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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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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.

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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.

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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 .
Copyright © 2017 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 10 Apr 2017, 9:49 pm


"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

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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

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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
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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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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 29 Mar 2017, 9:53 pm

"Not a Place to Dwell" || 02/18/2017
Not a Place to Dwell
February 18, 2017

Read: John 5:1-9

Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. (v.
7)

Imagine being stuck for 38 years! It’s inconceivable. Thirty-eight years is
a looong time. Thirty-eight years ago Jimmy Carter was president, no one had
heard of Google, Apple, or Microsoft, and cutting-edge technology for
telephones meant push buttons instead of a rotary dial.

Jesus encountered a man who had been stuck because of illness for 38 years.
His paralysis had become both literal and figurative. He was stuck in
several
ways. He wasn’t able to go anywhere and must have had to make accommodations
to live that way. Because he had adjusted to living that way and had been
there so long, Jesus wasn’t even sure if the man wanted to be well.

I’ve said that loneliness is a normal human emotion. So are depression,
anxiety, fear, and anger. They are normal, we all experience them, but they
are
not places to stay. Jesus’ question “Do you want to be healed?” (v. 6) is a
question for every one of us. Intense emotions like loneliness can become
paralyzing.
They feed upon themselves—feeling lonely can convince us that we aren’t
really good company, and we wind up avoiding people. Loneliness becomes
exacerbated
by loneliness! This is not a place to dwell, but sometimes we get stuck
there.

Are you hearing the voice of Jesus saying, “Get up”? Perhaps God is speaking
through a friend or a family member. Perhaps it is time for you to
move. —Jeff
Munroe
Prayer: Lord, may we be attuned to your voice.
Words of Hope

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Today's Devotional
Take Heart

Matthew 9:2 – Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When
Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, "Take heart, son; your sins are
forgiven." (NIV 2011)

The more that I read this beautiful story of Jesus healing the paralyzed
man, the more that I believe that real healing begins with forgiveness. As a
pastor
for over thirty years, I have been with and cared for many people in times
of illness and recovery. Usually, when folks experience a serious sickness,
injury, or setback, they become more reflective about their situation and
sometimes express regrets from the past or long-standing issues that still
burden
their hearts.

During those sacred moments of confession and unburdening, the hope of
forgiveness, mercy, and grace which Jesus freely gives becomes a major step
in the
healing process. It may not seem amazing to others, but as a long-term
pastor, I feel privileged to see the beginning of a miracle in individual
lives.
Christ's forgiveness and wonderful love combine into a healthy restorative
which moves the person forward on the journey to recovery.

Perhaps you are in need of forgiveness because of something you said or did
which you regret. Maybe you also need to forgive someone for something which
still burdens or affects you. Whatever it is or whoever caused it, allow
yourself to be embraced by Christ and permit His forgiveness and compassion
to
begin the healing process within and around you.

Point to ponder: How can Christ's forgiveness heal and restore me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your gracious words of forgiveness can help us to heal
from the past. Grant us this blessing today, and enable us to share that
forgiveness
with others, so that Your healing may be extended beyond our own lives. In
Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart < traqair@aol.com >
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Thought for Today: God never wrings His hands in despair, saying, "What am I
going to do now?"

Verse for Today: Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore each of you must put off
falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of
one body.(NIV)


Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

Isaiah 43:1b-2a "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by
name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and
when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." (NIV)

By Answers2Prayer
Beneath The Cross Of Jesus

"Tell me what your escape routes were," Rev. David Robertson asked his
United Church congregation in High River, Alberta, Canada, to begin an
impromptu
worship service last Sunday. Just over a week earlier, on June 21, 13,000
residents had been evacuated due to a flood.

"How many of you escaped by car or truck?" He began. About half the hands of
the church of about 80 people went up. "How many walked out?" He asked as
a few more hands went up. "How many of you escaped by front-end loader?" A
couple of other hands rose. "Combine?" More hands. "What about a manure
spreader?"
Laughingly, several more hands moved into the air. Finally, David asked,
"What about helicopter?" Amazingly two hands indicated removal by
helicopter.

Then David turned to his wife and co-pastor, Rev. Susan Lukey, and asked her
to share the amazing story of how she had spent the night of the "flood of
a century" in her High River church "beneath the cross of Jesus".

That morning, Rev. Susan had been working with others in her church. When
the waters outside grew to the extent that it began to cause real concern,
the
others made a hasty and safe departure, while Susan tied up some loose ends.
By the time she had finished and was prepared to leave, it was too late. The
water had quickly become so high that it was no longer possible to open the
doors against the rising tide.

A quick call to 911 suggested that if she was safe, she should hunker down
and wait until the flood lessened, when it would be safer to move about. As
the water seeped through the front doors, Susan found a stepladder and put
it against the highest part of the church -- the choir loft in the
sanctuary,
right below the cross of Jesus. As the waters rose, Susan climbed the ladder
to a ledge, about three feet wide, on which the cross sits, and there, she
settled in for a long night, with food, water, and prayer shawls as her
source of physical comfort, but the cross of Jesus, directly about, her
spiritual
comfort, as the troubled water splashed beneath her.

Susan reported that she was never really afraid. "I thought that the rest of
the town was safe and that I would walk out in the morning to my family. I
kept reading over Psalm 29 which speaks of God being enthroned over the
flood. I still don't totally understand what that means, but it reminded me
that
God is more powerful than the rising waters."

Psalm 29:3,10 "The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory
thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The Lord sits enthroned
over
the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever." (NIV)

What a great image, with flood waters raging below, sleeping fearlessly
"beneath the cross of Jesus"!

Isaiah speaks on behalf of God when he says:

Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I
am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my
righteous right hand." (NIV)

Susan made it safely back to her family the next morning, after discovering
that they, along with the rest of the town, had been evacuated. Since then,
those words of Isaiah have focused her faith day by day, as they should for
all of us.

Prayer: Loving God, as the troubled waters often swirl around us and
threaten both our way of living and also life itself, help us to focus on
You, on
Your love, and on Your peace, for it is those things that get us through the
long night. Amen.

Rick Potter

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Thanks to PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Announcement:

Thank you to those who send in their answered prayers. Praise be to God! He
is so awesome!

Rob Chaffart
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 9:04 pm

What Are You Wearing?

Once I heard a woman say she had gone to China on vacation. After returning
home she was asked to give a presentation to a club about her experiences
there. The meeting was held in an outside pavilion at a ranch. The woman had
bought some red silk in China and made a jacket out of it. She wore this
jacket as she made her presentation. After a while she noticed some of the
people she was talking to start to giggle. She had not said anything funny
so didn’t pay any
attention at first. The giggling kept on so she stopped and asked what was
so funny. One of them told her to turn around and look behind her. The
pavilion was beside the pasture fence. All the cattle were lined up at the
fence looking at that woman in her red silk jacket. Yes, there was a
bull…No, he didn’t charge. The woman turned back around and finished her
presentation then sat down. When another woman came up to continue with the
business of the club all the cattle left.

The apostle Paul wrote:

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies,
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one
another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:
even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on
charity, which is the bond of perfectness."
(Colossians 3:12-14, KJV)

Some Scripture versions for the above verses say that we are to wear clothes
of mercy, kindness, humbleness, meekness, forgiveness and love. Why are we
to wear these things? The apostle John tells us the main reason:

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to
another."
(John 13:35, KJV)

Some people wear Christian symbols as jewelry or have Christian bumper
stickers but the best way for others to know who you belong to is to wear
the right clothing which Paul and John wrote about. Then they will know
Whose we are. This may attract them to us so that we may lead them to Jesus
Christ.

So what are you wearing?
by Dean W. Masters


How to Love When You Don’t Feel It
Greg Morse / February 15, 2017
How to Love When You Don’t Feel It

Recently, I attended a book club discussion on C.S. Lewis’s Mere
Christianity. Several weeks into the study, the otherwise-docile Lewis
enthusiasts suddenly
seemed to switch from waving palm branches to crying, “Crucify him!”

