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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 30 Mar 2018, 11:15 pm

The Hour Had Come: Maundy Thursday in the Garden of Agony
David Mathis / Wednesday, March 28, 2018 7:02 PM
The Hour Had Come
block quote
“The hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” 
(Mark 14:41)
block quote end

All Jesus’s human life had anticipated this hour. Every careful attempt at 
keeping the messianic secret. Every emotional investment poured gladly into
his disciples. Every glimpse of the ocean of his kindness as he healed the 
blind, the mute, the lame, the demonized, and even raised the dead.

Now the hour has come. All history hinges on this hour. And it is utterly 
terrifying. Jesus must decide: Will he protect his own skin, and soul, or 
will
he embrace his Father’s perfect and painful will?

His dying had begun long before this hour, but now in Gethsemane, he must 
face the death to self that comes before the death at Calvary. Never has a 
soul
been in such anguish. Never has a human been so undeserving of divine wrath.. 
Never has anyone else faced such horror, to be made sin on behalf of others
— to put himself forward in our place.

His Hour Has Come

Even as early as John 2, when Jesus turned water to wine, he knew, “My hour 
has not yet come” (John 2:4). But he acknowledged
his hour would come. And it shaped him from the beginning.

When he went up to Jerusalem privately for the Feast of Booths, he knew, “My 
time has not yet come” (John 7:6). Once he began to teach publicly, it wasn’t
long before “they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on 
him.” Why was he spared? John explains: “Because his hour had not yet come” 
(John
7:30). Then again in John 8, during this same appearance in the holy city, 
“he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him.” Again John explains his
invincibility: “Because his hour had not yet come” (John 8:20).

But when Jesus finally came to this grave and prescient Passover week, he 
knew, at long last,

block quote
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say 
to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains 
alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23–24)
block quote end

When Jesus reclined with his disciples in the upper room to prepare them for 
his departure, he knew this was the hour (John 13:1). As he began his 
magnificent,
high-priestly prayer that Thursday night, he prayed, “Father, the hour has 
come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1).

Why “Maundy”?

In the English-speaking church, we have come to call this gut-wrenching 
night before Good Friday “Maundy Thursday.” Scholars suspect the word
maundy comes from the Latin
mandatum meaning command. It’s a reference to Jesus’s charge to his 
disciples, in that upper room, after washing their feet (John 13:1–20) and 
watching
Judas depart (John 13:21–30):

block quote
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have 
loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know 
that
you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35)
block quote end

Calling it Maundy Thursday (Thursday of the Command) may give the wrong 
impression, that the accent falls on
our love, not Jesus’s. The focus of this holy Thursday, however, is not the 
fresh charge to the church (“love one another”), but the inimitable act of
her groom (“as I have loved you”).

When Jesus said, on that first Maundy Thursday, “as I have loved you,” he 
was not mainly referring to his washing of the disciples’ feet. He was 
looking
forward to what the foot-washing foreshadowed — to his own death the next 
day and the ultimate sacrifice he would make to rescue them. Their sin, and 
ours,
justly deserved the omnipotent wrath of God. Jesus’s rescue, and 
demonstration of his love for us, would require far more than foot-washing. 
And far more
than mere physical death.

Anguish in the Garden

When Jesus finished praying in the upper room, “he went out with his 
disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and 
his disciples
entered” (John 18:1). His hour had come, and this would be the garden of his 
agony. The first Adam felt no anguish in his garden, because he gave in so
quickly, but Jesus knew that to resist this greatest of all temptations, he 
must suffer.

His hour of literally excruciating suffering to come at Calvary would be 
bracketed by emotional and spiritual agony past finding out. Before he would 
cry,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” at the great eclipse of his 
Father’s light (Mark 15:34), he must first, here in the garden, make the 
final
choice to subject himself to hell itself. He must embrace the pain, not just 
endure it. He must choose the nails and the darkness. He must step forward
to receive his Father’s holy wrath. He must welcome his hour.

Never Before

He will be no mere victim. If he is to go as a lamb to this slaughter, he 
must go willingly. Freely, by his own eternal spirit, he must offer himself 
(Hebrews
9:14).

If there ever was a holy panic, this is it. He begins to be “greatly 
distressed and troubled” (Mark 14:33). Fully human, he confesses, “My soul 
is very
sorrowful, even to death” (Mark 14:34). “Being in agony” (Luke 22:44), he 
falls to the ground and prays that, “if it were possible, the hour might 
pass
from him” (Mark 14:35).

So great is his torment that “his sweat became like great drops of blood 
falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). He offers “loud cries and tears” 
(Hebrews
5:7). As he hangs by a thread, “there appeared to him an angel from heaven, 
strengthening him” (Luke 22:43).

With each passing moment, he is closer to the traitor arriving with his 
troops. He will be betrayed into the hands of sinners, and they will enact, 
for
all the world to see, the very essence of sin itself: assault on God, with 
intent to kill. How could each minute in the garden not feel like a 
lifetime?

Anguish, for Joy

He knew that hell itself was coming. How then can he, as man, embrace it in 
all its horror?

Earlier that very night, he had told his men what his hour would mean: 
anguish, for joy.

block quote
“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but 
when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for
joy that a human being has been born into the world.” (John 16:21)
block quote end

In the garden, he still stands on the other side. And yet he speaks, in all 
the terror and torment, in all his sorrow and distress, feeling only enough
joy to choose the joy to come. Isaiah had prophesied, “Out of the anguish of 
his soul he shall see and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). Duty alone cannot
carry this hour. It will require joy. “For the joy that was set before him 
[he] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

At last he resolves, “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Never Again

Never before had a human heart, mind, and will faced what Jesus did in that 
garden. And never again will God require it. His Son’s trip into Gethsemane
is utterly unique from any garden of anguish into which God might lead us.

Those who hate God will soon enough stand unshielded to face his omnipotent, 
righteous wrath. But they will never do so on another’s behalf. And they 
will
never do so for the joy set before them, from love for the Father and his 
people.

Never again will God walk one of his children through this garden of the 
shadow of death. We very well might give our own lives in this world to save 
others
here, but we cannot choose God’s wrath in place of another’s sin. What Jesus 
did on that Thursday evening is utterly unique.

And yet this is Thursday of the Command: “Just as I have loved you, you also 
are to love one another.”

Our Joy to Echo Such Love

Jesus’s garden will not be ours. His hour will not fall to us. But having 
been loved like this, how can we not love one another? How can we not, as 
the
beneficiaries of Christ’s irreplaceable sacrifice, ache to empty our own 
selves for another’s good? Having tasted such fullness from him, how can we 
not
gladly pour out to meet the needs of others?

Yes, we will love, but Maundy Thursday does not turn on our love. This is a 
night to marvel at what Jesus embraced for us. To be astounded at the 
uniqueness
of his sacrificial love. To wonder that while we were still sinners, he died 
for us (Romans 5:8). “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that
he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 
4:10).

On Maundy Thursday, we don’t mainly shoulder up to the charge to love 
others. We fall awestruck to our knees, face to the floor, and say,

For me it was in the garden
He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

You Did Not Make Yourself a Christian
John Piper / Wednesday, March 28, 2018 7:00 AM

We can’t unblind our eyes to the glory of God on our own. Only the Holy 
Spirit has the power to open deaf ears to the beauty of the gospel.

Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402


The Challenges of Intimacy and Prayer
February 10, 2018

Read: Song of Solomon 5:2-8

I am sick with love. (v. 8)

I mentioned earlier that pastor and author Eugene Peterson considers the 
Song of Solomon a key to unlocking the secrets of prayer. Now that we are 
this
far into the Song, you may be wondering why he would say that. This passage, 
reprising themes from 3:1-5, shows why.

In his book Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work, Peterson writes that 
exploring the challenge of intimacy in this passage illustrates the 
challenge of
prayer, and that “it is the task of persevering and patient prayer to keep 
love ardent and faith zealous” (p. 55).

The bride has already gone to bed when the groom comes to her door (think of 
the image of Jesus knocking in Revelation 3:20). She doesn’t immediately 
want
to get up, and he leaves before she rises. Realizing she’s missed him, she 
goes out to look for him and is beaten, apparently for causing a disturbance
in the night. Intimate relationships are full of challenge and risk. We aren’t 
always in sync with the wants of each other, and no one can read another’s
mind or fully anticipate another’s needs. Every marriage and close human 
relationship has moments of disappointment and pain in it. When it comes to 
my
relationship with God, I think of my own attempts at prayer and the ways I 
disappoint God by falling asleep or drifting off into distraction. 
Relationships—human
and divine—require attention, cultivation, and just plain work. —Jeff Munroe

Prayer: May our love for you, Lord, be ardent and our faith zealous.

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



"A Sponge and a Stick"
March 23, 2018
A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour 
wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth. (John 19:29)

Read John 19:28-30

Just before Jesus' final moments, He said, "I'm thirsty." Someone took a 
sponge and filled it with the sour wine the soldiers brought to drink. Then 
they
put it on a stick and held it up to Jesus' mouth -- a small act of kindness 
on a dark and bitter day.

What strikes me most about this story is Jesus' extreme helplessness. He 
couldn't get Himself a drink -- couldn't hold a cup or do anything at all, 
really,
except open His mouth. All four limbs were nailed to the cross. All He could 
do was ask.

Maybe this shouldn't strike me as surprising. We go through times like this 
in our lives too -- though usually as a result of sickness or disability. A
stroke, abdominal surgery, even minor things as losing our voice or having 
our eyes swell shut from an allergy -- and suddenly, we are helpless. We 
need
others to do for us what we cannot do.

It's no surprise, then, that God in the flesh should experience what we do.

He knew disability, helplessness, and humiliation. He who had helped so many 
others could now not help Himself. For us, it would have been a bitter pill
to swallow. For Him?

It cannot have been easy. He is, after all, true man as well as true God. 
Jesus did not "cheat" when it came to being a human being. He knows our 
griefs
because He has shared them. He shared them in His suffering and death.

And yet, now that Jesus has risen from the dead, He shares one more thing 
with us: His own eternal, rejoicing, abundant, everlasting life, full of 
joy,
and power. He has had mercy on us, just like that unknown man at the cross 
showed Him mercy. He has given us to drink of His own everlasting life -- 
partaking
of His own body and blood.

Now, even though we are still helpless in many ways, we rejoice. The Holy 
Spirit has given us faith in Jesus, and we are God's children now and 
forever.

THE PRAYER: Lord, You know my own disabilities and weaknesses. Help me to 
lean on You for everything I need. Amen.

Reflection Questions
list of 3 items
1. When were you completely dependent on the help of someone else to do even 
minor self-care?

2. Many people have disabilities, even if they are minor ones. Which problem 
do you have that bothers you the most? Share, if you are willing.

3. Jesus Himself knows what it is to be disabled. Does that surprise you? 
Why or why not?
list end
Author Dr. Kari Vo serves as theological writer for Lutheran Hour 
Ministries. She holds a doctorate in English (Renaissance period) from St. 
Louis University
and has worked in writing and publishing for 30 years. She has published 
several books and written dozens of articles. Originally from California, 
she
and her family are missionaries to the Vietnamese immigrants in the St. 
Louis area.
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Numbers 34-36; Luke 1:57-80
Print this Devotion
Subscribe to this Podcast
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Mar 2018, 11:22 pm

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after 
their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching 
ears.”
2 Timothy 4:3

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Did you know Satan has put his ministers all across America? On Sunday, 
people will come down and sit in a service, and the man in the pulpit will 
look
like a minister, but he will be a minister of Satan. Isn’t that frightening? 
You need to understand that Satan is not against religion. He’s always 
wanted
to be like God. His temptation to you is not to be ungodly, but to try to be
like God, but in Satan’s way. Satan is the master of deception.

Matthew 24:24 says, if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. 
That’s the reason we have to be discerners of truth.

ACTION POINT:
This Sunday, don’t just sit and soak in the service. Test the message 
against the Word of God and apply it to your life.

What is the 'Bad Eye' in Matthew 6:23 ?
John Piper

A verse in Matthew is somewhat difficult to understand. It seems to dangle 
in the Sermon on the Mount with little connection to what goes before and 
after:
"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole 
body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will 
be
full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the 
darkness!
" (Matthew 6:22-23 ).

Before it: the familiar saying about not laying up treasures on earth: "Do 
not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy 
and
where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in 
heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break
in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
" (Matthew 6:19-21 ).

After it: the equally familiar saying about not serving God and money: "No 
one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the 
other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God 
and money
" (Matthew 6:24 ).

Therefore, the sayings before and after Matthew 6:22-23
deal with treasure or money. In fact, the first would flow really well into 
the second if we simply left out the intervening vers
es 22-23
.. The gist would be "Treasure God in heaven, not money on earth . . . 
because you can't serve two masters, God and money." So why does Jesus link 
these
two sayings about money and God with a saying about the good eye and the bad 
eye?

The key is found in Matthew 20:15
.. Jesus had just told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some of 
them had agreed to work f
rom 6
am to 6 pm for a denarius. Some the master hired at 9 am. Others at noon. 
Finally some he hired at 5 pm. When the day was done at 6 pm he paid all the
workers the same thing--a denarius. In other words, he was lavishly generous 
to those who worked only one hour, and he paid the agreed amount to those
who worked twelve hours.

Those who worked all day "grumbled at the master of the house"
(Matthew 20:11
). They were angry that those who worked so little were paid so much. Then 
the master used a phrase about "the bad eye" which is just like the one back
in
Matthew 6:23
.. He said, "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or 
do you begrudge my generosity
?" (Matthew 20:15 ).

Unfortunately that last clause is a total paraphrase, not a translation. "Or 
do you begrudge my generosity" is a very loose paraphrase of "Or is your eye
bad because I am good (ē ho ophthalmos sou ponēros estin hoti egō agathos 
eimi
?)" The "bad eye" here parallels the "bad eye" in
Matthew 6:23
..

What does the bad eye refer to in Matthew 20:15
? It refers to an eye that cannot see the beauty of grace. It cannot see the 
brightness of generosity. It cannot see unexpected blessing to others as a
precious treasure. It is an eye that is blind to what is truly beautiful and 
bright and precious and God-like. It is a worldly eye. It sees money and 
material
reward as more to be desired than a beautiful display of free, gracious, 
God-like generosity.

That is exactly what the bad eye means in chapter six of the Sermon on the 
Mount. And that meaning gives vers
es 22-23
a perfect fitness between a saying on true treasure (vv. 19-21) and the 
necessity of choosing between the mastery of God and the mastery of money 
(vv.
24).

So the flow of thought would go like this: Don't lay up treasures on earth, 
but lay up treasures in heaven. Show that your heart is fixed on the value
that God is for you in Christ. Make sure that your eye is good not bad. That 
is, make sure that you see heavenly treasure as infinitely more precious 
than
earthly material treasure. When your eye sees things this way, you are full 
of light. And if you don't see things this way, even the light you think you
see (the glitz and flash and skin and muscle of this world) is all darkness.. 
You are sleepwalking through life. You are serving money as a slave without
even knowing it, because it has lulled you to sleep. Far better is to be 
swayed by the truth--the infinite value of God.

So if you are emotionally drawn more by material things than by Christ, pray 
that God would give you a good eye and awaken you from the blindness of "the
bad eye."

Pastor John

By John Piper. (c) Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org
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Post  Admin on Thu 01 Mar 2018, 10:50 pm

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
The Distant Boat Movie
Jan 24, 2018 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Isaiah 43:18-19, NET "Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall 
these former events. Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to 
happen!
Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in 
the wilderness."

Pray that believers who watch “The Distant Boat” will anticipate the Lord 
working through them to build his kingdom!

Today's People Group

How do we reach the whole world for Christ as the great commission commands? 
We send missionaries to share the good news. The Western world has taken the
lead in the missionary movement, but now is the time for benefactors of 
mission efforts to become senders and goers themselves! Africa still has 
over 900
unreached people groups. The churches in Tanzania and Kenya are well 
established, but are disproportionally absent in the work of making 
disciples “among
all nations.”
A new film project, “The Distant Boat” wants to change that.. The Distant 
Boat is a feature-length movie drama with an aim to stir the heart of the 
African
church toward greater involvement in frontier missions. Movies are greatly 
loved in Africa.
The story revolves around a young urban Kenyan, Max, who has it all – a 
dream job, best friend, and the woman he hopes to marry; but in the midst of 
a
personal crisis he meets Yusef and his people who have no church and no 
Christian witness. Yusef is a fisherman who saves Max’s life, but Max 
realizes
someone needs to save Yusef’s life spiritually. Max realizes that God might 
be calling him to be a missionary.

Pray that this film will wake up African believers to their responsibility 
to share with their unsaved countrymen the person of Jesus Christ. Pray that
many Africans will become senders and goers.

Learn more at Joshua Project .





Anne Graham Lotz - Go and Tell
Go and Tell
Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, 
went out to meet him.

John 12:18, NIV

What has Jesus done for you? What things have your family, friends, 
neighbors, co-workers, classmates, teammates, employers, employees, 
professors, doctors,
lawyer, counselor, pastor, and anyone else heard about that Jesus has done 
for you? John testified that, “Many people, because they had heard that he 
had
given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.” Who is seeking to meet 
Jesus because of what He has done for you?

When have you told someone about how He raised you from spiritual death?

When have you told someone about how He forgave your sin and removed your 
guilt?

When have you told someone about the disease He healed,

or the prayer He answered,

or the blessing He gave,

or the promise He fulfilled?

Go . . . and tell someone about Jesus!

Blessings,
Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at 
www.annegrahamlotz.org.
Our mailing address is:
AnGeL Ministries
5115 Hollyridge Drive
Raleigh, NC 27612

We’️ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six 
years, and with each move I’️ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. 
Women
can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.

After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked 
the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit
the one across the street from our apartment complex.

It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and 
when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the 
building.
People wanted to know where we were from and where we’️d been and if we 
preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad 
these complete
strangers were making an effort to get to know us.

And then someone took it to the next level.

A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would 
like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.

If my jaw didn’️t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor 
metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’️t hesitate 
to
welcome my child and I into her daily life.

I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people 
in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us
in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the 
groove of the friendships she had already established.

As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God 
provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of 
many life-giving
friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful 
Beth didn’️t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you 
like
to come over?†

May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday 
lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 
12:3

Prayer:

Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that 
You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely.
And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into 
our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.

About Kendra Broekhuis:

Kendra is the author of
Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’️s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor
.. The book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’️s “I love you’️s† 
in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’️s
“I love you’️s† to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two 
of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee.
Kendra’️s love language is Dove chocolate.

The post “No Strings Attached† appeared first on Purposeful Faith .


PresbyCan Daily Devotional
Friday, January 19, 2018

Today's Devotional
When Life Is More Than I Can Handle

1 Corinthians 10:13b – God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to 
be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out
so that you can endure. (NLT)

2 Corinthians 12:9a – Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power 
works best in weakness." (NLT)

"God won't put more on you than you can handle."

Many a well-meaning Christian has made this statement — or some form of it — 
to someone who's going through a tough time. To a woman who has miscarried.
To a man who has watched his wife walk out and leave him holding the bag — 
and everything in it. To the wife who has received the news that her husband
has just been killed in the line of duty. Or to the child whose parents keep 
telling him that he's no good and will never amount to anything.

I've heard it said — and maybe have said it myself in the heat of the moment 
before I had time to think about what I was saying. Perhaps, I just nodded
my head in agreement with the one who was saying it, or agreed with the 
devastated person who said it themselves to me.

This isn't the only thing that I've heard attributed to God or to the Bible 
that wasn't true — or was at the least misinterpreted. There is a similar 
promise,
but it applies only to temptation. God doesn't promise to prevent 
temptation, but He does promise not to let it overwhelm us. He also promises 
to give
us a way out so that we don't have to fall into sin.

Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Opponents? A handicap? Poor eyesight? Who 
knows? What it was isn't important. How he responded is. When God told Paul 
that
He wasn't going to remove it, Paul accepted it. God assured Paul that His 
grace was sufficient to live with it, move through it, and get over it. 
After
all, God works best when I acknowledge my weaknesses.

The truth of the matter is that apart from temptation, God will put more on 
me than I can handle. If I could handle everything, I wouldn't need God — 
and
many don't think they do. They use their wisdom, resources, friends, 
acquaintances, or addictive substances to get through — all the while 
proclaiming
that they can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

I suppose that I've been guilty a few times of thinking that I could handle 
what life threw at me, only to discover that I wasn't as strong as I 
thought.
I crumbled beneath the load — or succumbed to the temptation to find 
something, or someone, to help me get through.

God puts more on us than we can handle so that we'll come running to Him for 
guidance and strength, so that we'll realize that we were created to live
life under His authority and love.

Don't try to handle life's burdens on your own. God wants to lighten your 
load.

Prayer: Father, thank You for handling our burdens so that we don't have to 
labour under the load of trying to do it ourselves. Amen.

Martin Wiles 

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Right Under Your Nose - #8098

When our kids were growing up, the early morning shift around our house was 
particularly exciting. I was getting ready for a full day, three kids were
scrambling to have what they needed for school, my wife was playing maid, 
chef, valet, and chauffeur. Man! In the rush, a lot of our communication was
basically non-verbal. For example, one morning I was shaving and thinking 
through this endless list of things I had to do that day-all the Lord's 
work,
of course. I was mulling over a sermon, radio programs, an important 
appointment that day, an event I was planning, and my son popped in. Now, I 
must have
somehow succeeded in telegraphing how much I had on my mind (The Lord's 
work, remember? Right.); he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. Then, 
as
I was praying about all the Lord's work I had to do that day, I remembered 
an important decision my son had to make that day, one that he probably 
needed
to talk to his father about. I had just missed the Lord's work.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Right 
Under Your Nose."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 4:30. Jesus has just 
had a transforming conversation with this Samaritan woman He met at a well,
and she goes back to tell her village about the Messiah she has just met. 
The Bible says, "They came out of the town and made their way toward Him." 
The
disciples, who have been in the village shopping for groceries, are just 
focused on trying to get Jesus to eat some lunch.

But with these unreached Samaritans streaming out of the village toward 
them, Jesus says, "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest?' 
I tell
you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." To 
Jesus' disciples, this village was just a rest and refueling stop. 
Apparently
they were looking ahead to some great future ministry and missing the 
ministry right under their noses!

Sounds like this father shaving, thinking about the ministry he had ahead of 
him and missing a son who needed some ministry right there. All too often
we're like what I was that busy morning or the disciples were that lunch 
time in Samaria. We miss the work of God that's right under our nose. In 
fact,
you don't even have to leave your home to do the Lord's work. Actually, the 
work of God begins at home! That's one reason the qualifications for 
spiritual
leaders in 1 Timothy 3 tell us that it must be someone whose relationship 
with their spouse and their children is healthy.

So we often fill up our lives with ministry responsibilities, only to reach 
other people's kids while missing our own, to bring blessing to God's house
while neglecting our first responsibility-the congregation at our own house.. 
Many husbands and wives, children and parents have been the victims of a 
distorted
view of God's work-that you have to leave home before you start doing 
ministry. You know, your family may be the most important ministry you will 
ever
have.

This doesn't mean you withdraw from every spiritual responsibility outside 
your home, but it does mean you take care of the Lord's work at home first.
Maybe your unbelieving family member would be better reached by your staying 
home with them sometimes than by your going to a meeting to pray for them.
Your mate, your child may need your ear, your encouragement, your counsel. 
And they may need it at least as much as anyone you're going to see at your
meeting.

So look around your house for those needs that are there before you go 
charging off somewhere else to start doing the Lord's work. Sometimes the 
most important
Lord's work you have to do is right there under your nose!

>
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Instagram RHM on Pinterest Get RHM Email Updates
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Feb 2018, 3:35 pm

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead
also.”
James 2:26

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
When you ask God for something, do you just sit back and do nothing and say,
“Well, I’m going to show my faith by doing nothing.” To the contrary, you
will show your faith by doing something. For faith without works is what?
Dead! (see James 2:20) Do you want a house? Pray for it. Then say “Amen”
with
a hammer and saw. Do you want a wife? Pray for one. Then go shave, put on
some cologne, learn some manners, and learn how to be thoughtful and loving..

ACTION POINT:
What have you been praying earnestly about the last week? What is your heart’s
desire? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can put feet to that prayer..
Then, walk the talk!

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
The email address this message was sent from does not accept replies. If
you would like to send a comment, prayer or praise, please visit us
here
.. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.

Copyright ©️ 2017, All rights reserved.


Life as a Sheep
Dena Johnson Martin

Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his
people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3

Over the last few years, my younger son, Cole, has been heavily involved in
the national FFA organization. The mission of the FFA organization is to
make
a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential
for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through
agricultural
education (ffa.org).

Cole has learned and grown so much through his involvement in FFA, and he
has made some incredible friends. He has learned leadership and character
and
responsibility.

And he has learned so much about agriculture.

One of the primary activities in FFA is showing animals. You purchase a
young animal and learn to care for it, feed it, nurture it, and train it. As
the
animal grows, you take it to shows. The FFA community is so supportive, and
the students are always rewarded for their hard work and dedication.

Showing animals is a time-consuming activity. Over the last two years, Cole
has chosen to raise show pigs. Twice a day for four months, you must feed
your
animal, walk your animal, clean the pen. Your life revolves around your
animal.

I’ve grown to have a love-hate relationship with pigs. But the funny thing
is, I always think about the prodigal son slopping the pigs when we feed
pigs.

Always a biblical lesson.

This year, however, Cole opted to show sheep instead of pigs. He wasn’t sure
what to expect with sheep, but we are now seven months into this adventure
…and we still have two full months to go.

I must admit that—while overwhelmed with the thought of caring for two sheep
for ten months—I was somewhat intrigued about what I would learn along the
way. God calls us His sheep, so I was curious what characteristics sheep
have that would make God to compare us to the animal.

Now, every time we head to the school, I hear God saying, “Feed my sheep.”

It’s a biblical mandate, a reminder every day, to care for and nurture
others, to share the gospel with those around me.

But, more than that, I’ve learned a few things about sheep, about us as God’s
people. Here’s what I have learned as I watch Cole with his sheep.

Sheep are stupid. There was a Christian comedian years ago who frequently
said, “Sheep are stupid.” It’s been interesting to watch Cole attempt to
train
these creatures. Pigs are highly intelligent animals; sheep…not so much.

I’ve gone to help Cole a few times, and I’m always amazed how they refuse to
let us take off their muzzles so they can eat. They jump around like wild
creatures, fighting against us even though we are there to care for them.
And, if we would let them, they would most definitely wander away from us,
from
the safety of their sheepfold.

And maybe they aren’t just stupid; maybe they are just stubborn. They want
their way even when they know our hearts are good toward them, even though
they
know we will care for their every need.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with
their young.
Isaiah 40:11

Doesn’t that sound like the Israelites? They crossed through the Red Sea on
dry ground, watched God do away with all their enemies. They knew firsthand
His goodness, His love, His faithfulness to care for every need.

And immediately they began grumbling against Him, complaining because they
didn’t have the rich foods of Egypt. They forgot how He took care of them,
how
He promised never to leave them nor forsake them. And they fought against
His good plan for them.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Isn’t that what we still do today? We experience Him, His goodness and
grace, only to quickly forget His tender mercies toward us.

I’m so glad the Good Shepherd never leaves us lost and alone but always
comes after His sheep.

I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not
forgotten your commands.
Psalm 119:176

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?
Luke 15:4

The sheep know us. One of the most fascinating aspects of raising sheep has
been how quickly they came to know their “shepherd.” Cole had only met his
sheep a couple of times when I first went with him. The minute those baby
lambs saw him, they started jumping and bleeting. There are multiple sheep,
but
it was only Cole’s sheep that became excited when he showed up. The other
sheep remained calm.

God tells us that His children, His sheep, know His voice. They chase after
Him, seeking His protection and provision. Only those who truly know the
Good
Shepherd will recognize Him for who He is.

I guess the question becomes do we listen to the sweet voice of the
Shepherd? We may know the voice, but do we obey it? Do we come running when
that sweet
voice whispers our name, calls us to Him so He can lead us out to green
pastures?

Maybe we, as His sheep, need to take a moment to reassess our ears, to make
sure we know and obey the Shepherd.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and
come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:3

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Sheep clean up well. Cole had a show this weekend, and it was the first time
I saw his sheep after they had been sheared and bathed. I was amazed at the
transformation! They didn’t even look like the same animals.

Isn’t that what our Savior does with us? He calls us by name, leads us to
green pastures, and then he cleans us up. He washes away our sins and prunes
us of anything that would keep us from reflecting His character. He changes
us, gives us a new name, a new nature.

When He is finished with us, we are clean, and we don’t even resemble our
old selves.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter
than snow. Psalm 51:7

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The
old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17

What about you? Are you living like a sheep, one who knows the shepherd? Are
you listening to His voice, allowing Him to lead you to green pastures? Or
are you like the stubborn sheep who quickly forget His tender mercies and so
quickly wander away, choose to grumble and complain in spite of His
provision.

I pray we all learn to trust the Good Shepherd, to allow Him to care for us
as One who knows His sheep, to allow Him to clean us up and make us new in
Him.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my
Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep..
John 10:14-15

Forgive Us Our What? Three Ways We Say the Lord’s Prayer
Jon Bloom / Thursday, January 18, 2018 7:00 PM
Forgive Us Our What?

Do you know the most famous prayer on the planet? The prayer the most people
on the street could recite portions of if asked? The prayer hundreds of
millions
of Christians of every stripe pray regularly and tens of millions of
non-Christians have heard enough to repeat?

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9–13)

Forgive Us Our What?

If you recite the Lord’s Prayer by memory with a group of people outside of
your local church, I imagine things usually go pretty smoothly till you get
to the fourth line. Some will say “forgive us our debts,” some will say
“trespasses,” and others will say “sins.”

How we recite that phrase usually depends more on what English-speaking
Christian tradition influenced us than what Bible translation we use. Those
raised
in Presbyterian or Reformed traditions are more likely to say “debts.” Those
who come from Anglican/Episcopal, Methodist, or Roman Catholic traditions
are more likely to say “trespasses.” Those whose churches were influenced by
ecumenical liturgical movements of the late twentieth century are probably
more likely to say “sins.”

So which word is the right one? Well, nearly all of the most credible
English translations over time have translated the Greek words,
opheilēma/opheiletēs, as “debts/debtors.” And that’s because in the New
Testament and the Septuagint, these words almost always convey the meaning
of owing
a financial or moral debt or obligation.

In Luke’s version of the prayer, Jesus says, “and forgive us our sins, for
we ourselves forgive everyone who is
indebted to us” (Luke 11:4). In this case, the Greek word used for “sins” is
hamartia, which in general means “sins” or “guilt.” But since it’s paired
with opheilonti (“indebted to us”) it’s still clear that Jesus had the sense
of debt in mind when referring to sin in the prayer he taught his disciples..
So, saying “forgive us our sins” is not inaccurate; it just loses the nuance
Jesus apparently intended.

But why do some Christian traditions say “trespasses”?

Just Read the Next Verse

If we just read down two verses we see one answer, because Jesus says,

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also
forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14–15)


The very first thing Jesus did after reciting this prayer is expound on the
importance of forgiveness. And to really drive home what he meant, he
purposefully
chose a different word for sin with a different nuance than the one he used
in the prayer. Matthew chose the Greek word
paraptōma to capture Jesus’s intention in these verses, which in the context
means a kind of sin that oversteps prescribed limits or boundaries — what
we call a “trespass.”

Jesus wanted his disciples (including us) to understand sin in both the
sense of owing a debt and the sense of trespassing into territory that doesn’t
belong to us.

But that still doesn’t explain why some English Christian traditions use the
word “trespasses” when Jesus’s actual prayer used the word “debts.”

William Tyndale’s Legacy

We have William Tyndale
to thank for this. Tyndale (1494–1536) was the great English reformer who
first translated the Bible into English from Hebrew and Greek texts. Even
though
both Greek and Latin New Testaments used words in Matthew 6:12 that meant
“debt,” and earlier church fathers (like Augustine) and translators (like
Wycliffe)
used “debt” language in this verse, for some reason Tyndale preferred
“trespasses” (“and forgeve us oure treaspases, even as we forgeve them which
treaspas
us”).

Why he preferred this translation when few before or after him did is only
speculation. He published his English New Testament in 1526 against the will
and law of Henry VIII, and then lived in mortal danger only ten more years
till he was betrayed by a friend and executed for his translation crimes. He
didn’t live long enough to make many revisions. And his preference didn’t
leave its mark long in the legacy of translations — by 1611, the translators
of the King James Version went back to using “debts.”

However, it certainly has left its mark in the legacy of English Christian
liturgies. “Trespasses” first appeared in the Anglican
Book of Common Prayer in 1549, and as of the 1979 edition it was still being
used. It became so pervasive that English Catholic churches also adopted it
and they still use it, even though when prayed in Latin, the “Pater Noster”
(“Our Father”) uses “debt/debtor” language (
debita/debitoribus).

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

That’s why a portion of our praying group says “trespasses” when we recite
the Lord’s Prayer together. And the next time it happens, we can thank God
for
William Tyndale, because he gave his life that we might have our English
Bibles.

And though “debts” is the more accurate translation of Matthew 6:12, God
does want us to keep “trespasses” in our minds when praying, especially we
twenty-first-century
Westerners.

Our modern understanding of “debt” might dull the edge this word had for
Jesus’s original hearers. We hear it through the filters of our experience,
which
is different from Jesus’s audience and most of our human ancestors. Debtors’
prisons are an archaic thing of the unenlightened past, and we don’t have
kings throwing us into them (Matthew 18:23–35). We have merciful bankruptcy
laws that protect us in ways inconceivable to past generations. So “debt”
might
not carry for us the sense of threat it did for them.

But trespassing hits us differently, especially when someone commits it
against us. A trespasser occupies a realm or exercises a right that
rightfully
belongs to someone else. A trespasser violates another person. This can be
very damaging. In fact, it can rise to the level of treason, and result in a
sentence of capital punishment.

This is what happened in the garden of Eden and what we have all done since..
We have not merely borrowed from God an unpayable debt for which we appeal
for bankruptcy protection. We have seized a realm and exercised a right that
belongs to him. We have violated God. We have committed a treasonous
trespass,
and we owe the debt of treason: death (Romans 6:23).

And what Jesus has done, for those of us who trust him, is pay that terrible
debt completely. And what he’s requiring of us is to forgive others who have
occupied a realm and exercised a right that belongs to us, who have violated
us — since we have been forgiven a far worse violation.

So if “trespasses” hits closer to home for us than “debts,” it does no
violence to Jesus’s meaning if we pray,
Father, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against
us.
Does God’s Happiness Depend on Mine?
John Piper / Thursday, January 18, 2018 6:00 PM
Does God’s Happiness Depend on Mine?

When one sinner repents, God and his angels rejoice in heaven. Does that
mean that God’s happiness depends on ours?
Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402


When do you end a friendship?

This is both a hard question to ask, and perhaps, one we’ve all been
confronted with. Are there times, reasons or seasons to pull away from a
friend? And
should we feel horribly guilty about it?

I stood facing exactly this type of decision only three weeks ago. I liked
the girl, but she had been giving me far too much detailed advice about
topics
I never asked her input on. This annoyed me. It was as if she was rewriting
my life with a pen I never handed her. It was as if she was telling me a
list
of things I should improve, but the hard part was she didn’t even know my
story or what God was doing behind the scenes. She was quick to talk and
slow
to ask questions of understanding.

My finger was pointed at her. And my mind kept circling the thought, “Guard
your heart. Create distance from her.”

This meant avoid her: Avoid confronting her. Avoid the problem and avoid
dealing with the repercussions of having a real discussion.

But God bless my husband. He essentially told me, “Love has hard talks.”

It does? So I talked with her.

Which I’m so glad I did, because if I didn’t I never would have seen:

-How my wounds made me react quickly to her words.
-God had things for me to learn through this discussion.
-Her heart was in the right place.
-God has deeper healing for me.
-There are safe boundaries that can be set up.
-I am not always right.
-Communication about what works and what doesn’t is vital to any
relationship.
-We both have good goals in mind.
-The enemy is sneaky and he loves to create division.

I am not perfect, and neither are my friends. I haven’t always been a good
or an enduring friend but I am learning to give people the benefit of the
doubt.

So to answer the question, “When do you end a friendship?” I don’t have all
the exact answers and there are far too many nuances to explain in black
ink…but
I do know: you never ditch people like trash. That is for sure.

You talk and you tell. You love and love some more. You give and accept
grace. You listen and you learn. You dive in and you uncover. You persist
and listen
to God’s direction.

You take the risk, even when you want to turn your back and walk away. Sure,
there may be times God leads you to go a different path. But, before this
point, you enter the difficult spaces and get real. You seek to understand.

Take a hard-learned lesson from me.

Prayer: God, I want to be a good friend. I want to be a person who is slow
to anger, quick to listen, patient and kind. Grow me in this. Show me how to
communicate well. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears
has been called “A must read,”
“Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it
today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless
Challenge.


Worship Renews Your Strength
By Rick Warren

“Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy”
( Psalm 100:2 NLT).

To strengthen your faith, you must unite with others in worship. Worship is
for God, but it also has benefits for you. Here are two of the biggest
benefits
of corporate worship: It renews your faith, and it restores your joy.

Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the Lordwill renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they
will
walk and not be faint”
(NIV).

How many times have you gotten up on a Sunday morning and said, “I am so
tired; I really don’t have any energy to go to church,” but then you went to
church
and worshiped, and afterward you were more energized? That happens because
worship renews you. It strengthens you. It strengthens your faith.

You’re not going to get your strength renewed by watching golf on tv. That’s
just going to make you lazier and lazier. You get renewed by worshiping God
with other believers.

As a pastor, sometimes I think of myself like the coach in the boxing movie
Rocky. Rocky is out there in the fight, and he’s pouring his heart out and
just getting beat to a pulp. The bell rings and he goes, “Thank God..” He
comes
to the corner, and the coach says, “You’re doing a good job..” The coach
throws some water on him, pats him on the back, and says, “Now get back out
there.”

Sometimes I feel like that’s what I’m doing on Sunday for my church. I’m
telling people, “You’re doing a good job. Now get back out there. You can do
this!”
But that’s not me renewing people’s strength. It’s the Word of God. It’s
music and praying and worshiping together with other believers.

The Bible also says in Psalm 100:2 , “Worship the Lordwith gladness.. Come
before him, singing with joy”
(NLT).

I think it ought to be fun to go to church. That may seem strange to you if
it’s not how you were raised or how you felt about a certain church you’ve
attended. But the Bible says to worship the Lord with gladness -- not
boredom, sadness, or anger, or out of duty. You should be singing for joy in
church!
Church should have that effect on you. Worship should renew your faith and
restore your joy.

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the
Lord’” ( Psalm 122:1 NLT).

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

What is your general attitude about going to church? What motivates you to
go to church?

If you have a complaint about the worship at your church, how do you think
God wants you to respond?

Do you think it’s fun to go to church? If not, do you think it is more about
the church or about you?

This devotional (c) 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by
permission.

But the dove found no rest for or the sole of her foot, and she returned
unto him... And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her
mouth
was an olive leaf (
Genesis 8:9-11 ).

God knows just when to withhold from us any visible sign of encouragement,
and when to grant us such a sign. How good it is that we may trust Him
anyway!
When all visible evidences that He is remembering us are withheld, that is
best; He wants us to realize that His Word, His promise of remembrance, is
more
substantial and dependable than any evidence of our senses. When He sends
the visible evidence, that is well also; we appreciate it all the more after
we have trusted Him without it. Those who are readiest to trust God without
other evidence than His Word always receive the greatest number of visible
evidences of His love.
--C. G. Trumbull

Believing Him; if storm-clouds gather darkly 'round,
And even if the heaven seem brass, without a sound?
He hears each prayer and even notes the sparrow's fall.
And praising Him; when sorrow, grief, and pain are near,
And even when we lose the thing that seems most dear?
Our loss is gain. Praise Him; in Him we have our All.
Our hand in His; e'en though the path seems long and drear
We scarcely see a step ahead, and almost fear?
He guides aright. He has it thus to keep us near.
And satisfied; when every path is blocked and bare,
And worldly things are gone and dead which were so fair?
Believe and rest and trust in Him, He comes to stay.

Delays are not refusals; many a prayer is registered, and underneath it the
words: "My time is not yet come." God has a set time as well as a set
purpose,
and He who orders the bounds of our habitation orders also the time of our
deliverance.
--Selected

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

Purchase your own copy of this devotional.
Or, catch up on Streams in the Desert in our Archives.

Anne Graham Lotz - God of the Impossible

God of the Impossible
"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Matthew 19:26, NKJV

God is a God of the impossible. When we are utterly helpless, He is our
Helper. But He requires the cooperation of our obedience.

What seemingly impossible task has God given you to do? Have you done it, or
are you procrastinating? What if Noah had procrastinated and told God he
would
build the ark but at a time when he felt he was more rested, more capable,
when he had had sufficient training, when his financial situation was more
stable,
when his family was more self-sufficient, when it was just more convenient?
If he had had the attitude many of us do when God gives us an assignment
that
is beyond our ability, he would have been totally exposed in his
helplessness and unprepared for the awesome devastation when it struck.

Instead of procrastination, Noah obeyed without question or hesitation. Noah
did everything just as God commanded him (see Gen. 6:22). What impossible
task could you accomplish if you would cooperate with God by obeying His
Word?

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Farming God’s Way
Jan 23, 2018 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Psalm 65:11, NIV "You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts
overflow with abundance."

Pray that the peoples of East Africa will understand that abundance comes
from the Lord.

Today's People Group

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you
feed him for a lifetime.” Missionaries and non-government organizations
(NGOs)
around the world are taking advantage of “Farming God’s Way,” a technique
for enriching the soil and crop yield of farmers all over the world. Africa
is
the most poverty-stricken continent on earth, home to 750 million
subsistence farmers who often cannot feed their families much less sell
enough to exist.
This organization believes that Farming God’s Way is the solution for
turning Africa from being the “begging bowl” to the “breadbasket of the
world.” They
quote Hosea 4:6 “My people perish because of a lack of knowledge.” They are
sharing the solution with the poorest of the poor of many unreached people
groups, and the success stories abound.
This technique involves no ploughing, 100 percent mulch covers (referred to
as God’s blanket), and crop rotation. Hard rock earth covered with mulch for
several years has turned into nutrient rich soil. The testimonies abound for
Farming God’s Way. It is given as a gift to denominations and mission
agencies
that are employing its methods to meet the physical needs of the poor. These
groups then also share God’s other gifts with these tribes, including
salvation
in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Pray that this farming technique will literally be the physical salvation
for the poorest of the poor in many unreached people groups. Pray for this
revelation
to lead them to hunger for all of God’s truth.

Learn more at Joshua Project .


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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 18 Feb 2018, 11:04 am

God Knows Our Way
Expand Messages
Dean MastersFeb 14 5:08 PM
God Knows Our Way and His Plans Are Good: There’s Hope Ahead
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper 
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 
29:11

Sometimes, we may not believe this is true. Troubles swirl around us, 
pressures feel too great, life seems hard. We might even feel like God has 
forgotten
us and left us facing the struggles all alone.

