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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 01 Sep 2017, 5:58 pm




Today's Daily Encounter

Walking Witnesses

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes
on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and
in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the
earth."1

I have read how, "while attending a university in
London, Mahatma Gandhi became almost convinced that the
Christian religion was the one true, supernatural
religion in the world. Upon graduation, and still
seeking evidence that would make him a committed
Christian, young Gandhi accepted employment in East
Africa and for seven months lived in the home of a
family who were members of an evangelical Christian
church. As soon as he discovered that fact, he decided
that here would be the place to find the evidence he
sought.

"But as the months passed and he saw the casualness of
their attitude toward the cause of God, heard them
complain when they were called upon to make a sacrifice
for the kingdom of God, and sensed their general
religious apathy, Gandhi's interest turned to
disappointment. He said in his heart, 'No, it is not
the one true, supernatural religion I had hoped to
find. A good religion, but just one more of the many
religions in the world.'"2

Let us remember that as children of God we are not
called to do witnessing but to be Christ's witnesses.
Wherever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do--in all
circumstances at all times we are being witnesses of
Christ. I recall reading years ago the following words
on a poster in the office in the college where I
attended:

The living truth is what I long to see,
I cannot live on what used to be,
So close your Bible and show me how
The Christ you talk about is living now.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to remember
that as a child of Yours, I am being a witness for You
in all circumstances at all times. Help me to so live
that my life will always be an effective witness and be
used to help win others to You. May people, seeing
Jesus in me, want Jesus for themselves. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Acts 1:8 (NIV).
2. Evangelical Illustration

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php . Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org

Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2016
ACTS International.

It is not our business to re-write Bible verses!
( J.R. Miller )
"I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips."
Psalm 34:1

It is not hard to praise the Lord at some times.
There are days when all is bright.
There is no sickness in our house.
No recent sorrow has left our heart sad.
It is easy then, to praise the Lord.

But there are other times when things are different. Business is not
prosperous--or health is broken.
We begin to say this verse--but we cannot get through it: "I will praise the
Lord at
We cannot bless the Lord for the broken health--or for the empty chair. Yet
there the words stand. We cannot make them read: "I will praise the Lord at
some
times; His praise will be on my lips on certain days--days when the sun
shines."
It is not our business to re-write Bible verses--but it is our business
rather to bring our lives up to the standard of the inspired words. So we
must
learn to say the verse just as it is written.

We must learn to bless the Lord on the dark days--as well as the bright
days.
We must learn to praise God in pain--as well as in pleasure.
Have we learned this lesson?
~ ~ ~ ~
We have published another of C.D. Cole's practical theological books, "
Sin--Salvation--Service


"God is Great"

As often reported by the media, moments before radical Islamic terrorists
begin their savage killings, they shout "Allah akbar," which means "God is
great"
or "this is for Allah." For most, it is inconceivable that God would be
pleased by vicious attacks on innocent people or that taking one's own life
for
the sake of killing others would somehow be considered virtuous by our
Creator. But, many fundamental and militant Muslims in the world are
convinced that
all people who do not view God as they do should be eliminated. They should
die. It's impossible to find views more contrary to religious freedom and
democratic
liberty than this. Could you imagine living in a society where people are
allowed to kill or jail you because you disagree with their view of God?
This
is the world of radical Muslims.

Of all the terrorist acts that have taken place in the last 20 years, none
has affected me more than the recent assault on Orthodox Christians in Egypt
who were stopped by terrorists on their way to Minya for a spiritual
retreat. Three busloads of Christians were on a pilgrimage. They were
excited, traveling
with families and ready for a relaxing weekend of spiritual renewal.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, two minivans of ISIS-related terrorists pulled in
front
of the buses and ordered them to stop. Every man, young and old, was forced
off the bus. They were given an opportunity to renounce their faith in
Christ
or be killed instantly. Each man refused to deny that Jesus was their Lord.
As a result, they were murdered while the women on the bus watched in
shocked
horror and dismay. One of these women recounted later how she watched her
son cling to the leg of his father as the terrorists shot him. The masked
men
then turned, and murdered her young son.

Much of the world is celebrating the fact that Mosul, Iraq, has been
recently liberated from the domination of ISIS. It is a huge victory indeed.
But sadly,
the city is in ruins and many lives are irreparably damaged. ISIS has known
that eventually it would be defeated and driven from Iraq and Syria. What
they
have wanted all along is to occupy the main stage of the world, especially
on the internet, for as long as possible, in order to spread their ideology
to the far corners of our globe. Daily, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of
ISIS, is recruiting Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide to believe in his
twisted
understanding of God, for the purpose of wreaking havoc in all societies
that do not subscribe to his thinking. In other words, the battle against
ISIS
is not against flesh and blood or even territory on earth, but it is against
the warped ideology of radical, militant Islamists.

When you read the Gospels of the New Testament and carefully examine the
life of Jesus, you notice one very important distinction; Jesus saved his
harsh
words for the religious leaders of the time. He was always aggressively
challenging and confronting religious leaders. At the same time, he often
extended
mercy, compassion and understanding for the common person. He healed,
encouraged, served and taught those he considered to be lost sheep in need
of a Good
Shepherd. But with the religious leaders, he let them have it with both
barrels. He did not hold back. Jesus came to earth to establish a New
Covenant,
a right understanding of God. To the religious leaders of his time, he said:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed
tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the
bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look
righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
(Matthew 23:27,28)

Jesus knew the devastation a wrong understanding of God could create. In
fact, he gave his life in order for a New Covenant to be established, so
that
once and for all people could finally know and embrace God's true character.
At the core of Christian theology is the belief that God is love. If a
person
lives or teaches a life apart from this reality, he or she is tragically
misguided as well. Probably the one disciple who best understood this
correct
understanding of God was John. In a letter, John wrote; "Beloved, let us
love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of
God
and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."
(1John 4:7,8)

What was most amazing about the tragedy outside Minya, Egypt, were the women
who had lost their loved ones to the vicious attacks of ISIS and begged
people
to pray for the terrorists. They considered these ISIS soldiers to be lost
sheep because they were following the teachings of Abu Bakhr Al Baghdadi in
their killing spree. Through their tears and grief, these brave widows and
mothers even as they recovered in hospitals, extended mercy to their
killers,
knowing that the real villains were the leaders of the ISIS movement. The
teachers of evil. The uplifting words and images of these women were
broadcast
on television, throughout Egypt and around the world.

Don't let anyone tell you that theology does not matter. A wrong
understanding of God can bring destruction to families, cities, countries,
our world,
and certainly our souls. On the other hand, a right understanding of God can
bring peace, love, reconciliation, mercy, and forgiveness. For over 2,000
years, the world has been wrestling with the teachings of Jesus. Either they
are accurate and true, or they are not. In the end, we can try to find a
better
way of life than what Jesus taught and modeled for us. If we cannot, we are
invited to follow him, trust him with our lives, hopes and dreams, believing
that peace on earth is possible through his grace.

Unspeakable terror in this world has increased this past year. Radical
Muslims have been instructed to use trucks to mow down and kill innocent
bystanders
in Berlin, Nice and London. A young woman in one of the recent London
attacks was stabbed to death by three terrorists who had surrounded her,
each yelling
and even laughing, "This is for Allah." On Palm Sunday, two Muslim
terrorists exploded devices designed to kill Christians in the midst of
their church
service. A year ago, I stood with a group of believers in the exact location
in St. Mark's cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, where a terrorist ignited his
suicide vest.
In other words, terrorism will continue to be a part of our lives as long as
there are people willing and hungry to follow theological teachings, no
matter
how violent and aimless, which offer purpose and passion for their lives.
For those of us who follow Jesus, it has never been more important to spread
his message of love than now. Don't put your light under a bushel. Don't be
too shy to share the hope, love and forgiveness of Jesus with others. Don't
be too timid to say you have studied, pondered, and prayed, and that you
have decided to embrace the God of the New Covenant. The freedoms we cherish
and
the lives we enjoy depend on it.

God is great. And his love endures forever. Amen.
sent by: Frontier Fellowship
958 Pine Street, Winnetka, Il, 60093, USA

Anne Graham Lotz - The Desires of Your Heart
The Desires of Your Heart
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this."

Psalm 37:4-5, NIV

In the beginning, Adam was single. Increasingly he longed for a companion
with whom he could share his life. He didn’t have to beg God or beat the
bushes
or spend every Saturday night in a singles bar. He just went to sleep in God’s
will. I wonder if, as he drifted off to sleep, he was praying that God would
somehow take away the strange ache in his heart and the loneliness he felt
inside, especially when he had observed that every animal had a partner
except
himself. “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and
while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place
with
flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the
man” (Gen. 2:21-22, NIV). In His wisdom, God knew exactly how to meet Adam’s
emotional needs – by presenting Adam with a wife. And He knows how to meet
your needs and satisfy your desires, too. So . . . commit your way to Him
and
trust Him!

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

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple
complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a
joyful and
humble attitude..." Acts 2:46 (HCSB)

By Answers2Prayer

Life is What we Make it

"The world is a looking-glass and gives back to every man the reflection of
his own face. Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly at you; laugh at
it, and with it, and it is a jolly, kind companion." (William Makepeace
Thackeray 1811-1863)

It is amazing how two people can go through the same experience and get
precisely opposite things out of it. Two prisoners looked out through the
bars
- one saw mud in the courtyard; the other saw stars in the heaven.

There is the story of two girls who went for a walk in the country. When
they arrived back home, they were asked if they had enjoyed it. One talked
about
nothing but the dusty road, the flies and the heat and how uncomfortable it
all was. The other girl spoke of a field of wildflowers and a glimpse of the
sea at a bend in the road that she would never forget.

In my work I meet many elderly people. Some are miseries and complain about
everything. They are upset about the weather, the government, their
ailments,
money or lack of it. After spending time in their company you can come away
feeling almost as irritable as they are. There are others who are an
absolute
joy to be with. I knew one couple in their nineties, and no matter what
their current situation was, life for them was a bundle of laughs. Later it
was
a privilege for me to conduct their funeral services with the sure knowledge
that they had achieved everything possible out of life. I'm no medical
expert
but I do feel that there is a strong link between our attitude to life and
our state of health. The state of mind has a lot to do with the state of
body.
It isn't our problems that are bothering us; it's the way we are looking at
them.

Life is largely a question of attitude. Some see only the dark side, the
gloom and doom. They go through life with a chip on their shoulder believing
that
they have been given a raw deal. Some take a positive view believing that
every cloud has a silver lining. And life is very much what we make of it.
Undoubtedly
pessimism will draw us down to greater depths because it is self generating.
Optimism likewise is self generating, it will encourage us and uplift those
around us.

Pessimism - optimism. The thirsty man was given a glass of water. "But it is
half empty" he complained. "No," said the giver, "It is half full."

Keep your eyes open - there is much to see and admire. And keep open your
hearts - all that we are comes from God. Give thanks.

Ron Clarke JP An e-mail from Kingborough, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
http://word4week.com

Announcement:
Are you frustrated with an ineffective prayer life? God does answer prayers,
my friend.
Why don't you come to Answers2Prayer and discover the power of prayer for
yourself?

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

Post  Admin on Thu 31 Aug 2017, 11:10 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much
as an inch? Matthew 6:27 (MSG)
By Answers2Prayer
Elephant Artists. Majestic Mountain View Series, Part 33

Worries are like that; they lead nowhere. They will never procure even a
tiny bit of what we need. On the contrary, we will experience even more
stress,
making the problems themselves even more unbearable.

"All this time and money wasted on fashion-do you think it makes that much
difference?" Matthew 6:28a (MSG)

I once had a ten-year-old student who had at least 30 pairs of shoes. Every
day she wore different shoes. I remember thinking that that she would never
need another pair; but that was not the case. She was constantly hungering
for more pairs of shoes. She continuously worried about the latest fashion.
Did this make her happy? Not at all. Worries abound when possessions become
our focus.

"Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at
the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and
design
quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby
alongside them." Matthew 6:28b-29 (MSG)

When I travel, I don't take pictures of people who are well-dressed. To me,
they are ordinary. It's true that the rich wear beautiful jewelry; but this
doesn't make this person stand out. What I do take numerous pictures of,
however, is flowers. They are so beautiful, I want to remember how they
look,
even though within a week or two these flowers will fade. Beauty provided by
our Heavenly Father stands out millions of times more than our feeble
attempts
at adequate clothing. Nothing can compare.

Did you know that some elephants are great artists? Some can paint or draw,
making fantastic works of art. The zookeeper in Syracuse, New York noticed
that one of his elephants used a stick to draw complex drawings. He offered
him a pen, and after a while this elephant started to draw on paper. It was
so beautiful that the zookeeper asked the opinion of an artist. He didn't
tell the artist where the drawings came from, but the artist was impressed.
When
the elephant was identified as being the creator of the drawings, the artist
was even more impressed.

The zookeeper in Syracuse found out that elephants in other zoos also draw.
In fact, one elephant uses paint brushes, and he is quite good at it. Many
people buy these paintings and drawings. A painting done by an elephant is
actually on display in one of our local restaurants, and everyone admires
it.
Do these elephants worry? No way! They simply enjoy what they are doing.
Would you like an Elephant painting?
P. S. Check online with "Elephant artists". You will be amazed!
Rob Chaffart
Announcement:
Do you have questions about the Bible? Come and
visit the archives of answers to "Bible Questions of the Week" . The answer
you seek will probably be among the many answers received, and if not, you
can submit us your Bible questions .
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."


4 Questions to Ask Before You Hit Send

Every twenty-four hours, 205 billion e-mails are sent across cyberspace;
every sixty seconds, 510 comments are posted on Facebook (that’s 734,000
posts
per day); and every second, almost six thousand tweets are tweeted across
the Internet for the entire Twitterverse to see, totaling 350,000 tweets per
minute and 500 million tweets per day. Though the head spins with these
statistics, they do not include those going out through YouTube, LinkedIn,
Pinterest,
Google Plus, Tumblr, Instagram, or the countless other platforms being
created every year.

Would it be safe then to say that out of these hundreds of billions of
communications each and every day, large numbers of the contents’ authors
wish they
had taken the time to think more carefully about all they were communicating
and revised, or even deleted entirely, the messages they sent out recklessly
in an emotional moment?

When it happens to you, a family member, or an employee, you understand the
anguish it can cause and how relevant this becomes. What about the athlete
who cannot help but post all his opinions toward the league or team he plays
for, perhaps not realizing that freedom of speech does not mean there can’t
be consequences from his employer? Or the politician who has media and
watchdog organizations analyzing every comment she makes, not hesitating to
take
their presumptions public with what they believe the candidate is
communicating?

Or the television personality who is quick to post controversial opinions
that are not received well by the general public, causing so much uproar and
backlash that suspension or even termination becomes necessary?

But one doesn’t have to be in the public limelight to regret an e‑mail or
social media post. Social media means what it says: it is social. World Wide
Web means worldwide. Our methods of communication today allow our message to
be broadcast to potentially millions, from Auckland, New Zealand, to
Oakland,
California. But it’s not only Twitter fanatics who can find themselves in
trouble. Every single one of us could fall prey, especially with e‑mail.

That’s why author Seth Godin always asks himself before hitting send in an
e‑mail, “Is there anything in this e-mail that I don’t want the attorney
general,
the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete.)”

