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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 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.
Visit lutheranhour.org
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Apr 2017, 10:23 pm

The Scars are All Part of a Beautiful Story
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

If you've ever been wounded, or have felt like you needed to hide the scars
away from painful times in life, know that you're not alone. Even Jesus
faced
great insults, wounds, and pain more than we could ever imagine. And He
carried His scars right back into that little room where He met his
disciples after
the Resurrection. Sometimes I've wondered why He didn't choose to let the
scars fade away. He'd gained victory over death. He'd made all things new.
Yet
He still had scars in his hands, His side. (Read the whole story here in
John 20:19-29 )

Maybe He knew we'd need to be reminded of this truth throughout our own
lives: His scars, and ours too, are all part of His beautiful story at work.

He redeems.

He heals.

He sets free.

He restores.

He gives great purpose even through seasons of brokenness and grief.

And the scars are left there to prove it.

We have victory through Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Don't ever doubt, He knows your way, He understands your pain. He promises
to use your every scar and broken place to share his message of hope to a
world
that needs healing and grace.

Peace to you today.

You are held by a Mighty God, and He has good still in store...

Intersecting Faith & Life: Remember today: The scars are all part of your
beautiful story. Don’t hide them away. For they are the evidence that God
heals
and redeems. Choose to thank Him for every scar and painful experience that
has allowed you to see His greater power and work shining through.

Further Reading:
John 20:19-29
Galatians 6:17-18
Isaiah 53:3-5

Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com


We Are To Be Distinct
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even
the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more
are
you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you
are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:46-48.
I love what C.S. Lewis said about loving your enemies.
He says, Do not waste your time bothering with whether you love your
neighbour.
Act as if you did.
As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets – when we are
behaving as if we love someone, we will presently come to love them.
In other words, this kind of love has nothing to do with feelings, has
nothing to do with liking.
It has everything to do with ‘action.’
Then, amazingly, our feelings begin to be about love.
But even more Jesus wants the Christian life to be distinct.
He wants us to be different from the world.
He goes on to say, So if you only love those who love you, how are you
different from anybody else?
If you're reading this and you are a conservative Christian and only love
those who are conservative Christians like you, how are you different from
anybody
else on earth?
If you are a liberal Christian and you despise conservative Christians, how
are you different from anybody else?
There's nothing distinct in your life when you only love who you consider to
be lovable!
Hey, the Mafia loves their families!
They are loyal to their friends!
If we just love our family and friends that are part of our little world
that we live in-
- we are not getting it as followers of Christ.
We are to be distinct.
We are to be radically different in our approach to those who do not think
like we do, who do not live like we do, who sometimes bring great harm to us
and great harm to society as a whole.
Jesus wants us to be radically different because when we are, it's amazing
how God can use our lives to get the attention of those who are hostile to
us
and to the faith.
Radical Christian Living radically changes the world.
Posted by: Lenten Lessons

Three Questions to Ask of Any Bible Passage
By Rick Warren

“Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want
your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him” (1 Samuel 15:22
b CEV).

If you aren’t experienced in applying God’s Word to your life, you might be
frustrated. How do you do it? Today I want to give you three questions you
can ask of any passage that will help you apply the Bible to your life. Here
are the three questions:

1. What did this Scripture mean when it was written?

2. What is the timeless truth behind what God is saying?

3. How does it apply now to me?

We call this the “application bridge.” We’re building a bridge between the
world of the Bible and our world. Let’s try to build this bridge when
applying
what Paul tells us in
1 Corinthians 8
about eating the food sacrificed to idols. Read
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
, and then ask yourself the questions above.

1. What did this Scripture mean when it was written? There were people in
the church of Corinth who knew that idols meant nothing and that the food
offered
to them had no magic power. It was just hamburger or a good steak. There was
no harm in eating it because the idols to which they were sacrificed weren’t
real. So this group would eat freely but with no regard to what other people
might think. Yet there were also new believers who were offended by that
practice.
They didn’t think that believers should eat food sacrificed to gods of other
religions. Paul tells the mature believers not to allow their freedom in
Christ
to offend their brothers.