The coup was sparked by the following principle found in his chapter on
charity (Christian love):

“The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering
whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.”

“Blasphemy!” a few cried, as one man attempted to rip his Ralph Lauren polo.
“This,” their self-appointed leader asserted, “reeks of a
‘fake-it-til-you-make-it’
mentality — one which cannot be tolerated within the Christian conception of
love.”

“Inauthentic love is not love!”
“If you don’t feel it you can’t do it.”
“My rule is to keep it 100!”

The Shakespearian mob grew louder and louder, one complaint feeding another.

Be More Than the True You

As the Christian villagers grabbed their pitchforks, it became more and more
apparent that in their eyes, Lewis had transgressed the law of
self-actualization:
the law of being the true you. Psychology has indoctrinated our generation
to think that self-expression is the highest good. If you don’t feel it, it
isn’t authentic, and thus not real. This, combined with the definition that
love is almost exclusively a warm feeling found deep within us, makes the
notion
that one should act loving despite not feeling it to be oppressive and a
contaminate of love.

The main problem with a “wait until you feel it” love is that it comes more
from Hollywood than the Bible. It fundamentally undermines the two greatest
commandments Jesus gave. The command to love God with everything, and others
as ourselves, often assaults this kind of love, oppresses our natural
cravings,
and inconveniences our self-actualization:

• Love your neighbor as yourself regardless if they have wronged you.
• Love your neighbor as yourself no matter how unpopular they are.
• Love your neighbor as yourself notwithstanding the fact that they embody
every pet peeve that you didn’t even realize you had until you met them
.

Or, more importantly:

• Love God with everything no matter how busy you are.
• Love God with everything no matter how angry with him you may be.
• Love God with everything no matter how sick, tired, or confused you are.

No footnotes, asterisks, or qualifications nuance these two commands. “Not
feeling it” is the problem to overcome, not an excuse to disobey.

Fake It Till He Makes It

These men and women who felt tension in Lewis’s principle rightfully chaffed
at it because our affections should
ideally precede our actions to love God and others. But unless I’m alone,
they often do not. Our affections are juvenile — given to pouting and
screaming,
and giving the silent treatment. And sadly, they often scowl at those we
love most.

So, given the reality that our fallen affections are not perfectly redeemed,
what should we do in situations when we don’t
feel like loving? I propose the following: Fake it till he makes it.

The dissenters were correct in bucking up against fake-it-till-you-make-it
love because we don’t make anything that lasts. We can conjure up temporary
sympathy and compassion for people, but deep heart-change towards another
(that honors God and truly loves them) flows from God himself (Galatians
5:22–23).
Indeed, this is only possible after God gives us a new heart.

Acting in Faith

So we must act.

Instead of waiting for your inner affections to muster the appropriate love
for someone, ask the Lewisian question:
What would I do, if I did have appropriate feelings towards them? Would I
get off the couch and apologize to my wife? Would I call my family member I
haven’t
spoken to for years? Would I ask my neighbor over for dinner?

Use your God-given imagination to picture what loving looks like, and then
do it.

And pray as you act.

We do not want to live in the discrepancy between acting and feeling
forever — and praise God that we won’t. But as we wait to be more perfectly
like him
(1 John 3:2), we expectantly pray for God to enlarge our redeemed, but too
often Grinch-sized hearts. We prayerfully act as if we felt. We put the cart
before the horse and beg for God to make the horse gallop to the front. We
respond gently to that co-worker’s remarks as if we loved them, asking for
God
to give us genuine love for them.

Another word for this kind of love is simply faith. We do not grit our teeth
and “fake it” in the traditional sense. We “fake it” looking to Christ and
waiting upon his Spirit to complete what he has started within us
(Philippians 1:6). Without faith in our acting, we behave as Pharisees and
do not please
God (Hebrews 11:6).

Great Secret

Amazingly, God often provides the affections we need in moments when we act
before we feel. I’ve experienced the reality that Lewis wonderfully
describes
in the following sentence:

As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are
behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If
you injure
someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking them more.

It’s true that your actions often flow from your affections, but it is also
true that your affections also flow from your actions. A lack of action, in
the name of “authentic love” actually dams a torrent of affection that might
have otherwise flowed, if you had acted.

I have good friends whom I could not stand at first. But as God worked on
me, he allowed me to act as if I loved them before I did — and real love
soon
followed. The more I invested my energy, time, and thought into these
individuals, the more my heart was convinced that I actually loved them.

Love is a gift from God often given when we act before we feel.

He Has Already Made It

The more I seek to implement this principle in my life, the more
applicability I have found with it.

• Are you tempted to live fear man? How would you act if you didn’t have
this ungodly fear? Act, asking for God to give you a liberating fear of him
instead
man (Isaiah 8:12–13).
• Are you tempted with anxiety? What would it look like if you trusted God
with all your heart in that situation (Proverbs 3:5)? Act, and ask God to
give
you his peace (John 14:27).
• Are you tempted with lust? What would it look like to honor God in
relation to that girl, guy, or computer screen? Act, asking God to kill the
lusts
that still grow in your heart.

At the end of the day, we fake it until he makes it because ultimately, he
already has. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2
Corinthians 5:17). We do not fake being what we are not, we put on what we
already are when we feel least like it (Colossians 3:1–17).

As Christians, we play pretend in our loving not to escape reality, but to
live more fully within it.

Never Abandon Hope
John Piper / February 15, 2017

Where Is God When Things Keep Getting Worse?
Vaneetha Rendall Risner / February 15, 2017
Where Is God When Things Keep Getting Worse?

Life can be achingly difficult.

It has been for me. Many times, I’ve thought life was finally getting
better, only to find out I was wrong. It was just the calm before the next
devastating
storm. Nothing was better. In fact, life became even harder.

I grew afraid to even hope again. Because hoping just brought more pain. I
wondered where God was when things kept getting worse.

I buried my precious son when he was two months old because the doctors made
a mistake. Six years later, I was diagnosed with postpolio syndrome, a
debilitating
condition that will eventually require that I have full-time care, unable to
do the simplest things for myself. And then six years after my horrifying
diagnosis, my husband left our family, moved away, and later filed for
divorce.

Those years are still a blur to me. Just as I was coming to terms with one
calamity, the next one came raging through. I wondered how I could handle
yet
another blow.

Afraid and Alone

That’s why I’m drawn to the story of Joseph. He knew what crushing
disappointment felt like. He grew up as the favorite son of his father, but
was later
betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave in Egypt. Soon he rose to a
position of trust in Potiphar’s house until his master’s wife falsely
accused
him of attempted rape because he refused to sleep with her. Joseph was
thrown into prison where he remained for years, waiting and wondering if he
would
ever be delivered.

Joseph must have felt afraid and alone, uncertain of what the future might
hold. I definitely did. So, how did Joseph make it through those years and
emerge
with a stronger faith? Why did he not give up, determined never to hope
again?

Joseph suffered well amidst staggering disappointment because he knew God
was for him and with him in the darkest places.

God with Us

Four times in Genesis 39, both in Potiphar’s house and in prison, we read
that the Lord was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2–3, 21, 23). While God later
delivered
Joseph in an astonishing way, the beauty of Joseph’s story to me is not in
the miraculous deliverance, but in God’s constant and faithful care of
Joseph
when his life was bleak.

God never left Joseph’s side. Joseph knew that God was with him, and he was
consistently blessed with God’s presence and favor, even when his prayers
for
deliverance went unanswered for years.

I remember years of crying out to God, thinking my faith would get back on
track when life got back to normal. But as the pain grew more intense, I
realized
I needed to find God in the present, and not wait for my circumstances to
improve. God wanted me to find him sufficient in the midst of trouble rather
than just demanding that he deliver me from it.

And I found God more than sufficient as I met with him daily in Scripture
and in prayer. His word became exceedingly precious to me. It brought light
to
my darkness. It became life to me.

How Does My Story End?

