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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 19 Oct 2017, 1:19 am

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
6 Things It Means to Be in Jesus
By John Piper

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

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

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

1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. Second
Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace
in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4,
“God chose us
in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans
8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor
things
present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything
else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in
Christ
Jesus our Lord
.”
4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins.
Ephesians 1:7, “
In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our
trespasses.”
5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God
in Christ is imputed to you. Second Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made
Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that
in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. Second
Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is
in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new
has come.” Galatians 3:26, “
In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Good News About The Bad Stuff - #7995

When you get a couple of veteran airplane travelers together, before long
you're going to hear some "war stories." In fact, you're about to hear one
now.
It was one of those days at the airport. I was scheduled on this morning
flight from the West Coast back to the New York area with a connection in a
Midwest
city. When I arrived at the airport, I learned my flight was being delayed
for about four hours. Well, that's not that uncommon. but it was killing all
my options for getting home for a while. Another flight on the same airline
had been canceled, so now there is this long line of us not-so-happy campers
at the airline's ticket desk. We're there for an hour and a half in line.
The longer we had to wait, the more options were slipping away. Well, I
found
I had to quietly pray and remind Jesus and me that Jesus is Lord. The men
behind me were becoming increasingly vocal about their unhappiness, so being
the crazy man I am, I decided to try a little humor and lightheartedness.
Pretty soon, we were laughing at our situation instead of overheating about
it.

When we finally reached the front of the line, one man said, "Hey, I'm glad
we had someone like you in this line." To which I said, "Hey, you can't pick
your situation, but you can pick your attitude." Well, when the ticket agent
finally figured out a way to get me home, he said, "I think you owe me."
Instead
of a flight where I had to change planes in another city, he had gotten me a
non-stop. Instead of arriving at 10:30 at night, I'd be arriving at 8:30.
And as I was just about to board, the agent called me back and changed my
seat assignment. I was First Class! I had a great meal, I had the room to
get
a lot of work done, and I had a divine bump-in with a flight attendant I
knew from 18 years ago who really needed a pastor that night! Needless to
say,
I had no complaints about God's happy ending!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Good
News About The Bad Stuff".

That frustrating day at the airport, I saw God do again what He is so good
at doing-allowing the bad thing to happen to us so He can do a better thing
for us. There's no way I could have flown non-stop, first-class, and gotten
in earlier that day unless the airline made it happen at their expense. They
did, but only because of the bad stuff that happened.

That is one microcosmic example of how God loves to work in the lives of His
much-loved children. In fact, we have His word on it that He is always
working
on the better thing to come out of that bitter thing. It's in our familiar
word for today from the Word of God, Romans 8:28, sure enough. It's a
statement
you may know very well, but you might need to apply it to the hard things
you're facing right now. Here's the rest of the picture beyond what you can
see
from where you are now. "And we know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
For
those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His
son... And those He predestined, He also called; those he called, He also
justified;
those He justified, He also glorified."

In other words, God's got a lot tied up in you! After working this
incredible, detailed, eternal plan to bring you this far, do you think He's
going to
mess you up now? The Plan is still on course; it's still on schedule. And if
there's bad stuff, be assured God's taking you through that so He can do
something
much better than you could have ever expected.

Look at the worst thing that ever happened-the Cross. But through that came
the most beautiful things God has ever done. When my baby brother died when
I was four, it looked like a senseless tragedy. But that death brought my
whole family to Christ-including me-and indirectly, all the people that it's
been our privilege to bring to Jesus over the years. Through the bitter
thing, God is taking you to a better thing. If you depend on His promise to
work
this together for a greater good, you can choose your attitude-joy-even if
you can't choose your circumstances.

Like me standing in that long airport line with dwindling hopes that day,
maybe all you can see and feel is things are getting worse. But little do
you
know that at the end of this ordeal God's waiting for you with something
that is more "First Class" than you could have ever dreamed!

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

Apple Dumplin’

Back in the 1970’s my home town started a festival called Old Joe Clark
Days. It honored the man from there who was a bluegrass performer at Renfro
Valley, Kentucky for many years. Since then the name of the celebration was
changed to the Apple Festival. A civic organization started a contest called
the Apple Dumplin’ contest where parents would put their children’s photo on
containers and place them in stores weeks before the contest. During the
festival there was a container for each child set up downtown. The child
that had the most money put in all its containers became the Apple Dumplin’.
I am sure the mother and father of each child would say that child was the
apple of his or her eye. This means that he loves that child so much that he
would do anything for that child, even give his own life if that child was
in danger.

There is someone that loves each one of us this much. God sent his own son
to die for each of us so that we would not have to die spiritually:

John 3:16 (CEV)
16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so
that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really
die.

If you surrender your life to Jesus Christ then you are a child of God. God
then says that you are the apple of His eye:

Zechariah 2:8 (NASB95)
8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the
nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His
eye.

The original Hebrew for “apple of the eye” really means the pupil of the
eye. You would do anything to protect your pupil and so God will protect you
as the apple of His eye. He loves you and knows what is best for you. You
may not believe that He is there right now but He is ready to act on your
behalf.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
17 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.”

Can you believe that God will rejoice over you with singing? You may know
what it feels like when you are rejoicing over God in your singing. God
feels the same way about you. I can’t wait to hear God singing to me when I
get to heaven.

There is no competition between Christians in God’s sight. Each one of us is
the apple of God's eye. Each one of us is God's little apple dumplin’.

by Dean W. Masters

Needing God’s Strength for the Unbelievable
August 31, 2017

Read: Genesis 17:15-21; 18:9-15; 21:1-7

Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to
you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. (17:14)

“Age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel.” Though these sayings
aren’t completely true, our age doesn’t have to dictate what we can or
cannot
do. At age 85, Ed Whitlock knows this all too well. Whitlock is a long-time
runner who was recently featured in the
New York Times for completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in under four
hours—a record time for runners in his age group. According to the article,
doctors who have been studying Whitlock consider him to be a phenomenon. His
athletic achievements are extremely uncommon for anyone at that age.

At ages 100 and 90, Abraham and Sarah are told in Genesis 17 that they will
have a baby. They obviously have questions and concerns, being well above
child-bearing
age; Sarah even laughs in disbelief. Who will ever believe them? Conception
at that stage in life is highly unlikely. It will have to be a miracle. They
will need God’s strength to believe his word for this unbelievable promise.
Yet one year later, just as God promised, Abraham and Sarah have a son.

Sometimes, we get in the way of our own achievements by allowing limitations
to completely shut us down. Let’s look up instead. Let’s keep our sights on
extraordinary things, believe God for the unbelievable, and tap into his
supernatural strength. —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: Lord, we want to believe. Please, help our unbelief!

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

How to Find True Joy in the Midst of Struggles
Pam Kanaly

Are you waiting for the day when most of your problems are gone? When you
enter a better season that’s much more suitable for your “happiness” factor?
If you’re like me, for a long time I believed “I’ll be filled with more joy
when…” and I had all kinds of ways to complete that line.

This, however, I’ve learned and am still learning: Happiness and joy are as
opposite as salt and pepper. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s totally AWESOME
when
they happen at the same time. But when there’s a deep-rooted sadness over a
situation we can’t fix, joy feels impossible. Yet, Paul writes in
Philippians 4:4 to “rejoice always.” He must be living the “blessed” life.
Right? No, he is writing these words in prison, and to further the matter,
he
later speaks of himself in 2 Corinthians as being
“sorrowful yet rejoicing.” Does he know something we don’t? Apparently so.

Many of you are going through grim struggles. Husbands have passed away way
too soon, children are breaking hearts, or reports from the doctor contain
devastating news. How is it possible to have joy in these scenarios? In
spite of great sufferings that seem too great to bear, Paul offers a pathway
that
enables us to move forward with peace.

Years ago, I learned there are three kinds of joy. The first is emotional
joy. This kind of joy is based on our emotions. For example, if we’re
feeling
relieved, we think we’re experiencing joy. Or if we’re excited that we’ve
lost a few pounds, we’re joyful. Is this the joy Paul was speaking of? No.
Both
instances describe a feeling of happiness, which is an emotion that comes
and goes, originating from an
outside
stimuli. It’s rooted in cosmetic issues.

Then there’s circumstantial joy. This kind of joy is determined by the
happenings around us. Perhaps, you lost your job, your health has taken a
downturn
or your former husband did not pay child support. “If only circumstances
were different,” we say. “Then I’d find joy.” Again, this isn’t true joy.
Instead
it’s a kind of joy based on secular realities that are unpredictable,
leaving one constantly vulnerable to outside elements. Both of these two
kinds of
joy leave one on the rollercoaster ride of life.

Lastly there’s the kind of joy Paul was talking about: spiritual joy. It has
nothing to do with our emotions or circumstances. It’s not a joy based on
temporal things. It’s a joy based solely on the Lord—not touched by the
world and revolving around who God is and what He has promised for His
children.
It’s a reality that surpasses our understanding. It’s a peace that abides in
the heart that knows no matter what, all is well because Jesus is in the
midst
of its outcome. It’s not driven or tossed by worldly issues but remains a
constant
inside
stabilizer above emotions or circumstances.

So here are the two big questions: How do we cultivate spiritual joy? And
how did Jesus nurture this kind of joy as He considered the cross? Hebrews
12:2-3
unlocks the secret, and might I add The Message Bible gives a flavorful
explanation:

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.
Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed –
that
exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along
the way: the Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of
honor,
right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go
over that story attain, item by item that long litany of hostility he plowed
through.
That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

So we get to pick. Which will govern our day? Emotional joy? Circumstantial
joy? Or spiritual joy?

Truths to ponder:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so
that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13 NIV)

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
(Psalm 94:19 NIV)

“Your love has given me great joy.” (Philemon 1:7 NIV)

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your
presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
(Psalm 16:11 NIV)

Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in
Washington, DC, and best-selling author of
The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions , remains one of the nation’s
leading advocates for single mothers. She is the co-founder of the national
organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers
worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam is a favorite in
Oklahoma
having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother of Achievement –
2015.Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma.
ariseministries.net


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Yes to All God’s Promises and More
By John Piper

All the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him
that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
(2 Corinthians 1:20)

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

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

1. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he
lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “[God] raised us up with [Christ] and seated
us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
2. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. Second
Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ].”
3. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. First Corinthians
1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ
Jesus.”
4. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied.
Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his
riches in
glory in Christ Jesus.”
5. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.
Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will
guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
6. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin
is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Lord.”

7. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the
Lord. First Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ
shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity
die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again!

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 14 Oct 2017, 10:08 pm

Encounter on the Damascus Highway
by Chuck Swindoll

Romans 10:15-17

Various methods are employed to communicate the good news of Christ to the
lost. Some of the approaches appear to be successful and effective on the
surface,
but underneath they leave much to be desired.

The Harvard Approach is quite different. The thinking behind this method is:
Let's all discuss the world's religions. Because it's reason centered, it
attracts both genuine and pseudo intellectuals. The modus operandi is
invariably
a vague discussion that shifts from Baha'i to Buddhism . . . from the pros
and cons of no prayer in public schools to the rapid growth of the
Rajneeshies
in the 80s. This approach is educational and occasionally quite stimulating,
but it suffers from one mild drawback—no one ever gets saved! Specifics
regarding
salvation by grace through faith are frowned upon. The direct discussion of
forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood at the cross and His miraculous
resurrection is about as welcome in a sophisticated rap session on religion
as a life-sized bust of Martin Luther would be in the Vatican.

Perhaps the most popular is the Mute Approach, which promotes: I'm a silent
witness for God. The best you can say about this method is that no one ever
gets offended. That's for sure! Somewhere down the line this person has
begun to swallow one of Satan's tastiest tidbits: "All God expects of you is
a
good, silent life. Others will ask you about Christ if they are interested
in hearing." You know, I can count on one hand (and have fingers left over)
the number of people in my entire life who have suddenly come up and asked
me about Jesus Christ. While no one can discount the value of a godly life,
that
alone never brought anyone into the family of God.

Let me offer a better approach: Open your mouth and give witness to what you
believe! Here's how the Paul expressed it,

That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers
who bring the good news!" But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for
Isaiah
the prophet said, "L
ORD, who has believed our message?" So faith comes from hearing, that is,
hearing the Good News about Christ."
(Romans 10:15b–17)

And what do they hear? You sharing what you believe!

Yesterday, I told you about a few methods of evangelism that are
ineffective, or at least are not the full picture of how God desires His
children to share
the good news with others. Today, I want to tell you about an alternative. A
method that works . . . and also glorifies the One it should glorify: the
Savior.

I submit to you the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered method is set
forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26–40. That grand
and gifted
gentleman was engaged in a citywide crusade at Samaria. God was using him
mightily (8:5–8). Suddenly, the Lord spoke to Philip and instructed him to
leave
the city and spend some time in Gaza, a desert area (8:26). Faithful Philip
"got up and went" (8:27). He was
available (Principle 1).

He then encountered a distinguished statesman from Ethiopia riding in a
chariot en route back home (8:28). Of all things, he was reading Isaiah! The
next
verse tells us that the Spirit of God prompted Philip to go and get
acquainted with the traveler. Philip was
led by the Spirit (Principle 2). In today's terminology, he felt a keen and
definite assurance that God would have him strike up a conversation and
later,
quite probably, share with that person the magnetic claims of Christ. In
other words, he sensed that God was clearly opening the door.

As you'd expect, Philip cooperated. Obedience (Principle 3) is essential.

He then heard the man reading aloud (8:30) and calmly asked, "Do you
understand what you are reading?" What an excellent start! A proper opening
(Principle
4) is essential. Philip didn't barge in and start preaching, nor did he
crank out a canned, broken-record series of statements. He simply asked a
logical
yet leading question. The statesman instantly invited the stranger to come
and sit by him and assist him in his quest for understanding (8:31–34).

This remarkable response was met with great tact (Principle 5) on Philip's
part. Even though he had his foot in the door, he remained gracious,
courteous,
a good listener, and yet sensitive to the time he might speak of salvation.

When that moment came, he "opened his mouth" (8:35) and became specific
(Principle 6) concerning faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No reluctance. No
vague dialogue about religion . . . he spoke only of the Savior, the main
issue.

The last few verses (8:36–38) describe the brief but memorable follow-up
(Principle 7) Philip employed in this case.

As you rub shoulders with hungry, thirsty humanity and sense their inner
ache for help and hope, keep these principles in mind. Let's become more
alert
to those empty chariot sidecars God wants us to occupy. You may even begin
to feel comfortable in them before long. You know what? There isn't any
place
I'd rather be when Christ returns than riding shotgun in a
twenty-first-century chariot.

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 .

The Gospel of John with Psalms and Proverbs
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org

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



Living With Suffering

There he proved them ( Exod. 15:25 ).

I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were
little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and
marked
with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted
until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had
been
stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some
had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of
the
steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He
knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or
bridge.
He knew this because his testing room revealed it.

It is often so with God's children. God does not want us to be like vases of
glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel,
able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.

He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand
dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the
fiercest
storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of
suffering. Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to
prove
that suffering is indeed God's testing room of faith.
--J. H. McC

It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often
casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross
and
alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life's unquiet sea
have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ
than
smooth waters without Him.
--Macduff

What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering?
Streams in the Desert

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today's Devotional

Field Workers

Matthew 9:37-38 – Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, "The harvest is
plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send
out workers into his harvest field." (NIV)

This summer, I had an opportunity to visit my friend who, with her husband,
volunteers at a Christian retreat camp as caretaker. As we casually strolled
over the rolling property, she pointed to a wooded area down the hill.
"That's the orchard," she explained. However, I did not see an orchard.
"Where?"
I asked. Again, she pointed at the wooded area. But looking down, I saw only
a field that was overgrown with lush weeds and tall bushes. "Is that an
orchard?"
I wondered out loud. "Yes," my friend reassured me, "but the weeds have
taken over. No one had time to maintain it. By now, it has become impossible
to
pick the apples." Then I saw. The fruit trees looked like mere bushes amidst
the lavish weeds.

On the drive home, I had time to process the haunting impression that the
overgrown orchard had left with me. How many figurative orchards that I
should
have looked after are overgrown with weeds? How many spiritual fields that I
should have harvested have become inaccessible due to my negligence? I could
think of a few. I have taken detours around people whom I know very well,
but whose burdens seem too painful for me to share. Rather than helping them
with their burdens and sharing the hope of Jesus, I stayed in my comfort
zone. Paralyzed by insecurities, I have walked away from people who were
receptive
to the good news of Jesus. There are still other persistent weeds that
prevent me from being effective in the field during the time of harvest.

These painful considerations made me realize how dependent we field workers
are on the power of the Lord of the harvest. There are willing workers, but
many are ineffective. They are sidetracked by other duties. They lack the
strength to withstand the heat of the day and the exhaustion of the late
afternoon.

But the Lord of the harvest is keen to answer their prayers for support. He
removes their weakness when they remember His strength. He makes the weeds
of unproductiveness disappear when they focus on His harvest. When they are
labouring in the field, they notice how many people are working beside them.
To their joy and relief, they realize that neither the accessibility of the
harvest nor the number of field workers depend on them.

The most wonderful truth unfolds before their eyes. The Lord prepares His
harvest by ripening immature hearts into hearts that are ready to accept
Jesus
as Saviour and bring forth fruits of righteousness. Are we prepared to
harvest them?

Prayer: Dear Lord of the harvest, we thank You that You have opened our
hearts to receive our Lord Jesus. Humbly, we ask that You would make us
willing
to leave our comfort zones and enter unfamiliar territory with the call to
follow Jesus. Enable us to work in the field that You have prepared for the
harvest. In our Saviour's name, we pray. Amen.

Jane deGlint

True Change Takes God’s Strength
August 30, 2017

Read: Genesis 32:22-32; 33:1-10

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip
socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then
he
said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let
you go unless you bless me.” (32:25-26)

Ryan Speedo Green was a troubled and angry kid. Around age 12, he threatened
the lives of his mother and brother and was sent to solitary confinement in
a juvenile detention center. Today, at age 30, Ryan is a celebrated
bass-baritone opera singer. He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House
in New
York and is currently with the Vienna State Opera House in Germany. If Ryan
had stayed bound to his past mistakes, and if his mentors didn’t offer him
forgiveness and opportunities along the way, he may not have changed.

In Genesis, we read about Jacob who also has a tough past. In earlier
chapters, he exploits his father and brother’s weaknesses to unfairly obtain
an inheritance.
By the time he is reunited with his brother, Esau, Jacob is a different man.
He wrestles with God and, despite compromised strength, he holds on to God
until God changes him.

We cannot let the past define us, but we should own up to our mistakes. Let’s
pray for God’s strength to change our ways and for God’s intervention to
change people’s hearts. Only then can we move forward as people with a new
identity. —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: God, give us the strength to release our past and embrace our
change.

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

Welcome to the Nugget

August 24, 2017

We are Loved

By Answers2Prayer
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"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps
me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."
(Ps. 28:7)

The other day my two sons and I got into my old car to drive to the local
post office. I backed out of my drive slowly like I normally do and then
pulled
to a stop at the side road that leads to the main highway. When it was clear
I pulled out and stepped on the gas. As I stepped on the clutch and tried
to shift into second, though, I immediately knew that something was wrong.
The normally solid gear shift now felt like a spoon in a bowl of soup. I
tried
quickly to get it to lock into any of the gears but to no avail. Thankfully,
the steering wheel was still working fine and I allowed the car to coast to
the end of the side road where I was able to pull safely into a wide spot
and turn the engine off.

My sons and I walked back to my house, borrowed my daughter's car, and drove
to a local garage to arrange to have my car towed in for repairs. It was
only
later in the day that I finally realized how blessed and watched over I had
been. I could have been on the main road when that stick shift failed. I
could
have been doing 55 miles per hour instead of 15. I could have been in the
middle of a curve with no place to turn off the road. I could have had a car
too close behind me that wouldn't have been able to stop in time. A hundred
things could have made this incident dangerous or deadly. Yet, the gear
shift
broke at just the right moment to keep me and my boys safe.

Far too often we only see the bad things in life. We get angry with God when
things don't go our way, and we fail to see the thousands of times that they
do. We are loved and watched over in this life more than we can ever know.
God loves us and His angels protect us every single day. Yes, my car broke
down.
Still, my sons and I are safe. We are loved. And we have been given more
time here in this world to share our own love and light. Thank you God!

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

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 here
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."


nourish

Singing Takes Sunday’s Truths Into Monday

The songs we sing on Sunday provide the soundtrack for our week. Singing
files away the messages the lyrics convey in our minds and hearts. If we don’t
sing about a particular truth, it’s very likely we’ll pray about it less and
live with little thought of it. Christ-filled songs can help motivate us
into
a day when we would rather stay in bed than get up and face that chore or
meeting or project. They support us when we lack courage and need to bolster
our faith. They help us remember Scripture. They keep uprooting the weeds of
worry and fear that tangle our feet and trip us up. They help us when we don’t
know how to explain the gospel to a friend, but recalling a lyric gives us
the words. They comfort us when we are hit with something unexpected or
tragic.

Every day we wake to the sound of two voices—the one of Wisdom and the one
of folly; the voice of the Lord and the voice of this fallen world. The
gospel
that seemed so clear and true on Sunday morning can so easily be chipped
away at, twisted a little, and devalued by the messages we hear through the
week.
Singing deep songs of the Lord keeps the right voice loudest in our ears.

We need to sing over and over again of how we were once under the wrath of
God, condemned to die, without even a hint of hope. We need to sing of how
hope
came from above, in human form, as the Son of God entered the world to
provide a way for the salvation of all mankind. We need to sing of how …

He made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:7–11)

Friends, if our singing is not impacting how we process life—if it is not
strengthening us, training us, encouraging us, and comforting us, then we
have
not unwrapped the gift that singing is to us. We’ve been playing with the
wrappings. Most of us sing at times in our week, or hum a tune that reminds
us
of its lyrics. Be singing what you sang on Sunday. Be singing the gospel.

Is there a hymn, or hymns, from your past that acts as a “milestone marker”
for your walk with Christ? Why is it still significant and how does it speak
to your heart today?

Join the conversation on Facebook.
Sing Excerpt fromSing!
by Keith & Kristyn Getty
©️ 2017. Used with permission from B&H Publishing Group
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 12 Oct 2017, 11:25 pm

Baptism has no saving power in itself, but it is an important symbol that
demonstrates our covenant vows to Jesus.


How to Stay in When It’s Hard: Making Disciples in Difficult Places
Jim Bloom / August 11, 2017
How to Stay in When It’s Hard

As followers of Jesus, we all share together his great call to disciple the
nations (Matthew 28:19). We all share his great promise that he is with us
to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). But some of us are called to make
disciples in very difficult places, where Satan has long held sway and the
brokenness
of our world is especially evident.

I serve with a group of kindred-hearted men and women who focus on making
disciples among the poor and marginalized. Some of us live and minister in
intense
places. Helping Christian workers stay in such places is crucial for what we
do. We’ve learned that going to a hard place is one thing, but staying there
is another.

What is it, then, that has helped my wife and me stay where Jesus has called
us?

Look to Things Unseen

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up
people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather
teach
them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” (quoted in
You Are What You Love , 91).

Just like going about the task of collecting wood is not enough for igniting
a zeal for ship-building, neither is calling people to the everyday tasks
of missions enough to sustain workers in hard places. It is a vision of
glory beyond the horizon that keeps us going when the accumulation of
disappointments,
losses, and seeming failures threaten to kill our zeal for kingdom-building.

If we want to stay in hard places for the sake of God’s kingdom, our hearts
need to be captivated by the immensity of God and his redemptive purposes in
the world. Only that breathtaking vision can hold us in contexts of immense
pain and seeming hopelessness.

If you’ve lost your vision, fix your eyes again on Jesus. Ask God to ravage
your heart again a glimpse of what lies just beyond the rough edges of the
world.

Lean into God’s Promises

“People, your longevity in mission may very well depend upon your leaning
into the promises of God.” I remember Michael Duncan saying these words in
2003
to a gathering of leaders in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He had learned them the
hard way.

In 1985, Duncan had led a missionary team sent from New Zealand to the slums
of Manila. He served there nine years, but after nine years of suffering in
this context, he no longer knew what to do with God and his promises. He
could no longer trust God for the future and began to lose hope. Therefore,
he
and his wife resigned and returned to New Zealand. I will never forget one
of his final statements to us:

Without faith and hope I deserted a place and a people. This act of
desertion has become one of the deepest regrets of my life, and I wouldn’t
wish it
on anyone. So I say to you again: keep looking to God and keep leaning into
the promises. For when you look to God you will have faith and when you lean
into the promises you will have hope and where there are faith and hope,
there too will be love . . . and love “remains” with the place and people.

Keeping our Lord always before us (Psalm 16:8), and trusting his precious
and magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:4), produces hope — hope in a better
future
than the pains and frustrations we’re feeling today. Faith and hope provide
the fertile soil for love to flourish. And love, as Duncan says, wishes to
remain with the place and people.

Learn How Impoverished You Are

We [missionaries] have not understood that the members of the Body of Christ
are scattered in all lands, and that we, without them are not made perfect.
. . . Consequently we have preached the gospel from the point of view of the
wealthy man who casts a mite into the lap of a beggar, rather than [a
farmer]
who casts his seed into the earth, knowing that his own life and the lives
of all connected with him depend upon the crop which will result from his
labor.
(Roland Allen, Missionary Methods
, 185).

It is reason enough to stay in a hard place simply to gain this perspective.
We are impoverished without our brothers and sisters from different
ethnicities,
cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds joining us at the table of the Lord’s
banquet. Not just in eternity, but now in our present experience.

If my wife and I had not stayed in our community, we would have missed out
on discovering what
we needed from brothers and sisters who are different from us, brothers and
sisters we desperately need. We will not stay in a hard place if we honestly
do not apprehend
our own need for those to whom God has sent us. But being naturally
self-centered and self-sufficient, we can miss this if we do not stay.

Yes, there is labor, toil, and fatigue in a hard field. But God loves to
provide us valuable resources and spiritual refreshment in the people who
live
in these difficult places. They must be at the table with us if we will be
complete.

Learn Your Heart Before You Go

If you think Jesus may be calling you to a hard place, let me pass along
some wisdom I gleaned from Tolkien’s
Lord of the Rings as the elf-lord Elrond addresses the dwarf-lord, Gimli:

“The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone is
any charge laid: . . . the others go with him as free companions, to help
him
on his way. You may tarry, or come back, or turn aside to other paths, as
chance allows. The further you go, the less easy will it be for you to
withdraw;
yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do
not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each
may
meet upon the road.”

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,” said Gimli.

“Maybe,” said Elrond, “but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not
seen the night fall.”

“Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking hearts,” said Gimli.

“Or break it,” said Elrond.

This counsel has served me for many years. You do not yet know the strength
of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road. Let
him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the night fall. These are
echos of Jesus’s wisdom in the parable of the four soils (Luke 8:4–8), and
when he tells his hearers to count the cost before following him (Luke
14:25–33).

Many of us have the tendency, like Peter, to proclaim our loyalty unto
death, only to melt in fear at a servant girl’s question. And, like Peter,
we often
“do not yet know the strength of [our] hearts.” We have had people join our
mission, declaring their intention to give themselves to this ministry for
life, only to be gone a few years later.

To “vow to walk in the dark [when we have] not seen the night fall” is not
wise. That’s why when folks join our mission, we help them discern their
calling
through a process of increasing levels of commitment over time. This gives
them time and opportunity to test their calling through real experience and
built-in exit points to withdraw if they learn their call may be elsewhere.

Yes, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but Paul
learned both how low he could go and how much he could abound through much
testing
(Philippians 4:12–13). Therefore, as we seek to follow Jesus into a hard
place, we must go with a deep humility, admitting that our knowledge of our
heart
is limited, trusting him to lead and sustain us wherever we go — and stay.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Apple Cider

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for giving Your life for us. Thank
You for offering Yourself to quench our thirst. Help us to continually drink
from Your supply. Help us to let others know that You are the only One who
can quench their thirst. Amen.

by Dean W. Masters

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Most Dangerous Role Of All - #7992

She's a princess in the royalty of Hollywood; one of the most successful,
A-list, admired actresses in America. Behind the glamour, there are
unrelenting
struggles and unanswered questions. She was given some major recognition at
an international awards ceremony, and as she expressed her gratitude, she
also
opened up her heart in a brief moment of extreme candor. She said, "You
know, I play so many roles, sometimes I wonder who the real me really is."
I'll
tell you this, you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have that going on.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most
Dangerous Role Of All."

Playing a role. You know, a lot of folks are doing that. Following the
script you're supposed to follow, acting the way you're supposed to act,
giving
such a convincing performance that you almost believe it yourself. That gap
between playing the role and experiencing the reality becomes horribly
expensive
when you're playing the role of belonging to Jesus Christ, when you really
don't belong to Him.

That's why, in a passage of the Bible written to church folks, God gives a
life-saving warning. It's in 2 Corinthians 13:5, our word for today from the
Word of God. He says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the
faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you -
unless,
of course, you fail the test?" For those of us who have spent a lot of time
around Jesus, it's particularly important that we don't assume we
automatically
have Jesus. We need to examine ourselves-to test ourselves. Christ Jesus
isn't, in the Bible's words here, "in you" unless there's been a time in
your
life when you've consciously opened the door of your life to Him and invited
Him in to run it from now on. When you know the words, go to the meetings
and you believe the beliefs, it's just way too easy to miss this one
life-or-death step.

My friend Gary is in the medical profession. The other day he took me aside
and he told me his personal Jesus-story. He said he and his friends had gone
forward at a church meeting as young teenagers. And while he went through
what he described as an "accepting Christ" thing, he never really had a
personal
transaction with Jesus Christ that day. He did what he was supposed to do on
the outside, but nothing really happened on the inside. From that point on,
he said, he played the role.

Gary became a Sunday School teacher in his church, a deacon, and even the
youth director. No one would have even thought to question whether or not he
was really a Christian. One of his former professors invited him to a men's
retreat one day, and he looked forward to impressing this respected
Christian
friend of his with what an active Christian he had become. But instead, that
friend kept pressing him for an answer to this question: "If you died
tonight
and God asked why He should let you into His heaven, what would you tell
Him?" Gary answered with his spiritual r ©️sum ©️. His friend told him that
none
of that could get him into heaven. It was that night Gary finally realized
he was playing the role but missing the reality. He fully committed His life
to Jesus Christ that night. And that has made all the difference in the
world, and all the difference in where he will spend all of eternity.

Could it be that you have missed that step? The eternity-changing step of
actually telling Jesus, "I believe you died for me. I believe You are my
only
hope. So beginning right now, I'm totally Yours." That takes courage. It
takes honesty to admit you don't really have Jesus, but the cost of
continuing
to just play the role is way too high to pay; too awful to pay. God brought
you here today so this could finally be your personal Jesus-day. So as He's
speaking to you I your heart, with that tug you feel, don't miss this moment
of truth. "Jesus, I'm Yours for real, beginning today."

I'd love for you to visit our website because that's where I have laid out
the statements from God's word that will help you be sure that you have
actually
nailed down your relationship with Jesus Christ. That this indeed is your
Jesus day. Go to ANewStory.com.

Tonight you can finally go to sleep with the peace you've never had. It's
the peace that comes from only knowing that you really do belong to Jesus
Christ.

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


Anne Graham Lotz - The Joy of Working Together

The Joy of Working Together
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Colossians 3:17, NKJV

What task has God assigned you? Has He assigned you to

establish a home,

strengthen a marriage,

lead a family,

serve a church,

teach in a classroom,

or comfort in a sick room?

Check your attitude toward the assignment. Do you grumble and complain about
it? Do you neglect and ignore it? Do you resent and reject it? Or do you
enjoy
fulfilling it as your service unto the Lord? God wants you and me to enjoy
our service to Him, whatever it may be. And He also wants us to discuss each
detail with Him as we do the work. One of His pleasures, as well as ours, is
the joy of working together as we complete the task. Often, the more
difficult
the task, the greater the joy because it enables us to see the power of God
and just what He can do in and through and for us.

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Where to Bring Your Broken Heart
Josh Squires / August 11, 2017
Where to Bring Your Broken Heart

“Help. My heart is broken.”

This is one of the most common refrains in my counseling ministry. There are
many causes: love unrequited, jobs lost, dreams quashed, spouses and
children
taken. No matter its roots, the pain is unbearably similar for its
sufferers. And the question that hangs over it all is this: “Now what?”

Weep Well

Grief is an act as well as a feeling. When hearts are broken, cheeks should
be wet. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. There is something about weeping
that is incredibly scary. It’s a vulnerable act that floods our thoughts and
feelings, leaving us fatigued. Little wonder then that people avoid it like
the plague, or feel that they need to make an excuse for it.

But Scripture itself does not take such a negative view on mourning. God
does not tell his children to “dry it up!” Rather, God stores our tears in
his
bottle (Psalm 56:8). In an ancient, arid land where bottles were not a dime
a dozen, only precious things were kept in bottles. Even more, God himself
weeps and makes no apology for it (Luke 19:41–44; John 11:35). When God
finds his heart hurting, his cheeks are not dry, and you should not be
ashamed
if yours aren’t either.

It’s not enough to merely give our emotions vent; they need to be shepherded
(Psalm 120:1; 130:1). Christians are not merely those who weep, but those
who weep well. It is not true that our stress, sadness, anger, and negative
emotions just need an emotional outlet to release the pressure. This
“hydraulic”
view of the affections often does more harm than good — before we know it,
we can barely put our emotional kettle on the burner before the whistle
begins
to wail for relief.

Instead, the key is to marry an emotional outlet with hope. This does not
mean that we always, at every single moment, need to sustain a conscious
feeling
of hope alongside our grief — God makes room in Scripture for passages like
Psalm 88 and Job 3. He does not ask the believer to take a Pollyanna view of
the believing life. But Paul reminds the Thessalonians that their grief is
different from a mere emotional outpour (1 Thessalonians 4:13). It is
grounded
in the truth of the gospel which is the spring of hope and life itself
(Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17). Gospel hope is the foundation of
healthy
grief. We may not always see it or focus on it, but it is there, and it will
rise again (Psalm 51:12).

Go to Prayer

Grief needs prayer. It is the communion of our souls with their Maker and
Sustainer. The Psalter is not just a collection of ditties for believers but
a living example of the prayers of the faithful. Praying isn’t about
changing God’s mind but submitting the most earnest desires of our hearts to
him,
and trusting his stewardship with them, even when those desires are aborted.

Christ calls out through prayer in his most desperate hour (Matthew
26:36–39). And Paul tells us that even when we don’t know how to pray as we
ought,
the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, mending our prayers on the way up (Romans
8:26). There is something about prayer, about giving unto our Lord those
thoughts
and feelings which are most intimate, that makes our hearts more pliable to
the comfort that only the gospel brings.

God loves to hear the raw, unscripted prayers of his children’s hearts
(Psalm 62:8). But prayer is more than just an emotional dump. Our prayers
are prayers
to a God who has revealed himself and provided for us in his word. In grief,
our prayers and our souls will benefit by feeding on God’s word.

Meditating on Scripture forces our hearts to move beyond ourselves and think
on the grand scope of God’s redemptive work for his people (Colossians
1:13–14).
It gives hope where otherwise there may be none (John 14:27; Romans 8:31–39;
Hebrews 13:6; James 1:2). It puts our grief in perspective, reminding us
that
our heartache is but a tiny glimpse of the pain experienced by God at the
cross (Matthew 27:46) — a suffering that he entered into willingly (John
10:18),
despising the cost of shame for the joy of redeeming a people (Hebrews
12:2).

Go to Rest

Grief is exhausting. Physically and emotionally, we find ourselves worn out.
A persistent and terrible fog seems to descend on our minds and bodies
making
it hard even to breathe at times like these. Those in grief need rest. More
than just physical rest (though often no less), we need spiritual rest. It
is in these moments that the words of our Lord seem sweeter than honey:

“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)

Resting in Jesus often means intentionally disengaging from the busyness of
the world. Choosing to focus what little emotional energy we have on Kingdom
purposes helps provide a peace that mere logic cannot explain (Philippians
4:4–9).

Go to Friends

Grief isn’t private. It’s often difficult and humiliating to let someone in
on the depths of our pain, but God loves his people too much to let your
suffering
begin and end with you. Keeping your grief hidden robs the church of our
ability to have the unbelievable joy of Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s
burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

All people at all times do not need to be clued into the depth of the
darkness in which you find yourself, but allowing others to walk beside you
in your
time of distress is a way of serving them, while also allowing them to serve
you. It’s a reminder that the life of a pilgrim in this fallen world is far
from rose-colored and, someday, when the current trial is behind you, the
church will get the benefit of witnessing God’s tangible faithfulness to
you.

All too often, Satan uses our grief to indulge our desire to isolate, not
only personally but corporately. Gathering for worship just feels like a
chore
too difficult to manage. When we grieve, it may be difficult to sing, pray,
or concentrate in worship. It may feel as if the Lord’s Supper is a hollow
activity. But
worship is the ventilator of our spirits
— keeping us alive when all else seems to fail. Bit by bit, even when we don’t
appreciate it, worship is consoling our grief and nurturing our souls back
to health.

