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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 08 May 2017, 9:52 pm

Are You an Occultist?

I can hear you now. You are saying, “What? Why are you asking me that? I am
reading Christian e-mail. How could you think I might be dabbling in the
occult?” Did you know that God might look at you the same way he looks at
someone who does this?

Saul couldn’t wait for a priest to come and perform a sacrifice so he took
matters into his own hands. He went ahead and made the sacrifice by himself.
The following is what Samuel told him when he found out:

1 Samuel 15:22-23 (MSG)
22 Then Samuel said, Do you think all GOD wants are sacrifices— empty
rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the
thing, not staging a lavish religious production.
23 Not doing what GOD tells you is far worse than fooling around in the
occult. Getting self-important around GOD is far worse than making deals
with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to GOD's command, he says No
to your kingship.

Some people “play church” where they are there every time the doors are
opened and do a lot of good things but they don’t listen and heed and obey
everything they hear. On the outside everything looks great. They go through
the motions and look like they are in great standing with God but do not
listen and heed the things God is saying to them from other Christians or
from the Bible. God doesn’t necessarily care about the external
appearance. He is concerned about what is in a person’s heart. He wants
people to listen to Him and obey what he tells them.

You might be like the rich young ruler who Jesus told to sell all he had and
give his
money to the poor. He said he was a good person and kept all the
commandments Jesus asked him about. Then there was a problem with one of
them which is seen when Jesus told him to sell what he had. You can be good
in most areas of your Christian life and still have a problem with one
thing. You can hear the Lord telling you to do something but think there is
no way you can do that. You rebel and are stubborn. When you do this God
sees you just as if you were fooling around in the occult.

If you have given your life to Jesus Christ aren’t you under grace and not
under the law? Aren’t you forgiven for all sins? Yes you are but even Jesus
said,

John 14:15 (NKJV)
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

So if you love Jesus Christ, keep his commandments. The only way you can do
this is through the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Then when God looks
at you he won’t see someone who dabbles in the occult, he’ll see Jesus
Christ in you.

by Dean W. Masters


How God Communicates Truth
by C. Michael Patton

When I was a kid, I would manipulate my parents. I would ask my mom if I
could go over to my friend Wayne’s house, only to be told that it was too
late
at night or that the family had other plans. Upon receiving the answer I did
not want from Mom, I would seek the authority of Dad. “Dad, can I go over
to Wayne’s house?” “Sure,” would come the response. Now my desire was
covered. I could go over to Wayne’s house with a clear conscience. Though
two major
authorities (Mom and Dad) clashed in my life, I felt free to obey the one
whose answer I liked best.

As you can imagine, that kind of result did not happen often. In fact, the
manipulation eventually came to a screeching halt. Problem: Mom and Dad
talked!
After a while, my dad’s answers to such questions became depressingly rote:
“Go ask your mom,” or “What does your mom say?” Dad would not play the game.
He would always punt to Mom. The authority became united with no conflicts.
In essence, with this type of stuff, Mom was the final and only infallible
authority!

Your Christian life is not so different. When we first become Christians,
the biggest question is, now what? What should I expect? Where should I go?
Who
do I ask? What should I believe? What do I do? Who do I trust? Who has the
final say? We look for sources of authority to guide and direct our lives,
and
we have all kinds of options (Moms and Dads, if you will). And you know
what? These options will not always agree. So where do you go for authority
in
your Christian walk?

The Bible

The first authority in our lives is the Bible. In Protestant circles we use
the fancy Latin phrase
sola Scriptura. The doctrine of sola Scriptura means that the Bible is the
final and only infallible source of authority for our faith. We might say
the
Bible is the “ultimate authority” or the “eternal trump card” (for those who
like to play cards). We will talk more about
sola Scriptura shortly, but hang with me as I tell you a bit about the
Bible.

The Bible is a collection of sixty-six ancient books. I am not sure that
“books” is the best way to put it, but it will do for now. The Bible is made
up
of history, poetry, personal letters, community letters, genealogies (that
sometimes seem endless!), short pithy statements of good advice, eternal
laws,
temporal laws, and biography. The oldest books of the Bible date from around
1,500 years before Christ. The last book dates to the end of the first
century.
No books have been added to the Bible since its completion, and Christians
don’t expect to ever have anything else added to it.

The books that make up the Christian Bible are called the canon of
Scripture
. (Scripture and Bible are often used interchangeably. They mean the same
thing.) Protestant Christians hold to a sixty-six book canon (Catholics add
a
few to the Old Testament, called the
Deuterocanonical books or the Apocrypha). The Bible is divided into two
testaments or covenants. The first testament is called the Old Testament. It
deals with the general history of man, his creation by God, his fall into
sin, and God’s promise to fix what man, through sin, broke (we will talk
more about that in the next chapter). The primary focus of the Old Testament
is
the nation of Israel. God gave the nation of Israel a promise through the
father of the nation, Abraham. God said that, in his old age, Abraham would
have
a son, and one of his descendants would become a great blessing to the whole
world. We later come to know this great blessing as the
Messiah or Redeemer (i.e., the one who will fix everything). Though the
Israelites did not know exactly what to look for, they waited anxiously for
this
Messiah. The second testament is called the New Testament. While the Old
Testament covers thousands of years, the New Testament puts on the brakes
and
covers about seventy-five to one hundred years. Its primary focus is on the
Messiah promised in the Old Testament. This Messiah is Jesus Christ, the
very
Son of God. How did God fix everything? Through sending his Son, God in the
flesh, to take the punishment for the sins of God’s people on a wooden
cross.
The New Testament is an account of this sacrifice and the implications that
it should have on our lives.

Deep breath.

While the Bible is a story about what we are to believe concerning God, the
fall, and the salvation of man, it is also a kind of instruction book on how
to live. By both direct command and example, it teaches us what God’s will
is for our lives. The Bible is called “God’s Word.” This means that when it
speaks, God speaks. We call this
inspiration. While God is very involved in all of history (as we will see)
and we should expect his movements through experiences in our lives, we
should

not expect to actually hear his literal voice or see his literal face. He
speaks to us through his Word, the Bible.

Notice what Paul says concerning the Bible:

The Bible equips us for every good work, not just some good works. It is
given to make you a competent disciple. The Greek word for
inspired literally means “God breathed.” Can you believe that? The Bible is
the breath of God! Every word in the Scriptures is exactly what God wanted
to write. However, God used over forty men from all walks of life—from
fishermen to kings—to write his Word, and he did not sacrifice their
personality
or circumstances in the least. This is one of the great mysteries of
Scripture.

Peter puts it this way: “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of
man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (
2 Pet. 1:21
). In other words, as these men wrote the Scriptures, they were carried
along by the Spirit as a boat is carried along by the wind. God used man by
moving
through their thoughts and words.

We will return to the authority of Scripture in a moment. But before we do,
we need to look at four other sources that God uses to communicate truth.

Reason

God wants us to use our minds—and to use them well.

Let me get a little technical: Reason is the human capacity and inclination
toward rational, logical, and analytical thought. For example, if I met a
gentleman
walking on crutches and wearing a hat that said “Ski Aspen,” I would
probably draw the following conclusions. First, I would think that his leg
was broken.
Second, I would think he broke his leg while skiing. I would not need to
have read a book to draw such conclusions. And I would not need to be really
smart
to do so. I would simply employ the rational way of thinking that we are all
born with. If someone has a cast on his leg, this normally means his leg is
broken. If his leg is broken, there is a cause for its breaking (i.e., it
did not break on its own). This is not rocket science.

In the Christian life, God has given you the ability to think, reason, and
draw conclusions. Your abilities in this area are by no means perfect, but
they
are abilities nonetheless. God created you with a mind to think for a
reason. He wants you to be reasonable! Reason or rationality is another
authority
in your life and a valid source for information about God. It is not a
Christian virtue to go around believing things that don’t make sense. You
are not
supposed to check your brains at the door once you become a Christian. God
expects you to think and to think well.

Here’s another illustration. When the Israelites were worshiping gods that
they made out of the wood from trees, using half the wood for idols and the
other half for their fire, God chastises them for their irrationality.
Translation:
they were not thinking well.

It was irrational for the Israelites to worship blocks of wood, and God
calls them on this. God wants and expects you to use your brain.

But reason is not perfect. It can go bad. We can misuse it or misinterpret
the data. More often than not, we lack data because we don’t have access to
all the information and make assumptions. For example, I think I could
reasonably conclude that the gentleman in the cast broke his leg while
skiing. But
what if I was missing some information or misinterpreting what I saw? What
if the broken leg was not broken? What if it was a torn ACL from a car
accident?
What if the hat was the man’s brother’s, and he had not been to Aspen at
all? All of these things are possible and demonstrate the limits of reason.
Only
those with all the information are able to draw perfectly sound conclusions.
And people, being limited, don’t normally have all the information.

The Bible, on the other hand, being the Word of God, is never lacking in
perspective. Everything it speaks about, it does so with complete
truthfulness
and accuracy.

Experience

God wants to meet you in your experience. As a disciple, you can see God’s
hand in the agency of life. But be careful!

The best way to explain experience is to describe it as information that
comes through direct encounter, participation, or observation. As a
Christian,
you should expect to encounter God in your life. While the Bible plainly
says that you will not see him with your eyes (
1 Pet. 1:8
), this does not mean that he is not active. Every day you are to pray for
direction and guidance. You might pray for “open doors” and “closed doors.”
For example, the Bible may tell you nothing beyond general stewardship
principles about whether to take this job or that, or to buy this house or
that,
but you don’t want to discount God’s desire to guide you through such
endeavors. God will open doors through your experience, and he will close
doors through
your experience.

I am married with four kids. Before my wife and I met many years ago, I was
not looking through the Bible to find out what the name of Michael Patton’s
wife would be. Nevertheless, I did pray that God would prepare a wife for me
and that he would guide me to her through the mundane travels of life. Now
that I am married, I am fully confident that God did guide me. Through
subtle but definite movements, God will often guide and direct your life
through
experience.

Remember, God is a God of history. He did not finish writing the Bible and
go AWOL. When the last book of the Bible was complete, God did not turn into
a cheerleader on the sidelines of history. He is still involved. You should
expect that he hears your prayers and moves in time, accomplishing his will
through you.

But experience, like reason, can be misinterpreted and abused. Experience
can be dangerous. Sometimes we can try to manipulate the will of God by
making
our experience say something that may be at odds with God’s will. Allow me
to use an extreme example. I could have prayed to God while thinking about
whether
I should marry Kristie, “Dear God, if Kristie is the one I should marry,
make a car come down the street next. If she is not the one, make it a
truck.”
Don’t go there. God cannot be manipulated in such a way. You are to always
be looking for his movements in your life, but don’t force them.

Again, the Bible is in authority over our experience. If our experience says
one thing and the Bible says another, the Bible wins.

Emotions

God wants to speak to your heart. He loves emotions. After all, he created
them. Look for God in the depths of your heart.

Emotions are subjectively experienced psychological feelings. We often look
down on emotions as a second-rate form of guidance. We talk about not being
“too emotional” when we make decisions. It is good to be cautious, but we
don’t want to dismiss emotions too quickly. God will move through them. For
example,
the Bible tells us that one of the primary functions of the Holy Spirit is
to
convict us of sin ( John 16:7–8
). Conviction is an emotion from God that we dare not ignore. The Bible also
talks about the
peace of God that comes into our lives that passes all understanding (
Phil. 4:7
). Emotions are powerful, and I encourage you to invite God to comfort and
guide you through them.

But emotions can be misleading. I have a Christian friend who just fell in
love with his “soul mate.” However, his so-called soul mate is not a
Christian.
The Bible is clear that Christians are not to marry unbelievers (
2 Cor. 6:14
). My friend’s emotions are conflicting with the Bible. He thinks the love
he has for this woman is from God and is guiding him to marry her. But
Scripture
says something different. The Bible should always win.

I have another friend who does not “feel” God’s presence in his life. He
does not “feel” as if God loves him. His depression and inability to be
happy,
for him, are proof of God’s absence. Again, emotions are telling him
something that is not true. They can do that. They do it all the time with
me. We
must be careful.

I want you to welcome God to talk to you through your emotions, but your
emotions are not the final arbiter of truth. The Bible is the final arbiter
of
truth and has authority over your emotions. If your emotions go left (i.e.,
God does not love me) and the Bible goes right (i.e., God does love me),
always
go right.

Tradition

Finally, we need to look at tradition. We should look to the past to find
wisdom for the present.

The best way to describe tradition is “those who have gone before us.” In
the Christian faith, we have a heritage. The church is made up of more than
your
local assembly meeting in the building on the corner. It is more than all
the Christians who are living around the world. The church is made up of all
of those who have trusted in Christ, both living
and dead. God the Holy Spirit has led and guided a multitude of saints that
have gone before us. Their common confession through their deeds and beliefs
forms an authority for the Christian life. Their witness builds a foundation
of truth and beckons us to follow them.

A man once came to me and pointed to a particular portion of Scripture. He
told me that he believed that the Holy Spirit had given him an understanding
of this particular passage the night before. As he told me about his
interpretation, I realized one problem: no Christian before him had ever
interpreted
the passage that way. His interpretation was completely outside the great
Christian tradition that has been held for the last two thousand years. If
his
belief was true, then multitudes of Christians who had come before him had
missed it, even though they were being led by the same Spirit as he
supposedly
was. This should give us pause. In fact, it should scare us a bit. Look into
tradition. Become a student of the great believers of the past. Read
biographies
on them. Read their works (we have lots of them). Let them become close
friends.

However, tradition is not perfect. People who have gone before us have
misread and manipulated the Scriptures. While tradition stands guard beside
the
Scriptures, it is always judged ultimately
by the Scriptures. In other words, rightly interpreted Scripture affirms or
corrects all traditions. You must look to the community of God, both living
and dead, for guidance. You must stand in fear of coming up with something
“new.” However, you must never place tradition above Scripture.

Sola Scriptura

We have many sources of authority in our lives. In addition to emotions,
experience, reason, and tradition, we also have pastors, governments, and
parents.
These are all from God. All of them carry varying degrees of authority.
However, none of them are as authoritative as Scripture. Scripture is your
final
authority in all things. When it speaks clearly, it does not matter what
your emotions say, it does not matter what your reason says, and it does not
matter
what the government says. God’s Word is final.

In the book of Acts, shortly after Christ ascended into heaven, the apostles
were taken into custody by the governing authority in their land. They were
told to quit preaching about Christ or suðer the legal consequences. Here is
what they said:

We also know that the Christians in Berea fact-checked the apostle Paul
against the Scriptures, and they were commended for it!

Conclusion

When I went to my dad for permission to go to my friend’s house, I was
trying to circumvent the word of my mother. I was attempting to manipulate
authorities
in order to get
my way. If you allow yourself this liberty in the Christian life, you will
consistently fall on your face, outside of the will of God. Most
importantly,
you will be a fish out of water. As a believer in Christ, the best place you
can be is under the authority of the One who loves you and made you. He
knows
what is best. Why would we seek anything else?

As a Christian disciple, you must build a respect for all the authorities
that God has given. Yes, God is the ultimate authority in your life, but the
ultimate way in which God has chosen to communicate this authority is
through the Scriptures. This is why as a Christian you must read, meditate
on, and
study the Bible as often as you are able (more on this later). It is
indispensable for Christian discipleship.

Discussion Questions

Now That I'm a ChristianTaken from
Now That I'm a Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus , by C. Michael
Patton. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News
Publishers,
Wheaton, Il 60187,
www.crossway.org .

You’ve become a Christian. Now what? Michael Patton unpacks the basics of
the Christian faith, helping you think carefully about God and live fully
for
God as you begin your new life in Christ. In ten easy-to-read chapters, this
book will introduce you to the foundational teachings and life-giving
practices
of Christianity—from the doctrine of the Trinity to reading and
understanding the Bible.


Date: May 7, 2017 at 9:49 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Power to Forgive

Power to Forgive

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? No one, sir, she said. Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:10-11).

Scripture Focus: John 8:1-11

The self-appointed sin-spotters brought a woman to Jesus whom they had caught in the act of adultery. These respected religious men forced the woman to stand before Jesus and the group that had gathered to hear His teaching. Catch their tone as they laid a trap for Jesus. According to the Law of Moses, they claimed, the woman should be stoned. Then they added, "Now what do You say?"

Jesus did not answer directly, but bent down to write on the ground with His finger. After they persisted with their questions, Jesus said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." One by one the accusers slunk away. In one of the tenderest scenes in the Bible, Jesus assured her that He did not condemn her. "Go now," He said, adding, "and leave your life of sin."

Jesus read her heart, and knowing that someday He would bear the condemnation both she and her accusers deserved, He offered her forgiveness. The accusers went away with their guilt; she went away cleansed and forgiven.

Insight: Jesus did not come to earth to condemn you, but to offer you forgiveness and cleansing.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 07 May 2017, 11:30 pm

Encouragement for your week: What Happens When We Procrastinate?

What Happens When We Procrastinate?

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you’”—Matthew 25:11-12(NIV).

Did you know there’s a Procrastinator’s Club? They’ve never met because they
keep postponing their meeting. We can laugh about putting things off. Some
procrastinate because the project is daunting or boring. Others find better
things to do. There are, of course, those who have procrastinated so long
the
pile of tasks grows into a mountain they’re afraid to tackle.

People procrastinate for different reasons. Psychologist Joseph Ferrari,
Ph.D., identifies three basic types of procrastinators:
• Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the
euphoric rush.
• Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but
in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would
rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
• Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a
decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of
events.

If you’re a procrastinator, can you relate to any of these? While I don’t
consider myself a procrastinator, I do delay doing things I consider
unpleasant,
unimportant or not interesting.

We let things in our life pile up for various reasons, but in today’s world
of social media and technology devices, it’s easier than ever to succumb to
procrastination. We become distracted by the frivolous and foolish.

In Matthew 25:1-12, we read about 10 virgins, who took lamps and went out to
meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. The
foolish five took lamps but took no oil. The prudent brought oil in flasks,
along with lamps. The bridegroom was delayed and the 10 grew drowsy and fell
asleep. At midnight, a shout announced the arrival of the bridegroom. All 10
virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones, whose lamps were
running out of oil, asked the prudent to share. The prudent refused, saying,
“No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers
and buy some for yourselves.”

Jesus’ parable compares the plight of the virgins and their lamps to the
kingdom of heaven. While the five who were not prepared left to find oil for
their
lamps, the bridegroom invited the prudent into the wedding supper and closed
the door. When the foolish five finally returned and knocked on the door the
answer was not what they wanted to hear, “‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know
you.’”

As believers, we know Christ will return at an unknown time. We must be
ready. In the meantime, we are commanded to share with others the Good News
about
our Savior and Lord. We also need to forgive those who have hurt us, tell
others we have taken for granted we love them and spend time with the
lonely,
the hurting and the unlovable. Don’t say, “Someday.”

Someday will be here sooner than you think. Are you procrastinating?

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

Are You a “Peace Corps” Member?
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Matthew 5:9

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Several decades ago, you were really somebody if you joined the Peace Corps.
But all this time later, how much peace has been established between
brothers
and sisters around the world as a result?

Do you know how to bring peace to earth and goodwill to all men? Introduce
men, women, boys, and girls to Jesus Christ. That is the only way.

Churches are filled every Sunday, yet where do people go during the week?
Are they sharing God’s salvation story with the lost? It’s not your faithful
attendance to church that is going to bring peace to earth but your faithful
sharing of the Gospel.

ACTION POINT:
Jesus said His mission was not to be a diplomat, not to be a peacemaker, but
to bring death to hatred, strife, and sin through His reconciling blood.
There
is no other way to a holy God, but through the cross. Are you living like a
child of God and telling others about Jesus?


3 Reasons to Keep Hoping Instead of Giving Up
Ryan Duncan

“What do I do when I just don’t know how to go on?”

Ann Voskamp was asked this question not too long ago. The latest post in her
blog, A Holy Experience , describes how Voskamp found herself confronted by
the cold, dark reality of despair. It’s an existence many of us know all too
well. We stand before God and ask, “Why?” Why did this happy couple, so full
of dreams, experience a miscarriage?

Why did such a healthy young man, in the prime of his life, get diagnosed
with cancer? Why did this terrible accident leave a family broken and
grieving?
Often times there are no answers for us, all we can do is grieve. Voskamp
compared the experience to planting tulips,

“We lay our hope, full and tender, into the depths of Him and wait in hope
for God to resurrect something good.”

“Good always necessitates long waiting.”

In the midst of such darkness, the prospect of giving up feels almost
inevitable. Why cling to hope if it’s just going to result in more
suffering? Better
writers than I have attempted to answer this question, and I have no
illusions of beating back depression with a few well-placed platitudes. All
I can
do is offer three simple reasons to keep hoping instead of giving up.

God Loves You

The fundamental message of the Gospel is that God loves you. Do you
understand? God loves
you. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been,
God will always love you. Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson
describes it like this ,

“No matter what kind of situation you may find yourself facing, don't be
afraid, because God will always be with you and have your best interests in
mind
since He loves you. Whenever feelings of fear creep into your life, turn to
God for the help you need to overcome them and successfully navigate your
circumstances. Whenever you sense God calling you to do something that
requires taking a risk, move forward without fear because God will empower
you
to do whatever He calls you to do.


It’s Alright to Feel Sad

No one likes to feel sad. We frequently try to avoid feelings of pain, or
bury them under the weight of our daily routines. But sorrow cannot and
should
not be ignored.
Accepting our sorrow
doesn’t mean we’re weak, or a failure, it means we’re human. Just look what
Ethan McCarthy of Christianity Today had to say,

“Our faith is predicated on sadness. As we grow in Christ’s service, we
begin to recognize ourselves in Christ’s sad gaze in the icons. The sadness
of
Jesus exemplifies the sadness of Christians everywhere, and through it the
whole world is redeemed. For the sadness of Jesus is not an ultimate
sadness:
the Bible also promises the end of sadness, and the wiping away of all
tears: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (
Matt. 5:4 ).”

This is Not the End

Take a moment and think back to the crucifixion of Jesus. It’s hard to
imagine a more devastating event for his friends and followers. After all
the miracles
they had seen, after all the hope and promise they had experienced, their
messiah was killed like a common criminal. Yet that was not the end. Despite
everything, Jesus was not finished,

“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with
them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and
said,
‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my
hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and
believe.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!
’" – John 20:26-28

Hope is a frail thing, but it’s hard to kill. If you’ve found yourself
struggling in the valleys of life, please don’t give up. Surround yourself
with
friends who will comfort you and mourn with you. If you’re suffering from
depression, have courage and make an appointment with a doctor. Above all,
remember
that God loves you, and that will never change.

What about you? What advice do you have for those who are in pain or
suffering?

*Ryan Duncan is the Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com

Free of Stress
by Chuck Swindoll

Psalm 62:8

You and I could name things, specific things that we've gone through in the
last several years that make no logical sense whatsoever . . . but that's
okay.
We can't figure them out.

But let me assure you, God is at work doing His mysterious plan (mysterious
to us), which defies human logic.

So quit trying to make it humanly logical. Trust Him . . . .

Do you realize what a peaceful life you can live if you decide to live like
this? Do you realize how relaxed you can be, how free of stress?

Honestly.

It's so helpful for me to remind myself: He is the One who is unfathomable.
He is unsearchable.

I'm neither.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J.
Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by
Charles
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Faith for the Journey
Take Time
Visit insight.org

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

Welcome to the Nugget

March 9, 2017

A Time to Heal

By Answers2Prayer
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Devotionals
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"He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds." (Ps 147:3)

Our white cat, Dusty is my son, JJ's favorite pet. They have a special
connection that is a delight to see. After she finishes her dinner at night
Dusty
will run into JJ's room to sleep on the pillow beside him. During the day
she will follow him around, nap peacefully in his arms, and even answer with
a "meow" every time he calls her name.

A few months ago, however, Dusty began to lose weight. She ate less and less
and lost some of her fur. She stopped following JJ around and found a hiding
space in my daughter's old closet. She came out only to drink water and then
quickly retreated to her hiding spot each day. I was sure for a time that
we were going to lose her and prayed to God that she would return to health.
I didn't want my son to lose his furry friend. Thankfully, after a few weeks
she started to spend time outside the closet again. She began to drink some
milk and even started eating her cat food once more. Soon her fur grew back
and she gained weight. Once again she became my son's constant companion and
I thanked God for bringing her back to him.

I can understand too why she had gone off by herself to take the time to
heal from her illness. There have been many times in my own life when I have
been
beaten and battered by the troubles and pains of this world. There have been
times when fear, sickness and sadness have overwhelmed me. There have been
times when I have just needed to find a quiet place in my own soul to heal,
to think, and to talk to God.

Joyfully, every time I have done so God has been there to fill me with His
love and to heal my heart. Each time God has brought me back to the world
better
and stronger than I was before. When life beats you down then don't give
up. Go within. Go to God. Allow His love to fill you and to heal you. And
then
go out and share that love with the world.

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."

Shadow Spirituality

Have you ever tried to witness to someone who responded, "I don't need
church or religion--I'm a very spiritual person." Maybe they try to fill
their spiritual
void with tarot cards, astrology, meditation, philosophy, or yoga. But
without Christ as their Savior, their efforts to feed their spiritual hunger
are
in vain. We all were born in a spiritual vacuum, craving wholeness and
peace. We may try to satisfy our hearts and souls with temporary fixes, but
only
God can permanently and completely fill that longing inside of us.

God is the only source of true spiritual fulfillment. Anything else is
temporary and false. It is a shadow of the real spirituality of God. Shadow
spirituality
is any form of spirituality that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the
only Lord of life. Shadow spirituality refuses to acknowledge the sovereign
power
and authority of God. Shadow spirituality dismisses the Bible as the Word of
God.

Even churches are not immune from shadow spirituality. Many churches are
wrongly preaching that Christ is merely one of many ways to God. They preach
in
direct opposition to God's Word and plan of salvation. Jesus warned, "Watch
out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly
they are ferocious wolves" (
Matthew 7:15 ).

People who claim they are "spiritual" define their spirituality as any
dimension of the human experience that is beyond the physical -- whether it
is the
occult, paganism, mysticism or any human-designed religion. Their goal is
for people to become enlightened and empowered. They seek a strong
self-esteem
and a balance of spirit, body, and mind. Unfortunately, these are elusive
goals leaving their seekers spending their lives constantly searching for
more.

Christianity provides something far greater than improved emotional health;
it provides complete emotional transformation. Only God can heal our
emotions
and make us whole. We will never find wholeness unless we make Christ the
center of our lives. The apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with
Christ
and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I
live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (
Galatians 2:20 ).

Shadow spirituality is deceptive and based on personal happiness. True
spirituality leads to wholeness as we reflect the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Shadow
spirituality offers temporary fixes. True spirituality provides permanent
transformation. Shadow spirituality promotes the falsehood that we can
achieve
our own wholeness, while true spirituality acknowledges that only the Holy
Spirit can declare us whole.

Many of these human-designed spiritual distractions may seem helpful on the
surface, but they lead us away from the only One who truly wants to see us
forgiven, healed, and whole. Jesus longs for us to receive the power of the
Resurrection where we can find real transformation. Through Christ we become
new creatures. Through Christ we receive the Holy Spirit and become
genuinely spiritual people. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!" (
2 Corinthians 5:17 ).

The world desperately needs to hear this message of true spirituality. They
are seeking to fill that spiritual void but will remain eternally empty
without
Christ. Write on the lines below people in your life who are distracted by
shadow spirituality, whether through new age practices, false religions, or
a distorted gospel. Begin praying for every day that God will provide
opportunities for you to share with them what true spirituality means.

"Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are
from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is
how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does
not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."
1 John 4:1-3
Listen to Michael Youssef on Today's Broadcast of "
Leading The Way
" at OnePlace.com
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Where to Run If You're Overwhelmed
JENNIFER ROTHSCHILD

“From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is
overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.”
Psalm 61:2 (NLT)

You skip breakfast. You’re late for work. You forgot to pack little Joey’s
lunch. Your laundry basket is a Mt. Everest of dirty clothes. Your loved one
is in the hospital. You can’t seem to get to the store to buy groceries. You
still haven’t returned that growing list of phone calls and text messages.

Your mother needs you, your friend needs you, your husband needs you, your
kids need you, your boss needs you ... you need to be cloned or counseled or
consoled or caught up in the air to meet the Lord!

“Rapture me Lord!”

You feel stressed. Guilty. Inadequate. Overwhelmed!

Overwhelmed. We feel it for all sorts of reasons, and I don’t know about
you, but when I feel overwhelmed I want to run away! I want to run from what
feels
too big and unfixable! I want to run to my closet with some Dove dark
chocolate and hide!

Thankfully, God wants us to run when we’re feeling overwhelmed. But instead
of running away from what overwhelms us (and turning to dark chocolate), He
wants us to run to Him. To run to His Word which settles us and shelters us.

Sometimes we can’t change all the stuff in our lives that feels bigger than
we can handle. But, whatever feels bigger than you is still puny compared to
the Rock that is higher than you!

When I feel flat-out overwhelmed and under-qualified and out-of-sorts, I’m
learning not to run away from my stress. I am also learning not to run to a
bag of chocolate!

Instead, I’m learning to run to God -- to His Word -- in the overwhelming
middle of my stress!

When I run to God’s Word, even just one verse, I find that God is my
“refuge and strength, an ever-present help in of trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NIV).
When I run to Him, I find that my refuge isn’t an escape from my stress. God
is my refuge. I’m reminded once again that my strength doesn’t come from me
and my stamina or drive. My strength comes from the Lord.

He is the rock that is higher than I am. When I run to His Word, I discover
that His law is
“my delight” and it protects me and keeps me from totally freaking out or
giving up or falling apart. (Psalm 119:92) He really is the Rock that is
stronger
and higher than anything you and I face.

If you feel the need to run away, lace up your cutest running shoes, and go
for it! Run into the strong arms of Jesus. He is Your strength. He is your
Rock. He is your refuge.

And, when you find yourself sheltered in the truth of His Word and in the
sanctuary of His presence, all the stress that overwhelmed you and felt
bigger
than you suddenly shrinks down to the pebble size it really is!

God’s Word gives you the perspective you need. God’s presence gives you the
peace you need, so run away sister ... run to the Rock who’s waiting to
shelter
and settle you.

Lord, when my heart is overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace. Lead me to
You, my rock. Guide me to Your Word which gives me strength and refuge. Help
me not to run to lesser things. Draw me to run to You first. Help me get
into the habit of taking my “overwhelmed” and placing it under your will.
Thank
You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in
trouble.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:92, ”If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in
my affliction.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
God’s Word is many things -- instructive, historical and poetic. Yet to
Jennifer Rothschild, the Bible is an incredible love letter. In
66 Ways God Loves You: Experience God’s Love for You in Every Book of the
Bible
, she walks you through each of the 66 books of the Bible and shows, in
concise and thoughtful ways, how every book uniquely reflects God’s love for
each
of us.

