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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Oct 2015, 10:19 pm

Giving Is Godlike
by Charles R. Swindoll

John 3:16

Shortly after World War II, the saddest sight for American soldiers who were 
picking up the pieces in ravaged Europe, was that of little orphaned 
children
starving in the streets of those war-torn cities.

One soldier driving along in his jeep spotted a little lad with his nose 
pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside the cook was kneading dough 
for
a fresh batch of doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every 
move. The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb and got out to slip over to
the boy's side. Through the steamed-up window he could see the 
mouth-watering morsels as they were being pulled from the oven, piping hot. 
The boy salivated
and released a slight groan.

The soldier's heart went out to the orphan. "Son . . . would you like some 
of those?"

The boy was startled. "Oh, yes, would I!"

The American stepped into the shop, bought a dozen, put them in a bag and 
walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London 
morning.
He smiled, held out the bag, and said simply: "Here you are."

As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat. The soldier looked 
back and heard the child ask quietly:

"Mister . . . are you God?"

We are never more like God than when we give.

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Experiencing LIFE Today

There must be, in any complete revelation of God's mind and will and 
character and being, things hard for the beginner to understand; and the 
wisest and
best of us are but beginners.  R.A. Torrey

Familiarity.

A favorite pair of jeans. A friend from childhood. A song that takes us back 
to cherished days. There is something about the things we are comfortable
with, the stuff that we know well – like that old tattered leather Bible you 
have.

Familiarity with the Bible has its drawbacks, though  particularly if you 
let a "Yeah, been there, read that" attitude creep in. Hebrews 4:12 says:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged 
sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it 
judges
the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Now, freeze-frame your thoughts right here. Are you saying to yourself, 
"Yeah, been there, read that"?! Ha! Caught you! (Honestly, I catch myself 
doing
that a lot too!) When we become too "familiar" with Scripture, we forget 
that this book truly is "living and active." It's not a normal book. It 
doesn't
just inform, it transforms. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is living and 
active too.

Consider Paul's encouragement at the end of the spiritual armor section of 
Ephesians again:

Take... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the 
Spirit on all occasions ... (6:17-18).

Changing circumstances, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and a Bible that is 
living and active can make the eternal written words of God brand new again
today.

Holy Spirit, bring familiar passages from Your living Word to mind. By Your 
power, make them living and active in my soul! Oh Lord, break me of any 
know-it-all
attitude, so that I can experience You in fresh and new ways today. Amen.

Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the
Telling the Truth broadcast
at OnePlace.com

Headed in the Wrong Direction
LYNN COWELL

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."
Proverbs 14:12
(NIV)

I anxiously glanced at the clock thinking, If I leave now I'll still make it 
on time.

This wasn't a meeting I could comfortably slip into if I were late because 
I was the speaker!

Grabbing my purse, I headed for the garage door when I thought I heard 
bleating. Yes, bleating, as in a noise coming from a very small animal.

What in the world? I have no idea what that is, but I'm late! Trying to put 
the strange noise out of my mind, I kept heading toward my car. But try as
I might, my heart wouldn't let me ignore the sad sound, no matter how late 
it was going to make me.

I turned around and made my way closer to the tiny cry. There, next to our 
backyard gate, stood the tiniest of fawns. This precious little thing couldn't
have been more than a couple hours old, as it wavered on tiny legs.

On the other side of the fence stood the object of the baby's sorrow  his 
mother. They were separated by the fence, and the baby was trapped. He 
couldn't
get to her and she had no way of getting him out of our backyard.

This wasn't the first time a little one has been born in our yard. I believe 
deer spot the cool shade of our woods and decide our yard is the perfect 
place
to give birth. But our yard is not as it seems. When the baby is born and 
the mother hops back over the fence, her fawn is trapped, alone and without 
care and protection.

Our yard may appear safe and peaceful to an adult animal, but to an infant 
it is anything but. I wondered: How many times have I unknowingly jumped 
into
a situation I deemed safe only to get caught where I should not have 
been?Things like:

Entering benign conversations, where my speech takes a wrong turn and I 
find myself gossiping.

 Bored or stressed, as I make my way to my pantry only to indulge in foods 
that harm, rather than help, my body.

 Wanting to guide my child, when I speak words meant to bring discernment, 
but instead bring damage.

Today's key verse warns us, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in 
the end it leads to death"
(Proverbs 14:12).
Sometimes, we can feel like we're doing the right thing, like the mother 
deer, when in fact, we’re heading in a wrong direction. How can we know what's
right?

Jesus promised us in
John 16:13,
"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the 
truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and 
he
will tell you what is yet to come" (NIV).

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide. We 
need Him. We need His guidance to make wise choices and not become trapped
by sin that hurts us and damages our relationship with Jesus. The Holy 
Spirit is with us, available all day long, with the wisdom we need to live 
the rich
and satisfying life Jesus wants for us. Our part is to listen for His 
direction.

After making a few phone calls to animal experts, I was instructed to pick 
up the fawn and lift him over the gate to safety. He didn't struggle as I 
gently
lifted him from the ground and delivered him back to his mother. I am so 
thankful that in my life, as I listen to the Holy Spirit, He too, lifts me 
up
and helps deliver me out of the traps I get myself in.

And yes, thankfully, I did make my speaking engagement just in time.

Holy Spirit, I invite You today, to guide and instruct me. Help me not 
simply choose what seems best to me, but teach me to listen for Your 
guidance so
I can make wise choices. In Jesus Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 10:10,
"The thiefs purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give 
them a rich and satisfying life." (NLT)

Isaiah 40:11,
"Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs 
and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes." (NASB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Help a young woman discover how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and 
allow Him to create His fruit in her life with Lynn Cowell's book, Magnetic: 
Becoming
the Girl He Wants. Included in the book is a leader's guide, making this a 
great back-to-school study for a small group, Sunday School or mother and 
daughter
to do together!

Youre invited to stop by
Lynn's blog
today, where she shares more on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 
She is also giving away a copy of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Reflect on the last month, week or even 24 hours. Have you gotten caught in 
a situation that was not as it seemed?

Make a point to continually ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Pay attention 
to how He leads your heart. It'll become easier and easier to "hear" His 
direction.

© 2015 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 24 Oct 2015, 10:32 pm

The Stories of Hope

The Bible tells us one story after another of God meeting people where they 
hurt. Tell me, why are these stories in the Bible? Why are the Gospels full
of such people? Such hopeless people? Though their situations vary, their 
conditions don't. They are trapped. Estranged. Rejected. They have nowhere 
to
turn. On their lips, a desperate prayer. In their hearts, desolate dreams. 
And in their hands, a broken rope. But before their eyes a never-say-die 
Galilean
who majors in stepping in when everyone else steps out.

Surprisingly simple, the actions of this man. Just words of mercy or touches 
of kindness. Fingers on sightless eyes. A hand on a weary shoulder. Words
for sad hearts ... all fulfilling the prophecy: "A bruised reed he will not 
break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."

Again I ask. Why are these portraits in the Bible? Why does this gallery 
exist? Why did God leave us one tale after another of wounded lives being 
restored?
So we could be grateful for the past? So we could look back with amazement 
at what Jesus did?

No. No. No. A thousand times no. The purpose of these stories is not to tell 
us what Jesus did. Their purpose is to tell us what Jesus does.

"Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us," Paul 
penned. "The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can 
have hope" (Rom. 15:4).

These are not just Sunday school stories. Not romantic fables. Not 
somewhere-over-the-rainbow illusions. They are historic moments in which a 
real God
met real pain so we could answer the question, "Where is God when I hurt?"

How does God react to dashed hopes? Read the story of Jairus. How does the 
Father feel about those who are ill? Stand with him at the pool of Bethesda.
Do you long for God to speak to your lonely heart? Then listen as he speaks 
to the Emmaus-bound disciples. What is God's word for the shameful? Watch as
his finger draws in the dirt of the Jerusalem courtyard.

He's not doing it just for them. He's doing it for me. He's doing it for you.

Copyright Information
Today's devotional is drawn from Max Lucado's
He Still Moves Stones.

Love Worth Finding Ministries

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand 
hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.”
Psalm 18:35

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you know what our churches could use a little bit more of? Courtesy among 
the brethren—love in the little things, love that says “please” and “thank
you,” love that steps back and gives the other person first place. The 
gentleness of our Lord.

It never ceases to amaze me how people so quickly lose their religion when 
they leave church on Sunday morning. They go to their cars in the parking 
lot,
then cut people off in traffic. And don’t ever take someone’s “regular” seat 
in church. You’re seen as stealing their “rightful” place in the worship 
service!

ACTION POINT:
May God cleanse our churches of self-righteousness and pride. May He purify 
us from anything that seeks to elevate self over others.

© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Why God Slows You Down - #7476

It was Fall, and my wife and I were making our annual pilgrimage to go 
"Falling" in northwest New Jersey. We had our cider, we had our donuts and 
our eyes
were filled with God's great autumn art show. We were headed home, and of 
course, I wanted to make the return trip as short as possible. That's why I 
wasn't
very thrilled when I crested the hill and saw this long traffic jam. What is 
this bumper-to-bumper stuff doing in my country paradise?

I was forced to do something I can't ever remember doing on that little 
country highway. Drive slow! But it turned out that I did not drum my 
fingers on
the steering wheel once or even wish I could go faster. For the first time, 
I noticed this beautiful little lake I had never seen before with the 
colorful
trees all reflected in it. I saw animals and panoramas that I had missed all 
these years of traveling this road. Oh, they'd always been there, but I was
always moving too fast.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why God 
Slows You Down."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Psalm 46:10, "Be still 
and know that I am God." Well, those things really go together. "Be still", 
and
then while you're still you'll "know that I am God." It could be that God 
has been trying to get you to realize that He is God - for most of your 
life.
And once you do, your life takes on a peace and a beauty you've probably 
never known possible before. You might finally be ready for some of that.

I had missed so much all those years on that country road because I'd always 
been in such a hurry. You know, people miss a relationship with their 
Creator
the same way. The sad thing is that this is the relationship you've been 
looking for all your life; the one you've hoped every other person in your 
life
would be for you and they couldn't.

The Bible says, speaking of Jesus in Colossians 1:16, "All things were made 
by Him and for Him." Well, that includes you and me. He's the one you were
made by; He's the one you were made for, and it could be you've missed Him 
all these years. That's why the hole in your heart never goes away. We're 
traveling
at high speed, high stress, high impact, and low fulfillment.

Maybe God's suddenly slowed you down, just like I was slowed down that day 
in the country, so I could see what I'd never seen before. Maybe He slowed 
you
down with a change in your health, or your job, or your finances, or your 
marriage, or one of your children. Somehow God's forced you to hit the 
brakes,
and He's saying, "Would you be still and know that I am God." Don't miss 
this incredible opportunity to finally find what you've been looking for 
your
whole life.

The first step to experiencing God for yourself is realizing that you're not 
God in a sense of being boss of your own life. Most of us approach life like
this, "God, I've got this idea. Why don't you run the universe and I'll run 
me, thank you." The Bible has a word for that - sin. And it makes it clear,
"The soul that sins, it will die." We will never know God until we have 
faced the seriousness of us trying to be our own God. And then you've got to 
get
rid of the sin that has separated you from your Creator. And it will 
separate you for all eternity if it's not removed somehow.

That can only be done by One person; the One of whom the Bible says, "God 
demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ 
died
for us." The view God has slowed you down to see is the cross of His Son, 
Jesus Christ, so you can make your way to that cross to make your peace with
God. Maybe you've sped by it your whole life. This is your day to stop and 
see that it was for you.

Haven't you lived long enough without the relationship you were made for? 
Let this be the day you begin your personal relationship with the man who 
loved
you enough to die for you and was powerful enough to walk out of His grave 
and is ready to walk into your life this very day. You tell Him, "Jesus, I'm
yours."

Listen, if you are at that point and you want to get started with Jesus, 
that's why our website is there. I would invite you to meet us at 
ANewStory.com.
If you want to talk with someone text us at 442-244-WORD.

After years of running so fast, He's slowed you down so you can know His 
love and know His peace. Don't drive by Him again.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 23 Oct 2015, 9:23 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
September 5, 2015
Mucking Stalls
By Answers2Prayer

I can tell you from firsthand experience that cleaning up after animals 
isn't the most pleasant job in the world.

When my boys were young, we all wanted to learn to ride. Horseback riding is 
expensive, however, so when we began taking riding lessons, we also began
cleaning stalls for the owner of the horse farm to support our hobby. You 
can believe me when I say that we used to come home reeking. In fact, we 
each
had special clothing we wore when we went to the stable, and we would take 
these off before entering the house and then head straight to the shower.

The job was also a thankless one. Horses don't care if their barn is clean 
or not, and though it would be "squeaky-clean" when we finished, it never 
stayed
that way long. As soon as the horses were brought back in, you couldn't tell 
we had ever been there.

So why did we persist in mucking stalls? Because it was the way we could 
take riding lessons.

Over time, as we got to know the owner of the riding stable, and she came to 
trust us to the point where we could take the horses out anytime we wanted
to. Bonus! All because we were willing to muck stalls!

This reminds me of a verse in Proverbs: "Where no oxen are, the trough is 
clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox." (Prov 14:4, NKJV)

Livestock was necessary for livelihood in Solomon's day; therefore, though 
your trough would stay clean without an ox, and though you wouldn't have the
unpleasant task of cleaning up after that ox, you also would not have had 
the tools you needed to cultivate your land and support your family!

What does this have to do with life today?

There is a lot of "stall mucking" that has to be done in each of our lives. 
In fact, we can't avoid the
"dirty troughs" at all, for things that "dirty" our "barns"--illness, 
financial difficulties, natural disasters, persecution, family problems, job 
problems,
abuse, etc.--arise all the time.

No, it isn't fun to deal with these problems. It's a dirty, stinky, 
thankless job that sometimes can take months and even years to resolve, if 
ever. But
let's remember that the unpleasant things in life are often necessary for 
the greater good. Without mucking stalls, there would have been no horseback
riding or riding lessons for my boys and I, and without the need to clean up 
the trough after the lifestock, there would have been no oxen to plow the
fields and earn a livelihood. In the same way, God can bring us blessing 
from the "stalls" we have to "muck" through our lives as well.

The Apostle Paul knew what I'm talking about, and it was with Heavenly 
wisdom that he wrote: "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, 
knowing
that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and 
character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has 
been
poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Rom 
5:3-5, NKJV).

But words are cheap. Did Paul practice what he preached?

Absolutely. The last two chapters of Acts are a prime example. Paul had lots 
of "stalls to muck". Though innocent of all charges, he was imprisoned by
the Jews. He endured shipwreck and many other hardships before arriving in 
Rome, where he was kept for at least two years in chains. But this was the 
vehicle
he needed to be able to reach Rome and the Roman people, and he used it to 
its maximum capacity. He spent the entire two years preaching and teaching,
and as a result, the Roman church was born. Without those "ox troughs" to be 
"cleaned", history would have been radically changed.

Got stalls to muck? Barns to clean? Problems to endure? Bring them on. Let's 
follow Paul's example and use these bad situations as tools for bringing 
glory
to God's name, for the real joy comes from the final reward.

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn 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:

Wonder where evil came from? Join us on Thursdays for a new mini-series by 
Elizabeth Price: Tangle Untangled.

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

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Abraham’s Sacrifice
----------------------------------------------------------
Abraham’s Sacrifice

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:55 PM PDT
from the devotional book,
PICTURES OF GOD

Read Genesis 22:1-19

I am deeply challenged by the faith of Abraham. What raced through his mind 
when God told him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering? What filled his 
thoughts
and emotions?

• Surely he thought of his son’s face, his eyes, his mannerisms; how he 
looked when he slept; his simple, unquestioning trust in his father.
• How could he possibly tell Sarah? She had endured so much for so long to 
finally get this child as a precious gift from God. How could he take Isaac
from her?
• Without Isaac, how could God ever fulfill His promise to make his 
descendants as the sands of the sea?
• How could he do it? How could he plunge the knife into his son’s chest? 
How could he light his body on fire?

But Abraham didn’t let his own fears or desires stop his obedience to God. 
He didn’t let the concerns of those around him affect his decision. Whether
he understood or not, He would obey Almighty God because he feared Him and 
trusted Him.

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who 
had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even
though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be 
reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively
speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11:17-19, NIV)

For all of us, our greatest testing comes from those blessings that are 
dearest to us. In fact, it seems that every new blessing from God comes with 
new
challenges as well. Those challenges are part of the blessing, for they 
exercise our faith. That faith is the substance of our relationship with the 
unseen
God, and that relationship is the most precious gift in all creation. Our 
loving Father will do anything to strengthen His bond with us and draw us 
closer
to Himself.

God stopped Abraham’s sacrifice at the last moment. It became only a 
foreshadowing, a dress rehearsal for another Father who would sacrifice His 
only Son
on a nearby hill centuries later.


Read
Psalm 18:19

The psalmist tells us that our Father God must often rescue us from our good 
intentions.

God Delights in Me

When I was in my late 20s, I was the head of a community-based youth center 
and on the way to leading a major Christian youth movement in Sydney, 
Australia.
I was passionately serving God and so busy that my weeks literally felt like 
one long day with a series of naps (and these were rare). It was a very 
exciting
time for me. God had given me gifts of leadership and speaking, and many 
doors of opportunity were opening. I felt like I was living the dream, yet 
when
I would get home and lay my head on my pillow at night—well, actually, in 
the early hours of the morning—I felt like I was dying inside.

When everything was quiet and it was just God and me, the success from the 
day would fade away and all that would be left was what felt like a gaping 
chasm
in my heart. I was not a happy girl. No matter how much I accomplished or 
achieved, I just couldn’t seem to find contentment and joy. In order to fill
this void, I kept working harder and harder, keeping longer and longer 
hours, hoping sooner or later that my heart would feel fulfilled.

Eventually, the stress and intensity of my schedule took its toll on my 
body, and I collapsed. Quite literally, in fact. I threw my back out, and my 
life
came to a screeching halt. For the next three weeks (which felt like an 
eternity!), my days were spent lying on the couch, keeping very still to 
avoid
the pain of movement. I was forced to stop doing and simply be still.

As I lay there feeling like a completely useless Christian, I picked up my 
Bible. As I flipped through the pages, I came across a verse in Psalms that
I had probably read more than a hundred times, but that day these words came 
alive in a new way and arrested my heart: “He brought me out into a spacious
place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (
Ps. 18:19, NIV).
It was like God had a megaphone and was screaming to get my attention: 
“Christine, I delight in you. Not just the thousands of young people you 
minister
to, not just in all that you accomplish in my name, but in you, my own 
precious daughter.” God delighted in me—in me with all my faults, me with 
all my
failings, me with my broken past . . . me immobile on a couch!

Point to Ponder

Do you know that God delights in you, with all your faults and failings, 
just as you are? What you do for God will never be as important as who you 
are
to God—his precious child.
Copyright Information

Devotions by Christine Caine, Copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip & Empower Ministries
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 22 Oct 2015, 4:46 pm

Mean What You Sing
by Charles R. Swindoll

Revelation 5:9-10

Nothing touches the human heart deeper than music. This is never more true 
than when a group of Christians sings heartily unto their Lord. Many a cold
heart on skid row has melted as the strains of some old hymn lingered in 
steamy streets and sleazy alleys surrounding a gospel mission. When 
congregations
sing the praises of the King, even the demonic hosts stand at attention. 
"The powers of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear, May Jesus 
Christ
be praised!"

Such moving melodies hold out a warm welcome to strangers, comfort to the 
broken, refreshment to the lonely, and affirmation to the discouraged. Great
music from God's people instructs and reproves, blesses and relieves.

Charles Wesley, perhaps the most prolific hymnist of all time, realized the 
value of corporate singing as he wrote, "O for a thousand tongues to sing my
great Redeemer's praise." There is nothing to compare to that sound. 
Nothing.

But have you noticed the fly in our melodic ointment? It is not a lack of 
beauty or harmony, nor is it insufficient volume or intensity. It is, plain 
and
simple, the presence of words with an absence of meaning. We sing well, but 
we fail to heed the message hidden behind the bars.

Stop and think. There's a line in "Take My Life and Let It Be" that always 
makes me pause as the words stick in my throat: "Take my silver and my gold,
not a mite would I withhold." Imagine! Not even "a mite"! We all sing that 
with such ease, yet I have known few who wouldn't withhold something. 
Including
me.

Last Sunday after the service our congregation sang "I Give All My Witness 
to You" . . . and then we left. We all got into our cars, drove away, and 
most
of us have not seen one another since. What's been happening? Has He had our 
witness? Have the days that passed been that much different than two weeks
earlier? A month? Those thoughts haunt me.

Think of each song or hymn as a promise to God, a binding statement of your 
commitment. Picture the results of this commitment as you sing it with 
gusto.
Then, after the song has ended, apply it with the same gusto.

God not only loves a cheerful giver, He honors a sincere singer.

This Sunday put yourself into the lyrics of each hymn, considering them your 
own personal credo. See what a difference it makes.

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission

Are You Ready For Plan B? God Has Been Ready!
by Dean Masters
Genesis 21:6
And Sarah said, "God hath made me to laugh so that all that hear will laugh 
with me."

Sarah laughed because the miracle that God performed in her was so 
unbelievably out of the norm and she was just so happy! God gave her the 
child she
had waited for all her life after she had gone through menopause. She was 
old and beyond thinking about it anymore, I am sure. She probably figured 
since
she had messed up and gave her maid Hagar to Abraham to have a child with 
that there was no hope of God's blessing, the odds were all against her in 
her
mind! She had sinned and hadn't waited on God and took things into her own 
hands (which one of us ladies haven't done at least some of that?) so her 
hope
of blessing was suppressed by the lies of Satan telling her that it would 
never happen now.

I've been there, where I just thought I have made too many mistakes, it will 
never happen now. I knew I was suppose to do something for God, but figured
he had given up on me. God never gives up and He always has plan B just 
waiting for you when you are ready to move forward with His plan! Sometimes 
we
take a detour or get impatient, but God's plans and blessings are still 
there! It just might take a little longer because of the route we have 
chosen
to get there.

In Joshua chapter 1 verse 3 God tells Joshua that He will give him every 
piece of land he sets foot on. How much has God already given you that you 
are
afraid to take. What has God called you to do that you feel you are no 
longer qualified to do? Is there a blessing you have prayed and prayed for 
and
you have stopped because you gave up hope? In Genesis 18:14 when God told 
Abraham that Sarah would have a child she laughed then too (Sarah obviously
loved to laugh because she seemed to do it all the time)and God's response 
was, "Is anything too hard for the Lord"? No matter what it is
that you are thinking about right now that has a hold of your heart, do you 
really think it is too hard for the Lord?

I would encourage you today to start again, whatever it is; a prayer for 
something or someone you gave up on, something you felt you were suppose to 
do
for God with your life or whatever it might be. Don't give up now, the best 
is yet to come!

Quote: "Some people drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle." 
Anonymous


The Guidance of God

Our society seems to take one misstep after another. People around us are 
wandering aimlessly through life, not knowing what they truly believe or 
whom
they should follow. Politicians and community leaders have strayed off 
course as they have ignored the divine wisdom and guidance of God in order 
to follow
their own human principles.

God wants to show us how to live abundant and joyful lives. He desires to 
lead the way for us through life, steering us away from temptation and 
sheltering
us in the storms. He wants to give us guidance in our decisions. We are not 
to live as the world does, chasing after every new philosophical trend. 
Instead
we are to live confidently knowing that the only One we need to follow is 
God.

Sometimes as Christians
we allow ourselves to become obsessed with discerning God's will. We pour 
over the fine details, examining every possible option, worried that one 
wrong
step will send us out of God's favor. We doubt past decisions that did not 
turn out the way we had hoped. We doubt our ability to discern God's will. 
We
waste time regretting and worrying.

Instead of obsessing over our choices, we should focus on our complete 
willingness to obey the will of God when He shows it to us. We need to first 
be
in a place of submission before God, willing to follow wherever He leads. We 
build that type of obedience by spending regular time with God in prayer and
in His Word.

The psalmist declared, "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches 
them his way" (Psalm 25:9). If we focus on humbly obeying God, we can trust 
that
He will guide us on the right paths. For many Christians, this is easier 
said than done. In theory, we all claim to want to be obedient to God, but 
in
reality we hold on to our own plans. We are willing to accept God's will for 
us when it suits us, but we balk when He points in a direction outside of
our comfort zones. We pray for Him to show us His will, secretly hoping it 
will be something we desire. We claim obedience, but remain latched on to 
our
own wants.

Sometimes God's plans for us do not make sense. Sometimes they are 
uncomfortable or even painful. But if we truly walk in obedience to God, we 
will find
contentment whatever circumstances He may bring. We can rejoice even in the 
times of teaching, training, and testing. We can trust that even if we make
a misstep, our sovereign God can lead us back into His will.

The psalmist discovered the joys and benefits of obedience to God: "Oh, how 
I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.…I have more understanding 
than
the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil 
path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for
you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter 
than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I
hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my 
path" (Psalm 119:97, 100-105).

Unlike the worldly culture around us, we are not rudderless. We have God's 
guiding Holy Spirit to show us the best course. But first we must surrender
completely to following His will and His commandments, even when they do not 
match our personal desires. We must spend regular time in prayer learning
His voice and His heart. The more we know God, the easier it will be to 
discern His voice from our own self-serving thoughts. If you are resistant 
to giving
God full control of your life, confess this to Him in prayer. Pray for His 
help in developing a humble and obedient heart in you. Pray that He will 
awaken
the hearts of Christians across the country so they will also seek to obey 
His guidance.

"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands."--1 John 2:3

***
Jesus, Jihad and Peace

What does the threat of Islamic extremism mean in terms of Bible prophecy? 
In a world that cries out for peace, which will prevail”Jesus or jihad? In
Jesus, Jihad and Peace,
Dr. Michael Youssef provides answers that are concise, Biblically accurate, 
and targeted on the challenges that confront us in a world that is 
increasingly fraught with peril. Order your copy today through Leading The Way!
http://www.ltw.org/
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 21 Oct 2015, 4:24 pm

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Friday, September 4, 2015

Today's Devotional

An Invitation To Worship

Luke 14:16 – A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many 
guests. (NIV)

There are many times when people are invited to attend certain functions, 
receptions, family reunions, weddings, etc. But not often do we get invited 
to
come to a certain church.

During my pipeline construction years, we lived in a mobile home, which was 
moved from place to place by the company that I worked for, as I was the 
office
manager. In 1963, we moved from Athens, Ohio, to Greenup, Kentucky, USA. We 
had rented some vacant land, and our office trailers, warehouse trailers, 
and
about a hundred trucks and various other pieces of equipment were parked 
there, as well as two house trailers: the superintendent's and ours. After 
our
trailer was parked, and while I was lying on my back underneath it hooking 
up the sewer, water, and electricity lines, I suddenly saw a man lying on 
the
ground beside the trailer. He introduced himself and said that he was the 
owner of the local ambulance service and a member of a certain church in 
that
small town. He offered his services and then invited us to attend the church 
that he belonged to.