2. What is the timeless truth behind what God is saying? Don’t use your
freedom in Christ to offend others. Freedom must be used in love.

3. How does it apply to me now? It’s not very common to come into contact
with food being offered to idols where I live in Southern California. I’m
guessing
it doesn’t happen in your area, either. So does that mean it’s irrelevant
for us? Of course not! If the timeless truth is: “Don’t use your freedom to
offend
others; freedom must be used in love,” then I need to be sensitive to people
around me, because that’s how we demonstrate love. Ask yourself, “Lord, am
I doing anything out of selfishness, arrogance, or deliberate insensitivity
to other people that could be causing a fellow brother or sister to stumble?
Am I being puffed up by my own knowledge of freedom, or am I building up
others in love?”

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

• Think of a deeply familiar Bible story. When you re-read the passage and
use the three questions above, what new truths or applications do you
discover
about the story?
• Do you believe that God intended for you to use the Bible as a guide for
life? Do you believe that its truths are timeless, that the messages and
applications
are still relevant today?
• How can you show what you believe through your actions?
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !


Weep for His Pain

With his stripes we are healed. - Isaiah 53:5

Pilate delivered our Lord to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most
dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp
bones
were intertwined among the sinews, so that every time the lash came down,
these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration and tore off the flesh
from
the bone. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He
had been beaten before; but this from the Roman soldiers was probably the
most severe of His flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over His
poor, stricken body.

Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears as He stands before
you, the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for
innocence
and red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure
and blessed healing that His stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart
melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus,
surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our hearts.

See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty's hands,
And spit in their Creator's face.

With thorns His temples gor'd and gash'd
Send streams of blood from every part;
His back's with knotted scourges lash'd.
But sharper scourges tear His heart.

We may long to go to our bedrooms and weep; but since our business calls us
away, we will first ask the Lord Jesus to print the image of His bleeding
self
upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return
to commune with Him and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dearly.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Leviticus 2 , 3

verse 2 John 21

The Christian in Complete Armour, Volume 1

Arguably the most significant spiritual and biblical theology ever penned
from the English Puritan era, the presentation of William Gurnall's
(1616-1679)

The Christian in Complete Armour in an accessible, single volume is
certainly a landmark, and much welcomed, event. According to the Apostle
Paul, the
world is at war. Not a "hot war" but a war in the realm of the spirit. This
war, Paul warns, requires special armament, and he explains that armament in
Ephesians 6
. Anglican cleric Gurnall began to explore Paul's exhortation in sermons and
lectures, which he published under the title
The Christian in Complete Armor. A perennial best-seller in Gurnall's own
lifetime, these teachings became his legacy, influencing well over three
centuries
of Christians and eliciting praise from the likes of Richard Baxter, John
Flavel, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards and have been
abridged
and modernized using more easily understood language.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good
News
Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,
www.crossway.org .

Anne Graham Lotz - Praise Defeats the Enemy
View this email in your browser

Praise Defeats the Enemy
I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will
praise You.

Psalm 22:22, NKJV

One way to drive Satan to distraction, and to overcome him, is through
praise of Jesus. Regardless of whether the enemy is a visible foe in front
of us
like the Scribes and Pharisees or an invisible foe outside of us like the
devil himself or an invisible foe inside of us like depression, praise
drives
the enemy away. In the very prophecy that describes Jesus’ inmost thoughts
and feelings as He hung on the cross, tortured, bleeding, and dying, the
psalmist
declared, “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises . . .” of Your people
(Ps. 22:3, NKJV). In other words, He is enthroned-He rules in power,
authority,
and supremacy-through our praise.

In some supernatural way, praise ushers the authority of God into any given
situation. One practical way to maintain your praise is, every time you
pray,
to begin your prayer with praise. First praise Him for Who He is. Then
praise Him for something He has done for you. Start now!

