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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 02 Feb 2014, 8:18 pm

Today's Turning Point
Wednesday, November 20

What Manner of Man!

He said to the paralytic, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to 
your house." Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the 
presence
of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never 
saw anything like this!"
Mark 2:10-12

Recommended Reading
Mark 2:1-12
When your mind turns to Christ, rejoice first in who He is -- His person, 
His divine and human natures, for He is both God and man. Then think of what
He has done -- His work. Visualize as best you can the scene when He created 
the heavens and earth. See Him entering the world as a baby, becoming a 
miracle
worker, wielding His power over wind and weather, over sickness and sorrow, 
over death and demons. Remember how He died for us, rose again, ascended to
heaven, and will soon return in glory. Think, too, of what He does for us 
each day -- the blessings He pours into our lives, the way He is interceding
now for us as our Great High Priest.

Listen to Today's Radio Message
Sometimes we're too busy to consider Him as we ought. Take time today to 
ponder anew the person and work of Christ. If we really think on these 
things,
we'll be like the people in Mark 2 who "were amazed and glorified God, 
saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'"

Most men are notable for one conspicuous virtue or grace -- Moses for 
meekness, Job for patience, John for love. But in Jesus you find everything.
J. Oswald Sanders

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Acts 20-21
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website

Going Deeper
Thursday, November 21, 2013

“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and 
mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in 
the
way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately 
the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.” – Acts 
18:24-25
NKJV

Apollos seemed to be the ideal minister. He clearly loved God and had a 
passion for the Gospel. He had received sound training and was a good 
teacher.
He was “eloquent” and “taught accurately the things of the Lord.”

Apollos had a calling, and his ministry had positive impact. Yet, when Paul’s 
friends, Aquila and Priscilla, heard him, they knew something was missing.

The Bible says that, despite his background and his impressive credentials, 
Apollos still had an incomplete knowledge. Specifically, “He knew only the
baptism of John.”

The Bible describes how Aquila and Priscilla “took him aside and explained 
to him the way of God more accurately.” There were vital things even this 
great
leader of the early Church needed to learn.

In many ways, all of us may be able to identify with Apollos. How easily we 
can seem sure that we are right. We can feel confident our interpretations
are complete and correct. We can assume we know everything we need to know.

But this story is a reminder that it’s possible to be a strong 
Believer—theologically trained and even an effective communicator—and still 
lack some key
elements of truth. In spite of our zeal, we may be missing something and may 
still have more to learn.

Today, remember the importance of staying humble before God. Stay on guard 
against pride. Always be eager to listen, hungry for more of God’s truth. Be
sensitive to the Holy Spirit, open to correction and willing to receive new 
insights. Keep seeking God and a deeper knowledge of His Word.

Today's Inspiration Prayer
Father, I know there is so much more You can teach me. I am ready to study 
Your Word and hear more from You. Forgive me for pride. I submit my life to
You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: Acts 18

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November 12, 2013
Living the Truth
by Charles R. Swindoll
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart 
of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one
another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; 
just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. . . . Whatever you do in 
word
or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to 
God the Father. ---Colossians 3:12-13, 17

It's as though You have written these words to us today, Father . . . 
indeed, You have. Though they date back to the first century, they fit the 
twenty-first
century like a well-tailored garment. They touch every aspect of our being. 
Your words address our position in Christ and our practice on earth. They 
specify
our struggles without overlooking the important, positive side of 
compassion, love, forgiveness, patience, humility, and gentleness. How we 
long to live
as we say we believe. How far short of that we often fall. And we realize it 
again even this day, as we recognize the straight line of truth so clearly
marked in Your inspired Word---God-breathed , preserved, and now provided for 
us in our language. Help us to live according to Your standards, day in, day
out.

As You do soul-surgery in our hearts, may we allow the scalpel of the Spirit 
to pierce whatever area needs to be addressed. May each of us open ourselves
to it. Guard us from hypocrisy. Few things are more detestable than a phony 
Christian! May we speak truth today. More important, may we live truth 
today.
May we declare it to others in a way that makes sense. May Your Spirit take 
it from there and drive it home. May our lives and theirs be changed as a 
result
of it.

It's in the name of Jesus Christ we offer our words of prayer. Amen.

See also Psalm 1:1; 89:15; Hosea 14:9; Ephesians 4:15.
Excerpted from
The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 2,
Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Peter's Gospel of Changed Lives

Christ's complete forgiveness and restoration takes the bitterness and sting 
out of our past sins?and makes them a memory of God's grace. That complete 
restoration to ministry is why I say that Peter is one of the greatest 
examples of God's grace, loving us even when we sin and fail Him. Peter is 
perhaps the greatest witness to the new beginnings that Christ offers, 
because he learned that?

list of 1 items
? JESUS IS IN CONTROL OF ALL THE EVENTS SURROUNDING MY LIFE.
list end

Whether Peter was out in the middle of the storm sinking in a fishing boat (
Matthew 14)
or in the courtyard of Caiaphas?Jesus is completely in control.

The same is true when you sit alone in the broken down car, the emergency 
waiting room, or lay in bed during long and sleepless nights over your job, 
your marriage, or your children. Jesus is in control of all the events 
surrounding my life.

Another lesson that Peter had to learn, and one that can also deeply impact 
our lives is that?

list of 1 items
? JESUS WANTS ME TO KNOW THAT HE IS WATCHING ME IN MY DARKEST HOURS.
list end

Luke 22:61 "And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered 
the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you 
will deny Me three times."

list of 4 items
? Jesus knew exactly where Peter was in that courtyard.
? Jesus heard each of Peter's denials.
? Jesus felt every one of Peter's fears.
? Jesus was interceding and saving Peter to "the uttermost" (
Hebrews 7:24-25).
list end

Peter learned another powerful lesson?

list of 1 items
? JESUS WANTS ME TO REMEMBER HIS WORD IN MY DARKEST HOURS TO GIVE ME HOPE.
list end

Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the 
word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you 
will deny Me three times."

The crowing rooster was a tool God used in Peter's life. That rooster 
reminded him of Christ's words.

Jesus had already given His Word to Peter; the outcome was already sure. He 
says Peter when you turn away from your sin, when you come back to me, when 
you get converted?then you will be a tool in my hands!

So one last lesson Peter needed to learn was that?

list of 1 items
? JESUS PROMISES US A LIFE OF NEW BEGINNINGS AND OFFERS US COMPLETE 
FORGIVENESS AND NO CONDEMNATION.
list end

It was the miracle of the cock crowing at that exact moment that also 
reminded Peter of God's Word; but the cock crow signaled that a new day was 
dawning, for after all, that is what the rooster's call means each day.

Peter had a new day, a new beginning of hope because he was remembering and 
trusting in what Jesus had said.
Continue reading
http://www.crosswalkmail.com/uhcpqmhfpypshcfdsgbkzsvzhmscwbbcynhzqqdwnmgyhmq_fsjjsbgsbhbr.html

ASK NOW!
by Carter Conlon

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Interestingly, near the end of His life on earth, Jesus also said, “Hitherto
have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may
be full” (John 16:24). Notice that Jesus was speaking to His disciples at the
Last Supper, so to hear that they had asked nothing until this time must have
been somewhat perplexing to them. After all, the very essence of discipling is
a master/student relationship— one of asking and receiving. The fact that the
disciples left their nets and began to follow Jesus was the basis of the
relationship. They asked, and He answered and gave them what they needed.

What Jesus was actually telling them, however, was that an unprecedented time
of hardship was imminent. You and I know that Jesus was about to be taken
captive and as a result, all the disciples would flee. He was essentially
saying, “You are going to be afraid, and a sense of loss and sorrow will try
to fill your hearts. But I will be with you to give you an inner strength only
available to those who are willing to do My work in the earth.” You will see
this thought very clearly presented to the disciples in portions of chapters 13
through 18 in the gospel of John. “As you walk in the pathway that I have
prescribed before you as My Body, you are going to have hope, vision, and joy.
Up to this point you have not asked for what is really yours. But now, if you
are willing to ask, you will receive all that you will need.”

In Matthew 25:4-8, Jesus gave an illustration of the day of Christ’s return.
The five wise virgins took oil in their lamps, but the five foolish virgins had
no oil. When the crisis hit, the foolish said to the wise, “You seem to see
something that we don’t see. You stand here saying, ‘Behold the
Bridegroom,’ yet we see nothing but darkness and calamity. Give us some of
your oil!” Yet, tragically, they asked too late.

Beloved, it is very hard to get the resources that Christ is willing to give
once the calamity hits. Remember Noah’s day! Before the floods came, God
closed the door of the ark and sealed Noah and his family inside. Imagine when
the rain started and people outside began banging on the door. They could not
enter because the ark had been closed—the time of asking was over; the time
of getting needed strength was past.

Ask Jesus now for the things that you need!
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 31 Jan 2014, 10:14 pm

THE WELLSPRING OF OUR WORSHIP
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

Moses could worship even though he wasn’t full of hope for Israel. He knew
the people were bent on backsliding—that they were hiding the golden idols
they had brought from Egypt. Even though Moses had persuaded God to spare them
after their idolatry of the golden calf, now he must have thought, “How much
longer will God put up with their secret lust and murmuring? When is His
patience going to run out?”

It could seem here that Moses’ pleading on Israel’s behalf was more
compassionate than God’s feeling for the people. But the truth is, God had no
intention of destroying these people. He already had all His promises for them
in His mind.

No, this was a “mercy test” for Moses. The Lord was asking His servant,
“How are you going to represent Me to the people? Will it be as a vengeful
God who is full of judgment only? No—I am merciful, long-suffering, always
ready to forgive My people.”

Here was the revelation! And it set Moses’ heart at ease. Indeed, while he
was still worshiping, he began claiming and appropriating the glory God had
revealed to him: “God’s mercy will see us through! He is long-suffering,
and He will forgive us. What a glory this is! What comfort, what hope!”

Immediately, Moses began praying, “And he said, If now I have found grace in
thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a
stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine
inheritance” ( Exodus 34:9).

This passage proves unmistakably that the revelation of God’s glory is an
integral part of worship!

The revelation of God’s glory should be the wellspring of all our worship. We
ought to regularly lay claim to His glory, testifying, “Lord, I know You’re
holy and just, and You won’t wink at sin. But I’ve also seen Your glory and
I know You’re not out to destroy me.