Whether you’re a new believer, struggling with doubt, questioning self-worth
or just looking to celebrate God’s unwavering love, join Jennifer as she
opens
the Word in fresh, beautiful ways to show you how God’s love is the common
thread that runs through every single page.
Proverbs 31 Ministries

Cold Showers
by John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She
came to him and asked, “Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to
do
the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (
Luke 10:40 )

Every morning for as long as he could, my grandfather slid out of bed before
the sun rose and took a cold shower. Now, granted, he lived in the warm
climes
of southern Alabama, and the waves of heat there appear more like tsunamis
of heat. But let me tell you, cold showers in the early morning of southern
Alabama feel pretty much the same as cold showers anywhere else. They’re
cold.

Every evening, my grandfather came back to a house without air conditioning.
He did prop a fan in the window, but that seemed more like a concession to
his wimpy family than anything he needed. In a house he’d built himself that
had little insulation and a tin roof, the fan pretty much blew hot air
around.

But he just made it work. These inconveniences weren’t a challenge; they
were opportunities. No water heater? Take cold showers. Three channels on
TV?
Talk when nothing’s on. No clothes dryer? Hang them up on a line. No phone?
Go to your daughter’s house and use hers (though I can’t remember him ever
doing so). Something breaks? Don’t buy a new one; fix it.

When I pull myself away from my iPhone, I’m sometimes struck with how
different my life is. There’s never a drop of cold water anywhere near my
shower.
My first instinct is to buy what I need, never to make it. In the evenings,
I have to force my mind to stay present on my family instead of drifting
away
to what "
important" social media updates I’m missing.

But it’s not really the technology differences that hit the hardest. You
see, there was a depth to my grandfather that I’ve found much harder to
emulate.
I’m often too distracted to get there. He just moved and breathed faith; it
naturally flowed from his character. Yet I struggle to stay afloat in an
ocean
of distractions.

Perhaps those cold showers really would do me some good.

Intersecting Faith and Life: My grandfather, much to the chagrin of his
grandsons, loved to play twangy gospel music every weekend. Our peaceful
morning
slumber would melt away with steel guitars and nasally notes. But this wasn’t
something he did to annoy us. He just knew what was most important.

This isn’t a call to jettison technology (honestly, I can be just as
distracted by books and worries as I can by Netflix). Instead, what I think
most about
my grandfather is his resolve to remember what mattered most. He never cared
about what he lacked because he knew what he had. He loved God and learned
from His Word. And that satisfied him.

Too often, the busyness of my life keeps me from remembering what he taught.

For Further Reading:

Luke 10:38

Psalms 27:1
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 04 May 2017, 1:30 pm

Pecking Order
Before complaint became a national way of life, it was considered an honor
to serve someone. There was no higher cause than to provide for the needs of
others out of love.
– Bill Hybles, Descending into Greatness

In his book Descending into Greatness, Bill Hybels wrote about the pecking
order of chickens. Put 10 chickens in a pen together, sprinkle some feed on
the ground, and prepare to witness a natural phenomenon. In a matter of
minutes, the chickens will establish a hierarchy of dominance – a.k.a. a
“pecking
order.” Instinctively they determine who is number one, number two, number
three, and so on...

“Much is at stake in this dance of domination,” Bill writes. Chicken #1
pecks Chicken #2 without retribution. Chicken #2 pecks Chicken #3, and all
the
way down the line. But Chicken #10? This chicken is pecked with no one else
to peck. What a miserable deal! What a miserable life!

This pecking order is more nuanced among humans, but we know it when we
experience it. Maybe at a business luncheon where everyone is focused on
networking
with the top business producers, or at a class reunion where we relive the
years of cliques and popularity, or even at home where we compare the car in
our garage to that of our neighbors’.

Why are we narrowing in on the common occurrence of viewing others as either
above us or below us? What does it matter?

It matters because many of us treat those above us in the pecking order with
greater admiration, cordiality, and honor – even though we may secretly envy
or despise them. And those below us? We may treat them with insensitivity,
callousness, or even contempt. Think about it: if the VP of our company
requested
a favor, we’d be all over it. But if the janitor needed five minutes of our
time, we might check our watch.

For those below us, showing them honor is optional. That’s ugly, isn’t it?
Especially when we serve a God who led by serving. “Now that I, your Lord
and
Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet
” (John 13:14 ).

Jesus, we don’t want to be Chicken #10. It feels voiceless and powerless to
be at the bottom of the pecking order. But if there is something special to
experience down there, with You, lead the way. Take us on a journey of
releasing hierarchy. Amen.

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

Prayers with Power and Punch
by Stephen Altrogge

I’m convinced that one of the reasons my prayers often feel “flat” is that I
don’t incorporate God’s word into my prayers. God’s word is packed full of
promises, and one of the best ways to infuse life into our prayers is by
infusing God’s promises into our prayers. In
John 15:7 Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask
whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This is a crazy promise!
Essentially,
what Jesus is saying is that when we pray in accordance with his words,
promises, or commands, whatever we ask will be done for us. When our prayers
line
up with his promises, crazy, incredible things will happen!

That’s why I’m working on a book entitled Praying God’s Word. Each page of
this book contains a section of scripture, then a prayer based off that
section
of scripture. My hope is that combination of God’s word and prayer will be
like rocket fuel for your prayer life. What follows is a prayer based on
Psalms 34, which is one of my favorite Psalms:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge
in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no
lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord
lack no good thing. (Psalms 34:8-10
)

Father,

I have tasted and seen that you are good. I have tasted the finest
delicacies this world can offer, and they cannot compare to you. Your
presence satisfies
me like nothing else. You give more joy and deeper joy than anything else in
this world. One day in your courts is better than a thousand days elsewhere.
One moment with you is better than a thousand lifetimes anywhere else.
Please give me more tastes of your presence, more glimpses of your glory.
Expand
my heart to love you more, and then take me deeper into the vast ocean of
your love. Your love is better than life itself.

I do not take refuge in money, people, job security, or friends. Those
things are fleeting vapors that quickly dissipate. They don’t provide any
true security.
I take my refuge in you, the King of Kings, owner of all things, Sovereign
One, and protector of the helpless. I know that you’ll care for me, provide
for me, and satisfy me. I know that you’ll protect me, just as a father
protects his children. Teach me what it means to fully entrust myself.
Deliver
me from my sinful self-sufficiency. Teach me what it means to truly, humbly
fear you. Fill my heart with appropriate reverence, awe, and fear of you.

I want to seek you above all else, knowing that if I seek you, I won’t lack
any good thing. You are not a stingy God who is hesitant to bless his
creatures.
You are an abundantly generous God. Like a constantly flowing spring, you
bubble over with goodness and generosity. If you clothe the lilies in
splendor
and feed the ravens, you will certainly provide me with everything that I
need. If something is good for me, you will give it to me. If it is not
good,
you will withhold it. I know that I can trust you to give me exactly what I
need for every situation. Ultimately, I don’t know what I most need, but you
do. I don’t trust in my own ability to meet my needs, I trust you to meet
all of my needs.


Always Trusting
But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. Not
only this, but it is now the third day since these things happened
(Luke 24:21 ).

I have always felt so sorry that in that walk to Emmaus the disciples had
not said to Jesus, “We still trust”; instead of “We trusted.” That is so
sad--something
that is all over.

If they had only said, “Everything is against our hope; it looks as if our
trust was vain, but we do not give up; we believe we shall see Him again.”
But
no, they walked by His side declaring their lost faith, and He had to say to
them “O fools, and slow of heart to believe!”

Are we not in the same danger of having these words said to us? We can
afford to lose anything and everything if we do not lose our faith in the
God of
truth and love.

Let us never put our faith, as these disciples did, in a past tense--“We
trusted.” But let us ever say, “I am trusting.”
--Crumbs

The soft, sweet summer was warm and glowing,
Bright were the blossoms on every bough:
I trusted Him when the roses were blooming;
I trust Him now...

Small were my faith should it weakly falter
Now that the roses have ceased to blow;
Frail were the trust that now should alter,
Doubting His love when storm clouds grow.
--The Song of a Bird in a Winter Storm
Streams in the Desert
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 03 May 2017, 9:29 pm

The Benefit of Trials

My grace is sufficient for you. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

If none of God's saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well
the consolations of divine grace. When we find the wanderer who has nowhere
to lay his head who still can say, "I will trust in the Lord," or when we
see the pauper starving on bread and water who still glories in Jesus, when
we
see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction and yet having faith in
Christ--oh, what honor it reflects on the Gospel.

God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of
believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all
things work
together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing
shall ultimately spring--that their God will either work a deliverance for
them
speedily or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is
pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of
divine
grace.

There is a lighthouse out at sea: It is a calm night--I cannot tell whether
the edifice is firm. The tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know
whether it will stand. So with the Spirit's work: If it were not on many
occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we would not know that it was
true
and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we would not know how firm
and secure it was. The masterworks of God are those men who stand in the
midst
of difficulties steadfast, unmovable-- Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory. The one who would glorify his God must be prepared to
meet with
many trials. No one can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts
are many.

If, then, yours is a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will be
better able to display the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing
you,
never dream of it--hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until
now should be trusted to the end.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 15

verse 2 Luke 18

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs

Distinguished theologian, J.I. Packer, presents a comprehensive inventory of
Christian beliefs and theological tenants in straightforward language that’s
easy to understand. Covering a wide sweep of topics, including revelation,
omniscience, predestination, regeneration, and justification, to name a few,
Packer applies his unique insight into the Scripture, and to the nature of
God, to explain 94 essential beliefs in brief, clear summaries.
Concise Theology is not only a ‘must have’ resource for followers of Christ
to fully understand the permanent foundations of Christianity, but also
serves
a timeless reference guide to revisit over and over throughout a believer’s
journey of understanding.

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 .


Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Tindi People
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Tindi People
Mar 06, 2017 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Romans 3:23-24, NKJV "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus..."

Today's People Group

“How could a soap opera open the door for a person to know Jesus?” That is
just what happened to Tadzh-utdin (not his real name), a Tindi university
student
in the capital city of Dagestan in southern Russia. A Turkish soap opera,
the most popular TV show in recent years in Dagestan, for some reason
frequently
has positive things to say about Martin Luther. This has opened the door for
a Dagestani believer Alek (not his real name) to share the gospel with
Tadzh-utdin.
The 10,000 Tindi hail from the mountains of southwestern Dagestan. The view
from the central town of the Tindi people commands a dynamic view of
surrounding
snow-capped mountains. The distinct Tindi language is spoken in 14 villages
in this region.
Multiple mosques are visible through the winding hilly streets of the town
of Tindi. The Tindi have followed Sunni Islam for many centuries, in
conjunction
with ancient nature worship of the sun, moon, and other created things. So
far, the only spiritual hope for the Tindi has been to try to do enough good
works to get to heaven or to appease animistic spirits. How much simpler it
would be to turn from sinfulness and receive the gift of grace freely
offered
through Jesus!

Pray that the people will become weary with futile religious striving when
they accept the marvelous grace of Jesus. Pray that God’s Spirit will bring
conviction of sin to the Tindi people.

Learn more at Joshua Project .

How to Trust God through Crushing Disappointment
Anne Peterson

We were on our way home from a retreat. I got to share my poetry and then
offer my poetry pieces for sale. My heart felt full. Not only did people
seem
to like them, but we made $1,250 in sales! Thank you God.

“Should we stop for something to eat?” I asked my husband, when we had
finished loading up the van.

“No, I’m kinda tired,” he replied.

“Are you sure? We can go just about anywhere.” I said, chuckling.

But it was no use. Both he and my friend Kym, who had come along to help,
declined. So I settled down for the hour long drive. Reaching into my purse,
I noticed the pouch was not there. My heart started beating faster as I
looked around at the boxes in the van. Then I swallowed hard.

“Mike, I don’t have the money.”

“Please tell me you’re kidding,” he said.

“I’m not,” I almost whispered.

When we got home, we tore open boxes looking for the zipper pouch. And then
it hit me. I must have put the pouch down when I went to the restroom, there
at the Lincolnshire Hotel.

Quickly dialing their number, I explained my situation.

“We’re sorry but no one has turned anything in. We’ll call you if they do.”

And something hit me in the stomach. It was a familiar
feeling--disappointment.

So what do you do when your plans fail and you are left to deal with the
hurt?

You need to find someone to share it with. I immediately called the church
and asked for prayer. And then what?

Give God your disappointment.

I had prayed in the van, and I prayed once we got home. The hours afterward
became one long conversation with God.
1 Peter 5:7 tells us what we need to do with our concerns. We are told to
cast them on God.

When my grandson Charlie would come over, he would sometimes lay his
Lightning McQueen car down and then forget where it was. That car meant
everything
to him. And because of my love for Charlie, I would help him find it. For
the things that mattered to Charlie mattered to me too.

And it’s so true with God. I pray for parking spots, and ask God to give me
boldness when I have to do something difficult. No prayer request is too
small
to our big God. He cares about what we care about. But even knowing that,
how could I move on when this disappointment threatened to disrupt my peace?

Then God gave me this poem:

Disappointment

Lord, I’m so discouraged, the plans I had fell through.

I sit with disappointment and don’t know what to do.

I had my day all figured out, most everything was planned.

But nothing went the way I thought, and I don’t understand.

He answers with compassion, “I know you are in pain.

Just trust in me completely. Your loss will turn to gain.”

Trust God when you don’t understand.

Read Proverbs 3:5-6
. It tells us how we’re supposed to wholly trust in God. These verses apply
to us all the time. And here was an opportunity for me to put it into
practice.
Then I remembered my conversation with God earlier that morning.

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

“Yes, Lord, I trust you.” I answered. “I don’t care how much money we make.”

One of our temptations when we’re experiencing disappointment is to try and
figure things out. But we must fight that. God asks us to lean on him, not
on our own understanding. I had been down this road before. And I knew I’d
be tempted to blame God, to get angry, and to let resentment grow.

God knew we needed that money. He knew I had even borrowed money for frames
and mats.

I tried to lean in on God. I determined to trust him even though I did not
understand. I would focus on who God was, not what had just happened. Focus
is everything.

Look at who God is.

Read Matthew 14:28-31
. When Peter saw Jesus out on the water, he wanted to join him. So Peter
stepped out of the boat. He was the only one who tried. And there he was
water-walking.
What an exhilarating feeling that must have been. And he was doing it
well... until Peter took his eyes off the Savior. It was then Peter noticed
the wind
and saw the waves. No longer was he exercising his faith. Doubts slipped in
and he slipped down.

And that’s how it is with us.

The phone rang, it was my teenage son from youth group. “Mom, they told me
something happened, but they wouldn’t tell me what it was. What’s going on?”

“Nathan, I made $1,250 and then I lost it.”

“Mom, it’s only money. God had another reason for you to do it.”

In that moment, I was reminded God is bigger than our problems and he is
sovereign. Read
Romans 8:28
. Just because we take a detour, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know about
it. God can take our detours and make them into something of value. Our
detours
are not detours to God. But we need to also be honest with God.

Tell God how you feel.

Too often we get the idea we have to hide our feelings from God. As if he
would not be able to handle them. But nothing could be further from the
truth.
When we are lost in our feelings and the waves are covering us, we need to
call out to God as Peter did. To call out knowing he cares about us. When
Peter
called out to God, God didn’t scold him for doubting. The Bible says
immediately God lifted him out.

We have a tendency to moralize our emotions. To see them as bad or good. But
feelings are feelings. And God can handle all of our emotions. After all,
he’s the one who made them.

Find a reason to praise God.

Praising God would be a stretch. After all, why would I praise him when he
could have prevented the whole thing? That was just crazy. But God is worthy
of praise no matter what is going on in our lives. I wasn’t praising God
that I lost the money; I was praising God because of who he was.

I realized, even though I lost the money, people had been touched by my
work. Furthermore, I thought about my conversation with God. I realized
sometimes
I say I’m trusting him when I’m not. But I know I’ll have a lot of
opportunities to learn how to deal with disappointments.

A Prayer for Disappointment

Dear Lord, Help us to give you our disappointments, to trust you when we don’t
understand. Help us to focus on who you are and to always tell you how we
feel. And Lord, help us to always praise you, no matter what. We pray this
in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author of fourteen books.
Some of which are: Her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival
, three children’s books: Emma’s Wish , The Crooked House
, and
Lulu’s Lunch . She has also authored the poetry books Droplets
, and the series
He Whispers
. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite
title is still ‘Grandma’ to her three grandchildren here, and one in heaven.
To find out more about Anne you can visit her at:

w: www.annepeterson.com
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 02 May 2017, 9:29 pm

The Value of Learning History: A Lesson from Jude
John Piper

The little letter of Jude teaches us something about the value of learning
history. This is not the main point of the letter. But it is striking. In
this
next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude writes to encourage the saints to
"contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the
saints"
(verse 3).

The letter is a call to vigilance in view of "certain persons [who] have
crept in unnoticed... ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into
licentiousness
and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (verse 4). Jude describes
these folks in vivid terms. They "revile the things which they do not
understand"
(verse 10). They "are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own
lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an
advantage"
(verse 16). They "cause divisions, [and are] worldly-minded, devoid of the
Spirit" (verse 19).

This is a devastating assessment of people who are not outside the church
but have "crept in unnoticed." Jude wants them be spotted for who they
really
are, so that the church is not deceived and ruined by their false teaching
and immoral behavior.

One of his strategies is to compare them to other persons and events in
history. For example, he says that "Sodom and Gomorrah . . . since they, in
the
same way as these, indulged in gross immorality and went after strange
flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal
fire"
(verse 7). So Jude compares these people to Sodom and Gomorrah. His point in
doing this is to say that Sodom and Gomorrah are "an example" of what will
happen when people live like these intruders are living. So, in Jude's mind,
knowing the history of Sodom and Gomorrah is very useful in helping detect
such error and deflect it from the saints.

Similarly in verse 11, Jude piles up three other references to historical
events as comparisons with what is happening in his day among Christians. He
says "Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have
rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of
Korah." This is remarkable. Why refer to three different historical
incidents like this that happened thousands of years earlier -
Genesis 19
(Sodom),
Genesis 3 (Cain), Numbers 22-24 (Balaam),
Numbers 16
(Korah)? What's the point?

Here are three points: 1) Jude assumes that the readers know these stories!
Is that not amazing! This was the first century! No books in anyone's homes.
No Bibles available. No story tapes. Just oral instruction. And he assumed
that they would know: What is "the way of Cain" and "the error of Balaam"
and
"the rebellion of Korah"? Do you know? Isn't this astonishing! He expects
them to know. It makes me think that our standards of Bible knowledge in the
church today are too low.

2) Jude assumes that knowing this history will illumine the present
situation. The Christians will handle the error better today, if they know
similar
situations from yesterday. In other words, history is valuable for Christian
living. To know that Cain was jealous and hated his brother and resented his
true spiritual communion with God will alert you to watch for such things
even among brothers.

To know that Balaam finally caved in and made the Word of God a means of
worldly gain makes you better able to spot that sort of thing. To know that
Korah
despised legitimate authority and resented Moses' leadership will protect
you from factious folk who dislike anyone being seen as their leader.

3) Is it not clear, then, that God ordains that events happen and that they
get recorded as history so that we will learn them and become wiser and more
insightful about the present for the sake of Christ and his church. Never
stop learning history. Gain some knowledge every day. And let us give our
children
one of the best protections against the folly of the future, namely, a
knowledge of the past.

Learning with you, for Christ and his kingdom,

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

A Prayer for the Toxic People in Your Life
By Jennifer O. White

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who
hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
– Luke 6:27-28

God offers healing and freedom to everyone.

God created those who hurt us. He has a good plan for their lives. He knows
the “why” behind their destructive behaviors. He knows the lies they believe
about themselves. He knows what stands in the way of their wholeness. He is
a Shepherd who pursues every sheep that wanders away from all He offers.

What would delight our God more than for us to turn our minds away from the
problems and focus on Him? He is our solution.

Praising God is a powerful first line of defense. We can worship and adore
Him, our wonderful counselor and supreme relationship expert.

Holy God. You are full of mercy and compassion, slow to anger and full of
love.

You love imperfect people extravagantly. Father, I may be blind to my own
role in toxic relationships. Help me see the truth about myself. Apply the
healing
power of Your Word to my heart and mind. Deliver me from any stronghold that
causes me to harm people with my words and actions. Save me from
self-destructive
patterns.

I struggle in my relationship with ______. I need You to give me wisdom on
how to love them well. You are my shield and defender. Show me how, when and
where to erect boundaries in our relationship. I believe You are my healer
and I trust You to guard my heart and mind.

Help me to love ______ courageously. Fill me with Your truth and compel me
to fearlessly tell the truth with love. Let Your perfect love cast out all
of
my fears related to our relationship.

I surrender what I think our relationship should be. Please transform it so
that it honors You.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Editor’s Note: This devotional first appeared as How to Pray for the Toxic
People in Your Life by Jennifer O. White. You can read that piece in full
here . All right reserved.

Anne Graham Lotz - Believe in His Name
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Believe in His Name
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be
saved.

Acts 4:12, NKJV

Although God is the Creator of us all, nowhere does the Bible say we are all
His children. On the contrary, there are two conditions you and I must meet
before we can be called God’s children. One is that we must receive Jesus,
or open the door of our hearts and invite Him to come in. The other is that
we must believe in His Name.

Believing in His Name means we must be willing to commit our lives to all
that He is as represented by His Name. And His Name is Lord Jesus Christ.

The qualification for being a child of God by believing on His Name means
much more than just head knowledge. It is not just giving intellectual
assent
to the fact that the Name Lord Jesus Christ is the label attached to the
Person. It means to rest in Jesus, to put all of our trust on Him alone for
forgiveness
and salvation.

Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 01 May 2017, 10:14 pm

Spring Blooms

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and
through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Early one spring a group met at our church. It was one of the first
beautiful, sunny, warm spring day so we waited outside for everyone to get
there. All of a sudden there came an odor that smelled like someone had
dumped some kitchen grease in the yard that had turned rancid. Come to find
out it was the aroma coming from the blooms on the
Bradford Pear tree. These trees have a beautiful natural shape and are one
of the first trees to bloom. The blooms look great but then you get a whiff
of the
aroma and it turns you off immediately.

A few weeks later it was Easter Sunday. The blooms were about all gone from
the
Bradford Pears but the church had ordered a number of Easter lilies which
some people had placed around the sanctuary. When you entered it that Easter
Sunday morning the aroma was heavenly.

WE who call ourselves Christians may look like a beautiful bloom. Others may
know we go to church. We may tell others we are a Christian. We might carry
a Bible around or have a Christian bumper sticker on our car. These things
make us look like a bloom but what aroma are we giving off to those who
really know us?

I know that no one is perfect and that we all sin from time to time but if
we show the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control we will
diffuse a sweet aroma like that of the Easter lilies which may draw people
to Jesus Christ.

What if those around you continually hear you using bad language or telling
dirty jokes? What if people see you continually doing personal work on the
employer’s time?
What if you get your employees to do your personal work during your employer’s
time? What if people see you fly off the handle often or do many other
things that are not the fruit of the spirit? These people may see you at
first like a pretty bloom but when they see you doing these types of things
they smell the aroma of a Bradford pear. If they are not Christians then
they might think that there is no difference so why should they want to
become a Christian?

The apostle Paul wrote:

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NKJV)
22 Abstain from every form of evil.

That is what we need to do to draw others to Jesus Christ. WE each need to
be more like Easter lilies and less like Bradford Pear blooms.

by Dean W. Masters

When Passover Is Fulfilled in
God's Kingdom
( En Español )

"Easter" Or "Passover"?
Most of us are aware that the early church did not celebrate Easter with
jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens. The early
Christians
celebrated Christ's resurrection and the New Covenant that was fulfilled by
Jesus Christ on Passover.

The word Easter actually comes from the Anglo Saxon Eastre, the "goddess of
spring." As Christianity spread, to avoid conflict with local traditions,
the
early church incorporated several pagan holidays into church culture.
Obviously, colored eggs, rabbits and chickens were not biblical symbols of
resurrection
but were actually part of the pagan fertility rites of spring.

Although most Christians, myself included, still refer to the season of
Christ's resurrection as "Easter," in my heart, I look past the cultural
roots
of some of these issues and gently call everyone's attention to the great
miracle that we've come to celebrate: the resurrection of Christ.

The Christian Passover
Yet, while we can forgive and cover non-Christian traditions in love, we
should not let these traditions obscure the profound truth of God's Word.
The
Hebrew feast of Passover was not only commemorative, it was also prophetic
in nature. Gentile believers saw a great fulfillment in the Passover, a
fulfillment
lived out in the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Even as Paul wrote,
"Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate
the
feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

The Gentile Christians in Corinth were urged by Paul to celebrate the Feast
of Passover. However, the gentiles did not engage in the Old Testament
rituals
as did the Jews. Rather, they approached the feast from its spiritual
perspective, focusing on Christ, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
the world"
(John 1:29).

Indeed, the Christian Church kept the Passover not only in remembrance of
Israel's deliverance from Egypt but in the universal view, remembering and
celebrating
Christ, their Passover Lamb, delivering man from sin.

The Old Testament Passover, for all its powerful intrinsic and literal
value, was actually an anticipation of what Christ would fulfill on behalf
of mankind.
Remember, the feasts were shadows of something greater than themselves. Paul
said their "substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:17). Thus it is absolutely
remarkable that, of all days in the calendar year, Christ, the Lamb of God,
was crucified during the days of Passover. At roughly the same time the high
priest was offering a lamb for the sins of the Jews, Jesus was praying for
the sins of the world: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

The Kingdom Passover
Yet there was more to the Passover, which the Lord related to His disciples
during the "Last Supper" (the Passover). He said, "I have earnestly desired
to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall
never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke
22:15-16).

There will be another fulfillment to the Passover where the feast is
"fulfilled in the kingdom of God." This will be a time when those who are
truly Christ's
are divinely protected during the sequence of end-time judgments. Whether
you believe in a pre-, mid- or post-tribulation rapture, God has not
destined
us for wrath. The Kingdom Passover, fulfilled by the Lamb of God, positions
us in the eternal protection, both now and at the end of the age.

In whatever manner Jesus' words shall be fulfilled, let us require of
ourselves to partake of the whole Lamb. Let us diligently apply the Lamb's
blood
over the doorways to our hearts, as well as over our families and loved
ones. And even as the world around us spirals ever deeper into darkness and
judgment,
let us instead press into God's kingdom. For the time is coming when we
shall celebrate the Passover with Christ in the kingdom of God.

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April 14, 2017

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Apr 2017, 11:51 am

Chosen for Affliction

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. - Isaiah 48:10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, "I have
chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" [KJV]. Does not the Word come like
a soft
shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not a protective shield,
against which the heat has no power? Let affliction come--God has chosen me.
Poverty, you may stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and
He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have balsam ready--God
has
chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has
"chosen" me.

If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the
Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there
sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often
when you do not know it, He comforts you in your affliction and softens the
place of rest. You are in poverty; but in your lovely house the Lord of life
and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate
places,
that He may visit you. Your friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see
Him, but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice?
Even
in the valley of the shadow of death He says, "Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God."1

Remember that noble speech of Caesar: "Fear not, you carry Caesar and all
his fortune." Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you. In all your difficult
trials,
His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom
He has chosen for His own. "Fear not, for I am with you" is His sure word of
promise to His chosen ones in the "furnace of affliction." Will you not,
then, take hold of Christ and say:

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I'll follow where He goes.

1) Isaiah 41:10

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 14

verse 2 Luke 17

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs

Distinguished theologian, J.I. Packer, presents a comprehensive inventory of
Christian beliefs and theological tenants in straightforward language that’s
easy to understand. Covering a wide sweep of topics, including revelation,
omniscience, predestination, regeneration, and justification, to name a few,
Packer applies his unique insight into the Scripture, and to the nature of
God, to explain 94 essential beliefs in brief, clear summaries.
Concise Theology is not only a ‘must have’ resource for followers of Christ
to fully understand the permanent foundations of Christianity, but also
serves
a timeless reference guide to revisit over and over throughout a believer’s
journey of understanding.
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 .
Found your way through the desert of life?
Ciloa logo
March 5, 2017
Volume XVII, Issue 10
A Note of Encouragement

Send this Note to a friend.
Man leading a camel across the Sahara dunes at sunset

The Vastness of His Blessings
...by Janet Perez Eckles

A baby camel asked his mother, "Why do we have such large feet?"

A camel and her calf in a pen
She turned to him. "God made us that way for a very special reason," she
explained. "Our large feet are to keep us from sinking into the sand."

"Why the big eyelashes?" he asked.

"It's to protect our eyes from the sand."

"Why the big humps?"

"That is to store fat and have enough energy to go long distances in the hot
desert!"

"I see!" The baby camel stretched his neck and looked up at his mother. "The
large feet are to keep us from sinking into the sand, the long eyelashes are
to keep the sand out of our eyes, and the humps are to store energy to
travel...then what are we doing in this cage in the middle of a zoo?"

Ever feel you're locked in a cage?

I have asked the same question. Like the camel, I had all I needed to enjoy
life. I had desires, dreams, wings to fly high to success. But instead, I
found
myself in a cage of grief and heartache. Certainly not the place I thought I
belonged. At the age of 30, my eyesight closed in completely. I lost my joy,
my purpose, and my freedom. Bars of gloom surrounded me.

A person in a cage
Inside that cage, I longed for days gone by. Days when I could see. Days
when life still held promises for tomorrow. And one night as I lay still,
exhausted
from fumbling in the darkness, God whispered:

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

Of course, I didn't perceive what He offered. I had been busy circling
around inside my cage of self-pity. But when His whisper brushed through my
soul,
all changed.

God has created you for much more.

With the eyes of my heart, I saw the door to freedom. I took His hand and
walked out into the liberating fresh air of His grace.

Oasis in the desert
Free again, I embraced the truth that God had created me for much more.
That's why my feet of confidence kept me from sinking into the sand of
self-pity.
And for my journey in the desert of life, I prepared ahead, storing a
healthy supply of God's wisdom and packing a good supply of gratitude.

Gratitude? Yes, because unlike the baby camel, with God's freedom we know
where we belong. We have the clarity of our purpose. We trust in His plans.
And with each trial, each difficulty, each wilderness and desert, pain and
heartache, we relish in His freedom to overcome hurdles, triumph over
tragedy,
and turn cages into the vastness of His blessings.

What path might God be making in the desert of your life?

Seeing the best of Life,
Janet

International speaker and author, Janet Perez Eckles has a passion to
inspire her audiences and readers with stories that showcase God's
faithfulness.
In her best-selling book, "Simply Salsa," she teaches how to celebrate life
by conquering fear. Read the first chapter here:
www.janetperezeckles.com .

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)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Apr 2017, 11:44 am

Pray

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray
because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It
doesn’t
change God – it changes me.
– William Nicholson, Shadowlands

How is it possible that one verse tells how Jesus gave the disciples power
and authority to drive out evil spirits, but just a few verses later we read
about their failure to do just that?

The disciples had the same question. A father pleads with Jesus to heal his
demonpossessed son after the disciples were unable to do it. After the
healing,
the disciples ask, “
Why couldn’t we drive [the demon] out?” (Mark 9:28 ).