Though the title is Before You Hit Send, implying the importance of thinking
through all the possible consequences of your tweet, e‑mail, or Facebook
post
before hitting “send,” the true maxim the title represents is “Think before
you speak.” And what exactly should you “think before you speak”? Here are
four questions to ask yourself with everything you communicate:

• Is it true?
• Is it kind?
• Is it necessary?
• Is it clear?

In all we say or write, we would be wise to ask ourselves these questions.
When answered honestly, we uncover why we consciously or subconsciously get
into communication disasters. And we may be surprised by what we discover
about ourselves.
Before You Hit Send by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Excerpt from
Before You Hit Send
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
© 2017. Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
What It Means to Love Money
By John Piper

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. (1 Timothy 6:10)

What did Paul mean when he wrote this? He couldn’t have meant that money is
always on your mind when you sin. A lot of sin happens when we are not
thinking
about money.

My suggestion is this: he meant that all the evils in the world come from a
certain kind of heart, namely, the kind of heart that loves money.

Now what does it mean to love money? It doesn’t mean to admire the green
paper or the copper coins or the silver shekels. To know what it means to
love
money, you have to ask, What is money? I would answer that question like
this: Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands
for
what you can get from man instead of God.

God deals in the currency of grace, not money: “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah
55:1).
Money is the currency of human resources. So, the heart that loves money is
a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust
in what human resources can offer.

So, the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money — belief
(trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you
happy.

Love of money is the alternative to faith in God’s future grace. It is faith
in future human resources. Therefore the love of money, or trust in money,
is the underside of unbelief in the promises of God. Jesus said in Matthew
6:24, “No one can serve two masters. . . . You cannot serve God and money.”

You can’t trust in God and in money at the same time. Belief in one is
unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money — that banks on money for
happiness
— is not banking on the future grace of God for satisfaction.

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

Post  Admin on Wed 30 Aug 2017, 2:40 pm

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

"Hope in Christ: Power to Overcome Life's Obstacles"
July 24, 2017
Romans 8:24-25 - For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is
not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we
do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
In John Maxwell's book, Think on These Things, he answers the question,
"What does hope do for mankind?" Ready, here's what he said: hope shines
brightest
when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope
energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope
sings
when all melodies are gone. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship
when
no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope
presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when
no one
is sharing. Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.

Pretty powerful stuff, wouldn't you agree? There have been incredible things
done in humanity, for humanity, just with the power of human hope.

But that's not even a glimpse of what Paul is talking about here in Romans
8. He's talking about a hope that is rooted in something more powerful, more
enduring, more encouraging, and more real than all the best that sinful
humanity has to offer. He's talking about a hope that is rooted in the life,
death,
and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's right. It's a hope that is rooted
in the Son of God, who didn't come to wow us with His power and might.
Better,
He came to serve, to sacrifice, to redeem, and even reconcile us -- sinful,
broken men and women like ourselves -- back to Himself. And that kind of
persevering
love breeds a hope that can handle whatever life throws our way.

Just think about it. When the Son of God endures not only the brokenness of
our world but the eternal damnation of our sin; when the Savior Jesus
overcomes
the obstacles of our hatred, our violence, and our greed; when Jesus
overcomes all of that and gives us His forgiveness, life, and salvation as a
gift
of Grace through faith -- that's not just hopeful thinking; that's hope that
can change our lives because it is rooted in the reality that God has
already
made a way forward for you and me in Jesus Christ. To the believer in Jesus,
Christ's future is our future; Christ's life is our life; and Christ's hope
is our hope.

I love this quote about hope, God's hope, from Rev. John Piper. He says
this: "Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The
temptation
to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company ... You will argue with
yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible.
He
has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you and I can ever
conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope."

You see, above all, God has a Word of His promise. He's got a Baptism of His
grace and a Supper that holds you through life's ups and downs. So hope in
Christ. It's a hope that can see you forward and see you through because the
Hope-Giver Himself, Jesus Christ, is with you always.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, life is tough sometimes this side of heaven. Give us
the hope that comes through faith in what You have accomplished for us so
that
we might not only face life's trials, but serve others in Your Name, until
our hope in You becomes our reality with You, forever. Amen.
In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries

KenBible.com
New Post on KenBible.com - Rejoicing in the Darkness
----------------------------------------------------------
Rejoicing in the Darkness

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 09:55 PM PDT

When our children were small, a severe ice storm struck Kansas City.
Ice-laden branches fell across electric lines, killing power in much of the
city.
For three days we were without all electricity. Then it came on for a few
hours, only to go out again for four more days. That was one full week in
the
dead of winter with no light, no heating, no cooking, no appliances – no
anything.

Preparing meals was tricky. Keeping warm and entertained was difficult. But
without question, darkness was the toughest part. I can’t adequately
describe
how oppressive were those long winter nights. They dragged on like months,
and our whole frame of mind was affected. Even though we knew we’d
eventually
have power again, it didn’t feel that way.

Then, without warning, the lights came on. I’ll never forget our daughter,
Kindra’s, reaction. Like someone had set her on fire, she spontaneously
dashed
through the house, waving her arms, laughing and yelling with hysterical
joy. The rest of us felt the same but weren’t so uninhibited.

Darkness is the toughest part of many of our difficulties. We find a way to
deal with the specific hardships and keep going, but the cloud of depression
is the hardest to take. We go through long periods when all seems dead or
dying, when we sense no encouragement and no hope of any kind. God seems the
most distant in the areas that matter most.

Caught in such darkness, faced with an unknown future, our fears create
their own version of reality. They imagine a world without God’s power and
love.
There we are forced to fend for ourselves against overwhelming troubles
attacking us from every side. As we succumb to our fears, we live in that
false
reality, reacting to its imaginary circumstances.

During such times, I’ve discovered why the New Testament so strenuously and
repeatedly urges us to rejoice in the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!…The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:4-6, NIV)

When pressures knock us out of focus and threaten our peace of mind, nothing
helps like stopping to remember God. Look away from the imaginary world of
your fears and from the grip of the temporary present. Look to Him. Recall
out loud the unchanging truth about Him. Use your mind and your voice to
rejoice
in who He is and all He has done down through the ages. Recite in detail His
many acts of love and faithfulness to you. Start, “Lord, I remember when .
. .”

Say again, “Lord, I know You are with me. I know You are with me right now
and always. And I will trust You.”

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the
Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his
understanding
no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases power to the
weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but
those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on
wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not
be faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

Jail & Bail

"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,
for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if
your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for
in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”" (Romans 12:19-20,
NASB95)

A friend of mine was approached by a sheriff’s deputy who served him with a
warrant. The friend was then handcuffed and placed into a cruiser. He was
then taken to a makeshift jail where he had to serve time until he could
raise enough funds to get himself out. This was part of a fund raiser called
“Jail and Bail”.

The person who was served with a warrant could pay some money not to serve
time. Whether the person served time or not he could for a price find out
who had taken the warrant out on him. Then for a price he could take a
warrant out on this person. In this case revenge was a good money maker.

It is part of our human nature to want to take revenge. From the Scripture
above we know that we are not to do this. We are to do the opposite which we
can only do if we have Jesus Christ living inside of us.

Prayer: Father, please forgive us when we want to take revenge rather than
forgive. Help us to love others as You would have us love them. In the name
of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Amen.

Thought: Let us not take revenge but show love.

by Dean W. Masters

Created for Community
by
Community is something we all want.

No matter how you’re wired—introvert, extrovert, socially adept or socially
awkward—something in your soul longs for meaningful relationships with other
humans. We long to know others and be known by them. We treasure friendships
that allow us to truly “be ourselves.” Though some of us have never found
this sort of community and though others have been deeply wounded by
relationships, all of us still long for deep, authentic, real community.

How did we get this way? How did this craving, this longing, get hard-wired
into us? The Bible answers that question by explaining that we are created
in the image of God.
God created us for community.

Created for Community

One of the oldest and most cherished doctrines of historic Christian
theology is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Nicene Creed (c. AD 325)
summarizes the
Trinity this way:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of
all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the
only-begotten
Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of
Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with
the Father.... And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life;
who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son
together
is worshipped and glorified.

The Trinity means that God himself is in community. More accurately, God
is community: one God, three persons. “Before all worlds”—before any sort of
human community existed—there was God, dwelling in perfect, loving harmony
in his threefold being.

In the biblical account of creation, this Triune God says: “Let us make man
in our image” (
Genesis 1:26). Human beings are made to image God, to reflect his likeness.
That’s why our longing for community seems so deep and primal. It’s how we’re
made as God’s image bearers

So if deep community is something we all want, if it’s part of being made in
God’s image, then what makes it so hard to attain? What keeps us from
achieving
the type of meaningful human relationships that God wired us for?

The Fall: Broken Community

If you think for a moment about the nature of your relationships, you’ll
quickly identify another tendency that’s present—something darker and more
sinister
than your God-given desire for community. It’s the tendency to use people to
meet your own needs first. It’s not hard to see how often we are
self-focused,
pursuing our own interests and protecting ourselves from people and
relationships that will demand too much of us. For example, think of the
times you’ve
intentionally avoided someone who bothers you. Or the times you’ve said what
people wanted to hear in order to avoid offending them. Or the times you’ve
stopped pursuing certain friends because they were no longer useful to you.
Or the times you’ve clung to bad or unhealthy relationships just to escape
the feeling of being alone.

Our inherent selfishness is evidence of what the Bible calls “sin.” When we
hear the word
sin, we tend to think of bad behavior. But sin is deeper than external
actions. The Bible often talks about sin in terms of
unbelief. In other words, rather than believing what is true, we believe
lies, which obviously leads to bad behavior and negative emotions. Unbelief
was
at the root of the first sin. Eve believed the Serpent’s lie about God and
his intentions toward them: “You will not surely die. For God knows that
when
you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like God” (
Genesis 3:4-5). Unbelief is a failure to see and believe what’s true about
God, the world, and ourselves. It’s not taking God at his word, not
believing
his promises, not trusting in his goodness.

And sin’s impact is not just that we don’t believe, it’s that apart from
Christ we’re
unable to believe. Sin has turned us in on ourselves and warped our
relationships with others. We need Someone who can deliver us from our
unbelief and
selfishness and restore our capacity for true, deep, lasting community.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Redeemed for Community

This is where the good news of the gospel meets us. The word gospel
literally means “good news”—a message, a proclamation, an announcement. One
of the
paradoxes of this message is that before it can be good news, it must start
with bad news: we are sinful, broken people. We are rebels against God. We
are mired in lies and self-worship, and we look to things other than God to
give us identity and significance. We can’t free ourselves, make God happy
with us, or do enough good works to make up for our sins. But God, rich in
mercy, sent Jesus to earth as our substitute. Jesus took our place in his
life
as he obeyed God fully and worshiped him totally, things we failed to do. He
substituted himself for us in his death, as he paid the penalty we owed to
God for our sin and unbelief. If we humble ourselves, acknowledge our need,
and turn to him, God the Holy Spirit will apply Jesus’ substitutionary work
to us by faith. The Bible calls this
redemption, a word that means “to be delivered, ransomed, or set free.”

What does Jesus redeem us from? Sin and all its effects. What does Jesus
redeem us
for? A life that images God and reflects his goodness to the world. In other
words, one of the chief things that Jesus accomplishes when he redeems us
is to restore our capacity for community. Not for a community of people who
look and act just like us, but a community made up of people from every
tribe
and tongue and nation on earth (
Revelation 7:9). God has created us for community, and Jesus has redeemed us
for community. In doing so, he has made us into his very own body (
1 Corinthians 12:27) that is able to live, love, and make known his “good
news” to our friends and neighbors.

But wait: If Jesus redeems us for community, then why is community still
such hard work? Why are relationships still fraught with brokenness, even
among
Christians? This is the tension we live in. Even though Jesus has delivered
us from the penalty and rule of sin, he has not yet eradicated sin from the
world. Because of sin’s ongoing presence, we are prone to
unbelief. We easily forget the good news of the gospel and fall back into
lies and self-worship. That’s why the Bible encourages us not just to
receive
the gospel, but to “stand” in it (1 Corinthians 15:1
) and to “continue” in it (Colossians 1:23).

In other words, building and enjoying healthy community is going to require
us to believe the gospel, to believe that what Jesus did for us has power
and
relevance for the way we relate to God and others. This requires an
intentional focus on our part. It means identifying the unbelief in our
hearts that
hinders our ability to love and serve others and to receive love from them
in turn. It means receiving the healing, liberating truths of the gospel in
ways that allow them to soak deep into the core of our being. And guess
where this work of ongoing transformation takes place? In community.

Transformed in Community

Did you ever notice how patient you are—as long as no one is getting on your
nerves? Or how loving you are—as long as you’re surrounded by people who are
easy to love? Or how humble you are—as long as you’re respected and admired
by others? Every one of us is a saint in isolation! It’s in community that
our real weaknesses, flaws, and sins are exposed. That’s why community is
essential—not optional—for transformation. We can’t become the people God
wants
us to become outside of community.

You see, redemption is not the end of the story. God is preparing us for
“new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
His
goal is a renewed creation, where redeemed humans dwell in perfect harmony
with each other and with their Creator. God is out to prepare his people for
this glorious future by transforming them now, a process the Bible calls
sanctification. The agent of sanctification is the Holy Spirit. The tool of
sanctification is the truth of the gospel. And the context of sanctification
is community.

Consider some of the “one another” statements in the Bible: “Love one
another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (
Romans 12:10). “Comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace”
(
2 Corinthians 13:11). “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the
flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). “Be kind to one
another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (
Ephesians 4:32). Isn’t it obvious that none of us can do these things
perfectly? These commands aren’t given just so that we’ll know what we
should do; they’re also given so that we can try, and fail, and grow in our
experience of God’s grace. Trying to fulfill these “one another” commands
helps
to reveal our sin, drives us to Jesus in repentance and faith, and causes us
to depend on the Holy Spirit for transformation. Community is the laboratory
in which we learn to rely on God’s grace and experience the gospel’s
transforming power.

Community is also the primary context for mission, our outward focus as
believers. God wants to use our communities, messy and broken as they are,
to draw
others into his story and introduce them to Jesus, the Redeemer! It’s not
just about us becoming more like Jesus; it’s about people who don’t know
Jesus
coming to know him as Savior and Lord.

We sometimes treat community like the safety net under a tightrope walker:
it’s a good thing to have in case something bad happens. But the Bible talks
about community as if it’s the tightrope itself: you can’t move forward
without it. We are created for community. We are redeemed for community. And
we
are transformed in community

Leader's Guide Copyright ©️ 2013 by Robert H. Thune and Will Walker. Used by
permission.
We don’t want to be alone. We want to love and be loved; and we know that
genuine relationships make our lives rich. But somehow living in community
always
ends up being harder than we thought. This 9-lesson small group study helps
participants learn how the Spirit shapes diverse people into a
Christ-centered community that reflects Jesus to a watching world.

Kindness Is Worth the Cost
By Rick Warren
“If you feed those who are hungry and take care of the needs of those who
are troubled, then your light will shine in the darkness . . . The
Lordwill always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands . . . You
will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs
dry”
(Isaiah 58:10-11 NCV).

There is always a cost to kindness. It inevitably causes you to sacrifice
time, money, energy, reputation, privacy, or something. There was a cost for
the Good Samaritan, too.

In >Luke 10:34 b-35, it says, “Then [the Good Samaritan] put the man on his
own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day
he
handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man.
If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here’”
(NLT).

This guy did all he could to take care of a total stranger. First, he
administered first aid at the scene of the crime. He put him on his
donkey -- which,
by the way, means that he walked -- and then took him to a motel. The Good
Samaritan cared for him through the night and then paid the bill. This guy
did
whatever it took to show kindness.