I had never been asked so directly to attend a certain church. In those 
years, as we moved from place to place, we did look for a church to attend. 
As
a result, we attended a variety of Christian churches, but this was the 
first time that we actually received a direct invitation.

To be honest, I find inviting people to church to be such a daunting task, 
as many of us do. We wonder, if they did come, whether they would be happy,
whether the service would mean anything to them, whether they would come 
again, or whether it would really make a difference in their lives. We have 
all
gone through it, I'm sure.

I admired the man in Greenup. I was surprised and impressed that he would 
invite us to come to church, as he did not know us, and we had been there 
only
about an hour or so. It is indeed difficult to invite people to church. 
Perhaps, we need to go back further in the process. When we establish 
relationships
with people who are not yet Christians, we should seek ways to gain their 
trust and show them through our words and our way of life that we are 
different.
Hopefully, they will ask about the faith we have, because it works for us. 
And then, when we feel the time is right, we can ask them to come to church
and learn more about our faith.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many people who need to know 
about You and about Jesus, so many people who need to hear the good news of 
salvation.
We pray that You will give us the boldness and the ability to tell others 
about You, each one of us in our own way. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

Joel Jongkind

5 Ways to be More Than a Sunday Christian
Anne Dahlhauser

About five years ago, my husband and I moved into a neighborhood with a 
whole lot of kids and not a lot of privilege. We meant to flip the house, 
but the
market flopped and we moved into the house out of necessity.

That temporary little change of plans changed everything, ourselves 
included. The mission field had
slipped in under our feet.
No longer could we talk about mission projects and ministry opportunities as 
a distant concept. No longer could we just go about our daily life unware.
Christian living started to look less and less like Sunday morning 
attendance with a topping of Bible studies on plush couches.

Our home became a neighborhood center that year, one that now has kids 
sprawled across our front porch with hot Cheetos and sticky juice boxes. 
Bikes and
candy wrappers and missing flip-flops tend to litter that front yard, the 
place where no grass dare grow for fear of being trampled.

And here, with a front yard for a sanctuary and a muddied porch for a 
pulpit, God began teaching us to live out our
faith
in the everyday.

Here, He’s been showing us how Christian living means integrating our daily 
life with divine purposes. It calls us to no longer compartmentalize the 
sacred
and the secular, but to usher in God’s authority to the mundane and mess of 
our everydays. It prompts us to believe that “being used by God” isn’t so 
much
about what we do. No, thankfully, it’s about our identity in Jesus Christ 
and the degree to which we surrender our everything to His purposes – the 
car
pool, the play dates, the front porches, our homes, our families, our 
schedules and everything in between.

Certainly, it’s common, even easy, to talk about God among pews and worship 
music. It’s acceptable to pray quietly. It’s natural to share our faith and
quote Scripture with Bibles in our hands and stained glass at our backs. 
Then Monday morning buzzes in with the 6:00am alarm, and the music and the 
prayers
and the sermon notes start to fade slightly. How can a sacred mission be 
part of the mundane of Monday mornings? Where is a holy purpose in the dirt 
and
the daily routine? Here are 5 suggestions for finding and embracing the 
everyday divine, every single day:

1. Embrace your identity – Living with a divine mission isn’t just for the
pastors
or the missionaries. Instead, begin to accept your day job and your career 
as a means by which God can engage your world. Maybe you are a child of God
who teaches or a Christian who does taxes for people or a Jesus-follower who 
is raising kids. Your job description is a gateway to loving and blessing
a unique blend of people, all close to God’s heart. Lay those work hours out 
before Him and see how He moves in your day.

2. Pray for people – It sounds simple but it requires your heart. When you 
are sitting at the park or wandering through the produce section or prepping
for a meeting at work, spend time intentionally praying for the people in 
your path. After all, of all the people in the world, those individuals are 
crossing
paths with you today. Talk to God about that. What may be going on in their 
lives? How can you open your life to them? Pray for God to give you eyes to
see them as He does.

3. Change your perspective on home – Our homes are the most natural 
extension of ourselves. May you see your home as a place of gathering and 
blessing,
a resource that God can use to minister to others in the everyday of living. 
Often in Western mindsets, our homes are seen only as our own and our 
private
sanctuaries. While a place to rest is necessary at times, this mentality 
keeps ministry and living out our faith at arm’s length, rather than in the 
casual,
common places of our daily life. Open your door. Don’t apologize for the 
mess – just welcome people and share the life God’s given you.

4. Practice empathy everyday – Life can be complex with daily headlines and 
news stories that make us want to scroll and stroll by rather than choosing
to enter into someone’s pain. But integrating our faith with our everyday 
means caring deeply about our present world and the people in it, letting 
reality
settle in a bit and affect our prayers, our routine, our priorities. Be 
aware and care. May your prayers be fueled with God’s perspective and your 
heart
be willing to
weep over your Lazaruses.

5. Love people – I’ve come to understand in greater depths the cost of 
really loving someone while living here in this neighborhood. Relationships 
do not
come with manuals or easy exits. They get unbelievably messy. But God loves 
relationships, and He created a beautifully mind-blowing relationship within
His own person – the Trinity. He routinely uses people to speak into my 
life, and He especially uses
the black-eyed, band-aid-begging kids on this street
to shape my heart. That’s divine, and it can happen everyday. So, share life 
with others in meaningful ways in the mundane as well as the special 
moments.
Take risks and be vulnerable with those closest to you. Make new friends. 
Choose to make your richest investments of time, energy, attention, and 
resources
into the eternal souls around you.

May your days be divine, filled with glimpse of His purpose and plans for 
your life. May He be near on this day and everyday.

Anne Dahlhauser blogs at
Front Porch, Inspired
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:47 pm

Watchman

Once I read of a terrible accident in which several youth were killed when 
their car was struck by a train. At the trial the watchman was questioned: 
“Were you at the crossing the night of the accident?”
“Yes, your Honor.”
“Were you waving your lantern to warn of the danger.”
“Yes, your Honor,” the man told the judge.
But after the trial had ended, the watchman walked away mumbling to himself, 
“I’m glad they didn’t ask me about the light in the lantern, because the 
light had gone out.”

God sees it, when our light has gone out.
—Selected

Loving the Neighbor We Didn’t Choose
Jon Bloom / August 27, 2015
Loving the Neighbor We Didn’t Choose

“Who is my neighbor?” a lawyer asked Jesus (Luke 10:29).

The lawyer had made the mistake of trying to catch the law’s author 
contradicting the law by asking how he should inherit eternal life. The 
author turned
the tables by asking the lawyer what he thought the law said.

The lawyer then summarized the law in these two commands: we must love God 
with all we are (Deuteronomy 6:5) and love our neighbor as ourselves 
(Leviticus
19:18). The author agreed and said, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 
10:28).

But the author’s agreement pricked the lawyer’s conscience. So the lawyer 
sought to “justify himself” by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). 
The
author answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37).

The Neighbor We Wouldn’t Choose

One observation from this application-rich parable is this: the neighbor we’re 
called to love is often not one we choose but one God chooses for us. In
fact, this neighbor is often not one we would have chosen had not God done 
the choosing.

The Jew and the Samaritan wouldn’t have chosen the other as his neighbor. 
What made them neighbors was one man’s unchosen calamity and another man’s 
chosen
compassion, but only in response to an unchosen, inconvenient, 
time-consuming, work-delaying, expensive need of another.

The shock of the parable is that God expects us to love needy strangers, 
even foreigners, as neighbors. But if this is true, how much more does he 
want
us to love our actual, immediate neighbors, the ones we have to put up with 
regularly? Sometimes it is these neighbors we find most difficult to love.
As G.K. Chesterton said,

We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door 
neighbor . . . . [T]he old scriptural language showed so sharp a wisdom when 
[it]
spoke, not of one's duty towards humanity, but one's duty towards one’s 
neighbor. The duty towards humanity may often take the form of some choice 
which
is personal or even pleasurable. . . . But we have to love our neighbor 
because he is there — a much more alarming reason for a much more serious 
operation.
He is the sample of humanity which is actually given us. (
Heretics,
chapter 14)

The idea of loving our neighbor is beautiful to think about so long as it 
remains an idealized, abstract concept. But the concrete reality loving of 
our
neighbor, that all-too-real, exasperating person that we would not have 
chosen and might prefer to escape, strips the beauty away — or so we’re 
tempted
to think. In truth, the beauty of idealized love is imaginary and the beauty 
of real love is revealed in the self-dying, unchosen call to love the sinner
who “is actually given us.”

The Family We Didn’t Choose

Our very first neighbors are in our family. We don’t choose them; they are 
given to us. We are thrown together with them, warts and all, and called to
love them, often with the kind of neighbor-love Jesus had in mind. 
Chesterton again:

It is exactly because our brother George is not interested in our religious 
difficulties, but is interested in the Trocadero Restaurant . . . [and] 
precisely
because our uncle Henry does not approve of the theatrical ambitions of our 
sister Sarah that the family is like humanity. . . . Aunt Elizabeth is 
unreasonable,
like mankind. Papa is excitable, like mankind. Our youngest brother is 
mischievous, like mankind. Grandpapa is stupid, like the world. (Ibid.)

Many wouldn’t have chosen their families if the choice had been theirs. That’s 
why families are laboratories of neighbor-love, because families are a 
microcosm
of the world.

The Community We’d Like to Un-Choose

If we are old enough and live in a region where we have options, we do 
choose our church community. But we don’t get to choose who else joins that 
community.

Invariably, after some time, our church community takes on similarities to 
our family. We must live with leaders who disappoint us and fellow members 
who
see the world differently. Besides their irritating temperamental 
idiosyncrasies, they have different interests, ministry priorities, 
educational philosophies,
and musical preferences than we do.

“Doing life” with them doesn’t end up looking or feeling like the community 
of our dreams — our idealized abstract concept. Perhaps we need a change, to
find a different church where we can really thrive.

Perhaps. If the defects of the church community include things like ethical 
or doctrinal unfaithfulness, a change may be exactly what is needed for us
to thrive.

But if our restlessness is due to the disillusionment of having to dealing 
with difficult, different people and defective programs, then perhaps the 
change
we need is not in church community but in our willingness to love our 
neighbors, the ones God has given us to love.

This has always been God’s call on Christians. The early church was not all 
Acts 2:42–47. It was also Acts 6:1 and 1 Corinthians 11:17–22. Those 
first-generation
churches were comprised of Jews and Gentiles, masters and slaves, rich and 
poor, people who preferred different leaders, people who strongly disagreed
over nonessentials — people very much like the people in our church. It was 
hard doing life together then, like it is now (most likely it was harder 
then).
That’s why we have 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 12.

The distinguishing mark of the church has never been its utopic society but 
its members’ love for each other (John 13:35). And according to the Parable
of the Good Samaritan, the glory of this love shines when it is costly and 
inconvenient.

”Go and Do Likewise”

If we ask with the lawyer, “Who is my neighbor?” we may not like Jesus’s 
answer. It may explode our dreams of love and community. Because instead of 
loving
the neighbor we wanted, the soul-mate we would have chosen, Jesus may point 
us to the needy, different, mess of a person in front of us, the one we feel
like passing by, and say, “There is your neighbor.”

Perhaps he or she will be a stranger. But most likely he or she lives in our 
house, or on our street, or is a member of our church.

The parabolic Samaritan loved the wounded Jew as himself. And Jesus says to 
us what he said to the lawyer: “You go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

This watchman was found not guilty but he is responsible for the death of 
the youth that were in the car that were killed by the train. Read what God 
said to Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 3:16-21 (GNB)
16 After the seven days had passed, the Lord spoke to me. 17 “Mortal man,” 
he said, “I am making you a watchman for the nation of Israel. You will pass 
on to them the warnings I give you. 18 If I announce that an evil person is 
going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save 
his life, he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for 
his death. 19 If you do warn an evil man and he doesn’t stop sinning, he 
will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared. 20 “If a truly good 
person starts doing evil and I put him in a dangerous situation, he will die 
if you do not warn him. He will die because of his sins—I will not remember 
the good he did—and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 If you do 
warn a good man not to sin and he listens to you and doesn’t sin, he will 
stay alive, and your life will also be spared.”

Christian, you are called by Jesus Christ to be a watchman. Too many 
Christians believe that if they just live a good life then others will see 
Jesus Christ in their daily living. That is like the watchman waving his 
lantern without a light in it. Jesus calls each of us to be His witnesses to 
this dying world. WE are to warn everyone He tells us to warn about what 
their future might be. This may not be easy. The Greek word for “witness” is 
the word from which we get the English word “martyr”. Martyrs are the 
Christian men and women who have given their lives as witnesses to others 
for Jesus Christ.

Jesus expects each of us to go make disciples even if it isn’t easy for us 
to do it . He promised He will be with us when we step out in His name. The 
Holy Spirit will empower us and give us the words to say.

The blood of the youth was on the hands of the railroad watchman. Don’t let 
other peoples’ blood be on your hands. Stand up and be the watchman Jesus 
calls you to be.

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

Post  Admin on Sat 17 Oct 2015, 11:09 am

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

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 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 
Maybe We Should Stop Encouraging People to Get out of Their Comfort Zones
Stephen Altrogge

We Christians love to encourage people to get out of their comfort zones. In 
church we tell everyone to greet someone they don’t know. If someone is 
nervous about doing
evangelism we become the Jesus version of a head coach, trying to get them 
psyched up and out of their comfort zones. Worship leaders are always 
exhorting
people to get up and move and dance and clap and shout and be happy. If 
someone doesn’t like going to small group we slap them cheerily on the back 
and
tell them it will be good for them.

How do I know these things? Because I’ve said and done them all. I’ve been 
the Jesus head coach and the worship cheerleader and the back slapper.

But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe we need to stop encouraging people 
to get out of their comfort zones. In fact, maybe we need to encourage 
people
to operate within their comfort zones more. I realize that to some this may 
sound like selfish heresy so let me explain.

I’m an introvert. This doesn’t mean I don’t like people, but it does mean I 
am refreshed by solitude and drained by extended times with people. It also
means I’m more prone to quiet reflection, wrestling with ideas, reading good 
books, and spending time with a few close friends. There is nothing morally
superior or inferior about being introverted. My friends Erich and Dom are 
classic extroverts. They have a big capacity for people, are awesome about 
making
everyone feel included and welcome, and are always cheerful. I love those 
guys.

There are some things in scripture that are crystal clear. God must be 
worshiped. Fellowship is a necessity. Evangelism must take place. These are 
non-negotiable
principles. Every Christian must do these things. What is negotiable, 
however, is how these principles are practiced.

I would humbly suggest that many activities that take place in church tend 
to be biased toward extroverts. Talking to lots of people on a Sunday, cold
contact evangelism with complete strangers, loud worship, and small groups 
are all activities that are much better suited for someone with an 
extroverted
personality. And these things aren’t necessarily wrong, but I think we need 
to make sure we don’t assume someone is more spiritual based on their 
participation
in these things.

The beauty of the body of Christ is that it is made up of all sorts of 
people with all sorts of personalities. Introverted people and extroverted 
people
both need to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. An 
extroverted person may gravitate toward loud, outward expressions of worship
while and introverted person may gravitate toward quiet, humble reverence. 
Both are appropriate, God-honoring, and necessary in the church. Both types
of worship are commended in scripture.

Introverts and extroverts both need to evangelize. An extrovert may excel at 
sharing the gospel with lots of complete strangers while an introvert may
excel at developing deep relationships with a few unbelievers and sharing 
the gospel with them over time. Both are good, God-honoring, and necessary 
in
the church. Both types of evangelism are commended in scripture.

Introverts and extroverts both need fellowship. An extrovert can thrive in 
large group fellowship where everyone is speaking up, sharing their thoughts
and prayer requests and needs. An introvert will probably thrive in small 
group fellowship with one or two other people. Both are good, God-honoring, 
and
necessary in the church. Both types of fellowship are commended in 
scripture.

We need to encourage one another to pursue God within the boundaries of our 
God-given personalities. Extroverts, don’t assume that someone doesn’t love
Jesus because they don’t jump and down in worship or give hugs to everyone 
they meet. Introverts, don’t assume someone doesn’t love Jesus because they
don’t like solitude or reading.

Extroverts, don’t try to make everyone like you. Introverts, don’t try to 
make everyone like you. All of us have areas to grow, but God isn’t 
interested
in making millions of spiritual clones. Sometimes extroverts sing melody and 
introverts sing harmony, and vice versa. The differences in personality 
types
point to our wonderfully creative God.

The power of the gospel is demonstrated when people of wildly different 
personality types come together to serve, worship, and honor the Lord. Let’s 
make
room for everyone in the church.fulfilled.

Remember your baptism, but don’t just remember the day or the act - remember 
the gospel, 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 Christ.

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 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

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The God Who Can’t Be Figured Out

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; 
To make the weight for the winds; and He weigheth the waters by measure.”
Job 28:24-25

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are certain things God is not going to reveal. And that is good news. 
Who wants to believe in a God that they can put in a box and completely 
understand?
Not me.

You can take a bucket down to the ocean and dip out a bucket full of water. 
Everything in that bucket is ocean, but not all the ocean is in the bucket.
Amen? And with our bucket-size minds, we are never going to know all there 
is about God. I’m not. You’re not. Nobody is.

ACTION POINT:
Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but 
those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever,
that we may do all the words of this law.”
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 16 Oct 2015, 7:19 pm

Life in the Underground - A message from Dan McNerney.

For anything to last well and bear much fruit, it must grow strongly 
underground first. The roots of our lives are the most important elements of 
our beings.
Too many people try to change the aboveground or exterior things of their 
lives first - the location of their home, lifestyle, job, or even the size 
or
shape of their bodies, before looking inward and changing the dispositions 
of their hearts. God cares most about our inner thoughts and desires - the 
Bible
talks constantly about these matters. It is not important how much money we 
make, the amount of land we possess, or the number of times we appear on the
tube or in the local newspaper. You are going nowhere until the inner 
workings of your life are in alignment with the Spirit of God.

In the past half-year, numerous people have sent me articles describing the 
decimation of Christianity in the Middle East or Arab world. Often panic or
dismay characterizes their worrisome notes to me. Indeed, there is nothing 
more awful, evil or troublesome than reading a report on what ISIS is 
currently
doing to innocent people. Ten years ago, the world was shocked when it began 
to learn what fundamental Islam looked like when the Taliban successfully
took over Afghanistan. But now, ISIS and affiliate groups have taken it to 
new extremes. They not only want to eliminate all other religions; they are
murdering all other Muslims who do not believe in their vision of 
reestablishing the Caliphate in the Middle East. As a result of these 
radical and other
Islamic fundamentalist movements, the aboveground church in the Arab world 
has indeed been shrinking greatly in the last 50 years. However, at the same
time, as unbelievable as it may sound, the underground Church in the Middle 
East has been exploding with a force and growth that will eventually change
the face of the Arab and Persian worlds.

Sadly, many very sincere American Christians allow themselves too often to 
be captive of the American media for information related to world events. As
modern consumers, they have gotten farther away from what used to be the 
most vital source of information for Christians and churches - live reports 
from
missionaries living and breathing on the ground in foreign countries around 
the world. Today, we must be careful to not allow a secular-leaning American
media interpret reality for us. The true state of the Kingdom of God, and 
therefore the world which he created, can only be properly understood and 
described
by people of faith who are fighting first-hand the forces of darkness in the 
places and countries where they have been sent.

In this regard, I encourage you to read a very important new book, A Wind in 
the House of Islam by David Garrison. In excruciating detail, Dr. Garrison
describes how more Muslims worldwide have come to faith in Jesus Christ as 
Lord and Savior in the last 40 years than in the previous 1,400 years 
combined,
leading back to the time of Muhammad. Years and years of missionary 
activities are finally bearing phenomenal fruit throughout the Muslim world. 
The fastest
growing church in the world right now is in Iran. In my own recent trips to 
the Middle East, I have been face-to-face with new Iranian believers, who 
are
leaders in the underground church in Iran. Experts estimate there are now 
over a million Iranian Muslims who have given their lives to the Lord. They 
worship,
have fellowship and study the Bible in their homes as a part of a vast 
network of cells, which together comprise one of the largest Jesus movements 
in
the Middle East. Egypt, too, has over a million members in its underground, 
Muslim-background church.

So, what is going on? A number of factors are causing waves of Muslims to 
leave Islam altogether. Chief among them is modernity itself. Muslims in 
Saudi
Arabia, Iran, and Indonesia, can now boot up computers, turn on satellite 
televisions or radios, and be instantly connected to religious information 
previously
closed to them. As you know, Christianity promotes freedom, freethinking, 
and unrestricted criticism, which now is very attractive to Muslims, 
especially
younger Muslims. The Muslim mind is exploding with new ways to look at the 
world; they now seriously question if Islam is capable of meeting the 
current
demands of modernity. In addition, Osama Bin Laden, the harsh rule of the 
Ayatollahs in Iran, the Taliban and now ISIS have driven millions of Muslims
to leave Islam to become followers of Jesus, agnostics or atheists. Millions 
of moderate Muslims believe these radically militant Muslim movements 
rampant
in the world today, are exposing the true and more ugly side of Islam, and 
its tendency towards violence. The Prince of Peace, Jesus of Nazareth, has 
become
more attractive to many who see him as their Savior.

The same thing happened in the First Century. Many of the original followers 
of Jesus were of Jewish background. To put it mildly, it was not easy for
them to publically declare their belief in and allegiance to Jesus. In the 
initial years of Christianity, the Church was driven underground by harsh 
oppression
from Roman and Jewish authorities. As a result, Christians worshipped and 
had fellowship in catacombs and hidden areas underground. There the Holy 
Spirit
dwelled in the hearts of sincere seekers of the Messiah and the seeds of a 
powerful movement were sown, which eventually turned the world upside down.

Perhaps the most famous of underground seekers, and eventual followers of 
Jesus, was a leading Pharisee named, Nicodemus. He purposely chose the 
middle
of the night, when darkness had fallen on the earth, to approach Jesus, 
alone. He did not want to be seen by his peers or the authorities of the 
day. The
book of John records this conversation: "There was a man named Nicodemus, a 
Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came
to speak with Jesus. 'Rabbi,' he said, 'we all know that God has sent you to 
teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.' Jesus
replied, 'I tell you the truth, unless you are born from above, you cannot 
see the Kingdom of God.'" What Jesus was saying to Nicodemus was that unless
your heart is renewed, born again through faith in the Messiah, you will not 
be able to please God and bear fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven. This 
statement
is as true today as it was back then.

The next time you read the daily newspaper or turn on the nightly news, ask 
yourself how much you think the Wall Street Journal or CNN knows about the
underground church in Iran, Egypt, or Algeria. Ask your local church, too, 
if it is supporting mission work in the Muslim world. Few times in history,
in my opinion, has it been more important to put tithing, prayers and 
support into frontier missions, especially in the Middle East. Encourage and 
support
the flourishing underground Church in the Arab and Persian worlds; there are 
few more strategic things an American Christian can do right now. It puts
all other diplomatic and military exercises of our government in proper 
perspective, as important as they may be.

True change in our lives is the result of being transformed from the inside 
out. The Berlin wall eventually fell, not because of bombs dropped on it, 
but
because the hearts of the Soviets eventually grew tired of chasing the dream 
of a "utopia" that excluded God. Many fundamentalist Muslims are discovering
the same thing today - that the letter of the law without the grace of Jesus 
will always produce a constant whirlwind of anger, brutality and death, and
that dreams of an Islamic utopia will never be realized.

It is fruitless to try and effect real change in our lives apart from the 
workings of the Holy Spirit. Give God your most important treasures - your 
time
and attention. Seek a sincere, daily and vibrant relationship with the 
Creator of the world. He will change you from the inside out; and these 
changes
will be everlasting and joyful. They may not make the headlines of the daily 
newspaper, but they will be written in the Book of Life; and you will become
a member of the greatest underground movement the world has ever known.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 15 Oct 2015, 11:25 am

6 Things It Means to Be in Jesus

[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but 
because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus 
before
the ages began.
(2 Timothy 1:9)

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it 
means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ.

If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created.
2 Timothy 1:9,
“He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation.
Ephesians 1:4,
“God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love.
Romans 8:38–39,
“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.”
4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins.
Ephesians 1:7,
“In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our 
trespasses.”
5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God 
in Christ is imputed to you.
2 Corinthians 5:21,
“For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we 
might become the righteousness of God.”
6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17,
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; 
behold, the new has come.”
Galatians 3:26,
“In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
Copyright Information
This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Global Recordings Network (GRN) Team in India
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Global Recordings Network (GRN) Team in India
Aug 30, 2015 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Revelation 1:8, NIV "“I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord, “who is, and 
who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”"

Regardless of what happens in our world, it is helpful to be reminded that 
the same God who created the universe, who conquered death and ascended into
heaven, is with us now in great power and authority. Our risen Savior is 
seated on the throne, He is sovereign and He reigns over all. His purposes 
will
be accomplished, and his mission fulfilled. We are going to win because God 
is going to win, and He is with us. Even if we may go through the darkest 
hour
of human history, true followers of Jesus can be at peace, for they know 
without a doubt that His Kingdom will prevail.

Thank God that He will prevail, and the kingdoms of this earth will become 
the Kingdom of our Lord!—DT

Today's People Group

Lok was sad and frustrated about the small Meyor tribe. Sad, because there 
has never been a known follower of Christ among this Buddhist group, and 
frustrated
because they are isolated near the border of India and China, with little or 
no access to a gospel witness.
They are oral learners with no literature or Bible of their own. Global 
Recordings has the technical knowhow to make audio recordings in their 
language.
Grace Church in California has the financial resources and prayer backing. 
They joined forces to reach the Meyor people.
Lok made the two-day journey to the area and found a Buddhist man named 
Pemba who was amazingly fluent in English and willing to speak on the 
recordings.
Before he could help, he died of cancer. It took Lok several years to find a 
replacement. Meanwhile Grace Church continued to pray. In answer, God led
Lok to a man bilingual in Meyor and Lok’s heart language. He recently helped 
a small recording team record two hours of Bible stories and teaching.
After years of being shut off from the gospel, the Meyor can now listen to 
the good news in their own language on CDs.

Pray that God will open the hearts of these Buddhist people as they listen 
to the messages. Ask the Lord to help a national worker who is trying to 
raise
support to move his family close to the people and to plant a church.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.


You and Your Promised Land

Sometimes life has a way of taking the life out of us.

The Book of Joshua is in the Bible for such seasons. It dares us to believe 
our best days are ahead of us. God has a Promised Land for us to take.

The Promised Land was the third stop on the Hebrews’ iconic itinerary. Their 
pilgrimage began in Egypt, continued through the wilderness, and concluded
in Canaan. Each land represents a different condition of life. Geography is 
theology. In Egypt the Hebrews were enslaved to Pharaoh. In the wilderness
they were free from Pharaoh but still enslaved to fear. They refused to 
enter the Promised Land and languished in the desert. Only in Canaan did 
they discover
victory. Egypt, the wilderness, and Canaan. Slaves to Pharaoh, slaves to 
fear, and, finally, people of the promise.