Yet in the background of this great verse, we're reminded that God spoke 
these words to His people, not when times were easy, but when times were 
very
hard. They would endure 70 years of captivity, they would experience great 
suffering. And it's right there, in the midst of all that, we can see the 
hope
of God shine through.

He didn't leave his people in the tough trials. He won't leave us there 
either. He walks us through, reminding us that His plans are for good, for a 
future,
for a hope. He is right with us, and breathes confidence and peace, that we 
will press through the struggle, and come out to the other side, stronger,
faith-filled. He assures us that He will never waste the pain of what we 
experience in this life, but will bring greater good and blessing because of 
it.

If you find yourself facing hard times today, or maybe you’ve just walked 
through a difficult year, this verse is your reminder – there’s hope ahead. 
Be
confident of this, God’s not finished yet. You're still here, you're gaining 
strength and perseverance through the trials. He has good in store, great
purpose in all that we walk through, no matter how hard it may be.

He sees the big picture of our lives, and He's aware of every little detail 
too. He knows what He's doing, even when we can't see it all yet. He often
works behind the scenes that unfold our every day, in the places where we 
may not always understand His plans. Even through all our seasons of 
waiting.

So we can trust...that He has our best in mind. He's got our back. He's with 
us right now. And He's secured our future too.

Resting in that truth today. There's peace in knowing we don't have to try 
hard to control it all. We can let go of the need to try to figure it all 
out,
or the striving of trying to make things happen.

God knows, He understands, we’re never alone.

Keep pressing through.

He loves you.

He cares.

He is with you.

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Have the trials you’ve been walking through or 
the problems you’ve faced caused you to lose some hope? Bring it all before 
God
today. Let go of the need to have it all make sense right now. Look to Him. 
Ask for His fresh filling and renewal. Be reminded of His truth, that He 
will
use it all for good somehow, and has a great future and hope for you still 
in store.

Further Reading:
James 1:2-4
Philippians 3:13-14
Romans 12:12
Romans 8:28

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






When You Come To The Iron Gates
Dean MastersFeb 14 5:07 PM
"Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made 
for him"
(Acts 12:5 , margin).

Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human 
power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was 
help
to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, 
importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led 
him
out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to 
the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.

There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a 
caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, 
you
have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a 
secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to 
the
iron gate, it will open of its own accord.

How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will 
learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable 
difficulties
will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to 
pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22 , 
margin).
Souls in prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; love ones 
out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you 
definitely
believe God.
--C. H. P.

Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing 
can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his
face between his knees, that was prayer--the man himself.

No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man's whole 
being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of 
evil.
They couldn't withstand such praying. There's more of this embodied praying 
needed.
--The Bent-knee Time

"Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be 
refused."
--C. H. Spurgeon

Gospel from Asia

I love Him !
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." 1 John 4:7.

It’s that time of year when stores are filled with beautiful roses, red hearts, chocolates, balloons, greeting cards and all kinds of things that say, “You’re beautiful and I love you.” 

All women want to feel beautiful. 
All wives want to feel their husbands see them as beautiful, and it is true that men are drawn to beauty. 

This is why women focus so much on fashion and good looks. 

Obviously, making the most of natural beauty is important-
- but don’t miss the true secret to a radiant, lasting beauty that comes from knowing Jesus. 

It’s unmistakable, the beauty on the face of an older woman who loves her Lord.

But that’s not all. 

Love isn’t just for romance. 

Even if you don’t have a sweetheart this Valentine’s Day-
- perhaps you can think of someone who could benefit from an expression of love from you. 

Lastly, but most importantly-
I want to tell the Saviour of my soul, the Maker of my heart and the Creator of love itself that I love Him !
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 12:13 am

The Hope You Need

by Chuck Swindoll

Hebrews 6:19

Somewhere along the many miles of southern California shoreline walked a
young, 20-year-old woman with a terminal disease in her body and a revolver
in
her hand.

She had called me late one evening. We talked for a long time. A troubled
young woman, her mind was filled with doubts. She had advanced leukemia. The
doctors told her she would not live much longer. She checked herself out of
a hospital because, as she put it, she "couldn't take another day of that
terrible
isolation."

Her husband had left her.
Her two-month-old daughter had recently died.
Her best friend had been killed in an auto accident.
Her life was broken. She'd run out of hope.

She and I spoke calmly and quietly about what was happening. I did a lot of
listening. There were periods when there was silence on the phone for thirty
to forty-five seconds. I didn't know where she was. I still don't know her
full name. She spoke of taking her husband's revolver and going out on the
beach
to finish it all. She asked me a lot of questions about suicide.

In what seemed an inappropriate moment . . . I felt peace, a total absence
of panic. I had no fear that she would hang up and take her life. I simply
spoke
very, very quietly about her future. I made no special promise that she
would immediately be healed. I knew that she might not live much longer, as
her
doctors were talking to her in terms of a very few weeks—perhaps days. I
spoke to her about Christ and the hope He could provide. After a sigh and
with
an ache that was obvious, she hung up.

Thirty minutes later my phone rang again. It was the same young woman. She
had a friend who was a nurse, who used to come to our church. The nurse had
given her a New Testament in which she had written my name and phone number
and had said, "If you really are in deep need, I think he will understand."
By the way, the nurse—her closest friend—was the one who had been killed in
the auto accident. She had nothing to cling to from that friendship but
memories
and this Testament. She read from it.

I said, "What does that little Book say to you?"

"Well, I think the first part of it is biography and the last part is a
group of letters that explain how to do what's in that biography." (That's a
good
analysis of the New Testament.)

I said, "Have you done that?" And she had called back to say, "Yes, I've
done that. I decided, Chuck, that I would, without reservation, give myself
to
Jesus Christ. I'm still afraid; I still have doubts. I still don't know what
tomorrow's going to bring, but I want you to know that I have turned my life
over to Jesus, and I'm trusting Him through this. He has given me new hope .
.. . the one thing I really needed."

It's very possible that someone reading these words right now feels the very
same way. You're thinking thoughts that you have never entertained before,
and you're thinking them more often and more seriously. Without trying to
use any of the clichés on you, I would say that this hope Christ can bring
is
the only way through. I have no answer other than Jesus Christ. I can't
promise you healing, nor can I predict that your world will come back right
side
up. But I
can promise you He will receive you as you come in faith to Him. And He will
bring back the hope you need so desperately. The good news is this: That
hope
will not only get you through this particular trial, it will ultimately take
you into God's presence when you die because you have received the gift of
eternal life through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
your Lord.

Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright ©️ 1990, 1995 by Charles
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional information
and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

When I Lay My Isaac Down
Thank You for Giving with Joy and Faith

The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries.
All rights reserved worldwide.


Our Greatest Call

The church in Ephesus had many good qualities, yet they were lacking in one
significant area: their love for Jesus Christ. They actively served Him.
They
taught biblical Truth. They refused to give in to the permissive culture
around them. They endured hardships in the name of Christ. They were busy,
committed
workers for the kingdom.

Jesus commends them for their hard labor and endurance: "I know your deeds,
your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked
men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and
have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my
name, and have not grown weary" (Revelation 2:2, 3).

Yet, in their sincere efforts to serve Christ, they forgot to spend time
loving and adoring Him. They overlooked their prayer time with Him. They no
longer
worshiped God wholeheartedly. They were so distracted and bogged down by the
work of God, they neglected their relationship with Him. Jesus warns them:
"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love" (Revelation
2:4).

Yes, Jesus wants our obedience. He wants to see us actively serving Him. He
wants us to follow the Truth and shun false teachings. He wants us to remain
dedicated to Him even in the face of persecution. However, upholding the
Truth cannot replace our love for Him.

Throughout the Bible we read of God's love for us--and He wants us to return
that love with the same fervor and intensity. When the Pharisees asked Jesus
what was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, "‘Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is
the first and greatest commandment"
(Matthew 22:37 , 38).

Believing the right things and doing the right things are vital components
of our Christian faith--we must continue walking in the Truth. But loving
God
must be at the root of everything.

How often do you stop to adore Jesus? Do you wait for Sunday worship service
because you're just too busy during the week? Do you neglect spending time
reading His love letter to humanity because you're consumed with projects
and commitments? Are you allowing the busyness of the work of God to
supplant
your relationship with Him?

If you have let your relationship with Christ fade, follow His words to the
Ephesians: "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do
the
things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove
your lampstand from its place. He who has an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit
says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat
from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:5, 7).

If you have ceased to love Him like you did when you first accepted Him as
Savior, recalling the time when you were overwhelmed by the love of Christ
for
you. Recall the time when you were joyous over the forgiveness you received
for your sins. Recall how you wanted to spend all of your time adoring and
worshiping and thanking Him.

Then identify whatever is robbing you of your ability to love Jesus with all
your heart. Reverse your course and return to that time when loving God was
your primary focus. Recapture the time when you loved being in the presence
of the Lord Jesus. Recapture the time when your love for Jesus occupied your
thoughts, your desires, and your decisions.

Pray for the Lord's help to remain in a state of love and adoration for Him.
Pray that others will see your continuous love for Christ and they will turn
their attention to Him.

"To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all
your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than
all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Mark 12:33

Fearless Living in Troubled Times

Imagine a life of peace and purpose in the midst of global instability,
national tension, and personal crisis. Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book
Fearless
Living in Troubled Times provides the vital information needed to unlock
that life. Living in constant fear and anxiety are not God’s plan for your
life,
and this book focuses on living a God-honoring life, overcoming fear through
the right perspective, and understanding the true nature of the end times.
Get your copy today for your gift of any amount.

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

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

Just Be Still
January 8, 2018

Read: Exodus 14:5-14

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. (v. 14 NIV)

Centuries ago, the Israelites were hemmed in between the sea and the
approaching Egyptian chariots. They panicked! Then Moses said to them, “The
LORD will
fight for you; you need only to be still.” Later in their history, the
Israelites no longer trusted the prophets whom God had sent to rule them;
they wanted
a king. Samuel, upset at their lack of faith, recounted how God had guided
them and protected them in the past. To prove God’s power, Samuel advised,
“Now
then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before
your eyes!” (1 Sam. 12:16 NIV). He called upon God to send thunder and rain.
And it thundered and rained.

Who am I when my body fails me? I am a beloved child of God, who takes great
delight in me, who calms me with his love, and rejoices over me with singing
(Zeph. 3:17). I am someone who lives in the available and coming kingdom of
God. I am safe (Heb. 12:28).

I don’t believe that God causes cancer or any other bad thing. And there is
much I can do to manage this cancer. But God’s message to me is clear: be
still;
stand still. This disease is not just my fight. The outcome will reveal God’s
love and God’s power. I will be the winner, no matter how or when it ends.
—Karen Bables

Prayer: Lord, I name my fears and turn them over to you. They pale in
comparison to your majesty.

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

God is Jesus

Is Jesus God? If you answered with a quick, firm "yes," read on. Recent
polls show a whopping 96% of Americans believe in "God." Obviously,
considering
the state of American Christianity, something doesn't quite add up. Dare we
assume that 96% of Americans believe in the Christian God? Do we all have
the
same "god" in mind when we confess faith?

Now think about the center of Christian apologetics: that Jesus Christ is
God. Please don't excommunicate me just yet, but if you were to ask me, "Is
Jesus
God?" I would respond with another question. "Which 'god' are we talking
about?" Most evangelical Christians, when sharing the Gospel, assume that
Jesus'
identity is in question, while God's isn't. In other words, we think
everyone basically agrees with us about who God is, and so all we must do is
simply
proclaim Jesus' divine link to Him.

Declaring the divinity of Jesus by stating matter-of-factly that He is God
does not really resolve anything until we have painted the biblical picture
of the true God. Yet in the past 200 years, fundamentalists and evangelicals
have defended Christ's divinity without stopping to consider how
God's identity is also under attack. Why? Liberal theologians have taught
that Jesus was not divine and should not be worshipped as God in the flesh.
Conservative
Christians have rightly recoiled from such heresy, but while simply
affirming Jesus' deity might stifle the theologians, it provokes a "so
what?" from
the person on the street.

"Jesus is God" can't be true until we get past all the other "gods"
masquerading under the Christian "God" label. Muslims worship an impersonal,
distant
"god" (Allah, in Arabic), but is the Muslim-god the same as ours? Most
Americans will line up to sing "God bless America." Yet considering the
Deist beliefs
of several of our forefathers (and a growing segment of the population
today), this Clockmaker-god does nothing more than put the clock together,
wind
it up, put it up on a shelf, and go about His business or back to His
rocking chair. If the god that is in mind is one of these, saying "Jesus is
God"
is incorrect. Jesus definitely is not that god.

A Christian who knows his Bible and has a clear picture of God can be
telling the truth when he says, "Jesus is God", and at the same time, the
person
listening (perhaps with a Deist concept of god) may be hearing an outright
lie. Jesus' divinity is not the only issue at stake here; God's very
identity
is under attack too.

Some readers might affirm that "Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob" in order to eliminate many pluralistic gods. But where does that
leave our
Jewish friends, since they would easily affirm the same statement? You might
say, "Jews and Christians share the same God! It's just about Jesus that we
don't see eye to eye." By saying this, Christians make a glaring
misrepresentation of Yahweh - the Great I Am.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

God is not God apart from Jesus. It is pointless to try to define the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob apart from Jesus Christ. That is the pluralistic
problem plaguing so many Christian factions today. Since you can't explain
the Bible's God without involving the Trinity, you can never fully explain
how
"Jesus is God" makes any sense at all.

Since Christians believe in a triune God - Yahweh in three Persons: Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, we actually undermine the divinity of Christ by
claiming
that our God is the same as that of our Jewish friends. As Christians, we
believe Jesus is so important that you can't define God's identity apart
from
Him.

So what's the answer? What can help us get through some of the theological
red tape and bring us to the point where we can once again make a firm
statement
for the Gospel?

Here's the statement that I recommend you chew on a little bit: GOD IS
JESUS. When you see Jesus, you are seeing God, not just because Jesus is
God, but
also because God is Jesus. Jesus is the One who shows us who God is and what
God is like.

Of course, "God is Jesus" is a statement that has its own interesting
theological snags. We can start heading backwards by asking, "Which Jesus is
God?"
since people don't agree on Jesus' identity either! Still, I believe we can
more easily define Jesus' identity and how it relates to God's Person than
we can trying to go the other way around.

So, looking ahead for the 21st century, how can we move forward in our
Gospel proclamation? Let's teach people who Jesus is; show them how
Scripture describes
Him; tell about His atoning sacrifice on the cross; proclaim Him as Lord.
Then, utilizing the biblical portrait of Jesus, tell people, "That's who God
is. That's what God is like! That's God in human flesh." You want to know
God's identity? Meet Jesus. God is Jesus.

Written by Trevin Wax. ©️ Kingdom People Blog
.. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


t wasn’t that I didn’t want to have her over. Then again, it wasn’t that I
did. Generally speaking, I couldn’t make up my mind and that was the
problem.
I was indecisive.

Going a level deeper (there’s almost always something deeper) the reality
was. . . I’d been to her house. Everything was laid in perfect order — no
crumbs
on the floor, stains on her couch or picture frames off-center. Her house
was perfection, every corner Pinterest-able.

Mine? Mine was laundry on the floors, toys spread all over the family room
and crumbs under the counter cupboards. Mine was marker stains on the
kitchen
table and a mini-trampoline in the center of the living room.

She looked so good.

I looked so bad.

On face-level I look good too. Outside my house, I dress stylish. But
inside- that’s what might scare her away, make her feel uncomfortable or
worst yet,
make me look bad.

So, while I wish I could tell you Ms. High and Mighty Blogger Gal Kelly
Balarie kept our date, I canceled our little get-together. She gave me a
little
leeway to cancel, and I took it and ran….

And now, to top this all off, I just invited eight gals to my house in a
couple of weeks. My mind can’t stop thinking of what:

– comfy chairs I need to buy
– new patio furniture I need to get
– flowers need to adorn my home
– scents need to hit them as they walk in

But then, I consider this. What if my imperfection isn’t all bad?

What if my imperfection gives way to theirs? What if my lack of everything
somehow welcomes them in a small, unsaid way to share their lack? Their lack
of hope in their marriage? Their lack of will to stay close to God? Their
lack of understanding of what their future holds?

What if imperfection is the open door to invite Jesus in? Jesus always
walked into the space and place of vulnerability. Those who fell on their
knees,
cried out, felt less than, hopeless, broken…for these people, Jesus showed
up, with power.

Won’t He do that for me too?

So why do I try to shun that away? Why do I slam the door on the one opening
God may use to truly, deeply and powerfully reach others?

I can’t help but think it is not perfect, clean and shiny houses that bring
people near, but real and authentic houses that really draw people in. It
stops
them.

Our real truth.
Our real story.
Our details of need.
Our belief that God will show up there.
Our hope in something greater than material items.
Our will to just be with people rather than putting on a show.
Our desire to see something more meaningful than facades.

Jesus never ran from what was askew. He welcomed it.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears
has been called “A must read,”
“Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it
today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless
Challenge.


A Firm and Determined Grasp

And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God. -
Galatians 2:20

When the Lord in mercy drew near and saw us in our deadness, He first of all
said, "Live"; and He did this, first, because life is absolutely essential
in spiritual matters, and until it is given we are incapable of seeing or
entering the kingdom. Now the life that grace confers upon believers at the
moment
of their conversion is none other than the life of Christ, which, like the
sap from the stem, runs into us, the branches, and establishes a living
connection
between our souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace that perceives this union,
having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck that joins the
body
of the Church to its all-glorious Head.

A faith that shines more bright and clear,
When tempests rage without,
That when in danger knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt.

Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. It
knows His excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce faith to place
its
trust elsewhere. And Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace
that He never ceases to strengthen and sustain that faith by the loving
embrace
and all-sufficient support of His eternal arms.

This establishes a living, sensible, and delightful union that produces
streams of love, confidence, sympathy, contentment, and joy, from which both
the
bride and Bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can clearly see this
oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for
both, and
the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then the heart is as
near heaven as it can be on earth and is prepared for the enjoyment of the
most
sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.

Lord, give me such a faith as this,
And then, whate'er may come,
I taste e'en now the hallowed bliss,
Of an eternal home.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Chronicles 33

verse 2 Revelation 19

Voices From The Past – Puritan Devotional Readings
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 12:05 am

Valentines & Love Letters

"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an
everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jeremiah 31:3,
NIV)

I believe everyone likes to receive a valentine or to hear someone say they
love you. In the Scriptures above we hear God saying that He loves us. Later
He actually showed us how much He loved us by sending his Son Jesus Christ
to come to earth and die for us.

There is a song about the greatest valentine ever written. The song is
“Written in Red” and was sung by Janet Paschal. It said that God wrote His
love on Calvary and has done so through the years with the nail pierced
hands of Jesus Christ. Calvary said, “I love you” and it was a message
written in red.

God spoke to me through that song during a time when a lot was happening in
my life. He sent it just when I needed to hear it. God can speak through
songs and other ways but the main way he speaks is through His Word the
Bible. Some have called it God’s Love Letter.

Once I was told by a woman that she was cleaning house and found some
letters that she had received from her husband many years earlier when he
went to boot camp right after they got married. She also found the letters
she and other family members had sent to him. Can you imagine what she did
when she got a letter from him? Did she put it down and think, “I’ll get to
it later and read it.” No, she probably couldn’t wait to read it. That is
the way we need to be about God’s Love Letter. WE need to want to read it
daily. Before we read we need to ask Him, “Lord, what message do you have
for me today from your Word?”

The Bible is also like a letter from home. This woman’s husband probably
couldn’t wait to read the letters from home. WE Christians are not home. AS
one song I heard said, “We are not home yet.” Heaven is our home. WE should
want to find out what message our Father has for us each day. WE should want
to read His Word as our letter from home.

Prayer

Holy Father, we thank you for your great love. Thank you for the greatest
valentine ever written. Thank you Jesus for dying for us. Father, You have
drawn us. Continue to draw us. You know we love You, help us to love You
more. Give us a hunger and a thirst for You and your Word. In the name of
Jesus Christ, Amen.

by Dean W. Masters



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Relating with Our Friends

by Chuck Swindoll

Genesis 2:21-22

After God made man, He observed a need inside that life, a nagging
loneliness that Adam couldn't shake.

block quote
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make
him a helper suitable for him."
(Genesis 2:18)
block quote end

As a fulfillment to the promise to help Adam with his need for
companionship, God got involved:

block quote
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then
He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the L
ORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and
brought her to the man.
(Genesis 2:21–22)
block quote end

Later we read that the Lord came to relate to His creatures "in the cool of
the day" (Genesis 3:8). I take it that such a time must have been a common
practice between the Lord God and Adam and Eve.

He considered them valuable, so the infinite Creator-God took time to relate
with His friends in the Garden of Eden. He got personally involved. He
observed
their needs. He carved out time and went to the trouble to do whatever to
help them. He cultivated that friendship. He saw it as a worthwhile
activity.

I was amused at a cartoon that appeared in a magazine. It was the picture of
a thief wearing one of those "Lone Ranger" masks. His gun was pointed toward
his frightened victim as he yelled: "Okay, gimmee all your valuables!"

The victim began stuffing into the sack all his friends.

How valuable are relationships to you? If you have trouble answering that,
I'll help you decide. Stop and think back over the past month or two. How
much
of your leisure have you spent developing and enjoying relationships?

Jesus, God's Son, certainly considered the relationship He had with His
disciples worth His time. They spent literally hours together. They ate
together
and wept together, and I'm sure they must have laughed together as well..
Being God, He really didn't "need" those men. He certainly didn't need the
hassle
they created on occasion. But He loved those twelve men. He believed in
them. They had a special relationship, a lot like Paul, Silas, and Timothy;
David
and Jonathan; Barnabas and John Mark; and Elijah and Elisha.

As the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once put in his poem "Youth and Age,"
"Friendship is a sheltering tree." How very true! Whatever leisure time we
are
able to invest in relationships is time well spent. And when we do, let's
keep in mind we are imitating God, for His Son certainly did.

Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright ©️ 1990, 1995 by Charles
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional information
and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

God Wants to Shape Your Wants: An Invitation to the Psalms
John Piper / Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:01 PM
God Wants to Shape Your Wants

Try to imagine the Bible without the Psalms. What a different book it would
be! What a different place the church would be. And what a different person
I would be.

It’s not as though the rest of the Bible does not teach truth and awaken
emotions. I learn things and feel things everywhere I read in the Bible. But
it’s
not the same. The Psalms do not just awaken the affections of the heart;
they put the expression of those affections in the foreground. They feature
the
emotional experience of the psalmist intentionally against the backdrop of
divine truth.

Emotion on Display

They do not just invite the emotion of the heart in response to revealed
truth. They put the emotion on display. They are not just commanding; they
are
contagious. We are not just listening to profound ideas and expressed
affections. We are living among them in their overflow. We are walking in
the counsel
of God-besotted wisdom, and standing in the way of amazed holiness, and
sitting in the seat of jubilant admiration.

We touch pillows wet with tears. We hear and feel the unabashed cries of
affliction and shame and regret and grief and anger and discouragement and
turmoil.
But what makes all this stunningly different from the sorrows of the world
is that all of it — absolutely all of it — is experienced in relation to the
totally sovereign God.

God at the Bottom of It All

None of these emotions rises from a heart that has rejected the
all-governing God.

list of 6 items
• “Your waves have gone over me” (Psalm 42:7).
• “You have made my days a few handbreadths” (Psalm 39:5).
• “You have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our
armies” (Psalm 44:9).
• “You have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the
nations” (Psalm 44:11).
• “You have made your people see hard things” (Psalm 60:3).
• And in it all, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” (Psalm 139:1).
list end

God is behind everything. This is the great difference between the Psalms of
Scripture and the laments, complaints, and sorrows of the world. For the
psalmists,
God is a rock-solid, unshakeable, undeniable, omnipotent Reality. Their
emotional experiences get their meaning not by denying him or his power or
his
wisdom, but by dealing with him as he is: absolutely sovereign. “Whatever
the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all
deeps”
(Psalm 135:6). This was the psalmists’ unshakeable conviction — all of them:
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

Taste and See That He Is Good

They never turned against God and rejected him because of their calamities.
The fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1), but not the
psalmist.
It was unthinkable to the psalmists that their sorrows should drive them
away from God. Where would they go? “If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If
I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” (Psalm 139:8). If God is God, then
all emotional life is lived in his presence. He makes sense of it. Or there
is no sense.

But sheer omnipotence is not the main reason the psalmists never forsake
their God. The psalmists know from experience that he is good and faithful.
They
know that, if they trust him, he will act on their behalf (Psalm 37:5). They
testify again and again,

list of 9 items
• “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts
toward us” (Psalm 40:5).
• “You have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me” (Psalm
30:1).
• “You have given me the shield of your salvation” (Psalm 18:35).
• “You have given me relief when I was in distress” (Psalm 4:1).
• “You have healed me” (Psalm 30:2).
• “You have been the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).
• “You have maintained my just cause” (Psalm 9:4).
• “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11).
• “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and
wine abound” (Psalm 4:7)

Plant Your Heart Here

In great mercy and wisdom, God has chosen to give us the Psalms. He has put
them at the very center of his inspired word. Surely this is no accident.
The
heart is the center of our emotional life. And God’s heart-book is at the
center of his word. How easy it is to find!

This is an invitation. God wants our hearts. He will take them as he finds
them. And then, with the healing balm of the Psalms, he will shape them.
Accept
his invitation to come. On the front door, he has promised,
Enter here. Find your delight in lingering here in meditation.

You will be “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit
in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he
prospers”
(Psalm 1:3).

God’s Most Successful Setback
John Piper / Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:00 AM
block quote
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is
above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in
heaven
and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9–11)
block quote end

Christmas marked the beginning of God’s most successful setback. He has
always delighted to show his power through apparent defeat. He makes
tactical retreats
in order to win strategic victories.

In the Old Testament, Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, was promised
glory and power in his dream (Genesis 37:5–11). But to achieve that victory
he had to become a slave in Egypt. And, as if that were not enough, when his
conditions improved because of his integrity, he was made worse than a
slave:
a prisoner.

But it was all planned. Planned by God for his good and the good of his
family, and eventually for the good of the whole world! For there in prison
he
met Pharaoh’s butler, who eventually brought him to Pharaoh, who put him
over Egypt. And finally, his dream came true. His brothers bowed before him,
and
he saved them from starvation. What an unlikely route to glory!

But that is God’s way — even for his Son. He emptied himself and took the
form of a slave. Worse than a slave — a prisoner — and was executed. But
like
Joseph, he kept his integrity. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and
bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of
Jesus
every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:9–10).

And this is God’s way for us too. We are promised glory — if we will suffer
with him as it says in Romans 8:17. The way up is down. The way forward is
backward. The way to success is through divinely appointed setbacks. They
will always look and feel like failure.

But if Joseph and Jesus teach us anything this Christmas it is this: What
Satan and sinful men meant for evil, “God meant it for good!” (Genesis
50:20).

You fearful saints fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head.

We sent you this message because you have asked to receive New Daily Content
(full-text) from us.
Desiring God / Post Office Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402


Your Spiritual Instruction Manual

What happens when we do not follow instruction manuals? Typically we become
lost and confused. But this disorder is only temporary. When we choose to
ignore
the greatest instruction manual--the Bible--we are lost for eternity. The
Bible contains God's plan of salvation, and without it we have no hope of
reconciliation.

This instruction manual also contains directions for daily living. It shows
us how to love God, how to treat other people, and how to become testimonies
for Christ. Yet we cannot haphazardly read the Bible and expect to gain its
full wisdom. There are some basic guidelines to properly studying God's
Word:

We must be careful to study the Bible in the context of the whole passage so
we will not misinterpret God's purpose and meaning. We cannot randomly pull
out verses that seem to fit what we're searching for.

While the truths and histories of the Bible are to be taken literally, we
must also recognize its usage of metaphors. When Jesus said, "If your eye
causes
you to sin, pluck it out"
(Mark 9:47
), He was not instructing us to physically blind ourselves.

We also need to understand the historical and cultural settings of the
Bible. We need to discern what is mandated for all believers and what was
unique
for certain individuals. When Elijah confronted Ahab and Jezebel, he did not
set a precedent for all of us to literally call for fire from heaven when
standing up for righteousness.

When purchasing a Bible, look for a version that is both true to the
original meaning, yet also easy enough to understand so that it encourages
study.
Perhaps also acquire a concordance, Bible dictionary, a chronological Bible,
or a commentary series for a fuller understanding.

We must be on guard against reading what we want into Scripture. We cannot
randomly flip through the Bible and declare that whatever page we land on
will
provide us our answers. We cannot pull verses out of context to support our
false ideas. The Bible is the infallible Word of God, not a tool to twist
for
our own purposes.

We will gain the most benefit from the Bible when we read it with the Holy
Spirit's guidance. Without His help, we may overlook key insights,
misunderstand
meanings, or ignore the rebukes in a passage.

We must also apply what we read in our daily lives. When we simply read the
words but do not follow them, then we are missing out on the transforming
power
of God's Word. "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 1:22-25 ).

As you begin studying God's Word today, ask yourself three questions
regarding the passage: What does the Bible say to the original reader? What
does the
Bible mean by what it says? How can this apply to me today?

Pray for a hunger to study God's Word and for the Holy Spirit's discernment
as you read the words. Pray for a desire to share what you learn with others
and to use the Bible's transforming power to be a light in this darkened
world.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105

****

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“Believing we can have it all, all the time is a myth and a lie and a
joy-stealer. What I do believe is that we can have God’s best for us. A full
life
and a life to the full are two very different things. One is about grasping,
the other is about receiving. One is about cramming in, the other is about
room to breathe. One is about striving, the other is about trust. One is
about control, the other letting go – sometimes for a moment and sometimes
for
always.”

When I read this, in Holley Gerth’s new book, Fierce Hearted, all I could
think was, yes, yes, yes. She nailed it and was saying everything I was
living.
You see, God recently invited me into this beautiful place of, “
Set it all down Kelly. Come. And follow me.”

Set down the social media stuff. Follow me.

Set down your plans. Follow me.

Set down your busy work. Follow me.

Set down your dreams. Be with me.

My answer was, “Yes, God!!!”

But you see, it’s easy to speak, but much more difficult to do. To leave
behind the striving to be seen, to turn away from the control that comes
with
manhandling my schedule and to surrender my busyness that covers over the
sense of lack I don’t want to see. . . well, it all sounds nice, but. . .

It leaves me feeling exposed. What if I am not doing what I should be? What
if I miss out? What if I am left behind? What if I don’t get what I dream
of?
What if my time spent with God ends up (and I’d probably never vocalize
this). . . wasted? What if I get disappointed?

Yet I am finding it is always in the letting go that God works his way in.
It is always in the relinquishing that we get a broad-stroke view of what
God
is doing. It is always in carved-out space that we see God draw new stories
right over the old versions of insecurity.

But we must give leeway to His ways. It’s the only way.

When we clear out everything so God can come, He does. With power, strength,
dignity, honor and a pen that redraws all we ever wanted – and more.. He also
has an eraser. One that doesn’t feel like denial, remorse or pretending, but
recovery.

“Our everything” is not found in “our doing,” but “His everything” is found
in “our undoing” before Him.

Ahh…peace.

Come, Jesus. Restructure us. Let us let go of what we clench so tightly so
we can find ourselves held tight in the power of your love. Amen. (and thank
you Holley!)

Buy Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely on Amazon or wherever books are
found.

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The post A Truth I love appeared first on Purposeful Faith .


by Chuck Swindoll

Romans 3:10-18

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in English Literature to observe that God offers us
a gift in salvation. The gift is eternal life, which is directly connected
to His Son.

Now let's be clear and cautious. Becoming a member of a church is not the
way to salvation—just believing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Neither
does
God require a long list of heavy-duty accomplishments. Nor vast sums of
money. God is coming to the rescue of those who are lost by offering the
free gift
of eternal life to those who will simply believe. Those who do may know they
have been rescued.

"But it seems too easy," you say. "Something as vital as eternal salvation
seems far more valuable than that." Don't misunderstand. It
is valuable . . . the most priceless possession one can have. But because we
don't have to work for it or pay for it does not mean it's cheap or that
nobody
paid a handsome price. Someone did. His name? Jesus. Perhaps you already
forgot that this gift of salvation is directly connected to God's Son,
Christ
Himself. Because He paid the full price, because He opened the way for us,
we are able to take it as a gift.

It's funny, but most of us are suspicious of free gifts. "There ain't no
such thing as a free lunch" is more than a line out of a comedian's script.
We
have too much skepticism (or pride) to believe we can get something for
nothing. So it's understandable that we'd be reluctant to accept a gift as
important
as eternal salvation if it has the appearance of a "free lunch," right?

In all honesty, to say that God's rescue offer costs nobody anything is
misleading. It costs
us nothing today, but it cost His Son's life. That's the part we forget
about.

When sin first reared its ugly head on earth, the holy God of heaven could
no longer enjoy a close relationship with the human race. And the longer
mankind
practiced his or her wicked ways, the wider the gap grew between man and
God. This sin disease, contracted at birth and inescapably contagious,
spread
like wildfire from one generation to the next. With sin came death, as this
verse of Scripture declares:


When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death
throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all
sinned.

(Romans 5:12 TLB)
block quote end

Yes, everything. In fact, this universal sin disease impacted every part of
our being. Hard as it may be to read these words, please do so:

As the Scriptures say, 'No one is good—no one in all the world is innocent.'
No one has ever really followed God's paths, or even truly wanted to. Every
one has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing
what is right; not one.
(Romans 3:10–18 TLB).

That's the way we are in God's sight. Being lost, we are in such a miserable
spiritual condition that we have no hope of finding our way to Him on our
own. Sin separates us from our Creator. His rightful requirement is that sin
must be punished. Someone who is qualified must rescue mankind by satisfying
God's wrath against sin. Someone must pay the awful price, dying as our
substitute, taking our place and bearing our sin before God.

Jesus Christ did just that.

Don't simply believe my words . . . believe the words from the Bible:

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in
exchange, he poured God's goodness into us!
(2 Corinthians 5:21 TLB)

We aren't saved from sin's grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because
we can't and don't keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to
save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours—except that ours are
sinful—and destroyed sin's control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice
for our sins.
(Romans 8:3 TLB)

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life . . . . And all who
trust him—God's Son—to save them have eternal life; those who don't believe
and obey him shall never see heaven, but the wrath of God remains upon them..

(John 3:16, 36 TLB)

Christ also suffered. He died once for the sins of all us guilty sinners,
although he himself was innocent of any sin at any time, that he might bring
us safely home to God.
(1 Peter 3:18 TLB)
block quote end

Yes, it certainly cost somebody something. I repeat, it cost Jesus Christ
His life. But because He paid the price in full on our behalf, we are able
to
accept God's offer free and clear of any cost to us. The payment has been
made. The ransom has been provided in full.

The only issue that remains is this: Will you accept the gift God offers you
today? Now that the remedy for sin has been provided, all that remains is
receiving it.

Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional
information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

Anne Graham Lotz - God Is Fully Present

God Is Fully Present
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in
truth.

Psalm 145:18, NKJV

On Christmas Eve, 1968, Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders,
while orbiting the moon in Apollo 8, were so aware of the Presence of God in
space
that they publicly read the first ten verses of Genesis to the listening
world thousands of miles away. When James B. Irwin, an astronaut with Apollo
15,
actually walked on the surface of the moon, he said he looked out into the
inky blackness, saw our planet looking like a blue marble suspended in
space,
and was overwhelmed with the conscious awareness that God was present on the
surface of the moon! And God was! And God is! He is not bound by space.

Whom are you praying for who is separated from you? A child off at school? A
spouse on a business trip? A family member who lives in another city or
state
or country? What comforting encouragement to know that God is not only fully
present with you but also with those from whom you are separated, hearing
and answering your prayers of faith for them.

Blessings,

To find out more about Anne's 2018 Israel Tour, Click Here
Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
Blessings,

To find out more about Anne's 2018 Israel Tour, Click Here
Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
AnGeL Ministries
5115 Hollyridge Drive
Raleigh, NC 27612

The exterior of my house looks like a junkyard. I am not exaggerating. Out
front is a broken desk; it was shattered during www.annegrahamlotz.org.
To purchase a collection of the Joy of My Heart devotions, please click here our near-cross country move..
Out back are two sets of patio furniture. Ones I picked up and off the
neighbor’s lawn.

I’ve never done that before. I really wanted patio furniture. So, the first
second I saw the first set, the wrought iron white chairs, I declared them

as cute as could be. That is, until a couple weeks later rust stains started
showing up everywhere. I haven’t gotten rid of the chairs yet. My deck now
is etched with tons of full-blown brown circles.

The other set was the replacement for the first set. I spotted the two big
brown wicker chairs set aside as “throw-away items” in a neighbor’s yard. I
rapidly snagged them (may I remind you, I’ve never been a trash hunter…I
really wanted patio furniture). Like a sleuth agent, I threw them in my back
yard
before anyone could see.

Only later did I come to find out that the majority of the legs were
missing. I guess they had enough legs to fool me at first. Go figure.

So, now, when I go outside, front-yard or back, I am overcome with junk.
Junk that is rusty. Junk that is wasteful. Junk that is annoying. Junk I now
have
to figure out how to dispose of. Junk that leaves stains I also have to get
cleaned. Junk that pesters me. And, no patio furniture, to boot.

What junk are you dealing with in your life? An old house? An old wardrobe?
An old annoying habit that drives you nuts? A problem you can’t fix? A
person
you can’t de-stain? Baggage that feels to internally weighty to unload?

We can shift our attitude. Did you know that? I tried it. Sitting on the
said-white chairs, the other day, I recommitted to God to be positive about
it
all. That is. . .until I looked left. . . and saw the brown chairs.
Grr…not them again. My thoughts wandered off to lands of annoyed and
not-bueno.

God, how do we continually see the good, while we are surrounded by the bad?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ
Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)

What if we were really go give thanks in (and for) ALL circumstances, good
and bad?

God thank you that these rusty patio chairs remind me: earthly things rust,
eternal things last.

God, thank you that the brown chairs, flipped over, with their broken and
legless limbs up to the sky speak: on earth we don’t get everything, but in
Christ,
we have all we ever need.

God, thank you that the broken table out front is symbolic of seasons: they
change, but your love, God, always stay the same.

God, thank you that what looks like junk can be seen through a new light.
Thank you that what looks broken is a reminder of my brokenness and how you’ve
repaired me. Oh God, I give thanks that you haven’t left me broken, but you
are repairing me. You are good.

To give thanks for our bad, is to, undoubtedly, find God’s good. It is to
let victimhood, despair and frustration drop off you and to let a high and
lofty
view come in you. It’s powerful.

Junk has purpose. Thank you God, my deck kind-of, now, looks like art work.

Prayer:
God, help me to give thanks. So many times I see what is bad, but through
you, I ask for vision to see what is good. I ask you for a voice full of
praise
and thanksgiving. I ask for understanding of what you are doing through the
hard times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears
has been called “A must read,”
“Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it
today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless
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Faith .

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be
revealed from heaven with His mighty angels…”
2 Thessalonians 1:7

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

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

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

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

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright ©️ 2017, All rights reserved.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Today's Devotional

Hopeless

When my husband came home from the hospital after having suffered a stroke
during surgery six years ago, he did some very strange things. He thought
that
I was his sister one day, and another day, he recognized me as his wife. I
caught him standing in front of the mirror, shaving the right side of his
face
with a face cloth, never touching the left side of his face. He would step
into the shower without closing the door, not realizing that water was
spraying
onto the bathroom floor. Between my mother living downstairs and my
husband's illness, I was in a desperate situation.

I became the mother, caregiver, and financial advisor, as well as the
shopper for food and the payer of bills for both ourselves and my mother,
making
sure that we had enough propane, got the grass cut, and had the water
filters changed every three months.

I felt hopeless. I thought that I could handle things, but outbursts of
anger, times of anxiety, and sleep-deprived nights showed me otherwise. I
needed
help. It was during a moment of complete disarray and tears that God's voice
told me to call for help: my pride had to go.

Psalm 18:6 – In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for
help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his
ears.
(NIV)

I called my husband's sister, who drove over a hundred kilometres in order
to help out. She brought homemade food and her other sister to look after
their
brother while I went out with a friend for lunch. Just to get out of the
house for a few hours was like a breath of fresh air! When my husband's
sisters
left, my friend drove up from the city to give me a hand.

My husband has improved a lot since that time, as he now shaves himself on
both sides of the face, knows that I am his wife, and closes the door when
showering.
Although he has vascular dementia, things are much better than they were six
years ago. God knew what was going to happen and answered my prayer of
hopelessness
through the helping hands of family and friends.

Are you at your wit's end at the moment? Are you going through something
right now and feeling hopeless? Ask God to help you.

Prayer: Lord God, You know our rising and lying down. Even though we feel
all alone, You are right there. May we, in our distress and hopelessness,
call
out to You, and wait to hear Your voice. Amen.

Rosemary Hagedorn < rosyhagedorn@gmail.com >
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 06 Feb 2018, 11:41 pm

Afflicted

Some people paint a picture of the Christian life as a bed of roses with no
problems or troubles. Once you become a Christian you probably find out soon
that whoever told you that is wrong. Jesus Christ does give you peace, joy
and love but never promises a carefree life. You may not understand why the
things are happening to you. The afflictions may have come to test you like
Job was tested. The Lord may be disciplining you. Here are some verses
dealing with this:

Psalm 118:17-18 (NASB95)
17 I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

Psalm 119:67, 71, 75, 107 (NASB95)
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word …
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes …
75 I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me…
107 I am exceedingly afflicted;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.

Job 5:17-18 (NASB95)
17 “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
He wounds, and His hands also heal.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NASB95)
11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

Hosea 6:1 (NASB95)
1 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will dbandage us.

This Scripture tells us that if the Lord has afflicted us, He loves us and
will heal us. This should give us hope. As Jeremiah wrote:

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB95)
11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘
plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope .

In Sunday school one day we were studying in the book of James. The subject
of healing came up. A chiropractor said that some of his patients ask if God
will ever heal them. He answers, “Yes, but you may not know it in this
life.” WE may not understand our afflictions but we know that Jesus Christ
will take them away but it may not be until we see him face to face. Keep
trusting in him until he does take the affliction away.

by Dean W. Masters


Trusting God on the Job
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the
Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty
kindness
and
love (Acts 20:24 , LB).

Friend to Friend

God uses our work as one of His tools to mold us into who He wants us to be..
When we learn to trust God with our work, we can then view our job as an
opportunity
to provide the tools we need to accomplish our life mission.

Paul worked as a tentmaker, a church planter, and an author. His purpose and
mission never changed, but his work certainly did.

Many of us do not need a different job. We simply need a different attitude
and a new point of view about the job we have. Begin by envisioning Jesus
standing
in the midst of your work place as your real boss. Then look for the life
lessons God provides through your work.