What did he gain from it? Nothing. He didn’t even know the guy! But that’s
what kindness is -- when you do something for somebody without expecting
anything
back. So why be kind? Why show kindness when you know you won’t get anything
in return?

When I did a study of that question, I read every single verse on kindness
in the Bible, and I made a list of the many, many reasons why the Bible says
we should be kind.

Here are a few of the reasons:
• God has been kind -- extravagantly kind -- to you.
• Kindness is an act of worship.
• Kindness honors God.
• Kindness makes you happy.
• Kindness even makes you attractive(check out Proverbs 19:22
in the Living Bible)!
• Kindness makes other people want to be kind to you.

Finally, God blesses kindness: “If you feed those who are hungry and take
care of the needs of those who are troubled, then your light will shine in
the
darkness . . . The
Lordwill always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands . . . You
will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs
dry”

(Isaiah 58:10-11 NCV).

God says that when you assume responsibility for the needs of hurting people
around you, he will also meet your needs. What a deal! And God always keeps
his promises.

Talk It Over
Why do you think it’s important that kindness costs you something?
How has God provided for you even when you had to give something up for the
good of someone else?
How is kindness an act of worship?
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !
This devotional (c) 2017 by Rick Warren
. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

How we make in life is beyond me.
Ciloa logo
July 23, 2017
Volume XVII, Issue 30
A Note of Encouragement
Send this Note to a friend.
Silhouette of a man against the vastness of the universe
This Is Beyond Me
...by Chuck Graham
Recently I awoke with a cold. A few sniffles, some congestion, and mild
coughing. But I have Diabetes...my thorn in the flesh...which makes mild
illnesses
worse. Knowing this, I did nothing.
Sick man in bed
In 7 days the sniffles were a massive blockage, the congestion a heavy
weight, and the coughing a constant bother. I conceded this "might" be more
than
a cold and took some medicine, though not "as recommended". Otherwise, I did
nothing.

In 14 days my blocked sinuses caused painful headaches, the congestion
settled deep in my chest, and the coughing grew so fierce I pulled a muscle
in my
side. I decided maybe I should take the medicine "as recommended". More than
that, I did nothing.

By week three, the medicine was useless. I was useless. I couldn't talk
without violently coughing. Meetings and appointments were cancelled. Then I
came
to a conclusion: This is beyond me.

Refusing to ask for help is a sign of weakness.
A quote by C.S. Lewis
Should I have seen a doctor and taken medicine sooner? Yes. But I already
see more doctors than I'd like and even on good days, I take at least 13
pills
a day. So I fell into the trap of thinking, "It's not a big deal. I can
handle this. I know what I'm doing."

We all do this from time to time. Something is wrong at work. "It's not a
big deal." The marriage seems shaky. "I can handle this." An old addiction
returns.
"I know what I'm doing." Whatever the problem, we try to handle it on our
own.

The issue is not really work, a marriage, or an addiction. It's control. We
believe the old lies that we've got to do things on our own and asking for
help is a sign of weakness. As someone recently told me, "That requires
admitting I am powerless to beat this, and I can't do that."

God is our shield and strength, always ready to help us.1

Lyrics to Beyond Me
The desire for control is greater than any problem we ever face. And when it
comes to following or growing in a relationship with God, clinging to
control
causes us to stumble and fall.

But God says, "Follow ME. Believe ME. Trust ME. Hear ME. Obey ME. Worship
ME. Live the life
I have for you...not the one
you desire." 2 God doesn't want some of the control. He wants it all!

Life is often hard, difficult to manage, and impossible to understand. We
try to create our paradise on earth...no worries or sorrows, grief or pain.
But
they will always invade our happiness, bringing times that beg us to admit,
This is beyond me.

But nothing is beyond God. When you are ready to give Him control, He
promises to give you strength. To defeat whatever faces you? No. When you're
ready...
you won't have to.
Take care & be God's,
Chuck
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international
ministry devoted to sharing God's encouragement and teaching others how to
"encourage
one another as long as it is called Today!" He is also an author, speaker,
teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville,
Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at
www.Ciloa.org .
1. See Psalm 28:7; 46:1
2. See Matthew 16:24; Mark 5:36; John 14:1; Luke 8:8; John 14:15;
Luke 4:8; John 10:10; James 4:7a
Ciloa Lawrenceville, Georgia, U.S.A. www.Ciloa.org
Ciloa is funded entirely by contributions from those wanting to share God's
encouragement with the world.
We invite you to partner with us.
Click the link: Partner with Ciloa to encourage others
Ciloa is a registered service mark of Ciloa, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization. A Note of Encouragement is a copyright interest held by Ciloa,
Inc.

God’s Motley Crew
July 25, 2017

Read: Hebrews 11:23-31

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land. (v. 29)

Sometimes I look around at the people in the church and think, what a
strange group of people we are! First, I realize that with some people I
have almost
nothing in common except that we worship in the same place. And, second, as
a group and as individuals we sometimes make some colossal mistakes!

But then I think about the people in God’s story. When I was a child, I
thought the Bible was a story of heroes—people whom we could follow because
they
were such great people. But as I got older and started reading closer, I
realized that many of the biggest names in the Bible were some pretty shady
characters!
God chose Moses to lead his people to freedom even though he had murdered a
man. Rahab is a hero for welcoming the Israelite spies, helping them to
defeat
their enemies, but she was a prostitute. David, the greatest king of Israel,
took another man’s wife and then had that man killed to cover it up.

God doesn’t use people because they’re perfect. God takes ordinary people
like you and me and does amazing things through them despite some pretty big
mess-ups. You don’t have to have it all together to be a part of God’s
family. God will use you to do amazing things if you trust him and obey. We
don’t
have to be perfect. And we don’t have to expect everyone else to be
either. —Jen Petersen

Prayer: God, use me despite my mistakes and help me not to judge other’s
mistakes.
Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org

Today's Daily Encounter

Carpe Diem

"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these
people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the
land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. I
will give you every place where you set your foot, as I
promised Moses."1

Have you ever noticed that, "Opportunity comes to
pass--not to pause?"

When God told Joshua and the ancient Israelites that he
had given them the Promised Land, he certainly didn't
hand it to them on a silver platter. To claim God's
promise, they had to battle every inch of the way. They
still had to go, conquer, and possess it.

The reality is, however, that had God not given it to
them, they never would have been able to conquer and
possess it. And might I add, they wouldn't still be
there today!

God has a work for you and me to do too. He will give
us the opportunities every day to serve him, but it's
up to us to take advantage of these as they come to
pass--not to pause! True, God feeds the sparrows, but
he doesn't throw the food into their nests. They have
to go out and get it. Whatever God has for us to do, he
doesn't do it for us. He will guide us. He will direct
us. He will give us wisdom, but he won't do it for us.
We, too, have to arise, go, and possess the
opportunities and promises God has for us.

With God's help, let us carpe diem, "seize the day," to
take advantage of every opportunity God gives to us,
and claim every promise He has for us.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be ready
and willing to "seize" every opportunity You give to me
to serve You, trust in You to help me to do it, and to
claim every promise You have for me. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's
name. Amen."

1. God to Joshua in Joshua 1:2-3 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php . Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

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Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 26 Aug 2017, 12:51 pm

The Attractiveness of a Surrendered Life
by Sarah Phillips, Crosswalk.com Contributor

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell
everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in
heaven.
Then come, follow me."
Luke 18:22 NIV

"I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work
through anyone." St. Francis of Assisi

Have you ever wished you could share your faith with friends or loved ones
who do not know Christ? Or have you ever worried that our culture is
slipping
farther and farther away from God's truth, but don't know how to turn it
around? In past devotionals, several of us have quoted St. Francis of
Assisi's
approach to evangelism: "Preach the Gospel all times and when necessary, use
words."

St. Francis' entire life was one of radical conversion that led to many
giving their lives to Christ. Let's see what we can apply from his medieval
story
to modern times.

Francis' story takes place in the early 1200's - an era when Christianity
enjoyed prominence in Europe. But sadly, even with widespread power and
acceptance
of the Church, many Christians did not lead lives in keeping with their
faith. Francis was no exception. He came from a wealthy Italian family; his
father
earned a comfortable life as a successful cloth merchant, and his mother was
of noble birth. The handsome, witty Francis was spoiled rotten by his
parents,
showing more interest in playing than in his academics or his father's
career.

Francis' life of ease and play received a rude but life-changing
interruption in 1201. After being captured in a small battle between rival
cities, Francis
spent a year sick and alone. His time of weakness and contemplation made him
realize how useless his life had been up to that point.

But transformation for Francis was slow. After he regained his health,
Francis desired personal glory. He signed up for the military, even fancying
one
day he'd be a great prince. But illness and a sense that God was calling him
back to Assisi brought him home again.

It was around this time friends began to notice a lasting change in this
attractive, party guy. Friends asked if he had a woman on his mind. He
responded,
"I am about to take a wife of surpassing fairness." But this wife was not a
mortal woman. Instead, Francis renounced his inheritance, gave what he had
to the poor, and wedded himself to "Lady Poverty" (much to his father's
fury).

Not long after taking his vow of poverty, Francis heard Christ speak to him
while he was praying in a small, shabby chapel. The voice said, "Francis, go
out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." At first, Francis
thought he needed to repair the actual building he was praying in. But soon
it became clear Francis' mission was really to restore genuine faith among
the church - God's people.

So Francis began spending most of his time praying, serving the sick and
preaching repentance throughout the region. He had no intentions of starting
a
community of religious, but single men of diverse backgrounds became
intrigued by Francis' humility and wholehearted devotion to the Gospel. And
not long
after men began joining his mission, a privileged young woman named Clare
left her riches behind, bringing women alongside Francis to restore genuine
faith
among the people.

With so many joining in, Francis realized he was becoming the leader of a
monastic movement. So, he sought to keep their focus on Christ by
establishing
a rule of life on Scripture. In short, the mission of the Franciscan monks
and Poor Clare nuns would be to "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or
silver
or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff"
(Luke 9:1-3
). They imitated the early disciples by traveling in twos, owning few
personal possessions, and serving those in need while sharing the Gospel to
all.
Their spiritual legacy continues with Franciscan and Poor Clare communities
in regions all over the world today.

Some other little-known facts of how God worked through this influential
Christian:

Did you know Francis once challenged a Muslim sultan to consider the truth
of Christianity - and the sultan actually considered it?

Did you know Francis is credited with creating the first living Nativity
scene at Christmas?

Did you know that, centuries before the Reformation, Francis taught and
wrote about the faith in local dialects so commoners could understand?

Francis' story gives us encouragement today. After all, we too live in a
culture where Christianity was the dominant religion for a long time but
sadly,
it's now common for good people to lose sight of the faith. But God worked
through a spoiled, wealthy young man to show the surrounding community that
even worldly comforts could not satisfy the deepest yearnings of their
souls - and He can do the same today.

While most of us are not called to take vows of poverty, it was Francis'
unwavering, single-minded devotion to the Gospel that most attracted others
to
him. And this is something we can - and should - aspire to imitate. As we
seek to surrender our lives to Christ more completely, God will work through
each one of us in unique ways to inspire others to join us on the faith
journey.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Sometimes, the idea of giving everything to God
is scary. I personally used to dislike reading stories like Francis of
Assisi's
because I was afraid I'd have to leave my life behind and become a nun in a
foreign country. But the truth is, God will never disappoint those who
surrender
all to Him. Are you holding anything back from God? Ask God to give you the
faith to surrender whatever fears, sins, or idols to Him.
Further Reading
Mark 8: 34
"Pulling an Assisi"
References: " St. Francis of Assisi " at Wikipedia.org , "
St. Francis of Assisi
at AmericanCatholic.org, Catholic Encyclopedia .


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Grace for Every Need
By John Piper

Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant. (Psalm
86:16)

Future grace is the constant plea of the praying psalmists. They pray for it
again and again to meet every need. They leave every saint a model of daily
dependence on future grace for every exigency.

• They cry out for grace when they need help: “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful
to me! O Lord, be my helper!” (Psalm 30:10).

• When they are weak: “Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength
to your servant” (Psalm 86:16).

• When they need healing: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord” (Psalm 6:2).

• When they are afflicted by enemies: “Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my
affliction from those who hate me” (Psalm 9:13).

• When they are lonely: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely
and afflicted” (Psalm 25:16).

• When they are grieving: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief” (Psalm 31:9).

• When they have sinned: “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have
sinned against you!” (Psalm 41:4).

• When they long for God’s name to be exalted among the nations: “God be
gracious to us and bless us . . . that your way may be known on earth”
(Psalm
67:1–2).

Unmistakably, prayer is the great link of faith between the soul of the
saint and the promise of future grace. If ministry was meant by God to be
sustained
by prayer, then ministry was meant to be sustained by faith in future grace.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Put God Back in the Golden Rule
Stephen Witmer / July 22, 2017
Put God Back in the Golden Rule

Our world is awash with sound bites of moralistic advice, some straight out
of a fortune cookie. Recently on a train, I noticed two large posters
advertising
an insurance company. One said, “Offering all you have makes life deep
beyond measure,” and the other, “Living for others unlocks all the joy you’ll
ever
need.” It seems that no office space is complete these days without a few
wise words of inspiration decorating the walls.

Jesus’s Golden Rule cannot be domesticated and downsized to the equivalent
of an insurance aphorism or a fortune-cookie slogan. That’s not to say that
many haven’t tried. Here’s how the Golden Rule is usually quoted: “Whatever
you wish others would do for you, do also for them.”

But that’s not what Jesus said. That version removes God entirely from the
picture, making Jesus’s teaching a godless rule for good people. The real
Golden
Rule goes deeper and stretches higher. It’s a God-centered rule for
grace-filled people. Jesus’s actual teaching requires greater effort,
provides deeper
motivation, and is intended specifically for Jesus’s followers (see Matthew
5:1–2).

Is God in the Golden Rule?

Here’s what Jesus actually said: “So whatever you wish that others would do
to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew
7:12).

God bookends the Golden Rule. He is the first word (“so”) and the final word
(“for this is the Law and the Prophets”).

The word so indicates that Jesus’s teaching is his conclusion from what he’s
said previously. The entire Sermon on the Mount might be in view. But it may
be that Jesus is thinking more specifically of what he has just said, in
Matthew 7:7–11. There he tells his followers that God is their loving Father
and
always gives good things to those who ask.
Therefore, because God is so generous to us, we’re to be lavishly generous
to others. The Golden Rule is glorious overflow.

Jesus’s second reason for living out his command is this: “for this is the
Law and the Prophets.” In other words, obey it, because God himself said it
— and always has. The Golden Rule sums up and fulfills God’s commands found
throughout the Old Testament (most pointedly in Leviticus 19:18).

Jesus knows we need deep, God-centered foundations and motivations for his
command because his rule for life soars high above how we naturally think
and
desire to live.

Greatness of the Golden Rule

Many world religions have taught a negative version of the Golden Rule,
saying essentially, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to
you.”
The problem with that kind of teaching is that it can be obeyed by simply
doing nothing. Jesus’s command is much more demanding. It requires action,
creativity,
and ongoing love toward the people in our lives.

Three Things Jesus Didn’t Say

To see the demand and delight of Jesus’s teaching, consider three things he
does not say.