Pull quote

We too have traveled this itinerary. Egypt represents our days before 
salvation. We were in bondage to sin. We wore the leg irons of guilt and 
death. But
then came our Deliverer, Jesus Christ. By His grace and in His power, we 
crossed the Red Sea. He liberated us from the old life and offered a 
brand-new
life in Canaan.

Our Promised Land isn’t a physical territory; it is a spiritual reality. It’s 
not real estate but a real state of the heart and mind.

A Promised Land life in which “we are more than conquerors through [Christ] 
who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

A life in which “we do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:16).

A life in which “[Christ’s] love has the first and last word in everything 
we do” (2 Cor. 5:14).

A life in which we are “exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 
7:4).

A life in which we are “anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6), in which we are 
“praying always” (Eph. 6:18), in which we “do all in the name of the Lord 
Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).

Canaan is a life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a 
heavenly call. In God’s plan, in God’s land, we win more often than we lose,
forgive as quickly as we are offended, and give as abundantly as we receive. 
We serve out of our giftedness and delight in our assignments. We may 
stumble,
but we do not collapse. We may struggle, but we defy despair. We boast only 
in Christ, trust only in God, lean wholly on His power. We enjoy abundant 
fruit
and increasing faith.

Canaan symbolizes the victory we can have today. In spite of what the hymn 
suggests—“To Canaan’s land I’m on my way, where the soul of man never 
dies”—Canaan
is not a metaphor for heaven. The idea is beautiful, but the symbolism doesn’t 
work. Heaven will have no enemies; Canaan had at least seven enemy nations.
Heaven will have no battles. Joshua and his men fought at least thirty-one 
(Josh. 12:9–24). Heaven will be free of stumbles and struggle. Joshua’s men
weren’t. They stumbled and struggled, but their victories far outnumbered 
their defeats.

Canaan, then, does not represent the life to come. Canaan represents the 
life we can have now!

God invites us to enter Canaan. There is only one condition. We must turn 
our backs on the wilderness.

This is God’s vision for your life. You at full throttle. You as you were 
intended. You as victor over the Jerichos and giants.

You and your Promised Land life.

It is yours for the taking.

Expect to be challenged. The enemy won’t go down without a fight. But expect 
great progress. Life is different on the west side of the Jordan. 
Breakthroughs
outnumber breakdowns. God’s promises outweigh personal problems. Victory 
becomes, dare we imagine, a way of life. Isn’t it time for you to change 
your
mailing address from the wilderness to the Promised Land? Your Glory Days 
await you.

Ready to march?
--------------------------------------------------
Glory Days
Excerpted from
Glory Days
by Max Lucado
©2015. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Used by permission.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 14 Oct 2015, 9:13 pm

In You, the Orphan Finds Mercy

Last month, I boarded a plane to Africa--together with my wife and three 
kids. We did so in order to become the parents of four kids. Early in our 
marriage,
my wife and I felt a desire to see our family grow through adoption. 
Circumstances being what they were, we waited several years before 
initiating the
adoption process. Other circumstances being what they were, we waited 
another three years for the process to work itself out. Years of waiting, 
thousands
of dollars, countless tears shed, and reams of paperwork filed, re-filed, 
notarized, authenticated, and submitted for review by multiply layers of 
state,
national, and international bureaucratic agencies and finally we finally 
left to adopt our soon-to-be son.

Why would we subject ourselves, our marriage, and our family to the rigors 
of adoption? I was asked this question the other night by a sweet family who
was curious about this adoption process. I told them that I read in 
Galatians 4:1-7 and Romans 8:12-17 were I discovered that, in Christ, God 
had adopted
me. Spiritually speaking, we are born “enslaved to the elementary principles 
of the world” (Gal 4:3). But God in his mercy provided redemption for the
spiritual orphan through Jesus Christ, “God sent forth his Son, born of 
woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that 
we might
receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4, 5). Additionally, I read throughout the 
Old Testament where God calls his people to provide for the most vulnerable
in society, specifically “the widow, the fatherless, and the sojourner” (Ex 
22:22, Deut 10:18, and 30+ other places). Quite simply, I believe that when
God said this, he meant it. God loves to show mercy to the needy (see
Westminster Confession of Faith,
ch. 12).

However, this opens the door for another question--namely, "What compels us 
to adopt?" When I get past the sappy and saccharine sentimentality of 
thinking
I’m rescuing some poor child from poverty and realize that, theologically 
speaking, I am the orphan, it compels me to love the orphan as God has loved
me. It is for the simple reason that when we were orphans God showed us 
mercy. Think about the beauty of this doctrine. God takes an orphan and puts 
his
name upon him, gives him access to the throne of grace with boldness, loves 
him as his own child, and makes him an heir of heaven. When we were the 
orphan,
lacking in the basic relationships and necessities of life, God showed us 
mercy. “In [God} the orphan finds mercy” (Hos 14:3). That which was lacking 
and
missing in your life was fulfilled and met by God in his mercy. This is 
where our doctrine should lead to doxology, which should--in turn--lead to 
action.
After I explained that this is the reason for our adoption, one of the 
family members looked at me and said, “Wow, you get to explain the Gospel 
every
time someone asks you about adoption, don’t you?” I replied, “That’s exactly 
the point.”

Has God been merciful to you? Has God supplied your every need? Then you 
should seek to mirror the grace and mercy of your Heavenly Father by showing 
the
same mercy to the fatherless. In commenting on Hosea 14:3, the Puritan 
Richard Sibbes gives us this exhortation,

Let us learn how we are to respond to God’s dealing with us. We are to show 
mercy to the fatherless and those who stand in need, as the apostle Paul 
exhorts
in Colossians 3:12, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, 
compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” as if he should 
say,
as you would prove yourselves to be elect members of Christ and children of 
God, so show your likeness in this particular, “show compassion.” This has
ever been, and yet is at all times, a character of God’s children, and shall 
be to the end of the world. It is a sign such a one has [experienced] mercy,
that is ready upon all occasions to pour forth compassion upon others, as 
hard-heartedness shows a disposition which has not rightly tasted of mercy. 
As
we say in another case, those that are appeased in their consciences, in the 
sense of the forgiveness of sins, they are peaceable to others, because they
feel peace. So here, those that feel mercy will be merciful, those that have 
felt love will be loving to others… If God has stamped his image upon you,
then you will pour out your hearts and be merciful to the orphan, the widow, 
and the distressed persons… Therefore, let us labor to express the image of
our Heavenly Father in this. (Sibbes, Richard, and Alexander Balloch 
Grosart.
Works of Richard Sibbes:
Volume 2. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1983. 296-297.)

Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost 
at least one parent. There are nearly 18 million children who have lost both
parents and are living in orphanages or on the street (statistics provided 
by Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute). These are children who 
lack
those family relationships which we would consider basic and essential. 
These are children who lack the care and attention of a mom and dad. These 
are
children who, at best, will receive their basic nurturing not from parents 
but from an institution. These are children who are at constant risk of 
disease,
malnutrition, exploitation, and death. 18,000,000 children waiting to 
experience the mercy of a father. 18,000,000. Let that number sink in. These 
are
the most vulnerable of society and the very ones for whom God has called the 
Church to provide.

What if instead of thinking, “Isn’t it nice that God cares for the orphans,” 
we thought, “Isn’t it amazing that God cared for me!” And then, what if we
thought, “God showed mercy to me when I was an orphan. Now I will show mercy 
to the orphan.” What would happen if the Church would reflect the image of
a Heavenly Father who has shown us mercy? What if we cared more about 
showing mercy to the fatherless than we feared entering into the financially 
and
emotionally draining mess and chaos of adoption? The Church MUST rise up as 
the answer to the crisis of 18 million orphans; 18 million kids who are in
desperate need of a father’s mercy.

There are numerous ways in which the Church can show mercy to the 
fatherless. I will not be so presumptuous as to say every Christian must 
adopt. Though,
I will add that many will use any wiggle room whatsoever to avoid the Lord’s 
call to adopt. I neither want to bind your conscience in an unbiblical 
manner
nor justify your flight from God’s command. But there are other ways to show 
mercy to the orphan. Adoption is financially draining on a family. You can
financially support families who are adopting. You can pray for the orphan. 
You can advocate on behalf of orphans and raise awareness of the plight of
the orphan. You can support your local crisis pregnancy center. If you are 
not called to adopt, you can still sponsor an orphan to help provide his 
basic
needs. There are many ways to help and many great organizations that can 
connect you with ways to show mercy to the orphan.

I am well aware of the mess and chaos of adoption. Adoption is a process 
borne out of the trauma of a child being orphaned. It is messy. And our 
process
isn’t over yet. There are many more emotional, financial, and physical 
twists and turns ahead for us. But I am also well aware of the humiliation 
Christ
faced in the incarnation. It was a messy process. He was born into poverty. 
He was subjected to the Law. He underwent the miseries of this life. He 
endured
the wrath of God. He died a horrific death on the cross. He was buried and 
was held by the power of death for a time (WSC 27). What an ignoble journey
for the Son of God. But the Son willingly submitted to the will of the 
Father so that we would experience the mercy of that same Father. If I am 
called
to live a Christ-like life, then I must show mercy to the orphan. Beyond the 
orphan’s need to receive mercy, if I am to be faithful, I must show him 
mercy.

Related Resources
Dan Cruver
Reclaiming Adoption
Russel Moore
Adopted for Life
Trevor Burke
Adopted into God's Family
Contact Us
Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
600 Eden Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Alliance@AllianceNet.org


Love Worth Finding Ministries

Two Days that Will Steal Your Joy

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, 
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those 
things
which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling 
of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are two days that can steal your joy and the fulfillment of today. One 
is tomorrow and the other is yesterday. Both are days in which we as 
Christians
should refuse to live.

So many of us have never learned how to separate ourselves from yesterday. 
We are still dragging it around with us and it is stealing our joy. Paul 
could
have lived there in the realm of guilt, but he refused.

ACTION POINT:
Maybe you, like Paul and countless others, have committed some horrible 
sins. But friend, what God has called cleaned, let no man call unclean. If 
you
have confessed that sin and given it to God, it is buried in the depths. Don’t 
let it contaminate your day. Learn to live in the present.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300

A Note of Encouragement
from Ciloa

Send this Note of Encouragement to a Friend

Chuck and Henry sitting on the porch
How great the heart within us burns
When love we give...to us returns

Three Little Words
Volume XV, Issue 34
August 24, 2015
----------------------------------------------------------
Recently something special happened.
One evening our son-in-law and daughter came over. Mallory carried Baby 
Violet, who looked about with wide-eyed amazement, and Jon had our 
2½-year-old
grandson, Henry. After dinner, we talked a while---well, not Violet---and 
Henry and I watched Cars (for the million-eth time).

As they prepared to head home, Henry made his rounds to say, Goodbye. He ran 
to Beverly where he got lots of kisses, then hurried to me for his great 
bear
hug. I wrapped him in my arms and held him tight. His duty to Gigi and 
Seanair now complete, he bounded off to Mommy and Daddy.

Then Henry stopped, turned to me, and said, "I love you."

It is difficult to describe how I felt at that moment. There was surprise, 
of course, in large part because he's still learning how to speak. I've been
thrilled with his attempts at Seanair (Scot Gaelic for Granddaddy). But 
there was much more than merely being surprised.

Every now and then Henry and I walk together, play together, and watch 
movies together. I listen as he tells me about his day, the latest boo-boo, 
and
many things I almost understand. He's grown to trust me. Does he always do 
what I say? Noooo. But I love him and have great hope for him.

To see him look at me and say, "I love you,"---well, it's just an amazing 
rush of emotion.

That got me thinking. How does God react when we sincerely tell Him, "I love 
you"?

God cares for His people and over time has revealed more of His nature and 
character. When He chose to express Himself in human form as 
Jesus---Immanuel,
"God with us"---He opened up even more as to who He is...who He has always 
been.

God is Lord and Master, but He is also our Heavenly Father. His desire is 
not to sit around making rules, but to share His love. He wants a deep 
relationship
with each of us. Not with this group or that country. But with you and with 
me.

Jesus revealed this side of God's nature and character. He spoke of God not 
as a distant, divine ruler to be feared by His subjects, but as a caring 
Father
to be loved by His children.

So, how does our Heavenly Father react when we sincerely tell Him, "I love 
you"?

Since we are created in His image, He reacts in a way similar to how we 
react. His heart fills with joy and peace, patience and kindness, goodness 
and
faithfulness, gentleness and grace. Sound familiar? It is the fruit of His 
own Spirit who lives within us. (see Galatians 5:22-23)

When Henry said, "I love you," my heart reacted in much the same way and I 
wanted to shower him with my love. As great as that made me feel, I can only
imagine how much greater and deeper our Heavenly Father feels when we stop, 
turn to Him, and say, "I love you."

Have you told God lately that you love Him? Do it right now. Trust me. It 
will make His day...and yours.

Take care & be God's,
Chuck
Ciloa is a registered trademark of Ciloa, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) 
organization.
chuckgraham@ciloa.org|

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
So Big, So Far, So Do-able - #7470

Each winter certain parts of America get hammered, of course, with monster 
snow storms. And when it's our turn, we all have stories about how we 
survived
the winter of whatever year.

But no one has a story like a Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland. I never met 
him, so I hope I got it right. But for 64 days he saw little more than 
white.
He was the first person to cross the continent of Antarctica alone and 
unaided. It took him 64 days to cover a frozen 1,675 miles. He actually 
harnessed
Antarctica's fierce winds by strapping himself to a parachute-like sail. Get 
this! And with the winds in his favor, he could ski as much as 140 miles a
day. All the while, he towed a sled carrying more than 300 pounds of 
supplies; enduring monotony and temperatures that dipped under 40 below.

After his incredible journey, Ousland talked about the huge mental challenge 
of facing seemingly endless fields of snow. You know how he did it? In his
own words, "It's so big and so far, you have to keep concentrating on the 
near future and make every day a victory." Wow!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "So Big, 
So Far, So Do-able."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 6:25 and 
following. "Do not worry about your life" Jesus said, "Look at the birds of 
the air.
They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father 
feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying
can add a single hour to his life? Do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat? 
What shall we drink? What shall we wear?' Your Heavenly Father knows you 
need
them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things 
will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry, for tomorrow will 
worry
about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Jesus' orders here are pretty clear; He says them three times. Did you get 
them? "Do not worry." What makes us worry? Things that are, I guess in the 
words
of that Antarctica explorer, "So big, so far." In fact right now you might 
be facing a situation like that, maybe several of them. They look as huge as
the vast expanse of Antarctica must have looked to that explorer.

You're looking at and maybe worrying about an overwhelming challenge in your 
finances, or your family, it could be your health, or huge responsibilities
you have right now, or a relationship. But your anxiety is contributing 
absolutely nothing to managing the situation. If anything, worry is actually 
paralyzing
you or distorting your judgment or robbing you of the energy that you need 
for this challenge.

Listen to the teaching of your Master, "Don't keep dragging your tomorrows 
into today." Worry is trying to live your tomorrow before you get there; 
before
you have the grace for that day that God only issues in 24-hour increments. 
Jesus is saying, "Just do today."

Now, that's how one man handled the seemingly endless winter of his 
Antarctic journey. He said, "You have to keep concentrating on the near 
future" - like
today. He said, "Make every day a victory." That's how you deal with 
parenting when it's taking everything you've got. It's how you beat a sin 
that has
beaten you for a long time. It's how you dig your way out of a mountain of 
debt. It's how you manage the unmanageable. Make every day a victory.

And on those days that don't exactly turn out to be victorious, put that day 
behind you and start fresh on that next new day. Remember, the Bible says,
"His mercies are new every morning." When you stop worrying about tomorrow 
and you focus on today, and you focus on your Heavenly Father who knows 
everything
you need, what seems so big and so far becomes so do-able.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 12 Oct 2015, 10:30 pm

One Bad Apple

In the late 1970’s my hometown, Erwin, Tennessee, started a festival which 
is now our annual Apple Festival which occurs the first weekend of October. 
That gets me to thinking about apples around this time of year. You may have 
heard the phrase, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” That is what 
happened after the walls of Jericho come a tumblin’ down. God had told the 
Israelites just what to do. That included just taking the items He had told 
them to take to be used for God’s service. What happened?

Joshua 7:1 (NLT)
1 But Israel was unfaithful concerning the things set apart for the Lord. A 
man named Achan had stolen some of these things, so the Lord was very angry 
with the Israelites. Achan was the son of Carmi, of the family of Zimri, of 
the clan of Zerah, and of the tribe of Judah.

No one was to take anything for himself. Achan did not obey. God didn’t say 
that Achan was the only one responsible, God was blaming all the Israelites. 
They next went up against the small city of Ai. They said there would be no 
problem with this city but because of the sin of Achan they were defeated. 
Not only this but because of what Achan did, God commanded for all his 
family and animals to be stoned and burnt. What a terrible price to pay for 
one man’s sin.

Achan hid the things he had stolen. He was pretending to be a good 
Israelite. He probably thought that what he did didn’t matter. One can fool 
others but cannot fool God. God does not take sin lightly. Innocent people 
suffered because of what Achan did.

Achan excused his sin but we need to examine ourselves daily to see if we 
might be the bad apple in the barrel. Then we should not excuse what we have 
done wrong but should deal with it.

Is there someone in your local congregation that looks like a Christian and 
comes all the time but is continuing in something that is not pleasing to 
God? They may not think what they are doing is detrimental and they may make 
excuses for what they do but God doesn’t like it. That one person can stunt 
your church. Innocent people will be affected. You will be affected by their 
living in sin. Achan’s relatives didn’t know what was going on until they 
were stoned to death. The effect on the church may not be as drastic but 
there will be an effect.

It is not popular to preach against sin today. Most preachers you hear on 
radio and television try to build people up instead of coming against sin.

1 Peter 4:17 (NCV)
17 It is time for judgment to begin with God’s family. And if that judging 
begins with us, what will happen to those people who do not obey the Good 
News of God?

WE do not condemn anyone but we can judge by their fruits as to where they 
stand. One place Paul says not to have anything to do with these people that 
they might turn from their sins. Paul did recommend that the Corinthians 
throw one person out of their church but then asked that same church in his 
second book to the Corinthians to let that person in since he had repented 
of his sin.

One bad apple does spoil the bunch in some way. Ask God to lead you by his 
Holy Spirit in what to do with the bad apples in your midst.

by Dean W. Masters

7 Things Not to Say to a Grieving Person
Katherine Britton

“I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether 
they'll 'say something about it' or not. I hate if they do, and if they 
don't.”
- A Grief Observed

Grief will flummox the most eloquent. When our friends hurt, all we want is 
to stand beside them and show them they’re not alone, and somehow words 
always
seem to tumble out. But how can you possibly find the “right words” when the 
reality of death and suffering is so very wrong? The attempt is bound to 
result
in some flubs, yet silence is hard to manage.

After my mom passed away recently, just a couple weeks before her 53rd 
birthday, I’ve suddenly found myself on the receiving end of sympathy. 
People have
approached me with amazing love and kindness, so very well-intentioned and 
wanting so badly to help. I appreciate the sentiment so much—the simple 
acknowledgement
that life is irreversibly different is more helpful than you can imagine. 
And yet, the expression has sometimes made me shake my head. There’s 
sometimes
a hilariously wide difference between the intention and the bizarre 
outpouring.

I’m sure many people are simply clueless, as I was before this paradigm 
shift. So I’m cataloguing a few of the well-intentioned-but-not-so-helpful 
things
people have said for the sake of building empathy. If this helps floundering 
friends speak comfort a little more readily, then sharing is worth it.

With that in mind, here's a short catalog of some common, very 
well-intentioned comments I've received... and why I've cocked my head at 
the people who
utter them.

Well-intentioned: "If there's anything I can do to help" and "Let me know 
what I can do."

Why it doesn't work: A couple reasons, actually. First, I appreciate your 
assumption that my brain is still functioning on all cylinders, but... it's 
not.
Right now, I have the mental energy to answer yes/no questions, but 
open-ended questions that require more processing from me? Not so much. 
Secondly, I
didn't realize until now how much grief consumes the immediate and hampers 
future planning skills. For instance, I probably do need something from the
grocery store. But I won't realize it until the exact instant that I need it 
(e.g. milk for tomorrow's breakfast) and the only thing to do is run out at
11p.m. at night. Oops.

Better: "Hey, I'm going to the grocery store right now, can I pick up some 
staples for you? Milk? Eggs? Bread? Do you have a list?" or "Hey, can I come
over and clean your bathrooms? Does Tuesday work?"

My brain has much less pressure in this scenario--the onus isn't on me to 
call you and hope you're still willing to do a nebulous "anything," and I 
can
latch onto something concrete with easy answers. I'm eternally grateful for 
the people who really did clean my bathrooms and bring my
family
groceries--that was huge.

Well-intentioned: "Hey, you look sad."

Why it doesn't work: Yes, I probably do. I know you're trying to tell me 
that you notice my hurt and carry it with me. But... um, trying to live my 
life
and get through the day’s responsibilities. The place to bring this up is 
over coffee, not at random (or at work or in the middle of church). I'm 
pretty
sure I'm only at half-mast but bringing it up doesn't help me focus on 
what's at hand. And now I’m self-conscious to boot.

Better: "Do you need a hand with that project? I'm happy to help." Or send 
me a note that I can read in my own time.

Well-intentioned: "I'm a safe person. You can talk to me anytime if you need 
to vent or scream or cry."

Why it doesn't work: I have to preface this by saying why this sentiment 
doesn't work for me personally, as maybe others do need it. I'm incredibly 
blessed
to have strong friends and a strong community, and I'm also a relatively 
private person. I know that when people say this, they really just mean they 
want
to help. But if I didn't have a strong relationship with you before this, 
why would I pour out my soul to you now? When someone I barely know says 
this
phrase, it can sound downright opportunist.

There is a special exception: if you’ve been through a hurt similar to mine, 
you may have special wisdom to give. You can be a lifeline when you say, 
“Here’s
what you can expect. And I promise you will make it through. I’m right here 
with you.”

Better: "I've been thinking about you guys a lot, and I love you." You're 
honoring my boundaries while telling me you care. This means the world. If 
you
really want to help, offer something concrete, like a meal or a notecard 
with encouragement/
prayer.

Well-intentioned: In this scenario, you've just seen the person for the 
first time since the death/the big news, and you're both in the middle of a 
larger
event. You go up to your friend and say, "I'm so sorry about [blank]. How 
are you holding up? How was the funeral?"

Why it doesn't work: I can't stress enough how important it is to choose the 
timing of your condolences. I understand that you want to know, but I'm in
the middle of a party, a Christmas celebration, a happy hour after work, and 
you want me to conjure up my grief in a completely incongruous situation,
on the spot, for you? Sometimes, it's just nice to enjoy a kind of normalcy 
for a little while. Of course I haven't forgotten the pain - rather, I'm 
choosing
to focus on something else for a little while, because that's healing too. 
Let me.

Better: "I've missed you over the last few months. It's really good to see 
you again. Hey, would you want to get coffee soon?" This lets the person 
know
that you've noticed their absence, and you care. Plus, it offers a gateway 
to a private conversation, without the stress of answering pointed 
questions.

Well-intentioned: "I know how you feel. My mom died when she was 80."

Why it doesn't work: No two griefs are the same. Assuming you know how 
another person is feeling/processing is just that--an assumption. We all 
know death,
but not in the same way. For example, my own mom died at 52, leaving behind 
four kids still at home and three in highschool. I'm sorry your mom died at
age 80, but please understand that I'm grieving decades of lost time and 
unmade memories, as well as trying to step up to help meet my younger 
siblings'
practical needs. No, you don't know how I feel, and I'm trying hard not to 
feel insulted by your comparison.

Better: "I'm sorry for your loss" and "Hang in there. I promise someday it 
gets better." If you're not so close, the tried-and-true line is a good one.
If you've been through strong, close grief, then maybe an encouragement that 
someday the weight lifts a little is appropriate. It doesn't assume the 
griefs
are the same, but it does offer some hope.

Well-intentioned: "God is in control."

Why it doesn't work: Closely aligned with "God will use this for good 
somehow," statements like this fall into the really-bad-timing category. 
Maybe they
are true. But in grief, we want a God who is close and immanent and feels 
our hurts. A big God in control of the whole universe (yet a loved one died)
working out some distant good (my hurt is now) is quite frankly irrelevant 
at the moment. I need a Jesus that weeps with me, who knows my sorrow 
because
he carried his own.

Better: "God himself mourns with those who mourns. Death is still the enemy, 
and I'm so sorry you met it now." Remind me that God's heart breaks with 
mine.
Remind me that even in God's grand plan, death is still an inherent wrong 
that needs to be righted.

Well-intentioned: "[Blank] lived a full life, and is with Jesus now."

Why it doesn't work: This one isn't so bad, actually, but it's pretty 
incomplete. First, you don't know if a person lived his own definition of a 
full
life. And we miss them here, with us. I fully believe that my mom lived 
every moment of her almost-53 years to the brim, but the days are empty now. 
What
you're saying has a cognitive dissonance with my new reality.

Better: "[Blank] was always so full of life. I remember that time..." Share 
a memory you hold dear with me. I don't get to make new memories now, so the
shared ones are much dearer. I love hearing them.

There are no perfect responses to loss. But thanks for listening and trying 
to say the less-bad things, all the same. And above all? Never, ever be 
afraid
to simply stand with the hurting and say, “I love you. You’re not alone.” 
That’s always a good thing to say.

Article originally posted at
Who Are the Brittons.
Used with permission.

Katherine Britton is a commercial and hired-gun writer and editor who still 
wears her green newspaper visor when she thinks no one is looking. You can
read more of her work on her
personal blog.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 11 Oct 2015, 2:41 pm

And God Said, "Ta-da!"
LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

"For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted 
ones with salvation."
Psalm 149:4
(NASB)

Feeling less than likeable? A far cry from beautiful? Today’s encouragement 
from God’s Word might be just what you need to change your view.

First, the Lord takes pleasure in you. He doesn’t simply accept you, forgive 
you or put up with you. He delights in your company. He celebrates your 
place
in His kingdom. "As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God 
rejoice over you"
(Isaiah 62:5b,
NIV).

What about your family history, your personality, your popularity? People 
worry about those things, but not the Lord.

So, your education, your resume, your bank balance? Impressive or not, none 
of that changes how God values you.

Even your behavior doesn’t alter His kind affection for you. His love is 
unconditional and irrevocable. God doesn’t love you because you’re wealthy 
or
clever or good. He loves you because you’re His. "See what great love the 
Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"
(1 John 3:1a,
NIV).

Even more good news? The Lord says you are beautiful. Not just slightly 
attractive or marginally appealing. Beautiful. You are lovely to look at 
because
"God created mankind in his own image"
(Genesis 1:27a,
NIV). And that includes you.

As today’s verse,
Psalm 149:4b,
tells us, "He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." You are 
beautiful beyond description when you’re covered in His grace.

We are endlessly obsessed with our earthly appearance, doing everything 
possible to look our best, to measure up, to please others. Yet invariably, 
we
look in the mirror and are disappointed with the results.

But not God. He knew exactly what He was doing the day He knit you together 
in your mother’s womb (
Psalm 139:13).