After all, up to this point they’d had a 100% success rate. From village to
village, they managed to cast out demons and heal diseases in every case
except
this one. This boy and this demon hadn’t responded.

What happened?

Jesus answered His disciples, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark
9:29 ).

His answer implies the disciples hadn’t prayed. What is prayer?

Prayer is surrendering oneself to Jesus.
Prayer is saying, “Jesus, do this.”
Prayer is asking God to work.

Obviously the disciples were trying to do the work of God. But that was
precisely the problem: they were trying to do the work of God.

Jesus gets impatient when we try to do things that only He can do.
Self-trust robs us of the opportunity to experience Him ministering through
us. Not
only that, but if we try to do what only He can do, then people don’t get
what they really need.

“If we try to do what only He can do, then people don’t get what they really
need.”

TWEET THIS
Jesus did heal the boy and gave him back to his father, and the crowds “were
all amazed at the greatness of God
” (Luke 9:43 ).
This is the difference between doing something in our own strength, and
doing it by His strength. God working through us points others toward His
greatness,
not ours.
Supernatural work requires the supernatural One.
God, for all of these supernatural needs, I turn to You and ask, “Do through
me what only You can do.”
Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at
OnePlace.com

Finding Contentment

No one is born contented with life. As babies we cry for our every need. As
we grow up we experience the frustrations and struggles of life. Yet through
our hardships, we can learn how to gain contentment. Paul told the
Philippians, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have
plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want" (
Philippians 4:12 ).

Contentment was not a natural skill or talent for Paul--he had to learn
about it through experiencing both the highs and lows of life. Paul said, "I
have
learned..." Learning does not always come easily. It requires time,
dedication, and willingness to learn the necessary lessons.

Paul spent years at the pinnacle of prestige and power as a Pharisee, then
became a humble servant of Christ. He experienced times of plenty and times
of near starvation. He lived in a comfortable home, and he dwelled in a
prison cell. Yet he finally figured out how to find joy and contentment in
both
extremes of life. He realized that contentment is a state of the heart, not
of affairs and that contentment is independent of his circumstances.

Paul learned that everything we have belongs to God, including life itself.
When we completely trust God to lead our lives in His timing and His ways,
He will meet our needs. When our confidence is in the sovereignty of God, we
will not panic when we face tough circumstances. But when we try to control
our lives and manipulate events and people to our advantage, we will become
frustrated and joyless.

Paul trusted the sovereign hand of God and he learned to be content in the
ups and in the downs, in the abundance and in the lack, in the sickness and
in the health, in the courts of the kings and in the dungeons and the
prisons. Paul recognized God as the source of his strength: "I can do
everything
through him who gives me strength" (
Philippians 4:13 ).

Whatever God called Paul to do--whether speaking with the powerful or the
poor, whether preaching to thousands in a coliseum or to a lone Philippian
jailer,
whether speaking to King Agrippa or to a lowly soldier in Rome--Paul knew
that God would equip him for his tasks. Paul's God-centered focus brought
joy
and contentment to his life. The psalmist declared, "The Lord is my strength
and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for
joy and I will give thanks to him in song" (
Psalms 28:7 ).

God will also provide for us and strengthen us as we seek to follow Him in
faithful obedience. "And my God will meet all your needs according to his
glorious
riches in Christ Jesus" (
Philippians 4:19
). Whatever needs we have--salvation, comfort, encouragement--Jesus can meet
them. He can lift us above the hurts that others have caused. He can give
us perseverance when we are in the middle of the valley. He will meet our
needs in His perfect timing and in accordance with His glorious,
inexhaustible
riches.

Are you facing difficulties? Are you facing trying times? Are you panicking
about what to do next? God wants you to be faithful to Him; God wants you to
trust Him, and He will teach you this incredible lesson of contentment.
Commit to Christ today to follow Him first in all circumstances.

"You have made 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


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Reformation
that will restore the hope of Western civilization. There is hope for
spiritual awakening--but the clock is ticking. From the perspective of a
Ph.D. on
the subject, his Middle Eastern heritage, his life’s work as a respected
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The
Barbarians Are Here will open your eyes to the greatest threat the world is
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The Barbarians Are Here is available now for your gift of any amount* to
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We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and
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Listen to Michael Youssef on Today's Broadcast of "
Leading The Way
" at OnePlace.com

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Ferocious Love
----------------------------------------------------------

Ferocious Love

Posted: 27 Feb 2017 04:30 AM PST

Transcendent Father, unseen God,
You longed for us to know You.
You let us touch You with our senses
in creation and
at Mt. Sinai,
through the tabernacle and
through Your prophets.
But all the while You promised to share Yourself fully through
a person who was to come,
a man filled with Your own Spirit.
This specially Anointed One, this Messiah, would
live among us and
rule over us.
His Kingdom would extend
through every nation and
through all time.
He would bring all the blessings You had ever promised.

As the centuries passed, Your promises of this Messiah became
increasingly detailed and vivid.
We longed for His coming.

But when He arrived, we didn’t recognize Him.
He was not what we expected.
You are Almighty God, and
Messiah was to be Your full revelation of Yourself.
We expected Him to be
a commanding leader,
a powerful warrior,
an unstoppable conqueror.
We thought He would be like a roaring lion that
no one would dare challenge.
We thought He would be fearfully holy and
bring fiery judgment to all the wicked.

But instead, He arrived as the weakest and lowliest of all human creatures –
a helpless infant born of
an unmarried peasant girl.
He wasn’t a king – not what we considered a king.
There wasn’t anything regal about Him.
He was a rural laborer with an accent to match.
He wasn’t a mighty warrior.
He was a gentle healer,
a teacher with little formal education.
He didn’t live in a palace.
He was a homeless wanderer.
His holiness wasn’t fearful or awe-inspiring.
He befriended sinners, whom respectable people avoided.
He socialized with them and received them warmly.
The only people He condemned were
the ones we considered the most religious.
He scolded them for their pride and hypocrisy.

This Messiah didn’t prowl and roar like a lion.
In the end, He died like a lamb,
meek,
silent, and
defenseless.

He gave us a living picture of You,
but You were not who we expected.
We expected to experience Your
fiery, ferocious, all-conquering power.
Instead, we experienced Your
fiery,ferocious,all-conquering love.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 28 Apr 2017, 10:21 pm

Our Mother Who Art In Heaven?
Tony Reinke / March 3, 2017
Our Mother Who Art In Heaven?

With the recent launch of The Shack movie, we are reminded of a whole mix of
theological questions raised by the novel, and the problems of projecting
the divine onto a screen. One of the lead characters in the book, for
example, is a woman named Papa, who plays the role of God the Father, and
her character
reignites questions over divine identity and gender language.

“I am neither male nor female,” Papa self-discloses in the novel, “even
though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to
appear to you as a man or woman, it’s because I love you. For me to appear
to you as a woman and suggest you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors,
to
help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.”

Religious conditioning in this context points a finger at the default of
using predominantly male metaphors for God. When it comes to the divine
titles
for God, should we be more inclusive and gender-blended?

Coincidentally, a student in the Netherlands recently wrote us to ask
something similar:

Recently, I met someone at my university who tried to convince me of the
existence of a female God — God the Mother — using various passages from the
Bible.
I had never heard of this before, and therefore didn’t know how to answer
her. As a Christian, I think that this can’t be true. But how can I prove it
from the Bible?

This is a good question, on many different levels, and the impulse is right:
the Bible never titles God as our Mother. But the question is worth looking
at more carefully because in dozens of places the Bible uses feminine
language for God.

Feminine Passages

It’s worth saying from the outset, in the words of Jesus, “God is spirit”
(John 4:24). God is not a sexual being, nor is he a biological male. He is
spirit.
“From eternity,” says John Piper, “God has not had a physical body and,
therefore, he doesn’t have male features: facial hair, musculature, male
genitals,
no Y chromosome, no male hormones.
Male is a biological word, and God is not a biological being” (
Ask Pastor John, episode 294 ).

Yet even without biology, God chooses to reveal himself in Scripture through
language that is both masculine and feminine. In fact, God’s character and
actions are revealed by feminine imagery in at least 26 places:

• Numbers 11:12
• Deuteronomy 32:18
• Ruth 2:12
• Job 38:8
• Job 38:28–29
• Psalm 17:8
• Psalm 22:9–10
• Psalm 90:2
• Psalm 91:4
• Psalm 123:2
• Psalm 131:2–3
• Proverbs 8:1
• Proverbs 8:22–25
• Isaiah 31:5
• Isaiah 42:13–14
• Isaiah 45:10
• Isaiah 46:3
• Isaiah 49:15
• Isaiah 63:15
• Isaiah 66:7–13
• Hosea 13:8
• Matthew 23:37
• Luke 13:34
• Luke 15:8–10
• John 3:3–8
• 1 Peter 2:2–3

But even taken together, the evidence does not warrant us praying to “our
Mother who art in heaven” for at least three compelling reasons.

1. Silence in Titles

In his book Our Father in Heaven: Christian Faith and Inclusive Language for
God
, John Cooper published the conclusions from his study of these passages.
One of his major discoveries was that while feminine metaphors for God’s
activity
are indeed used on occasion to illustrate the tender nurturing character of
God, none of these references include feminine titles for God. Cooper
explains,

Linguistically, all the clear and plausible instances of feminine reference
to God are imagery or figures of speech: similes, analogies, metaphors, and
personification. . . . There are no cases in which feminine terms are used
as names, titles, or invocations of God, and thus there are no feminine
pronouns
for God. There are no instances where God is directly identified by a
feminine term, even a metaphorical predicate noun. In other words, God is
never directly
said to be a mother, mistress, or female bird in the way he is said to be a
father, king, judge, or shepherd. (89)

That explains why in Scripture we find many masculine titles for God: Lord,
Father, King, Judge, Savior, Ruler, Warrior, Shepherd, Husband, and even a
handful of metaphorical masculine titles like Rock, Fortress, and Shield.
While feminine titles for God — Queen, Lady, Mother, and Daughter — are
never
used.

2. The Meaning of the Incarnation

The second compelling argument is Trinitarian. Of course, the incarnate
Jesus marks the arrival of the “God-man” into human history. Unlike the
eternal
God (who is non-biological), Jesus enters earth in the incarnation and takes
on biological maleness as the Son of God. From this point onward, as the
nature
of God becomes more and more clear — specifically as the contours of the
Trinity emerge in the New Testament, and the Father-Son dynamic becomes more
fully
developed — we find a sharp drop-off with the feminine metaphors for God.

This Trinitarian unfolding explains why a bulk of the feminine language for
God is found in the Old Testament. In the words of Cooper, “As the Bible
progressively
reveals God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and Jesus as the Messiah, the
Son of God, the feminine imagery for God does not increase but recedes into
the
background” (90).

3. Feminine Metaphors for Men

Third, as theologian John Frame points out, it is not uncommon to see in
Scripture feminine imagery intentionally applied to men (as in 2 Samuel
17:8).
This makes sense to us, as we often speak of the feminine side of men today,
meaning that men can (and should) display qualities often associated with
women, like gentleness.

The apostle Paul’s anguish over the growth of his churches was for him like
the pain of birthing a child (Galatians 4:19). And Paul’s apostolic
gentleness
was something like the kindness and patience of a nursing mother (1
Thessalonians 2:7). Obviously, Paul’s maleness is never brought into
question by these
female metaphors.

This is also true of striking passages like the promise of flourishing in
Zion, pictured in Isaiah 60:16 with the language of nursing “at the breast
of
kings.” Frame concludes, “While Scripture does use this feminine metaphor
[of birthing and nursing] for God, it gives us no more encouragement to
think
of God as female than it gives us to think of these kings as female” (
Doctrine of God , 381–382).

“My conclusion from these biblical references is that there are a few
feminine images of God in Scripture, but they do not suggest any sexual
ambivalence
in the divine nature. They do not justify, let alone necessitate, the use of
‘Mother’ or feminine pronouns for God” (383).

A Word to Women

So, are males more godlike? Absolutely not.

“Everything created in woman that sets her off from man comes from God and
reflects something of him,” stresses Piper. “Woman was not modeled after
some
other god. There is no other god. She was modeled after God. When the Bible
says
she and he were created in the image of God, it means she is also made after
the model of her Creator. So, it is important to say that in his essential
divine being, not referring to his incarnate union with humanity, but in his
essential, divine essence,
God is not male and God is not female. Maleness and femaleness are God’s
creation, as biological bearers of masculinity and femininity, both of which
are
rooted in God” (
Ask Pastor John, episode 294 ).

And yet God’s self-chosen titles matter. Masculine titles for God are not
the evidence of “religious conditioning,” but the product of God’s
self-disclosure.
God has chosen to reveal himself with masculine titles, and we receive those
titles by faith because, in the words of theologian Bruce Waltke, “It is
inexcusable
hubris and idolatry on the part of mortals to change the images by which the
eternal God chooses to represent himself” (
Old Testament Theology, 244).

God the Father is spirit. He makes man and woman in his own image, though he
himself is not male or female. He prefers to manifest his own nature to us
through masculine titles, and sometimes in feminine metaphors. We can add
all this to the impossibilities of projecting God the Father on the big
screen.

How Can I Know I’m a Child of God? Three Minute Clip on Assurance
John Piper / March 3, 2017

If the Holy Spirit is leading you to kill your sin and become more dependent
on Jesus, you may know you are a child of God.

Read Now

Desiring God
2112 Broadway Street NE, Suite 150
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Waiting for Your Sunrise
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may
endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
God allows us to have “blue” seasons where there is more weeping than
laughing. What we must remember is,
it is only for a season. That is crucial. Joy will come in the morning, just
as sure as the sunrise.

If you get up tomorrow morning to see the sunrise, let me tell you what not
to do. Don’t try to make it hurry up. You can’t do it. You can get a brass
band and some cheerleaders, but that sun is not going to come up one second
sooner than God intends.

ACTION POINT:
Waiting on the Lord is like waiting on the sun to come up. You can’t hurry
it. You also can’t stop it. God is going to bring a sunrise to your soul.
Just
wait for it. And trust Him while you wait.

The Power of Trusting the Lord with All Your Heart
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own
understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths
straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

If the future feels uncertain right now, and worry keeps occupying too much
room in your heart, in your mind, remember this: God is already in all of
our
tomorrows. He knows our way, and He has a plan. And we can be assured it's
always the best one for us.

God never asks us to figure it all out on our own. He just asks us to trust
Him, to recognize His leadership and Sovereignty in our lives. And He
promises
to make our pathways straight.

- "Trust (be confident in, be bold, be secure)

- in the Lord with all your heart (seat of emotions, inclinations, mind,
soul),

- and do not lean (trust, support)

- on your own understanding (discernment).

- In all your ways acknowledge Him (know, recognize),

- and He will make your paths straight (pleasing, right, smooth)."
Proverbs 3:5-6

We may not always see what's ahead, but He does.

There’s great power in trusting Him. For it clears the way for our security
to be based solely on Him, not on our circumstances, or other people, not on
ourselves, or our own ways of thinking.

He is faithful to lead us and He sees the big picture. He brings clarity and
light through foggy times. He knows what’s around the other side of the bend
where we can’t fully see. His timing is perfect even when we start to feel
like we’ve been forgotten. No matter how we feel or what our current
situation
may be, we can be confident that God’s Presence will go before us, paving
out pathways, guiding and guarding our steps.

Keep choosing trust. Let go of worry, hold on to Him.

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: What do you need to trust God with today? Ask Him
to help you guard and protect your heart from worry or trying to figure out
everything on our own. Pray for His Spirit to fill you afresh and give you
wisdom to hold on to His Truth.

Further Reading:
2 Corinthians 5:7
Psalm 32:8
James 1:5

Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 27 Apr 2017, 10:02 pm

The Missionary Question

Romans 10:11-15

At every missions conference hosted by my church, I give God the same
message I've been repeating since my early 20s: "I'm available, Lord. I'll
go to
foreign fields if you say so." Until He tells me to pack my bags, I'm going
to keep on sending others to work among unbelievers in distant and even
remote
lands.

Paul asked a series of rhetorical questions in Romans 10
that can be summed up like this: How will the world hear about Jesus if you
do nothing? God uses
Christians
to spread the word that His
salvation
plan is available to all. He put us in families and communities and nations
so we will mingle and share what we know. But some believers are called to
carry the gospel farther than others. Those who stay behind are to offer
prayer and resources for those who travel.

If you're shaking your head and thinking, Mission work isn't where my heart
is, I have news for you: Every believer is called to missions as either a
goer
or a sender. That call comes in dramatic ways for some, but for most of us,
it is simply a biblical principle to be followed (Matt. 28:19). What's
missing
for those who don't have a "heart" for such work is passion. Christians who
share and go and send are often excited about God's message for
unbelievers--and
it's possible for you to become more enthusiastic too.

I challenge you to ask the Lord, "Am I open to going anywhere You send me?"
Our roots in a community should be sunk only as deep as God wills. If you
aren't
called to go, then choose to be a sender. Offer your prayers, your money,
and anything else that will help to put others on the mission field.

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.


Love: The Best Sermon
By Skip Heitzig

The concept of love in our world today has been reduced to sentimental
sermons and greeting card text, and that's about it. But according to God's
Word,
love goes beyond some mushy idea that the world has--even beyond romantic
love. Love is a chance to demonstrate your faith, to demonstrate to the
world
that God is alive and real.

And the world is very interested in a demonstration of our faith. In fact,
unbelievers often get their idea of what God is like by watching His kids.
Knowing
this should give us even more of an incentive to live to a higher standard,
to let our love and our light so shine before men that our Father is
glorified
in heaven.

So what are some practical ways we should demonstrate our love? Allow me to
use the opening verses of
Hebrews 13
as a guide. Our love should first of all begin in our spiritual family: "Let
brotherly love continue" (v. 1). Like Jesus said, "By this all will know
that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another"
(John 13:35
). In spite of your differences, let the love that you have for other
believers continue to flow out of you--and not just in words, but in deed
and in
truth: "Whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and
shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"
(1 John 3:17
). Christian love is not a sentimental feeling or a superficial hug. It's
unselfish; it meets the real needs of brothers and sisters.

Love begins in the church, but it should go beyond that: "Do not forget to
entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained
angels"
(v. 2). The word
entertain means to show favor toward, to show hospitality to, or to minister
to in a practical sense. How do you know that the needy person you pass by
on the street isn't an angel God placed there just to test you? You don't,
so show them love all the same--not out of the motivation that it might be
an
angel, but out of wanting to reach out to everyone in love. Our love should
go beyond the bounds of the likeable and the comfortable to the irregular,
to the stranger, to people we don't know.

Verse 3 describes another way we're to show love: "Remember the prisoners as
if chained with them--those who are mistreated--since you yourselves are in
the body also." Don't forget about your brothers and sisters on the other
side of the globe who are suffering for the gospel; you can pray for them,
write
letters, or even go on a mission trip. And what about the "prisoners" in
your own town--people in hospitals, nursing homes, widows? They need someone
to
reach out to them and love them.

Another way to demonstrate your faith is to love your spouse: "Marriage is
honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers
God
will judge" (v. 4). One of the best ways to preach the gospel is to love
your spouse. When a husband and wife show mutual honor in their marriage, it
pleases
the Lord and provides a powerful testimony to the world.

The final way we show our faith is by loving our provision--what God has
given us: "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such
things
as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake
you'" (v. 5). Covetousness means never being satisfied with what God has
given
you, and the only way to end it is to learn true contentment in Him. As God
promises in these verses, He won't let you down or cease to uphold and
sustain
you.

When we live out all these things, what a sermon of love it preaches to the
world! Love isn't some sentimental, sappy, mushy thing--it can be hard. It
starts in the body of believers and in our families and then goes beyond the
doors of the church to the unlovable, to the people who really need it. May
God give us keen vision to find opportunities to love so we can demonstrate
to the world that Jesus is alive and still moving powerfully today.

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

For more from Skip Heitzig, visit ConnectionRadio.org ,
and listen to today's broadcast of The Connection with Skip Heitzig
at OnePlace.com.

Anne Graham Lotz - Forgiveness-An Act of Worship
Forgiveness-An Act of Worship
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Luke 23:34, NIV

If Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the Cross, and if God forgives you
and me, how can you withhold your forgiveness from someone else? How can you
withhold your forgiveness from yourself? If God says, “I forgive you,” who
are you to say, “Thank You, God, but I can’t forgive myself”? Are your
standards
higher than His? Are you more righteous than He is? If God says, “I forgive
you,” then the only appropriate response is to say, “God, thank You. I don’t
deserve it, but I accept it. And to express my gratitude, I, in turn,
forgive that person who has sinned against me.”

We forgive others, not because they deserve it, but because He deserves it!
The only reason we have to forgive is that He commands us to, and our
obedience
gives us opportunity to say to Him, “Thank You for forgiving me. I love
You.” Our forgiveness of others then becomes an act of worship that we
would not
enter into except for Who He is and for the overwhelming debt of love we owe
Him.

Blessings,

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

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 26 Apr 2017, 9:52 pm

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today's Devotional

Leaving Home

Are you packing and getting ready to leave home, or facing a big change in
your life with a lot of uncertainty? I know something of what you are going
through, because I am, too. I was supposed to be moving, but now I am told
that this is not the right time: all kinds of funding issues need to be
figured
out. I was really discouraged at first until I read what God told Abram (or
Abraham):

Genesis 12:1b – Leave your country, your people and your father's household
and go to the land I will show you. (NIV)

It was a very straightforward command. What I noticed was that Abraham
willingly packed and went far from home without worrying about it. There
were no
indications of stress or worry bothering him. Look at his age! He was 75
years old and found himself having to move far away from home. He obviously
trusted
the Lord through the changing and difficult circumstances. We must, too.

I am older than Abraham was, and facing difficult modern decisions. I have
packed what I thought I would need. A lot of things that I didn't need went
into a container to go to the needy. Did I pack my worries? Not really — but
I have to. In earlier years when I was moving, everything was noted and
done.
But now I am feeling confused and tired. I need to trust the Lord with all
the circumstances involved in a difficult move!

Proverbs chapter 3 speaks to the heart about having trust in God's leading.
That is very important — it involves submitting to Him. Read it carefully:

Proverbs 3:3a,5-6 – Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Trust in the
Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your
ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)

Yes, I thought that I knew what was going to happen, but we should not lean
on our own understanding. It is so encouraging, reassuring, and heartening
to trust in the Lord, since I have no idea what my future holds.

What about you? Are you facing a change, having to move, looking for or
taking a new job? Commit it all to the Lord. Commit to Him every decision
that
you make, and you will be amazed and relieved as He leads you into the
future — safe and lovely!

Prayer: Dear Lord, we commit the decisions about our future to You, and we
ask You to guide us through the preparations until we enter the new normal,
safe and at ease, glorifying You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


What Jesus' Resurrection Has to Do with Your Life
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,

Everyone gets so excited about Easter. I don't understand why. All they talk
about is Jesus coming back from the dead. How does that change my life right
now?

Sincerely, Dana

Dear Dana,

Let’s consider some things personally. If you are a follower of Christ,
think about the next few statements in terms of your life. If you are
contemplating
following Christ, then here are some helpful insights into Christianity and
the benefits it provides.

What difference does the resurrected Christ mean to me? Two things at least!

I am fit to live in heaven: The certainty of everlasting life means that I
am fearless in the face of death:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16
)

“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home
in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We
are
confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with
the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 5:6-8)

I am fit to live on earth: The indwelling of Jesus Christ means that I am no
longer powerless and alone.

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches
of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
(Colossians 1:27)

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help
you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept
him,
because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives
with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to
you.”
(John 14:16-18)

Here in no particular order are some of the benefits that come to those
indwelt by the resurrected Jesus Christ:

New birth into the family of God: John 3:1-16

Adoption into the family of God: Romans 8:15

A new nature: Colossians 1:27

Guidance into all truth: John 16:13; Romans 8:14; Acts 8:29; 10:19-20;
13:2-4; 16:6-7; 20:22-23

The Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23

Power for victorious living: Ephesians 3:20; Romans 15:13; Acts 1:8

An intimate relationship with God Himself: John 14:16-17; 16:7; 1
Corinthians 3:16-17
; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 13:5

Supernatural, always available comfort: John 14:26

A personal prayer Intercessor at the throne of God: Romans 8:26

Spiritual gifts: 1 Corinthians 12

Enjoyment of a unified community: 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:3-6

An indwelling, personal Teacher of the Bible: John 14:26

Direction regarding conviction of sin: John 16:8

Increasingly sensitive conscience: Romans 9:1

Assurance of inclusion in God’s family: Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians
1:21-22

Filling with the Spirit: Ephesians 5:18

Ongoing improvement in behavior: Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11

Following Christ is worth it. The benefits are everlasting.

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: April 6, 2017

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - from Prepare Yourself for Worship
----------------------------------------------------------

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Posted: 14 Apr 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Prepare for Easter

Father, as I celebrate this Easter season,
teach me what it means to live as
an Easter person
in this present world.

Everyone here is facing
inescapable death.
Help me live Your resurrection life among them,
glowing with
hope,
purpose, and
joyful anticipation.

Here sin seems inescapable.
Failure is considered inevitable.
Help me live as one set free from sin,
fully forgiven and
fully empowered for triumphant living.

Here, as we face the future,
we are gripped with
helplessness and
despair.
May I walk in the bright confidence of Easter.
Help me live as one whose eternal, glorious life in You
has already begun, and
will never end.

Father, may lost and hopeless people
sense the beautiful reality of Easter
in me.

Precious Blood!

. . . The precious blood of Christ. - 1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands and feet and side all
distilling crimson streams of "precious blood." It is "precious" because of
its
redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ's people are atoned
for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made
one with Him.

Christ's blood is also "precious" in its cleansing power; it cleanses from
all sin. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow."1
Through Jesus' blood there is not a spot left upon any believer; no wrinkle
nor any such thing remains. O precious blood that makes us clean, removing
the stains of our iniquity and permitting us to stand accepted in the
Beloved despite the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

The blood of Christ is also "precious" in its preserving power. We are safe
from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember, it is God's
seeing the blood that is the true reason for our being spared. Here is
comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God's eye is still the
same. The
blood of Christ is "precious" also in its sanctifying influence.

The same blood that justifies by taking away sin also quickens the new
nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to obey the commands of God.
There
is no greater motive for holiness than that which streams from the veins of
Jesus. And "precious," unspeakably precious, is this blood because it has an
overcoming power. It is written, "And they have conquered him by the blood
of the Lamb."2 How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious
blood of Jesus fights with a weapon that cannot know defeat.

The blood of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence; death ceases to be death:
Heaven's gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering
and
to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!

1) Isaiah 1:18

2) Revelation 12:11

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Leviticus 20

verse 2 Psalms 25

Capturing God

A family photograph taken in a familiar and endeared setting often captures
the essence of all that a family represents. If we sought to capture a
single
image of God, what would that image be? What would it look like? Author Rico
Tice takes us to the cross of Christ to view the single most
insightful image of God
. Here we find one extraordinary picture of God: unfathomable love,
unconditional forgiveness, and the depth of His longing to save His
children. Rico
Tice dissects the description given in the Gospel of Luke to carefully
examine the astonishing events that unfold at Calvary as God incarnate
suffers as
a substitute for sinners.

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,

When It’s Hard to Believe
Jon Bloom / April 20, 2017
When It’s Hard to Believe

Believing what we cannot see is hard. All of us are skeptics to some degree.
Some more than others. But there is often more going on inside a skeptic
than
meets the eye. And, as Thomas’s experience illustrates (John 20:24–29),
Jesus knows how to reach them.

The following imaginative story explores what it might have been like for
Thomas to linger alone in his skepticism for eight long days. I have
combined
John’s account with accounts in the other Gospels to put together a new
fictional account for fellow skeptics.

It Can’t Be True

Jesus’s death had been difficult and confusing for everyone. Having been
welcomed into Jerusalem like a king, he was dead before the week was over.
And
when the shepherd was struck, the sheep scattered (Mark 14:27). But they
regathered in a secret hideout in Jerusalem.

On Sunday things took a weird twist. It began with Mary Magdalene insisting
that she had seen Jesus alive that morning. True, Jesus’s body disappearing
was admittedly strange. But still, everyone knew Jesus had really died. No
one could really believe Mary’s claim, except maybe John.

Then later in the day Peter announced that he also had seen Jesus alive.
This troubled Thomas. But he figured he could cut Peter some slack. After
denying
Jesus publicly, who could blame Peter for desperately wishing it to be true?
He just needed time.

But then Cleopas burst into the house Sunday night claiming that he had
walked — walked! — with Jesus to Emmaus that afternoon (Luke 24:13–35). What
Thomas
found particularly hard to believe was that Cleopas and his friend hadn’t
recognized Jesus the entire time until dinner, and then
poof! he just disappeared.

Well, this excited everyone else. But Thomas only felt agitated. He
desperately missed Jesus too, but he wasn’t going to let grief make him
believe the
bizarre. Jesus was dead.

Yet he didn’t feel like dousing everyone’s unreal hope with a wet blanket of
reality. They weren’t ready to hear it anyway. Thomas decided he needed to
clear his head with a walk. By himself.

Could It Be True?

After whispering a discreet excuse to Nathaniel, he managed to slip outside
without notice. After being very careful not to betray the hideout, he
covered
his head and started down an empty street.

The quiet was refreshing, but the walk wasn’t as helpful as he had hoped.
The Jesus sightings disturbed him, especially because the witnesses were
credible.
He knew them. They weren’t liars. They weren’t unstable. None were given to
delusions. Peter, particularly, was a rock of reason.

A rush of memories from the past three years flowed through Thomas’s mind.
He had seen so many things that would have been unbelievable if he hadn’t
seen them. Most haunting right now was Lazarus.

And Jesus had seemed to know that he was going to die in Jerusalem. He had
said those strange things about his death and resurrection.

Suddenly Thomas realized he was arguing with himself. His agitation really
wasn’t over his friends’ failure to face the facts. The facts, in fact, were
now confusing. He was agitated because part of him actually believed Jesus
was alive again. That’s what Jesus had meant, wasn’t it? But this frustrated
the skeptic in him who took pride in being a man of common sense. A
resurrection just seemed too incredible to be true.

The more he thought, the less sure he became. No one knew where Jesus’s body
was. Those who claimed to have seen him were people he trusted. It would
make
sense of certain prophecies. Could it be?

His skeptic side shouted within him, Show me the body! At least Lazarus
could be seen and touched in Bethany by any doubter. If Jesus really was
alive,
why this game of hide and seek? Wouldn’t he just show himself to them all?

He would believe Jesus was alive if he saw him alive for himself.

Stubborn, Lonely Doubter

When Thomas returned to the house, four of his friends pounced on him (John
20:24), “We have seen the Lord, Thomas! It’s all true! He was just with us!
Where were you?”

Thomas felt a surge of shock and unbelief. Then he felt regret for having
left. Then he felt isolated. He was the only one who hadn’t seen Jesus.

In self-pity-fueled anger, he blurted out with more conviction than he felt,
“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into
the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never
believe” (John 20:25).

Most of his friends were dismayed. But Peter just watched him, smiling
slightly.