"You don’t condemn me in my struggles. On the contrary, You show me how
loving and long-suffering You are toward me. I know I deserve rejection. I’ve
failed so often, I should be cast aside completely. But You reveal to me that
You are merciful, gracious, tenderhearted!


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways my ways," saith the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

Posted by Dean Masters
Day 19 Theme: Patience and Hope
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the 
vines…yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation– 
Habakkuk 3:17-18

What a wonderful encouragement from such a dark and discouraging prophecy!

While the prophet Habakkuk struggled with the fact that God was going to 
send a terrible and decimating judgment on rebellious Israel, he eventually 
came to realize that God is sovereign. Although His chastening may not feel 
good, or yield immediate fruit, it is always right and good and it is always 
His prerogative to allow it.

Habakkuk ends the record of his struggles with this great declaration: 
although suffering may come, although pleasures and provision may run dry, 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord. The Lord, not my surroundings, is my 
salvation!

Habakkuk’s profound response to the horror he and his people are about to 
face is, quite simply, faith in God. It is faith which does not depend on 
circumstances

to be sustained. It is faith which does not require prosperity or 
mental/emotional acuity to persist. It is faith which is able to say when 
the storm clouds gather, “Thy will be done.”

Habakkuk had come to know that God was beautiful. And he could see that 
whatever God had for him was the very best. Only true faith can say that. 
Only true faith can see God as “the God of my salvation” when joyful 
deliverance seems so elusive and God Himself so distant. May that faith be 
yours today.

Listen to the
Baptist Bible Hour (BBH)
broadcast on OnePlace.com.

Today's Turning Point
Friday, November 15

A Day of Giving Thanks

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for 
you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Recommended Reading
Ephesians 5:18-20
As an experiment, consider giving God thanks "in everything" for a solid 
day. Give thanks, not repeating "Thank you, Lord" with every breath all day 
long,
but in every event or occurrence. Every time something new happens -- phone 
call, flat tire, unexpected bill to pay, compliment, criticism, injury -- 
ask
this question: "What is there in this situation or event that provides a 
reason to give thanks to God?"

Many people have misread 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It doesn't say "For 
everything give thanks," it says "In everything give thanks." There are many 
challenging
things that happen in life for which we don’t naturally, even 
supernaturally, feel thankful. But when we consider that God is our Father, 
that He knows
the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), and that the days of our life 
are planned by Him ahead of time (Psalm 139:16) -- it stands to reason that
there are no accidents with God. We know that God is able to use even the 
difficult things in life for our good (Romans 8:28), to conform us to the 
image
of Christ (Romans 8:29).

If you have a hard time seeing a reason to thank Him for something that 
happens, do the next best thing: Ask Him to show you.

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
Ambrose

Read-Thru-the- Bible
Acts 10-1
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah' s Website
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 30 Jan 2014, 10:52 pm

November 11, 2013

Living Life to the Fullest
by Charles R. Swindoll
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the 
opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with 
salt,
so that you will know how you should respond to each person. ---Colossians 
4:5-6

Our desire, Father, is to be fully present---all there---wherever we are. We 
want to live to the hilt every situation we believe to be Your will. You 
have
placed us in the twenty-first century, with our specific families, in our 
particular neighborhoods. May we live here, now, fully, completely, 
passionately.
In our occupations, may we fulfill wholeheartedly our calling there as well. 
You have given us the joy of the fellowship of the saints in a local church.
May we make the most of every opportunity to welcome others into it.
Lord God, deliver the body of Christ from becoming a museum full of aging 
memories---dusty, dull, irrelevant, and out of touch. At the same time, keep
us attached to our past---to the great truths of Your timeless Word and to 
the great music of the ages. In all of this, may we stay in touch with our 
world
today. The needs are enormous and numerous. Help us know how to build 
bridges across the moat that separates us from a needy world, so that we 
become a
point of comfort and authenticity, a place of hope, a harbor of relief, and 
rescue for those who have lost their way.

In Jesus's name we pray. Amen.

See also Psalm 31:23-24; 119:1-2; Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 22:36-39.

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

The Sacrifice of Thanks-sharing
Glynnis Whitwer

"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, 
that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect
doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
Hebrews 13:15-16
(NASB)

Enough. That's what I have. Really, more than enough.

More than enough clothes in my closet. Food in my fridge. Shoes spread on 
the floor. Cans in the cupboard.

My children have books, warm jackets, tennis shoes, pencils, and 
opportunities for more. I have clean sheets, soft pillows, a kitchen table, 
and indoor
plumbing.

My husband and I have never taken our provisions for granted. Every day we 
are thankful for the blessings of our home and family. Yet eight years ago 
we
were increasingly aware of what
Luke 12:48
b tells us, "When someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be 
required." (NLT) We felt an obligation to do something more with our 
blessings.

So in 2005 our family of five put a plan in place to share what we had. We 
had enough home, enough time, and enough love. Our gratitude to God for His
blessings couldn't be kept to ourselves any more. We started with some 
rearranging. Two of our three sons moved furniture around so they could 
share a
room, Then we bought two little white beds, pink curtains, and some dolls. I 
bought matching calico comforters and guessed at sizes of dresses.

After months of planning to share what we had, two little orphaned sisters 
stepped off a plane gripping the hands of their new daddy and walked into 
our
hearts and homes.

They wore "African suits" bought from the place of their birth, brightly 
colored dresses that hung on tiny bodies. So proud they were to own their 
first
new pieces of clothing, wanting to greet their new family in their best. As 
we wrapped our arms around these little girls, our family of five became 
seven.

As weeks turned into months, and typical family issues mingled with trauma 
from our daughters' pasts, we learned God's call to share isn't always easy.
Oh, at first it was great, before the first blush of excitement wore off. 
But the magnitude of sharing our lives with two wounded little girls was 
harder
than we ever imagined.

When worry about the future threatened to overwhelm me, God quietly reminded 
me that He didn't ask me to have the answers. That's His job. My job is just
to share what He has given me–my love, my home, my life–with two 
not-so-little girls now who call me Mama. With a heart of thankfulness, and 
an open hand
of generosity. That's all He's asking me. That's what blesses Him.

God's Word confirms what pleases Him.
Hebrews 13:15-16
teaches us that we must link thanksgiving with sharing. But it also says it 
will be a sacrifice: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a 
sacrifice
of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is 
pleased."
(NASB)

As we walk together as a family, we continue to learn that showing thanks to 
God involves sharing, and sharing involves sacrifice. God still calls us to
share out of our abundance, and it still involves sacrifice. But when we 
share our lives, our homes, our money, our hearts, our skills, and our time 
as
an outpouring of thanksgiving, God is pleased.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generosity with me. I don't deserve Your 
favor, and my heart overflows with thanksgiving. Help me to show my 
gratitude
through words and actions that are pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, 
Amen.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 29 Jan 2014, 9:59 pm

 Do You Know What Time It Is? ? 
Sermon 10 of 21 from the The Transformed Life (Romans 12-16) series by Dr
Ray Pritchard, Keep Believing Ministries
Text: Romans 13:11-14 
January 2007 ? ?This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is;
time is running out? (Romans 13:11 NLT). 
All of us are slaves to time. We wear wristwatches with quarter-hour beepers
to keep us on schedule. We have digital clocks in our car and alarm clocks
on our nightstands. Many of us have Blackberries or Palm Pilots or some
other high-tech computerized personal assistant. Lots of people keep a
Daytimer nearby so their can keep track of their appointments and
responsibilities. 
I ate lunch with a man who put his cell phone on the table beside him when
we sat down at the restaurant. And in case his phone didn?t work, he had a
beeper and a pager attached to his belt. All to ensure that he stayed on
schedule and didn?t miss any important messages. Not long ago, while waiting
at an airport for my flight to leave, I decided to study the faces of the
people hurrying past me. I was struck by something that wouldn?t have been
true fifteen years ago. At lest half the people had cell phones clued to
their faces, and some people who appeared to be talking to themselves had a
Bluetooth for hands-free conversation. 
Time is money. Researchers tell us that time is the new currency. Today time
is more important than money. People will spend money to save time whereas
an earlier generation raised during the Depression would spend time to save
money. In a world where most of us feel stressed out, we value our free time
more than a few extra dollars in our pocket. 
How much time do you have left? No one knows for sure. I spoke with a friend
whose cancer is in remission, but the doctors told him that his cancer would
almost certainly come back. They planned to do a bone marrow transplant but
they won?t unless the cancer does come back, which it probably will but they
can?t be sure. So my friend doesn?t know whether he is living or dying or
both. 
How Much Time Do You Have Left?
Life is so uncertain. No one knows how long they have to live. However, the
statisticians have figured out the average life expectancy for people of
every age. There is a website called Death Clock that will tell you how long
you will live according to the charts. It even gives you a projected date of
death. I entered a few dates to see what it says about a few well-known
people: 
Tiger Woods?October 11, 2049 
Tom Hanks?April 20, 2030 
Arnold Schwarzenegger?May 11, 2021 
Donald Trump?March 25, 2020 
Paris Hilton?April 30, 2060 
Billy Graham?August 18, 1992!
That means that Dr. Graham has outlived his projected date of death by
almost fifteen years, for which we can be thankful.
Then I did it for myself. Here is what I discovered:
Ray Pritchard?July 8, 2025
That takes your breath away if you think about it. I realize that date is
based only on certain mathematical calculations, but it is sobering to think
that if it is correct, I have less than twenty years to live. Some may say
this is morbid, but I think it?s the ultimate reality check. Psalm 90: 12
says, ?Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.?
Martin Luther said we should live with the day of our death constantly
before our eyes. It keeps us from the ultimate folly?thinking we will live
forever and therefore giving us excuses to put off doing what we know we
ought to do. 
At least once a week I receive an email that has this statement at the
bottom: ?Life is short. Eternity is significant.? How true that is. 
Coming Soon!
Our passage forces us to face this issue head-on. Paul challenges his
readers to ?understand the present time? (Romans 13:11 NIV). Do you know
what time it is? It?s time to wake up! Why? ?Because salvation is nearer to
us now than when we first believed? (v. 11). That?s a reference to the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming, and each day brings us
closer to that great world-shattering event. 
In light of that, Paul tells us to wake up, put off the deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light. The long night is fading away, the sun is
peeking over the eastern horizon, Jesus is coming soon!
Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s time to wake up and get
dressed!
In light of the return of Christ and the lateness of the hour, how should we
then live? Our text suggests three answers to that question. 
I. Something We Must Know
?Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from
sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The
night is far gone; the day is at hand? (vv. 11-12a). 
What ?time? is Paul talking about in verse 11 and what ?hour? does he mean?
He means that this present age is sinful and dark and ultimately passing
away (Galatians 1:4). It won?t last forever (1 John 2:17). Colossians
1:12-13 uses the image of darkness and light in many places to explain what
happens when someone becomes a Christian. They are transferred from the
kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Do you know what being saved
is like? It?s like living in the darkness for twenty or thirty or forty
years and suddenly the lights come on. 
What time is it right now? Check your watch and see. Now read verse 11 again
and answer the question.
What time is it? It?s time to wake up. You sleep at night. You don?t sleep
during the day. All of us understand what that means. It?s hard to sleep
during the day. It doesn?t feel right. It?s not natural. Day is for waking
and working; night is for sleeping and dreaming. 
Why does Paul say that the long night is over and the day has come? Because
the coming of the Lord is at hand. How near is it? Very near indeed. When
Billy Graham preaches on the Second Coming, he often tells the story of a
grandfather clock whose chimes rang every hour, once for one o?clock, twice
for two o?clock, and so on. One night the clock malfunctioned, causing the
chimes to ring thirteen times. A little boy heard it and raced through the
house yelling ?Get up, everyone get up! It?s later than it?s ever been.? How
true that is. It?s later than it?s ever been, and in 2007 we?re closer to
the coming of Christ than ever before.
That?s not just rhetoric. The situation in the world has become so unstable
that catastrophe could happen at any moment. A week ago secret plans were
leaked alleging that Israel plans a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran?s
nuclear reactors. A recent survey reveals that 60% of Americans expect a
major terrorist strike on our soil this year. An equal number expect
terrorists to unleash a nuclear or biological weapon somewhere in the world.
Before you write that off as uninformed public opinion, consider this fact.
Since 1947, a magazine called the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has kept the
?Doomsday Clock,? a symbolic clock to show how close we are to global
catastrophe. As the situation in the world gets better or worse, the hands
of the clock are set closer or further away from midnight. Since 2002 the
clock has been set at seven minutes till midnight. This Wednesday the clock
will be re-set for the first time in five years: 
The major new step reflects growing concerns about a ?Second Nuclear Age?
marked by grave threats, including: nuclear ambitions in Iran and North
Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing
?launch-ready? status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S
and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for
expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks.
Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s closer to midnight than we?ve
ever been, and it?s also closer to the coming of Christ. The survey I
mentioned earlier said that 25% of Americans believe there is a good chance
that Jesus will come in 2007. That was on my mind last week when we were in
the check-out line at Wal-Mart. I looked and saw a rack of tabloid magazines
One of them contained a list of predictions for 2007. In the lower
right-hand corner it said, ?Jesus Returns in Great Glory.? It even predicted
that he would return in October. I think the writers don?t believe that. To
them it?s just a gimmick. But for those who do believe the Bible, there is
another side to all this. No matter what their intentions, that article
reflects the instability of this world and the yearning for something better

Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s later than it?s ever been.
II. Something We Must Put Off
?So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light
Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not
in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy? (vv.
12b-13). 
Those who understand what time it is will put off the deeds of darkness. He
compares that with the ?armor of light"?a reference to the new life that
Christ gives us. It?s like taking off your pajamas in the morning and
putting on fresh clothes before you go to work. 
Coming to Christ is like waking up after a long night?s sleep. Just as you
don?t wear your pajamas to work, in the same way you don?t ?wear? the dirty
clothes of the old life. All that passed away the moment you became a
believer. 
Six Deeds of Darkness
Our text specifies six particular ?deeds of darkness? that the believer
should put off. The first is called ?orgies.? That should be
self-explanatory, but perhaps it will help to know that originally this word
was used for public parties given in honor of someone who had won a great
victory. Later the word referred to all-night parties that included
drunkenness, sorcery, drug use, and every form of sexual
immorality?including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pedophilia and
pornography. These things are forever ?out of bounds? for the Christian. 
The second deed of darkness is ?drunkenness,? a sin that even the heathen
abhorred because it showed a lack of self-control. How many people have
fallen prey to the lie that they need alcohol to relax, or forget their
problems, or loosen up? Alcohol is a tricky liar. Sometimes people drink
because they feel they have to fit in or prove they belong to the group.
I?ve even heard of Christians who drink in order to help them reach people
for Christ. While we can?t make hard and fast rules about alcohol, we can
say with absolute confidence that using alcohol as a narcotic or an
artificial stimulant or in order to loosen your inhibitions is strictly
forbidden by God. 
Then Paul mentions ?sexual immorality.? Actually, the Greek word means ?beds
? which is why the King James Version used the term ?chambering.? It refers
to the immoral activity that takes place in the bedroom. This rules out all
forms of sexual immorality, no matter how tame they may seem to be. Many
things happen in the bedroom under cover of darkness that ought not to
happen at all. 
The fourth deed of darkness is called ?sensuality.? Scholars call this one
of the ugliest words in the Greek language. It refers to brazen, shameless
sin. The word is aselgeia. The person who commits this sin has a seared
conscience. He not only sins but he does it publicly and then brags about it
This term especially applies to those people who parade their immorality
down main street, who in the name of ?freedom? and ?tolerance? brag about
their perversion. 
Then Paul mentions ?quarreling.? This speaks of unhealthy competition, a
desire to be number one at all costs. The final deed of darkness is
?jealousy,? which is another word for envy?anger at the success of others or
anger at your failures when compared with others. These two sins of the
hearts?hidden though they may be?have no place in the Christian life. They
belong to the darkness you left behind the moment you came to Christ. 
The night is fading away, and with it the need to wear the rags of the old
life. Christian, it?s time to change your clothes. Throw away those deeds of
darkness and put on the armor of light!
III. Something We Must Put On
?Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to
gratify its desires? (v. 14). 
What do well-dressed Christians wear? They wear the Lord Jesus Christ. What
should you wear to work tomorrow morning? After you put on your outward
clothes, make sure you put on Jesus! What should you wear to class this
week? The answer is Jesus! How about what you wear to the store or to the
prom or on vacation or while you are just hanging around the house? Put on
Jesus! He?s always appropriate for every occasion.
Put on his holiness. 
Put on his beauty.
Put on his humility.
Put on his purity.
Put on his compassion.
Put on his wisdom. 
Put on his forgiveness.
Put on his righteousness.
Put on his zeal.
Put on his patience.
Put on his love.
Clothe yourself with Jesus early in the morning and you will be well-dressed
all day long.
But there is one thing you need to know. Christ must be in you before he can
be on you. He must live in your heart as Lord and Savior before you can take
him with you to work. It?s not enough to know about Jesus; you must know him
in your heart and trust him as your Savior and Lord. 
Do you know Jesus? Does he live in your heart? Have you trusted him as your
Lord and Savior or are you still trusting in the filthy rags of your own
good works to take you to heaven? Without Jesus you can never get rid of the
deeds of darkness that cling to you. Until he comes in you will live in your
sin because you have no other choice. But when Christ comes in, everything
changes. 
?I?ve Known Jesus All My Life?
Every Thursday night I lead a men?s Bible study in Tupelo. Last week a
retired pastor joined our group. At one point we discussed how Christ came
to break Satan?s hold on us caused by our fear of death. Down deep in the
human heart there is a fear of death that Satan uses to keep us enslaved. He
plays upon our fear of death to keep us in the chains of sin. That?s why the
Bible says the sting of death is sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When the unsaved
die, they die with their sins still upon them, like a heavy burden, a vast
weight bearing them down to hell. Often they die miserable, angry,
frustrated, and fearful because they don?t know what to do with their sins. 
Reflecting on the many funerals he had conducted, the retired pastor
remarked that when a loved one dies, you can tell the Christians from the
non-Christians because the non-Christians have a ?restlessness? about them,
but there is peace in the heart of those who believe in Jesus. That comment
was very timely because a man who had attended the Bible study died a couple
of weeks ago. He had been diagnosed a month or two before with cancer?and
now he is gone. One of his close friends said, ?He wasn?t afraid to die. He
was ready when the Lord called him home.? That?s the difference that Jesus
makes. What do people do who don?t know the Lord? Death is hard enough to
face if you are a Christian, but it is intolerable without the Lord. And yet
every day countless thousands march into eternity with the leaden weight of
sin hanging around their necks. 
Years ago I visited a woman who was over ninety years ago and facing serious
surgery. On the day before the surgery I visited her hospital room and found
her sitting up in bed reading Romans 8. So I took the Bible and began
reading some of those soul-stirring verses at the end of the chapter: 
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or
persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ? No, in all these
things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am
convinced that neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the
present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor
anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of
God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 37-39 NIV).
When I finished, I prayed with her and got up to leave. As I did, she said,
?I?m not sure what the doctors are going to do tomorrow. I guess they will
just go in there and do whatever they want.? Then she added, ?But it doesn?t
matter. I?ve known Jesus all my life. I accepted him as my Savior when I was
10 years old. I can?t remember a time when I didn?t love him.? 
Christian, do you know what time it is?
It?s later than it?s ever been.
The death clock is ticking for all of us.
Christian, do you know what time it is?
It?s the dawning of a new day.
It?s time to put off the deeds of darkness.
It?s time to put on the armor of light.
It?s time to take Jesus with you everywhere you go.
It?s time to get serious about your faith.
It?s time to stop sleepwalking though life. 
Look! Do you see the first rays of dawn? The night is almost over, the sun
is rising. Jesus is coming soon. 
Have patience, child of God. Your Savior is on the way.
Take hope, defeated Christian. The Lord is at hand.
Be encouraged, suffering believer. The trumpet will soon sound.
Keep believing, struggling saints. Your salvation is nearer than when you
first believed.
Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s time to wake up and get
dressed! 
RELATED BOOK
Stealth Attack
Scorched earth tactics and cruel hatred are the characteristics of your
spiritual enemy. Protect yourself against Satan?s plan to destroy your life.
 