Weep and Draw Near

In a world where sin infects and impacts all things, it is impossible for
believers to make it through without hearts that break. But we have a God
who
is not silent at such times. He knows, because he has walked in our shoes
(Hebrews 4:15). He has felt the terrible pangs of a broken heart. And at
such
times, he does not tell us to shut up and go away, but rather to weep, draw
near to him, and rejoice in him.

Raised to New Life: The Symbol of Baptism
John Piper / August 11, 2017
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 04 Oct 2017, 10:43 pm

Memorial Stones
By Skip Heitzig

Humans love to make monuments. Whether it's the Arch of Titus in Rome, the
Arc de Triomphe in Paris, or the battlefields of the Civil War in the United
States, we're fond of setting up memorials and statues to remind us of great
historical events.

When God told the children of Israel to build a monument in Joshua 4
, it was much less elaborate--just twelve rocks from the bottom of the
Jordan River. And what did it commemorate? God parting the Jordan and
bringing the
Israelites into the Promised Land.

Read Joshua 4:20-24
: "Those twelve stones which [the children of Israel] took out of the
Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel,
saying:
'When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, "What are
these stones?" then you shall let your children know, saying, "Israel
crossed
over this Jordan on dry land"; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of
the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did
to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that
all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is
mighty,
that you may fear the Lord your God forever.'"

Have you ever forgotten a great scriptural truth, and when you've heard it
again you've just gone, "Oh man, that's been there this whole time? How did
I forget?" Well, God understands our tendency to forget. That's why He
commanded the Israelites to set up stones--so they would be reminded of His
great
acts of love and mercy. And it would make the next generation curious as
well: "What are those rocks doing there?" And then they would be told the
story
and their faith would in turn be strengthened.

Now, the spot where Israel set up this memorial was at a place called
Gilgal, which became their base of operations in the Promised Land. That
meant any
time they would return from a battle feeling discouraged, all they would
have to do was look at the twelve stones. "Look at those rocks. They came
from
the bottom of that river when the waters rolled back and we walked over on
dry land. Remember what God has done."

And here's an interesting note: Gilgal means rolling or a circle, possibly
referring to an ancient pagan altar where stones were set up in a circle for
ritual worship. So the Israelites took this place where other stones were
set up to other gods and, in a sense, reclaimed the site for Yahweh, the
true
and living God. It was a place where they could take their kids and say,
"Look, God did this for us. Don't forget this."

Now, as beautiful as that is, I have to tell you the bad news: eventually
Gilgal lost its spiritual significance. Later on, it reverted back to a
place
of pagan worship while the children of Israel occupied the land, and God
pronounced judgment on it because of that (see
Hosea 4:15 ; Amos 4:4 ;
Amos 5:5
).

So, what's the lesson? If you don't cultivate a garden of remembering what
the Lord has done for you, weeds are going to grow up. We should make it a
goal
to set up personal memorial stones, keeping a journal or some way of
remembering what God has done. It gives you perspective and helps you
remember spiritual
milestones that you can then pass on to the next generation.

Read the very last verse of Joshua 4
again: the stones were set up "that [Israel] may fear the Lord [their] God
forever" (v. 24). That didn't happen, unfortunately--that's the sad history
of the nation. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be yours.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
For more from Skip Heitzig, visit ConnectionRadio.org

Do You Have to Sing in Church if You Don't Want To?
DiAne Gates

The melody of the praise chorus wafted down the hallway before I reached the
sanctuary—and my heart grumbled. A praise chorus was the last thing I wanted
to hear this morning, much less sing.

Don’t they have any compassion? I wondered how many others, just like me,
came to the sanctuary each Sunday morning with heavy hearts. Hearts full of
grief
and gloom, and yet I’m supposed to sing like nothing’s the matter? Yeah,
right!

“They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of
their
distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea
were hushed”
(Psalm 107:27-29 NAS).

Why should you sing in church?

Once inside, the tempo changed and the familiar chords of Amazing Grace
filled the building with that sweet old hymn; thoughts of bolting out the
door
flashed through my mind. Of all songs this morning—tears rushed to my eyes
and trickled down my cheeks—Daddy’s favorite hymn.

The knot in my throat grew beyond-swallowing-size. First Daddy, Lord, and
now Michelle.
The knot swelled. And her birthday’s this week. I stood like a stone statue
wrestling to hogtie my emotions, my hand digging in my purse for the Kleenex
stash I’d come to depend on since our daughter’s death, wishing I were
anywhere but in the Sanctuary.

But the words to the last verse rang in my ears: When we’ve been there ten
thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s
praise than we first begun. In spite of the tears and the raspy sounds
groaning off my tongue, I managed to join the congregation repeating—Amazing
Grace,
how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
—and release and relief flooded my heart.

The lady standing next to me slipped her arm around my shoulders in a warm
hug, and we sang and wept together.

What storm prevents you from crying/singing to the Lord in your distress?

Sacrifice of praise—what’s that?

This transpired over 16 years ago, but I still remember driving home that
Sunday when the realization washed over me… I had offered my Father in
Heaven
a sacrifice of praise! And He heard and answered the pain in my heart,
covering me with His emergency room blanket of comfort!

Oh, the lessons God teaches when we’re willing to obey. Singing had been
buried on the bottom of my throw-away pile during the year following
Michelle’s
death—and I’ll confess, some mornings since then too, but I’ve learned when
I don’t feel like singing… especially when I don’t feel like singing
… that’s God’s Spirit signaling… I must sing.

I will choose to trust you, Lord.

One night a few months ago, overwhelmed with fear and loneliness—my husband
was out of town—something woke me up. I searched the house, found nothing,
but fear grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. I pushed the play button in my
memory labeled "unrealistic expectations," tossing, turning, and rehearsing
all
the secondary losses the death of our daughter inflicted on family
relationships. And I was a mess.

I cried out the Lord Jesus, “I know you tell me not to be afraid, but I’m
scared. Nobody cares about me anymore.” The song “Jesus loves me this I
know,
for the Bible tells me so…” answered in my heart. I lay in the dark singing,
again and again.

Next thing I knew, it was morning. Jesus calmed my fears, silenced
disturbing thoughts, and wrapped me in His comfort when I sang the truths of
His Word.

Does God really give me comfort when I sing to him?

“Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6 KJV).

My father and daughter no longer have earthly breath—but I do. This
Scripture tells me singing’s not a choice. It’s a necessity. Sometimes we
sing out
of the joy and the peace in our souls. Other times we sing from the despair
smothering our hearts—offering up the sacrifice of praise to our Redeemer.
But a sacrifice costs the bearer something, or it isn’t a sacrifice. God
knows your heart and mine, and He promises to meet us at our point of
obedience
to Him.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Many of you aren’t struggling with the loss of a loved one, but you’re
struggling. Maybe over the louder-than-we’d-like praise choruses. Or the
fight you
had with your husband on the way to church. Your job, or your prodigal son
or daughter. Whatever the reason, God stands ready to receive your sacrifice
of praise, so he can pour out his comfort to your hurting soul.

What other Scriptures say we are required to sing?

“And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem, kept the feast
of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the
priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the
Lord.”
(2 Chronicles 30:21 KJV).

Singing has been an integral part of worship by God’s people since the
beginning. Not just in church, but every day. Everywhere. Melody and music
are gifts
from our Creator God. Can you imagine a world without music?

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and
sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre; with the lyre and the
sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn. Shout joyfully
before the King, the Lord”
(Psalm 98:4-6 NAS).

God is the Creator of everything that exists—even music and singing. And
every time that voice in your head says, “I don’t want to sing,” ask, “Would
God
be saying that to me?” Or are they words from the enemy, whose goal is to
lure you into defying or ignoring the Lord God Almighty? But your Father in
Heaven
loves you enough to allow you to make that choice.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with
gladness, come before His presence with singing… Enter into His gates with
thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His name”
(Psalm 100:1-2, 4 KJV).

Please pray with me:

Father in Heaven, please grant me the ability to discern the voice of Your
Spirit, and the willingness to hear and heed what Your Spirit whispers to
me.
Allow me to keep singing to You, regardless of my feelings… because You, in
every situation, are worthy of all my worship and praise. Amen.


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Today's Devotional

Spanish Lesson

Mark 7:8 – You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to
human traditions. (NIV 2011)

Christ's teaching influences my whole life, but some parts of the gospels
directly relate to what I do as a Presbyterian minister. Much of the
criticism
that Jesus had for the religious clerics of His time still applies today,
and I confess to struggling with denominational practices and New Testament
tenets.
I inwardly flinch when I read about Jesus rebuking the Pharisees and
Sadducees, because I see myself doing things similar to what they did. This,
in turn,
causes me to question whether or not I am guilty of holding on to human
traditions, rather than keeping God's commands.

Years ago, I can remember discussing this with a Roman Catholic friend who
was training to become a priest. The conversation took place in Valladolid,
Spain, and we were talking about our denominational differences and what was
personally important about our religious traditions. At the end of the
discussion,
my friend said words that I will never forget, which still influence me
today: "No matter what our differences are, John," he said, "I am a
Christian first
and a Roman Catholic second."

Can you imagine what kind of positive and effective influence that we would
have on the world if church people everywhere became Christians first and
their
denominational choice second? A lot of the religious wounds on earth would
be healed, and we could begin to fix our broken world. For me, this means
that
the challenge I face is to be a better Christian than a Presbyterian, and to
continually become a better disciple of Christ than a pastor. In the end,
is that not what Christ expects of me, as well as all of us who follow His
ways?

Point to ponder: Do people see me as a Christian or something else?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all want to be Christians at home, in church, in
school, in our workplaces, and wherever else we go. Help us to grow closer
to You
in such a way that our faith will be honestly and positively displayed to
those around us. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart traqair@aol.com

What it really means to surrender your life
August 22

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will
go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8

Over 200 years ago, a humble shoe cobbler by the name of William Carey stood
before an austere group of ministers at a Baptist association in London,
England.
And he said to those men, “God has put it on my heart to reach the masses
with the Gospel message and to take seriously the command of Christ to take
the
Gospel to the world.”

Well, one rather pompous minister stood to his feet and said to Carey,
“Young man, sit down. When God chooses to save the pagan, He’ll do it at His
own
time and in His own way.” But that would not suffice for William Carey. Bold
in his faith, he went to India, led countless people to Jesus Christ, and
sparked the modern missions movement!

All it took was one little shoe cobbler in England to change the world for
Christ. And he did it despite the fact that many people, even Christians,
were
against Him going. What a bold testimony of faith!

What would your life look like if you served God with that kind of fervor?
Where would you go? What would you do? Take a bold step of faith today and
tell
God, “Wherever... whatever... whenever... I’m yours!”

SURRENDER YOURSELF TO GOD TODAY BY FOLLOWING HIS CALLING ON YOUR LIFE...
WHATEVER IT MAY BE!

Radical Adjustments
by Chuck Swindoll

Joshua 1:9

Extreme dilemmas are usually solved by radical adjustments. It used to be
called "fighting fire with fire." Minor alterations won't do. If the
situation
is getting completely out of hand, a slight modification won't cut it. It's
get-with-it time.

• If the tumor is the size of a grapefruit, taking a handful of vitamins
three times a week isn't the answer.
• If the foundation has shifted so much that the walls are cracking and the
windows won't close, the place needs more than a paint job.
• If the ship is sinking and the storm is getting stronger, it's time to do
something much more decisive than dialogue.
• If the church is emptying because needs are going unmet, singing hymns
and preaching longer sermons won't do the trick.
• If the family isn't talking, serving more meals is hardly the way to turn
things around.

The most radical alternative may sometimes be the most practical. These will
not be the most popular or enjoyable decisions . . . or the most diplomatic.

Radical adjustments make waves, not friends. Heads sometimes roll and hearts
often break. The uninvolved public seldom understands or agrees, especially
at the outset. But the strange thing is that radical adjustments, more often
than not, make pretty good sense when reconsidered through the rearview
mirror.
After the fact, stone-throwing critics ultimately nod their approval . . .
calling the decision "courageous" or even "visionary." What the critics
usually
overlook is just how painful the drastic decision really was.

Are you facing dire circumstances today? Are you paralyzed with fear as you
consider a radical adjustment that God wants you to make? You're not alone.
Tomorrow I'll share with you a story of people who encountered an extreme
situation in which their only choice was to make a radical adjustment. For
now,
commit again to the Lord the radical step which you believe He wants you to
take. As you do, listen to His words to His servant in Joshua 1:9.

On October 12, 1972, a Fairchild F-227 of the Uruguayan Air Force was
chartered by an amateur rugby team. The plan? To fly from Montevideo to
Santiago,
Chile . . . a flight pattern which required flying over the rugged Andes.
There were forty-five on board, including the crew. Bad weather brought the
plane
down in Mendoza, a small Argentinian town. Since the weather improved the
following morning, the Fairchild set off again, flying south to the Planchon
Pass. They would never make their destination.

• At 3:21 p.m. the pilot reported to Air Traffic Control in Santiago that
he was over the Pass of Planchon.
• At 3:24 p.m. he reported their plane was over a small town in Chile named
Curico. He was authorized to turn north and begin his descent to the airport
of Pudahuel.
• At 3:30 p.m. he reported his height—15,000 feet.
• When Santiago control tower spoke to the F-227 one minute later, there
was no reply . . . nor would there be for the next ten weeks. An extreme
dilemma
had transpired.

Several things made search attempts futile. The Andes are a vast,
treacherous, and confusing range. The top of the plane was white, making it
impossible
to spot from the air. Heavy snowfalls caused the vessel to blend into its
surroundings. There was little chance that the plane would ever be found,
and
less chance still that any of the forty-five passengers and crew could have
lived through the fall.

Ten weeks later, a Chilean peasant tending his cattle in a remote valley
deep in the Andes spotted two gaunt, bearded figures in the distance. They
made
wild gestures. They fell to their knees as though in supplication, but the
peasant, fearing they were terrorists, fled the scene. The next day,
however,
he returned and noticed the two strangers were still there across the river.
He approached the bank of the river, wrapped some paper and a pen into a
handkerchief
and tossed it to the other side.

When it was thrown back by the bedraggled figures, these words had been
written with a quivering hand:

I come from a plane that fell in the mountains. I am Uruguayan . . .

Those who endured the ordeal had done so because of a radical adjustment.
They had become cannibals. Instead of starving to death, they decided to
strip thin layers of skin off the frozen bodies of the victims and survive
by
eating the flesh of those who had once been their friends and teammates. It
was literally a life-or-death, albeit painful, decision. But because of it,
sixteen survived and were rescued. Their story is told in a book that bears
an appropriate one-word title—
Alive.

It's possible that you find yourself cornered today. Although you are not
lost in the foreseen Andes, you feel gripped with fear because your
situation
is extreme. It's time to get control of your finances. Or break off that
compromising relationship. Or say yes to God's clear leading. Or come to
terms
with your priorities. Or get your career in gear. It's no time for a mild
and easy shift. The dilemma is extreme and the only solution is a radical
one.

You've thought it through and you've considered all the alternatives. Your
throat is sore from praying and your eyes burn from weeping. You know it's
right,
but you're scared.
Really scared. Initially, somebody won't understand and you'll not be able
to explain. Yet you are convinced it's best . . . it will glorify God . . .
it can be supported by scriptural principles . . . and it's right.

So? So quit procrastinating and do it.

Had Christ not taken a drastic step, sinners like us would've never survived
the fall. We would never have been rescued. We would be permanently lost.
The cross was God's incredible response to our extreme dilemma. Christ did
something radical.

Now it's your turn. Get with it.

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 .

The Church Awakening
Visit insight.org
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved
worldwide.

Thoughts on Why Everything Exists
John Piper

One of the main points of the book, Spectacular Sins and Their Global
Purpose in the Glory of Christ , is that sin and God's wrath against it were
part
of God's plan when he created the world. This is different from saying that
God sins or that he approves of sinning.

The main reason for making this point is to exalt the revelation of God's
grace in the crucifixion of Jesus to the highest place. This is the point of
the universe--the glorification of the grace of God in the apex of its
expression in the death of Jesus.

Jesus died for sin ( 1 Corinthians 15:3
). The death of Jesus for sin was planned before the foundation of the world
(
Revelation 13:8 ;
Ephesians 1:4-6 ). Therefore, sin was part of the plan. God carries this
plan through in a way that maintains full human accountability, full hatred
for
sin, full divine justice, and full saving love for all who trust Christ. And
we don't need to know
how he does it to believe it and rest in it and worship him for it.

This morning I was meditating for my devotions on Ezra 8 and Ezra 9
. I saw there another pointer to the truth of God's planning for human sin
and divine wrath.

In Ezra 8:22
, Ezra says, "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and
his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him." This text leads me
to ask: Did God know before creation that his creatures would "forsake him."
Yes, he did. The plan for their redemption was in place before the
foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:3-6
).

Was Ezra 8:22
true before the foundation of the world? Yes, it was. God did not become
holy and just
after creation. He has always been holy and just. "His power and his wrath
are against all who forsake him" because this is, and always has been, the
holy
and just thing for God to do.

Therefore, since God knew that his creatures would forsake him, he also knew
that his power and wrath would be against them. Therefore, this was part of
his plan. He created the world knowing that sin would happen and that he
would respond as
Ezra 8:22 says he does.

This planning is what Paul means in Romans 9:22
when he says that God was "desiring to show his
wrath and to make known his power. . ." And if you ask Paul why God would go
forward with this plan, his most ultimate answer is in the next verse: "in
order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy" (
Romans 9:23 ).

God knew that the revelation of his wrath and power against sin would make
the riches of his glory shine all the brighter and taste all the sweeter for
the vessels of mercy.

"The riches of his glory" are the riches we inherit when we see his glory in
all the fullness that we can bear (
Ephesians 1:18
) and are transformed by it (
Romans 8:30 ; 2 Corinthians 3:18 ; 1 John 3:2
). These riches of glory reach their supreme height of wonder and beauty in
the death of Jesus as he bore the condemnation of God's wrath and power in
our place (
Romans 8:3 ; Galatians 3:13 ).

In other words, God's plan that there be sin and wrath in the universe was
ultimately to bring about "the praise of the glory of his grace" in the
death
of Christ (
Ephesians 1:6
). What is at stake in the sovereignty of God over sin is the ultimate aim
of the universe, namely, the exaltation of the Son of God in the greatest
act
of wrath-removing, sin-forgiving, justice-vindicating grace that ever was or
ever could be. The praise of the glory of God's grace in the death of Christ
for sinners is the ultimate end of all things.

Christ is the aim of all things. When Paul says, "All things were created .
. .
for him" ( Colossians 1:16
), he means that the entire universe and all the events in it serve to
glorify Jesus Christ. May the meditations of our hearts take us ever deeper
into
this mystery. And may the words of our mouths and the actions of our hands
serve to magnify the infinite worth of Jesus and his death. This is why we
exist.

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


God's Comfort For Those Who Comfort Others

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be
watered. -
Proverbs 11:25

We are taught here the great lesson that to get, we must give; to
accumulate, we must scatter; to make ourselves happy, we must make others
happy; and
in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of
others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be
useful bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and
unused gifts that become apparent by exercise. Our strength for work is even
hidden
from ourselves until we take our stand and fight the Lord's battles or climb
the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we
possess
until we try to dry the widow's tears and soothe the orphan's grief.

We often find in attempting to teach others that we gain instruction for
ourselves. What gracious lessons some of us have learned in visiting the
sick!
We went to teach the Scriptures, and we came away blushing that our
knowledge of them was so poor. In our conversation with humble saints, we
are taught
the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into
divine truth. So watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace
there is where we had not looked for it, and how much the humble saint may
outstrip us in knowledge.

Our own comfort is also increased by working for others. We endeavor to
cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Consider the two men
in
the snow-one massaged the other's limbs to keep him from dying, and in doing
so kept his own blood circulating and saved his own life. Remember the poor
widow who supplied the prophet's needs from her own meager resources, and
from that day she never experienced need again. Give, and it will be given
to
you-good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 13

verse 2 Romans 11

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good

Strength for Such a Time as This
August 23, 2017

Read: Esther 4:12-17, 8:4-8

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for
the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.
And
who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
(4:14)

Injustice is wrong, but saying it’s wrong and acting to right the wrong are
two different things. Yes, Christians are called to pray for change.
However,
we are also called to seek justice (Isa. 1:17). We should not sit
comfortably in our communities and depend on others to stand up for what is
right. We
must make a choice. We will either ignore the problems or do something to
change them.

Queen Esther had an important choice to make. Would she risk her life to
save her people from an unjust death, or would she remain silent to keep
herself
safe inside the palace walls? Persian traditions limit her abilities, but
she is uniquely positioned to influence the king. The key to her success is
admitting
that she can’t change anything without God’s strength. By fasting and
praying, she gains clarity and courage to stand before the king, and her
request
saves the lives of her people.

Like Esther, we need courage to do what’s right even if that puts our jobs
and relationships at risk. Let’s ask ourselves, “What’s happening in our
sphere
of influence?” Maybe God has us right in the middle to change it! —Ericka
Loynes

Prayer: God, give us strength to seek justice for those who need it in such
a time as this.

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

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Strength to Move Past Our Failures
August 20, 2017

Read: Luke 22:54-62 ;

Acts 2:36-41

But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And
immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord
turned
and looked at Peter . . . And [Peter] went out and wept bitterly. (Luke
22:60-62)

Have you ever known people who are outspoken? They are not afraid to say
what’s on their mind and may pride themselves on being the only honest folks
in
the room. Though honesty is admirable, people speaking without thinking are
like bulls in a china shop. You can bet that they are going to cause some
damage.

Out of all the disciples, Peter was probably the most vocal and to the
point. He was quick to give his opinion and to let you know when he didn’t
agree.
So, it was no surprise that when Peter was told he would deny Jesus, he was
quick to reject it. Later, however, it happened. Peter had failed Jesus, and
his words left an ugly mark.

Whether we’re soft-spoken or outspoken, we all fall short of where we want
to be. The true test of our character depends on what we do after we make a
mistake. Judas Iscariot and Peter both betrayed Jesus, but Judas’ sorrow led
to death, whereas Peter’s sorrow led to repentance and life (2 Cor. 7:10).
We can stay down and wallow in self-pity, or we can reach out to God and ask
for his strength to help us recover (Prov. 24:16). —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the strength to get back up when we fail.

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

Kill Me Now
by Shawn McEvoy

If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now --if I
have found favor in your eyes -- and do not let me face my own ruin."
Numbers 11:15

...while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom
tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die."I have had enough,
Lord,"
he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
1 Kings 19:4

Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah 4:3

What kind of a person feels like this? A schmo like me, at times, sure.
Maybe you, or people you know. Surely not the heroes of the Old Testament.

Well, truth is, even God's greatest leaders and prophets got to the point in
their respective stories where, even after witnessing indescribable miracles
and blessings, their circumstances were so overwhelming, impossible and
undesirable their attitude was, "Just kill me now, Lord!" Exhausted in body,
soul,
and spirit, they cried out that they had had enough. They could go no longer
in their own power.

The first quote above is from Moses, who had a People Problem. The wandering
Israelites were hungry, and as usual, it fell to Moses to solve the problem.
He cried out to the Lord, "Was it I who conceived these people? Was it I who
brought them forth?" He looked around and couldn't figure out how to satisfy
everyone.

The second quote is from Elijah, who had a Pity Problem. This was a prophet
who had just called down fire from heaven, destroyed the prophets of Baal,
and witnessed the end of a long drought. But just a few verses later, one
vow from one wicked queen has him in such despair that he fears he can't go
on
like this.

The third quote is from Jonah , who had a Pouting Problem. He'd finally
obeyed to the point of going to Nineveh and preaching repentance, but when
the Lord
relented and stayed his hand rather than destroying the city, Jonah wasn't
happy. He folded his hands and "became angry" that the destruction he
forecast
never arrived.

Consider who these men were and what they had seen, what the Lord had done
through them. Moses parted the Red Sea and led a people out of slavery.
Elijah
stood strong during a time of tremendous pagan influence, prayed down fire
and rain, and actually never died (so chalk up at least one unanswered
prayer!).
Jonah is one of the first stories we tell our children, about how God
provided a great fish to swallow him for such a period as he could learn
about obedience
and repentance.

Not only that, but these guys all show up in the Gospels, in one way or
another. Moses and Elijah are present at Jesus' transfiguration ( Mark 9 ).
In
Matthew 12:38-41 , Jesus tells the Pharisees they won't get any sign from
him other than the sign of Jonah, foreshadowing the three days He Himself
would
spend in the belly of the Earth.

But interestingly enough, Jesus, even with all he had going on, apparently
never felt this way. He knew his destiny was to die, but even so prayed that
such a cup might
pass from him. And let's not forget that he is our example, not Moses, not
Elijah, and not Jonah, great as they were.

When we feel the way that these guys did, we need to realize that anyone
wanting to die rather than trust God through adversity is under attack. And
our
enemy can bring that attack through people, pity, and pouting. It comes when
our body is not healthy, our soul is not happy, and our spirit is not holy.

But conveniently enough, Paul shows us a prayer that covers all these bases.
He writes in 1 Thessalonians 5
, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your
spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will
bring
it to pass." (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ).

You aren't alone when you feel like you can't go on, or like you would be
better off dead than standing strong in the face of the overwhelming task
God
has given you, especially when you are weak in body, soul, and spirit, and
the enemy is on the attack. And truly, it is comforting to know that some of
the
Bible
's greatest faith warriors and miracle workers shared these feelings. But it
doesn't mean they were right. Let us not indulge hopelessness, for it may
always be found. Instead, let us remember that we serve a God of hope and of
miracles and we follow the One who never copped to people, pity, or pouting,
but willingly laid his life down for
others, not for himself.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Develop a plan that gives you exercise and rest
in proper amounts for your body, soul, and spirit, so that you will be less
prone to attack.
Editor's note: The content was taken from this original article .


We need to elevate the average person’s knowledge for preventative
legal checkups, but how?
ByMARY E. JUETTEN

Access to justice was on the agenda at the recent ABA Annual meeting and
even appeared in the Global Legal Blockchain announcement, that took
place during ILTA 2017. The 2016 ABAReport
on
the Future of Legal Services in the US noted that, in addition limited
financial resources, people cannot address their legal issues because
they often do not know that a legal problem exists. Therefore, it’s
equally important to address this education gap, particularly for
preventative legal services.

*Statistics Don’t Lie*

Over the past seven years since my law school graduation, I have spoken
to thousands of entrepreneurs about taking early steps to protect their
businesses.SBA statistics

show that over 19 million businesses operate as sole proprietorships,
putting personal assets at risk. These companies are small operations,
without any employees, and over 80% report revenue less than $50K.
Therefore, the sole proprietors most likely cannot afford a traditional
lawyer. Although incorporation or LLC formation is relatively
inexpensive, for some reason, these business owners forge ahead, risking
their family security.

A couple years ago, when preparing for Small Business Association (SBA)
and SCORE (formerly Service Corps of Retired Executives) webinars, I
looked at the Kaufman studies that showed at the end of the first year
in business only one in five startups had protected any of their
intellectual property. In one webinar, with over 400 businesses owners,
more than 100 responded online that they do not believe that they had
any intellectual property (IP) worth protecting. Of course, all have
some type of IP, and all businesses have a name that either needs to be
protected or defended. It appears we have an education challenge around
mission-critical steps for small business.
READ MORE: https://abovethelaw.com/2017/09/the-education-gap-in-the-law/


September 27, 2017
ByMark Jones, Komando.com
Cybercriminals have been extremely active lately. Nearly 143 million
Americans are still dealing with Equifax's data breach, which means
you're most likely impacted. If so,click here to find out what you need
to do with your Social Security number immediately
.

Even though the Equifax breach was so substantial, we can't take our eye
off the ball and stop paying attention to other attacks. We've just
learned of a massive data breach at one of the country's most popular
chain restaurants and your finances could be at risk.

*Has your financial information been stolen?**
*We're talking about the popular fast-food chain, *Sonic Drive-In*.
There are about 3,600 Sonic locations across 45 states in the U.S.
KrebsOnSecurity recently discovered about 5 million stolen credit and
debit card numbers for sale on theDark Web
. A common
thread with many of the stolen cards is they were recently used to make
purchases at different Sonic locations. The company later confirmed that
it had recently seen unusual security activity with its point-of-sale
(POS) system.
The company told Krebs, "Our credit card processor informed us last week
of unusual activity regarding credit cards used at SONIC. The security
of our guests' information is very important to SONIC. We are working to
understand the nature and scope of this issue, as we know how important
this is to our guests. We immediately engaged third-party forensic
experts and law enforcement when we heard from our processor. While law
enforcement limits the information we can share, we will communicate
additional information as we are able."
At this time, the company does not know how many or which of its
locations have been impacted by the breach. It's also unclear if other
companies were part of the breach.
READ MORE:
https://www.komando.com/happening-now/421901/millions-of-credit-card-numbers-stolen-from-popular-fast-food-ch


The Eternal Shore: Five Things We Forget About Heaven
Gavin Ortlund / August 10, 2017
The Eternal Shore

In 1952, Florence Chadwick tried to swim from Catalina Island to the coast
of California. For fifteen hours, she endured choppy waters, possible shark
attacks, and extreme fatigue. Then a thick fog set in. She gave up.

Two months later, she tried again. This time, though it was foggy again, she
made it. When asked what made the difference, she said, “The first time all
I could see was the fog. The second time I kept a mental image of that
shoreline in my mind while I swam.”

For me, Chadwick’s comment gives a great image of how heaven should function
in our lives as we follow Jesus. In order to persevere through the fog and
fatigue of life, we need a mental image of the eternal shoreline toward
which we swim.

But if you’re like me, you tend to think about heaven far less than you
should. Many days it’s completely off my radar screen. What’s more, when we
do
think about heaven, we have a lot of misconceptions about it, as Randy
Alcorn
has helped us understand .

So lately, I’ve been trying to think more about heaven. As I’ve done so,
several features of heaven have surprised me. Think of these as qualities we
often
forget about heaven — parts of the shoreline most likely to be overlooked.

1. All the Saints Are Equals

When I picture my grandfather in heaven, I picture him as he looked toward
the end of his life, because that is when I knew him. But of course, he won’t
have an aged, broken-down, 84-year-old body in heaven — any more than those
who die in infancy will remain infants for all eternity. Everyone in heaven
will have a perfected resurrection body (Matthew 22:30).

So here is a happy thought: my grandfather greeting my children in heaven,
and all of them hugging as equals. Oh, how I pray for this! What a joy it
would
be to introduce them.

2. All the Saints Are Friends

Imagine being out for a walk and bumping into Charles Spurgeon. Or Moses. Or
Joni Eareckson Tada (who, of course, can walk and run!). All the saints,
from
all times, will be your intimate friends and neighbors. It is, after all,
eternity, so if you miss anyone over the first ten billion years, you’ll
have
no less time to get started.

Personally, I look forward to having a conversation with C.S. Lewis. I feel
like I have come to know C.S. Lewis somewhat because I have spent so much
time
in his books. I cannot wait to tell him all that I love about
Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, and Till We Have Faces, and see what he
thinks about my theories.

3. Sadness Is Permanently Unmade

We know that earthly sadness cannot enter heaven. This is true, but the
Bible seems to point to something even more profound — that heaven will
enter our
earthly sadness.

Once when I was preaching on heaven, my eye was drawn to Revelation 21:4:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” This verse seems to be
claiming
more than simply, “We won’t weep in heaven.” The imagery of God
wiping away our tears seems to suggest consolation for, as well as the end
of, earthly grief. Heaven will not merely end our pain — somehow, it will
mend
it.

Tim Keller puts it like this
: “Resurrection . . . means that every horrible thing that ever happened
will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual
glory
and joy even greater.” It’s like at the end of
The Lord of the Rings, when Sam asks Gandalf, “Is everything sad going to
come untrue?”

Imagine yourself newly arrived in heaven. God Almighty summons you. As you
stand trembling before him, he surgically draws up the deepest wound of your
life, healing you and transforming your pain into glory and joy.

Such imagery is tender to the point of embarrassment. Dare we believe it?
Dare we not?

4. Every Pleasure Finally Finds Itself

We tend to think about the spiritual joy of heaven more than its physical
pleasures. But I think heaven will have both. I’ll be the first to admit I
don’t
know how to imagine all the details, but I don’t think God created
waterfalls, raspberries, relationships, and art only to destroy them forever
so we could
float in an ethereal, cloudy realm. And I’m pretty sure the “pleasures
forevermore” at God’s right hand (Psalm 16:11) are not exhausted by an
eternity
of singing praise choruses.

That means something startling: not only will heaven heal your earthly
sorrow, but it will also recall, answer, and fulfill all your earthly
happiness.
Your happy moments on earth are not lost to you. They will return to you, in
some deeper form — part of that final, settled Happiness of which they were,
even at their best, mere anticipations.

It’s like in The Chronicles of Narnia when one of the characters makes it to
heaven and says, “This is the land I have been looking for all my life,
though
I never knew it till now. The reason we loved the old Narnia is that it
sometimes looked a little like this.”

In happy moments, I sometimes pray, “Lord, store this up until heaven.” I
believe that is a valid prayer.

5. We Will See Jesus

How amazing will it be to finally see, with our own eyes, the risen,
glorified, incarnate Christ in heaven? Truly, this will be one of the most
glorious
parts of heaven. The one to whom we’ve prayed a thousand times — but he’s
always been invisible to us — now we can look into his eyes. We can put our
hands
into the holes in his wrists. We can hug him and say, “Thank you” into his
ear.

But there are hints in the Bible of something even more intriguing (Psalm
11:7; 17:15; 27:4; Revelation 22:4). Theologians have often spoken of the
“beatific
vision” — that heavenly vision which involves not our resurrected bodily
eyes, but “the eye of the soul.” In this way, it is said, we will behold
Christ
in his divine nature — a glory that surpasses the sweetness of laying our
physical eyes on him.

Even the greatest theologians labor to describe this experience. But all
agree it is the ultimate happiness of creatures.
John Owen claimed
that it “will make us blessed unto eternity.” Jonathan Edwards called it
“happifying.”

Such an encounter with the glory of Christ can scarcely be imagined. How
will we even endure such light and joy? Surely this will be the pinnacle
moment
of our existence, as we ascend into that permanent roar of joy from which we
shall never, and can never, descend.

That Eternal Shore

These features of heaven’s eternal shoreline change how we swim, don’t they?
For now, we struggle through rough waters, deep fatigue, and thick fog. But
the day is coming soon when the seemingly unending waves will give way to a
broad, sturdy shoreline where the joy is full and the pleasures are
forevermore.
Knowing this awaits us at the shore can help us keep swimming, no matter how
choppy the waves get.


Kindness

While traveling from one city to the next, a man was overtaken by robbers.
Taking his clothes and possessions, they left him badly beaten. Not long
after
the attack, a priest traveled the same road. He passed by without stopping.
Then another traveler saw the man but did not offer to help.

Finally, someone stopped--a Samaritan. He put bandages on the man's wounds
and took him to an inn for the night. The next day he gave the innkeeper
money
and instructions to take care of the wounded man.

The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10
is a wonderful example of godly kindness. It also demonstrates that kindness
often requires something of us--time, plans, privacy, and desires. The Good
Samaritan interrupted his travel plans to help a stranger. What better
example to follow than that of Christ? He gave us the ultimate gift of
kindness--He
died that we might live.

However, we cannot learn to be kind simply by disciplining ourselves.
Kindness can be hard work, and from time to time, this may mean that we have
to face
difficult situations that drain us emotionally and physically.

Often kindness cannot grow apart from conflict and strife. We learn to be
kind through the kindness of others, but we also learn a greater kindness
when
we are called to be kind and caring in difficult situations.

A disagreement with a co-worker, spouse, friend, or family member can tempt
us to be abrupt or uncaring. Circumstances appear out of focus and God's
fruit
of kindness becomes lost in the battle. However, through the power of Christ
we are able to act in kindness even toward those who hurt us. Is there
someone
who needs your kindness today?

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love
as brothers, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8).

****

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3 Ways to Speak Life Today
By Sophie Hudson

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth
with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not
sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the
devil. 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. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is
good
for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who
hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for
the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and
slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
" - Ephesians 4:25-32

I hope you don’t find this hard to believe, but since I work with teenage
girls every day, I sometimes have to deal with a little bit of drama.

Shocking, I know.

Sometimes the drama is because of a misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s because
of a social media post (if I could, I would insert all the red-faced emojis
right here). Sometimes it’s because of a boy.

More often than not, the drama is directly tied to words. And believe me,
there are all sorts of word-related offenders: a hastily sent email, a group
text gone wrong, a sarcastic remark in the hallway, a rumor that’s passed
along thoughtlessly--we could go on and on.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of one of those things, you know
how much it can hurt. But sometimes, we’re the ones who do the hurting, and
I
understand why it happens. We’re always looking for ways to feel connected
to other people--to feel accepted and “safe”--so when the enemy dangles bait
that gives us a chance to be a mocker as opposed to mocked, to be the
scorner instead of scorned, we can feel tempted to lunge at that seemingly
tasty
morsel. So we start a rumor, share some gossip, roast the new girl--and we
act like it’s all in good fun.