1. Jesus does not say, “Whatever others have done for you, do also for
them.” He doesn’t limit our good deeds that way. The measure of our service
to others
is not their actual service to us, but what we’d
like that service to be. “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do
also to them.” There’s an invitation, limited only by our own desire and
imagination.
One of the distinctive marks of Jesus’s followers is that they regularly go
above and beyond what others expect.

2. Jesus does not say, “If there are a few things you wish others would do
to you, do these also to them.”
He doesn’t limit our good deeds that way. Instead, he says, “Whatever you
wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” The word “whatever”
(literally,
“everything whatsoever”) is very broad. It may include cutting a neighbor’s
grass when he’s out of town, having a lonely friend over for dinner, writing
a note to express appreciation, and so much more. The upper limit is our
desire and imagination.

3. Jesus does not say, “Whatever you wish your best friends, and fellow
Christians, and people who like you would do to you, do also to them.” He
doesn’t
limit our good deeds that way. He says, “Whatever you wish that
others would do to you, do also to them.” Others encompasses anyone in our
lives. It includes the grumpy neighbor, the kid in your class no one likes,
the spouse or child you’re struggling to understand, even the people who don’t
love you back.

We Need God in the Golden Rule

Jesus envisions an ongoing way of life, not a one-off activity. He knows it
will be challenging — that’s why he begins and ends with the kindness and
command
of God in our lives. And he knows we
need to be challenged — that’s why he doesn’t include all sorts of
disclaimers about establishing appropriate limits and boundaries on our
service. Most
of us need urging to give more, not less.

If we will put God back in the Golden Rule, we will see that it is not a
bland bit of moral counsel intended to improve us slightly. It is a radical
way
of living that can be followed only by those who daily experience the
infinitely great generosity of God in their own lives.

Is Hell Just a Metaphor?
John Piper / July 22, 2017

The Bible uses the most severe language possible to describe the horror of
hell. A “symbolic” interpretation can’t save you from the terror of God’s
wrath.

Watch Now

The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission
John Piper / July 22, 2017
A Christian woman hopes in God, fears nothing, and wears the jewelry of
godliness.

Watch Now

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


Welcome to the Nugget
July 20, 2016
Just a Little Thing...What Harm can it Do?

By Answers2Prayer
Subscribe Unsubscribe
Devotionals
Contact us

How often have you heard someone say "It's just a little thing..."

Romans 3:23 tells us "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of
God."

The worst murderer, the child molester, the drunk in the gutter...the worst
thing you can think of is not a more punishable sin than that "little white
lie". The wisest man on earth spoke about little foxes and vines: "Catch us
the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender
grapes."
(Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV)

The great Johnstown Flood of 1889 began as a little crack in the dam but the
end result was 2,209 persons lost their lives and property damage was US$17
Million.

Other little things are important, too. A smile, a hug, a kind word -- a
little thing to be sure but it can make a world of difference in someone's
life.

Have you ever had the blessing of holding a newborn in your arms? Such a
little thing to be sure but what a joy it is.

Recently I learned the value of a little thing! I loaded my aging washing
machine to begin my usual laundry day chores. The washer filled, swished,
drained
and --
stopped! I tried again. Again fill, swish, drain and
stop! I live on a limited budget which has little leeway for a new washer.
Oh what was I going to do? Pray! Yes, that was what I did -- oh, and call
the
repairman. After carefully checking each relay switch and each wiring
connection he was about to give up; but being the careful technician he is,
he just

couldn't so he began to consider other possible causes.
Ah ha! There was something between the two tubs. No, that wasn't possible --
but it
was! A Sock! Just a little sock but a very expensive one to be sure. That
day I learned firsthand the value of a little thing.

Now if I am tempted to discount the little things I remember my "very
expensive sock" and know that the little things
are important.

Wynona Gordon

Announcement:

Do you need to be prayed for or do you know someone in need? Don't hesitate
to contact us by clicking
here . We are here to pray for you and to offer you encouragements.

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

The Power of Patience

Hebrews 6:9-15

Picture yourself waiting in a checkout line that hasn’t moved for ten
minutes. Many of us would feel frustrated. We live in a generation that
expects instant
results.

Everyone struggles with some degree of impatience. We’re born with this
trait--think about a three-month-old who wants milk in the middle of the
night.
The inborn reaction is to fuss at the first hint of discomfort and to keep
at it until the need is met. Patterns from our old “flesh” nature make this
a continual battle for most people, but one that is very worthwhile to
fight.

Let’s consider the biblical definition of patience. It can mean both
longsuffering and perseverance, or not giving up and yielding under
pressure. In either
case, it reveals itself when we are willing to wait without frustration
while suffering or experiencing some strong desire. In other words, we
accept difficult
situations without giving God deadlines. What’s more, patience means
accepting what the Lord gives, on Histimetable--or what He chooses not to
give. This
quality results in inner peace and lack of stress. Meanwhile, we should
pray, obey, and persist as we seek God’s direction.

The danger of impatience is that we might miss the Lord’s perfect plan and
His blessing. Only when we trust our Father’s will and timing can we rest
peacefully.

What causes you stress? Carefully examine whether you are taking matters
into your own hands or releasing the circumstance to almighty God. Listen to
Psalm
37:7, which says, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Seek His
way and His timing. Anything else can be destructive.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please
visit
www.intouch.org .

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights
Reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today's Devotional

Be Open To God

Psalm 119:17-18 – Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and
observe your word. Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out
of your law. (NRSV)

Isaiah 50:4b-5 – Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as
those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not
rebellious,
I did not turn backward. (NRSV)

Recently, I had the opportunity to worship in one of the churches that my
mother and I used to visit together. It was an early morning service, and
the
small church — no more than a chapel, really — was nearly empty when I
arrived. I settled into a pew and took a moment to still my thoughts and to
pray.
Preparing for worship is an important time for me, as I ask God to open me
to Himself and to His message, so that I might be receptive to "the gracious
promptings of His Spirit", as one of my former ministers used to say.

On this particular morning as I sat there quietly — kneeling, as is the
custom in that church — the following prayer came to me: "Open my hands, my
arms,
my mind, and my heart." I didn't recall having thought of those words
before, but as I sat there reflecting and waiting for the service to begin,
I realized
how important each of those can be for us.

Open my hands: If we open our hands, palms face up, we make a traditional
sign of openness and receptiveness. This is a symbol with which I am
familiar
and comfortable, and making that sign helps me to be open to whatever
message that God has for me.

Open my arms: How wonderful this is, for it is only with open arms that we
can really embrace someone or something. I'm definitely a "hugger" — I love
giving and receiving hugs as a sign of affection and caring — so why not a
symbolic hug for our Lord and Saviour? Without open arms, how can we fully
embrace
God or the love of Christ? How can we fully embrace our faith?

Open my mind: One of my downfalls is that I tend to think things through and
then overthink them. This was a prayer that God would be in all my thoughts,
in all my planning, and in all my worrying, and that I would always be
mindful of Him.

Open my heart: Here is where it all comes together. We often hear that "God
is love", and we teach and learn about the love of God and the love of
Jesus.
But what about
our love? That is, of course, the first and greatest commandment: to love
the Lord our God. For me, this is the cornerstone of my faith: not just
believing
in God, but loving Him with all that I am.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be open to You today and always. Help us to
receive Your words and messages for us. Help us to embrace You, Your Spirit,
and
Your Son. Help us to be mindful of You, and help us to love You more each
day — with our whole being. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Scott Williams < svw59@yahoo.com >
Madoc, Ontario, Canada


When 'Good Morning' is a Bad Word
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com Contributor

If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken
as a curse. -
Proverbs 27:14
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for
building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to
those who hear. -
Ephesians 4:29

I am not a morning person.

My college friends and I still joke about the semester our intrepid Bible
study (we were studying Romans with just about every denominational
background
represented) decided it was a good idea to change our meeting time to
Saturday mornings. My nocturnal habits often made me the least inclined to
drag myself
from repose, and I confess that I used the "I think I'm coming down with a
cold" excuse more than once. On one such morning, another member of the
group
decided she would jumpstart my lethargic spirituality. While I was groggily
ignoring my roommate's gentle encouragement to come to Bible study, she
walked
the dorm room, threw open the curtains to the sunshine, and loudly
proclaimed, "GOOD MORNING, KATHERINE!"

I have no idea what I said in response, but I'm sure it wasn't Christian.

I respect my friend's abiding faith in early bird philosophy, but I was
delighted a few months later when I discovered
Proverbs 27:14
. The Message clarifies the verse by putting it this way: "If you wake your
friend in the early morning by shouting ‘Rise and shine!' It will sound to
him more like a curse than a blessing."

I immediately told my friends that my discovery. I had found concrete
evidence that God was not a morning person.

Of course, the verse's real point deals less with God's waking hours and
more with speaking wisely. Proverbs once again brings the focus back to the
power
and timing of our words when we relate to other. The funny illustration
demonstrates that wisdom is more than a wholesome word or truth. Wisdom is
also
a truth aptly spoken.

Sunday School has drilled the catchphrase "Speak the truth in love"
(Ephesians 4:15
) into our heads, but even this approach can lack grace. Paul himself
encouraged his readers to consider that not every word is fit for every
occasion.
Even the comforting promise of Romans 8:28
- that God works all things for good of those who love
him - should sometimes give way to grieving when the cancer diagnosis is
first announced or a loved one dies. Those are obvious examples, and the
more
subtle situations are myriad. But here's the lesson I take away from this
verse: We're supposed to consider the impact on our hearers. Wise words do
more
than offer the right word and expect our friends to recognize its truth even
if we choose an inopportune moment. Instead, I have to recognize that the
right word offered at the wrong time might as well be a curse instead of a
blessing.

I take comfort in knowing that I don't have to spew every nugget of
knowledge at every pertinent encounter. We're not supposed to be somebody
else's
Holy Spirit
, convicting them of every errant or off-color word. Nor are we supposed to
be perpetually perky saints, walking around singing hallelujahs all the
time.
There's a place for bold ministry, but too often I confuse boldness with my
very human need to "say something" - and the results are rarely "good for
building
up" or "as fits the occasion."

Intersecting Faith & Life: Don't be the neighbor who yells, "Good morning"
too loudly. Let's encourage each other with words that "will give grace to
those
who hear" this week. Our goal is not to make others see our point of view or
our wisdom, but to build each other up with the love of Christ.

Further Reading
>Ecclesiastes 3

A Solid Promise
July 19, 2017

Read: Hebrews 6:13-20

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. (v. 19)

I grew up in a church that sang hymns—I mean, sang them with skill and
passion. The congregation sang in harmony and the sanctuary resonated with
strong
voices. Every week we sang the “Doxology,” and I still find myself humming
it as I work around my house. Perhaps this and their timeless words are why
I so deeply love some of the oldest hymns. The hymn “My Hope Is Built on
Nothing Less” has a verse that I especially love. When life has seemed very
dark,
the line “in every high and stormy gale, / my anchor holds within the veil”
has played on a loop in my mind.

Anchors are sturdy tools that hold us in place when a rough sea is pounding
our ship. But another purpose of anchors is to keep ships moored in calm
harbors
so their crews can rest without worry of drifting away or bumping into
another ship.

Throughout our lives, we will surely face many different seasons, some
stormy or rocky, some calm and relaxing; others may feel like drudgery and
still
others like a steady flow of good work. In all of these seasons, Jesus is an
anchor for our souls. While life ebbs and flows in different directions,
Jesus
keeps our souls steady. When our faith rests in Jesus, we can be assured
that we’ll stay the course, no matter what comes our way. —Jen Petersen

Prayer: Jesus, help me cling to you. And when I can’t hold on, please hold
on to me.

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

The sanctifying power of the cross!

(John L. Dagg, " Manual of Theology ")

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians
6:14

It may be profitable to yet linger a little while at the cross--that we may
again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ--all the divine perfections are gloriously and
harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible
justice are
all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The
heavens declare the glory of God--but
the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies! God's moral
perfections
are here displayed, which are the highest glory of His character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of everlasting life. On Him who hangs
there, our iniquities were laid--and from His wounds, flows the blood that
cleanses
from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and securely relies on
the great atoning sacrifice. It views
mercy and grace streaming from the cross--and to the cross it comes to
obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we
stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Savior's love--we resolve to
live
unto Him who died for us.

The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world--and the world
crucified to us.

Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which
caused the death of our beloved Lord--and we grow strong in the purpose to
wage
an exterminating war against it. By all the Savior's agonies, we vow to have
no peace with sin for ever.

The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on Him whom we have
pierced, and mourn. Contemplating Jesus' sin-atoning sacrifice, is the
highest
motive to holiness. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer,
murdered by our sins--and
we resolve that the murderers shall die!

The cross is a holy place, where we learn . . .
to be like Christ,
to hate sin as He hated it, and
to delight in the law of God which was in His heart.

In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has taken hold
of our heart--and we surrender to dying love.

The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine
origin--than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and
joyful
subjection to Christ.

~ ~ ~ ~

We have just posted John L. Dagg's " Manual of Theology ", written in 1857.
Virtually unknown today, it is the best devotional and experimental
Systematic
Theology ever written. In Dagg's own words, "This volume is designed for the
use of those who have neither the time nor the opportunity to study larger
works on theology. In preparing it,
my aim has been to present the system of Christian doctrine with
plainness and brevity--and to demonstrate at every point, its truth, and its
tendency to sanctify the heart."
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 25 Aug 2017, 6:12 pm

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today's Devotional

Be Open To God

Psalm 119:17-18 – Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and
observe your word. Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out
of your law. (NRSV)

Isaiah 50:4b-5 – Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as
those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not
rebellious,
I did not turn backward. (NRSV)

Recently, I had the opportunity to worship in one of the churches that my
mother and I used to visit together. It was an early morning service, and
the
small church — no more than a chapel, really — was nearly empty when I
arrived. I settled into a pew and took a moment to still my thoughts and to
pray.
Preparing for worship is an important time for me, as I ask God to open me
to Himself and to His message, so that I might be receptive to "the gracious
promptings of His Spirit", as one of my former ministers used to say.

On this particular morning as I sat there quietly — kneeling, as is the
custom in that church — the following prayer came to me: "Open my hands, my
arms,
my mind, and my heart." I didn't recall having thought of those words
before, but as I sat there reflecting and waiting for the service to begin,
I realized
how important each of those can be for us.

Open my hands: If we open our hands, palms face up, we make a traditional
sign of openness and receptiveness. This is a symbol with which I am
familiar
and comfortable, and making that sign helps me to be open to whatever
message that God has for me.

Open my arms: How wonderful this is, for it is only with open arms that we
can really embrace someone or something. I'm definitely a "hugger" — I love
giving and receiving hugs as a sign of affection and caring — so why not a
symbolic hug for our Lord and Saviour? Without open arms, how can we fully
embrace
God or the love of Christ? How can we fully embrace our faith?

Open my mind: One of my downfalls is that I tend to think things through and
then overthink them. This was a prayer that God would be in all my thoughts,
in all my planning, and in all my worrying, and that I would always be
mindful of Him.

Open my heart: Here is where it all comes together. We often hear that "God
is love", and we teach and learn about the love of God and the love of
Jesus.
But what about
our love? That is, of course, the first and greatest commandment: to love
the Lord our God. For me, this is the cornerstone of my faith: not just
believing
in God, but loving Him with all that I am.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be open to You today and always. Help us to
receive Your words and messages for us. Help us to embrace You, Your Spirit,
and
Your Son. Help us to be mindful of You, and help us to love You more each
day — with our whole being. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Scott Williams < svw59@yahoo.com >
Madoc, Ontario, Canada


When 'Good Morning' is a Bad Word
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com Contributor

If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken
as a curse. -
Proverbs 27:14
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for
building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to
those who hear. -
Ephesians 4:29

I am not a morning person.