The following eight days were long and lonely for Thomas. His friends were
gracious. No one debated him. It was, in fact, their calm confidence in
Jesus’s
resurrection that aggravated Thomas’s growing conviction that he was wrong.
Outside he tried to maintain a façade of resolute intellectual skepticism,
but inside he was wrestling and melting and wanting more than anything to
see Jesus too.

Surrender

And then it happened. Thomas was staring at the floor, sinking again under
the fear that maybe Jesus had rejected him because of his stubborn unbelief.
If so, he knew he deserved it. Then someone gasped. He looked up and his
heart leaped into his throat! Jesus was standing across the room looking at
him.
“Peace be with you” (John 20:26).

Thomas could hardly breathe. Jesus spoke to him, “Put your finger here, and
see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not
disbelieve,
but believe” (John 20:27).

All objections and resistance in Thomas evaporated. And in tears of
repentance, relief, and worship Thomas dropped on his knees before Jesus and
exclaimed,
“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Be Patient and Prayerful

Be patient and gracious with the skeptics in your life. Don’t assume their
outward confidence accurately reflects their inward condition. Keep praying
for them and share what seems helpful when it seems helpful. Keep
confidently and humbly following Jesus. And trust his timing. He knows best
how and when
to reveal himself to each of us.

Does the Bible Prescribe Alcohol to the Depressed?
John Piper / April 20, 2017
Does the Bible Prescribe Alcohol to the Depressed?

Don’t open your mouth to alcohol to numb your pain. Open your mouth to speak
right things that would deliver you from misjudgment.

Listen Now

Psalm 8: God Wages War Through Our Weakness
John Piper / April 20, 2017

God conquers his foes with babies and rules his world through the frailty of
man, all to demonstrate the splendors of his majesty.
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Djimini People, Wycliffe Bible Translators
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Djimini People, Wycliffe Bible Translators
Feb 26, 2017 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

John 12:47-48, NIV "If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do
not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save
the
world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my
words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day."

Pray that God’s Word will penetrate the hearts of the Djimini people in such
a way that they will have a healthy fear of Him, and a desire to do His
will.

Today's People Group

Most Djimini are subsistence farmers, and each person is thought of as
extended family. These excellent farmers work their fields collectively, and
each
family contributes to the village. Working as a group helps them stay
strong.
Djimini think of themselves as one group with all of their ideas pointing in
the same direction. There are no individuals, only groups: the family, the
village, and the tribe. Making decisions that oppose the views of the larger
community is viewed as a dangerous practice that places the individual at
risk of being shunned or excommunicated. Unless the entire tribe makes a
change such as converting to a different religion, no one changes. The
85,000
Muslim Djimini people are not alone in thinking this way. Most people groups
do not allow individuals to make their own spiritual decisions.
Wycliffe Bible Translators is hard at work on producing a Bible in the
Djimini language so that they can decide to accept or reject Christ, rather
than
automatically rejecting a Savior who seems foreign because the Scriptures
are in a different language.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to work on key Djimini leaders so that they can
influence others to receive Jesus when the Bible is available. Pray
diligently
as Wycliffe completes the final proofreading and printing process. Give
praise to Almighty God that written and audio resources are available to
Djimini
people. Ask the Lord to raise up strong disciples and servant leaders among
these blood-bought people.

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

Post  Admin on Wed 26 Apr 2017, 12:07 am

"Empty Tomb Hope!" #84-33

Sermon Text for April 16, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on April 16, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Matthew 28:1-10
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a
severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from
heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his
appearance was
like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear
of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be
afraid;
for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not
here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was
lying.
Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and
behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him;
behold, I
have told you."

Christ has risen! He has risen, indeed! Alleluia!

What do these words mean today? Have they become a simple Easter greeting
with which Christians greet each other once a year or do these words stir
your
hearts with excitement, life, and hope?
That's the point of the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. He is risen. Who's the
He? It is He Who was crucified on a cross, three days dead in a tomb, and
now
risen from the dead, and lives and reigns to all eternity. He is risen! He
is risen, indeed!

So, the question for today; is your hope strong, sure, vital, accompanied by
faith and love? Are you living in hope today? You can, because He is risen
from the dead for you!
Hope, living in hope. When we use the word hope, it carries two meanings. If
we say, "I hope it won't rain on Easter," it is something we wish for, but
have no assurance as to whether it will come true. On the other hand, when
we say we have hope that tomorrow will be Monday; we have the assurance
that,
if there is a tomorrow, it will be Monday, because it has been that way for
centuries. When we have hope that is based on assurance, it gives our lives
meaning and purpose and a reason to move forward regardless of the pitfalls
or difficulties of the moment. The greeting; He is risen! He is risen,
indeed!
gives us hope, with assurance, because God has acted in history, fulfilled
His promises for you in the death and resurrection of Jesus and that becomes
an anchor for our very souls, our very lives.

A number of years ago, Parade Magazine ran the story of a self-made
millionaire named Eugene Lang, who greatly changed the lives of a
sixth-grade class
in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth
graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would
probably
drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black
and Puerto Rican children to even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he
decided
to speak to them from his heart. He said this: "Stay in school and I'll help
pay the college tuition for every one of you." At that moment, the lives of
these students changed. For the first time, they had hope. One student said,
"I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a
golden
feeling."

Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.

For these students, college was no longer just hope which was just wishful
thinking; it was hope that was assured for them. It wasn't just probable, it
was possible. This is the kind of hope that the two Marys, in our text this
morning, this is what they experienced and it is this same assured hope that
our risen Savior brings to each of you today.

In Matthew's Gospel, he tells us about Mary Magdalene and the other Mary;
they were on their way to see the tomb of Jesus. Both of these women had
seen
the horrible sight of His crucifixion. They had seen Jesus breathe His last
breath and also seen Him placed into the tomb. Now, Matthew records that, on
Sunday morning, they were on their way to see the tomb while Luke records
that they were on their way to anoint Jesus' body. I am certain, as they
made
their way, they were filled with hope. They were hoping the tomb would be
open or that someone would be there to help them remove the stone which
covered
the tomb entrance. This was wishful hope though, hope that had no real
assurance. Little did they realize, however, that they would leave the tomb
with
real hope; hope that was based on the assurance that Jesus was alive; hope
that filled their hearts with a joy that they had never experienced in their
lives. They would not have the opportunity to anoint Jesus as they had
planned, instead they would have the opportunity to grab onto His feet-
assuring
them that He was indeed alive- and worship Him with joy and real hope in
their hearts.

So, let's be clear today. I'm not here to say, "We hope Jesus rose from the
dead," as if it were wishful thinking. That would be no hope at all. And
that
is exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ; Who He
is, what He did, and what He is still doing in the world to bring people
eternal
life in Him.

I'm glad to tell you what the Bible says about Him. In the power of the
Spirit of God, I'm announcing what the angel said that day, "He is risen,
just
like He said." This makes these words, "He is risen! He is risen, indeed!"
it rings with assurance and real hope. We can confess with assurance, "On
the
third day, He rose from the dead, and lives and reigns to all eternity."

There were all kinds of things that happened around the death and
resurrection of Jesus. Today we know for a fact that He lived. We know for a
fact that
He died. And we know for a fact that the tomb of Jesus was empty! All kinds
of facts, all kinds of tangible experiences, all to let you know that this
Jesus did all things well for you.

Now, about that empty tomb. Matthew is the only Gospel that records that
there was an earthquake when the angel descended from the sky, rolled away
the
stone, and sat on it. Easter is indeed an earthquake that shook the whole
world and got everyone's attention. Two thousand years later, we are still
celebrating
this earthquake and its shaking announcement that Jesus Christ rose from the
dead. Yet, it affects people in different ways. Matthew tells us that just
as the earth quaked, so the guards, standing watch over the tomb, they
quaked in fear. They shook from fear in the same way that God shook the
earth. Jesus,
who is supposed to be dead, is alive, while these guards, who are supposed
to be alive and guarding Jesus' body, become like dead men.
In 1950, there was a devastating earthquake in China that dislodged a large
boulder from a mountain exposing a great cache of wonderful artifacts from
a thousand years ago. At that time, a whole new world became visible because
of this earthquake. Can you imagine what the people felt who saw all those
treasures which had before been hidden away?

Well, that's just a glimpse of what these women felt, what the disciples
felt, when the earth shook and the stone rolled away from Jesus' tomb. Even
today
we get our first glimpse of a new world because of the empty tomb of Jesus.
It's a world filled with hope. A hope that is based on assurance that He is
risen! He is risen, indeed!

So again, the questions of the day; what do those words mean to you? Does
Easter affect you in this way? Does it fill you with joy and hope? Does it
give
you a purpose and meaning to your life? Does it open your life to a whole
new world? Or is it simply a day when you sit down to a special meal with
your
family, watch the kids hunt Easter eggs, or perhaps take in an NBA game or a
favorite TV show? Then, when Monday morning comes, do you go back to your
regular schedule as if nothing really happened?

If that is the case, perhaps it is time to let God shake up your world.
Perhaps it is time to allow God to roll the stone away from your heart so
that
you can see and feel the love and power of Jesus Christ Who wants to share
His life with you today; His life with you in eternity. He wants you to have
the hope which is anchored with His resurrection. He wants you to have the
assurance that He suffered and died for the forgiveness of your sins and
He's
made it possible for you to also rise from the dead and live with Him in
eternity.

I love the accounts of the Gospels. Do you know why? They tell it like it
is. If you think that the disciples made this stuff up, you're wrong. The
accounts
show their foolishness, their ignorance, their sinfulness, their fears. They
wouldn't have led a movement based on their leadership, they were no better
than you or me.

Just take a look at the women. They too were afraid (but at least they had
the courage to go even to the tomb; the disciples stayed away in fear.) But
these women, when they got a glimpse of all this, they were afraid, because,
again, this was beyond amazing. Their fear, however, was a natural fear of
the events that were taking place. It was a fear of the unknown which would
later turn to joy when it was known to them that Jesus was indeed alive. The
fact that Jesus was alive filled them with surprise and wonder. They were
amazed and in awe of the facts unfolding before their eyes.

That's the feeling that I hope that you have today. I hope you are saying,
"Wow, what is this all about?" I hope that you are saying, "If this stuff
about
Jesus is true, oh my goodness, I've got to at least get to hear more about
it."

Wonderful feelings of awe. If you thought those words were words that
described Christmas, well, Easter is about all that and more. Why, because
He was
born so that He might live and die and rise again on Easter morn. That is
what Easter is about and there is nothing in our world, even today, that can
compare.

I know, I know, you are saying, "But what about our technologies, our
science, our inventions?" Listen, I like them, but we're talking about the
resurrection
today of the crucified One. In our world today, we are so saturated with
analysis and scientific explanation to things that we have lost that sense
of
wonder to what it is we are really seeing. It is this wonder that we need on
this Easter day- an assurance that God is doing something beyond our
analysis
and beyond our explanation. He is doing something that we cannot explain.
The resurrection leaves the realm of human experience and enters into the
realm
of wonder.

Put your android or you iPhone down. Virtual reality has nothing on this.
There is no app that will ever give you a glimpse of this hope, this joy,
and
this peace. It is this wonder connected with the reality of the resurrection
of the crucified One; that's what gives us hope. It is the foundation for
real hope. Today God touches our hearts and our lives with a wonder that we
cannot experience or explain without Him. It is God allowing us to feel His
power and to confirm our hearts with an assurance and a hope that the world
just cannot give.

Don't miss the point. Don't settle for the Monday morning siren call to day
to day living when eternal life is being offered to you today in Jesus
Christ.
In fact, that's hope for Monday through Friday. That's hope to return to our
busy lives, where the wonder doesn't fade into our work-a-day world. That's
a hope that the Marys had that day and they not only didn't lose it they
literally shared it over and over and over again. Hope received, hope
shared,
hope resounding in the lives of people more and more from then till now!

In verses 8-10 of Matthew 28, we hear that the two Marys, seeing the risen
Christ Himself, their wonder turns to reality. The very sight of Jesus fills
them with a real hope. In verse 9, Jesus greets them with the Greek word,
"Chairete!" which means joy, rejoice. That was the moment for them. But
that's
the moment for us.

When the two Marys saw Jesus, the wonder and hope of Easter filled their
lives. Their first response was to fall down, to grab hold of His feet, and
worship
Him. Easter is the same for us today. It is the presence of the living
Christ in our lives right now. He is here to roll away the stone of sin and
death
that encumbers our lives and replace it then with His absolute hope that He
is alive and that we will live with Him eternally.

During this season of the church year, we have followed Jesus with the two
Marys in our text. On Good Friday, we watched Him die on the cross carrying
our sins on His blood-streaked back. We heard Him say, "Father, forgive
them." We then watched Him as they placed Him in the tomb. Now, on Easter
morning,
we come back to the tomb and we are filled with surprise and wonder when the
angel announces to us and to all, "He has risen! He is alive!" This news has
changed our lives. And let me tell you this; without the resurrection, His
death on the cross would have atoned for nothing.

The assurance of the resurrection gives us a hope which lasts eternally- a
hope which makes life worth living. Regardless of the trials and
disappointments
we have here on earth, we have the empty-tomb hope that our sins are
forgiven and we will live with God and with each other eternally. That's
real hope!
He is risen! He is risen, indeed! May that hope-filled Word center your life
in Christ forever! Happy Easter! Amen.

Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for April 16, 2017
Guest: Yvette Seltz
ANNOUNCER: This is The Lutheran Hour and it is time once again for Action In
Ministry; a call to action in response to all that God has done for us in
Jesus Christ.

SELTZ: And, Mark, what great things He has done for us. Christ is risen.

ANNOUNCER and YVETTE: He is risen, indeed.

SELTZ: Hallelujah!

ANNOUNCER: And Pastor Seltz' wife, Yvette, joins us now as we continue with
our celebration of the resurrection of our Lord; and they're going to help
us see how the hope of Easter applies to our past, our present, and our
future.

SELTZ: We're excited to be here.

YVETTE: It is exciting to be here.

ANNOUNCER: Now we hear the phrase, "Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed,"
and you asked in your message, "What do those words mean? How do they affect
you?" Well, could you answer that from your own perspective?

SELTZ: What would life be like if there was no Christmas and Easter? I mean,
thank God they're here; always in the middle of our lives telling us that
great hope. But then you think about your family, you think about what we do
when we get ready for Easter, and how we hide the eggs and all these
different...and
it's a special weekend. But then as we get to Easter, and the breakfast, and
the celebration of Christ's resurrection and everyone greeting each other,
"Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed," literally it's a mindset; it
transforms the way you look at all things. In fact, not to get too serious
on this,
but when you think about it, whatever's going on in your life; Easter is
saying God is going to have the last say. And because of the cross and
resurrection
of Jesus, that's a really good thing. Wow! What a way to live life in that
truth.

ANNOUNCER: Now it's often been said "what's in the past is past," but,
Yvette, as a professional counselor, I'm sure you deal with people on a
regular
basis who are still carrying that past around with them and struggling to
reconcile something that continues to haunt them. What bearing does Christ's
resurrection have on those sorts of regrets?

YVETTE: Well, you're right, Mark. First of all, there are a lot of people
that deal... each of us at different times in our lives, we deal with regret
or try to deal with regret or remorse and all of those emotions that are
attached to it; whether it's something we did, didn't do, or something that
was
done to us. When we think about the emotions that we attach to that like
anger or shame or guilt, sadness, any of those things; when we look at what
Christ
did on the cross and His resurrection, then we see that there's redemption
and healing that can take place because of that. We don't have to have all
of
that burden on ourselves and that we actually do have healing and hope when
we look to Christ on the cross.

SELTZ: And because He is alive today, that also transforms the way I can
look at my life. I talk about it this way; resurrection tenacity,
resurrection
confidence. I can actually face what I'm dealing with because, in some
sense, Christ has the...my future in His hands too and I may not know the
path that
I'm going through; I may not know the ups and downs of what my life is going
to be like but I know He's going to be the One that gets me to wherever
we're
going and so... yeah, you're in prayer with the living Christ. You're
reading the living Christ's living Word and all of that is part of your
ability to
just live life boldly right now.

ANNOUNCER: But it points ahead to the future...

SELTZ: Right.

ANNOUNCER: ...so what does it say to that?

YVETTE: Whenever we think about moving forward and keeping in mind that we
have a living Christ Who is able to heal everything, help us to let go.
Sometimes
we put all this pressure on ourselves to do all of the work and to change
our feelings, and if we save forgive or let go, that we're actually saying
what
happened in the past or whatever it was that we're holding on to, is okay.
It wasn't okay, obviously, so it's still speaking to us. But when we hold on
to it like that and we're going into the future; it's not only affecting us,
it's affecting everybody that we're in a relationship with. So, when we give
it over to Christ, we put it on His shoulders. He has the ability in
unforeseeable ways to deal with those most negative circumstances and
transform them
and us into something that is unimaginable. So, whenever we look at our
future, when we look to it...we can look to it with hope and confidence.
That it
can be brighter and we can see that there is going to be blessings that come
from even the pains of all the things that we're holding on to.

SELTZ: I like to say it this way, too, like you're talking about, honey, He
takes the pressure off because...remember Pastor Robinson used to always
say,
"Jesus said, 'Because I live you will live also.'" The reality is now
suddenly that means, like you said, "His efforts, His abilities." All those
are the
things that are going to be in our future as well. So, it takes the pressure
off. You don't have to worry about the future. We use the gifts He's given
us. We strive for the things He's got in front of us. But we already know
that "Because I live you will live also" promise. So, even the future is
secure
in His hands.

YVETTE: But, living in a way that's more intentionally and purposefully good
for us and for other people. Not so burdened.

SELTZ: There you go. I like that.

ANNOUNCER: And it's something that we celebrate each Sunday. I know you
begin each sermon, as did Pastor Klaus, with those words, "Christ is risen.
He
is risen, indeed." It's more than a tradition or a catch phrase, it really
expresses that tremendous hope of Easter for our past, our present, and our
future. Pastor Greg and Yvette Seltz, thank you for being with us today.

YVETTE: Thank you, Mark.

SELTZ: Our pleasure.

ANNOUNCER: And that's our Action In Ministry segment for today; to bless, to
empower, and to strengthen your life in Christ for others. And for more of
our conversation with Yvette and Pastor Seltz, go to lutheranhour.org; click
on Action In Ministry.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for April 16, 2017
Topic: Why is the Resurrection So Important to Christians?
ANNOUNCER: Now, Pastor Gregory Seltz responds to questions from listeners.
I'm Mark Eischer and today we continue to talk about the resurrection.

SELTZ: Yeah, it's Easter Sunday, I can't wait. So, what's the question?

ANNOUNCER: A listener writes, "In church, I hear about the resurrection
every Sunday, not just on Easter Sunday. Why is that so vital to the
Christian
faith?"

SELTZ: Mark, first of all, it's important every day; not even just every
Sunday. But the resurrection of Jesus makes all the difference in the world,
not
just for Christians, but for all people.

ANNOUNCER: Why would you say that?

SELTZ: Well, the Bible says that Jesus is the world's Savior, that He rose
from the dead for all people, so that all people's sins could be forgiven.

ANNOUNCER: This resurrection teaching really goes to the heart of the
Bible's message.

SELTZ: It does. Christians are just people who realize that Jesus is their
Savior. The Bible's teaching about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection;
that's
talking about God at work for the world, for each one of us. And, by the
way, the world teaches wrongly today that death is natural, that when we
die,
that's all there is!

ANNOUNCER: And this teaching of the resurrection challenges that way of
thinking.

SELTZ: The teaching about Jesus' literal resurrection is a foundational
teaching about what it means to be human. We were meant to live with God,
indeed,
to live forever with God and with those we love.

ANNOUNCER: And the reality of Jesus' resurrection is not just a truth of the
faith, it's really also an offer.

SELTZ: Yeah, l like how you put that, Mark. Jesus' resurrection is a reality
that God wants for all people. The Bible says that Jesus, is the Firstfruits
of all who believe; you know, the first One of many who put their faith in
the resurrected One Who died for them. It is also an offer from God about
your
life with Him.

ANNOUNCER: Like Jesus said, "Because I live, you will live also"

SELTZ: And He meant it.

ANNOUNCER: The whole Christian faith really does hinge on whether Jesus
really rose from the dead.

SELTZ: Absolutely. Jesus told His disciples several times that He would have
to suffer, He would have to die, and that He would rise again.

ANNOUNCER: That shows the resurrection was clearly part of God's plan.

SELTZ: It was. So, the Bible is very clear that Jesus was crucified for our
sins, and He was raised from the dead for our justification; our forgiveness
before God the Father.

ANNOUNCER: In other words, no resurrection, no good news of the Gospel.

SELTZ: Or, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, "If Christ had not been raised our
faith is futile and we are still in our sins."

ANNOUNCER: The Bible teaches that it really happened, Jesus rose. But, our
listener's question is, "Why is that teaching so vital to my faith in Him?
What
does it mean for us?"

SELTZ: Well, think about those early believers, it meant everything that
Jesus talked about, everything was true. So much of what He did seemed
exactly
the opposite of what they thought God should do for them. And here was God
in the flesh saying He had to live, and die, and rise again so that they
could
be forgiven and live forever with God by grace!

ANNOUNCER: That sounds pretty vital!

SELTZ: And think about this. Jesus is Who He says He is for you. He's alive
forever, right here, right now; that changes how a person sees everything!
Those first disciples who saw Him face to face were forever changed.

ANNOUNCER: In what way?

SELTZ: Think about the emotional rollercoaster they were on. Jesus' death
had to crush them. I'm not sure we can even imagine their disappointment,
their
discouragement. Peter says to Jesus, "Lord, we've left everything for you."
On Good Friday, they lost Him. But all that changed because they had seen
the
Lord raised from the dead just as He said.

ANNOUNCER: Then, what about us?

SELTZ: I think it's much for us the same too, though. If the resurrected
Lord was for them, He is for us too and that means everything. Because He is
alive,
we can trust in His word. Because He is alive, our greatest enemies; sin,
and death, and Satan himself, they have been overcome. Because He is alive,
we
can be confident that our future is secure in Him too.

ANNOUNCER: To sum this up, Jesus' resurrection means that we can be
confident not only today but every day through faith in Him.

SELTZ: Every day. I couldn't have said it better myself, Mark. And He is the
risen One Who is with us always and He's coming again to judge the living
and the dead.

AANOUNCER: So, as we conclude our broadcast today on this day celebrating
the resurrection of our Lord, we say, "Christ is risen."

SELTZ: "He is risen, indeed."

ANNOUNCER: 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.

"Awake, My Heart, with Gladness" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009
Concordia Publishing House)

"Jesus Lives! The Victory's Won" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009
Concordia Publishing House)

Seeing But Not Seeing

" Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all
these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing,
Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from
recognizing him." (Luke 24:13-16, NRSV)

The news has had stories of some people who have been blind for a long time.
Then through medical technology they could see. They could see items but
their brain could not process all they saw. So at times they could see
without really seeing.

The two men on the road to Emmaus saw Jesus but were kept from recognizing
Him until a later time. These two had just gone through a huge ordeal with
the crucifixion of Jesus, their leader. They thought the whole thing was
over. They wondered if any of it was true. So they were going home.

When we go through hard times it is hard to see that Jesus is still with us.
We may be facing a terrible disease. It may be the loss of a job. It may be
the death of a loved one or good friend. During these times we may think
that Jesus is not with us. We know that Jesus rose from the dead and
ascended into heaven. So we can be sure that Jesus will always be there if
we just turn to Him. As He said,

"… And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”"
(Matthew 28:20b, NRSV)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You that You are always with us. Help us to see
that You are there even in the dark times and we have a hard time seeing
You. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Thought: Let us look to Jesus and see Him at all times.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 4:34 pm

Peters Hollow Egg Fight

Every Easter since 1823 there has been an egg fight in Peters Hollow in
Northeast Tennessee. No, it isn’t like some places have tomato festivals and
throw rotten tomatoes at each other. It started out with local farmers
seeing whose hens laid eggs with the hardest shells. Today they get a big
crowd of people competing. They are allowed to bring in a certain number of
hard boiled eggs. One person cups an egg in his hand with the small end
pointing up. A challenger holds his egg with the small end pointing down.
The challenger then gently taps the other egg until one of them cracks. When
someone is left with at least one egg that isn’t cracked, he or she is the
winner.

This thinking about a hard shell reminds me of the following Scripture:

Ezekiel 11:19 (NLT)
19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within
them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts
instead,

All of us know people who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal
Savior. Some of them may be very giving people but have a hard shell when it
comes to surrendering their lives to Jesus. Don’t give up on them. The
resurrection power of Jesus Christ can break that shell as written in the
book of Ezekiel above. Keep praying for these people. Keep on being their
friends. If you are not their friends yet and could be one, do that. Let
them see what Jesus Christ can do in someone. Then lead these people to Him.
This is not done through our power but through the Holy Spirit, the
resurrection power.

Many Christians may still have some hard shells also, maybe even you. David
Wilkerson calls these “besetting sins”. If you have any of these that you
just can’t seem to conquer, don’t give up. Trust on the resurrection power
of Jesus Christ. He will keep pecking at that hard shell just like the
challenger at the egg fight. Surrender them all to Jesus Christ and let Him
break that hard shell in your life. Stop fighting and give it all to Jesus.

by Dean W. Masters

Why We Call the Worst Friday ‘Good’
David Mathis / April 13, 2017
Why We Call the Worst Friday ‘Good’

It was the single most horrible day in the history of the world.

No incident has ever been more tragic, and no future event will ever match
it. No surprise attack, no political assassination, no financial collapse,
no
military invasion, no atomic detonation or nuclear warfare, no cataclysmic
act of terrorism, no large-scale famine or disease — not even slave trading,
ethnic cleansing, or decades-long religious warring can eclipse the darkness
of that day.

No suffering has ever been so unfitting. No human has ever been so unjustly
treated, because no other human has ever been so worthy of praise. No one
else
has ever lived without sin. No other human has ever been God himself. No
horror surpasses what transpired on a hill outside Jerusalem almost two
millennia
ago.

And yet we call it “Good” Friday.

What Man Meant for Evil

For Jesus, that most horrible of days dawned in Roman custody at the
governor’s headquarters. His own people had turned him over to the
oppressive empire.
The thread that held the Jewish nation together was its pining for a
promised ruler in the line of their great beloved King David. Both David
himself,
and the prophets who came before and after him, pointed the people to an
even greater king who was to come. Yet when he finally came, his people —
the
very nation that ordered its collective life around waiting for him — did
not see him for who he was. They rejected their own Messiah.

In his own day, David had seen pagans plot against him as God’s anointed
one. “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the
earth
set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and
against his Anointed” (Psalm 2:1–2). But now David’s words had come true of
his greater descendant, as Jesus’s own people turned on him to hand him over
to Rome.

Judas Meant It for Evil

Judas wasn’t the first to plot against Jesus, but he was the first to
“deliver him over” (Matthew 26:15) — the language of responsibility which
the Gospels
repeat again and again.

The schemes against Jesus began long before Judas realized money might be
made available to a mole. What began with maneuvering to entangle Jesus in
his
words (Matthew 22:15) soon devolved into a conspiracy to put him to death
(Matthew 26:4). And Judas’s love for money made him a strategic first domino
to fall in delivering Jesus to death.

Jesus had seen it coming. He told his disciples ahead of time, “See, we are
going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be
delivered over to the chief priests and scribes . . .” (Matthew 20:18). At
first the traitor was nameless. Now he emerges from Jesus’s own inner circle
of twelve. One of his close friends will turn on him (Psalm 41:9), and for a
slave’s price (Zechariah 11:12–13): thirty filthy pieces of silver.

Jewish Leaders Meant It for Evil

But Judas didn’t act alone. Jesus himself had foretold that “the chief
priests and scribes” would “condemn him to death and
deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified”
(Matthew 20:18–19). And it all unfolded according to plan. “The band of
soldiers
and their captain and
the officers of the Jews” arrested him and delivered him to Pilate (John
18:12, 30). As Pilate would acknowledge to Jesus, “Your own nation and the
chief
priests have
delivered you over to me” (John 18:35).

On the day God’s chosen Messiah was grossly and unjustly executed, the human
agents of evil standing at the helm were the formal officers of God’s chosen
people. Fault would not be limited to them, but to them much had been given,
and much would be required (Luke 12:48). Jesus was clear with Pilate who
deserved
more blame: “he who
delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11).

Even Pilate could tell why the Jewish leaders had it out for Jesus: “He
perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him
up”
(Mark 15:10). They saw Jesus winning favor with the people, and quaked at
the prospect of their own influence eroding (John 12:19). Jesus’s rise to
renown
posed such a threat to their fragile sense of authority, with its
accompanying privilege, that liberal priests and conservative scribes
crossed the aisle
to work together.

Pilate Meant It for Evil

In a web of wickedness, guilty parties serve their complementary roles. The
Jewish leaders drove the plan, Judas served as catalyst, and Pilate too had
his own part to play, however passive. He would try to cleanse the guilt
from his conscience by publicly washing his hands of the whole affair, but
he
was not able get himself off the hook.

As the ranking Roman onsite, he could have put an end to the injustice he
saw unfolding in front of him. He knew it was evil. Both Luke and John
record
three clear instances of Pilate declaring, “I find no guilt in him” (Luke
23:14–15, 20, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6). In such a scenario, a righteous
ruler
would not only have vindicated the accused, but seen to it that he was
protected from subsequent harm from his accusers. Yet, ironically, finding
no guilt
in Jesus became the cause for Pilate’s guilt, as he bowed to what seemed
politically expedient in the moment.

First, Pilate tried to bargain. He offered to release a notorious criminal.
But the people called his bluff, incited by their leaders, and called for
the
release of the guilty instead. Now Pilate was cornered. He washed his hands
as a show and “released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus,
delivered him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15). Pilate’s part,
no doubt, was more reactive than the conspiring Jewish leaders, but when “he
delivered Jesus over
to their will” (Luke 23:25) he joined them in their wickedness.

The People Meant It for Evil

The rank and file played their part as well. They allowed themselves to be
incited by their conniving officials. They called for the release of a man
they
knew was guilty in place of a man who was innocent. Rightly would the
apostle Peter preach in Acts 3:13–15 as he addressed the people of
Jerusalem,

You delivered [Jesus] over and denied [him] in the presence of Pilate, when
he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One,
and
asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of
life, whom God raised from the dead.

As the early Christians in Jerusalem would pray, “Truly in this city there
were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
both
Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles
and the peoples of Israel” (Acts 4:27). Neither Herod nor the Romans are
clean as well. In the end, in a surprising turn, Jews and Gentiles worked
together
to kill the Author of life.

And soon enough we come to find that it’s not only Judas, Pilate, the
leaders, and the people who are implicated. We see our own evil, even as we
see through
the blackness of this Friday to the light of God’s goodness:
we delivered him over. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Jesus was “delivered up
for our trespasses” (Romans 4:25). He “gave himself for our sins
” (Galatians 1:4). “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1
Peter 2:24). What we meant for evil, God meant for good.