It was in his word that I learned to trust that he loved me (1 John 4:10).
That he would give me what I needed every day (Lamentations 3:22–23). Just
like
Joseph, I learned that God is always for me (Psalm 56:9), and always with me
(Hebrews 13:5), and that nothing can separate me from his love (Romans
8:39).
Through his word, God gave me an undeniable sense of his presence, just as
he did with Joseph.

But my story seems to diverge from Joseph’s. Suddenly and miraculously,
Joseph was completely delivered. He was freed from prison, his brothers were
humbled
and repentant, and he was awarded unprecedented power. He could say to his
brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis
50:20).
While he went through great pain and disappointment, in the end Joseph’s
story is tied with a bow — a beautiful, inspiring, faith-building bow.

But will all our disappointments get tied up with a bow? Does God mean
everything for my good? Some of my losses cannot or will not be reversed in
this
life, and I have seen faithful friends die without being rescued. How do I
reconcile that?

God Is Preparing You

As I return to the Bible, I see that because of heaven, my future is indeed
guaranteed. Just as with Joseph, nothing can keep me from God’s best. Every
one of Joseph’s disappointments was essential in bringing about God’s
magnificent plan — a plan for Joseph’s good, the good of his people, and for
the
glory of God.

Each of my disappointments has been necessary. If they were not, God would
not have brought them. From Joseph, I have learned to trust that every time
I suffer loss, God is preparing me for something greater.

For some of us, God may be preparing for us earthly blessings and influence,
like Joseph. But for every follower of Christ, God is preparing for us an
eternal weight of glory that is “beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians
4:17). I am convinced that the losses that appear unrestored and unredeemed
on earth
will yield the greatest reward in heaven.

Where is God when things keep getting worse? He is with us. And he is always
for us. And one day we will see how he has used our pain and losses to
accomplish
far more than we could ask or imagine.

Desiring God
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Minneapolis, MN 55413
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 26 Mar 2017, 11:33 pm

God At The Center
"Dean Masters"
"Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down
while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil."
Ephesians 4:26-27.

Wherever people live together some conflict is inevitable.
Keep in mind, however, that many reactions to conflict are overreactions
caused by unresolved conflicts from the past.
For instance, if you had a "nagging" parent and your partner even appears to
be "nagging," chances are your old feelings will be triggered and you will
overreact.
When we overreact, the overreaction is always our problem.
We need to accept responsibility for that and not blame others.
Otherwise, conflicts will remain unresolved.
To admit that one is overreacting is being mature.
To blindly act out those feelings is immature.
Instead, when anxious emotions are triggered, don't deny these feelings but
say to yourself, "How would I act in this situation if I weren't feeling so
upset?"
Then try to act accordingly and then verbalize your feelings without blaming
the other person for them.
If overreaction is a pattern of your behaviour, do not hesitate to seek help
from a competent pastor or counsellor.
To admit need for help is also a sign of maturity.
Forgiveness is another essential quality in healthy relationships
"Many marriages are gradually eroded and eventually destroyed because one
person is unable to forgive," says Norman Wright. "A person who continually
brings
up something his spouse did or said in the past continues to punish the
other person and erects a wall of coldness."
As God forgives us when we confess our wrongs-
- we also need to forgive each other.Colossians 3:13.
Clear communications, doing things together, handling conflicts creatively,
and forgiving each other are all vital for family harmony.
However, the most important need is to put God at the center of your home.
He can make a much better job of it than you can if you will daily commit
your life to him and follow his divine order for the home.
Research has shown that families who are deeply committed to their Christian
faith have a much better chance of having a happy marriage and home.
A good way to start is by going to church this week as a family.
"Dear God, whenever I have a conflict with any friend or family member,
please help me to communicate effectively without overreacting or playing
the blame
game. And where I've been hurt, please help me to deal with my feelings in a
creative way and forgive the one who hurt me as you have so freely forgiven
me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
Name, Amen."

Mandinka (aka, Mandingo) People of Ghana
Feb 18, 2017 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Isaiah 35:10, NIV "...and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will
enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness
and
joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."

Pray that soon the Lord will raise up Mandinka people who will bless the
Lord with singing His praise among the Muslim peoples of West Africa. Pray
for
a contagious everlasting joy to cling to Mandinka believers.

Today's People Group

When you think of Ghana and other countries in Africa, you think of a place
where people love music. In West Africa, a Mandinka man called a jalibaa
(jal’
ee baa, or praise singer) accompanies his songs with an interesting
instrument called a kora (pronounced CORE-uh). It resembles a mandolin, and
its body
is made of half of a calabash covered with cowhide fastened on with
decorative tacks. Several holes are cut in the side of the instrument. The
praise singer
has to memorize the genealogy of patron families and sing their praises. He
can also deliver a musical message as well as entertain his hearers. The
jalibaa
art form is diminishing, as fathers are no longer passing on their musical
secrets to their sons.
God has endowed people with the ability to enjoy and participate not only in
vocal melody and harmony, but also with an ingenuity to create many kinds
of musical instruments to meet various kinds of communication needs.
The folk Islamic Mandinka people also enjoy sharing their many proverbs.
People usually learn them by hearing them, not by reading them in books.
Thoughts
and ideas are taught through music, proverbs, and stories.

Pray that as harvesters go to the Mandinka people, they will find ways to
take the good news through appealing music and other culturally-appropriate
means.

Learn more at Joshua Project .

Anne Graham Lotz - The Look of Jesus

The Look of Jesus
While [Peter] was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned
and looked at Peter. . . . So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:60-62, NKJV

The night Jesus was betrayed, a man stepped up to Peter in the courtyard of
the temple compound and challenged him: “Didn’t I see you with [Jesus] in
the
olive grove?” (John 18:26, NIV). All the tension and anger of the past hours
exploded in Peter and tumbled out in a stream of curses as he insisted, “I
don’t know the man!” Yet as he spoke, he heard the unmistakable sound of a
rooster crowing in the distance. At that very moment, a commotion in the
breezeway
got everyone’s attention. With the denial still burning his lips, Peter
looked into the eyes of Jesus!

The look of Jesus was like a flaming fire, burning away Peter’s hypocrisy
and sin. Then as the entourage around Jesus roughly pushed and shoved Him
forward,
the moment passed. Peter, shaken to the core of his being, went out into the
night, where he “wept bitterly,” sobbing out his confession to God.

Three days later, Peter knew his sin had been forgiven when he met the risen
Christ. Do you have the uneasy feeling that Jesus is “looking” at you? Is
your heart burning with shame and guilt? Don’t shed tears, shed your pride
and come to Him for cleansing and restoration.

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

Power to Overcome
by Chuck Swindoll

Proverbs 23:12

Can't and won't. Christians need to be very careful which one they choose.
It seems that we prefer to use "can't."

"I just can't get along with my wife."

"My husband and I can't communicate."

"I just can't discipline the kids as I should."

"I just can't give up the affair I'm having."

"I can't stop overeating."

"I can't find time to pray."

Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously will have to agree the word here
really should be "won't."

Why?

Because we have been given the power, the ability to overcome . . . .

We're really saying "I won't," because we don't choose to say, "With the
help of God, I will!"

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
Visit insight.org

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

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him ( Psalms 37:7 ).

Have you prayed and prayed and waited and waited, and still there is no
manifestation? Are you tired of seeing nothing move? Are you just at the
point
of giving it all up? Perhaps you have not waited in the right way? This
would take you out of the right place the place where He can meet you.

"With patience wait" (Rom. 8:25). Patience takes away worry. He said He
would come, and His promise is equal to His presence. Patience takes away
your
weeping. Why feel sad and despondent? He knows your need better than you do,
and His purpose in waiting is to bring more glory out of it all. Patience
takes away self-works. The work He desires is that you "believe"
(John 6:29
), and when you believe, you may then know that all is well. Patience takes
away all want. Your desire for the thing you wish is perhaps stronger than
your desire for the will of God to be fulfilled in its arrival.