My college friends and I still joke about the semester our intrepid Bible
study (we were studying Romans with just about every denominational
background
represented) decided it was a good idea to change our meeting time to
Saturday mornings. My nocturnal habits often made me the least inclined to
drag myself
from repose, and I confess that I used the "I think I'm coming down with a
cold" excuse more than once. On one such morning, another member of the
group
decided she would jumpstart my lethargic spirituality. While I was groggily
ignoring my roommate's gentle encouragement to come to Bible study, she
walked
the dorm room, threw open the curtains to the sunshine, and loudly
proclaimed, "GOOD MORNING, KATHERINE!"

I have no idea what I said in response, but I'm sure it wasn't Christian.

I respect my friend's abiding faith in early bird philosophy, but I was
delighted a few months later when I discovered
Proverbs 27:14
. The Message clarifies the verse by putting it this way: "If you wake your
friend in the early morning by shouting ‘Rise and shine!' It will sound to
him more like a curse than a blessing."

I immediately told my friends that my discovery. I had found concrete
evidence that God was not a morning person.

Of course, the verse's real point deals less with God's waking hours and
more with speaking wisely. Proverbs once again brings the focus back to the
power
and timing of our words when we relate to other. The funny illustration
demonstrates that wisdom is more than a wholesome word or truth. Wisdom is
also
a truth aptly spoken.

Sunday School has drilled the catchphrase "Speak the truth in love"
(Ephesians 4:15
) into our heads, but even this approach can lack grace. Paul himself
encouraged his readers to consider that not every word is fit for every
occasion.
Even the comforting promise of Romans 8:28
- that God works all things for good of those who love
him - should sometimes give way to grieving when the cancer diagnosis is
first announced or a loved one dies. Those are obvious examples, and the
more
subtle situations are myriad. But here's the lesson I take away from this
verse: We're supposed to consider the impact on our hearers. Wise words do
more
than offer the right word and expect our friends to recognize its truth even
if we choose an inopportune moment. Instead, I have to recognize that the
right word offered at the wrong time might as well be a curse instead of a
blessing.

I take comfort in knowing that I don't have to spew every nugget of
knowledge at every pertinent encounter. We're not supposed to be somebody
else's
Holy Spirit
, convicting them of every errant or off-color word. Nor are we supposed to
be perpetually perky saints, walking around singing hallelujahs all the
time.
There's a place for bold ministry, but too often I confuse boldness with my
very human need to "say something" - and the results are rarely "good for
building
up" or "as fits the occasion."

Intersecting Faith & Life: Don't be the neighbor who yells, "Good morning"
too loudly. Let's encourage each other with words that "will give grace to
those
who hear" this week. Our goal is not to make others see our point of view or
our wisdom, but to build each other up with the love of Christ.

Further Reading
>Ecclesiastes 3

A Solid Promise
July 19, 2017

Read: Hebrews 6:13-20

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. (v. 19)

I grew up in a church that sang hymns—I mean, sang them with skill and
passion. The congregation sang in harmony and the sanctuary resonated with
strong
voices. Every week we sang the “Doxology,” and I still find myself humming
it as I work around my house. Perhaps this and their timeless words are why
I so deeply love some of the oldest hymns. The hymn “My Hope Is Built on
Nothing Less” has a verse that I especially love. When life has seemed very
dark,
the line “in every high and stormy gale, / my anchor holds within the veil”
has played on a loop in my mind.

Anchors are sturdy tools that hold us in place when a rough sea is pounding
our ship. But another purpose of anchors is to keep ships moored in calm
harbors
so their crews can rest without worry of drifting away or bumping into
another ship.

Throughout our lives, we will surely face many different seasons, some
stormy or rocky, some calm and relaxing; others may feel like drudgery and
still
others like a steady flow of good work. In all of these seasons, Jesus is an
anchor for our souls. While life ebbs and flows in different directions,
Jesus
keeps our souls steady. When our faith rests in Jesus, we can be assured
that we’ll stay the course, no matter what comes our way. —Jen Petersen

Prayer: Jesus, help me cling to you. And when I can’t hold on, please hold
on to me.

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

The sanctifying power of the cross!

(John L. Dagg, " Manual of Theology ")

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians
6:14

It may be profitable to yet linger a little while at the cross--that we may
again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ--all the divine perfections are gloriously and
harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible
justice are
all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The
heavens declare the glory of God--but
the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies! God's moral
perfections
are here displayed, which are the highest glory of His character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of everlasting life. On Him who hangs
there, our iniquities were laid--and from His wounds, flows the blood that
cleanses
from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and securely relies on
the great atoning sacrifice. It views
mercy and grace streaming from the cross--and to the cross it comes to
obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we
stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Savior's love--we resolve to
live
unto Him who died for us.

The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world--and the world
crucified to us.

Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which
caused the death of our beloved Lord--and we grow strong in the purpose to
wage
an exterminating war against it. By all the Savior's agonies, we vow to have
no peace with sin for ever.

The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on Him whom we have
pierced, and mourn. Contemplating Jesus' sin-atoning sacrifice, is the
highest
motive to holiness. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer,
murdered by our sins--and
we resolve that the murderers shall die!

The cross is a holy place, where we learn . . .
to be like Christ,
to hate sin as He hated it, and
to delight in the law of God which was in His heart.

In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has taken hold
of our heart--and we surrender to dying love.

The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine
origin--than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and
joyful
subjection to Christ.

~ ~ ~ ~

We have just posted John L. Dagg's " Manual of Theology ", written in 1857.
Virtually unknown today, it is the best devotional and experimental
Systematic
Theology ever written. In Dagg's own words, "This volume is designed for the
use of those who have neither the time nor the opportunity to study larger
works on theology. In preparing it,
my aim has been to present the system of Christian doctrine with
plainness and brevity--and to demonstrate at every point, its truth, and its
tendency to sanctify the heart."
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Starting Out on the Right Foot

Psalm 5:3 (NLT)
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests
to you and wait expectantly.

Mark 1:35 (NLT)
35 The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into
the wilderness to pray.

What do Jesus and the psalmist have in common in these two verses? They
start the day out in prayer. The apostle Paul does tell us to pray without
ceasing and we need to be willing and available to pray short prayers during
the day when things come up but we do need a specific time together with the
Lord. Before things get started and get hectic is the best time for some
people. It may take you setting the alarm a little earlier in the morning to
do this but it is worth it. Below is what three men of faith have to say
about it:

Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards.
Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into
harmony with Him.
…J. Hudson Taylor

I have so many things to do today, I dare not ignore my time with God.
...Martin Luther

He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the
day.
…John Bunyan

If these people needed to start their days out with prayer, how much more do
we. Start your day talking to the Lord and get started on the right foot.

by Dean W. Masters

How the Church Can Take Action against Racism
Ryan Duncan

Last Sunday, I stood with a congregation made up of many ethnicities as our
pastor denounced the evils of racism and white supremacy. Each member joined
hands with their neighbor, and together we prayed that God would give us the
courage, wisdom, and grace to stand against the rising tide of hatred which
had spilled across our home state. The service ended with a commission from
Romans 12:9 ,

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

It was a very moving experience, but it also highlighted how much work we,
as the Church, have yet to accomplish in combating racial injustice.

Much of the country is still reeling from the events in Charlottesville
, where a white supremacist rally ended violently with the death of a
counter-protestor. While Christian leaders were quick to condemn the actions
of the
alt-right and issue calls for peace, many believers feel its past time the
Church took a more active role in the fight against prejudice. In order for
this to happen, blogger Palmer Chinchen believes Christian communities must
shake off their long-held apathy toward such issues.
In an article for Relevant Magazine he states,

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“If we are honest, to a degree we have all failed at some time, in some way,
to love or accept or include. I ask you today to look deep inside and
confess
your own biases against other people, other nationalities or ethnicities.
Confess the stereotypes you have formed, the words you have spoken under
your
breath, the thoughts you have harbored. This is very hard to do, but it is
much more damaging to live with unconfessed sin in your heart. And confess
your
apathy and silence. Too few of us have said, enough. Too few have intervened
or defended the cause of the marginalized.”

Chinchen is not alone in his summations either. A frequent complaint among
younger Christians is how the traditional church has neglected meaningful
action
in favor of upholding the status quo. Local congregations have grown
stagnant, preferring to shelter existing members rather than engage with
individuals
outside their social circle. This problem came to a head in a recent article
by Thom Rainer , the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, who
pointed out how a failure to reach beyond racial demographics had led to an
erosion of attendance, discipleship, and evangelism within countless
churches.
Rainer noted how several particular problems included,

If we as believers hope to ensure the events in Charlottesville never repeat
themselves, we must do more than pray and post on social media. We must take
action. This can mean stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting someone
from a different background. It can mean showing up to a
peaceful protest , or calling someone out when they use a racist word
or tell a cruel joke. It will be difficult, and it will be frightening at
times, but only we can speak the words of Christ. It is what all disciples
have
been called to do.

*Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com

The hen which does not sit on her eggs!

( Charles Spurgeon , " Flowers from a Puritan's Garden " 1883)

"A hen that soon leaves her nest, never hatches her chicks."

How can she? Patience is needed, and the quiet self-denial by which she
renders up the warmth of her heart--otherwise her eggs will lie as dead as
stones!

Just so, a sudden glance at truth without meditation upon it, does not
profit. The value of truth will never be known, by those who look at it and
hurry
on. They must
brood over it, and cover it with their heart's love--or it will never become
living truth to their souls. We must apply ourselves to a doctrine, giving
our whole soul and heart to it--or we shall miss the blessing.

Lord, when I hear a sermon, or read in a good book--let me not be as the hen
which neither sits on her eggs, nor hatches them. But make me to
ponder Your Word, and to rejoice over it as one who finds great spoil.

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day
and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then
you will be prosperous and successful!" Joshua 1:8
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)


God Shapes His Servants

Compassion matters to God. This is the time for service, not
self-centeredness. Cancel the pity party. Love the people God brings to you.
This test will
be your testimony. Second Corinthians 1:4 reminds us, “God comes alongside
us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us
alongside
someone else who’s going through hard times so that we can be there for that
person just as God was there for us” (MSG).

You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting or caring for a
disabled spouse, did you? No, God enrolled you. Why? So you can teach others
what He has taught you. Rather than say, “God, why?” ask, “God, what?” What
can I learn from this experience? Your mess can become His message!

From You’ll Get Through This
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com


How to Cry Out to God

Matthew 14:29-30

The phone rings, and you answer. A sullen voice informs you of a tragedy.
Your heart is so heavy that you feel as though you could die. What do you
do?

Bad news, danger, and pain all cause us to look for help. As believers, we
dwell with the almighty God, who is able to aid us. At those moments when we
are sideswiped by life’s circumstances, we should cry out to Him.

In the Bible, crying out refers to speaking audibly with great emotion
concerning an urgent need. God invites us to use this form of prayer to
communicate
that we desperately need His mercy.

It takes both faith and humility to share our heart’s concern aloud. Crying
out, then, is a way for God’s children to express trust in the Lord’s
ability
and willingness to help. By calling upon Him with such urgency, wealso lay
down our pride and any attitude of self-sufficiency.

The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. In
Psalm 3:4, for example, David wrote, “I was crying to the Lord with my
voice,
and He answered from His holy mountain.” When we call aloud for help in
Jesus’ name, we invite His power into the situation. Remember that there is
strength
in just speaking His name.

When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often
have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be
allowed
to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and
presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please
visit
www.intouch.org .

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights
Reserved.

The Glory of God

The Lord our God has shown us his glory. - Deuteronomy 5:24

God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory.
Any aim less than this would be unworthy of Himself.

But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we
are? Man's eye is not single in its focus; he always has a side glance
toward
his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not
qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must
stand
out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted. And this is
the reason why He often brings His people into straits and difficulties,
that,
being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to
behold the majesty of God when He comes to work their deliverance. He whose
life is one even and smooth path will see but little of the glory of the
Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying and hence but little fitness
for
being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams
and shallow creeks know but little of the God of tempests; but they who are
"doing
business on the great waters"1 see "his wondrous works in the deep."2 Among
the huge waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn
the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: It is this that has
given you your experience of God's greatness and loving-kindness. Your
troubles
have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means:
Your trials have been the crevice of the rock in which Jehovah has set you,
as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed
by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance
that
continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of
affliction you have been qualified for the outshinings of His glory in His
wonderful
dealings with you.

1 Psalm 107:23
2 Psalm 107:24

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Judges 2

verse 2 Acts 6



Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

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

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

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

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

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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

Anne Graham Lotz - Jesus Weeps with You

Jesus Weeps with You
In all their affliction He was afflicted; . . . in His love and in His pity
He redeemed them.

Isaiah 63:9, NKJV

When was the last time you wept into your pillow at night, thinking no one
cared? Is the pain so deep and your hurt so great that you cry night after
night?
In your misery and loneliness, do you think Jesus is emotionally detached?
That He just doesn’t care? Or that He’s simply too busy to notice? Or that
He
is somewhat callous since He sees a lot of pain that’s worse than yours? Or
that He couldn’t possibly understand how you feel? Or that He’s not
concerned
enough to meet your needs?

Did you know that Jesus weeps with you? Did you know He puts all your tears
in a bottle because they are precious to Him? (Ps. 56:8, NKJV) He has said
in all of your afflictions, He Himself is afflicted. Why? Because He
understands! And He loves you!

Your suffering is His.
Your grief is His.
Your tears are on His face!

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


A Deeper Look at Love

When Laura Ingalls was growing up in various places in the American
frontier—Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Minnesota and the Dakota Territory—she wanted
nothing
more than to be outdoors working or playing. She cheerfully helped with
harvesting, gardening and caring for the animals.

During the Ingalls’ time in western Minnesota, scarlet fever struck most of
the family. The disease left Laura’s older sister Mary completely blind.
Mary
had to give up her dream of being a teacher. She was still quite capable of
doing housework and sewing, though, jobs she had enjoyed even before she
lost
her sight. Laura often resented Mary because Mary was so
good. She was always gentle, patient and uncomplaining. Sometimes Laura
wanted to slap Mary for all her perfection.

After the Ingalls family moved west to the Dakota Territory, a minister told
them of a college for the blind in Iowa. College was an impossible dream for
Mary unless the family could raise a substantial amount of money. The only
way Laura could contribute was to do something that went against all her
wishes.
She could become what Mary had wanted to be—a teacher. If Laura did well in
school for the next two years, at age sixteen she could get a teaching
certificate.

Laura didn’t want to teach school. The last thing she wanted was to stay
indoors and study just so she could eventually stay indoors and teach.

Laura relented, however, because of her maturing attitude toward her sister.
On one of their walks, Laura realized that she was changing. She began to
admire Mary. As the possibilities rose that Mary could leave for college,
Laura realized how much she would miss her. She found she loved Mary after
all.

Laura’s first teaching job was at a tiny new school twelve long wintery
miles from home. Laura boarded in a tiny shanty with a couple who could
barely
tolerate each other. The man was nearly silent. The woman hated the isolated
pioneer life and had become unbalanced. She resented Laura’s presence,
screamed
at her husband and threatened him with a butcher knife. Laura’s only refuge
was the schoolhouse. Though her students were difficult and she often felt
like a failure, being at school was better than being at the shanty.