God Meant It for Good

God was at work, doing his greatest good in our most horrible evil. Over and
in and beneath the spiraling evil of Judas, the Jewish leaders, Pilate, the
people, and all forgiven sinners, God’s hand is steady, never to blame for
evil, ever working it for our final good. As Peter would soon preach, Jesus
was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”
(Acts 2:23). And as the early Christians would pray, “Herod and Pontius
Pilate,
along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, [did] whatever your hand
and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27–28).

Never has Joseph’s banner flown so truly as it did on that day: what man
meant for evil, God meant for good (Genesis 50:20). And if this day, of all
days,
bears not only the fingerprints of sinners for evil, but also the sovereign
hand of God for good, how can we not fly Joseph’s banner over the great
tragedies
and horrors of our lives? Since God himself “did not spare his own Son but
gave him up for us all, how will he not with him graciously give us all
things” for our everlasting good (Romans 8:32)?

God wrote “good” on the single worst day in the history of the world. And
there is not one day — or week, month, year, or lifetime of suffering — not
one
trauma, not one loss, not one pain, momentary or chronic, over which God
cannot write “good” for you in Christ Jesus.

Satan and sinful man meant that Friday for evil, but God meant it for good,
and so we call it Good Friday.

The Glory of Good Friday
John Piper / April 13, 2017
The Glory of Good Friday

Christ was a just and merciful substitute for sinners. When he died for his
elect, he bore their punishment. They experience no condemnation.


2 Corinthians 4:16–18: Suffering Prepares Us to Enjoy God
John Piper / April 13, 2017

For God’s children, all suffering is light compared to the weight of the
glory coming, and all affliction is temporary compared to eternal bliss.

Desiring God
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Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 16 Apr 2017, 11:15 pm

Bailey's Jesus

God recently allowed me to see Jesus through the eyes of someone seeing Him
for the first time. Having the advantage of knowing how the story ends, we
can easily forget the cost of our redemption and the love of our Savior.

Every year we attend a local church pageant at Christmas time, which tells
the story of Jesus from His birth through His resurrection. It is a
spectacular
event, with live animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic costumes.
The magi enter the huge auditorium on llamas from the rear, descending the
steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look huge and menacing in their
costumes and makeup.

Of all the years we have attended, one stands out indelibly in my heart. It
was the year we took our then three-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, who
loves
Jesus. She was mesmerized throughout the entire play, not just watching, but
involved as if she were a player. She watches as Joseph and Mary travel to
the Inn and is thrilled when she sees the baby Jesus in His mother's arms.

When Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the steps from the back of the
auditorium, depicting His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was
ecstatic. As
he neared our aisle, Bailey began jumping up and down, screaming, "Jesus,
Jesus! There's Jesus!" Not just saying the words but exclaiming them with
every
fiber of her being. She alternated between screaming his name and hugging
us. "It's Jesus. Look!"

I thought she might actually pass out. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at
Jesus through the eyes of a child in love with Him, seeing Him for the first
time. How like the blind beggar screaming out in reckless abandon, "Jesus,
Jesus!", afraid he might miss Him, not caring what others thought. (Mark
10:46-52)

This was so much fun.

Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers shoved and slapped Jesus
as they moved Him from the Garden of Gesthemane to Pilate. Bailey responded
as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger. "Stop it!" she
screamed. "Bad soldiers, stop it!" As I watched her reaction, I wished we
had
talked to her before the play. "Bailey it's OK. They are just pretending."

"They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!"

She stood in her seat reacting to each and every move. People around us at
first smiled at her reaction, thinking "How cute!". Then they quit smiling
and
began watching her watch Him. In a most powerful scene, the soldiers lead
Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back They
were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten.

Bailey was now hysterical. "Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it," she screamed. She
must have been wondering why all these people did nothing. She then began to
cry instead of scream. "Jesus, Oh, Jesus!" People all around us began to
weep as we all watch this devoted little disciple see her Jesus beaten and
killed
as those first century disciples had.

Going back and forth between her mother's lap and mine for comfort, she was
distraught. I kept saying, "Bailey, it's OK. Jesus is going to be OK. These
are just people pretending to be soldiers. She looked at me like I was
crazy. In my lap, we talked through the cross and burial. "Watch, Bailey,
watch
for Jesus!"

The tomb began to tremble and lightening flashed as the stone rolled away. A
Super Bowl touchdown cheer couldn't come close to matching this little one's
reaction to the resurrection. "Jesus! He's OK. Mommy, it's Jesus!" I prayed
that she wasn't going to be traumatized by this event, but that she would
remember
it. I shall never forget it. I shall never forget seeing Jesus's suffering,
crucifixion, and resurrection through the eyes of an innocent child.

Following the pageant the actors all assembled in the foyer to be greeted by
the audience. As we passed by some of the soldiers Bailey screamed out, "Bad
soldier, don't you hurt Jesus." The actor who portrayed Jesus was some
distance away surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from
us
and ran toward him, wrapping herself around his legs, holding on for dear
life. He hugged her and said, "Jesus loves you." He patted her to go away.
She
wouldn't let go. She kept clinging to Him, laughing and calling His name.
She wasn't about to let go of her Jesus.

I think God in heaven stopped whatever was going on that day and made all
the angels watch Bailey. "Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said,
'Of such is the kingdom of heaven?'"

Bailey's reaction should be our reaction every day. When we think of Him,
who He is, what He did for us, and what He offers us, we have to say, how
can
we do anything less than worship Him?


Cursed
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And unto Adam He said…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt
thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”
Genesis 3:17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
The crown of thorns Jesus wore—what does it speak of? It symbolizes the
curse upon humanity, on you, on me, on us all, because of sin. When God
created
mankind and put him in the Garden of Eden, there were no thorns. A curse
came upon Adam and Eve because they sinned and disobeyed God. The thorn, the
thistle,
are the result of the curse of sin upon humanity. Jesus wore a crown of
thorns because He bore that curse…the hardship, sorrow, and death that come
with
sin.

Are you having heartaches? Are you having sorrow? Do you know sickness? The
thorny pathway we walk is because of sin. The bed of briars we sleep on is
because of sin.

ACTION POINT:
Who is taking care of your sin today? Who is paying the price for it? Is it
under the blood? Are you trusting Christ alone for that?

Have You Felt Forsaken by God?
Vaneetha Rendall Risner / April 11, 2017
Have You Felt Forsaken by God?

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

We can hear the anguish in Christ’s cry from the cross.

I have felt that kind of despair in my own life. Though God will never
literally forsake me, I have felt forsaken, abandoned, betrayed by those I
loved.
I have questioned where God was in my pain. And I have wondered what good
could ever come from my suffering.

Because of the cross, we who have felt that pain, who live with unanswered
questions and sleepless nights, can unreservedly rejoice at Easter. Out of
the
worst evil imaginable, the sinless Son of God on the cross, God brought
about the greatest good ever known.

Feeling Forsaken

Easter is a stunning reminder of Genesis 50:20, that what man means for
evil, God means for good.

In my own life, through the lens of Scripture, I can see that God has
brought the greatest good out of the hardest events. But I say that in
retrospect.
At the time, none of my suffering felt even vaguely positive.

Sobbing by my son’s tiny casket was devastating. Receiving the divorce
papers in the mail was beyond heartbreaking. Hearing the doctor say that my
body
was deteriorating, and then watching it happen, was agonizing.

None of those trials felt redemptive. None of them could be celebrated. None
of them even made sense. I never could have imagined that God would bring
something beautiful out of my pain. I felt that my pain was deforming me.
That I would forever be marred by it.

I was sure my best years were behind me — before “this” happened. When I
laughed easily and often. When I wasn’t burdened with the memories of all
that
had gone before.

Pain Deepens Us

And yet somehow, even in those horrifying trials, God was doing something.
Something extraordinary. Something I could have not have planned or
foreseen.
He was doing something in me that could not have happened any other way. It
was strange and beautiful — wonderful and unexpected —
the handiwork of God.

Out of the most crushing pain and terrible despair, God was bringing
glorious triumph.

Instead of deforming me, my pain strangely deepened me. It increased my
capacity for God. And for joy. It made me see the world through different
eyes.
Eyes of faith and not eyes of hopelessness. It helped me recognize that what
I was going through was just a snapshot in time. One day my life will be
totally
transformed.

Does Evil Win?

While my circumstances will undoubtedly change one day, what changes most
profoundly in my suffering is
me. The very struggles that I thought would break me are what God used to
purposefully shape me.

That shaping did not happen instantaneously. It took time and trust. At
first it seemed like nothing was happening — nothing but disillusionment and
defeat.
It honestly felt like Satan was wrecking my life.

Similarly, to the disciples on that terrifying Friday, it must have seemed
like Satan was victorious. Their Savior was crucified. Their dreams were
dead.
Their hopes had unraveled. Maybe evil really had won.

And then everything was silent for two long days. It may have seemed like
nothing was happening — nothing but disillusionment and defeat.

But in the wisdom of God, when life looked darkest, it gave way to the
dawning of the purest, most brilliant light.

God Meant It for Good

Easter Sunday reminds me that God’s perspective is infinitely greater than
mine. Much of what is really happening is unseen. While it may look
otherwise
in the moment, Satan will never be victorious and evil cannot win. God
always has the last word.

What Satan means for evil, God means for good. Always.

So if you feel forsaken and have no idea where to turn or what to do, trust
that God is using that very struggle. If life looks like a hopeless mess and
every day is a fight to survive, trust that God will one day gloriously
prevail. And when he has, when you are on the other side, trust that God
will have
done an incomparable work in your soul.

Then you will have learned how to rely, truly rely, on God who brings beauty
from ashes. Your life and walk with him will be more beautiful than you ever
imagined. And somehow, through your pain, you will be transformed. And when
you are, when you see how God has changed you, you will never want to go
back
to the way you were before.

You will understand that nothing can thwart God’s plans for you. What now
appears to be evil will result in your eternal joy. And the staggering
triumph
of Easter will fall afresh on you.

The Horror of Crucifixion
Tony Reinke / April 11, 2017
The Horror of Crucifixion

Studying the historical and physical realities of crucifixion shows how
deplorable and inhumane that form of human extermination is.

Hebrews 12:6–11: Suffering Conforms Us to Christ
John Piper / April 11, 2017

Satan loves to lie to us in our suffering. He tells us that God must be
against us if he would allow us to experience pain, the experience of
discipline
really proves that we are children.

Desiring God
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Minneapolis, MN 55402

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 15 Apr 2017, 5:41 pm

Who Tried to Stop Easter... and Failed
Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:54 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
thanks for all your prayers. We did have a car wreck thirty miles from home
but nobody was hurt. The doctor said she could do the cornea transplant but
didn't know how much it would help my sight. I will be having it mid-june.

Dean

5 Who Tried to Stop Easter... and Failed
by Liz Kanoy

Have you ever thought about how many people tried to stop Jesus’ life, death
and resurrection, whether for good or bad? Some wanted Jesus dead, and they
thought His words were blasphemous. Others looked out for their own interest
and rule, but there were some who wanted to protect Jesus—and they were
distraught
at His death. But God is sovereign over all, and He knew the path that His
Son must follow in order to save mankind once and for all.

Here are 5 who tried to stop Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection and failed
according to God’s plan:

1. King Herod: The Paranoid Manipulator
King Herod and many of the people he governed did not want to welcome a new
King. Herod feared for his throne, and his people feared his vengeance. Once
Herod learned information about the Messiah from the Magi, he asked them to
return with a location so that he too could worship the King.

But being warned in a dream, the Magi traveled home a different way. Then
Herod in his anger and paranoia decided to take matters into his own hands
and
tried to kill every Hebrew baby boy that fit the age range of the Messiah.

“When Herod realized that he has been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious,
and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who
were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned
from the Magi.”
–Matthew 2:16

But God sent an angel to warn Joseph in a dream, and he took Mary and Jesus
to safety in Egypt. Herod failed to stop the Messiah, and God’s sovereign
plan
for His Son continued.

2. Satan: The Evil Deceiver
Satan tried to stop God’s plan by tempting Jesus with empty promises and
bribes that he could not fulfill. Jesus, both fully divine and fully human,
experienced
temptation as a man the same way that we do, but He did not yield or sin.

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the
kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he
said,
‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me,
Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.
Then
the devil left him
…” –Matthew 4:8-11

Can you imagine the fury Satan felt when Jesus remained strong in His choice
to choose us—even to death? Though the Bible does not tell us, I think it
is plausible to think that Satan was there at the crucifixion. We know he
entered Judas Iscariot;
Luke 22:3 says, “Then Satan, entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the
Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple
guard
and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus
.”

If he couldn’t stop God’s ultimate plan, he surely wanted to cause as much
pain and havoc as he could while the Messiah suffered on earth. Satan
failed,
and not only did he lose the battle…he lost the war. God’s plan prevailed
unhindered as prophesied.

3. The Sanhedrin/Chief Priests: Wickedly Insecure Men
The Sanhedrin was the supreme council of the Jewish people in the time of
Christ and earlier. You can find out more information about the Sanhedrin at

BibleStudyTools.com . Matthew 26:59 tells us,

“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence
against Jesus so that they could put him to death
.”

They really didn’t like Jesus…and their desire was to trap Him into what
they considered blasphemy. They already had it set in their minds that they
would
find a way to execute Him.

“Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people
made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away
and handed him over to Pilate the governor
.” –Matthew 27:1

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And they didn’t stop there…

“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for
Barabbas and to have Jesus executed
.” -Matthew 27:20

They wanted Jesus dead, and they succeeded as God had planned. But they
failed in thinking that they were in control; they had no power when it came
to
Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection…the power and plan was God’s alone. They
could not stop the resurrection, nor could they stop the news of it. The
tomb
was found empty; death could not hold Him. He is risen indeed.

4. Simon Peter: The Brave Defender
Peter tried to stop Jesus from being taken by the Roman guards. He succeeded
in cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant before Jesus stopped
him.

John 18:10-11 says,

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s
servant, cutting off his right ear (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus
commanded
Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given
me
?”

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my
disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the
Scriptures
be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
–Matthew 26:53-54

Can you imagine how hard it must have been for the disciples to accept that
Jesus must die to fulfill His plan as Messiah—and that there was nothing
they
could do to help or stop it? They did not fully understand yet why Jesus
must die, and they doubted before they saw Him again. Peter failed to
protect
the Messiah and save Him from the cross, but later he understood that it
wasn’t Jesus who needed saving. Oh what grace God bestows on us.

5. Pontius Pilate: The Reluctant Judge
Even Pilate’s wife tried to dissuade him from crucifying Jesus: “When Pilate
was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have
anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal
today in a dream because of him.’” –
Matthew 27:19

Crosswalk.com Contributor Dr. Pritchard shares,
“All four gospels make it clear that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of any
crime. If you put the gospel accounts together, it appears that Pilate tried
four times to avoid sentencing Jesus to death:"

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ Pilate asked.
They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’ When Pilate saw that he was getting
nowhere,
but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands
in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is
your responsibility!’” –
Matthew 27:22-24

Pilate did not understand Jesus completely, but he knew that He was
innocent. Rather than standing up for Jesus at great personal cost, he
faltered to
blackmail from high-ranking Jewish officials and mob mentality letting the
people choose Jesus’ fate as God had planned.

“Pilate’s crime in many ways was worse than the sin of the chief priests.
They thought Jesus was guilty and wanted him dead; Pilate knew he was
innocent
and sent him to die anyway. He stalled and hesitated and tried to pass the
buck. He wouldn’t decide so the mob decided for him,” writes Dr. Pritchard.

As believers, we can be thankful that God did not let any man or spirit stop
His plan to send His Son to die on a cross and rise from the dead. God’s
plan
for salvation could not be stopped, and because He paid the only price that
could be paid there is hope for all who believe.

Publication date: March 23, 2016

The Ultimate Lifesaver
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
. --John 15:13

An article in Reader’s Digest described the actions of Dave Shoemaker,
captain of the 180-foot fishing vessel, “Galaxy,” somewhere off Alaska’s St.
Paul
Island. The article read, “When a disastrous engine fire wreaked havoc for
the Galaxy and its crew, Captain Shoemaker bravely walked through the smoke
and flames with no protection but a bandanna around his mouth to radio for
help. Shoemaker continued to put the lives of his crew first and worked to
help
them to safety despite incurring three broken ribs, extensive burns to his
skin and the increasing chance of going down with the ship. Like a true
captain,
he made certain he was the last of the crew to be rescued by the Coast
Guard, who arrived thanks to his initial Mayday call. The Galaxy was
completely
lost, but thanks in great part to Shoemaker's courage under fire, 21 of the
25 crew members survived.” Captain Shoemaker, a modern day hero, put his own
life on the line in order to save the life of his crewmembers.

Let’s reflect on our ultimate lifesaver, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Remember that he willingly suffered, bled and died--taking our own sin and
shame on Himself as He hung on a cross-- that we might be saved from an
eternity of separation from God. In his resurrection from the grave, Jesus
broke
the power of sin and death--and guaranteed rescue--to anyone who believes in
Him. He is our most shining example of heroism in action.

Yet, the story doesn’t end here. We, in fact, are destined to become part of
the story. For Jesus calls all of us who have experienced His rescue to
become
part of his rescue team--to act heroically, willingly putting our lives on
the line--in order to help rescue others. “Snatch others from the fire and
save
them,” is how the New Testament book of Jude puts it. It’s a simple act of
gratitude for we who have been given a lifeline, to share a lifeline with
someone
else.

Today, offer a prayer of thanks to Jesus, our ultimate lifesaver and
consider someone around you with whom you can share your own Easter story of
rescue.
You never know. In doing so, you just might “snatch someone from the fire.”

GOING DEEPER:

1. Who had the courage to share the news of Jesus' resurrection with you?
Pray and thank God for using this person in your life. If possible, thank
them
personally for being willing to be used by God in your life.

2. In your circle of relationships, who might benefit from hearing your
story of God’s rescue in your life? Will you commit to sharing your story
with
this person in the coming week?

FURTHER READING:

John 10:11-18 ; Luke 9:23-26 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

The Greatest Act of Love

Romans 5:6-11

What do you think about when you see a depiction of Christ on the cross?
Most of us are overwhelmed by the physical and emotional suffering that He
endured--the
scourging, beating, thorns, nails, mocking, and shame. We are horrified at
the cruelty of the Romans and the hard hearts of the Jewish rulers.

But during the crucifixion, far more was happening than the eye could see.
God was carrying out His plan to rescue mankind, providing everything we
need
for salvation:

1. Redemption.Jesus paid the full price of the debt we owed for
transgression: death. His payment set us free from bondage to sin.

2. Forgiveness. God could now release us from the punishment we deserved.

3. Propitiation. Christ’s payment satisfied
the Father by fulfilling His demand for justice while letting Him forgive
us.

4. Justification. On the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, the Lord now declares
believers not guilty. Although we will still sin in this earthly life, our
standing
before God is one of righteousness. This is a legal declaration that can
never be reversed.

5. Reconciliation. The sin barrier that separated us from the Father was
removed by Christ’s death on our behalf. We’re now God’s children--we have
open
access to Him and fellowship with Him.

The crucifixion was the only way to rescue lost humanity. If there had been
any other way, the cross would have been a grotesque display of divine
cruelty.
But because so much was at stake, it can truly be called the greatest act of
love by both the Father and the Son.

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 Tue 11 Apr 2017, 10:02 pm

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Global Recordings Network (GRN) in West Africa
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Global Recordings Network (GRN) in West Africa
Feb 25, 2017 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Isaiah 66:21-23, NIV ""And I will select some of them also to be priests and
Levites,” says the Lord. “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make
will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and
descendants endure. From one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to
another, all
mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord."

Pray for the Lord to raise up new believers who hear and respond to the Word
of God through these gospel recordings. Pray that many from these will be
raised up as “priests and Levites” to serve the Lord throughout Africa.

Today's People Group

The Global Recordings Network (GRN) team in Nigeria has made audio gospel
recordings in over 500 languages and dialects; but their work is far from
done.
Over 200 additional groups in Nigeria need their own recordings. GRN is also
investigating many other people groups in West Africa that also need
recordings.
Making recordings isn’t easy. Just getting to their location is often a
challenge. Kish Bai and his team recently visited the unreached Bauchi
people of
Nigeria. Their location is cut off during the rainy season. The Bauchi claim
they are all Muslims, but Kish found over 80 percent actually practice
traditional
religion. The Bauchi are split into four dialects. Kish was surprised to
find they don’t understand each another, so gospel recordings must be made
for
each of those dialects. The team plans to return soon.
The Pangu are 99 percent Muslim. Before showing a Christian movie, Kish had
to obtain permission from the district head. He reports, “Fortunately he had
an open mind to the gospel and told us to report anyone who caused a
problem. Only a few watched openly, but 70 percent were hiding in market
stalls to
watch. They were all suspicious of one another.”

Pray that the Bauchi and Pangu people may soon hear the good news in their
own dialects and respond with faith. Pray for safety for Kish and his GRN
team
as they travel to difficult places in Nigeria to record gospel messages.

Learn more at Joshua Project .
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I probably won't be sending out devotionals the next few days due to a busy
schedule and seeing an eye doctor about the possibility of a cornea
transplant. Just like I can't see out through my cornea doctors can't see in
so they don't know the rest of my eye. so I don't know if a transplant will
help much. But I do ask for prayers for safety on the trip and with the
meeting with the doctor.

Dean

Figuring Out the Fig Tree
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

“Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in
three days." –
John 2:19

Have you ever read the story of Jesus and the fig tree? It’s a curious
moment in the New Testament, and for a long time I had no idea what to make
of it.
It all begins in
Mark 11
, when Jesus grows hungry and approaches a fig tree looking for food.

“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any
fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not
the season for figs.
Then he said to the tree,
"May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say
it.” –
Mark 11:12-14

Now, everyone experiences low blood-sugar from time to time, but for Jesus
this seems remarkably out of character. After all, didn’t he fast in the
desert
for forty days? Surly he could handle the disappointment of not finding a
fig. Even then, why not just make the tree bloom? If he could turn water
into
wine, why didn’t he command the tree to bear fruit?

Later, I learned it was because figs had very little to do with this story.
You see, after his run-in with the unfortunate shrub, Jesus made his way to
the temple where the money changers were cheating worshipers
(Mark 11:20-25
). By driving them out, Jesus incurred the anger of the chief priests, and
the next morning he and his disciples leave the city again. This is where
Jesus
encounters the fig tree a second time,

“In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the
roots.
Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi,
look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!’ ‘Have faith in God,’
Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go,
throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes
that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have
received it, and it will be yours.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive
him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.’" – Mark
11:20-24

Like the fig tree, the Jewish faith looked good on the outside, but despite
its appearance it wasn’t producing any fruit. Because it wasn’t providing
for
his people, Jesus decreed that he would let it fade, and raise up something
new in its place: the Church. We are the new creation God planted for those
hungry to know God; let's make sure we yield a bountiful harvest.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Are you producing spiritual fruit, or simply
maintaining appearances?

Further Reading

Matthew 5

Anne Graham Lotz - Naming Your Sin

Naming Your Sin
That you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.

Matthew 9:6, NKJV

Only God in Christ has the power to forgive sin. But you and I must confess
it to Him personally, specifically, and honestly if we want to receive
forgiveness.
God promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9,
NIV).
That word confess means to call sin by the same names that God does, to
agree with God about your sin.

You and I often play games with the names we call sin to make it seem less
like sin. For example, we call the sin of unbelief, worry. We call the sin
of
lying, exaggeration. We call the sin of fornication, safe sex.

As long as we switch the labels on sin to make it seem less serious, we’re
being dishonest with ourselves and with God, and we remain unforgiven. But,
if we say the same thing about our sin that God says-if we say, “God, it’s
lying. It’s jealousy. It’s lust. It’s revenge. It’s hate. It’s adultery. It’s
unforgiveness”-God will forgive us! So start naming your sin for what it is
in God’s eyes.

Blessings,

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

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"Humble Strength for Eternal Salvation" #84-32
Sermon Text for April 9, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on April 9, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who,
though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to
be
grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in
the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by
becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Christ has risen! He has risen, indeed! Hallelujah!

Do you know what day it is today? Yes, it is Palm Sunday throughout the
world. This is a day when Christians remember that Jesus rode triumphantly
into
Jerusalem, not to ascend to an earthly throne, but to begin that journey of
journeys; to a cross, to a tomb, and to a resurrection from the dead that
poured
out eternal life into a world that is full of death and destruction.

Today's the day. Throw your palm branches down, if you have them, throw them
down as a sign of your faith and trust in Jesus Christ because He rode into
this town, into that predicament, just for you.

Now, let me give you a glimpse of just what it is that's coming Jesus' way.
Today's the beginning of Holy Week, where we hear about what happened, not
just on this Sunday, but on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Good
Friday, and Easter Sunday.

It's a week of confrontations with false teachers, with political hacks,
with corrupt trials, and brutal beatings, and mob rule; but Jesus enters
this
willingly, through blood, sweat, and tears. And what happened to Jesus
Christ in this week literally changed the world. The benefits of what Jesus
endured
and accomplished during this week of His passion continues to change
people's lives today!

Someone long ago coined the phrase, "It's a dog eat dog world." Many people
will spare no expense of destroying one another just to get ahead in life.
It's a sort of "survival of the fittest" mentality.

The Bible text for today's message comes from the New Testament book of
Philippians. This book was a letter to a group of Christians in Philippi, an
encouraging
letter that St. Paul wrote to a people, most of whom were Roman citizens.
However, he writes this letter of encouragement because the Philippians'
Christian
faith would be opposed by the forces of the world and by someone else's
bottom line. Hardship would come to them. In fact, Paul was writing this
letter
when he himself was under house arrest due to some unjust allegations.
Nevertheless, Paul endured.

In this letter, he says: "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in
Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality
with God something to be grasped, (something to be held on to or hoarded)
but he emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the
likeness
of men."

Have you seen the movie Sully? It's the story of the US Airways pilot,
Chesley Sullenberger, who successfully made a water landing after a flock of
birds
flew into both of the engines of his airliner just shortly after takeoff.
There were 155 souls on board. Miraculously, every one of them survived. The
world soon called it, "The Miracle on the Hudson." In this box office movie
hit, that mirrored his true life story of heroism, Sully is praised for
being
the X factor in the equation. But in all humility, he disagreed. He pointed
to his co-pilot and to the flight attendants on board. He mentioned the
United
States Coast Guard, the police, and all first responders. "We all did our
job," he said. "We survived." Captain Sullenberger is the consummate picture
of humility. The world, though, still remembers just one name - Sully. He's
a hero and a humble hero at that.

But today, on Palm Sunday, there's a Name that stands above every other
name. There's a Name that is greater than any hero, more powerful than any
general,
more brilliant than any president, king, or queen; His Name is Jesus, and on
Palm Sunday, He rode into Jerusalem as a humble yet powerful Savior!

That day, many cheered Him on. There were many before that day, and many
after who believed in God's Messiah who was to come and they knew that He,
this
Jesus, was the One. Some had faulty notions of that too. Some believed that
He was going to come into town and set up shop in the palace, you know, the
Messiah-President, the Messiah-Governor, or even the Messiah-Caesar. But
Jesus Himself put that nonsense to rest. He was the Messiah, but He was the
Savior
of a kingdom that would be forever and ever.

That's what Paul is talking about in our lesson today. He starts to talk
about a whole different reality, a whole different mindset. It's one that
comes
in Jesus Christ alone.

Remember what Paul says. Ready? "Have this mind in you which is in Jesus
Christ the power of God that comes through ultimate humility." As Paul says,
"He
was in the form of God, yet did not count equality with God a thing to be
grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in
the likeness of men." If you want to know God and to know the things of God,
don't look to the power brokers of this world, they don't last. Don't look
to the wisdom of this world, it can't solve the big questions, it never
does. Don't look even to your own best efforts and strength, for in the end,
we're
all weak and heavy laden.

Look to the humble strength of a Savior Who doesn't ride into town on a
stallion, or a tank, or even in an F-16. Why, because Satan, the world, and
our
sinful flesh would make mincemeat of all that. Only a Savior on a donkey
riding to a cross can overcome sin, death, and the devil with a resurrection
life
for all.

Get inspired today. "Have this same mind among yourselves, which is yours in
Christ Jesus."

So let's dig into that inspiration today, ready? Let's talk about just Who
this Jesus is and just what this mindset is all about.

Paul gets very practical. He says, if you are living with the mind of Jesus
Christ, then you will "Do nothing out of selfish ambition; in humility count
others more significant than yourselves; look not only to your own interest,
but also to the interest of others." That's Jesus to a T. That's Who Jesus
was and that's Who Jesus is for you.

On Palm Sunday He came to Jerusalem not to destroy the Romans and set up an
earthly rule like you have never seen before. He came to destroy something
more significant: the sin that had forever threatened to destroy the
relationship between God and humankind. Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem on
Palm
Sunday on the biggest stead, a conquering hero of glitz and glamour. No, He
rode into town in humble fashion, on a donkey - a colt, the foal of a
donkey.
The crowds were loud and their praises intense but He came in, more or less,
quietly.

Everything He does, He does completely differently than the way things work
in this sinful world. And, He had too because we had gotten ourselves into
such a mess.

I recently read that in medieval times, many sons of great kings, they tried
to out-do the ways of their fathers. If their father had been an oppressive
king, the son became even more ruthless. If the father beat with a whip, the
son would scourge with scorpions. The desire for power and control, it just
overcame them. The Old Testament of the Bible even talks about leaders like
this. King Ahab, King Ahaz, even David's sons feuded, killed, and caused
harm.
These and countless others whose biographies litter the annals of history,
they destroyed people to gain and to retain power. Power in the hands of
sinful
people, it corrupts, it destroys, and absolute power in sinners' hands
destroys completely.

But there's good news. There's good news for our power corrupted, pain
inflicting world today. There is One Who came with absolute power, humbly to
save.

Paul says, this Jesus, "he was in the form of God (that just means that
everything that God is, Jesus is) yet he did not count equality with God a
thing
to be grasped, hoarded, held on to, but he emptied himself, taking the form
of a servant."

When it may seem like you have to commit treason against your conscience, in
order to make your mark in this world, Jesus delivers a better way, a more
perfect way; freedom from tyranny, freedom from oppression. My friends,
across the vast lands of this planet, still, human beings wage war against
others
for the sake of power and prestige. But this should not be so among you who
are Christ's people. Jesus, the King of the world, King for all time, He
emptied
Himself, He set aside His power for a time, in order to become a lowly
servant, to become the very Lamb of God Who alone would take away the sin,
the guilt,
and the shame of this world; and even He overcame the power, the power of
death. So Paul says: "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by
becoming
obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

When you think about your favorite leaders, I'm guessing that these were or
are people of great influence and ability, but they're people who took time
out, regularly, to be a blessing to you. It was once said of President
Abraham Lincoln, that whenever he spoke with people, he made them feel like
they
were president. Such people are strong in humility. Their power isn't in
their might, or their power, or prestige. Their mindset is one of
encouragement
and lifting others up.