God uses my work to teach me responsibility. Meeting deadlines, completing
assigned tasks with excellence, showing respect for co-workers (even the
abrasive
ones) and working without supervision are all valuable life lessons learned
on the job.

God uses my work to teach me about relationships. Cooperation, fairness,
flexibility, humility and patience are relationship skills of a successful
worker.
Our workplace is not only one of our God-ordained mission fields; it is a
classroom for learning to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable and,
in
short, be “God with skin on.” You may very well be the only sermon your
co-workers ever hear.

God uses my work to teach me how to serve. The way we serve God is by
serving others. God wants us to grow spiritually at work by becoming a
servant to
those with whom we work. It is easy to serve those who sit beside us on a
pew each Sunday, but a real servant serves on the job.

Attitudes never sit still. They constantly move and change. An attitude is a
pattern of thinking, a filter through which we view life. We can choose to
be honest about our attitude at work and we can choose to change our
attitude about work, but most importantly, we can choose to pray for God’s
attitude
about work.

Many people never experience success in their work because they are in the
wrong work to begin with. Not me. As a high school student, I knew I wanted
to be a nurse. My mother was a nurse and I wanted to be just like her, so I
became a student volunteer at the hospital where my mother worked. When I
told
her the good news, she thought for a moment and then simply said, "That's
great, honey. You'll make a wonderful nurse."

On my first day, I eagerly donned the required red and white striped uniform
and reported for duty. The head nurse welcomed me and explained that I would
be checking each patient to make sure they had water to drink, magazines to
read, and a listening ear. That sounded simple enough. "Oh, and one more
thing,"
she continued. In retrospect, I should have instantly recognized the danger
in those words and run for the nearest exit. In my ignorance, I stayed.
"Since
we are short-handed, I may ask you to do just a few things to help the other
nurses on duty," she said. "No problem" I assured her.

At that precise moment, a scream pierced the air! The head nurse calmly
looked at me, smiled and said, "Could you check on that, please?" Surely, I
had
misunderstood her. "Now!" she continued. Taking a deep breath, I headed in
the direction of the scream, praying that that it was nothing more than the
celebratory cry of someone who had just won a million dollars.

As I neared the room in question, a bedpan flew through the doorway in front
of me, landing at my feet. Furthermore, the bedpan was not empty. I decided
right then and there that nursing was not for me, turned in my candy cane
apron, and raced for the nearest exit. Mama was waiting for me as I stepped
off
the elevator. She smiled, handed me the cars keys, and simply said "See you
at home." Fortunately, I had a wise and wonderful mother who knew me well.
From that day on she encouraged me to be the teacher God created me to be.

God has a unique plan for each one of us. Our greatest opportunity for
success is to live that plan. I believe God tucks into our very soul a holy
discontentment
with anything but His life "recipe.” We must learn to trust Him for that
plan and settle for nothing less than the work He has for us to do.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to follow Your plan for my life. Help me walk in daily
obedience so that Your unique and perfect plan for my life will naturally
unfold
before me. When I am discouraged because of the work I am doing, give me
Your peace and the assurance that I am in the right spot doing the right
things
You created me to do.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.



Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered?

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you. - Isaiah 30:18

God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in
the Bible. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn
of day--he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia
received no answer for a long while. Paul asked the Lord three times for "a
thorn . . . in the flesh"1 to be taken from him, and he received no
assurance that it would be removed, but instead a promise that God's grace
would be
sufficient for him.

If you have been knocking at the gate of mercy and have received no answer,
shall I tell you why the mighty Maker has not opened the door and let you
in?

Our Father has personal reasons for keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to
show His power and His sovereignty, so that we may learn that God has a
right
to give or to withhold.

More often the delay is for our benefit. You are perhaps kept waiting in
order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will
quicken
and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting, you will see your
need more clearly and will seek more diligently, and that you will treasure
the
mercy all the more on account of the wait.

There may also be something wrong in you that needs to be removed before the
joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps your views of the gospel plan are
confused,
or you may be relying upon yourself instead of trusting simply and entirely
in the Lord Jesus. Or God makes you wait for a while so that He may display
the riches of His grace more abundantly in the end.

Your prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they
are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while they will be fulfilled to
your delight and satisfaction. Do not allow despair to make you silent, but
continue to present your requests to God.

1) 2 Corinthians 12:7

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Chronicles 9

verse 2 Jude 1




Rescuing Christmas – The Search For Joy That Lasts

By Carl Laferton

For many, Christmas is not a season of lasting joy. For some, it's a
reminder of loss. For others, the day escapes quickly leaving feelings of
emptiness.
Author Carl Laferton explores how the gifts of the first Christmas--gold,
frankincense, and myrrh--point to the prophesied Savior: One who offers
everlasting
joy to all who accept Him.

Learn more about the unlikely gifts
brought by the Magi and how they point forward to an eternal King

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


A Higher Hope
December 11, 2017

Read: Acts 16:25-34

Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were
listening to them. (v. 25)

Iran has one of the highest levels of religious persecution in the world.
Christians there are sometimes thrown in prison, often secretly, so that
family
members don’t even know where their loved ones have gone.

Words of Hope’s ministry leader for Iran tells of one young Iranian man who
is serving a four-year sentence for following Christ. One night he and a few
other Christian prisoners were taken to the condemned cell, the holding pen
for prisoners scheduled to be hanged in the morning. Rather than being
overcome
by fear, they felt assured that the Lord was with them. They used the
opportunity to evangelize, and several condemned prisoners became Christians
that
very night. The young man was soon moved back to his regular cell, but now
he hopes he will be sent back again so he can be used to make an eternal
difference.

In the hardest situations, where does our hope come from? The testimony of
this young man, and of Paul and Silas, tells us that it doesn’t ultimately
come
from a hardship being resolved. Even though the young Iranian was removed
from the condemned cell, he wasn’t released from prison. His hope is in
Christ,
the Lord of his eternal home. No matter the hardship in your life, look to
Christ today, and the eternal hope that he offers. —Christy Prins, WOH staff

Prayer: Lord, help me to hold on to your hope today. Amen.

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


Why You Should Get Coffee with Jesus
Mandy Hale

As 2013 was drawing to a close, God had begun to shake my spiritual
foundations to the core. I suspect so He could put down new ones.


I had my one goal in place for the upcoming year and was attending a new
Bible study that had revolutionized my relationship with Jesus. One night a
wonderful
lady stood up and gave her testimony about her quiet time with the Lord, and
her words left me speechless. When she enters into her quiet time, she sits
in her favorite place and visualizes she’s there with Jesus, simply having a
conversation with Him. Her place is her front-porch swing, but you can
really
pick any place that represents peace and calm and open- ness to you. (You
can actually do this wherever you are, even if you are on the other side of
the
world from your special place. Just close your eyes and picture yourself
there! That’s the beauty of meditation.)

Why had I never thought of this before? Why had I just always talked at
Him and not to Him?

In case the concept of spending quiet time with God is unfamiliar to you (as
it was to me for a long time), it’s basically taking time either within your
normal prayer time or throughout the day to get silent before God and listen
for His voice. The Bible tells us in
John 16:13
: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the
truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears,
He
will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (NASB).

The Holy Spirit wants to talk to us. But He is a gentleman. He will not
attempt to compete with the noise around us, or shout to be heard over
Netflix,
or force us to listen at all, if we are determined not to.

Think about it. If you had a friend who was always talking, talking, talking
but never stopped to take a breath and listen to what you had to say, would
the friendship last very long? Our relationship with God is much the same
way. It can be either as shallow as we settle for or as deep as we are
willing
to go.

Well, I decided I was tired of the kiddie pool. I wanted to go deeper with
Him. I wanted to know Him more.

I wanted to know Him all I could.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

The place where I began to visualize myself talking to Jesus was in front of
my fireplace with a cup of coffee. And that is where my quiet time is spent
to this day. Warmth to me fosters communion and closeness and conversation.
I sit by my little fireplace with my cup of coffee and picture Him there
with
me and invite Him to join me in my quiet time and tell me anything He wants
me to know. Most days don’t start until I’ve had my fireside chat with
Jesus.
My prayer time has never been so rich or so sweet. We don’t hurry, Jesus and
me. We take our time. Sometimes I talk first; sometimes I simply wait. It’s
becoming easier and easier to close my eyes and see Him sitting there beside
me, coffee mug in hand.

Sometimes He speaks to my spirit. Sometimes we sit silently. I tell Him
funny things. I tell Him serious things. I ask Him questions. Sometimes He
answers.
Sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes I picture us toasting our coffee mugs
together in celebration when some- thing really good happens.

But whatever we do, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful and uncertain and even a
little vulnerable, inviting Jesus to join me in the midst of whatever mess
I’ve created this week. It’s all about patience and childlike faith and a
willingness to wait.

As are most worthwhile endeavors in life.

BEAUTIFUL CERTAINTY:
I’m learning God wants to speak to us, and we have to offer Him the
beautiful silence to do so. When I quiet my heart and my thoughts and just
draw close
to Him, I begin to hear His still, small voice in my spirit. Today I urge
you to stop talking and stop asking and stop begging and stop requesting and
just get silent in His presence and
listen. Who knows? His still, small voice might just blow your mind.

God, thank You for the sweetness of Your presence. Show me how to not just
talk at You but to listen to You. Remove any distraction that would keep me
from hearing Your still, small voice.

[Editor’s Note: This excerpt is taken from
Beautiful Uncertainty: Singleness Surrender, and Stepping Out on Faith by
Mandy Hale, ©️ 2016 by Mandy Hale. Used with permission from Icon Media
Group,

Mandy Hale is affectionately known as The Single Woman™️ around the world. In
just over two years, Mandy has garnered a massive social media following of
more than 1.6 million across the globe. With a heart to inspire single women
to live their best lives and to never, ever settle, Mandy cuts to the heart
of the matter with her inspirational, straight-talking witty, and often
wildly humorous take on life and love.

Publication date: February 2, 2016

Thanking God for What Didn’t Happen, All the Things You Never Knew About
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of
the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God,
in
whom I trust.”
Psalms 91:1-2

Sometimes we need to thank God for all the things that didn’t happen, for
what He’s stopped that we never even knew about.

We may not always see it, or feel it, we might forget it’s there at times,
or even wonder if God’s left us to fend for ourselves in the heat of hard
situations
in life. But His protection is real. He sees what we can't see. He knows
what we may not know. And if we belong to Him, we can trust, He's with us,
every
step, going before us, and covering our back too.

Yet in a world of dark, He often gets blamed for a lot of stuff that swirls
around us. "Why would God let that happen? Why didn't He do something
different?
Why did God cause that to happen?"

But the truth is we often have no idea how much He has protected us from,
how He's continually working on our behalf, even behind the scenes where we
can't
see. Following after us. Chasing us. To bring great blessing, and to show us
the way.

He promises to take us by the hand, He reminds us not to fear, and assures
us He will help us.

We’re never left on our own to try to figure everything out, we’re not left
to fight our battles in our own strength. That pathway is filled with
potholes
of worry and burdens. It’ll trip you up, it’ll wear you out..

God’s way is better. Full of security, peace, assurance, and all that this
world can never fully offer.

Trust Him, even when it's hard to understand it all, and believe His ways
are the best for you.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Dear God, thank you that you go before us, and
that you cover us from behind. Thank you for your protection over us, that
you
surround our lives as a shield. Thank you for your grace and favor, for your
blessings and love that you so graciously shine over your people. We trust
you even when we cannot see all that you’re doing. We know that you are for
us and you fight for us today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Further Reading: Psalms 46:1 , Isaiah 54:17 , Isaiah 41:13 , Psalms 23

His Footsteps Our Pathway

Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.

Psalm 85:13

The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2,200 miles long, winding up and down
and through rugged mountains from Georgia to Maine. It takes thru-hikers an
average of 165 rigorous days to make the trip, and it requires about 5,500
calories a day to sustain their strength. That’s equivalent to nearly 10 Big
Macs daily. Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in one summer is grueling,
but it simply requires putting one foot in front of the other—about five
million
times.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 85

The Bible often compares our Christian life to a walk—but it’s no easy
stroll. It’s an arduous hike requiring perseverance. When we begin our walk
with
God, we’re like infants taking their first steps—we are filled with glee—but
we don’t know quite what we are doing. But as we mature, this should change
and our footsteps should become more stable, firm, and determined.

If you’re tired on the trail, don’t give up. Psalm 85:13 says He has gone
before us, and we’re simply walking in His footsteps. And Psalm 86:11 offers
us a prayer: “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my
heart to fear Your name.”

Read through the Bible: Colossians 1 – 4

Deliver the unchanging Word of God to an ever-changing world.

DAVIDJEREMIAH.ORG

TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah

Copyright ©️ 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 5:38 pm

*Connecting man to man to God**
**For week of February 5, 2018**
**Issue 551**
**The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.**
*
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for
Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.

Today’s issue is going out to over 2,169 weekly subscribers. Thank you
in advance for forwarding this issue to friends, family and associates!
To have a friend start their own Free subscription to CONNECTIONS,
please have them visit: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/page33.html

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to
God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
- Hebrews 13:15
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13%3A15&version=ESV;KJV;NIV

* CONSIDER **
*“I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I
will refuse the temptation to be cynical, the tool of the lazy thinker.
I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created
by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an
opportunity to see God.”
- Max Lucado

* BIBLE GATEWAY 25TH ANNIVERSARY SWEEPSTAKES FOR FEBRUARY **
*Bible Gateway is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new
sweepstakes every month this year!

This month enter for a chance to win a copy of the CSB Study Bible black
premium goatskin leather edition (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), which
has a suggested retail value of $149.99. Two winners will be selected at
random. One entry per person; legal residents of the USA 18 years of age
and older. Entry period: Jan. 31, 2018 (midnight ET) – Feb. 25, 2018
(11:59 pm ET).... Enter at
https://www.biblegateway.com/mybiblegateway/sweepstakes/

* EAGLES COACH EMBRACES UNIQUE RESUME **
*Among the list of men who have coached in a Super Bowl, Frank Reich may
have a resume that's unique.

It's not the "former NFL quarterback" component that qualifies him for
that distinction. It's the combination of "former NFL quarterback" and
"former seminary president" that gives Reich, the offensive coordinator
for the Philadelphia Eagles, one of the most unusual paths to football's
pinnacle.

"I would think so," Reich, former president of Reformed Theological
Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., said Monday night about whether he's the
first former seminary leader ever to coach in the Super Bowl.... Read
this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/50274/super-bowl--eagles-coach-embraces-unique-resume

* THE PHILADELPHIA EAGES SAY THEIR CHRISTIAN FAITH IS WHAT BINDS THEM**
*When the Philadelphia Eagles run onto the Super Bowl field at the U.S.
Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 10am on Monday (EST), chances
are they were praying only minutes before. Probably a good thing:
they're up against the New England Patriots, who took out the Super Bowl
in 2017 and are in their eighth championship game since 2000.

The Eagles are the popular underdogs to win tomorrow, and they're full
of faith. The team released an official Eagles video late last year
featuring injured quarterback Carson Wentz, wide receiver Torrey Smith
and other Eagles players talking about how they came to faith and how
their relationship with God impacts their game and "binds" their team
together.... Read this in full at
https://www.eternitynews.com.au/world/super-bowl-underdogs-are-full-of-faith/

* PATRIOTS SAME TEAM, 'NEW LIGHTS FOR JESUS' **
*Another Super Bowl. Another year with the New England Patriots playing
in it.

It's no secret that the Patriots over the past two decades have been the
most successful franchise in the NFL, if not the single most successful
franchise in all of professional sports. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and
others may seem to be omnipresent when it comes to the Super Bowl. This
year's appearance is the Patriots' eighth since Brady took over as
starting quarterback in 2001.

But from a spiritual perspective, there's something new to this team.
Jack Easterby, who serves as the character coach and chaplain for the
Patriots, said new faces on the team this year have brought a new depth
and spiritual vitality to the team.... Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/50291/super-bowl-patriots-same-team-new-lights-for-jesus

12 SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE NEEDS ATTENTION **
*by Gary Thomas
The dangerous rift between two people in a marriage doesn’t happen
overnight. Just like anything significant, marriage takes time to build
– and it also takes time to tear down.

But sometimes, we begin to slide away from one another without our
realizing that the rift is happening. Like the slow dripping of a leaky
faucet, we get so accustomed to the pattern of the noise that we don’t
even realize that something is broken. Something is in need of attention.

But step by step, day by day, year by year…we disconnect.

Maybe it’s that we’re not taught how to fight against the drift. Or
maybe we’re just not in tune to the drifting when it happens. But either
way, if we’re not careful, we can find our marriages in a place we never
intended for them to be.

If you find yourself dealing with one or more of the following issues in
your marriage, it’s time to take seriously the suggestion that your
marriage needs attention.... Read this in full at
http://www.garythomas.com/12-signs-marriage-needs-attention/


HOW TO ACHIEVE EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY SPIRITUALITY: AN INTERVIEW WITH
PETER SCAZZERO **
*What does healthy spirituality look like? How is it achieved? How can
you slow down to develop a truly transformational relationship with
Christ? Peter Scazzero says Christians cannot grow spiritually while
remaining emotionally immature because our souls and psyches are
inextricably linked.

Bible Gateway interviewed Peter Scazzero about his book, Emotionally
Healthy Spirituality, Updated Edition (Zondervan, 2017).... Watch this
in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2018/02/how-to-achieve-emotionally-healthy-spirituality-an-interview-with-peter-scazzero/

* THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER TRUST JESUS FOR **
*by Clare De Graaf
That was a statement I made standing before 150 high school students one
Sunday morning at my church a few years back. I didn’t throw that line
out just to get their attention. I meant it.

In the weeks preceding that Sunday, I’d had two different conversations,
which troubled me.

The first was a 40-something man, I didn’t know all that well, who was
unemployed. After some small talk, he told me with great enthusiasm
about this job he’d applied for. “I’m really trusting Jesus to get me
this job”, he gushed hopefully. “Would you pray for me?” I did, of
course, but alarm bells were going off.

The second was a high school girl in a small group at my church, whose
parents were going through a messy divorce. She, too, was “trusting”
Jesus to put her parents’ marriage back together again.

Now, I know what each of these people meant when they said they were
trusting Jesus. They were asking God to do something they desperately
wanted done in their lives. That’s fair. I do the same thing all the
time. But, here’s what bothered me and this is how I addressed it that
Sunday morning.... Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2018/01/29/there-are-some-things-you-should-never-trust-jesus-for/

* EXPLORE THE NEW BIBLE COMMENTARY WITH BIBLE GATEWAY PLUS**
*The New Bible Commentary (InterVarsity Press) is the most recent
addition to our growing library of study resources available in the
Bible Gateway Scripture sidebar when you sign up for a Bible Gateway
Plus membership!

Voted one of Christianity Today‘s Books of the Year, the New Bible
Commentary has set the standard for works of its kind for over 40 years.
Its quality and clarity has had a lasting impact on many Bible readers.
It is one of the leading single-volume commentaries on the entire Bible.
Readable and accessible, the volume collects notes from many of the
finest scholars of our day to meet the needs of students, teachers, and
anyone interested in delving deeper into the scriptural text.... Read
this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2018/01/explore-the-new-bible-commentary-with-bible-gateway-plus/

* VERSE TO PONDER **
*Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever
loves has been born of God and knows God.
- 1 John 4:7
https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/1%20John%204:7

* CONSIDER **
*“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference
in our lives.”
- Robert Kennedy

* HOW TO LIVE THE BIBLE — HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE IN SCRIPTURE **
*by Mel Lawrenz
Some years back, I did a survey of our church’s congregation with the
simple question: “If you could ask God one thing, what would it be?” I
was not surprised that the most frequent response had to do with the
problem of evil in the world, but I was struck by the next most common
question: “How can I hear the voice of God?” The various wording people
used indicated some were facing important decisions, others wanted to
know if their lives were “on track” with God, some were in crisis, and
still others expressed feelings of spiritual isolation and just wanted
to “hear” from God.

There is a long history and many debates about how God “speaks” to us.
Our concern in this lesson is how God speaks in and through Holy
Scripture. This must be the believer’s major conviction, that we find
the voice of God in Scripture, and that the authority of the Bible
trumps all other claims about hearing God. Throughout Scripture, God is
talking. Creation took place at the verbal command of God. The Hebrews
became a nation when they met their God at Mount Sinai and he spoke to
them through Moses. The prophets’ oracles often began with: “This is
what the Lord says.” .... Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2018/01/how-to-live-the-bible-how-to-hear-gods-voice-in-scripture/

* GOD’S PLAN **
*You are a great God.
Your character is holy.
Your truth is absolute.
Your strength is unending.
Your discipline is fair…
Your provisions are abundant for our needs.
Your light is adequate for our path.
Your grace is sufficient for our sins…
You are never early, never late…
You sent your Son in the fullness of time and
will return at the consummation of time.
Your plan is perfect.
Bewildering. Puzzling. Troubling.
But perfect.

- Max Lucado

* FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE: BELIEVE THE BEST - EVEN WHEN YOU'RE HURT **
*by Shaunti Feldhahn
Maybe you're a husband who tackled an all-day honey-do painting project
to surprise your wife, only to hear, "Um . . . I thought we were going
to do a texture in this room." Maybe you've had the angry feeling: I
just can't do anything right for her.

It is easy to have those thoughts when we are hurt, but it is poisonous
to the relationship. Why? Because we're assuming that our spouse is
hurting us on purpose. And we're almost always wrong. In my research
study, I found that nearly all spouses - even in struggling marriages -
deeply cared about their mate. But if we want to have a great marriage,
we'll have to force ourselves to believe that truth. We have to believe
that our spouse has good intentions toward us, even when we are
legitimately hurt.... Read this in full at
https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/daily-living/three-tips-for-a-happy-marriage/for-a-happy-marriage-believe-the-best

* I QUIT PORN. HERE'S HOW YOU CAN TOO **
*by Jack Skett
When I was a child, I used to love the TV show How to. Each episode
would focus on different skills or tasks and break them down to show you
how they could be done. One that sticks in my mind was ‘How to do an
ollie on a skateboard.’ I learned a lot from that, including that
skateboarding was not for me!

Sadly, there are some things in life that don’t have a simple ‘How To’
solution. In my role as a pastor, people often ask me what advice I
would give to a Christian who is struggling with porn addiction. This is
one of those things with no simple solution, but I do have a few words
of advice, borne out of personal experience, which I hope will go some
way to helping anyone battling this issue.... Read this in full at
https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/I-quit-porn.-Here-s-how-you-can-too

* ARE YOU OK WITH JESUS BUT NOT THE BIBLE? **
*by Shane Pruitt
"I love Jesus," we've heard people say, "but I don't agree with the Bible."

Perhaps some of us don't have an issue with Jesus because it's a
Play-Doh Jesus we've created by our own imagination. We'll shape and
mold Him to be what we want Him to be. Then the moment He no longer
appeases us, we roll Him up and start over.

But when we dive into His Word to discover who Jesus really is, we'll
begin to be passionate about what He is passionate about. We'll be
angered by what angers Him. We'll tolerate what He tolerates. We'll view
things the way He views things. We'll live how He lives.

The Jesus of the Bible will regularly disrupt our lives and stand in
opposition to our personal preferences. He challenges our indulgences
and our egoistic art of "looking out for No. 1." .... Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/50260/firstperson-are-you-ok-with-jesus-but-not-the-bible

* PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST PREMIERES IN THEATERS MARCH 28, 2018 **
*The new film PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is an epic story of the man who
persecuted the early church and then became its greatest evangelist.

“PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST brings to life on screen the powerful story of
a man who changed the course of history through his committed faith, yet
at great cost to himself,” director and screenwriter Andrew Hyatt said.
“The film shows what a deadly dangerous place the Roman world was for
the early Christian church, and it shows how Paul prepared the faithful
to continue living out their beliefs in the face of it.” .... Watch the
trailer at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyOqQZUDdO4&feature=youtu.be

* THE BOOK OF ACTS GETS A CT SCAN **
*by Eric Metaxas and Stan Guthrie
Pierpont Morgan was perhaps the most influential financier in American
history. During the latter part of the 19th century, Morgan began using
some of his extraordinary wealth to become a collector—of rare books,
manuscripts, drawings, prints, and ancient artifacts—for his personal
library.

In 1924, his son, J.P. Morgan, donated his late father’s library and all
its treasures to the public. It became known as the Morgan Library and
Museum, or “the Morgan,” for short. And it’s right here in New York
where I live.

Back in 1962, the Morgan added to its collection of rare manuscripts by
purchasing a clump of charred parchment leaves. The artifact is a codex,
or ancient book, written in the Coptic language, that dates between A.D.
400 and 600 from Egypt, before the Muslim invaders arrived. The codex
contains a copy of the New Testament’s Book of Acts, as well as another
work yet to be determined.

But the condition of this codex, known as M.910, is so fragile—a
journalist said it “looks as delicate as a long dead flower”—that no one
has dared to open it, for fear of causing further damage. Until now....
Read this in full at
http://breakpoint.org/2018/01/breakpoint-the-book-of-acts-gets-a-ct-scan/

* GOV. SAM BROWNBACK CONFIRMED AS AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR
INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM **
*Six months after his official nomination, former Kansas Gov. Sam
Brownback was finally confirmed yesterday to be ambassador-at-large for
international religious freedom.

The position requires confirmation by the Senate, which led to a 49-49
vote split along party lines. Because Sen. John McCain was absent due to
treatment for brain cancer, Vice President Mike Pence—who also serves as
the president of the Senate—had to cast the tie-breaking vote.

Brownback previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives
(1995-96) and as US Senator (1996-2011) before being elected as governor
of Kansas in 2010. He will replace Rabbi David Saperstein, who left the
post in January 2017.... Read this in full at
http://createsend.com/t/r-4F5D4F20ED96C0C32540EF23F30FEDED

* CONSIDER **
*“Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure,
there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness.”
- Augustine

* VERSE TO PONDER **
*He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of
you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your
God?
- Micah 6:8
https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Micah%206:8

* THIS WEEK'S HYMN: O God, our Help in ages past **
*Author: Isaac Watts

O God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
our Shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal Home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is Thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting Thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
are like an ev'ning gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op'ning day.

Our God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
be Thou our Guide while life shall last,
and our eternal Home!

>from Hymnary.org at
https://hymnary.org/text/our_god_our_help_in_ages_past

*
ON PRAYER**
*“If your prayers were always answered, you’d have a reason to doubt the
wisdom of God.”
- Unknown
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Feb 2018, 10:30 am

Shifting the Stress by Prayer and Rest

by Chuck Swindoll

Hebrews 4:1-11

If you tend to get caught up in the hurry-worry sindrome, there is a better
way to live. In Parts One through Three we talked about some strategies for
alleviating stress. Prayer is another relief—an
essential therapy during stressful times. I'm reminded of David on one
occasion. He and a group of his men returned home after a weary three-day
journey.
They found that while they were away, an enemy tribe had made a raid on
their homes and had burned them to the ground. On top of that, their wives
and
children had been taken captive by the enemy. It wasn't very long before
their morale hit bottom.

Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept
until there was no strength in them to weep.
(1 Samuel 30:4)
block quote end

What stress! To make matters even worse, mutiny broke out. The men spoke of
stoning David because they were embittered against him. They indirectly
blamed
their leader for what was happening (that still goes on, by the way). We
read of David's response:

Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning
him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and
his
daughters. But David strengthened himself in the L
ORD his God.
(v. 6)

In the depth of discouragement and the height of stress, "David strengthened
himself in the L
ORD his God." He got alone and prayed. He shifted the pressure from his own
shoulders to Jehovah's. He knew that the stress was too big a load for him
to carry alone, so he "trusted in the Lord with all his heart," and God
immediately began to push away the obstacles (see Proverbs 3:5–6).

Entering Into Rest

We've discussed overcoming worry by leaning totally and consistently on the
Lord, refusing to rely on our own strength and ingenuity. We've talked about
delegating your work loads that produce anxiety. We've also considered the
value of prayer; simply calling on God for relief and wisdom. These are
essential
techniques in keeping ourselves out from under the weight of anxiety.

But there is one more scriptural insight on stress that isn't mentioned very
often. It has to do with cultivating a lifestyle characterized by rest—a
mental
and emotional rest, virtually free of the tyranny of the urgent.

The biblical basis of this inner rest is found in Hebrews 4, a chapter that
has its roots in the Old Testament:

block quote
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any
one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good
news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not
profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we
who
have believed enter that rest . . .
(vv. 1–3a)

The Rest Available Today

The Hebrew people, to whom these words were originally addressed, understood
that the writer had their forefathers in mind . . . those people who came
out of Egyptian captivity under Moses' leadership. And what does he say of
them? Look back at the verses you just read. The truth they heard "did not
profit
them." Why? Because it remained merely truth—sterile, theological, unrelated
information—unmixed with their faith. They heard about God's provisions,
they
heard about how He would give them the Promised Land, but they didn't take
all of it personally. His truth and their faith remained two distinct and
separate
factors. They failed to enter into the rest He made available. They
continued to operate on the basis of sight, which led them into fear, then
stress,
and finally open unbelief.

Does that mean there's no more "rest" available for God's people today?
Quite the contrary.

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has
entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from
His. Therefore
let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through
following the same example of disobedience.
(Hebrews 4:9–11)

God continues to hold out to all His children a peaceful, worry-free
lifestyle that we can enter into on a moment-by-moment basis.

Will it happen automatically? No, we are instructed to "be diligent to enter
that rest." What does that mean? Simply this:

list of 5 items
1. We acknowledge that our God is in full control of our lives. No accidents
or surprises occur. He calls the shots.
2. We take Him at His Word. We believe His promises (the Bible is full of
them—by the
hundreds).
3. We claim them by faith. We apply them to our particular circumstance
almost as if God were speaking directly to us this very moment.
4. We rest in Him. We consciously refuse to worry or fret over how He is
going to work things out. By entering into that rest, we cease from our own
works
just as deliberately as our Creator-God ceased from His works on the seventh
day of the creative week.
5. We continue in that calm frame of mind until God sovereignly intervenes
and solves the problem. We keep trusting in Him with all our hearts. And
every
time an alien thought of anxiety flits through our minds, we turn it over to
the Lord in prayer.
list end

This is perhaps the best way to explain one of my favorite verses, Psalm
46:10:

Cease striving and know that I am God.

The marginal reference suggests the alternative rendering, "Let go, relax."
What a beautiful, refreshing thing it would be to see most of God's people

relaxing in Him! Really, thoroughly at peace as we lean on Him.

When are you going to do this, my friend?

That's the key question.

This devotional is part four in a four-part series.

Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright ©️ 1990, 1995 by Charles
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional information
and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

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

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Turks in Turkey
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Turks in Turkey
Nov 28, 2017 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Galatians 4:5, NLT "God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to
the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children."

Pray that the Turks, who are trying to become more enslaved to the Law of
Islam and paying for it with increased lawlessness, will find freedom in
Christ.

Today's People Group

Turkey is increasingly a land of mosques, prisons, and the uneducated. This
is the result of the Islamization of the country. Turkey has one mosque for
every 866 people, more than any other predominantly Muslim nation. The
government also has plans to build 174 new prisons to alleviate the
overcrowding
now experienced. New schools are also being built, but they are often
religious schools, called “imam schools” that rigidly teach rote
memorization of
the Qur’an. Even with the increase of schools, testing shows that Turkey’s
graduates are woefully deficient in not only basic skills, but also do not
have
adequate skills in their own language. Turkish believers have endured
increased scrutiny by the government, increased persecution, and increased
pressure
to accept as inevitable the Islamization of Turkey. In spite of all of the
above, Turkey has gone from 10 believers in 1960 to 5,000 believers today!
Democracy and freedom of religion are in peril in Turkey today. Turks are
facing a crossroad. Will the country and its people slide back into ways of
the
Ottoman Empire before its demise at the end of World War I, or will it be a
democracy with freedom of religion?

Pray for the growing church to not only survive, but to rapidly increase as
it faces persecution similar to those faced by first century believers in
the
same land.

Learn more at Joshua Project .

In Jesus' Name

By Skip Heitzig

Some of the most important keys of communicating with God are found in
John 14
: "Whatever you ask in My name," Jesus said, "that I will do, that the
Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will
do it"
(vv. 13-14). In speaking these words, Jesus opened the possibility of prayer
very wide while also balancing it with certain boundaries.

Sometimes we think that all we have to do is pray in Jesus' name, so we'll
tack that on to the end of our prayers: "Oh, by the way, in Jesus' name,
amen."
But today I want to look at what it really means to pray in the name of
Jesus. It includes two things: the broadness of prayer and the boundaries of
prayer.

First is the broadness of prayer: you can ask anything of the Lord, as those
verses state (see also
Mark 11:24 ; John 15:16
; 16:23-24). The point is that you shouldn't feel that anything is too
insignificant to bring to God. You can come before Him regarding anything
and everything
in life.

He won't shut you out or say, "Sorry, Billy Graham's praying right now, so
you're going to have to wait." You have access before Him at any time. As
the
author of Hebrews wrote, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need"
(Hebrews 4:16 ).

Now, there's a reason Jesus opened up prayer to become so broad, and I think
it centers on the term
Father: you have a relationship with God as your loving Father. During
Jesus' time, Judaism had become so formal and legalistic that no one would
dare
say, "Father God, I want to pour out my requests." So Jesus came along and
reintroduced this radical concept of intimacy with the Father--of humbly
bringing
before Him every single thing.

That's the broadness of prayer. But then there are the boundaries of prayer:
"Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be
glorified
in the Son"
(John 14:13
). To pray in Jesus' name means several things: that you identify with Him,
first of all, and that you speak in His authority instead of your own. But
it also means that you are praying and living in a way that is in line with
His character (see Exodus 34:6-7 for a description of that character), with
the end goal being that the Father is glorified in the Son.

Simply put, to pray in Jesus' name is to pray according to Jesus. That's why
John wrote, "Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His
commandments
and do those things that are pleasing in His sight"
(1 John 3:22
). We receive because we keep Jesus' commandments. And how do we know and
keep those commandments? We read His Word. That's why it's so important to
learn
the Bible--so we can pray according to the will of God in the name of Jesus..

To sum it all up, we can bring anything before the Father in the name of
Jesus because we identify with Him, because He has the authority, and
because
we live in conformity to His will in order to glorify and honor the Father.
Take some time today to read His Word and get your heart and mind back on
track
if need be. I pray that your life and prayers would not go against Jesus'
name but rather honor and uphold it, deepening your communication with Him
as
a result.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Feb 2018, 11:37 pm

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Today's Devotional

When The Game Plan Changes

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your
own understanding. (NLT)

The week had been slow, but I'd been in full-time ministry long enough to
know that things can change in a second — and they did.

Besides my normal schedule, all I had planned for the next day was to pray
with our church mission team at 6 a.m. They were leaving for Myrtle Beach,
South
Carolina, USA. Then, I received a call from a church member. Her husband
would be having surgery around 7 a.m. On the way to church that evening, my
wife's
brother called. He was on the list to receive a heart transplant and had
just left the doctor's office. They wanted him at the Medical University of
South
Carolina in Charleston at 4 p.m. the next day. He had no one to take him.
Without the heart, his days were numbered.

Suddenly, my game plan had changed — a change not only for us but for my two
grown children. Since my wife keeps our grandchildren, a change in our game
plan means one in theirs. They have no dependable back-up plan, so a
last-minute call from us can put them in a quandary. But they know that I'm
on 24-hour
call, and things can change in a moment.

I like to initiate change — when it's needed and when the end result will
entail a helpful alteration — but I don't like it to be thrust upon me. I'm
a
creature of habit, and this change meant getting up two hours earlier, as
well as a four-hour drive to the hospital — and to an area that I dislike.
I'd
have to work from the car, and we'd be lucky to get home by midnight — a
long day.

Trusting in the Lord with all my heart and depending on Him rather than on
my own understanding isn't easy — or always convenient. A part of following
Him means making myself available to opportunities that He sends — even when
they change the game plan. Our mission team needed prayer, and so did the
man having surgery. My wife's brother also needed our help. Three
opportunities. Three chances to serve.

When God changes our game plan, let's trust that He has a reason. Then,
let's enjoy the chance that He's giving us to serve.

Prayer: Father, though we don't enjoy changes thrust upon us, help us to
trust that You have a reason. Then, prompt us to serve in love. Amen.

Martin Wiles
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA


With All Your Might

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. -
Ecclesiastes 9:10

"Whatever your hand finds to do" refers to works that are possible. There
are many things that our heart finds to do that we will never do. It is good
for it to be in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not
be content with forming schemes in our heart and talking of them; we must
practically
carry out "whatever your hand finds to do."

One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not
wait for large opportunities or for a different kind of work, but just do
the
things we "find to do" day by day.

We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not
arrived; we will never have any time but now. So do not wait until your
experience
has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God.

Endeavor now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful about the
way in which you perform what you find to do-"do it with your might."

Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend
to do tomorrow as if that could repay today's laziness.

No one ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honor Christ and are
blessed, it is by the things that we do today.

Whatever you do for Christ, throw your whole soul into it. Do not give
Christ a little halfhearted labor, done as a matter of course every now and
then;
but when you serve Him, do it with heart and soul and strength.

But where is the power of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is
perfect weakness. His power lies in the Lord of Hosts. Let us then seek His
help;
let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our "hand
finds to do," let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do in this
way will be well done and will not fail in its effect.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Chronicles 22

verse 2 1 Peter 3


How to Seek Joy in the Morning
Trillia Newbell

Dark, thunderous clouds fill the sky. Even the slightest glimpse of sunshine
is quenched by the cumulonimbus. You take a step of faith and walk outside.
Big balls of frozen ice begin to fall, hitting you one by one. It hurts. It
doesn’t make sense.

Keep walking . . .

The dark clouds seem to close in around you. Each step is harder and more
treacherous.

Keep walking . . .

The further you walk, the harder it gets. “This plodding is so rot with
pain,” you mumble as you look ahead. There in the distance is a ray of
sunlight.
You remember that beautiful inheritance. You know it’s coming.

Keep walking . . .

It’s an act of valiant faith to put one foot in front of the other,

Keep walking . . .

You’re going to make it to the end. Weak. Tired. But hopeful, because of
that little ray, that faint but sure ray.

Keep walking.

And when you get there you’ll realize, he has always been there.

That scene above is a familiar theme of my short life. Trial after trial,
the Lord reminds me of his faithfulness, of his steadfast love. Joy comes in
the morning, but the morning doesn’t always come within eight hours of the
sun setting. Dark clouds have filled my days, and I’ve often wondered if
they’d
overwhelm me.

The clouds crowded me when my best friend, my father, passed from this earth
and into another. I would never see his bright eyes and handsome grin again..
I wouldn’t get the joy of racing him across the parking lot. The drumbeats
that would fill the living room from nothing more than his thighs and knees
is now a faint memory. How he could make such sounds from his quads I’ll
never really know.

The clouds crowded me when an older man that a group of my friends trusted
invaded my space and my innocence. It was a strange way to wake up—a
stranger’s
hands in places meant only for my future husband. But the most excruciating
pain was watching his wife on the stand in the courtroom explain that he was
doing better—he had stopped molesting his two children.

The clouds were dark over my head that day. The clouds crowded me six sweet
weeks after my husband and I welcomed the news of our first child with joy
that we were sure the heavens could feel. We walked in the doctor’s office
eager to hear the subtle sound of a heart that had been ignited by our God.
We had heard that the beats of those tiny hearts were fast—like little
flutters. But we didn’t hear a heartbeat, and we had to experience the agony
of
that loss three additional times.

Oh, dark clouds have most definitely covered my head. But like the psalmist
in
Psalm 121 I cry out:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. (esv)

God knew about my dark clouds. He knew that I would mourn and weep. God
reminds me in his Word that he is my Father. Where does my help come from?
It comes
from my Father. Each cloudy day brought a ray of hope. Joy comes in the
morning. Does God change our circumstances? Sometimes. But more than not, he
changes
our perspective. He changes our hearts. When I felt empty, he filled me with
more of himself.

God doesn’t promise to take away difficult circumstances, but he does
promise to be your keeper. Joy is not an artificial happiness. Joy comes
from a deep
trust in our holy, good, sovereign God. Joy is rest. Resting in him, our
Father, our keeper. He is our sustainer of life. We can jump and play
because
we know that the mighty and holy one is on our side. He draws near to us. He
tells you to come, oh weary soul, and he will give you rest
(Mt 11:28
). The rest will bring peace and joy—joy that we’ll experience forevermore.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Forevermore. That is our hope. Not that our joy will come here and now but
that he will one day wipe away every tear and mourning will be no more. Hope
is that one day we’ll see our Savior face to face. He is making all things
new. And on that day, we will experience a joy that will be indescribable.
Those
dark clouds will be no more. He longs for us to lift up our eyes and
remember where our help comes from. Remember our inheritance and the
promises he’s
provided for us in his Word. Those are for you and me—today. Right now. Yes,
even you right now can experience joy—sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.

Hymn writer William Cowper once wrote that the dark clouds would break with
blessings on your head. He was right. The clouds that we so dread have a
purpose.
The blessing could simply, yet profoundly, be experiencing more of Jesus. We
may not receive all the answers this side of eternity, but may it be that
we can say, blessed be the name of the Lord!

If you find yourself in the deepest of darkest clouds searching for joy, ask
the Lord who gives abundantly to those who ask. He has grace stored up for
you, for this occasion. His grace will sustain you and will bring you out of
the despair. His grace is what allows us to say, yes, I am joyful. Not
because
of anything in me or in my strength but because I have a God who is keeping
me, strengthening me and reminding me of my great hope. Joy does come in the
morning.

-From “Dark Clouds and Abundant Grace” by Trillia Newbell

Taken from Soul Bare by Cara Sexton. Copyright (c) 2016 by Cara Sexton. Used
by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL
60515-1426.

www.ivpress.com

Trillia J. Newbell (“Dark Clouds and Abundant Grace”) is the author of Fear
and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves and United: Captured by God’s
Vision for Diversity. Her writings on issues of faith, family and diversity
have been published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God,
Christianity
Today, Relevant Magazine, The Gospel Coalition and more. She is currently
director of community outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty
Commision
for the Southern Baptist Convention. Along with writing, she is pursing her
MA in biblical counseling from Southern Theological Seminary. For fun, she
enjoys group fitness (she used to be a fitness instructor!), cycling and
listening to a variety of music. Trillia is married to her best friend,
Thern,
and they reside with their two children near Nashville. You can find her at
trillianewbell.com and follow her on Twitter, @trillianewbell.

Publication date: September 21, 2016

Overcoming Worry
by Chuck Swindoll

Proverbs 3:5-6

In Part One, we looked at a couple of New Testament examples (one
negative—Martha, the other positive—Jesus) of people under stress. Let's now
go back
to the Old Testament and lift out some familiar words of hope to those
clenched in the vise-grip of worry.

The following passage is so well known to most Christians that we have
perhaps missed its significant message. Read slowly the words of Solomon:

block quote
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6)
block quote end

Go back and read these words again, please; this time aloud.