After all, the bait looks delicious, right?

But don’t be fooled, sweet girls: that bait is a trap. And that trap will
hook you and hold you for longer than you ever intended to stay there.

That’s why it’s critical to use our words well. Proverbs 18:21
tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who
love it will eat its fruits” (ESV). So every time we speak, we are choosing
life or death.

Let me repeat that.

Every time we speak, we are choosing life or death.

We can build up, encourage, love, and support. Or we can tear down, wound,
hate, and reject.

So, I just want to offer three quick suggestions that will hopefully remind
us of how important it is to speak life today:

1. Every single person is made in the image of God. Every. Single. One. It’s
good to remember that before we share the latest rumor or pass along “news”
that’s really none of our business. The person you’re tempted to talk about
is precious in God’s sight. Choose your words carefully.

2. Empathy changes how we respond. Instead of firing off a sarcastic remark,
take ten seconds to really think about how the other person feels--and how
you feel when people are unkind to you. Think about the possibility that
what you and the other person really need is a conversation, not an
argument.

3. It’s so much more rewarding to create a culture of honor and esteem than
it is to settle for a culture of mean. And if you’re tempted to think the
culture
can’t be any different--that you can’t make a difference--then stand up for
someone who’s having a tough time. You’ll see what an impact even one person
can have.

Give grace. Speak life. Your words are more powerful than you know.

Excerpted from All in All Journaling Devotional: Loving God Wherever You Are
by Sophie Hudson. (c)2017 Used with permission, B&H Publishing Group.

Sophie Hudson loves to laugh more than just about anything. Through her
books and her popular blog, BooMama.net, she offers encouragement and hope
in the
everyday, joy-filled moments of life. A devoted fan of pajama pants, Sophie
loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire
seasons
of TV shows in record time. She lives with her husband and son in
Birmingham, Alabama.
Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !

7 Habits to Help You Fight Comparison
Jaquelle Crowe

“If only” are two of the deadliest words in a Christian’s vocabulary. If
only I looked like her. If only I had as much money as him. If only my kids
were
as well-behaved as theirs. If only I could speak, work, cook, travel, think,
do,
be like someone else.

We are plagued by comparison.

We compare our bodies, our jobs, our families, our skills, our stuff, our
intellects, in an ever-increasing desire for complete satisfaction. We want
to
be attractive, successful, and happy. So we measure ourselves against the
people around us. But instead of resulting in contentment, our comparison
delivers
compulsive jealousy, pride, and shame.

We envy those who are “better” than us, and we look down on those who are
“worse” than us. And once we’ve started comparing ourselves, we slide into a
bitterly insatiable cycle. The more we compare ourselves, the more we
need to compare ourselves. It’s an addiction. We’re on a quest for
acceptance and joy, but are paralyzed by the pressure to look, do, and be
better than
the people around us.

Because of this, we are distracted from our purpose, mission, and need to
pursue holiness. This is why comparison is so deadly.

Comparison Is Anti-Gospel

But comparison isn’t just unhealthy for Christians; it’s downright
antithetical to the faith we profess. The gospel is a message of radical
acceptance—but
it starts with recognizing we are not okay. We’re not beautiful, worthy,
successful, perfect, or better than anyone else. We’re all sinners, every
one
of us. But in Christ, God has accepted us. He cleansed us, clothed us, saved
us, changed us, loved us, adopted us—
and he fulfills us.

As Tim Keller famously said,

The gospel is the good news of gracious acceptance…Christians who trust in
Christ for their acceptance with God, rather than in their own moral
character,
commitment, or performance, are
simul iustus et peccator – simultaneously sinful yet accepted. We are more
flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and
accepted
than we ever dared hope at the same time.

The God of the universe has accepted us! Why would we try to find our value
in being better than another human? I believe the search for acceptance is
ultimately at the root of our comparison. We want to be better than others
so we can be loved more. We think, “If I was prettier, smarter, wealthier, a
better parent, spouse, employee, I would be loved.”

But we have been accepted, and nothing we do can change that. Yet comparison
rejects the humble glory of the gospel and says, “No, that’s untrue. I need
to work harder.”

Seven Habits to Help You Fight Comparison

So how do we get out of this self-destructive trap? How do we break the
cycle? Ultimately, we embrace our identity as children of God, wholly
accepted
and loved. But how do we get to that place?

First, we have to recognize that it’s not an overnight cure or a magical
mental shift. Instead, change comes from intentionally cultivating holy
habits
that fight the lure of comparison.

Here are seven of these holy habits to pursue:

1. Feast on gospel-truth.

Get in God’s Word and marinate your mind in gospel-truth. Read and reflect
on and apply what you read. Get your strength and sustenance for each day
from
this living, active book.

2. Look for your comparison, and confess it.

Start intentionally looking for what triggers your comparison. Are there
regular rhythms or moments when you struggle with it? Identify them, notice
them,
and repent of them. Recognize comparison for the sin it is, and run from it.

3. Surround yourself with humble teachers.

Listen to the people who are not marked by insecurity, comparison, and envy.
Take counsel from the humble. Surround yourself with those who are generous
and big-hearted and who love others deeply.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

4. Read books that challenge your self-focus.

As I’ve struggled with my tendency to compare myself to others, two books
(after the Word of God) have hugely helped me. The first is New Morning
Mercies,
a daily gospel devotional by Paul Tripp, and the second is
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller. Both of these books
recognize that we humans have a self-focus problem and seek to re-orient our
perspectives
by giving us practical (and kind) help in pursuing humility.

5. Train yourself to love better.

Instead of using people as measuring sticks against yourself, take steps to
treat them as image-bearing individuals. Serve them. Pray for them. Do good
to them. Encourage them. Give to them. Sacrifice for them. And see your
attitude toward them change.

6. Cultivate gratitude.

We compare ourselves because we are discontent. Fight comparison by
nurturing daily thankfulness. Start noticing small mercies. Include specific
times
of gratitude in your prayer time. Pay attention to all the ways God is
showing his grace to you.

7. Remind yourself of your identity in Christ.

In other words, preach the gospel of acceptance in Christ to yourself. You
are fully known and fully loved by your Creator God, and nothing can change
that. As you seek to combat comparison, rejoice in the gospel. This is the
only thing that has the power to break the chains of jealousy, pride, shame,
and self-focus, and free us to live satisfied, content, and happy in Jesus.

This article originally appeared on UnlockingTheBible.org
. Used with permission.

Jaquelle Crowe (@JaquelleCrowe) is a 19-year-old writer from eastern Canada.
She’s a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and the editor-in-chief
of
TheRebelution.com . She is the author of
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Crossway,
April 2017). You can find more of her writing at jaquelle.ca .
Image courtesy: ©️Thinkstock/WavebreakmediaLtd
Salem Web Network | Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. | 111 Virginia St.,
Suite 500, Richmond, VA 23219
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


God's Steadfast Love

The steadfast love of God. - Psalms 52:8

Meditate a little on this steadfast love of the Lord. It is tender love.
With gentle, loving touch, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their
wounds.
He is as gracious in the manner of His steadfast love as in the matter of
it. It is great steadfast love. There is nothing little in God; His
steadfast
love is like Himself-it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so
great that it forgives great sins to great sinners after great lengths of
time
and then gives great favors and great privileges and raises us up to great
enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.

It is undeserved steadfast love, as indeed all true mercy must be, for
deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the
sinner's
part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed
at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if
delivered
from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in
the sinner himself. It is rich steadfast love. Some things are great but
have
little efficacy in them, but this steadfast love is a tonic to your drooping
spirits, a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds, a heavenly bandage to
your broken bones, a royal chariot for your weary feet, a bosom of love for
your trembling heart.

It is manifold steadfast love. As Bunyan says, "All the flowers in God's
garden are double." There is no single steadfast love. You may think you
have
only one steadfast love, but you will find it to be a whole cluster of
mercies. It is abounding steadfast love. Millions have received it, but far
from
its being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is
unfailing steadfast love. It will never leave you. If mercy is your friend,
mercy will be with you in temptation to keep you from yielding, with you in
trouble to prevent you from sinking, with you in living to be the light and
life of your countenance, and with you in dying to be the joy of your soul
when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 9

verse 2 Romans 7

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne

Name above All Names helps us to see and meditate on the incomparable
character of Christ--a spiritual exercise that enables us to readily respond
to the
exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon the King of kings, and to
better understand just how great Jesus really is.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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


Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour

"No Matter the Circumstance ~ Count on Christ!"
August 21, 2017
Matthew 15:21-23a - Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre
and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out,
"Lord,
Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon
possession." Jesus did not answer a word. ...
Count on Christ! That's the message of our lesson for today. In this lesson
we see a woman who is at the end of her rope. She's a loving mother who had
a very sick daughter, and the Bible says that her daughter was troubled by a
demon. Her world was in chaos.

When the world in all its chaos gets very real, then the uniqueness of Jesus
shines even more clearly. That's what this lady understood. No matter what
she was facing, Jesus was here, and that made all the difference for her.

Her faith in Him made all the difference too because in her mind He would do
what was best for her and for her daughter. To that end her persistent faith

demonstrates that you can count on Jesus, even when you can't count on
anything else.

You can count on Jesus when all else fails; you can even count on Him when
He seems silent for a time. Why? The cross and the resurrection demonstrate
publicly what He thinks about you and what He wants for us.

So even when Jesus is silent, or even when He appears to be unconcerned, the
woman of this text says don't you believe it. He loves you and will do what
is best.

Back to the lesson. Hey! In fact, what about Jesus' responses? He seems to
put her off; He seems to mildly insult her. Why would He do such a thing??
It
seems so unlike Him.

Some say His silence -- or later His even somewhat rebuke -- some say that
was to deepen her faith and trust in Him.

I say no it's much more than that. It's to exhibit her faith, to demonstrate
her faith for all to see -- especially those of us today who might be having
a hard time with what we think God is doing for us or not doing for us at
the moment.

Her faith was a shining example for those present and for us today. She was
in essence saying, "Whatever you do for me, Jesus, it will be best for me.
I can put my trust in You alone. So I'm committing my life, my daughter's
life, to You. Period."

Some people think the woman's faith caused Jesus to act. That misses the
whole point too. She knew the depth of the mercy of this Jesus who stood
before
her. He was the one that David longed to see. He was the one that Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob yearned for. He was the Lord, the Master who brings God's
mercy
to her and to all.

She was bold in her response. She said, "I have a Master who treats me with
mercy!"

Jesus, You know, if You want to call me a house dog, I'm okay with it. It
means I'm a part of Your house. You're my Lord, I'm with You. I'm no stray.
I'm
not on my own. I'm with You, and that's all right."

You see everyone in the world, we all have a master, but most people go
searching for love and peace and happiness in other sinful people or in
inanimate
things. They try to go it on their own, but they don't realize His crumbs
are better than everyone else's filet mignon.

• Lord, if only Your crumbs -- that's enough for me.
• If only Your loving touch -- I will rest secure.
• If only Your simple word -- I will be satisfied.

Wow! I wish I could have seen Jesus' face. I think He couldn't wait to bless
her trust in Him. Jesus is overjoyed at such confidence in Him, and that's
what He wants for you today, too!

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let this woman be an example to all of us of faith's
persistence to engage You as the source of our very lives, now and forever!
Amen.
In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Readings: 1 Chronicles 17-19; 1 Corinthians 13
Print this Devotion
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all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 28 Sep 2017, 2:21 pm

When Life is Harder than You Expected
Jennifer Heeren

I have a great, big imagination that I thank God for because it brings
immense creativity to my life. However, there is a downside to it. I can see
a lot
of wonderful scenarios happening in my future. Some of which give me a
direction to walk toward and may even be from God. But others may simply be
of my
own mind and not a plan for my future. I can want a lot of things that may
not actually be the best for me.

God seems to sort through the multiple scenarios that get caught in my head.
Some of them may come to be and some of them won’t. The expectations that
aren’t from God will dissipate over time. The ones that are from God will
grow over time. This growth requires patience, faithfulness, and even
self-control.
God uses trials in life to grow this fruit in my life. Not everything that I
can dream will come to fruition. Life is harder than I expect. And this is
a good thing.

A good thing? How can that be?

Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take
heart, because I have overcome the world”
(John 16:33).

He doesn’t say to enjoy the trials. He knows that a lot of them will be
sorrowful. But when I see them, I can take heart (or be encouraged) that
Jesus
has overcome them by giving me the ability to withstand those
disappointments and go forward to something better.

Jesus overcomes these obstacles of disappointment by using them to grow my
faith and dependence on Him. The more I see my botched expectations, the
easier
it is to go in the exact direction that God planned for me all along.

Disappointments in life are tests that help me to develop my “God sight.” If
something doesn’t turn out like I expected, it’s an opportunity to see a
little
bit more of God’s plan. Seeing what doesn’t work helps me to see what does.
Of course, sometimes it’s my own stubbornness that causes me to have to
learn
things the hard way, and the hard way almost always contains
disappointments.

But… Jesus has overcome all of this! He gives me the strength every day to
make new choices when my initial expectations don’t work out.

My growth in the areas of patience and faithfulness leads to strengthened
endurance.
James 1:4 says that when my endurance is fully developed, I will be perfect
and complete, needing nothing. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? But perfect,
complete, and not needing anything doesn’t mean independent. Independence
and my pride is what gets me into a lot of trouble—that’s my before picture.
My after picture (or at least the one that I am striving for) is one of
complete and utter dependence on God and this is how I become complete and
whole.

Jesus’ death and resurrection overcame the world’s evil and gave believers
like me the strength to overcome my trials and problems. I overcome by
living
a different way—His way—instead of my own way.

But then there’s another problem. Life isn’t just hard when I do things my
own way and then reap the consequences. It’s also hard even when I am trying
to follow God’s way.

Trials come when I go my own way and when I follow God. Faith and obedience
don’t guarantee a smooth life with no disappointments.

Life can often be harder than we expect when tragedies happen:

• You’re diagnosed with a debilitating illness or even paralysis and are
bedridden.
• Your child dies way before his or her time.
• You watch a loved one slowly fade away from cancer.

Any of the above can happen to believers and unbelievers. No one is immune
from life’s tragic moments. Life is very fragile, as well as precious.

Disappointments can come simply because it’s a fallen world.
Satan does everything possible to distract people from following God. He can’t
really stop you from living your life for God but he can place obstacles
in your way that hinder you. He can whisper doubts that can go straight to
your heart if you let them. And if those doubts imbed themselves within your
mind, they can take root as bitterness. Bitterness comes out in the form of
anger, self-pity, and even depression, all of which halt your ability to
walk
along God’s path for your life.

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But… let me repeat… God has overcome all of that!

The phrase “But God…” appears a lot in the Bible for a very good reason.
Disappointments will happen
but God is with you to comfort and help you walk through them.

When disappointments seem to block my way, I can hurdle them and continue on
my way. Occasionally though, it’s not that simple. Some disappointments are
bigger than others. Those may require me to step off the path for a bit and
nurse my wounds by reading God’s Truth and connecting with other people for
extra encouragement. But then… I can get back on the road and go forward.

Life is always going to be harder than I expect. My expectations and God’s
ultimate plan often look different.

Bring God all of your expectations.

Stay near to Him.

Learn from Him through it all.

And… the sum of your life will be better than you expect no matter what
elements go into it.

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:21
)

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


Rebuilding the Temple

Haggai 1:2-4 (NASB95)
2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come,
even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.” ’ ” 3 Then the word
of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you
yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”

The Israelites had been in exile throughout Babylon but those who wanted to
were allowed to come back to Jerusalem where they found the city, including
the temple in shambles. When they first got back they started working on the
temple but then left it alone while they just took care of themselves. There
are some people who become Christians and do all that Christians should do
but then they let other things get in the way. They start building their own
houses of careers and leisure pursuits. These things are not bad but they
leave the building of the temple of their spiritual lives unfinished.

If you belong to Jesus Christ, He lives in you and you are a temple. If you
truly belong to Him, He is your firm foundation on which to build. He even
tells us how to build our temple:

Matthew 7:24-25 (NRSV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be
like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock.

So Jesus Christ is the rock and we build our temple through obedience to
Him. What are the building blocks we are to use? Peter tells us:

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NASB95)
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith
supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in
your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in
your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and
are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At times in our lives some of the building blocks might not be as strong as
they once were. Do any of us need to rebuild part or all of our temples?

by Dean W. Masters

5 Exciting Ways Jesus is with You Always
by Jesus’ Economy

by John D. Barry, CEO of Jesus’ Economy

If Jesus seems distant to you, you are not alone. For many, Jesus is
abstract. He is like that piece of modern art you just don’t get and have
trouble
relating to. But this is not the Jesus in the gospels nor of early church
tradition. Jesus is
right here, right now—and that idea will renew your life.

1. Jesus is indeed fully human and fully God—that changes everything.

In the moment when God becomes flesh, God is with us in a more profound way
than ever before. Jesus took on the form of a person in order to forever
bond
the spiritual and physical—to bridge the gap sin had created.

“ ‘Behold, the virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and
they will call his name Emmanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ ” (
Matthew 1:23 LEB )

And this changes everything, right here, right now. If God is with us, then
what can stand in opposition (
Romans 8:37–39
)? God is dwelling among us:

“And the Word became flesh and took up residence among us, and we saw his
glory, glory as of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and
truth.”
(
John 1:14 LEB )

The word used here for “took up residence” (often translated as “dwelt among
us”) has the connotation of “setting up his tent.” Jesus becomes a refugee;
right here on earth. Like all the refuges around our planet, Jesus built a
tent; his tent was flesh.

So often we profess Jesus as Lord, as God, but we forget his humanness in
the process. It was his humanity that allowed for Jesus to be our suffering
servant
(
Isaiah 53:10–12
). And it is his humanity that allows for him to directly relate to us (
Hebrews 2:10–18 ).

This is why the early church fathers so adamantly opposed a belief known as
Docetism—the idea that Jesus was not a real person but instead only spirit
(or God). Yet, today, we often act like Jesus is somehow far away—that he is
only spirit. Let’s reclaim him as suffering servant too—as God
and human among us.

2. Jesus is seen in the faces of the hurting and oppressed.

Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he proclaims his purposes by quoting
the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… he has anointed me to proclaim good news
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and
recovery
of sight to the blind, to send out in freedom those who are oppressed, to
proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” ( Luke 4:18–19 LEB
)

I see the face of Jesus crying out to me in the faces of my hurting
friends—like those I know living in poverty in
Bihar, India
. He cries out the same cry that he did then: “freedom—physical and
spiritual freedom. Work alongside me to bring renewal.” This is profoundly
seen when
Jesus explains to his disciples that at the end of all things the following
will happen:

“Then the righteous will answer [the King, Jesus], saying, ‘Lord, when did
we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you as a guest, or naked and
clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ And
the king [Jesus] will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, in as
much as you did it to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it
to
me.’ ” (
Matthew 25:37–40 LEB )

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Jesus tells us, when we serve the hurting, we serve him: We see him. I have
held the hands of the hurting Jesus mentions and heard them cry out prayers
to God for redemption. I have felt their pain. I have seen Jesus stand
alongside them in their anguish, but I have also felt the burden of the
great needs
of our generation in the process. Jesus is among the hurting and the
oppressed. The question is will we also be?

3. Jesus is sitting beside you—and can be in you—through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus sitting beside you, in conversation—it’s a wonderful picture and one
that a dear friend tells of often. I long to feel that close to Jesus. To
picture
him there, talking with me. And this is precisely what Jesus wants. This is
the type of relationship he envisions through the Holy Spirit in us. Near
the
end of his time on earth, Jesus tells his disciples:

“But when he—the Spirit of truth—comes, he will guide you into all the
truth. For he will not speak from himself, but whatever he hears he will
speak,
and he will proclaim to you the things to come. He will glorify me, because
he will take from what is mine and will proclaim it to you. Everything that
the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he takes from what is
mine and will proclaim it to you.” ( John 16:13–15 LEB
)

There is a direct connection here between the Holy Spirit’s relationship
within the Trinity, and our relationship with Jesus and God the Father. May
we
embrace the idea of Jesus as friend, sitting beside us through the work of
the Holy Spirit among us and in us. It is through the Holy Spirit that
renewal
is brought to our lives. And it is the Holy Spirit that guides the process
of bringing renewal to the world.

4. Jesus is there when we break bread together in his name.

After his resurrection, Jesus shows up on a road, walking with two
disciples. At first, they don’t recognize him (
Luke 24:20
). The disciples tell Jesus of all the events that have occurred with the
crucifixion and the subsequent account of his resurrection. But despite
Jesus’
words about the necessity of his death, according to “the Prophets,” they
still don’t recognize him (
Luke 24:25–26
). They hear, but do not yet believe. But then this happens:

“When [Jesus] reclined at the table with them, he took the bread and gave
thanks, and after breaking it, he gave it to them. And their eyes were
opened,
and they recognized him, and he became invisible to them. And they said to
one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking
with
us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?’ ” (
Luke 24:30–32 LEB )

It is in the meal, and likely in the act of remembering Jesus through the
Eucharist, that
the disciples see him, as he is. Their hearts may have burned, but this is
when their eyes are opened. Hospitality, blessing, a focus on Jesus’
sacrificial
act—this is how we see him.

5. Jesus is in the movement to bring the gospel to the unreached.

Jesus, as a person and as our God, is not merely an idea. We must take
action. Jesus wants to offer physical healing to our generation—to our
earth—and
we have the blessing of being able to be part of it. But the poverty of our
world runs beyond what can be seen; it is also spiritual.

I have seen with my own eyes the desperate need for the good news of Jesus
in unreached places, like
Bihar, India
. I also know the facts—that only 0.3% of the Church’s resources are
allocated to areas where the Church is not. The idea of Jesus among us, in
us—right
here, right now—is also an urgent cry to stand up, lift up, and take action.
To bring the gospel where it is not accessible.

Matthew’s Gospel records that after Jesus’ resurrection, he met his eleven
remaining apostles and said to them:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go
and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I
have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of
the age.” (
Matthew 28:18–20 LEB )

Let us be the generation that brings God with us to every nation, to the end
of the earth. Let us live as if Jesus is sitting beside us, right here in
it all—because he is. He is right here. What will you do with that?

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy


nThe Bow and Arrow

Have you ever been described as an impatient person? It is easy to feel
impatient. Maybe traffic isn't moving fast enough and you are going to be
late
for your meeting. Or you can't get through the checkout lane quickly enough
to pick up your children from the babysitter. These daily irritations can
zap
your strength and cause you to lose sight of what really matters.

The source of true patience is the Spirit of God. His patience toward us
allows us the opportunity to grow and to become more like Him. He does not
give
up on us. When we are stubborn and fail to learn what God wants to teach us,
He continues to demonstrate His patience.

Many times, we grow impatient with a colleague, friend, child, or spouse and
forget that God is patient with us and requires us to do the same with
others.
One of the causes of impatience is spiritual shortsightedness. Our view is
limited. Therefore, many times we only see what has a direct impact on our
lives.
We become impatient because we can't see life from God's perspective!

God has a greater plan. While He does not always show us the details, we can
know the big picture--we are in His loving hands.

Oswald Chambers writes:

Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like
a bow and arrow in the hands of the archer. God is aiming at something the
saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the
saint says, ‘I cannot stand anymore.' God does not heed, He goes on
stretching
till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's
hands.
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In his top-selling new book The Barbarians Are Here, Dr. Michael Youssef
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There is hope for spiritual awakening--but the clock is ticking. The
Barbarians Are Here will open your eyes to the greatest threat the world is
facing--and
the only solution to defeating it.

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

God Sees You
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

She [Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God
who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me”
(Genesis 16:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Let’s face it. People let us down. They disappoint us. And so does God.
Often our experiences fall short of our expectations for God to meet all our
needs
the way we think He should, and like a lover who has been wronged, we tend
to guard our hearts against future disappointment by lowering our
expectations
and trust. But make no mistake about it, God sees. God understands. He is
not aloof.

One day I was sitting on the patio with my friend Beth and her stepfather,
Sam, waiting for the grill to heat up before placing steaks on to cook. Beth’s
mom opened the door and gave Sam his orders -- telling him what to do and
how to do it. When she went back inside, Sam made a hand signal, pointing in
one ear and out the other. We all three laughed. Then he placed his ruddy
hand on Beth’s arm, a hand worn by years of working under the hood of cars
of
every make and model.

“She was pretty hard on you growing up, wasn’t she?” he asked.

“You have no idea,” Beth answered with a sigh.

But Sam did have an idea. He understood. And that one simple gesture let her
know that he had peered into her heart and had seen the truth. The
weathered,
uneducated country mechanic had looked under the hood of her heart with
wisdom and seen the damaged engine within. A heart, though healed by Christ,
that
still felt the phantom pains of a little girl who felt she was never good
enough, who was constantly told what to do and how to do it--and who never
did
it quite right. Sam saw her heart, and for that, Beth loved him. And so did
I.

How like God. He places His hand on your shoulders, looks into your eyes,
and lets you know that He understands. “I see you,” He says. “I see what you
are going through.” Like Hagar who experienced a sudden glory moment with
God in the desert, we too can know God as
El Roi, “the God who sees me,” (Genesis 16:13 ).

The book of Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest, Jesus, who
understands what we are going through. He “sympathizes” with our weakness
(Hebrews 4:15
). The word “sympathizes” comes from two Greek words,
smy andpathos, meaning, “suffer with.” We are not alone in our suffering
and there are glory moments to be found in the dark if we will keep our eyes
open to see.

God did not write the story of your life and then sit back to watch it play
out. He is in the story with you. As a matter of fact, He has the leading
role.
Oh, we try to butt in and take the spotlight. We try to push Him out of the
way and take over the lead. But when we get to heaven and look at the
playbill,
we will see that God had the leading role all along, and our names were
there in supporting roles as a display of His glory. Oh, if we only knew.

Let’s Pray

El Roi, I praise You that You are the God Who sees me. You know everything
that I am going through, everything I have gone through, and everything I
will
go through in the future. Thank You for watching over me and always doing
what is in my best interest. I love you, Lord.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Have you ever felt like God didn’t care about you?

Did you realize that many people in the Bible felt the same way?

But what is the promise of Hebrews 13:5 ? “Never will I leave you; never
will I forsake you.”

What does “never” mean? You got it! It means never!
Seeking God?
GirlfriendsInGod.com

Anne Graham Lotz - God Loves Even Me!
View this email in your browser

God Loves Even Me!
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Hebrews 13:5, NKJV

In the midst of our suffering, it can often be difficult to glimpse the
glory to come. Suffering is so immediate and can seem so permanent that we
can
easily lose sight of the big picture. The pain can be so crushing and our
hearts can be so broken that we just don’t understand why! Why me? Whenever
that
question tends to fill my mind, I hear Him whisper to my heart, “Anne, why
not you? Just trust Me! Trust Me to be with you. Trust Me to bring you
through.
Trust Me to be enough for you. Trust Me – because I love you!”

When I don’t understand why, I trust Him because . . . God loves even me!

Are you hurt because you’ve thought that if God truly loved you, you would
be exempt from pain and problems and pressure? Lay your hurts at His
nail-pierced
feet – and just trust Him because He loves even you!

Blessings,
Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


The Shadow of the Giant
by Chuck Swindoll

1 Samuel 17:50

Goliath reminds me of the cross-eyed discus thrower. He didn't set any
records . . . but he sure kept the crowd awake!

Day after day, he paraded along the slopes of the Valley of Elah throwing
out threats and belching blasphemies across the creek with a basso-profundo
voice
like twenty out-of-tune tubas. He was not only ugly, he was huge, well over
nine feet tall in his stocking feet. His armor included a bronze coat of
mail
weighing two hundred pounds, a solid-iron spear (the head alone weighed
twenty-five pounds), and a big bronze helmet. Add another club, bronze
leggings
and boots, plus that face of his . . . and you've got the makings of a
shoo-in linebacker for the Chicago Bears or next season's center for UCLA's
starting
five. Pity the poor private who drew duty as Goliath's shield bearer! It was
about as suicidal as a novice drifting into the Devil's Triangle on a hang
glider. Goliath, you see, was the pride of Philistia; and if you didn't
believe it, all you had to do was ask him, or ask Saul's army (if you could
find
them).

Paralyzed and hypnotized, the camp of the Israelites sat galvanized in their
tents. The only noise heard from the Hebrew troops was the knocking of their
knees or the chattering of their teeth—in unison. Goliath was, up to that
point, eminently successful with his basic strategy of intimidation. His
threats
boomed across the valley with chilling regularity, producing the desired
result:
fear. The inspired record informs us that those monotonous blasts from the
giant's mouth sounded forth every morning and every evening for forty long
days.
The dawn of that forty-first day, however, was the beginning of the end for
the giant from Gath.

Some ten miles away, a handsome, muscular teenager—the runt in a family of
eight boys—was sent on an errand by his father. That innocent errand proved
to be an epochal event in Jewish history. Fresh from the wilderness, the
sheep trails, and more important, from the awesome presence of God, David
stopped
and stared in disbelief when he reached the battleground.

For a young man whose unsullied character had been nursed in solitude and
spawned in secret acts of bravery, the scene before him was staggering. The
young
shepherd simply could not believe his eyes. Refusing to accept his brothers'
rationalizations or listen to the giant's threats, David saw through the
Philistine
strategy and withstood it through sheer, solid faith. He knew His God could
handle any threat.

Are you facing a giant today? Tomorrow we'll learn from David two timeless
truths about giant warfare.

Yesterday, we visited David as he faced off against Goliath. Refusing to
accept his brothers' rationalizations or listen to the giant's threats,
David
saw through the Philistine strategy and withstood it through sheer, solid
faith.

You know the outcome. With a well-worn leather sling and a smooth stone, and
unbending confidence in his mighty God, David introduced Goliath and all the
Philistine hordes to the Lord of hosts, whose name they had blasphemed long
enough. The account concludes with a profound statement:

Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he
struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's
hand.
(1 Samuel 17:50)

What an interesting counterstrategy! To this day, two timeless truths of
giant warfare live on. Both are as appropriate today as they were in the
days
of Goliath.

Prevailing over giants isn't accomplished by using their technique. That's
"lesson one" for all of us. Goliath might have been mistaken for the
battleship

Missouri
with all his noise and bronze. Not David . . . he didn't even carry a sword!
His greatest piece of armor, the lethal weapon that made him unique and gave
him victory, was his inner
shield of faith. It kept him free from fear, it made him hard of hearing
threats, it gave him cool composure amidst chaos, and it cleared his vision.

Conquering giants isn't accomplished without great skill and discipline. To
be God's warrior, to fight His way, demands much more expertise and control
than one can imagine. Using the sling and stone of the Spirit is a far more
delicate thing than swinging the club of the flesh. But oh, how sweet is the
victory when the stone finds its mark . . .
and how final.

Are you facing a giant?

Chances are you've already bumped into one or more of them this week. Is the
intimidation reaching unbearable proportions? Do your ears ache from their
constant threats? Don't run . . . but don't try a bigger club, either. Be
like David. Turn your Goliath over to Jehovah, the giant-killer. Explain to
your
powerful God how anxious you are for
Him to win this victory for a change—not the giant and not you.

Then load up your sling, soldier, and don't forget the stones. You're in for
the time of your life.

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 .

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 11:54 am

How to Have Brave Faith When Life Gets Scary
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

“...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without
fear of harm."
(Proverbs 1:33 , NIV)

Friend to Friend

Let’s face it. Life can be scary.

We watch the news and feel like Chicken Little. The sky always seems to be
falling.

We lose sleep over our loved ones, our lost ones, and our little ones.

We worry about the economy, finances, and employment.

We shake and shudder when more medical testing is required or the diagnosis
is not favorable.

We are anxious with “what ifs” and “whys.”

It’s understandable that we wrestle with the opponent of fear. The world is
broken and life isn’t a Hallmark movie or a fairy tale. (Although I
do love a good Hallmark movie!) In the same token, while I realize it’s
completely normal for us to process emotions of anxiety and unrest, the
Bible says
that it is not God’s plan for us to crumble in its wake. (2 Timothy 1:7
)

We can’t let fear run our lives. Fear was never meant to control or consume
us.

The good news is that God doesn’t just tell us to suck it up and deal. He
gives us the tools we need to help us in the fear-fight.

Proverbs 1:33
says, “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without
fear of harm." I sure do like the promises in this verse. Yes, please. I
want to live in safety and be at ease. Order me up some of that, God! (You
want this too, right?)

So how can you and I have a brave faith when life gets scary? Let’s consider
the text and break down the promises found in
Proverbs 1:33 by looking at the: who, what, and why.

...but whoever listens to me...

WHO is the “me” we need to listen to? The context of the chapter lets us
know that the me is God’s wisdom. I listen to God’s wisdom when I go to Him
with
my fears instead of allowing them to grip me. When I pray and place my
anxieties in His care. When I reflect upon God’s Word, power, plan, and
strength
more than on the words of that analyst on the news channel.

God is the source of the wisdom I must listen to.

WHAT does it mean to “listen” in this verse? The Hebrew word shama’ is used.
Shama’ means to hear, listen to, yield to, obey. (Strongs H8085) So to
listen
to the wisdom of God does not simply mean that my ears need to process His
wisdom. It means that my
heart needs to process and implement His wisdom. It is not just about
hearing audibly, it’s about hearing spiritually ... and responding
accordingly.

...will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

WHY does it matter if I accept and walk in God’s wisdom verses my own? My
own wisdom is limited.
(1 Corinthians 1:25
) It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom
can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead me to the
safety
and ease I long for deep inside.

God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and
rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. And
it’s
free for the asking! He gives us wisdom when we ask for it. That promise is
found in
James 1:5
. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all
without reproach, and it will be given him.”

When we ask for and listen to God’s wisdom - when we hear it, yield to it,
apply it and obey it - we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s
peace. We will be at ease in Christ. Not with perfect lives, but with lives
that are led by the Spirit of God, not controlled by fear and anxiousness.
We can and will experience calm in spite of the chaos.

I hear your push back. Really? That seems too easy. It’s just not that
simple, Gwen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to tap an easy-button here. The Biblical
instruction might be simple, but the implementation of it isn’t. If you and
I are going to live with a brave faith we need God’s help. Remember? Jesus
said that without Him we can bear NO fruit.
(John 15:5 ) What does fruit have to do with this conversation? Glad you
asked...

And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace... (Galatians 5:22 )

Peace. God’s peace is more powerful than the fears of this earth and His
peace abounds in His presence. It is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work
within
us.

When you and I spend time with Jesus... when we look beyond our fears to God’s
sovereign strength... when we trust in the wisdom of God and set our hearts
on His Word, we find the peace our hearts long for.

Let’s Pray

Dear God, I need Your peace today. I know that in order to be at rest I have
to stop juggling fear with faith. So I ask for Your wisdom. Help me to be
brave. I come now and hand over these concerns (
pause to personalize this). Fill me with Your love, joy and peace instead,
Lord.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I
in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do
nothing.”

(John 15:15) What would it look like for you to bear the fruit of the Spirit today when
it comes to the worries of your heart?

Compassion
August 4, 2017
Read: Luke 8:40-56

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out
from me.” (v. 46)

A recent TV series called Undercover Boss tells real-life stories of the
founders and CEOs of companies going in disguise as entry-level employees to
see
how things in their company really work (or don’t). They meet people who are
struggling to pay bills, get through school, raise families, or persevere
through various issues. At the end, the CEO reveals his or her identity and
often provides life-changing assistance to the people who demonstrated the
kind of work ethic that makes those companies work.

Jesus was on a mission. This was the biggest mission of all: to save people
from sin. He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and certainly nobody,
especially his disciples, ever would have expected Him to take significant
time with people who in his day would have been considered insignificant.
But
this woman mattered to Jesus. He had compassion on her and provided for her
beyond anyone’s expectations.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our big purposes and plans. We live with
blinders on to accomplish our agenda for each day. Yet, all around us are
people
who matter to God and ought to matter to us. Take time to recognize those
people and reach into their lives as Jesus would. Often it is people, and
not
plans, who
are the agenda of our day. Obedience to God’s calling requires a
compassionate response. Ask God who is on his agenda for you. —Joel
Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, keep us humble and focused on the people you’ve placed in our
lives.
Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


PresbyCan Daily Devotional
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Today's Devotional
Tell Them

Mark 5:18-19 – As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been
demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go
home
to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how
he has had mercy on you." (NIV 2011)

When I first became a Christian, I wanted to tell the whole world about
Jesus, but my biggest problem was how to communicate my faith to my family
and
friends. They knew everything about me — the good, the bad, and the ugly —
so convincing them that I had changed was an uphill task. They watched me go
from a heavily drinking alcoholic to a fervent disciple of Jesus. I guess
they thought that all I was doing was replacing one form of addiction with
another,
which to some degree was actually true. It took years for them to accept
that my faith was truly a life-changing experience for me, but I don't think
that
it had any real influence over their own individual spirituality.