And things change when great leaders ride into town to make things right,
don't they?
I read a book about Coke Stevenson and Lyndon Johnson. Do you remember who
Lyndon Johnson was? He was the President of the United States. This is not a
pretty story. In fact, truth be told, Lyndon Johnson should probably have
lost his senate bid in 1948 by well over 20,000 votes, but it's almost
certain
that he had people stuff the ballot boxes in the border towns to steal the
victory from the jaws of defeat.

I remember reading about that moment of truth; Coke Stevenson, who was a
former Texas governor, but even more, was a Texas Ranger; he heard about all
these
illegalities, so he rode into those towns with other Texas Rangers. He rode
in, to get those ballot boxes and to make sure that the recount was legal
and
fair. There were rifles pointed at him from the windows along the main
street routes of every town. But fearlessly, he rode in each town and
captured those
boxes and confiscated them so things could be properly counted. What
courage, what fortitude, unfortunately, it wasn't enough. Those boxes were
captured
but they were never opened. Johnson got a national court order to seal them
shut. Case closed.

Well, Jesus rode into town with that courage and so much more. And Satan
himself thought he would seal the deal on Good Friday, case closed, shut;
but
Jesus would have the last word on Easter morning. But just think about the
power of Christ's work for you, think about His humility, His grace, His
mindset
to do it all for you; even though you don't deserve it, even though you
didn't earn it, and you desperately need what only He can provide.

Over and over again in the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we
hear how Jesus, powerful as He was, stooped down and was a great Friend of
sinners and the downtrodden. He connected with them. He loved them. He ate
and drank with them. He lifted them up! He lifts us up. He made them His
own.
Jesus came to earth to serve people back to the Father.

The Bible proclaims Jesus to be God's Son, the very highest Priest, the
greatest Son of a King like King David could never imagine, an Heir of David
promised
for centuries after David himself had died, and One for Whom the world
waited in great expectation. Man, we are talking about supreme royalty here.
And
then, He laid it all down. He set it all aside for a time so that He could
become the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. There wasn't
anything
that any imposter-ruler could try to take away from Him. When God the Father
calls you, His One and only Son, you are golden.

So take heart about what Paul says about this Jesus. He says, "Therefore God
has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every
name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father."

Jesus, being the Son of God, The Father's One and only perfect Son, was able
to lay down His life, not just because He would be raised again, but because
His sacrifice on the cross could destroy the power of sin and death in this
world. Yes, there is still sinfulness in the world. Yes, there are still
people
that lack humility; ruthless people still command destructive wars that
cause great harm and lay hold of others violently and mercilessly. But their
ability
to cause hurt is only for this day and this age, it's already defeated and
it is passing away.

Through the humble strength of our Savior there is a whole eternity that
still awaits us.
And that picture sees us through the struggles that still remain this side
of heaven. As the Apostle Peter says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God" (1 Peter 2:9).

In Christ, that's us, right here, right now, by faith. Already in His Name,
in His kingdom, no ruthless leader, no unjust manager, no vengeful neighbor,
no CEO on a power trip can ever take any of that away from you. You live for
something bigger and greater than anyone else can ever try to promise you
on this earth. You are a kingdom people whose King is none other than Christ
Jesus the Lord. Your greatest work will always be heroic, when through your
life you graciously and humbly point others to Jesus Christ Whose Name all
tongues will one day confess to the glory of the Father forever.

Amen.
Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for April 9, 2017
Guest: Rev. Matthew Clark
ANNOUNCER: This is The Lutheran Hour and it's time now for Action In
Ministry. It's a call to action in response to all that God has done for us
in Christ.

SELTZ: Mark, today we continue to celebrate. It's Palm Sunday, so throw your
branches down out there and rejoice in what the Lord is doing.

ANNOUNCER: The Rev. Matthew Clark is pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in
St. Louis. He's also co-host of Wrestling With the Basics on worldwide KFUO.
And he was co-director of worship for the 2016 LCMS National Youth
Gathering.

SELTZ: Pastor Clark, thanks for joining us.

CLARK: Thanks for the invitation. I'm glad to be here with you.

SELTZ: Listen, your radio program takes God's Word seriously; but that seems
to be the only thing you take seriously.

CLARK: That's pretty well put. We try to take the Word of God seriously but
not take ourselves too seriously.

SELTZ: That's good.

CLARK: So our tagline is "we try to put the fun in the fundamentals," and
that's our hope...

ANNOUNCER: All right.

CLARK: Two guys on the air together; Pastor "Jolly" John Lukomski, he's a
veteran of ministry, a pastor of about 40 years; and I'm the newer guy,
Pastor
Matt "Youngblood" Clark, as they call me, in the ministry a little less than
10 years. So, it's kind of nice to have those two perspectives; the seasoned
veteran and the newer guy too.

SELTZ: Absolutely.

ANNOUNCER: Many of our listeners know that each day Lutheran Hour Ministries
sends out a Daily Devotion written by our Speaker Emeritus, Pastor Ken
Klaus,
or Pastor Seltz, or one of our other writers. These are available free for
anyone online and we'd like to know how you've used that resource in your
congregation.

CLARK: Sure. Any way that we can. They are just an excellent resource;
consistently Christ centered, Bible based, and they provide that opportunity
for
myself as pastor, but then the congregation are to be in God's Word on a
daily basis. I mean it is so important to be fed by God's Word; that lamp to
our
feet, that light to our path, the one centered in the Word made Flesh, Jesus
Christ; and the Daily Devotions give us the tool to help make that happen.
And then it is so neat to see the people that do take advantage of that.
We're sort of on the same page then in our life together.

ANNOUNCER: Yeah.

CLARK: I try to intentionally make reference to one of the Daily Devotions
every couple of months in my sermons. I do that for a couple of reasons.
One,
just because it's good stuff and if it relates to the text for that day or
the topic for that day; boy, it's a ready-made resource, a great
illustration,
a story that I can use. But then, too, when I use that, there's been times
after worship that people ask, "Pastor, you told that story, you mentioned
the
Daily Devotions, where can I get that?"

SELTZ: Right.

CLARK: ...and then that's my opportunity to pass it on. So, just a great
resource and an accessible one too.

SELTZ: See, that's what...I wish people understood what we're producing here
at Lutheran Hour; we're trying to help you guys be the best you that you can
be; so that people get to know Jesus because they got to know you.

CLARK: Yeah.

SELTZ: So all these resources that we're producing, people kind of think
we're just producing them for particular folks. No, it's for the pastors,
for
the churches, for the people; and then you can put these to work so that you
don't have to do all the work.

CLARK: Yes.

SELTZ: And that's kind of... so great to hear that you're using this. We
want more to do that. We also do Lenten and Advent stuff, how do you put
these
things to work too in service to the work of the church?

CLARK: Sure. The primary way that we do that at Ascension, where I serve, at
least, is we actually physically print those off to make them accessible.
So we download it from the LHM website. We personalize them with our
church's information, our contact info, our worship times for Lent in
particular;
for Holy Week. And then we print them off. It's a great way for our members
to be able to express an invitation, extend an invitation to someone else.

SELTZ: Yeah, we talk about it; Christ to the Nations. But our goal is to get
the nations to your churches because that's where this... God wants people
to be in fellowship face to face. I love that you're using these Devotions
and using these resources to actually get people to use them as invitations
to come and fellowship at the church.

CLARK: Definitely. Just thank you for that resource. I'm sort of on the
frontline as a parish pastor...

SELTZ: I love it.

CLARK: ...and you're kind of this behind the scene sometimes at LHM...

SELTZ: Sure.

CLARK: ...but providing resources to get in the hands of people...God's
people in the church but also God's people outside of the church...

SELTZ: Right.

ANNOUNCER: And listeners, we invite you to visit our website and listen to
these Daily Devotions especially now during this Holy Week, leading up to
Good
Friday and Easter. We also have another resource we'd like to put into your
hands; our Speaker Emeritus, Pastor Ken Klaus, has written a book titled
Changeless
Christ, Changing World, and in that book you'll find a collection of stories
that came from Lutheran Hour sermons. It's a great blessing. We hope you'll
go online or call for your free copy.

SELTZ: Well, Pastor Matt Clark, thanks for joining us today.

CLARK: Thank you so much for having me and for all you do here at Lutheran
Hour.

SELTZ: And that's our Action In Ministry segment today; to bless, to
empower, and to strengthen your life in Christ for others.

ANNOUNCER: To listen or subscribe to our Daily Devotions, go to
lutheranhour.org and click on Action In Ministry. Or call 1-855-john316.
That's 1-855-564-6316.
Our email address is info@lhm.org.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for April 9, 2017
Topic: Creation, Evolution, Being Human?
ANNOUNCER: Now, Pastor Gregory Seltz responds to questions from listeners.
I'm Mark Eischer. Today a listener says, "I'm not all that scientific, but
it
just seems wrong, somehow, to say that human beings are just animals and
that survival of the fittest is the true law of nature. What does the Bible
have
to say that might support my gut feelings on this?

SELTZ: Mark, I think those instincts are good, but unfortunately, most
people don't think about these issues very critically and I think they do
miss the
big picture that is beyond test tubes and philosophy. It goes back to
origins and purpose.

ANNOUNCER: What do you mean by that?

SELTZ: Well, again, Christian teachings and hard science, the stuff in the
lab, they're not against each other. But Christian teachings and Darwin's
talk
about origins are beyond hard science. So let's ask some questions like,
"What does the Bible say about being human" and "what does evolution say?"

ANNOUNCER: Christianity says "All people are created in the image of God,"
whereas Darwin would say we're just another form of animal; albeit a very
clever
one.

SELTZ: Exactly, and then there's this "survival of the fittest" stuff as if
that is the moral reality of the universe; and we can say, "Says who?" Is it
survival of the fittest or blessed are the meek? Is it "take whatever you
can by force or by power," or "do unto others as you would have them do unto
you?" There is a huge difference to what it means to be human from both
points of view.

ANNOUNCER: Both world views are really different interpretations of the same
data.

SELTZ: Yeah, and that goes to the heart of not only what it means to be a
Christian or an atheist, but what it means to be human.

ANNOUNCER: How might we become more positive, more critical thinkers about
such things?

SELTZ: Well, like I've said before, all people have worldviews about how
things in their world hold together. I don't talk about Christianity or
faith
in Jesus right off the bat with people, until I've tried to understand their
worldview from their point of view.

ANNOUNCER: You've called that working the worldview, to see how it holds.

SELTZ: Because my worldview, your worldview, anybody's worldview outside of
God in Christ, it doesn't hold.

ANNOUNCER: All right; take, for example, the evolutionary worldview.

SELTZ: Or even let's talk about things like, "survival of the fittest," like
we were talking about. You can think about it so many different ways. If
that's
the central truth of the universe, then why do human beings, if we're at the
top of the food chain, why do we bear young that are so vulnerable to
nature?
How did we survive? Other animals give birth to young that either get up and
run that day or have got fangs to survive other predators. Here we are;
human
beings; no fangs, vulnerable young, much weaker physically than other
animals; seems kind of foolish and I don't see how such vulnerability rises
to the
top of the food chain. Why don't we just talk about that?

ANNOUNCER: But there's even a bigger issue involved here.

SELTZ: Yeah, the big issue in our culture that seems at the heart of every
argument, you know, the ideas of race and racism. When someone says, "I
believe
in evolution," my first question is "Oh, I didn't think it was a good thing
to be a racist." You see the foundation of all this master race stuff, the
abortion movement; it was to wipe out the so-called lesser races, defined by
again science and food chain, and move that evolutionary process along.

ANNOUNCER: And if that's your worldview, why don't you understand that that
teaching is the foundation for the master race?

SELTZ: So again, when you start to critically analyze these things, there
are things that flow from a 'survival of the fittest' way of looking at
life.

ANNOUNCER: But a Biblical view of life looks at other human beings, no
matter how small or different, as still part of God's image, with dignity in
spite
of their weakness.

SELTZ: Yeah. Exactly. The Bible teaches that all human beings are created in
God's image and even though humans are fallen, even though there is sin,
there
is still this idea of common dignity of human beings and the potential for
them to be what they were created to be.

ANNOUNCER: Why do these discussions often become so heated?

SELTZ: Well, there are all kinds of reasons for that. But Christians can
think through all of these issues, striving to get at the heart of things,
and
the heart of things is what does it mean to be human. So what do the
teachings of the Bible about being human, being sinful, being redeemed,
being made
in the image of God; what difference does it make in the way we think about
ourselves and about others?

ANNOUNCER: As we read in the Psalms, "what is man that you are mindful of
him, and the son of man that you care for him?"

SELTZ: Much good happens in the world when we get that question right. Much
bad happens when we don't!

ANNOUNCER: 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.

"A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009
Concordia Publishing House)

"The God of Abraham Praise" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia
Publishing House)

Change Their World. Change Yours.
This Changes Everything.

The Potter’s Hand

Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NLT)
1 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the shop
where clay pots and jars are made. I will speak to you while you are there.”
3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But
the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter
squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again.

The Christian author Phillip Keller wrote in one of his books about a time
when he was traveling around the border of China and Pakistan. He was told
that this was the area where the finest Chinese pottery was made. He
remembered verses like the ones above and asked if he could go see some of
it being made.

The potter took him to a shed behind the house where he prepared the clay.
It was not merely clay but had grass clippings, etc. mixed in. When the man
opened the door the smell of the rotting material almost knocked Phillip
down. The man went inside, mixed up a lump of clay and then took it inside
to his wheel.

He worked with the clay to make a vessel. He noticed a tiny rock in the wall
of the vessel he was forming. He knew the vessel would not hold up with that
foreign matter in it so he took it out. Then he had to mash the clay into a
lump and start again.

When the vessel was formed the man reached back to grab a string behind him
which was hanging on a nail. He dipped this string in water, looped it
around the base of the vessel and cut the vessel away from the rest of the
clay.

The potter then placed the vessel on a shelf. There it sat until the potter
knew it was time to put it into the fire. The potter knew how many times it
needed to be fired before it could be of use.

This is a good parable of the Christian life. There is one difference,
though. The Master Potter does not barge in and grab a lump of stinky,
filthy clay. He stands at the door and knocks. He stand there waiting for
you to turn yourself over to Him.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 8:31 pm

Kill Me Now
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor

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 for Israel 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, Christ 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 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.

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

Your Cross

. . . Laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. - Luke 23:26

We see in Simon's carrying the cross a picture of the work of the church
throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Notice,
Christian,
that Jesus does not suffer so as to prevent your suffering. He bears a
cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ
exempts you
from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer. But let
us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon's, it
is not our cross but Christ's cross that we carry. When you are persecuted
for your piety, when your faith is the occasion of cruel jokes, then
remember
it is not your cross, it is Christ's cross; and what a privilege it is to
carry the cross of our Lord Jesus!

You carry the cross after Him. You have blessed company; your path is marked
with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of His blood-red shoulder is upon
that heavy burden. It is His cross, and He goes before you as a shepherd
goes before his sheep. Take up your cross daily, and follow Him.

Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the
opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the
whole
of it. That is very possible. Christ may have carried the heavier part,
against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end.
Certainly
that is the case with you; you only carry the light end of the cross Christ
bore the heavier end.

And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for only a short while, it
gave him lasting honor. Even so, the cross we carry is only for a little
while
at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should
love the cross and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, for it
works out for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Leviticus 8

verse 2 Psalms 9

Capturing God

A family photograph taken in a familiar and endeared setting often captures
the essence of all that a family represents. If we sought to capture a
single
image of God, what would that image be? What would it look like? Author Rico
Tice takes us to the cross of Christ to view the single most
insightful image of God
. Here we find one extraordinary picture of God: unfathomable love,
unconditional forgiveness, and the depth of His longing to save His
children. Rico
Tice dissects the description given in the Gospel of Luke to carefully
examine the astonishing events that unfold at Calvary as God incarnate
suffers as
a substitute for sinners.

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 .

There are so many doors to open. I am impatient to begin. – Daniel Keyes,
Flowers for Algernon

When was your last encounter with impatience? Was it this morning as
everyone tried to leave the house on time? Was it at work when a colleague
asked you
to explain the procedure – again? If only your spouse would help around the
house more! If only the kids would fold the laundry the way you taught them!
While impatience is a familiar companion to most of us, it’s not something
that makes us feel good about ourselves.

Today, I have good news: there's a type of impatience that would qualify as
holy. We might even call it “sanctified impatience.” What do I mean?

“There's a type of impatience that would qualify as holy. We might even call
it 'sanctified impatience.'”

TWEET THIS

Holy impatience is displayed when we recognize that someone we care about is
experiencing less of a life than they could experience if they were to grow
in Christ.

For example, perhaps your spouse is struggling with an addiction and it’s no
longer a secret. You’ve talked about it, and you both agree there is an
issue.
Your spouse has promised to get help – if it gets any worse.

Holy impatience cries out inside you, No way! Let’s get help now. There’s a
better life waiting for us. Now is better than later.

It’s a real thing, I promise you. I can even show you where Jesus
experienced sanctified impatience. In the gospel of Luke, a father brings
his demon-possessed
boy to Jesus to be healed. The disciples had tried and were unable.

Jesus’ frustration is unmasked, “How long shall I stay with you and put up
with you?” (9:41).

He was impatient for the boy to be healed and free, and impatient for the
disciples to understand the power available to them through Him. It was a
sanctified
impatience – a “ There's a type of impatience that would qualify as holy. We
might even call it 'sanctified impatience.' ”

So this week we’ll discover how the things that made Jesus impatient then
are the same things that make Him impatient now. Because He is the same
yesterday,
today, and forever, and because He indwells us at the moment of belief, we’ll
sometimes feel impatient too.

Holy Spirit, use this holy impatience to invite others into a rich and
abundant Life in You. Make me brave enough to speak out of this impatience
that
is so deeply rooted in compassion. Amen.

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

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - from Prepare Yourself for Worship
----------------------------------------------------------

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Posted: 07 Apr 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Prepare for Holy Week

Father, prepare my heart and mind for Holy Week.

Help me to
cheer,
rejoice, and
sing praise
as Jesus comes to us triumphantly in the face of death,
proclaiming Himself our Messiah!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Help me share His burning zeal for His Father’s house.
And may He cleanse my heart as well whenever I allow
life’s busy-ness to crowd out prayer.

Open my ears and my heart, Lord,
as Jesus urges us to
pray boldly and
patiently endure the persecution that will surely come.

Infuse my life with the fragrance of love
as a woman models how to
lavishly worship Jesus,
with no thought of self,
holding nothing back.

Humble me and
challenge my concept of ministry
as our Master takes on Himself
the lowest,
most menial,
most irksome service to His disciples.

Then, Father, help me watch with new eyes
as Your only Son
sweats blood in the garden,
silently endures brutal injustice, and
dies willingly under indescribable torture.
Impress Your love in a fresh way on
my mind and
my heart.
Make me ready once again to
receive it and to
pour it out on others.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 11:29 pm

Does it Represent Your Sin?

So they took Jesus, and he went out. - John 19:16-17

He had spent the night in agony, and in the early morning He was hurried
from the hall of Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod
back
again to Pilate. Consequently his strength was almost gone, but He was
granted neither food nor rest. They were eager for His blood and therefore
led Him
out to die, burdened with the cross. At this sad procession the women wept,
and my soul weeps in turn.

What do we learn here as we see our blessed Lord led forth? Do we not
perceive the truth, which was
foreshadowed in the scapegoat? Remember how the high priest brought the
scapegoat and put both his hands upon its head, confessing the sins of the
people,
so that those sins might be transferred from the people and laid upon the
goat. Then the goat was led away into the wilderness, and it carried away
the
sins of the people, so that if they looked for them they could not be found.

Now we see Jesus brought before the priests and rulers, who pronounce Him
guilty. God Himself imputes our sins to Him: "the Lord has laid on him the
iniquity
of us all";1 "He made him to be sin."2 And as the substitute for our guilt,
bearing our sin upon His shoulders, represented by the cross, we see the
great
Scapegoat led away by the appointed officers of justice.

Beloved, can you feel assured that He carried your sin? As you look at the
cross upon His shoulders, does it represent
your sin? There is one way by which you can tell whether He carried your sin
or not. Have you laid your hand upon His head, confessed your sin, and
trusted
in Him? Then your sin no longer lies on you; it has all been transferred by
blessed imputation to Christ, and He bears it on His shoulder as a load
heavier
than the cross.

Do not allow this picture to disappear until you have rejoiced in your own
deliverance and bowed in adoring wonder before the Redeemer upon whom your
iniquities
were laid.

1) Isaiah 53:6
2) 2 Corinthians 5:21

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Leviticus 6

verse 2 Psalms 5 , 6

Capturing God

A family photograph taken in a familiar and endeared setting often captures
the essence of all that a family represents. If we sought to capture a
single
image of God, what would that image be? What would it look like? Author Rico
Tice takes us to the cross of Christ to view the single most
insightful image of God
. Here we find one extraordinary picture of God: unfathomable love,
unconditional forgiveness, and the depth of His longing to save His
children. Rico
Tice dissects the description given in the Gospel of Luke to carefully
examine the astonishing events that unfold at Calvary as God incarnate
suffers as
a substitute for sinners.

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


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Fruitful Living
----------------------------------------------------------

Fruitful Living

Posted: 22 Feb 2017 09:55 PM PST

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 7:15-20; 12:33-35; John 15:9-17

Our Father is like any other vinedresser: he wants fruit from His vine. What
fruit does God want from you?

As you live in the Vine, Jesus Christ, His Spirit lives in you. As you are
led by the Spirit of Christ, you think and speak and live like Christ. You
bear
the same fruit that the Father prized so highly from Jesus Christ.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).

Read Matthew 7:15-20 and 12:33-35. A good tree produces good fruit. As you
remain as a branch in Jesus Christ, His Spirit will grow His character in
your
life.

Notice what is listed first among the fruits of the Spirit of Christ: The
fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22, NASB). As Jesus taught His
disciples
for the final time before His crucifixion, notice what He repeatedly
emphasized:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have
loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that
you
are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35, NASB)

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you
(John 15:12, NASB)

This I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17, NASB).

The Spirit of Christ unites us with the Father, Son, and Spirit. We grow to
breathe the love and unity that makes them one. We love as the Father loves
the Son. We love as the Son loves the Father and freely, joyfully,
completely submits to Him.

As we share life and love with the Father, Son, and Spirit, we grow to love
as they love. I am finding this true in my own experience. I feel
disinclined
to talk badly about a person my Father loves. As I love Him, how can I not
love someone who is so dear to Him? By my words or deeds, how can I hurt one
about whom He cares so deeply?

This love, the love of Christ, is one of the precious fruits that grow in us
as we abide in the Vine.

The God Who Actually Does Know What You’re Going Through
by Stephen Altrogge

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That
way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have
their
shoes. – Jack Handey

My friend Adam is a wise guy. Not in a, “A rabbi, a priest, and a vegan walk
into a bar” sort of way, but in a Proverbs, real life street wisdom sort of
way. He is a residence director at our local university, which means he
works with college students every day. He deals with students in trouble,
students
in the dumps, students on academic probation, students on drugs, students
who have been assaulted, and students who are on the verge of dropping out
of
college. In other words, he deals with kids who are pretty vulnerable. Kids
who have really been slapped around by life.

When interacting with vulnerable kids Adam could easily resort to saying, “I
know what you’re going through.” After all, that’s what we say when someone
is in a tough spot. We try to relate their experience to our experience. We
try to sympathize with them. To comfort them out of our own experience. To
let them know they’re not alone. To make them feel loved. And that impulse
to comfort others is a good impulse. But Adam doesn’t always do that. Why?
Because
he knows that in most cases he doesn’t really know what a person is going
through. He may be able to relate to some circumstances, but he can’t really
know what a person is going through. That is wisdom.

The reality is, when someone is suffering we don’t know what they’re going
through. Even if we have experienced similar circumstances as a person who
is
suffering we don’t process the world the way they do. And we don’t have the
same personal history, biological makeup, or support system. When someone is
going through the meat grinder we can only know a tiny portion of what they
are really experiencing.

Our limited ability to know the suffering of others is what makes 2
Corinthians 7:6 so precious. It says, “But God, who comforts the downcast….”

Jesus knows us fully. He knows our strengths and weaknesses, our family
history, our biological makeup, our worldview. He knows every nook and
cranny of
us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And he also knows suffering
on an intense, personal level. Jesus’ knowledge of suffering is not
abstract,
ivory tower, textbook knowledge. Jesus was a man of sorrows. He was mocked,
betrayed, and humiliated. As he hung on the cross he was cut off from the
Father.
Jesus knew excruciating, overwhelming, crushing sorrow.

The combination of Jesus’ omniscience and personal experience with deep
suffering perfectly equip him to comfort us in our own suffering. He really
does
know what we’re going through, and he is ready to comfort us when we are
downcast. He doesn’t leave us to muddle and slog through suffering on our
own.
He doesn’t tell us to suck it up, buck up, and get up. He meets us in our
downcast state and pours out grace upon us.

Suffering tempts us to withdraw from God when in reality we should press
hard into God. Are you downcast? Are you suffering? Do you feel like you’ve
been
chewed up and spit out? Do you feel like butter scraped over too much bread?
Draw near to the God who comforts the downcast. Draw near to the God who
knows
you exactly and knows exactly what you need. Draw near in your weakness and
weariness and ready-to-call-it-quits-ness.

God has a special place in his heart for the downcast. Move toward that
place.

Stephen Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church
. Find out more at
The Blazing Center .
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 7:09 pm

Grace is Greater
KYLE IDLEMAN
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God.”
Hebrews 12:15
a (NIV)

How difficult is it to push a button on the dishwasher? My vote is “not
very,” but that isn’t the point. What made the whole thing ironic is that I
was
in the middle of writing a sermon on “happiness.” Let me explain ...

My wife and I were staying at a condo we’d rented in Florida. We had to
check out by 10 a.m. on Friday. Before checkout the renter is asked to do a
few
things: strip the sheets off the bed, put all the towels in the hallway,
take out the trash, then load and start the dishwasher. My wife assigned me
dishwasher
duty. At about 10:05, an older man and a couple of women walked into the
condo, spotted me, and said, “Ummm, we are here to clean. You were supposed
to
be out of here by 10.”

I apologized, thanked them and told them we were headed out the door. We
grabbed our stuff and made our way down to the car. Just before we reached
it,
the guy came out of our room and yelled down to us in the parking lot, “Hey!
Thanks a lot for starting the dishwasher. There’s only a few things you’re
asked to do and you couldn’t bring yourself to push the
button?”

I’d just finished writing a sermon explaining that because we have God, our
circumstances don’t have to rob us of joy. So, you might think I would
respond
humbly.

Instead, I thought, Oh, you want to overreact and get sarcastic? I can speak
that language. I yelled up at him, “I’m so sorry you had to push that
button.
I’m sure that had to be exhausting,” and then laughed condescendingly. He
yelled back at me, with a few more choice words, and I yelled back at him.

The last thing I heard is him calling me “a worthless .” I got in the car
and slammed the door. I sat there steaming about how I’d been disrespected.

My wife said, “Let’s just go.” Instead of listening, I said, “Oh, no. That
man needs to hear some hard truth.” I got out of the car, and then heard my
wife tell me, “Say a quick prayer on your way up.”

I headed up the stairs to confront Mr. “Can’t push the button on the
dishwasher in the condo but has plenty of energy to yell at me from the
third-floor
balcony.” After the first flight of stairs, I felt convicted and
embarrassed. By the second floor I was telling God I was sorry, and almost
immediately
it was impressed upon me that I needed to apologize and give the man a tip
for his extra work. I opened my wallet, to realize I only had a single bill
-- which was more than I intended to give him. I thought,
Well, apparently giving the man a tip is not what God wants me to do.

I walked into the condo, and he started yelling again. I sensed a voice
inside me saying,
One more round!

Even though I didn’t feel like it, I said, “I want to apologize. I’m sure it’s
frustrating to come in and clean up after someone who doesn’t do the little
things. I’m sorry. I want to give this to you for the extra work you have to
do and as a way to say thank you.” I held out the money. Almost immediately
his eyes welled up with tears. He said, “Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” and
began to apologize. Now my eyes were filled with tears. I think we both
wanted
to hug it out, but instead we just shook hands.

I walked back down the steps, not feeling proud of that moment, but instead
brokenhearted it had reached the point it did. I asked myself, How many
similar
moments had I forgotten about the wisdom from
Hebrews 12:15
, and missed God’s grace because of my pride?

I wondered: How many times had God wanted me to show grace and humility but
I was too arrogant and self-righteous? I sat down in the car, teary-eyed. My
wife asked, “What happened?” I told her. She patted me on the leg and said
with a smile, “Oh, it’s so cute. You’re growing up.”

It was her playful way of letting me know she was proud of me, but the truth
is, when it comes to extending grace over the little things, I should’ve
grown
up a long time ago.

Maybe you’ve heard countless sermons about grace. Or even read books about
grace. But my prayer is that you’ll see this word again for the first time.
I tend to think grace is best and most fully understood not by way of
explanation alone, but through experience. Otherwise, it really doesn’t have
much
effect.

I’ve sat through several seminary classes on the subject of grace. I’ve
memorized
Bible
verses that describe grace. But what’s taught me the most? My own story and
the stories of others who’ve fully experienced grace.

It’s my prayer you won’t miss grace, but rather will powerfully experience
the grace effect in your life -- and no matter what you have done, no matter
what has been done to you, you will personally experience the truth that
grace is
greater.

Lord, I am amazed by Your grace in my life. Help me see, understand and be
overwhelmed by Your grace again, as I was the first time. Help me to not
simply
comprehend Your grace, but live it and give it to others. Enable me even
today to extend grace to those around me at work, school, home or church,
throughout
my community. Lord, Your grace is greater than my hurts, mistakes and
circumstances. I am grateful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Thessalonians 5:28
, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Bestselling author and pastor Kyle Idleman wants everyone to experience the
grace of God. Through the powerful medium of story,
Grace Is Greater leads readers past their hang-ups toward an understanding
of grace that’s bigger than our mistakes, our failures, our desire for
revenge
and our seemingly impossible situations. No sin is so great, no bitterness
so deep that God's grace cannot transform the heart and rewrite the story.
Available
now at
LifeWay , Christianbook.com , Barnes & Noble , Amazon
and others.

CONNECT:
Kyle has a special video message for Encouragement for Today
readers, here.

Connect with Kyle and learn more at GraceIsGreaterBook.com .

Enter to WIN a copy of Grace Is Greater by Kyle Idleman. In celebration of
this book, Kyle's publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by
leaving a comment here
. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by
Monday, March 6.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In your life, around what hurt or mistake or circumstance do you need to
declare: Grace is greater? With that in mind, how will you look past your
pain
and give grace?

(c) 2017 by Kyle Idleman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Baker Publishing Group for their sponsorship
of today's devotion.

Resolve Your Resentment
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive
my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I
tell
you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" Matthew 18:21-22.
No matter what others do to us and how bad and hurtful those things may be-
- in the long run failing to forgive hurts us more than it hurts the other
person.
It's like "drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."
Reconciliation with loved ones should be our goal but that isn't always
possible because that takes both parties.
Forgiveness, however, is only dependent on one party.
Forgiving a person doesn't mean we allow him or her to continue to hurt us,
and we may need to distance ourselves from them if they insist on being
hurtful.