My Part, God's Part

Let's do a little digging. I'd like to suggest three important observations
in what we just read.

First, there are four verbs—words of action—in these two verses:


Stress Reduction: Spreading Out the Workload

by Chuck Swindoll

Exodus 18:13-27

We've been talking about the very common and very real problem of stress.
Today I'd like to tackle a practical suggestion for stress-reduction:
spreading
out the workload.

There is a side of stress that is easily overlooked, and that is trying to
do too much ourselves. All of us have a limit. If those huge freight trucks
on the highway have a load limit, you can be sure each one of us does, too.
When we try to do more than we were designed to do, our level of anxiety
immediately
begins to rise.

Moses is an example of one who fell into this very trap. He was surrounded
by an endless number of needs, people, demands, requests for decisions, and
problems to solve. On one occasion, his father-in-law, Jethro, paid him a
visit and witnessed the load Moses was living under.

block quote
Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good.
You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you,
for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone."
(Exodus 18:17–18)
block quote end

The classic account of an ancient workaholic! This wise father-in-law comes
right out and faces Moses with the truth: "It isn't good . . . you'll wear
yourself out." Jethro saw the whole thing objectively. He saw his son-in-law
on the raw edge of exhaustion. The anxiety brought on by that much work
would
soon take a toll on Moses. He couldn't continue doing it all alone.

Before we proceed, let me ask you: Does this sound like your biography? Are
you the type who tends to take on too much . . . to handle the demands all
alone . . . to hang in there without much thought of passing the load
around? To quote Jethro's counsel, "The thing that you are doing is not
good." Perhaps
this is the bottom-line reason you've become so anxious in recent days. Be
honest enough to admit it if it's true. That's the first (and most
important)
step in the process of change.

As Moses listened, Jethro continued:

block quote
"You shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth,
those who hate dishonest gain . . . . Let them judge the people at all
times;
and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every
minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and
they
will bear the burden with you . . . ."

So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.
(vv. 21–24)
block quote end

Moses was smart to listen. He was hearing the advice of a wise man. Now
don't misunderstand. The plan was not that he should back out of the scene
completely.
No, that wouldn't have been best. His presence was still extremely valuable.
But he was to determine those things he should handle—the really weighty
issues—then
pass around to qualified people the balance of the workload.

Did you notice that those who were to help him needed to be well qualified?
Read again the specifics in verse 21:

list of 4 items
• Able men who fear God
• Men of truth
• Those who hate dishonest gain
• Leader types
list end

Had Moses chosen the wrong kind of delegates to help handle the workload,
his stress would have
increased, not decreased.

He did as Jethro had suggested:

block quote
Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people,
leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. They judged the
people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but
every minor dispute they themselves would judge.
(Exodus 18:25–26)
block quote end

This, no doubt, enabled him to have many more effective years of meaningful
leadership. We would do well to follow his example.

But What about You?

The real issue, however, is not the anxiety of Moses. It is you and your
stress. What is it that makes you think you are capable enough to handle
more
than you should? Why do you feel the need to continue living under the heavy
weight of anxiety when it seems so natural to spread the work among several
others?

I challenge you: Release your grip on all those details! Find a few
qualified people to help you get the job done.

This same principle works when you are under the pressure of an intense
trial in your life. No need to tough it out alone. Share it. Let a few
people enter
into that lonely experience with you. They can stand by you and provide an
enormous amount of support, relieving much of the stress you would otherwise
be enduring alone.

This devotional is part three of a four-part series.

Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright ©️ 1990, 1995 by Charles
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional information
and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Risking Everything On a Promise - #8055

So another beautiful Indian girl was planning her suicide. Someone invited
her to an On Eagles' Wings®️ event in a nearby reservation village. There she
heard a Hope Story - shared by an abused young woman who came to Jesus the
night she had the gun to her head...

Read & watch more here

Join the Conversation

Forward this email to a friend

Mike is a follower of Jesus Christ, and he's an executive with a large
printing company founded on Christian principles. They had worked for two
years
to land this contract with a major publisher, and they got it. Mike told me
about the day when their new client brought in their first job. It was
exciting
until he saw what it was about. It was all about horoscopes. Mike looked at
his Sales Manager who had worked with him so hard to sign up this big
company.
Then he slid the manuscript back across the desk and said to his client,
"I'm very sorry, but we can't print this. See, we try to run our business by
the
Bible, and this would go against what the Bible says."

The man with the manuscript sat back in his chair, dumbfounded. Then he
said, "In all my years, I have never had anyone talk to me like this." Mike
was
ready for the worst. Then the man continued, "I have never seen a company
with this much integrity. We'll be bringing you a lot of business!"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Risking
Everything On a Promise."

As Mike told me about that potentially costly act of integrity, he referred
to a Biblical promise he was counting on that day. It's our word for today
from the Word of God; it's in 1 Samuel 2:30. "Those who honor Me I will
honor." They honored God that day, and God wonderfully honored them as a
result.
Now, let's be clear. God's honoring doesn't always happen that immediately,
or always in the way we would script it, but He always keeps that promise.

So when it appears that we will benefit from compromising God's way, He asks
us to risk everything on His promise - that honoring Him will pay off more
than the compromise ever could. Many years ago, a beautiful woman named
Karen made me a promise at our wedding that she would forsake all others and
be
my loving partner for the rest of her life. Well, I have based much of the
rest of my life on that promise. That's what God is asking you to do with
His
promise: "They that honor Me I will honor." And God can honor you in ways
that men could never touch!

Our lives, the lives of our children - they're filled with powerful examples
of how God has honored us when we have stood for His ways. And more
importantly,
Scripture is filled with examples. I'm fascinated with the conversation the
Book of Job records between God and Satan. The subject: Job. "The Lord said
to Satan," according to the Bible, "'Have you considered My servant Job?
There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who
fears
God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited
Me against him to ruin him without any reason" (Job 2:3). In other words,
God says to the devil, "You have thrown everything at My servant Job, but no
matter how you have tested him. No matter how you've tempted him, he still
maintains his integrity."

Could God say that about you? As Satan tries to taunt God with the failures
of God's people, I wonder if God can say about you. "Have you considered My
servant _________?" I hope your name can go there. Notice what the Lord
brags about when He brags about His kids - not our busyness, not our
giftedness,
not our accomplishment. No, He brags about our character, our unshakable,
uncompromised integrity.

Job lost a lot, but at the end, the Bible says, "the Lord gave him twice as
much as he had before." In the choices you have to make in business, in the
life of your family, as a parent, with your money, in that important
relationship, that tempting opportunity, would you risk everything on a
promise that
God has never broken? "They that honor Me I will honor."

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA
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“The five stages - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance
- are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with
the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we
may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.”
― Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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SEEKING LIGHT

Matthew 2:1-2 Darby
1 Now Jesus having been born in Bethlehem of Judaea, in the days of Herod 
the king, behold magi from the east arrived at Jerusalem, saying, 2 Where is 
the king of the Jews that has been born? for we have seen his star in the 
east, and have come to do him homage.

the magi were seeking the light of the star which would lead them to the 
King of the Jews. What they were really seeking was the Light of the world. 
That is who they were seeking and they finally found Him.

John 8:12 Darby
12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; 
he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of 
life.

There are a lot of people in this world who are seeking light or seeking God 
through
different religions or groups. The light cannot be found in any of these 
things. The Light is only found when a person finds Jesus Christ.

A few days after the death of the former Beatle George Harrison, I heard 
someone say that they thought that George Harrison was in heaven. They said 
George was seeking God but he was doing this through worshipping Buddha. 
Buddhism does not teach that Jesus is the Christ, the messiah. What did 
Jesus say about people seeking light, God or heaven?

Luke 13:23-28 Darby
23 And one said to him, Sir, are such as are to be saved few in number? But 
he said unto them, 24 Strive with earnestness to enter in through the narrow 
door, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in and will not be able. 25 
From the time that the master of the house shall have risen up and shall 
have shut the door, and ye shall begin to stand without and to knock at the 
door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he answering shall say to you, I know 
you not whence ye are: 26 then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten in thy 
presence and drunk, and thou hast taught in our streets; 27 and he shall 
say, I tell you, I do not know you whence ye are; depart from me, all ye 
workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of 
teeth, when ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in 
the kingdom of God, but yourselves cast out.

A lot of people are involved in seeking light, God or heaven but they don’t 
know Jesus Christ. They don’t have a personal, intimate relationship with 
Him. That is what it means to know Him and for him to know you. If you have 
not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ and have a relationship with Him, 
do it now!

by Dean W. Masters
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Wholly Dedicated

By Skip Heitzig

I'd bet that Leviticus probably isn't in your top five favorite books of the 
Bible, is it? It's packed full of regulations and messy, bloody rituals.. But
even though the practices of this book no longer have any bearing on us 
under the new covenant, its principles are still applicable. Today I want to 
look
at part of the ordination service of Aaron and his sons, the first priests 
of Israel. I think we can learn a lot from it about how to live as God's 
people--especially
since we're part of His priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:9-10
).

In Leviticus 8:22-23
, we read, "And [Moses] brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. 
Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and Moses 
killed
it. Also he took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right 
ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot," 
then
doing the same with Aaron's sons (see v. 24).

Pretty strange, right? Well, the symbolism runs much deeper than that: the 
right side of a person was considered their dominant or best side. So in 
singling
out the right ear, the right thumb, and the right foot, Aaron and his sons 
were essentially saying, "We're consecrating ourselves to hear God's word, 
do
God's work, and walk in God's ways." The equivalent of this principle in the 
New Testament is found in Romans 12:1 : "Present your bodies a living 
sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."

Have you ever thought of the potential of a single human body dedicated 
wholly to the purpose and glory of God? Scripture is filled with stories of 
the
Lord using different members of people's bodies. Take Moses' mouth, for 
example. He said, "My mouth is my least attractive asset; I stutter!" while 
God
said, "I will use it. I will empower you to speak words before Pharaoh and 
speak forth My love to Israel." Moses' mouth by itself was not impressive, 
but
that same mouth dedicated and surrendered to God was very impressive.

What about David's hands? Give a sling to that kid and he was a dead-on 
marksman for Goliath's forehead. And then there are Paul's feet. Over three 
missionary
journeys, Paul brought the gospel from Jerusalem all the way to Rome. As 
Isaiah wrote, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who 
brings
good news"
(Isaiah 52:7 ).

Now think of your life being the base of operations for God. The Bible says 
that you're the temple of the Holy Spirit (see
1 Corinthians 6:19
). Think of what God could do through you if you woke up tomorrow and said, 
"Lord, here's my mouth, here are my feet, here are my hands--go for it. I 
want
to see You use them."

As with Aaron and his sons, God does want to use you in this way. He doesn't 
just use preachers or people He calls into official ministry. If you are 
part
of the priesthood of believers, you are in the ministry! Find out 
specifically what He has put before you to do, then use your body for His 
glory.

You need to understand what a privilege this is. God doesn't have to use us 
to get the job done. In fact, He would be better off if He didn't use us. So
why does He? He likes to use the foolish things of this world (see
1 Corinthians 1:27
) so that people see His work and say, "What a powerful, good God we serve!"

I encourage you to consecrate your whole self to the Lord today, letting Him 
use your mouth, your hands, and your feet like He did with Paul, David, 
Moses,
and Aaron and his sons.What an incredible thing that He ispleased to choose 
such weak instruments for His glory!

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


Pray It Forward
November 21, 2017

Read: Colossians 4:2-6

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (v. 
2)

This past Easter, Linda changed my prayer life. I participated in a campaign 
at church called #prayitforward. Each person was challenged to fill in this
blank: “My heart’s desire is for ________ to encounter Jesus this Easter 
season.” Once a name was filled in, that card was dropped in a basket. Then, 
each
person was asked to pull out a different card and pray for that person. The 
card I pulled out had the name “Linda” written on it. It was a new, small 
way
to change up who I prayed for. I had a renewed sense of involvement and 
fervently prayed for Linda, not even knowing who she was. Without any 
background,
bias, or baggage, I prayed specifically and boldly for her.

Paul similarly challenges the believers in the city of Colossae, and us, to 
“continue steadfastly in prayer.” He asks,
like we should ask, for doors to open so that the world may know the good 
news of the risen Jesus Christ. He asks,
like we should ask, for the message to be clear. He asks,
like we should ask, for wisdom about specifically whom to share the gospel 
with. He asks,
like we should ask, for his words to be gracious and loving.

Who is the “Linda” in your story? Our Savior is in the transformation 
business, and the world needs to hear how “God so loved the world.” —Tim 
Huizenga

Prayer: Jesus, we know you transform lives. Please show me who to pray for, 
whoever needs to hear about you. Amen.

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

So Dry and Thirsty
"If you knew . . . who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked 
him and he would have given you living water."

John 4:10, NIV

While the woman of Samaria and I have many differences, we have one thing in 
common. I, too, find myself from time to time running on empty.

In the busyness of ministry,

the weariness of activity,

the excitement of opportunity,

I sometimes wake up and realize, “I am so dry and thirsty.” Invariably, when 
I examine myself, the reason for the dryness of spirit can be traced to one
thing. I’m not drinking freely of the Water of Life. I’m neglecting my Bible 
study. I’m rushing through my prayer time. I’m not listening to the voice
of the Lord because I’m just too busy to be still. At those times I carve 
out quiet interludes to confess my sins and read and meditate and pray and 
listen
and just drink Him in. Thank You, dear God, for still giving us today, 
Living Water from the Well that never goes dry.

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
www.annegrahamlotz.org.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Real You, Real Prayer - #8051

It was one of those real short nights. I had just spoken for a large youth 
event, and the night went late for the best of reasons: God brought hundreds
of young people to faith in Christ that night. The counseling of all those 
kids took a blessedly long time. Now Jason, who was one of the organizers, 
took
me to my hotel that night and he told me he would be picking me up in a few 
hours for my very early morning flight. I said, "I'm sorry you have to get
me so early when you've been up so late." He said, "Oh, don't worry. I'll 
just roll out of bed, throw on a baseball cap, and come on over." (Which, by
the way, I think is the major reason there are baseball caps.) Well, bless 
his heart, that's just what he did. When we got to the airport, I asked him
if we could pray together before I went on my plane. He respectfully took 
off his baseball cap, and we had a neat time of prayer. When I opened my 
eyes
at the end, he still had his cap off. And a very creative hair style-I mean, 
it was all over the place! He even laughed about it. The cap covered what
he didn't want anyone to see-except when he was praying.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Real You, 
Real Prayer."

Actually, prayer should be the time when we are willing to expose what we 
don't want anyone to see or know otherwise. It's meant to be the place where
we can be 100% honest and 100% transparent. And when we are, some amazing 
things can happen.

Our word for today from the Word of God begins with Hebrews 4:13, "Nothing 
in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid
bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." In other words, 
there is no point in posing or role-playing when you're with God. He already
knows your deepest feelings, your deepest failings, your deepest struggles. 
Our hat is always off in front of God, whether we take it off or not. He 
knows
everything we cover up for other people. There's no point in trying to put a 
tie on for God if "everything is uncovered and laid bare before Him." Right?

Now we might worry about how God will respond if we really get real with 
Him. Well, listen to verse 15. "For we do not have a high priest who is 
unable
to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in 
every way, just as we are-yet was without sin." The Savior you're 
approaching
is the one who has been here, who has been, while fully God, fully human. He 
gets us!

When God the Son was here, He experienced temptation from Satan himself. He 
experienced loneliness, abandonment, agonizing over God's will, grief, 
family
tensions, homelessness, excruciating pain, even dying. So you come 
emotionally naked to one who has lived...not necessarily all your exact 
circumstances,
but feelings very much like yours. You'll not shock Him with your 
struggles-He already knows. You won't be rejected for your feelings-He 
understands.

And when you come with the cover off, you leave with resources from God that 
can change everything. Hebrews 4:16: "Let us then (in other words, since 
we're
going to a God who knows all about us, who has walked in our moccasins) 
approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy 
and
find grace to help us in our time of need."

God wants to pour out His mercy and His grace on the hardest, hurtingest 
parts of your heart and life. But the real God will only help the real you. 
You
don't come with your "cap off" to show God what He doesn't know about. You 
come totally exposed emotionally and spiritually because God will only help
you with what you honestly open up to Him.

So when you're praying, don't come to God with the official you, with the 
image you show everyone else, with the dressed up, touched up, covered up 
you.
Uncover in His presence what you can't uncover to anyone else. And let His 
grace; let His healing come pouring into the parts of your heart that need 
it
the most.

Come like the old hymn says, "Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy 
blood was shed for me."
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

The Comfort of the Cross

"...save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.."

Matthew 27:40

Half way across the world, nowhere to turn with two little hands clutching 
tightly to mine and unable to speak the native language I cried out to the 
Lord;
"Father, I’m in this country, my two little girls are hungry and the sun is 
sinking fast. We need shelter for the night please help me and my mission 
team
find a safe place to stay". I was with a small team of others in the 
Japanese Yayama Islands located across from Thailand working with the
Joshua 2000
project. We were there to evangelize and do some research for the summer. My 
daughters, very young at the time, were with me and none of us spoke the
language. We went on faith and had no idea where we would stay once we 
arrived, and now, there with bags in hand, the sun setting quickly before us 
and
half away across the world our faith was put to the test.

When it looked as though we would be sleeping on the street for the night 
out of the darkness came the voice of a young woman speaking in English;
"can I help you find your way"? There before me, stood a radiant young woman 
eager to drive us to where we were staying. She went inside to get her 
father
and they loaded us up and started to drive us to where....I didn’t know but, 
I was waiting on God to show me. She kept telling me, I’ll drive, you tell
me where to go. I bowed my head there in that little car, far away from all 
that was familiar to me, asking God to show me the way. As I said amen, I 
raised
my eyes to see off in the distance, high above the trees, a cross. It was 
lit up as bright as the sun shining in a dark place, like a beacon of hope 
that
seemed to beckon; "home is this way." I told the young woman, "take us to 
the cross". It was God’s way of showing me the way we were to go. I did not 
know
what awaited us there but, I knew God’s direction for me was through the 
cross...always.

When we finally came to where the cross was we found that it was the home of 
an aging missionary couple from America. He had built that cross upon their
house to show the people of the island that they could come to know Jesus at 
this place. They took our entire group in as their own and fed us keeping
us safe for our entire trip. God taught me so much during this trip of His 
faithfulness and provision and the power of His presence but more than all 
these,
He taught me the power of the cross and what it stands for. God raised up 
the cross to show us the way and there under the shelter of that cross He 
kept
us in perfect peace. He hid us beneath the cross, beloved, and I came to 
understand in that midnight hour that, this is what the cross is for every 
child
of God. It is our symbol of hope, our direction when we’ve lost our way, a 
shelter for the soul who feels abandoned, security for the fearful and light
in a dark world.

All that you and I need or will ever need God has provided in the cross of 
Calvary. There, He poured out Holiness that you might receive all your soul
needs. Have you lost your way, gotten off course with God, are you fearful, 
alone, confused, or in need? Then look upward and follow the cross home 
precious
daughter. Whatever your greatest need is this hour, the answer is in the 
cross. The cross is your compass beloved; it will never mislead you. He didn’t
save Himself because He wanted to save you.

I will keep the cross before me, always.


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

"Not Logical"
November 16, 2017
2 Corinthians 5:21 - For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so 
that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
It was always my custom to stand at the front door of the church and welcome 
folks to worship.

As you can imagine, such a vantage point allowed me to see many strange and 
interesting things. For me, none was more interesting than watching women 
cleaning
up their children, especially their boys who have the ability to make the 
cleanest of outfits instantaneously dirty.

That's why moms who knew their children were spic-and-span at the beginning 
of the trip to church still went through the checklist one last time. One 
last
time they wanted to make sure their little ones were presentable.

I can still see those mothers going through their mental checklist:
list of 5 items
• Hands clean and devoid of all blotches and smears? Check!

• Hair in place, no bubble-gum or peanut butter? Check!

• No lint or loose hairs on shoulders or shirt? Check!

• Is the tuck-in Sunday shirt still tucked in? Check!

• Any major stains? None. Check!
list end
Now if there was some dirt or a heretofore unnoticed stain, mom took care of 
such horrors right there and then. This she did by fishing a handkerchief
out of her purse and spitting into it. A big stain called for a lot of 
spittle. To the best of my knowledge, no stain can withstand this method of 
cleaning.
Oh, there's one other thing you should know about mom's cleaning their men.

The thing you should know is this: there is no age cutoff. I have seen 
76-year-old great-grandmothers clean up their 78-year-old husbands as well 
as their
45-year-old sons. This they do because there are special occasions when the 
ladies like their guys to look good.

And no occasion is more special than a wedding: your wedding.

A few weeks ago, Brittany Ross Cook of Ontario, Canada, married Clayton 
Cook. Everything went great at the wedding, but afterwards, as they were 
taking
pictures in Victoria Park, they ran into problems. In the midst of the 
formal pictures, the groom excused himself, walked over to the river, 
watched for
a few seconds and, still attired in his formal clothes, jumped in.

It could have been the end of a beautiful relationship. But it wasn't. 
Brittany forgave Clay after he explained. You see, Clay had seen one child 
push
another into that river. When he walked to the riverbank he was told the lad 
couldn't swim. A quick glance at the boys struggles showed, without help,
the boy wasn't going to make it.

Jumping in to save that child may not have been the logical thing to do. It 
may not have been the logical thing to do, but it was the right thing to do..

Two-thousand years ago, your Savior took a look at sinful humanity. He could 
plainly see we couldn't save ourselves. Indeed, if anybody was going to be
rescued in this world it would be because He got involved, which is why 
Jesus began His earthly ministry. He put His own life, His own place in 
heaven
to the side, to save us. To save us, He became obedient unto death, even 
death on the cross.

Understand, it was not the logical thing to do. How could the innocent dying 
for the guilty be logical? How could trading the life of God's Son to rescue
a rebellious world be logical? No, it wasn't logical, but it was -- from the 
Lord's perspective -- the right thing, the godly thing to do.

As Paul wrote, "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that 
in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today we rejoice that You didn't do the logical thing 
in saving us. May we do our best to live worthy of the Name Christian. In
Jesus' Name. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by Will Gardner for LIFE on October 16, 2017. 
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Tension in the Tank

by Chuck Swindoll

Romans 8:28-30

Ever felt sorry for certain Scriptures? I sure have. I'm talking about 
passages like John 3:17, Hebrews 4:13, 1 John 1:10, and Philippians 4:14. 
Great
verses, all . . . yet the popularity of their next-door neighbors has 
resulted in their being virtually ignored.

Everybody who spends even a little while in the Family can quote Proverbs 
3:5–6, but unfortunately, an equally significant verse 7 goes begging. And 
take
Galatians 2:20. It is so powerful, so magnificent, it's often viewed as the 
final climactic verse of the chapter, yet it's actually the next-to-last 
verse.
But who in the world knows Galatians 2:21 by heart? The twenty-third Psalm 
is the most famous of all in the ancient hymnal, but it's sandwiched between
two other psalms that, when studied, yield fruit that is succulent to the 
soul and actually far more vital, theologically, than the popular and 
picturesque
"shepherd psalm."

Perhaps the most obvious case in point is found in one of the greatest 
chapters Paul ever penned, Romans 8. From our mother's knee we have been 
nourished
by the twenty-eighth verse. It brings comfort when our world crushes in. It 
softens the blows of calamity. It calms us when panic would otherwise steal
our peace. It reassures us when wrong temporarily triumphs . . . when the 
fever doesn't break . . . when the brook dries up . . . when death strikes. 
I
hardly need to write it out.

block quote
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those 
who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
block quote end

Great words! But left alone, they're incomplete. Anyone who has taken the 
time to look discovers that this verse starts a chain reaction that doesn't 
end
before the magnificent statement found in the final two verses of Romans 8, 
which assure us of our inseparable love-relationship with the living God.

Woven into the fabric of this elegant garment of truth is an 
often-forgotten, easily overlooked thread that adds richness and color. 
Because it lacks the
eloquence of verse 28, because it doesn't roll off the tongue quite as 
easily, it tends to get lost amidst other more obvious and more attractive 
phrases.
I'm referring to the verse that follows verse 28, the one that explains
why "all things work together for good to those who love God." Why?

block quote
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the 
image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.
block quote end

Put simply, we are God's personal project. He is committed to the task of 
working in us, developing us, rearranging, firming up, and deepening us so 
that
the character traits of His Son—called here "the image"—begin to take shape. 
The emerging of the Son's image in us is of primary importance to the 
Father.
In fact, it is impossible to thwart His commitment to the project. His work 
goes on even though we scream and squirm, doubt and debate, run and shun. 
There's
no denying it, the tools He uses hurt, but it all "works together for good." 
It takes tension to develop the right texture. Without it, forget it. I've
got a "fishy" story that'll explain what I mean. I'll tell you about it in 
Part Two.

In the northeastern United States, codfish are not only delectable, they are 
a big commercial business. There's a market for eastern cod all over, 
especially
in sections farthest removed from the northeast coastline. But the public 
demand posed a problem to the shippers. At first they froze the cod, then 
shipped
them elsewhere, but the freeze took away much of the flavor. So they 
experimented with shipping them alive, in tanks of seawater, but that proved 
even
worse. Not only was it more expensive, the cod still lost its flavor, and in 
addition, became soft and mushy. The texture was seriously affected.

Finally, some creative soul solved the problem in a most innovative manner. 
The codfish were placed in the tank of water along with their natural 
enemy—the
catfish. From the time the cod left the East Coast until it arrived in its 
westernmost destination, those ornery catfish chased the cod all over the 
tank!
And you guessed it, when the cod arrived at the market, they were as fresh 
as when they were first caught. There was no loss of flavor nor was the 
texture
affected. If anything, it was better than before.

A couple of questions seem worth asking. First, can you name some catfish 
swimming in your tank? Maybe you live with one of them. Or it's somebody at 
work
whose irritating presence drives you to your knees several times a week. 
Every church has a few catfish as well! They're there to keep all the cod 
from
getting soft, mushy, and tasteless. Second, have you given thanks for them 
lately? Yesterday, we talked about God's mission being to shape you into the
image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Just think, it's that tension in the tank 
that helps "the image" emerge. With the right attitude, we can learn how to 
keep
from resenting them as intruders as the chase continues.

To do so we'll need to put an end to pity parties and whine clubs and gripe 
gatherings in the tank. When we do, it is nothing short of remarkable how 
closely
the chase begins to resemble "the race" mentioned in Hebrews 12 . . . but 
whoever heard of Hebrews 12 since Hebrews 11 is so much more popular? It's 
one
of those passages I told you I feel sorry for, one that is overshadowed by 
its neighbor.

If you haven't heard of it, it's you I feel sorry for.

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

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Beans

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray continually. (NIV)

I had never made baked beans from scratch, but recently, I decided to do so.. 
I was amazed that the beans needed not only to soak overnight but also to
boil gently for another hour after soaking and then to cook on low in my 
slow cooker for yet another ten hours before they would be ready. Talk about 
needing
softening up before becoming edible!

This bean revelation brought to mind the number of people that I have met 
over the years who also need much patience and time when it comes to 
softening
up spiritually. For various reasons, their hearts are hard toward the gospel 
and our Lord Jesus Christ. Some were not raised with the faith. Others were,
but experienced great hurt, disappointment, or lack of fulfillment from 
their faith.

Whatever the case, their hearts are hard, and hard hearts need constant 
softening through prayer and consistent, loving, Christian example.

As my beans continued to cook slowly and their delicious smell filled the 
room, not only did I look forward to eating them, but also, I was reminded 
not
to give up on those in my life who have not yet softened to the power of the 
Holy Spirit's caress upon their lives. Rather, I was encouraged to continue
to be diligent in my prayers for God's will to be done in their lives, and 
in mine, as I seek to be an example of God's unconditional and gracious love
toward them.

Prayer: Father God, thank You that Your Holy Spirit is at work in the lives 
of those whose hearts have not yet softened toward the love and call of 
Jesus
Christ. Remind us daily to be faithful in prayer, trusting that You are able 
to draw them to Yourself according to Your good and perfect will. In 
Christ's
name, we ask. Amen.

Lynne Phipps 
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 26 Jan 2018, 8:31 pm

3 Things NOT to Say When Someone is Suffering
Edward T. Welch

If we are affected by someone’s suffering, we will remember it, which is one 
of the great gifts that we give to each other.

A young man’s father died, and his local church, as we would expect, loved 
him well—invitations to dinner, a high priority on everyone’s prayer list, 
and
warm e-mails, texts, and cards. After a week or two, the generous care began 
to taper off, also as we would expect. The few people who still asked the
young man how he was doing stood out to him as unusually caring.

A year later, on the anniversary of the father’s death, a friend from the 
church called and left a message: “I remember that your father died on this 
day
last year. I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you and 
prayed for you. I prayed that there will be times today when the memories 
you have
of him bless you.”

The young man was stunned. He was changed. He was comforted and encouraged, 
and he committed to keep others on his heart long term.

God’s premiere self-description is “the compassionate and gracious God” (
Ex. 34:6 NIV
). This means that both our pain and our prayers affect him, and he has us 
on his heart. He takes our burden on himself and remembers us. As we imitate
our Father, we want to feel the burdens of others too.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (
Gal. 6:2 )
block quote end

So we call, e-mail, track down the suffering at church. We have them on our 
heart, and we want them to know it.

Say something. Do something. Remember. That is the basic idea.

What Not to Say

Yet the call to say something does not mean that everything we say is good 
and helpful. It’s important to know what not to say. Sometimes we may be 
tempted
to respond to someone’s suffering with thoughtless platitudes. Here are 
three offenders.

1) Do not say: “It could be worse.”

Believe it or not, that is only the first half of a hideous comment, for 
example: “It could be worse—imagine if you broke both legs.”

We have some odd ways of cheering each other up.

The comment is accurate—everything could be worse. We suffer and then, along 
with the suffering, have a comforter who says it could be worse.

Such a comment is utterly thoughtless. God himself would never say or 
sanction it. God does not compare our present suffering to anyone else’s or 
to worst-case
scenarios. Ever. If we hear friends do this in their own suffering, it does 
not give us the right to chime in. Instead, it might be a time to warn them..

“Yes, your suffering might not seem as severe as _______, but God doesn’t 
compare your sufferings to others.”

If we make such comparisons, we might be tempted not to speak of the 
suffering from our hearts to the Lord because we would consider it whining, 
which
it certainly is not.

So even though things could be worse, that is never an appropriate thing to 
say to others or to let others say about their situation. God is not 
dismissive
of our hardships, and neither should we be.

2) Do not say: “What is God teaching you through this?” Or, “God will work 
this together for good.”

Those platitudes are biblical in that God does teach us in our suffering, 
and he is working all things together for good (
Rom. 8:28
). We agree with C. S. Lewis when he writes that pain is God’s megaphone to 
arouse a deaf world. But these kinds of comments have hurt so many people;
let’s agree that we will never say them.

Consider a few of the possible problems with this and other poorly timed 
misuses of biblical passages:

Learn more about RevenueStripe...
list of 5 items
• Such responses circumvent compassion. Will you have compassion if someone 
is being “taught a lesson”? Not likely.
• Such responses tend to be condescending, as in, “I wonder when you will 
finally get it.”
• Such responses suggest that suffering is a solvable riddle. God has 
something specific in mind, and we have to guess what it is. Welcome to a 
cosmic
game of Twenty Questions, and we’d better get the right answer soon; 
otherwise, the suffering will continue.
• Such responses suggest that we have done something to unleash the 
suffering.
• Such responses undercut God’s call to all suffering people: “Trust me.”
list end

In our attempts to help, we can over-interpret suffering. We search for 
clues to God’s ways, as if suffering were a scavenger hunt. Get to the end, 
with
the right answers, and God will take away the pain. Meanwhile, the quest for 
answers is misguided from the start and will end badly. Suffering is not an
intellectual matter that needs answers; it is highly personal: Can I trust 
him? Does he hear? Suffering is a relational matter, and it is a time to 
speak
honestly to the Lord and remember that the fullest revelation he gives of 
himself is through Jesus Christ, the suffering servant. Only when we look to
Jesus can we know that God’s love and our suffering can coexist.

3) Do not say: “If you need anything, please call me, anytime.”

This heads in a better direction; it is not quite a platitude. However, this 
common and kind comment reveals that we do not really know the person. 
Sufferers
usually don’t know what they want or need, and they won’t call you. The 
comment is the equivalent of, “I’ve said something nice, now see ya later.” 
It
gives no real thought to the sufferer’s needs and circumstances, and the 
suffering person knows it.

Instead we could ask, “What can I do to help?”

Or (better) we could consider what needs to be done and do it.

Wise friends buy more dog food, do the dishes, drop off a meal, cut the 
grass, babysit the kids, clean the house, give a ride to small group, drop 
off
a note of encouragement and then another and another, help sort out medical 
bills, and so on.

Any such acts of love and service make life easier for the suffering person.. 
And a meal is never just a meal; maid service is never merely a timesaver
for those served. These acts say to the sufferer, “I remember you”; “I think 
about you often”; “You are not forgotten”; “You are on my heart”; “I love
you.” The time we give to creative strategizing is the power behind such 
acts. It is unmistakable love that mimics the strategic planning of the 
triune
God’s rescue mission. He planned and acted even before we knew our real 
needs.

The oddity of our clumsy and sometimes hurtful attempts to help is this: we 
have clear ideas from what has helped us in our suffering, but we do not 
adopt
it when seeking to love others. We do not always speak to others in the way 
we would like to be spoken to.

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

Side by Side BookTaken from
Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love , by Edward T. Welch. 
Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers,
Wheaton, Il 60187,
www.crossway.org .


Sufficient Grace

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I thought the Christian life was going to be easier than this. Have these 
words ever entered your mind? Sometimes we come into the family of God 
thinking
that our heavenly Father will fix all our problems and devote Himself to our 
happiness and comfort. However, that is not the reality portrayed in 
Scripture.
Paul was a man whom the Lord used greatly, and yet his life was anything but 
easy.

In fact, at one point, the apostle thought his pain was too much to bear, 
and he begged God to remove it. There’s nothing wrong with asking the Lord 
to
relieve our suffering, but what should our response be if He doesn’t? Paul 
probably had no idea that His experience would find its way into the Bible,
to comfort and guide believers throughout the ages. The promise God gave him 
applies to us as well: “My grace is sufficient for you” (v. 9).

God’s grace could be defined as His provision for us at the point of our 
need. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t seem as if the Lord truly is 
meeting
our need. But He frequently sees deficiencies, outcomes, and complications 
that we don’t. His goals for us involve spiritual growth, the development of
Christlike character, and strong faith. And trials play a vital role in 
achieving these.

The important issue is how we respond. If all you want is relief, you could 
descend into anger and doubt. But if your desire is to become the person God
wants you to be, you’ll see each trial as an opportunity for Christ to 
display His character and strength in you.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please 
visit
www.intouch.org .



The Sting of the Thorn

by Chuck Swindoll

Mark 4:1-20

Give the Reverend Dullard Drydust enough time and he will manage to confuse 
most sections of the Bible. Because we preachers are notorious for getting
hung up on Greek tenses and purpose clauses and theological trivia, we often 
shy away from those passages that appear nontechnical and plain.

Like the parables, to be specific. Like Mark 4, to be exact. Not only is 
that particular parable simple and straightforward, it's even interpreted 
for
us by Jesus, the One who thought up the story in the first place. And since 
it has to do with a farmer-type who pitches some seed on different kinds of
soil, it doesn't seem to have the sophisticated ingredients needed for 
homiletical hash. After all, there's not a lot you can say about the story 
of a
farmer who drops little seeds here and there in haphazard fashion—or is 
there?

At first glance, maybe not, but after some thought, I'm convinced there's 
more here than any of us ever dreamed. And since the Son of God explains its
essential meaning, the story cannot be twisted or forced to fit the fancy of 
some hungry-eyed pulpiteer looking for three points and a poem.

This is a profound story about life—real life—your life and mine. It boils 
life down to the four basic responses people have toward spiritual things.

The "seed," according to the speaker, is "the word." I believe we're safe in 
saying that "the word" refers to truth. God's truth. Truth for living. 
Life-giving
words provided for us by the Lord our God. The Scriptures, yes, but also the 
insights, the perspective, and the wisdom that grow in us when the seed 
takes
root.

The four different "soils" represent people of all ages and interests and 
backgrounds who respond to the things of the Lord in various ways.
Some listen, then immediately reject—instantly they turn it off.
Others hear and seem to enjoy it and even respond well on the surface, but 
soon spin off when their bubble bursts and the going gets rough. Still 
others
grab hold and initially embrace what they hear, but by and by they get 
sidetracked as their growth is throttled by life's "thorns."
Then, as always, there are those who hear, believe, grow, hang in there, and 
before long begin to reproduce as healthy plants in God's vineyard.

It's obvious that the first two groups are those who are not born again.. 
They are rootless, lifeless, and fruitless. It's obvious that the last group
is born-again: submissive, active, and productive. But frankly, I'm bothered 
by the third group.

They are Christians, because they grow and get right on the verge of bearing 
fruit, but their growth becomes retarded. These people hear everything the
fourth group hears. But those insights and needed truths are never really 
accepted, never allowed to take root and grow. Why? Because thorns have come
in—thorns which suffocate the normal healthy growth of each plant.

Thorns like these trip us up and cause untold misery. They are killers! 
Tomorrow we'll talk more about the threat each type of thorn represents and 
about
Jesus's solution.

We've been talking about Jesus's parable in Mark 4:1–20 about the farmer who 
sows seeds in four different types of soil. As I mentioned in Part One, I'm
bothered by the third group because thorns come in and destroy the healthy 
growth of the Christian.

It is interesting that the thorns were already present at the time the seed 
entered, and that the thorns were never completely out of the picture even
though the seeds began to take root (Mark 4:7).

And what do the thorns represent? Again, we have Jesus's own words to answer 
that question. They represent "the worries of the world," "the deceitfulness
of riches," and "the desires for other things" (4:19). When these thorns 
enter, spiritual growth and production slip out the rear exit. Our Lord 
doesn't
say they
might cause trouble, nor does He suggest they
have been known to hinder us. He says that they . . . enter in and choke the 
word, and it becomes unfruitful
(v. 19).

Period. No ifs, ands, or maybes. The thorns are dictators. They know nothing 
of peaceful coexistence with the life of freedom and victory. Shunning a 
brash
frontal attack, these enemies of our soul employ a more subtle strategy. 
Slipping under the back door, their long tentacles advance so slowly, so 
silently,
the victim hardly realizes he or she's being strangled. Demanding first 
place, they ultimately siphon off every ounce of spiritual interest and 
emotional
energy.

Are you a compulsive worrier? The term worry is derived from the old German 
word
wurgen, which means "to choke." Somehow, by extension, the word came to 
denote "mental strangulation," and finally to describe the condition of 
being harrassed
with anxiety. All of that and more are in Jesus's mind as He presents this 
parable.

It's the thorns that bug us. Always growing, forever aggressive and ready to 
"choke the word" right out of our minds. Like worry—a thin stream of fear
trickles through our minds. If entertained, it cuts a deeper channel into 
which other thoughts are drained—often good thoughts, God-given thoughts 
gleaned
directly from His Book.

The same is true of "the deceitfulness of riches." What a consuming passion 
.. . . yet how empty, how unsatisfying! We rationalize, of course, by saying
it doesn't mean that much to us. Like the late heavyweight champ, Joe Louis, 
who smiled and said, "I don't like money actually, but it quiets my nerves."
Yeah, sure, Joe.

But this third species of thorns is the killer—"the desires for other 
things." Better think that one through. It's the picture of discontent, the 
plague
of pursuit: pushing, straining, stretching, relentlessly reaching while our 
minds become strangled with the lie, "enough just isn't enough."

Do you find it next to impossible to be satisfied with your present 
situation? If so, these words are nothing new to you—you've been stuck by 
those thorns
since your soil first received God's seed . . . and if the truth were known, 
you inwardly enjoy their presence. After all, it's risky to abandon your 
entire
life to God by
faith. You'd rather worry, possess, and complain, than rest, release, and 
rejoice. Thorns inject a powerful anesthesia.

Why do so many Christians live among thorns like these? Because we have a 
quiet, respectable, secret
love for them. I know. I've got the ugly scars to prove it. Each one is a 
mute reminder of years trapped in the thicket. And periodically I still have
to yank a few.

I've never heard of such, but I'd like to proclaim today as Thorn Pulling 
Day. We may bleed and it may hurt . . . but, oh, the beauty of a thornless 
day!

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

When I Lay My Isaac Down

The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. 
All rights reserved worldwide.


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

"Forgetting Fear"
November 7, 2017
1 John 4:17 - By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have 
confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this 
world.
If you've ever ridden on a roller-coaster, you'll remember that moment when 
you reach the top and then, almost instantaneously the bottom drops out, you
go airborne, and your stomach is in your throat. Under the closed conditions 
of a roller-coaster, that can be pretty exciting.

But it's not so much fun if it happens unexpectedly and you're in an 
airplane.

That's what happened to the folks on Indonesia's AirAsia Flight QZ535. While 
traveling from Australia to Bali, their plane suddenly lost air pressure.
The passengers' oxygen masks dropped down as the plane, very quickly, took a 
24,000-foot drop in altitude. That's a roller-coaster, gut-wrenching drop
of more than four miles in about nine minutes.

Now I would love to tell you that the crew on the flight managed to bring 
calm to the troubled passengers. I would love to tell you that, but I can't.
Nobody can.

The people on the flight report the staff was, screaming, crying, and looked 
shocked. One of them ran down the aisle yelling, "Emergency! Brace! Crash
positions!"

Now, please don't think that everyone lost it and became unglued. Chris 
Jeanes was a passenger who had planned to propose to his girlfriend, Casey, 
when
they got to Bali. But since it looked like they might not make it to Bali, 
he proposed as the plane was doing its nosedive.

Casey said, "Yes!"

And for those of you who have a questioning bent of mind, I can tell you, 
when they were out of danger, Jeanes proposed a second time, and Casey still
said "Yes!"

So, my friends, what have we learned from this AirAsia flight?

Hearing the reports and watching the video of what happened, I came away 
with this:
list of 2 items
1. Some people are ready to die.

2. Some people are not ready to die.
list end
In this particular case, the folks whom I would expect might be ready, that 
is the plane's staff, didn't seem to have been prepared at all. At the same
time, other folks, like the lovebirds Chris and Casey were calm enough to 
move forward with their plans. If their time together was going to be short,
they were determined to enjoy it as much as they could.

In some ways, they remind me of Luther who once was asked, "What would you 
do if you knew you had only 24 hours before judgment?"

Luther supposedly said, "I'd keep planting this tree."

Luther knew that when a person has been washed of his sins in the Savior's 
precious blood, no longer can he be accused when he stands before the divine
Judge's bench. Because the Christ has fulfilled the Law and died our death, 
on that day the only verdict we shall hear is one which says, "Not guilty!"