At the end of today's gospel story in Mark 5:1-20, when Jesus heals the
demoniac, the healed man asks to follow Jesus and go with Him. Christ,
however,
did not let him. Instead, Jesus wanted the man to go back to his own people
and tell them the story of his miraculous cure. In other words, Jesus was
giving
him a mission to spread the news about God's mercy and grace in a region
that had actually rejected Jesus. It would be an uphill task, because the
man's
people would remember him as a deranged lunatic, so it would take years for
his story to be accepted.

We all love our families dearly, as well as our closest friends. Sharing our
faith with them can sometimes be a hard thing to do, but it is a worthwhile
mission. We never know what long-term effect our faithfulness to Christ will
have with the kinfolk around us. So long as we love and cherish them, our
faith may have a positive influence on their own lives. We just have to keep
praying and persevering without being self-righteous, condemnatory, or
overbearing.
As Jesus Himself said, "Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and
how He has had mercy on you."

Points to ponder: How do I communicate my faith to my family? Do I show them
love, mercy, and grace?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, bless our families and friends with Your love and
goodness. Help us to cherish and support them, so that they may see that our
faith
in You is both compassionate and encouraging. In Your holy name, we pray.
Amen.
John Stuart

4 Things I Got Wrong about My God-Given Purpose
Heather Caliri

My old friend Pedro leaned against my kitchen counter, drink in hand, and
asked me a question I knew I should be able to answer.

“How is God using you these days, Heather?”

I stared at him, a sudden knot in my throat. I did not know.

I’ve always been a doer, an achiever, a planner. But having kids had made it
harder to serve, and pursuing new ways to ‘use my gifts’ exhausted me.

In my twenties, I had assumed the right ministry role would give me my One
True Purpose. But it didn’t work like I’d hoped—and then I got pregnant.
Pedro’s
question showed me I had stopped believing God could use me for anything
important.

There in my kitchen, I felt shame. Had I really given up hope?

Six years later, my old shame makes my heart hurt. At the time, I didn’t
give myself credit for how I already served God. I couldn’t recognize God’s
purpose
in my ordinary life because I didn’t really understand what
purpose was. I couldn’t see it, even though it was right under my feet.

Here’s what I got wrong about finding my purpose.

1. I thought "purpose" was a fancy destination, not a long, dusty journey.

For most of my Christian life, I assumed finding my purpose was like a
cosmic job search. I should put together a mental resume and seek out job
openings
(ministry or service opportunities) that fit my profile. When I landed a
“purpose,” I should keep it for life.

But like the modern job market, purposeful living isn’t that
straightforward. To wit: when I had kids, I didn’t have time or energy for
“ministry.” I barely
had energy to
wash my hair.

But God created babies, and post-partum recovery, and parenthood. God
created the aging parents we care for, is unsurprised by our mental or
physical health
problems, and pays attention when we move to new states.

God didn’t design our purpose to fit only one stage of life.

In truth, our purpose is an ever-evolving, multifaceted apprenticeship to
Jesus, not a single, clearly defined role that lasts forever.

I’ve found great comfort in realizing that the ebbs and flows of my life are
both modeled in Scripture (wandering the desert, anyone?) and reflected in
nature (the cycles of tides, moons, and even my own body.) I’m on a long
journey towards God’s kingdom, not parked ‘til retirement in a cosmic
cubicle.

2. I thought "purpose" would be prestigious, but I’ve often found it in the
mundane.

Can I say something that I really wish weren’t true? Feeding kids, doing
laundry, and changing diapers has been part of God’s purpose for my life.

Yes, sure, yadda, yadda, yadda. But mostly, I don’t want to hear it.

Honestly, I got tired of changing diapers. I love my kids, but the idea of
childcare being my life’s main purpose makes me want to poke my eyes out.

Your mundane, purpose-driven but less-than-loved tasks might look different
than mine—making peace with singleness, caring for an elderly parent, or
enduring
financial hardship. We all live ordinary lives with ordinary, necessary, but
not-fun challenges.

I’d really, really like my purpose to involve work that’s a little bit
fancier and prestigious. (I wouldn’t say no to a generous salary, either.)

Let me be clear: God has also used my ambition, my gifts (writing, like I’m
doing now), and my intelligence to form my purpose, in a very important way.
I would not be a whole or complete person if He did not.

But if I’m really honest, the resurrection-changes that have freed me to
live as a beloved child of God have come in some hidden places: patiently
playing
blocks with my toddler, pursuing loving honesty with my husband and parents,
persevering through post-partum depression.

My point is this: it is a mistake to assume that our purpose is only over
there in fancy-land, without looking around at the loving and intentional
work
we have to do right
here. We must seek our purpose in the wider world
and through the very crucial work we do at home, by ourselves, or to care
for other people.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Mundane, ordinary life might not get accolades or recognition. It is not the
only way God calls us to serve. But it can transform our souls—and others’—for
eternity.

3. I thought ‘purpose’ was deadly serious, but it's brought me deep joy.

Being a bit of an over-achiever, type A, perfectionistic person, I tend to
assume that if something is good for me, it should probably be hard,
uncomfortable,
and tiring. Nose to the grindstone, people! No shirking!

But we serve a God that, according to the Westminster Catechism, created us
to
enjoy Him forever. My workaholic mindset isn’t God’s plan.

Serving God is ultimately pleasurable. Seeking his purpose should bring us
deep joy.

That does not mean it’s a walk in the park; we will endure hardship, work
humbly at thankless tasks, and be braver than we prefer. But if our purpose
doesn’t,
on the whole, make us
alive, something is terribly wrong.

This might seem to contradict the previous point. Ordinary, daily life (like
being up with a newborn) can be mind-numbingly difficult.

Still: with my second baby, (and without the postpartum depression that I
did not recognize or treat after my first birth), hard work and sleepless
nights
felt deeply
right. I groaned, but I knew I was where I needed to be.

If your life feels dead, if anxiety, or exhaustion or bitterness overwhelms
you,
get serious, even professional help. Ordinary hard work lit by God’s purpose
can be extraordinarily satisfying. Bitterness, rage or mental illness,
however,
is a sign your
foremost purpose is to heal.

4. I thought finding "my purpose" was up to me, but God brings purpose to
our lives.

If “purpose” is a job search, then I could definitely take charge. I’d seek
the proper education, credentialing, and contacts. I’d apply for the
position,
I’d do the work, and I’d get
darn good performance reviews.

This is nothing like how God works out his purpose in our lives.

God creates in us every gift and ability that allows us to be useful. His
Spirit gives us bravery, wisdom, and fortitude. He shepherds and guides us.
We can do
nothing apart from His power.

Our Job Within God’s Purpose

So what is our job?

Our job is to yearn. To notice when we’re stuck and intentionally seek help.
To pay attention, to ask, to seek, to knock. To be curious about next steps.
To have eyes to see God’s purpose in our laundry, in our neighborhood
committee, in our commute,
and in our art, in our ministries and jobs.

We might get muddled about our direction, get lost, feel discouraged, and
make mistakes. It’s okay if you don’t know exactly where you fit. It’s okay
to
cry out in frustration, to ask for wisdom and help. Despite our poor
eyesight and weakness, God can reveal his Kingdom—right in front of our
nose.

As the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins sang, “The world is charged with the
grandeur of God.” Living awake to His majesty is our deepest, most true
purpose.
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Heather Caliri is a writer from San Diego who uses tiny, joyful yeses to
free herself from anxiety. Tired of anxiety controlling your life? Try her
mini-course,


Living Plan B: A Lesson from Exodus
By Ray Pritchard

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through
the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face
war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the
people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.

- Exodus 13:17-18

Some time ago I heard the following statement on the radio and thought it
was worth passing along: "The key to success in life is how well you adapt
to
Plan B." There is a world of truth in that simple sentence. So many of us go
through life frustrated because we're still working on Plan A. That's the
one where everything works out, where your marriage lasts forever, where
your children grow up without any problems, where you climb to the top of
the
career ladder, where everyone loves you, where all your dreams come true and
you live happily ever after. Plan A is life the way we all thought it would
be. It's life with a happy ending.

Unfortunately, Plan A rarely pans out. Life isn't that simple, or that easy.
Check out Exodus 13:17-21
. When the children of Israel left Egypt, God did not lead them by the
shorter coastal route to the Promised Land. Instead, he led them south into
the
wilderness. No doubt there was some grumbling and murmuring. Why go the long
way? Why not take the road that goes along the seashore? Answer: The
Philistines
lived along the coast and God wanted to spare the Jews from having to fight
them and be tempted to return to Egypt. What seemed like a detour turned out
to be for their benefit. In this case, Plan B was better.

What's Plan B? It's the reality that your divorce is final and your marriage
is over. It's the reality that your first career choice was a mistake and
now it's time to start over. It's the reality that you don't have the money
to buy the bigger house you want. It's the truth that you have cancer and
your
future is uncertain. It's the understanding that some people who seemed to
be close friends aren't going to be there for you when you really need them.
It's the reality that your dreams aren't going to come true, at least not in
the way you expected.

Born in poverty and educated at home, he failed in his first business
venture, ran for office the next year and was defeated, failed in yet
another business,
had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in five more elections. But he
never gave up, and in 1860 he was elected president.

Plan A not working out for you? Don't despair. Plan A rarely works out. Your
success in life is largely determined by how well you adapt to Plan B. Just
ask Abraham Lincoln, the greatest Plan B president in American history.

----------------------------------------------------------
Editor's note: This content came from the original article: Plan B Living .
Content provided by Keep Believing Ministries .

Anne Graham Lotz - Take Up Your Cross
Take Up Your Cross
God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14, NKJV

The cross is not just a symbol of love or a fashion statement. The cross is
your daily decision to deny yourself,

your rights,
your wants,
your dreams,
your plans,
your goals,

and deliberately, wholeheartedly, unreservedly live out your commitment to
His will and His way and His Word and His wisdom. The cross is your decision
to live for Jesus. Period. No “ifs,” “ands,” “buts,” or “maybes.”

Would you take up your cross . . . every day . . . and follow Him?
Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


Preparing to Entertain

The first Sunday on which I invited guests for lunch after church, the oven
settings failed. We all arrived at the house, anticipating the mouthwatering
aroma of baked ham and instead opened the door to . . . nothing. The oven
was cold, the ham even chillier, and my smile of welcome instantly froze on
my
lips.

This was not at all what I had envisioned. As I hurriedly microwaved slices
of ham on a dinner plate, I felt disappointed. I wanted my guests to come
into
my home and find rest and nourishment for both body and soul. I wanted them
to sit at the table and enjoy themselves. I wanted the ham to be delicious.

And I don’t think my disappointment was wrong. With regularity, I see
articles on hospitality that assert some version of
this statement
: “It is not about your house or your meal; it is about the Christ-centered
fellowship that takes place at your house over your meal.” Christians
frequently
speak as if hospitality is good, but anything that resembles “entertaining”
is bad. We disparage well-ironed linens and beautifully arranged flowers;
like
the austere guests in
Babette’s Feast , we view a sumptuous meal with deliberate skepticism.

I can agree with the basic premise of these sentiments: Christians should
not reduce hospitality to Instagram-worthy tableaux. If we are motivated in
our
hospitality by a desire to impress others—or to use them for our own social
advancement (Luke 14:12)—we sin. God abhors pride (Amos 6:8), sending his
Son
to die because of it and his Spirit to kill it where it yet festers in our
hearts (Col. 3:5-13). Self-promotion disguised as a dinner invitation is not
true hospitality.

But I’m not convinced that inviting people to a delicious and carefully
presented meal necessarily makes biblical hospitality into something worldly
and
inferior. In fact, folding linen napkins, making a complicated new recipe,
lighting some candles, or queuing a playlist of beautiful music can be acts
of love toward the neighbors we welcome.

Hospitality—welcoming others to share our homes and lives—can take place in
the space of five minutes with little prior preparation. It can be practiced
over McDonald’s coffee or PB&J or no food at all. It can happen in an untidy
house or at the neighborhood pool. Whenever we invite someone into our life
for the good of her body and soul, we practice hospitality. Hospitality is
more than entertaining. But it does not have to be less.

God himself welcomed the first people into a garden containing “every tree
that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). And throughout
Scripture, hosts honor their guests with extraordinarily time- and
effort-consuming hospitality. Abraham fed his angelic guests meat that was
“tender and
good” with cakes made from “fine flour” (1 Sam. 18:6-7). Jesus rescued the
near-disaster at Cana by providing the guests with abundant “good wine”
(John
2:10). And the consummation of Christ’s kingdom is described in Revelation
as a marriage supper—a feast of blessing for every guest (Rev. 19:9).

In The Hidden Art of Homemaking , Edith Schaeffer writes, “Food should be
chosen to give pleasure, and to cheer up people after a hard day’s work, to
comfort
them when they feel down for some reason, to amuse them when things feel a
bit dull, or to open up conversation when they feel silent and
uncommunicative
. . . There is no occasion when meals should become totally unimportant” (p.
120, 123). Carefully-chosen food, lovingly prepared and beautifully
presented
demonstrates honor toward our guests. It is an act of self-sacrificing
love—serving the needs and desires of others at cost to ourselves.

Schaeffer goes on to tell the story of a homeless man who stopped by her
house one day asking for a cup of coffee and some bread. Rather than simply
giving
him the bare essentials he requested, Schaeffer went inside and prepared
soup and two different kinds of sandwiches, which she cut into triangles and
arranged
on her best china plate. She brought this food out to the waiting man with a
copy of the Gospel of John and a bouquet of flowers entwined with ivy on a
tray.

When her children questioned her efforts to make such a beautiful and tasty
presentation for a transient man who had only requested a crust of bread,
Schaeffer
replied, “Who knows, perhaps he’ll do a lot of thinking and someday,
believe. Anyway, he may realize that we care something about him as a
person, and that’s important” (p. 130, emphasis original).

These days, I have my oven settings figured out, and the food is usually
ready on schedule after church. I iron the damask napkins from my husband’s
grandmother
and stack the plates from our wedding registry, and then I serve the men and
women and children who join me around the table. Who knows? Perhaps each
guest
will realize that I care about him or her as a person. And I think that is
important.

Megan Hill is the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of
Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches . She lives in Massachusetts
and is a member of West Springfield Covenant Community Church (PCA) where
her husband serves as pastor.


Just Passing Through—Our Real Home Is Waiting
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from
fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
1 Peter 2:11

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
God saved you out of this world and sent you back into this world to tell
the world that Jesus saves. He is scattering you as precious seed. You are
an
ambassador upon foreign soil for the King of kings.

You are not only scattered as precious seed, you are also scattered as a
persevering saint. You are a foreigner in a land where you march to a
different
drummer. You don’t settle down in this world. It’s not your home; you’re
only passing through.

ACTION POINT:
You ought to pray, “Lord, if I am building a nest, put a thorn in it.” If
you dabble and delight in this world, yet your citizenship is in heaven, you’re
going to have one foot in the world and one in heaven—just enough religion
to make you miserable in the world and just enough of the world to make you
miserable in your spiritual life.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is
one and there is no other but 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
12:32-33, NIV2)

By Answers2Prayer
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More Illustrations
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Don't Do Anything But Love

"'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is
one and there is no other but 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.' When
Jesus
saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the
kingdom of God.'" (Mark 12:32-34, NIV2)

The Kingdom of God is all about love, real, genuine love, a sacrificing love
like Jesus demonstrated on the cross, a love that showed His love for God
and for each one of us.

How can we show our love towards God?

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and
his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12, NIV) Our actions will show
where
our heart is truly focused on.

One day a man appeared to church near Petersborough, Ontario, with satanic
tattoos woven all over his body. He also wore a hat, even when in the
sanctuary.
A deacon, who was shocked by his attire, quickly called the pastor who was
sitting in front of the church: "There is a man sitting off to the right
wearing
a hat in the sanctuary! It's a disgrace! He shows no respect towards God.
What would you like me to do with him?"

The pastor prayerfully consider the options and answered: "Do nothing!"

"But, but . . ." The deacon protested.

The pastor reiterated: "Do nothing!"

The deacon hung up. Five minutes later he called the pastor again: "It's a
disgrace! This man sours the experience of everybody in this congregation.
We
should do something about this!"

Calmly the pastor repeated: "Do nothing!"

The next week that man with a hat and satanic tattoos came back to church.
He also came the following week and the week after that. After church that
fourth
week, he went up to the deacon who had complained so bitterly about his hat,
and told him: "I came to church to shock those attending. I wanted a
controversy,
so I could prove you were all hypocrites. Instead you accepted me with open
arms and respected me the way I am. Never have I seen such love. I would
like
to become a Christian."

This man then took a Bible study course and eventually was baptized.

Love is what attracts people. Words without actions means nothing: "Dear
children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in
truth."
(1 John 3:18, NIV)

"Look at that woman in our sanctuary! She is definitely a prostitute. Look
how she is dressed!"
What will you do about it?
Rob Chaffart
Announcement:
As promised, on the first Monday of every month, we be publish one oldie
from our devotional files. Enjoy!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."




Boldness and Power

“A large number of people believed ... The Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was ... granting that signs and wonders be done.” Acts 14:1-3 NASB

Many Jews and Gentiles in Iconium responded to the Gospel. Then the atmosphere changed when disbelieving Jews stirred up trouble, trying to make it more difficult to respond.

Some Gentiles became “embittered.” It would have been a logical time for Paul and Barnabas to run away. To react with fear. To water down their message. To compromise.

Instead, they renewed their commitment to speak “boldly.” The Jews wanted them to give up or stop preaching. Instead they became even bolder, believing that God would do “signs and wonders.” As a result, many miracles took place and many believed.

Eventually Paul and Barnabas had to depart Iconium, but they left after this time of bold witness. After they had demonstrated the reality of the Gospel.

In our lives, we can expect opposition and difficulties. Some people will resist and reject the Gospel. There will be problems to overcome. How easily we can allow ourselves to be influenced by criticism. But there is much we can learn from how Paul and Barnabas acted in Iconium.

Today, make sure that you do not give in to fear, compromise, or worry. The Bible assures us that God wants us to live our faith boldly and put our faith into action. He wants us to be instruments through which He might demonstrate His power.

Be willing to believe Him for miracles, that signs and wonders might be done in your life, and in the lives of others. Make a commitment to live with a bold faith. Expect God to demonstrate His power that He might be glorified and lives might be changed.

Prayer

Father, I commit these needs to You: ___________. I believe that You will demonstrate Your power in these situations. You can do all things. Help me to witness for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Pray for favor for Inspiration Ministries’ Worldwide Distribution Department.
Extended Reading
Acts 14
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 1:15 am

Pain
by Chuck Swindoll

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

They called him "Old Hickory" because of his tenacity and grit. His mother
chose "Andrew" on March 15, 1767, when she gave birth to that
independent-minded
South Carolina rebel. Wild, quick-tempered, and disinterested in school,
Andrew answered the call for soldiers to resist the British invasion at age
thirteen.
Shortly thereafter, he was taken prisoner. Refusing to black an enemy
officer's boots, he was struck with a saber—Andrew's introduction to pain.

Although he bore the marks of the blow for the rest of his life, Andrew's
fiery disposition never waned. A fighter to the core, he chose to settle
arguments
in duels and lived most of his days with two bullets painfully wedged in his
body. After he distinguished himself on the battlefield, his name became a
national synonym for valor and stern persistence. When politics nodded in
his direction, "Old Hickory" accepted the challenge: first the Senate, then
nomination
for President. The shadow of pain appeared again in another form as he lost
a narrow race with John Quincy Adams.

Four years later, however, he ran again . . . and won! But pain accompanied
the victory. Two months before he took office he lost his beloved wife,
Rachel.
Grief-stricken, the President-elect pressed on. Even as he was being sworn
into office as our nation's seventh President, he fought the anguish of a
raging
fever caused by an abscess in the lung.

Some time later, one of the bullets within him had to be surgically removed.
He endured that operation—done without anesthetic—in typically courageous
fashion. Even his political career was painful. A nasty scandal split his
cabinet, and critics clawed at him like hungry lions. Although he stood firm
for many months, the telling signs of pain began to manifest themselves. He
was one of the few men who left office, however, more popular than when he
came. "For once, the rising was eclipsed by the setting sun," wrote a
contemporary sage. And it was pain, more than any other single factor, which
drew
the qualities of greatness out of Andrew Jackson.

Pain humbles the proud. It softens the stubborn. It melts the hard. Silently
and relentlessly, it wins battles deep within the lonely soul. The heart
alone
knows its own sorrow and not another person can fully share in it. Pain
operates alone; it needs no assistance. It communicates its own message
whether
to statesman or servant, preacher or prodigal, mother or child. By staying,
it refuses to be ignored. By hurting, it reduces its victim to profound
depths
of anguish. And it is at that anguishing point that the sufferer either
submits and learns, developing maturity and character, or resists and
becomes embittered,
swamped by self-pity, smothered by self-will.

I have tried and I cannot find, either in Scripture or history, a
strong-willed individual whom God used greatly until He allowed him to be
hurt deeply.

It was just such a person who wrote these words for all to read:

Guests
Pain knocked upon my door and said
That she had come to stay,
And though I would not welcome her
But bade her go away,
She entered in.
Like my own shade
She followed after me,
And from her stabbing, stinging sword
No moment was I free.
And then one day another knocked
Most gently at my door.
I cried, "No, Pain is living here,
There is not room for more."
And then I heard His tender voice,
"'Tis I, be not afraid."
And from the day He entered in,
The difference it made!

—Martha Snell Nicholson

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 .

For Jesus, With Jesus

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He
suffered.
Hebrews 5:8

Recommended Reading
Isaiah 53:10-12
In the classic board game Monopoly®, one of the most coveted cards to draw
is the orange “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Every player eventually winds up
in jail—you land on the policeman in the corner or you draw the “Go Directly
to Jail” card. But if you have the “Get Out of Jail Free” card … no problem!
You can go to jail and get out of jail in the same turn!

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
That’s fun because it’s a game. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes we end up in the jail of suffering, calamity, sickness, trouble,
or
pain—and there is no orange card to set us free. New Christians sometimes
think following Jesus means no more troubles. Then they learn that Jesus
suffered
during all three years of His earthly ministry. And His disciples, later as
apostles, suffered as well, even as they walked in God’s will. Here’s what
we must remember: Suffering
for Jesus is to suffer with Jesus. He promised to be with us until the end
(Matthew 28:20), never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).

Following Jesus, whether through blessings or burdens, has the same result:
being conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29).

There is a certain kind of maturity that can be attained only through the
discipline of suffering.
D. A. Carson

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Jeremiah 4 – 5
David Jeremiah's

Website
David Jeremiah's Website
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 11 Sep 2017, 11:33 pm

Let Go and Get Going
Scott Hubbard / July 31, 2017
Let Go and Get Going

If the quarter lands heads five times in a row first, it means we should
break up. If tails five times in a row, we should not.

It was an anguished prayer. My girlfriend and I had been dating a few
months, and the way forward was a fog. Desperate to know God’s will for our
relationship,
I turned to a coin in my pocket.

Heads. Heads. Heads. Tails. Sigh. Tails. Tails. Heads.

I was a new Christian, gripped by the Bible’s stories of miraculous answers
to prayer — and eager for my own. If God answered prayers with seas parting,
armies fleeing, fire falling, and prison doors opening, couldn’t he answer
me with a flipping George Washington?

I kept at it for a while longer, each flip shoveling another handful of
disappointment over my half-buried hopes. I gave up.

Fireworks Show?

You may have never looked for answers to prayer in a quarter; it’s certainly
been a long time since I have. But I wonder if you share an assumption that
inspired my flip-a-coin prayer — an assumption that still subtly shapes my
own expectations for how God relates to us.

Here’s the assumption: in real, bona fide answers to prayer, we are more
like spectators than actors. In other words, we expect answers to prayer to
feel
something like a fireworks display: we pray, take our seats, and then enjoy
the show. We all know (or have experienced) stories that follow this
pattern.
You pray for healing, and the tumor vanishes overnight. You ask for
financial provision, and an anonymous envelope appears in your mailbox. You
beg for
wisdom, and three people offer you the same unsolicited counsel.

And, of course, Scripture brims with spectacular answers to prayer. Moses
prays in the wilderness, and water bursts from the rock (Exodus 17:4–6).
Hezekiah
cries out for deliverance, and Assyria’s 185,000 keel over dead (2 Kings
19:14–35). The early church pleads for Peter’s release, and the chains fall
off
his hands (Acts 12:1–11).

Sometimes God bares his mighty arm so powerfully that the world gropes for
an explanation.

God’s Answers in Our Acting

But what about when you pray and the tumor disappears through three rounds
of chemo? Or when financial provision comes after weeks of scouring the web,
looking for a new job? Or when you discern your next steps by researching
the options and consulting a mentor? Is God somehow less involved in these
answers?

David didn’t think so. At the beginning of his reign, he asks God to “bless
the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you” (2
Samuel
7:29). The answer to that prayer, as the next chapter shows, was not a
fireworks display. David did not sit back and watch God destroy his enemies.
Instead,

David defeated the Philistines and subdued them” (2 Samuel 8:1); “
he defeated Moab” (2 Samuel 8:2); “David had defeated the whole army of
Hadadezer” (2 Samuel 8:9).

David prayed for help, and then he picked up his sword and went to war.

But then David wrote Psalm 18, a fifty-verse celebration of God’s answer to
his prayers for deliverance. He sings, “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy
to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:3). According to
David, it was
God who “sent out his arrows and scattered them” (Psalm 18:14); it was
God who “rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me” (Psalm
18:17).

What’s going on here? Did God defeat these enemies, or did David? The
answer, of course, is both. David acted one hundred percent, and God
answered one
hundred percent. God did not answer David’s prayer
apart from David’s acting; he answered through David’s acting.

I Did It, God Did It

If you’re like me, you may hesitate to sing a psalm of praise when God
answers your prayers
this way. In your small group or with friends, you wish you could share some
real, spectacular answer to prayer — some story of how God acted totally
apart
from anything you did. But for David, God’s answering through our acting is
already real and spectacular. Why do we struggle to see it that way?

In Letters to Malcolm , C.S. Lewis gives one reason:

We profanely assume that divine and human action exclude one another like
the actions of two fellow-creatures so that “God did this” and “I did this”
cannot
both be true of the same act except in the sense that each contributed a
share. (50)

We sometimes assume that more of our involvement in an answer to prayer
means less of God’s involvement. If we contribute seventy percent toward an
answer
to prayer, then God only contributes thirty percent. But David and the other
biblical authors believed they could act one hundred percent and still
praise
God for answering one hundred percent.

If someone asked David, “Who won those battles?” he could sincerely say, “I
won them.” But he wouldn’t waste a breath before adding, “But I’d prefer to
say God won them. It’s God who equipped me with strength (Psalm 18:32), who
trained my hands for war (Psalm 18:34), and who made my enemies sink under
me (Psalm 18:39).”

When David fought and won the battles, he knew God was answering his prayer.
And he thought that kind of answer to prayer was so magnificent it deserved
worship.

Let Go, Get Going

So when we pray, we do not let go and let God. Rather, we let go and get
going. We let go of the burden by admitting our weakness and
trusting a specific promise
from God, and then we get going by doing whatever needs to happen for our
part.

We pray for opportunities to share the gospel, and then we go knock on our
neighbor’s door. We plead for strength to resist lustful temptation, and
then
we text or call a friend. We beg God to guide us with some hard decision,
and then we do
not flip a coin, but we research, seek counsel, and think hard.

And then, when God answers in our acting, we make a big deal about it. We
marvel that the living God is at work in us both to will and to work for his
good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We praise him for equipping us with
everything good to do his will (Hebrews 13:21). We tell “the glad news of
deliverance
in the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9).

Answered prayer is more than fireworks. It’s also the thrilling experience
of God’s answering in our acting. Both types of answered prayer require God’s
supernatural help, both demonstrate his power, and both call for celebration
(Psalm 126:2).

Isn’t Hell an Overreaction to Sin?
John Piper / July 31, 2017

If we think hell is an overreaction to sin, it’s because we think too little
of the glory of God, and we dismiss too quickly the odiousness of our sin.


Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Our Weakness Reveals His Worth
By John Piper

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

God’s design for suffering is that it magnifies Christ’s worth and power.
This is grace, because the greatest joy of Christians is to see Christ
magnified
in our lives.

When Paul was told by the Lord Jesus that his “thorn in the flesh” would not
be taken away, he supported Paul’s faith by explaining why. The Lord said,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9). God ordains that Paul be weak so that Christ might be
seen as strong on Paul’s behalf.

If we feel and look self-sufficient, we will get the glory, not Christ. So,
Christ chooses the weak things of the world “so that no human being might
boast
in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:29). And sometimes he makes
seemingly strong people weaker, so that the divine power will be the more
evident.

We know that Paul experienced this as grace because he rejoiced in it:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the
power
of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with
weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am
weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

Living by faith in God’s grace means being satisfied with all that God is
for us in Jesus. Therefore faith will not shrink back from what reveals and
magnifies
all that God is for us in Jesus. That is what our own weakness and suffering
does.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Obedience
August 2, 2017

Read: Luke 6:43-49

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and not do what I tell you? (v. 46)

According to a recent article in the Telegraph and Flightradar24, depending
on the time of day and year between 13,000 and 16,000 airplanes are hurtling
through the skies globally at hundreds of miles per hour. Supposing 100 to
200 travelers per passenger flight, more than a million people are in the
sky
as you read this. If you’ve ever seen a live flight tracker (and I don’t
suggest doing this while waiting to board your flight), you can see why the
people
who guide the planes to their destination are not called air traffic
advisors but air traffic
controllers. (And why they’re so stressed, too!) If the planes don’t follow
the lead of the controller, huge problems arise.

Today’s passage reminds us that the word “Lord” means something. More than a
term of respect, using the word “Lord” is a complete and total surrender of
ourselves to the care and control of Jesus. Obeying God is a fundamental
requirement for every believer and opens the door to a life that bears fruit
and
allows us to withstand life’s storms. Obedience is the proclamation of your
heart that God knows best and that his plans are best. Faith that walks
bears
fruit only when we’re walking in the right direction, which calls us to
discern God’s leading and then to follow him. Calling Jesus our Lord and not
living
in obedience to him empties the title of its meaning. —Joel Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, help us to trust you enough to obey you no matter how we see
things. Amen.

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

Why Every Person Should Attend a Funeral Once a Year
Colin Smith

Every person should attend a funeral at least once a year.

Going to a wedding reminds you that the marriage bond is sacred. Going to a
funeral reminds you that life is a vapor, that one day yours will be gone.
When it is announced in church that someone has died, I try to remember that
one day someone will make that announcement about me.

Even Christians commonly say, “She passed away,” which neatly avoids using
the “D-word.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but I prefer to look this
enemy
in the face and name it. Death is the great reality towards which all of us
are moving, but we live knowing that Christ has conquered it.

Face the Ultimate Reality of Death

Our culture has devised many ways to keep us from thinking seriously about
death. People make a spoof of it at Halloween. Hollywood sentimentalizes it
with weepy movies, and the card companies follow suit with empty slogans.

Some time ago, I came across a message by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on John 8. The
year was 1960, and the whole world was in fear at the prospect of nuclear
holocaust.
This was just before the Cuban missile crisis. There were many marches in
major cities around the world on the theme of “banning the bomb” and so
forth.

Lloyd-Jones made this observation: Here are thousands of people on the
streets protesting about the danger of death coming through a nuclear bomb.
They’re
concerned about this mode of death: “We cannot have people dying through a
bomb.”¹

The point is well made, but here’s the problem: Many of the people who were
rightly and passionately concerned about the mode of death seemed to give
little
thought to the unavoidable reality of death itself. They’re worried about
how people might die, but they had nothing to say about the reality that all
of us eventually will die.

People die in many ways—some die in war or through an act of violence. Some
die through an illness, a heart attack or cancer, and others die from old
age.
Some die early in life, while others live a long time. These things are
important, but they’re not the ultimate things.

However I die, and whenever it happens, when I close my eyes I will awaken
in a world of light, love, peace and joy—in the presence of Jesus. Here’s
what
matters most: Whatever the mode of death and whatever its timing, every
person dies in one of two ways: in their sins, or in the Lord.

Follow the Light from Heaven

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk
in darkness but will have the light of life”
(John 8:12). Imagine we’re all in a dark tunnel. One man has a light, and he
is coming toward us, walking through the tunnel. If we walk with him, we
walk
in his light. But if we refuse to follow him, his light will get further and
further away from us, and eventually we will be left in darkness.

That is true in this life, and of course, it is true in the world to come.
Beyond this world, there is a place where Christ is. Because Christ is
there,
it is a world of light and love and peace and joy. But beyond this world,
there is also a place where Christ is not. Because Christ is not there, it
is
a world of darkness and hate and turmoil and misery.

There is nothing more tragic than this—to die in your sins. How can I make
sure this does not happen to me? I know I will die. How can I be sure I will
not die in my sins?

How to Be Sure You Won’t Die in Your Sins

“You will die in your sin.” (John 8:21)

Unbelief toward Jesus Christ is the one sin that leaves you taking all your
other sins into your death with you. Unless you believe…you will die in your
sins. Turn that round and you have the hope of the gospel. Unbelief toward
Christ leaves you to die in your sins; but if you believe that Jesus is the
Christ, you will not die in your sins.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Why is this believing so important? Because faith is the bond of a living
union in which you give yourself to Christ and Christ gives himself to you.
Christ
becomes your Savior and your friend. Christ becomes your Lord and master,
and when you belong to him, his home is yours.

There’s more: Jesus lived a sinless life. He is the only person who has ever
done that, or ever could do that. He lived and died without sin. The Bible
tells us that “he bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24
). “The Lord has laid on [Jesus] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Here is the marvelous thing that is true for every person who has faith in
Jesus Christ: Christ carried your sins into his death, so you won’t carry
them
into yours. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, embrace him, receive him,
follow him, and you will not die in your sins. You will die in the Lord!

As the Bible says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Revelation
14:13).

This article originally appeared on UnlockingTheBible.org.
Used with permission.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 2:39 pm

10 Things You Should Know about Dementia
John Dunlop
1. Dementia is already a common tragedy and will become more common.

Every time Jan came to my office she would smile and tell me “old age is not
for cowards.” She would always laugh, proud of her originality but oblivious
to the fact that in her dementia she had told me the same many times.
Indeed, dementia is one of the greatest challenges of aging. And as life
expectancy
increases, dementia will be all the more common. It is estimated that over
one-third of today’s seniors will die with some degree of dementia.

2. Dementia has many causes other than Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease causes roughly 70% of dementia, but many other diseases
lead to it as well, such as multiple strokes and Parkinson’s. There is no
stereotypic
case and each person with dementia must be approached differently.

3. Dementia slowly progresses.

Most types of dementia slowly get worse. The average life expectancy after
diagnosis is seven years, but it may be as long as twenty.

4. Dementia has some purpose in God’s sovereign plan.

Dementia is one of the tragedies of life that forces us to cry out to God.
But even in our desperation we can recognize God has purpose in it. “I cry
out
to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me” (Ps. 57:2). God
does not make mistakes. His purpose may be in the life of the victim, the
caregivers,
society as a whole, or all three. One of the challenges of dementia is to
recognize those purposes and get in line with them.

5. All people with dementia are made in the image of God and deserve to be
treated with dignity and respect.

Being made in the image of God is true of all human beings from the best to
the worst of us. It is not dependent on functional abilities or IQ. Martin
Luther King Jr. spoke rightly when he said “There are no gradations in the
image of God.” The image of God imparts a dignity to all people and demands
our respect.

6. There is no good medical treatment for dementia.

One of the best ways to improve the quality of life of those with dementia
is to respect their God-given dignity.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

7. A good way to show respect for the dignity of those with dementia is to
understand how they see the world and see things as they see them.

When my mother in her dementia thought I was my dad, my response was not to
correct and belittle her but to say “I love you, Lois.” I spoke the truth
and
she was affirmed. We must also show respect by providing for their physical,
emotional, social and spiritual needs even though it may be difficult to
understand
what they are.

8. In many cases giving care to those with dementia is harder than
experiencing dementia itself.

The early stages of dementia can be very frustrating for a patient
increasingly conscious of their cognitive decline. As the disease progresses
many are
quite content living in the present tense. They are not bothered by mistakes
of the past and do not worry about the future. I remember Helen, a dear
saint
who had spent her life serving the Lord in Africa. She had developed severe
dementia and was living in a dementia care facility. I would frequently see
her telling stories from her years on the mission field to an attentive
group gathered round. As she got to the end of the story she would slap her
thigh
and everyone had a good laugh. What did it matter that she told the same
five stories over and over again? Everyone was having a grand time.

9. Dementia is a terminal disease and aggressive measures to prolong life
are rarely appropriate or God honoring.

In the advanced stages of dementia, when the patient is unable to eat, it is
not appropriate to use feeding tubes or to attempt resuscitation in the
event
of cardiac arrest.

10. Dementia like all other diseases will be healed.

The hope of all Christians is to live eternally in the presence of God.
Heaven will be a time to experience the glory of God in ways impossible
while confined
to our present bodies and brains. There will be no more dementia, and those
afflicted by dementia will say with all other believers, “I shall know fully
even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

This article was originally published on
Crossway.org and is adapted from the book
Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia
by John Dunlop, MD. Used with permission.