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


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - In the Light of the Cross
----------------------------------------------------------

In the Light of the Cross

Posted: 27 Mar 2017 09:55 PM PDT

I have been crucified with Christ
and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.

May I never boast except in
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
(Galatians 2:20; 6:14; NIV)

Merciful Father,
flood my heart and mind every moment
with the full truth about Jesus Christ:
His life,
His death,
His resurrection, and
the completeness of His salvation.

Let me live in the blazing light of
all He is and all He has done
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 31 Mar 2017, 5:31 pm

So Be Generous
"Do not judge, so that you won't be judged." Matthew 7:1.
Jesus warned us not to judge one another-
- because the standard we use to judge others will be the same standard used
to judge us.
This doesn't mean we can never say anything when someone else is sinning, or
that we can never engage our minds and Christian convictions when declaring
things we know to be true from God's Word.
Some people like to quote this verse as an excuse to do whatever they want
without being corrected, or as an easy way out of defending a biblical
position.

That way, they can claim the moral high ground while bending to the pressure
of being totally tolerant of others.
That's not what Jesus meant when he warned us not to judge.
He was addressing the wrongful attitude of immediately condemning someone
without hearing all the evidence, of showing no mercy to someone who's done
wrong.

This kind of attitude takes delight in seeing others get what's coming to
them-
- rather than grieving over the pain and loss their sins have generated for
them.
Remember-
God is perfectly fair.
It's his job to judge people's actions and the motives behind them, not
ours.
So we've been duly warned.
If we act as a judge over others, we'll be measured by the same harsh
standards we use to condemn.
So be as generous as you can with your attitude toward others, and God will
respond with grace toward you.

What God Wants Most
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:07 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
What God Wants Most

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
If you asked a Christian brother or sister why God made us, they would
probably say that we were made to serve God. But don’t you believe it. If
God wanted
servants, He could do a lot better than mere mortals.

When the scribes asked Jesus what was the first commandment, He said, “The
first of all the commandments is
, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

The first commandment is not to do something for God, but to love God. He
made you and me in the likeness of His image, that He might have fellowship
with
us and that we would praise Him.

ACTION POINT:
Meditate throughout the day on this wonderful thought: God isn’t asking for
your performance. He wants your love.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.


Make Your Life Sing
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:08 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
Welcome to the Nugget
February 21, 2017
Make Your Life Sing
By Answers2Prayer
"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long
as I live." (Ps 104:33)

I have always loved to sing. When I was a boy I sang in church, in my room,
and even in my backyard. Growing up I always sang along with the songs on
the
radio. These days I sing in the shower. I sing when I walk my dogs. I sing
when I do the dishes. My wonderful, loving, tech-savvy daughter has even
downloaded
music from the internet and made her old school Dad CDs so I can sing along
with all of my favorite songs.

There is one problem, though. While I love to sing, the sound coming from my
voice never seems to match the sound I hear in my soul. It always comes out
too high, too scratchy, and way too off-key. I have seen people wince when I
sang near them. I have had my dogs join in when I sang too loudly. I once
heard myself sing on tape and wondered how that voice could have possibly
come out of my mouth. I am sure that even my guardian angels have had to
stick
their fingers in their ears many times over the years. I have learned to
sing quietly then unless I am alone. Then I belt out my songs so all of
Heaven
can hear. I am sure God doesn't mind my off-key voice as long as I am
"Making a joyful noise."

Thankfully, there is more than one way to sing in this life. We all can sing
out our love and joy by what we do. We all can share the music within us
with
the lives we lead. We can shine our smiles. We can share our laughter. We
can open our arms for a hug. We can pass on a kiss or a kind word. We can
rescue
a stray dog or cat. We can help the poor and visit the lonely. We nurse the
sick and uplift the fallen We can encourage everyone around us. We can
spread
our joy. We can make our lives a living testament of goodness. We can love
others the way God loves us: unconditionally! Make your life sing then. Sing
well. Sing long. Sing with all the light and love in your soul!