Patience takes away all weakening. Instead of having the delaying time, a
time of letting go, know that God is getting a larger supply ready and must
get
you ready too. Patience takes away all wobbling. "Make me stand upon my
standing"
(Daniel 8:18
, margin). God's foundations are steady; and when His patience is within, we
are steady while we wait. Patience gives worship. A praiseful patience
sometimes
"long-suffering with joyfulness" (Col. 1:11) is the best part of it all.
"Let (all these phases of) patience have her perfect work"
(James 1:4
), while you wait, and you will find great enrichment.
--C. H. P.

Hold steady when the fires burn,
When inner lessons come to learn,
And from this path there seems no turn
"Let patience have her perfect work."
--L.S.P.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him ( Psalms 37:7 ).

Have you prayed and prayed and waited and waited, and still there is no
manifestation? Are you tired of seeing nothing move? Are you just at the
point
of giving it all up? Perhaps you have not waited in the right way? This
would take you out of the right place the place where He can meet you.

"With patience wait" (Rom. 8:25). Patience takes away worry. He said He
would come, and His promise is equal to His presence. Patience takes away
your
weeping. Why feel sad and despondent? He knows your need better than you do,
and His purpose in waiting is to bring more glory out of it all. Patience
takes away self-works. The work He desires is that you "believe"
(John 6:29
), and when you believe, you may then know that all is well. Patience takes
away all want. Your desire for the thing you wish is perhaps stronger than
your desire for the will of God to be fulfilled in its arrival.

Patience takes away all weakening. Instead of having the delaying time, a
time of letting go, know that God is getting a larger supply ready and must
get
you ready too. Patience takes away all wobbling. "Make me stand upon my
standing"
(Daniel 8:18
, margin). God's foundations are steady; and when His patience is within, we
are steady while we wait. Patience gives worship. A praiseful patience
sometimes
"long-suffering with joyfulness" (Col. 1:11) is the best part of it all.
"Let (all these phases of) patience have her perfect work"
(James 1:4
), while you wait, and you will find great enrichment.
--C. H. P.

Hold steady when the fires burn,
When inner lessons come to learn,
And from this path there seems no turn
"Let patience have her perfect work."
--L.S.P.

That Is Excusing, Not Forgiving
Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:42 am (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
"Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it
separates friends." Proverbs 17:9.
Jesus gives us stern and uncompromising warnings about forgiveness.
But if forgiveness is so important and yet so difficult, how do we go about
it?
First-
- we must not try to minimize or dismiss the offense as if it never
happened.
If it hurts, then we must face it and feel it.
A common misconception that keeps people from forgiving is that they think
in order to forgive they must come to the place where they look upon the
things
done to them as being really not that bad.
That is excusing, not forgiving.
C. S. Lewis says:
"Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left
over without any excuse after all allowances have been made, and seeing it
in
all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly
reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness."
Second-
- we must see that forgiveness is not an emotional thing (though it can
affect the emotions), but a matter of the will.
It is making the decision that the wrong done against you will not count or
cause a separation.
In making that decision, remember you have all the resources of God
available to you.
This applies not just to minor matters like snubs, but major matters like
divorce.
The task of forgiving must be more than a match for the magnitude of the
pain involved.
A choice has to be made.
No matter how we are wronged-
- we can choose out of a desire for love to forgive.
"Lord Jesus Christ, You looked into the eyes of those who hammered You to a
cross and cried: "Father, forgive them!" Help me do the same when I am
confronted
with lesser injury or hurt. For Your own dear Name's sake. Amen.
====================================
If you are blessed with this devotional,please introduce it to others.If you
want to read all our messages please go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lentenlessons If you need prayer support,you
may submit/share your prayer request at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/myprayergroups

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

Posted by: Lenten Lessons

That Is Excusing, Not Forgiving
Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:42 am (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
"Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it
separates friends." Proverbs 17:9.
Jesus gives us stern and uncompromising warnings about forgiveness.
But if forgiveness is so important and yet so difficult, how do we go about
it?
First-
- we must not try to minimize or dismiss the offense as if it never
happened.
If it hurts, then we must face it and feel it.
A common misconception that keeps people from forgiving is that they think
in order to forgive they must come to the place where they look upon the
things
done to them as being really not that bad.
That is excusing, not forgiving.
C. S. Lewis says:
"Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left
over without any excuse after all allowances have been made, and seeing it
in
all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly
reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness."
Second-
- we must see that forgiveness is not an emotional thing (though it can
affect the emotions), but a matter of the will.
It is making the decision that the wrong done against you will not count or
cause a separation.
In making that decision, remember you have all the resources of God
available to you.
This applies not just to minor matters like snubs, but major matters like
divorce.
The task of forgiving must be more than a match for the magnitude of the
pain involved.
A choice has to be made.
No matter how we are wronged-
- we can choose out of a desire for love to forgive.
"Lord Jesus Christ, You looked into the eyes of those who hammered You to a
cross and cried: "Father, forgive them!" Help me do the same when I am
confronted
with lesser injury or hurt. For Your own dear Name's sake. Amen.
====================================
If you are blessed with this devotional,please introduce it to others.If you
want to read all our messages please go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lentenlessons If you need prayer support,you
may submit/share your prayer request at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/myprayergroups

----------------------------------------------------------
Posted by: Lenten Lessons
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 24 Mar 2017, 5:35 pm

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Pilate's First Appearance"
March 15, 2017
There were some present at that very time who told Him about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1).
Read Luke 13:1-5

Today we catch our first glimpse of Pontius Pilate, the Roman military
governor. Jesus is making His way toward Jerusalem when He gets word of a
recent
tragic event in Jerusalem. While some of Jesus' fellow Galileans were
offering sacrifices in the temple courts, Pilate's soldiers rushed in and
killed
them. This event is not recorded by any other Gospel writer or ancient
historian and Luke doesn't explain Pilate's reasons, he is more interested
in Jesus'
reaction.

"Do you think that these Galileans where worse sinners than all the other
Galileans because they suffered in this way?" That's how people thought in
that
day, and it's a conclusion we sometimes are too quick to jump to in our day
too. If someone suffers something horrendous such as a tragic accident or an
illness, then God must be punishing them for some secret sin. Jesus warns us
not to judge by outward appearances.

In a short time another Galilean will be killed at the hands of Pontius
Pilate. People will look at Jesus hanging on the cross and reach the false
conclusion
that God is punishing Him for falsely claiming to be His Son. But in truth,
Jesus is God's perfect Son. He will hang on the cross and endure punishment
for the sins of all people for all time. This He will do so that God may
give complete forgiveness to all who repent and believe.

Jesus continues, "No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all
likewise perish." All people are sinners. Only those who repent and trust in
Jesus'
sacrifice in their place will find salvation and eternal life.

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, teach me not to judge how You feel about me or
anyone else by mere appearances and circumstances. Let me instead live by
faith
in Jesus Christ my Lord. I pray in His Name. Amen.

Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Numbers 12-14; Mark 14:27-53

God’s Easter Promise for You
By Rick Warren

“By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also”
(1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).

Millions and millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter every
year. But for far too many of us the story has become boring and rote. We
have
the basic facts down. Jesus was arrested. He was crucified. And three days
later, God raised him from the dead.

Yet we miss something very important. We miss what turns Easter from a
one-dimensional holiday to a multi-dimensional, life-transforming way of
life.

We miss that the story of the Resurrection isn’t just Jesus’ story -- it’s
our story as well.

You see, you are a part of the Resurrection. Jesus’ death and Resurrection
didn’t just prove there was life after death. The Resurrection proves
you can have life after death, that there’s life beyond
your grave.

Jesus says, if you trust in him, death becomes a transition, not an ending
point.

One day your heart will stop. That will be the end of your body. But it will
not be the end of you. God made you to last forever. That’s why you often
have a feeling there’s more to life than this. Jesus made this amazing
promise in
John 11 : 25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes
in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me
will never die”
(NIV).

That’s quite a promise! Jesus proved he could do it by resurrecting himself.
Otherwise, we would have no reason to believe it. If Jesus hadn’t died on
the cross and been resurrected more than 2,000 years ago, you would have
zero chance of getting to Heaven -- no hope of the afterlife and no eternal
life.