But it is essential for our own well-being that we forgive any and all who
have ever hurt us, and leave the door open should they ever desire
reconciliation.

This is much more likely to happen if we graciously forgive them for what
they have done to us and ask for their forgiveness for any hurtful words or
actions
we may have said or done to them in return.
To forgive, it is imperative that we resolve our hurt and angry feelings
first, as these are the emotions that block our forgiving.
The resentment we carry in our heart is our problem—and that's always
self-destructive.
What someone has done is his issue.
What you have done and are still doing by failing to forgive—is your issue.
And that's what you need to resolve if you are going to regain a warm loving
relationship with others and with God.
Not easy, I know, but it is essential.
If you don't know how to resolve your resentment-
I encourage you to seek the help of a qualified Christian counselor who can
guide you through the steps to resolution so that you can truly forgive your
sister and put your relationship to God back in harmony.
Also, try not to beat yourself up because of your negative feelings.
We all experience situations that hurt and make us angry.
But we can resolve our feelings.
"Thank you, God, that no matter how I feel you are always with me and that
you know, understand, and care. Please help me to find the help I need so I
can resolve my hurt and resentment and freely forgive any and all who have
ever hurt me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus'
Name, Amen."

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Facing the Cup"
April 3, 2017
And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly ... (Luke 22:44a).
Read Luke 22:39-46
After the Last Supper we read, "He came out and went, as was His custom, to
the Mount of Olives." Judas knew that custom well. He knew where he could
lead
the temple police to arrest Jesus. By choosing this place and not a location
unknown to Judas, Jesus is already surrendering Himself to His Father's
plan.

Jesus instructs His disciples to pray. He then withdraws from them, kneels
down and prays, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me." This
cup is God's furious wrath at all our sins. Drinking down that punishment
will be bitter and deadly. But Jesus submits Himself to His Father's grand
design:
"Not My will, but Yours, be done."

The Father sends an angel to strengthen Jesus' body. He did the same after
Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan. This angel
strengthens
and renews Jesus' human mind and body to fully face the horror of the wrath
of God coming upon Him.

But the struggle is not yet over. Jesus still dreads the cup the Father
holds out for Him. We see the intensity of Jesus' struggle as Luke the
physician
writes, "His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the
ground." Tiny blood vessels under the skin can rupture under extreme stress,
permitting
blood to mingle with the sweat. The struggle lasts for hours before Jesus is
finally at peace. He rises to His feet, ready to drink the cup down to its
dregs.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your bitter sufferings in the garden prepared You
for the fiery trial to come. Give me grace and strength to pray to You in
the
darkest hours of my life, for my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.

Anne Graham Lotz - Changing Your Destiny



Changing Your Destiny
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in
paradise."

Luke 23:43, NIV

Even in the blackness of hate and evil swirling around the Cross, the love
of God broke through like the rays of the sun on a stormy day. That love
shone
down on the two thieves crucified on each side of Jesus. Their agony and
fury boiled over and spewed out in a venom of curses and taunts hurled at
Jesus,
challenging Him to save Himself and them.

But one of the thieves grew quieter and quieter, until finally he rebuked
his partner in crime, “We are punished justly, . . . but this man has done
nothing
wrong.” And then, in one of the most moving conversion scenes in human
history, the thief turned his face toward Jesus and pleaded in humble faith,
“Jesus,
remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus turned his face
toward the thief and promised, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with
me
in paradise.” In the twinkling of an eye, that thief changed his eternal
destiny; he passed from death to life.

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

Accepting the Atonement of the Cross

The apostle Paul wasn't even present at the crucifixion of Christ, yet he
declared that this act was an act of cosmic and supernatural proportions.
This
was a real drama of theological redemption. Here the curse of God's law was
visited on a man who bore the sins of His people. For Paul, the crucifixion
was the pivotal point of all history. Paul was not satisfied to give an
account of the event. While affirming the historicity of the crucifixion,
Paul
added the apostolic interpretation of the meaning of the event. He set forth
propositions about the death of Christ.

The issue before the church is this: Is the apostolic propositional
interpretation of the cross correct or not? Is Paul's view merely a
first-century Jewish
scholar's speculation on the matter, or is it a view inspired by God
Himself?

What difference does it make? This is not a trifling matter or a pedantic
point of Christian doctrine. Here nothing less than salvation is at stake.
To
reject the biblical view of atonement is to reject the atonement itself. To
reject the atonement is to reject Christ. To reject Christ is to perish in
your sin.

Please let us not soften this with an appeasing dance. Let us be clear.
Those teachers in the church who deny that the death of Christ was a
supernatural
act of atonement are simply not Christians. They are enemies of Christ who
trample Jesus underfoot and crucify Him afresh.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Make this declaration: "Heavenly Father, I accept without reservation the
supernatural atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross."

For Further Study

Galatians 6:14 : "But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of
our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to
the world."

John 3:16-17 : "For God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting
life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that
the world through Him might be saved."

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul
is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more
information, please visit
www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343.
(c) R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Foggy Roads and Changing Times - #7863

Zero visibility and I was driving in it. All I could think of was those
disturbing images of fifty vehicles smooshed in some fog-caused pileup.
Thankfully,
I made it. But it is scary driving when you have no idea what's ahead. Which
pretty much describes how a lot of folks feel about the times we're living
in right now. I mean, as Bob Dylan said, "the times, they are a changing."
We're just not sure where all the road's going.

Technologically, we're so empowered by technology, but we're potentially
powerless if it all goes away. Politically, you've got a new President and
that
makes it hard to predict where the road's going to end up. Culturally, well
we've got this "anything goes" world that has taken us into unmapped
territory.
Internationally, our enemies are flexing their muscles and they're flaunting
their missiles.

And then there are the personal blows. Like the moment last spring when the
love of my life was suddenly in eternity. I've driven every mile of my adult
life with one person. Suddenly, she was gone. But, look, I'm not alone in
this kind of stuff. Many of us have experienced how quickly the road can
disappear
in the fog. One doctor's visit. One drunk driver. One announcement from the
boss. One call from the police. One impulse in your brain. One "it's over"
from someone you love.

With so much changing, with so much that can change at any moment, security
is elusive unless we prioritize the truly important things that the fog and
the storm can't touch.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Foggy
Roads and Changing Times."

What are some of those things that fog can't touch? Well, first of all,
guarding your island of sanity. My wife and I concluded a long time ago that
while
our world was beyond our control, our home was up to us. It was our job to
guard it as the one safe place for us and our children - our island of
sanity
in a crazy world.

The Bible praises the woman who is "clothed with strength and dignity" and
who can "laugh without fear of the future...she carefully watches everything
in her household" (Proverbs 31:25, 27). And Proverbs 14 affirms that "he who
fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a
refuge"
(Proverbs 14:26).

Minimizing conflict, listening well, sharing real feelings, having clear and
fair boundaries, loving in each other's language, living what you believe.
See, that's what we can protect, whatever the "weather." It's our "safe
room."

And then going by God's GPS is another important priority. There's one place
that I can see no matter how dense the fog. That's in the presence of the
God who rules it all. Listening to God in the early moments of the day
through the "Love Letter" (the Bible) that He wrote to us. It's the one
place that's
always calm, always safe, where the light's always shining.

When I can't see where I'm going - and I've had plenty of those moments like
that in the past year believe me. That's when our word for today from the
Word of God kicks in. Psalm 119:105, "Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path." The harder it is to spend that time, the more I
need
it. I get lost if I don't. I can see my way through the fog when I start my
day asking God to show me what He sees.

And then there's handing out hope. "Those who refresh others will themselves
be refreshed" the Bible says (Proverbs 11:25). My Karen, she was so that
person.
She told me it was because she'd laid claim to the promise that "the joy of
the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). She just laid anchor in God's
joy,
no matter the hurts, no matter the medical challenges. Nothing that happens
in Washington, Moscow, Beijing, on Wall Street or at work can stop you from
handing out hope!

And then, boy, here's an anchor - staying close to the Shepherd. Right now
I'm looking at my favorite picture of Jesus. He's the Good Shepherd, guiding
His sheep, cuddling this little lamb in His arms. That lamb is me. Through
my darkest night, my fiercest storm, I've been safe. If I stay close to the
Shepherd, the Bible says, "even when I walk through the darkest valley, I
will not be afraid for You are close to me" (Psalm 23:4).

I may not be able to see what's ahead, but I'm not driving anyway. He's
carrying me.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 05 Apr 2017, 10:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 25, 2017
Lake-Effect Snow
By Answers2Prayer

I had a problem this morning.

I needed to pick my son up from the airport; but when I looked out the
window, it was a winter wonderland. It wasn't snowing hard, but the plows
regularly
going up and down my street spoke truth to my mind: The roads were covered
in snow.

It was too late to make other arrangements for my son however, as he was
already en route from Edmonton. As I dutifully got into the car, I whispered
a
prayer for protection as I ventured out onto the road.

It was slow going, as there was hardly any evidence the road was actually
under my car. I repeatedly thanked God that He had impressed me to leave 30
minutes
early; and at the same time, I kicked myself for not having left even
earlier than that.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when the snow had stopped falling by the time I
had driven 10 kilometers, and when I had gone 20 kilometers, the roads were
completely free of snow. It had been nothing more than local lake-effect
snow.

Having grown up in a place where snow wasn't a part of life, this phenomenon
of lake-effect snow is still a mystery to me. Oh, I know the science behind
it. Cold air masses move over the warmer waters of the great lakes, which
heat up the bottom layer of air. This causes lake moisture to evaporate into
the colder air, where it condenses, forms clouds, and sends heavy snow over
a local area. Nonetheless, I continue to be amazed at how it can be snowing
so heavily in one area, and just a few kilometers down the road, nary a
flake can be found. And unless you are listening to the radio (which I
wasn't at
3:30 am), how could you know that the snow was only a local squall? The view
from the car window won't tell us that, and neither will our fingers, still
frozen from cleaning the mess off of our cold vehicles!

It all reminds me of problems in life. From our perspective, they are huge,
overwhelming and dominating forces that overtake us, burying us in their
ferocity.
From God's perspective, however, they are nothing more than local snow
squalls. So often we ask God why He has allowed this phenomenal storm that
just
won't seem to go away. From His perspective, however, He knows it is nothing
more "lake effect snow".

Isn't it written in His Word that He sees the end from the beginning?
"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am
God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And
from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will
be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'"
(Isaiah 46:9-10 NASB).

And doesn't His Word also say that He will supply all our needs? "And my God
will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ
Jesus."
(Phil. 4:19 NASB).

Notice this doesn't say we won't go through bad times; nor does it say God
won't give us more than we can handle. It simply says He will supply all of
our needs. Jesus gives us great advice for these situations: "But seek first
His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to
you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day
has enough trouble of its own."
(Matt. 6:33-34 NASB).

What this means is that if we focus on God, if we rely on Him for
everything, He will come through for us, no matter how big the "snow squall"
might be.
In other words, to God, everything we are going through is nothing more than
localized "lake effect snow", snow that does
not go on forever, snow that He will give us the strength to get through.

What kind of "snow" is falling in your life right now? Whatever it may be,
just remember, it is "lake effect snow" in God's eyes. Don't try to weather
it on your own. Give it to Him, draw from His strength, and be prepared for
the snow to eventually stop falling and the road to eventually clear.

Oh, and we had no further difficulties with snow on the road...until we were
once again back home...

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Just what do the Biblical Sages teach, anyway? Please join us next week for
"What do the Sages Teach?" -- A Mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan.

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

Dead and Buried

BIBLE MEDITATION:
And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to
the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:4

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
One of the grandest blessings in the entire Bible is often missed by
believers. It is the burial of Jesus Christ! That’s right! The burial of
Jesus is
a blessing to you. Because not only have we died with Him, we have been
buried with Him.

When Jewish people died in Bible times, they were immediately embalmed with
special oils and wrapped in linen. The body was hidden and buried in a tomb.
That is what Jesus has done with our old body of sin.

Not only have we been crucified with Christ, we have been buried with
Christ. Why the emphasis? So that you will not be haunted by the ghost of
guilt.
Your old life is not just dead, it’s buried!

ACTION POINT:
The devil will try to remind you what you were. Don’t let him. Don’t go
prowling around in the dead bones of your old life. It is gone by the grace
of God!

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Crumbling Rock"
April 2, 2017
(Jesus said) "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he
might sift you like wheat" (Luke 22:31).

Read Luke 22:31-34
Jesus predicted Judas' betrayal. Now He turns to Peter, whose name means
rock. But this time Jesus doesn't call him "Peter"; instead, He repeats his
name,
"Simon, Simon," to show His deep concern.

Jesus draws back the spiritual curtain to expose the devil, who stands
behind all that Jesus will soon suffer: Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial, the
murderous
vote of the Jewish leaders, the cowardice of the Roman governor, and the
cruelty of the Roman soldiers. In Peter's case Satan demanded that God hand
him
over to be crushed and sifted. But where Satan demands, Jesus prays. He
tells Peter "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail."

Peter's faith will be sorely tried in the hours to come, but Jesus makes a
bold and comforting prophesy, "When you have turned again, strengthen your
brothers."
Peter's pride and self-confidence will be crushed and sifted like wheat, but
the Holy Spirit will safeguard his faith to keep it from failing.

Jesus speaks of the future; Simon speaks of the present. He is proud and
confident that he will not fail. He is ready to go with Jesus to prison or
even
to death. So Jesus explicitly predicts his coming denials: "I tell you,
Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that
you
know Me."

The Son of God's prophetic word trumps Peter's confident self-assurance. But
it will take the rooster's crow and a telling look from Jesus to convince
Peter of that fact-and to recall him to repentance, the first step to
forgiveness and restoration.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, like Peter sometimes I'm confident in my strength
and abilities. At other times I'm utterly defeated. Forgive my sins and fill
me with Your Spirit, that I may walk in Your great strength. Amen.
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Deuteronomy 26-27; Luke 7:1-30
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 03 Apr 2017, 10:11 pm

God Provides

1 Kings 17:15-16 (NCV)
15 So the woman went home and did what Elijah told her to do. And the woman
and her son and Elijah had enough food every day. 16 The jar of flour and
the jug of oil were never empty, just as the Lord, through Elijah, had
promised.

God had sent Elijah out into the country where he was brought food by
ravens. Elijah also drank from a brook. This was the time of a drought which
God had sent on the land. When the brook finally dried up God sent him away
to a place where this widow lived. Elijah needed food and water but he didn’t
know the widow and her son needed food. They had only enough flour and oil
to make enough bread for them for one meal. Elijah told her to make him some
bread first.
Because she was willing to give what she had, she was blessed with enough
flour and oil to live on the rest of her life.
Because she was willing to give, God provided for her and her son their
daily bread.

2 Kings 4:1-7 (NCV)
1 The wife of a man from the groups of prophets said to Elisha, “Your
servant, my husband, is dead. You know he
honored the Lord. But now the man he owes money to is coming to take my two
boys as his slaves!” 2 Elisha answered, “How can I help you? Tell me, what
do you have in your house?” The woman said, “I don’t have anything there
except a pot of oil.” 3 Then Elisha said, “Go and get empty jars from all
your neighbors. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go into your house and shut
the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and set the
full ones aside.” 5 So she left
Elisha and shut the door behind her and her sons. As they brought the jars
to her, she poured out the oil. 6 When the jars were all full, she said to
her son, “Bring me another jar.” But he said, “There are no more jars.” Then
the oil stopped
flowing. 7 She went and told Elisha. And the prophet said to her, “Go, sell
the oil and pay what you owe. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

Here we have another widow who has no one to take care of her. Her husband
was dead and she couldn’t pay her bills. She was obedient to do what Elisha
told her even though she probably wondered what was going to happen. All she
had was a pot of oil. Elisha told them to gather all the jars they could and
then go inside in private. This was not to be a
public spectacle. The amount the Lord provided depended on the work the
family did finding jars.

In both cases God provided enough for the people to live on. Both of these
miracles were done in private and were not. meant to be something showy.
None of these families were made rich but were given enough for the moment

Once I heard someone say, “God can move mountains but you must bring your
shovel.” God can provide for your needs like He did Elijah when he sent the
ravens with food. Most of the time though He blesses you when you do your
part as He did the women above.

Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV)
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we
drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles
seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But
seek first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to
you.

by Dean W. Masters

"Love Your Enemies--Jesus Does!" #84-25

Sermon Text for February 19, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on February 19, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Matthew 5:38-48
Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth
for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if
anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other ....."You have
heard it said also, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But
I
say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that
you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. .....You therefore must be
perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen!

Wow. Have you heard those words before and if you are honest today, you are
probably saying, "Jesus, thanks for the note, but I just don't think this is
going to work in our world today." What's all this perfection talk, this
love your enemies talk? Well, let me give you a glimpse of what Jesus is
talking
about. First, we do need that kind of love today and real love is perfect
love.

Perfection! We see a glimpse of that in the tears, the words, the actions of
a young lady in Iowa for example. In November, 2016, two police officers had
been shot; another act of senseless violence in our world today. Tensions
flared in the community.

But this young lady approached a police officer not with a gun, but with a
bottle of water. She didn't know how else to help. So she made sure the
officer
knew that she was no threat, that she had only come to help, to make sure
that he had water and a word. She told the officer she wanted him to go home
to his family safely that night.

I don't know how a bottle of water will help when people are shooting, but
that's what she gave. Water. In the midst of a story about shootings and
death,
with all the political ramifications, I saw that woman over and over again
in that YouTube video, a weeping woman giving water and a word to a police
officer
who had tears in his eyes as well.

There are so many forces weighing on us today. In fact, Dictionary.com
announced the word of the year for 2016. You ready? Xenophobia; fear; fear
of the
foreigner; fear or hatred of those who are different than yourself.
Xenophobia. Are you afraid? Of them? Increasingly, our society is
categorizing people
and labeling them and us. Lines are drawn. People identify themselves with
positions. If someone else has a different viewpoint or a different idea,
they
are not the same as you and me and such things erode trust, they cause
tension, even fear.

The irony is that we are supposedly living in a world of tolerance. We are
told that we need to be tolerant of all people, yet the tolerance movement
has
actually caused people to put labels on others so that we know who we are
supposed to tolerate.

Whether it be a presidential election or a social issue, people tend to see
things more as us versus them. And those who cry for equality seem to be the
most vocal against those whom they believe aren't seeing equality in the
same way. Xenophobia. Fear.

To make matters worse, we are told that we live in a post-truth world. Now
listen, I'm not trying to get philosophical with you today, but if there are
no certain truths that bind us and if we are all becoming increasingly more
afraid and distrusting, all that's left are feelings, emotions; more us
versus
them, whatever that means.

You see, in a sinful world, a world where we are more prone to do what's
wrong than what's right; in a world where we are more prone to do what is
best
for us no matter what it costs others, distrust is magnified, violence
erupts, we look away from each other rather than to each other as friends
and neighbors.

Something or someone has to break through that fear, risk a relationship
with others who are different, to bring together what may presently be torn
apart.

I remember when we lived in New York City. It was a tough place. People
tended to stare off into the abyss as they rode on the subway. They tended
to look
down as they passed you on the street. Nobody smiled, because a smile might
attract the wrong attention. But, we got to know our neighbors in Grammercy
Park. They became our friends. They stopped by and talked once and a while.
You know why? My wife, Yvette, had me go to the Home Depot in New Jersey and
buy flowers and plants to put in our flower pots on our front patio. She
would be out there every day watering the flowers, pruning them, even
handing
out some flowers to others now and again. And you know what, people starting
coming by for a visit, just to say hi to her, to say hi to us. She risked
it, and bridges were created, friendships were made. In fact, my daughter
returned to New York City this year, 17 years after we lived there. As she
was
standing outside of our old building, a man came out and asked why she was
taking pictures. She first said, "I just loved the building," and then he
said,
"Yeah, it's a beautiful place, but he missed the family that used to live so
there many years ago." He said, "There was this beautiful woman and her
husband,
and they had a cute little girl and a sweet little dog." Devin said, "I was
the girl." And he began to cry. Wow! That's a bridge, that's a possibility
even in this world of fear and mistrust.

That can happen when we love others the way that Jesus loves us. His love is
even more of a love-your-enemies- pray-for-those-who-persecute-you kind of
love. And just so you understand, I don't think Jesus is using us versus
them language when He says, "Love your enemies."

In fact, that is really the opposite of what He is teaching us. Jesus
explains His command by pointing out how God actually loves all the people
of this
world. God doesn't just give rain to those who are His friends. God doesn't
just provide food for those who believe in Him; those who worship Him. God
provides for all people.

Here's another truth that might shock you. All of us, and let me say it
again, all of us have sinned and turned our backs on God. There is nobody
who is
righteous in and of himself or herself. We've all decided to be enemies of
God by doing as we pleased, by trampling on His truth, and loving others
when
it is only convenient for us to do so.

In order to overcome the fear, the guilt, the death of this kind of sinful
life, God had to love His enemies, to do good to those who deserved His
judgment
and wrath. The most simple, yet powerful, statement of that kind of love is
found in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He sent His son, that
whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life."

Enemies loved. Enemies forgiven. Enemies given life they neither earned nor
deserved. Wow, that's God in action for you, for me, my friend.

And we are called to love then in the same way. We are not to determine whom
we love. We are called to love as we are loved, speaking His truth in love,
with gentleness and respect because that's how God in heaven loved you! If
someone is your neighbor, love them. If someone is your friend, love them.
If
someone is your enemy, love them His way.

The word for perfection in Matthew 5 is the Greek word teleios. It can mean
perfect in a moral sense. But more often it means perfect as in complete or
whole. It means something that has reached its goal. When Jesus says that we
are to be perfect just as the Heavenly Father is perfect, we learn that our
completion is found in His love. Just as God the Father loves all people, so
we are to love all people. Even if they are our enemies, even if they don't
love us back. We are to love the same way that God loves us.

Do you remember the woman who gave the water to the policeman? It wasn't the
water I remember. It was her tears. And his. Water to drink, but even more,
water that flowed from love; not for an enemy nor for a friend, just love.
Love looking for a way to express itself.

The two strangers, a woman with water and a policeman who had never met,
embraced and whispered words to each other. She told him she hoped he would
be
safe and wished she could do more. His response? "Your prayers are all we
need."

In the midst of violence and fear, love. In the midst of another bad news
story, water and hugs and prayers. And we are reminded that God has placed
us
here to love. To love with the love that He provides to love as He loves.
Enemy. Friend. Those who help. Those who persecute. Perfection is His love
for
all. Because that's just Who God is.

God provides the rain for all people. Those who believe and those who don't
both receive the rain from the sky from God's hands. God provides the
sunlight
to all people on the earth regardless of their faith in Him or their love
for Him. He provides because He loves all people as their Father. He loves
regardless
of our response to that love.

Can you imagine if God only allowed rain and sun to those who are going to
use His gifts perfectly? Can you imagine if God only provided what people
need
to survive for those who truly appreciate His gifts and promise to use them
properly?

Again, if we are honest, none of us deserve His gifts. Even the most
faithful, the kindest of us all are still selfish in so many ways. We all
use the
gifts God has given us to serve ourselves and not to serve others the way
that God intends.

Yet God still provides and He gives without limits and without
contingencies. He gives the rain upon the righteous and the unrighteous. He
allows the sun
to rise on those who do good and those who are just plain evil. He loves
sinners and saints.

You might not think that's the best idea. You might think God is foolish in
this way that He loves. But Jesus tells us that kind of love is perfection,
that kind of love is the love that will meet its goal and come to a godly,
eternal culmination. God wants you to be a part of that as well.
Jesus loved perfectly. He loved His enemies, and that includes you and me.
During His trial, people lied in order to make Him appear guilty of crimes
He
didn't commit. Jesus loved them. While He was standing trial, Peter, the
leader of Jesus' disciples, denied even knowing who Jesus was. Jesus loved
him.
The leaders of the Jewish people demanded that Jesus should be killed. Jesus
loved them. Pontius Pilate saved his own skin instead of protecting Jesus
even though he knew Jesus was innocent. Jesus loved him. While Jesus was
being nailed to the cross, He loved those even who were killing Him.

And how about all those people who conspired against Jesus? His prayer was
simple, powerful; "Father, forgive them." Jesus didn't just talk about
praying
for those who persecute us. He did it. He didn't wait until they repented.
He didn't wait until they had changed their mind and cleaned up their act.
He
prayed for them even as they were persecuting Him. He prayed for them even
as they were killing Him.

And He loved them. Jesus' death was for them. For all of those who lied and
conspired, all those who denied knowing Him and saved their own skin, all
those
who would rather kill an innocent Man than listen to what He had to say, all
those who treasured their position over the life of another, all those who
hated Him because He taught love; for all of them He died and He rose again.

And His death was the ultimate act of love not just for them, but also for
us. Jesus was innocent. He never sinned. Yet He died for the sins of the
world
then and now; for people then and now.

When we put our faith in Jesus, we not only get to receive that gracious,
eternal love, that new relationship with God now and forever; we also get to
put that love of His to work in our lives; that love-your-enemies kind of
love. But we often are those who love our own way. We love, but then we
still
keep track of those who wrong us. We feel we are justified in making sure
our enemies can't take advantage of us or have opportunity to wrong us
again.
We call it self-defense. We call it being smart.

That's just us being real, right, Pastor? No, that's us missing out on the
power of Christ's love for us now and forever.

If you feel today that you need to get your due, you just might! I'm telling
you that without Jesus, it will be an empty feeling in the end. It won't
accomplish
anything beyond a moment's satisfaction and it will cut you off from the
love that you really need; the love of God in Jesus that was willing to love
you
as you are and pour His love through you to others; giving you not just
satisfaction for the moment but the promise of eternal life and salvation
with
Him forever. Don't sell yourself short today. Receive and give His
love-your-enemies kind of love.

Would the world be a better place if people really listened to Jesus? What
could stop such blessing, such love? Jesus tells us to love our enemies. He
tells us that we should be perfect, just as God is perfect, that we should
be complete and whole. And, in Him, by faith we are, and we can strive to be
that more and more for others in His Name.

Love your enemies. Jesus does! In a world in which xenophobia is the word of
the year, because we're so afraid, Jesus teaches us to love others as He
loves
us. Perfection in Him is love.
In a world that claims that we are beyond the truth and that all that
matters is our feelings; Jesus says, "He's the Way, the Truth, and the
Life," and
He comes to bring a love-your-enemies kind of love; one that can forgive
you, redeem you, and reconcile you to God and to each other!
Put that love to work in your life! Trust Him, serve others in His Name!

Don't ever forget how God in heaven loves you. St. Paul says it straight so
that each one of us gets it as we're listening today. In Romans 5, he says,
"When we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of
His Son." That's about as direct as you can get; but the point of the
passage
is what did God do with His enemies, what did He do for His enemies? In His
grace and His mercy, He loved His enemies. When Jesus died for the sins of
His enemies, He died for you. When Jesus forgave the sins of those who lied
and protected themselves, He forgave you.

Because of that love you can step into this world, water a few plants, cut a
few flowers, strike up a conversation with people who might be different
than
you, maybe foreign to you, maybe even a bit scary at the moment; but in the
power of the love of Christ that animates you, that fills you, and guides
you,
that person just might become not merely a neighbor but a friend for eternal
life. I know this is risky business in this world of fear and division. But
if you are a Christian, you been loved with a love-your-enemies kind of love
in the person and work of Jesus. And you know that Jesus has a purpose in
your life to love others His way this day.

God may let rain fall on the just and the unjust, but through His people, He
wishes to pour out His blessing on all who will believe. Love your enemies.
Jesus does and that's good news indeed. Amen.

Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for February 19, 2017
Guest: Dr. Tony Cook
ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour and this is Action In
Ministry. Pastor Seltz, in today's message you said we're called to love our
enemies
and pray for them; but for many that seems to be an impossible task.

SELTZ: Mark, you're right. Outside of faith in God, in seems like
foolishness, but when you meet the God of the Bible and come to know His
love for you
in Jesus Christ, it all begins to make sense.

ANNOUNCER: I suppose you could say that a lack of knowledge could lead to
doubt; but right now we want to tell you about a free booklet titled, When
in
Doubt, Read the Book.
SELTZ: Read the book.

ANNOUNCER: Dr. Tony Cook is one of our division directors here at Lutheran
Hour Ministries and he's here to share some thoughts with us on that
subject.

SELTZ: Tony, thanks for joining us today.

COOK: Hey, glad to be here.

SELTZ: Tony, so many things can stir up confusion in us and our confusion
often turns to doubt towards God. How can this booklet begin to help
overcome
those kinds of doubts?

COOK: The thing I like about this booklet is that it points the reader back
to God's Word when we're experiencing doubts in our lives. Christianity is
not about what we can do for God in order to be saved; but, instead, it's
about what God has done for us in providing us salvation in Jesus.

ANNOUNCER: What topics does this booklet address?

COOK: There is a number of topics, actually, in the booklet but the one that
it tends to focus on the most is about the impact that salvation has on our
lives.

ANNOUNCER: Okay.

COOK: Now I know that most of us understand that it has impact; the Gospel
has impact on our eternal salvation; but the book points out that it also
has
impact on our daily lives in the here and now. It uses a comparison of the
Bible to an owner's manual, which I don't know if you read those or not...do
you?

SELTZ: I just YouTube it now.

COOK: ...compares it to a YouTube video; but an owner's manual. The owner's
manual helps us understand our lives as they were designed to be by God.
It's
true that there's nothing that we need to do in order to be saved but it's
also true that God has designed us to live in a certain way. Not in order to
become His children but really because we are His children, we are His
creation. So by turning to the Bible we can learn more about God's will for
our
daily lives and also, personally, I'm given strength to live my daily life
before God through the encouragement of Scripture. So, for me, it's not
really
about trying to be a good person, but it's about being faithful. Many times,
when I try to be faithful, I fail. That results in the need for repentance
and ultimately for change.

SELTZ: Right.

ANNOUNCER: You said this booklet points us back toward God's Word as we find
it in the Bible. What difference does it make if we read the Bible and take
it to heart?

COOK: When we explore God's Word, the most amazing thing is that we meet
Jesus there in the pages. Reading God's Word reminds us that because of
Jesus,
that we've been set free and, to me, that is the biggest difference.

SELTZ: Key to it all.

COOK: Exactly. We have been liberated. We've been set free from sin. We've
been set free from death. We've been set free from the devil. We are people
who have been set free to be the people of God. As the Bible tells us, if
Jesus set you free...

SELTZ: ...you are free indeed.

COOK: Exactly. Amen.

SELTZ: There's a lot of hope in that too. Again, that sounds so positive.
Most people have this view of Christianity that it's not a life that we've
been
set free to serve but it's constrained by a lot of dos and don'ts. What
you're saying is that what we get from this book is that foundational
teaching
that God sent His Son in the world not to condemn but to save us. That
empowers us, right? To live our lives.

COOK: Exactly. Exactly.

SELTZ: We need not doubt that.