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

You don't care for punishment? What if you knew it was for your own good?
Join us on Tuesday for "
No Pain No Gain
", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only
permitted but encouraged!

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."


The Full Armor of God
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:08 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Full Armor of God
----------------------------------------------------------

The Full Armor of God

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 09:55 PM PST

Ephesians 6:10-17

Father, in this evil world we must struggle with evil –
evil that threatens us from outside and tempts us from within.
Whether this evil approaches us subtly or brazenly,
its purpose is always the same.
Jesus said it always comes
to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10, NASB)

When Jesus came into this world,
He came armed with the Spirit of God:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3, 5, NASB)

This same Spirit arms us as well.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Though Jesus was as human as we are,
He overcame evil in this world completely, and
He arms us to overcome it completely as well.
He urges us to be strong in Him and in His power,
not our own.
We must put on the full armor He has provided.

Put on the belt of truth.
Since we are children of Almighty God,
truth and reality are on our side, not Satan’s.
Thus His primary weapon is deceit.
Protect yourself with the truth.
Prepare yourself for battle with the truth.
Know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.

Protect your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
Your ultimate safety in this war is being on God’s side.
A mind, heart, and lifestyle that aren’t right with Him
leave us vulnerable to the attack of evil.

Strap your feet with the gospel of peace.
How can we march forward to do God’s work over rough, uneven ground?
We are prepared and protected by the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the good news of peace in Him.
That wonderful message we bring to others
also keeps us steady.

All the above are static pieces of armor,
fixed to protect various parts of our body.
But make sure you have the shield of faith.
You will need to wield it, to raise it against various
fears, problems, and concerns that Satan will sling your way.
When a concern arises, raise the shield of faith:
“Lord, we are concerned about this need.
We bring it to You and trust You to help us with it.”

How do we protect the most vital part of our bodies, our head?
That is where our thoughts originate, and
the head guides the rest of the body.
So put on the helmet of salvation.
It protects us with the confidence that
God’s salvation has rescued us completely
from sin, evil, and death.
Thus the helmet of salvation is not only protective,
but it is also a decorative helmet of victory.
It reminds us and shows the world that
the battle has already been won.

Finally, we also protect ourselves with
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has already proclaimed our final victory!
All who believe are safe in Him, and
the war against evil will soon be over and won.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NASB).

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Ugly Beneath The Beautiful - #7859

Our friends John and Marie have a lovely family area in their home that they
call the Great Room. And it really is a great room; big fireplace, lots of
comfortable couch and chairs, tastefully decorated. It's just one of those
rooms that people are drawn into like a magnet, and you don't want to leave.
And on the wall near the fireplace, a beautiful painting. That's new. See,
it hasn't always been there...until the wall cracked. Now, they tell me it
was
some kind of water damage, but it has left a really ugly hole in the wall.
But who would know? It's covered up with this lovely painting!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Ugly
Beneath the Beautiful."

Now, it's true that no one can see the ugly spot. It's successfully covered
up by something beautiful. It keeps anyone from knowing about the ugly, but
not even a Rembrandt can repair that damage!

Most of us have some ugly that we would just as soon not have anyone see.
There's ugly stuff in our past, in our heart, in the closets of our life.
The
secrets we don't want anyone to know about-the dark side we try to conceal:
those weaknesses, those failures, the mistakes that betray the wonderful
view
that we portray to the world.

See, we cover the ugly with a great personality, or with religious activity,
or spirituality, with our image, with good things we do. But no matter how
impressive what we hang on the wall is, the damage-the holes inside-they're
still there. God says that one day, all the cover-ups are going to come off
the wall, and we will be judged on the basis of the ugly on the inside, not
the beauty on the outside.

That's our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 2:16. It talks
about "the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ."
That's
the junk we've successfully concealed from others, maybe even those closest
to us. But it's totally known to God. And until the sin inside is
removed-not
just covered up-we are in the danger zone with the One who will judge us
based on His knowledge of every secret.

