become instruments of
healing
and restoration.

Prayer: Father God, thank You that You found us and drew us to Yourself. May
we, like Jesus, be willing to seek out those whom we know may be suffering
from rejection and sorrow. Through the power of Your Spirit, may we be used
as instruments of healing and restoration in their lives. In Jesus' name, we
ask. Amen.

Lynne Phipps < lynnephipps@hotmail.com >
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

We are the hands and feet of Jesus

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to
practice hospitality”—Romans 12:13 (NLT).

Newspaper photos, social media posts and live TV coverage depicted the
devastation. Those viewing the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane
Harvey
could only imagine what the Texas victims were experiencing. For those of us
who have experienced the aftermath of a hurricane, the reality is familiar.

However, anyone who has either viewed or experienced a disaster like this is
familiar with the sacrifices of those who respond to the call for help. As
responders poured into the southeastern Texas areas hardest hit, I marveled
once again, not only at the sight of trained rescue workers, but the
volunteers
who leave their jobs, homes and family to provide assistance to those
affected by the flooding.

Stories continue to reveal those moments when all hope seemed lost. Then,
someone who refused to give up, showed up and answered the call for help.

I listened to TV coverage as victims and rescuers were interviewed. One man,
a volunteer rescuer, paraphrased

1 John 3:17, which states, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a
brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God
be
in that person?”

Looking out for the needs of others is a constant theme and reminder for us
throughout scripture. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only
to his own interests, but also the interests of others.”

At times like these, I wonder why it takes a disaster to bring people of all
races, religions and backgrounds together. Helping others was what Jesus did
on a daily basis. He was never too busy or too tired to answer a cry for
help, whether Jew or Gentile.

In the aftermath of this emergency, I’ve also been touched by the outpouring
of love from children across the nation. Youngsters from as far north as
Maine
and as far south as Florida have raised thousands for the disaster relief
through lemonade stands and bake sales.

We become the hands and feet of Jesus when we reach out to those in need.
Well-known Bible teacher and author Beth Moore tweeted the following during
the
rescue efforts: “Right now in Houston, Texas the hands of Jesus have wet
vacs and saws in them and the feet of Jesus are walking in water wearing
rubber
boots.”

St. Teresa of Avila once wrote the following: “Christ has no body now but
yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through
which
he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to
do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours
are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Will you be the hands and feet of Jesus?

(As I wrote this column, Hurricane Irma was headed to Florida. Will we
witness the hands and feet of Jesus in the aftermath?)

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.
If you need a speaker for your women's event, please check out my website at
www.carolaround.com or email me at carol@carolaround.com.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com
Copyright ©️ 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.


Welcome to the Nugget
bible

August 10, 2017

Five Mistakes that Bring on Regret
By Answers2Prayer

I woke up, and while still in bed, I stretched and yawned one night during
my visit to Ecuador. As I pondered about the time, I had no way to find out.
My cell phone didn't work--no connection. Unlike here in the States, there
was no land line phone to use to call for time.

Most of you who are sighted, would glance toward your phone or clock and
know the exact time. Not so for this blind gal.

Surely it must be morning, I thought. So, I started my morning routine. But
before getting dressed, I realized it must still be the middle of the night
as I heard no birds singing.

Have you done the same? We all do it, don't we? We take action and begin our
routine at the wrong time. Even worse, we forge on without checking God's
timing. Without consulting His will. And without seeking His guidance.

Then when we're in the middle of the journey, things begin to fall apart.
That's when we try to hide our regret, and, with a sorrowful look, we ask
God
for His input, His help and rescue.

Jesus told that very story in Luke 15
. He relates how a young man chose to follow the recipe for bitter regret
marinated in foolishness. And often we do, too. We go through these five
stages:

We follow our own intuition, our wisdom and whims. "....the younger son got
together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his
wealth in wild living" (Luke 15:13).

Later, we evaluate the situation and scratch our head, wondering how we got
there.
"After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole
country, and he began to be in need"
(Luke 15:11).

We scramble, looking for an answer. "So he went and hired himself out to a
citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs"
(Luke 15:15).

We recognize our bad timing, our mistakes and our pitiful ending. "When he
came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to
spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my
father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against
you'"
(Luke 15:17).

The glorious good news is God welcomes us back: "The son came back home
and...while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled
with
compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed
him" (Luke 15:20 ).

The father delighted in the son's return. God does the same. No matter the
foolish path, the sad mistakes, the pitiful choices, we can always, always
come
back. God will run to meet us, throw His arms of compassion around us and
give us the kiss of forgiveness.

What regret still nags at you today?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a
righteous
man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request to
prayerrequest@answers2prayer.org and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt
18:20:
"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

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

Anne Graham Lotz - Radical Love
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Radical Love
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his
friends."

John 15:13, NIV

We love others

who meet our needs,

whom we get along with,

who make us feel good,

who do things for us,

whom we like.