Back at home on weekends, Laura admitted to her younger sister Carrie how
much she hated teaching. She didn’t tell her parents because she was afraid
they
would make her quit before the year was out. Instead, she doggedly kept at
it. What mattered was what was best for Mary. Laura’s pay was enough to keep
Mary in college that year and to bring her home the next summer. Only Laura
Ingalls’s love for her sister kept her in that first teaching job. Love led
her to sacrifice her own ideal plans for Mary’s sake.

In creation and in his Word, God offers us testimony of his love for us. But
John says that God has done even more. He has made the ultimate sacrifice:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into
the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved
God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our
sins” (
1 John 4:9-10).

If God has gone to the ultimate lengths of love for us, we can only respond
by making tangible sacrifices of love for one another. We may express our
love
in words, but our words are empty if they are not accompanied by actions. We
may have warm fuzzy feelings inside, but our feelings remain private
pleasures
if they do not translate into deeds. We are even called to love others when
warm sentiments are absent. Human feelings ebb and flow. True Christian love
is not a slave to such emotional fluctuations.

Ben Witherington III writes about love in the Scriptures:

In the Hebrew Scriptures, hesed refers to a sort of love that has been
promised and is owed—covenant love, that is—as in
Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called
my son.” Covenant love is the love God promised to give to his covenant
people,
and which they in turn were to respond with in kind, loving the God of the
Bible with all their hearts, minds and strength.... Covenant love, like
marital
love, is neither optional nor unconditional; it is obligatory. This is not
to say
hesed is compelled—just as in a marriage, love cannot be forced—but it is
commanded. . . .

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It is sometimes difficult for a modern person, who associates love with
uncontrollable feelings, to understand how the Bible can command love of
God, neighbors,
even enemies. But in the Bible the many terms translated as “love” do not
refer primarily to feelings. They refer to decisions of the will. This
voluntaristic
notion of love is recalled in modern wedding services, where the bride and
groom say “I do” and “I will” when they are asked to make their vows, not “I
feel like it.” In the Bible, when God’s people are called upon to “love,”
they are being asked to do something loving and responsive to the love of
God,
whether they feel like it or not.
1

A young couple lived next door to us, not married, each with a long history
of living with various other people. One day the woman announced to us that
this current guy was
the guy for her, for the rest of her life. There would never be another in
the whole world. We asked if they planned to be married. “No,” she quickly
responded,
“a marriage is too hard to get out of. Too much red tape.” Her boyfriend may
have been the only guy for her, but she was already planning her exit
strategy.
It was no surprise when their relationship soon disintegrated.

By contrast we remember the nursing home where Sandy’s mother lived for
several years. Sandy’s father had died several years before, but there were
other
residents in the nursing home whose spouses were still living. We recall a
woman who arrived one day carrying balloons which proclaimed “Happy 50th!”
Her
husband was in the nursing home, in circumstances neither of them would have
chosen. Perhaps at times he did not even recognize her. Never mind; her love
overcame all that. She was determined that nothing would stop them from
celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

The pure and perfect love of Jesus did not always feel good or make him
happy. In the hours before he was arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus
prayed in
the garden of Gethsemane. He was about to give his life for the world. He
was there in that place, facing that death, because he loved us. How did he
feel? He told three of his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to
the point of death” (
Mark 14:34). He prayed desperately to his Father, “Take this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will” (
Mark 14:36).

Jesus obeyed his Father when he didn’t “feel like it.” Because he obeyed in
spite of his emotions, we are now empowered to love God and each other, as
John admonishes us: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but
with actions and in truth” (
1 John 3:18).

What’s the main idea in this section?

What is one thing you can act on based on this reading?

Notes

1. Ben Witherington III, “From Hesed to Agape: What’s Love Got to Do with
It?”
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Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
What Moves You to Minister?
By John Piper

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption,
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
(Galatians
6:8)

Faith has an insatiable appetite for experiencing as much of God’s grace as
possible. Therefore, faith presses toward the river where God’s grace flows
most freely, namely, the river of love.

What other force will move us out of our contented living rooms to take upon
ourselves the inconveniences and suffering that love requires?

What will propel us . . .

• to greet strangers when we feel shy?

• to go to an enemy and plead for reconciliation when we feel indignant?

• to tithe when we’ve never tried it?

• to speak to our colleagues about Christ?

• to invite new neighbors to a Bible study?

• to cross cultures with the gospel?

• to create a new ministry for alcoholics?

• to spend an evening driving a van?

• to invest a morning praying for renewal?

None of these costly acts of love just happens. They are impelled by a new
appetite — the appetite of faith for the fullest experience of God’s grace.

Faith loves to rely on God and see him work miracles in us. Therefore, faith
pushes us into the current where the power of God’s future grace flows most
freely — the current of love.

I think this is what Paul meant when he said that we should sow to the
Spirit (Galatians 6:8). By faith, we should put the seeds of our energy in
the furrows
where we know the Spirit is at work to bear fruit — the furrows of love.
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

A Gentle Spirit
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“He that is faithful l in that which is least is faithful also in that which
is much.”
Luke 16:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
In order to be a missionary, a man had to appear before the superintendent
of missions. His appointment was set for five in the morning. It was a snowy
morning, but he was there. He waited until eight o'clock. Finally the
superintendent came and asked him two simple questions.

Then he said, “Thank you. You're dismissed.”

The aspiring missionary said, “Thank you for your time.”

In his report, the superintendent wrote, “This man will make an excellent
missionary. He came at an early hour without a murmur; that shows
self-sacrifice.
He was there on time; that shows character. He waited without grumbling;
that shows patience. He answered very simple questions in a straightforward
manner;
that shows humility.”

ACTION POINT:
When God asks you to do something, it may not make sense or seem important,
but let God determine what's important.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

When You Don’t Like the Story God is Writing
SHARON JAYNES

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths
straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

If it were up to me, I would have scripted some of life’s stories
differently. So many tragedies have struck people near and dear to me that
if I were
the writer, they would have been changed.

Fortunately, I’m not the author, because each of these women impact
thousands upon thousands of women all over the world with her powerful
stories of God’s
redemption. God turned their pain into purpose, their misery into ministry
and their devastation into anointed messages of hope and restoration. Sudden
glories fill and spill from each of their lives.

Their journeys have led them through dark valleys and back out into the
light on the other side.

But if I had to decide?

My second child would not have passed away before she was born. Carol’s son
would not be in prison. Linda’s daughter would not be a quadriplegic.
Barbara’s
daughter would not be bipolar. Patty’s 21-year-old daughter would not have
been in a fatal car accident. Jennifer’s husband would not have succumbed to
a brain tumor.

Difficult times are pregnant with glory moments -- moments when we see God’s
plan just waiting to be birthed in the lives of those willing to labor
through
the pain. The key is not to allow bitterness and anger to make our hearts
infertile to God’s gifts.

One way to avoid the darkening of the soul is by constant communication
seasoned with thanksgiving -- a continual acknowledgement of God’s presence.

After my husband and I graduated from college, we moved to Charlotte so he
could open a new business. But after we moved, the man who was to be his
business
partner changed plans.

“Sorry, Steve,” he said. “I’ve changed my mind. Good luck, son.”

I was so upset. OK, I was flat-out angry. Angry with the potential partner.
Angry with God. We had prayed, fasted and felt this was where God was
leading
us. We had no money. No job. And school debt.

Three months later, a situation opened up that was far better than our
original plan. It was
Ephesians 3:20 in action: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
...”

Well, why didn’t God do that in the first place? Why didn’t He lead us
directly to that second opportunity when we did all that praying and
seeking? He
could have.

But He is far more interested in developing our character than in doling out
a life of comfort and ease. C.S. Lewis notes: “If you think of this world
as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable.
Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

That’s where Proverbs 3:5-6 comes in: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and
he will make your paths straight.”

We are ever the students. He is the teacher still. Trials rip away the
flimsy fabric of self-sufficiency and become the raw material for God’s
miracles
in our lives. And those miracles are moments of sudden glory.

Oh that we would trust Him even if the twists and turns never make sense
this side of heaven. That’s what trusting God is all about. As
we live and move and have our being in Him, life’s dark places are simply
opportunities to trust that God knows the way -- and the perfect time to
hold
on tight.

Especially since He’s still writing the story.

Father, thank You for always knowing and doing what is best for me. Forgive
me when I don’t trust You but think my way is best. I know that You have
wonderful
surprises in store for me when I simply trust You in all things. Thank You
for being the Teacher. Help me to be a good student of Your Truth. In Jesus’
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28 , “And we know that in all things God works for the good of
those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering
and into His courts with praise! Be thankful
and say so to Him, bless
and affectionately praise His name!” (AMPC)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Check out Sharon Jaynes’ book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go,
Move Forward, Live Bold. Let go of everything that holds you back from
living
the mountain-moving faith God intended, and take hold of all that Jesus has
promised for you. Say goodbye to insecurity and hello to the confidence of
knowing who you are and what you have as a child of God. The book includes a

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that God has forgotten us
during difficult times. How do we see that in David’s words of Psalm 77:1-9?

Now read the rest of the Psalm. What did David do to remind himself of the
faithfulness of God?
How does trusting God change the way you look at difficult situations?
(c) 2017 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Aug 2017, 11:41 am

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Faith Expels Guilt, Greed, and Fear
By John Piper

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good
conscience and a sincere faith.
(1 Timothy 1:5)

Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder
love.

If we feel guilty, we tend to wallow in self-centered depression and
self-pity, unable to see, let alone care about anyone else’s need. Or we
play the
hypocrite to cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships.
Or we talk about other people’s faults to minimize the guilt of our own.

It’s the same with fear. If we feel fearful, we tend not to approach a
stranger at church who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we
may
reject frontier missions for our lives, because it sounds too dangerous. Or
we may waste money on excessive insurance, or get swallowed up in all manner
of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to
the needs of others.

If we are greedy, we may spend money on luxuries — money that ought to go to
the spread of the gospel. We don’t undertake anything risky, lest our
precious
possessions and our financial future be jeopardized. We focus on things
instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage.

Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out
of the heart.

It pushes out guilt because it holds fast to the hope that the death of
Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever
(Hebrews
10:14).

It pushes out fear because it banks on the promise, “Fear not, for I am with
you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

And it pushes out greed because it is confident that Christ is greater
wealth than all the world can offer (Matthew 13:44).

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied
with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Hand In The Dummy - #7961

I was with several members of our Team in the relentless evangelism schedule
of what we called our "Make A Difference" Weekends. We were getting pretty
tired and our minds were totally focused on our outreaches. In fact, so
tired and so focused, that I forgot about a radio station that was calling
me for
a live interview that afternoon. Now, I had just awakened from a brief nap
and the phone rang. Thinking it was one of our Team members, I jokingly
answered,
"Good morning"-at 4:00 in the afternoon. Somehow, I was able to rebound
immediately and go enthusiastically into that interview and I don't think
the folks
on the other end knew I was even surprised by their call.

When I told my Team members about this, Esther said, "Ron, I've seen you
come to life like that a lot of times. You're like a ventriloquist's dummy."
That's
great! I thanked her for sharing that, and then she felt maybe clarifying
that would be a good idea, and we agreed. She said, "No, no. You're like
this."
Then she closed her eyes, she hung her head, and leaned lifelessly against
the window. Then, without warning, she opened her eyes real wide, started
moving
her head from side to side, and said, "Hi, everybody! How ya doing?" I
laughed so hard I could hardly drive.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Hand
In The Dummy".

When I finally stopped laughing, I said to my Team members, "Actually, I am
a lot like a ventriloquist's dummy. The Master puts His hand in me, and
suddenly
I'm able to do all kinds of things I could never otherwise do." I've got
news for you-you're one of those ventriloquist's dummies, too.

Our word for today from the Word of God is Philippians 4:13, "I can do
everything through Him (that's Jesus) who gives me strength." Things I could
never
otherwise do or be, I can do or be because of Christ's hand in my life,
giving me His strength. You might be interested in who the prime candidates
are
for getting major strength and power from God. Maybe you are one and don't
even know it.

Isaiah 40:28-29, "The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends
of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary...He gives strength to the
weary
and He increases the power of the weak." Notice, if you're at a point where
you're weak...or where you're really weary, then you're at the point at
which
God takes over! You're that "dummy", eyes closed, head down, leaning
lifelessly against the wall. And suddenly the hand of God moves in, takes
over, and
gives you His incredible surge of divine life.

Apparently, we are all the weak or the weary at some time. He says, "Even
youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those who
hope
in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah
40:30-31).

Have you ever watched an eagle or a hawk or any other soaring bird? They
usually don't come out until later in the morning when the warm air starts
rising
and creating those thermal currents. They travel, not by the strength of
their flapping wings, but by catching the wind beneath their wings and
soaring.
What a beautiful picture of someone who hasn't been able to do it, no matter
how hard they've flapped their wings; someone who finally relaxes, releases,
and lets God lift them where they have not been able to take themselves.
Soaring like an eagle.

Some of the most powerful words you can speak are these, "Lord, I can't. But
You can." You're exhausted-He's not. You're weak-He's not. You're out of
answers-but
He's not. It's time for the ventriloquist miracle, when a lifeless dummy
suddenly comes to life because the Master's hand has taken over.

It's like the little kids sing, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible
tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes,
Jesus loves me!"
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 ·
USA

I Don’t Understand, But I’ll Obey
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and
sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better
than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
I read an interesting story about Stephen Grellet, a pioneer evangelist to
the lumbermen in the Rocky Mountains. He felt the Spirit of God leading him
to a particular lumber camp to preach. When he got there, the place was
absolutely deserted. He said, “Lord, I don’t understand, but I'm going to be
obedient.”
So he opened his Bible without a soul in sight and preached a full-length
message. Then he pled for people to come to Christ. He said, “Lord, I don’t
know
what that was all about but Lord, I was obedient.” Years later, a man walked
up to him in England and said, “I was the foreman at a lumber camp. I had
come back to the camp to get an ax, and I heard you preaching. I stood
behind a pile of lumber and listened. As you preached, my heart was
strangely warmed,
and I repented of my sin and gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I later
witnessed to four other men. Now, all five of us are missionaries preaching
around
the world.”

How important it is that we obey completely in small things! Naaman was
asked to dip seven times in the river Jordan. At first, he angrily refused.
But
in 2 Kings 5:13 his servants asked him, “… if the prophet had bid thee do
some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?”

ACTION POINT:
Do you know why many of us are not obeying God more than we are? Because
we're not hearing what God is saying. We're not spending time listening to
God.
That's the importance of a quiet time, that's the importance of getting
somewhere alone with God in a nook with this book and reading and listening.

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.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 14 Aug 2017, 9:45 pm


Geese and Crabapples

"Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of
others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own
interests, but take an interest in others, too." (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

Across from our house is a park that has some ponds which house ducks and
geese. Now there are not many ducks but a lot of geese. They love to come
into our yard to have a meal on whatever they can find. They love to eat the
crabapples.

The geese will sit in a circle around the crabapple tree. One of them will
get up, stretch his long neck, grab a limb and shake it so that crabapples
fall to the ground. Then all get up and start eating. When all are eaten
they will go back to the circle and wait for another goose to get up and
grab another limb. The goose that shakes the limb won't get much to eat but
they do take their turns so that all can eat.

Paul wrote in the Scripture above to the Philippians that this is what we
need to do as Christians. We should not forget about ourselves but do more
for others. This goes further than what Jesus taught when He said to do to
others as you would have them do to you. Paul is saying do more for others
than you would have them do for you.