In the next chapter in the Bible, God tells us that no one is exempt from
the reality of a sinful heart or of the consequences of a self-run life. He
says,
"All have sinned..." even the most religious person among us. It says,
"...and they fall short of the glory of God." There is no way we can make it
into
God's heaven with this sin we all carry inside, no matter how much religion
we cover it with. It sounds pretty hopeless until you read on.

Yes, we've all missed it with God, but it goes on to say, "we are justified"
(that means made right with God) "justified freely by His grace through the
redemption" (or the rescue) "that came by Christ Jesus." God presented Him
as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood. Now, we couldn't do
anything to fix our sin problem, but God, who is the one we've sinned
against, reached out in love by sending His Son to die our death penalty-to
remove
the stain of the sin that has haunted us and condemned us for so long.

And today, God's waiting to go deep inside you where all that sin is, and
all the guilt and the shame, the secrets, and clean it all up. He wants to
forgive
it all. He wants to repair what you could never repair. He wants to change
what you could never change and cleanse what you could never cleanse. And it
happens when you tell Jesus that you are trusting Him to be your rescuer
from your sin, because only the One who could die for you sin can forgive
your
sin.

This could be your day to be something better than religious. You could be
forgiven. You could be clean. If that's what you want, say, "Jesus, you're
my
only hope of my sin being erased and me being in heaven some day. I am yours
beginning today."

I would invite you to go to our website and spend a few minutes there as we
explain there exactly how to be sure you are forgiven and you are
His-ANewStory.com.
Would you go there?

There's nothing like the freedom, the relief, of knowing that the sin of a
lifetime is gone; not concealed, but gone.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.


What God Wants Most
Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:07 pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"
What God Wants Most
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
If you asked a Christian brother or sister why God made us, they would
probably say that we were made to serve God. But don’t you believe it. If
God wanted
servants, He could do a lot better than mere mortals.

When the scribes asked Jesus what was the first commandment, He said, “The
first of all the commandments is
, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

The first commandment is not to do something for God, but to love God. He
made you and me in the likeness of His image, that He might have fellowship
with
us and that we would praise Him.

ACTION POINT:
Meditate throughout the day on this wonderful thought: God isn’t asking for
your performance. He wants your love. of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Nugget
February 21, 2017
Make Your Life Sing
By Answers2Prayer
"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long
as I live." (Ps 104:33)

I have always loved to sing. When I was a boy I sang in church, in my room,
and even in my backyard. Growing up I always sang along with the songs on
the
radio. These days I sing in the shower. I sing when I walk my dogs. I sing
when I do the dishes. My wonderful, loving, tech-savvy daughter has even
downloaded
music from the internet and made her old school Dad CDs so I can sing along
with all of my favorite songs.

There is one problem, though. While I love to sing, the sound coming from my
voice never seems to match the sound I hear in my soul. It always comes out
too high, too scratchy, and way too off-key. I have seen people wince when I
sang near them. I have had my dogs join in when I sang too loudly. I once
heard myself sing on tape and wondered how that voice could have possibly
come out of my mouth. I am sure that even my guardian angels have had to
stick
their fingers in their ears many times over the years. I have learned to
sing quietly then unless I am alone. Then I belt out my songs so all of
Heaven
can hear. I am sure God doesn't mind my off-key voice as long as I am
"Making a joyful noise."

Thankfully, there is more than one way to sing in this life. We all can sing
out our love and joy by what we do. We all can share the music within us
with
the lives we lead. We can shine our smiles. We can share our laughter. We
can open our arms for a hug. We can pass on a kiss or a kind word. We can
rescue
a stray dog or cat. We can help the poor and visit the lonely. We nurse the
sick and uplift the fallen We can encourage everyone around us. We can
spread
our joy. We can make our lives a living testament of goodness. We can love
others the way God loves us: unconditionally! Make your life sing then. Sing
well. Sing long. Sing with all the light and love in your soul!

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

You don't care for punishment? What if you knew it was for your own good?
Join us on Tuesday for "
No Pain No Gain
", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only
permitted but encouraged!