In essence, our first concern is for our own well-being and having our own
needs met, and we love others in proportion to the extent they fulfill those
purposes. Our second concern is that others respond positively to our
overtures; if they don’t, we refuse to continue to love them. But Jesus
outlined
a radically different kind of love – a love that puts the needs and
well-being of others before our own to the extent we would sacrifice our
time, our
energy, our money, and our thoughts in order to demonstrate it. We are to
demonstrate it to others whom we may not like or with whom we may be
incompatible
or who respond negatively or who may never do anything for us in return! Now
that’s radical!

Blessings,

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

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 11:46 pm

Mortgage
"Dean Masters"
"Who gave himself for our sins." Galatians 1:4.
Years ago King Charles V was loaned a large sum of money by a merchant in
Antwerp.
The note came due, but the king was bankrupt and unable to pay.
The merchant gave a great banquet for the King.
When all the guests were seated and before the food was brought in-
- the merchant had a large platter placed on the table and a fire lighted on
it.
Then, taking the note out of his pocket, he held it in the flames until it
was burned to ashes.
The king threw his arms around his benefactor and wept.
Just so, we have been mortgaged to God.
The debt was due, but we were unable to pay.
Two thousand years ago God invited the world to the Gospel feast, and in the
agonies of the cross-
God held your sins and mine until every last vestige of our guilt was
consumed.
"In gratitude I kneel before You, my Lord Jesus Christ."


Please Make the Pain Go Away
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do
not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 , NIV)

Friend to Friend

As the basketball game heated up and the man-to-man coverage got up close
and personal, he took an elbow to the ear. Seconds later his world went
silent
on the trauma side. Stunned, he continued to play and pointed to his ear as
he ran down the court telling his coach about the situation.

“I can’t hear in my left ear!”

Wait, what? I read his lips from the stands and wondered if I accurately
interpreted what my son had just communicated. (My stomach did the
I-hate-when-my-kids-get-hurt twist.)

“I think he just told coach that he can’t hear out of his left ear!?” I said
to the friend beside me.

My guess proved to be accurate.

Preston came out of the game and spoke with the athletic trainer. She
listened to the recap of what happened, evaluated his ear, and then allowed
him to
go back in the game since he wasn’t in pain and no bleeding was visible. He
finished the game in an oddly muted reality.

We got home late with our tall, tired teen and decided that we would get him
in to see a doctor if his hearing didn’t come back or improve by the next
day.

Morning did not bring the healing we had hoped for so we headed to the
urgent care.

The doctor listened to the accident recap and then looked inside Preston’s
ear. He saw through the tympanic membrane and quickly identified the source
of the silence: bloody fluid had puddled on the other side of his eardrum
due to the blunt force of the trauma.

The bad news? There was no immediate solution for the hearing loss. An
invasive procedure could be done by a specialist, but wasn’t recommended.

The good news? He said that Preston’s hearing should return and his ear will
eventually heal. His body will absorb the fluids over time. We’d just have
to wait. It could take a few days. Possibly even a few months.

The diagnosis was as much sweet as it was bitter, but honestly we were
hoping for a quicker solution. A speedier healing. A faster resolve.

#mylife

Make the pain go away, Lord! Now. Now. NOW!

I like things to happen right away. {You too?}

When our hearts are wounded from unexpected relationship traumas, we want to
click a simple prayer button and make everything whole and well.

When questions are many and answers are few we want vision for a mile but
often get just enough sight for the next step.

When our over spending choices slash us like falling prices, we try to throw
a little sanitizing scripture on the gash of our debt and get out of it in
the microwave minute of extended credit.

But life doesn’t work that way. Freedom doesn’t work that way. Quick faith
fixes are not a biblical guarantee. Healing often takes time... and
sometimes
it doesn’t look like we want it to look. The way we
think it should look.

Yes. God does sometimes rescue and bring us healing immediately, but He’s
not obligated to. He’s God, He’s able, and He’s sovereign. Remembering this
helps
me to trust Him when life gets scary and stressful.

I think on this and a barrage of questions flood my mind.

Are there really life-impacting lessons to be learned in this lingering?

What if God wants to use the strains, stains and disappointments we face to
refine us – restore us – strengthen us – and to draw us to His side in the
desperation?

What if God’s plan is to teach us to know Him in new ways as we struggle to
hear, to hope, and to heal?

What if instant healing or quick answers would rob me of greater depth?

If these “what if” wonderings are on point then I’m all for the waiting.
Because I really do want to be a woman of depth. Don’t you? Isn’t that what
faith
is all about? The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things
not seen?
(Hebrews 11:1 )

If I always get what I hope for right away and can always see clearly, then
how will my faith grow?

While Preston waited on his healing I prayed that the lessons we learned
would be rich along the way. In the waiting of each trial, you and I will
grow
in faith as we lean in closely to listen to the whispers of the One who is
compassionate, faithful, and trustworthy.