May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon
you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.  Numbers 6 24-26 
Maranatha: Even so, COME Lord Jesus!

From the Desk of Rev. Joe Diaz 111
Boldly proclaiming the word of God
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 29 Jan 2014, 9:58 pm

Do You Know What Time It Is? ? 
Sermon 10 of 21 from the The Transformed Life (Romans 12-16) series by Dr
Ray Pritchard, Keep Believing Ministries
Text: Romans 13:11-14 
January 2007 ? ?This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is;
time is running out? (Romans 13:11 NLT). 
All of us are slaves to time. We wear wristwatches with quarter-hour beepers
to keep us on schedule. We have digital clocks in our car and alarm clocks
on our nightstands. Many of us have Blackberries or Palm Pilots or some
other high-tech computerized personal assistant. Lots of people keep a
Daytimer nearby so their can keep track of their appointments and
responsibilities. 
I ate lunch with a man who put his cell phone on the table beside him when
we sat down at the restaurant. And in case his phone didn?t work, he had a
beeper and a pager attached to his belt. All to ensure that he stayed on
schedule and didn?t miss any important messages. Not long ago, while waiting
at an airport for my flight to leave, I decided to study the faces of the
people hurrying past me. I was struck by something that wouldn?t have been
true fifteen years ago. At lest half the people had cell phones clued to
their faces, and some people who appeared to be talking to themselves had a
Bluetooth for hands-free conversation. 
Time is money. Researchers tell us that time is the new currency. Today time
is more important than money. People will spend money to save time whereas
an earlier generation raised during the Depression would spend time to save
money. In a world where most of us feel stressed out, we value our free time
more than a few extra dollars in our pocket. 
How much time do you have left? No one knows for sure. I spoke with a friend
whose cancer is in remission, but the doctors told him that his cancer would
almost certainly come back. They planned to do a bone marrow transplant but
they won?t unless the cancer does come back, which it probably will but they
can?t be sure. So my friend doesn?t know whether he is living or dying or
both. 
How Much Time Do You Have Left?
Life is so uncertain. No one knows how long they have to live. However, the
statisticians have figured out the average life expectancy for people of
every age. There is a website called Death Clock that will tell you how long
you will live according to the charts. It even gives you a projected date of
death. I entered a few dates to see what it says about a few well-known
people: 
Tiger Woods?October 11, 2049 
Tom Hanks?April 20, 2030 
Arnold Schwarzenegger?May 11, 2021 
Donald Trump?March 25, 2020 
Paris Hilton?April 30, 2060 
Billy Graham?August 18, 1992!
That means that Dr. Graham has outlived his projected date of death by
almost fifteen years, for which we can be thankful.
Then I did it for myself. Here is what I discovered:
Ray Pritchard?July 8, 2025
That takes your breath away if you think about it. I realize that date is
based only on certain mathematical calculations, but it is sobering to think
that if it is correct, I have less than twenty years to live. Some may say
this is morbid, but I think it?s the ultimate reality check. Psalm 90: 12
says, ?Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.?
Martin Luther said we should live with the day of our death constantly
before our eyes. It keeps us from the ultimate folly?thinking we will live
forever and therefore giving us excuses to put off doing what we know we
ought to do. 
At least once a week I receive an email that has this statement at the
bottom: ?Life is short. Eternity is significant.? How true that is. 
Coming Soon!
Our passage forces us to face this issue head-on. Paul challenges his
readers to ?understand the present time? (Romans 13:11 NIV). Do you know
what time it is? It?s time to wake up! Why? ?Because salvation is nearer to
us now than when we first believed? (v. 11). That?s a reference to the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming, and each day brings us
closer to that great world-shattering event. 
In light of that, Paul tells us to wake up, put off the deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light. The long night is fading away, the sun is
peeking over the eastern horizon, Jesus is coming soon!
Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s time to wake up and get
dressed!
In light of the return of Christ and the lateness of the hour, how should we
then live? Our text suggests three answers to that question. 
I. Something We Must Know
?Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from
sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The
night is far gone; the day is at hand? (vv. 11-12a). 
What ?time? is Paul talking about in verse 11 and what ?hour? does he mean?
He means that this present age is sinful and dark and ultimately passing
away (Galatians 1:4). It won?t last forever (1 John 2:17). Colossians
1:12-13 uses the image of darkness and light in many places to explain what
happens when someone becomes a Christian. They are transferred from the
kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Do you know what being saved
is like? It?s like living in the darkness for twenty or thirty or forty
years and suddenly the lights come on. 
What time is it right now? Check your watch and see. Now read verse 11 again
and answer the question.
What time is it? It?s time to wake up. You sleep at night. You don?t sleep
during the day. All of us understand what that means. It?s hard to sleep
during the day. It doesn?t feel right. It?s not natural. Day is for waking
and working; night is for sleeping and dreaming. 
Why does Paul say that the long night is over and the day has come? Because
the coming of the Lord is at hand. How near is it? Very near indeed. When
Billy Graham preaches on the Second Coming, he often tells the story of a
grandfather clock whose chimes rang every hour, once for one o?clock, twice
for two o?clock, and so on. One night the clock malfunctioned, causing the
chimes to ring thirteen times. A little boy heard it and raced through the
house yelling ?Get up, everyone get up! It?s later than it?s ever been.? How
true that is. It?s later than it?s ever been, and in 2007 we?re closer to
the coming of Christ than ever before.
That?s not just rhetoric. The situation in the world has become so unstable
that catastrophe could happen at any moment. A week ago secret plans were
leaked alleging that Israel plans a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran?s
nuclear reactors. A recent survey reveals that 60% of Americans expect a
major terrorist strike on our soil this year. An equal number expect
terrorists to unleash a nuclear or biological weapon somewhere in the world.
Before you write that off as uninformed public opinion, consider this fact.
Since 1947, a magazine called the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has kept the
?Doomsday Clock,? a symbolic clock to show how close we are to global
catastrophe. As the situation in the world gets better or worse, the hands
of the clock are set closer or further away from midnight. Since 2002 the
clock has been set at seven minutes till midnight. This Wednesday the clock
will be re-set for the first time in five years: 
The major new step reflects growing concerns about a ?Second Nuclear Age?
marked by grave threats, including: nuclear ambitions in Iran and North
Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing
?launch-ready? status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S
and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for
expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks.
Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s closer to midnight than we?ve
ever been, and it?s also closer to the coming of Christ. The survey I
mentioned earlier said that 25% of Americans believe there is a good chance
that Jesus will come in 2007. That was on my mind last week when we were in
the check-out line at Wal-Mart. I looked and saw a rack of tabloid magazines
One of them contained a list of predictions for 2007. In the lower
right-hand corner it said, ?Jesus Returns in Great Glory.? It even predicted
that he would return in October. I think the writers don?t believe that. To
them it?s just a gimmick. But for those who do believe the Bible, there is
another side to all this. No matter what their intentions, that article
reflects the instability of this world and the yearning for something better

Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s later than it?s ever been.
II. Something We Must Put Off
?So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light
Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not
in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy? (vv.
12b-13). 
Those who understand what time it is will put off the deeds of darkness. He
compares that with the ?armor of light"?a reference to the new life that
Christ gives us. It?s like taking off your pajamas in the morning and
putting on fresh clothes before you go to work. 
Coming to Christ is like waking up after a long night?s sleep. Just as you
don?t wear your pajamas to work, in the same way you don?t ?wear? the dirty
clothes of the old life. All that passed away the moment you became a
believer. 
Six Deeds of Darkness
Our text specifies six particular ?deeds of darkness? that the believer
should put off. The first is called ?orgies.? That should be
self-explanatory, but perhaps it will help to know that originally this word
was used for public parties given in honor of someone who had won a great
victory. Later the word referred to all-night parties that included
drunkenness, sorcery, drug use, and every form of sexual
immorality?including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pedophilia and
pornography. These things are forever ?out of bounds? for the Christian. 
The second deed of darkness is ?drunkenness,? a sin that even the heathen
abhorred because it showed a lack of self-control. How many people have
fallen prey to the lie that they need alcohol to relax, or forget their
problems, or loosen up? Alcohol is a tricky liar. Sometimes people drink
because they feel they have to fit in or prove they belong to the group.
I?ve even heard of Christians who drink in order to help them reach people
for Christ. While we can?t make hard and fast rules about alcohol, we can
say with absolute confidence that using alcohol as a narcotic or an
artificial stimulant or in order to loosen your inhibitions is strictly
forbidden by God. 
Then Paul mentions ?sexual immorality.? Actually, the Greek word means ?beds
? which is why the King James Version used the term ?chambering.? It refers
to the immoral activity that takes place in the bedroom. This rules out all
forms of sexual immorality, no matter how tame they may seem to be. Many
things happen in the bedroom under cover of darkness that ought not to
happen at all. 
The fourth deed of darkness is called ?sensuality.? Scholars call this one
of the ugliest words in the Greek language. It refers to brazen, shameless
sin. The word is aselgeia. The person who commits this sin has a seared
conscience. He not only sins but he does it publicly and then brags about it
This term especially applies to those people who parade their immorality
down main street, who in the name of ?freedom? and ?tolerance? brag about
their perversion. 
Then Paul mentions ?quarreling.? This speaks of unhealthy competition, a
desire to be number one at all costs. The final deed of darkness is
?jealousy,? which is another word for envy?anger at the success of others or
anger at your failures when compared with others. These two sins of the
hearts?hidden though they may be?have no place in the Christian life. They
belong to the darkness you left behind the moment you came to Christ. 
The night is fading away, and with it the need to wear the rags of the old
life. Christian, it?s time to change your clothes. Throw away those deeds of
darkness and put on the armor of light!
III. Something We Must Put On
?Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to
gratify its desires? (v. 14). 
What do well-dressed Christians wear? They wear the Lord Jesus Christ. What
should you wear to work tomorrow morning? After you put on your outward
clothes, make sure you put on Jesus! What should you wear to class this
week? The answer is Jesus! How about what you wear to the store or to the
prom or on vacation or while you are just hanging around the house? Put on
Jesus! He?s always appropriate for every occasion.
Put on his holiness. 
Put on his beauty.
Put on his humility.
Put on his purity.
Put on his compassion.
Put on his wisdom. 
Put on his forgiveness.
Put on his righteousness.
Put on his zeal.
Put on his patience.
Put on his love.
Clothe yourself with Jesus early in the morning and you will be well-dressed
all day long.
But there is one thing you need to know. Christ must be in you before he can
be on you. He must live in your heart as Lord and Savior before you can take
him with you to work. It?s not enough to know about Jesus; you must know him
in your heart and trust him as your Savior and Lord. 
Do you know Jesus? Does he live in your heart? Have you trusted him as your
Lord and Savior or are you still trusting in the filthy rags of your own
good works to take you to heaven? Without Jesus you can never get rid of the
deeds of darkness that cling to you. Until he comes in you will live in your
sin because you have no other choice. But when Christ comes in, everything
changes. 
?I?ve Known Jesus All My Life?
Every Thursday night I lead a men?s Bible study in Tupelo. Last week a
retired pastor joined our group. At one point we discussed how Christ came
to break Satan?s hold on us caused by our fear of death. Down deep in the
human heart there is a fear of death that Satan uses to keep us enslaved. He
plays upon our fear of death to keep us in the chains of sin. That?s why the
Bible says the sting of death is sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When the unsaved
die, they die with their sins still upon them, like a heavy burden, a vast
weight bearing them down to hell. Often they die miserable, angry,
frustrated, and fearful because they don?t know what to do with their sins. 
Reflecting on the many funerals he had conducted, the retired pastor
remarked that when a loved one dies, you can tell the Christians from the
non-Christians because the non-Christians have a ?restlessness? about them,
but there is peace in the heart of those who believe in Jesus. That comment
was very timely because a man who had attended the Bible study died a couple
of weeks ago. He had been diagnosed a month or two before with cancer?and
now he is gone. One of his close friends said, ?He wasn?t afraid to die. He
was ready when the Lord called him home.? That?s the difference that Jesus
makes. What do people do who don?t know the Lord? Death is hard enough to
face if you are a Christian, but it is intolerable without the Lord. And yet
every day countless thousands march into eternity with the leaden weight of
sin hanging around their necks. 
Years ago I visited a woman who was over ninety years ago and facing serious
surgery. On the day before the surgery I visited her hospital room and found
her sitting up in bed reading Romans 8. So I took the Bible and began
reading some of those soul-stirring verses at the end of the chapter: 
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or
persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ? No, in all these
things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am
convinced that neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the
present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor
anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of
God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 37-39 NIV).
When I finished, I prayed with her and got up to leave. As I did, she said,
?I?m not sure what the doctors are going to do tomorrow. I guess they will
just go in there and do whatever they want.? Then she added, ?But it doesn?t
matter. I?ve known Jesus all my life. I accepted him as my Savior when I was
10 years old. I can?t remember a time when I didn?t love him.? 
Christian, do you know what time it is?
It?s later than it?s ever been.
The death clock is ticking for all of us.
Christian, do you know what time it is?
It?s the dawning of a new day.
It?s time to put off the deeds of darkness.
It?s time to put on the armor of light.
It?s time to take Jesus with you everywhere you go.
It?s time to get serious about your faith.
It?s time to stop sleepwalking though life. 
Look! Do you see the first rays of dawn? The night is almost over, the sun
is rising. Jesus is coming soon. 
Have patience, child of God. Your Savior is on the way.
Take hope, defeated Christian. The Lord is at hand.
Be encouraged, suffering believer. The trumpet will soon sound.
Keep believing, struggling saints. Your salvation is nearer than when you
first believed.
Christian, do you know what time it is? It?s time to wake up and get
dressed! 
RELATED BOOK
Stealth Attack
Scorched earth tactics and cruel hatred are the characteristics of your
spiritual enemy. Protect yourself against Satan?s plan to destroy your life.
 
May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon
you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.  Numbers 6 24-26 
Maranatha: Even so, COME Lord Jesus!

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 29 Jan 2014, 9:54 pm

Who Is Your Strength?
By Anabel Gillham

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from
ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. - II Corinthians 3:5

They will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god. -Habakkuk 1:11

God's characteristics -- His immutability, His omnipotence, His omnipresence
His omniscience -- were, of course, available for me and to me, but I was
holding up pretty well with my own immutability, omnipotence, omnipresence,
and omniscience.

You see, I had performed all my life to gain acceptance from others, and I
had really been quite successful. I always looked to Anabel as the "author
and finisher" of my strength.

Omnipotent

I was powerful. I could do it! In fact, I used to say that by the time I was
22 years old I had learned two things very well: 1) I can learn; and 2) once
I know how, I can do it. Nothing was too difficult for me to undertake. Oh,
I might hesitate to accept the task of washing windows on the Empire State
Building, but then out of my mouth would come the all-too-familiar words: 
Of course, I'll do it."

Omniscient

I was wise. On the Dean's honor roll. Who's Who. I knew what I needed, what
I wanted -- and I had the tenacity to keep performing until I got it. That
didn't wane as I became a part of the "real" world, either. I left college
with my tennis racquet under my arm and a tank filled with self-sufficiency.
I moved away from the protection of my loving parents, the familiar streets
of dear old Poteau, and the comfortable life of home. I didn't have a
placard around my neck, but it was emblazoned in my thought-life: I can do
it!

Omnipresent

I was on the scene -- God wasn't. His omnipresence didn't impress me all
that much. I needed physical proof of His presence, and I didn't have it. So
I depended on the strongest person I knew . . . Anabel.

Immutable

As far as being immutable -- unchangeable -- I was able to meet life, to
roll with the punches and change if it was needed. I was in control. Why
should that change? I was certainly not going to stop performing.


God's constant presence?
God's wisdom?
God's power? 

Those attributes weren't doing me one whit of good, and since my own
strength was what I depended on, by definition my strength was my god.

Let's just say that my attitude was, "I'll call You if I need You, God." And
I never really thought through that Mindset. You see, what I was saying
(ignorantly . . . Thankfully) was this: "God, I have learned to do this,
this, and this quite well. I'm still working on this one, but You're helping
me and pretty soon I'll get the hang of it. Now this one is still real hard,
but if You'll just keep working with me I'll eventually conquer it, too; and
then guess what, God? I won't need You at all!" (How presumptuous of me!)

After years in an unhappy marriage, after having a profoundly retarded son,
after financial frugality that seemed to take the joy out of life, after
dealing with the unpleasant people that I couldn't control or make go away .
. . I began to need Him. I began to realize, for the first time in my life,
that my strength was not working. My life was changing me from "the leading
female role" to an introverted behind-the-scenes stagehand. In fact, I
pretty much lost all interest in going to the plays. The performer was about
at the end of her ability to perform!

Then I came across Habakkuk 1:11, and it was as real to me as Saul's
encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. That came, of course, after
years of performing and after more pathetic years of failing. But even then
there was still enough life in this strong woman to "kick at the goads!" I
couldn't kick much longer, though. I was just too tired of trying.

Well, today I have a new verse, a new theme song: The woman who has come to
know that You are her strength is a woman who is blessed (Psalm 84:5-7).

I've come to know this, but it was a very difficult lesson for me to learn.
I had played "god" for a long time and was loathe to give up control. I was
so sure of my ability. But God, through His patience and wonderful guiding
hand in my life, brought me to the point where I can say very comfortably
with Paul, "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as
coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Who is your strength?

O God Most High, I repent of those many times when pride was the despicable
attitude that I displayed. Lord, teach me to despise pride as You do. Stir
in my heart a growing appreciation of humility. I desire to be clothed with
humility. I humbly seek You afresh that I might live by the grace of the
Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.? 
?  
May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon
you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.  Numbers 6 24-26 
Maranatha: Even so, COME Lord Jesus
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 29 Jan 2014, 9:04 pm

DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST
by Gary Wilkerson
I am a pastor, and my hours are filled with the work of my calling. But lately
my heart has been stirred to do the work of an evangelist. Recently I asked God
to open doors to five people during the coming week so that I could witness to
them about Jesus. That very day I was sitting with my family in a restaurant
when an elderly man walked by and placed his hand on each of our shoulders as
he passed. It was a tender gesture and I reached out to talk to him.

The man?s name was Skip and he was eighty-five years old. He told us his wife
had just been disabled by a stroke. ?We?ve been married all these years, and
now she?s lying in bed at home,? Skip said. ?I?m overwhelmed with the
work of caring of her. I just came out to get a little break.? When I asked
if we could pray for him, Skip?s eyes welled up. He had been waiting to hear
someone tell him that God cared.

Later that week, I shared the love of Jesus with a homeless teenager. Within
days I had had meaningful, powerful encounters with others. Prayer not only
opens doors powerfully but it opens our eyes to the needs at our very
doorstep?and to God?s desire to meet those needs.

In each of our communities, people are ready to see a faithful church act on
its belief that God desires to free people from every prison. They want to know
there is hope for their despair. The Lord is ready to move as a result of our
prayers; now He needs us to move forward in faith to see His power transform
lives.

I urge you: Keep praying earnestly?for your loved ones and for everyone you
meet. God may have already moved in their lives, even though you don?t
realize it. So when you hear a knock at your door, be faithful to open it.
Jesus is ready to amaze us all with His saving, delivering, transforming love.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways my ways," saith the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

Mark and the God of The Second Chance

You may have had an incredible or horrible past year—but whichever it was, 
God declares that we start today brand new in Christ. This reality is 
emphasized as the calendar starts over; communion also is a constant 
reminder of this promise—but as we will see today, the Gospel by Mark is 
from start to finish the Gospel of New Beginnings!

"What can God do with me if I have failed Him?" As a pastor I hear that or 
something like it, so often. Is there an answer to believers who are less 
than perfect? Yes! Failure for a believer is only a temporary condition; for 
the lost it is permanent.

Have you ever failed, quit, or walked out on an assignment from God?

list of 3 items
• We serve the God of the second chance, a Lord so gracious that His 
strength is made perfect in our weakness (
II Corinthians 12:9).
• He is the God of new beginnings (
Lamentations 3:23).
• And the life we have in Christ is just a series of new beginnings! (
II Corinthians 5:17)
list end

That is comforting for me. The longer each of us live the more aware we are 
of our imperfections, failures, shortcomings, and sins—aren't we?

So today as we look at this New Year before us, we have our first choice to 
make as believers: wait until we are able to perfectly minister (never) or 
get started now and serve as we grow and are shaped by the Lord.