Some women are quick to say, "Maybe God was pleased when He made me, but I’m 
not sure He’s happy with how I turned out …"

Listen. God knows your first breath and your last (
Psalm 139:16),
He counts every hair on your head (
Matthew 10:30),
and He stores all your tears in a bottle (
Psalm 56:8).
Our God? He is not surprised or disappointed with how you turned out. He 
loved you then, He loves you still and He will love you forever.

We get in trouble when we compare ourselves to others, always finding 
someone who is younger, taller, thinner, more athletic, more graceful … the 
list goes on.

But God does not compare. God does not clone. Each of us is a unique work of 
His creation. You are God’s definition of beautiful for you, beloved. Are
you ready to see yourself as God sees you?

Here’s a simple exercise I’ve been teaching women for ages. Every morning, 
stand in front of a mirror (fully dressed, of course), stretch up your arms
with joy, and say it like you mean it: "Ta-da!"

Feels good, yes? Looks good, too. You can’t say it without smiling, which 
always improves things. "Ta-da!" is the LRV (the Lizzie Revised Version) of 
"God
saw all that he had made, and it was very good"
(Genesis 1:31a,
NIV).

We’ve all known beautiful women who, when they opened their mouths, quickly 
lost their appeal. And we’ve also known average-looking women who love the
Lord with all their hearts, and it shows on their radiant faces. Gorgeous.

When the light of Christ shines through us, we are utterly transformed. That’s 
the real story, the hope of glory, the ultimate "Ta-da!"

Father God, many of us have struggled with our appearance or sense of worth 
all of our lives. Let this be the day we turn away from the world’s lies and
embrace the truth of Your Word and the beauty of Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, 
Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 139:14,
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are 
wonderful, I know that full well." (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 3:11a,
"He has made everything beautiful in its time." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Liz Curtis Higgs’ newest book,
It’s Good to Be Queen,
explores how you can become as bold, gracious and wise as the queen of 
Sheba, as it addresses thorny life questions and considers which qualities 
best
serve a godly queen of any realm.

Stop by this week, as Liz explores why "He Is Worthy of Our Praise,"
on her blog.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Since God’s opinion of us is the one that truly matters, we need to remind 
ourselves daily that we give Him pleasure and He considers us beautiful.

Is there a verse in today’s post you want to memorize? Or an idea you want 
to study further? To help you see yourself the way God does, Liz Curtis 
Higgs
has created laminated cards with some of today’s encouraging message plus 
vinyl "Ta-da!" stickers to pop on your mirror. Ten winners will receive a 
"Ta-da!"
card from Liz, chosen at random from all who
comment on today’s post.

© 2015 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries

Servant-Hearted
by Charles R. Swindoll

2 Corinthians 4:1-7

In his fine little volume In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen mentions three 
very real, albeit subtle temptations any servant of Christ faces. They 
correspond
with the three temptations our Lord faced before He began His earthly 
ministry. They also fit with three observations the apostle Paul mentions in 
his
letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 4:1-7).

First Temptation: To be self-sufficient and self-reliant. Instead of being 
so self-assured, we need to be open, unguarded, and vulnerable.

Second Temptation: To be spectacular . . . a celebrity mentality. In 
Nouwen's words, "Jesus refused to be a stunt man. . . . He did not come to 
walk on
hot coals, swallow fire or put His hand in a lion's mouth to demonstrate He 
had something worthwhile to say."

Third Temptation: To be powerful . . . in charge. To lead is appropriate, 
necessary, and good. But to push, to manipulate, to be in full control . . .
never! To say it simply, one God is sufficient.

Servanthood implies diligence, faithfulness, loyalty, and humility. Servants 
don't compete . . . or grandstand . . . or polish their image . . . or grab
the limelight. They know their job, they admit their limitations, they do 
what they do quietly and consistently.

• Servants cannot control anyone or everything, and they shouldn't try.
• Servants cannot change or "fix" people.
• Servants cannot meet most folks' expectations.
• Servants cannot concern themselves with who gets the credit.
• Servants cannot minister in the flesh or all alone.

Let me suggest five practical guidelines for cultivating the right kind of 
servant habits.

1. Whatever we do, let's do more with others. Ministry is not a solo, it's a 
chorus.
2. Whenever we do it, let's place the emphasis on quality, not quantity. 
Excellence, not expansion, is our goal.
3. Whenever we go to do it, let's do it the same as if we were doing it 
among those who know us the best. Not only will this keep us accountable, 
it'll
guard us from exaggeration.
4. Whoever may respond, let's keep a level head. If someone criticizes, 
don't allow it to get you down. If someone idolizes, don't tolerate or 
fantasize
such foolishness.
5. However long we minister, let's model the Master . . . a servant-hearted 
and a grace-oriented style.

Let's serve . . . in the name of Jesus.

A servant-hearted attitude keeps us from self-minded attitude.

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Helping Kids See the Gospel
by John UpChurch, Senior Editor, BibleStudyTools.com

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these 
things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:9

First, I want to blow up a common misconception. You’ve probably heard that 
Francis of Assisi, that saint of old, said something along the lines of: 
"Share
the gospel. If necessary, use words." He did, but his story and evangelistic 
career don't end so abruptly in a manner that suggests we never speak our

faith.
When you study Francis's life, you find that he spoke the gospel… a lot. He 
preached on haystacks and street corners and pretty much anywhere people 
were.
He preached to peasants and nobles, lepers and prisoners. So, it's safe to 
say that he believed in the concept that "faith comes by hearing."

But Francis did back up his preaching with some pretty amazing examples of 
the gospel. He demonstrated the sacrifice of Christ in ways that the people
around him could see and touch. You could say that his life of poverty 
served as a parable for Christ giving up the riches of heaven (
Philippians 2).
Given the culture (which wasn’t too different), a rich man’s son choosing 
rags over raging parties does send a pretty potent message (it’d be like 
Paris
Hilton choosing a monastery over Malibu Beach houses).

So, Francis and his famous quip and his demonstrations of the gospel have 
given me something to think about. Namely, as a father, how do I make what 
Christ
did real to my girls? How can I show them what I teach with my words and 
through the Bible? Since I can’t exactly forsake all my possessions and 
provide
for them at the same time, I’ve learned to think on a bit smaller scale.

The Exchange: I admit it. This seems kind of hokey. But I’ve found that 
simply exchanging something dirty for something clean (with a gospel 
explanation)
has made quite the impact. For example, my oldest daughter hates for any two 
items on her plate to touch. Even a microscopic amount of mashed potatoes
befouling her green beans is enough to make her queasy. So, instead of 
fighting about the silliness of it, I recently just traded one of my 
un-besmirched
beans for hers. When I did so, I pointed out that this is similar to what 
Jesus did for us. He took our dirtiness of sin and gave us His cleanness (
2 Corinthians 5:21).
She studied the bean with squinty eyes and then ate it.

The Takeaway: This isn’t something I do often—just so we’re clear. But every 
once in a while, when my girls do something that deserves some “reflection
time” in the “reflection chair,” I take away the punishment completely. That 
only works if I know they’re truly repentant about what they’ve done (and
if they know it’s uncommon). I point out that they deserved 
punishment—according to our if/then Scripture chart—but they aren’t getting 
what they deserve
(
1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The Substitute: This isn’t one I’ve used just yet because I want them to be 
a little older. But my wife and I have planned something we hope will really
drive home the point. When they mess up, I'm going to take the punishment 
they deserved. I'm going to lose the privilege they should have lost, to 
suffer
the consequences of their failures. I want them to see that Jesus did just 
that for us (
Isaiah 53).

Intersecting Faith & Life: No earthly example can truly capture what Jesus 
did—not Francis, not my dinner table exchanges. His sacrifice is just too 
ridiculously
huge. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Be intentional with your teachable 
moments. A tangible example of what you preach with your lips can reach 
people
in ways that words alone cannot.

For Further Reading

Saint Francis by Robert West


Will The Sun Ever Shine On You Again
by Dean Masters

Lamentations 3:22-24
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his 
compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is they 
faithfulness. The Lord
is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.

Oh I just love it when I get up in the morning and it turns out to be a 
beautiful, sunny day, everything seems so fresh and new and it just sort of 
fills
you with a new hope for the day. I wish I could wake up every day and feel 
that way but that just isn’t reality! Life is the same way in a sense; every
day isn’t going to be sunny, there are rainy days, snowy days and stormy 
days and sometimes you just begin to wonder if you will ever see the sun 
again!
Have you ever heard someone talk about surviving a tornado? They always say 
that it seemed like it took forever for the tornado to pass over even though
it was only seconds! Life's storms are the same way, it seems as though 
they will never come to an end, but they truly came to pass!

Where are you today? Are you facing such overwhelming struggles that you 
feel as though this storm will never pass? Do you feel so weighed down by 
the
burdens you are carrying that you can’t even find the strength to look up 
any more? God wants you to know that His compassions will not fail, they are
new every single morning so hold on to your hope in Him! Don’t allow Satan 
to lie to you trying to get you to believe that somehow God doesn’t care, He
does care, He loves you and He is faithful to deliver you and to bring you 
through all that you are facing to the other side!

Do you need God’s mercies today because of things you have done? You know 
God still has a plan for you, right? He still believes in you and knows all 
of
the strengths and gifts He put within you to do great things, He won’t let 
that go to waste if you will just allow His mercies and grace cover you 
today
and leave the past behind so you can start fresh today! Today is a new day, 
fresh with no mistakes in it! Rise up, get excited, this can be your new 
beginning!
Allow God to do a fresh work in you today! He delights in you!

If you are needing strength for your day I would like to encourage you to 
remember, 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient 
for
thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God will show Himself 
mighty in your situation and in your life if you will just seek Him and 
glorify
Him in all you do! Hold on to the words in this verse and know that He has 
promised to come through for you! God is faithful, so if you have been 
feeling
as though everything is hopeless lately know that you can put all of your 
hope and faith in Him. The best is yet to come!

Quote:
“Hope never dies where faith is strong, and faith grows strong in the 
presence of hope.” Chad Witmeyer

What the Resurrection Means

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in 
your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9)

The meaning of the resurrection is that God is for us. He aims to close 
ranks with us. He aims to overcome all our sense of abandonment and 
alienation.

The resurrection of Jesus is God’s declaration to Israel and to the world 
that we cannot work our way to glory but that he intends to do the 
impossible
to get us there.

The resurrection is the promise of God that all who trust Jesus will be the 
beneficiaries of God’s power to lead us in paths of righteousness and 
through
the valley of death.

Therefore, believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead is 
much more than accepting a fact. It means being confident that God is for 
you,
that he has closed ranks with you, that he is transforming your life, and 
that he will save you for eternal joy.

Believing in the resurrection means trusting in all the promises of life and 
hope and righteousness for which it stands.

It means being so confident of God’s power and love that no fear of worldly 
loss or greed for worldly gain will lure us to disobey his will.

That’s the difference between Satan and the saints. O, might God circumcise 
our hearts to love him and to rest in the resurrection of his Son.

----------------------------------------------------------
Copyright Information
This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

3 Ways to Follow God When the Path Isn’t Clear
Jennifer Heeren

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and 
your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you”
(Genesis 12:1).

God didn’t give Abram (later to be called Abraham) a detailed map or even 
show him the exact final destination. He basically said, “Abram, leave your 
comfort
zone and go where I will show you.” However, God also added that he would 
bless Abram and his descendants if Abram obeyed him. Abram didn’t know where
he would end up, but he knew and trusted God’s character, so he obeyed 
anyway. Abram’s obedience happened one step at a time. With each step, Abram 
heard
a little more from God.

I feel that this is what God requires of me as well. In November, I lost my 
job. I don’t know exactly where God is taking me next but I am trusting that
it will be a good place—a place of blessing. Each day since, I have been 
doing what I know to do within each day. I’ve been looking, applying, and 
networking.
I’ve also been taking advantage of the time and learning some new skills. 
All the while remembering that God is a good God who loves to give good 
gifts
to his children. Each day I feel like I’m a little closer to knowing where 
he is taking me next and this brings me peace even in the not knowing.

Like Abram, I am learning lessons as I walk through my journey. Three 
lessons that God is teaching me are:

1. Step Out of My Comfort Zone

God wants me to continually step out of my comfort zone and trust him with 
the unknowns. I have to leave room for God to guide me. If God were to come
show me step-by-step his exact will for my life, it wouldn’t require
faith
for me to follow him. Moreover, if I know exactly where I’m going 
beforehand, the idea probably isn’t from God. It probably came out of my own 
head and
ideals. God likes me to follow him in faith and trust—not in knowing. This 
frees me from getting stuck in my own ideas, which often can take me away 
from
God’s will, because let’s face it, my own ideas can be very flawed as well 
as limited. God sees everything—past, present and future. He is not limited.

When I think back to times when I actually did step out of my comfort zone, 
it can give me confidence to do it again. A few years ago, I got married and
moved many, many miles away from the state that I’d lived in my entire life. 
I knew it was for a good reason but I didn’t know a lot of the details that
I would encounter after the move. But I did it anyway.

2. Take One Step at a Time

There’s also another reason God doesn’t want me to know too much too soon. 
If I know too quickly, I might get overwhelmed and give up because it seems
too hard. I might know where I’ll end up but I won’t necessarily know how. 
And, this not knowing how would cause me to have all kinds of anxious and 
worried
thoughts. Nobody can do their best work under stress. God doesn’t ask me to 
take a step that is five miles up the road. Each step of this step-by-step
approach is made under the daylight of the present moment. Everyone can take 
one step at a time.

I once tried a ropes course that was over twenty feet above the ground. My 
initial thought was that there was no way I could balance myself and walk 
across
those ropes. I wore a safety harness but my jitters didn’t seem to 
understand that I was completely safe. It was still scary. But…as I took one 
step at
a time, I reached my destination.

3. Action Lessens Worry

I tend to overanalyze everything and overanalyzing causes me to worry and 
even become paralyzed. Taking action erases a lot of these worries because 
the
act of doing something takes on a life of its own. I concentrate on the task 
at hand, not the results that will come later. Worry about future results
usually happens before I ever take an action to complete something. Taking 
actions regularly is a way of living in the moment and often deletes some of
the fears of the future and regrets of the past.

Also in that ropes course, I realized that most of my worries came before I 
started each section. Thinking about the possibility of falling happened 
before
my first step. But…when I took the action necessary and started moving, my 
action really did erase a few fears because I wasn’t thinking about them.

Bonus Lesson: God is With Me as I Go

Abram was able to trust God in the not knowing because he believed that God 
was with him. I also have this assurance because Jesus said, “…be sure of 
this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Even to the end of the 
age means in every moment of my life.

Is God speaking to you about leaving your comfort zone and going without 
knowing? If he is, spend some time in the Bible and in reflective thought 
and
wait for him to give you your first step, not the whole plan, just the first 
step.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go 
to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without
knowing where he was going
(Hebrews 11:8).

Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people 
are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write things 
that
bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, 
even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to 
Crosswalk.com.
She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at
www.jenniferheeren.com.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 08 Oct 2015, 9:56 pm

God as Creator: In the Beginning

What if a book exists that endured hundreds of years, even thousands? 
Countless are the books written by men and women, but what if we had a book 
authored
by God Himself? What would be the beginning line of this book?

“In the beginning, God …”

With four simple words, the Bible opens dramatically as we are introduced to 
the greatest reality ever to exist—God. In Genesis 1:1, we meet a God who
is simply there. He is not dependent on anything or anyone else. And the 
rest of Genesis 1 describes this God creating everything else, showing the 
nature
of His holiness, His set-apartness.

Pull quote

God does not describe Himself in relation to some other person or thing. He 
exists in His own right. When Moses asked for His name, He answered, “I AM
WHO I AM.” While everything else in creation has to be described in relation 
to something else, only God can simply be.

If we dive into God’s story revealed through Scripture, we must recognize 
that the beginning of the story does what beginnings should—it sets the 
stage
for all that follows. In the beginning, God created everything, and He 
created everything good. And vitally important for grasping the scope of the 
gospel,
we will see that God created everything through His Son, Jesus Christ.

From the beginning, everything was good because God is good. Think about it. 
This entire universe is an extension of God’s goodness. He did not just 
create
something and label it “good.” God described it so because He is good—His 
purposes, His plan. It’s all there! The inherent goodness of God is on 
display
showing through His creation.

Pull quote

God created everything, so don’t worry about anything. It’s in His hands. 
God created everything good. Everything surrounding you—the sun, moon, 
stars,
and everything else in creation—is God’s way of saying He wants to know you 
and be known by you. And God created everything through His Son. Because God
has revealed all that He is to us through His Son, we now live to reveal 
Jesus to the world.

If we have been created by God and He has commanded the light of Jesus to 
shine in our hearts, then we are doubly His. Therefore, we must now seek to 
discover
our role in the overarching plan and purpose of God to manifest His glory 
and love to the world. We have to be a light to this world, and by nature, 
we
are a light to this world.

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

Excerpted from I Will by Thom Rainer
Excerpted from
The Gospel Project: God the Creator
Affect Our Experience With God.
by Matt Carter and Halim Suh
  

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
What no Religion Can Do For You - #7462

Jennifer and Courtney were three-year-old twins. And they were excited about 
preschool. In fact, they were so excited they got up in the middle of the
night in their Omaha, Nebraska home and walked out of the house to make the 
six-block walk to school. Well all this while, their parents were sound 
asleep.
You say, "Oh, isn't that cute?" No! See, snow was everywhere that night and 
the temperature was nine below zero. The girls were reported missing at 4:04
a.m. after family members awoke to find this light on and the door open.

Two police officers started driving the route to school, hoping that they'd 
find the girls before it was too late. At one point, their squad car was 
stopped
by the ice on a steep hill. They were stopped right in front of this alley, 
which they decided to investigate. And there they found these little foot 
prints,
then three tan boots no bigger than the palm of the officer's hand. And 
finally they found barefoot Courtney wearing an open coat and kneeling 
beside her
sister Jennifer, who was face down in the snow wearing socks but no coat. 
Even though Jennifer was near death when they found her, both the girls 
miraculously
survived. If someone hadn't come looking for them though, they would have 
died.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What No 
Religion Can Do For You."

Two little girls were lost and dying, and they wouldn't have made it back 
home themselves. Their only hope was for someone to look for them and find 
them.
It's always that way for someone who's lost, including you and me. See, lost 
is actually a word in the Bible that's used to describe our spiritual 
condition.
It's because, as the Bible says, "Each of us has wandered away from God like 
sheep."

We're created to have our life revolve around our Creator. But we've all 
decided to have it revolve around ourselves instead. And that wandering has 
taken
us away from the home we were made for; a personal love relationship with 
the One who made us. We're lost. We're away and ultimately dying. If you're 
honest
with yourself right now, maybe the word lost pretty much describes how 
you're feeling.

Our word for today from the Word of God, Luke 19:10, is awfully good news. 
Speaking of Jesus it says, "The Son of Man came to seek and to save that 
which
was lost." Jesus is

God come looking for you; a lost child that He loves very much. Notice He 
did exactly what those police officers did for those lost little girls - 
seeking/saving.
Those girls had nothing to do with their own rescue. Their only hope was a 
rescuer coming for them and saving them, like you and me.

Here's the simple fact: you cannot find God. God has to find you, and that's 
pretty radical. It means that all our religious efforts to get to God, 
whatever
your religion, all our self-improvement will not get us home to a God whose 
standard is perfection. A lost child doesn't find himself. He or she gets 
found
by the rescuer. All our spirituality, all our ceremonies, all our services, 
all our attempts to complete ourselves by finding God through spiritual 
searching
or exercises still leave us lost.

According to the Bible, we are that little girl, hopelessly lost, face down 
in the snow about to die spiritually. And Jesus is that policeman coming to
where we are to rescue us. But this rescue involves eternal death, the price 
tag for our sin. This rescue cost the Rescuer his life, as Jesus died on 
that
cross, taking all the punishment and the hell that you and I deserve. And 
the Rescuer comes right now to where you are to bring you home from your 
"lostness."

Your role is to put yourself totally in the hands of Jesus, the only one who 
paid the price to bring you back. You're finally home when you tell Jesus
you're putting your total trust in Him to be your personal Rescuer from your 
personal sin.

If you're ready to trust Jesus Christ to be your Savior, go to our website 
and check out there how to be sure you've begun your relationship with Him.
It's ANewStory.com. Or you can talk with us. Text us at 442-244-WORD.

You'll never find your Creator. You're lost, but He has found you at the 
cost of His life. Now, let Him bring you home before it's too late.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Oct 2015, 2:23 pm

HOW THE DOWN CAN GET OUT

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks 
to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good; His loving kindness is 
everlasting,
and His faithfulness
to all generations."
Psalm 100:4-5

Down and out. Feeling the blues. Lonely. Depressed. Discouraged. 
Disillusioned. A case of the blahs.

What do you do if these words seem to characterize your life right now? How 
can you get out of the dark pit you are in when you feel down and defeated?

God has the answer in His word, and it is a sure fire way to change your 
outlook on life. What is this silver bullet of an answer? Well, it is very 
simple,
but very profound. The answer is ... thanksgiving and praise. There is 
great power in a thankful, praising heart.

DISCOURAGED PEOPLE

I have found that when people get down and discouraged, thanksgiving and 
praise tend to be the last things on their list. To the natural mind, it 
seems
ludicrous to thank and praise God when everything is going wrong. But the 
truth is, God inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3), and the giving
of thanks, regardless of the adverse circumstances, is a great declaration 
of faith. And faith pleases God!

You see, thanksgiving and praise say to God, "Father, I know You are the 
King and in complete control of all things. I know You are good and 
merciful.
I know that You love me. So as an act of faith, I thank You and praise You, 
even in this great trial that I am experiencing, for I believe You are 
going
to work all of this together for my good, just like You promised."

TRY IT AND SEE

I encourage you to take the challenge and put God's Word into practice in 
your life. Every morning,noon, and night, "enter His gates with 
thanksgiving
and His courts with praise." As you do, you will experience a change 
within, a significant attitude adjustment regarding your circumstances. For 
God
will help you get your eyes off your pitiful situation and onto your 
powerful Savior who can move mountains and part seas. There is nothing too 
difficult
for Him. So praise Him, thank Him, and bless His name. You'll be so glad 
that you did!

Love,
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
www.fromhisheart.org

Some of Your Greatest Service Will Come Out of Your Pain & Struggles
by Dean Masters

John 11:38-40
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone 
lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the
dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has 
been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you 
believed
you would see the glory of God?”

Mary and Martha had called for Jesus to come while Lazarus was ill and Jesus 
chose to wait a couple days so they would fully see the glory of God. It is
clear that was not an easy decision for Jesus because He was deeply moved by 
their grief, but He knew that it would help their faith and belief in God
to deepen.

Some of your greatest service for God will come out of your pain and 
struggles. That can be difficult to think about at times but on the other 
side of
that if you really look at the times we naturally draw closer to God and 
seek Him and His direction it is often in our darkest hours. How can you 
help
others who are going through something if you have never experienced their 
pain? If we allow God to use the things we have had to face in our lifetime
for His good, it makes us stronger. Life is a struggle more often than not, 
and when we go through our struggles in life, we have a choice to either let
God use it in our own life as well as the lives of others, or to make us 
bitter and feel sorry for ourselves.

Take a look at David, he went through some crazy things as Saul chased him 
around the country trying to kill him for no reason and yet he allowed that
time to strengthen His faith in God. David didn’t just sit in a cave 
somewhere feeling sorry for himself, he strengthened himself in the Lord and 
with
all the resources he had available to him. Take this time to do what you can 
and then allow God to work in and through you to strengthen you.

I hate going through tough times and times of great sorrow and yet I can 
also look back over my life and see how God has used those times to “grow me 
up”
in Him. He hates to see us face these things too, John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” 
He was moved by their grief and yet He was also moved by the fact that they
didn’t fully realize His power for the situation. Trust that whatever you 
are facing or have faced that God can and will give you strength, peace and 
joy
again and He will use this to not only make you better but to help you to 
better serve Him down the road. Don’t allow these times to get you down, 
strengthen
yourself in the Lord and with the resources you have! The best is yet to 
come if you will just give it all to Him! Allow Him to show His glory in and 
through
you!

Quote:
“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit 
there!” Will Rogers

The Master Coal Heaver!

(Frank Hall)

"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give 
him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the
LORD will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22

What a strange and exotic principle! Feed our enemies? Give water to those 
who hate us? Certainly this teaching is not from below, but from above! This
is the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of free grace--the formula that 
transforms inveterate enemies into faithful friends.

These coals of fire are not coals of judgment, but coals of grace by which 
the hearts of our enemies our melted and won. Our Savior preached this 
doctrine
with great clarity in his Sermon on the Mount when He said, "You have heard 
that it was said: You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I 
tell
you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 
5:43-44.

Nothing is more contrary to the flesh than exercising kindness and love 
toward those who hate us, but if we would honor our Savior and subdue our 
enemies--we
dare not resort to the sinful practice of revenge. We must conquer the 
hearts of our enemy's the same way that Christ conquered our hearts--by 
relentlessly
heaving the coals of unmerited grace upon their heads.

Coals of Grace
A mighty king may very well use angry force to subjugate his enemies, but 
they will never love him or serve him willingly. Willing service, heart 
commitment,
and life-loyalty--can only be accomplished by grace, mercy, and love. The 
Lord Jesus Christ does not win sinners to Himself with threats of punishment
or promises of reward. He wins sinners to Himself by His free grace! He 
turns enemies into friends, by His grace! He converts hard-hearted 
adversaries
into faithful disciples, by His grace! He causes rebels to surrender their 
hearts to him, not with brute force and overwhelming power--but with tender,
irresistible love and grace!

He is the only Master of the universe, the sovereign Master of hearts, and 
the Master Coal Heaver as well. With the gospel shovel in his hand, He 
sovereignly
heaves the covenant coals of free grace onto the heads of His enemies, and 
in so doing He melts their hearts of stone into soft, pliable, elastic 
masses
of wax--putty in the hands of the Master!

Calvary's Coals
No chosen sinner can successfully withstand the melting effects of Calvary's 
coals! When the coals of effectual blood redemption, free forgiveness, and
perfect righteousness begin to stack up, coal upon coal, on the sinner's 
heart, and the heat of Christ's indescribable love grows warmer and 
warmer--that
unbreakable, adamantine heart of stone is eventually smitten, smelted, and 
liquefied into a puddle of love for the crucified Coal Heaver!

~ ~ ~ ~

We have published Archibald Brown's outstanding sermon on spiritual 
depression, "
David's Malady and Medicine!"

Compassion
by Charles R. Swindoll

Colossians 3:12-14; James 5:11

It was one of those backhanded compliments. The guy had listened to me talk 
during several sessions at a pastors' conference. All he knew about me was
what he'd heard in the past few days: ex-marine . . . schooled in an 
independent seminary . . . committed to biblical exposition . . . 
noncharismatic .
. . premil . . . pretrib . . . pro this . . . anti that.