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am a miserable sinner but because of Jesus I am a 
forgiven sinner. May I rejoice in the salvation He has given and do all I 
can
to reach out to others who still wander in the darkness where fear rules 
hearts and minds. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by the AP and carried by NBC news on October 16, 2017. Those who 
wish to
reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully 
functional at the time this devotion was written:
click here .

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Jeremiah 43-44; Hebrews 11:20-40
Print this Devotion
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Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).


Begin to Hope Again
Scott Hubbard / November 14, 2017
Begin to Hope Again

“I’ve come to see that part of my calling here is simply to be a person of 
hope.”

Our car bounced down a dirt road in a small Middle Eastern town, seven of us 
packed into a five-seat sedan. A dim moonlight lit the blues and oranges of
ramshackle gates guarding small properties.

The town sits on the northern edge of a “developing” country. But 
intermittent terrorist attacks and a limping economy make “disintegrating” 
seem like
a more apt word at times. When locals meet a Western expat like the one 
driving our car, their surprise often breaks into a question.

“Why are you here?” they ask. “This country will never be fixed.”

Broken Hope

This country will never be fixed. You don’t need to live in a broken country 
to know something of the same hopelessness — the desolating sense that some
aspect of your life can never be fixed.

For many of us, pervasive, day in and day out brokenness has turned our 
youthful boast that “nothing is impossible with God” into a weary “nothing 
is ever
going to change.” You might not voice it out loud, but you’ve come to expect 
that God will not answer prayer, much less “rend the heavens and come down”
(Isaiah 64:1), and that brokenness will dominate your life’s headlines until 
your obituary takes its place.

It might be a broken country, where terrorists’ bombs explode every attempt 
at systemic development. Or a broken marriage, where mistrust has evicted 
tenderness
from the home. Or a broken ministry, where the word seems to land only on 
the path with the birds. Or perhaps just a broken soul, where darkness has 
extinguished
the last shreds of light.

In the wreckage of that kind of brokenness, we feel entirely justified as we 
adopt a hopeless view of our life. We might even call our hopelessness
realism.

Despair Banished

Scripture has its share of such “realists” — cynical characters who run life 
through the grid of despair. The Bible has its Sarahs who laugh at God’s 
promise
(Genesis 18:12), its Elijahs who have eyes to see only God’s enemies (1 
Kings 19:14), and its Thomases who resign themselves to death (John 11:16).

But more properly, the people of God are a people of hope. They’re the sort 
who lock eyes with our world’s fundamental brokenness, size it up from head
to toe, and still step into the ring.

list of 4 items
• Abraham looks at his barren wife and “in hope he believed against hope, 
that he should become the father of many nations” (Romans 4:18).
• Ruth turns her eyes from a dead husband to a new country, and tells Naomi, 
“Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge” (Ruth 1:16).
• Habakkuk sees the Babylonian hordes coming to destroy his people, and 
still he sings, “I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of 
my salvation”
(Habakkuk 3:18).
• Micah collapses under the weight of his own sin, and yet he boasts, “When 
I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to 
me”
(Micah 7:8).
list end

Each one of these saints knew what it was to stand neck-deep in brokenness. 
They felt the tension between God’s promises and their seemingly hopeless 
circumstances.
And yet they still chose to hope that God could give “life to the dead and 
[call] into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17). By faith,
they banished despair as they grasped onto “the assurance of things hoped 
for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

In other words, they were people who saw reality as it really is.

Heart of Reality

Each of the stories shows us that, when we welcome hopelessness and cynicism 
in the name of “reality,” we are not being realistic enough..

If you peel back the layers to get at the heart of reality, you won’t find a 
black hole of brokenness; you’ll find “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13). You’ll
find the God who gives children to barren women (Genesis 21:1–2), the God 
who welcomes young widows (Ruth 2:20), the God who fills disillusioned 
prophets
with joy (Habakkuk 3:18), the God who pleads the cause of his sinful people 
(Micah 7:9). And if you keep on looking, you’ll find the God who entered the
very dungeon of hopelessness in Jesus Christ, and three days later shattered 
the door.

This world is not a Shakespearean tragedy, where fate wields his merciless 
scythe and leaves the stage full of dead bodies at the curtain’s close. No,
this world is more like a comedy — not because it’s so full of laughs, but 
because it’s headed for a happy ending: a marriage and enough food to go 
around
for eternity.

Christian hope, then, is not the kind that blindfolds itself to reality. It’s 
the kind that looks at a newly sealed tomb and says, “This story’s not 
over.”

People of Hope

Of course, the hope that sits at the heart of reality does not guarantee 
that all of the brokenness we feel will heal quickly — or even at all in 
this
life. Your country might take decades to develop, or it might disintegrate 
further. Your marriage might take years to thaw, or the cold might settle in
deeper. Your ministry might grow incrementally, or it might wither and die. 
Your soul might brighten by imperceptible degrees, or the darkness might 
linger
until the end.

But the hope at the heart of reality does guarantee something: change is not 
only possible, but surely coming. Jesus’s empty tomb stands as a solid, 
immovable
witness that brokenness is beaten. With the God of hope running the world, 
the risen Christ at his right hand, and their mighty Spirit living inside 
you,
no brokenness can stand forever. One day, our hope will reach its 
fulfillment in the coming of the Son and the dawning of eternity, and he 
will speak the
final word that exiles brokenness from the earth. No more splintered 
countries, no more icy marriages, no more floundering ministries, no more 
depressed
saints.

And when we reach for that hope with the fingers of faith, we will live in 
today’s brokenness differently. We will straighten our backs, lift our 
chins,
square our shoulders, and remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in 
the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58) — even in this world’s most 
hopeless
circumstances. Our default response to brokenness will not be “nothing is 
ever going to change,” but instead “nothing is impossible with God.”

We may still be a sorrowful people — burdened, broken, and beaten up — but 
we will not be a cynical people. We are a people of hope.

How Do I Process Personal Criticism?
John Piper / November 14, 2017
How Do I Process Personal Criticism?

Aim to be humble rather than defensive when it comes to criticism. Only then 
will we be able to listen to their words and change if we’re wrong.

1 John 1:5–10: Fake Christians Walk in Darkness
John Piper / November 14, 2017

Fake Christians love darkness because it hides the sin that they love more 
than God.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Old Testament Law
----------------------------------------------------------

The Old Testament Law

Posted: 15 Nov 2017 09:55 PM PST

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD Read Leviticus 19:1-4, 9-18; 
Matthew 7:24-27

The Old Testament law, contained in portions of the books of Exodus, 
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, has a bad reputation among many modern 
Christians.
To them, it seems strange and completely outdated.

Read it, and yes, some of the specific regulations will seem odd. They were 
written for a different time, place, and situation. But the more I study the
law, the more amazed I am at its beauty and depth. It legislates compassion 
on the needy, even at the expense of private rights of ownership. It works
to shape a people of justice, righteousness, and generosity, a people who 
consider all fellow citizens to be their brothers and sisters, a people who,
above everything else, love God with all their heart, soul, and strength 
(Deuteronomy 6:5).

This is the law God promised to write on the hearts of His people (Jeremiah 
31:33). This is the law Jesus came, not to destroy, but to fulfill (Matthew
5:17). This is the law whose essence is loving God and loving others (Romans 
13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).

Whether the law was ever followed perfectly is not the point. It envisions a 
community of believers that will one day culminate in the Kingdom of God.
For myself, I’m coming to think of the law, less as a set of specific rules 
tailored to a specific people in a specific cultural situation, and more as
one step in God forming for Himself a holy people who are truly His own – a 
people of justice, mercy, faith, and love. The essence of the law is living
at peace with God and thus at peace with each other.

The law also teaches another invaluable truth: God’s wisdom does us no good 
until we obey it. God’s wisdom demands trust. It demands response. It 
demands
action. It demands change.

Remember Jesus’ parable about the wise man and the foolish man (Matthew 
7:24-27). Both men had heard God’s wisdom. Both men knew His wisdom.. The 
entire
difference between a wise life and a foolish life, between blessing and 
destruction, was simple obedience. God’s wisdom cannot bless us until we 
obey it.


Today's Devotional

Light of Life

Genesis 1:3-4,5b – And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the 
darkness.
And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day. (NIV)

Isn't it interesting that God created light before He created the sun and 
the moon? Nothing can live without light. Plants need light to turn green, 
and
they produce the oxygen that we need to breathe. We can't grow without 
light. Have you noticed how fast children grow in the summer months? 
Physical life
needs physical light, and emotional and spiritual life need emotional and 
spiritual light.

When I suffered a severe clinical depression, I wanted nothing more than to 
be in the dark. But depression is not just a human illness. We had two 
beautiful
German Shepherd dogs, not from the same litter, but born two months apart — 
they thought that they were brothers. They roamed our farm and delighted in
chasing the occasional car.

As they grew, one became bolder and took to chasing chickens as well. When 
his nose was on a level with our table, he stole food off our plates. 
Eventually,
he got himself into big trouble and had to be put down.

His brother moped. Obviously in a dark place, he lay on the step and refused 
to eat. So, I spent time with him, teaching him to catch a ball and walk on
a leash. He became my shadow. I saved his life. And when I fell into the 
depths of despair, he saved mine. God was the mastermind.

Anti-depressant drugs are wonderful, but they work slowly. Meantime, I had 
to rouse myself in order to let Jasper in and out of the house. How could I
resist those soulful brown eyes and not walk with him and throw his precious 
tennis ball? He needed me, and I needed him. As the saying goes, what goes
around, comes around. We reap what we sow.

What do we do when morning comes, but our life is in darkness? How do we get 
rid of the gloom of long, grey winter days when so many suffer from Seasonal
Affective Disorder? We don't want to talk. We tentatively part the 
curtains — and close them quickly. Exercise? We can't force ourselves. We 
paint the
walls green, blue, and yellow. We bring the outdoors in: flowers, 
birdhouses, pictures of beach scenes and boats. We might head south. But 
there's only
one solution: turn on the light!

John 8:12b – I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk 
in darkness, but will have the light of life. (NIV)

Jesus is the light that banishes spiritual and emotional darkness. He calls 
Himself the light of the world, and says that we are the light of the world
as well. Our job is to let Jesus shine through us. We're to go and find dark 
places and start shining!

Prayer: Jesus, help us to reflect Your light and move towards the people and 
places that need You. Amen.

JJ Ollerenshaw 
Belleville, Ontario, Canada
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:35 pm

Watch Where You Walk in 2018
Scott Hubbard / Sunday, December 31, 2017 7:00 PM
Watch Where You Walk in 2018

The Christian life is not a sprint. It is a journey of ten million steps.

Day after day, and year after year, we put one foot in front of the other as
we flee the wreckage of our sin and follow Jesus on the path of life. We
step
away from self-protection toward love, away from darkness toward light, away
from foolishness toward wisdom. Step after step after step — ten million
times.

But unless we stop every so often, and take a careful look backward and
forward, our feet will gradually drift from God’s paths and stumble onto
others.
Like a hiker who never checks his compass, we’ll set out in the right
direction and end up miles off the mark. Slowly, subtly, and perhaps
imperceptibly,
we’ll exit the narrow and hard path that leads to life and merge onto the
wide and easy way to destruction (Matthew 7:13–14).

The new year is a time for course correction — a time for taking out the
map, consulting the compass, and heeding Paul’s command to “look carefully .
..
.. how you walk” (Ephesians 5:15).

In Ephesians, Paul commands his readers five times to “walk” — in good
works, in a manner worthy of their calling, in love, in light, and in
wisdom. As
we consider three of Paul’s “walk” commands, take a look backward and
forward: Where have you drifted off the path? What steps might you take this
year,
with God’s help, to follow Jesus down these hard but happy roads?

Walk in Love
block quote
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant
offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

For Jesus, love meant nails through his hands and feet and a spear through
his side. Love meant climbing onto a cross and offering himself up as a
sacrifice.
Love meant inconvenience and sorrow and an excruciating death. This is the
love that breathed life into our dead lungs (Ephesians 2:4–5); the love that
is broader, longer, higher, and deeper than the galaxies (Ephesians
3:18–19); the love that is washing every stain of sin from our souls
(Ephesians 5:25–27);
the love that God commands us to imitate — even if our strongest love is a
whisper compared to his symphony.

Therefore, walk in love — go low to lift others up. Spend your time with the
lonely. Bend your body to bear burdens. Ransack your imagination to meet
needs.
Give your presence to the grieving. Fix your attention on the forgotten.

Such love will cost us, of course; we’ll have to relinquish handfuls of time
and comfort and convenience. But in the end, Jesus knows how to repay
everything
you lose on the path of love, “Whatever good anyone does, this he will
receive back from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:8). Go low in love, and Christ
himself
will lift you up. Walk in love this year.

Walk in Light

At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as
children of light
.. (Ephesians 5:8)

When the light of Christ broke into your life and dispersed your constant
midnight, he shone on you so that his light might make its home
in you. The God of light made you a child of light — a little candle lit
from the sun of Christ.

Therefore, walk in light — drive out the shadows from your soul. Train your
tongue to heal others instead of cutting them up. Relish the deeper pleasure
of purity instead of giving yourself over to sexual immorality. Grow in
gratitude for all that God has given instead of stewing over all that he’s
withheld.
Ache for “all that is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:9).

You can walk in these paths of light this year because you already are light
in the Lord. The dark version of you died with Jesus at the cross, was laid
with Jesus in the tomb — and will never rise again. Even if you feel like a
smoldering wick right now, if you are in Christ, your destiny is to “shine
like the sun in the kingdom of [your] Father” (Matthew 13:43). And that
transformation will happen as you keep on stepping out of the shadows,
repenting
of the specific darkness that still grips you, confessing it to God and
others, and shining the light of God’s word upon it. Walk in light this
year.

Walk in Wisdom

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best
use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16)


Every path in this world cuts through our enemy’s backyard. We don’t yet
walk in the safety of the new heavens and new earth; we walk in “the present
evil
age” (Galatians 1:4), an age where the devil stalks the earth with a quiver
of burning arrows, his eyes keen for careless travelers (Ephesians 6:16). If
we do not apply God’s wisdom to how we are walking in every area of life,
the devil will be more than happy to chart the course for us.

Therefore, walk in wisdom — seize your days from the devil’s hand. Clutch
onto every opportunity in your life, and turn it in a Godward direction.
Make
a plan for your marriage this year. Go to work on your parenting. Gauge the
health of your friendships. In each of these areas of life (and every
other),
ask, In this part of my life, how can I live like Christ is precious, the
gospel is powerful, the Spirit is inside me, and eternity is coming?

God has already broken the devil’s spell on you. He has already handed you a
shield to extinguish his arrows and a sword to swing back (Ephesians
6:16–17).
These days may be evil, but you don’t have to be — no part of your life has
to be. With a lot of careful looking, and the Holy Spirit’s help, you can
make
the best use of these evil days. Walk in wisdom this year.

God’s City of Joy

One day soon, you will not need to look carefully to how you are walking.
Perfect love will course through the veins of your resurrected body. The
light
of God’s righteousness will radiate from your every thought, word, and
action. Unclouded wisdom will rest upon your immortal shoulders.

Until that day, 2018 is another year to “look carefully . . . how you walk”
(Ephesians 5:15).
Walk in love — go low to lift others up. Walk in light — drive the shadows
from your soul. And
walk in wisdom — seize your days from the devil’s hand. These are three
roads that lead us to God’s city of joy, where our journey of ten million
stepswill finally end.

A New Year, A New Bible Reading Plan
John Piper / Sunday, December 31, 2017 6:00 PM
A New Year, A New Bible Reading Plan

We need to read large sections of Scripture and stop to meditate on short
passages. Pastor John recommends a reading plan that allows you to do both.

Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402


BIBLE MEDITATION:
"For thou hast delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet
from falling."
Psalm 116:8

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Yes, believers can experience loneliness. I believe the Holidays are the
loneliest time of the year. People are told everywhere they're supposed to
be
happy and they realize they're not. They see everybody else acting happy,
and they feel so lonely.

Death, divorce, desertion—even travel can make you lonely. Success can make
you lonely. You often hear “it's lonely at the top.” You can be lonely in a
big crowd. You can be lonely in a mall. Old age makes you lonely. Loneliness
is one of the chief maladies of our age, but Jesus promised, "I will never
leave thee nor forsake thee."

What I am saying, my dear friend, is that when I am discouraged, His
presence sees me through. When I am lonely, His presence cheers me up. And
when I
am worried, His presence calms me down.

ACTION POINT:
When you are tempted—and oh, you will be tempted this coming year—His
presence will help you out. Begin now to practice the presence of the Lord
as you enter this new year.

EXPECT HIM
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian:
and he led the flock to the backside, of the desert, and came to the
mountain
of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a
flame of fire out of the midst of a bush"
(
Exod. 3:1,2
).

The vision came in the midst of common toil, and that is where the Lord
delights to give His revelations. He seeks a man who is on the ordinary
road, and
the Divine fire leaps out at his feet. The mystic ladder can rise from the
market place to Heaven. It can connect the realm of drudgery with the realms
of grace.

My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for
sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be
my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be
transfigured by Thy presence.

Some Christians think they must be always up to mounts of extraordinary joy
and revelation; this is not after God's method. Those spiritual visits to
high
places, and that wonderful intercourse with the unseen world, are not in the
promises; the daily life of communion is. And it is enough. We shall have
the exceptional revelation if it be right for us.

There were but three disciples allowed to see the transfiguration, and those
three entered the gloom of Gethsemane. No one can stay on the mount of
privilege.
There are duties in the valley. Christ found His life-work, not in the
glory, but in the valley and was there truly and fully the Messiah.

The value of the vision and glory is but their gift of fitness for work and
endurance.
--Selected

----------------------------------------------------------
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KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Wisdom Is More than Words
----------------------------------------------------------

Wisdom Is More than Words

Posted: 25 Oct 2017 09:55 PM PDT

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD Read Exodus 35:10 – 36:2

We usually associate wisdom with kings and prophets, with preachers,
teachers, and writers. They use words to share God’s wisdom.

But words are not the only medium for expressing God’s wisdom. In this
physical world, the Creator communicates His wisdom to and through the five
senses.

Between Egypt and the Promised Land lay a desert wilderness, vast and
inhospitable. God chose this setting to reshape Israel from slaves into a
holy nation,
a people of His very own. His generous provision would stand out more
vividly in a land that provided almost none of life’s necessities. He wanted
His
new nation to experience His love and His presence as physical realities.

That’s one reason He commanded Moses to build a portable tabernacle.. This
tabernacle was no haphazard affair. God gave Moses complete instructions as
to
how every detail was to be constructed. This earthly tabernacle, made with
human hands, was to be a copy and shadow of a heavenly tabernacle (Exodus
25:40;
Hebrews 8:5).

Since this physical tabernacle was to communicate the glory of the
transcendent God to the human senses, it was to be artistic and beautiful
down to the
finest detail. It was to be constructed of all the best materials. Where
would they get such materials, far from civilization? God had already
provided
them by prompting the Egyptians to lavish expensive gifts on the Israelites
as they left Egypt. The gold, silver, precious stones, fine woods, expensive
cloth, and exotic animal skins needed for the tabernacle were donated by God’s
people, who had carried them out of Egypt.

God also provided the artistic and technical expertise that would be needed
to pull off such a huge project. God’s Spirit gave two men, Bezalel and
Oholiab,
the “wisdom” (Exodus 35:31) and craftsmanship they would need to work with
all these varied materials. What’s more, they were given the desire and
ability
to teach other willing learners so that together, they would finish the
work.

In this physical world filled with physical beings, God needs more than
people skilled with words. He also needs artists, crafts people, builders,
designers,
and dedicated laborers. He calls them. He equips them. He inspires them to
glorify Him through what they hold in their hands.

God will use and equip anyone with a heart for exalting their Creator God.

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Resolution
"Dean Masters"

The first week of January.

I must: lose 5 pounds.
I must: encourage my kids more.
I must: save money.

This is the time of year where we get all intentional about the things we
unintentionally forgot about last year. We pick them up again, and test them
out. We try to surpass what, apparently, got the better of us.

We tie on the running shoes and hit the pavement, extra weight blobbing
around.

We tuck away the cigarettes, pretending they weren’t right there in the
dashboard.

We open up the closet doors, ones we’ve tried to ignore for last 11 months.

And as we open these tightly shut doors and experience the reality of what
we failed at last year, well. . . we often feel like failures. We’re ashamed
of ourselves. And thus, our minds inadvertently themselves up for failure.

May I encourage you, and myself, right about now?

Friends, every new beginning starts by facing a present reality. To see the
weight, the issue, the pain, the problem, the sadness, the isolation or the
agony around
what is – is good. This is your new start, somewhere.

Don’t hate that. Don’t push the reality away. See it for what it is. This
will be your driver forward; it will be what leads you into the arms of
Christ.
God’s strength will be your follow-through.

Know your deep need of rescue and help. It’s okay. In fact, it’s more than
okay. For here you’ll find:

Where you can’t, God can.
Where it’s impossible, prayer makes everything possible.

The things that make you doubt- faith can knock down.

Where shame tries to scream about your looming failure,
Christ says, “With me, all things are possible.”

Where you find yourself messing up again, Jesus reminds you,
“My power is perfected in your weakness.”

Where you once strived hard to make things happen,
you can now trust Jesus to.

Where you demanded progress this year,
you can make space for God’s miracle.

Where you aimed to see your success,
you’re now prepared to see God’s glory.

Every new beginning, in Christ, is a happy ending. It is literally
impossible to submit to Jesus and to not see goodness. Sure, it may look
different than
you thought, but it will always be good. Better even.

In Christ, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So go for it. Go
for it with Jesus!!!

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it
on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…” Phil. 1:6

Prayer: God, I am not perfect. I fail. Help me to see through what vision I have..
Give me grace to do it with you. Give me peace along my path. Help me not
see mess-ups as failures, but as opportunities to keep going. Teach me along
the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears
has been called “A must read,”
“Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it
today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless
Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The post I’m Trying Out My Resolution Once Again appeared first on
Purposeful Faith .

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Holding Jesus"
January 3, 2018
TEXT: Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man
was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the
Holy
Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that
he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in
the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus,
to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms
and blessed God ..." (
Luke 2:25-28a )

Simeon was probably reaching the end of a long life, but he had one wish
left-to see the promised Messiah before he died. And God promised he would.
How
he must have treasured that promise.

On the right day, the Holy Spirit sent him to the temple, where a poor young
family was coming to worship and sacrifice. They didn't look like anyone
important.
But Simeon recognized the baby-the Messiah, Jesus, his Savior-and took Him
up in his arms, praising God.

Simeon was holding God incarnate in his arms. It was enough-the goal, the
joy of a lifetime. And Simeon sang out his joy in the words we sing today as
the Nunc Dimittis.

There are times I wish that I, too, could hold Jesus in my arms. It is hard
sometimes to love a God who is invisible, whose voice we usually don't hear
with our ears, whose face we have never seen. Yet the Holy Spirit keeps us
faithful and faith-filled in spite of this.

Maybe that is one reason why God gave us the Lord's Supper-so that we can
touch, handle, and even taste Him in His gifts. God knows that we are like
Simeon.
We need to see the Lord's Christ. We need to touch, to taste. And so God
gives not just our spirits but our bodies, too, a share in His salvation.
All
of us, body and soul, was redeemed by Christ when He died for us and rose
again. And someday Job's words will come true for us also:

"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last He will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another." (Job 19:25-27a)

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I belong to You, both body and soul. Strengthen my
faith and keep me with You forever. Amen.

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


The Church

by Chuck Swindoll

Matthew 16:18

So, what's the big deal about the church?

Good question. And it deserves a good answer. Something more than, "You
gotta have one to get married in," or "It's the place kids oughta be on
Sunday."
Or how about, "There's not a better spot to make business contacts.."

Really, now . . . haven't you wondered at times if the church is that
significant in a day of high-level decisions and powerful international
issues? I
sure have. How could a congregation of folks carry much clout in our modern
era of transcontinental missiles, mind-boggling scientific discoveries,
space
exploration, and impressive educational advancements? It's easy to be a tad
cynical when you compare the importance of a brilliant body of keen-thinking
minds wrestling over a decision that could impact a continent of humanity
with a few dozen people in some white clapboard building singing "In the
Sweet
Bye and Bye."

Yet, unless you've recently sliced Matthew 16:18 out of your Bible, it still
says the same thing Jesus said. It still includes an unconditional promise
that the church is His personal project ("I will build
My church") and also that it will be perpetually invincible. No way will
"the gates of hell" put it out of business. When you chew on that thought
long
enough, you begin to realize that the church is the impervious anvil, and
all these other hot items, no matter how impressive and loud and
intimidating,
will ultimately cool off and be replaced.

I remember a message Dr. Jay Kesler gave at a family camp at Forest Home
Conference Center. The title of his talk was unpretentious: "Why I Believe
in
the Local Church." Disarmed by simplicity, all of us in the audience walked
away with our heads a little higher, our shoulders no longer slumped as
though
we had something to prove to a world that often doubts our reason for
existence. Jay offered five splendid answers.

list of 5 items
1. The church is the only institution dealing with the ultimate issues.
Death. Judgment. Relationships. Purpose. Lasting priorities. Meaning in
life. Identity.
Heaven and Hell.
2. The church provides perspective that gives dignity to mankind. We live in
a day in which man has become a means rather than an end. This creates a
desperate
sense of inner worthlessness. The church counteracts this insidious message..
3. The church provides a moral and ethical compass in the midst of
relativism. Like a swamp of murky, slimy water, our society has either
rethought, resisted,
or completely rejected absolutes. Not the church! It still stands on the
timeless bedrock of Scripture.
4. The church is the only place to find true community, healing, compassion,
and love. It is here people care. Really care. Not because of status or
money.
But because the Spirit of God is at work, weaving together the lives within
the Body.
5. The church (like no other institution) has provided motivation for the
most lasting, unselfish, essential, courageous ministries on earth. Schools..
Hospitals. Halfway houses. Orphanages. Leprosariums. Missions.
list end

Look back over the list. Think each one through. See if it doesn't thrill
you to realize you are connected with such a significant arm of strength.
We'll
talk more about this amazing institution, the church, tomorrow.

Yesterday, we discovered Dr. Jay Kesler's five reasons why the church really
is a big deal. No, it isn't perfect (you're a part of it, aren't you?) and
it hasn't always modeled its message. But whatever is next in order of
importance is a distant second—and I mean
way down the line.

So, what's all the commotion about the church? Well, besides the things in
the list, I can think of only one other reason worth consideration. It is
the
church over which Jesus Christ says He rules as Head. He's in charge.

Not General Motors. Not American Airlines or the American Medical
Association or the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Not the local fire station
or theater
or police department or library or courtroom. Although important and
helpful, these cannot claim His headship. Only the church. With all its
quirks and
faults, it still ranks right up there at the top.

See you Sunday. That's when the Body and the Head meet to celebrate this
mysterious union . . . when ordinary, garden-variety folks like us gather
around
the preeminent One. For worship. For encouragement. For instruction. For
expression. For support. For the carrying out of a God-given role that will
never
be matched or surpassed on earth—even though it's the stuff the world around
us considers weird and weak . . .

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is
stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not
many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God
has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has
chosen
the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the
base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that
are
not, so that He may nullify the things that are.
(1 Corinthians 1:25–28).
block quote end

No matter how it may appear to others, if the church is something God has
chosen and God is pleased to use, it's a big deal.

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright ©️ 1985,
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries.
All rights reserved worldwide.


BIBLE MEDITATION:
“…which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…even
Jesus.”
Hebrews 6:19-20

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
A New Year is like an ocean. There will be untested winds and waves. We’ll
meet ships we never knew and we’ll have all kinds of opportunities as we
sail
into an uncharted sea. In our quest to discover the good life this year, we
must be careful that we do not drift into an aimless life. The worst thing
that could happen to us this coming year is that we just let this year
happen to us rather than charting a course and getting into God’s appointed
harbor.
More than likely, you won’t decide to drift. It’ll just happen. You’ll be
coasting along at a good clip, and then before you know it you’re drifting
away.
.. . that is, unless you have an anchor.

ACTION POINT:
Take a few minutes to reflect on this past year. What were some things you
did right... what were some things you would do differently this next year?
Copyright ©️ 2017, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 01 Jan 2018, 7:37 pm

Looking Back

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, 
forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those 
things
which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of 
God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

In movies, whenever a hero or heroine is running from danger and looks 
behind them, we want to warn them, “Don’t look back!” Looking back slows 
them down.
When the year we are leaving behind is filled with regret and failure, it is 
tempting to ruminate on it.

Recommended Reading: Philippians 3

While there is value in learning from the past, there is danger in allowing 
failures and regrets to become our focus, or worse yet, to define us. Satan
would like nothing more than for us to get caught in the past and forget God’s 
power and love.

Peter moved past denying Christ to become the rock of the Church. Joseph 
surrendered the betrayal and loss of his family to serve God with passion 
and
purpose. Regardless of what the past has held, turn your eyes to God. Trust 
His redemptive power for a new beginning.

Two types of voices command your attention today. Negative ones fill your 
mind with doubt, bitterness, and fear. Positive ones purvey hope and 
strength.
Which one will you choose to heed?

Max Lucado

Read through the Bible: Revelation 10 – 13

DAVIDJEREMIAH.ORG

TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah

Copyright ©️ 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved

A Touch of Class

by Chuck Swindoll

Psalm 84:1-2

It's gone on long enough. The pigsty in the landscape has to go. If we 
expect the tourist traffic to increase and the visitors to return to Lake 
Evangelicalism,
we're gonna have to do something about the ugly ducklings. Some changes are 
long overdue.

Somebody should've tarred n' feathered the very first stingy board member or 
strung up the whole squint-eyed, tight-fisted committee way back when. 
Whoever
they were, they did us no favor. They—and the long line of those who follow 
in their train—are the ones who erroneously confuse excellence with 
extravagance.
Somehow, by means of pious-sounding put-downs they succeed in convincing 
God's people that God's work shouldn't look too nice . . . that quality is 
carnality
.. . . that taste is waste . . . that something well done is overdone . . . 
that elegance calls for apology, and a touch of class belongs only to the 
secular.

"If it's spiritual," they say, "it shouldn't be too attractive or very 
expensive."

They got their way. Just look around. For years we've lived with this 
reputation. There are some wonderful exceptions on this big lake, I'm glad 
to say,
but not
nearly enough. By and large, if the theology of a ministry is conservative 
so is its architecture. And its furniture. And its appointments. And its 
equipment.
And its salaries. And its honorariums. Even its style smacks of leftovers, 
afterthoughts, hand-me-downs, and secondhand stuff.

Do you question that? Check with a missionary who recently opened a grab bag 
of clothing from the States. That's one of the reasons missionaries need a
great sense of humor, by the way. It helps keep them from crying when they 
shake out the garments the traditional-thinking evangelical church sends 
their
way. I know; I've been there when they wear those things for their annual 
costume party. It's hilarious.

No, it's downright tragic. Late one night, thousands of miles from America, 
after all the fun 'n' games were over (when the kids were down and our 
privacy
was secure), a handful of God's choicest saints on foreign soil told me a 
few of their secrets. One couple said that they had recently received a box 
of
clothing at least twenty years out of date, soiled, with missing buttons and 
broken zippers. But the ultimate story was told by the family who said their
home church once mailed them a box that included a container of used tea 
bags. No, it wasn't meant to be a joke.

Being financially responsible is one thing. Being ridiculously frugal is 
quite another. Why have we embraced the idea that elegance and class have no 
place
on the spectrum of spirituality? Since when is it more spiritual to play a 
beat-up old upright than a fine baby grand? What makes us less comfortable 
working
and worshiping in lovely surroundings than in plain ones? Who ever said that 
humility and beauty cannot coexist?

I'm honest; I've searched the Scriptures to find statements that support 
such an extreme emphasis on cutting every economic corner. The only place I 
find
support for that (you're not going to like this) is in the
personal realm, not in the realm of God's work. God's Word encourages us to 
be prudent individuals but generous (dare I say
extravagant?) with Him. Time and again in the pages of God's Book, the 
saints are exhorted to be magnanimous, liberal, openhanded . . . to such an 
extreme
that some today would find themselves almost ill at ease surrounded by such 
opulent loveliness.

Think it over. Do you see yourself in these words? How can you be a partner 
with the Lord in a pursuit of excellence and a commitment to beauty?

Yesterday, I mentioned my disgust with the prevailing notion in many 
evangelical churches that elegance and class have no place in the landscape 
of spirituality.
But even the ancient places of worship were stunningly beautiful. The 
tabernacle was a veritable golden tent that had within it fabulous works of 
art:
sewing, tapestry, woodworking, and craftsmanship. Mouths must have dropped 
open. Check it out for yourself in Exodus 25–40.

And the temple that Solomon had built? One of the famed wonders of the 
world! First Kings 6 will blow your mind. Artistic frames for the windows. 
Beams
and timbers—in fact, "the whole house"—overlaid with gold. Stones quarried 
to such a precise size they slipped into place on site. In fact, while the 
temple
was being built, no sound of a hammer or ax or any other iron tool was heard 
in the place (1 Kings 6:7). Wall beams were dovetailed and "inserted" 
together,
and each piece of furniture was a choice carving, a dazzling and 
unduplicated work of original art.

Why not? God's reputation was at stake. God's name was on display.

Centuries later, Paul spoke of having to learn how to abound . . . and there 
is no awkward embarrassment in his tone or any attempt to justify himself.
Why should there be? It wasn't until much later that the scene changed .. . . 
that Christians picked up the fallacious idea that it's admirable to look
puritanical and non-creatively plain. After all, you don't have to do so 
much explaining. And you can forget justifying yourself if you collected 
most
of your stuff from either a garage sale or the bargain basement. It's easier 
that way. You
look more spiritual whether you are or not. Being outstanding arouses 
suspicion, being average doesn't. As Elbert Hubbard once said, "To 
mediocrity, genius
is unforgivable."

Remember, now, I said yesterday that some wonderful exceptions exist . . . 
but they seem so rare. At times, I guess I get a little impatient about 
there
being so few graceful and elegant swans to beautify the landscape and make 
Lake Evangelicalism more appealing. If there were, I think we'd find 
ourselves
with more visitors and tourists than we'd know what to do with.

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright ©️ 1985, 
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. 

Welcome to the Nugget

December 28, 2017

What to do When Feeling Overwhelmed

By Answers2Prayer

Life ain't all roses--and it won't be in the upcoming new year.

The other morning, hubby and I walked hand in hand to the park for our 
morning exercise stroll. "It's going to be a stressful day," he said, "got a 
report
to finish and don't have all the information..."

He went on and on. Then, as we always do while we walk, we prayed together.

A bit ashamed to admit this, but once the "holy" moment faded, I realized 
that life stinks sometimes. Yes, it does. Stuff comes up all the time. If 
it's
not the stress at work, it's the illness that keeps us awake. Or the 
uncertainty of the future. Or broken relationships. Or kids who disappoint 
us. And
our brain nearly explodes trying to figure it all out. And when, on top of 
it all, another glitch shows up, the red light "overwhelmed" light comes on
the dashboard of our life.

But that's when we either let pitiful tears flow or we invite wisdom in--the 
wisdom in
Isaiah 43 where God invites us to believe, to cling to, to embrace when 
feeling overwhelmed, drained and crushed by the stuff in life:

Life is going to be rough sometimes. Expect that. Situations will threaten 
to push us into panic because fear has shown up. But here's what God says 
about
that: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you 
are mine"
(Isaiah 43:1).

If we belong to Him, is there any doubt He will take care of us? "When you 
pass through the waters, I will be with you...and when you pass through the
rivers, they will not sweep over you" (Isaiah 43:2a). Have you known rivers 
of pain? They don't seem to stop. But as difficult as the navigating can be,
we can be sure we'll pass through them. And never, never alone. God promised 
to accompany us.

"When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not 
set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:2b). Aren't you glad He never said, "You're a 
Christian,
you'll never experience fires." Instead, He knows we'll face them. But He 
has the solution. When the heat of adversity is inevitable. His Word to 
shield
is attainable. And here's why: God says:
"For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..." 
(Isaiah 43:3).

He's our God, with all His power, with all His might, with all His love, 
He's our God. Peace when overwhelmed is His gift wrapped in reassurance, 
giving
us the green light to peace.

Father, thank you for your power at work in my life. I will not fear when 
life becomes overwhelming. When I seem to drown in troubles, burned by 
anxiety,
or swept by the rivers of struggles. You are with me. You're my perfect 
shield and my constant protector. In Jesus' name, I thank you. Amen.

What has overwhelmed you lately?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

Announcement:

What lessons do the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation 
have to teach us? Check out the recently-published mini-series:
Studies on the Seven Churches of Revelation

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

Small Changes with Big Results Next Year
Stephen Altrogge

There is something about goal setting that gets me fired up and excited. 
Maybe it’s the prospect of doing something awesome in the upcoming year, 
like
running a marathon, or reading through the entire Bible, or finally writing 
that book I’ve been thinking about. Or maybe it’s the prospect of finally 
kicking
those bad habits I have, like getting up too late, or regularly eating 
things that will probably shorten my life in the long run. I like to set big 
goals
that will challenge me.

But in the last couple of years I’ve started to notice something about 
myself: Small goals coupled with faithfulness produce the biggest results.

One example: I don’t think I’ll ever run a marathon. I would like to, but I’ve 
got a bad knee and I don’t have the time required to train for a marathon.
But, with God’s help, I can discipline myself to run for 20-25 minutes a 
couple of times per week. Another example: I have a hard time reading 
through
the entire Bible in a year. I’ve done it, but it doesn’t work particularly 
well for me and my personality. But I can read the Bible and pray for 35-45
minutes most days before my day gets going. One last example: I don’t have 
hours and hours to spend working on a book or a song or any other creative 
project.
But I can find 20-30 minutes a couple of times a week.

I’ve started to see that seeking to be faithful in these little areas has 
wonderful long term results. The more I run, the better I feel. The more 
consistently
I read my Bible, the more I grow in my walk with God. The more I work on 
writing, the better I become. I’ve got two small children with one on the 
way,
and I’m a pastor at a church. I don’t have huge amounts of time to dedicate 
to things. But I can be faithful, and God honors faithfulness, even to 
little
things.

In Luke 16:10 Jesus said:

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who 
is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

In Proverbs 13:4 it says:

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the 
diligent is richly supplied.

Over and over scripture emphasizes the value of diligence. God rewards 
diligence and faithfulness and hard work. We probably won’t see the results 
immediately,
but over time we will. It’s like building a house. When you lay the first 
bricks, it doesn’t look anything like a house. But as you slowly and 
methodically
work toward your goal, things begin to take shape.

So let me give you a few steps to take:

Okay, now it’s your turn. What little goals will you pursue this year?

Right with God
October 22, 2017

Read: Romans 1:16-17

For in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for 
faith. (v. 17)

A culture of shame and guilt hangs like a fog all around us: social media 
comparisons, body-shaming, teen suicides. Many are collapsing under the 
pressure
of social performance. We all yearn to know how we can be accepted.

Martin Luther tried to be a super-monk: sleeping on stone floors, waking 
early to pray for hours, fasting, and self-flagellation. But it was never 
enough.
Luther felt he always fell short of God’s expectations and saw God as a 
demanding lawgiver.

Luther had always seen the righteousness spoken about in Romans 1:17 as God’s 
holy character by which he condemns us. But he had an epiphany: he began
to understand that this passage spoke of the righteousness of
Christ which counts for us, on our behalf. It is an “alien” 
righteousness—not our goodness but Christ’s—which is given by grace for 
free, merely received
by faith. Luther extolls, “I began to understand that the righteousness of 
God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God . . . Here I 
felt
as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the 
gates that had been flung open.”

Are you still trying to perform socially and morally to please others and 
God? Experience the freedom that comes from making, by faith, the goodness 
and
grace of Christ the ground of your acceptance by God. —Michael Andres

Prayer: Merciful God, I rely upon your gracious work in Christ alone for my 
sweet acceptance by you.

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


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Blowing The Lid Off - #8032

One of the great privileges of my life was serving in the leadership of the 
Northern New Jersey Billy Graham Crusade in the Meadowlands. Now, for many
of us who had been trying to reach people in this very hard corner of 
America, it was thrilling to see that arena nearly full on that opening 
Wednesday
night. The arena seats 18,000 people, and filling it in Jesus' name was a 
victory of historic proportions for our area. By Thursday, it was totally 
full.
But I was strangely restless. See, by faith, we had set up 8,000 chairs and 
a jumbo-tron video screen in the parking lot just in case there was 
overflow.
It looked like we wouldn't need it - as the press so graciously reminded us. 
Even though we were seeing unprecedented attendances and spiritual harvests,
I felt led to pull together several of our Crusade leaders after the second 
night. After thanking God for all He had done, I asked them to pray with me
a prayer I had never prayed before. "Lord, if anyone other than You is 
holding a lid on this thing, if there's even more You want to do, would You 
blow
the lid off!"

The next night the arena filled pretty quickly. I was on the platform, 
seated next to Dr. Graham, when they handed him a note. He showed it to me. 
It said,
"There are 13, 000 in overflow!" Dr. Graham said, "I think you should go see 
it." Well, I did. And what a sight! Eight thousand chairs full, 5,000 people
standing, sitting on car hoods, on the ground, even on the porta-johns, and 
Billy Graham preaching the Gospel on the big screen! It looked like a cross
between the feeding of the 5,000 and a drive-in movie. And the rate of 
response that night was higher in the parking lot than it even was indoors! 
So much
for that lid!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Blowing 
The Lid Off."

You might be saying, "Well, that's a wonderful page from your spiritual 
scrapbook, Ron. Thanks for sharing." No. It's actually a wonderful lesson in 
a
way God may want you to be praying right now. Our word for today from the 
Word of God, Ephesians 3:20, where God is being praised as "Him who is able 
to
do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to the power that 
is at work within us." A few verses earlier Paul has said, "I kneel before
the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its 
name."

Paul says, "The God to whom we pray is one awesome God. And He can do so 
much more than we can imagine!" Which leads us to the kind of prayer that I 
learned
to pray that night in the arena - the "blow the lid off" prayer. It's for 
those situations where the Holy Spirit seems to say, "I have more for you, 
much
more." I'm convinced that we often are under-living because we're under- 
praying. We are praying under the mighty thing that God really wants to do.

So for your family, for your ministry, for that unreachable person, for that 
relationship, for that huge need, for that mission impossible - as the 
Spirit
leads, pray something like this, "Father, if anyone other than you is 
holding a lid on what's happening here, blow the lid off in Jesus' Name." 
Now, that
kind of God-sized faith may unlock a God-sized answer that will not only 
blow the lid off - it will blow you away!

Let's believe God for the kind of breakout, the kind of breakthrough, the 
kind of miracle that only He can do!
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA


A New Thing – Teachers

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

Luke 2:41-47 (NIV)
41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 
42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the 
custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, 
the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 
Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they 
began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did 
not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three 
days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, 
listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was 
amazed at his understanding and his answers.