Mark's LIFE is encouraging

FIRST, we see that God wants to use ordinary people to serve Him. It is 
ordinary people who fear; it is ordinary people who fail. And that is just 
the kind of people that the Lord wants to use. The question is do we want to 
be used? God wants to do extraordinary things with ordinary people so that 
He - the Lord, will get all the credit for what is done.

SECONDLY, we see God wants to use those we might call failures to serve Him. 
Before Mark wrote this Gospel he was a drop out from ministry. Paul was so 
upset that he was willing to lose his partner in ministry than take someone 
he thought was a quitter along on the 2nd Journey.

Continue reading
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Jan 2014, 3:56 pm

November 9, 2013

The Lord Is Near
by Charles R. Swindoll
I called on Your name, O LORD,
Out of the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice,
"Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief,
>From my cry for help."
You drew near when I called on You;
You said, "Do not fear!"
---Lamentations 3:55-5

Our Father, we find relief in knowing that You're here. We talk to You as 
though You are sitting right next to us. For indeed, though we cannot see 
You,
by faith we believe You're here. You bring us such relief in life, our 
Father. We would be so lonely without You. The nights would linger 
interminably; the pressure would be more than we could bear. The tests would be 
incalculable were we on this journey alone. But thankfully we're not.

You are here with us. And You are in control. We ask You to take every part 
of that which makes us who we are . . . our temperaments, our personalities,
our gifts, our drives, our ambitions, our dreams, our failures, our hopes, 
our sorrows, our disappointments, and everything that makes up life for us.
Take whatever we have, take whomever we love, take us wherever You find us, 
and let it all be set apart to You.

We ask You to take care of those people and situations that are beyond our 
ability to fix or change. Relieve our minds of the worry of it all, because,
like thorns and briars that encroach upon a lovely garden and finally choke 
out its blooms, these things have a way of choking us so that we are unable
to hear what You have to say.

We trust You to answer our prayer. In the merciful name of Jesus our Savior 
and our tender God we pray. Amen.

See also Job 5:17-18; Psalm 94:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.

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

Mary Padgett Ministries, Inc.
A Word In Due Season
VICTORY IN THE MIDST OF STRESS

Scripture:  II Corinthians 4:8-9  "We are troubled on every side, yet not
distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not
forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."

Paul faced many discouraging circumstances in his life and ministry, but he
maintained an overcoming faith that brought him through to victory. 
Regardless of what happened, Paul did not allow himself to become distressed
to engage in despair, feel forsaken, nor be destroyed.  He absolutely had
no 'quitting sense', and time after time he refused to give up when
adversity challenged him.

You would think that Paul, a special and chosen vessel of the Lord who was
destined to write nearly three-fourths of the New Testament and go on great
missionary journeys, would be exempt from trials and tribulations.  If he
truly was in the will of God, it seems that things would be working out
better for him.  But we see him being stoned, imprisoned, suffering
shipwreck, battling religious leaders, and encountering all kinds of major
conflicts.  He was constantly under some sort of pressure, yet was never
stressed over it.  Paul had learned early on that all things would
eventually work out for his benefit because he loved God and was called to
fulfill the purposes of God.

Sometimes we think that we should be exempt from adversity when we make a
decision to serve God or give ourselves to the ministry, but like Paul, we
discover that just the opposite is true.  When we turn from the world and
start walking towards God, we are no longer walking with the enemy but
against him.  Thus we face him head-on and find ourselves in great conflict.
We are troubled on every side and are tempted to give in to the stress and
despair of our circumstances.  Persecution comes and we feel rejected and
forsaken.  The enemy of our soul is working towards his goal to destroy us
with this mind set.  Yet, it's in these times of conflicts and hard places
that we are schooled in faith and our character is tested for the Master's
use.  Like Paul, when we come to the place where we are troubled on every
side, we must make a choice.  We can either give in to the strategies of the
devil or stand against him and refuse to be stressed, despaired, forsaken,
or destroyed. 
We invite you to visit us online at www.widsonline.com
Contact by email : mpadgettministries@msn.com 
Copyright ? 2014 Mary Padgett Ministries. All Rights Reserved
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Jan 2014, 12:36 am

First Instinct
By Skip Heitzig

Worry is a huge problem. As used in the Bible, the word worry means to 
divide the mind. You know what that’s like: You try to focus on something 
but other things steal your thoughts away. It’s difficult to grab hold of 
God’s promises and walk in the Spirit when your mind is torn and divided.

Paul tells us, “Be anxious for nothing” (see
Philippians 4:6-7
. That’s a command, and it’s such a strong one that it would be best 
rendered “stop worrying about even one single thing.” He is echoing Jesus, 
who told us not to worry about our life, or what we will eat or drink or 
wear (see
Matthew 6:25-34).

Paul’s prescription for this problem is to replace what you’re worried 
about, those thoughts that consume your mind, with communication with God. 
Replace your fears, worry, and anxiety with prayer.

The word prayer is sometimes translated worship. When something bad happens, 
is our first instinct to stop and worship? No, usually we rush the throne of 
God and spout out the problem. But if we were to pause and to make our first 
trained instinct to worship God—to think about who we’re addressing and what 
He’s capable of, and give Him praise and honor—that would change our 
perspective!

Paul’s second word, supplication, means strong crying—begging God. 
Typically, that’s our first instinct. And the Bible says “Good! Pour out 
your heart to the Lord; make supplication.”

And the third is thanksgiving. Learn to thank God not just for the things 
you’ve prayed for that He has answered, but even when you pray for something 
and it doesn’t happen. “God, I’ve learned that You know better than I do. 
You know best. I’ve learned to trust You. You’ve brought this into my life 
because You want to mature me. Thank You.” Give God thanks because He is 
still God, and He knows what He’s doing. Learn to make that your first 
response.

In the story of the ten lepers that Jesus healed (see
Luke 17:11-19
, only one came back to thank Him. That’s only ten percent. I wonder, with 
all the blessings God has given us, if only ten percent of the time we say, 
“God, I just want to thank You.” It may not be our first instinct, but it 
can become our learned instinct.

Only then come our requests, and the promise we have is the peace of God. 
Remember this: The peace that you experience (or don’t experience) as a 
Christian is related to the giving of thanks to God. I would even say that 
your peace is directly proportional to your ability to give thanks to God 
for the things He brings to your life.

Are you a peaceful person? I bet you thank God a lot. Are you an ill-at-ease 
person? I bet thanksgiving isn’t on your menu a lot of the time.

Charles Spurgeon said he would rather be blind, deaf and dumb than to not be 
thankful to God. So let’s make thanksgiving a habit, not only at this time, 
but throughout the year—our learned instinct.

Copyright © 2013 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
For more from Skip Heitzig, visit
ConnectionRadio.org,


Are You Listening?
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. –
Proverbs 12:15

It’s common to hear Christians say, "Speak the truth with love," but what 
about listening? I once read the story of a young man who was struggling 
with a number of problems. He was depressed, his faith was waning, and his 
parents eventually convinced him to sit down with their Church's pastor. The 
day of the appointment, the pastor walked in and, before the young man could 
even open his mouth, began to speak about "How the grace of God was 
sufficient for all things."

"By the end of the meeting I knew a lot about him and what he believed, but 
he knew absolutely nothing about me," the young man would later recall. 
Sadly, one of the most overlooked commands in the Bible is that we are to 
listen to others. Too often, in our zeal to share the word of Christ with 
others, we end up trampling them in platitudes and redundant scriptures. But 
listening can be a powerful tool. Listening builds understanding, diminishes 
fear, and can be comforting in a time of sorrow.

Look at this passage from the book of James,

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, 
slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about 
the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth 
and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, 
which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive 
yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do 
what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a
mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what 
he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that 
gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, 
but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. –
James 1:19-25

Listening is the first step in acting out the scriptures, not speaking. The 
Church has the potential to do so much good in the world, to share the love 
of Christ with so many people. However, in order to do this we must first 
stop talking, sit quietly, and get to know them. We need to hear their 
stories, understand their hurts, empathize with their anger, and then, when 
they have nothing else to say, that is when we speak our truth. It's time to 
start using our ears before we use our words.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you been listening to others? Take a 
moment and consider how you are reflecting Christ.

Further Reading

Proverbs 17:28

November 8, 2013

Acknowledging Our Weakness
by Charles R. Swindoll

block quote
For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the 
power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because
of the power of God directed toward you. ---2 Corinthians 13:4
block quote end

Our Father, we all struggle with weakness. We're reminded almost every day 
that we don't have it all together. We need You. We have heartaches and 
disappointments
that haven't gone away . . . the grief of broken relationships, illnesses, 
and recent deaths. We invite You to enter in, Lord. Enter into all of that 
on
our behalf. Through Your presence may we find relief and release from that 
which has bound us, tied us up within. We're able to take only so much, and
sometimes we come to a virtual breaking point. In our times of physical and 
emotional weakness, we need Your comfort and Your strength.

We are also stalked by sin. We need Your grace. Sin has taken a terrible 
toll on the human condition. And though we are well-versed in every possible 
way
of ignoring it or explaining it away, today we come to terms with it. Surely 
we have failed or fallen in some area just this week, and the ache of that
nags us and troubles us---some needless words, some outburst of anger, some 
lingering resentment, or some caustic response. Lord, thank You for the 
blood
of Christ that keeps on cleansing us from all sins, including these. Forgive 
us, our Father. Remove from us the enemy's desire to make us ashamed and to
drag us under the load of that failure. May we remember that in Your grace 
You not only forgive, You wipe the slate clean. Thank You that You know our
weakness and love us nevertheless.

In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

See also Romans 8:26; 15:1; 1 Corinthians 1:25; Hebrews 4:15.

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

© 2013 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 26 Jan 2014, 1:28 am

Rotten Fruit
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge 
others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be 
measured to you. –
Matthew 7:1-2

During my time in college, I met another student who considered himself a 
very devout Christian. In terms of practice, this student couldn’t be 
criticized for his dedication. He read the Bible each morning, attended 
chapel like clockwork, and never broke a rule during his time at the 
university. In terms of spirit though, he represented the worst Christianity 
had to offer. He was proud and judgmental, always calling out others on what 
he considered to be “sins”.