The Bible says, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will
raise us also”
(1 Corinthians 6:14 ).

As Easter comes our way this year, that’s a truth to hang our lives upon. It’s
great news that Jesus rose from the dead. But what turns that truth from
black and white to living color is that one day -- if you trust in him -- he
will raise you from the grave, too.

That’s the promise of Easter.

The Cure for Loneliness
By Skip Heitzig

Years ago, I took a survey in our church of questions believers had about
various topics, and boy, did they pour in: the bulk of them dealt with
relationships--singleness,
marriage, divorce--but they also touched on a myriad of other things. What I
found once I looked at them and prayed over them, however, was that the
underlying
problem to much of the suffering believers face is loneliness.

I'm not talking about the inmate in prison. I'm not talking about the
divorced people who sit in the bar drinking away their sorrows. And I'm not
just
talking about lonely-heart singles. I'm speaking about church-going
Christians
who are married with a couple of kids, a nice home, and a lot of toys, who
are still miserable and lonely.

Loneliness is feeling alone even when you're surrounded by people. It's
feeling unwanted, like nobody cares--like there's no hope. On a spiritual
level,
loneliness is the malnutrition of the soul that comes from living on
substitutes.

Isaiah 55:1-2
says, "Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without
price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what
does not satisfy?" In other words, "You're spending your money, but you're
not buying food. You're working hard and you've got a good job, but you're
not satisfied."

This is the result of living on substitutes: it causes your soul to be eaten
away. What's sad is that I have met believers who are content to settle for
this way of living. God wants to give them abundant life; they settle for
fun. God wants to give them joy; they settle for entertainment. God wants to
give them rest; they settle for sleeping pills.

"Listen carefully to Me," the Lord continued in Isaiah 55:2
, "and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance." I
believe that what is needed in view of the problem of loneliness is, number
one, a solid foundation, which is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and
number two, a network of people.

Now, I don't want to sound simplistic when I say the ultimate answer to
loneliness is Jesus Christ, but I truly believe that a relationship with
Christ
solves loneliness. But this relationship with Him can't just be casual
contact; it needs to be an intimate, abiding, permanent relationship (see
John 15:1-8 ).

We also need relationships with other people. Please recognize that the
church is a body in which all the parts depend on one another (see 1
Corinthians 12 );
we weren't made to function separately. I am amazed at how aloof and
independent many Christians are. They come to church, sit alone, listen to
the message,
and leave. But Christ designed us to be dependent on one another, to develop
close relationships where we can expose our hearts and be loved just the way
we are.

And that's God's design, God's cure for loneliness: a foundation in Christ
and relationships with others. If you're trying to live on substitutes today
and all you're feeling is loneliness, know that God sees your malnourished
soul and is saying, "Come, buy, freely eat. Don't spend your money without
satisfaction.
Don't spin your wheels with no results." Don't settle for a substitute when
God wants to give you the real thing for free.

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.

Before You Make That Decision
by Mark Altrogge

Every day we face hundreds of choices and decisions. Fortunately most of
them are not life-altering.

Should I go with the honey hot wings, or the Cajun? Should I get the
ultra-whitening toothpaste or the kind that restores brain cells? Should I
watch
Doomsday Preppers or Extreme Paranormal Makeover?

But as the new year begins, many of us face difficult and life-changing
decisions. I’m so grateful for God’s incredible promise in
Psalms 32:8 :

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel
you with my eye upon you.

This is the one of Scripture
’s most encouraging promises. I regularly pray “Thank you Father, that you
have promised to instruct me and teach me in the way I should go and counsel
me with your eye upon me. Please guide me in this decision I am facing.
Please show me what to do. Please give me wisdom. Thank, you, Father that
you
have promised you will.”

First of all, it is God Himself who instructs us – “I will instruct you…
I will counsel you… My eye upon you.” God doesn’t delegate his counsel to an
angel or anyone else. The very fountain of all wisdom counsels us. The one
who devised the laws of nature, who knows how the whole universe works
together, who knows all things, including the future; the one who knows us
intimately,
who knows what is best for us and loves us so deeply he shed his only Son’s
blood to purchase us. This is the one who instructs us and counsels us.

God teaches and guides us for his own glory. He wants us to lead lives of
maximum effectiveness and fruitfulness. He desires to display his goodness,
kindness,
mercy, and transforming power through us. God wants to counsel us more than
we want his counsel.

He shows us the way to go because he is a loving Father. If any of my
children faced difficulties and ask for my advice I wouldn’t say figure it
out on
your own. I want my children to do well. I want my children to have every
good thing. I want my children to know and enjoy God. If I desire these
things
from my children, how much more does our heavenly Father desire them for us?

He speaks to us his by his Word and his Spirit. God’s word is a treasure
chest of wisdom and guidance. It contains all we need to know about God and
how
to obey him. It is filled with his will from cover to cover. In addition,
God fills us with his own Spirit, the Counselor, who guides us into all
truth
and shows us what to do in every situation.

God also speaks through the preaching of his Word and books written by
Christian teachers. He also guides us through godly Christian counselors–our
parents,
pastors, wise friends, and fellow believers.

What are you facing today? Before you make that decision, go to your loving
Father and thank him for his wonderful promise to teach you guide you and
personally
counsel you. Seek him in big decisions and small. Then trust him and don’t
fret. He will certainly fulfill his promise to guide you in his perfect
timing.
If you have to make a decision, and have sought him, and still don’t know
what to do, just make the best decision you can. He will guide you.

Obviously you don’t have to ask God what kind of wings to get. But I would
recommend the Cajun.

Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church
of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for
worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his
wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog,
The Blazing Center .

"A Lone Voice"
March 18, 2017
And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And those who
were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. ... (Luke 18:38-39a).

Read Luke 18:35-43
Jesus is approaching Jericho. It's one of His last stops before Jerusalem.
Along the road sits a blind man begging. Hearing a loud commotion passing
by,
he asks what's going on. Someone from the crowd answers, "Jesus of Nazareth
is passing by."

Immediately, the beggar begins shouting at the top of his lungs. He knows
Jesus is somewhere in that crowd, which is shuffling past him. But unlike
the
stranger from the crowd he doesn't call Him "Jesus the Nazarene." Instead,
he calls him, "Jesus, Son of David." He is convinced that Jesus is the
promised
Messiah, David's Son.

Jesus indeed is the King marching on to save His people from their enemies.
Some in the crowd try to silence the blind man, but he shouts all the louder
to get Jesus' attention. That is the character of faith: the more people and
circumstances rise up to silence us, the louder we cry for our Lord to be
merciful to us.

We might expect Jesus to be so preoccupied with His approaching death that
He wouldn't notice a lone voice, crying out to Him in the midst of the
clamor
of the crowd. But His ears are attuned to cries for mercy from His faithful
ones. Now that He has accomplished His mission and won complete forgiveness,
we can be confident He hears our cries for mercy and pity too.

The man is blind no longer. He rises and follows Jesus on His way.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, even as You were journeying toward Your
bitter death, Your ears were wide open to the pleas of the blind man. Give
me confidence
that You hear my prayers for mercy too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Numbers 20-22; Mark 15:26-47
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Mar 2017, 12:06 am

So it is in life!

There is one primary goal and if it becomes the heart and focus of your life it will be the key to eternal success.
That goal is following the Lord.

If we are to have a strong walk with Christ Jesus, we have to look to Him as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
We have to look to Him and not take our eyes off Him.

When we are lured in by the weight and sin of the world which clings so closely, we take our eyes off of Him.

But when we keep your eyes on Him-
He will keep us right on track to where we need to go.


Anne Graham Lotz - Bound in God’s Will
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Bound in God’s Will
They laid their hands on Him and took Him.

Mark 14:46, NKJV

The soldiers and officials who had come to the Garden of Gethsemane to
arrest Jesus seized Him roughly, punching and manhandling Him as they bound
Him.
They bound the hands of the Son of God! The hands of the Creator! Hands that
had lifted in authority and calmed the storm at sea. Hands that had gathered
little children on His knee.