Let’s Pray

Lord, Please forgive me for the times when I tell You how to fix me. You are
the all-knowing One. You are the all-powerful One. You are the God of all
wisdom, grace, compassion and strength. I need You, Lord, and I choose right
now to trust the plan of healing You have for me and for my loved ones.
Thank You, Father.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn

Read Hebrews 11 and take a walk down history’s holy halls of faith.
Write a “by faith” statement for your life. What would you like to be
written about you in the archives of humanity?
Seeking God?
GirlfriendsInGod.com

"Crucified with Christ" || 03/10/2017
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Crucified with Christ
March 10, 2017

Read: Galatians 2:17-21

I have been crucified with Christ. (v. 20)

This is a much-loved verse. But we forget that this is part of what Paul
said to Peter on the day Paul had to publicly excoriate Peter for his
hypocrisy!
Peter had waffled on a very important issue. He allowed some people to think
that maybe we had to do something on our human end of things to add to the
saving work of Jesus. And since this was the same teaching many in Galatia
had embraced, this anecdote about Paul’s confrontation with Peter was very
much
to the point.

For Paul, once you put down the word “grace,” you are allowed to put only
one thing after it: an exclamation mark! “Grace!” Not “Grace and . . .” Not
“Grace
plus . . .” Just “Grace!” And the reason is the way our salvation comes to
us: through the cross. That radical sacrifice tells us that sin is such a
big
problem, nothing we could ever do will solve it (or even solve it a little).

We get crucified with Christ, Paul claims. We die with him. Our whole self
dies with him. There is nothing of our selves left to contribute to the
effort.
Once we also rise with Christ, we don’t even live anymore—only Christ lives
in us so that everything we do in our lives afterward is also all Christ all
the time! So don’t focus on what you do, Paul writes. It’s all Jesus. So
rejoice in that and be glad! —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Amazing grace, how sweet that sound is to us, O great God!


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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 10:09 pm

Anne Graham Lotz - Humble Submission
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Humble Submission
Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the
disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."

Matthew 26:36

The betrayal and arrest of Jesus was preceded by an extended time of prayer
in the Garden of Gethsemane. When He stepped out of the garden to present
Himself
to His enemies, Jesus had been alone, praying and agonizing for hours,
wrestling with the will of His Father for His life, sweating what seemed to
be great
drops of blood in His effort. Throughout His agony He received the personal
ministration of angels who helped Him to renew His strength, and He overcame
the supreme temptation of the enemy to defy God’s purpose, choosing instead
to go to the Cross. His humble submission to His Father’s will must have
given
Him a mantle of power that cloaked Him for the nine-hour journey that would
take Him through six different trials, the inhumane cruelty of physical
torture,
the ultimate rejection by those He loved, and the climax of His own
crucifixion and death on a Roman cross.

How is it that you and I think we can make it through the grueling journey
of life without that same humble submission to the Father?

Blessings,

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

A Journey Through the Desert
by Sarah Phillips

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the
devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was
hungry.

Matthew 4:1-2

Sometimes it's not what’s in our lives troubling us most. It's what we must
do without. It's the gaping hole that won't be filled.

Feeling a sense of lack, of deprivation, is often referred to as a “desert
experience.” Desert experiences can take on many forms – spiritual,
relational,
and physical. When we hit a period of dryness in a particular area of our
lives, we instinctively think something must be wrong with us. “Perhaps if I
pray more and become holier, I’ll feel God’s presence again.” Or “If I
acquire more financial skills, I’ll finally be able to afford what I want.”
Or “If
I become more loveable, I’ll finally find someone to marry.” So we strive,
trying to fill in the gaps in hopes we can earn the blessing.

In our striving, we may be missing out on an opportunity to grow in our
faith. Sometimes, a desert experience is necessary in order to bear greater
fruit
later on. Some of the greatest Saints embraced desert experiences as
spiritually profitable.

Elisabeth Leseur, a French upper-class housewife in the early 20th century,
spent much time in relational and spiritual deserts throughout her marriage
to her husband, a professed atheist. In her diary, later published as
The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, she recorded times of "complete
resignation, but without joy or any inner consolation." Later, when
reflecting on
her faith, she writes, "And yet through all these trials and in spite of the
lack of interior joy, there is in my soul some central place, which all
these
waves of sorrow cannot reach." Elisabeth’s perseverance in seeking Christ in
the desert later inspired the conversion of her husband.

In the Bible, periods of physical deprivation often preceded key moments in
salvation history. Moses wrote the Ten Commandments during a 40-day fast (
Exodus 34:28
). And it was after a lengthy fast that Elijah heard God’s still, small
voice (
1 Kings 19:8
). We see in the passage above that Christ literally ventured into the
desert for his own 40-day fast in preparation for what was to come – our
salvation
through His sacrificial death.

Now, I’m not advocating starving yourself or allowing clinical depression to
go untreated. Yet, in the short time we’re here on earth, periods of
darkness
or barrenness – whether voluntary or involuntary -- can be used by God for
great purposes.