When guys got together to play a game of Halo, he accused them of putting 
videogames before God. Once, when a guy kissed his girlfriend goodbye on the 
cheek, he railed for an hour about sexual immorality. When one girl stood up 
to him and told him to mind his own business, he called her “deaf to the 
Holy Spirit.” Things finally hit a major low one night at a Bible Study 
where, after being ignored by some of the other members, he declared that a 
prophet like himself was wasting his time with these
reprobates. He left the university shortly after, and no one was sad to see 
him go.

Now, the reason I’m writing this isn’t to shame him, God knows I’ve done 
plenty of stupid things in my time too. What bothered me though was the fact 
that, despite much evidence to the contrary, this student was certain he was 
doing the right thing. In fact, there are many so-called Christians who do 
and say terrible things, all in the name of God. In cases like these, it’s 
vital to remember what Matthew wrote about bearing fruit.

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn 
bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, 
but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad 
tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut 
down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of 
heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who
is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not 
prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many 
miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, 
you evildoers!&# 39;” – Matthew 7:15-23

At some point, every Christian needs to look at their life and examine the 
fruit they’ve been harvesting. Are there bushels full of harsh words, proud 
actions, and vindictive thoughts, or does their bounty include selfless 
gestures and a gracious heart? Remember, God will judge us by what we sow in 
the hearts of others, be careful you’re fruit isn’t rotten.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Take a moment to examine how you have been 
treating others. Are you truly approaching them as Christ would?

Further Reading

Luke 6:31

FREEDOM IN FAITH

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

During an SSTS seminar in Central Asia, we listened to testimonies of the 
participants who were mostly from Muslim background. We asked how long they 
had
been followers of Jesus. The majority answered, “Nine years.”

When we asked how they had become believers, they shared that there was a 
vicious religious civil war in their country nine years earlier. It had 
shown
them the true colors of Islam and they turned to follow Jesus for the 
reasons listed below:

1. LOVE

Jesus of the Bible teaches and exemplifies love and compassion.

2. WORSHIP

They were attracted to the Christian love of singing and worshipping God 
with praise and joy!

3. FORGIVENESS

Jesus shows how to forgive our enemies – feed them and give them water to 
drink.

4. JESUS’ LIFE

Jesus’ teachings and His example are very attractive.

5. WOME

Jesus holds women in high esteem.

6. FAITH

Jesus claims to be the way, truth and life. Salvation in Christ is by faith 
alone. No works or rituals or rules can save us.

7. TRUTH

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “Good News” because He is the Truth. The 
Gospel is based on Truth.

8. LIBERTY

Christian expression is based on freedom and liberty in Christ. The Bible 
teaches the basis for such liberty.

These eight positive principles are a powerful affirmation of the uniqueness 
of Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will appreciate the uniqueness of the Gospel and Jesus my 
Savior.

PRAYER: Pray today that many more Muslims may come to faith in Jesus and 
follow Him fully.

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

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission


The Amazing Eyes of Jesus Christ

"His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like 
a flame of fire."

-Revelation 1:14, emphasis added

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to personally look into the 
eyes of Jesus Christ? When most people think of Jesus, they immediately 
picture His eyes of compassion-perhaps as the Good Shepherd carrying a lamb, 
or of Jesus tenderly cradling a little child on His lap. There's no doubt 
about it: Jesus cares deeply about His children!

Consider these different ways that the eyes of the Lord so lovingly watched 
out for His children: Hagar experienced Christ's eyes of compassion (Genesis 
16:1-13); Joseph experienced Christ's purifying eyes of consecration 
(Genesis 39:1-9); David experienced Christ's ever-present eyes of comfort 
and confidence when he felt alone and fearful (Psalm 139); the disciples 
experienced Christ's calming eyes of rescue (Matthew 14:22-33); and Peter 
experienced Christ's sad eyes of chastening when he tried
to live in his own strength (Luke 22:54-62).

When we are troubled, Jesus says, "Look up! See My eyes of compassion and 
concern for you." He longs for His children to keep on looking into His eyes 
so that He can guide and care for us.

All of us, adults and children alike, are easily drawn to Christ's eyes of 
compassion, but we should never forget that He also has eyes of fiery 
judgment. When Jesus stood before the Apostle John, John was so afraid that 
he "fell at His feet as dead" (Revelation 1:17). What he saw revealed that 
the eyes of Jesus were ablaze with an otherworldly glow, a fire that nothing 
can stand before. For just a moment, consider what it means to have 
laser-like eyes:

A laser is a beam of coherent or focused light. Sunlight is incoherent and 
unfocused light of many wavelengths, and going in every direction. A laser 
is light of one wavelength and direction. Thus a laser can focus the energy 
of light to a point bright enough to melt and vaporize steel, rock, or any 
other material we know of on earth. A laser works a million times faster and 
more powerfully than a nuclear explosion.

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November 7, 2013

Fighting Against Self-Focus
by Charles R. Swindoll

block quote
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind 
regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out 
for
your own personal interests, but also for the interests of 
others. ---Philippians 2:3-4
block quote end

Our Father, we who operate in such selfish realms often find ourselves 
preoccupied with stuff of our own. We focus on messes we've made back in the 
yesterdays
of our lives, consumed with fears of tomorrow, knowing our propensity toward 
messing things up and uncertain about where this will lead. And then, of all
things, in this ever-present now, we find ourselves again preoccupied with 
what someone may think . . . or say or do or how we will look in their eyes.

Deliver us, Father, if only for today, from our preoccupation with self. 
Help us to envision You as King, the very essence of life---God over all; 
God
who forgives all messes, who understands all frustrations, who calms all 
fears; King who reigns over our lives supremely. Because we have come to the 
cross
and met You on Your terms, Lord, may we understand that Your will is really 
best, even when we cannot explain it, understand it, or for that matter, 
defend
it. You're King. You're the Monarch, the Master. We're the servants. You're 
the Potter, we're the clay.

Whatever it is we are dealing with today, quiet our spirits. Bring Your 
presence to our immediate attention. May it eclipse everything else. May 
Your sovereignty
reassure us and Your hand on our life humble us.

In the great name of Your Son, Jesus, our King, our Lord, and our life. 
Amen.

See also Proverbs 23:6; Matthew 23:25; James 3:14, 16.

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

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Jan 2014, 10:36 pm

AM I WORTHY?

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:38

Helen Roseveare was an elderly missionary to Congo, Africa when I was still 
very young. I remember her holding the audience of ten thousand university
students spell-bound and then in tears at Urbana ’76. Her life story is a 
testimony to the grace of God portrayed in the 1989 movie, Mama Luka Comes 
Home.

She is often asked by young people what she suffered for Jesus. Her simple 
answer is, “During the Simba uprising in the Congo, I was raped twice. 
Government
soldiers came to my bungalow, ransacked it, and then grabbed me. I was 
beaten and savagely kicked, losing my back teeth through the boot of a rebel 
soldier.
They broke my glasses, so I could not see to protect myself from the next 
blow.

“Then one at a time, two army officers took me to my own bedroom and raped 
me. They dragged me out into a clearing, tied me to a tree, and stood around
laughing. And while I was there, beaten and humiliated and violated, someone 
brought out the only existing hand-written manuscript of a book I had been
writing about God’s work in the Congo over an eleven-year period. They put 
it on the ground in front of me and burned it.

“I asked myself, Was it worth it? Eleven years of my life poured out in 
selfless service for the African people and now this? The minute I expressed 
that,
God’s Holy Spirit settled over that terrible scene and He began to speak to 
me.”

‘“My daughter, the question is not “Is it worth it?” The question is, “Am I 
worthy?” Am I, the Lord Jesus who gave His life for you, worthy for you to
make this kind of sacrifice for Me.’ And God broke my heart,” Helen 
continues. “I looked up and I said, ‘Oh Lord Jesus, yes, it is worth it, for 
You are
worthy!’” She concludes, “When you ask the right question, you’ll always 
know that He is absolutely worthy of anything you can give Him or do for 
Him!”

Phil Callaway of SERVANT magazine once asked her, “Did you ever struggle to 
forgive those men?”

“No,” she replied. “There was no sense of bitterness or even anger. I was 
overwhelmed by the sense that God was graciously using me in His purpose. 
All
He asked of me was the loan of my body. The consequences were His. A year 
later when I returned to Congo and met the man who had humiliated me, I 
realized
that I did carry some resentment and I wasn’t sure I had forgiven him. But 
God led me to accept from Him the forgiveness that only God can give, and He
gave me His peace again.”[1]

Helen returned to Congo after all the above and continued her life of 
service for Jesus among the African people.

RESPONSE: Today I will ask the right question, “Is Jesus worthy of the 
sacrifices He asks me to make?” Then I will answer affirmatively and take up 
my
cross and follow Him!

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the wonderful trophies of grace, like Helen 
Rosevere, who encourage us in our walk with You who are truly worthy.

1. Phil Callaway, “Is it worth it?” Servant (Issue 85, 2010), p.11.

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

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

SPIDER SILK VIOLIN STRINGS

Shigeyoshi Osaki makes violin strings out of spider silk and claims that – 
in the right hands – they produce a beautiful sound.

His latest creation is making waves among musicians who praise the sonorous 
quality of the spider silk violin strings for their ‘soft and profound 
timbre’.

His passion for the violin inspired him to create something with a musical 
twist. Thousands of the tiny strands are wound together and produce a strong
yet flexible cord that is perfect for the instrument claims Prof. Osaki.

Osaki, professor of polymer chemistry at Nara Medical University has been 
working with spider silk for 35 years. “Spider silk strings can have all 
sorts
of applications in our day-to-day lives,” he said and suggested the material 
be used for surgical sutures and for bulletproof vests.

Osaki once produced a rope spun from spider silk that he said could 
theoretically support a 600 kg (1,300 pound) weight. As many as three 
hundred female
Nephila maculata spiders provide his raw materials.

Spider silk is widely regarded as the strongest natural thread known, at 
least half as strong as steel thread of the same thickness, and much more 
elastic.

Source: Yomiuri News

Much stronger than steel threads or spider silk is the cord of love God 
gently uses to draw his own to Himself!

I led them with cords of kindness and love.

I did not lead them with ropes.

I lifted the heavy loads from their shoulders

(Hos. 11:4, NIRV).

The cords of a man are such as parents use in leading weak or young 
children. It is the opposite of rough ropes which men employ in taming or 
breaking
wild and unmanageable animals.