John Dunlop (MD, Johns Hopkins University) serves as an adjunct professor at
Trinity International University and practices geriatrics in New Haven,
Connecticut,
where he is affiliated with Yale School of Medicine. Dunlop is the author of
Finishing Well to the Glory of God: Strategies from a Christian Physician
and Wellness for the Glory of God: Living Well After 40 with Joy and
Contentment in All of Life.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimages
Publication date: July 27, 2017
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 2:15 pm

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Suffering That Crushes Faith
By John Piper

“They have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when
tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they
fall away.”
(Mark 4:17)

The faith of some is broken instead of built by suffering. Jesus knew this
and described it here in the parable of the four soils. Some people who hear
the word receive it at first with gladness, but then suffering makes them
fall away.

So, affliction does not always make faith stronger. Sometimes it crushes
faith. And then come true the paradoxical words of Jesus, “The one who has
not,
even what he has will be taken” (Mark 4:25).

This is a call for us to endure suffering with firm faith in future grace,
so that our faith might grow stronger and not be proved vain (1 Corinthians
15:2). “To the one who has, more will be given” (Mark 4:25). Knowing God’s
design in suffering is one of the main means of growing through suffering.

If you think your suffering is pointless, or that God is not in control, or
that he is whimsical or cruel, then your suffering will drive you from God,
instead of driving you from everything but God — as it should. So, it is
crucial that faith in God’s grace includes the faith that he gives grace
through
suffering.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Protection for Kashmiris
Aug 02, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Matt 11:28-30, NET "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am
gentle
and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is
easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry."

Pray for this kind of peace to permeate the hearts of those victimized by
strife in Jammu and Kashmir.

Today's People Group

(There are only a small number of followers of Christ in Kashmir, and they
frequently face persecution. This fictitious story illustrates the kinds of
things that happen in Kashmir.)
“Converting to Christianity is a serious and dangerous thing for Lakia to
do. Why risk your life and the lives of your children?” Lakia, a widow
living
in Kashmir with her three daughters, responded to the words of a Muslim
neighbor. “I asked several of the Muslim leaders at the mosque for help and
they
would not help me. They just told me to pray to Allah and be a good Muslim
woman. When I asked the Christians for help, they offered me food and gave
me
small jobs so I could provide for my daughters. They comforted me when I
told them that my only son, Abjul, had been shot and killed for stealing
bread.
They told me about Jesus and how He taught that people should help each
other. He said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will
give
you rest (Matt.11:28).’ I never learned such things when I went to the
mosque. Jesus comforts us like no one else can. I will always follow Him no
matter
what people do to stop me.”

Pray for God’s protection for Christian believers. May they grow in faith
and become strong witnesses that can lead the majority of Muslims and Hindus
in Kashmir to the Living Lord!

Learn more at Joshua Project .
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 07 Sep 2017, 10:03 pm

What Christians Need to Know about Islam
Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's " Ask Roger
" column regularly appears at
Preach It, Teach It
. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in
the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for
laypeople,
or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at
roger@preachitteachit.org .

Dear Roger,

There is so much interest and confusion “swirling around” the issues of
Muslims, Islam, acculturalization, burqas, terrorists and Islamic extremism.
Could
you please give us a simple understanding of what Christians need to know
about Islam?

Sincerely Rachel

One Sunday morning after worship, a young man with Arabic features
approached me. He looked to be in his early 30s, nicely dressed with dark
slacks and
a white button-down shirt.

He wanted to know the differences between Christianity and Islam. When I
shared the gospel, he became quite agitated. The idea that our good works
counted
for nothing on the road to heaven was anathema to him.

Our discussion moved to a rapid conclusion when I quoted Ephesians 2:8-9
: “For by grace we are saved through faith--and this is not from ourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast!”

Not out of control, but clearly disagreeing, he punched the Communion Table
and firmly said, “No, that cannot be.” He rapidly departed.

The Origins of Islam

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was born in 570 A.D. He spent his early
years as a camel driver and managed his wife’s estate.

One evening as he went to pray he heard a voice commanding him to “Read.” He
countered, “But I can’t read.”

Mohammed later wrote that he saw a scroll emblazoned with words and
miraculously began to read. Then the angel Gabriel appeared to tell him that
he was
to be Allah’s messenger.

For the next several years, he faced exile and persecution while he claimed
to receive more messages from Allah.

Mohammed recognized Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as prophets. However, he
set himself above all others. He believed he was the ultimate prophet of
God.
And he declared that none would follow him.

When he was 60, the time had come for Mohammed to take his message to the
world. He and his armies captured the city of Mecca and declared it to be
“The
Holy City of Islam.” Two years later he died. He instructed his followers to
carry on the mission.

Some of his followers captured Jerusalem in 715 A.D. and started the rapid
spread of Islam throughout northern Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia,
and
the United States. That conquest continues today.

Much of Islam’s advancement is done by quiet assimilation, over time, into
another culture--not by military occupation.

The supplanting of one culture with or over another culture is not limited
to Muslims. Historically, the assimilation of one culture into another is an
ongoing process.

For example, the United States is rapidly becoming a non-European-based
country. Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners, Moroccans and Balkan refugees
are
flooding into our country, and their cultures will soon supplant our present
European-American culture. Not one gunshot will be needed to accomplish the
assimilation.

Like Chinatown in San Francisco, people tend to congregate with others from
their own background. There will soon be more Muslims in France than
Frenchmen.
Unofficially, the France government is clamoring for native French people to
have more babies.

Problems arise when Muslims gather in cultural groups that exclude all
others and begin to superimpose their own beliefs. This process is occurring
in
France where Muslims have carved out their own territory, rejecting the laws
of France, and wanting to live by their own laws with their own culture.

But we must remember—with all that being said—many Muslim immigrants are
doing their best to respect and honor our American culture.

The Beliefs of Islam

Christianity has its own set of essential beliefs. The Bible is the Word of
God. Jesus Christ is 100 percent God and 100 percent man (the hypostatic
union).
He died a substitutionary death on the cross in our place to save us from
our sins. He was bodily resurrected on Easter Sunday morning. Whoever
believes
in Him will have their sins forgiven and experience eternal life.

Muslims believe that the Koran is the divine word of God. The Koran reads
much like the Old Testament—same history, events and teachings. In fact,
Muslims
believe in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

However, Muslims believe that both Testaments have been altered by the Jews
and the Christians. Wherever there are conflicts between the Bible and the
Koran, the Koran takes precedent. Muslims also believe that the Koran is God’s
last word to the world, and it was written by the followers of Mohammed
soon after his death.

Muslims believe strongly in the prophets, with Mohammed being the greatest.
They believe that Jesus was a prophet sent only to the Jews.

Muslims believe in angels as messengers of God.

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Muslims believe that all men and women will be judged according to their
works. Muslims will enter into Paradise. Non-Muslims will be condemned
forever
in burning fire.

The Five Pillars of Islam

The “Five Pillars of Islam” are the actions every Muslim is responsible for
during their lifetime. However, not every Muslim group recognizes or agrees
about what the five pillars are… or even how many there are.

The majority of Muslims follow the pillars recognized by the Sunni people
group. The Sunnis are one of the two main branches of Islam. They seem to be
a little more Orthodox than the Shias. Iran is the home for most Shias. The
basic differences between the two groups focus upon who is and who isn’t one
of the first three (or four) caliphs.

1. Faith: A Muslim must recite this often to show personal belief, “There is
no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

2. Prayer: Prayers must be made five times a day facing Mecca.

3. Alms: 1/40 of a Muslim’s income is to be given as alms to the poor.

4. Fast: Fasting throughout the daylight hours during the time of Ramadan, a
religious holiday.

5. Pilgrimage: All pilgrims must journey to Mecca sometime in their lives.

Note: A large faction of Muslims hold to a Sixth Pillar known as “Jihad” or
“Holy War.” In effect, this is a requirement to kill anyone who is an
unbeliever—not
a faithful Muslim.

Incompatibility with Christianity

Islam asserts that the Gospel picture of Jesus is incorrect. They believe
that the correct view was given by revelation to Mohammed. In other words,
the
Jesus revealed in the Koran is not the same Jesus who is portrayed in the
Gospels.

The Gospels clearly proclaim that Jesus is virgin-born, and therefore He is
God. Islam counters with a Jesus who was simply a prophet. According to the
Koran, Jesus is also a prophet only for the nation of Israel. In contrast,
Mohammed is the Prophet for the whole world.

The Bible declares that Jesus is the divine “Word” of God (John 1:1) who
created the universe and died on the cross to forgive the sins of the world.
“Word”
is the Greek word
logos which means “the unrevealed wisdom of God.” In
John 1:14, the Bible declares that “the unrevealed wisdom of God” (Jesus)
has put on an actual body.

The Koran declares that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified. Those things
only “appeared” to happen. They do not believe that Jesus has anything to
do with salvation or eternal life.

Islam teaches salvation by works. The number and quality of deeds is weighed
at the end of life, and if good works outweigh the bad ones, the individual
will go to Paradise. However, if the bad ones tip the scale, the individual
will go to hell.

In contrast, the Bible clearly teaches that we receive salvation by grace
through faith in Jesus Christ, not because of the works we do on Earth (see
Ephesians 2:8-9).

Next, Mohammed’s account begins 600 years after the events of the first
century. The New Testament contains eyewitness testimony of the life and
ministry
of Jesus. Therefore, it is more trustworthy.

How We Treat Muslims

This is the kicker. No matter what others believe—no matter how they treat
us or what their religious beliefs say about who we are—Jesus calls us to
love
them as we love ourselves. That means we treat Muslims just as Jesus wants
us to treat people everywhere.

Julie and I have traveled all over the world, and I can tell you that people
everywhere are the same.

Most Muslims, like all of us, want to live in peace and safety. They’d like
to have a good job and good health. They want good friends and neighbors.
They
want to watch their children grow up to be well-adjusted adults.

When you see a woman wearing a burqa or a hijab, remember that the woman
behind the veil is a real person just like everyone else. Love her the same.

I know that’s tough, especially because we see terror strikes by Muslim
extremists in the news every day. But catch that word, “extremists.” Muslims
who
act in hate and violence are the minority. You do not have to fear them.
“Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Sincerely, Roger

Author’s Note: Much of the material on Islam was gleaned from the book by
Josh McDowell, Answers to Tough Questions. I recommend that you look there
for
more helpful information.

Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from
Casas Church
in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after
conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors,
missionaries,
and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout
his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated,
multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is
deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right
through
the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor
University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate
Seminary
in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening
to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing
and is available in Thai and Portuguese.
His latest work is,
Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer
, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at
Preach It, Teach It
, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife,
Dr. Julie Barrier .

Publication date: June 13, 2017

11 Ways to Discover the Extraordinary Power of Being Ordinary
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of
Michael Horton’s new book Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless
World
(Zondervan, 2014).

Whenever you can do something big to serve God or go on a radical adventure
with him, you likely feel important. Such extraordinary experiences seem to
validate the fact that your life really matters.

But what about life’s ordinary moments, which happen much more often? The
mundane routine of living day to day may seem like nothing special because
it
doesn’t feel exciting. But it’s in the midst of the ordinary that God grows
you most powerfully into the person he wants you to become.

The ordinary becomes extraordinary when you approach it with faith, inviting
God to work through you in every moment you live for him. Here’s how you can
do so:

Accept the circumstances into which God has placed you. Recognize that God
has called you to do what’s right in every situation you face, and when you
do your best to live faithfully in all circumstances, your life makes a
significant impact over time in God’s kingdom. If God calls you to do
something
adventurous like building wells in Africa on a mission trip, go do so. But
realize that the ordinary ways God calls you to respond with faith – such as
working diligently to earn money for your family, helping your children
learn something new, doing errands and household chores, praying for your
neighbors,
and participating in a local church community – are just as significant as
the more adventurous opportunities to serve. Realize that what matters most
to God isn’t
what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. Be encouraged that whenever you
do anything at all with faithful love for God and the people he has made,
God
is using your life to accomplish important purposes. Be willing to say “yes”
to God wherever he has placed you.

Realize that ordinary doesn’t mean mediocre. God’s call to embrace the
ordinary aspects of life doesn’t involve settling for mediocrity by doing
less.
It actually means doing more, with excellence, but investing in things that
you’re tempted to give up on when you don’t seen an immediate return on your
investment. Far from giving up your God-given passion, embracing the
ordinary means tapping into that passion to foster deeper growth in grace,
more effective
outreach, and a more sustainable vision of loving service to others over the
course of your lifetime.

Check your motivations. Reflect on what’s really motivating you to spend
your time and energy engaging in spiritual disciplines and serving people in
need.
Are you pursuing these noble activities because they make you feel important
and radical – or because you want to express your love for God through them?
If you discover that you’re motivated by a desire to justify yourself
through your activities, you won’t be satisfied with what’s ordinary, even
though
God is working through ordinary moments in your life. Confess any misguided
motivations you have, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus simply on
pleasing
God.

Grow in maturity through time and community. As you mature spiritually, you’ll
develop a greater appreciation for how God works through the ordinary
moments
of your life. Time and community are two key elements that God uses to help
you grow: committing time to your activities long term without getting
restless
and giving up on them prematurely, and submitting to the accountability and
encouragement of other believers in a local church community.

Shift your focus from extraordinary breakthroughs to ordinary disciplines.
Rather than expecting that you have to wait for some kind of next big thing
to see God at work powerfully in your life, expect God to show up powerfully
as you engage faithfully in ordinary spiritual disciplines (like prayer and
Bible reading). Deal wisely with your church’s ordinary traditions by
refusing to idolize or ignore them; instead, respect them but evaluate
whether or
not they’re still truly meaningful for you – if so, practice them to draw
closer to God.

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Trade selfish ambition for a passionate drive. Let go of ambition to build
yourself up by doing good work in attention-grabbing ways. Instead, focus on
passionately using the talents God has given you to help meet the needs you
care about the most in the world through ordinary work, which will maximize
your impact over time.

Aim to be a servant, not a star. Don’t worry about trying to gain
recognition for your personal talents in ministry (such as your engaging
speaking skills
or charismatic leadership). Instead, focus on faithfully serving people
throughout life’s many ordinary moments – as Jesus himself did, during his
time
on Earth.

Develop contentment. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn to notice and be
content with the ways that God is constantly working through your ordinary
efforts to live faithfully day by day. Recognize that your calling isn’t
really your own, but God’s power at work in your efforts, as you cooperate
with
him and help fulfill his redemptive purposes in the world.

Become an ordinary hero. While God may sometimes call you to do remarkable
acts of heroism, most often God will use your faithful efforts doing your
daily
work to make a significantly positive impact on others around you. By simply
being faithful to the work God gives you to do each day, you can become just
as much of a hero as you could be by doing something dramatic.

Practice spiritual gardening. The way people grow spiritually is like how
plants grow in a garden. Rather than expecting fast and dramatic spiritual
growth
in yourself and other people (which is unrealistic), be patient and
diligently work toward slow and steady growth. As you personally engage in
spiritual
disciplines and keep loving and serving others, God will bring about
beautiful growth in all of your lives over time.

Focus on people rather than causes and projects. Although God does urge you
to support causes and projects, his main concern is how well you love and
serve
people in the process of working on those efforts. Don’t let yourself get
stuck daydreaming about ambitious causes and projects in the abstract,
without
actually following up on your ideas. Instead, get to work serving the real
and specific people whom you encounter on a daily basis. As you keep dying
to
yourself and inviting God to work through you, you’ll do extraordinary work
in ordinary ways.

Adapted from Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World,
copyright 2014 by Michael S. Horton. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids,
Mich.,

www.zondervan.com .

Michael Horton is the author of more than 30 books and is a professor at
Westminster Seminary California. He also hosts the White House Inn
broadcast/podcast, and is editor of Modern Reformation magazine.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for
many years, is author of the Christian novel
Dream Factory
, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. She produced a site about
angels and miracles for About.com. Now she writes about the power of
thoughts on
her
“Renewing Your Mind” blog.

The Wonderful Gift of ... Suffering?
by John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on
him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same
struggle
you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”

(Philippians 1:29-30
)

Philippians 1:29
is one of those verses that makes me stop and shake my head in disbelief.
Paul tells the readers of this letter that suffering has been granted to
them.
Granted? Really? As in, "Here you go. Here's a big ol' heaping helping of
suffering"?

If you dig into the Greek behind that phrase, you’ll uncover the word
charizomai. This word usually implies something that’s freely given for
someone else’s benefit. In fact, Paul uses this same word to talk about how
God
forgave our sins (
Colossians 2:13 ; Ephesians 4:32
); how we are to forgive others freely (
2 Corinthians 2:7, 10
); and how God bestows gifts or titles because of His love and power (as in
Philippians 2:9
). In Luke 7:21
, the same word shows how Jesus gave sight to the blind. Free, beneficial
gifts.

All those are well and good. So, why would Paul add something crazy like
suffering to these other good things? Surely, he has to see that suffering
doesn’t
fit in the same category as healing the blind and forgiving sin. They don’t
even share the same zip code. Right?

Well, Paul’s example shows us that they do. Right near the end of Acts (
chapter 27
), Paul gets stuck with a stubborn centurion who can’t wait to get to Rome
and a ship’s pilot who’s happy to oblige. Paul warns that such a trip will
end
badly. They ignore him (word to the wise: never ignore Paul). When they run
into a storm, things look really, really bad. People are throwing supplies
overboard, faces are green, and hope goes buh-bye.

About that time, Paul gets to give his “I told you so” speech, and in that
speech, he uses our old friend
charizomai. An angel had appeared to Paul and told him, “God has
granted you all those who are sailing with you” (
Acts 27:24
). God had granted him seasick sailors (who wanted to kill the prisoners,
mind you) and a stubborn centurion who refused to listen to sense. What kind
of gift is that? God could have granted him a miraculous trip to a nearby
island--perhaps somewhere warm and not so stormy.

But if that had been the case, Paul wouldn’t have done the other part of
this verse: “you must stand before Caesar.” If Paul had been whisked away,
in
fact, we wouldn’t have the books of Acts or Luke (that chapter is filled
with “we” from our good doctor friend who also survived the storm); the
sailors
and centurion wouldn’t have seen God’s mighty act to save every single one
of them; and Paul wouldn’t have taken the gospel to the most important city
in the Roman Empire. God gave Paul the gift of their lives so that the
gospel would bulldoze on.

And that brings up back to Paul’s suggestion that suffering is granted--a
gift. Quite likely, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians not long after
being
smashed into the rocks. Despite the messy trip (or perhaps precisely because
of it), the message of Christ spread throughout the royal guard and people
all over Rome. Other Christians got some backbone to speak more boldly (
Philippians 1:13-14
). Things went boom all over.

Intersecting Faith & Life: The gift of suffering, for Paul and for us, doesn’t
seem much like a gift--at first. But the vantage point makes all the
difference.
Suffering that comes for the sake of Christ always produces a harvest of
awesome. That’s because, in addition to the suffering, God also grants us
the

strength to endure
and the chance to see the gospel take root.

And that’s why Paul can truthfully say, “What is more, I consider everything
a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whose sake I have lost all things” ( Philippians 3:8 ). That’s not empty
boasting from a beaten down man. That’s the triumphant cry of someone who
sees
what lies ahead.

For Further Reading
Acts 27-28
Philippians 1 (Read the whole thing; it’s short and concentrated.)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 05 Sep 2017, 10:25 pm

The Doorman
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Editor

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
- Matthew 11:28

Once upon a time, there lived a wise and righteous king who cared deeply for
his people. In order to ensure that his kingdom prospered, the king summoned
one of his servants and gave him this decree,

"Go and stand at the door of the palace. If someone comes and asks to see
me, open the door and allow them in so I may speak with them."

So the servant went and did as the king commanded. People came from far and
wide to see the king. Some were rich men, some were great scholars, others
were from noble families, and when they asked to see the king the doorman
gave them entry. Then one day a poor beggar came to the palace door and
asked
to see the king. The doorman looked him over and frowned.

The beggar's clothes were dirty and torn, he wore no shoes and was
unpleasant to look at.

"Surely my king would not wish to meet with such a man as this," the doorman
said to himself, and turned the beggar away. Soon the doorman began turning
others away; people he deemed too poor, or too sick, or too strange. When
the king discovered what was being done he summoned the doorman to him.

"Why have you been turning people away from the palace?" the king demanded
angrily. The doorman was surprised and replied meekly, "My king, I was only
performing the duty you gave me."

"Your duty was to open the door for those who would see me," said the king,
"not decide if they were worthy to do so."

It's unfortunate when we behave like the doorman in this story. We style
ourselves the "Watchmen on the Wall," and if we see someone who doesn't
quite
fit our definition of worthy, we slam the door in his or her face. But God's
grace is not ours to give away, and true forgiveness belongs to Christ
alone.
Our job is to open the door that leads to Christ, through prayer, through
friendship, and through service. Remember, we all stand on equal footing at
the
door of Christ's mercy.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you been turning away people who are
looking for God? Or lighting the way to the narrow path? Take some time to
consider.

Further Reading
>Luke 14:15-24

HE CAN HEAL THE HURT

Grudge is one of those words that defines itself. Its very sound betrays its
meaning.

Say it slowly: “Grr-uuuud-ge.”

It starts with a growl. “Grr…” Like a bear with bad breath coming out of
hibernation or a mangy mongrel defending his bone in an alley. “Grrr…”

Remove a GR from the word grudge and replace it with SL and you have the
junk that grudge bearers trudge through. Sludge. Black, thick, ankle-deep
resentment
that steals the bounce from the step. No joyful skips through the meadows.
No healthy hikes up the mountain. Just day after day of walking into the
storm,
shoulders bent against the wind, and feet dragging through all the muck life
has delivered.

Is this the way you are coping with your hurts? Are you allowing your hurts
to turn into hates? If so, ask yourself: Is it working? Has your hatred done
you any good? Has your resentment brought you any relief, any peace? Has it
granted you any joy?

Let’s say you get even. Let’s say you get him back. Let’s say she gets what
she deserves. Let’s say your fantasy of fury runs its ferocious course and
you return all your pain with interest. Imagine yourself standing over the
corpse of the one you have hated. Will you now be free?

The writer of the following letter thought she would be. She thought her
revenge would bring release. But she learned otherwise.

I caught my husband with another woman. He swore it would never happen
again. He begged me to forgive him, but I could not—would not. I was so
bitter and
so incapable of swallowing my pride that I could think of nothing but
revenge. I was going to make him pay and pay dearly. I’d have my pound of
flesh.

I filed for divorce, even though my children begged me not to.

Even after the divorce, my husband tried for two years to win me back. I
refused to have anything to do with him. He had struck first; now I was
striking
back. All I wanted was to make him pay.

Finally he gave up and married a lovely young widow with a couple of small
children. He began rebuilding his life—without me.

I see them occasionally, and he looks so happy. They all do. And here I am—a
lonely, old, miserable woman who allowed her selfish pride and foolish
stubbornness
to ruin her life.

Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that,
without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left.

The state of your heart dictates whether you harbor a grudge or give grace,
seek self-pity or seek Christ, drink human misery or taste God’s mercy.

No wonder, then, the wise man pleads, “Above all else, guard your heart.”
(Proverbs 4:23)

David’s prayer should be ours: “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” (Psalm
51:10)

Max Lucado
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"Overcoming This World's Obstacles" #84-47

Sermon Text for July 23, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on July 23, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Romans 8:18-25
Our text, Romans chapter 8. "I find this law at work," says St. Paul.
"Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me, for in my inner
being,
I delight in God's Law, but I see another law at work in me, waging war
against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at
work within
me. What a wretched man that I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is
subject to death? Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ, our
Lord." Christ has risen. He has risen, indeed. Hallelujah!

You know what an idiom is, don't you? It's a picturesque way of making a
point. For example, "Actions speak louder than words" or "A penny for your
thoughts"
or "You're barking up the wrong tree." Idioms can be grammatically unusual
like "Long time, no see." Or their meanings cannot be taken literally like
when
we say, "It's raining cats and dogs," but idioms grab our attention as they
try to make their point.

Here's one that was always a favorite back in younger days, playing sports:
"No pain, no gain." But what's that supposed to mean? I don't like that
phrase
much anymore. Well, it was supposed to mean that hard work and even
suffering at times is necessary in order to make progress or to grow. Did
your mother
ever make you take piano lessons? Now mine did, and I didn't always like it.
Well, truth be told, I really am glad that she made me do that back in the
day.

Yes, some of you, like me, probably didn't enjoy all the practice it took
through the years, but later you discovered that all of that practice-it now
allows you to entertain others or to accompany a choir or lead a
congregation in worship. No pain, no gain. Today I want to use that idiom as
a reminder
of how the Lord inspires you and me through the power of the Holy Spirit to
live our lives in this world to serve others for an eternal purpose.

St. Paul, writing to Christians in the first-century Roman world, encouraged
people to press on in the midst of great challenges. He said it this way in
Romans 8: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not
worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." In this New
Testament
book, Paul is laying down a solid foundation for the expansion of the
Christian church across the inhabited world. Now, the Gospel of Jesus at its
beginning
with Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, outside of Jerusalem, the Gospel
of Jesus Christ, really Jesus Himself, had had its way with Paul.

He turned Paul's life around. Remember Paul? We first learned of him as Saul
in the New Testament book of Acts. He was a great persecutor of Christians
until Jesus miraculously intervened in his life. Jesus stopped Saul in his
tracks on the Damascus Road. Jesus called out, "Saul! Saul! Why are you
persecuting
Me?" That's right. The resurrected, ascended, and
coming-again-to-judge-the-living-and-the-dead Lord Jesus Christ stopped Saul
right in his tracks. It
changed Saul's life forever. Jesus changed this hardened man.

It wasn't just that Paul experienced the awesome presence of Jesus on that
day. He would immerse himself in the Scriptures, studying how this Jesus was
the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises. He, Jesus, was the one
promised by God in the book of Genesis, who had come to save the world from
sin
and death. Paul made it his life's mission to help as many people as he
could to learn the truth of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this long letter to
these
Christians in Rome in order to give them a rock-solid foundation of
Christian teaching that would provide the kind of footing and traction the
church would
need to reach the rest of the world.

However, that mission would not come without a price. No pain, no gain. In
fact, you know that this is true even in your own life. Even the act of
loving
someone has a price to pay. Someone has to make the first move when things
are good and, even more importantly, when there are challenges. Someone has
to be willing to serve, to care, to be vulnerable, to make a relationship
work. Even the power of love is a no-pain, no-gain kind of thing. Sharing
the
love of God in Jesus Christ, that's a no-pain, no-gain thing, too.

Christ literally had to endure the pain of the cross to bring the love of
God to you and all those who believe in Jesus Christ. You and I, if we seek
to
share God's love, there's a price to be paid for that, too. People often
make you pay even when you're trying to share God's love with them. Wow!
Well,
that was true in Paul's day, but we see it also today.

Earlier this year I shared with you that in 2016, 90,000 Christians lost
their lives due to persecution. Sharing the love of God comes at a great
cost.
Still there's a tremendous upside to all of that pain. Christians, we're on
a mission. Paul says in Romans 8, "For I consider that the sufferings of
this
present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed
to us." As Romans 8 reveals, it's not just malicious men and women who try
to
get in our way. Sometimes, it's just life itself.

It's just life in a troubled and broken world. Like Paul says, "Creation,
too, waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Creation
was subjected to futility. Not willingly, but because of Him who subjected
it in hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to
corruption."
Think about that. What does that mean? Well, you feel that corruption in
your body when you're subjected to sickness and disease. You feel it when a
summer
storm comes roaring across the landscape in a deadly tornado or a
destructive hurricane or a terrific drought that wipes out the crops. That's
all part
of creation subjected to futility.

You probably hear it cast differently by other people. They might try to
soften those blows by referring to bad weather as "Mother Nature getting
upset,"
but if you really want to get at the truth of the matter, you have to go
back to your Bible in Genesis chapter three when mankind fell into sin. The
Lord
teaches us that all of creation ended up becoming broken. Everything is set
on its edge as it were. The good and healthy balance of life became upset,
unhinged. The earth became unbalanced like a toy top that starts to wobble
as it loses its energy.

Again, this is what St. Paul is telling us when he talks about creation
longing for the revealing of the sons of God, even in hope that creation
itself
will be set free from its bondage to corruption. Paul goes on to say, "For
we know the whole creation has been groaning together like in the pains of
childbirth
until now, and not only creation, but we ourselves. We, who have the first
fruits of the spirit, we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as
sons
and daughters, the redemption of our bodies."

I'm kind of a news junkie. I'm sure many of you are, too. Then there are
people who refuse to turn on the news. Why? Well, one reason is that they
can't
stomach all the bad news. Well, I can appreciate that. I really can. You
have to admit, there are a lot of bad things happening in our world every
day.
If you allow yourselves to get involved in a news report, it's likely you'll
groan. You'll grimace. Maybe you'll even begin to feel sick. I like to keep
up with current events, but sometimes it really is just too much to bear.

That's what makes Paul's words here so vivid. He says, "We know the whole
creation has been groaning together, like in the pains of childbirth." God's
creation subjected to the brokenness that has come because of humanity's
fall into sin, it literally groans. It aches for something better, something
far
better.

Those of you who are women, who've suffered through the pains of childbirth,
you can attest to Paul's description of creation, can't you-groaning
together
in the pains of childbirth? Only you women can know that suffering. But the
idiom, "No pain, no gain," applies here, too. For every mother and father
who
enjoy the gift of a new daughter or son appreciates the richness of that
pain because of the gain which far outweighs the curse of that suffering.
Well,
the whole creation has been groaning that way.

Then Paul says, "Until now ..." Now here's the big thing for Paul. Here is
the ultimate point of the message. The message of the Gospel reveals that
for
all of the brokenness of this world, for all of the obstacles that get in
the way, there is something better in store for us. Our God who puts limits
on
the destructive power of the fallen creation and intervenes when storms
throw tantrums, He has something far better in store for us. Here it is.
Paul says,
"And not only the creation, but we ourselves. We have the first roots of the
Spirit. We groan inwardly as we eagerly await for our adoption as sons, the
redemption of our bodies." That's it-the redemption of our bodies and souls
eternally in Jesus Christ.

The book of Romans follows closely after the four Gospels of the New
Testament where we learn how Jesus Christ, God's Son, was given to take on
human flesh
and to live in our world of brokenness. Jesus felt, for real, the trouble,
the hardship, that all of us feel. Jesus knows how you and I groan in the
wake
of all the things that are upsetting us. He knows what it's like to lose a
close friend. He healed men and women suffering from leprosy and other dread
diseases.

During Holy Week, Jesus became the focus of a broken justice system in which
religious officials and political officers could be easily bribed to invoke
injustice on those who were innocent. All the stuff that makes for bad news,
Jesus knows it firsthand. However, because Jesus endured all of that
brokenness,
you and I are given to know that He came to redeem us from all of that.
Jesus gives us good news when there's bad news. Jesus gives us good news,
something
much better to gain, to gain a better and long-lasting perspective and faith
through all the pain.

In fact, Christ's pain means great gain for you and me. St. Paul goes on,
"For in this hope, this hope in Christ, we were saved." Paul believed that
we
were born into this world, and not just to be the next progression or
generation of humanity. We were born to be God's next generation of adopted
sons
and daughters of a living hope. Through the death and resurrection of God's
Son, Jesus Christ, we have a tremendous mission for promulgating the joy of
heaven. The joy of heaven doesn't start after we succumb to an earthly
death. It starts right now in your life, and in mine, by faith.

The joy of heaven-where there are no more tears, where there is no more
pain, no more suffering, no more disease, no more multi-car pile ups, and no
more
death-it all starts right now for you and me. When I was a young pastor, I
called on an old veteran pastor who was seeing his last days here on earth,
and I asked him in view of the Gospel, "Why does aging and death still have
to come?" You see, at this young age, I was already tired of dealing with
the
tragedies in hospitals, the tragedies of dying and death. I asked him, "Why
does it have to come to this?"

He said, "Greg, it's God's way of getting us to heaven." Let me just say
that again, "Greg, it's God's way of getting us to heaven." That sounded too
simple,
but you know, over time now, I've begun to realize the simplicity and the
power of that statement. It's true. When you have the joy of knowing that
God
has not abandoned you in this life and has paradise in store for you, it
makes it all worthwhile. No pain, no gain.

Paul here helps us to really appreciate the power of faith. The writer of
the book of Hebrews, some people think Paul wrote that too, he says it this
way:
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things
not seen." Faith is a gift that God gives us in Jesus-that you and I have a
Savior
who knows our pain, but helps us to live for something greater. That's the
joy of sharing life with Jesus now. That's the joy of being on His special
mission
with Him for others, helping others to see His overcoming power by sharing
this joy.

How does it happen? It happens by the power of God's Holy Spirit, sealed
through Jesus' death and resurrection and then alive in your lives-no matter
what
is going on around you. St. Paul says, "Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our
weakness for we don't even know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit
Himself
intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Life lived in this
world will always be a struggle. There will always be pain, challenge,
suffering,
sickness, and dealing with the loss of loved ones and coworkers. That's the
pain, but here's the gain.

In fact, let me ask it this way. Are you not sure how you're going to deal
with all this junk, all this stuff that seems to get in the way? Remember
the
Spirit helps us in our weakness. Not even sure how to pray sometimes?
Remember this promise: "For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but
the
Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Now, that's a
God who gets it. Even the Spirit groans with us, for us, and takes all
things
to the throne of God's grace.

Many of you have heard the story of Jim Elliot. He was a missionary who took
the Gospel to the Aucan Indians in the jungles of eastern Ecuador. They had
never heard of Jesus. Jim Elliot gave his life, proclaiming the Gospel to
them so that they would know Jesus as their Savior, too. Elliot wrote this.
He
said, "He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot
lose." Loosely translated: "No pain, no gain." His manner of life has become
a strong encouragement for me as I consider how to live life through the
junk of this world with an eternal perspective, and I pray that that is a
blessing
for you as well.

Let me close with this blessing for you. I pray that our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in the Spirit He gives, will strengthen you to live with a longing for the
hope that is to come, that is, to live for the gain, even through the pain,
because through faith in Christ Jesus, you already reign. Amen.
Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for July 23, 2017
Guest: Dr. Paul Maier
Mark Eischer: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. This is Action in
Ministry, your call to action in response to all that God has done for you
in Jesus
Christ. Pastor Seltz, in your message today, you helped us look past the
pain of the moment and think instead about the gain that lasts forever.

Pastor Seltz: That's right, Mark. Just as the apostle Paul endured great
suffering for the furthering of the Gospel, so also many others have
continued
to count the cost and accomplish great gain for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Mark Eischer: One such individual was Martin Luther. His story is told in a
video resource titled, A Man Named Martin. One of the contributors featured
in that study is author and historian Dr. Paul Maier, and he joins us now by
phone.

Pastor Seltz: Dr. Maier, thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Maier: Delighted to be aboard.

Pastor Seltz: This theme of "no pain, no gain," was no doubt a part of
Martin Luther's life. He's known as one of the greatest reformers of all
times,
but I guess the question that our listeners might have is "Why did Luther do
this and what was the risk for him?"

Dr. Maier: He was a person who would love computers today because everything
he did was an emphasis with bold, underline, and italics, at the same time.
He wanted to be absolutely sure of his salvation. For that reason, he became
a monk. If he was going to become a monk, he was going to be the best
available.
As a monk, he would fast not for an hour or two but maybe for a day or two.
He'd be on his knees in prayer. He would try to wind his way into God's
favor.
He had these anguishing moments in which he would see that "I can't be as
righteous as God wants me to be," soul searching of all kinds in the process
of becoming a monk.

Pastor Seltz: Then, when he discovers the Gospel and he realizes that it
really does set him free to live as God had made possible for him, and then
he
paid any price to make sure other people knew about that, right?

Dr. Maier: Indeed. It went public after the posting of his 95 Theses and
after that, of course, he became a very public figure in Europe, and indeed
much
opposition dwelled from the medieval church, from the Holy Roman Empire,
which was the overreaching state at the time, and from anybody who didn't
like
Luther. The result was it was one man against the world, for quite a while.

Mark Eischer: Did he expect a different result when he posted those debating
points on the door?

Dr. Maier: It was a case of posting these for serious debate among scholars,
regarding the sale of indulgences. These were documents on paper that
released
a person from the penalties of purgatory in the amount of years, months, and
days. Luther couldn't stand that. It's not biblically grounded. He saw where
the church was erring in other areas as well, and this was the tip of the
iceberg. So he thought this was meant only for scholarly debate. It was in
Latin,
not German. Then, of course, when they were translated into German by an
enterprising printer, in two months all of Europe was talking about Luther's
challenge
with the church.

Pastor Seltz: All that Martin Luther went through, it was critical to the
spreading of the Gospel, but I guess the other side of it is, what are some
of
the transforming results? Society was transformed from some of Luther's
efforts, too. What changed?