Toward the end of the week, he decided to drink a cup of coffee with me and 
risk saying it straight. It went something like this: "You don't fit. You've
got the roots of a fundamentalist, but you don't sound like it. Your 
theology is narrow, but you're not rigid. You take God seriously, but you 
laugh like
there's no tomorrow. You have definite convictions, but you aren't 
legalistic and demanding." Then he added: "Even though you're a firm 
believer in the
Bible, you're still having fun, still enjoying life. You've even got some 
compassion!"

"You've even got some compassion!" Like, if you're committed to the truth of 
Scripture, you shouldn't get that concerned about people stuff---heartaches,
hunger, illness, fractured lives, insecurities, failures, and 
grief---because those are only temporal problems. Mere horizontal hassles. 
Leave that to
others. Our main job is to give 'em the gospel. Get 'em saved!

Be honest now. Isn't that the way it usually is? Isn't it a fact that the 
more conservative one becomes, the less compassionate? I want to know why. 
Why
either-or? Why not both-and? I'd also like to know when we departed from the 
biblical model. When did we begin to ignore Christ's care for the needy?

Maybe when we realized that one is much easier than the other. It's also 
faster. When you don't concern yourself with being your brother's keeper, 
you
don't have to get dirty or take risks or lose your objectivity or run up 
against the thorny side of an issue that lacks easy answers.

And what will happen when we traffic in such compassion? The Living Bible 
says, "Then the Lord will be your delight, and I will see to it that you 
ride
high, and get your full share of the blessings I promised to Jacob, your 
father" (Isa. 58:14).

If you really want to "ride high, and get your full share of the blessings," 
prefer compassion to information. We need both, but in the right order.

Come on, let's break the mold and surprise 'em. That's exactly what Jesus 
did with you and me and a whole bunch of other sinners who deserved and 
expected
a full dose of condemnation, but got compassion instead.

Others won't care how much we know until they know how much we care.

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Prosperity Preaching: Deceitful and Deadly
by John Piper

When I read about prosperity-preaching churches, my response is: "If I were 
not on the inside of
Christianity,
I wouldn't want in." In other words, if this is the message of Jesus, no 
thank you.

Luring people to Christ to get rich is both deceitful and deadly. It's 
deceitful because when Jesus himself called us, he said things like: "Any 
one of
you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (
Luke 14:33).
And it's deadly because the desire to be rich plunges "people into ruin and 
destruction" (
1 Timothy 6:9).
So here is my plea to preachers of the gospel.

1. Don't develop a philosophy of ministry that makes it harder for people to 
get into heaven.

Jesus said, "How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the 
kingdom of God!" His disciples were astonished, as many in the "prosperity"
movement should be. So Jesus went on to raise their astonishment even higher 
by saying, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than
for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." They respond in disbelief: 
"Then who can be saved?" Jesus says, "With man it is impossible, but not 
with
God. For all things are possible with God" (
Mark 10:23-27).

My question for prosperity preachers is: Why would you want to develop a 
ministry focus that makes it harder for people to enter heaven?

2. Do not develop a philosophy of ministry that kindles suicidal desires in 
people.

Paul said, "There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we 
brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the 
world. But
if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." But then he 
warned against the desire to be rich. And by implication, he warned against 
preachers
who stir up the desire to be rich instead of helping people get rid of it. 
He warned, "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare,
into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and 
destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is 
through
this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced 
themselves with many pangs" (
1 Timothy 6:6-10).

So my question for prosperity preachers is: Why would you want to develop a 
ministry that encourages people to pierce themselves with many pangs and 
plunge
themselves into ruin and destruction?

3. Do not develop a philosophy of ministry that encourages vulnerability to 
moth and rust.

Jesus warns against the effort to lay up treasures on earth. That is, he 
tells us to be givers, not keepers. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures 
on
earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but 
lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust 
destroys
and where thieves do not break in and steal" (
Matthew 6:19).

Yes, we all keep something. But given the built-in tendency toward greed in 
all of us, why would we take the focus off Jesus and turn it upside down?

4. Don't develop a philosophy of ministry that makes hard work a means of 
amassing wealth.

Paul said we should not steal. The alternative was hard work with our own 
hands. But the main purpose was not merely to hoard or even to have. The 
purpose
was "to have to give." "Let him labor, working with his hands, that he may 
have to give to him who is in need" (
Ephesians 4:28).
This is not a justification for being rich in order to give more. It is a 
call to make more and keep less so you can give more. There is no reason why
a person who makes $200,000 should live any differently from the way a 
person who makes $80,000 lives. Find a wartime lifestyle; cap your 
expenditures;
then give the rest away.

Why would you want to encourage people to think that they should possess 
wealth in order to be a lavish giver? Why not encourage them to keep their 
lives
more simple and be an even more lavish giver? Would that not add to their 
generosity a strong testimony that Christ, and not possessions, is their 
treasure?

5. Don't develop a philosophy of ministry that promotes less faith in the 
promises of God to be for us what money can't be.

The reason the writer to the Hebrews tells us to be content with what we 
have is that the opposite implies less faith in the promises of God. He 
says,
"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.' So we can 
confidently
say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" (
Hebrews 13:5-6).

If the Bible tells us that being content with what we have honors the 
promise of God never to forsake us, why would we want to teach people to 
want to
be rich?

6. Don't develop a philosophy of ministry that contributes to your people 
being choked to death.

Jesus warns that the word of God, which is meant to give us life, can be 
choked off from any effectiveness by riches. He says it is like a seed that 
grows
up among thorns that choke it to death: "They are those who hear, but as 
they go on their way they are choked by the . . . riches . . . of life, and 
their
fruit does not mature" (
Luke 8:14).

Why would we want to encourage people to pursue the very thing that Jesus 
warns will choke us to death?

7. Don't develop a philosophy of ministry that takes the seasoning out of 
the salt and puts the light under a basket.

What is it about
Christians
that makes them the salt of the earth and the light of the world? It is not 
wealth. The desire for wealth and the pursuit of wealth tastes and looks 
just
like the world. It does not offer the world anything different from what it 
already believes in. The great tragedy of prosperity-preaching is that a 
person
does not have to be spiritually awakened in order to embrace it; one needs 
only to be greedy. Getting rich in the name of Jesus is not the salt of the
earth or the light of the world. In this, the world simply sees a reflection 
of itself. And if it works, they will buy it.

The context of Jesus' saying shows us what the salt and light are. They are 
the joyful willingness to suffering for Christ. Here is what Jesus said, 
"Blessed
are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil 
against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 
You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world" (
Matthew 5:11-14).

What will make the world taste (the salt) and see (the light) of Christ in 
us is not that we love wealth the same way they do. Rather, it will be the 
willingness
and the ability of Christians to love others through suffering, all the 
while rejoicing because their reward is in heaven with Jesus. This is 
inexplicable
on human terms. This is supernatural. But to attract people with promises of 
prosperity is simply natural. It is not the message of Jesus. It is not what
he died to achieve.

Pastor John

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

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Today's Devotional

Fruit

Luke 13:7-9 – And he said to the vinedresser, "Look, for three years now I 
have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why
should it use up the ground?" And he answered him, "Sir, let it alone this 
year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear 
fruit
next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down." (ESV)

We have two apple trees planted at the end of our small lawn in the partial 
shade of a large fir situated in the adjacent garden. The soil is clay, and
the trees have struggled with my pruning and their situation.

This is the fifth year that they have flowered and the first in which there 
has been an over-abundance of fruit — so abundant that I thought it 
exceptional.
In my little world, it seemed as if God were giving me a living example of 
how trees grow underground, gaining roots and strength, so that they may 
grow
and bear fruit, even in a hostile environment.

I have tended the fruit, removed aphids, and trimmed the new growth to give 
the trees every chance of maturing the fruit to ripe apples. I wanted the 
best
possible outcome of fruit. Despite my best efforts of watering and rainfall, 
quite a number of the fruit have fallen off, and the guinea pigs have taken
advantage of their windfalls.

It made me ponder.

As time has passed, I have dropped some of the blessings of my youth — 
fruits, if you will. Nevertheless, through this time of maturing, my roots 
have
still been growing in Him. Now, what remains in me by grace is nurtured by 
the Holy Spirit to become more substantial.

I am mindful that still there are pests and dangers that can ruin and devour 
the fruit. By His touch and being rooted in His Word, I want to allow Him
in to keep them clean and well watered.

We know that where we have been planted is where He wants us to bear fruit, 
because He is the Good Gardener, and we can trust Him. Sometimes, we are 
planted
to bloom in a place only for a season or for a specific purpose, and when 
that has passed, it is time to move on.

So if you are troubled and hard-pressed by life today, remember that the 
Good Gardener wishes you to bear fruit in the right place, at the right 
time,
and He will do everything necessary for us to make it possible.

Prayer: Lord, You are the Great Sustainer, provider of all that is needed to 
gain eternal life and bring forth good fruit. Please tend and refresh us 
today,
that we may be pleasing to Your eye and Your purposes for us, in and through 
the name of Jesus. Amen.

Rod Marshall 
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Oct 2015, 6:50 pm

The Apple of Your Eye
by Dean W. Masters
"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my 
commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them 
on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 7:1-3, 
ESV)

I have heard of boys who wanted a BB gun for their birthday or Christmas. 
Their parents would say they were not getting one because they might put one 
of their eyes out. Most of the time people are very careful about protecting 
their eyes. There are all kinds of goggles, masks and protective glasses 
that people wear for different jobs and leisure activities. In the above 
Scripture, the apple of the eye refers to the pupil of the eye.

If we are so protective of our eyes, why aren’t we as protective of God’s 
Word? WE take it for granted too often. Most of us have a number of Bibles 
around the house available for us to pick up and read but how many of us 
read them as much as we should? For the Word to be written on our heart we 
need to read it more and even memorize it.

What would you do if someone came and took all your Bibles away? You might 
say that you can read the Bible on the internet but what if that was also 
taken away? What if there was no access anywhere to God’s Word? WE would all 
wish we had taken it more seriously.

WE need to read the Word not just for information or to memorize it but so 
that it will affect our lives. AS the Psalmist wrote:

"I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. "
(Psalm 119:11, HCSB)

And If you really know your Bible you might be able to solve a crime:

A Haifa policeman, who knew his Bible, got on the trail of a gang of 
smugglers. They used an ass-drawn caravan to escape. The policemen managed 
to capture some of the asses, though the smugglers got away. The clever 
officer let the beasts of burden go without food for several days and then 
he turned them loose. And just as he predicted from Isaiah 1:3, “the ox 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib,” the starving animals led 
the police directly to the smuggler’s hide-out!
—World Christian Digest

5 Ways to Use Music to Praise God on the Go
Whitney Hopler
If you ever pull up next to me at a traffic light and look into my car, you 
might see me singing worship songs along with the radio. If I were to roll
my car windows down so you could hear me, you might wonder why someone would 
sing so loudly and passionately while driving. You might even laugh at me.
Even though I probably look strange (and maybe I sound strange, too), I’m 
not bothered by that, because I feel connected to God when I turn up the 
radio
to sing praises to him on the go.
God craves our praise wherever we go – not just in our church worship 
services – and music is the universal language of praise. The Bible often 
describes
people using music as a tool to praise God. Psalm 150 describes a wide 
variety of different musical forms of praise: “Praise the Lord. ... Praise 
him with
the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him 
with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him 
with
the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything 
that has breath praise the Lord…”
Music is a powerful form of expressing the creativity God has given us as 
people made in his image. It transcends language barriers and communicates 
deep
feelings from our souls. When we use music to express our changing emotions 
to God as we go through each day, we connect with God’s unchanging truth 
that
gives us an accurate perspective on what’s going on in our lives.
The
EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum
in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on how people use music in their daily 
lives, emphasizes that music helps people connect their own experiences with
something greater than themselves. The museum’s musical performance space, 
while secular, is called Sky Church because it’s a based on a phrase 
musician
Jimi Hendrix used to describe “a place where people of all ages and cultures 
could come to collectively celebrate musical experiences.”
The Bible describes just such a place in heaven, which the Apostle John saw 
in a vision and described in Revelation 7:9-10: “I looked, and there before
me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, 
people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. … And
they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on 
the throne, and to the Lamb.’” Angels then join the myriad of people in 
heaven
praising God with the music of voices crying out in unison. Our experiences 
praising God right now through music are like soundbites that inspire us to
look forward to the ultimate praise experience: celebrating God together in 
heaven.
Here are 5 ways to use music as a tool for praising God on the go:
1. Thank God during the good times.
God is constantly pouring blessings into your life (from simple gifts like 
the ability to breathe fresh air or enjoy a delicious meal, to dramatic 
blessings
like getting a new child or a new job), and when you’re experiencing good 
circumstances you’re especially able to notice those blessings. When you 
feel
like celebrating something in your life, celebrate by praising God for 
giving you that blessing. Use uplifting music to express your praise 
creatively
to God, such as by praying with music in the background or singing your 
prayers to God. Choose from a variety of different musical genres to match 
your
mood: not just rock and pop, but also jazz, reggae, country, classical, 
electronica, tribal, epic, hip hop, etc. Have fun finding new types of music 
to
express your gratitude to God for what he has done for you – and most 
importantly, for who he is: a perfect God with many wonderful qualities.
2. Give God a “sacrifice of praise” during the bad times.
Remember that God is always worthy of praise, because his wonderful 
qualities never change, even though the circumstances of your life change 
often. Jesus
warned that everyone will experience trouble in this fallen world, so you 
can expect to go through bad times. But you can still praise God when you’re
suffering – and God wants you to, because doing so will strengthen your
faith.
The Bible urges in Hebrews 13:15: “Through Jesus … let us continually offer 
to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his 
name.”
Praising God when your life is not going the way you want costs you 
something; you must sacrifice your will for God’s will, even when you don’t 
understand
it or don’t like it. But when you give God a sacrifice of praise, you’re 
declaring that you still believe that God himself is good even when your 
circumstances
are bad, and that you trust God no matter what. That shows God your true 
faith, which pleases him and strengthens your connection to him. You’ll go 
through
difficult emotions whenever you make a sacrifice of praise, and music can 
help you express and work through those emotions. Find music that matches 
the
mood of the emotions you’re feeling – such as disappointment, sadness, 
frustration, anxiety, or anger – and play that music while you pray honestly 
about
your feelings. Then surrender your feelings to God with the faith that he 
will do what’s best in whatever tough situations you’re facing.
3. Start each day well with morning praise.
Incorporate musical praise into your mornings during each new day. This will 
refresh your connection to God and remind you to make daily decisions based
on your relationship with God as your top priority. You can: set your alarm 
to wake you up with music; sing to God in the shower; chant your prayers 
during
morning
devotions
; and listen to worship music while you’re eating breakfast, doing household 
chores, or as you commute to work or school. If you play a musical 
instrument
of some kind (such as guitar or piano), establish a habit of playing for God 
during your morning devotions, even if it’s just for a few minutes each 
time.
4. Stay connected to God with afternoon praise.
When you’re busy in the midst of your afternoon activities, you can do with 
them with the right perspective by staying connected to God through musical
praise. The Holy Spirit will hear you whenever you take a quick break to 
sing a praise prayer or play a song on a mobile device while praying a 
silent
prayer of praise along with it. If you can, stream music online or listen to 
some favorites with headphones while you work. Let the constant background
music remind you that God is always working behind the scenes of your life.
5. End your each day well with evening praise.
Praising God with music in the evening will help you reflect on how you’ve 
noticed him at work in your life that day, and prepare you to sleep 
peacefully
– with the confidence that God is caring for you – at night. If you can, 
take an evening prayer walk with headphones and a mobile device, listening 
to
music that evokes the mood of the thoughts and feelings you want to express 
to God. When you enjoy music for entertainment at night (such on a TV show
or at a concert), praise God for that gift. Wind down each day with some 
relaxing music before bedtime, and as you do, entrust your concerns to God’s 
care
with the faith that God will still be working even while you’re sleeping.
Praising God through music is something you can incorporate into your life 
regularly. Whenever you do, God will hear the song in your soul!

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for 
many years, produces the About.com site on angels and miracles at:
angels.about.com.
She is author of the Christian young adult novel
Dream Factory,
which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Learn more by visiting her 
website at:
whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 04 Oct 2015, 9:52 pm

The Point of Creation

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; 
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27)

God made humans in his image so that the world would be filled with 
reflectors of God. Images of God. Seven billion statues of God. So that 
nobody would miss the point of creation.

Nobody (unless they were stone blind) could miss the point of humanity, 
namely, God — knowing, loving, showing God. The angels cry in
Isaiah 6:3,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his 
glory!” It’s full of billions of human image bearers. Glorious ruins.

But not only humans. Also nature! Why such a breathtaking world for us to 
live in? Why such a vast universe?

I once read that there are more stars in the universe than there are words 
and sounds that all humans of all time have ever spoken. Why? The Bible is 
crystal
clear about this: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).

If someone asks, “If earth is the only inhabited planet and man the only 
rational inhabitant among the stars, why such a large and empty universe?" 
The
answer is: It’s not about us. It’s about God. And that's an understatement.

God created us to know him and love him and show him. And then he gave us a 
hint of what he is like — the universe.

Copyright Information
This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

Experiencing LIFE Today

"Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has been made, like bread; 
remade all the time, made new." – Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

Once we admit we’re messy, what will Jesus do with our mess?

In
Luke 5:36-37,
Jesus shares a parable with the Pharisees – the tidy-makers.

“No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, 
they will have torn the new garment … And no one pours new wine into old 
wineskins
… the new wine will burst the skins ….”

Jesus was saying, “Don’t mix old and new.”

He knows there are holes in our character, but Jesus says to us, “I’m not 
going to try to patch you up. I’m not going to try to fix you. That’s not 
why
I came.”

Well, Jesus, why did You come?

Seven times in this short parable, Jesus uses the word new. When we come to 
Jesus and set our old lives – our messiness – before Him, His goal isn’t to
make us tidy. His goal is to make us new.

Jesus makes messy people into new people. He will make us new and pour new 
life into us.

Sounds awesome, but it isn’t always easy. In fact, Jesus closes this parable 
with an astute social observation, “And no one after drinking old wine wants
the new, for they say, ‘The old is better’” (
Luke 5:39).

Friends, Jesus knows the newness can be scary. He knows we are comfortable 
in the old. But still He asks us to leave familiarity and follow Him. He 
asks
us to dismiss comfort and embrace this new life He has for us.

Did you notice how often Jesus sought out messy people? He sought out messy 
people then, and He still seeks out messy people now. Through His Spirit 
living
in us as believers, Jesus invites messy people to Him, makes them new, and 
pours new life into them. And, after we are made new, we get to be part of 
the
inviting.

Jesus, give me eyes and ears for all the messy people around me. Give me 
love for them and patience with their untidiness. I release the need to fix 
people
and will leave the “making new” to You. Holy Spirit, I can’t wait to see 
whom You invite through me! Amen.

Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the
Telling the Truth broadcast
at OnePlace.com
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Oct 2015, 9:24 pm

Can You See It?
by Dean Masters

Luke 18: 41
“What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my 
sight.”

This blind man kept calling out to Jesus when he had been told that Jesus 
was walking by even though everyone around him kept telling him to be quiet.
He was determined to not allow the opportunity to pass him by!

As I was reading this scripture this morning I wondered what areas of my 
life I am blind in. Are there things I am not seeing either because I have 
chosen
to block it out or maybe because I am too consumed with other things. A lot 
of times when we claim to be blindsided by something it is simply that we 
chose
not to see what was going on. What struck me this morning though is that I 
don’t want to miss something in the plans that God has for my life. I want 
my
eyes to be opened to all that He has in His word and for my life!

It could often be that when you are consumed with the issues at hand you are 
unable to see all that God is trying to show you! It’s like that idea that
you “can’t see the forest for the trees”. Maybe the answer to what you need 
is there but you just aren’t seeing it because the struggle is overwhelming
or too time consuming! Maybe you need some down time so you can hear what 
God is trying to tell you and see what He is trying to show you!

Are you looking today for answers to what you need to do? Jeremiah 33:3, 
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, 
which
you do not know.” If you ask Him, He will show you! Have the faith this 
blind man had, knowing that if you ask, He will answer! Luke 18:42, Then 
Jesus
said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And 
immediately he received his sight and followed Him, glorifying God. And all 
the people,
when they saw it, gave praise to God.

My prayer today for each of us is that God will open our eyes to the things 
He would like to show us both in our lives and in His word! You must be open
to it and have faith to believe He will answer! The best is yet to come!

Quote:
“I learned a great many new words that day. I do not remember what they all 
were, but I do know that mother, father, sister, teacher were among them ~
words that were to make the world blossom for me “like Aaron’s rod, with 
flowers.” It would have been difficult to find a happier child than I was as 
I
lay in my bed at the close of that eventful day and lived over the joys it 
had brought me, and for the first time longed for a new day to come.” 
Helen Keller

It Is Well
Marshall Segal / August 8, 2015
It Is Well

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help 
of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it 
is
my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that 
with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether 
by
life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 
(Philippians 1:18–21)

In 1873, a man received a message from his wife, who had sailed with their 
four daughters to Europe, where he had planned to meet them soon. The note 
read,
“Saved alone . . . .” She and the girls had been in a terrible collision at 
sea and their ship had gone down. All four daughters died. It was just the
latest awful news in three horrifying years for the family. They had lost 
their son in 1870, then a massive fire ruined them financially the next 
year,
all before the horrors of the accident at sea.

The man was Horatio Spafford, and as he crossed the sea to meet his grieving 
wife, he penned the words,

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well? What could anchor the mind and heart of a man in tragedies like 
these and free him to sing, “well,” when everything he had was lost?

The Hope in Spafford’s Hymn

The key to suffering well, at least for Horatio Spafford, was Christ. This 
father had met, and loved, and enjoyed, and worshiped the man, his Savior, 
Jesus
Christ. And that love was able to carry him across the most violent waves of 
life. He knew the heart of Philippians 1:21, where Paul — a man who suffered
more than most — wrote, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

This Christ, the Son of God, humbled himself to become a flesh-and-bones 
man, like you or me (Philippians 2:7). And being a man — an innocent, 
sinless
man — he humbled himself further to die a sinner’s death in our place on a 
cross (Philippians 2:8). He shed his own blood for my soul. His broken body
and poured out blood paid the debt for my crimes. In the sacrifice of Jesus, 
my sin — not in part, but the whole — is nailed to the cross, and I bear it
no more.

Now, the last note in every loss is joy, because nothing — no news, no one, 
no event, no loss — can take Christ and his love from me. Not even death. 
When
I close these eyes for the very last time, that moment of greatest, deepest 
loss will be, “Gain.” And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight.
We can have peace, and faith, and even joy when we lose everything, because 
we never lose everything. Regardless of what happens here on this earth, we’ll
spend eternity enjoying the God who became like us, gave his life for us, 
rescued us from our sin, and delivers us to a full and never-ending life.

Is It Well?

God has given us a merciful gift in music authored in the midst of great 
tragedy. A song often has the power to express and comfort pain when words 
alone
feel empty. Again and again, “It Is Well” has met and carried saints through 
the worst kinds of suffering, reminding us of the deep, abiding, sovereign
“Well” at the bottom of our joy and life.

Have you known that kind of peace in the midst of chaos in your life? Have 
you felt God’s love when you’ve walked through a tragedy? Is there something
big and strong and comforting at the bottom of your responses to 
discouragement, disappointment, and loss?

In Christ, it can be well for you whatever the circumstance. He died for 
you. He sympathizes with your pain. He stays with you. And he promises to 
deliver
you to himself, where he will forever guard you perfectly from sin, death, 
suffering, and grief.

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

Desiring God partnered with Shane & Shane’s The Worship Initiative
to write short meditations for more than one hundred popular worship songs 
and hymns. The Worship Initiative is an online platform devoted to training
musicians for songwriting and worship leading.

This meditation was written to accompany the song “It Is Well” which is 
included in
The Worship Initiative, 

Have You Discovered the Best Stress Reliever?
“But Jesus would often go to some place where he could be alone and 
pray”—Luke 5:16 (CEV).
When I arrived at a neighbor’s house recently, she was on hold with a 
company, trying to get help with a refrigerator problem. Hanging up after a 
bit,
she asked me to take a look at the temperature gauge in the freezer section. 
Since her refrigerator is a newer model, the gauge is digital. I tried my
best to figure it out but was unable to help.

Concerned about the frozen foods thawing out, my friend redialed the company’s 
number. As her phone was on speaker, I could hear the “mechanical” voice
repeat a list of options. One of the final choices was to call a different 
number. My friend had to replay the final message three times before we got
the correct number written down. Eventually, she made contact with a live 
person who was able to solve the problem with her freezer. While the 
solution
was simple, the process she went through to get there was complicated.

Our lives have become more complicated in the 21st century. While technology 
has, in some instances, made things easier, in other ways it has contributed
to modern society’s stress levels. With cell phones, computers and 24/7 
cable television, we are kept in a perpetual state of “on” with information 
overload.
Constant stress can lead to severe health issues, including physical, 
mental, emotional and behavioral problems. What if we learned to deal with 
stress
in a biblical way?

Instead of turning to unhealthy habits like overeating and substance abuse, 
including alcohol and drugs, what if we chose the path Jesus took when He 
needed
to escape the pressures of His ministry? Seeking God in solitude was Jesus’ 
habit when the going got rough.

Solitude is a time for being alone with God in complete silence. It means 
doing nothing, not even reading your Bible. Solitude and silence offers an 
opportunity
to focus on your intimacy with Jesus by getting away from all distractions, 
including daily responsibilities, people and especially technology. The 
purpose
of solitude is to privately commune with God — to simply be with your Abba 
Father.

Atlanta pastor Charles Stanley suggests going to the darkest place in your 
house, even a closet, to get rid of all distractions. “God deserves your 
undivided
attention,” Stanley says.

How does solitude help? Stanley offers these benefits of being alone with 
God:
• Makes our days more fruitful.
• Repairs the damage after a stressful day and refuels us emotionally.
• Equips us to face tough times.
• Sometimes creates surprising moments when He unexpectedly answers our 
prayers.
• Strips us of pride; in His presence, we recognize His holiness.
• Protects our health; spending time with Him releases anxiety.
• Gives us a sense of joy, peace and confidence.
• Gives us a greater strength to handle challenges.
• Produces greater trust in God
• Develops a deeper relationship with Him.
Do you want more peace in your life? Solitude with our Heavenly Father is 
the best antidote to stress.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with 
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 11:03 pm

How to Love Others No Matter What
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Danny Silk’s book
Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication and Boundaries
(Red Arrow Media, 2013).

In this fallen world where people can be difficult and situations stressful, 
it’s often challenging to love others. Good intentions often give way to 
frustrations
as we face those challenges, preventing us from achieving the loving 
relationships we hope to enjoy.

But God chooses to love all people in all circumstances, and his 
unconditional love can inspire and empower us to choose love in our 
relationships – no
matter what. Loving others even when it’s hard to do so is the most powerful 
choice you can make as a Christian, because it shows people that God – the
source of all love – is really active in the world.

Here’s how you can love others no matter what:

Recognize that you have the power to choose. God will always give you the 
power you need to choose to love others, no matter what they may say or do. 
So
don’t blame others when you fail to put love in action; realize that you’re 
not a victim of other people’s choices. Your love is not dependent on 
whether
or not others love you in return. Instead, your love will prevail no matter 
what when you rely on God to help you act toward others with love.