Right now we're in the middle of Lent, which is traditionally a 40-day
period when believers purposely descend into the “desert” in order to
contemplate
Christ’s suffering and to hear God’s still, small voice more effectively.
Although I don't love to suffer – in even small ways – God has used Lent to
teach
me that the desert has a beauty all its own. That’s because God values the
sacrifices of His children. Not that he takes pleasure in our pain, but He
uses
lack to refine us and draw us closer to Him so that later we may know joy on
a deeper level, beyond what our five senses can currently discern.

Of course, we’re not meant to live forever in a season of Lent. We know,
with confidence, that after Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, Easter morning
came.
Yet, Lent is a season set aside to remind believers today that we are still
inhabitants of the "Shadowlands," as C.S. Lewis liked to call them. We are
not in heaven, and we have work to do. Though we may experience beauty and
joy in this life, nothing can fully satisfy us except God's plan awaiting us
in the fullness of time.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Decide on one luxury you regularly enjoy and give
it up until Easter. It can be a type of food, a behavior (like watching TV
or using critical words in your relationships), or money (donated to a cause
instead of spent on yourself). In its place, increase time spent in quiet
prayer. If you’re currently having a “desert experience” in your life, be
encouraged by knowing God is near.

Further Reading

Matthew 6: 1 - 6, 16 – 18
Joel 2: 12 – 18
10 Lenten Traditions to Enrich Your Family's Easter Celebration
Secrets to Fasting and Prayer

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Shattering Illusions"
March 10, 2017
(Jesus said) "The Son of Man must suffer many things ..." (Luke 9:22a).
Read Luke 9:18-22

Jesus' disciples have heard His powerful words and seen many mighty
miracles. They believe He is the promised Messiah. But as soon as Peter
makes his great
confession, Jesus sternly commands the 12 disciples to keep the news to
themselves. The Jewish crowds have the wrong idea about the Messiah; they
think
He will be a great king, driving out the Romans and establishing an earthly
kingdom. Even the disciples are swept up in this dream. Now Jesus begins
shattering
that illusion and teaching them that He came to save the world through His
death and resurrection.

Jesus is fully aware of all the horrendous things He will suffer in
Jerusalem, but He also knows the disciples are not ready for all the gory
facts. So
He draws a veil over the details and simply says, "The Son of Man must
suffer many things."

But the disciples need to know who will cause His great suffering. So Jesus
teaches them that the leaders of His own people-the Jewish high court-will
carefully examine Him and reject Him as their Messiah. They will kill Him
through an act of judicial murder. But Jesus' revelation to the disciples
doesn't
end with His death. He clearly states that on the third day after His death
He will be raised.

At Christmas when you look at the Baby dozing in Bethlehem's manger, this
may not be the life you would picture for Him, but it is exactly what God
had
planned for Him since the very beginning.

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Jesus was careful to shield His disciples from all
the horrors He knew He would suffer to save us from our sins. Remind me that
You know every detail of my future and give me confidence You will make all
thing work together for my good. For Jesus' sake I pray. Amen.

Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Numbers 1-2; Mark 12:1-27
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 10:07 am

CONFESS
"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and
renounces them finds mercy."Proverbs 28:13.
Of the two kinds of sinners in Jesus' day, with whom did he prefer to mix?
The honest ones.
They were the only ones he could help.
As The Living Bible puts today's text, "A man who refuses to admit his
mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he
gets
another chance."
Confession is a fundamental way to healing—physical as well as emotional and
spiritual.
James said, "Confess your sins and faults to one another, and pray for each
other so you will be healed."James 5:16.
As the medics tell us, many of our physical ills are either caused or
greatly aggravated by unresolved inner problems as a result of impaired
relationships,
guilt, anger, resentment, bitterness, hurt, grief, worry, anxiety and other
super-charged repressed negative emotions.
Very often these are the things that make us sick.
Literally,Confessing them, getting them off our chest, and emptying out
these feelings clears the way for the healing of many ills.
So, in many ways some healing at least is a choice.
To confess or not to confess?
That's the choice, as that's an imperative way to healing of some ills.
"Dear God, give me the courage to confess all of my sins, failures,
weaknesses, shortcomings and any super-charged repressed negative emotions,
and[,]
wherever possible, put right every wrong that I have done. And help me to be
a non-judgmental, non-preachy person to whom others feel safe to confess
their
sins and failures. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' Name, Amen."

I Love You Anyway

The fear of rejection may be one of the most basic fears of the human
experience. Dr. Joe Harding tells a heart-warming story of a man who finally
decided
to ask his boss for a raise in salary. It was Friday. He told his wife that
morning what he was about to do.

All day the man felt nervous and apprehensive. Late in the afternoon he
summoned the courage to approach his employer. To his delight, the boss
agreed
to a raise. The man arrived home to a beautiful table set with their best
china. Candles were lighted. His wife had prepared a festive meal.
Immediately
he figured that someone from the office had tipped her off!