The things in the account above may not be new but they are rare. At least, 
they are rare when compared to the way things are today. Could you imagine a 
twelve-year-old sitting around talking to his teachers? Today most of them 
would rather do anything but that. Today we do hear of young people who are 
super intelligent who have at least one college degree by their mid-teens. 
We hear of others who are talented in certain areas that are eager to spend 
time with those who can help them develop their talent further.

The one thing that might be new here is the way Jesus understood what the 
teachers were telling Him and also the answers He gave to their questions. 
Why should we be surprised at this? If they had believed He was the Son of 
God then they would have known that He was the Word of God.

Jesus is the answer to all our questions. WE must spend time with Him 
through reading the Bible and through prayer not just to know the answers 
but to know the Word of God. WE can ask him anything and He will provide 
what we need. WE can talk straight to him and not have to go through someone 
else. WE don’t have to ask someone else to pray for us. WE can go straight 
to the throne room of God and talk to Jesus ourselves. Jesus told us to ask 
and it will be given to us. Seek and we shall find. Knock and the door will 
be opened.

All Christians need to have a time for daily Bible study and prayer. This 
may be a new thing for you but it must be done to find out all that Jesus 
has for you. Just as Jesus spent time with the teachers, each one of us 
needs to spend time with our Teacher, Jesus Christ, the Word of God.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List


Meal Above All Meals: Five Reasons We Enjoy Eating with Jesus
Stephen Witmer / October 21, 2017
Meal Above All Meals

Has the Lord’s Supper become humdrum for you, something you do mindlessly, 
something you’ve simply done for years? Is it something that you do as you 
travel
down the path of least resistance, something that is routinely passed to you 
so you figure you might as well?

Luke tells us that it is so much more. His account of the Lord’s Supper 
(Luke 22:7–30) provides us five magnificent reasons why this meal is above 
all
others.

1. It Is Rooted in Redemption

Are you in need of forgiveness, of deliverance, of grace? This meal is for 
you.

Its roots extend deep into the history of God’s people and the riches of God’s 
character. Luke’s account makes clear that Jesus celebrates a Passover meal
(Luke 22:8, 11, 13, 15), recalling God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery 
in Egypt. We’re reminded that God is eager to save his people (Psalm 86:5).
And even as Jesus observes the Passover meal, he elevates it, claiming that 
it’s ultimately about his own imminent death.

Jesus himself is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. He is the Son 
whom God does not spare (unlike the firstborn sons of Israel at the first
Passover) so that
we may be spared. We receive this meal because we have been delivered from 
death and hell, and because we know we’re in desperate need of daily grace.

2. It Is Planned by Jesus Himself

Do you relish being at the table of a host who rejoices at your presence? 
This meal is for you.

Jesus provides elaborate instructions for Peter and John about how and where 
to prepare the Passover (Luke 22:8–13). It’s clear that this meal is Jesus’s
idea. It occurs at his initiative, under his leadership, and according to 
his plan. When I proposed marriage to my wife Emma in October 2005, I left 
nothing
to chance. I meticulously prepared a plan — plus two backup plans (depending 
on weather conditions).

In the years since, we’ve laughed about my over-preparation. But it clearly 
communicated to her my strong desire to marry her. Jesus carefully plans the
meal, then says to his disciples: “I have
earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 
22:15). He longs for us to join him at his Table. It’s good to ask 
ourselves, do

we long to share this meal with him?

Do we anticipate the Lord’s Supper, or is it an afterthought? Jesus’s 
earnest desire invites us to desire the meal more, preparing ourselves 
beforehand
through confession of sin, reconciliation with others, and joyfully 
expectant prayer.

3. It Anticipates the Future

Do you want a foretaste of the new creation? This meal is for you.

The reason Jesus is eager to share the meal with his disciples is that he 
won’t eat it again until “it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 
22:16).
The “kingdom of God” here refers to the new creation (Luke 22:18). 
Therefore, the implication of Jesus’s words is that the Lord’s Supper 
anticipates and
begins the glorious future feast of the Messiah, a meal described in the Old 
and New Testaments.

The fragment of bread and taste of the cup we receive at the Lord’s Supper 
is the first course of a splendid eternal feast. It will be “fulfilled” 
later,
but it starts now. At its source in northern Minnesota, the Mississippi 
River is an unimpressive little stream you can easily wade. But even at that 
point,
it’s the real thing, the actual Mississippi. At the Lord’s Table, in the 
midst of a sin-sick world, the perfect future for which we long comes 
rushing
into the present.

We hold in our hands a foretaste of the future. The apostle Paul was looking 
forward when he said, “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you
proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes
” (1 Corinthians 11:26). The present meal heightens our desire for the full 
and final feast.

4. It Recalls Jesus’s Substitutionary Death

Do you desire a deeper understanding of Jesus’s death? This meal is for you.

Jesus says it refers mainly to himself and his redemptive work: “Do this in 
remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). And we’re to remember not just the external
events of his death — the soldiers, the scourging, the thorns, the nails — 
but their redemptive significance: “This is my body,
which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). We remember that Jesus dies as our 
substitute. We remember that by shedding his blood for us, he inaugurates a 
new
covenant (Luke 22:20). God’s judgment is fully poured out upon Jesus. Our 
sin is fully forgiven. As we share this meal with Jesus, we remember his 
unique,
once-for-all, fully sufficient, substitutionary death.

5. It Forms a New Community

Do you long for life in true community? This meal is for you.

Immediately after eating, Jesus’s disciples dispute “as to which of them was 
to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). They’ve clearly missed the 
meal’s
meaning and transforming power. We may miss it, too, though perhaps in 
subtler ways.

As we leave the Communion gathering, are we annoyed that someone is talking 
in the parking lot, momentarily blocking our exit? Do we complain about 
missing
the Sunday afternoon football game because a spouse or child needs our help? 
Later in the week, having been so powerfully reminded of God’s forgiveness,
do we refuse to forgive someone who has sinned against us?

The reason Luke moves immediately from the institution of the Lord’s Supper 
(Luke 22:14–23) to Jesus’s teaching about humble service (Luke 22:24–27) is
that he wants us to see that Jesus’s death in our place is meant to form a 
new community, creating in us servant hearts, propelling us to love one 
another
in humble ways.

Long ago, J.C. Ryle wrote, “He that eats the bread and drinks the wine in a 
right spirit will find himself drawn into closer communion with Christ, and
will feel to know him more and understand him better.” This is still true. 
This promise is for us when we feast at Jesus’s Table.




The Radical Reformer: Conrad Grebel (c. 1498–1526)
Abigail Dodds / October 21, 2017
The Radical Reformer

A radical among radicals, Conrad Grebel’s vision for the church is a 
familiar one to most evangelicals today. But at the time it made him an 
exile, not
just from Roman Catholicism, but even among the Reformers.

The Radical Reformer uujf3xzb

Grebel was born in 1498 to a prominent family in Zurich. In 1524, Grebel’s 
university career began in Basel with what seemed like a promising start. 
But
things unraveled as Grebel’s differences of opinion with his teacher, his 
brawling, and his loose living caused his father to cut him off. Chastened, 
he
returned home to Zurich, where he fell in with a small band of humanists 
studying Greek, Hebrew, and the Latin Bible under the instruction of Ulrich 
Zwingli.

Sometime in the year following his stint with Zwingli, Grebel’s life 
changed. He married a woman below his class, which caused a further break 
with his
family, and he was converted, as evidenced by a dramatic change in his 
lifestyle. It didn’t take long for Grebel to become one of Zwingli’s most 
enthusiastic
supporters and earn a reputation as a gifted gospel witness.

Dispute and Disrepute

But just a little more than a year later, in October 1523, a wedge began 
working its way between the two men. The culprit? Mass. In a public 
disputation,
both men favored abolishing the Mass, but when Zwingli saw that the city 
councilmen were not ready to go that far, he relented. This was unthinkable 
to
Grebel, who felt that the clear word of God must be obeyed without delay. 
Both sides felt betrayed: Grebel felt Zwingli agreed to do what he had 
condemned
as abominable (that is, continue performing the Mass), and Zwingli felt 
Grebel was ungrateful and demanding.

This dispute got to the heart of one of Grebel’s deepest differences with 
the mainstream Reformers: To whom does the church answer? Grebel was 
convinced
that the city councilmen should have no authority over the church and its 
practice — more so, they should have no authority over the word of God 
itself.
On the flip side, he didn’t think the church should have authority over the 
state either, and he opposed compulsory tithing and the like. The seeds of
a separation between church and state were germinating. To us, this 
separation is as familiar as the air we breathe; to them, it was 
revolutionary.

A Romish Water Bath

The last nail in the coffin on Grebel’s association with the mainstream 
Reformers was over infant baptism. Grebel had hoped that Zwingli might be 
amenable
to his conviction that only believing adults should be baptized, but it was 
not to be so.

On January 17, 1525, Zwingli called for a public debate to force the issue. 
Grebel was joined by Felix Manz and George Blaurock for the side of 
believers’
baptism. In the end, the city council agreed with Zwingli and ordered Grebel’s 
group to cease meeting for Bible study. They also ordered all unbaptized
infants to be brought for baptism or else be exiled. Grebel’s daughter was 
two weeks old at the time and, in Grebel’s words, “had not yet been baptized
and bathed in the Romish water bath.” Nor would she be while Grebel drew 
breath, which wasn’t for long.

A few days after the debate, Grebel gathered at Felix Manz’s home with the 
exiled radicals, and he performed the first adult baptism on Blaurock, a 
married
former priest. In the months following, Grebel preached the gospel of 
“repent and be baptized” in St. Gall, and around five hundred people 
responded by
doing just that.

Grebel was arrested and imprisoned in October 1525. After escaping from 
prison the following year, he continued preaching the gospel until he died 
of the
plague just a few months later.

Preach and Obey

The driving force behind Grebel’s actions and doctrinal reforms could be 
summed up this way: preach and obey the word without compromise. In his own 
words,

block quote
Seek earnestly to preach only God’s word unflinchingly, to establish and 
defend only divine practices, to esteem as good and right only what can be 
found
in definite clear Scripture, and to reject, hate, and curse all the schemes, 
words, practices, and opinions of all men, even your own.
block quote end

Even if it means exile or worse.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

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Silent Night: A Christmas Lullaby for God’s Beloved
Marshall Segal / Sunday, December 24, 2017 7:02 PM
Silent Night
block quote
To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be 
upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty 
God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and 
of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from 
this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this..
–Isaiah 9:6–7
block quote end

No baby is born on a silent night, especially not in a stable. Anyone who 
has experienced the miracle of childbirth knows there can be a lot of noise 
involved
in welcoming a newborn into the world. It’s beautiful, even sacred, but it 
is not quiet.

Add to that an audience of animals, possibly offering their unintelligible 
commentary before, during, and after the delivery, and it may very well have
been a relatively raucous scene. And all of that was before visiting hours 
started.

No, “silent night” means a night like any other. This was an ordinary Monday 
night or Tuesday night or Saturday night, like the one you had last night.
It was an ordinary family in an ordinary town tucked away in a very ordinary 
stable. And yet there was nothing ordinary about this birth, this night, or
this boy.

Beautiful Baby

The Son of God became a baby boy — holy infant, tender and mild. That was 
the promise God’s people received from Isaiah, “Behold, the virgin shall 
conceive
and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). And a 
little later, “to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).

It was one thing to know that the Messiah was coming, and to even know that 
he would be born like any other man, but oh, to see the Son of God small 
enough
to be laid in a manger. How could all of that power, love, and purity live 
in such a little form? How could the Extraordinary be carried in such an 
ordinary
body? How could the Sovereign be seen so simple and helpless? In those tiny 
ears and tiny cheeks was history’s greatest hero. Christ the Savior was 
born.

His shoulders were small and undeveloped, and his frame was fragile, but he 
had come to carry a weight unlike any other. He would bear the sins of the
world, and establish his kingdom in every corner of the globe. From the 
moment that baby opened his eyes on little Bethlehem, his name was 
“Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). His life — 
from its very first breaths — were marked with an unprecedented wisdom, 
power,
majesty, and glory. All held, for a time, in an infant’s body, and all 
waiting to be exercised in love on our behalf.

Prince of Peace

In the end, “Silent Night” is a lullaby about peace. For sure, it inspires 
pictures of baby Jesus sleeping soundly the evening he was born. But as the
song progresses, it’s increasingly about the peace he brings, not the quiet 
he might have enjoyed that night. When our Savior came, “he came and 
preached
peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 
2:17). He brought a stillness to our relationship with God and with one 
another,
where there had only been conflict, hostility, and wrath.

The same Jesus who presumably slept like a baby on that ordinary night also 
preached rest to the weary and rebellious among us.

block quote
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in 
heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is 
light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)
block quote end

With the good news of the gospel — purchased by his blood and proven by his 
resurrection — Jesus sang the lullaby of salvation over sin-sick souls like
ours. He sang our souls to sleep in the rest of our peace with God. And when 
we woke in the morning, we met the dawn of redeeming grace
, the never-ending fountain of new mercies.

So child of God, sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Editor’s Note: Desiring God partnered with Shane & Shane’s The Worship 
Initiative to write short meditations for more than
one hundred popular worship songs and hymns
.. The recording of “Silent Night” streaming above comes from
their Christmas album .

Why Did Jesus Need to ‘Learn Obedience’?
John Piper / Sunday, December 24, 2017 6:00 PM
Why Did Jesus Need to ‘Learn Obedience’?

Why does Hebrews tell us that Jesus needed to “learn obedience” and “be made 
perfect” if the Bible also says he never sinned?

Two Purposes for Christmas
John Piper / Sunday, December 24, 2017 2:00 AM
 
continued..........
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is 
righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the
devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son 
of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
(1 John 3:7–8)
block quote end

When 1 John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the 
works of the devil,” what are “the works of the devil” that he has in mind?
The answer is clear from the context.

First, 1 John 3:5 is a clear parallel: “You know that he appeared in order 
to take away sins.” The phrase
he appeared to occurs in verse 5 and verse 8. So most likely the “works of 
the devil” that Jesus came to destroy are sins. The first part of verse 8 
makes
this virtually certain: “Whoever makes a practice of
sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”

The issue in this context is sinning, not sickness or broken cars or messed 
up schedules. Jesus came into the world to enable us to stop sinning.

We see this even more clearly if we put this truth alongside the truth of 1 
John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so
that you may not sin.” This is one of the great purposes of Christmas — one 
of the great purposes of the incarnation (1 John 3:8).

But there is another purpose which John adds in 1 John 2:1–2, “But if anyone 
does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the 
sins of the whole world.”

But now look what this means: It means that Jesus appeared in the world for 
two reasons. He came that we might not go on sinning — that is, he came to
destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8); and he came so that there would 
be a propitiation for our sins, if we do sin. He came to be a 
substitutionary
sacrifice that takes away the wrath of God for our sins.

The upshot of this second purpose is not to defeat the first purpose. 
Forgiveness is not for the purpose of permitting sin. The aim of the death 
of Christ
for our sins is not that we relax our battle against sin. The upshot of 
these two purposes of Christmas, rather, is that the payment once made for 
all
our sins is the freedom and power that enables us to fight sin not as 
legalists, earning our salvation, and not as fearful of losing our 
salvation, but
as victors who throw ourselves into the battle against sin with confidence 
and joy, even if it costs us our lives.

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


A Miraculous Conception

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name 
Immanuel. -
Isaiah 7:14

Let us today go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds 
and adoring Magi let us see Him who was born King of the Jews, for we by 
faith
can claim an interest in Him and can sing, "For to us a child is born, to us 
a son is given."1

Jesus is God incarnate, our Lord and our Savior, and yet our brother and 
friend; let us adore and admire Him. Let us notice at the very first glance 
His
miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled 
since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a son.

The first promise concerned the seed of the woman, not the offspring of the 
man. Since venturesome woman led the way in the sin that resulted in 
paradise
lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise.

Our Savior, although truly man, was as to His human nature the Holy One of 
God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to
manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that He may be formed in us, the 
hope of glory.

Do not fail to note His humble parentage. His mother has been described 
simply as "the virgin," not a princess or prophetess, nor a woman of 
influence.
True, the blood of kings ran in her veins; and her mind was not weak or 
untaught, for she could sweetly sing a song of praise. Yet how humble her 
position,
how poor the man to whom she was engaged, and how miserable the 
accommodation provided for the newborn King!

Immanuel-God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our daily work, in our 
punishment, in our death, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in 
resurrection,
ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor.

1) Isaiah 9:6

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 2 Chronicles 30

verse 2 Revelation 16


Voices From The Past – Puritan Devotional Readings

Edited By Richard Rushing

Over the past fifty years there has been a great resurgence of interest in 
the writings of the Puritans. The reading of their works has brought great 
benefit
to the people of God in many lands. Christians from many different 
backgrounds and cultures owe a great debt of gratitude to those faithful 
pastors and
preachers who continue to speak through their writings even though they have 
long since entered into their heavenly reward. The Puritans really knew how
to teach and apply God’s Word in the Spirit’s power!

Richard Rushing has compiled this book
of daily devotional readings from Puritan authors. At every turn these 
truths are eloquently taught, faithfully applied, and kindly offered as the 
subject
of sweet spiritual meditation.

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


The Final Authority
October 19, 2017

Read: 1 Corinthians 4:6-7

Do not go beyond what is written. (v. 6 NIV)

When buying a car, you may look to CARFAX, Consumer Reports, or your 
mechanic to make a good decision. But when forming our deepest and most 
significant
beliefs about God and life, what sources are most reliable?

Jesus founded his ministry on Scripture. He was its fulfillment (Luke 
24:44), and it was his weapon against evil (Matt. 4:4). Jesus marked a sharp 
division
between Scripture and the traditions of the rabbis (Mark 7:8). We are 
forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture (cf. Deut. 4:2; Prov. 
30:5-6; Rev.
22:18-19), and the Corinthians were told, “Do not go beyond what is written” 
(1 Cor. 4:6 NIV). This draws the line between what is Scripture and what is
not, and warns against elevating tradition above its place.

The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, “Scripture 
alone.” The Reformers asserted that Scripture is the only
final authority in faith and practice because it is God’s own word (2 Tim. 
3:16). Tradition aids interpretation, and Scripture should not be 
interpreted
in any arbitrary way. However, tradition is never an authority equal to or 
above Scripture. Everything necessary, everything binding on our 
consciences,
and everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture (2 Peter 1:3).. 
Are you grounding your beliefs and behaviors in the Word of God, or some 
other
source? What is the ultimate authority in your life? —Michael Andres

Prayer: God our King, we come to your authoritative Word first and last to 
build our life and faith.

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


Welcome to the Nugget

December 23, 2017

A Gift of Giving
By Answers2Prayer
"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must 
help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 
'It
is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
(Acts 20:35 ESV)

Looking forward to Christmas 1994, to me, described a paradox. How can one 
enjoy Christmas when their loving spouse recently passed away from cancer, 
and
yet Christmas is a time for celebration...

I had a friend, recently divorced, who was going through his first Christmas 
without his children that he loved so dearly. I called my friend and invited
him over to my house for Christmas. He didn't seem overly thrilled, but had 
nothing else to do. I did the same for another divorced person who had a day
without family or friends. I told them to dress nice but withheld my plans 
from them.

The three of us, at my house, made Christmas canes from pipe cleaners, and 
after an hour I told my friends to get in my van, as I had a surprise for 
them.
So off we went.

First stop, a nursing home, left few dry eyes. We visited the ones who had 
no company, prayed with them and left them little Christmas canes and some 
candy.
One lady, feeling really bad, asked us to pray for her. So we prayed with 
our hands on her body, and we felt a Power hard to describe.

Second stop, Presbyterian hospital...cancer wing.

First you need to understand how hospitals work with the sick. If possible, 
patients are sent home for the holidays. The ones remaining in the hospital
live too far, are too ill, or have no support from family or friends. About 
1/2 of the cancer wing was deserted. We visited the staff and gave them 
candy
and our little Christmas canes, then we visited the dying and ill. How can 
one describe being humbled? The patients asked for our prayers. We visited 
with
every patient in the wing. We left the patients with a smile. When we left 
the hospital, we had nothing else left to give, but we received much. Our 
emotions
were drained, we were exhausted, in tears but felt elevated to a 'high' 
impossible to describe. We all thought "But for the grace of God"....

Last stop. We visited my wife's grave, decorated it, placed candles and sang 
Silent Night. Our voices were quivering because we found Christmas that day..
We gave all we had to give, and it cost us about five hours of our time and 
about two dollars in pipe cleaners and candy. I said a silent prayer of 
thanks
to my wife for teaching me to give.

May we, in this crazy but special time of year, learn from the Teacher of 
teachers, Giving IS better than receiving.

Merry Christmas to all, and a happy new year.

B.J. Cassady
Caldwell, Kansas
Announcement:
The book of Job has many valuable lessons to teach us. Over the past two 
years, several studies have been published in the Nugget on the book of Job.. 
If
you have missed any of these studies, please click
here
, and may God bless you abundantly as you learn the valuable lessons God has 
to teach us in this thought-provoking book.

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


A Note of Encouragement

Send this Note to a Friend!
Church bells ringing

A brilliant star shining through clouds on a dark night
There is Peace on earth!
....by Chuck Graham

Once a young man lived a wonderful life. He came from a wealthy, respected 
family, attended the finest schools, and traveled throughout Europe. And 
during
his young life, he found that his passion was writing poetry. All was 
good...for a time.

Enhanced photograph of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
One day in Spain he sadly learned his sister had died. Six years later his 
young wife, at only 22-years-old, died from a miscarriage. But years passed
and he remarried. They settled in Massachusetts and raised six children. All 
was good...for a time.

After eighteen years of marriage, his wife died tragically in a fire. He 
never fully recovered from the grief. His depression grew worse as civil war 
came.
And when his son was severely wounded in battle, he was devastated. All was 
good...for no one.

That Christmas, he heard the bells of a nearby church. They sang of peace, 
but there was no peace. They promised hope, but there was no hope. Yet with
each strike of the bells, his heart softened. That evening he wrote a poem 
about those bells turning despair into hope.

He named the poem Christmas Bells. Today we know it by another name.

The bells sang out...peace on earth, good-will to men.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old, familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Church bells ready for Christmas
And thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom,
Had rolled along the unbroken song of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth, the cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent the hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn the households born of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head. "There is no peace on earth," I said.
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to 
men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He 
sleep;
The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to 
men."

Do you have peace? Listen to the bells!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet, suffered deeply. Happiness 
drowned in grief. Death, pain, and sorrow were everywhere. His country 
divided
in a war that seemed without end. Hatred ruled. Peace on earth, good-will to 
men...how could that be?
Yet in his heart, he knew.
Casting Crowns...I heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Casting Crowns...I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Jesus does not bring peace on earth. He is peace on earth!
Even in the midst of earthly hell, we find, live in, and share His heavenly 
peace. We have comfort knowing He will lead us through our valleys of the 
shadow
of death. He...who is grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love...will never leave 
our side!

As you look to all your tomorrows, never forget Jesus in today.
Listen to the Christmas bells.

Take care & be God's,

Chuck

Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international 
ministry devoted to sharing God's encouragement and teaching others how to 
"encourage
one another as long as it is called Today!" He is also an author, speaker, 
teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville,
Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and
Ciloa at
www.Ciloa.org .

Christmas Bells was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1863 and 
published in 1872. The song
I heard the bells on Christmas Day is an adaption of the poem, most often 
omitting any reference to the American Civil War.

Ciloa Lawrenceville, Georgia, U.S.A. www.Ciloa.org
Ciloa is funded entirely by contributions from those wanting to share God's 
encouragement with the world.
We invite you to partner with us.
Click the link: Partner with Ciloa to encourage others
Ciloa is a registered service mark of Ciloa, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization. A Note of Encouragement is a copyright interest held by Ciloa, 
Inc
Ciloa...where Christ Is Lord Of All


KenBible.com

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

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Posted: 20 Oct 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Jesus Among Us

Jesus, You have promised to gather with us,
even though we be only two or three.
But will we recognize You there?

You taught us this:

block quote
“Whoever receives one child like this in My name
receives Me.” (Mark 9:37, NASB)

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to
one of these brothers of Mine,
even the least of them,
you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40, NASB)
block quote end

Jesus, You are among us in
the neediest,
the weakest,
the smallest.
You arrive disguised as those easiest for
self-centered eyes to overlook.

As we gather together, give me
Your loving eyes,
Your loving heart, and
Your loving hands.
As You arrive among us
disguised as the needy,
help me to
welcome You and
serve You
with all the joyful love You deserve.


Right in the center of tinsel, twinkle lights, and towering holly, I lost 
it. The dam opened today in my living room and waterfall tears gushed out: 
the
house isn’t clean, it looks like a second-rate Christmas, there are problems 
all around me, I couldn’t get stuff for my husband this year, he didn’t get
stuff for me, we aren’t near family…

Add all this to all the unsaid stuff I wouldn’t admit, like — I am sad 
because I feel alone, I am disappointed, in some ways, with life as it is,
and I wish my kids would recognize all my hard work — and I was in a 
full-blown pity party.
Waa! Waa!

Santa isn’t real. Bah-humbug!
I am all alone. Bah-humbug!
I just busted a glass jar of apple cider vinegar in the kitchen. Bah-humbug!
Jesus feels far and isn’t rescuing my emotions. Bah-humbug!

Every expectation that Christmas would show-well — was busted, like little 
shards of an apple cider vinegar jar. Christmas can cut you if you aren’t 
careful.

Why? Because Christmas isn’t perfect. Not in my house.

Christmas is tree needles everywhere.
Christmas is family arguments because someone talked mean.
Christmas is presents wrapped up with two extra wrinkled pieces of Christmas 
papers.
Christmas is a longing to be somewhere else with different stuff.
Christmas is mountain-high expectations with front and center realizations.

Christmas isn’t perfect, but Jesus is. He is perfect. He is love. And, I am 
under his love. With this, no matter what self-destructs this year — if the
Christmas tree catches fire or if a stray cat wraps itself up in my tree 
lights if every trimming is burnt to a crisp, Jesus is still Jesus. And, 
Jesus
still wants me.

He came for me.
He chose me.
He loves me.
Independent of how I act.
No matter how sad I feel.
No matter what a 24-hour day looks like.
Jesus remains fully intent on keeping me near.
He sustains me by the endless well of his grace.

This 24-hour tinsel-tree decorated day will pass and go, but God’s love 
endures forever. People may offend us, but Jesus’ care covers people’s 
wrongs.
Avalanches of tears show up, but in Christ’s eyes, we are still beloved. 
Presents may disappoint, but appointed to heavenly purposes, we still 
remain.

Jesus does not disappoint. Never. We realize this when we actually get 
around to thinking of Him. His peace never lets us down.

I choose right now to allow him to carry the Holiday-load I’ve been 
shouldering. Will you?

Jesus is Jesus. The man “anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. Sent 
“to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind”
and “to set the oppressed free…” (Lu. 4:18).

I accept all of this from all of Him, this Christmas. His love makes me 
well.

Jesus and His care is my best gift this season. I am so grateful.

Prayer: Father, will you please extend a Merry Christmas on each and every 
one of the readers of this blog? Will you wrap us with your grace, peace, 
and
life. Will you love us? Will you be near to us this Christmas? We want this 
as a personal gift, from you to us. Give us more love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The post My Christmas Bawl: Read if You Feel Sad appeared first on 
Purposeful Faith .

Christmas is about Your Eternity
By Rick Warren

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become 
children of God”
(John 1:12 NLT).

Turn on your television or surf the web this Christmas, and you’ll discover 
all sorts of Christmas messages. But for the One who invented Christmas, 
there’s
only one message that really matters.

God wants to share eternity with you.

That’s what Christmas is all about. You weren’t created just to live 80 or 
90 years on Earth and then die. You’re far more valuable than that to God. 
God
has some long-range plans for you. He made you to live forever.

One day your heart will stop. That’ll be the end of your heart, but it won’t 
be the end of you. You’ll last for eternity -- trillions of years! And God
wants you to be a part of his family.

He sent Jesus to Earth as a baby so one day he could die for your sins, and 
then you can spend forever with him.

That’s the great news of Christmas. This offer is available to anyone. The 
Bible says of Jesus, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave
the right to become children of God”
(John 1:12 NLT).

God wants to spend eternity with you, so he made the way to him simple:
You believe, and you receive. You believe that Jesus Christ died for your 
sins, and you receive him into your life. God sent his Son to Earth 2017 
years
ago to die for you. That’s God’s very first Christmas gift, sent to you 
thousands of years before you were even born.

Honestly, celebrating Christmas and not receiving the number one gift God 
has for you is dumb. Do that, and you’re missing the point entirely.. Acts 
10:35
says, “It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from -- if you 
want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open”
(The Message).

No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you’ve got a place in God’s 
forever family ready and waiting for you. The invitation is wide open
.. Just believe and receive.

Are you ready? Here’s a prayer you can start with --

“Dear God, I know that when I die I’m going to give an account of my life to 
you directly. I confess I have ignored you. I know I have sinned against
you, and I have lived by my plan, not yours. I want that to change, 
starting right now. I want to turn away from my sins toward you.

Thank you for sending Jesus to die for all that I’ve done wrong so that I 
don’t have to pay the penalty. I know that I don’t deserve your 
forgiveness.
I know that only your grace can save me, Lord. I could never be good enough 
to get into a perfect place.

Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you took all my guilt on 
yourself. You made me acceptable for heaven, and I humbly ask you to save 
me. I ask
you to save me from the sins and the habits that are messing up my life 
right now. I believe in you, Jesus. And I believe that you will keep your 
promise
to save me instantly and certainly and completely and eternally. In Jesus’ 
name. Amen.

If you prayed the prayer above, please write and tell me at
Rick@PastorRick.com
.. I’d love to send you some materials as you begin your journey with Jesus.

If you still have questions or want to learn more about becoming a follower 
of Christ, watch this video:
What does it mean to be saved?

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

It Over

Have you accepted God’s number one gift for you this Christmas? If not, what 
are you waiting for?

If God sent Jesus to Earth to die for you, what does that say about your 
value to him?

Think about your Christmas plans. What can you do to emphasize to your 
family and friends that God’s ultimate gift was sending his Son to die for 
them?
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !


The Fulfillment of God's Promise

Immediately following God's incredible, supernatural intervention on Mount 
Carmel, Elijah told King Ahab, ""Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound 
of
a heavy rain"
(1 Kings 18:41
) Ahab went down to eat and drink. Elijah climbed to the top of Mount 
Carmel where he knelt on the promise God had given him.

The promise God gave Elijah was a conditional promise. While Elijah was 
still in Zarephath with the widow, "the word of the LORD came to Elijah: ‘Go 
and
present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.' So Elijah went 
to present himself to Ahab" (
1 Kings 18:1-2
). The Lord said He would send rain if Elijah presented himself to Ahab. At 
this point, it had not rained in three and a half years. There was a great
famine and people were desperate. Elijah's obedience was the condition of 
the fulfillment of God's promise.

Some people today love to claim the promises of God while trying to escape 
the conditions. God must be true to His Word. If a promise comes with a 
condition,
the condition must be completed so the promise can be fulfilled. God set 
these conditions, and He is not going to change them. An example is sowing 
and
reaping. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "A man reaps what he sows. The one 
who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature
will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the 
Spirit will reap eternal life" ( Galatians 6:7-8 ). It takes time for a 
crop to
yield its harvest, but you will always reap what you sow. A man who sows 
corn does not reap cotton.

The promise God gave Elijah was a personal promise. It was given to Elijah 
for that time and place. Do not try to make a personal promise in Scripture
a universal promise.

Elijah had a personal, conditional promise from God. He had fulfilled the 
conditions of the promise and was praying for its fulfillment--for rain. 
Elijah
knew He was going to see the answer to His prayer. He knew God's 
character--God always tells the truth and He always keeps His promises. 
Still, he prayed
persistently.

He sent his servant out seven times to check for rain. On his seventh trip, 
he saw a small cloud in the distance. Expectantly, Elijah alerted Ahab to
take cover because rain was coming. Humbly, Elijah ran before the King all 
the way home--refusing to steal the glory of this victory from the Lord.

What are you doing with the conditional promises of God? Are you refusing to 
keep the condition of the promise? Or have you simply just given up?

Please examine your heart and ask the Lord to take away any hindrance to 
fulfilling the conditions of His promises or in persisting in prayer for the 
fulfillment
of His promises. May the Lord empower you to never give up!

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. 
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come 
to
repentance."
- -2 Peter 3:9

****

Fearless Living in Troubled Times

Imagine a life of peace and purpose in the midst of global instability, 
national tension, and personal crisis. Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book 
Fearless
Living in Troubled Times provides the vital information needed to unlock 
that life. Living in constant fear and anxiety are not God’s plan for your 
life,
and this book focuses on living a God-honoring life, overcoming fear through 
the right perspective, and understanding the true nature of the end times.
Get your copy today for your gift of any amount.

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

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

O for a spirit of habitual prayer!

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

"But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry 
out in distress--and He hears my voice!" Psalm 55:16-17

The well taught Christian carries everything to God--and in so doing, 
obtains relief, enjoys peace, and grows in grace.
For all that we need--we should call upon God.
And from all that we fear--we should flee unto God.

At the close of every day, it is our mercy to call upon the Lord.
We must make confession of sin--and obtain pardon.
We must carry to Him our burdens--and obtain relief.
We must tell out before Him our needs--and obtain a supply.

Oh, how precious it is to go to the Lord at the close of each day, and tell 
Him all that has . . .
vexed us,
grieved us,
cast us down, or
disquieted our spirits!

And how blessed to go to him each morning, and seek grace to live holily and 
happily through the day!

Nor is it less blessed to have a few minutes with God at noon--breaking, as 
it were, the day in two, and keeping short accounts with God.

O for a spirit of habitual prayer, that at evening, and at morning, and at 
noon--we may pray, and cry aloud to God!

If we were more with the Lord in prayer, we would have . . .
more strength to carry our crosses,
more patience to bear our troubles,
and more comfort amidst life's sorrows.

Holy Spirit, take up your residence in my heart as a Spirit of prayer, and 
lead me daily, hourly, yes, very often--to the mercy-seat. Let me find the 
hours
of prayer to be precious seasons. And especially at eventide, when worn and 
exhausted with the toils and troubles of the day--let me find sweet solace
and refreshment in pouring out my soul unto God.

Precious Lord Jesus, draw our souls to You evening by evening, and lead us 
into the presence of Your Father, that we may have sweet and hallowed 
fellowship
with God! Let our devotions ascend as sweet incense to God.

~ ~ ~ ~

"The Holy Spirit and the One Church!"
Charles Spurgeon, helpful 46 minute sermon!
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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Today's Devotional

Christmas On The River

Matthew 1:21 – And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for 
he will save his people from their sins. (NLT)

God sometimes shows up in the strangest ways to provide for us. One 
Christmas week in 1980, He did just that, and it was a Christmas that my 
family has
never forgotten.

For a number of years, dad struggled with God's call to be a full-time 
evangelist. After resigning from his church in Orangeburg, South Carolina, 
USA,
he decided that it was time.

Leaving a church when you live in a church-provided home and have nowhere to 
go is a scary experience — especially when you have a family to support. 
Fortunately,
the church organist had a little getaway mobile home on the shores of the 
Santee River.

My family loaded up their clothes, stored the remainder of their belongings 
at my grandparents' home, and headed for what they had never experienced 
before:
living in a trailer, using someone else's belongings, and living on the 
water. Their new home was small and cramped, and showed evidence of a 
bachelor's
presence.

The weather had turned cold, and keeping the oil tank filled further drained 
their bank account. To top it off, my middle brother struggled with asthma
attacks.

All the while, the season of joy quickly approached, but there didn't appear 
to be much joy in the household that Christmas. Even if they'd had a tree,
their ornaments were packed up who knew where. Mom loved to cook large 
Christmas meals, but this year the cabinets were bare. Times, in fact, were 
so lean
that they couldn't even afford the gas to return to church services on 
Sunday evenings.

A dose of ingenious planning by mom and a surprise visit from a friend 
turned the tide. The South Carolina Lowcountry is heavily dotted with pine 
trees.
Why not use one as a Christmas tree? mom thought. So, they did. Dad and my 
two brothers trekked through the woods until they found the perfect one. 
They
cut it and dragged it back to the spot that mom had carefully chosen in the 
trailer. She even came up with a solution for the ornaments. Finding a box
of paintable wooden ornaments at a yard sale, she purchased them for a 
dollar and then delivered them to dad for painting.

Christmas looked as if it would be meatless that year. But during Christmas 
week, their good friend and owner of the trailer stopped by. He worked at a
local car dealership and had been given a ham and a turkey as Christmas 
gifts. Since he was a single man, he had no use for both and wondered 
whether mom,
dad, and the boys might be interested in having the ham. God provided meat 
for Christmas.

That Christmas on the river was probably the leanest that my family has ever 
experienced, but of the many that they have shared together, it stands out
as their most memorable. They spent time together and felt closer than they 
ever had. The aroma of the ham cooking snaked through every inch of the 
trailer,
reminding them of God's goodness. They didn't have much, but God gave 
exactly what they needed.

Mary experienced the same. She was a poor young woman engaged to be married 
when God showed up and told her that she would birth the Saviour of the 
world.
The excitement — and anxiety — was almost more than she could bear. But her 
willingness to accept God's plan resulted in salvation for all who call upon
the name of the Son she bore. God sent the Magi, whose gifts provided for 
their needs while they waited in Egypt until it was safe to return to 
Galilee.

Being a full-time evangelist didn't work out, but soon after, God provided 
another church for dad to pastor. Once again, they had a place to stay and 
food
on the table. God provided sustenance for my family just as He provided a 
Saviour for the world. That's how God is. Whatever the need, He'll always 
supply.

Prayer: Father, we pause to thank You this Christmas season as we remember 
Your provision for us in the Babe in the manger who was our Saviour. Amen.

Martin Wiles < mandmwiles@gmail.com >
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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

Verse for Today: Galatians 4:4-5 – God sent his Son, born of a woman, born 
under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights
of sons. (NIV)


The Voice of John the Baptist: Witness to the Light
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The Voice of John the Baptist: Witness to the Light
December 21, 2017

Read: John 1:1-9

[John] came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might 
believe through him (v. 7).

In a classic Peanuts comic strip, Lucy greets Charlie Brown, “Merry 
Christmas, Charlie Brown! At this time of the year I think we should put 
aside all
our differences, and try to be kind.” Charlie Brown replies, “Why does it 
have to be for just this time of year? Why can’t it be all year ’round?” 
Lucy
immediately responds, “What are you, some kind of fanatic or something?”

John the Baptist was something of a fanatic. He lived in the wilderness, 
wore clothing made of camel’s hair, and ate locusts and wild honey (Mark 
1:4-6).
He didn’t mince words as he followed in the footsteps of Old Testament 
prophets; he wasn’t comfortable company. But the Gospels also tell us that 
he had
disciples. People were inspired by his example. What were they drawn to? The 
Gospel of John says of him, “He was not the light, but came to bear witness
about the light” (John 1:8). John the Baptist wasn’t the Son, but he sure 
drew attention to the Son.

How did he do it? With words and lifestyle. So must we: telling the truth 
about Jesus, setting aside differences, building relationships, offering 
help,
and keeping it up year around. We can do it because the baby born in 
Bethlehem has been born in us as well. If that means we are fanatics, so be 
it! —Ken
Eriks

Prayer: Lord God, let your light shine in us and through us today.

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



Why God Created Us to Enjoy Holidays and Celebrations
Meg Bucher

God promised us in the Old Testament that He “will take care of the hidden 
things”
(Deuteronomy 29:29
). When we were created, He declared,
“It is good!” (Genesis 1:31
). God set us down in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by His love and 
provision. We were created to exist in the joy of knowing that He is Lord 
and we are
His creation. The sinful curse that began with the Serpent has since caused 
confusion over how much fun we are actually allowed to have in this life.

Jesus instructed us “not to worry” (Matthew 6:31 ; 34
), yet that is what plagues us. Constantly pulled from one side of an 
over-commercialized holiday season to the other that denies the 
appropriation of
giving gifts at all … it can be hard to know what not to worry about! But 
Jesus assured us,
“Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ).

Christmas is a time for celebration. It’s the world that wants to play tug 
of war with us, which is why we need to be diligent about lifting every 
worry
up to Him in prayer, alongside a daily seeking of His Word for direction and 
encouragement. There is no way around this journey that God set in place to
communicate to us and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit, beginning 
the very moment our hearts receive Christ.

“Celebrate always,” Thessalonians 5:16, states in the VOICE paraphrase, 
taken from the literal translation, “Rejoice always” (NASB).. It means to be 
well
and thrive at all times! “Be joyful always!” That doesn’t mean that we have 
to walk around with a fake smile stuck on our faces 24/7; it simply means 
that
we are free to by joyful, regardless of our circumstance.

We can “always” be joyful, rejoice, and celebrate! Christmas is the reason 
we can claim freedom in the name of Christ, for had He not chosen to seek us
out and come to save us, we would be doomed to the consequence of the sinful 
nature we all suffer from thanks to good old Eve—death. That, alone, is a
reason to live this verse daily.
Philippians 4:4 echos the same sentiments: “Rejoice in the Lord always; 
again I will say, rejoice!” This statement permeates through all 
circumstances,
for when we are walking with Christ, we are assured that He will bring us 
through everything we go through—either to restoration on earth or on to 
eternity
with Him in heaven. This is the hope of the Christian that gives us license 
to celebrate life through a different lens. The Holy Spirit’s dwelling 
within
us literally changes us from the inside out. Instead of putting a pair of 
sunglasses and noticing a different tint to the horizon, our gaze is shifted
from within, so that what we see now is different than what we noticed 
before. Who we are follows suit, for Jesus promises, “you are a new 
creation.”

“Rejoice” was uttered in Biblical times to convey trust and confidence in 
God. It is the wholehearted confidence that we stand on so that we can 
experience
the sustaining joy of Jesus in our lives.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that 
your joy may be made full”
(John 15:11 ). Jesus wants us to celebrate from a place of complete joy., 
and complete confidence in who we are, in Him.

Father,

Praise You for holidays and celebrations. Thank You for giving us a reason 
to be joyful at all times, and leaving Your Word and Holy Spirit with us to
show us how to do that. The world we live in can threaten to swallow us with 
pessimism and political correctness. Allow us to celebrate in the way that
honors You, always. Alert us to celebrations that do not honor You, and shut 
doors completely to events that seek to undermine Your good Word and purpose
for our lives. Forgive us for neglecting to meet You daily in prayer, and 
inspire our hearts to stay close to You as we walk throughout our time here 
on
earth.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Photo credit: ©️Thinkstock/YoungOldMan

Meg encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home 
mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emotimoms Weekly Bible Study, 
and
leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, 
Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their
Goldendoodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on 
her blog,
http://sunnyand80.org.