Dr. Maier: Everything changed in the sense of how a person lives his life.
It was a pretty meager existence in the Middle Ages, and a pretty dangerous
existence because the church has a monopoly on your life, on anything you
did. It was a case of liberation from the church at the time, and from the
states
close link with the church at the time, too, which was another great problem
for Luther and for the state. The Reformation would be the signaling of the
bell freedom, you might say, for the human being.

Mark: Yeah. Liberation in society, then education for the individual, and
all the freedoms that we seem to enjoy today, there's a lot of it that has
roots
in the Reformation.

Dr. Maier: I've often said the Statue of Liberty ought to be outside of
Wittenberg rather than New York Harbor.

Pastor Seltz: What could we learn from Luther's willingness to endure that
risk, the persecution, the loneliness, that you spoke about? What does it
mean
for us?

Dr. Maier: At the time, poor Luther must've thought, "I'm the only one who's
enduring all this," but then when he realized the importance of the freedom
of the Gospel, then he realized he was liberating-through him God was
liberating-hundreds, thousands of people at the time, millions today, in our
country
and elsewhere.

Mark Eischer: We've been discussing a video resourced titled A Man Named
Martin
, and there's much more to the story of Martin Luther. In just a moment,
I'll tell you how you can access this content.

Pastor Seltz: Dr. Paul Maier, thanks for sharing this message about Martin
Luther and his story of pain and great gain for the Gospel of Jesus. It's a
reminder that God has great purpose for all of us. Indeed, He does work all
things together for good to those who love Him. Dr. Maier, again, what a
privilege
to have you here with us today. Thanks for being here.

Dr. Maier: Blessings Greg, and you, too, Mark.

Pastor Seltz: That's our Action in Ministry segment today, to bless, to
empower, and to strengthen your life in Christ, for others.

Mark Eischer: To view or download this resource for free, go to
lutheranhour.org and click on Action in Ministry or call 1-855-JOHN-316.
That's 1-855-564-6316.
Our e-mail address is info@LHM.org.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for July 23, 2017
Topic: Overcoming This World's Obstacles
Mark Eischer: Now Pastor Gregory Seltz explores another important Bible
text. I'm Mark Eischer. Hebrews 12, verse 2 says, "We look to Jesus, the
Founder
and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the
throne
of God." Pastor Seltz, what does this verse mean for us?

Pastor Seltz: Well, Mark, before we get to that, just remember Hebrews 12
follows Hebrews 11 and that's important not to forget.

Mark: Well, sure. Twelve follows eleven, but why is that so important?

Pastor Seltz: Because understanding Hebrews 11, it helps us to read and
understand Hebrews 12.

Mark: Hebrews 11 seems to be all about faith.

Pastor Seltz: Exactly. Some people call Hebrews 11 the "faith" chapter. It
begins with a description of faith as being sure of what we hope for and
certain
of what we don't see. The rest of the chapter explains that all the saints
in the Old Testament live by faith in what God had promised.

Mark: If Hebrews 11 is all about faith, does that mean Hebrews 12 is also
about faith?

Pastor Seltz: It is to a point. Hebrews 12 begins by alluding back to the
faith of those who have gone before and the faith of those who believe now,
but
a fundamental shift occurs in verse 2. That's the verse we're talking about
today. Here, we're told to fix our eyes not on those who have faith but on
the One in whom they have faith, so let's fix our eyes on Jesus. The point
is not just having faith, but focusing on the One in whom we should put all
of our trust.

Mark: There's a lot of talk about faith nowadays. Here, we're told to fix
our eyes and our faith on Jesus. What does that mean?

Pastor Seltz: The answer to that is that Jesus is the only true and worthy
object of our faith. It's not faith in ourselves or in our favorite sports
team.
It's not faith in government or our country. It's not even faith in faith,
or the power of positive thinking. Now, those things may or may not be good
at a certain point, or helpful, but they're not worthy of our ultimate
faith. Jesus is the only One and the only thing, the only Person, who
deserves our
faith.

Mark: That's a pretty strong statement. Don't we also put our faith in those
other things?

Pastor Seltz: Well, we may use the language of faith to say that we depend
on those things or hope those things will help us, but the true object of
faith,
ultimately, is Jesus. He's God in the flesh. He's the only One who can
promise and deliver eternal life. He's the only One who can conquer our
enemies
of sin, death, and the power of the devil. Only Jesus is worthy of, and
deserves, our faith.

Mark: What does it mean that He is the Founder and Perfecter of our faith?

Pastor Seltz: Now this is one of those places where the English translation
really doesn't reflect the original Greek. It actually makes more sense in
the Greek, too. The words here are really, "He's the beginning and the goal,
or the end of our faith." Think about it. Jesus, the beginning of our faith,
He's the goal, He's the end point of our faith. Basically, what the Hebrew's
writer is saying, "He's everything. He's the content. He's the object. He's
our hope. He's our promise. He's our life. He is everything."

Mark: That brings a lot more meaning to it, but is He not also the Founder
and Perfecter?

Pastor Seltz: He is. He's the Founder of our faith. He's fully God. He's
always been, will always be, so faith begins in Him. He is also the
Perfecter.
He's the only One who has ever had perfect faith. He fully trusted in God
during His earthly life, but again, there's so much more than just founding
and
perfecting. This verse really says that Jesus is all of that, and more.

Mark: Now we haven't even gotten to the second part of the verse yet.

Pastor Seltz: Yeah, that's right. This gets to the heart of why true faith
is faith in Christ. The writer of Hebrews says, "He endured the cross,
scorned
and shamed, and is seated at the right hand of God." That's the reason we
fix our eyes on Jesus. He suffered death on the cross, rose again on the
third
day, as only He could. He ascended into heaven where He reigns as King, and
He will return one day as judge of the living and the dead. He is the King
of kings. He's the Lord of lords.

Mark: In Him alone, do we find forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.
Like you said, he's everything.

Pastor Seltz: Yeah. That's why we fix our eyes on Him. That's why we trust
in Him alone.

Mark: Thank you Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour
Ministries.
Visit lutheranhour.org
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:
"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"In Holy Conversation" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia
Publishing House)

"My Faith Looks Up to Thee" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia
Publishing House)


Labor Day

This is Labor Day weekend in the United States and Canada. Some people treat
this as the last weekend to take off and take a short vacation while others
treat it as a day to labor around the house. I heard a woman call in to a
radio station the other day saying she was going to labor around the house
including taking down her Christmas decorations. Whatever way the day is
celebrated it should remind each of us who know Jesus Christ what He wants
us to do because of our love for Him:

Luke 10:2 (KJV)
2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers
are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth
labourers into his harvest.

When Martin Luther set out on the work which shook the world, his friend
Myconius expressed sympathy. “But,” he said, “I can best help where I am. I
will remain and pray while you toil.” Myconius prayed day by day, but as he
prayed he began to feel uncomfortable.
One night he had a dream. He thought the Saviour himself approached and
showed him his hands and feet. He saw the fountain in which he had been
cleansed from sin. Then looking earnestly into his eyes the Saviour said,
“Follow me.” The Lord took him to a lofty mountain and pointed eastward.
Looking in that direction Myconius saw a plain stretching away to the
horizon. It was dotted with white sheep—thousands and thousands of them. One
man was trying to shepherd them all. The man was Luther. The Saviour pointed
westward. Myconius saw a great field of standing corn. One reaper was trying
to harvest it all. The lonely laborer was spent and exhausted, but still he
persisted in his task. Myconius recognized in the solitary reaper his old
friend Luther.
“It is not enough,” said Myconius when he awakened, “that I should pray. The
sheep must be shepherded; the fields must be reaped. Here am I; send me.”
And he went out and shared his old friend’s labors.
—Fiery Crags, by Boreham

I heard of one woman who was bedridden but asked for prayer requests which
were put on a bulletin board by her bed so she could pray for them. She
probably did minister to those who were there to help her also. We could do
the same if we were in the same position. We could spend our time in prayer
but also minister to those with whom we came in contact.

May we pray that laborers will go into the harvest field. Let us be open to
the leading of the Holy Spirit that we may become the laborers the Lord is
calling.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 11:33 pm

Go to Bed for the Glory of God
Tessa Thompson

In the short four years I have walked through motherhood, I have come to be
convinced of one thing: It is always worth the time and effort to go to bed
with a clean kitchen. I can imagine few worse early morning greetings than a
sticky countertop and a sink full of dishes. (Okay, an empty coffee pot
may be worse.)

My very gracious husband has learned that if we have late-night company, I
will not be going to bed until the leftovers are put away, the dishes are in
the dishwasher, and the extra chairs are taken back downstairs. Of course,
there is the occasional exception, such as last night’s family sleepover
when
ice cream bowls got left in the sink. However, these exceptions are few and
far between, and cleaning the kitchen has gained a permanent abode in my
evening
routine.

Nevertheless, as clean as my kitchen may be at the end of the day, it never
changes the fact that a hundred other things remain lingering in my mind,
heavy
on my heart, and (still) on my to-do list when my head finally hits the
pillow.

I shouldn’t have reacted that way with my children today. I’m sorry, Lord.
Please help me to grow in patience.

What were those three items I thought of earlier that need to be added to
the grocery list?

The list goes on—character traits lacking in my children, a difficult
decision to make with my husband, and endless meals to plan, shop for, and
prepare.
Of course, I could glue my eyelids to my brow and work on just
onemore thing. But I’m tired. And though the recipe hasn’t been found, the
appointment made, the prayer request answered, or the schedule tweaked, I
turn
off the lights, close my eyes, and sleep.

Ending the Day

Sometimes, one of the hardest decisions of the day is when to end it.
Whether we are full-time college students, stay-at-home mothers of young
children,
or older women looking out for wayward teenagers, life is constantly
presenting new challenges and choices, trials and tasks. And sometimes they
all seem
to pile one on top of the other, no matter how hard we work to address every
nook and cranny of life. Never does the day come when the present is finally
perfected and the future permanently fixed.

What is a weary woman to do?

Continue working diligently? Yes. Ask godly men and women for insight and
suggestions? Yes. Cry out in fervent prayer to the Lord’s help? Yes! Go to
bed
and sleep peacefully?

Yes!

The God of the universe invites us to sleep:

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread
of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep
(Psalms 127:2).

Glorifying God Through a Good Night’s Rest

Has it ever occurred to you that going to bed can glorify God? He created us
to need sleep and He graciously gives it. Therefore, we can please Him by
acknowledging this need and accepting the gift with gratitude.

So how else is God glorified when we choose to get a good night’s rest? Here
are three ways:

1. Sleep acknowledges my limitations.

I may stay in bed because I am lazy, but I go to bed because I am limited—a
fallen, finite creature with a body and mind that must rest in order to
thrive.

I love this quote by John Piper in his devotional, Taste and See :

Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God. “He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep”
(Psalms 121:4). But we will. For we are not God. Once a day God sends us to
bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to
think
we are in control and that our work is indispensable (pg. 336).

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

As hard as it may be to admit it at times, I am a finite creature who is
only able to do anything because of the grace of God. He gives the health
and
energy to manage my home and care for my children. He gives me the wisdom to
deal with my son’s disobedience. He provides the working vehicle so I can
go to the grocery store. He graciously grants me the time to work on a
project while He causes my children to nap.

The tiniest task, the smallest success, the most difficult dilemma—every
part of every day and every week and every year is governed and granted by
the
God of the universe. And lest we forget this, He lovingly reminds us every
night when we tiredly walk away from problems, projects, and possibilities,
and entrust ourselves to our sovereign Creator, who gives us sleep.

2. Sleep prepares me for tomorrow.

In this current season of life, my primary work is wife, mother of two
toddlers, and keeper of the home. Whether you are a mother, wife, student,
sister,
or employee, God has given you work to do; and whether we are cleaning,
studying, disciplining, or discipling, our work requires much from us.

Cleaning my home requires physical strength. Writing a blog post requires
mental strength. Being patient with my four-year-old requires emotional
strength.
And doing all of these things in a way that pleases the Lord, day in and day
out, requires ever-increasing spiritual strength.

Getting a good night’s sleep is a way I can prepare my body, mind, heart,
and soul for the work God has given me to do the following day (or in the
middle
of the night!). My body and mind are helped by the sleep, and my heart and
soul are helped when I am able to wake up early the next morning and spend
time
with the Lord.

3. Sleep helps me to redeem the time.

God commands us in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Look carefully then how you walk, not
as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are
evil.”

Modern technology has opened up a world of endless entertainment and
information to us, making it very easy for us to waste time on things that
do not
line up with our priorities or help and edify our souls. A simple search on
Google can turn into an hour of unproductive browsing. Our desire for some
relaxation can turn into two hours of mindlessly sitting in front of the
television watching reruns. Sometimes the best way to make the greatest use
of
the time is to shut the computer, turn off the TV, silence the phone, and
go to bed.

For example, I may need to find a recipe for the potluck next weekend, but
if it comes to the point where I’m sleepily scrolling through Pinterest for
an hour trying to find the “perfect” one, it’s time to step back, remind
myself of my priorities, and use a recipe I already have!

Using It Right

Of course, just as with any other earthly gift, sleep can be abused and
distorted. The Bible clearly commands us to not be lazy, selfish, or
spiritually
sluggish, as does it exhort us to manage our time well (Eph. 5:16) and work
with cheerful diligence
(Proverbs 31:11-15). And there
are times when we glorify God by denying ourselves sleep in order to serve
others (such as nursing a baby) or seek the Lord in prayer during a time of
spiritual warfare. But just because there is a risk of misusing the gift,
does not mean we should despise or avoid it. Rather, we go to God and ask
for
humility to accept it joyfully and wisdom to use it rightly.

May we learn to lie down and sleep in peace (Psalms 4:8), ever grateful that
we serve a sovereign God who does not slumber and yet glorifies Himself when
His beloved children
do.
This article originally appeared on ReviveOurHearts.com
. Used with permission.

Peace Be with You
July 28, 2017
Read: Hebrews 12:14-15

Strive for peace with everyone. (v. 14)

Each year we plant a small garden in our back yard. The kids can pick cherry
tomatoes for snacks and I have fresh herbs for my cooking. Tending a garden,
though, requires some vigilance. If we don’t give the garden some attention
regularly, it will soon fill up with weeds. And if we wait too long to take
care of the weeds, their roots intertwine with our vegetables and we can’t
pull one without losing the other.

God intends us to be in community with one another to help one another along
the way. And the world is watching how we treat one another. If we let
ourselves
become bitter toward one another, we lose out on a valuable partner in our
walk with Jesus. And our witness to the world is damaged as well.
Disagreements
are inevitable in any relationship, but if we let those disagreements grow,
they can tear us apart. Then instead of a body of Christ that cares for each
other, people see more of the same fighting and anger that is all too common
in our world.

The next time you find yourself in a disagreement with a brother or sister
in Christ, ask yourself, what would it look like to extend grace to that
person?
What can I do to live in peace with him or her? You’ll save yourself from
becoming trapped in bitterness and you’ll show the world around you how God
can
draw us together. —Jen Petersen

Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Suffering That Strengthens Faith
By John Piper

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for
you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
(James 1:2–3)

Strange as it may seem, one of the primary purposes of being shaken by
suffering is to make our faith more unshakable.

Faith is like muscle tissue: if you stress it to the limit, it gets
stronger, not weaker. That’s what James means here. When your faith is
threatened and
tested and stretched to the breaking point, the result is greater capacity
to endure.

God loves faith so much that he will test it to the breaking point so as to
keep it pure and strong. For example, he did this to Paul according to 2
Corinthians
1:8–9,

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced
in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we
despaired
of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the
dead.

The words “but that was to” show that there was a purpose in this extreme
suffering: it was in order that Paul would not rely on himself and his
resources,
but on God — specifically the future grace of God in raising the dead.

God so values our wholehearted faith that he will, graciously, take away
everything else in the world that we might be tempted to rely on — even life
itself.
His aim is that we grow deeper and stronger in our confidence that he
himself will be all we need.

He wants us to be able to say with the psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but
you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and
my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion
forever” (Psalm 73:25–26).

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Today's Devotional

My Unwelcomed Blessings

A friend shared how she had once asked God to stop sending trials because
she couldn't handle any more. She confessed, "God did grant me a trial-free
year;
but it was a spiritually dry year." She missed the warm presence of the
Lord. She added, "I never grew during that year." Through her trial-free
year,
she remembered the value of what I call
unwelcomed blessings.

Occasionally, I ponder such blessings — the ones that I never wanted. These
stress points were the marks of the Master Craftsman whittling away the
rough
edges of my character. It was all for my good, and that is why they are,
indeed, blessings:

Hebrews 12:10b-11 – God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may
share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but
painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for
those who have been trained by it. (NIV 2011)

Trials are much harder to endure when one sees no purpose in them.
Thankfully, God's children need not be ignorant of His purposes. Scripture
provides
answers. Our challenge is to appreciate the outcomes intended by God — those
qualities of spiritual maturity: peace, righteousness, perseverance,
patience,
faith, holiness, and much more.

My lengthy list of unwelcomed blessings includes those times when I was
confronted with loss, hurts, or humiliations; when I felt misunderstood or
rejected;
and when I sensed failure. The initial sting of these training experiences
diminished as I realized how they helped break down my pride, strip the
veneers
of falseness, deflate my self-serving ambitions, and much more.

Scripture puts value on our unwelcomed blessings: "Consider it pure joy, my
brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you
know
that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
(James 1:2-3 NIV 2011)

I admit that I still don't receive trials with pure joy. (I doubt that I
even know what that is!) My instinct is to grumble, control, and fret.
Surely,
it's because I don't yet fully appreciate the intended outcome of this
training: "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and
complete,
not lacking anything." (James 1:4 NIV 2011)

That includes pure joy, which Jesus Himself possessed even in His darkest
hour. He prayed that we, too, would possess that quality: "that they may
have
the full measure of my joy within them."
(John 17:13b NIV 2011)

Jesus could accept His sufferings and death as unwelcomed blessings because
He valued the outcome: the blessings of salvation for many. Jesus was
thinking
of His church, including you and me. Imagine that in itself giving Jesus
pure joy!

Prayer: Dear Master Craftsman, train us to appreciate and crave the
beautiful qualities of spiritual maturity that come through Your whittling
touch. Even
in the pain, may we learn to view it all as for Your glory — joyfully. Amen.

Diane Eaton
Paisley, Ontario, Canada
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 02 Sep 2017, 10:41 pm

10 Reasons to Hope When You're Hurting

1. God is truly in control.
If God is God, then nothing happens apart from His knowledge and permission.
While it is difficult to imagine why God allows some painful things to
happen,
His character, revealed in the Bible and through the testing of generations,
leads us to the conclusion that He is willing and able to sustain you during
the worst of times. "We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we
thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as
a result,
we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.". 2
Corinthians 1:8,9

2. There is an eternal life to come.
"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the Glory He will give us
later." Romans 8:18 "He will keep you strong right up to the end, and He
will
keep you free from all blame on the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ
returns." 1 Corinthians 1:8

3. The story isn't finished yet.
Time after time, the Bible records hopeless situations that ultimately ended
in victory. Think of Job's sickness, Joseph's betrayal by his brothers,
David's
adultery and the many who were healed in mind, body and spirit. "But Joseph
told them, 'Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far
as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought
me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many
people.'"
Genesis 50:19,20

4. God has not given up on you! Don't give up on him.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for
good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

5. There is likely purpose in your pain.
Ask God to reveal His purpose in allowing this difficulty in your life.
That's a legitimate question to ask. Often, the answer comes in the process
of
dealing with your circumstance. "Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble
comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when Your faith is
tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for When your endurance
is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything."
James 1:2-4

6. You are loved!
Even the most unlovable person in the world is actually loved so much by
God, that He let His Son die a terrible death to restore their relationship.
God
does love you! He sees your pain and weeps with you. "He has sent Me to
comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and
prisoners
will be freed. He has sent Me to tell those who mourn that the time of the
Lords' favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their
enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of
mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like
strong
and graceful oaks for His own glory." Isaiah 61:1-3

7. Your prayers are heard.
"You parents - if your children ask you for a loaf of bread, do you give
them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?
Of
course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those
who ask
Him?" Matt. 7:9,10

8. You are not facing this alone.
"For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.' That
is why we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, so I will not be
afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'" Hebrews 13:5,6

9. Others have made it through - you can too.
Try to connect with others who have gone through similar situations. You
will find hope, strength and encouragement. "A person standing alone can be
attacked
and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even
better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

10. Reach out to someone else who's struggling.
Place your focus on someone else and invest your life in him or her. You may
discover that your peace of mind is found in being a source of hope for
another.
"All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source
of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our
troubles
so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to
give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Mike Marino
https://powertochange.com/discover/life/reasonsforhope/

Welcome to the Nugget
July 25, 2017
Three Truths to Count on in Desperate Situations
By Answers2Prayer

A wake up call is one of the "must-do's" when I stay in any hotel during my
travels. So, in my recent trip last week, right before I laid my head on the
pillow, I grabbed the phone to dial "0" for the front desk.

I pressed it and pressed it again. But there was no dial tone. The other
keys were dead too. Hmmm...so I tried all other buttons hoping to get a dial
tone.

Bad move because to my chagrin, I pressed one that responded, "9-1-1, what's
your emergency?"

Yikes! I was too embarrassed to explain I was blind and had pressed the
wrong key.

"I'm sorry," I said. "Please disregard."

Minutes later, there was a knock at the door. "Hotel staff, there was a
9-1-1 call from this room. Is everything alright?"

My cheeks grew hot. "Oh, yes everything is fine," I said. "It was a
mistake."

After I chastised myself for pressing all those buttons, I realized I've
done the very same thing before. When in the hotel room of despair, after
losing
my sight completely, I pressed the button of desperation. I pressed the
button for answers from doctors, from my own ability. I tried to activate
comfort
and solutions on my own.

All lead me nowhere. But when I pressed the button in my heart to call upon
Jesus, He answered. He knocked at my door offering the help I needed--the
comfort
of hope. The light in my darkness. The reassurance for my future. And when I
hated my life, He offered the love to conquer it all.

Have you been there? Something happened to you, to your life, to your health
or relationship? And you're pressing buttons in a desperate effort for
answers...but
none come.

Good news is that we're not alone. David must have been in the hotel room of
desperation too because He relates three truths for us to embrace:

1. We can count on God's response. Rely on His attentive nature. And with
confidence in our soul, we know He hears each sob and sees every tear. "I
waited
patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry."
(Psalm 40:1).

2. He watches our desperate situation. He observes our struggles. And when
we call upon Him, He comes to the rescue: "He lifted me out of the slimy
pit,
out of the mud and mire..."
(Psalm 40:2a).

3. When our world is shaky, God knows where to transport us. He prepares the
perfect place of freedom from our emotions and safety for our soul: "He set
my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
(Psalm 40:2b).

God did that for David and He'll do the same for us today. When the pain
sears. When the loneliness won't let go. When the sadness darkens our
nights.
And when worry nags inside--that's when we can press 9-1-1 in our heart. His
answer is timely and His response powerfully loving.

Facing tough circumstances lately? Whom are you calling for help?

Janet Eckles
If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

Announcement:
Are you an animal lover? Then join us on Thursday for an important lesson
taught to us by a cat: "Sassy", by Joseph J. Mazzella

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

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Underground Spring - #7966

I first noticed it one day when I was mowing the lawn-a little dent in the
ground. Over a few weeks, that little dent became a growing sinkhole. The
ground
was literally collapsing. I asked a neighbor, who was an amateur
"sinkholeologist" what caused this phenomenon. He told me it was the drought
of rainfall
that we'd been having. He said an underground spring had probably dried up.
And that dried up the ground, and the roots above it-and my yard went boom.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The
Underground Spring".

Now, when the ground collapses, it can be because the spring underneath has
dried up. And you know what? That might be happening to you.

Our word for today from the Word of God, John 7:37 "Jesus said in a loud
voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes
in
Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within
him.' By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later
to receive." And they did on the Day of Pentecost. You know that did come
true. As have all God's children since then when they opened their hearts to
Christ.

Now, Jesus said He was putting this bubbling source of life inside every
believer. And as long as the Spirit-stream is running strong, you'll be
healthy
all the way through. But there are a lot of spiritual sinkholes developing
in believers' lives these days. We all know somebody who collapsed, and it
could
be any of us if we neglect the underground spring.

Collapses don't really happen suddenly, in my yard, in my life or in your
life. There's a gradual slowing of the "spiritual spring" in your heart, a
drying
up. Then the drying of the ground-and then one day, suddenly-but not
suddenly-the collapse.

The point? We've got to keep fresh water flowing into our Spirit-stream!
There is no shortcut to spiritual strength. It's the product of a
consistent,
day-after-day time spent with the Lord Jesus Christ. It's that time when you
come to your Lord with an open Bible, with open hands to receive what He is
ready to give you and to release the sin of the last 24 hours, and an open
heart to let Him plant there what He wants to plant, an open mouth to pour
out
your praise and your heart to Him, and an open mind to let Him help you
think His thoughts about your day and your relationships.

But we get busy or we get lazy. We try to get by with a sprinkling from the
outside-whatever we can soak up from Christian radio, Christian TV, church,
youth group, or Bible study group. But it's not enough just to nurture the
spring inside. You are what you are because of personal, one-on-one,
intimate
time with your Lord, or because of the absence of it. It's the accumulated
inner growth of days spent with Jesus that become weeks with Jesus, then
Jesus-months,
and ultimately, Jesus-years.

There's no way to rush that process or to get a spiritual fix to make up for
neglecting it. It's possible that you're drying up inside without even
knowing
it. There have been just too many days without feeding that Spirit-spring
inside you. Well, you can't have any of those days back, but you can start
building
it up today. You need to be feeding that spring that supports your soul. If
you don't, I'd say you're destined for a collapse.

After all, it isn't the spiritual activity that men see that holds you up.
It's those daily, intimate times with Jesus that only you can see and He can
see. But then, it's what's underground that counts.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 01 Sep 2017, 5:58 pm




Today's Daily Encounter

Walking Witnesses

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes
on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and
in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the
earth."1

I have read how, "while attending a university in
London, Mahatma Gandhi became almost convinced that the
Christian religion was the one true, supernatural
religion in the world. Upon graduation, and still
seeking evidence that would make him a committed
Christian, young Gandhi accepted employment in East
Africa and for seven months lived in the home of a
family who were members of an evangelical Christian
church. As soon as he discovered that fact, he decided
that here would be the place to find the evidence he
sought.

"But as the months passed and he saw the casualness of
their attitude toward the cause of God, heard them
complain when they were called upon to make a sacrifice
for the kingdom of God, and sensed their general
religious apathy, Gandhi's interest turned to
disappointment. He said in his heart, 'No, it is not
the one true, supernatural religion I had hoped to
find. A good religion, but just one more of the many
religions in the world.'"2

Let us remember that as children of God we are not
called to do witnessing but to be Christ's witnesses.
Wherever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do--in all
circumstances at all times we are being witnesses of
Christ. I recall reading years ago the following words
on a poster in the office in the college where I
attended:

The living truth is what I long to see,
I cannot live on what used to be,
So close your Bible and show me how
The Christ you talk about is living now.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to remember
that as a child of Yours, I am being a witness for You
in all circumstances at all times. Help me to so live
that my life will always be an effective witness and be
used to help win others to You. May people, seeing
Jesus in me, want Jesus for themselves. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Acts 1:8 (NIV).
2. Evangelical Illustration

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php . Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
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ACTS International.

It is not our business to re-write Bible verses!
( J.R. Miller )
"I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips."
Psalm 34:1

It is not hard to praise the Lord at some times.
There are days when all is bright.
There is no sickness in our house.
No recent sorrow has left our heart sad.
It is easy then, to praise the Lord.

But there are other times when things are different. Business is not
prosperous--or health is broken.
We begin to say this verse--but we cannot get through it: "I will praise the
Lord at
We cannot bless the Lord for the broken health--or for the empty chair. Yet
there the words stand. We cannot make them read: "I will praise the Lord at
some
times; His praise will be on my lips on certain days--days when the sun
shines."
It is not our business to re-write Bible verses--but it is our business
rather to bring our lives up to the standard of the inspired words. So we
must
learn to say the verse just as it is written.

We must learn to bless the Lord on the dark days--as well as the bright
days.
We must learn to praise God in pain--as well as in pleasure.
Have we learned this lesson?
~ ~ ~ ~
We have published another of C.D. Cole's practical theological books, "
Sin--Salvation--Service


"God is Great"

As often reported by the media, moments before radical Islamic terrorists
begin their savage killings, they shout "Allah akbar," which means "God is
great"
or "this is for Allah." For most, it is inconceivable that God would be
pleased by vicious attacks on innocent people or that taking one's own life
for
the sake of killing others would somehow be considered virtuous by our
Creator. But, many fundamental and militant Muslims in the world are
convinced that
all people who do not view God as they do should be eliminated. They should
die. It's impossible to find views more contrary to religious freedom and
democratic
liberty than this. Could you imagine living in a society where people are
allowed to kill or jail you because you disagree with their view of God?
This
is the world of radical Muslims.

Of all the terrorist acts that have taken place in the last 20 years, none
has affected me more than the recent assault on Orthodox Christians in Egypt
who were stopped by terrorists on their way to Minya for a spiritual
retreat. Three busloads of Christians were on a pilgrimage. They were
excited, traveling
with families and ready for a relaxing weekend of spiritual renewal.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, two minivans of ISIS-related terrorists pulled in
front
of the buses and ordered them to stop. Every man, young and old, was forced
off the bus. They were given an opportunity to renounce their faith in
Christ
or be killed instantly. Each man refused to deny that Jesus was their Lord.
As a result, they were murdered while the women on the bus watched in
shocked
horror and dismay. One of these women recounted later how she watched her
son cling to the leg of his father as the terrorists shot him. The masked
men
then turned, and murdered her young son.

Much of the world is celebrating the fact that Mosul, Iraq, has been
recently liberated from the domination of ISIS. It is a huge victory indeed.
But sadly,
the city is in ruins and many lives are irreparably damaged. ISIS has known
that eventually it would be defeated and driven from Iraq and Syria. What
they
have wanted all along is to occupy the main stage of the world, especially
on the internet, for as long as possible, in order to spread their ideology
to the far corners of our globe. Daily, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of
ISIS, is recruiting Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide to believe in his
twisted
understanding of God, for the purpose of wreaking havoc in all societies
that do not subscribe to his thinking. In other words, the battle against
ISIS
is not against flesh and blood or even territory on earth, but it is against
the warped ideology of radical, militant Islamists.

When you read the Gospels of the New Testament and carefully examine the
life of Jesus, you notice one very important distinction; Jesus saved his
harsh
words for the religious leaders of the time. He was always aggressively
challenging and confronting religious leaders. At the same time, he often
extended
mercy, compassion and understanding for the common person. He healed,
encouraged, served and taught those he considered to be lost sheep in need
of a Good
Shepherd. But with the religious leaders, he let them have it with both
barrels. He did not hold back. Jesus came to earth to establish a New
Covenant,
a right understanding of God. To the religious leaders of his time, he said:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed
tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the
bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look
righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
(Matthew 23:27,28)

Jesus knew the devastation a wrong understanding of God could create. In
fact, he gave his life in order for a New Covenant to be established, so
that
once and for all people could finally know and embrace God's true character.
At the core of Christian theology is the belief that God is love. If a
person
lives or teaches a life apart from this reality, he or she is tragically
misguided as well. Probably the one disciple who best understood this
correct
understanding of God was John. In a letter, John wrote; "Beloved, let us
love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of
God
and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."
(1John 4:7,8)

What was most amazing about the tragedy outside Minya, Egypt, were the women
who had lost their loved ones to the vicious attacks of ISIS and begged
people
to pray for the terrorists. They considered these ISIS soldiers to be lost
sheep because they were following the teachings of Abu Bakhr Al Baghdadi in
their killing spree. Through their tears and grief, these brave widows and
mothers even as they recovered in hospitals, extended mercy to their
killers,
knowing that the real villains were the leaders of the ISIS movement. The
teachers of evil. The uplifting words and images of these women were
broadcast
on television, throughout Egypt and around the world.

Don't let anyone tell you that theology does not matter. A wrong
understanding of God can bring destruction to families, cities, countries,
our world,
and certainly our souls. On the other hand, a right understanding of God can
bring peace, love, reconciliation, mercy, and forgiveness. For over 2,000
years, the world has been wrestling with the teachings of Jesus. Either they
are accurate and true, or they are not. In the end, we can try to find a
better
way of life than what Jesus taught and modeled for us. If we cannot, we are
invited to follow him, trust him with our lives, hopes and dreams, believing
that peace on earth is possible through his grace.

Unspeakable terror in this world has increased this past year. Radical
Muslims have been instructed to use trucks to mow down and kill innocent
bystanders
in Berlin, Nice and London. A young woman in one of the recent London
attacks was stabbed to death by three terrorists who had surrounded her,
each yelling
and even laughing, "This is for Allah." On Palm Sunday, two Muslim
terrorists exploded devices designed to kill Christians in the midst of
their church
service. A year ago, I stood with a group of believers in the exact location
in St. Mark's cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, where a terrorist ignited his
suicide vest.
In other words, terrorism will continue to be a part of our lives as long as
there are people willing and hungry to follow theological teachings, no
matter
how violent and aimless, which offer purpose and passion for their lives.
For those of us who follow Jesus, it has never been more important to spread
his message of love than now. Don't put your light under a bushel. Don't be
too shy to share the hope, love and forgiveness of Jesus with others. Don't
be too timid to say you have studied, pondered, and prayed, and that you
have decided to embrace the God of the New Covenant. The freedoms we cherish
and
the lives we enjoy depend on it.

God is great. And his love endures forever. Amen.
sent by: Frontier Fellowship
958 Pine Street, Winnetka, Il, 60093, USA

Anne Graham Lotz - The Desires of Your Heart
The Desires of Your Heart
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this."

Psalm 37:4-5, NIV

In the beginning, Adam was single. Increasingly he longed for a companion
with whom he could share his life. He didn’t have to beg God or beat the
bushes
or spend every Saturday night in a singles bar. He just went to sleep in God’s
will. I wonder if, as he drifted off to sleep, he was praying that God would
somehow take away the strange ache in his heart and the loneliness he felt
inside, especially when he had observed that every animal had a partner
except
himself. “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and
while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place
with
flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the
man” (Gen. 2:21-22, NIV). In His wisdom, God knew exactly how to meet Adam’s
emotional needs – by presenting Adam with a wife. And He knows how to meet
your needs and satisfy your desires, too. So . . . commit your way to Him
and
trust Him!

Blessings,
Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple
complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a
joyful and
humble attitude..." Acts 2:46 (HCSB)

By Answers2Prayer

Life is What we Make it

"The world is a looking-glass and gives back to every man the reflection of
his own face. Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly at you; laugh at
it, and with it, and it is a jolly, kind companion." (William Makepeace
Thackeray 1811-1863)

It is amazing how two people can go through the same experience and get
precisely opposite things out of it. Two prisoners looked out through the
bars
- one saw mud in the courtyard; the other saw stars in the heaven.

There is the story of two girls who went for a walk in the country. When
they arrived back home, they were asked if they had enjoyed it. One talked
about
nothing but the dusty road, the flies and the heat and how uncomfortable it
all was. The other girl spoke of a field of wildflowers and a glimpse of the
sea at a bend in the road that she would never forget.

In my work I meet many elderly people. Some are miseries and complain about
everything. They are upset about the weather, the government, their
ailments,
money or lack of it. After spending time in their company you can come away
feeling almost as irritable as they are. There are others who are an
absolute
joy to be with. I knew one couple in their nineties, and no matter what
their current situation was, life for them was a bundle of laughs. Later it
was
a privilege for me to conduct their funeral services with the sure knowledge
that they had achieved everything possible out of life. I'm no medical
expert
but I do feel that there is a strong link between our attitude to life and
our state of health. The state of mind has a lot to do with the state of
body.
It isn't our problems that are bothering us; it's the way we are looking at
them.

Life is largely a question of attitude. Some see only the dark side, the
gloom and doom. They go through life with a chip on their shoulder believing
that
they have been given a raw deal. Some take a positive view believing that
every cloud has a silver lining. And life is very much what we make of it.
Undoubtedly
pessimism will draw us down to greater depths because it is self generating.
Optimism likewise is self generating, it will encourage us and uplift those
around us.

Pessimism - optimism. The thirsty man was given a glass of water. "But it is
half empty" he complained. "No," said the giver, "It is half full."

Keep your eyes open - there is much to see and admire. And keep open your
hearts - all that we are comes from God. Give thanks.

Ron Clarke JP An e-mail from Kingborough, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
http://word4week.com

Announcement:
Are you frustrated with an ineffective prayer life? God does answer prayers,
my friend.
Why don't you come to Answers2Prayer and discover the power of prayer for
yourself?

©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much
as an inch? Matthew 6:27 (MSG)
By Answers2Prayer
Elephant Artists. Majestic Mountain View Series, Part 33

Worries are like that; they lead nowhere. They will never procure even a
tiny bit of what we need. On the contrary, we will experience even more
stress,
making the problems themselves even more unbearable.