God’s bands of love are very tender and strong.

Oh! Would we but respond to such incredible tender love!

David Verwey

JAPAN MISSION
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 22 Jan 2014, 5:33 pm

November 6, 2013
For Finding Rest in God
by Charles R. Swindoll

On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
---Psalm 62:7-8

Our dear Father, we are grateful for the rest that is found in Christ. Our 
souls were like waves crashing against a shoreline, and our lives were in 
tumult
and disarray, confusion and chaos. And then You rescued us. You brought us 
forgiveness and relief, and You introduced us to a wonderful four-letter 
word
that has become for us a lifeline for survival: rest. Thank You for the 
peace that accompanies this rest. Thank You for the freedom from worry. 
Thank You
for carrying the weights that we used to carry on our own shoulders, for 
giving us literally thousands of promises that become ours to claim, to grow 
in,
and to be comforted by.

Father, You have the ability, being who You are, to know each need in each 
heart, each concern in each mind. So we pause and release to You those 
things
that have plagued us long enough. We give them over to You now. In doing so, 
we invite the Spirit of God to plow the soil of our souls so the seed of 
God's
Word can be sown, take root, and be watered in time so as to produce 
spiritual abundance.

We commit these valued moments to You, resting in You. And may this allow us 
to be lost in wonder and love and praise. In Jesus's name, amen.

See also Genesis 2:2-3; Joshua 21:44; Psalm 22:2-3; Hebrews 4:9.

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

Find Hope in Christ's Majesty

Common Causes for Cave Times

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but 
not in despair.

-2 Corinthians 4:8, emphasis added

As a pastor, biblical counselor, and a follower of Christ for over forty 
years, I am convinced that feelings of abandonment are very common among 
believers, no matter how mature they might be in the Lord. Both the apostles 
John and David knew what it was like to feel alone and in desperate need of 
Christ's presence. Look at David's opening words in Psalm 13:1-2: "How long, 
O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from 
me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having
sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?"

David experienced many such cave times, and it is likely that we will also. 
What are some common causes of cave times-those periods in life when we feel 
utterly abandoned by others as well as God?

Cave times may start through a protracted illness that seems to never end, 
when strength never comes, when future plans fade, and so does hope. If hope 
is lost, uncontrolled emotions can wreak havoc not only in the ill person's 
life but also in the lives of his or her family.

Another common cause for feeling abandoned is a sudden loss of income, when 
financial needs become difficult, and eventually seem overwhelming. This 
type of trial can place a great deal of stress on a marriage and family. So 
can a demanding and unreasonable boss, a grueling and unending schedule, or 
a jealous, spiteful, and injurious coworker. Wayward children also cause 
immeasurable pain to believing parents, as does an alcoholic or abusive 
spouse, or unsaved family members.

Usually, times like these make us feel that no one really cares about us. So 
more and more we start to feel rejected by others, which then starts the 
downward spiral into thinking that God has abandoned us as well. David 
experienced such a depth of feeling abandoned that in Psalm 13 he cried out 
to God as if he could no longer hang on.

Amazingly, there is little said or written in Christian literature about 
helping believers who feel abandoned by God.

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jan 2014, 8:42 pm

CHECK THE VITAL SIGNS
by Jim Cymbala

Prayer is the source of the Christian Life, a Christian lifeline. Otherwise, it
is like having a baby in your arms and dressing her up so cute—but she’s not
breathing! Never mind the frilly clothes—stabilize the child’s vital signs.
It does no good to talk to someone in a comatose state. That is why the great
emphasis on teaching in today’s churches is producing such limited results. 
Teaching is only good where there’s life to be channeled. If the listeners
are in a spiritual coma, what we are telling them may be fine and orthodox, but
spiritual life cannot be taught.


Pastors and churches must get uncomfortable enough to say, “We are not New
Testament Christians if we don’t have a prayer life.” This conviction makes
us squirm a little, but how else will there be a breakthrough with God? 

If we truly think about what Acts 2:42 says—“They devoted themselves to the
apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to
prayer”—we can see that prayer is almost a proof of a church’s normalcy.
Calling on the name of the Lord is the fourth great hallmark in the list. If my
church or your church is not praying, we should not be boasting in our orthodoxy
or our Sunday morning attendance figures.

My wife, Carol, and I have told each other more than once that if the spirit of
brokenness and calling on God ever slacks off in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, we
will know we are in trouble, even if we have 10,000 in attendance.

During countless Tuesday night prayer meetings I find myself encircled by the
sacred sounds of prayer and intercession filling the church and overflowing
from every heart present. As the meeting edges to a close, I overhear mothers
petitioning for wayward children, men asking God to please help them find
employment, and others giving thanks for recent answers to prayer. I can’t
help but think, “This is as close to heaven as I will ever get in this life.
I don’t want to leave here. If I were invited to the White House to meet some
dignitary, it would never bring the kind of peace and deep joy I sense here in
the presence of people calling on the Lord.”



"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways my ways," saith the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8


 *Bubbling Over With Jesus*

Volume 14 Number 222

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: James 3:11a
"Does a spring of water bubble" NLT

Matt and his mom, while in the hospital, saw an older women sitting by 
herself. Matt said, "Mom that woman looks very sad, I think I'll wheel 
myself over
and just talk to her."

Matt did just that. He introduced himself and found that the lady's name was 
Mary. Matt learned that she was alone and her dad was having heart surgery.
They talked for a long while until it was his turn to get ready for surgery.

Just before leaving Mary asked Matt about his hospital stay and he said he 
had been ill since he was 7 years old. She asked him, "How do you keep 
going"
and he said, in a loud clear voice that just bubbled out of him "JESUS" as 
he was wheeled off to surgery.

Mary had a tear run down her face as Matt left.

After surgery the lady was gone and Matt asked, "Mom, do you think Mary will 
find JESUS?"

Mom said, "Yes Matt, she just did."

Prayer: Father help me to bubble over with Jesus for others to see and 
respect. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Financial support for the Philippine Crosses at What's Up at ccm?
Click Here

Pastor Bill Team Prayer:

Father please bring 1........... .. 2........... .. 3........... ... into your 
kingdom.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Copyright (c) 2013

Pastor Bill - Christian*Cyber* Ministries
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jan 2014, 8:36 pm

Max Lucado
Today's Quote:

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

Jesus Knows How You Feel

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

Jesus knows how you feel.

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

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

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

For some reason this is harder to believe.

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

Jesus knows how you fee

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

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jan 2014, 8:32 pm

MISTAKEN IDENTITY
A man exiting a grocery store was very surprised when a rather good-looking 
and perky young lady greeted him cheerfully by saying, "Good evening!" Her
face was beaming. At least she was smiling until he gave her that "Who are 
you?" look. He couldn't remember having ever seen her before. Then she 
obviously
realized that a mistake had been made and apologized. She explained, "Oh, 
I'm so sorry. When I first saw you I thought you were the father of one of 
my
children." She walked on her way into the store.

The man was left staring dumbfounded after her. More than a bit puzzled, he 
thought to himself, "What is the world coming to? An attractive woman who
doesn't even keep track of what the father of her children look like!" 
However, he was also a bit flattered that he might resemble one of her 
former suitors,
but also hoped that nobody overheard her saying that she mistook him for 
being the father of one of her children.

A bit stunned, he walked to his car. He still did not realize, of course, 
that....she was a second grade teacher.

A case of mistaken identity. Have you ever done that? You see someone in 
the store or on the street that you think you know and you call out and wave
only to realize that it's not really them at all. First glances can be 
deceiving.

I've done the same thing spiritually, too. I've judged people at a glance 
as being stuck-up only to find out later on that they are only shy. I've 
judged
people for their irritability only to find out later what burdens they had 
been carrying that caused them to be a bit short with me. I've judged some
people as "hopeless sinners" only to discover in time a humble heart and a 
spirit that wants to surrender to God.

This is what the Pharisees in the time of Jesus just couldn't seem to 
understand. They couldn't get past the first appearances. They couldn't 
get beyond
the outside to look at the heart. And they didn't much care to get to know 
any of "those people" long enough to learn anything about their problems, 
their
struggles, or their heart.

"For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward 
appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7).

Father, help me to take a "second look", to learn to look beyond the outward 
appearance, to look at the heart of the people around me. In Jesus' name,
amen.

Have a great day!
Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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

CHOOSING LOVE OVER HATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

Today's Speed Bumps to Evangelism

James Tonkowich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today's Quote:

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

J. R. Macduff

Jesus Knows How You Feel

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

Jesus knows how you feel.

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

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

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

For some reason this is harder to believe.

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

Jesus knows how you feel.

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

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

C.S. Lewis Daily
CHARITY
Today's Reading

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

Isaiah 44:3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Psalm 51:12

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 19

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

Forgive Our Trespasses
by Charles R. Swindoll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C.S. Lewis Daily

Today's Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surviving Disappointment

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

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

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

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

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

Point to Ponder

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Jesus really can save anybody.

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

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

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

3. Everyone can afford free.

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

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

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

We Invite Everyone

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

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

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

THE BEAUTY OF THE SPIRIT 

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

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

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

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

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

He Loves to Hear

Acts 9:11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Psalm 56:8

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 16

verse 2 Titus 2

Click here to learn more about
Truth For Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers. 

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

LIVING DIFFERENTLY 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchased at a Precious Price

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Loves to Hear
Acts 9:11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Psalm 56:8

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

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

Now Is The Time 
By Steve McVey 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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

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

Down is up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today's Devotional

Miracle Puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly Chafe, Ontario, Canada

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

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

Community Is Where You Find It
Laura MacCorkle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intersecting Faith & Life:

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

Further Reading:

Galatians 6:2, NIV

Colossians 3:12-14, NIV

1 John 3:17-18, NIV


The Importance of Thanksgiving
Psalms 9:1

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

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

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

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

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

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 11,12

verse 2 2 Timothy 2

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Community Is Where You Find It
Laura MacCorkle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intersecting Faith & Life:

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

Further Reading:

Galatians 6:2, NIV

Colossians 3:12-14, NIV

1 John 3:17-18, NIV


The Importance of Thanksgiving
Psalms 9:1

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

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

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

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

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

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Kings 11,12

verse 2 2 Timothy 2

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

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

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

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

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

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


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