Commit to the goal of connection in all of your relationships. You’re 
constantly moving either toward or away from other people as you communicate 
with
them. Even when you don’t intend to move away, your relationships will 
naturally become more distant if you neglect intentionally moving toward 
people
by communicating loving messages that will draw you closer together. Study 
the people who are in your life regularly to get to know which of the five 
love
languages (touch, gifts, quality time, acts of service, and words of 
affirmation) best communicates love to them. Then communicate with them as 
often as
you can in ways that make them feel loved, which will also make them feel 
connected to you.

Cast fear out of your relationships to welcome love into them. Fear and love 
have opposite agendas: Fear distances people from each other, while love 
brings
them closer together. Keep in mind that fear comes from the evil side of the 
spiritual realm, while love comes from God himself. The more fear that you
allow to come into your relationships with others, the less love can flow 
freely in those relationships. God wants you to welcome his love into your 
relationships
fully by casting fear out. You can do so by: responding thoughtfully rather 
than reacting thoughtlessly to whatever makes you feel afraid when 
communicating
with others, giving up attempts to control other people and focusing instead 
on controlling your own words and actions, and listening to the Holy Spirit’s
guidance about how best to show love to the people you interact with every 
day. When people hurt you, turn to God for the confidence you need to know 
that
you’ll be okay no matter what, set healthy boundaries with hurtful people, 
but refuse to stop loving them.

Build healthy relationships using the right foundation and pillars. Develop 
healthy relationships with others by building them on the foundation of 
unconditional
acceptance and love, and the pillars of love, honor, self-control, 
responsibility, truth,
faith,
and God’s vision for each relationship.

Communicate honestly to build trust. Aim for the goal of truth in all the 
ways you communicate with people. Ask God to help you understand yourself 
and
tell yourself the truth, so you’ll be able to understand others and be 
honest with them. Set boundaries around your conversations to help them stay 
respectful,
seek to understand people’s needs, and then act in love to meet those needs 
whenever God leads you to do so. You can create a safe place for intimacy 
when
you and others in relationships with you express needs honestly and respond 
to those needs by meet them in appropriate ways.

Use conflict to strengthen your connections in relationships. Conflict is 
inevitable in any relationship, so you can’t avoid it, but you do have the 
power
to respond to it in ways that will strengthen your connections with other 
people. Whenever you experience conflict in a relationship: get your fear 
under
control by refusing to discuss the issues until both of you are able to 
respond to each other calmly, rationally, respectfully, and productively; 
listening
carefully; discovering what the other person needs; telling him or her how 
you’ll try to meet that need; and choosing to believe the best about the 
other
person. You both can then emerge from conflict as more powerful and free 
people who are more confident in your love for each other and more hopeful 
about
your abilities to meet each other’s needs.

Set boundaries around your relationships to honor yourself and others. 
Consider the level of intimacy you have with specific people in your life 
whenever
they ask you to invest time and energy into your relationships with them. 
Keep in mind that the people you’re closest to (such as your spouse, 
children,
and best friends) deserve more of your time and energy than others do. Set 
boundaries with needy people – just as Jesus did during his time on Earth –
in order to prioritize the time and energy God has given you each day 
according to what would best help you fulfill his purposes for your life. 
Learn how
to say “no” to some people at some times so you’ll be free to say “yes” to 
the most important pursuits in your relationships. Require respect in all of
your relationships. When setting boundaries on behaviors, tell others what 
you’re going to do instead of telling them what they have to do. Remember 
that
people believe your actions more than they believe your words. Make sure 
that your choices are defined by the priorities that you have committed 
yourself
to, rather than other people’s choices. The more you set healthy boundaries 
in your relationships, the more you’ll invite respect, honor, trust, and 
love
into those relationships.

Adapted from
Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication and Boundaries,
copyright 2013 by Danny Silk. Published by Red Arrow Media, Redding, Ca.,
www.redarrowmedia.com.

10 Things “Yahweh” Means

God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the 
God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob,
has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered 
throughout all generations.”
(Exodus 3:15)

God’s name is almost always translated LORD (all caps) in the English Bible. 
But the Hebrew would be pronounced something like "Yahweh," and is built on
the word for "I am."

So every time we hear the word Yahweh, or every time you see LORD in the 
English Bible, you should think: this is a proper name (like Peter or John) 
built
out of the word for “I am” and reminding us each time that God absolutely 
is.

There are at least 10 things the name Yahweh, “I AM,” says about God:

1. He never had a beginning. Every child asks, “Who made God?” And every 
wise parent says, “Nobody made God. God simply is. And always was. No 
beginning.”

2. God will never end. If he did not come into being he cannot go out of 
being, because he is being.

3. God is absolute reality. There is no reality before him. There is no 
reality outside of him unless he wills it and makes it. He is all that was 
eternally.
No space, no universe, no emptiness. Only God.

4. God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being 
or support him or counsel him or make him what he is.

5. Everything that is not God depends totally on God. The entire universe is 
utterly secondary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by
moment on God's decision to keep it in being.

6. All the universe is by comparison to God as nothing. Contingent, 
dependent reality is to absolute, independent reality as a shadow to 
substance. As
an echo to a thunderclap. All that we are amazed by in the world and in the 
galaxies, is, compared to God, as nothing.

7. God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot 
be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who he is.

8. God is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is 
no law-book to which he looks to know what is right. No almanac to establish
facts. No guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is 
the standard of what is right, what is true, what is beautiful.

9. God does whatever he pleases and it is always right and always beautiful 
and always in accord with truth. All reality that is outside of him he 
created
and designed and governs as the absolute reality. So he is utterly free from 
any constraints that don't originate from the counsel of his own will.

10. God is the most important and most valuable reality and person in the 
universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and 
enjoyment
than all other realities, including the entire universe.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Today's Devotional

Green Pastures, Quiet Waters

Psalm 23:2-3a – He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside 
quiet waters, he restores my soul. (NIV)

Living in a tiny, remote, northern community requires that we travel a 
minimum of two hours each way to the closest city in order to access many 
vital
services that our small town is unable to provide. We normally make this 
trip twice a month regardless of the weather. For some, it is a trip that 
they
dread. For me, however, it is one which I usually look forward to, as it is 
my green pastures and quiet waters.

Driving along for miles on end, seldom meeting another vehicle, as the road 
loops through the mountains and valleys, beside vast lakes and flowing 
streams,
gives me a sense of treasured, peaceful solitude. And when traversed on a 
dark and starry winter's eve — the empty road nothing more than a silent 
ribbon
amidst a sea of sparkling white, and silver-laden pines — my soul finds its 
healing and restoration as the distance between heaven and earth seems to 
disappear
amidst the glory of God's creation and presence.

Yes, that two-hour trip is my green pastures and quiet waters, but what 
about you? Have you discovered where your green pastures and quiet waters 
are,
and if so, do you treasure them within your heart and visit them often 
enough so that your soul finds its healing and restoration on a regular 
basis amidst
this world's frantic busyness? Or have you let them slip away, and in turn, 
find yourself harassed, discouraged, and depressed? If this is the case, 
then
perhaps, today is the day to renew those precious visits.

If for some reason you have not yet discovered your green pastures and quiet 
waters, maybe today is the day that you will. For God has said:

Matthew 7:7-8 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 
knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he 
who
seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

Prayer: Father God, thank You that with You as our shepherd, we shall lack 
nothing. Thank You that it is You Who makes us to lie down in green 
pastures,
Who leads us beside quiet waters, and Who restores our souls. May we as Your 
children listen and heed Your voice that we might know and find and treasure
the green pastures and still waters that You seek to bless us with amidst 
the busyness of this frantic world. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

Lynne Phipps <
lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 7:24 pm

Will They Know Us By Our Love?
by Debbie Holloway

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for 
one another
" (John 13:35).

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and it 
not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not 
provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in 
unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all 
things, hopes
all things, endures all things
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

These two passages are arguably the most famous Bible verses about love. 
Love is a concept promoted
by Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims. It is a thing acknowledged by 
atheists and agnostics.
Something every man, woman, and child strives to obtain every day. Love is 
something we all know
about and all desire. But so often it seems to be the most difficult thing 
for us to practice.

As Christians, we have no excuse for not knowing what love is. 1st 
Corinthians chapter 13 tells us in no
uncertain terms. And Christ tells us in John 13 that the world will know 
that we belong to Jesus if we
practice this love. But how often do we truly think of those two scriptures 
as one command? How often
do we piece together the “how?” and the “what?” of love in our own lives?

The ramifications of doing so present a clearly defined, but difficult life. 
If we combine 1 st Corinthians 13
and John 13, what would our lives look like? How would people come to 
recognize Christians?

Well, they would know us by our patience. They would know that we are 
Christians by our
contentment, modesty, and humility. They would recognize us, for we would 
not be rude. We would
seek the best for others, be difficult to make angry, and refuse to keep 
count of how many times we've
been hurt. They would know us because evil makes us sad, and truth makes us 
happy. They would
know us because we protect the defenseless and we do not live in suspicion 
of others.

They would know us by our hope. They would know us by our perseverance.

That is what love looks like. Those should be the marks of Christ’s 
disciples.

Oftentimes when the world hears “Christian” – they do not think of this 
love. They think Patriotic. They
think of rules. They think of stingy, bad-tippers, who blindly vote 
Republican and will judge you if you
drink beer or use four-letter words. And that might not be fair. That might 
not be you. But it’s still your
responsibility to change what the world thinks of Christians. It’s still 
your responsibility to demonstrate
that radical love Paul described to the Corinthians.

Because then, one by one, people might start to know Jesus a little better. 
Because then, one by one, we
could really reach the world with this radical, biblical, Christ-like love.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Find one relationship or duty in your life that lacks love. And 
change it.

Further reading

1 John 1:5
Romans 13:8

Choosing What to Keep

Standing beside the van outside the amusement park, Audrey punched the 
digits of her home number. In front of her, the Ferris wheel lights flashed 
colorful
patterns against the night sky.

“Hi, Mom. We’re leaving. Cami’s dad said I’d better call you on his cell 
phone, since it’s late.” Climbing in the van, she buckled up next to Cami. 
“What?
Yeah, we had fun! The new water ride is excellent. And there’s a roller 
coaster now with three loops. We went on bumper cars and go-karts and 
everything!”
Audrey listened for a moment, then said, “Okay. See you soon.” Touching the 
screen, she ended the call.

Cami said, “You didn’t tell her that your favorite ride was broken. Or that 
you lost your arcade money. Or that you got sunburned.”

Audrey laughed. “Well, my mom always says to only remember the good stuff!”

What are you storing up in your heart as you go through each day? Is it 
thankfulness for God’s blessings or bitterness over things that go wrong?

Choose carefully what to keep in your heart. The things you pack in there 
determine the kind of words you say and the kind of person you are.

Bible Verse: The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. –
Matthew 12:34

People in Bible Times: Believers’ hearts should be filled with truth, not 
lies. Peace, not fear. Love, not hatred. Forgiveness, not anger. 
Contentment, not
envy. Joy, not sorrow. Hope, not despair. Faith, not doubt.
Copyright Information
NIV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions: 365 Days of Adventure (Zondervan). © 
2013 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The book's 
title
must be included when sharing the above content on social media. Visit the
Adventure Bible website


Shelf Life
By Skip Heitzig

Remember the very first cell phones? I'm talking about the ones that were 
the size of a small child—the kind you had to carry around in a wagon. They 
were
pretty cool, weren't they? But over the years, cell phones have become 
smaller and more powerful, and now they can take pictures, access the 
Internet almost
anywhere, and download music and apps. They can call people, too.

But your phone was designed to become obsolete. It's cool today, but the 
company that made it has already anticipated what the next several models 
are
going to be. Your gadget was planned to become outdated so that you'll 
hunger for the next one. It's all part of their scheme, and it works 
incredibly
well. In the same way, the Law was designed by God to have a shelf life. It 
was designed to be temporary. It was designed to become obsolete.

In ancient times, the Jewish people began their study of the Bible in 
Leviticus, a book of the Law, because they wanted to teach their children 
early on
that the way to God is through sacrifice. Every Israelite was required to 
bring a sacrifice of some kind during their life, including the mandatory 
sin
and trespass offerings. It was the business of the priest—the representative 
of the people before God—to offer these sacrifices to God.

But, Hebrews says, "The law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and 
not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, 
which
they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For 
then would they not have ceased to be offered?" (Hebrews 10:1-2).

That's why there was a need for a new covenant. That's why Jesus Christ 
came. Under the new covenant, the sacrifices and the role of the high priest 
were
fulfilled in Him. He made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and He is the 
High Priest who presented His blood before the throne of His Father and is
now seated at the right hand of God. Under the new covenant, you can come 
boldly before the throne of God; you don't need a human priest on the earth 
anymore,
because Jesus Christ is the great High Priest.

In other words, the book of Leviticus has lost its punch because Jesus came 
and fulfilled it all. That's the point the writer of Hebrews was making: 
"For
it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins…. 
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same
sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had 
offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God" 
(Hebrews
10:4, 11-12).

Do you know how significant this is? Priests didn't sit down. They were 
constantly on their feet, standing to minister. They would only sit down 
when they
were off duty and their work was finished. Then they would get back up and 
do the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month, and 
year
after year.

But Jesus made an offering once for all, and He sat down because there were 
no more sacrifices to offer. When He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30), He
meant all of Leviticus, all of the Law. It's over. We don't offer animal 
sacrifices anymore. Our High Priest's offering was so complete that He could 
sit
down at the right hand of His Father.

As believers, we have a joy that's very different from the kind that goes on 
in the world: we celebrate our hero's bloody sacrifice, because that was 
enough
to end the need for any further sacrifices. By accepting Jesus Christ's 
finished work on the cross, we can say, "It was good enough for Him; it's 
good
enough for me." And we can sit down and rest in that once-for-all finished 
work of our great High Priest.

Copyright © 2015 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 30 Sep 2015, 8:52 pm

What Did Your Hands Do Today?
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for 
people”—Colossians 3:23 (CEB).

Have you ever closely examined your hands or the hands of another? While 
that might seem like a strange question, a recent devotional made me 
contemplate
my own hands. In a little more than three months, I will celebrate my 62nd 
birthday. When I compare my hands to the smooth unblemished hands of my 
grandchildren,
I try to recall what mine looked like before they became permanently marked 
with the telltale signs of aging.

More important than the appearance of our hands is what they have 
accomplished for God. We can choose to use our hands in worthless pursuits 
designed for
personal gain or we can follow Jesus’ example to serve others.

In June, I was blessed to have my two oldest grandchildren participate in a 
week-long mission through our church’s VBS. Each day, the fifth and 
sixth-graders
took part in a different project to teach them about the importance of 
serving others. One of our day’s activities involved helping at the local 
Meals
on Wheels, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering hot food to shut-ins in 
Claremore. Most of those receiving assistance are the elderly.

My grandson enjoyed that day’s service project so much he volunteered to 
return in July and serve again. Last week, he spent the night with me. After 
breakfast,
we drove to the Meals on Wheels headquarters where Brennan, who had just 
celebrated his 10th birthday the week before, assisted Jack Weyler, 
president
of the nonprofit, to pack the eight meals we would be delivering. Mr. 
Weyler, who is in his mid-80s, is not the oldest volunteer who shows up 
faithfully
to either cook, pack or delivers meals. One volunteer is 92-years-old.

The author of the devotional I mentioned above said, “When I paused to 
ponder my answer (to what did your hands do today?), I realized that what I 
was
doing with my hands was small but worthwhile. On Mondays, I go to the church 
and take apart the large church flower arrangement from the Sunday services
to make small bouquets for the sick, elderly, or lonely members. I spend a 
few hours sorting the flowers and rearranging them. Then someone else 
distributes
them.”

The devotional writer added, “Although my work is a small effort, I know it 
spreads joy and love to people who often feel forgotten.”

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 25:33-40 that what we do for the hungry and 
thirsty, for the strangers and the unclothed as well as those who are ill or 
in
prison, we have done it for one of the least of His brothers and sisters and 
“you have done it for me.”

We can waste our time and money or we can invest it in God’s kingdom. At the 
end, God is not going to ask us what kind of car we drove, how large our 
house
was or how many clothes hung in our closet. His concern is for those we’re 
helping along the way.

What are your hands doing today?

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with 
your thoughts about this post.
For more inspiration, visit my blog at
carolaround.com
Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.

Releasing Impossibilities
by Charles R. Swindoll

Matthew 6:25-34

When you face an impossibility, leave it in the hands of the Specialist! 
Refuse to calculate. Refuse to doubt. Refuse to work it out by yourself. 
Refuse
to worry or encourage others to worry. Stand against that.

Instead, say, "Lord, I'm carrying around something I cannot handle. Because 
You are not only able but also willing, take this off my hands. It's 
impossible
to me, but is as nothing with You." Persevering through the pressures of 
impossibilities calls for that kind of confidence.

Now, our problem is that we hold on to our problems. If your Swiss watch 
stops working, you don't sit down at home with a screwdriver and start 
working
on it yourself. You take it to a specialist.

The problem is that the Lord gets all the leftovers after we try to fix 
things ourselves. We make all the mistakes and get things tied into granny 
knots,
then dump it in His lap and say, "Here, Lord."

No! Right at first, say, "It's impossible; I can't handle it, Lord. Before I 
foul it up, it's Yours." He is able to handle it. But we don't usually give
God those chances to "fix" it. We are so totally (and sinfully) confident in 
ourselves that we don't give God the chance to do what He is a real 
Specialist at doing.

If something is humanly impossible, then what in the world are we doing 
trying to pull it off?

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

How to Find Your Lifelong Companion
Fear

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope 
in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 42:11)

We must learn to fight despondency. The fight is a fight of faith in future 
grace. It is fought by preaching truth to ourselves about God and his 
promised
future.

This is what the psalmist does in
Psalm 42.
The psalmist preaches to his troubled soul. He scolds himself and argues 
with himself. And his main argument is future grace: “Hope in God! — Trust 
in
what God will be for you in the future. A day of praise is coming. The 
presence of the Lord will be all the help you need. And he has promised to 
be with
us forever.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones believes this issue of preaching truth to ourselves about 
God’s future grace is all-important in overcoming spiritual depression.

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact 
that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take 
those
thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have 
not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the 
problems
of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking . . . yourself is talking to you!

The battle against despondency is a battle to believe the promises of God. 
And that belief in God’s future grace comes by hearing the Word. And so 
preaching to ourselves is at the heart of the battle.
Copyright Information

This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.


Why It’s Good to Be Bold
LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

"Since we have such a hope, we are very bold."
2 Corinthians 3:12
(ESV)

I’m a take-charge chick, so I always thought boldness was a good thing. 
Fearless, confident, adventurous? Yes, please. But when I asked a roomful of 
sisters
in Christ, "Who wants to be bold?" only a few hands shot up.

Uh-oh.

Later, I chatted with some women in the audience, hoping to find out why 
boldness held little appeal to them. One told me, "I don’t want to seem 
pushy."
Another said, "I’m too shy for that." And a third added, "I’m afraid I’ll 
come off as arrogant."

Ah. Now I get it. When we go bold on our own, it can look pretty ugly. 
Demanding, controlling, my-way-or-the-highway. That’s not what we’re 
shooting for.
A steamroller approach doesn’t honor God and seldom gets the job done. We 
don’t want to flatten people; we want to lift them up.

It’s time for boldness to get a makeover, because His Word shows us it’s 
good to be bold.

When the queen of Sheba challenged King Solomon to a battle of wits, she was 
decidedly bold. No other monarch in Scripture dared question the wisest man
on earth. Others came simply to hear Solomon’s wisdom; Sheba came totest it.

After Solomon answered every one of her difficult questions, Sheba 
confessed, "But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my 
own eyes,"
(1 Kings 10:7a,NIV). She came, she saw, she conquered her doubts, and in the end found what 
she was searching for: a God infinitely bolder than she was.

Queen Esther demonstrated great boldness when she approached the throne of 
King Xerxes, saying, "I will go to the king, even though it is against the 
law.
And if I perish, I perish,"
(Esther 4:16b,
NIV). What a role model for women in every century! Before she put her life 
on the line to save her people, she wisely asked them to fast and pray, that
she might be given favor by the king.

Boldness can be a risky business, but only if we do it on our own. When the 
Lord leads the way, we can follow Him without fear, knowing the outcome is
always in His capable hands.

Queens aren’t the only bold souls in Scripture.

When the disciples prepared to share the gospel, they prayed, "Enable your 
servants to speak your word with great boldness,"
(Acts 4:29b,
NIV). They knew they couldn’t drum up boldness on their own, so they called 
on God to help them be unafraid and unapologetic.

The Lord quickly answered the disciples’ prayer: "And they were all filled 
with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly,"
(Acts 4:31b,
NIV). Boldness is really about God, then, and not about us. Rather than a 
personality trait, it’s an attribute of the Holy Spirit.

Even if we don’t have a leadership role like Sheba or Esther, we can be bold 
because of the One who empowers us. When God resides in us and works through
us, His strength sustains us. As our key verse today says, "Therefore, since 
we have such a hope, we are very bold."

What might boldness look like in our day-to-day lives?

Starting a home Bible study and inviting neighbors who don’t know God. 
Praying with a stranger who has just shared her struggles with you. Visiting 
a women’s
prison with a group from your church and sharing God’s love.

When we let His boldness pour through us, we’ll discover, "He crowns the 
humble with victory,"
(Psalm 149:4b,
NIV). God gives us a different sort of crown from the queen of Sheba’s gold 
one, but it shines far brighter. And it shines forever.

Heavenly Father, I want to do bold things for You, but fear of others often 
gets in the way. Help me care more about serving You than pleasing people.
When I hold back, nudge me forward. When I get scared, banish my fears with 
the assurance of Your love. Strengthen my heart and mind so I can boldly 
share
Your truth with those who are hurting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 28:1,
"The righteous are as bold as a lion." (NIV)

1 Corinthians 16:13,
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 12:4–11

The apostle Paul talks about the gifts and callings of God.

Qualified by God

God not only chooses us for himself—he also chooses us to do his good works 
on earth. The amazing thing is that throughout Scripture and history it 
seems
God has chosen the most seemingly unlikely and unqualified people to fulfill 
his plan and purpose on the earth. Most often, the response of those people
has been to insist on their own unworthiness. And if they don’t—the people 
around them may do so, loudly and shrilly. And therein lies a danger: If we
allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we 
will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need 
our help.

What is impossible with people is possible with God. We just have to believe 
that God has called us to go into the world in his name, and not listen to
the crippling or even paralyzing labels and limitations imposed on us by 
others. Whom God calls, he qualifies—and he chooses everybody to do 
something
specific, something that is part of his design. In fact, the Bible shows us 
that since the beginning of time, God has chosen the unlikely to do the 
unimaginable:

• God called Moses, who was nearly eighty years old at the time, to tell 
Pharaoh to free God’s people (Exodus 3–4).
But Moses insisted that he was not eloquent and no one would listen to him.
• God called Gideon “a mighty warrior,” and told him to save his people, who 
were being relentlessly ransacked by their enemies (
Judges 6–8).
But Gideon, who at the time God called him was working in a hidden place 
because he feared the enemy, couldn’t imagine how God could use a coward to 
fight for his people.
• God called Jeremiah, a teenager, to deliver news to the Jewish people, but 
Jeremiah feared that, as young as he was, he wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah would have missed out on their moment in history 
if they’d been allowed to get by with those excuses. We wouldn’t even know
their names. We know who they were because God refused to accept their 
excuses and insisted they accept his assignment—and then provided them 
everything they needed to succeed in it.

Point to Ponder

Are you declining God’s mission for your life because you claim you’re not 
up to it? Don’t sell yourself short. God qualifies those he calls. Will you
prepare your heart to accept your appointment with destiny?
Copyright Information
Devotions by Christine Caine, Copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip 
& Empower Ministries.

The Fruits of Worship

Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit 
of our lips giving thanks to His name. - Hebrews 13:15

Did you know that there will be many times that you will not "feel" like 
worshiping? Perhaps you have had so many disappointing experiences in the 
past
that you think it is hardly worth it because there is such a low sense of 
the power of God. Even so, you still need to offer the sacrifice of worship 
to
God.

The sacrifice of worship gets offered to God himself. It is vital that you 
join other saints to amplify your worship. When we are gathered for genuine
worship, we are like a heap of burning coals encouraging one another to 
warmth of love and devotion. One log by itself cannot burn for very long, 
but when
many logs are put together, even if they are poor logs, they can make quite 
a fire. Remember the counsel of
Proverbs 27:17
that iron sharpens iron. Even rather dull lives can help each other if they 
are willing to try.

Go to church-even if you do not feel like it.
Go to church-even if worship has been discouraging and dry before.
Go to church-praying.
Go to church-expecting.
Go to church-looking for God to do a new and living work among you as His 
family.

The sacrifice of worship deepens repentance. Resentments cannot be held with 
the same tenacity when we enter His gracious light. As Jesus says, if we 
have
broken fellowship with another person, we need to leave our gift at the 
altar and go set the matter straight. Christ is very explicit about this: 
"If you
bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has 
something against you, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and 
offer your
gift"
(Matthew 5:23-24).
In worship, an increased power steals its way into the heart sanctuary and 
an increased compassion grows in the soul.

The sacrifice of worship bears the fruit of obedience. Just as worship 
begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not 
propel
us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy 
One of eternity is to change: Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no 
confidence
in the flesh
(Philippians 3:3).

The sacrifice of worship widens our ministry. Holy Spirit-prompted ministry 
saves worship from becoming an escape from the pressing needs of the real 
people
around us. Worship enables us to hear the call to service clearly so that we 
respond like Isaiah. When Isaiah had the vision of our majestic, holy, and
righteous God sitting on His throne, full of all His glory, he was instantly 
brought to his knees with a sense of his total unworthiness (see
Isaiah 6:1-8).
He was humbled; there was no more room for pride. His worship of the Most 
High God produced repentance, obedience, and finally, ministry, as he cried 
out,
"Here I am, Lord! Send me!" Though still very conscious of his sin, he had 
been prepared to serve anywhere, anytime, anyhow, or anyway God directed 
because
he was completely submitted to God's will.

How would you evaluate your worship? Are you sensing that God is preparing 
you to serve anywhere, anytime, anyhow, or anyway as He directs? Are you 
willing
to submit to that will?

To continue reading this message, please
click here. http://www.crosswalkmail.com/dthdpstmdgdftjmnfrkwlfzltsfjhkkjgctlppnrsttrtdt_ozwwzkrzkjkm.html
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.

July 31, 2015
Judging

By Skip Heitzig

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you 
will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to 
you"
(Matthew 7:1-2).

I frequently hear people abuse that Scripture, and I find I need to point 
this out whenever we talk about judgment. "Judge not, that you be not 
judged"
doesn't mean you can't be discerning or that you can't offer a critique. But 
there are some circles where if you voice a strong opinion, disagree, 
dissent,
or evaluate for any reason at all, that's what you hear: "Judge not…."