"All this time and money wasted on fashion-do you think it makes that much
difference?" Matthew 6:28a (MSG)

I once had a ten-year-old student who had at least 30 pairs of shoes. Every
day she wore different shoes. I remember thinking that that she would never
need another pair; but that was not the case. She was constantly hungering
for more pairs of shoes. She continuously worried about the latest fashion.
Did this make her happy? Not at all. Worries abound when possessions become
our focus.

"Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at
the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and
design
quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby
alongside them." Matthew 6:28b-29 (MSG)

When I travel, I don't take pictures of people who are well-dressed. To me,
they are ordinary. It's true that the rich wear beautiful jewelry; but this
doesn't make this person stand out. What I do take numerous pictures of,
however, is flowers. They are so beautiful, I want to remember how they
look,
even though within a week or two these flowers will fade. Beauty provided by
our Heavenly Father stands out millions of times more than our feeble
attempts
at adequate clothing. Nothing can compare.

Did you know that some elephants are great artists? Some can paint or draw,
making fantastic works of art. The zookeeper in Syracuse, New York noticed
that one of his elephants used a stick to draw complex drawings. He offered
him a pen, and after a while this elephant started to draw on paper. It was
so beautiful that the zookeeper asked the opinion of an artist. He didn't
tell the artist where the drawings came from, but the artist was impressed.
When
the elephant was identified as being the creator of the drawings, the artist
was even more impressed.

The zookeeper in Syracuse found out that elephants in other zoos also draw.
In fact, one elephant uses paint brushes, and he is quite good at it. Many
people buy these paintings and drawings. A painting done by an elephant is
actually on display in one of our local restaurants, and everyone admires
it.
Do these elephants worry? No way! They simply enjoy what they are doing.
Would you like an Elephant painting?
P. S. Check online with "Elephant artists". You will be amazed!
Rob Chaffart
Announcement:
Do you have questions about the Bible? Come and
visit the archives of answers to "Bible Questions of the Week" . The answer
you seek will probably be among the many answers received, and if not, you
can submit us your Bible questions .
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."


4 Questions to Ask Before You Hit Send

Every twenty-four hours, 205 billion e-mails are sent across cyberspace;
every sixty seconds, 510 comments are posted on Facebook (that’s 734,000
posts
per day); and every second, almost six thousand tweets are tweeted across
the Internet for the entire Twitterverse to see, totaling 350,000 tweets per
minute and 500 million tweets per day. Though the head spins with these
statistics, they do not include those going out through YouTube, LinkedIn,
Pinterest,
Google Plus, Tumblr, Instagram, or the countless other platforms being
created every year.

Would it be safe then to say that out of these hundreds of billions of
communications each and every day, large numbers of the contents’ authors
wish they
had taken the time to think more carefully about all they were communicating
and revised, or even deleted entirely, the messages they sent out recklessly
in an emotional moment?

When it happens to you, a family member, or an employee, you understand the
anguish it can cause and how relevant this becomes. What about the athlete
who cannot help but post all his opinions toward the league or team he plays
for, perhaps not realizing that freedom of speech does not mean there can’t
be consequences from his employer? Or the politician who has media and
watchdog organizations analyzing every comment she makes, not hesitating to
take
their presumptions public with what they believe the candidate is
communicating?

Or the television personality who is quick to post controversial opinions
that are not received well by the general public, causing so much uproar and
backlash that suspension or even termination becomes necessary?

But one doesn’t have to be in the public limelight to regret an e‑mail or
social media post. Social media means what it says: it is social. World Wide
Web means worldwide. Our methods of communication today allow our message to
be broadcast to potentially millions, from Auckland, New Zealand, to
Oakland,
California. But it’s not only Twitter fanatics who can find themselves in
trouble. Every single one of us could fall prey, especially with e‑mail.

That’s why author Seth Godin always asks himself before hitting send in an
e‑mail, “Is there anything in this e-mail that I don’t want the attorney
general,
the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete.)”

Though the title is Before You Hit Send, implying the importance of thinking
through all the possible consequences of your tweet, e‑mail, or Facebook
post
before hitting “send,” the true maxim the title represents is “Think before
you speak.” And what exactly should you “think before you speak”? Here are
four questions to ask yourself with everything you communicate:

• Is it true?
• Is it kind?
• Is it necessary?
• Is it clear?

In all we say or write, we would be wise to ask ourselves these questions.
When answered honestly, we uncover why we consciously or subconsciously get
into communication disasters. And we may be surprised by what we discover
about ourselves.
Before You Hit Send by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Excerpt from
Before You Hit Send
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
© 2017. Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
What It Means to Love Money
By John Piper

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. (1 Timothy 6:10)

What did Paul mean when he wrote this? He couldn’t have meant that money is
always on your mind when you sin. A lot of sin happens when we are not
thinking
about money.

My suggestion is this: he meant that all the evils in the world come from a
certain kind of heart, namely, the kind of heart that loves money.

Now what does it mean to love money? It doesn’t mean to admire the green
paper or the copper coins or the silver shekels. To know what it means to
love
money, you have to ask, What is money? I would answer that question like
this: Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands
for
what you can get from man instead of God.

God deals in the currency of grace, not money: “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah
55:1).
Money is the currency of human resources. So, the heart that loves money is
a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust
in what human resources can offer.

So, the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money — belief
(trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you
happy.

Love of money is the alternative to faith in God’s future grace. It is faith
in future human resources. Therefore the love of money, or trust in money,
is the underside of unbelief in the promises of God. Jesus said in Matthew
6:24, “No one can serve two masters. . . . You cannot serve God and money.”

You can’t trust in God and in money at the same time. Belief in one is
unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money — that banks on money for
happiness
— is not banking on the future grace of God for satisfaction.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.
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Lutheran Hour Ministries
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour

"Hope in Christ: Power to Overcome Life's Obstacles"
July 24, 2017
Romans 8:24-25 - For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is
not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we
do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
In John Maxwell's book, Think on These Things, he answers the question,
"What does hope do for mankind?" Ready, here's what he said: hope shines
brightest
when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope
energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope
sings
when all melodies are gone. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship
when
no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope
presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when
no one
is sharing. Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.

Pretty powerful stuff, wouldn't you agree? There have been incredible things
done in humanity, for humanity, just with the power of human hope.

But that's not even a glimpse of what Paul is talking about here in Romans
8. He's talking about a hope that is rooted in something more powerful, more
enduring, more encouraging, and more real than all the best that sinful
humanity has to offer. He's talking about a hope that is rooted in the life,
death,
and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's right. It's a hope that is rooted
in the Son of God, who didn't come to wow us with His power and might.
Better,
He came to serve, to sacrifice, to redeem, and even reconcile us -- sinful,
broken men and women like ourselves -- back to Himself. And that kind of
persevering
love breeds a hope that can handle whatever life throws our way.

Just think about it. When the Son of God endures not only the brokenness of
our world but the eternal damnation of our sin; when the Savior Jesus
overcomes
the obstacles of our hatred, our violence, and our greed; when Jesus
overcomes all of that and gives us His forgiveness, life, and salvation as a
gift
of Grace through faith -- that's not just hopeful thinking; that's hope that
can change our lives because it is rooted in the reality that God has
already
made a way forward for you and me in Jesus Christ. To the believer in Jesus,
Christ's future is our future; Christ's life is our life; and Christ's hope
is our hope.

I love this quote about hope, God's hope, from Rev. John Piper. He says
this: "Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The
temptation
to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company ... You will argue with
yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible.
He
has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you and I can ever
conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope."

You see, above all, God has a Word of His promise. He's got a Baptism of His
grace and a Supper that holds you through life's ups and downs. So hope in
Christ. It's a hope that can see you forward and see you through because the
Hope-Giver Himself, Jesus Christ, is with you always.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, life is tough sometimes this side of heaven. Give us
the hope that comes through faith in what You have accomplished for us so
that
we might not only face life's trials, but serve others in Your Name, until
our hope in You becomes our reality with You, forever. Amen.
In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries

KenBible.com
New Post on KenBible.com - Rejoicing in the Darkness
----------------------------------------------------------
Rejoicing in the Darkness

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 09:55 PM PDT

When our children were small, a severe ice storm struck Kansas City.
Ice-laden branches fell across electric lines, killing power in much of the
city.
For three days we were without all electricity. Then it came on for a few
hours, only to go out again for four more days. That was one full week in
the
dead of winter with no light, no heating, no cooking, no appliances – no
anything.

Preparing meals was tricky. Keeping warm and entertained was difficult. But
without question, darkness was the toughest part. I can’t adequately
describe
how oppressive were those long winter nights. They dragged on like months,
and our whole frame of mind was affected. Even though we knew we’d
eventually
have power again, it didn’t feel that way.

Then, without warning, the lights came on. I’ll never forget our daughter,
Kindra’s, reaction. Like someone had set her on fire, she spontaneously
dashed
through the house, waving her arms, laughing and yelling with hysterical
joy. The rest of us felt the same but weren’t so uninhibited.

Darkness is the toughest part of many of our difficulties. We find a way to
deal with the specific hardships and keep going, but the cloud of depression
is the hardest to take. We go through long periods when all seems dead or
dying, when we sense no encouragement and no hope of any kind. God seems the
most distant in the areas that matter most.

Caught in such darkness, faced with an unknown future, our fears create
their own version of reality. They imagine a world without God’s power and
love.
There we are forced to fend for ourselves against overwhelming troubles
attacking us from every side. As we succumb to our fears, we live in that
false
reality, reacting to its imaginary circumstances.

During such times, I’ve discovered why the New Testament so strenuously and
repeatedly urges us to rejoice in the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!…The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:4-6, NIV)

When pressures knock us out of focus and threaten our peace of mind, nothing
helps like stopping to remember God. Look away from the imaginary world of
your fears and from the grip of the temporary present. Look to Him. Recall
out loud the unchanging truth about Him. Use your mind and your voice to
rejoice
in who He is and all He has done down through the ages. Recite in detail His
many acts of love and faithfulness to you. Start, “Lord, I remember when .
. .”

Say again, “Lord, I know You are with me. I know You are with me right now
and always. And I will trust You.”

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the
Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his
understanding
no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases power to the
weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but
those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on
wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not
be faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

Jail & Bail

"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,
for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if
your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for
in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”" (Romans 12:19-20,
NASB95)

A friend of mine was approached by a sheriff’s deputy who served him with a
warrant. The friend was then handcuffed and placed into a cruiser. He was
then taken to a makeshift jail where he had to serve time until he could
raise enough funds to get himself out. This was part of a fund raiser called
“Jail and Bail”.

The person who was served with a warrant could pay some money not to serve
time. Whether the person served time or not he could for a price find out
who had taken the warrant out on him. Then for a price he could take a
warrant out on this person. In this case revenge was a good money maker.

It is part of our human nature to want to take revenge. From the Scripture
above we know that we are not to do this. We are to do the opposite which we
can only do if we have Jesus Christ living inside of us.

Prayer: Father, please forgive us when we want to take revenge rather than
forgive. Help us to love others as You would have us love them. In the name
of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Amen.

Thought: Let us not take revenge but show love.

by Dean W. Masters

Created for Community
by
Community is something we all want.

No matter how you’re wired—introvert, extrovert, socially adept or socially
awkward—something in your soul longs for meaningful relationships with other
humans. We long to know others and be known by them. We treasure friendships
that allow us to truly “be ourselves.” Though some of us have never found
this sort of community and though others have been deeply wounded by
relationships, all of us still long for deep, authentic, real community.

How did we get this way? How did this craving, this longing, get hard-wired
into us? The Bible answers that question by explaining that we are created
in the image of God.
God created us for community.

Created for Community

One of the oldest and most cherished doctrines of historic Christian
theology is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Nicene Creed (c. AD 325)
summarizes the
Trinity this way:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of
all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the
only-begotten
Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of
Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with
the Father.... And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life;
who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son
together
is worshipped and glorified.

The Trinity means that God himself is in community. More accurately, God
is community: one God, three persons. “Before all worlds”—before any sort of
human community existed—there was God, dwelling in perfect, loving harmony
in his threefold being.

In the biblical account of creation, this Triune God says: “Let us make man
in our image” (
Genesis 1:26). Human beings are made to image God, to reflect his likeness.
That’s why our longing for community seems so deep and primal. It’s how we’re
made as God’s image bearers

So if deep community is something we all want, if it’s part of being made in
God’s image, then what makes it so hard to attain? What keeps us from
achieving
the type of meaningful human relationships that God wired us for?

The Fall: Broken Community

If you think for a moment about the nature of your relationships, you’ll
quickly identify another tendency that’s present—something darker and more
sinister
than your God-given desire for community. It’s the tendency to use people to
meet your own needs first. It’s not hard to see how often we are
self-focused,
pursuing our own interests and protecting ourselves from people and
relationships that will demand too much of us. For example, think of the
times you’ve
intentionally avoided someone who bothers you. Or the times you’ve said what
people wanted to hear in order to avoid offending them. Or the times you’ve
stopped pursuing certain friends because they were no longer useful to you.
Or the times you’ve clung to bad or unhealthy relationships just to escape
the feeling of being alone.

Our inherent selfishness is evidence of what the Bible calls “sin.” When we
hear the word
sin, we tend to think of bad behavior. But sin is deeper than external
actions. The Bible often talks about sin in terms of
unbelief. In other words, rather than believing what is true, we believe
lies, which obviously leads to bad behavior and negative emotions. Unbelief
was
at the root of the first sin. Eve believed the Serpent’s lie about God and
his intentions toward them: “You will not surely die. For God knows that
when
you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like God” (
Genesis 3:4-5). Unbelief is a failure to see and believe what’s true about
God, the world, and ourselves. It’s not taking God at his word, not
believing
his promises, not trusting in his goodness.

And sin’s impact is not just that we don’t believe, it’s that apart from
Christ we’re
unable to believe. Sin has turned us in on ourselves and warped our
relationships with others. We need Someone who can deliver us from our
unbelief and
selfishness and restore our capacity for true, deep, lasting community.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Redeemed for Community

This is where the good news of the gospel meets us. The word gospel
literally means “good news”—a message, a proclamation, an announcement. One
of the
paradoxes of this message is that before it can be good news, it must start
with bad news: we are sinful, broken people. We are rebels against God. We
are mired in lies and self-worship, and we look to things other than God to
give us identity and significance. We can’t free ourselves, make God happy
with us, or do enough good works to make up for our sins. But God, rich in
mercy, sent Jesus to earth as our substitute. Jesus took our place in his
life
as he obeyed God fully and worshiped him totally, things we failed to do. He
substituted himself for us in his death, as he paid the penalty we owed to
God for our sin and unbelief. If we humble ourselves, acknowledge our need,
and turn to him, God the Holy Spirit will apply Jesus’ substitutionary work
to us by faith. The Bible calls this
redemption, a word that means “to be delivered, ransomed, or set free.”

What does Jesus redeem us from? Sin and all its effects. What does Jesus
redeem us
for? A life that images God and reflects his goodness to the world. In other
words, one of the chief things that Jesus accomplishes when he redeems us
is to restore our capacity for community. Not for a community of people who
look and act just like us, but a community made up of people from every
tribe
and tongue and nation on earth (
Revelation 7:9). God has created us for community, and Jesus has redeemed us
for community. In doing so, he has made us into his very own body (
1 Corinthians 12:27) that is able to live, love, and make known his “good
news” to our friends and neighbors.

But wait: If Jesus redeems us for community, then why is community still
such hard work? Why are relationships still fraught with brokenness, even
among
Christians? This is the tension we live in. Even though Jesus has delivered
us from the penalty and rule of sin, he has not yet eradicated sin from the
world. Because of sin’s ongoing presence, we are prone to
unbelief. We easily forget the good news of the gospel and fall back into
lies and self-worship. That’s why the Bible encourages us not just to
receive
the gospel, but to “stand” in it (1 Corinthians 15:1
) and to “continue” in it (Colossians 1:23).

In other words, building and enjoying healthy community is going to require
us to believe the gospel, to believe that what Jesus did for us has power
and
relevance for the way we relate to God and others. This requires an
intentional focus on our part. It means identifying the unbelief in our
hearts that
hinders our ability to love and serve others and to receive love from them
in turn. It means receiving the healing, liberating truths of the gospel in
ways that allow them to soak deep into the core of our being. And guess
where this work of ongoing transformation takes place? In community.

Transformed in Community

Did you ever notice how patient you are—as long as no one is getting on your
nerves? Or how loving you are—as long as you’re surrounded by people who are
easy to love? Or how humble you are—as long as you’re respected and admired
by others? Every one of us is a saint in isolation! It’s in community that
our real weaknesses, flaws, and sins are exposed. That’s why community is
essential—not optional—for transformation. We can’t become the people God
wants
us to become outside of community.

You see, redemption is not the end of the story. God is preparing us for
“new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
His
goal is a renewed creation, where redeemed humans dwell in perfect harmony
with each other and with their Creator. God is out to prepare his people for
this glorious future by transforming them now, a process the Bible calls
sanctification. The agent of sanctification is the Holy Spirit. The tool of
sanctification is the truth of the gospel. And the context of sanctification
is community.

Consider some of the “one another” statements in the Bible: “Love one
another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (
Romans 12:10). “Comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace”
(
2 Corinthians 13:11). “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the
flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). “Be kind to one
another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (
Ephesians 4:32). Isn’t it obvious that none of us can do these things
perfectly? These commands aren’t given just so that we’ll know what we
should do; they’re also given so that we can try, and fail, and grow in our
experience of God’s grace. Trying to fulfill these “one another” commands
helps
to reveal our sin, drives us to Jesus in repentance and faith, and causes us
to depend on the Holy Spirit for transformation. Community is the laboratory
in which we learn to rely on God’s grace and experience the gospel’s
transforming power.

Community is also the primary context for mission, our outward focus as
believers. God wants to use our communities, messy and broken as they are,
to draw
others into his story and introduce them to Jesus, the Redeemer! It’s not
just about us becoming more like Jesus; it’s about people who don’t know
Jesus
coming to know him as Savior and Lord.

We sometimes treat community like the safety net under a tightrope walker:
it’s a good thing to have in case something bad happens. But the Bible talks
about community as if it’s the tightrope itself: you can’t move forward
without it. We are created for community. We are redeemed for community. And
we
are transformed in community

Leader's Guide Copyright ©️ 2013 by Robert H. Thune and Will Walker. Used by
permission.
We don’t want to be alone. We want to love and be loved; and we know that
genuine relationships make our lives rich. But somehow living in community
always
ends up being harder than we thought. This 9-lesson small group study helps
participants learn how the Spirit shapes diverse people into a
Christ-centered community that reflects Jesus to a watching world.

Kindness Is Worth the Cost
By Rick Warren
“If you feed those who are hungry and take care of the needs of those who
are troubled, then your light will shine in the darkness . . . The
Lordwill always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands . . . You
will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs
dry”
(Isaiah 58:10-11 NCV).

There is always a cost to kindness. It inevitably causes you to sacrifice
time, money, energy, reputation, privacy, or something. There was a cost for
the Good Samaritan, too.

In >Luke 10:34 b-35, it says, “Then [the Good Samaritan] put the man on his
own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day
he
handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man.
If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here’”
(NLT).

This guy did all he could to take care of a total stranger. First, he
administered first aid at the scene of the crime. He put him on his
donkey -- which,
by the way, means that he walked -- and then took him to a motel. The Good
Samaritan cared for him through the night and then paid the bill. This guy
did
whatever it took to show kindness.

What did he gain from it? Nothing. He didn’t even know the guy! But that’s
what kindness is -- when you do something for somebody without expecting
anything
back. So why be kind? Why show kindness when you know you won’t get anything
in return?

When I did a study of that question, I read every single verse on kindness
in the Bible, and I made a list of the many, many reasons why the Bible says
we should be kind.

Here are a few of the reasons:
• God has been kind -- extravagantly kind -- to you.
• Kindness is an act of worship.
• Kindness honors God.
• Kindness makes you happy.
• Kindness even makes you attractive(check out Proverbs 19:22
in the Living Bible)!
• Kindness makes other people want to be kind to you.

Finally, God blesses kindness: “If you feed those who are hungry and take
care of the needs of those who are troubled, then your light will shine in
the
darkness . . . The
Lordwill always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands . . . You
will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs
dry”

(Isaiah 58:10-11 NCV).

God says that when you assume responsibility for the needs of hurting people
around you, he will also meet your needs. What a deal! And God always keeps
his promises.

Talk It Over
Why do you think it’s important that kindness costs you something?
How has God provided for you even when you had to give something up for the
good of someone else?
How is kindness an act of worship?
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !
This devotional (c) 2017 by Rick Warren
. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

How we make in life is beyond me.
Ciloa logo
July 23, 2017
Volume XVII, Issue 30
A Note of Encouragement
Send this Note to a friend.
Silhouette of a man against the vastness of the universe
This Is Beyond Me
...by Chuck Graham
Recently I awoke with a cold. A few sniffles, some congestion, and mild
coughing. But I have Diabetes...my thorn in the flesh...which makes mild
illnesses
worse. Knowing this, I did nothing.
Sick man in bed
In 7 days the sniffles were a massive blockage, the congestion a heavy
weight, and the coughing a constant bother. I conceded this "might" be more
than
a cold and took some medicine, though not "as recommended". Otherwise, I did
nothing.

In 14 days my blocked sinuses caused painful headaches, the congestion
settled deep in my chest, and the coughing grew so fierce I pulled a muscle
in my
side. I decided maybe I should take the medicine "as recommended". More than
that, I did nothing.

By week three, the medicine was useless. I was useless. I couldn't talk
without violently coughing. Meetings and appointments were cancelled. Then I
came
to a conclusion: This is beyond me.

Refusing to ask for help is a sign of weakness.
A quote by C.S. Lewis
Should I have seen a doctor and taken medicine sooner? Yes. But I already
see more doctors than I'd like and even on good days, I take at least 13
pills
a day. So I fell into the trap of thinking, "It's not a big deal. I can
handle this. I know what I'm doing."

We all do this from time to time. Something is wrong at work. "It's not a
big deal." The marriage seems shaky. "I can handle this." An old addiction
returns.
"I know what I'm doing." Whatever the problem, we try to handle it on our
own.

The issue is not really work, a marriage, or an addiction. It's control. We
believe the old lies that we've got to do things on our own and asking for
help is a sign of weakness. As someone recently told me, "That requires
admitting I am powerless to beat this, and I can't do that."

God is our shield and strength, always ready to help us.1

Lyrics to Beyond Me
The desire for control is greater than any problem we ever face. And when it
comes to following or growing in a relationship with God, clinging to
control
causes us to stumble and fall.

But God says, "Follow ME. Believe ME. Trust ME. Hear ME. Obey ME. Worship
ME. Live the life
I have for you...not the one
you desire." 2 God doesn't want some of the control. He wants it all!

Life is often hard, difficult to manage, and impossible to understand. We
try to create our paradise on earth...no worries or sorrows, grief or pain.
But
they will always invade our happiness, bringing times that beg us to admit,
This is beyond me.

But nothing is beyond God. When you are ready to give Him control, He
promises to give you strength. To defeat whatever faces you? No. When you're
ready...
you won't have to.
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 .
1. See Psalm 28:7; 46:1
2. See Matthew 16:24; Mark 5:36; John 14:1; Luke 8:8; John 14:15;
Luke 4:8; John 10:10; James 4:7a
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.

God’s Motley Crew
July 25, 2017

Read: Hebrews 11:23-31

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land. (v. 29)

Sometimes I look around at the people in the church and think, what a
strange group of people we are! First, I realize that with some people I
have almost
nothing in common except that we worship in the same place. And, second, as
a group and as individuals we sometimes make some colossal mistakes!

But then I think about the people in God’s story. When I was a child, I
thought the Bible was a story of heroes—people whom we could follow because
they
were such great people. But as I got older and started reading closer, I
realized that many of the biggest names in the Bible were some pretty shady
characters!
God chose Moses to lead his people to freedom even though he had murdered a
man. Rahab is a hero for welcoming the Israelite spies, helping them to
defeat
their enemies, but she was a prostitute. David, the greatest king of Israel,
took another man’s wife and then had that man killed to cover it up.

God doesn’t use people because they’re perfect. God takes ordinary people
like you and me and does amazing things through them despite some pretty big
mess-ups. You don’t have to have it all together to be a part of God’s
family. God will use you to do amazing things if you trust him and obey. We
don’t
have to be perfect. And we don’t have to expect everyone else to be
either. —Jen Petersen

Prayer: God, use me despite my mistakes and help me not to judge other’s
mistakes.
Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org

Today's Daily Encounter

Carpe Diem

"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these
people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the
land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. I
will give you every place where you set your foot, as I
promised Moses."1

Have you ever noticed that, "Opportunity comes to
pass--not to pause?"

When God told Joshua and the ancient Israelites that he
had given them the Promised Land, he certainly didn't
hand it to them on a silver platter. To claim God's
promise, they had to battle every inch of the way. They
still had to go, conquer, and possess it.

The reality is, however, that had God not given it to
them, they never would have been able to conquer and
possess it. And might I add, they wouldn't still be
there today!

God has a work for you and me to do too. He will give
us the opportunities every day to serve him, but it's
up to us to take advantage of these as they come to
pass--not to pause! True, God feeds the sparrows, but
he doesn't throw the food into their nests. They have
to go out and get it. Whatever God has for us to do, he
doesn't do it for us. He will guide us. He will direct
us. He will give us wisdom, but he won't do it for us.
We, too, have to arise, go, and possess the
opportunities and promises God has for us.

With God's help, let us carpe diem, "seize the day," to
take advantage of every opportunity God gives to us,
and claim every promise He has for us.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be ready
and willing to "seize" every opportunity You give to me
to serve You, trust in You to help me to do it, and to
claim every promise You have for me. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's
name. Amen."

1. God to Joshua in Joshua 1:2-3 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php . Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
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Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 26 Aug 2017, 12:51 pm

The Attractiveness of a Surrendered Life
by Sarah Phillips, Crosswalk.com Contributor

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell
everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in
heaven.
Then come, follow me."
Luke 18:22 NIV

"I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work
through anyone." St. Francis of Assisi

Have you ever wished you could share your faith with friends or loved ones
who do not know Christ? Or have you ever worried that our culture is
slipping
farther and farther away from God's truth, but don't know how to turn it
around? In past devotionals, several of us have quoted St. Francis of
Assisi's
approach to evangelism: "Preach the Gospel all times and when necessary, use
words."

St. Francis' entire life was one of radical conversion that led to many
giving their lives to Christ. Let's see what we can apply from his medieval
story
to modern times.

Francis' story takes place in the early 1200's - an era when Christianity
enjoyed prominence in Europe. But sadly, even with widespread power and
acceptance
of the Church, many Christians did not lead lives in keeping with their
faith. Francis was no exception. He came from a wealthy Italian family; his
father
earned a comfortable life as a successful cloth merchant, and his mother was
of noble birth. The handsome, witty Francis was spoiled rotten by his
parents,
showing more interest in playing than in his academics or his father's
career.

Francis' life of ease and play received a rude but life-changing
interruption in 1201. After being captured in a small battle between rival
cities, Francis
spent a year sick and alone. His time of weakness and contemplation made him
realize how useless his life had been up to that point.

But transformation for Francis was slow. After he regained his health,
Francis desired personal glory. He signed up for the military, even fancying
one
day he'd be a great prince. But illness and a sense that God was calling him
back to Assisi brought him home again.

It was around this time friends began to notice a lasting change in this
attractive, party guy. Friends asked if he had a woman on his mind. He
responded,
"I am about to take a wife of surpassing fairness." But this wife was not a
mortal woman. Instead, Francis renounced his inheritance, gave what he had
to the poor, and wedded himself to "Lady Poverty" (much to his father's
fury).

Not long after taking his vow of poverty, Francis heard Christ speak to him
while he was praying in a small, shabby chapel. The voice said, "Francis, go
out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." At first, Francis
thought he needed to repair the actual building he was praying in. But soon
it became clear Francis' mission was really to restore genuine faith among
the church - God's people.

So Francis began spending most of his time praying, serving the sick and
preaching repentance throughout the region. He had no intentions of starting
a
community of religious, but single men of diverse backgrounds became
intrigued by Francis' humility and wholehearted devotion to the Gospel. And
not long
after men began joining his mission, a privileged young woman named Clare
left her riches behind, bringing women alongside Francis to restore genuine
faith
among the people.

With so many joining in, Francis realized he was becoming the leader of a
monastic movement. So, he sought to keep their focus on Christ by
establishing
a rule of life on Scripture. In short, the mission of the Franciscan monks
and Poor Clare nuns would be to "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or
silver
or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff"
(Luke 9:1-3
). They imitated the early disciples by traveling in twos, owning few
personal possessions, and serving those in need while sharing the Gospel to
all.
Their spiritual legacy continues with Franciscan and Poor Clare communities
in regions all over the world today.

Some other little-known facts of how God worked through this influential
Christian:

Did you know Francis once challenged a Muslim sultan to consider the truth
of Christianity - and the sultan actually considered it?

Did you know Francis is credited with creating the first living Nativity
scene at Christmas?

Did you know that, centuries before the Reformation, Francis taught and
wrote about the faith in local dialects so commoners could understand?

Francis' story gives us encouragement today. After all, we too live in a
culture where Christianity was the dominant religion for a long time but
sadly,
it's now common for good people to lose sight of the faith. But God worked
through a spoiled, wealthy young man to show the surrounding community that
even worldly comforts could not satisfy the deepest yearnings of their
souls - and He can do the same today.

While most of us are not called to take vows of poverty, it was Francis'
unwavering, single-minded devotion to the Gospel that most attracted others
to
him. And this is something we can - and should - aspire to imitate. As we
seek to surrender our lives to Christ more completely, God will work through
each one of us in unique ways to inspire others to join us on the faith
journey.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Sometimes, the idea of giving everything to God
is scary. I personally used to dislike reading stories like Francis of
Assisi's
because I was afraid I'd have to leave my life behind and become a nun in a
foreign country. But the truth is, God will never disappoint those who
surrender
all to Him. Are you holding anything back from God? Ask God to give you the
faith to surrender whatever fears, sins, or idols to Him.
Further Reading
Mark 8: 34
"Pulling an Assisi"
References: " St. Francis of Assisi " at Wikipedia.org , "
St. Francis of Assisi
at AmericanCatholic.org, Catholic Encyclopedia .


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Grace for Every Need
By John Piper

Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant. (Psalm
86:16)

Future grace is the constant plea of the praying psalmists. They pray for it
again and again to meet every need. They leave every saint a model of daily
dependence on future grace for every exigency.

• They cry out for grace when they need help: “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful
to me! O Lord, be my helper!” (Psalm 30:10).

• When they are weak: “Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength
to your servant” (Psalm 86:16).

• When they need healing: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord” (Psalm 6:2).

• When they are afflicted by enemies: “Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my
affliction from those who hate me” (Psalm 9:13).

• When they are lonely: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely
and afflicted” (Psalm 25:16).

• When they are grieving: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief” (Psalm 31:9).

• When they have sinned: “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have
sinned against you!” (Psalm 41:4).

• When they long for God’s name to be exalted among the nations: “God be
gracious to us and bless us . . . that your way may be known on earth”
(Psalm
67:1–2).

Unmistakably, prayer is the great link of faith between the soul of the
saint and the promise of future grace. If ministry was meant by God to be
sustained
by prayer, then ministry was meant to be sustained by faith in future grace.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Put God Back in the Golden Rule
Stephen Witmer / July 22, 2017
Put God Back in the Golden Rule

Our world is awash with sound bites of moralistic advice, some straight out
of a fortune cookie. Recently on a train, I noticed two large posters
advertising
an insurance company. One said, “Offering all you have makes life deep
beyond measure,” and the other, “Living for others unlocks all the joy you’ll
ever
need.” It seems that no office space is complete these days without a few
wise words of inspiration decorating the walls.

Jesus’s Golden Rule cannot be domesticated and downsized to the equivalent
of an insurance aphorism or a fortune-cookie slogan. That’s not to say that
many haven’t tried. Here’s how the Golden Rule is usually quoted: “Whatever
you wish others would do for you, do also for them.”

But that’s not what Jesus said. That version removes God entirely from the
picture, making Jesus’s teaching a godless rule for good people. The real
Golden
Rule goes deeper and stretches higher. It’s a God-centered rule for
grace-filled people. Jesus’s actual teaching requires greater effort,
provides deeper
motivation, and is intended specifically for Jesus’s followers (see Matthew
5:1–2).

Is God in the Golden Rule?

Here’s what Jesus actually said: “So whatever you wish that others would do
to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew
7:12).

God bookends the Golden Rule. He is the first word (“so”) and the final word
(“for this is the Law and the Prophets”).

The word so indicates that Jesus’s teaching is his conclusion from what he’s
said previously. The entire Sermon on the Mount might be in view. But it may
be that Jesus is thinking more specifically of what he has just said, in
Matthew 7:7–11. There he tells his followers that God is their loving Father
and
always gives good things to those who ask.
Therefore, because God is so generous to us, we’re to be lavishly generous
to others. The Golden Rule is glorious overflow.

Jesus’s second reason for living out his command is this: “for this is the
Law and the Prophets.” In other words, obey it, because God himself said it
— and always has. The Golden Rule sums up and fulfills God’s commands found
throughout the Old Testament (most pointedly in Leviticus 19:18).

Jesus knows we need deep, God-centered foundations and motivations for his
command because his rule for life soars high above how we naturally think
and
desire to live.

Greatness of the Golden Rule

Many world religions have taught a negative version of the Golden Rule,
saying essentially, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to
you.”
The problem with that kind of teaching is that it can be obeyed by simply
doing nothing. Jesus’s command is much more demanding. It requires action,
creativity,
and ongoing love toward the people in our lives.

Three Things Jesus Didn’t Say

To see the demand and delight of Jesus’s teaching, consider three things he
does not say.

1. Jesus does not say, “Whatever others have done for you, do also for
them.” He doesn’t limit our good deeds that way. The measure of our service
to others
is not their actual service to us, but what we’d
like that service to be. “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do
also to them.” There’s an invitation, limited only by our own desire and
imagination.
One of the distinctive marks of Jesus’s followers is that they regularly go
above and beyond what others expect.

2. Jesus does not say, “If there are a few things you wish others would do
to you, do these also to them.”
He doesn’t limit our good deeds that way. Instead, he says, “Whatever you
wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” The word “whatever”
(literally,
“everything whatsoever”) is very broad. It may include cutting a neighbor’s
grass when he’s out of town, having a lonely friend over for dinner, writing
a note to express appreciation, and so much more. The upper limit is our
desire and imagination.

3. Jesus does not say, “Whatever you wish your best friends, and fellow
Christians, and people who like you would do to you, do also to them.” He
doesn’t
limit our good deeds that way. He says, “Whatever you wish that
others would do to you, do also to them.” Others encompasses anyone in our
lives. It includes the grumpy neighbor, the kid in your class no one likes,
the spouse or child you’re struggling to understand, even the people who don’t
love you back.

We Need God in the Golden Rule

Jesus envisions an ongoing way of life, not a one-off activity. He knows it
will be challenging — that’s why he begins and ends with the kindness and
command
of God in our lives. And he knows we
need to be challenged — that’s why he doesn’t include all sorts of
disclaimers about establishing appropriate limits and boundaries on our
service. Most
of us need urging to give more, not less.

If we will put God back in the Golden Rule, we will see that it is not a
bland bit of moral counsel intended to improve us slightly. It is a radical
way
of living that can be followed only by those who daily experience the
infinitely great generosity of God in their own lives.

Is Hell Just a Metaphor?
John Piper / July 22, 2017

The Bible uses the most severe language possible to describe the horror of
hell. A “symbolic” interpretation can’t save you from the terror of God’s
wrath.

Watch Now

The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission
John Piper / July 22, 2017
A Christian woman hopes in God, fears nothing, and wears the jewelry of
godliness.

Watch Now

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved


Welcome to the Nugget
July 20, 2016
Just a Little Thing...What Harm can it Do?

By Answers2Prayer
Subscribe Unsubscribe
Devotionals
Contact us

How often have you heard someone say "It's just a little thing..."

Romans 3:23 tells us "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of
God."

The worst murderer, the child molester, the drunk in the gutter...the worst
thing you can think of is not a more punishable sin than that "little white
lie". The wisest man on earth spoke about little foxes and vines: "Catch us
the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender
grapes."
(Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV)

The great Johnstown Flood of 1889 began as a little crack in the dam but the
end result was 2,209 persons lost their lives and property damage was US$17
Million.

Other little things are important, too. A smile, a hug, a kind word -- a
little thing to be sure but it can make a world of difference in someone's
life.

Have you ever had the blessing of holding a newborn in your arms? Such a
little thing to be sure but what a joy it is.

Recently I learned the value of a little thing! I loaded my aging washing
machine to begin my usual laundry day chores. The washer filled, swished,
drained
and --
stopped! I tried again. Again fill, swish, drain and
stop! I live on a limited budget which has little leeway for a new washer.
Oh what was I going to do? Pray! Yes, that was what I did -- oh, and call
the
repairman. After carefully checking each relay switch and each wiring
connection he was about to give up; but being the careful technician he is,
he just

couldn't so he began to consider other possible causes.
Ah ha! There was something between the two tubs. No, that wasn't possible --
but it
was! A Sock! Just a little sock but a very expensive one to be sure. That
day I learned firsthand the value of a little thing.