Have you ever felt bound . . .

in a marriage where the love has run out?

in a small home with small children?

in a physical body wracked with pain?

Are you struggling with your bindings? Do you find that the more you fight
against them, the more pain you inflict on yourself, so that you are
miserable
in your confinement? Sometimes binding is in the will of God. Jesus was in
the center of His Father’s will, yet He was bound. He did not resist the
tight
cords or complain about His confinement. He simply submitted, not to the
soldiers, but to His Father’s will. Would you do the same?

Blessings,

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

Post  Admin on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 11:15 pm

God's Top 10 Answers to Your 'Why' Questions
Cindi McMenamin

Admit it. You have lots of WHY questions for God.

Why am I going through this situation?

Why did You let that happen?

Why didn’t You allow me to experience that blessing?

Although it is human nature to question and try to find the reasoning behind
God’s ways, I truly believe most of our “why” questions result from
ignorance
about Who God is or a lack of
faith in what He is doing.

After more than 30 years of discipling women, I’ve come up with what I call
“God’s Top 10 Answers to Our ‘Why’ Questions.” They are not in any
particular
order. But they are all based on Scripture and what it tells us of God’s
character. If He were to speak audibly perhaps His answers to your questions
would
be:

1. Trust Me. I have My reasons.

We don’t really like this answer, because we want God to explain Himself. We
want to see the reasons and exercise our option to agree or disagree with
God. Yet God points out in
Isaiah 55:8-9 :

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,
declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my
ways
higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts“
(ESV).

I can’t help but feel that is God’s way of saying “Because I said so.” But
like a loving parent, who may have said that to you when you were a child,
He
knows what He’s doing and Scripture says His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30)
and therefore He never makes mistakes.

2. So you will grow.

In James 1:2-4 , we are instructed: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you
meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith
produces
steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” God wants you to be perfect and
complete.
So He will, at times, allow you to go through hardships to grow your
character.

3. You never asked.

Because God knows all that we need we expect Him to give blessings that we
haven’t even asked for. Yet God wants the relationship. He wants you to ask,
and keep coming back to ask again.
James 4:2 says:
“...You do not have because you do not ask” (NIV). I know so many women who
ask “Why won’t God give me a husband?” but they’ve never really asked Him
for
one. They also ask “Why can’t I have a baby?” but they haven’t been asking
God the same question. Sometimes He wants to work within us and to begin
that
work, we need to start the conversation.

4. You’re asking for the wrong reasons.

“God, why can’t I win the lottery?” “God why won’t You give me this
high-paying position?” “God why didn’t you let me win that?” Yes, James 4:2
says “You do not have because you do not ask,” but the next verse clarifies
that statement further: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask
with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”
(James 4:3
). God will not be a party to our selfishness. So if you are asking for
something for
you, God’s answer might be “You’re being selfish.” Try asking for something
for
Him. Or, try asking for something that Jesus would ask for (which is the
literal meaning of praying for something “in Jesus’ name”) It puts a whole
new
spin on the equation. And it may eliminate your “why” question altogether.

5. So you’ll rely on Me.

Without a job? Without a spouse? Without hope? Face it, when we don’t have
what we want or need, it makes us desperate. God wants to be the One we are
desperate for and I believe He will allow whatever it takes to make us fully
dependent on Him.
Deuteronomy 13:4
commands us to “follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep
His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” Nothing
makes us cling to God more than when we are desperate for something. Be
desperate for Him. And He will become your answer.

6. Just Wait.

So often our “why” questions are premature. We get impatient because we can’t
see an end result, but God works on an entirely different timeline than we
do. Psalm 84:11 says “no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk
is blameless.” So if you are walking uprightly and it seems like God is
withholding
something good, it either isn’t truly good for you or it isn’t time.

7. I have something better in mind.

Sometimes our “why” is because we believe God is giving us second best, or
He’s forgotten about us altogether. But Jesus said: “If you then, who are
evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father
who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
(Matthew 7:11
). Could God be waiting to give you something better than you’ve thought to
ask for? I know it’s difficult to endure something when you are hoping for
something better. But keep your hope
in God (not in what you’re hoping from Him). He is far better than the most
loving of earthly parents. He sees what’s best for us eternally, not just
temporally.
And He is a God who loves to bless His children.

8. I’m protecting you.

The Psalmist said “My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your
saving acts all day long – though I know not how to relate them all” (Psalm
71:15,
NIV, emphasis added). Do you believe that God is saving you all day long
through what He brings in and out of your life? God may say “no” to save you
from
something hurtful or He might allows something you don’t like because it’s
keeping you from something worse. God knows our weaknesses when it comes to
temptation. He knows our tendency for failure when it comes to our
relationships and He sees what’s ahead and we don’t. I remember the day I
had to start
praying “God, don’t let me near this if I will prioritize it above You” or
“God, please allow this but only if I will remain humble and give the glory
to You.” He protects us physically, as well as morally and spiritually and
like any good Father, He knows what is best for His children.

9. I’m making you more like Jesus.

We love to quote Romans 8:28 : “And we know that for those who love God all
things work together for good, for those who are called according to his
purpose”
and then we look for the good so we can hold onto it. But I truly believe
that verse, taken in context with the next verse tells us the “good” that
God
is constantly working on in terms of why He allows – and doesn’t allow –
what He does: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be
conformed
to the image of his Son...” (verse 29). Sometimes the “why” is simply
because God wants to make you, through your circumstances, more like His
Son.

10. Because I love you.

God loves us too much to give us exactly what we want. I thought I wanted a
certain man when I was in college, but God knew better. I thought I wanted
at least three children, but God knew better. And today, instead of asking
“Why couldn’t I have these things?” I find myself, instead, saying “Thank
You,
Lord, for knowing what was best for me.” God is loving. He is good. And if
He “did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will
He
not also with Him freely give us all things?”
(Romans 8:32
, NASB). If God has not delivered on something you wanted or has allowed
something you don’t understand, His answer might best be “Because I love
you.
And one day you will understand.”

Can you trust this God upon whom you have piled your questions? Then say
this prayer from Your heart as a way of letting Him know you are His and You
trust
Him with whatever He has in mind:

Lord, thank You that in spite of your “no” or “wait” or even Your silence,
You know what is very best for me and You promise to work for my eternal
good,
not just my temporary satisfaction. Thank You that in all all situations, in
all pain and pressure and circumstances beyond my control, You are making
me more like Christ, as I give up my will and surrender to Yours.

Scripture says without faith it is impossible to please You so I choose to
believe that You have it all under control. Thank You for being a good,
loving,
all-knowing and ever-present God who will not let anything touch me that
hasn’t first passed through Your loving hands. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women and couples find
strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books including,
When Women Walk Alone
(more than 125,000 copies sold), and
When God Sees Your Tears
. For more on her speaking ministry, or free articles to strengthen your
soul,
marriage
, or parenting, see her website
www.StrengthForTheSoul.com .


Jesus Wept

John 11:30-37 (HCSB)
30 Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where
Martha had met Him.
31 The Jews who were with her in the house consoling her saw that Mary got
up quickly and went out. So they followed her, supposing that she was going
to the tomb to cry there.
32 When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and
told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!”
33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He
was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.
34 “Where have you put him?” He asked. “Lord,” they told Him, “come and
see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also
have kept this man from dying?”

Lazarus died and Jesus waited for three days before going to his home. He
was very good friends with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. They had seen the
miracles that Jesus had
performed. Mary and Martha knew that if Jesus had been there he could have
healed Lazarus so he would not have died.

Jesus might have been sorrowful for the death of Lazarus and that would have
shown His human side. But if He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from
the dead why would He be so sorrowful as to weep? The verses above tell us
that He was angry in spirit and deeply moved. Why is this? Why would He be
angry in this case? This can be answered with one word:

UNBELIEF

These people did not fully believe in what Jesus could do. This at first
made Him angry then made Him so sad that He wept.

Near the time of Jesus’ crucifixion He wept over Jerusalem because of the
unbelief in that city. Many people there had seen what He had done but did
not believe He was the Messiah.