Prayer: Our Provider, we praise you. We thank you for all your many
blessings. Please forgive us when we get selfish and don't think of others.
Help us to follow the teachings of your son Jesus Christ to do to others as
we would have them do to us. In your holy name we pray, Amen

Thought for the day: Let us stretch our necks out to help others in our day
to day living.

by Dean W. Masters


"Living as Christ's Person in Repentance and Faith" #84-45

Sermon Text for July 9, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on July 9, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Romans 7:14-25
Our text for today is Romans 7 verses 14 through 25. So, Paul says, "I find
this law at work. Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being, I delight in God's Law, but I see another law at work
in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the
law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me
from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God who delivers me
through
Jesus Christ our Lord."

Christ has risen. He is risen, indeed. Hallelujah.

A friend of mine told me about an experience he had at a grocery store while
he lived in New York City. He and his wife were standing in the 10-
items-or-less
express lane. As they waited in line, a commotion began up front. Voices
were raised. Hands waved and pointed. Two older gentlemen were getting into
a
fight. Apparently, it had to do with how many items one of them had-maybe 12
or 14 instead of the desired 10 items or less. That was it! Time to throw
down! Time for one of them to drop the other one "in a New York minute," as
they say.

The store manager rushed over to separate the fighting duo. Groceries were
still spread over the conveyor belt as the men were hustled away and
forcibly
removed. Now, these two senior citizens were probably respectable people.
Each one may have been a grandfather. I can't imagine that either one woke
up
that morning and thought to himself, "I sure hope I can deck a fellow codger
today. One good punch is all I want." No, each one probably woke up, kissed
his wife, had some coffee, and took a little walk. They probably decided to
do their shopping that afternoon, perhaps, as a favor to their wives.

At one time in their lives these men were most likely responsible workers in
productive careers. They were probably not wanted by the police or in any
other kind of trouble. So why the altercation in the 10-items-or-less line?
What happened? What led two normal septuagenarians to be totally out of
control?

Now, I wonder if you can answer that question for me. Just think of
yourself. What makes you lose control? Maybe you had a long day and someone
cuts you
off in traffic on the way home. Perhaps your kids pushed you to the brink.
Is it a thoughtless comment? An annoying habit? The frustration you feel
when
you're in a hurry? Or perhaps a temptation that's too strong. Is that when
your life gets out of control?

You don't wake up in the morning hoping that you'll totally lose your cool
and embarrass yourself publicly. You don't plan to fall into temptation or
anger
or rudeness or thoughtlessness. But what happens? What causes life-your life
included-to become harsh, ugly, or weak?

An insightful diagnosis from the apostle Paul in Romans provides the answer.
"For I," he says, "I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."
That's it, isn't it? You and I have lives that get out of control. In fact,
we all lose control, all the time.

Let me say up front that if you are in control of your life, living every
minute, every thought, and every action in a way that is completely loving
towards
others and totally pleasing to God, you probably don't need to listen to
what I'm about to say today, but if you look at your life and you see that
you
don't always do what's right, you don't always have purity welling up inside
of you, you don't always stand unswerving in hope, and you don't always
remain
strong in the face of temptation, then keep listening.

Verse 18 of Romans 7 says this: "For I know that nothing good dwells in me,
that's in my flesh, for I've got the desire to do what's right, but not the
ability to carry it out." Well, that brings up the question: what can get
control of your life when you get out of control? What can hold on to
you-your
heart, your soul, when you lose your grip on what matters?

How about time? Does it get naturally easier to take control of things just
because you get older? As you get older, do you experience a natural process
that increases self-restraint, that decreases the susceptibility to
temptation, and that puts you in greater control during struggles and
difficulties?
Is time the key to a life that functions smoothly and well?

Well, St. Paul didn't see that happening. The guys at the grocery store
didn't experience that. In fact, I've talked with a lot of older people and
they
tell me a different story. If time is the only factor involved in addressing
your frailty, sin, and weakness, you don't necessarily improve. In fact,
temptations
grow in strength over time. Guilt can rage more wildly over time. Despair
and struggles can descend on you with more intensity. Time does not improve
your
ability to control yourself.

You and I are not like fine wine. If left to ourselves, we don't get better
with age. Time cannot overcome your fallen nature.

Okay. Maybe the answer then is just to stay busy, right? Can activity
overcome your sin? If you get involved in a lot of things, become an active
volunteer,
and try to do a lot of worthy activities, will your life be brought under
control? Once again, St. Paul didn't experience that either. He must have
been
one of the busiest guys of his day. Not only that, he was busy with God's
work, but he still struggled.

You and I, we may be very busy. You may be involved in a number of worthy
and wonderful causes, but you can't crowd sin out of your life. No matter
how
hard you try to suppress it or deny it, sin explodes. It will show itself in
your life.

All right. This is the answer. How about this? Ready? Logic and reason. That
should solve it, right? I mean can you reason your way out of a life that's
out of control? Paul doesn't think so. Paul uses the Greek word for "will"
seven times in these verses. He has a will to do what God wants. The problem
is his will cannot prevail. His sinful actions defy his own logic. In verse
15 he says, "I do not understand my own actions."

The world may tell you otherwise, but God's Word lets you know the truth.
You can't do everything you put your mind to. Many times you're doing what
is
totally against what you know to be true. Young people can graduate from
drug prevention classes and know all there is to know about substance abuse
and
they can still get tangled up in addictions. Parents get into fights at
sporting events. Husbands and wives sabotage their marriages, and people
choose
to live in completely destructive ways.

But if you ask them, "Was this the right thing to do?"-if it was
constructive and logical? You would hear the answer in a great number of
situations. "No
way. No way. It was totally wrong. I know it's wrong. I just keep doing it."
Logic cannot get control of your life, either.

So what can? What can possibly help when we can't deal with these things on
our own? Well, Paul asked the same question in verse 24. He said, "Wretched
man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?" And then he
answers the question in the next verse. "Thanks be to God through Jesus
Christ
our Lord."

What can get control of your life when it gets out of control? Not time. Not
activity. Not even reason and logic. The answer is not in you. It's not by
you. It's not with you. What can get control of your life? Jesus can. The
Lord of life can. Because of His grace, His gift of new life-a forgiven
life-the
Master can master your life. The Master can re-master your life.

Jesus proved that He was the master over temptation when He defeated the
devil in the wilderness. He showed that violence and name-calling did not
sway
Him from His mission to save you and me. Jesus proved He was the Master over
sin that would destroy you. When being nailed on the cross, He took that sin
upon Himself and overcame it in His death and resurrection.

You can't control life yourself, but Jesus took control when He came to
rescue you. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed so that the issue of who's in
charge
of your life could be settled once for all. Jesus Christ, risen from the
dead, Victor over sin, paid the price for you. He is the Lord of life. He is
the
Lord of your life.

The Master Jesus, the one who rescued you and me from this body of death,
takes hold of our life through His Word and Sacraments. He is getting His
gracious
grip on you right now as you listen to this word from the Scripture. In
Baptism and in Holy Communion, the Lord of life takes hold of you in a
miraculous
way. Only the grace of God can get control over the sin that rages in our
lives and rages out of control.

Okay, well the question then is does this really work? Well, it worked for
Paul. He struggled to the end, but God walked with him every step of the
way.
The grace of God brought him through. So, how does that work in your life?
How does it work to have the Master as master over your life? How do you
live
as Christ's person?

Here's one way. Let God act before you do. That's right. Let me say it
again. Let God act before you do. Remember, because of Jesus' death and
resurrection,
it's no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you. When you are
Christ's person, you have the mind of Christ. The apostle Paul said, "Walk
by the
Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Literally, that
means walk by the Spirit and you will not bring the desires of your flesh to
completion.

Walking by the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit is in the lead. Your Lord
is out in front. So, don't jump out in front. Let the Spirit of God be out
in
front first.

But what does that mean? Well, first it means to have your heart and soul
filled with the Word and the presence of God. Second, it means letting God
have
His say before you make your decisions. You may be in the habit of first
going with your gut. You reply to that nasty e-mail too quickly. You fire
off
a text right away. You speak before you think or, even worse, before you
pray. You pull up that website without considering the option not to. You go
along
with your friends because you always do. You veer into despair and
pessimism.

Wait! What if you let God act before you did? What if you let the Spirit of
God lead your decisions and guide your outlook instead of your gut?

As you know, we're in the thick of summer vacation time. You may be able to
experience some down time at home, or you may be planning a trip somewhere.
What if you asked Jesus to send His Spirit into your life to act before you
do this summer? What if you paused long enough to let God use you to bless
the people around you this summer? What if instead of grumpiness towards
others, you offer God's grace? What if instead of launching out on your own,
you
listen to the people in your life first? What if, instead of seeking your
own comfort, you decided to serve others for their comfort? What if, filled
with
the Word of God and the Spirit sent by your Savior, you saw your life
refreshed and renewed this summer in Him?

Jesus gives you and me a gracious pathway of life. It's a lot better than
getting into a grocery store fist fight. It's better than living in despair
or
anger. It's better than hurting people around you. You are Christ's person,
a new creation. You've got a new identity by grace in Him.

That's why I want to end this message in a special way. I want to pray with
you. I want to pray for you. It's a special prayer acknowledging your
repentance
before God. If you haven't heard of repentance, I'd like to introduce it to
you. If you've been trying to be your own person, to live life under your
own
power and you've experienced frustration and failure, you may need a turning
point, a new start. That's what repentance is. It means to turn around. It
means to return to God. You may not be able to get control of your life, you
know, one that's out of control, but Jesus did-and He will hold you in His
grip of grace this very day.

I'm not going to give you a list of things to do, and St. Paul said it's a
battle just to do what we want to do anyway. What we're going to do today is
let God act before we do. By the power of His Spirit, we're going to pray a
prayer of repentance. We're going to acknowledge that our lives are out of
control and that the only way to have control is to be totally in the loving
hands of Jesus Christ. Then after this message is over, you can face the
future
with the Spirit of God out in front, leading the way.

So, you ready? Just bow your heads. Fold your hands. Right with me, right
now, wherever you are. Let's pray.

Oh, gracious Savior, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we lay
our lives before You. Our whole lives. By Your grace and because of Your
saving
work and the power of Your spirit alone, we turn to You right now. We turn
our lives back over to You. We confess that we have sinned. We've done
wrong.

Lord Jesus, right now there are children listening who are rejecting You,
disrespecting their parents. There are parents who are bowing out of their
kids'
lives and shirking their call to be loving, disciplining, and discipling.
There are husbands and wives hearing these words who are checking out of
their
marriages and looking for fulfillment elsewhere in jobs, activities, even
other people. But by the power of Your Spirit today, they are turning to You
in repentance.

Today, then Lord, with that prayer in our hearts and minds, we are overjoyed
that You speak words of forgiveness to each one listening at this very
moment.
We read in Your Word, we trust what You say that You are merciful. You are
forgiving. Grace, Your grace, is what we receive through Jesus' life, death,
and resurrection. Shower us with His grace.

We don't ask all this stuff because we are righteous. We ask because of Your
great mercy. Take us into Your loving hands. Renew our lives, not just our
words but our actions. You know each one of us listening today, Lord. Be
Lord of our lives, master and re-master our lives, and as You make Your home
in
us, lead us. Give us the joy and power of living in Your grace, living life
Christ's way for others.

Lead the way, Jesus, my Savior. By the power of Your Spirit we are in Your
hands, and we pray all of this in Your holy Name. Amen.

Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for July 9, 2017
Guest: Mark Eischer and Greg Seltz
Mark Eischer: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. This is Action in
Ministry-your call to action in response to all that God has done for you in
Jesus
Christ.

Pastor Seltz, I think we all experience times when it seems life is out of
control.

Gregory Seltz: You know, Mark, and then we try to make adjustments to figure
out how to get life back in control until we realize we aren't the ones who
have the power to change those kinds of circumstances.

Mark Eischer: That's right. Repentance and faith in Christ are actually
crucial to getting our lives back in order, and it's important to understand
that
our faith is reasonable. It's something that makes sense, and that's the
subject of this week's resource. It's a booklet titled, Reasons to Believe.

Gregory Seltz: It definitely coheres, and it's not only because it's the way
we were taught, but there are facts that point to Jesus Christ as our
Messiah
and as our Savior.

Mark Eischer: It's fascinating to see how Christianity itself took root in a
context that can be examined. Historical events are documented, not only in
the Bible, but there are also other sources that confirm what we read in the
Bible.

Gregory Seltz: Right. We should also mention that the Bible has a connection
to archeology, the science of digging up the way things were. For example,
did you know that a German excavation near modern-day Baghdad in 1899
uncovered evidence of King Nebuchadnezzar? It even included a notation of a
food
allotment he made to the king of Judah, and that supports the Bible's
account of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., which was recorded in
II Kings
chapter 24.

Mark Eischer: Right. I've also heard that there were scholars who doubted
whether Pontius Pilate existed until all of a sudden a stone tablet showed
up
with his name on it.

Gregory Seltz: Well, and actually they doubted for a time whether Jesus
Himself existed, and now we know all of those people were real.

Mark Eischer: Let's also discuss the role or prophecy. Why is prophecy
important when considering reasons to believe?

Gregory Seltz: Well, when you think about it, first of all, when you read in
this particular booklet, it talks about the existence of complex prophecies.
I mean a lot of the Old Testament prophecies, how they came to fruition,
once you examine the evidence, you have to just go, "Wow!" I mean, there's
no
way the prophet could have known exactly how this was going to come to
fruition, but God gave this word to those people at this time and then
hundreds
of years, often times, it came to fruition. And that especially happened in
the birth of Jesus Christ. When you start to see all the Old Testament
prophecies
and how they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, it's just got to amaze you. If
you're honest with the book as a historical record, which it is, and then
you
see these things come to fruition, there's no way one person or multiple
people could have manipulated it towards that end.

Mark Eischer: Because you had prophecies that were made by different people
over centuries that all came together.

Gregory Seltz: Right. We're talking about hundreds of people over 1,500
years, and all this thing coheres and it stays the same, but it comes to
fruition
in Jesus in this miraculous way. Even there-prophecy-if you just look at it
and go "Wow! He said that!" and look how it came to fruition, it'll blow
your
mind.

Mark Eischer: Creation is yet another reason to believe. How can belief in a
creator change the way we think about God?

Gregory Seltz: Creation is one of the most miraculous displays of God's
beauty, His love, His care. I mean, we see it every day. Our universe is
designed
to support life perfectly. The alignment of the moon, the stars, the sun-all
work in perfect harmony. Man himself has never created something living out
of nothing. We're the re-arrangers. We can do some incredible things with
rearranging God's creation. I think He's put all kinds of things that are
potentials
here that we can kind of, in some sense, mimic what He does, but He does it
out of nothing. He does it with His mere breath, with His Word.

The thing that's really important here is we are the apex of His creation.
There is dignity in being His created people. That's the one thing. Once you
lose that, you will see how nasty things can get in this world.

Mark Eischer: This booklet goes on to tell how the disciples of Jesus
believed so deeply that they were willing to face persecution and even death
instead
of denying what they had already heard and seen. Again, it shows ours is a
faith based on evidence, and for more on this subject we encourage you to
read
Reasons to Believe
.