Finding his wife in the kitchen, he told her the good news. They embraced
and kissed, then sat down to a wonderful meal. Next to his plate the man
found
a beautiful lettered note. It read: "Congratulations, darling! I knew you'd
get the raise! These things will tell you how much I love you."

While on his way to the kitchen to get dessert he noticed that a second card
had fallen from her pocket. Picking it off the floor, he read: "Don't worry
about not getting the raise! You deserve it anyway! These things will tell
you how much I love you."

Total acceptance! Total love. Her love for him was not contingent upon his
success at work. In fact, just the opposite. If he were to fail there, if he
were to be rejected by his boss, he'd be all the more accepted at home. She
stood behind him no matter what; softening the blows, healing the wounds,
believing
in him, loving him. We can be rejected by almost anyone if we're loved by
one. That's the way families can be with each other.

That's the way God is with us, too! "We love Him because He first loved us."


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Ears That Hear What God Hears - #7851

For me, I guess it started with comic books, then the old black-and-white TV
series. Then it graduated to the big screen as the subject of several
blockbuster
movies. "Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! (Yep, you said it
didn't you?) It's Superman!" Now, one of the Hollywood stories of the Man of
Steel in more recent years is called "Superman Returns." His return is from
a five-year absence from earth, and during that time, reporter Lois Lane
writes
a major article called, "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." She makes
this statement: "The world doesn't need a savior, and neither do I." Upon
his
return to earth, Superman visits Lois Lane and tells her, "There's something
I want to show you." He picks her up and takes her on a flying trip over a
long stretch of the planet. He says, "Listen. Do you hear it?" She hears
nothing. Superman then makes this dramatic statement to the skeptical
reporter:
"I hear everything. I know you wrote that the world doesn't need a Savior,
but every day I hear people crying for one."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Ears That
Hear What God Hears."

There really is a Savior. Not a fictional one like Superman, but a
flesh-and-blood Savior whom a dying world needs desperately. His name is
Jesus. He hears
every cry of the human heart and He cries. He wants to give you ears to hear
what He hears.

In fact, you may be at a point where God is summoning you to something
higher, much the way He summoned Moses centuries ago. That story, and maybe
in a
sense your story, is told in our word for today from the Word of God. Exodus
3, beginning with verse 1. It tells us that Moses was just tending his flock
of sheep in the desert one day when God showed up in a burning bush. That
morning, Moses woke up a desert shepherd. That night, he went to sleep a
rescuer
for his people. God often shows up in the middle of the routine of our life
and changes the course of our life. He asks, in the words of the Christmas
carol, "Do you hear what I hear?"

God says to Moses: "I have seen the misery of My people...I have heard them
crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their
suffering.
So I have come down to rescue them." God might be saying to you today, "I
have seen the misery of the people you know. I have heard them crying out."
He
hears the sounds of their quiet desperation, their aching loneliness, their
bondages, their bleeding family, their search for meaning. He hears their
pain.
He hears their grief and the past that always haunts them. And He has seen
their awful eternity unless there's a rescue. And Jesus is coming down to
rescue
people you work with or play with, people you go to school with who live
around you.

But here's the "rocker". "I have come down to rescue them" He says, "So now,
go. I am sending you." Jesus is inviting you; He is summoning you, to join
Him in the eternal rescue mission for which He gave His life; to see your
relationships and to see your situation as a divine assignment. You are
being
positioned by the Savior to help the people who are there be in heaven with
you someday. So, how are you doing on the reason you're there?

He wants to give you ears to hear the lostness behind their laughter and the
misery behind their mask. He wants to give you eyes to see what He sees when
He looks at the people you're with everyday-future inhabitants of hell
unless someone introduces them to the Rescuer who took their hell for them,
unless
someone gives them Jesus.

Listen to Him. He's talking to you, "So now, go. I am sending you."
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

A Reminder for Your Day: You Are Deeply Loved by an Amazing God
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

“...I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with
unfailing kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

It's been a full few weeks, so much going on in our nation, in our world.
Stress, tension, and emotions are high. Disagreements and divisions feel
stronger
than ever. Hurt goes deep. Resentments rise high.

Maybe you’re finding that in your own personal life, this new year has
started off tough. Times are hard. Struggles are real. You may find yourself
in
a season of waiting or still grieving from recent loss.

But in all that we face, whatever we find ourselves walking through in our
lives, or in our nation, God constantly sets His reminders in our day...in
the
sky, all around us, this one pervading and overwhelming message:
You are loved.

Sometimes we just have to look up to notice. Stop looking all around at
everyone else, stop looking down at screens, or at every new headline, but
"up,"
to Him.

His message of love is always there. It was written in the clouds recently,
on a beautiful day in Texas. My friend Niki captured it on her phone. Big
white
heart cloud in sunny, blue skies.

Maybe we see it in the rainbow after a storm, or in a colorful sunrise
painted across the horizon.

Maybe we see it in glistening snow, spring rains, or in the majesty of
mountains, and beauty of the ocean.