Could Jesus be weeping now as he sees what is going on in this world at this
time? Does he weep; when we say, “I know the Lord can do thus and so.” But
don’t believe he will do it for us? Does he weep when he hears us say that
you have to follow certain steps to have him do a miracle for you? We need
to believe that Jesus Christ can work and does work in His time and in His
way.

May we say, like the father of the demoniac:

Mark 9:24 (HCSB)
24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my
unbelief.”

by Dean W. Masters

3 Reasons Why Not to Stress
Kelsey Moore

Stress.

We hear that word a lot in our society today.

It’s a word used to describe how we feel when we have a lot on our plates,
along with many expectations. Tests, deadlines, tension, jobs, and our
futures
are only some of the things that overwhelm us. This generation is anxious
and stressed, that is including me. In fact, stress has become a common and
usual
emotion for just about everyone.

As I have gotten older, I have realized that stress and anxiety have been
trying to take over my life. And for the most part, I had been letting it do
just that.

It had been taking my joy away. It takes away the time I get to spend around
people. It minimizes the time I could have had to trust in God. Worrying is
the lie that God doesn’t have a plan. It is the lie that He has no control,
and that He is not able to do more than we could ever imagine. It is the lie
that keeps us from trusting in Him. It is the lie that keeps our
faith from growing.

Here are three things that God showed me through His Word, His promises, and
through others, about stress and anxiety.

It’s Not Worth It

Worry and stress is a lie. It’s a lie that the enemy subtly planted in my
heart and it began to take over my thoughts, the thoughts I could have used
to
trust God. It took over my time and my energy, time and energy I could’ve
used to worship Him.

What the enemy doesn’t want you to know about worry is that it takes away
and steals, but it gives nothing in return.

It’s a waste of time.

It is a way for the enemy to waste our time, instead of trusting God.

Stressing accomplishes nothing good.

God Didn’t Create Anxiety

Like I said before, stress is a lie, and it is not from God. It is not His
plan for us to stress. His plan is for us to learn to lean on Him when we
are
not strong.
John 14:27 says,

“I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give
is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Jesus did not come to bring fear. When He came, He brought peace. God’s
peace is unique. It has the ability for us to remain calm in the midst of
the storm.
It gives us the ability to have assurance in Him.

He Will Rescue

Because God did not create fear, He is able to rescue you from it.
Isaiah 46:4 says,

“..I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

God is ready.

Let Him take control.

1 Peter 5:7 says,

“Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.”

God doesn’t just want your trust because He is the King, but because He
actually loves and cares about us. He doesn’t want us to worry over what we
can’t
control.

One of my favorite songs, No Longer Slaves, talks about how God has freed us
from our fears. This is my favorite line in the song:

“You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God.”

He has redeemed us from all of our fears and anxiety.

We are free indeed.

This article originally appeared on TheRebelution.com
.Used with permission.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Growing Urgency"
March 12, 2017
(Jesus said) "Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is about
to be delivered into the hands of men" (Luke 9:44).
Read Luke 9:37-45

Coming down with His three disciples from the Mountain of Transfiguration,
Jesus encounters a demon that His other disciples are unable to cast out.
With
divine might and majesty, Jesus overpowers the demon and sends him away. The
crowd is completely amazed and stands marveling at what God has done. Jesus
knows His disciples are still clinging to hopes of an earthly kingdom, and
He doesn't want them to get swept away by the excitement of the crowds. So
He
turned to talk directly to them. To get their attention He could have easily
said, "Listen carefully." Instead, He says something even more striking:
"Let
these words sink into your ears."

And what are the extremely important words Jesus has to tell them? They are
these: "The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men."
Despite
their dreams, and the hope of the crowd following them, Jesus' suffering is
close at hand. He is "about to be delivered into the hands of men."

But Jesus reveals one more painful fact about His coming suffering He did
not reveal the first time: it will come about through an act of betrayal. Of
course, Jesus knows the identity of His betrayer, but He withholds that
information, for now. Not only will He be rejected and, consequently,
subjected
to violent brutalities and death, but treachery will be connected with these
events as well.

The disciples fail to understand and are afraid to ask Jesus anything about
it. The suspense is building as Jesus' destiny-and our salvation-draw near.

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Son single-mindedly set His steps to fulfill
Your plan to save the world. Give me an unwavering faith to follow Him all
my days. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Numbers 5-6; Mark 13:1-20
Print this Devotion
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rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Change Their World. Change Yours.
This Changes Everything.

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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 11:20 pm

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Holding Nothing Back
----------------------------------------------------------

Holding Nothing Back

Posted: 08 Mar 2017 09:55 PM PST

Philippians 2:1-18

Father, I want to live today out of the
the living wisdom of Your Son Jesus,
the constant presence of Your Holy Spirit, and
the loving compassion that flows freely from You.

Enabled by these resources,
help me pour myself completely into the welfare of Your people, especially
those who live around me,
those You have entrusted to my care.

As I serve them in Your name,
give me the mind and Spirit of Christ.
He willingly gave up
all His glory,
all His rights, and
all His advantages.
He emptied Himself,
taking upon Himself the status of a servant.
He clothed Himself in
our lowliness,
our helplessness,
our suffering.
His obedience went all the way to a brutal, humiliating death.
He held nothing back.

Father, as Christ obeyed, help me to obey
wholeheartedly,
eagerly,
in faith,
without fear or hesitation.
Help me to make Your purpose
my only purpose.
Today help me pour myself out completely
as an offering to You,
for the welfare of Your dearly loved children.


"It Is Normal to Feel Lonely" || 02/17/2017
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It Is Normal to Feel Lonely
February 17, 2017

Read: Psalm 6

Every night I flood my bed with tears. (v. 6)

Loneliness is a universal human emotion. The very young can be lonely when
they feel they don’t fit in at school or with friends. The very old can feel
lonely following the death of a spouse. It is normal to feel lonely at one
time or another.

The Bible acknowledges the full range of human emotions. The book of Psalms
especially can be a guidebook for what it means to be human. Everything is
in there—joy, rage, anguish, happiness, satisfaction, lament—you name it,
you can find it in the Psalms. Why? Because God prefers honesty. Look at
Psalm
6. We don’t know if David was physically ill when he wrote this, or if this
was an expression of his emotional state.

We do know that David had times of both great anguish and great joy. He
famously “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Sam. 6:14), and also
fell
into despair following the death of his son Absalom (2 Sam. 18:33). David
was like you and me, experiencing highs and lows, and sharing them honestly
with
God. It is okay to be human and to express our emotions. Toward the end of
Shakespeare’s play King Lear, a character says, “The weight of these sad
times
we must obey, speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” Speaking what
we feel may include saying, “I’m lonely.”

There is no shame in admitting you feel lonely. God wants honesty. —Jeff
Munroe


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Beyond the Walls - #7853

Once upon a time there was a machinist who lived with his wife, his
four-year-old son, and his new baby boy in this cheap apartment on the south
side of
Chicago. He spent a chunk of his meager earnings on alcohol and cigarettes
and gambling, and then the bottom dropped out of his life. His baby boy died
suddenly at the age of only six months. He was crushed. I mean, his grief
was inconsolable. This machinist (John was his name) took his one surviving
boy
to church. John didn't go in-no. He didn't go to church. But he did wait out
in front in his car, smoking his cigarette and reading his Sunday paper.
Until
the day that one of the men of the church looked outside and noticed the man
in the car. He didn't wait for John to come in. He went outside to John's
car, introduced himself, asked a few questions, and then invited him in.
Well, when John said he wasn't dressed for it, the man told him it didn't
matter
how he was dressed.

The little boy gave his heart to Jesus in that church. And only a few months
later, his Dad started coming to the men's Bible class. And one Christmas
Eve John tearfully walked the aisle, accepting Christ's forgiveness for his
sins. He would grow in Christ and ultimately he'd become a deacon, then the
chairman of the deacons, and then an active Christian lay leader. The little
boy was me. The machinist in the car in front of the church was my Dad.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beyond
the Walls."