Welcome to the Nugget

October 17, 2017

Five Reasons why NOT to Worry About Tomorrow...
list of 4 items
By Answers2Prayer
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Devotionals
Contact us
list end

Hubby and I took off for our routine evening walk. And as we rounded the 
walking trail, he repeatedly had to duck to avoid smashing his head against 
the
branches that hung low. He endured this annoyance for a while.

Then he decided to take action.

So the next day, before we headed out, he grabbed the trimming clippers from 
the garage. Armed with this weapon that he carried rifle style, we set off
for our walk. As we drew closer, he gave a gasp of surprise. The maintenance 
folks had taken care of the trimming.

I couldn't suppress my chuckle as he carried the clippers back home.

We all do that, don't we? When the branches of life annoy us, we get fed up. 
Sometimes we become anxious because the problem persists. Then anger flares
up, wondering if God is watching. And frustrated, we ask ourselves if He's 
planning to do anything about it.

But through David's words In Psalm 139:4
, God has five ways to remind us that although we don't see how, God is in 
full control. His clippers are sharper and better, capable to trim our 
restlessness
and cut off our worry:

* He's aware of our every move: "You know when I sit and when I rise..."

* He reads our mind: "You perceive my thoughts from afar."

* He follows us wherever we go: "You discern my going out and my lying 
down..."

* God knows our habits, quirks and flaws: "You are familiar with all my 
ways."

* God is ahead of the game. "Before a word is on my tongue you know it 
completely, O LORD."

If God is working on taking care of the glitches ahead, why do we carry the 
clippers of worry?

Janet P. Eckles

Announcement:

Wonder where evil came from? Check out Tangle Untangled
! A mini-series by Elizabeth Price.

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


Our Love Should Be Ridiculous
by Stephen Sanders, Salem Web A/V Editor

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing 
honor.
Romans 12:10

Every once in a while, you meet a Christian who just flat out makes you feel 
good about life in general. It doesn’t happen probably as much as it should,
but nonetheless, it’s always nice to see. Even though it may just be a brief 
encounter, you leave that conversation feeling important, hopeful and 
restored.
Sometimes, it’s even so powerful that it inspires you to become a better 
person.

I recently had an encounter with a certain pastor who just flat out blew me 
away with the way he carried himself. This was actually my 2nd time meeting
him, and I just can’t describe the attitude of this man. His love for God 
and love for people was simply contagious. Everyone in the room was just so 
peaceful
and complimentary after he left. I found myself wanting to be more like that 
because, well, I’m not.

Showing “brotherly affection” towards others is not something that comes 
naturally for me. I tend to make a lot of excuses when it comes to being 
more
outgoing and more loving. After all, it’s much safer to just ignore people I 
don’t know or have things in common with. That makes perfect sense, right?
It’s wiser to just let someone else share God’s love with them; someone who 
can “minister to them more effectively than I.”

God continues to deal with me about this on a daily basis. Not only is 
displaying love towards one another one of the chief commands of the 
Christian faith,
but it’s the core of who Jesus Christ was while he was on earth in the 
flesh. It’s easy to assume that Jesus would have gotten along easier with 
the “church
folks,” but He actually spent all of His time with tax collectors, 
prostitutes and such; people who He had absolutely zero in common with.

The religious people of that day mocked Jesus for loving the way He did. 
Jesus’ love was ridiculous.

I’ve been studying the heck out of the book of Romans lately. It’s been 
great because I’ve begun to see this continuing contrast between the “church 
folks”
and the “actual church” that Paul was ministering to in those days. The 
“church folks” were so proud of the list of regulations that defined who 
they were
and set them apart from the society in which they lived. The “actual church” 
simply grabbed hold of the free gift of Christ and displayed it openly to
that same society. The “church folks” disqualified others from becoming God’s 
Chosen because of what they were unwilling to do. But the “actual church”
made no assumptions about who could and could not be “saved.”

The early church let the good news of the cross speak for itself... and they 
would scream this truth to everyone... everywhere... even if it meant dying
a gruesome death. Their love was ridiculous.

In today’s culture, self-sacrificial love to the point of death sounds just 
as extreme as it did back then. So many of us make excuses as to why we don’t
need to love like that. Christians and church doctrines manage to create 
unwritten laws that shield us from having to actually love like the Spirit 
of
Christ so desperately wants us to. We take specific scriptures and turn them 
into shield for our own protection. Take Romans 12:1-2
for example:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your 
bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your 
spiritual
worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the 
renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of 
God, what
is good and acceptable and perfect.

Until recently, I’d only recognized this scripture as an instruction to 
“beware of society and it’s influences.” And it’s true that the world does 
things
way differently than the Holy Spirit does. But I’ve always overlooked the 
importance of “test and discern what is the will of God.” You see, we cannot
“test the will of God” if we are so far removed from society that we are out 
of touch. The same “enemy society” that we are to not become influenced by
is also the same exact place where God has strategically placed us to seek 
His will for our lives and display the gifts and talents He has placed in 
us.

Sound impossible? It’s really not... it just takes a ridiculous love for 
this lifestyle to be functional.

In actuality, it may appear to many as being very dysfunctional. But that’s 
okay! This Christian walk was never meant to be something that caused us to
take ourselves more seriously than we ought to anyway. To tell you the 
truth, Jesus said that the “actual church” would “confound the wise and 
shame the
strong.” So don’t be afraid to be excessively full of life, hopeful, 
positive and patient when others try to make that difficult to do. Look for 
excuses
to just randomly meet the needs of others... especially your enemies! That’s 
love... that’s the sort of thing that everyone, Christians and 
non-Christians,
long for deep down inside. That’s what the love of Christ is all about.

I’m challenging myself (and you) to reach out in some way to someone every 
single day... starting today. God has radically changed our lives. He has 
given
us something that is more valuable than anything. It’s time we share it, not 
from a soapbox or inside our church walls, but in the every day hustle and
bustle of where we already exist...

....and be proactive because, chances are, if you don’t then no one else 
will.

For further study, read Romans 12:1 .

The Wonder of It All

by Chuck Swindoll

Luke 2:6-7

When Mary and Joseph began their journey southward to Bethlehem, they 
probably thought they had time to make the trip, register for the census, 
and then
return home to Nazareth before the baby would be born. The weather 
cooperated and a donkey carried their provisions, but the journey proved 
more lengthy
than either of them had expected. Mary was soon to give birth.

By the time they reached Bethlehem, Mary was exhausted. To make matters 
worse, the tiny town was packed with travel-weary people. Joseph searched 
for lodging
.. . . nothing. One kind family agreed to let them stay in a stable. It was a 
crude shelter, but it kept them out of the elements. No doubt a low fire 
warmed
the chilly night air.

Once they were settled, Mary rested while Joseph worked his way through the 
corrupt registration process. Too soon, a powerful, dull ache gripped Mary's
abdomen. She called out for Joseph in a panic, but he would be gone for 
hours. She had attended many childbirths, so she calmed herself and arranged 
their
little shelter in preparation for the baby. A spare tunic would be His 
swaddling; a little bed of fresh straw in the feeding trough would cradle 
the newborn
infant.

As evening fell, her labor pains intensified and accelerated. Joseph 
returned from the city tax office to find Mary moaning through a bone-deep 
wave of
pain. There are no pains like those of childbirth. None so intense. None so 
hopeful.

Perhaps it was well into the night when Joseph laid the tiny Hope of Israel 
in Mary's arms. For nine months prior to His birth, Mary had talked to the
baby, sung to Him, felt His body move, and looked forward to the day when 
she could finally touch Him. Now she looked into His eyes—Immanuel, "God 
with
us."

It's hard to know if, in those first hours, God gave Mary a brief 
premonition of years to come, when another would point to her Son and say, 
"Behold, the
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" . . . or when that promise 
would be fulfilled and a sword of emotion would pierce her own soul. 
Anticipated
or not, those days would surely come. Mary's little Lamb was destined for 
sacrifice. But tonight she held her baby close, kissed His soft cheek . . . 
and
wept quietly in the wonder of it all.

See Matthew 1:23; John 1:29; and Luke 2:35.

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, "Mary, Mother of Jesus," in The Wise and 
the Wild: 30 Devotions on Women of the Bible (Plano, Tex.: Insight for 
Living,
2010), 75-76. Copyright ©️ 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights 
reserved worldwide.

When I Lay My Isaac Down
Thank You for Giving with Joy and Faith

The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll

Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. 
All rights reserved worldwide.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 13 Dec 2017, 1:24 pm

A New Thing - Mary

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

Luke 1:34-35 (NIV)
34 “How will this be,†Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?†35 The
angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the
Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the
Son of God.â€

Luke 1:38 (NIV)
38 “I am the Lord’️s servant,†Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have
said.†Then the angel left her.

In the Scripture above from Isaiah, the prophet was telling the people that
they would be returning from exile to their promised land. I also see this
as a prophecy of a truly new thing which we celebrate during this time of
year – the coming of the Messiah. In the account of Mary, we see some new
things. The Jewish people believed that the Messiah would be born of a king
to become a kingly warrior to destroy their enemies. Instead He came to
earth as a tiny baby in a humble family. Another new thing that happened was
that a virgin had this baby.

Who knows what Mary was thinking when the angel Gabriel told her she would
give birth to the Messiah. She may have thought about what might happen to
her if she agreed to go through with it. She might have thought about what
other people might think about her and about Joseph whom she was to marry.
Whatever her thoughts, she told the Lord that she was His servant.

Today people do not like to think about being a servant. That brings
negative connotations and people today want to feel like they are somebody
and not someone who has to obey everything someone else tells them. Of
course, slavery is wrong but we Christians should die to self and become
servants of our Master Jesus Christ. A beautiful thing about this Master is
that He is also our friend. He tells us to take his yoke and work for Him.
This may sound hard but He said that his yoke is easy and His burden is
light.

During this time of year we are thinking of gifts that we are going to give
our family and friends. What can you give to Jesus? You can give more of
yourself. Will you take his yoke and become His servant? He may want you to
continue doing what you are doing for him or He may have a new thing for you
to do. Will you go where He wants you to go and do what He wants you to do?
If you will just start on the first step then He will empower you with His
Holy Spirit to help you be the servant He wants you to be.

by Dean W. Masters

We Do Not Know What God Is Doing
Jon Bloom / December 7, 2017
We Do Not Know What God Is Doing

Have you ever stopped to ponder just how strange everything about the birth
of Jesus was? Whatever people had imagined the coming of the Messiah would
look like, no one imagined it to look like it did.

In all that he reveals to us about that strange first Christmas, God is
saying very important things to us about how he wants us to view the
perplexing,
bewildering, glorious, frustrating, fearful, painful, unexpected,
disappointing, and even tragic experiences of our lives. No one really
understood all
that was going as God the Son entered the world. No one really saw the big
picture — no one except God.

An Unexpected Messiah

It began with the unexpected revelation of the Son of God. The existence of
the Son in the Godhead was not clear to the Jews prior to his surprise
appearance
in Bethlehem. He was revealed in the Tanakh (Old Testament) in texts like 1
Chronicles 17:13, Psalm 2, Psalm 45:6–7, Psalm 110:1, Isaiah 53, and others,
but most didn’️t recognize him.

Those who perceived a messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, the virgin
shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel†didn’️t take
it to mean a virgin would miraculously become pregnant with God. They
assumed a chaste young bride would conceive the Messiah in the, you know,
standard
manner. And no one believed “Immanuel†literally meant God would become
flesh and dwell among them. God’️s ways were much wilder than even his people
had
imagined.

From the Wrong Side of Town

Nor did anyone expect God choose the backwater town of Nazareth as the place
for the Messiah to be conceived and raised to adulthood. First off, no
prophet
ever arose from Galilee (John 7:52). And second, everyone knew that Nazareth
produced nothing good (John 1:46). Besides, didn’️t the prophet say the
Messiah
would come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)?

Indeed, he would emerge from Bethlehem. But who could have possibly
anticipated that the Almighty would prompt Caesar Augustus to decree an
imperial census
in order to force the young peasant woman great with divine child and her
bewildered new husband to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem just barely in
time
to fulfill that prophecy (Luke 2:1–5)?

And who in their wildest dreams would have imagined that once they arrived
in Bethlehem, there would be no place for her to give birth to the
long-expected
Messiah, except some dingy cave used to house animals?

Welcomed by Peasants and Pagans

When he was born, great angelic fanfare was made . . . to shepherds.
Profane, unclean purveyors of
all things sheep, if you know what I mean. This would have been viewed with
great suspicion and confusion by pious Jews. In terms of social standing, if
Jesus had been born in 21st Century America, it might be like God choosing
to bypass everyone else and sending an angel choir to a group of illegal
migrant
workers. Why shepherds, of all people?

Actually, it gets worse. God took things to a whole different level by
summoning only one other group of people to welcome his divine Son into the
world:
the “
magoi
†(Matthew 2:1–2). Some English translators transliterate this Greek word
into English as “magi.†Others use the term “wise men,†but it doesn’️t
capture
the surreal nature of these strange visitors. Of all the unlikely characters
and events in this story, these may be the unlikeliest.

The magi were pagan Persian priests and/or astrologers. They were experts in
sorcery, divination, and other mysterious magical arts and literature. They
were “wise†in the things God strictly forbade the Jews from participating
in (Deuteronomy 18:9–14). And God summoned them through astrological
divination
by using some sort of “
star .â€

Today, it might be like God choosing to bypass everyone else and summoning a
group of Wiccans to worship the baby Jesus through tarot cards or crystals.
Does that make you squirm? That’️s how you should feel at the arrival of the
magi in the story — until you make the missional connection with the purpose
of Christmas. Then you worship alongside these pagan welcomers of the Savior
of the world.

Into Unspeakable Horror

But the magi’️s role in the story wasn’️t merely marvelous. They unwittingly
blazed a trail leading to tragedy. For their arrival awakened a wicked man
possessing
the power of the sword. And a dark horror entered the glorious story. The
ancient dragon sought to devour the divine Child (Revelation 12:1–6) by
manipulating
Herod the Great’️s paranoid, demonically selfish, evil rage. A military guard
was ordered to raid the unsuspecting residents of Bethlehem and massacre
every
male child under two years of age, leaving the daughters of Rachel
inconsolable (Matthew 2:13–18). The Child was delivered, but not the rest of
the children.

Like nearly every other tragedy, no divine purpose is explained. We are left
to trust through tears. But trust we can. For the spared Child of Bethlehem
was given life that he might die a far more brutal, horrific death — one
that would purchase the eternal redemption of Bethlehem’️s lost boys and
bring
eternal consolation to any bereaved parent willing to receive it.

Inscrutable Hope for All

Do you see the pattern? The Christmas story has the same elements of
strangeness as the whole biblical narrative, beginning to end. It is a story
we would
not have written. It carries a wisdom alien to sinful men:

[For] God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose
what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and
despised
in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians
1:26–29)

Nothing about the Christmas story was expected. As things were unfolding, no
one really understood all that was going on or why. God chose ways and means
to bring his Son into the world that appeared more or less foolish to all
observing. There were ample things to perplex, bewilder, awe, enthrall,
terrify,
frustrate, disappoint, and grieve those who experienced the first Advent.
The pieces were put together in retrospect.

Great Joy in Strange Days

You and I live in the present moment, not yet in retrospect. And we may be
in a very strange moment. Things may not seem to make sense. There may be a
convergence of odd elements and unexpected turns of events. Some things may
just seem bizarre. Other things may be grievous or fearful. We may feel
psychologically
and emotionally destabilized and disoriented.

If so, Christmas comes to us as a wonderful gift. For the God of the
unexpected — who wielded an emperor to fulfill prophecy, who chose a peasant
teenager
to bear the Messiah, a disreputable hometown, an animal trough cradle, and
profane and pagan attendants, and who allowed an unspeakable horror to
accompany
the Messiah’️s birth for redemptive reasons not yet revealed —
that God is with us, Immanuel. And if God is with us, who can be against us
(Romans 8:31)?

God sees the big picture, and in his wisdom — which often initially doesn’️t
look like wisdom — he will bring all to right in the ways and at the times
that will result in our experiencing the greatest joy possible (Luke 2:10).

Can I Leave and Cleave If We Live with My Parents?
John Piper / December 7, 2017

In many cultures, married couples live with the husband’️s family. But does
“leaving and cleaving†mean they should move out and get their own place?
Heart Comes Before Head: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture
John Piper / December 7, 2017
When a Christian reads the Bible, a supernatural event takes place. Our
regenerate souls meet the inspired word in a divine encounter
Philippians 1:20–26: Christian Hedonism Explained
John Piper / December 7, 2017

It is not until a Christian is convinced that death is truly gain that he
truly begins to live.


Messiah for the Magi
John Piper / December 7, 2017

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the
king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he
who
has been born king of the Jews?â€
(Matthew 2:1–2)

Unlike Luke, Matthew does not tell us about the shepherds coming to visit
Jesus in the stable. His focus is immediately on foreigners — Gentiles,
non-Jews
— coming from the east to worship Jesus.

So, Matthew portrays Jesus at the beginning and ending of his Gospel as a
universal Messiah for all the nations, not just for Jews.

Here the first worshipers are court magicians, or astrologers, or wise men
not from Israel but from the East — perhaps from Babylon. They were
Gentiles.
Unclean, according to the Old Testament ceremonial laws.

And at the end of Matthew, the last words of Jesus are, “All authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of
all nations†(Matthew 28:18–19).

This not only opened the door for us Gentiles to rejoice in the Messiah; it
added proof that he was the Messiah. Because one of the repeated prophecies
was that the nations and kings would, in fact, come to him as the ruler of
the world. For example, Isaiah 60:3, “Nations shall come to your light, and
kings to the brightness of your rising.â€

So, Matthew adds proof to the messiahship of Jesus and shows that he is
Messiah — a King, and Promise-Fulfiller — for all the nations, not just
Israel.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Lifting Them Higher - #8027

During an opportunity I had to work with my son on some Native American
youth outreaches, one of our attractions that night was various basketball
competitions.
Alex was one of those who showed up to compete in the 3-point shooting
contest. Alex is probably about 12, and he appears to have Down's Syndrome.
But
he doesn't let any Special Ed limitations slow him down. Alex plunges right
into things. It's neat to watch. Now, his shooting didn't win any prizes,
but
his attitude sure would have. In fact, later in the evening, I saw this very
special scene at the far end of the gym. Our son, Brad, who is a moose, was
holding Alex in his arms and letting him shoot baskets from that improved
altitude. Alex was loving it. But the best part came a few minutes later. I
glanced
down the gym floor and I saw a similar scene - except this time it was Alex
lifting up a boy smaller than he was so that little guy could shoot some
baskets!
Wow!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Lifting
Them Higher."

Actually, isn't that what we're all supposed to be about - lifting other
people up so they can shoot higher than they've been able to shoot before?
One
of the places where God calls us to that kind of lifestyle is in our word
for today from the Word of God in 1 Thessalonians 5:12. "Respect those who
work
hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them
in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each
other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the
timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone."

Now he's saying here, first of all, give a lift to the spiritual leaders in
your life by saying thanks, by complimenting them, by offering to do
something
that would lighten their load. And then give a lift to those who are quiet
and timid, maybe the ones who often get overlooked or ignored. When you have
the spirit of Jesus, you look for those who are on the edges, who tend to be
left out, and you lift them up by showing interest, by including them, by
building their confidence.

God also tells us to encourage the weak, the people who, on the surface, may
not seem to have much going for them. But if you give them a lift, they're
the people who can find the strength to do what they've never done before.

Actually, we're supposed to be lifting everyone around us. The Bible says
the only words that should be coming out of our mouths are those that are
"helpful
for building others up." That's Ephesians 4:29. If there's one thing a
follower of Christ should be known for, it's for being an encourager. Are
you? Most
people are suffering from a huge encouragement deficit, with a basketful of
what's wrong with them and very little of what's right with them. It's not
exactly "home, home on the range" out there, where "seldom is heard a
discouraging word."

No, we need to dedicate each new day to consciously, intentionally lift up
the people we work with, the people we live with, go to school with, even
those
we just meet. And church, well that should be a place where everyone comes
away having been lifted up by someone. When our son picked up young Alex,
Alex
was able to do what otherwise would have been out of his reach. That's the
kind of effect you can have on the people around you as an encourager. Did
you
ever notice, encourage - you put courage into somebody when you encourage
them.

So be the one who sets the tone of encouragement. Somebody has to start it.
How about you? And don't be surprised if it starts a chain of encouragement.
As I witnessed in that gym that night, when somebody gets lifted up, they
feel like lifting someone else up! Now look what you've started!

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


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Friday, December 8, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Gift Of Giving

Every year, our families participated in a "Secret Santa" event. Into a
bowl, we would put folded pieces of paper with our names on them, and each
person
would draw a name for the next Christmas. They would then buy a gift for
that person and wrap it, but leave out the giver's name. Later, because our
families
live in various parts of Ontario, Canada, it was decided that one person
would print out the names of the family members and then draw the names on
behalf
of everyone. He was the only one who knew who bought for whom. It was
decided that the value of a gift would not exceed twenty dollars.

My brother, who was in charge of this annual event, recently sent an e-mail
to us which said the following:

To break routine for a year, I was actually thinking of going a different,
more giving route this year: sacrificing the grownups' fun and directing the
money we would have spent on each other for a worthy cause. The $20.00 a
person we normally spend on fun gifts will go a long way towards helping our
favourite
charity. We can do it one of two ways: you either give Barb and me the money
or you purchase something of your choice. Barb can supply you with a list
of things that they desperately need. Let me know how you guys feel. Harry.

After reading my brother's suggestion, I was thrilled. Instead of purchasing
yet another unnecessary item that one day will end up in the dumpster, this
gift would be greatly appreciated by the ones who cannot help themselves.
After all, isn't Christmas about helping the less fortunate?

Over two thousand years ago, a baby was born in Bethlehem, the greatest gift
that mankind would receive: a Saviour, Who at an early age in His life gave
Himself for us, so that we may have life eternal.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not
of yourselves, it is the gift of God. (NASB)

Perhaps this Christmas, you may want to "pass it on" by helping an
organization that desperately needs help. It may be by volunteering your
time in a hospital,
in a nursing home, or a church. It may be by donating items of food to your
local food kitchen or animal shelter, or by making a monetary donation.
Whatever
you decide, your gift of giving will be greatly appreciated. After all,

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB)

What will you decide?

Prayer: Thank You, God, for giving us the greatest gift of all time: Jesus,
Your beloved Son. He is the reason for the Christmas season. He gave us life
so that we can give gifts of love to one another. Amen.

Rosemary Hagedorn < rosyhagedorn@gmail.com >
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada

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

Verse for Today: 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare
the praises
of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (NIV)


Celebrating Jesus, the Expected One

The weeks leading up to Christmas Day are a special time of reflection on
God's gift to us: Jesus. Rejoicing in Jesus' birth certainly brings glory to
God, but sometimes we can forget that God didn't just send a child into the
world; He sent a mighty Rescuer!

The image of the Child in the manger should fill our hearts with praise
because we know what that Child would grow up to accomplish: He would save
His
people from their sins.

This story is not just for those of us who live after Jesus' time, though.
The people of God have always known what Jesus' mission would be. How did
they
know about this divine rescue plan before Jesus actually came? Because God
promised the whole plan to them, and every single part of it was designed to
become true in Jesus.

No, God didn't just promise His people that a miracle child would be born.
He also promised that this Child would grow up to be the loving Shepherd of
His people, the place-switching Sacrifice, the resurrected Lord, and the
righteous King who reigns in glory forever. But there is yet another
promise:
this King is coming back for His people!

The Old Testament passages point to Jesus, collectively unfolding the
promises of His long-awaited coming, His marvelous birth, His blameless
life, His
agonizing death, His glorious resurrection and His reign as the eternal King
of all.

As we celebrate the first coming of the Expected One during Advent, let's
also look forward in hopeful anticipation of His second coming. Let's keep
in
mind the whole picture of who Jesus is, worshipping Him as the fulfillment
of all of God's promises to us, "For every one of God's promises is ‘Yes' in
Him"
(2 Corinthians 1:20).

The Expected One
Excerpt from
The Expected One
by Scott James.
©️ 2017 LifeWay Christian Resources, 1 LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 11 Dec 2017, 12:16 am

Peace to Those with Whom He Is Pleased
By John Piper
“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling
cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a
multitude
of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
(Luke 2:12–14)
block quote end

Peace for whom? There is a somber note sounded in the angels’ praise. Peace
among those on whom his favor rests. Peace among those with whom he is
pleased.
But without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). So
Christmas does not bring peace to all.

“This is the judgment,” Jesus said, “the light has come into the world, and
people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were
evil”
(John 3:19). Or as the aged Simeon said when he saw the child Jesus,
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for
a sign that is opposed . . . so that thoughts from many hearts may be
revealed” (Luke 2:34–35). Oh, how many there are who look out on a bleak and
chilly
Christmas day and see no more than that — a sign to be opposed.

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who
did receive him, who
believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John
1:11–12). It was only to his disciples that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with
you;
my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not
your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are
those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be
made
known to God (Philippians 4:6–7).

The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the
promises of God. So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace
in believing
” (Romans 15:13). And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and
peace and love, then God is glorified.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is
pleased! Everyone — from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation — who would
believe.
Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Passport Imperative - #8025

I was traveling to South Africa, and I had this 18-hour flight layover in
Rome, and I wanted to see as much of it as I could. A friend of mine picked
me
up at the airport and we began this whirlwind day by taking me to the
Coliseum. As we left, we were surrounded by five or six gypsy children who
started
talking all at once. My friend actually told me to hang onto my stuff, which
I desperately tried to do. I had my wallet in my front pants pocket as a
precaution,
my passport in my sport jacket, a camera bag, and an umbrella because it was
raining. Those kids were good at what they did. They did everything to
distract
us as they tried to grab something of value. Well, my friend fended them off
using his umbrella like a sword, and then we breathed a sigh of relief as
we checked to see if we had everything. We had just rounded a corner when I
saw this little gypsy girl - maybe five years old or so - running over the
hill toward us. She was waving something blue in her hand. It was my
passport. Unbeknownst to me, the kids had gotten my passport, and
unbeknownst to them,
this little girl had brought it back to me. It was a little miracle
actually, and it was a good thing. I wasn't about to get into South Africa
without
my passport!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The
Passport Imperative."

There's no telling what would have happened without that little girl. There
was no way I could go where I wanted to go unless I had my passport. It's
the
only way of getting into any country in the world. It's the same about
getting into heaven when you die. You've got to have your passport!

Jesus spelled that out in very explicit terms in our word for today from the
Word of God in John 3:1-3. In light of what He says about who will be in
heaven,
it's surprising how many think they will be and apparently are wrong. The
Bible says, "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of
the
Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, 'Rabbi, we know
You are a teacher who has come from God' ... In reply Jesus declared, 'I
tell
you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
That's the required passport to get into heaven - being born again.

Well, what is this? Whatever it is, you have no chance of heaven without it.
It's the experience that makes it possible for a sinner like you and me to
be born into God's family so we can be with Him forever. Now, at what point
are you "born again"? Listen to God's Word a couple of chapters earlier:
speaking
of Jesus it says, "To all who received Him, to those who believed in His
name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). The only way
to
be born into God's family - to be born again - is to open your heart to
Jesus, to tell Him you're done running your life, that you're putting your
total
trust in Him and His death for your sins on the cross.

The man Jesus said this to was deeply religious, very successful, and he was
highly respected. But apparently none of that will get you into heaven. The
most religious people still have sin that will keep them out of heaven until
they've been to Jesus to get it forgiven. And if you don't know you've done
that, I'm guessing you haven't. And you can't possibly get into heaven when
you die. The Bible says, "No one can enter unless he is born again."

But Jesus is coming to you with your eternal passport in His hand right now.
You want to reach out and take it? You want to belong to Him? Would you tell
Him that you want to belong to Him? Say to Him right where you are, "Jesus,
I'm yours. Only what You did on the cross for me can pay for my sin and
remove
it from God's book forever. Jesus, you paid for my life. I give it to You
today."

Our website's ANewStory.com. It's really there for a moment like this, for
someone like you. I hope you'll go there and find there the information
right
from God's Word that will lead you right into belonging to Jesus.

Today could be like your birthday - your second birthday. This is the one
that gets you into God's family and gets you into heaven. This could be the
day
that you could be born again.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA


Welcome to the Nugget
December 9, 2017
Festival of Lights

Life can turn dark in so many ways. We were heading to church and Hubby
rolled down his window. As he opened his wallet, he said, "There's a woman
with
a sign that says, 'My kids need to eat.'"

Some put up signs and some sink in self-pity for lack of funds. But many
more curse their situation. The same way the Israelites did. Remember how
they
grumbled when they thought God had forgotten them? They were hungry and
thirsty. And they even mumbled about going back to Egypt where they were
slaves!
Crazy thinking, in my opinion. But we've done the same thing--wish we were
in a different place, maybe one we knew long ago. And we murmur our
misfortune.

I'm here to challenge you: Toss that grumbling out the window, cross-out
those pitiful remarks from your vocabulary, and kick out negative thoughts
that
take away your peace; and instead, celebrate Chanukah with me. (Please don't
tell me you know what that is...I didn't, and feel a bit embarrassed about
it.)

So I asked. And a precious Jewish friend who now loves Yeshua as her Savior
and Lord explained it to me. After I read the explanation, I was so touched
by the meaning and the significance that I deposited a huge amount of joy
right into the bank account of my heart.

So, read on, take in the message, and ponder on the absolutely wonderful
truth God is reminding you through the recount. Here it is:

Chanukah is the Jewish holiday of the festival of lights -- where we
celebrate when a tiny band of men called the Maccabees conquered the Greek
army and
recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem. The Greeks had desecrated the temple and
all the Jews could find was one day's worth of oil to light the eternal
light
-- which must burn continually, according to the Lord's command. It takes
eight days to produce the proper oil from the olives to use in the temple.
But
in faith, they used the little bit of oil -- and it ended up lasting the
full eight days -- enough time to consecrate the new oil. It was a miracle
all
around -- and that is why we light a Menorah, called a chanukiah -- each day
for eight days -- to honor the Lord for his faithfulness and miracles!

Okay, you know God is the same yesterday, today and forever...do you think
He'll provide what you need? When you need it? And give you the oil, though
meager it might seem, to last to cover the biggest bill in the pile?

God worked a miracle long ago...and He will now too. Not enough oil, but
still, they lit the candles in trusting, not doubting, not wondering, not
questioning
-- but in faith -- and why shouldn't we do the same?

Pray with me: Lord, I place the oil of faith before you. And I count on your
Word, your promise and your provision to take care of all my needs. In
Jesus'
name. Amen.

What needs will you bring before the Lord today?

Janet
Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

Announcement:

Tuesday of next week begins the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the Jewish
Festival of Lights. In honour of this celebration of God's miraculous
provision,
why not give God whatever problem you are dealing with at the moment, ever
expecting Him to provide?

©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
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Post  Admin on Fri 08 Dec 2017, 11:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
October 14, 2017
CATHEDRALS! Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 6: Die Schlosskirche
By Answers2Prayer
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Last Thursday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 5", we learned from La Playa de Las
Catedrais, the naturally sculpted "cathedral" on the beach in Ribadeo,
Spain, that
when our advice and assistance is not requested and we can't do anything to
change a situation, we need to simply release it into the hands of the
Master
builder and pray for God to make something beautiful out of the bad
circumstances and decisions.

But what if we release the situation into God's hands; what if we commit
ourselves to prayer and...nothing happens? How can we continue to be
supportive
by--doing nothing? Isn't there anything else we can "do"?

Perhaps one of the most famous of all European cathedrals can be found in
Wittenberg, Germany. Officially called the "All Saint's Church", but
commonly
known as the "Schlosskirche" or "Castle Church", this beautiful, 15th
century Gothic structure is a magnificent work of architecture. On October
31, 1517,
however, the cathedral forever entered the books of history when Martin
Luther posted his 95 theses to its door.

Despite its fame, history has not been kind to the All Saint's Church.
During the Seven Years' War, the church was bombed; and the ensuing fire
destroyed
almost everything, including the wooden door to which Martin Luther actually
nailed his theses. The church was rebuilt, but because of its exposure over
the years to wind and weather and the normal wear and tear affecting all
great buildings, further restorations have been required. The church was
completely
renovated in the late 1800s; and in honor of the 500 year anniversary of
Protestantism this year, the church is once again undergoing renovations.

This is not a unique occurrence. It is a common sight in Europe to see
cathedrals covered in scaffolding, for all buildings are exposed to the
eroding
properties of wind and weather, many are subjected to fire, and the two
great wars have brought about much need to rebuild and restore. Often the
churches
have to be completely torn down and new structures built in their place, and
if you take the time to read through the history of the majority of the
cathedrals
in Europe, you will find that most have been restored and many have been
rebuilt, often from the ground up, sometimes up to three or more times!

In the same way that wind and weather have eroded the magnificent
cathedrals, circumstance, as well as poor choices, can significantly impact
our lives
and the lives of those we love and wish to support. Being there for them,
offering advice and help and praying for them will help to stay some of the
impact
of the circumstances and poor choices; however, when our advice goes
completely unheeded, when our offer of help is completely ignored, or when
the circumstances
are completely outside of our or their control, there will be negative
consequences. What is our role then?

Most would be tempted to sit back and say, "I told you so. If you had only
listened..." This kind of a reaction, however, won't change anything. It is
kind of like saying to the All Saint's Church, "I told you the wind and
weather would damage your stones, but you wouldn't listen!" In fact, the "I
told
you so" attitude will only serve to push us even farther from the lives of
those we wish to support.

Besides praying about the situation and surrendering it into God's hands, do
we have a role to play when we've been forced to sit and watch those we care
about going through tough times?

Let's again take lessons from the Master Father, the God of the universe.
When He was forced to do nothing in the face of the destructive choice of
Adam
and Eve in the garden; when He had to sit back and watch the horrific
consequences of that choice, He didn't say, "I told you so!" Instead, He was
there
with a solution: He sent Jesus to provide a way out of that poor choice, to
reconcile us once again to God. He was there to help us pick up the pieces,
to show us the way to recover from that bad choice: "For God loved the world
so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in
him will not perish but have eternal life."
(John 3:16 NLT).

Our role, then, is to follow God's example. Just like the state of Germany
is stepping up to fund the restoration of the All Saints' Church, we must
resolve
to do everything in our power to rebuild and restore. Those who are hurting
need to know that we are there for them, no matter what.

What does this look like?

When that marriage falls apart, the one you advised against in the first
place, you are there to humbly hold them up, to comfort and to assist in any
way
possible.

When the student loan money is completely wasted because that young person
didn't heed your advice and stay in school, you are there to humbly comfort
them, to encourage them, to hold their hand through it.

When the car you advised against buying breaks down and strands the one you
care about, you are there to humbly pick them up, drive them to work, and
assist
them in getting the car fixed or replaced.

Remember that sometimes it takes these kinds of situations to help people
realize their need to listen to advice!

Oh, and just one more thought...Perhaps a vital part of being supportive has
to do with forgiveness. We must forgive the ones who refuse to listen or
accept
our advice and help.

This is the last part of the "CATHEDRALS!" mini-series. If you have missed
any parts of this series, you will find them by clicking
here . Or contact me at lyn@sermonillustrator.org
and I will be happy to forward them to you. Meanwhile, may God bless you
abundantly as you lovingly support those you care about by committing them
into
God's hands through prayer, and then being there for them to help pick up
the pieces.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

And speaking of Die Schlosskirche -- the All Saint's Church...

The 500 year anniversary of the birth of protestantism -- that famous day in
1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of Die
Schlosskirche
-- the All Saint's Church -- in Wittenberg, Germany, is coming up at the end
of this month! Please join us the last week of October as we take a special
look at protestantism and Christianity.

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


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
An Island of Light In a Sea of Darkness - #8063

One Christmas season I saw what might have been the most impressive
Christmas decorations I've ever seen. Oh, they weren't in midtown Manhattan
or one
of the many special displays I've seen over the years. They were in a little
village on an Indian reservation in the Southwest. This particular tribe is
one of the most spiritually unreached in this country. They're pretty
isolated and they are a long way from anything else. When I drove through
this reservation
on a night one Christmas season, I was struck by the absence of hardly any
Christmas lights or decorations. It was just dark! Until I reached this one
particular village. Against the backdrop of near total darkness, the church
there was ablaze with Christmas lights outlining the church buildings, the
windows and the doors.

The missionary who lives there told me that quite a few people were drawn to
the church because of the lights. Native folks kept dropping by to thank
them
for the lights and even to ask questions. I can't tell you what a stunningly
beautiful sight this was to see driving along a dark reservation highway
toward
a village with basically no lights of Christmas, and suddenly you see this
one island of light in that sea of darkness. You couldn't miss it!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "An Island
of Light In a Sea of Darkness."

That picture - an attractive island of light in this otherwise dark place -
is a powerful picture of you and me; at least I hope it is. Spiritually
speaking,
maybe you're in a pretty dark environment at your school, where you work, in
that group you're in, in your neighborhood, maybe even where you live. And
maybe lately you've been feeling a little beat down, intimidated, kind of
embarrassed to talk about your most important relationship; sort of just
quietly
fitting into the darkness instead of offering an alternative with your life
and with your words.

But listen to what Jesus says you are in our word for today from the Word of
God from Matthew 5:14-16. "You are the light of the world." Now, right now
I'm thinking about that church glowing with light against the darkness that
surrounds it. "A city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Neither do people
light
a lamp and put it under a bowl." Excuse me, but that's what happens when you
allow your environment to compromise or to silence your witness for Christ.
"Instead," Jesus said, "they put it on its stand, and it gives light to
everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that
they
may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Those lights in that Native village were attracting people. In fact, the
darkness around them actually made those lights show up even more. Now, if
God's
planted you in a dark place, he has you there to be His winsome light.
Notice what Jesus said the kind of light it would be that would attract
them: "your
good deeds." Not all your don'ts and the rules you keep. Not all your
beliefs, not the meetings you go to or all the things you're against, but
the positive
things they see in you that make you stand out in your setting.

Are you known to be the one to go to, to find unconditional love, to find
total honesty, to find kindness in a harsh world? Do they find gentleness
when
they come to you? Do they find peace when everybody's stressed out? Have
they heard you pray for them in their moment of need? Do they know you are
the
place in their world where Jesus can be found? Do they think of you as that
one safe person in their world?

Now, if the church in that little Indian village had turned off its lights,
the village would have been almost totally dark because the light wasn't on.
Don't let that happen where you are. If it's totally dark, don't blame the
darkness. It's because the light isn't shining! Without you, without your
Jesus,
there's nothing but darkness. But with you and with your Jesus, you can be
the light that illuminates the darkness, and it is a beautiful sight.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"If You Have the Lord, You Have Everything"
December 6, 2017
TEXT: ... and Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of
Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. ... (
Matthew 1:5b-6a )

Ruth is another person you would not expect to show up in the family tree of
Jesus. She was a foreigner, a woman from Moab-a poor immigrant to Bethlehem
who worked hard in the fields to support her mother-in-law. Her story is
told in the Book of Ruth.

Ruth was a believer in the Lord, the God of Israel. She learned to know Him
during her first marriage to an Israelite man who died young. After his
death,
Ruth clung to the Lord and to what family she had left, and she left her
home country to live in Israel. Ruth had almost nothing at that point. But
God
watched over her and gave her everything-a home, a husband and family, and
an honored place among the ancestors of Jesus.

And what of you? I suspect you, like so many people, can think of a time
when you felt you had almost nothing. It might have been after a job loss,
foreclosure,
or divorce-a time when you lost so many of the physical things you depend
on. Or it might have been more of an emotional or social situation, where
you
had what you needed physically, but you lost friends, family, love,
reputation, or peace.

Times like these force us to our knees, force us to call out to the Lord,
saying, "Lord, save us!" We know we cannot help ourselves. But He can help
us,
and He will. The God who laid aside glory, honor, and power to become a
helpless human baby for our sakes-He will help us quickly. We are never out
of
His heart and mind.

Jesus loves us deeply, and He has become our Savior. It is for us that He
suffered, died, and rose from the dead. He is our life, our hope, and our
peace.
When we have the Lord, we have everything.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us when we are in distress. Teach us to lean on
You and find in You everything we need. Amen.

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
The Purpose of Prosperity
By John Piper
block quote
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work
with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in
need.
(Ephesians 4:28)
block quote end

There are three levels of how to live with material things: (1) you can
steal to get them; (2) or you can work to get them; (3) or you can work to
get
in order to give.

Too many professing Christians live on level two. We glorify work over
against stealing and mooching, and feel we have acted virtuously if we have
spurned
stealing and mooching, and given ourselves to an honest day’s work for an
honest day’s pay. That’s not a bad thing. Work is better than stealing and
mooching.
But that’s not what the apostle calls us to.

Almost all the forces of our culture urge us to live on level two: work to
get. But the Bible pushes us relentlessly to level three: work to get to
give.
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency
in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2
Corinthians
9:8).

Why does God bless us with abundance? So we can have enough to live on, and
then use the rest for all manner of good works that alleviate spiritual and
physical misery — temporal and eternal suffering. Enough for us; abundance
for others.

The issue is not how much a person makes. Big industry and big salaries are
a fact of our times, and they are not necessarily evil. The evil is in being
deceived into thinking that a large salary must be accompanied by a lavish
lifestyle.

God has made us to be conduits of his grace. The danger is in thinking the
conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do. Copper can
carry unbelievable riches to others. And in the very process of that giving
we enjoy the greatest blessing (Acts 20:35).

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.



Ready for Christmas?
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" ( Matthew 3:2 NIV).

Friend to Friend
It seems like everywhere you go during the month of December people ask the
same question. At the grocery checkout counter - "Are you ready for
Christmas?"
At the bank drive through window - "Are you ready for Christmas?" At the
doctor's office - "Are you ready for Christmas?"

I think the answer to that question depends on how you define "ready." Let
me ask you this question: "Are you ready for Jesus?" Now that puts the
idea
of being ready in a completely different Christmas light, doesn't it?

John the Baptist was sent by God to get the people ready to meet Jesus.
Here's what Matthew had to say about him:

In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the Desert of Judea and
saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was
spoken
of through the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord; make
straight paths for him.'"..."People went out to him from Jerusalem and all
Judea
and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were
baptized by him in the Jordan River"
(Matthew 3:1-3 , 5-6).

We don't like the words "repent" or "repentance" very much. They mean "to
make a radical change in one's life, to turn and go in the opposite
direction
from sin (another word we're not too fond of today) to God". Repentance
involves an element of grief over the way we have lived apart from God and a
decision
to run toward the Father. That was God's idea of the way to prepare for
Christ's arrival in the book of Matthew, and it is still God's idea of
preparing
to worship Him today. Now that's what I call getting ready for Christmas!

Let's reflect for a moment on the words to this poem and then answer the
question, "Are
you ready for Christmas?"