Maybe we hear it in the early morning songs of chirping birds, or in
children’s laughter, or through an encouraging word from a friend at just
the right
time.

God’s in it all.

Yet often, we may miss it. Sometimes we're just too busy to notice. Or we
take it for granted, or don’t give God the credit. But it doesn't change the
truth that His love is all around, surrounding, protecting, covering, every
hour of every day.

In case you need a reminder today in the swirl of battles and brokenness
around us, God's love is perfect. God’s love is real. It has no end and
there's
nothing we could ever do to make Him stop loving us. He’s drawing you closer
to Himself, in the bright, sunny days, and even through the tough times, in
the heartache and pain.

He is faithful.
He is good.
He is loving.
He is with us!
(Photo by Niki Hombs Photography)

Intersecting Faith & Life: No matter what you’re facing this week, be
confident in God’s unchanging love for you. Choose to look “up” to Him
today. Take
time to notice His gentle reminders of love and kindness that are constantly
surrounding you every moment of every day.

Further Reading:
Lamentations 3:22-25
Romans 8:38-39
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com

Who Cares about Leviticus?
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com Contributor

“You are to be holy to me, because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you
apart from the nations to be my own.” –
Leviticus 20:26

Like most evangelicals, I haven’t devoted much time to parsing Leviticus.
After all, we live under the new covenant ushered in by Christ’s death and
resurrection,
and we’re Gentiles to boot. Leviticus was written for a particular people at
a particular time, and vast sections of the book have been demoted to
historical
curiosities at this point. The fledgling kingdom of Israel – really, a
collection of tribes that had more in common with their pagan neighbors than
today’s

Christian
enclave – were on the other side of history’s turning point. For this
emerging nation the Lord dictated incredibly detailed ceremonial law that
has since
passed away, as we have a new and perfect high priest.

Still, the apostle Paul insists that “all Scripture is God-breathed and
useful for teaching”
(2 Timothy 3:15
). Remember, this is Paul speaking, the same apostle who vilified the
Judaizers for insisting the law must be upheld in its minutae to achieve
salvation,
and who wrote that “no one will be declared righteous in his sight by
observing the law.” The resolution of the paradox might be a bit more
apparent through
the example of Park Street Church in Boston.

Pastor Daniel Harrell convinced 19 members of his congregation to join him
in an experiment in “living Levitically,” despite the drastic changes they
had
to make in their daily living. The group grew out their beards, kept kosher,
cleaned their homes meticulously, observed the Sabbath, and even stopped
wearing
clothes made from blended materials. One of the few exceptions to the
experiment was animal sacrifice, as the group intended not to break any U.S.
laws
while observing the ceremonial ones.

The group found it absolutely impossible to obey every tenet. But the Park
Street Church says that wasn’t the point. Seeing firsthand that they couldn’t
perfectly fulfill the law, they realized the need for grace in a whole new
way. As
Romans 5:20
explains it, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But
where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

Could it be that, in ignoring Leviticus as a whole, we forget how awesome
grace is? True, not every ceremonial law (washing your feet? Wearing blended
materials?) is also a moral law. But God still told the Israelites to keep
it as his law. Reading about the church’s example reminded me of a couple
things:

First, God’s people are supposed to be set apart. The Israelites were
supposed to look different, act different, worship different, and spend
their time
in different ways than the nations around them. It was an integral part of
their calling as God’s people. The manifestations aren’t quite the same, but
Christians have the same calling today.

Second, we aren’t set apart enough. As Park Street Church rediscovered, the
law points out our insufficiencies. Even if the law were just a set of
external
rules, we still couldn’t keep them perfectly. We just can’t measure up to
following the law or Christ’s example.

Third, only in Christ can we find rest from the law and a new identity that
really sets us apart. The writer of Hebrews notes that the law is “only a
shadow
of the good things that are coming.” And yes, the law is a good thing – it
makes us realize how much Christ had to atone for on our behalf. Not only
that,
God has adopted us as sons and daughters through Christ to
really set us apart. And then he gives us the grace to live it. Sure, we’ll
still fall, and that will remind us to run to grace. But the power of the
law
is gone through Christ.

Intersecting Faith & Life: This week, take time to read Hebrews 10
Notice how beautifully Christ not only supersedes the law, but fulfills all
of its demands. That ought to inspire the worship that God desires more than
the Israelites’ burnt offerings.

Further Reading:

Living Leviticus: Who Could Do It? Who Would Want To?

How to Use the Law – Lawfully to Bear Fruit for God

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !

Winter in My Heart

"In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still
angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Where we live we boast we're having a dose of winter if the temperature
drops down into the fifties, which it did last week. Within a few days we
will
no doubt be back with our tropical warm winter weather. But recently, I felt
as if it were winter in my heart, big time.

I didn't realize I was harboring resentment. You could not have gotten me to
admit I was even a smidgeon angry. However....I began to notice thoughts,
and critical remarks on the tip of my tongue, that were less than kind. How
subtle these destructive things are. How casually anger and unforgiveness
can
seep out, like water in a pot that is on a low heat and then boils over.