We were the un-churched. We were the lost. But someone went outside the
walls of the church to reach my father. Because he did, my father is in
heaven
today. There are more people than ever like my father; they will never know
Christ if we wait for them to come inside the walls of the church. We'll
have
to go out where they are if they're ever going to have a chance at heaven.

This is not a new idea. In John 4:4, our word for today from the Word of
God, the Bible says, "Jesus had to go through Samaria." It was there that
Jesus
encountered the woman at the well and led her out of a life of promiscuity
and emptiness into a new life in Christ. And ultimately she went back and
told
her village about Jesus and they all came to Him. John 4 tells us that "many
of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the woman's testimony."

Now why did Jesus have to go through Samaria when Jews did everything they
could to avoid going through Samaria? Because Samaria is where you go if you
want to reach Samaritans! If you want to follow our Master, we'll need to go
where the lost people are. Most of them don't ever plan to go to our
religious
meeting to listen to our religious speaker talk on a religious subject in a
religious place; which is usually how we go about trying to reach them isn't
it? It's no wonder they're still lost.

If we want the lost to be at our outreaches, we need to have some of those
outreaches in places they will come to-neutral places. And you've been
strategically
placed right in the middle of some spiritually dying people. You work with
them, you live near them, you're in some group with them, you go to school
with
them, and you recreate with them. You are God's program for rescuing the
lost people who are around you. That's why God placed you there, to save
some
lives. See, you already are where the spiritually dying people are! You
don't have to go where they are. You're there!

It's very possible the reason my Dad is in heaven today is because someone
left where it was comfortable and someone went outside the walls to reach
him.
That's where an awful lot of lost people are, and that's where they'll have
to be reached; including people you know very well.

By the way, as you're listening to this, you might be my Dad, because you've
never experienced the love and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ for yourself.
And your heart's ready for that. You want that. This is what you've been
looking for all your life. Maybe that's why this broadcast today; this is
how
He has come looking for you where you are.

Don't you want to be where He is forever? Would you tell Him today, "Jesus,
I'm yours"? And I'd love to show you the way that my Dad and I both found
Jesus.
It's right there on our website and it will tell you how you can know Him
for real. ANewStory.com-that's the website.

Jesus goes where lost people are, and we have to do that. Going outside the
walls may be the only hope for a lot of people in your town-for someone you
know and for someone you love.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. ·


Here’s My Heart—O Take and Seal It
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy
commandments.”
Psalm 119:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
In 1758 Robert Robinson wrote a hymn that echoes in my heart from time to
time:

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Do you ever wander from God? Then you know how it feels and how hard it is
to return. If you feel far from God today, I implore you with all that I am
to return to Him with all your heart.

ACTION POINT:
Make Psalm 86:11-13 your prayer today, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will
walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will praise Thee, O
Lord
my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy name for evermore. For
great is Thy mercy toward me: and Thou hast delivered my soul from the
lowest
hell.”

Discover Jesus | Donate | Today's Message
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Isn’t It Wonderful How God Leads?

George Young was a carpenter. He and his wife were dedicated to following
the Lord wherever He led. "He does the leading," they often said, "and we do
the following." God led the Young's to the rural Midwest, and they traveled
from church to church in revival efforts. Their finances were always tight,
but "through the many years, we never went hungry!" as Mrs. Young said years
later. "Oh, sometimes we didn't have too much of this world's goods, but...
we always had so much of Jesus."

Finally they saved enough to buy a small piece of land on which George built
a cottage. Though humble, it was the fulfillment of a life's dream, and when
they moved in they dedicated the house to God and sang the Doxology. But
some time later, when the Young's were away on a ministry trip, a thug who
had
been offended by George's preaching set the house on fire. Returning home,
the Young's found a heap of ashes. All their worldly goods and cherished
possessions
were gone.

As George gazed at the ruins, he recounted the precious possessions fire
could never destroy - his family, his relationship with Christ, his
ministry,
his eternal home. There and then, the words of a hymn began forming in his
mind. Within a few days, he had written all three stanzas of the great hymn
"God Leads His Dear Children Along." The chorus says...

Some thro' the waters, some thro' the flood
Some thro' the fire, but all thro' the blood.
Some thro' great sorrow, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long.

Years later, music publisher Dr. Harold Lillenas decided to track down
George's widow. Driving to the small Kansas town where she resided, he
stopped for
directions and was alarmed to hear that Mrs. Young was living in the rundown
county poorhouse. Lillenas was deeply troubled that the widow of the author
of such a powerful hymn about God's guidance should spend her final days in
the poorhouse.

Mrs. Young only smiled and said, "One day God took my sweet husband home.
Oh, how I missed him, for we had always served the Lord together. In my
heart
I wondered, where will God lead me now? Dr. Lillenas, God led me here! I'm
so glad He did, for you know, about every month someone comes into this
place
to spend the rest of their days, and Dr. Lillenas, so many of them don't
know my Jesus. I'm having the time of my life introducing them to Jesus! Dr.
Lillenas,
isn't it wonderful how God leads?"

David Jeremiah
www.davidjeremiah.org

7 Ways to Make Bad Decisions
by Ron Edmondson

I’ve made lots of bad decisions in my life. That includes my time in
leadership—both in business and ministry, but I’ve also made plenty of bad
decisions
in family and personal situations. None of us set out to make bad decisions,
but sometimes the way we make them can significantly increase or decrease
the chance the quality of our decisions.

Granted, I’ve learned from every bad decision I’ve made. And I’ve even
repeated a few of them a few times—and still learned something. But, as much
as
I can, I want to make better decisions—the first time.

In my experience, there are a few common factors that lead to me making a
bad decision.

Here are 7 ways to make bad decisions:

Make them too fast – I’ve learned that haste does indeed make waste. I make
lots of decisions each day. I would be a poor leader if I couldn’t make most
of them quickly. I’d always be stalled from my potential. When the potential
outcome is significant, however, the more time I can give to it the less
likely
I am to make a mistake—certainly the ones that could have been avoided with
more thought. Learning when to wait, seek God, the counsel of others, and
for
better personal discernment is part of maturing, but can help us avoid some
of the more costly bad decisions.

Make them too slow – Equally true, there are times when a fast decision is
easy; even prudent. If I know the right answer—if it has a Biblical basis,
for
example, or my conscience is clearly convicted—but it is simply hard to
implement, I’ve learned that waiting seldom makes the decision easier and
often
only complicates the process. I’m more likely to make a bad decision the
longer I wait.

Make them to keep people happy – The right decision is seldom the popular
decision. People pleasing as a decision motivator rarely accomplishes
matters
of worth. It often makes the worst decision of the options available.

Make them when angry – I don’t know about you, but I don’t think clearly
when my emotions get in the way. If I’m angry—or emotional in any other
way—I
tend to overreact or under react. Emotionally based decisions, especially
immediate decisions, are often ones I tend to regret later.

Make them alone – “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they
succeed.” (
Proverbs 15:22
) A part of leadership involves standing alone at times, but rarely are we
really alone. We should always walk in the counsel of God’s Spirit, and, in
my experience, even when I have to make the decision seemingly alone—if I’m
making wise decisions—it’s not really that I’m alone. I’m just ahead of
where
others know we need to go, but haven’t yet been willing to go. Building a
collaborative environment as much as possible helps me avoid bad decisions.

Make them reactionary – Ultimately we want to work from a plan. We want to
make decisions before the decision is needed. We want proactive
decision-making.
That’s obviously not always possible, but in my experience, I’m more likely
to make a bad decision when I’m reacting to a situation, rather than having
thought about the scenario and my response beforehand.

Make them out of fear – We are called to walk by faith, yet fear is often a
more powerful initiator. But I’ve learned, when I decide because I’m afraid
to—or not to—do something, I almost always make a mistake. Following my
faith gut, even when afraid, is part of leadership. And part of life.

I’m sure there are many other ways to make a bad decision. These are some of
my personal examples.

Which of these get in your way the most in making good decisions?

What are some ways you end up making bad decisions?

Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church.
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