"Ready for Christmas," she said with a sigh
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high...
Then wearily sat for a moment AND READ
Til soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
"Ready for Christmas, what do you mean?"
She woke with a start and a cry of despair.
"There's so little time and I've still to prepare.
Oh, Father! Forgive me, I see what You mean!
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree.
It's the heart swept clean that He wanted to see,
A heart that is free from bitterness and sin.
So be ready for Christmas - and ready for Him.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I want to be ready for Jesus today and every day. I come to You
now in repentance for my sins: my sin of selfishness, stubbornness, and
rebellion.
I turn from my self-centeredness today and commit to keep my focus on You.
God, I cannot do this on my own. I am not able. So I ask that You fill me
with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and
renew a right spirit within me.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen



No Detour from Calvary
By John Piper
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave
birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him
in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6–7)
block quote end

You would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide
census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to
it that
a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. He absolutely could have! And Jesus could have been born
into a wealthy family. He
could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called
10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He
could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not
what God
could do, but what he willed to do.

God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became
poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were
for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

God rules all things — even hotel capacities and available Airbnbs — for the
sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in
Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem.

And we must not forget that he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him
deny himself and take up his cross” (Luke 9:23).

We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I
said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted
me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you
go!” Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but
the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:57–58).

Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his birth. But that
would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

LISTEN TO JOHN PIPER'S READING OF THIS MEDITATION

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Family Mess"
December 4, 2017
TEXT: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez
and
Zerah by Tamar ... ( Matthew 1:2-3a
)

Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah and Tamar. It is a sordid story-the kind
of thing you'd expect to find on a soap opera, not in the family of Christ.
Judah's oldest son got married to a girl named Tamar, but this didn't last
long. "Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the
Lord
put him to death" (Genesis 38:7).

Someone had to provide for the widow and give her children to carry on her
dead husband's name. So Judah married off Tamar to his second son according
to the local custom. But that went wrong too. Her new husband treated her
shamefully and broke faith with her-and the Lord killed him also.

Now what? There was one son left. But Judah was terrified he would die, too.
So Judah made excuses to keep Tamar waiting-widowed, childless, and alone,
with no future to look forward to.

Tamar was no fool. When she realized that Judah was happy to forget her, she
tricked Judah himself into fathering twin boys on her. One of these, Perez,
became the ancestor of Jesus.

What a mess! And yet you probably know a family as dysfunctional as this
one. You may even live in a family that carries this much pain-a family
where
fear and betrayal and shame and secrets are always in the background,
reaching out into the future and creating even more grief.

But Jesus has come to us in the guilt, in the shame, in the messiness of our
lives and relationships. He knows them well, because they are the world He
was born into. When God became man, He made our world His world, our
families His family. And through His birth, suffering, death, and
resurrection, Jesus
reaches out to make us-everyone who believes in Him-His own forever.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for loving me and making me a part of Your own
family. Amen.

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

When God’s NO Today is Protecting His YES Tomorrow
ALICIA BRUXVOORT

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (TLB)

Years ago, I threw a surprise birthday party for my 12-year-old daughter,
Lizzy. I baked her favorite cake and picked out decorations in her favorite
colors.
I planned an afternoon filled with her favorite activities and invited her
favorite friends to be a part of my sneaky scheme. I orchestrated every
detail
with care and anticipated my daughter’s delight with quiet excitement.

But when the day of the party arrived, my tween’s mood didn’t mirror my own.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had dreamed up a birthday plan. My
12-year-old
had devised one, too.

“I want to go to the movies with my friends this afternoon,” the birthday
girl announced as we lingered over breakfast on her special day. “Will you
drive
us to the theater, Mom?” I wished I could explain my answer, but I took a
deep breath and prayed my daughter would trust me. Then, I replied with a
kind
but firm “no.”

Lizzy’s disappointment was palpable. She instantly accused me of being
uncaring and unfair, and she spent the rest of the morning pouting in
protest. However,
I refused to be swayed by her petulant pleas, because I knew what my
daughter didn’t -- my present “no” was protecting my future “yes.” And,
ultimately,
my plans for my birthday girl were good.

Later that day, when my disgruntled diva waltzed through our front door
right into the middle of her own surprise party, she traded her grousing for
a
grin. And as a noisy rendition of "Happy Birthday” filled the room, she
suddenly understood the reason for my “no.”

My daughter flashed me an apologetic gaze and exhaled a sheepish giggle.
Then, before she raced off with her friends, she returned that one-armed
hug.
“Thanks for spoiling my plans today, Mom,” she said. “Yours were even
better!”

It’s been years since I orchestrated that surprise event, but I often find
myself thinking about that day when my own plans don’t unfold as I’d hoped.
When I’m praying for open doors, yet they remain closed; when I’m pleading
for a “yes,” but the answer is “no”; when I’m asking for change, but
everything
seems to stay the same. I remind myself of the truth that my daughter once
learned: A frustrating “no” may be setting the stage for a forthcoming
“yes.”

After all, we have a loving Father who knows things we don’t. And sometimes,
He needs to “wreck” our agenda in order to render His.

Jeremiah 29:11
reminds us that, ultimately, God’s plans for us are good: “For I know the
plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for
evil,
to give you a future and a hope.”

It takes faith to believe that promise when life isn’t going as we’d
expected. But I’m learning that we don’t need to understand all of God’s
ways to accept
His will. We simply need to trust His heart. The Bible reminds us God is
love
(1 John 4:8
), and God is kind (Psalm 116:5). God is for us, not against us
(Romans 8:31
). When we remember
who God is, we can more readily embrace what He’s doing, even if He says
“no.”

God’s plans won’t always mirror ours. And sometimes His ways surprise us.
But I believe that, someday, when we look back at our lives through eternity’s
lens, we’ll want to throw our arms around our faithful Father and say,
“Thanks for spoiling my plans, Dad. Yours were even better!”

Dear Jesus, I want to trust You even when things aren’t going as I’d
imagined they would. Give me faith to believe Your plans for me are good,
and show
me how to use Your “no’s” as opportunities to grow. Fill me with hope as I
wait for your perfect plans to unfold. In
Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 138:8, “The LORD will work out his plans for my life -- for your
loving-kindness, L
ORD, continues forever. Don’t abandon me -- for you made me.” (TLB)

Proverbs 16:1
, “People go about making their plans, but the Eternal has the final word.”
(VOICE)

RELATED RESOURCES:
As the holidays are quickly approaching, Proverbs 31
Ministries has created “In Every Season: The 21-Day Gratitude Challenge” to
take you on a journey toward cultivating gratitude in everyday life. This
set of cards has space to respond to a daily prompt on one side, and a
beautifully designed verse on the other side.
Click here to learn more .

Once we have faith in God, how should we be living, and where can we find
the wisdom we need to live the way God has called us to live? During the
next
First 5 study, “Living Faith: The study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, James and
1, 2 & 3 John,” you’ll learn not just what faith is, but how to live out
your
faith. The study starts October 23.
Find out more and order your Experience Guide here !

CONNECT:
For more encouragement, and for your chance to win a surprise party in a
box, join
Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog today.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
We can’t trust a God we don’t know. What’s one thing you can do this week to
get to know your Heavenly Father more?

What “no” from the Lord has caused frustration for you lately? How could
that “no” be an invitation to grow?

(c) 2017 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

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





Anne Graham Lotz - Never Alone Again
Never Alone Again
In all their distress, he too was distressed; . . . he lifted them up and
carried them.

Isaiah 63:9, NIV

The solution to loneliness is not to give in or give up~or do what everyone
else does~or go where everyone else goes~or look like and speak like and
think
like and act like the world around you so you won’t stand out so sharply
from the crowd. The solution is not to withdraw into an uninvolved, inactive
life.
The solution is found when you discover meaning in the midst of loneliness
as God Himself shares your loneliness while you walk with Him and work for
Him.

Two thousand years ago another solitary figure stood out in history. He
stood alone against all the visible and invisible forces of evil in the
universe.
The sin of all mankind was placed upon Him as He walked to the place of
sacrifice, carrying His own means of execution. He was betrayed by one of
His best
friends and denied by another. Not one person stood with Him-not the blind
man to whom He had given sight, not the deaf man to whom He had given
hearing,
not the lame man to whom He had given strength. He was crucified on a Roman
cross alone . . . so that you need never be alone-ever again.

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

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Post  Admin on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 1:17 am

Welcome to the Nugget
October 7, 2017
CATHEDRALS! Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 3: Gaudi's Crypt
By Answers2Prayer

Last Thursday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 2", we learned three things from the
construction of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona: 1) We must do everything
in
our power to teach those we wish to support to be self-supportive by
introducing them to the Source of true strength and support: Jesus Christ;
2) We must
make a habit of building relationships, listening and loving unconditionally
and unselfishly...not just when crisis arises, but
all
the time; And finally, 3) We can look to the example of God, the ultimate
Father, to see that being supportive means being there for them...when it is
requested!

But what if they refuse our help? How we sit back and watch while those we
care about make the wrong decisions, decisions we know are not for their
ultimate
good, decisions that may result in harm to others?

God had an answer for me...in an unfinished cathedral!

Not all of the works of Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect and
designer of the Sagrada Familia, were completed. Perhaps the most famous
example
of his uncompleted work can be found in a small hamlet outside of Barcelona,
Colonia Guell...

The town itself was constructed around a textile factory, and company owner,
Eusebio Guell, worked hard to ensure the social conditions of his workers
was optimized by providing funding for cultural and religious facilities. He
entrusted Antoni Gaudi with the design of the town's church.

Gaudi considered this project to be a culminating point of his work, and its
construction was to include practically all his architectural innovations.
His design foresaw a two-level structure with a lower crypt and the main
sanctuary above, and he planned to top the project with towers and a 40
meter
central dome. Unfortunately for Gaudi, he had only completed the walls and
the interior of the lower crypt when the Guell family stopped financing the
venture, and without financial support, Gaudi's work on the cathedral came
to a screeching halt. A few years later, another architect put a flat roof
on
the uncompleted structure, and the church has popularly become known as
"Gaudi's Crypt".

Just imagine how hard it must have been for Gaudi to abandon this
culmination of his life's work. He knew the church would never be completed,
and he lived
to witness the flat, ordinary top that was put on his magnificent creation.
How his heart must have ached for what could have been.... Yet when his
assistance
was no longer requested, he had no choice but to abandon the project.

This is the lesson we can learn from Gaudi's Crypt: When our support is no
longer requested, we
must let go!

But if we truly love someone, how can we just leave them to make bad
decisions?

Again we must look to God our Father as our ultimate example. The Bible
tells us that God created man in His image: "Let us make humankind in our
image,
after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds
of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the
creatures
that move6 on the earth."
(Gen. 1:26 NET).

Notice that God specifies here that man would rule over everything on the
Earth. This means that we were created to be in charge, to make our own
decisions.

We also know that God placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the
midst of the Garden of Eden and told Adam and Eve not to touch it: "Then the
LORD God commanded the man, 'You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the
orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil,
for when you eat from it you will surely die.'"
(Genesis 2:16-17 NET).

Let's also remember that God did not stop Adam and Eve from making the most
horrible decision of eternity, one that would affect all of mankind and
ultimately
result in Jesus' death on the cross. Why? Because He was giving them the
choice to obey or to disobey Him. He created us to be free, to make
decisions,
to choose between good and evil. If He hadn't given us this power, we would
essentially be robots, doing only what we are programmed to do.

In the same way, those we wish to support are also creations of God, and God
has also given them the freedom to choose. Just as it was not God's place
to intervene with Adam and Eve, and thus, was forced to sit back and allow
them to make the most horrible decision of eternity, it is also not our
place
to intervene where we are not asked to do so. And yes, sometimes we will be
forced to sit back and allow them to make bad choices; but if God, our
ultimate
example of a supportive Father, did not stop the first human beings from
their very bad choice, then how can we, who are imperfect, claim to "know
best"?
When God allows us to choose between good and evil, how can we remove this
from those we wish to support?

Just like Antonio Gaudi worked hard at building the cathedral in Colonia
Guell, our support is to be given when it is requested. But just as he was
forced
to abandon this culminating work of his career, we, like Gaudi, must also
stop trying to convict, assist and advise once it is no longer bidden. Yes,
we
know what the potential consequences might be, but just like God respects
our power of choice, we must respect the rights of those we care about to
make
their own choices.

What will happen if we persist in forcing our support on those who have
declined it? Join us on Tuesday for "CATHEDRALS! Part 4: The Cathedrals of
Janovas
and Mediano".

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Feeling a little lost in this world? Patricia Quigley, a Nugget writer, has
composed a song entitled: I'm Not From This World, which she sings with her
granddaughter. You can view this song
on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc3Qq0UP8L0

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

Subscription Reminder: This newsletter is being sent to you because you are
subscribed to the 'Nugget' after submitting the subscription from one of our
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From: lyn@sermonillustrator.org
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The Last Days
by Sarah Phillips, Crosswalk.com Contributor

"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth
distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
men fainting
with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers
of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming
in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take
place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing
near."
Luke 21:25

Most of us don't love to wait. We want to get on with things. Tie things up
neatly so we can move on to the next thing. We often forget that in some
cases,
the opportunity to wait is an expression of God's mercy.

You see, this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. It came quickly this
year. I was so busy preparing for Thanksgiving, I almost forgot about
Advent.
Thankfully, our reliable pastor will be decked out in purple this Sunday,
scripture readings and hymns ready to go.

Advent isn't really an event so much as a season set aside to wait for an
event. We can choose how we want to practice Advent. We can see it as a
burden,
an afterthought, or a hindrance. Or we can see its greater application to
all of life. We can recognize it for what it is: a reminder to stop, clear
away
some of the normal "stuff" of life, and remember that throughout our life
here we are waiting for something big, something that needs our attention
and
preparation: The second coming of Christ.

Many times I've heard fellow Christians express the desire for the day to
just get here already. Can't we just end the wars and suffering... the
waiting...
and get on with Christ's return? Many pick apart the Scriptures, looking for
details, for signs, that Christ is coming soon. Groups form and debates rage
about the finer details of the end times.

While I am sure God appreciates our interest in and desire for his arrival,
I am not so sure we really know what we're asking for when we say we wish he
would hurry up and appear.

Think about it. Are we really ready? Is the world really ready? If you had
to stand before Christ tomorrow, would
you be ready? I don't mean "ready" as having correctly predicted the
dramatic events that would unfold during the end times. I mean would your
life reflect
service to him? Love of him? Submission to him?

Mine wouldn't. At least not to the extent that it should. I'd like a few
days, or um decades, to straighten things out. And to the best of my humble
abilities,
help a few more of those living in the dark find the light.

Suddenly, waiting doesn't seem too bad. God's plan to give me and the rest
of the world a little more time doused with a lot of his grace doesn't seem
so frustrating.

After reading the above dramatic passage from Luke at an Advent Sunday
service past, our pastor did not delve into prophecy or speculation about
the last
days. He backtracked a little, and instead opted to focus on the here and
now. He challenged us to avoid the "drowsiness" that comes with our everyday
cares and concerns. He challenged us to become disciplined people,
Christians whose lives are truly transformed by Christ instead of by the
seductive "spirit
of the age." He held up examples of fellow Christians who came before us and
conquered their own contemporary challenges.

He reminded us that we will each have our own "last day" even if our lives
here do not witness the Last Day.

That's what Advent is really about... grace today for whatever may come
tomorrow. It's about God's incredible patience and love for children who
have
much to learn and need plenty of precious time to allow for stumbling along
the way. As for the final days, set aside the speculation and leave that to
God's perfect timing. He'll know when we're ready.

Intersecting Faith & Life: A disciplined prayer life opens our lives to
God's transforming graces. Set aside a little extra time every single week,
from
now until Christmas, to spend time in prayer.

Further Reading

Jeremiah 33:14-16

>Psalms 25 : 4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

>Luke 21 : 25-28, 34-36


God Always Answers Prayer

When the idea is not right, God says,"No."
No - when the idea is not the best.
No - when the idea is absolutely wrong.
No - when though it may help you, it could create problems for someone else.

When the time is not right, God says, "Slow."
What a catastrophe it would be if God answered every prayer at the snap of
your fingers. Do you know what would happen? God would become your
servant,not
your master. Suddenly God would be working for you instead of you working
for God. Remember: God's delays are not God's denials. God's timing is
perfect.
Patience is what we need in prayer.

When you are not right, God says, "Grow."
The selfish person has to grow in unselfishness.
The cautious person must grow in courage.
The timid person must grow in confidence.
The dominating person must grow in sensitivity.
The critical person must grow in tolerance.
The negative person must grow in positive attitudes.
The pleasure-seeking person must grow in compassion for suffering people.

When everything is all right, God says, "Go."
Then miracles happen:
...A hopeless alcoholic is set free!
....A drug addict finds release!
....A doubter becomes as a child in his belief.
....Diseased tissue responds to treatment, and healing begins.
....The door to your dream suddenly swings open and there stands God saying,
"Go!"

From "Positive Prayers for Power-Filled Living"


Welcome to the Nugget

October 10, 2017

CATHEDRALS! Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 4: The Cathedrals of Janovas
and Mediano
list of 4 items
By Answers2Prayer
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"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under
heaven...A time to tear down and a time to build up...A time to embrace and
a time to
turn away...A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a
time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak."
(Eccl. 3:1,3,5-7 NLT)

Last Saturday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 3", we learned from the construction of
Gaudi's Crypt in Colonia Guell that our support is to be given when it is
requested;
but once it is no longer bidden, then we, like Gaudi, must stop trying to
convict and assist and advise. Yes, we know what the potential consequences
might
be, but we must respect the right of others to make their own choices.

But are there consequences of not withdrawing our support?

Along the River Ara in the Pyrenees Mountains in Aragon, Spain, lies the
overgrown and broken-down walls of what was once the cathedral of the
abandoned
town of Janovas.

In the 1960s, a project was proposed to build a dam across the River Ara.
This dam would raise the water levels, creating a huge reservoir that would
flood
out 17 tiny villages, including the hamlet of Janovas.

When the people of Janovas were told to leave their town, they resisted for
years. In fact, one family, the Garcias, continued to reside in what slowly
became a ghost town for over 20 years.

The company who now owned the land retaliated by dynamiting homes, burning
crops that were being harvested, destroying the local infrastructure, and
endlessly
harassing and threatening those who refused to leave. The story is told that
the local authorities would not allow the closing of the school while there
were children in it. On August 4, 1966, a company worker broke down the
school's door while it was in session and forced the teacher out by her hair
so
that the building could be demolished. It is also said that the company
blocked the only bridge connecting the village to the main road on three
different
occasions, thus making it impossible for residents to go to work, bring in
supplies, etc.

Interestingly, in 2001 the dam project was officially abandoned, and today,
a few overgrown, run-down buildings are all that is left of Janovas. One of
these ruins is the remains of the cathedral. The townspeople tried for up to
20 years to support their homes when that support was not desired or
requested,
and as a result of this forced support, not only did they suffer dire
consequences, but in the end, they completely lost their homes.

Forty-three kilometers down the road, there is another village, Mediano. In
1974 a different hydro project flooded this Spanish town to create one of
the
country's largest reservoirs: The reservoir de Mediano. Though completely
submerged, the remnants of the 16th century hamlet are still visible. To
this
day, the bell tower of the cathedral can be seen emerging from the water.

Two cathedrals: One abandoned, run down, overrun with weeds and trees; the
other, though submerged, standing strong. What do these two churches have to
teach us about being supportive?

Simply this: As told to us by the world's wisest man, there is a time for
everything. There is a time to show support, but there is also a time to
withdraw
that support (See
Eccl 3)
. When we withdraw, then just like the bell tower atop the 16th century
church of Mediano continues to dominate the landscape, peeking up from the
waters
of the reservoir, we, too, will continue to hold a place of influence in the
lives of those we wish to support. But if we, like the townspeople of
Janovas,
insist on being supportive when our support is not asked for or desired,
then we close the door on ever being able to be of influence in those lives.

Throughout this series, we have looked to the example of God as our ultimate
Father, our ultimate example in being supportive. We see that He only
reaches
out to help us, to give us support, when we specifically ask. This is
because He knows something that we don't: He knows that it is only in
stepping back
when He is not desired that He can continue to be of support for us in the
future. He knows that if He insists on dominating our lives, we might
eventually
completely close the door to any support He may wish to give us in the
future.

The lesson on being supportive that we can learn here is simply this: When
our advice and help is requested, we must be there for those requesting it;
but when it is not, even if we know that the chosen paths lead to
destruction, the only way we can truly be supportive is to withdraw. Only
then can we
continue to be there to help them pick up the pieces that may result.

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

We can't. Even when our advice and help is rejected, there is something that
we not only
can, but we must do...Join us on Thursday for "CATHEDRALS! Part 5: La Playa
de la Catedrais".

In His love,
Lyn

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

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a
righteous
man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request to
prayerrequest@answers2prayer.org and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt
18:20:
"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

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

Quieted With His Love

As I worked my way through some devotional readings, I came across this
passage: The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take
great
delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you
with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I thought of my life. I thought of what the passage says about God and how
He feels about me. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in me.
He
will quiet me with his love. He will rejoice over me.

I confess that although I do not know if I fully understand what it means to
be quieted by His love, I do know that there is something inside me that
says,
"I need that, Lord!" As I pondered more, I prayed, "Lord, please quiet me
with Your love."

"Lord, please quiet me with Your love.
"Lord, please quiet me with Your love.
"Lord, please quiet me with Your love.

"Lord, I get loud sometimes. Not so much verbally loud, but my spirit gets
loud. My heart gets loud. My mind gets loud. The world around me gets loud
and
the loudness overwhelms me to the point that everything within me and around
me seems to be loud. So, Lord, please quiet me with Your love.

"In these times of unrest and confusion in our nation and world, I need to
be quieted by your love, dear Lord. Decisions are being made that may well
change
the way we live and function as a people. Lord, please quiet me with Your
love.

"As the years pass more rapidly than my mind can comprehend, I need to be
quieted with Your love. I cannot keep up. I try, but I seem to fall farther
and
farther behind. Lord, please quiet me with Your love.

"In times when I fear for my very life and for the lives of my family and
friends, I need to be quieted by Your love. In times when my spirit in under
attack by the Enemy to such an extent that I begin to wonder if You are
still there, I need to be quieted by Your love. Lord, please quiet me with
Your
love.

"In times of discouragement when I have failed to live like You have asked
me to live, I need to be quieted by Your love. In times of disappointment
over
dreams that have faded and when other people have failed to live up to my
expectations, I need to be quieted by Your love. Lord, please quiet me with
Your
love.

"In times of loss and my heart has been broken, I need to be quieted by your
love. In times of sadness when a joyful spirit seems too much to consider,
I need to be quieted by Your love. Lord, please quiet me with Your love.

"In times of suffering and pain as the result of another's actions or my
own, I need to be quieted by Your love. In times when others are suffering
because
of my actions and I am helpless to undo what I have done, I need to be
quieted by Your love. And they need to be quieted by Your love. Lord, please
quiet
me with Your love.

"In times of distress and anxiety over all that I must do, or feel that I
must do, I need to be quieted by Your love. In times when life is so loud
that
I cannot hear my own thoughts, I need to be quieted by Your love. Lord,
please quiet me with Your love.

"Unless You quiet me with Your love, dear Lord, my life will surely be
filled with noises that may drown Your voice from my ears. Lord, I need to
be quieted
by Your love.

"When I remind myself that You are with me, when I contemplate Your power,
when I consider that You take great delight in me and when I think of You
rejoicing
over me with singing because of Your love for me, I am quieted. My heart is
quieted. My spirit rests.

"Lord, You have quieted me with Your love."

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great
delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you
with
singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Tom Norvell
"A Norvell Note"
www.anorvellnote.com

KenBible.com

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

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 09:55 PM PST

Prepare for Advent

Father, Advent reminds me that
we live in a period of eager waiting.
This time between
Your first coming and
Your second coming
is one long Advent season.

Christ has come.
He has brought us forgiveness for sin, and
He has promised to return and do away with sin forever.

He has empowered us for life and service.
He has poured out on us His own holy life,
the life of the Father,
His Holy Spirit.
And He has promised that when He returns,
we will be united with Father, Son, and Spirit
completely and
forever.

He has risen from the dead, and
we are already enjoying His new resurrection life.
But He has promised to come back and
finish His resurrection transformation.
We will be fully risen in Him,
complete in Him,
new in Him,
alive in Him
in ways we have only tasted.

During this Advent season, Father,
heighten within me
the waiting,
the hoping,
the anticipating.
Fix my heart, mind, and daily life on our
oneness with You
in Jesus Christ.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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God is Not Boring
by John Piper

Recently I spoke at Northwestern College as part of their year-long 100
th anniversary celebration. The title of the message was "The Supremacy of
God in the Life of the Mind." One capability of the mind that I focused on
was
the imagination. It applies to everybody who has a mind. Here's what I said:

One of the great duties of the Christian mind is imagination. It is not the
only thing the mind does. The mind observes. The mind analyzes and
organizes.
The mind memorizes. But imagination is different. It does not observe or
analyze what's there; it imagines what is not seen but might be there and
might
explain what is there (as in the case of most scientific discoveries). Or it
imagines a new way of saying what is there that no one has said before (as
in the case of creative writing and music and art).

I say that imagination is a Christian duty for two reasons. One is that you
can't apply Jesus' golden rule without it. He said, "Whatever you wish that
others would do to you, do also to them"
(Matthew 7:12
). We must imagine ourselves in their place and imagine what we would like
done to us. Compassionate, sympathetic, helpful love hangs much on the
imagination
of the lover.

The other reason I say that imagination is a Christian duty is that when a
person speaks or writes or sings or paints about breathtaking truth in a
boring
way, it is probably a sin. The supremacy of God in the life of the mind is
not honored when God and his amazing world are observed truly, analyzed
duly,
and communicated boringly. Imagination is the key to killing boredom. We
must imagine ways to say truth for what it really is. And it is not boring.
God's
world - all of it - rings with wonders. The imagination calls up new words,
new images, new analogies, new metaphors, new illustrations, new connections
to say old, glorious truth. Imagination is the faculty of the mind that God
has given us to make the communication of his beauty beautiful.

Imagination may be the hardest work of the human mind. And perhaps the most
God-like. It is the closest we get to creation out of nothing. When we speak
of beautiful truth, we must think of a pattern of words, perhaps a poem. We
must conceive something that has never existed before and does not now exist
in any human mind. We must think of an analogy or metaphor or illustration
which has no existence. The imagination must exert itself to see it in our
mind,
when it is not there. We must create word combinations and music that have
never existed before. All of this we do, because we are like God and because
he is infinitely worthy of ever-new words and songs.

A college - or a church - committed to the supremacy of God in the life of
the mind will cultivate many fertile, and a few great, imaginations. And O
how
the world needs God-besotted minds that can say the great things of God and
sing the great things of God and play the great things of God in ways that
have never been said or sung or played before.

Imagination is like a muscle. It grows stronger when you flex it. And you
must flex it. It does not usually put itself into action. It awaits the
will.
Imagination is also contagious. When you are around someone (alive or dead)
who uses it a lot, you tend to catch it. So I suggest that you hang out with
some people (mainly dead poets) who are full of imagination, and that you
exert yourself to think up a new way to say an old truth. God is worthy. "
Psalms 96 " - or picture, or poem, or figure of speech.

By John Piper. (c) Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org.

Going Through The Valley

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Psalm 23 is perched between Psalm 22, which tells about the crucifixion of
Jesus, and Psalm 24, which is a prophecy of the coronation of Jesus. It is
beautiful
trilogy about the Savior’s cross, the Shepherd’s crook, and the Sovereign’s
crown.

Psalm 23 is the valley between the blood-drenched slopes of Mount Calvary
and the sunlit peaks of Mount Zion. Thank God for every valley, because
there
must be a mountain.

ACTION POINT:
If you are in the valley today, remember that you wouldn’t be there had
there not been mountains to cross. There is vision in the valley and hope in
the hills.

The Value of Obedience

Proverbs 2:1-6

Despite Peter's vast fishing experience, he returned from a night's work
with nothing to show for his efforts. It's quite possible that the Lord's
request
to let the nets down one more time struck him as unreasonable--after all,
Peter and his partners were the professionals. Nevertheless, the fisherman
complied,
and his obedience blessed many.

Scripture demonstrates that divine plans often defy human logic. For
instance, who would design a battle strategy that involved only marching and
shouting?
God told Joshua to conquer Jericho that way, and doing so proved successful
(Joshua 6:1-5 ).

Moses is another example. When he felt unsure about his leadership
potential, the Lord gave reassurance in an unusual way--by telling him to
throw down
his walking stick. When Moses obeyed, God powerfully confirmed His choice of
leader
(Exodus 4:1-3 ).

Our Father may ask us to do something that seems illogical--perhaps to
accept more responsibility when we were hoping to reduce our workload, to
leave
a position that He provided just recently, or to take on an assignment for
which we feel ill-equipped. His plan might feel unrealistic in view of our
age,
stage of life, or health concerns. We must press forward in obedience,
regardless of how impractical the request may appear.

To grasp the importance of obeying, think about children receiving
instructions from parents or teachers. Careful listening is needed for the
task to be
done safely and properly. Some steps may seem pointless, but the rationale
often becomes clear later. Always make obeying God your priority.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please
visit
www.intouch.org .

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights
Reserved.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Camping In the Nest - #8018

Birds had moved into the vent in the exhaust fan of our kitchen range while
we were on vacation. Isn't that nice? They set up their little nest and made
themselves really at home. And, man, were they noisy neighbors! The nest was
so huge it made the fan unworkable. And some lovely spiders were hanging
down
from the hood on the stove. Our problem was that trying to remove that nest
might have killed that nest full of baby birds. Well, we couldn't see them,
but man, we could sure hear them when they were hungry! So, we waited until
Mom and Dad bird took the babies out. A couple of weeks later, after we were
sure they were gone, I got a long stick and I proceeded to rake out the
rest. But when we removed the nest, we discovered a little surprise. Well,
no,
actually, a big, fat surprise. There was the fattest bird we had ever seen,
sitting in the nest. As my wife went to get gloves and a box, he got away.
But it literally took a major earthquake to get that bird out of his nest!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Camping
In the Nest."

You know, God has some spiritually fat "birds" that have been sitting in the
nest way too long. They should be flying; instead they're just hanging
around
the nest. And God sometimes shakes our nest to get us out of where it's
comfortable and into some lives whose eternity may depend on us.

Jesus addresses the tragedy of believers who are camped in the nest in our
word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 9:36-37. It says, "When He
saw
the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and
helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Here's the question: is that what
you see
when you look at the people you work with or go to school with or live near?
When you ask Jesus for a heart like His, those people you see almost every
day never look the same again to you. No matter how together they may
appear, you see them as sheep with no clue where to go, people with the pain
that
sin causes and you see them as future inhabitants of hell without Jesus.
Unless someone close to them intervenes with the news that Jesus has died so
they
don't have to.

Then Jesus reveals this deadly equation: "The harvest is plentiful, but the
workers are few." Farmers tell me that, to them, the word harvest means
"ready."
So Jesus is saying, "Hey, the ready is plentiful." He's got all kinds of
lost people ready to hear about Him. The lost people aren't His problem-it's
His
people. They're sitting in the nest, soaking up the spiritual goodies, while
people all around them are ready for Jesus but spiritually dying without
Him.
So Jesus says, "Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His
harvest field."

In the original language of the New Testament, the word for "send out"
literally means "to forcibly expel"! Jesus has to shake our nest, make us
restless
with our comfort zone, let us know that there's something we're missing, and
then get us to join Him in rescuing the dying - His life's mission.

Words like "evangelism" and "witnessing" just don't convey the life-or-death
urgency the Bible is describing when it tells us to "rescue those being led
away to death" (Proverbs 24:11). When it's "rescue"-when someone's going to
die if you don't go after them, you can't any longer just stay in your comfy
Christian nest. You've got to do whatever you can to rescue the dying. And
maybe God even wants to use these words to shake you out of your nest and
get
you into the mission for which His Son died.

We can rest in heaven forever. We only have now to help some people we know
be there in heaven with us. As Amy Carmichael said so powerfully, "We will
have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only a few short hours to
win them." We are in those few short hours.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

Everybody is going to be saved--and nobody is going to be lost!

( J.C. Ryle , 1884)

One great danger of the church today, consists in the rise and progress of a
spirit of indifference to all doctrines and opinions in religion. A wave of
latitudinarianism about theology, appears to be passing over the land. The
minds of many seem utterly incapable of discerning any difference between .
. .
one belief--and another belief,
one creed--and another creed,
one tenet--and another tenet,
one opinion--and another opinion,
one thought--and another thought,
however diverse and mutually contrary they may be!
Everything is true--and nothing is false.
Everything is right--and nothing is wrong.
Everything is good--and nothing is bad--if only it comes to us under the
garb and name of religion. Most think that it is kind and liberal, to
maintain
that we have no right to think that anyone is wrong, who is in earnest about
his creed.
We are not allowed to ask what is God's truth--but what is liberal, and
generous, and charitable.

Most professing Christians make cleverness and earnestness the only tests of
orthodoxy in religion. Thousands nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish
things that differ. If a preacher is only clever and eloquent and
earnest--they think that he is all right, however strange and heterodox his
sermons may
be.
Popery--or Protestantism,
an atonement--or no atonement,
a personal Holy Spirit--or no Holy Spirit,
future punishment--or no future punishment
--they swallow all! Carried away by an imagined liberality and charity, they
seem to regard doctrine as a matter of no importance, and to think that
everybody
is going to be saved--and nobody is going to be lost! They dislike
distinctness, and think that all decided views are very wrong!

These people live in a kind of mist or fog! They see nothing clearly, and do
not know what they believe. They have not made up their minds about any
great
point in the Gospel, and seem content to be honorary members of all schools
of thought
. For their lives--they could not tell you what they think is truth about .
. .
forgiveness of sins,
or justification,
or regeneration,
or sanctification,
or saving faith,
or conversion,
or inspiration,
or the future state.

They are eaten up with a morbid dread of doctrine. And so they live on
undecided, and too often undecided they drift down to the grave, on the
broad way
which leads to eternal destruction.

They are content to shovel aside all disputed points as rubbish, and will
tell you, "I do not pretend to understand doctrine. I dare say that it is
all
the same in the long run." They are for a general policy of universal
toleration and forbearance of every doctrine. Every school of false
teaching, however
extreme, is to be tolerated. They desire the Church to be a kind of
Noah's Ark, within which every kind of opinion and creed shall dwell safely
and undisturbed, and the only terms of admittance are a willingness to come
inside, and let your neighbor alone. Nothing is too absurd to concede and
allow into the church, in the present mania for complete freedom of thought,
and absolute liberty of opinion.

The explanation of this boneless, nerveless condition of soul, is perhaps
not difficult to find. The heart of man is naturally in the dark about
religion--has
no intuitive sense of truth--and really needs divine instruction and
illumination. Besides this, the natural heart in most men hates
exertion in religion. Above all, the natural heart generally likes the
praise of others, shrinks from collision, and loves to be thought charitable
and
liberal. The whole result is that a kind of broad religious anythingism
just suits an immense number of professors.

Ignorance, I am compelled to say, is one of the grand dangers of professors
of religion in the present day.

Who does not know that such people swarm and abound everywhere? And who does
not know that anyone who denounces this state of things, and insists that
we should be loyal to Scripture truth--is regarded as a narrow, bigoted,
intolerant person, quite unsuited to our times?

When there is no creed or standard of doctrine, there can be no church, but
a Babel. Let me venture to advise all true Christians to never to be ashamed
of holding Evangelical views. Those views, I am quite aware, are not
fashionable nowadays. They are ridiculed as old-fashioned, narrow,
defective, and
out of date--and those who hold them, are regarded as
illiberal, impracticable old fossils!

What the final result of the present state of things will be, I do not
pretend to predict.

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke
and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time
will
come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their
own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say
what
their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the
truth and turn aside to myths!" 2 Timothy 4:2-4
We have published Grace Gems for SEPTEMBER in one file!


Do You Pray?
Kelly Givens, iBelieve.com Editor

Editor’s Note: The following devotional is based on J.C. Ryle’s
A Call to Prayer
(Banner of Truth, 2002).

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Luke 11:9 , NIV

Do you pray? In J.C. Ryle’s small but important book, A Call to Prayer, he
challenges readers with this simple question. Ryle asserts “there is no duty
in religion so neglected as private prayer.” I’m sure many of us would
agree; of all the spiritual disciplines, prayer is often the hardest habit
to form
and one that is most quickly broken. However, we should strive to pray
often, because prayer is an incredibly important element of our faith.

Here are a few reasons Ryle gives for why prayer is so important:

1. A habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian. The
greatest heroes and heroines of the Bible often shared a similar attribute-
they
were men and women of prayer. To take your frustrations, challenges, joys,
hopes and dreams to God on a regular basis requires a great deal of faith -
you are essentially relinquishing control and telling God, “I trust you will
work on my behalf in this situation.” Do you have this kind of faith?
Do you pray?

2. A habit of prayer brings great encouragement to the one who prays. In the
Bible, we see that prayer moved God to raise the dead, heal the sick, save
souls, draw water from a rock and send bread from heaven. Prayer even made
the sun stand still! The fact that prayer moves God to action should be a
great
encouragement to us. Are you encouraged by God’s provision and power?
Do you pray?

3. A habit of prayer creates holy men and women. The more we seek God out in
prayer, the more our hearts are aligned with what God desires for us and we
become holier men and women in the process. Are you growing closer to God?
Do you pray?

4. If we do not pray, we run the risk of backsliding in our faith. Let’s be
clear - Ryle doesn’t mean we should fear losing our salvation. However,
without
prayer we run the risk of becoming stagnate in our faith, if not falling
back into sinful habits and temptations we had once overcome through prayer.
When
a relationship turns sour, often a main cause is poor communication. So too
with us and God. Do you feel stagnate in your faith or distant from God?
Do you pray?

5. A habit of prayer brings peace and contentment. We live in a sin-filled
world. Sorrows and troubles abound. So how do we combat sadness,
disappointments,
fears, slanders, and hurt? When we cry out to our Father, he offers us peace
that transcends our understanding. This is one of the richest blessings of
our faith. Are you experiencing this blessing?
Do you pray?

Intersecting Faith and Life: Ryle says, “In every journey there must be a
first step.” If you desire to become a more prayerful person, take time
today
and go somewhere quiet, shut the door and pray aloud that God would give you
the grace and strength you need to develop a habit of prayer. Then be
encouraged-
God greatly desires you to be in regular prayer with him- if we ask, seek
and knock, he will open the door for us to a richer prayer life.

Further Reading:

Hebrews 5:7

Matthew 6:5-6

Romans 8:26

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

Studying Under The Best
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy
lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all
Thy name.”

Psalm 138:2

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There was a man who loved to study the Bible, and every time he came to
something he didn’t understand, he asked his friend Charlie, “What does this
verse
mean?” One day in his Bible study, the Holy Spirit said, “Why don’t you ask
Me? I’m the one who taught Charlie.”

Now, I thank God for the Bible scholars who teach God’s Word, but the same
God that teaches these men and women is the One who wants to teach you.

ACTION POINT:
As you read the Bible, I want you to ask God to help you answer these
questions:

1) Is there a lesson to learn?
2) Is there a sin to avoid?
3) Is there a blessing to enjoy?
4) Is there a promise to claim?
5) Is there a new thought to carry with me?

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Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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here
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.
Copyright ©️ 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Anne Graham Lotz - One Need
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One Need
God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you . . . may have an
abundance for every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8, NKJV

Thirty-five years ago, just about every self-respecting person in the South
went to church on Sunday. It was part of our culture. But I knew the
religious
pablum the people were being fed didn’t even come close to satisfying their
emptiness within-because I knew I wasn’t satisfied.

Looking back, I can plainly see that God was using my need to stir me up and
make me aware of the needs of others. But what could one person do in the
face of such overwhelming spiritual hunger? When a friend suggested that I
do something about the spiritual starvation in our city, I actually laughed.
But I started a Bible class that has multiplied ten times during the past
thirty-five years so that thousands of men and women have studied God’s Word
for themselves.

There are so many needs in our cities but is there one need that God has
brought to your attention? Describe to Him what you see and how impossible
it
would be for you to do anything at all to meet that need. Then be alert to
what He may reveal to you further.
Blessings,
Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Stay in Circulation
by Chuck Swindoll

Matthew 5:13-16

During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low
on silver for coins. Lord Cromwell sent his men on an investigation of the
local cathedral to see if they could find any precious metal there. After
investigating, they reported:

block quote
The only silver we could find is the statues of the saints standing in the
corners.
block quote end

To which the radical soldier and statesman of England replied:

block quote
Good! We'll melt down the saints and put them into circulation!
block quote end

Not bad theology for a proper, strait-laced Lord Protector of the Isles! In
just a few words, Cromwell's command stated the essence . . . the kernel .
. . the practical goal of authentic Christianity. Not rows of silver saints,
highly polished, frequently dusted, crammed into the corners of elegant
cathedrals.
Not plaster people cloaked in thin layers of untarnished silver and topped
with a metallic halo. But
real persons. Melted saints circulating through the mainstream of humanity.
Bringing worth and value down where life transpires in the raw. Without the
faint aura of stained glass, the electric modulation of the organ, and the
familiar comforts of padded pews and dimmed lights. Out where bottom-line
theology
is top-shelf priority.

It's easy to kid ourselves. So easy. The Christian must guard against
self-deception. We can begin to consider ourselves martyrs because we are in
church
twice on Sunday—really sacrificing by investing a few hours on the "day of
rest." Listen, my friend, being among the saints is no sacrifice . . . it's
a brief, choice privilege. The cost factor occurs on Monday or Tuesday . . .
and during the rest of the week. That's when we're "melted down and put into
circulation." That's when they go for the jugular. And it is remarkable how
that monotonous workweek test discolors many a silver saint. "Sunday
religion"
may seem sufficient, but that's far from the truth.

It's the acid grind that takes the toll. Maybe that explains why words of
the venerable prophet touch a nerve:

If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
(Jeremiah 12:5 NIV)
block quote end

Doing battle in the steaming jungle calls for shock troops in super shape.
No rhinestone cowboys can cut it among the swamps and insects of the gross
world
system. Sunday-go-to-meetin' silver saints in shining armor are simply out
of circulation if that's the limit to their faith. Waging wilderness warfare
calls for sweat . . . energy . . . keen strategy . . . determination . . . a
good supply of ammunition . . . willingness to fight . . . refusal to
surrender,
even with the elephants tromping on your air hose.

And that is why we must be melted! It's all part of being "in circulation."
Those who successfully wage war with silent heroism under relentless secular
pressure—ah,
they are the saints who know what it means to be melted.

You can opt for an easier path. Sure. You can keep your own record and come
out smelling like a rose. A silver saint. Polished to a high-gloss sheen.
Icily
regular, cool and casual, consistently present . . . and safely out of
circulation. Another touch-me-not whatnot . . .

Until the Lord calls for an investigation of the local cathedral.

Talk with God about it today.
Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright ©️ 1985,
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .
IFLM 2018 Calendar
Visit insight.org
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved
worldwide.

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