That verse is not referring to discernment; it's speaking of condemnation. 
Jesus says "Judge not," and only a little later He says, "Beware of false 
prophets"
(v. 15). How can you watch out for false prophets unless you identify 
them—and that's a judgment? You have to make some discerning, discriminatory 
judgment.

Elijah passed that kind of critique on the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel 
in 1 Kings 18. Paul the apostle did it to the Judaizers (see Galatians 
2:11-21).
So, Matthew 7:1 is speaking of a contemptuous condemnation, not a passing of 
righteous judgment. And, by the way, Jesus commanded, "Do not judge 
according
to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

Unfortunately, however, one of the easiest habits to acquire is criticizing. 
And it's hard to stop! Once you start going down that path, it's kind of 
fun—your
flesh loves it. It's true that there's a lot wrong in this world and in the 
church, but being critical is one path you don't want to go down, because 
you
will become trapped.

We can make snap judgments because we don't have all the information. Let's 
say you're at a restaurant and you see a young couple enjoying a big meal.
You know they're struggling, and you think, What are they doing here? They 
can't afford this. Well, maybe somebody gave them a gift certificate; it's 
none
of your business.

Or you visit someone and notice a lot of clutter. "Boy, she keeps a really 
messy house!" you say. Could it be she's sacrificing the time to clean it to
spend time with her family? You don't know. Or maybe you call someone at 11 
am and he's still in bed. You decide, "This guy's a lazy bum!" But maybe he
works a job that requires him to sleep during the day.

The Bible tells us, "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly 
and shame to him" (Proverbs 18:13). It's foolish to respond without all the
information.

John Stott offers these words: "What we are often doing is seeing our own 
faults in others and judging them vicariously. That way, we experience the 
pleasure
of self-righteousness without the pain of penitence." The Bible has a word 
for that: hypocrisy. So be very careful in your judgments. Oftentimes, what
seems like a righteous judgment is anything but!

Copyright © 2015 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Riding to Glory - #7454

I met a man from St. Joseph, Missouri, and I surprised him with my trivia 
knowledge when I said, "Oh, Pony Express country, right?" He confirmed my 
recollection
that his town was the beginning of the famous Pony Express. What guys those 
were! Man, they rode their way right into the history books. They're 
practically
legends of the Old West. I mean, they rode endless hours through hostile 
territory, risked their lives to deliver the mail to the West Coast. You 
knew
that part. What you may not know is how many guys we're talking about here 
in this legendary operation-just 80 riders, and only one mail delivery was 
ever
lost. How long did the Pony Express run? Only 18 months! It only took a few 
people a short time to make a great impact!

Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about 
"Riding to Glory."

For most of us, our ride through this life will last, what do they say on 
average, 70 years or so? Some will get more, some a lot less. The question 
is
how much of a mark will you leave in the years you have left? I think inside 
all of us is this deep desire to make our life count, to do something 
significant
while we're here.

Maybe you know that restlessness that says, "I want to make a much greater 
difference with the rest of my life than I have made up until now." Then you
need to hear our word for today from the Word of God in Daniel 12:3. It's 
God's roadmap to making the greatest possible mark you can make with the one
life you have. Here's what it says. "Those who lead many to righteousness 
will shine like the stars forever and ever." Wow!

God says the way to have a life that matters forever is to "lead many to 
righteousness." And this side of Jesus' cross, we know that means leading 
many
people to Jesus. Now what immortalized those young men of the Pony Express? 
They were people with a message willing to risk whatever necessary to 
deliver
that message. And they made a huge mark in a very short time.

If you belong to Jesus, you've got to see your life-assignment like God 
does. You're a person with a message to deliver. The significance of your 
life
depends on how faithful you are in delivering it. In 2 Corinthians 5:19, the 
Bible says, "God has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are
therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through 
us." The message: "Come to Jesus and get the relationship with God you were
made for." The assignment: "ambassador"-Jesus' personal representative to 
the people where you work, or live, or go to school, or shop, or recreate. 
You're
there by assignment from God to help some of those people be in heaven with 
you.

How are you doing? Maybe you say, "Well, I'm afraid to tell them about what 
Jesus did on the cross for them. I might mess it up." God doesn't need your
perfect presentation to reach the heart of the person you care about. He 
does need for you to tell them about your Jesus. The only way you can fail 
in
your mission is to remain silent.

Maybe you're not delivering your message because you fear the risks-the risk 
of building a relationship with someone who's lost, or getting started, of
being rejected. But the Bible says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear." 
Please let God show you that the greatest risk of all is that you will lose
this person forever because they never got the message about Jesus. Isn't 
that a greater fear what might happen to them than what could happen to you 
if
you do tell them?

Like those heroic Pony Express riders, if you'll dedicate your life to 
delivering your life-giving message, if you'll risk whatever it takes to get 
that
message through, then your heart-cry for a life that counts is going to be 
answered big-time. As you lead people to Jesus, you are riding to 
glory-eternal glory.
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nourish

What Would Jesus Do?

A quick reading of the New Testament will give you an easy answer to that 
question. The scene is Jesus with His disciples. The mother of James and 
John,
identified in the text as “the mother of Zebedee’s sons,” addresses Jesus. 
She speaks boldly to Him: “Promise that these two sons of mine may sit, one
on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom” (Matt. 20:21).

Jesus quickly tells her that she has no idea what she’s talking about. Then 
the other ten disciples become indignant at James and John. It’s a fight 
ready
to happen.

But Jesus calls a time-out. The text literally says, “He called them over” 
(Matt. 20:25).


Now read carefully Jesus’ response to all twelve disciples. It is powerful.

He began, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the 
men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that 
among
you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your 
slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and 
to
give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:25–28).

Did you get that? Did you understand the full import of Jesus’ words?

May I put the essence of these words in a modern vernacular for church 
members today? I hope you won’t be too offended.

“Hey, church members: I know that the world says put yourself first. Look 
after number one. But that’s not the way you are supposed to do it. Stop 
complaining
about the music style and what you want. Stop demanding church leaders to do 
things the way you would like them to be. Stop trying to get your way in 
church
business meetings. Instead, put others first. Put your desires last. Become 
a servant instead of a whiner and complainer.”

Jesus then offers Himself as an example for serving. Instead of coming to 
Earth as a political king, Jesus came to serve. Indeed His service would go 
all
the way to the cross. He became sin. He took on our sin. He was crucified on 
that bloody cross of His own volition. He served you and me by dying for us.

We church members must cease and desist becoming “I want” members and become 
“I will” members.

We must serve instead of demanding our way.

That’s what Jesus said. And that’s what Jesus would do.

Paul specialized in selflessness. I would love for him to come to one of our 
rancorous church meetings and have a few words. I don’t think he would be
shy about addressing self-serving motives and actions.

Philippians is my favorite letter he wrote to a church. Note that some form 
of the word joy appears in the brief letter fourteen times. It is indeed the
letter of joy.

And what was Paul doing to experience such joy? He was in prison. He was 
facing death. He was concerned about the churches. And, in the midst of it 
all,he was joyous.

The apostle explains the basis for his joy. Indeed in Philippians 2:5–11, he 
tells us that true joy comes from having an attitude like Jesus. And lest
we doubt the meaning of Jesus’ attitude, Paul says that the attitude took 
Him to “becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” 
(Phil.2:8).

It is with that context that Paul explains how we are to respond to one 
another in our churches: “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in 
humility
consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out 
not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil.
2:3–4).

Paul made it clear.

Jesus made it clear.

We are to serve. That is the basis for joy. And that is what church members 
should do.
----------------------------------------------------------
Excerpted from I Will by Thom Rainer
Excerpted from I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian by Thom S. Rainer
© 2015 LifeWay Christian Resources,

Wings
by Charles R. Swindoll

Mark 6

"Grab here, amigo." I grabbed. "Hold on tight, por favor." I held on. "When 
you come back toward the shore and I blow whistle, you pull cord pronto!" 
Within
seconds I was airborne. A loud "whoosh," a long strong jerk, and I was three 
hundred feet or so above the picturesque beach at Puerto Vallarta.

You guessed it . . . my first try at parasailing. Four-and-a-half minutes of 
indescribable ecstasy sandwiched between a few seconds of sheer panic. Talk
about fun!

Above me was the bluest, clearest sky you could imagine. Behind me was a 
full-blown dazzling red-and-white parachute. Down in front, attached to my 
harness
and a long yellow rope, was a speedboat at full throttle. Below, the 
turquoise sea, various sailing vessels, a long row of hotels, sun bathers 
the size
of ants, and one beautiful lady wondering if she would soon be a widow.

I must confess, for those few minutes I forgot everything else. Never, since 
childhood, have I felt quite so free, so unencumbered, so completely removed
from others' expectations and my own responsibilities.

I like to think that might be the true, authentic, carefree kind of leisure 
and relaxation Jesus had in mind when He encouraged His twelve to come apart
and rest awhile.

How easily we forget the necessity of recreation; how quickly we discount 
its value! In our neurotic drive for more, more, more, we become all roots 
and
no wings.

Life closes in and takes the shape of a chore instead of a challenge. Fun 
and laughter, originally designed by God to remove the friction of monotony 
from
the machinery of existence, begin to be viewed as enemies instead of 
friends. Intensity, that ugly yet persuasive twin of hurry, convinces us we 
haven't
the right to relax . . . we must not take time for leisure . . . we can't 
afford such rootless, risky luxury. Its message is loud, logical, sensible, 
strong,
and wrong.

We all need roots and wings. But most of us are long on the former and short 
on the latter.

Expand your world, free your mind, and calm your nerves. Don't wait! Quit 
worrying about the risk or complaining about the cost.

Take time to soar!

Sometimes say out loud to yourself: "This is for my good and for God's 
glory, even though I cannot begin to explain it."

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

How to Find Your Lifelong Companion
Fear
© 2015 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Seven Subtle Symptoms of Pride
Fabienne Harford / July 14, 2015
Seven Subtle Symptoms of Pride

Pride will kill you. Forever. Pride is the sin most likely to keep you from 
crying out for a Savior. Those who think they are well will not look for a
doctor.

As seriously dangerous as pride is, it’s equally hard to spot. When it comes 
to diagnosing our heart, those of us have the disease of pride have a 
challenging
time identifying our sickness. Pride infects our eyesight, causing us to 
view ourselves through a lens that colors and distorts reality. Pride will 
paint
even our ugliness in sin as beautiful and commendable.

We can’t conclude that we don’t struggle with pride because we don’t see 
pride in our hearts. The comfortable moments that I find myself on the back 
for
how well I am doing are the moments that should alarm me the most. I need to 
reach for the glasses of Christ-like humility, remembering that nothing good
dwells in my flesh, and search my heart for secret pride and its symptoms.

In his essay on [undetected 
pride][(http://www.grace-abounding.com/Articles/Sin/Pride_Edwards.htm), 
Jonathan Edwards points out seven sneaky symptoms of
the infection of pride.

1. Fault-Finding

While pride causes us to filter out the evil we see in ourselves, it also 
causes us to filter out God’s goodness in others. We sift them, letting only
their faults live in our perception of them.

When I’m sitting in a sermon or studying a passage, it’s pride that prompts 
the terrible temptation to skip the Spirit’s surgery on my own heart and 
instead
draft a mental blog post or plan a potential conversation for the people who 
“really need to hear this.”

Edwards, writes,

The spiritually proud person shows it in his finding fault with other saints 
. . . . The eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees
so much evil in his own that he is not apt to be very busy with other 
hearts.

2. A Harsh Spirit

Those who have the sickness of pride in their hearts speak of others’ sins 
with contempt, irritation, frustration, or judgment. Pride is crouching 
inside
our belittling of the struggles of others. It’s cowering in our jokes about 
the ‘craziness’ of our spouse. It may even be lurking in the prayers we 
throw
upward for our friends that are — subtly or not — tainted with exasperated 
irritation.

Again Edwards, “Christians who are but fellow-worms ought at least to treat 
one another with as much humility and gentleness as Christ treats them.”

3. Superficiality

When pride lives in our hearts, we’re far more concerned with others’ 
perception of us than the reality of our hearts. We fight the sins that have 
an impact
on how others view us, and make peace with the ones that no one sees. We 
have great success in the areas of holiness that have highly visible 
accountability,
but little concern for the disciplines that happen in secret.

4. Defensiveness

Those who stand in strength of Christ’s righteousness alone find a confident 
hiding place from the attacks of men and Satan alike. True humility is not
knocked off balance and thrown into a defensive posture by challenge or 
rebuke, but instead continues in doing good, entrusting the soul to our 
faithful
creator.

Edwards says, “For the humble Christian, the more the world is against him, 
the more silent and still he will be, unless it is in his prayer closet, and
there he will not be still.”

5. Presumption Before God

Humility approaches God with humble assurance in Christ Jesus. If either the 
“humble” or the “assurance” are missing in that equation, our hearts very
well might be infected with pride. Some of us have no shortage of boldness 
before God, but if we’re not careful we can forget that he is God.

Edwards writes, “Some, in their great rejoicing before God, have not paid 
sufficient regard to that rule in Psalm 2:11 — ‘Worship the Lord with 
reverence,
and rejoice with trembling.’”

Others of us feel no confidence before God. Which sounds like humility, but 
in reality it’s another symptom of pride. In those moments, we’re testifying
that we believe our sins are greater than his grace. We doubt the power of 
Christ’s blood and we’re stuck staring at ourselves instead of Christ.

6. Desperation for Attention

Pride is hungry for attention, respect, and worship in all its forms.

Maybe it sounds like shameless boasting about ourselves. Maybe it’s being 
unable to say ‘no’ to anyone because we need to be needed. Maybe it looks 
like
obsessively thirsting for marriage — or fantasizing about a better 
marriage — because you’re hungry to be adored. Maybe it looks like being 
haunted by
your desire for the right car or the right house or the right title at work: 
all because you seek the glory that comes from men, not God.

7. Neglecting Others

Pride prefers some people over others. It honors those who the world deems 
worthy of honor, giving more weight to their words, their wants, and their 
needs.
There’s a thrill that goes through me when people with ‘power’ acknowledge 
me. We consciously or unconsciously pass over the weak, the inconvenient, 
and
the unattractive, because they don’t seem to offer us much.

Maybe more of us struggle with pride than we thought.

There’s good news for the prideful. Confession of pride signals the 
beginning of the end for pride. It indicates the war is already being waged. 
For only
when the Spirit of God is moving, already humbling us, can we remove the 
lenses of pride from our eyes and see ourselves clearly, identifying the 
sickness
and seeking the cure.

By God’s grace, we can turn once again to the glorious gospel in which we 
stand and make much of him even through identifying our pride in all its 
hiding
places inside of us. Just as my concealed pride once moved me toward death, 
so the acknowledgement of my own pride moves me toward life by causing me to
cling more fiercely to the righteousness of Christ.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if 
there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm
139:23–24)

Planned Parenthood: How Much Longer?
Jonathan Parnell / July 14, 2015
Planned Parenthood: How Much Longer?

In one sense, there are really just two types of people when it comes to the 
topic of abortion: those who think it is okay to kill unborn babies, and 
those
who think it’s wrong. If you don’t think you’re in one of these categories, 
you still are; you’re just confused.

Confusion, though, isn’t the most terrible thing. It means there is still 
hope, and in fact, this hopeful condition likely characterizes the general 
public
of the United States. Most people don’t have a deep conviction about unborn 
babies. Most people don’t even think about unborn babies unless it’s an 
election
year or the news runs a story. Even most who support abortion could only 
repeat the rhetoric they’ve heard from devotees.

And therefore, if confusion is what’s really popular, the question becomes:

What will it take for abortion activists to convince the general public that 
their position is a psychotic threat to humanity?

When will the rhetoric about women’s health and women’s rights be exposed 
for what it truly is (since, of course, by women’s “health” and women’s 
“rights”
they must not mean the near 28 million girls aborted since 1973)? What will 
it take? Where is the tipping point when the truth of Planned Parenthood can
no longer be ignored by the popular conscience?

Abortion’s Self-Destruction

Mind-changing momentum is beginning to build, and to our surprise, it’s not 
so much from the direct work of pro-life advocates, but from the unmasked 
mishaps
of abortion activists themselves. Yes, that’s right. They’ve ironically 
stumbled into a suicide mission.

What if, counter-conventional as it might seem, the greatest felt gains for 
unborn humans will come by the abortion industry’s self-destruction?

Last year there was the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains reportedly 
awarded for exceeding their abortion quota. That is to say, in addition to
other reports of such quotas, there was a certain number of abortions that 
the clinic was prescribed to perform and when they surpassed that number 
they
were honored, all of which backfires against the language of abortions as 
safe, legal, and rare.

But that is really nothing compared to the recent video that exposes Planned 
Parenthood for selling the body parts of infant corpses. If the thought of
abortionists high-fiving each other over surpassing their abortion quotas 
doesn’t unsettle you, just watch
the video of Deborah Nucatola chomp her food and sip her wine as she talks 
about selling aborted baby heads.
You can watch
the full two hours and forty minutes of conversation.

Apparently, according to Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of 
Medical Services, not only is abortion “safe, legal, and rare,” but it’s a 
pretty
big money-maker if you can keep those heads and livers in tact as you 
extract the baby feet first.

How Much Longer, America?

Once again, we’re not supposed to know about this industry. Planned 
Parenthood doesn’t want us to know, especially since it’s illegal.
But we do know.
And if we open our eyes, we’ll never think the same way again about their 
organization and their little tagline, “Care. No matter what.” Care? They 
receive
millions of taxpayer dollars, and our president tells them to keep up “the 
good work” — to butcher babies and sell their body parts? Care?

Sooner or later, Planned Parenthood, the conviction-less masses are going to 
start scratching their heads. Please, just keep talking. Just keep doing 
what
you do. The lights are coming on, and you’ve got nowhere to hide.

The question for the rest of us is how long it is before we feel the 
cumulative effect. How much time will we give the abortion industry before 
they self-destruct?
How much longer, America? How long are we going to let this go on? How many 
more conversations need to leak? How much more blood must be spilt? How many
more body parts must be dismembered, packaged, and sold before we realize 
this whole thing is a nightmare? God, may it end soon.


Too Depressed to Believe What We Know
Marshall Segal / July 14, 2015
Too Depressed to Believe What We Know

Depression of some kind darkens the door of most Christians.

It’s a spiritual or emotional fog that stubbornly clouds our hope and 
happiness. It might last for a couple hours, or for years. It might be 
brought on
by a specific traumatic experience or a broken relationship, or it might be 
less traceable, more difficult to explain. Some cases are clinical and 
require
special attention, but lots of others are just part of everyday life in a 
broken and failing world.

While many are lost to their depression — helplessly wandering in their own 
darkness — Christians have somewhere to turn, truths to rehearse until our
hearts catch up with the faith in our minds. Not only did Christ save and 
deliver the broken-hearted, but he experiences all the pains and temptations
we face and more. At the cross, he dove headfirst into the darkness, so that 
we might have eternal, unfading, always-increasing hope and happiness.

We’ve collected some of our best resources on the topic of depression, as 
well as a few others from around the web. We pray they will be God’s means 
of
bringing his light into your darkness, his hope into your despair.

1.
When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God — 
and Joy
(Book)

Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of 
depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. 
It can
happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or 
hereditary and other physical causes. In
When the Darkness Will Not Lift,
John Piper aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing 
spiritual darkness.

Readers will gain insight into the physical side of depression and spiritual 
darkness, what it means to wait on the Lord in a time of darkness, how 
unconfessed
sin can clog our joy, and how to minister to others who are living without 
light. Piper uses real-life examples and sensitive narrative to show readers
abundant reason to hope that God will pull them out of the pit of despair 
and into the light once again.

2.
Battling the Unbelief of Despondency
(Sermon)

The Psalms speak again and again to those walking through darkness. In this 
sermon,
Pastor John unfolds hope, security, and satisfaction in Psalm 73.
What do we do when we come to an end of ourselves — exhausted, depleted of 
resources to handle life’s problems? We remind ourselves of our Treasure in
heaven.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

3.
God Is with You in Depression
(10-Minute Interview)

Author Randy Alcorn is no foreigner to depression. He has journeyed through 
dark seasons — once for four months on end — and offers this word of hope to
the Christian:
“God is there with you in the depression.”
Don’t wait till the depression passes to seek God, advises Alcorn. He’s not 
waiting for you to come out of it before walking with you, but he’s eager
to walk with you in the midst of it.

4.
What Does Christian Hedonism Offer the Depressed?
(Ask Pastor John Podcast)

In four minutes,
Pastor John reads from and explains Psalm 139
to try and offer comfort and hope for those in the midst of depression. 
David writes, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light 
about
me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as 
the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:11–12). He ends with
a powerful example from his pastoral ministry.

5.
The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John 
Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
(Book)

John Bunyan suffered long-term imprisonment and was moved to rely on God 
even more. Despite month after month of debilitating depression, William 
Cowper’s
poetry reflected the sustaining character of God and led him to worship more 
deeply. David Brainerd so desired to honor God that through the loneliness
of wilderness ministry and the agony of tuberculosis, he pressed on, 
transforming world missions forever.
Their stories and witness in this book
will inspire in you a similar passion for the supremacy of God in your life, 
even in dark and depressing times.

6.
Spiritual Depression in the Psalms
(Sermon)

In this sermon,
Pastor John preaches a series of six steps
for walking through seasons of darkness in our lives, following David’s 
example in Psalm 42. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in 
turmoil
within me? Hope in God” (Psalm 42:5).

Piper says,

It’s not wrong to want relief from the darkness and to pray for it. It is 
sometimes right to pray for the defeat of enemies. But more important than 
any
of that is God himself. When we think and feel with God in the Psalms, this 
is the main result: We come to love God, and we want to see God and be with
God and be satisfied in admiring and exulting in God.

The sermon also draws on Martin Lloyd-Jones’s classic book by the same 
title,
Spiritual Depression.
Lloyd-Jones exhorts us to preach to ourselves: “Have you realized that most 
of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to 
yourself
instead of talking to yourself?” (20).

7.
Hope for the Despairing Heart
(Article)

Christina Fox has battled depression on and off since adolescence, beginning 
with one difficult year when her grandmother passed away, she switched 
schools,
and lost several close friendships. Now a trained counselor,
she shares the seed of hope
that put her on a trajectory of healing. There are promises deeper and more 
powerful than your pain and depression.

8.
God’s Beauty for the Bored, Busy, and Depressed
(Article)

This article/interview with Dane Ortlund addresses several broken conditions 
of the human heart by highlighting how God’s beauty brings freedom and 
healing
in our busyness, temptations, boredom, and depression. In the last section 
of the article (“Beauty and Depression”),
Ortlund offers six pieces of pastoral counsel to the depressed.
And it’s all presented through the lens of Jonathan Edwards’s preaching and 
ministry.

9.
Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
(Book by Ed Welch)

Where is God in the struggle? Looking away from despair towards hope can 
feel risky. What if God doesn’t come through for you? What if you don’t feel 
instantly
better? Instead of offering simple platitudes or unrealistic “cure-all” 
formulas, Edward T. Welch, a biblical counselor at
CCEF
(the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation) who specializes in 
these matters,
addresses the complex nature of depression
with compassion and insight, applying the rich treasures of the gospel, and 
giving fresh hope to those who struggle.

10.
Battling Depression . . . Redemption, Medication, and Christ
(4-Minute Video)

We asked Ed Welch
what role antidepressant medications can and should play in people’s lives 
who are battling with depression. He answers and concludes with a challenge
to pastors — and to everyone who seeks to care for those suffering from 
depression — to magnify Christ and to maintain focus on the life and hope we 
have
in him.

11.
The Darkness of Depression
(40-Minute Audio Interview)

What is a biblical understanding of depression?
Is it simply a biochemical malfunction? In this podcast, Russell Moore is 
joined by the CCEF’s David Powlison for a helpful conversation on the 
subject.

Apple Cider
by Dean W. Masters

Isaiah 55:1 - Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who 
have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and 
without cost. (NASB)

On a hot, fall day our high school marching band took part in the Apple 
Festival in Chilhowie, Virginia, USA. We marched in a parade, then waited 
around for our time to compete in the field competition. After that parade, 
I was hot and thirsty. I went to a vendor who had cans of soft drinks. The 
one I bought was good and cold, but it did not quench my thirst. Then I saw 
a vendor who had bottles of ice cold apple cider. I bought one of those, and 
that hit the spot.

We are created with a spiritual thirst, but most people don't know what will 
quench that thirst. We may try different things, activities, or 
relationships, but they don't quench it completely. Disappointed, we go on 
to something else which we think might fill that need in us. But Jesus 
Christ is the only one who can really quench our spiritual thirst.

There is a cost to what we *think* will quench our thirst: possessions, 
adventures, relationships. But what *will* quench our spiritual thirst is 
free: the cost is not ours to pay. But to quench this thirst it cost Jesus 
Christ His life. He gave His life so we could be filled without cost.

Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for 
they shall be satisfied. (NASB)

Let us all partake of Jesus Christ to quench our spiritual thirst. And let 
us share Him with others so they may know what will truly quench their 
thirst.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for giving Your life for us. Thank 
You for offering Yourself to quench our thirst. Help us to continually drink 
from Your supply. Help us to let others know that You are the only One who 
can quench their thirst. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 5:51 pm

nourish

Time to Move from "I Am" to "I Will"

Your attitude determines who you are: I am joyous. I am angry. I am 
grateful. I am jealous.

You get the picture. Our attitudes are the foundations of our actions. If I 
am joyous, I will tend to be an encouraging person. If I am angry, I will 
tend
to be a critical person.


To help illustrate this point, let me talk about my marriage to Nellie Jo 
from my own perspective.

Let’s presume I have all the healthy attitudes in place. I love her 
unconditionally. I focus on her strengths more than her weaknesses. I am 
grateful for
her, for the gift from God that she is to me.

And that’s it.

I never serve her. I never ask her out for a date. I never offer her words 
of encouragement. I rarely spend time with her.

So what would Nellie Jo think of my good attitudes? She would rightly think 
they are contrived and insincere. She would doubt my commitment. She would
wonder if I am truly committed to our marriage.

Maybe many of you reading this have a good attitude about your church. Maybe 
you are not in the group that whines, complains, nags, and pouts. Maybe your
heart is really in the right place.

So here is my simple question. Is your attitude reflected in your actions? 
In case you are wondering where I am headed with this question, let me offer
you an example.

Several years ago, we considered the most active church members who attended 
church around three times a week. They might attend a Sunday morning Bible
study or a Sunday morning worship service. Others might return for Sunday 
evening events or Wednesday activities.

Do you know how much that perspective has changed in just a few years? 
Today, many pundits define an active church member as someone who attends 
church
events or services at least three times a month.

Did you get that? An active church member has now been re-defined from three 
times a week to three times a month!

I can anticipate potential objections, “Don’t make this matter a legalistic 
obligation! We don’t need an activity checklist to be close to God!”
I understand. But let me ask you this question. Would your spouse think you 
are still devoted to him or her if you decided to reduce your time with him
or her by 75 percent? That’s what is happening with even some of our most 
committed church members.

It’s time.

It’s time for a decision.