ANNOUNCER: This is an important and thoughtful booklet. It's very simple to
get. You can download it for free at our website with a click. We'll also
send
you a free copy if you call us. Dr. Tony Cook, thanks again for joining us.

COOK: Thanks for having me.

SELTZ: That's our Action in Ministry segment today; to bless, to empower,
and to strengthen your life in Christ for others.

ANNOUNCER: To read or download this resource, go to lutheranhour.org
and click on Action In Ministry. To request a print copy, call
1-855-john316. That's 1-855-564-6316. Our email address is
info@lhm.org .

LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for February 19, 2017
Topic: Why So Many Interpretations?
ANNOUNCER: We are back once again with Pastor Gregory Seltz responding to
questions from listeners. I'm Mark Eischer. Today's question is, "How can so
many people read the same passage in the Bible and yet get totally different
messages out of it?"

SELTZ: Mark, when you listen to people talk about the Bible, it is true,
people can often make the Bible say just about anything they want it to say.
In
fact, people like to pick and choose passages that tend to suit their needs
and make the Bible support ideas they want to promote.

ANNOUNCER: But you also quote the Bible all the time in order to support
what we teach. You refer to the Bible as our authority. How do we know that
we
are correct in the way we are reading it?

SELTZ: The answer is pretty basic. The answer is Jesus. I am not free to
quote the Bible in any way that I want. I am not free to make the Bible say
whatever
I wished it would say. I am not free to make the Bible support my ideas or
desires. The Bible is God's Word. And we approach it that way and we only
read
it properly when we read it according to His will.

ANNOUNCER: That sounds good. But the next question is how do we know God's
will for how we should read the Bible?

SELTZ: First of all, the Scriptures are the Word of God and then you
approach it that way. They are inspired by God, contain no errors. They are
true and
trustworthy. I believe that fully; there are others who don't; and that
would be a big difference in how we read the Bible. But there are others who
actually
believe the same things and still disagree with some of the things that I
teach and that our church teaches. Let me suggest something that might help
as
we think about this difficult question. Again, the answer to this is Jesus.

ANNOUNCER: Right. You already said that. What do you mean by that?

SELTZ: Without getting too deep into it, Jesus is the way that we read the
Bible. In all of our reading of Scripture, He's the center of our reading.
It
is about Him, and in many and various ways it points to Him. The Bible,
first and foremost, is not a book about you and me. It is not a book about
America.
It is not a book about moral teachings. It ultimately is a book about Jesus.

ANNOUNCER: But when I open the Bible, I read a lot of rules. I see a lot of
stories about people other than Jesus; in fact there are hundreds of pages
in the Bible that don't mention Him at all.

SELTZ: Okay, back to the basics. The Bible is God's book and so all of those
things must have a purpose, again, towards Jesus. It was written through His
inspiration and everything the Bible then points to Jesus. Jesus is God's
revelation of Himself to us. We know God through Christ. One of the best
tests
of how we read the Bible is whether or not our reading and our understanding
ultimately points to Jesus.

ANNOUNCER: And again, what do you mean by that?

SELTZ: I mean that Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the One Who is both God
and man. He is God's Gift to humanity as Savior. That's central. It's the
most
important message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation that God saves
sinners. And the way He saves sinners is through Jesus Christ.

ANNOUNCER: And I would hope most Christians would agree with that basic
idea.
SELTZ: I think you are right. Most Christians would agree with that basic
statement. But a lot of the disagreements come around how we individually
receive
that salvation. Let me suggest a simple yet complex rule to help us
determine how best to read the Bible. The Bible is about God and what He has
done.
It is only secondarily about me and what I must do.

ANNOUNCER: That seems pretty basic. The Bible is called the Holy Bible. It's
God's book. It makes sense that He would be the primary subject.

SELTZ: Exactly. And because He is God, He alone is the One Who can save. I
sin. God saves. I can't save. And that's exactly what God does in Jesus. He
saves me without any effort on my part. He saves me and then only in Him do
I live for others.

ANNOUNCER: But aren't there a lot of rules we should also follow?

SELTZ: That's what I was talking about. We live in Him for others. The
saving is already done. There are a lot of portions of the Bible that talk
about
rules and commandments. Those things show me my need for a Savior; but even
those sections are ultimately pointing me to Jesus. He is the One Who
followed
God's rules when I couldn't. He is the One Who fulfilled God's commands when
I couldn't. He is the only One Who is perfect. I am the one who breaks
commandments
and needs a Savior. And so God has saved me and the rules and commandments
teach me my need for that; but then in Him, only in Him, do I suddenly
realize
how to live for others.

ANNOUNCER: So, that guides us as we read the Bible.

SELTZ: In that spirit I say, read on!

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran
Hour Ministries.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Apr 2017, 10:23 pm

The Scars are All Part of a Beautiful Story
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

If you've ever been wounded, or have felt like you needed to hide the scars
away from painful times in life, know that you're not alone. Even Jesus
faced
great insults, wounds, and pain more than we could ever imagine. And He
carried His scars right back into that little room where He met his
disciples after
the Resurrection. Sometimes I've wondered why He didn't choose to let the
scars fade away. He'd gained victory over death. He'd made all things new.
Yet
He still had scars in his hands, His side. (Read the whole story here in
John 20:19-29 )

Maybe He knew we'd need to be reminded of this truth throughout our own
lives: His scars, and ours too, are all part of His beautiful story at work.

He redeems.

He heals.

He sets free.

He restores.

He gives great purpose even through seasons of brokenness and grief.

And the scars are left there to prove it.

We have victory through Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Don't ever doubt, He knows your way, He understands your pain. He promises
to use your every scar and broken place to share his message of hope to a
world
that needs healing and grace.

Peace to you today.

You are held by a Mighty God, and He has good still in store...

Intersecting Faith & Life: Remember today: The scars are all part of your
beautiful story. Don’t hide them away. For they are the evidence that God
heals
and redeems. Choose to thank Him for every scar and painful experience that
has allowed you to see His greater power and work shining through.

Further Reading:
John 20:19-29
Galatians 6:17-18
Isaiah 53:3-5

Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com


We Are To Be Distinct
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even
the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more
are
you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you
are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:46-48.
I love what C.S. Lewis said about loving your enemies.
He says, Do not waste your time bothering with whether you love your
neighbour.
Act as if you did.
As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets – when we are
behaving as if we love someone, we will presently come to love them.
In other words, this kind of love has nothing to do with feelings, has
nothing to do with liking.
It has everything to do with ‘action.’
Then, amazingly, our feelings begin to be about love.
But even more Jesus wants the Christian life to be distinct.
He wants us to be different from the world.
He goes on to say, So if you only love those who love you, how are you
different from anybody else?
If you're reading this and you are a conservative Christian and only love
those who are conservative Christians like you, how are you different from
anybody
else on earth?
If you are a liberal Christian and you despise conservative Christians, how
are you different from anybody else?
There's nothing distinct in your life when you only love who you consider to
be lovable!
Hey, the Mafia loves their families!
They are loyal to their friends!
If we just love our family and friends that are part of our little world
that we live in-
- we are not getting it as followers of Christ.
We are to be distinct.
We are to be radically different in our approach to those who do not think
like we do, who do not live like we do, who sometimes bring great harm to us
and great harm to society as a whole.
Jesus wants us to be radically different because when we are, it's amazing
how God can use our lives to get the attention of those who are hostile to
us
and to the faith.
Radical Christian Living radically changes the world.
Posted by: Lenten Lessons

Three Questions to Ask of Any Bible Passage
By Rick Warren

“Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want
your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him” (1 Samuel 15:22
b CEV).

If you aren’t experienced in applying God’s Word to your life, you might be
frustrated. How do you do it? Today I want to give you three questions you
can ask of any passage that will help you apply the Bible to your life. Here
are the three questions:

1. What did this Scripture mean when it was written?

2. What is the timeless truth behind what God is saying?

3. How does it apply now to me?

We call this the “application bridge.” We’re building a bridge between the
world of the Bible and our world. Let’s try to build this bridge when
applying
what Paul tells us in
1 Corinthians 8
about eating the food sacrificed to idols. Read
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
, and then ask yourself the questions above.

1. What did this Scripture mean when it was written? There were people in
the church of Corinth who knew that idols meant nothing and that the food
offered
to them had no magic power. It was just hamburger or a good steak. There was
no harm in eating it because the idols to which they were sacrificed weren’t
real. So this group would eat freely but with no regard to what other people
might think. Yet there were also new believers who were offended by that
practice.
They didn’t think that believers should eat food sacrificed to gods of other
religions. Paul tells the mature believers not to allow their freedom in
Christ
to offend their brothers.

2. What is the timeless truth behind what God is saying? Don’t use your
freedom in Christ to offend others. Freedom must be used in love.

3. How does it apply to me now? It’s not very common to come into contact
with food being offered to idols where I live in Southern California. I’m
guessing
it doesn’t happen in your area, either. So does that mean it’s irrelevant
for us? Of course not! If the timeless truth is: “Don’t use your freedom to
offend
others; freedom must be used in love,” then I need to be sensitive to people
around me, because that’s how we demonstrate love. Ask yourself, “Lord, am
I doing anything out of selfishness, arrogance, or deliberate insensitivity
to other people that could be causing a fellow brother or sister to stumble?
Am I being puffed up by my own knowledge of freedom, or am I building up
others in love?”

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

• Think of a deeply familiar Bible story. When you re-read the passage and
use the three questions above, what new truths or applications do you
discover
about the story?
• Do you believe that God intended for you to use the Bible as a guide for
life? Do you believe that its truths are timeless, that the messages and
applications
are still relevant today?
• How can you show what you believe through your actions?
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !


Weep for His Pain

With his stripes we are healed. - Isaiah 53:5

Pilate delivered our Lord to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most
dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp
bones
were intertwined among the sinews, so that every time the lash came down,
these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration and tore off the flesh
from
the bone. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He
had been beaten before; but this from the Roman soldiers was probably the
most severe of His flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over His
poor, stricken body.

Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears as He stands before
you, the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for
innocence
and red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure
and blessed healing that His stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart
melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus,
surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our hearts.

See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty's hands,
And spit in their Creator's face.

With thorns His temples gor'd and gash'd
Send streams of blood from every part;
His back's with knotted scourges lash'd.
But sharper scourges tear His heart.

We may long to go to our bedrooms and weep; but since our business calls us
away, we will first ask the Lord Jesus to print the image of His bleeding
self
upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return
to commune with Him and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dearly.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Leviticus 2 , 3

verse 2 John 21

The Christian in Complete Armour, Volume 1

Arguably the most significant spiritual and biblical theology ever penned
from the English Puritan era, the presentation of William Gurnall's
(1616-1679)

The Christian in Complete Armour in an accessible, single volume is
certainly a landmark, and much welcomed, event. According to the Apostle
Paul, the
world is at war. Not a "hot war" but a war in the realm of the spirit. This
war, Paul warns, requires special armament, and he explains that armament in
Ephesians 6
. Anglican cleric Gurnall began to explore Paul's exhortation in sermons and
lectures, which he published under the title
The Christian in Complete Armor. A perennial best-seller in Gurnall's own
lifetime, these teachings became his legacy, influencing well over three
centuries
of Christians and eliciting praise from the likes of Richard Baxter, John
Flavel, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards and have been
abridged
and modernized using more easily understood language.
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 - Praise Defeats the Enemy
View this email in your browser

Praise Defeats the Enemy
I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will
praise You.

Psalm 22:22, NKJV

One way to drive Satan to distraction, and to overcome him, is through
praise of Jesus. Regardless of whether the enemy is a visible foe in front
of us
like the Scribes and Pharisees or an invisible foe outside of us like the
devil himself or an invisible foe inside of us like depression, praise
drives
the enemy away. In the very prophecy that describes Jesus’ inmost thoughts
and feelings as He hung on the cross, tortured, bleeding, and dying, the
psalmist
declared, “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises . . .” of Your people
(Ps. 22:3, NKJV). In other words, He is enthroned-He rules in power,
authority,
and supremacy-through our praise.

In some supernatural way, praise ushers the authority of God into any given
situation. One practical way to maintain your praise is, every time you
pray,
to begin your prayer with praise. First praise Him for Who He is. Then
praise Him for something He has done for you. Start now!

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


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - In the Light of the Cross
----------------------------------------------------------

In the Light of the Cross

Posted: 27 Mar 2017 09:55 PM PDT

I have been crucified with Christ
and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.

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 2:20; 6:14; NIV)

Merciful Father,
flood my heart and mind every moment
with the full truth about Jesus Christ:
His life,
His death,
His resurrection, and
the completeness of His salvation.

Let me live in the blazing light of
all He is and all He has done
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 31 Mar 2017, 5:31 pm

So Be Generous
"Do not judge, so that you won't be judged." Matthew 7:1.
Jesus warned us not to judge one another-
- because the standard we use to judge others will be the same standard used
to judge us.
This doesn't mean we can never say anything when someone else is sinning, or
that we can never engage our minds and Christian convictions when declaring
things we know to be true from God's Word.
Some people like to quote this verse as an excuse to do whatever they want
without being corrected, or as an easy way out of defending a biblical
position.

That way, they can claim the moral high ground while bending to the pressure
of being totally tolerant of others.
That's not what Jesus meant when he warned us not to judge.
He was addressing the wrongful attitude of immediately condemning someone
without hearing all the evidence, of showing no mercy to someone who's done
wrong.

This kind of attitude takes delight in seeing others get what's coming to
them-
- rather than grieving over the pain and loss their sins have generated for
them.
Remember-
God is perfectly fair.
It's his job to judge people's actions and the motives behind them, not
ours.
So we've been duly warned.
If we act as a judge over others, we'll be measured by the same harsh
standards we use to condemn.
So be as generous as you can with your attitude toward others, and God will
respond with grace toward you.

What God Wants Most
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:07 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
What God Wants Most

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
If you asked a Christian brother or sister why God made us, they would
probably say that we were made to serve God. But don’t you believe it. If
God wanted
servants, He could do a lot better than mere mortals.

When the scribes asked Jesus what was the first commandment, He said, “The
first of all the commandments is
, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

The first commandment is not to do something for God, but to love God. He
made you and me in the likeness of His image, that He might have fellowship
with
us and that we would praise Him.

ACTION POINT:
Meditate throughout the day on this wonderful thought: God isn’t asking for
your performance. He wants your love.
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.


Make Your Life Sing
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:08 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
Welcome to the Nugget
February 21, 2017
Make Your Life Sing
By Answers2Prayer
"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long
as I live." (Ps 104:33)

I have always loved to sing. When I was a boy I sang in church, in my room,
and even in my backyard. Growing up I always sang along with the songs on
the
radio. These days I sing in the shower. I sing when I walk my dogs. I sing
when I do the dishes. My wonderful, loving, tech-savvy daughter has even
downloaded
music from the internet and made her old school Dad CDs so I can sing along
with all of my favorite songs.

There is one problem, though. While I love to sing, the sound coming from my
voice never seems to match the sound I hear in my soul. It always comes out
too high, too scratchy, and way too off-key. I have seen people wince when I
sang near them. I have had my dogs join in when I sang too loudly. I once
heard myself sing on tape and wondered how that voice could have possibly
come out of my mouth. I am sure that even my guardian angels have had to
stick
their fingers in their ears many times over the years. I have learned to
sing quietly then unless I am alone. Then I belt out my songs so all of
Heaven
can hear. I am sure God doesn't mind my off-key voice as long as I am
"Making a joyful noise."

Thankfully, there is more than one way to sing in this life. We all can sing
out our love and joy by what we do. We all can share the music within us
with
the lives we lead. We can shine our smiles. We can share our laughter. We
can open our arms for a hug. We can pass on a kiss or a kind word. We can
rescue
a stray dog or cat. We can help the poor and visit the lonely. We nurse the
sick and uplift the fallen We can encourage everyone around us. We can
spread
our joy. We can make our lives a living testament of goodness. We can love
others the way God loves us: unconditionally! Make your life sing then. Sing
well. Sing long. Sing with all the light and love in your soul!

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

You don't care for punishment? What if you knew it was for your own good?
Join us on Tuesday for "
No Pain No Gain
", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only
permitted but encouraged!

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


The Full Armor of God
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:08 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Full Armor of God
----------------------------------------------------------

The Full Armor of God

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 09:55 PM PST

Ephesians 6:10-17

Father, in this evil world we must struggle with evil –
evil that threatens us from outside and tempts us from within.
Whether this evil approaches us subtly or brazenly,
its purpose is always the same.
Jesus said it always comes
to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10, NASB)

When Jesus came into this world,
He came armed with the Spirit of God:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3, 5, NASB)

This same Spirit arms us as well.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Though Jesus was as human as we are,
He overcame evil in this world completely, and
He arms us to overcome it completely as well.
He urges us to be strong in Him and in His power,
not our own.
We must put on the full armor He has provided.

Put on the belt of truth.
Since we are children of Almighty God,
truth and reality are on our side, not Satan’s.
Thus His primary weapon is deceit.
Protect yourself with the truth.
Prepare yourself for battle with the truth.
Know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.

Protect your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
Your ultimate safety in this war is being on God’s side.
A mind, heart, and lifestyle that aren’t right with Him
leave us vulnerable to the attack of evil.

Strap your feet with the gospel of peace.
How can we march forward to do God’s work over rough, uneven ground?
We are prepared and protected by the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the good news of peace in Him.
That wonderful message we bring to others
also keeps us steady.

All the above are static pieces of armor,
fixed to protect various parts of our body.
But make sure you have the shield of faith.
You will need to wield it, to raise it against various
fears, problems, and concerns that Satan will sling your way.
When a concern arises, raise the shield of faith:
“Lord, we are concerned about this need.
We bring it to You and trust You to help us with it.”

How do we protect the most vital part of our bodies, our head?
That is where our thoughts originate, and
the head guides the rest of the body.
So put on the helmet of salvation.
It protects us with the confidence that
God’s salvation has rescued us completely
from sin, evil, and death.
Thus the helmet of salvation is not only protective,
but it is also a decorative helmet of victory.
It reminds us and shows the world that
the battle has already been won.

Finally, we also protect ourselves with
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has already proclaimed our final victory!
All who believe are safe in Him, and
the war against evil will soon be over and won.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NASB).

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Ugly Beneath The Beautiful - #7859

Our friends John and Marie have a lovely family area in their home that they
call the Great Room. And it really is a great room; big fireplace, lots of
comfortable couch and chairs, tastefully decorated. It's just one of those
rooms that people are drawn into like a magnet, and you don't want to leave.
And on the wall near the fireplace, a beautiful painting. That's new. See,
it hasn't always been there...until the wall cracked. Now, they tell me it
was
some kind of water damage, but it has left a really ugly hole in the wall.
But who would know? It's covered up with this lovely painting!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Ugly
Beneath the Beautiful."

Now, it's true that no one can see the ugly spot. It's successfully covered
up by something beautiful. It keeps anyone from knowing about the ugly, but
not even a Rembrandt can repair that damage!

Most of us have some ugly that we would just as soon not have anyone see.
There's ugly stuff in our past, in our heart, in the closets of our life.
The
secrets we don't want anyone to know about-the dark side we try to conceal:
those weaknesses, those failures, the mistakes that betray the wonderful
view
that we portray to the world.

See, we cover the ugly with a great personality, or with religious activity,
or spirituality, with our image, with good things we do. But no matter how
impressive what we hang on the wall is, the damage-the holes inside-they're
still there. God says that one day, all the cover-ups are going to come off
the wall, and we will be judged on the basis of the ugly on the inside, not
the beauty on the outside.

That's our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 2:16. It talks
about "the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ."
That's
the junk we've successfully concealed from others, maybe even those closest
to us. But it's totally known to God. And until the sin inside is
removed-not
just covered up-we are in the danger zone with the One who will judge us
based on His knowledge of every secret.

In the next chapter in the Bible, God tells us that no one is exempt from
the reality of a sinful heart or of the consequences of a self-run life. He
says,
"All have sinned..." even the most religious person among us. It says,
"...and they fall short of the glory of God." There is no way we can make it
into
God's heaven with this sin we all carry inside, no matter how much religion
we cover it with. It sounds pretty hopeless until you read on.

Yes, we've all missed it with God, but it goes on to say, "we are justified"
(that means made right with God) "justified freely by His grace through the
redemption" (or the rescue) "that came by Christ Jesus." God presented Him
as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood. Now, we couldn't do
anything to fix our sin problem, but God, who is the one we've sinned
against, reached out in love by sending His Son to die our death penalty-to
remove
the stain of the sin that has haunted us and condemned us for so long.

And today, God's waiting to go deep inside you where all that sin is, and
all the guilt and the shame, the secrets, and clean it all up. He wants to
forgive
it all. He wants to repair what you could never repair. He wants to change
what you could never change and cleanse what you could never cleanse. And it
happens when you tell Jesus that you are trusting Him to be your rescuer
from your sin, because only the One who could die for you sin can forgive
your
sin.

This could be your day to be something better than religious. You could be
forgiven. You could be clean. If that's what you want, say, "Jesus, you're
my
only hope of my sin being erased and me being in heaven some day. I am yours
beginning today."

I would invite you to go to our website and spend a few minutes there as we
explain there exactly how to be sure you are forgiven and you are
His-ANewStory.com.
Would you go there?

There's nothing like the freedom, the relief, of knowing that the sin of a
lifetime is gone; not concealed, but gone.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.


What God Wants Most
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:07 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
What God Wants Most
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
If you asked a Christian brother or sister why God made us, they would
probably say that we were made to serve God. But don’t you believe it. If
God wanted
servants, He could do a lot better than mere mortals.

When the scribes asked Jesus what was the first commandment, He said, “The
first of all the commandments is
, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

The first commandment is not to do something for God, but to love God. He
made you and me in the likeness of His image, that He might have fellowship
with
us and that we would praise Him.

ACTION POINT:
Meditate throughout the day on this wonderful thought: God isn’t asking for
your performance. He wants your love. of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Nugget
February 21, 2017
Make Your Life Sing
By Answers2Prayer
"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long
as I live." (Ps 104:33)

I have always loved to sing. When I was a boy I sang in church, in my room,
and even in my backyard. Growing up I always sang along with the songs on
the
radio. These days I sing in the shower. I sing when I walk my dogs. I sing
when I do the dishes. My wonderful, loving, tech-savvy daughter has even
downloaded
music from the internet and made her old school Dad CDs so I can sing along
with all of my favorite songs.

There is one problem, though. While I love to sing, the sound coming from my
voice never seems to match the sound I hear in my soul. It always comes out
too high, too scratchy, and way too off-key. I have seen people wince when I
sang near them. I have had my dogs join in when I sang too loudly. I once
heard myself sing on tape and wondered how that voice could have possibly
come out of my mouth. I am sure that even my guardian angels have had to
stick
their fingers in their ears many times over the years. I have learned to
sing quietly then unless I am alone. Then I belt out my songs so all of
Heaven
can hear. I am sure God doesn't mind my off-key voice as long as I am
"Making a joyful noise."

Thankfully, there is more than one way to sing in this life. We all can sing
out our love and joy by what we do. We all can share the music within us
with
the lives we lead. We can shine our smiles. We can share our laughter. We
can open our arms for a hug. We can pass on a kiss or a kind word. We can
rescue
a stray dog or cat. We can help the poor and visit the lonely. We nurse the
sick and uplift the fallen We can encourage everyone around us. We can
spread
our joy. We can make our lives a living testament of goodness. We can love
others the way God loves us: unconditionally! Make your life sing then. Sing
well. Sing long. Sing with all the light and love in your soul!

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

You don't care for punishment? What if you knew it was for your own good?
Join us on Tuesday for "
No Pain No Gain
", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only
permitted but encouraged!

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

God Shines Most in Our Messiness
Steven Lee / February 24, 2017
God Shines Most in Our Messiness

A recent bipolar diagnosis shocks the group. Cancer ravages the health of a
young wife and mother. An impending divorce threatens to tear apart a
marriage,
family, and community. A member struggling with same-sex attraction searches
for ways to share his struggle. The lone black man in the small group is
peppered
yet again with questions about racism. The single mom cries out for help
with her teenage son. A young couple struggles to accept that they can’t
have
biological children. The widow, married for more than six decades, gropes
for reasons to go on. A father of six children shares the news of his recent
layoff.

Life is hard and broken. Christian clichés aren’t going to cut it in the
unavoidable messiness of realities like these.

Community Is Messy

Christian community — in the local church, in small group, missional
community, or wherever else — is messy. If our friends are plunging headlong
into
a dark place, someone needs to go after them. And we have no quick fixes for
the deep wounds we face: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, broken
relationships,
miscarriage, loneliness, unemployment, deteriorating health, wayward
children, death of a parent, disability, and the list literally goes on and
on.

Life is messy. For some of us, that scares us to no end. We don’t know what
to say, what to do, how to engage, or how to help. Many step into community
tentatively, secretly hoping it will not be messy. We want good friends,
loving community, and easy, comfortable, enjoyable conversation. But the
reality
is that every true Christ-centered community will have its difficulties.

Christian community, by necessity and design, is messy. We are sinners, the
world is broken, and God is at work. In the gospel story he has written, his
grace and love shine more beautifully than ever in the messiness of our
lives.

Powerful Gospel

The gospel helps us to move from risk-adverse and messiness-avoiding people
to those who lean into one another when the pain and confusion come. The
gospel
transforms naturally self-centered people into those who selflessly serve
others. The gospel transforms, over time, a proud and arrogant man into a
humble
man willing to ask for help. The gospel turns an ingrown, self-absorbed
group into one welcoming to the spiritual seeker. The gospel generates
generosity
in a community to help make the dream of adoption a reality for a couple.
The gospel motivates a group to fold a widow in and become her new family.
The
gospel slowly mends a broken marriage through consistent Bible study,
prayer, and encouragement.

In the darkest moments, the gospel of Jesus Christ shines its brightest and
most brilliant.

The tragic irony is that we hide. We throw a rug over the vomit of our lives
sitting in the middle of the room. We withdraw when our blood pressure
rises.
We recoil when tempers flare. We pull back when we’ve been offended. We lean
away when sin is exposed.

In these moments, we must battle our natural instincts, and trust our
growing gospel instincts, to lean into the mess. It’s not easy. It’s never
easy.
But as we lean in together with his people, guided by his Spirit, and
dependent on his grace and help, God brings hope and healing.

Wanted: Broken People

God always works the mess for good, for those who love him. He has designed
the body of Christ such that every member, even the broken ones —
especially the broken ones — are needed. In God’s plan, the broken and needy
ones are often the ones we need most.

The apostle Paul says, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I
do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the
body.
. . . If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?†(1
Corinthians 12:15, 17). We need every single part. We need the feet, even
those
with ingrown toenails. We need ears, mouths, and noses. No part is
indispensable. That means we
need the broken and hurting among us just as much as we need the spiritually
mature. We
need those who suffer from mental disability, physical infirmity, or broken
hearts as much as we need those who are doing well and flying high.

Some Sunday mornings, I sit next to a young man who has Down syndrome. He is
filled with the joy of Christ and sings with more gusto than anyone around
him. He has a bigger smile on his face than anyone I know, and he always
greets me heartily. He serves me by reminding me of the excitement and
exuberance
that should accompany the worship of God with his people. This young man —
who has lived all his life with a disability — reveals the beauty of joyful
and uninhibited praise. He reminds me worship isn’t about me, but God. I
need that reminder. I need him.

Lean into Community

Bearing one another’s burdens and forgiving one another is messy. But let
God use the messiness to make you and others more like him. “The eye cannot
say
to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I
have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be
weaker
are indispensable†(1 Corinthians 12:21–22).

Whether you are a hand, a foot, or a big toe with a bunion, the body of
Christ needs you. It won’t be easy — for anyone — but we need each other,
and the
reminder that God does his brightest work in our messiness. When we walk
with one another through joys and trials, we’ll better see the transforming
power
of the gospel.

God does his best work in and through us when we seek to serve one another,
especially when we run out of answers, quick fixes, and clichés, so that we
point others directly to Jesus and his cross.

What Is the Deepest Root of Your Joy? (Christian Hedonism in Two Minutes)
John Piper / February 24, 2017

The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people
to God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been truly
converted.

Press on to Know Jesus More (Sermon Clip on the Supremacy of Christ)
John Piper / February 24, 2017

The supremacy of Christ is meant to be the sun at the center of our lives,
keeping all the planets of our existence in orbit. Let us press on to know
him.
Desiring God
2112 Broadway Street NE, Suite 150
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Full Armor of God
----------------------------------------------------------

The Full Armor of God

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 09:55 PM PST

Ephesians 6:10-17

Father, in this evil world we must struggle with evil –
evil that threatens us from outside and tempts us from within.
Whether this evil approaches us subtly or brazenly,
its purpose is always the same.
Jesus said it always comes
to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10, NASB)

When Jesus came into this world,
He came armed with the Spirit of God:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3, 5, NASB)

This same Spirit arms us as well.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Though Jesus was as human as we are,
He overcame evil in this world completely, and
He arms us to overcome it completely as well.
He urges us to be strong in Him and in His power,
not our own.
We must put on the full armor He has provided.

Put on the belt of truth.
Since we are children of Almighty God,
truth and reality are on our side, not Satan’s.
Thus His primary weapon is deceit.
Protect yourself with the truth.
Prepare yourself for battle with the truth.
Know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.

Protect your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
Your ultimate safety in this war is being on God’s side.
A mind, heart, and lifestyle that aren’t right with Him
leave us vulnerable to the attack of evil.

Strap your feet with the gospel of peace.
How can we march forward to do God’s work over rough, uneven ground?
We are prepared and protected by the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the good news of peace in Him.
That wonderful message we bring to others
also keeps us steady.

All the above are static pieces of armor,
fixed to protect various parts of our body.
But make sure you have the shield of faith.
You will need to wield it, to raise it against various
fears, problems, and concerns that Satan will sling your way.
When a concern arises, raise the shield of faith:
“Lord, we are concerned about this need.
We bring it to You and trust You to help us with it.”

How do we protect the most vital part of our bodies, our head?
That is where our thoughts originate, and
the head guides the rest of the body.
So put on the helmet of salvation.
It protects us with the confidence that
God’s salvation has rescued us completely
from sin, evil, and death.
Thus the helmet of salvation is not only protective,
but it is also a decorative helmet of victory.
It reminds us and shows the world that
the battle has already been won.

Finally, we also protect ourselves with
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has already proclaimed our final victory!
All who believe are safe in Him, and
the war against evil will soon be over and won.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NASB)


Friendly People, Thoughtful People
by Chuck Swindoll

Proverbs 18:24

If I have learned anything during my journey on Planet Earth, it is that
people need one another.

The presence of other people is essential—caring people, helpful people,
interesting people, friendly people, thoughtful people. These folks take the
grind
out of life.

About the time we are tempted to think we can handle things all alone—boom!
We run into some obstacle and need assistance. We discover all over again
that
we are not nearly as self-sufficient as we thought.

In spite of our high-tech world and efficient procedures, people remain the
essential ingredient of life. When we forget that, a strange thing happens:
We start treating people like inconveniences instead of assets.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J.
Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by
Charles
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Exquisitely Imperfect
Living Fear Free
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