Fortunately something happened to jar me into reality. I began examining
what was going on inside, heart and head. I’d learned about owning and
taking
responsibility for anger, for making a decision regarding forgiveness of
others as well as self, and how critical that is in a spiritual faith walk.

So, even though I didn't really feel like it at the time, I made the
decision to forgive; also that I would put a watch on what I said. Before
long I began
to notice a difference. The sting of anger was missing; there was a change
in my attitude. A difference in the way I was seeing things, and then,
naturally,
in my speech. Spring had sprung, no longer was it winter in my heart.

It’s good to know we are not out on a limb by ourselves trying to do
something that’s impossible, such as an attitude adjustment. When we make a
decision
in line with God’s word the Holy Spirit is more than willing to help us.
That’s good news.

Sally Kennedy
www.sallyikennedy.com

The Fifth Degree

In the old detective stories the detectives would bring a suspect in. then
one of the
detectives would say to another one, “Give him the third degree.” That man
would then start interrogating the suspect. The other day I heard on an old
radio show where the
detective was going to give someone the fourth degree. Now I am going to
give the psalmist the fifth degree by asking him who, what, where, why and
how:

Psalm 150 (NASB95)
What are we supposed to do?
1 Praise the Lord !

Where are we supposed to do this?
Praise God in His sanctuary ;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse .

Why should we do this?
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds ;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness .

How do we praise god?
3 Praise Him with trumpet sound ;
Praise Him with harp and lyre .
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing ;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe .
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals ;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals .

Who is supposed to do this?
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord .

You heard what he said, Join in:

PRAISE THE LORD!

by Dean W. Masters

Which Jesus Do You Want?
An Easter Reflection

By Chris Pick, Special to ASSIST News Service

JesusandBarabbas1WILLIAMSPORT, PA (ANS – March 9, 2017) -- As we prepare our
hearts this year for Lent, let us go back in our hearts to that Black Friday
nearly two thousand years ago. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate presented
before the crowd two men: One man named Barabbas and the other Jesus. Pilate
declared: “It is your custom that I free one prisoner to you at Passover!
Which do you choose?”

“Give us Barabbas!,” the angry mob cried.

But why Barabbas? Why did the crowd choose this man over the Messiah? What
did they expect?

It is quite possible that Pilate presented before the crowd two men named
Jesus.

Some scholars believed Barabbas’ real name was “Jesus Barabbas.” The Greek
scholar and early Christian theologian Origen found many early manuscripts
of
Matthew 27:16-17 which referred to Barabbas as “Jesus Barabbas.” And the
name “Jesus” was a common name in first-century Galilee.

So, if Barabbas' first name was Jesus, then the question could be rephrased,
“Which Jesus do you choose?” It's a question that can still be asked today
as we are presented with so many different “Jesus” figures globally. To
some, He is a great teacher. To some, a prophet. To some, He is God’s son.
To some,
a mere man. And sadly to some, just a myth.

Though they may have shared the same names, they were opposites – just as
night is from day.

Jesus Barabbas was imprisoned for insurrection, robbery, and murder. He was
a messiah to his people, a savior, but his way of salvation was through an
armed revolution.

Jesus Christ, on the other hand, was God incarnate -- the long-awaited true
Messiah -- who chose to save the world not just from oppression but from the
one thing that separates us from God: SIN. And He chose to accomplish this
through sacrificial love.

ThePassionoftheChristuse
The people were blinded by oppression, suffering, trials and tribulation to
the one thing that was destroying them from the inside out. They didn't
understand
that their bondage was actually sin. Sin is “death” - not just a physical
death, but a spiritual death (a separation between God and man). In order to
free man from his material bondage, man must first be set free spiritually.

The two men couldn’t have been more different. One was a sinner deserving
death. One was sinless but chose to become sin. In a sense, it was a choice
between
love and power. A choice between life and death.

The Jews expected a zealot warrior-like messiah who would rival the
Herodians and put an end to the Roman oppression and tyranny. They wanted to
force
Jesus to define His mission and work politically. And when Jesus didn't meet
their expectations, He was rejected by the people, handed over to the
authorities,
and finally sentenced to death. The religious elders and teachers of the Law
claimed He was a false messiah and thus dangerous in leading people astray
from the Temple and its teachings.

Like it was two thousand years ago, we are often presented with two Jesus
figures today and left to choose. A different type of Jesus from that of the
Bible is often preached today in churches and across the globe.

The Jesus we often hear preached and taught wouldn't party nor drink wine.
He wouldn't associate with prostitutes, drunkards, politicians, tax
collectors,
etc. Some believe He has changed in two thousand years and is more tolerable
of our sinful selves. And He isn't the only way, the only truth, and the
only
life. And for some, He isn't the one true God.

(Is it any wonder why so many these days reject Jesus or refuse to surrender
their lives completely to Christ?)