It’s time for a church membership revolution.

Not because we are legalistically obligated. Not because we equate 
activities to commitment. But because a great attitude toward your church, 
the bride
of Christ, will result in great actions for her.

Will you join me in this revolution? Will you prayerfully consider giving 
your life’s all to commitment to Christ through His church? Will you be a 
part
of a movement that will change the world as the body of Christ unites in 
force with renewed effort and renewed zeal?

It’s time.

Christ is calling all church members to forsake self and to serve others for 
His sake. In doing so, our church becomes our priority and our focus as it
was in the New Testament.

Listen carefully to this call of God. Listen to how you can discern your 
commitment in His church. And when you begin to understand the action plans 
He
has set before you, be prepared to respond with two simple words.

I will.
--------------------------------------
Excerpted from I Will by Thom Rainer
Excerpted from
I Will: Nine Traits of the
Outwardly Focused Christian
by Thom S. Rainer

©2015 by Doulos.

Welcome to the Nugget

August 21, 2015

My Murphy's Law Vacation
By Answers2Prayer
Murphy's law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Not exactly the descriptor most people would like to attach to their 
vacation notes, but I couldn't help calling our recent trip to Scotland by 
this name.
It all started out with a 15 minute thunderstorm in London's Heathrow 
airport that prohibited thousands of flights from landing and taking off. As 
a result,
we finally arrived at Heathrow well after our connecting flight to Scotland 
was scheduled to leave. This affected thousands of travelers, and it was 
well
into the next day before we were able to rebook our flight to Scotland. By 
this time, we had already missed our connector flight to the Orkneys, and 
the
only way for us to catch up to our itinerary was to cancel the entire 
eastern part of our Scotland visit. Naturally, this resulted in hundreds of 
lost
dollars for flights, hotels, and rental cars. Then, when we finally did 
arrive in Scotland, our bag did not, and it took it four days to catch up to 
us.
Of course, this was the bag containing all our toiletries, our electronic 
chargers, and naturally, my medication...

I could go on and tell you about the narrow Scottish roads, the accident 
that blocked the only road to our destination for over 6 hours, the midges, 
and
naturally, the incessant rain, but you would likely get bored by the end of 
the saga.

I had been feeling kind of cheated out of our wonderful vacation when I read 
the story of someone whose vacation turned out even worse than mine. This
gentleman's vehicle was caught up in a horrible storm for over two weeks, 
only to be wrecked on an uncivilized island, causing over 3 months of delay.
He lost his bags too, and they never did catch up to him. During his first 
24 hours on the island, he was accused of being cursed, he was bitten by a 
deadly
snake, and it took him nearly a year to end up at his final destination, 
which was, by the way, Rome. And did I mention that he was in chains for the 
entire
trip?

In case you haven't recognized this man's story, you can read it in
Acts 27 and 28.
His name was...Paul.

Don't these stories sound a bit like our own? We find our lives have come to 
a sudden standstill, shipwrecked on a desert island called "illness," or 
"job
loss" or "divorce" or "abuse" or "victimization," and we find ourselves 
stranded with no way to ever again catch up to our itineraries. We feel 
cheated,
frustrated, tempted to ask, "Why God? Why did You let this happen?"

If you read the story of Paul carefully, however, you will not find any 
record of complaint. He doesn't get upset, there's no bitterness, no cursing 
God,
no "Why God, why me?" In fact, we see Paul encouraging the men in the storm, 
shaking off the deadly viper, healing the governor's father as well as many
other sick people on the island, and we can be sure that when Paul left, the 
entire population of this island knew about Jesus.

Maybe we could learn some important lessons from Paul about using our 
less-than-ideal circumstances as jumping boards for blessing others, for 
demonstrating
the love and power of God for all people...What do you think?

"...who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort 
those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are 
comforted
by God." (2Cor 1:4, NKJV)

Maybe I should rename my "Murphy's Law" vacation to Scotland as my "God's 
blessing" vacation...Oh, and the travel insurance my husband insists on 
taking
out before each trip is actually worthwhile...

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:

Feeling like you're going through a wilderness experience? Join us on 
Thursdays for "Streams in the Desert", a Mini-Series by Suresh Manoharan.

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

A God Worth Repeating in Worship
Nick Roen / July 18, 2015
A God Worth Repeating in Worship

Today, I read the most repetitive praise song I’ve ever encountered in my 
life. It repeats the same line twenty-five times. In fact, that line makes 
up
half of all the lyrics!

As a worship pastor, part of my job is to read and evaluate the lyrics of 
the songs we sing in worship. I’m looking for theologically rich words that 
we
can easily sing together as a church — rich and simple, deep and memorable. 
Often, a bit of repetition can help a congregation learn and remember a 
song.
But let’s not go overboard, right? We don’t want to sing a song that just 
repeats the same thing ad nauseam. We want depth.

So what repetitive song was I reading this morning?

Psalm 136.

We Repeat to Remember

I found this song in the hymnbook of God’s people, the book of Psalms. What’s 
the ad nauseum line?

“For his steadfast love endures forever.”

Twenty-five times we’re reminded of God’s unending love, each time seeing 
his love in light of his righteous character and mighty deeds. There’s no 
confusion
about which God loves us fully and forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever. 
(Psalm 136:3)

(Give thanks) to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his 
steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:5)

(Give thanks) to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his 
steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:10)

(Give thanks) to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his 
steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:16)

(Give thanks) to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love 
endures forever. (Psalm 136:17)

Apparently, the psalmist thinks it important for God’s people to repeat the 
love of the Lord. Why is that? What’s the benefit of singing this glorious
truth over and over almost to the point of exhaustion? It is totally 
appropriate to endlessly repeat the endless love of God. God is love in all 
he does
and all he is (1 John 4:8). No matter how many times we have heard it or 
rehearsed it, the love of God is the best news we could receive or share 
again
today.

The main reason we need to rehearse the love of God again and again is 
because we don’t believe it; at least, not naturally. We aren’t naturally 
prone
to believe that God — the God who has always existed in eternal Trinitarian 
fullness, who created the universe out of nothing, who governs the affairs
of Kings, who controls the path of every speck of dust and particle of 
water — that God delights in his people with gladness and rejoices over them 
with
songs of joy (Zephaniah 3:17). It doesn’t naturally make sense that this 
big, sovereign, infinite God would love us, that he would love the world so 
much
that he would send his only Son to die for his people’s eternal joy (John 
3:16).

So we need to repeat it. We need to remind ourselves, to remind each other, 
to sing it to one another, over and over, until we just begin to grasp again
God’s steadfast, eternal, death-conquering love.

A Song Worth Repeating

We often bristle at repetition in our corporate worship. We think it breeds 
superficiality, or creates a false emotional frenzy, or is just plain 
boring.
We have to remember, though, that our hearts are slow to feel. We need to 
remember that, even in our believing, we suffer from unbelief (Mark 9:24). 
We
need to remember to remember. Dwelling on a simple and weighty truth for an 
extended period of time will, at times, be the only way to break through 
spiritual
forgetfulness.

This reality is why we come together for corporate worship. Every week, we 
rehearse the same realities to one another over and over so that our rhythms
of forgetfulness fade (again and again), while our faith rises. We remind 
each other of the familiar old story through song and through preaching, so 
that
we might begin to remember. We continue to admonish, encourage, and 
strengthen each other, not with novelty, but with repeated refrains, “God is 
holy,
we are sinful, Jesus saves!” Or, “his steadfast love endures forever.”

How could we ever sing that too many times?

The Never-Ending Chorus

In Revelation 4, we’re given a glimpse into the heavenly throne room. There, 
we see the four living creatures, in all their terrible beauty, falling 
before
God and singing over and over one single song: “Holy, holy, holy, is the 
Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8). It’s 
not
vain repetition. It’s not empty emotionalism. This is the never-ending, 
increasingly satisfying worship of a God who is worthy of the infinite 
reprise
of his attributes.

Maybe when we’ve joined the choir and repeated the chorus for a million 
years, we will finally begin to grasp the breadth and length and height and 
depth
of the love of our perfectly holy God (Ephesians 3:18).
Copyright © 2015 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Volume 16 Number 144

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Psalm 34:17
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all 
their troubles" NKJV

The story is told of a young lady who went to play softball for her favorite 
college. She had been an exceptional player in high school and the college
coach was elated to have her join the team. During the season the young lady 
became an accomplished college division player that the rest of the team 
looked
up to for motivation.

This day motivation took on a whole new meaning. She hit a home run over the 
fence and almost was unable to receive credit for it. The score doesn't 
matter
and few remember who won that day. As the young lady was running to first 
base she started to celebrate and actually jumped over the first base bag. 
When
her teammates got her attention they motioned her back to touch first base. 
She turned, stumbled and injured her leg.

There she was between first and second base grimacing on the ground, unable 
to move. The rules state she must touch every bag on her way around the 
diamond
or forfeit the home run. Her teammates are not allowed on the field to help.

The crowd was silent --- what could the young lady possibly do. There she 
sat in agony. An opposing infield player motioned to her teammates --- they 
huddled
around the young lady determining she needed a lift. In an instant they 
lifted her up. As they lifted her they walked over to first base and allowed 
her
to touch the base with her good leg. Then on to second, third and home.

A wonderful lesson for all of us in the kingdom. When someone falls and is 
unable to get up it is our responsibility to pick them up and carry them 
through.

Prayer: Father thank you for those reading this that need a lift --- I pray 
You send someone right now to give the lift that is needed to resolve the 
situation.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!


Pastor Bill Team Prayer:

Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
kingdom.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Copyright (c) 2015

Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries
All Rights Reserved

What Moves You to Minister?

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

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

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

What will propel us . . .

• to greet strangers when we feel shy?
• to go to an enemy and plead for reconciliation when we feel indignant?
• to tithe when we’ve never tried it?
• to speak to our colleagues about Christ?
• to invite new neighbors to a Bible study?
• to cross cultures with the gospel?
• to create a new ministry for alcoholics?
• to spend an evening driving a van?
• to invest a morning praying for renewal?

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

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

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

This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

The Best Part of Heaven

"I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may 
be also."

-John 14:3, emphasis added

Although I can't wait to see the gates made of pearl, the precious stones of 
heaven, and the city's numerous other glories, that is not what I am looking
forward to most. I can't wait to see Christ face to face! Jesus is the best 
part of heaven!

The Seven Perfections of Jesus: The subject of heaven is often spoken of as 
"the sweet by and by," and images of harps, clouds, angel wings, and a 
seemingly
ethereal world of misty spirit form in the mind. But, in reality, heaven is 
a glorious place of wonder and beauty. Of all its indescribable beauties and
unending glories, there is, above all else, Jesus, who is the most beautiful 
aspect of heaven. And there are seven wonderful facets of the love of Jesus
for all the saints, His bride.

Facet 1-Jesus will be with us: "God Himself will be with them and be their 
God" (Revelation 21:3, NAS). First, there will be the unbroken presence of 
Emmanuel,
"God with us." Secondly, there will be the fulfillment of all that He has 
promised. The Bible contains all the promises of God, but one day we will 
get
to experience the Person behind the promises.

Facet 2-Jesus will comfort us: "God will wipe away every tear from their 
eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying . . . nor pain" 
(Revelation
21:4. NAS). Even though we know Jesus and His promises are with us, this 
present life is hard. However, the sadness of current disappointments will 
end
with the security of divine appointment; the dread of death will end with 
the Lord of Life; the frailties of the flesh will end when entering our 
heavenly
habitation. The future, like the past, is kept securely by Him with whom our 
anchor is cast.

Facet 3-Jesus will refresh us: "I will give of the fountain of the water of 
life freely to him who thirsts" (Revelation 21:6, NAS). A life of dryness 
will
be gone; the refreshing Spring of Life will be ever with us. Although He can 
comfort and be with us in this present life, heaven is the ultimate comfort:
"He who believes in Me, . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living 
water" (John 7:38). This is an endless supply, for He within us shall be 
that
Fountain.

Facet 4-Jesus will captivate us: "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, 
the Almighty, and the Lamb are its temple" (21:22, NAS). This is the 
culmination
of all the types from which they were fashioned: the True One showing facets 
of His image by His holiness, His character, and His redemption. We are to
not make images of Him, but we are to see Him through the types of the 
tabernacle and the temple. Which satisfies you most-the picture or the 
Person? The
figures have been there for time, but the fullness will be for all eternity. 
Worship will be unbounded by location or proximity; it will be unending and
all-present because our worship will be focused on Him as He captivates us.

Facet 5-Jesus will keep us secure: "And nothing unclean . . . shall ever 
come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of 
Life"
(21:27, NAS). The wonder of heaven is that He will keep us secure, just as 
He has here on earth. There will now be an exclusion of all evil forever. At
last, our freedom will be completed! At Calvary, we were freed from both the 
penalty and power of sin; at the Celestial City, we will forever be removed
from the presence of sin. All the washed ones, those washed in the Lamb's 
blood and written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will be welcomed there.

Facet 6-Jesus will lead us: "The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in 
it, and His bondservants shall serve Him" (22:3, NAS). He is the Master; we
are the servants who will follow Him. The return of Christ's rule as King of 
the kingdom will be unhindered-and He wants complete dedication, not mere
compliments. He never simply said, "Accept Me!" Rather, He declared: "Leave 
all and follow Me, or you can't be My disciple." Jesus wants glad and 
unhindered
service forever. After the complete destruction of the curse's doom, we will 
no longer struggle with the weeds of sin so that we can fully follow the 
Lamb's
wishes.

Facet 7-Jesus will light us: "There shall be no night there: . . . for the 
Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever" 
(Revelation
22:5, NAS). The Source of light in the new heaven will be the Savior, the 
Lamb, who is the Light. And in that glow we shall walk in unbroken 
communion.
The denial of dark deeds will be consigned to the blackness of darkness 
forever, but we shall rule by submission to Him forever. The despair of 
darkness
will be ended; there will be no more unfinished plans, for He is the 
completion of all. This is the fulfillment of Christ's First Coming: "The 
Dayspring
from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and 
the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 
1:78-79).
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Sep 2015, 7:28 pm

What's Your Nineveh?
by Laura MacCorkle

Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God's mercies. But I 
will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my
vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.
Jonah 2:8-9,
NLT

Have you ever run away from something that God wanted you to do? If so, then 
you’ve got a lot in common with Jonah. You know the story...

Guy in a tunic hears from God.

Guy doesn’t like what God wants him to do.

Guy runs in the other direction. Literally.

Guy gets on a boat.

Guy get tossed overboard during a storm.

Guy gets swallowed by a big fish.

Guy repents.

Guy goes and does what God tells him (a second time) to do.

Guy gets angry when God is compassionate to others (who guy doesn’t think 
are deserving).

Guy gets rebuked, and God has the last word.

Jonah was running from Nineveh—a city with an idolatrous people so wicked 
that they would cut off the feet and hands of their captives just to 
intimidate
others. Yikes!

So it’s probably safe to say that all of us might have felt like Jonah did 
when thinking about ministering to the Ninehvites: scared for himself and 
disbelieving
that these people could ever be saved. Why even try, right?

But God wanted Jonah to preach and to reach out to others, because God has 
reached out to all of us. We are all undeserving of his love and his 
unmerited
favor, but mercifully God forgives. Jonah didn’t want to see this, and so he 
ran.

Perhaps you are running as well. You’re trying to get as far away from your 
Nineveh—the thing that truly scares you, the thing that you know God is 
leading
you toward, the thing you don’t really want to do.

I have run away from so many things in my life. But one of these days, maybe 
I will have grown enough in my
faith
that I will immediately say “Yes, Lord” when he gives me instruction.

Until that point in my maturity, there’s a current Nineveh that has been 
occupying a lot of my thoughts lately. It’s my fall group Bible study. Now, 
that’s
not so scary in and of itself. But you know what is? What we’ll be studying 
come September: the book of Revelation.

I confess that I’ve thought about dropping out a few times already, as I’ve 
had too much time to anticipate and be afraid. To me, this is the most 
intimidating
book of Scripture. I have a fear that I’ll never understand the symbolism, 
that I’ll look dumb trying to answer the questions in front of my group and
that I’ll spend the entire eight months of study in a fog of frustration.

But I think I’m missing the most important point. What seems impossible to 
me is exactly what God wants me to do. So that I will learn. And grow. And 
draw
closer to him as I work on understanding his Word.

Jonah is one of the shortest books of the Bible, so I invite you to read 
through it today when you have a half hour to spare. See if you don’t see 
yourself
in Jonah’s thoughts and fears, in his actions and in his initial response to 
God’s call in his life.

And then ask yourself, “What is my Nineveh?” and pray. Ask the Lord to help 
you work through your fear, your anger, your rebellion.

Instead of running this time, and from our own Ninevehs, may God help us all 
to run toward what he has purposed for our good.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Stop running in the wrong direction! Repent and 
start moving obediently toward whatever God is calling you to do today. 
Despite
our proclivity toward unfaithfulness, he is always faithful.

Further Reading:

2 Samuel 22:1-4,
NIV
2 Corinthians 10:5,
NIV
Philippians 1:6,
NIV

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Monday, July 20, 2015

Today's Devotional

God's Perfect Timing

Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His 
riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

Some time back, Jackie and I decided to start checking out various auto 
dealers for a used SUV-type vehicle for Jackie's home-care work. Some of the 
roads
she navigates are remote and pretty rough, so we needed something higher off 
the ground than a car.

After praying about this, we checked out our local places, then took a trip 
to Kamloops. We spent pretty much the whole day looking at and test-driving
various vehicles, none of which had the right combination of price, 
visibility, and comfort for Jackie's back.

As dusk was settling in and we were thinking we weren't going to find 
anything that day after all, we drove to the opposite end of town and 
happened to
notice another dealership.

As we strolled onto their lot, a salesman mentioned that they had just 
received delivery of a used vehicle that had been driven in from Alberta, 
which
had actually arrived ahead of time. The asking price was in our ballpark, so 
we decided to take it out for a test drive with this fellow.

As we were driving around, Jackie knew that this was definitely going to be 
our best bet. The salesman asked us where we were from and what we did, and
when we mentioned that I was a Christian pastor, he surprised us by saying 
that he himself was a new Christian, and that his brother had just recently
led him to receive Jesus into his life as Lord and Saviour.

We then had a really good chat together with this new brother in Christ, 
getting to know him a little better in sharing things from the Lord in our 
lives.
By the time we got back and made the deal for the vehicle, it was past 
closing time at the dealership. After we had signed all the paperwork, our 
new friend,
Murray, told us that he had been praying for a desperately-needed financial 
boost, as he and his family had really been hit hard. He then thanked and 
praised
God (and us), because it was the last day of the month, and this sale was 
just enough to qualify him for their monthly sales bonus.

Talk about God's perfect timing in answering prayer! A place we had no 
intention of bothering with, a vehicle arriving ahead of time, a Christian 
in need,
the right thing for us at the right price, and desperately-needed bonus 
money for Murray and his family for which he qualified on the last day of 
the month
and after business hours. Just before we left, he phoned his wife with this 
great news as to why he was late getting home. Murray thought that he had 
run
out of time for this to happen, but for God, it was just another display of 
His perfect timing in all things.

Not all of our prayers are answered in such dramatic ways, but it is 
encouraging to know that our God is a God of love and power, and that He 
does have
miraculous ways of providing for our needs. We just need to trust Him.

Prayer: Lord, help us never to forget that You are in control and that You 
love us. Help us to trust Your timing in the working out of Your will in our
lives and in all things. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Bruce Wilcox <
bwilcox2@live.ca>

Optimism hopes for the best without any guarantee of its arriving and is 
often no more than whistling in the dark. Christian hope, by contrast, is 
faith
looking ahead to the fulfillment of the promises of God, as when the 
Anglican burial service inters the corpse 'in sure and certain hope of the 
Resurrection
to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' Optimism is a wish without 
warrant; Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God himself. Optimism
reflects ignorance as to whether good things will ever actually come. 
Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of his life, and every 
moment beyond
it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God's own commitment, 
that the best is yet to come.

James I (J. I.) Packer

A poor, weak, and trembling creature

(John Angell James, "
Christian Progress"
1853)

"He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His 
arms, holding them close to His heart." Isaiah 40:11

Dwell upon the love and tenderness of our Lord Jesus!

Notice who are the objects of His care--"the lambs," which means not only 
those of tender age--but also those who have been newly converted; those who
are young in Christian experience; and also those whose temperament is 
naturally timid, whose strength is feeble, and whose danger is great.

Yes, you are the objects of Christ's special attention, care, and 
solicitude! You are those whom He takes up in the arms of His power--and 
lays on the
bosom of His love! He knows . . .
your weakness,
your timidity,
your dangers!

He will exert for you . . .
His tenderest sympathy,
His greatest vigilance,
His mightiest power.

This expression however not only conveys the idea of great care of the 
weak--but the exercise of that care with a view to their preservation and 
growth.
It means not only that He will . . .
cordially receive them,
provide for their safety,
be concerned for their comfort, and
accommodate His conduct to their needs
--but He will also nourish them through their infant existence, and raise 
them up to maturity and strength.

Let every lamb of the flock of Christ, therefore, go to Him by faith and 
prayer, and say: "Blessed Jesus, I come to you as a poor, weak, and 
trembling
creature, doubtful of my own continuance, and alarmed at my numerous 
difficulties and enemies. I am but a lamb, and often fear I shall never be 
anything
better. But was it not in regard to such weakness that You have been pleased 
to utter these gracious and tender words? I flee to You as the helpless lamb
to its shepherd--when hungry, to feed it--or when pursued by wild beasts, 
that he may defend it. Lord, take me in the arms of Your power and lay me on
the bosom of Your love--though I am so poor and helpless a creature. I will 
hope in Your nurturing power and love, that I shall continue to grow, and 
that
You will one day rejoice in me, as one of the flock which You have purchased 
with Your own blood!"
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Sep 2015, 10:32 pm

Faith Expels Guilt, Greed and Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied 
with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.
This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

Face What You Fear to Live a Significant Life
Bonnie Gray

What does it mean to have
faith?
God values faith in ways we least expect.

I never used to be afraid.

I was all faith.

Or so I thought.

I had enough faith for everyone around me and seconds to go around too.

Everything would always work out fine because I was with Jesus. And Jesus 
was with me.

I loved people. Prayed, studied my Bible, and recycled regularly.

But, as time passed by and the number of things that went wrong started 
adding up, I unconsciously started keeping a tally.

I would've never admitted that I was keeping such a list. Not even to 
myself, much less God.

But, I did.

Deep in my heart, where I did not dare to go, I had a running list of 
questions about where God was leading me. And why it was taking so long.

Of course, I knew that He is all good, all knowing, and all powerful. So, I 
didn't allow myself to doubt God's plan for me.

Or so I thought.

I masked my insecurities with God by doubting myself.

What I feared most was being forgotten. I was afraid to live an 
insignificant life.
During
one weekend away
spent in
whitespace,
I decided to share my list of disappointments with God. After writing pages 
and pages of unanswerable dilemmas, God gently and lovingly brought two 
pictures
to my mind.

* In the beginning, there was nothing.

It was in nothing, the Holy Spirit hovered, where God created something.

* Mary's empty womb. How can this be? she asked.

It was in nothing, the Holy Spirit hovered again, where Jesus became flesh.

The place inside me where faith was near death became alive.

Nothingness. That's me!

I had never been so happy to discover I had become the perfect place for 
Jesus to rest in.

That song I sang as a gullible teenager long ago suddenly took on a 
completely different meaning --

Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true and with 
thanksgiving, I'll be a living, sanctuary, oh for you.

It was as if a bolt of lightning struck my heart and resuscitated my story.

It irrevocably changed my direction. I decided to stop setting my sights on 
where I was going or what I would end up doing in the future.

I set my sights on who I was walking with -- Jesus.

I surrendered my ideas of what life ought to look like, so I could have the 
courage to make choices facing me today.

In the everyday. That is where I will find Him.

In the everyday. This is where He would lead me.

I realized the best life -- the most significant life I can live -- is the 
one I grow in my faith.

Something Better

In the Old Testament, the patriarchs of faith recognized God's blessings by 
taking possession of a physical Promised Land. God's presence was 
symbolized
by physical blessings of harvest and goods.

This all changed after Jesus arrived in the New Testament. The author of 
Hebrews tells God prepared a spiritual blessing -- something better.

"And all these [patriarches of faith listed earlier], having gained approval 
through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had 
provided
something better for us...

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith" Hebrews 
11:39-12:2

Our something better isn't a plan. Our something better is a Person.

Our spiritual Promised Land is life with Jesus.

Next Time You Think

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the areas in life that appear dark and 
formless -- or empty and barren -- remember Jesus is faithful -- 

to create something beautiful in you.

bring life to others through you.

to carry you to safety.

to make a way you cannot see.

to put you back together again.

to return laughter where you taste sorrow.

to give you courage to start over (again and again).

to use every loss and every triumph for His glory.

Next time you think nothing is happening in your life -- or you find 
yourself asking "How can this be?" -- remember things aren't as they appear.

Jesus sees you.

And He will never forget why He put you here.


You Can Do It!
by Dean Masters

Colossians 2:9-10
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been 
filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

Are you worried about that thing God has told you to do? Are you thinking 
that all that you are facing is more than you can handle? Read those verses 
again
and let it sink in a minute…….. The fullness of God dwells in Jesus bodily 
and you have been filled with Him and He is the head of everything! If He 
has
called you to something you already have everything you need to fulfill all 
that He has called you to.

Often we wonder why God allows things and certain people in our lives but it 
is to exercise the areas we need to grow in. If you have accepted Christ as
your Savior then you know that The Holy Spirit of God lives within you and 
you have all the fruits of the Holy Spirit right there, sometimes though 
they
need to be exercised in order for us to let go of those areas in our lives 
where we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to rule and reign.

When you need more faith for the task at hand, remember these verses. God 
gives you a passion to do what He has and is equipping you to do. We often 
think
it is the other way around. God will never ask you to do something that He 
hasn’t already been preparing you for. If you are working in that 
preparation
stage, hold on and know that this is just a stepping stone for all that He 
has for you. I have worked jobs before and have wondered why on earth and 
how
on earth I ended up there, but then when I reached the next position I could 
see how God had used that job to prepare me for the next one. I have also
had people in my life that I have wondered why they were there and yet my 
experiences with them often helped me to help someone else.

We are so fortunate to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and guiding 
us in all that we do. The problem is that often we pick and choose what 
areas
we will allow Him to guide us in, if something is uncomfortable we often 
choose to “go it alone” instead of allowing Him to work in us and guide us 
through
so we can grow in Him. When we choose to stifle the Holy Spirit’s leading we 
often face the same situations over and over and over until we learn what
it is we need to learn. God isn’t going to just give up on teaching you 
something that you need to learn so you can be all you can be ~ He loves you 
too
much!

Let me encourage you today to hold on to those verses above and when you 
feel frustrated, inadequate or overwhelmed pull them out and read them 
again.
Remind yourself that God lives within and He will help you and guide you if 
you will just allow Him to. The best is yet to come!

Quote:
“It’s not where you start ~ it’s where you finish that counts.” Zig Ziglar

Dean Masters
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