Now if I am tempted to discount the little things I remember my "very
expensive sock" and know that the little things
are important.

Wynona Gordon

Announcement:

Do you need to be prayed for or do you know someone in need? Don't hesitate
to contact us by clicking
here . We are here to pray for you and to offer you encouragements.

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

The Power of Patience

Hebrews 6:9-15

Picture yourself waiting in a checkout line that hasn’t moved for ten
minutes. Many of us would feel frustrated. We live in a generation that
expects instant
results.

Everyone struggles with some degree of impatience. We’re born with this
trait--think about a three-month-old who wants milk in the middle of the
night.
The inborn reaction is to fuss at the first hint of discomfort and to keep
at it until the need is met. Patterns from our old “flesh” nature make this
a continual battle for most people, but one that is very worthwhile to
fight.

Let’s consider the biblical definition of patience. It can mean both
longsuffering and perseverance, or not giving up and yielding under
pressure. In either
case, it reveals itself when we are willing to wait without frustration
while suffering or experiencing some strong desire. In other words, we
accept difficult
situations without giving God deadlines. What’s more, patience means
accepting what the Lord gives, on Histimetable--or what He chooses not to
give. This
quality results in inner peace and lack of stress. Meanwhile, we should
pray, obey, and persist as we seek God’s direction.

The danger of impatience is that we might miss the Lord’s perfect plan and
His blessing. Only when we trust our Father’s will and timing can we rest
peacefully.

What causes you stress? Carefully examine whether you are taking matters
into your own hands or releasing the circumstance to almighty God. Listen to
Psalm
37:7, which says, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Seek His
way and His timing. Anything else can be destructive.

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.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 25 Aug 2017, 6:13 pm

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today's Devotional

Be Open To God

Psalm 119:17-18 – Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and
observe your word. Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out
of your law. (NRSV)

Isaiah 50:4b-5 – Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as
those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not
rebellious,
I did not turn backward. (NRSV)

Recently, I had the opportunity to worship in one of the churches that my
mother and I used to visit together. It was an early morning service, and
the
small church — no more than a chapel, really — was nearly empty when I
arrived. I settled into a pew and took a moment to still my thoughts and to
pray.
Preparing for worship is an important time for me, as I ask God to open me
to Himself and to His message, so that I might be receptive to "the gracious
promptings of His Spirit", as one of my former ministers used to say.

On this particular morning as I sat there quietly — kneeling, as is the
custom in that church — the following prayer came to me: "Open my hands, my
arms,
my mind, and my heart." I didn't recall having thought of those words
before, but as I sat there reflecting and waiting for the service to begin,
I realized
how important each of those can be for us.

Open my hands: If we open our hands, palms face up, we make a traditional
sign of openness and receptiveness. This is a symbol with which I am
familiar
and comfortable, and making that sign helps me to be open to whatever
message that God has for me.

Open my arms: How wonderful this is, for it is only with open arms that we
can really embrace someone or something. I'm definitely a "hugger" — I love
giving and receiving hugs as a sign of affection and caring — so why not a
symbolic hug for our Lord and Saviour? Without open arms, how can we fully
embrace
God or the love of Christ? How can we fully embrace our faith?

Open my mind: One of my downfalls is that I tend to think things through and
then overthink them. This was a prayer that God would be in all my thoughts,
in all my planning, and in all my worrying, and that I would always be
mindful of Him.

Open my heart: Here is where it all comes together. We often hear that "God
is love", and we teach and learn about the love of God and the love of
Jesus.
But what about
our love? That is, of course, the first and greatest commandment: to love
the Lord our God. For me, this is the cornerstone of my faith: not just
believing
in God, but loving Him with all that I am.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be open to You today and always. Help us to
receive Your words and messages for us. Help us to embrace You, Your Spirit,
and
Your Son. Help us to be mindful of You, and help us to love You more each
day — with our whole being. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Scott Williams < svw59@yahoo.com >
Madoc, Ontario, Canada


When 'Good Morning' is a Bad Word
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com Contributor

If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken
as a curse. -
Proverbs 27:14
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for
building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to
those who hear. -
Ephesians 4:29

I am not a morning person.

My college friends and I still joke about the semester our intrepid Bible
study (we were studying Romans with just about every denominational
background
represented) decided it was a good idea to change our meeting time to
Saturday mornings. My nocturnal habits often made me the least inclined to
drag myself
from repose, and I confess that I used the "I think I'm coming down with a
cold" excuse more than once. On one such morning, another member of the
group
decided she would jumpstart my lethargic spirituality. While I was groggily
ignoring my roommate's gentle encouragement to come to Bible study, she
walked
the dorm room, threw open the curtains to the sunshine, and loudly
proclaimed, "GOOD MORNING, KATHERINE!"

I have no idea what I said in response, but I'm sure it wasn't Christian.

I respect my friend's abiding faith in early bird philosophy, but I was
delighted a few months later when I discovered
Proverbs 27:14
. The Message clarifies the verse by putting it this way: "If you wake your
friend in the early morning by shouting ‘Rise and shine!' It will sound to
him more like a curse than a blessing."

I immediately told my friends that my discovery. I had found concrete
evidence that God was not a morning person.

Of course, the verse's real point deals less with God's waking hours and
more with speaking wisely. Proverbs once again brings the focus back to the
power
and timing of our words when we relate to other. The funny illustration
demonstrates that wisdom is more than a wholesome word or truth. Wisdom is
also
a truth aptly spoken.

Sunday School has drilled the catchphrase "Speak the truth in love"
(Ephesians 4:15
) into our heads, but even this approach can lack grace. Paul himself
encouraged his readers to consider that not every word is fit for every
occasion.
Even the comforting promise of Romans 8:28
- that God works all things for good of those who love
him - should sometimes give way to grieving when the cancer diagnosis is
first announced or a loved one dies. Those are obvious examples, and the
more
subtle situations are myriad. But here's the lesson I take away from this
verse: We're supposed to consider the impact on our hearers. Wise words do
more
than offer the right word and expect our friends to recognize its truth even
if we choose an inopportune moment. Instead, I have to recognize that the
right word offered at the wrong time might as well be a curse instead of a
blessing.

I take comfort in knowing that I don't have to spew every nugget of
knowledge at every pertinent encounter. We're not supposed to be somebody
else's
Holy Spirit
, convicting them of every errant or off-color word. Nor are we supposed to
be perpetually perky saints, walking around singing hallelujahs all the
time.
There's a place for bold ministry, but too often I confuse boldness with my
very human need to "say something" - and the results are rarely "good for
building
up" or "as fits the occasion."

Intersecting Faith & Life: Don't be the neighbor who yells, "Good morning"
too loudly. Let's encourage each other with words that "will give grace to
those
who hear" this week. Our goal is not to make others see our point of view or
our wisdom, but to build each other up with the love of Christ.

Further Reading
>Ecclesiastes 3

A Solid Promise
July 19, 2017

Read: Hebrews 6:13-20

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. (v. 19)

I grew up in a church that sang hymns—I mean, sang them with skill and
passion. The congregation sang in harmony and the sanctuary resonated with
strong
voices. Every week we sang the “Doxology,” and I still find myself humming
it as I work around my house. Perhaps this and their timeless words are why
I so deeply love some of the oldest hymns. The hymn “My Hope Is Built on
Nothing Less” has a verse that I especially love. When life has seemed very
dark,
the line “in every high and stormy gale, / my anchor holds within the veil”
has played on a loop in my mind.

Anchors are sturdy tools that hold us in place when a rough sea is pounding
our ship. But another purpose of anchors is to keep ships moored in calm
harbors
so their crews can rest without worry of drifting away or bumping into
another ship.

Throughout our lives, we will surely face many different seasons, some
stormy or rocky, some calm and relaxing; others may feel like drudgery and
still
others like a steady flow of good work. In all of these seasons, Jesus is an
anchor for our souls. While life ebbs and flows in different directions,
Jesus
keeps our souls steady. When our faith rests in Jesus, we can be assured
that we’ll stay the course, no matter what comes our way. —Jen Petersen

Prayer: Jesus, help me cling to you. And when I can’t hold on, please hold
on to me.

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

The sanctifying power of the cross!

(John L. Dagg, " Manual of Theology ")

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians
6:14

It may be profitable to yet linger a little while at the cross--that we may
again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ--all the divine perfections are gloriously and
harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible
justice are
all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The
heavens declare the glory of God--but
the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies! God's moral
perfections
are here displayed, which are the highest glory of His character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of everlasting life. On Him who hangs
there, our iniquities were laid--and from His wounds, flows the blood that
cleanses
from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and securely relies on
the great atoning sacrifice. It views
mercy and grace streaming from the cross--and to the cross it comes to
obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we
stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Savior's love--we resolve to
live
unto Him who died for us.

The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world--and the world
crucified to us.

Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which
caused the death of our beloved Lord--and we grow strong in the purpose to
wage
an exterminating war against it. By all the Savior's agonies, we vow to have
no peace with sin for ever.

The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on Him whom we have
pierced, and mourn. Contemplating Jesus' sin-atoning sacrifice, is the
highest
motive to holiness. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer,
murdered by our sins--and
we resolve that the murderers shall die!

The cross is a holy place, where we learn . . .
to be like Christ,
to hate sin as He hated it, and
to delight in the law of God which was in His heart.

In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has taken hold
of our heart--and we surrender to dying love.

The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine
origin--than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and
joyful
subjection to Christ.

~ ~ ~ ~

We have just posted John L. Dagg's " Manual of Theology ", written in 1857.
Virtually unknown today, it is the best devotional and experimental
Systematic
Theology ever written. In Dagg's own words, "This volume is designed for the
use of those who have neither the time nor the opportunity to study larger
works on theology. In preparing it,
my aim has been to present the system of Christian doctrine with
plainness and brevity--and to demonstrate at every point, its truth, and its
tendency to sanctify the heart."
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 25 Aug 2017, 6:12 pm

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today's Devotional

Be Open To God

Psalm 119:17-18 – Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and
observe your word. Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out
of your law. (NRSV)

Isaiah 50:4b-5 – Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as
those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not
rebellious,
I did not turn backward. (NRSV)

Recently, I had the opportunity to worship in one of the churches that my
mother and I used to visit together. It was an early morning service, and
the
small church — no more than a chapel, really — was nearly empty when I
arrived. I settled into a pew and took a moment to still my thoughts and to
pray.
Preparing for worship is an important time for me, as I ask God to open me
to Himself and to His message, so that I might be receptive to "the gracious
promptings of His Spirit", as one of my former ministers used to say.

On this particular morning as I sat there quietly — kneeling, as is the
custom in that church — the following prayer came to me: "Open my hands, my
arms,
my mind, and my heart." I didn't recall having thought of those words
before, but as I sat there reflecting and waiting for the service to begin,
I realized
how important each of those can be for us.

Open my hands: If we open our hands, palms face up, we make a traditional
sign of openness and receptiveness. This is a symbol with which I am
familiar
and comfortable, and making that sign helps me to be open to whatever
message that God has for me.

Open my arms: How wonderful this is, for it is only with open arms that we
can really embrace someone or something. I'm definitely a "hugger" — I love
giving and receiving hugs as a sign of affection and caring — so why not a
symbolic hug for our Lord and Saviour? Without open arms, how can we fully
embrace
God or the love of Christ? How can we fully embrace our faith?

Open my mind: One of my downfalls is that I tend to think things through and
then overthink them. This was a prayer that God would be in all my thoughts,
in all my planning, and in all my worrying, and that I would always be
mindful of Him.

Open my heart: Here is where it all comes together. We often hear that "God
is love", and we teach and learn about the love of God and the love of
Jesus.
But what about
our love? That is, of course, the first and greatest commandment: to love
the Lord our God. For me, this is the cornerstone of my faith: not just
believing
in God, but loving Him with all that I am.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be open to You today and always. Help us to
receive Your words and messages for us. Help us to embrace You, Your Spirit,
and
Your Son. Help us to be mindful of You, and help us to love You more each
day — with our whole being. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Scott Williams < svw59@yahoo.com >
Madoc, Ontario, Canada


When 'Good Morning' is a Bad Word
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com Contributor

If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken
as a curse. -
Proverbs 27:14
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for
building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to
those who hear. -
Ephesians 4:29

I am not a morning person.

My college friends and I still joke about the semester our intrepid Bible
study (we were studying Romans with just about every denominational
background
represented) decided it was a good idea to change our meeting time to
Saturday mornings. My nocturnal habits often made me the least inclined to
drag myself
from repose, and I confess that I used the "I think I'm coming down with a
cold" excuse more than once. On one such morning, another member of the
group
decided she would jumpstart my lethargic spirituality. While I was groggily
ignoring my roommate's gentle encouragement to come to Bible study, she
walked
the dorm room, threw open the curtains to the sunshine, and loudly
proclaimed, "GOOD MORNING, KATHERINE!"

I have no idea what I said in response, but I'm sure it wasn't Christian.

I respect my friend's abiding faith in early bird philosophy, but I was
delighted a few months later when I discovered
Proverbs 27:14
. The Message clarifies the verse by putting it this way: "If you wake your
friend in the early morning by shouting ‘Rise and shine!' It will sound to
him more like a curse than a blessing."

I immediately told my friends that my discovery. I had found concrete
evidence that God was not a morning person.

Of course, the verse's real point deals less with God's waking hours and
more with speaking wisely. Proverbs once again brings the focus back to the
power
and timing of our words when we relate to other. The funny illustration
demonstrates that wisdom is more than a wholesome word or truth. Wisdom is
also
a truth aptly spoken.

Sunday School has drilled the catchphrase "Speak the truth in love"
(Ephesians 4:15
) into our heads, but even this approach can lack grace. Paul himself
encouraged his readers to consider that not every word is fit for every
occasion.
Even the comforting promise of Romans 8:28
- that God works all things for good of those who love
him - should sometimes give way to grieving when the cancer diagnosis is
first announced or a loved one dies. Those are obvious examples, and the
more
subtle situations are myriad. But here's the lesson I take away from this
verse: We're supposed to consider the impact on our hearers. Wise words do
more
than offer the right word and expect our friends to recognize its truth even
if we choose an inopportune moment. Instead, I have to recognize that the
right word offered at the wrong time might as well be a curse instead of a
blessing.

I take comfort in knowing that I don't have to spew every nugget of
knowledge at every pertinent encounter. We're not supposed to be somebody
else's
Holy Spirit
, convicting them of every errant or off-color word. Nor are we supposed to
be perpetually perky saints, walking around singing hallelujahs all the
time.
There's a place for bold ministry, but too often I confuse boldness with my
very human need to "say something" - and the results are rarely "good for
building
up" or "as fits the occasion."

Intersecting Faith & Life: Don't be the neighbor who yells, "Good morning"
too loudly. Let's encourage each other with words that "will give grace to
those
who hear" this week. Our goal is not to make others see our point of view or
our wisdom, but to build each other up with the love of Christ.

Further Reading
>Ecclesiastes 3

A Solid Promise
July 19, 2017

Read: Hebrews 6:13-20

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. (v. 19)

I grew up in a church that sang hymns—I mean, sang them with skill and
passion. The congregation sang in harmony and the sanctuary resonated with
strong
voices. Every week we sang the “Doxology,” and I still find myself humming
it as I work around my house. Perhaps this and their timeless words are why
I so deeply love some of the oldest hymns. The hymn “My Hope Is Built on
Nothing Less” has a verse that I especially love. When life has seemed very
dark,
the line “in every high and stormy gale, / my anchor holds within the veil”
has played on a loop in my mind.

Anchors are sturdy tools that hold us in place when a rough sea is pounding
our ship. But another purpose of anchors is to keep ships moored in calm
harbors
so their crews can rest without worry of drifting away or bumping into
another ship.

Throughout our lives, we will surely face many different seasons, some
stormy or rocky, some calm and relaxing; others may feel like drudgery and
still
others like a steady flow of good work. In all of these seasons, Jesus is an
anchor for our souls. While life ebbs and flows in different directions,
Jesus
keeps our souls steady. When our faith rests in Jesus, we can be assured
that we’ll stay the course, no matter what comes our way. —Jen Petersen

Prayer: Jesus, help me cling to you. And when I can’t hold on, please hold
on to me.

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

The sanctifying power of the cross!

(John L. Dagg, " Manual of Theology ")

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians
6:14

It may be profitable to yet linger a little while at the cross--that we may
again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ--all the divine perfections are gloriously and
harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible
justice are
all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The
heavens declare the glory of God--but
the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies! God's moral
perfections
are here displayed, which are the highest glory of His character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of everlasting life. On Him who hangs
there, our iniquities were laid--and from His wounds, flows the blood that
cleanses
from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and securely relies on
the great atoning sacrifice. It views
mercy and grace streaming from the cross--and to the cross it comes to
obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we
stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Savior's love--we resolve to
live
unto Him who died for us.

The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world--and the world
crucified to us.

Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which
caused the death of our beloved Lord--and we grow strong in the purpose to
wage
an exterminating war against it. By all the Savior's agonies, we vow to have
no peace with sin for ever.

The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on Him whom we have
pierced, and mourn. Contemplating Jesus' sin-atoning sacrifice, is the
highest
motive to holiness. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer,
murdered by our sins--and
we resolve that the murderers shall die!

The cross is a holy place, where we learn . . .
to be like Christ,
to hate sin as He hated it, and
to delight in the law of God which was in His heart.

In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has taken hold
of our heart--and we surrender to dying love.

The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine
origin--than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and
joyful
subjection to Christ.

~ ~ ~ ~

We have just posted John L. Dagg's " Manual of Theology ", written in 1857.
Virtually unknown today, it is the best devotional and experimental
Systematic
Theology ever written. In Dagg's own words, "This volume is designed for the
use of those who have neither the time nor the opportunity to study larger
works on theology. In preparing it,
my aim has been to present the system of Christian doctrine with
plainness and brevity--and to demonstrate at every point, its truth, and its
tendency to sanctify the heart."
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 21 Aug 2017, 10:46 pm

Starting Out on the Right Foot

Psalm 5:3 (NLT)
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests
to you and wait expectantly.

Mark 1:35 (NLT)
35 The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into
the wilderness to pray.

What do Jesus and the psalmist have in common in these two verses? They
start the day out in prayer. The apostle Paul does tell us to pray without
ceasing and we need to be willing and available to pray short prayers during
the day when things come up but we do need a specific time together with the
Lord. Before things get started and get hectic is the best time for some
people. It may take you setting the alarm a little earlier in the morning to
do this but it is worth it. Below is what three men of faith have to say
about it:

Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards.
Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into
harmony with Him.
…J. Hudson Taylor

I have so many things to do today, I dare not ignore my time with God.
...Martin Luther

He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the
day.
…John Bunyan

If these people needed to start their days out with prayer, how much more do
we. Start your day talking to the Lord and get started on the right foot.

by Dean W. Masters

How the Church Can Take Action against Racism
Ryan Duncan

Last Sunday, I stood with a congregation made up of many ethnicities as our
pastor denounced the evils of racism and white supremacy. Each member joined
hands with their neighbor, and together we prayed that God would give us the
courage, wisdom, and grace to stand against the rising tide of hatred which
had spilled across our home state. The service ended with a commission from
Romans 12:9 ,

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

It was a very moving experience, but it also highlighted how much work we,
as the Church, have yet to accomplish in combating racial injustice.

Much of the country is still reeling from the events in Charlottesville
, where a white supremacist rally ended violently with the death of a
counter-protestor. While Christian leaders were quick to condemn the actions
of the
alt-right and issue calls for peace, many believers feel its past time the
Church took a more active role in the fight against prejudice. In order for
this to happen, blogger Palmer Chinchen believes Christian communities must
shake off their long-held apathy toward such issues.
In an article for Relevant Magazine he states,

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“If we are honest, to a degree we have all failed at some time, in some way,
to love or accept or include. I ask you today to look deep inside and
confess
your own biases against other people, other nationalities or ethnicities.
Confess the stereotypes you have formed, the words you have spoken under
your
breath, the thoughts you have harbored. This is very hard to do, but it is
much more damaging to live with unconfessed sin in your heart. And confess
your
apathy and silence. Too few of us have said, enough. Too few have intervened
or defended the cause of the marginalized.”

Chinchen is not alone in his summations either. A frequent complaint among
younger Christians is how the traditional church has neglected meaningful
action
in favor of upholding the status quo. Local congregations have grown
stagnant, preferring to shelter existing members rather than engage with
individuals
outside their social circle. This problem came to a head in a recent article
by Thom Rainer , the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, who
pointed out how a failure to reach beyond racial demographics had led to an
erosion of attendance, discipleship, and evangelism within countless
churches.
Rainer noted how several particular problems included,

If we as believers hope to ensure the events in Charlottesville never repeat
themselves, we must do more than pray and post on social media. We must take
action. This can mean stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting someone
from a different background. It can mean showing up to a
peaceful protest , or calling someone out when they use a racist word
or tell a cruel joke. It will be difficult, and it will be frightening at
times, but only we can speak the words of Christ. It is what all disciples
have
been called to do.

*Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com

The hen which does not sit on her eggs!

( Charles Spurgeon , " Flowers from a Puritan's Garden " 1883)

"A hen that soon leaves her nest, never hatches her chicks."

How can she? Patience is needed, and the quiet self-denial by which she
renders up the warmth of her heart--otherwise her eggs will lie as dead as
stones!

Just so, a sudden glance at truth without meditation upon it, does not
profit. The value of truth will never be known, by those who look at it and
hurry
on. They must
brood over it, and cover it with their heart's love--or it will never become
living truth to their souls. We must apply ourselves to a doctrine, giving
our whole soul and heart to it--or we shall miss the blessing.

Lord, when I hear a sermon, or read in a good book--let me not be as the hen
which neither sits on her eggs, nor hatches them. But make me to
ponder Your Word, and to rejoice over it as one who finds great spoil.

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day
and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then
you will be prosperous and successful!" Joshua 1:8
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)


God Shapes His Servants

Compassion matters to God. This is the time for service, not
self-centeredness. Cancel the pity party. Love the people God brings to you.
This test will
be your testimony. Second Corinthians 1:4 reminds us, “God comes alongside
us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us
alongside
someone else who’s going through hard times so that we can be there for that
person just as God was there for us” (MSG).

You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting or caring for a
disabled spouse, did you? No, God enrolled you. Why? So you can teach others
what He has taught you. Rather than say, “God, why?” ask, “God, what?” What
can I learn from this experience? Your mess can become His message!

From You’ll Get Through This
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com


How to Cry Out to God

Matthew 14:29-30

The phone rings, and you answer. A sullen voice informs you of a tragedy.
Your heart is so heavy that you feel as though you could die. What do you
do?

Bad news, danger, and pain all cause us to look for help. As believers, we
dwell with the almighty God, who is able to aid us. At those moments when we
are sideswiped by life’s circumstances, we should cry out to Him.

In the Bible, crying out refers to speaking audibly with great emotion
concerning an urgent need. God invites us to use this form of prayer to
communicate
that we desperately need His mercy.

It takes both faith and humility to share our heart’s concern aloud. Crying
out, then, is a way for God’s children to express trust in the Lord’s
ability
and willingness to help. By calling upon Him with such urgency, wealso lay
down our pride and any attitude of self-sufficiency.

The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. In
Psalm 3:4, for example, David wrote, “I was crying to the Lord with my
voice,
and He answered from His holy mountain.” When we call aloud for help in
Jesus’ name, we invite His power into the situation. Remember that there is
strength
in just speaking His name.

When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often
have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be
allowed
to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and
presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.

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.

The Glory of God

The Lord our God has shown us his glory. - Deuteronomy 5:24

God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory.
Any aim less than this would be unworthy of Himself.

But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we
are? Man's eye is not single in its focus; he always has a side glance
toward
his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not
qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must
stand
out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted. And this is
the reason why He often brings His people into straits and difficulties,
that,
being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to
behold the majesty of God when He comes to work their deliverance. He whose
life is one even and smooth path will see but little of the glory of the
Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying and hence but little fitness
for
being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams
and shallow creeks know but little of the God of tempests; but they who are
"doing
business on the great waters"1 see "his wondrous works in the deep."2 Among
the huge waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn
the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: It is this that has
given you your experience of God's greatness and loving-kindness. Your
troubles
have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means:
Your trials have been the crevice of the rock in which Jehovah has set you,
as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed
by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance
that
continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of
affliction you have been qualified for the outshinings of His glory in His
wonderful
dealings with you.

1 Psalm 107:23
2 Psalm 107:24

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Judges 2

verse 2 Acts 6



Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, the highest seat of
honor, the right to reign and rule. Yet the busyness of our lives and the
diversions
of this world often distract us from knowing the most important person we
could ever know. Perhaps we need some help to see Jesus afresh.

In this thoughtful study and worshipful reflection, two influential pastors
draw on decades of pastoral experience in order to guide us through the
whole
sweep of Scripture and examine seven key qualities of Jesus’s identity and
ministry:

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne

Name above All Names helps us to see and meditate on the incomparable
character of Christ--a spiritual exercise that enables us to readily respond
to the
exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon the King of kings, and to
better understand just how great Jesus really is.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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

Anne Graham Lotz - Jesus Weeps with You

Jesus Weeps with You
In all their affliction He was afflicted; . . . in His love and in His pity
He redeemed them.

Isaiah 63:9, NKJV

When was the last time you wept into your pillow at night, thinking no one
cared? Is the pain so deep and your hurt so great that you cry night after
night?
In your misery and loneliness, do you think Jesus is emotionally detached?
That He just doesn’t care? Or that He’s simply too busy to notice? Or that
He
is somewhat callous since He sees a lot of pain that’s worse than yours? Or
that He couldn’t possibly understand how you feel? Or that He’s not
concerned
enough to meet your needs?

Did you know that Jesus weeps with you? Did you know He puts all your tears
in a bottle because they are precious to Him? (Ps. 56:8, NKJV) He has said
in all of your afflictions, He Himself is afflicted. Why? Because He
understands! And He loves you!

Your suffering is His.
Your grief is His.
Your tears are on His face!

Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


A Deeper Look at Love

When Laura Ingalls was growing up in various places in the American
frontier—Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Minnesota and the Dakota Territory—she wanted
nothing
more than to be outdoors working or playing. She cheerfully helped with
harvesting, gardening and caring for the animals.

During the Ingalls’ time in western Minnesota, scarlet fever struck most of
the family. The disease left Laura’s older sister Mary completely blind.
Mary
had to give up her dream of being a teacher. She was still quite capable of
doing housework and sewing, though, jobs she had enjoyed even before she
lost
her sight. Laura often resented Mary because Mary was so
good. She was always gentle, patient and uncomplaining. Sometimes Laura
wanted to slap Mary for all her perfection.

After the Ingalls family moved west to the Dakota Territory, a minister told
them of a college for the blind in Iowa. College was an impossible dream for
Mary unless the family could raise a substantial amount of money. The only
way Laura could contribute was to do something that went against all her
wishes.
She could become what Mary had wanted to be—a teacher. If Laura did well in
school for the next two years, at age sixteen she could get a teaching
certificate.

Laura didn’t want to teach school. The last thing she wanted was to stay
indoors and study just so she could eventually stay indoors and teach.

Laura relented, however, because of her maturing attitude toward her sister.
On one of their walks, Laura realized that she was changing. She began to
admire Mary. As the possibilities rose that Mary could leave for college,
Laura realized how much she would miss her. She found she loved Mary after
all.

Laura’s first teaching job was at a tiny new school twelve long wintery
miles from home. Laura boarded in a tiny shanty with a couple who could
barely
tolerate each other. The man was nearly silent. The woman hated the isolated
pioneer life and had become unbalanced. She resented Laura’s presence,
screamed
at her husband and threatened him with a butcher knife. Laura’s only refuge
was the schoolhouse. Though her students were difficult and she often felt
like a failure, being at school was better than being at the shanty.

Back at home on weekends, Laura admitted to her younger sister Carrie how
much she hated teaching. She didn’t tell her parents because she was afraid
they
would make her quit before the year was out. Instead, she doggedly kept at
it. What mattered was what was best for Mary. Laura’s pay was enough to keep
Mary in college that year and to bring her home the next summer. Only Laura
Ingalls’s love for her sister kept her in that first teaching job. Love led
her to sacrifice her own ideal plans for Mary’s sake.

In creation and in his Word, God offers us testimony of his love for us. But
John says that God has done even more. He has made the ultimate sacrifice:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into
the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved
God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our
sins” (
1 John 4:9-10).

If God has gone to the ultimate lengths of love for us, we can only respond
by making tangible sacrifices of love for one another. We may express our
love
in words, but our words are empty if they are not accompanied by actions. We
may have warm fuzzy feelings inside, but our feelings remain private
pleasures
if they do not translate into deeds. We are even called to love others when
warm sentiments are absent. Human feelings ebb and flow. True Christian love
is not a slave to such emotional fluctuations.

Ben Witherington III writes about love in the Scriptures:

In the Hebrew Scriptures, hesed refers to a sort of love that has been
promised and is owed—covenant love, that is—as in
Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called
my son.” Covenant love is the love God promised to give to his covenant
people,
and which they in turn were to respond with in kind, loving the God of the
Bible with all their hearts, minds and strength.... Covenant love, like
marital
love, is neither optional nor unconditional; it is obligatory. This is not
to say
hesed is compelled—just as in a marriage, love cannot be forced—but it is
commanded. . . .

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It is sometimes difficult for a modern person, who associates love with
uncontrollable feelings, to understand how the Bible can command love of
God, neighbors,
even enemies. But in the Bible the many terms translated as “love” do not
refer primarily to feelings. They refer to decisions of the will. This
voluntaristic
notion of love is recalled in modern wedding services, where the bride and
groom say “I do” and “I will” when they are asked to make their vows, not “I
feel like it.” In the Bible, when God’s people are called upon to “love,”
they are being asked to do something loving and responsive to the love of
God,
whether they feel like it or not.
1

A young couple lived next door to us, not married, each with a long history
of living with various other people. One day the woman announced to us that
this current guy was
the guy for her, for the rest of her life. There would never be another in
the whole world. We asked if they planned to be married. “No,” she quickly
responded,
“a marriage is too hard to get out of. Too much red tape.” Her boyfriend may
have been the only guy for her, but she was already planning her exit
strategy.
It was no surprise when their relationship soon disintegrated.

By contrast we remember the nursing home where Sandy’s mother lived for
several years. Sandy’s father had died several years before, but there were
other
residents in the nursing home whose spouses were still living. We recall a
woman who arrived one day carrying balloons which proclaimed “Happy 50th!”
Her
husband was in the nursing home, in circumstances neither of them would have
chosen. Perhaps at times he did not even recognize her. Never mind; her love
overcame all that. She was determined that nothing would stop them from
celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

The pure and perfect love of Jesus did not always feel good or make him
happy. In the hours before he was arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus
prayed in
the garden of Gethsemane. He was about to give his life for the world. He
was there in that place, facing that death, because he loved us. How did he
feel? He told three of his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to
the point of death” (
Mark 14:34). He prayed desperately to his Father, “Take this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will” (
Mark 14:36).

Jesus obeyed his Father when he didn’t “feel like it.” Because he obeyed in
spite of his emotions, we are now empowered to love God and each other, as
John admonishes us: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but
with actions and in truth” (
1 John 3:18).

What’s the main idea in this section?

What is one thing you can act on based on this reading?

Notes

1. Ben Witherington III, “From Hesed to Agape: What’s Love Got to Do with
It?”
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
What Moves You to Minister?
By John Piper

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption,
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
(Galatians
6:8)

Faith has an insatiable appetite for experiencing as much of God’s grace as
possible. Therefore, faith presses toward the river where God’s grace flows
most freely, namely, the river of love.

What other force will move us out of our contented living rooms to take upon
ourselves the inconveniences and suffering that love requires?

What will propel us . . .

• to greet strangers when we feel shy?

• to go to an enemy and plead for reconciliation when we feel indignant?

• to tithe when we’ve never tried it?

• to speak to our colleagues about Christ?

• to invite new neighbors to a Bible study?

• to cross cultures with the gospel?

• to create a new ministry for alcoholics?

• to spend an evening driving a van?

• to invest a morning praying for renewal?

None of these costly acts of love just happens. They are impelled by a new
appetite — the appetite of faith for the fullest experience of God’s grace.

Faith loves to rely on God and see him work miracles in us. Therefore, faith
pushes us into the current where the power of God’s future grace flows most
freely — the current of love.

I think this is what Paul meant when he said that we should sow to the
Spirit (Galatians 6:8). By faith, we should put the seeds of our energy in
the furrows
where we know the Spirit is at work to bear fruit — the furrows of love.
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

A Gentle Spirit
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“He that is faithful l in that which is least is faithful also in that which
is much.”
Luke 16:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
In order to be a missionary, a man had to appear before the superintendent
of missions. His appointment was set for five in the morning. It was a snowy
morning, but he was there. He waited until eight o'clock. Finally the
superintendent came and asked him two simple questions.

Then he said, “Thank you. You're dismissed.”

The aspiring missionary said, “Thank you for your time.”

In his report, the superintendent wrote, “This man will make an excellent
missionary. He came at an early hour without a murmur; that shows
self-sacrifice.
He was there on time; that shows character. He waited without grumbling;
that shows patience. He answered very simple questions in a straightforward
manner;
that shows humility.”

ACTION POINT:
When God asks you to do something, it may not make sense or seem important,
but let God determine what's important.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

When You Don’t Like the Story God is Writing
SHARON JAYNES

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths
straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

If it were up to me, I would have scripted some of life’s stories
differently. So many tragedies have struck people near and dear to me that
if I were
the writer, they would have been changed.

Fortunately, I’m not the author, because each of these women impact
thousands upon thousands of women all over the world with her powerful
stories of God’s
redemption. God turned their pain into purpose, their misery into ministry
and their devastation into anointed messages of hope and restoration. Sudden
glories fill and spill from each of their lives.

Their journeys have led them through dark valleys and back out into the
light on the other side.

But if I had to decide?

My second child would not have passed away before she was born. Carol’s son
would not be in prison. Linda’s daughter would not be a quadriplegic.
Barbara’s
daughter would not be bipolar. Patty’s 21-year-old daughter would not have
been in a fatal car accident. Jennifer’s husband would not have succumbed to
a brain tumor.

Difficult times are pregnant with glory moments -- moments when we see God’s
plan just waiting to be birthed in the lives of those willing to labor
through
the pain. The key is not to allow bitterness and anger to make our hearts
infertile to God’s gifts.

One way to avoid the darkening of the soul is by constant communication
seasoned with thanksgiving -- a continual acknowledgement of God’s presence.

After my husband and I graduated from college, we moved to Charlotte so he
could open a new business. But after we moved, the man who was to be his
business
partner changed plans.

“Sorry, Steve,” he said. “I’ve changed my mind. Good luck, son.”

I was so upset. OK, I was flat-out angry. Angry with the potential partner.
Angry with God. We had prayed, fasted and felt this was where God was
leading
us. We had no money. No job. And school debt.

Three months later, a situation opened up that was far better than our
original plan. It was
Ephesians 3:20 in action: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
...”

Well, why didn’t God do that in the first place? Why didn’t He lead us
directly to that second opportunity when we did all that praying and
seeking? He
could have.

But He is far more interested in developing our character than in doling out
a life of comfort and ease. C.S. Lewis notes: “If you think of this world
as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable.
Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

That’s where Proverbs 3:5-6 comes in: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and
he will make your paths straight.”

We are ever the students. He is the teacher still. Trials rip away the
flimsy fabric of self-sufficiency and become the raw material for God’s
miracles
in our lives. And those miracles are moments of sudden glory.

Oh that we would trust Him even if the twists and turns never make sense
this side of heaven. That’s what trusting God is all about. As
we live and move and have our being in Him, life’s dark places are simply
opportunities to trust that God knows the way -- and the perfect time to
hold
on tight.

Especially since He’s still writing the story.

Father, thank You for always knowing and doing what is best for me. Forgive
me when I don’t trust You but think my way is best. I know that You have
wonderful
surprises in store for me when I simply trust You in all things. Thank You
for being the Teacher. Help me to be a good student of Your Truth. In Jesus’
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28 , “And we know that in all things God works for the good of
those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering
and into His courts with praise! Be thankful
and say so to Him, bless
and affectionately praise His name!” (AMPC)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Check out Sharon Jaynes’ book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go,
Move Forward, Live Bold. Let go of everything that holds you back from
living
the mountain-moving faith God intended, and take hold of all that Jesus has
promised for you. Say goodbye to insecurity and hello to the confidence of
knowing who you are and what you have as a child of God. The book includes a

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that God has forgotten us
during difficult times. How do we see that in David’s words of Psalm 77:1-9?

Now read the rest of the Psalm. What did David do to remind himself of the
faithfulness of God?
How does trusting God change the way you look at difficult situations?
(c) 2017 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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