The Jesus of this day wouldn't ask us to do anything that makes us
uncomfortable. He meets all our expectations and never does anything
unexpected. And
He answers all our prayers which are formulated correctly.

We often want a Jesus that makes life simple, safe, and comfortable and one
that fits our church denominations. We want a Jesus we can step over. Like
the Israelites in the Old Testament, we believe we can put God in a box and
take Him with us wherever we go – that we can mold Him and shape Him into
the
image we want. We do this in our own churches. In a sense, we create our own
god instead of letting God be God and allowing Him to mold us and shape us
into His image. It’s a control issue -- even in salvation.

We often say that we invite Jesus into our hearts and lives, when in truth
Jesus invites us into His heart and life. And if He doesn't do what we want
or if He asks us to do something that makes us uncomfortable, we seek a
Jesus who gives us what we want and tells us what we want to hear -- much
like
2,000 years ago. I believe this is an issue with the Church today. We have
broken the First Commandment in our hearts and minds by creating a false
image
of God.

In America and many parts of the world, the focus is on being “born again,
because Jesus told that to a man who wanted to know what he can do to
inherit
eternal life. And Jesus explains that to be born again we must believe in
Him: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). It
seems simple and comfortable, and so we disregard what Jesus told others who
asked
what they must do to inherit eternal life. To one, Jesus replied, “Sell
everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in
heaven.
Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22). In Luke 10:25-28, an expert in the law
tried to test Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. “What is
written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?” The man answered,
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as
yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you
will
live.”

Empty Tomb useJesus even goes so far as to say we should love our enemies
(Matthew 5:43-48).

Jesus’ teachings all seem backward or upside down from what the world
teaches. But the truth is, it's the world that is backwards or upside down
from the
Way, the Truth, and the Life which is presented before us. In Luke 14, Jesus
teaches that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last – that
those
who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will
be exalted (Luke 14:7-14).

It’s weird for us to think of Jesus as a “scandal,” but it's true. Jesus is
a stumbling block. He declared that He is a stone that makes men stumble
(Isaiah
8:14). All the disciples stumbled over Him because He failed to meet their
expectations – from John the Baptist to Peter. And if we get close to Jesus,
we too will stumble. He will fail to meet our expectations. He will call us
to do impossible things or become what we think we can't become. We will
become
broken. He will break us into pieces so He can put us back together.

We can easily understand how one could stumble over His teachings, for His
teachings are hard to hear and accept at times. For instance, consider what
Jesus meant when he said to count the costs: “If anyone comes to me and does
not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes,
even
their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not
carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-27, NIV)

In Matthew's Gospel chapter 8, a disciple who had just lost his father
declares that he will follow Jesus but first wants to go bury his father.
Yet Jesus
told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (verse 22).

It’s no doubt, we still stumble over Jesus' words and teachings. They go
against the norm of society. After all, He came to free us from a society
which
causes trouble, pain, hardships, etc. Jesus was trying to free this disciple
from pain and from anything that would tie him down. In a world full of
grief,
depression, anger, and selfishness, we find freedom in Christ when we follow
Christ and die to ourselves in service to others. The freedom found in
following
Christ is amazing! We can't focus on our own problems when we are focused on
Christ and the need of others. If we want freedom, we need to follow Jesus
and allow Him to break us and ruin us for society and the world. Only when
He reshapes us to our original state can we find true freedom. It's also
where
we find victory!

In a letter Julius Caesar wrote to Amautius describing his famous victory at
Zela in 47 B.C., he wrote: “Veni, vidi, vici,” which translated from Latin
means “I came, I saw, I conquered.” No doubt, this is what the people wanted
in a Messiah during Jesus’ day. They were shocked when Jesus came, saw
everything,
but surrendered His life to the Father which meant surrendering Himself to
the hands of the Romans and Jews who put Him to death upon the cross. True
victory
is only possible through surrender -- surrendering to Jesus that is. There
is no victory when we strong-arm our plans and take things into our own
hands.
It's something to remember in a day and age filled with protesting. We still
seek a revolutionist Messiah to save us and we allow the problems of the day
to take our eyes off the one true Messiah who came in peace and love -
calling us to surrender our lives to Him.

So, as we prepare our hearts for Easter, which Jesus do you choose?
About the writer: Chris Pick is a singer/songwriter, missionary, and
advocate for the Persecuted Church and Native Missionary Movement. He has
been involved
with several mission projects which have included work in South America,
Africa, Asia, and North America (ministering among the Lakota Sioux at the
Pine
Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and the Mountain Ute Reservation in
Towaoc, Colorado). As a singer/songwriter, Pick’s music has been heard
globally
and charted on many continents in both mainstream, adult contemporary, and
Christian charts. His latest single “Come Back” (featuring Mariah
Hostrander)
as well as the EP “Tragedies & Miracles” (featuring members of Rich Mullins’
old band “A Ragamuffin Band”) are available on iTunes. You can find out more
at
www.chrispick.bandcamp.com
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