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."

God Shines Most in Our Messiness
Steven Lee / February 24, 2017
God Shines Most in Our Messiness

A recent bipolar diagnosis shocks the group. Cancer ravages the health of a
young wife and mother. An impending divorce threatens to tear apart a
marriage,
family, and community. A member struggling with same-sex attraction searches
for ways to share his struggle. The lone black man in the small group is
peppered
yet again with questions about racism. The single mom cries out for help
with her teenage son. A young couple struggles to accept that they can’t
have
biological children. The widow, married for more than six decades, gropes
for reasons to go on. A father of six children shares the news of his recent
layoff.

Life is hard and broken. Christian clichés aren’t going to cut it in the
unavoidable messiness of realities like these.

Community Is Messy

Christian community — in the local church, in small group, missional
community, or wherever else — is messy. If our friends are plunging headlong
into
a dark place, someone needs to go after them. And we have no quick fixes for
the deep wounds we face: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, broken
relationships,
miscarriage, loneliness, unemployment, deteriorating health, wayward
children, death of a parent, disability, and the list literally goes on and
on.

Life is messy. For some of us, that scares us to no end. We don’t know what
to say, what to do, how to engage, or how to help. Many step into community
tentatively, secretly hoping it will not be messy. We want good friends,
loving community, and easy, comfortable, enjoyable conversation. But the
reality
is that every true Christ-centered community will have its difficulties.

Christian community, by necessity and design, is messy. We are sinners, the
world is broken, and God is at work. In the gospel story he has written, his
grace and love shine more beautifully than ever in the messiness of our
lives.

Powerful Gospel

The gospel helps us to move from risk-adverse and messiness-avoiding people
to those who lean into one another when the pain and confusion come. The
gospel
transforms naturally self-centered people into those who selflessly serve
others. The gospel transforms, over time, a proud and arrogant man into a
humble
man willing to ask for help. The gospel turns an ingrown, self-absorbed
group into one welcoming to the spiritual seeker. The gospel generates
generosity
in a community to help make the dream of adoption a reality for a couple.
The gospel motivates a group to fold a widow in and become her new family.
The
gospel slowly mends a broken marriage through consistent Bible study,
prayer, and encouragement.

In the darkest moments, the gospel of Jesus Christ shines its brightest and
most brilliant.

The tragic irony is that we hide. We throw a rug over the vomit of our lives
sitting in the middle of the room. We withdraw when our blood pressure
rises.
We recoil when tempers flare. We pull back when we’ve been offended. We lean
away when sin is exposed.

In these moments, we must battle our natural instincts, and trust our
growing gospel instincts, to lean into the mess. It’s not easy. It’s never
easy.
But as we lean in together with his people, guided by his Spirit, and
dependent on his grace and help, God brings hope and healing.

Wanted: Broken People

God always works the mess for good, for those who love him. He has designed
the body of Christ such that every member, even the broken ones —
especially the broken ones — are needed. In God’s plan, the broken and needy
ones are often the ones we need most.

The apostle Paul says, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I
do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the
body.
. . . If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?†(1
Corinthians 12:15, 17). We need every single part. We need the feet, even
those
with ingrown toenails. We need ears, mouths, and noses. No part is
indispensable. That means we
need the broken and hurting among us just as much as we need the spiritually
mature. We
need those who suffer from mental disability, physical infirmity, or broken
hearts as much as we need those who are doing well and flying high.

Some Sunday mornings, I sit next to a young man who has Down syndrome. He is
filled with the joy of Christ and sings with more gusto than anyone around
him. He has a bigger smile on his face than anyone I know, and he always
greets me heartily. He serves me by reminding me of the excitement and
exuberance
that should accompany the worship of God with his people. This young man —
who has lived all his life with a disability — reveals the beauty of joyful
and uninhibited praise. He reminds me worship isn’t about me, but God. I
need that reminder. I need him.

Lean into Community

Bearing one another’s burdens and forgiving one another is messy. But let
God use the messiness to make you and others more like him. “The eye cannot
say
to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I
have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be
weaker
are indispensable†(1 Corinthians 12:21–22).

Whether you are a hand, a foot, or a big toe with a bunion, the body of
Christ needs you. It won’t be easy — for anyone — but we need each other,
and the
reminder that God does his brightest work in our messiness. When we walk
with one another through joys and trials, we’ll better see the transforming
power
of the gospel.

God does his best work in and through us when we seek to serve one another,
especially when we run out of answers, quick fixes, and clichés, so that we
point others directly to Jesus and his cross.

What Is the Deepest Root of Your Joy? (Christian Hedonism in Two Minutes)
John Piper / February 24, 2017

The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people
to God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been truly
converted.

Press on to Know Jesus More (Sermon Clip on the Supremacy of Christ)
John Piper / February 24, 2017

The supremacy of Christ is meant to be the sun at the center of our lives,
keeping all the planets of our existence in orbit. Let us press on to know
him.
Desiring God
2112 Broadway Street NE, Suite 150
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Full Armor of God
----------------------------------------------------------

The Full Armor of God

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 09:55 PM PST

Ephesians 6:10-17

Father, in this evil world we must struggle with evil –
evil that threatens us from outside and tempts us from within.
Whether this evil approaches us subtly or brazenly,
its purpose is always the same.
Jesus said it always comes
to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10, NASB)

When Jesus came into this world,
He came armed with the Spirit of God:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3, 5, NASB)

This same Spirit arms us as well.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Though Jesus was as human as we are,
He overcame evil in this world completely, and
He arms us to overcome it completely as well.
He urges us to be strong in Him and in His power,
not our own.
We must put on the full armor He has provided.

Put on the belt of truth.
Since we are children of Almighty God,
truth and reality are on our side, not Satan’s.
Thus His primary weapon is deceit.
Protect yourself with the truth.
Prepare yourself for battle with the truth.
Know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.

Protect your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
Your ultimate safety in this war is being on God’s side.
A mind, heart, and lifestyle that aren’t right with Him
leave us vulnerable to the attack of evil.

Strap your feet with the gospel of peace.
How can we march forward to do God’s work over rough, uneven ground?
We are prepared and protected by the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the good news of peace in Him.
That wonderful message we bring to others
also keeps us steady.

All the above are static pieces of armor,
fixed to protect various parts of our body.
But make sure you have the shield of faith.
You will need to wield it, to raise it against various
fears, problems, and concerns that Satan will sling your way.
When a concern arises, raise the shield of faith:
“Lord, we are concerned about this need.
We bring it to You and trust You to help us with it.”

How do we protect the most vital part of our bodies, our head?
That is where our thoughts originate, and
the head guides the rest of the body.
So put on the helmet of salvation.
It protects us with the confidence that
God’s salvation has rescued us completely
from sin, evil, and death.
Thus the helmet of salvation is not only protective,
but it is also a decorative helmet of victory.
It reminds us and shows the world that
the battle has already been won.

Finally, we also protect ourselves with
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has already proclaimed our final victory!
All who believe are safe in Him, and
the war against evil will soon be over and won.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NASB)


Friendly People, Thoughtful People
by Chuck Swindoll

Proverbs 18:24

If I have learned anything during my journey on Planet Earth, it is that
people need one another.

The presence of other people is essential—caring people, helpful people,
interesting people, friendly people, thoughtful people. These folks take the
grind
out of life.

About the time we are tempted to think we can handle things all alone—boom!
We run into some obstacle and need assistance. We discover all over again
that
we are not nearly as self-sufficient as we thought.

In spite of our high-tech world and efficient procedures, people remain the
essential ingredient of life. When we forget that, a strange thing happens:
We start treating people like inconveniences instead of assets.

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

Exquisitely Imperfect
Living Fear Free
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved
worldwide.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 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.

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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
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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.

The email address this message was sent from does not accept replies. If
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. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
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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