Gregory Seltz: I think, Mark, we also need to say when it comes right down
to it, what finally is unique about all of this is this Person Jesus-the
unique
work, unique Person, a Savior for the world. And then He even does things
radically differently than we would, and so the Bible is just this page
after
page after page after-wow!-I can't believe God did it that way, and yet it's
something we can look back on. We can see it in history and we can see it
unfold also in our lives as well.

I would encourage anybody to get this resource; you'll be blessed.
Gregory Seltz: Yeah. Great question, Mark. 2017 is the 500th anniversary of
the Reformation. Back in 1517 on October 31st, Martin Luther, a monk and
professor
in Wittenberg, Germany, posted 95 Theses on the castle church door in order
to start a discussion about certain practices in the Roman Catholic Church,
especially the practice of selling indulgences for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark Eischer: And that began a series of events that changed the entire
world. This year, Reformation exhibits and celebrations are taking place all
around
the world. The city of Wittenberg in Germany is holding a summer-long
festival called, "Gates of Freedom," a world Reformation celebration that
focuses
on the seven central topics of spirituality, youth, peace, justice, culture,
and globalization.

Gregory Seltz: Well, it's important for everyone to remember the impact
Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation had on the culture of that day.
The
movement that Luther began influenced education, language, literacy, music,
politics and, of course, religious life.

Mark Eischer: I remember back in 2000, Time Magazine named Luther as one of
the most prominent figures of the millennium. So, what was so significant
about
Martin Luther's historical impact?

Gregory Seltz: We'll continue to hear more about that this year and the many
changes ushered in by the Protestant Reformation and Luther, but it's very
important for listeners to understand that all of these changes sprang out
of a central focus for Luther, and that focus is on the grace of God in
Jesus
Christ alone. Luther's most significant action in history was to redirect
the church and the world back to a simple but powerful truth: that we're
saved
by grace through faith in Jesus. In other words, trying to be good people
doesn't achieve the peace and wholeness that we crave.

Mark Eischer: Because we could never be good enough to meet God's righteous
requirements.

Gregory Seltz: Right. So, Luther rediscovered God's truth in the Bible that
we're dead and powerless in our sins and brokenness but that God has made us
alive in Jesus Christ because He loves us. Wholeness, forgiveness, and
peace-they're God's gifts through faith in Jesus Christ.

Mark Eischer: The message of the Reformation is "grace alone, faith alone,
and Scripture alone."

Gregory Seltz: And that's the central significance of the Protestant
Reformation and Martin Luther. As the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is
saying it
this year: "It's still all about Jesus." I think that's an excellent
summary.

Mark Eischer: Because Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life for us,
died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead for our eternal
salvation,
and that's a message that changes us. Doesn't it?

Gregory Seltz: It does and that's why so many areas of the culture were
affected by the Reformation. Jesus gives life in its fullness and when you
believe
in Him, you're free, really free, spiritually, emotionally. That freedom in
the Gospel results in remarkable creativity, discovery, community,
compassion.
The gift of God's love-it really does change everything.

Mark Eischer: How can we build on the Reformation for the next 500 years?

Gregory Seltz: Now, that's the real question for today. This freedom matters
today just like it did then. Martin Luther helped the world see that we can
easily become complacent and corrupt. We can drift into focusing on
ourselves and the preservation of our power and control.

Mark Eischer: And that's our fallen nature at work.

Gregory Seltz: It is, but when we're called back to walking with God's
grace, we become servants again in Him to others. We remember to love others
as
God loved us. We understand that the church doesn't exist to make us
comfortable but to risk reaching the hearts of troubled and broken people
with the
life-changing news of Jesus.

Mark Eischer: I've heard it said the church is always reforming.

Gregory Seltz: I think that's right.

Mark Eischer: Founded on God's remarkable gift of salvation by grace through
faith in Christ, God's people need to keep learning and growing, reaching
out to others, and stretching into new areas of sharing the Good News of
Christ with others.

And if you'd like to learn more about Martin Luther and the Reformation, go
to lhm.org, click on "Resources and Training" and look for the video series,
A Man Named Martin. You can watch the video, download a discussion guide.
It's all at no cost.

Visit lutheranhour.org

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 13 Aug 2017, 9:28 pm

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Close to the Trail, But Lost - #7956

Allison and her daughter and two friends were out for a trail ride in a
remote area. They were to rendezvous later, actually, in the afternoon with
other
family members at their overnight campsite. When it came time to head back,
they were somewhere on the side of a mountain, picking their way through
very
rocky ground. No matter which way they went, they couldn't find the main
trail that would take them back down the mountain. They could see where they
needed
to be, but the terrain was too rugged to get down any other way. The hours
wore on, dark began to fall, and Allison's two friends finally made an
attempt
to get to a cabin they could see. Well after dark, Allison and her daughter
finally saw flashlights moving up the mountain. Her friends returned with
the
man from that cabin. He helped them pick their way to a point where they
could actually get right back on the trail. Much to their surprise, while
they
had been lost, they had been very close to the trail all along!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Close to
the Trail, But Lost".

It's possible to be close to the trail and still be lost in the great
outdoors or in your search for God. And without a rescuer, you will never
make it
home - to God, to heaven.

Jesus met a man who was, like many of us, almost where he needed to be, but
still lost. What He said to that man gives all of us religious folks
something
to think about. This man, who came to Jesus as an honest spiritual seeker,
indicated that he really seemed to understand and agree with Jesus'
teachings.
Then in Mark 12:34, our word for today from the Word of God, "Jesus said to
him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God." My friend was "not far" from
the trail home, but she was still lost. This man was "not far" from
belonging to Jesus, but he was "not in."

That's what Jesus might say to a whole lot of us church folks, us
Christianity veterans. We agree with Jesus. We go to His meetings. We like
Him a lot.
We look like we belong to Him. But see, you can have all that and still be
lost because there's never been that moment when you fully committed
yourself
to Jesus as your personal Rescuer from your personal sins. You've never
actually grabbed Him like a drowning person would grab a rescuer and you've
said,
"Jesus, you're my only hope! Save me!" It's His death for your sins on the
cross that really is your only hope of having your sins forgiven...of having
a relationship with your Creator...of going to His heaven when you die.

But the Rescuer has come to you right where you are - close to the trail,
but still lost. He's come looking for you today. We'd never find Him. He'd
have
to come looking for us. The sheep never finds a shepherd. The shepherd
always comes and finds the lost sheep.

He's come to where you are today to bring you home to Him. Maybe these words
right now are His way of reaching out to you. He's ready to bring you home
to the relationship you were made for; the relationship you've been missing
your whole life. Let this be the day that you finally actually belong to the
One you've been around for so long. Tell Him, "As of today, Jesus, I am
Yours."

You know, our website is a destination for people who want to be sure they
belong to Jesus Christ and their eternity is settled and their sins are
forgiven.
I want to urge you to get there as soon as you can today. Meet me there. It
is ANewStory.com. Your new story can begin there today.

You may be very close, but you're not in. Could there be a greater tragedy
than for you to get to the gates of heaven one day and hear Jesus say, "You
were so close, but you're not in." That can change this very day. You can go
to sleep tonight knowing that you belong to Him!

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

Anne Graham Lotz - According to God’s Purpose
View this email in your browser


According to God’s Purpose
In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been
called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28, NIV

Romans 8:28 says, “in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In other words, when
you
are in the purpose, or will, of God, everything that comes into your life
can work for your good. You may immediately question how the pregnancy of
your
unmarried daughter can work for your good, or how God can work even a
divorce for your good, or how the loss of your job can be for your good, or
how your
terminal illness can be for your good. If, by “good,” Romans 8:28 meant your
comfort, convenience, health, wealth, prosperity, pleasure, or happiness,
we would all question it! But your ultimate good is conformity to the image
of Jesus Christ. And when you are in God’s will – “called according to his
purpose” – everything God allows into your life is used by Him to make you
like Christ. Everything!

Blessings,

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

Post  Admin on Sat 12 Aug 2017, 8:19 pm

For the Days You Feel Defeated: Hope from Gideon’s Story
by Debbie McDaniel

Some days can seem hurried, pressured, and tense. We know God’s truth, we
believe His goodness, and yet we still find ourselves struggling, minds
racing,
before our feet even touch the floor in the morning.

Our focus gets blurred. We start listening to the lies of other voices that
do more harm than good. The constant media headlines tell us how dark and
broken
our world is. Images and reminders all around us shout that we’re “not
enough.” The enemy’s great at heaping on guilt, condemnation, and fear. The
problems
we face seem more like giants of impossibility than anything good that God
can ever bring from it.

The truth is, some days we don’t feel like much of a strong warrior for God’s
purposes. We just feel really weak. Afraid. Alone. Defeated.

But often, out of His goodness and grace, when we find ourselves right smack
in the middle of huge feelings of defeat, God shows up strong.

"When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with
you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12

Gideon certainly had no reason to feel strong, mighty, or anything like a
warrior at that moment. He and his people were facing great suffering and
defeat
at the hand of the enemy. He doubted God was even with him. In fact, when
the angel showed up, he was threshing his wheat in the pit of a winepress,
not
up on a hilltop where this was usually done. He was fearful and trying to
keep hidden from view of the enemy who’d been raiding their land. Gideon
questioned,
"If God was with us, then why did this happen?"

Sounds familiar...

Ever been there?

If God is really here, then why?

If God is really good, then when?

If God really cares, then how?

I love how God is so gracious, patient, loving, and kind - even with the
questions, even after His people had turned their backs on Him. God still
sends
an angel to encourage, to strengthen, to remind Gideon and all of the
Israelites that He is surely with them.

And yet even while staring straight into a heavenly messenger, Gideon
continues to persist in defeated thoughts. He still questions, "But I am the
weakest,
I am the least...how can God save Israel?"

“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you...’" Judges 6:16

Five powerful words. That can see us through anything we face in this life.

“I will be with you.”

God's Presence is real. He gives us strength for every day. The battle can
be intense. And some days especially, the enemy seems really strong, and we
feel really weary. We can find ourselves wrestling again with the same
defeated thoughts that we thought we'd finally laid to rest just the night
before.
Disappointments come. We struggle with feeling like we haven't measured up,
we listen to the lies that we are "less than..."

But God still answers us. Just like He did for Gideon.

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He sees "mighty" when we see "weak."

He sees victory when we see defeat.

He gives hope, when we're filled with disappointment.

He's still with us, no matter how we might feel, or what struggles flood our
thoughts. He is filling us with the power and grace of His Spirit, just
enough
for the day.

For this day.

A reminder for your heart, in whatever you might be facing,

"The Lord is with you...mighty warrior."

Grace.

7 Verses of Strength:

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my
weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor. 12:9

"But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior..." Jer. 20:11

"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." Is. 41:10

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,
and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Josh. 1:9

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Ps. 27:1

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the
Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deut.
31:6

"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take
great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will
rejoice
over you with singing." Zeph. 3:17

Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a
lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page,
http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel , for daily encouragement in
living strong, hope-filled lives.

Encouragement for your week: It's all in the attitude

Can't see the images? Visit carolaround.com
for the online version of Carol's blog posts.
View this email in your browser

It's all in the attitude
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in
it”—Psalm 118:24 (ESV).

When I saw the following post on a friend’s Facebook page, I had to share it
with my readers:

A famous writer was in his study and compiled the following list:
1. Last year, my gallbladder was removed. I was in bed for a long time.
2. The same year I reached the age of 60 and had to leave my favorite job. I
spent 30 years with this publishing company.

3. The same year my father died.
4. The same year my son failed his medical exam because he had a car
accident. He was hospitalized with a cast on his leg for several days. The
destruction
of the car was a second loss.

His concluding statement: “Alas! It was a bad year!”

When the writer’s wife entered the room, she found her husband looking
dejected and sad. She read what he had written, left the room, and came back
with
another piece of paper. The husband read her version of his account of the
year’s events:
1. Last year I finally got rid of my gallbladder which had given me many
years of pain.

2. I turned 60 with sound health and retired from my job. Now I can utilize
my time to write with more focus and peace.

3. The same year my father died at the age of 95 without depending on
anyone, without any critical conditions, and met his Creator.

4. The same year, God blessed my son with life. My car was destroyed, but my
son was alive and without permanent disability.

She concluded: This year was an immense blessing.

The moral? It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that
makes us happy. There is always, always something for which to be thankful.
Our attitude is everything and the one thing we can control.

In a recent “Our Daily Bread” devotional, the author shared the story of Dr.
Virginia Connally. In 1940, at the age of 27, she braved opposition and
criticism
to become the first female physician in Abilene, Texas. A few months before
her 100th birthday in 2012, the Texas Medical Association presented her with
its Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor a Texas physician can
receive. Between 1940 and 2012, Dr. Connally embraced a passion for sharing
the
gospel message globally. During her many medical mission trips, she lived a
life of service to God and to others—one day at a time.

Her pastor, Phil Christopher, said, “Every day for her is a gift.”

In a letter to her pastor, Dr. Connally wrote, “Every tour, trip, effort, I
wonder if this will be my last and ultimate? Only God knows. And this is
enough.”

What if we quit focusing on yesterday’s disappointments and tomorrow’s
uncertainties and focused on God’s unmatchable gift of today? Wouldn’t our
attitudes
change?

When we embrace each day as a gift from God, we can’t help but have a
positive attitude.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Saving Faith Loves Forgiveness
By John Piper

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in
Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:32)

Saving faith is not merely believing that you are forgiven. Saving faith
looks at the horror of sin, and then looks at the holiness of God, and
apprehends
spiritually that God’s forgiveness is unspeakably glorious.

Faith in God’s forgiveness does not merely mean a persuasion that I am off
the hook. It means savoring the truth that a forgiving God is the most
precious
reality in the universe. Saving faith cherishes being forgiven by God, and
from there rises to cherishing the God who forgives — and all that he is for
us in Jesus.

The great act of forgiveness is past — the cross of Christ. By this backward
look, we learn of the grace in which we will ever stand (Romans 5:2). We
learn
that we are now, and always will be, loved and accepted. We learn that the
living God is a forgiving God.

But the great experience of being forgiven is all future. Fellowship with
the great God who forgives is all future. Freedom for forgiveness flowing
from
this all-satisfying fellowship with the forgiving God is all future.

I have learned that it is possible to go on holding a grudge if your faith
simply means you have looked back to the cross and concluded that you are
off
the hook. I have been forced to go deeper into what true faith is. It is
being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus. It looks back not
merely
to discover that it is off the hook, but to see and savor the kind of God
who offers us a future of endless reconciled tomorrows in fellowship with
him.

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

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 10:13 pm

12 Things To Do When You’re Criticized
Mark Altrogge

We will all be criticized at one time or another. Sometimes justly,
sometimes unjustly. Sometimes others’ criticism of us is harsh and
undeserved. Sometimes
we may need it. How do we respond to criticism? I haven’t always done well
and I’m still learning, but here are a few things I try to think of when
others
criticize me.

Be quick to hear. (James 1:19)

This can be hard to do because our emotions rise up and our minds begin to
think of ways to refute the other person. To be quick to hear means we
really
do try to listen to and consider what the other person is saying. We don’t
just write it off. Even if it seems unjust or undeserved.

Be slow to speak (James 1:19).

Don’t interrupt or respond too quickly. Let them finish. If you speak too
quickly you might speak rashly or in anger.

Be slow to become angry.

Why? Because James 1:19-20 says the anger of man does not produce the
righteousness of God. Anger won’t make someone do the right thing. Remember,
God
is slow to anger, patient and long-suffering with those who offend him. How
much more should we be.

Don’t rail back.

“When (Jesus) was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he
did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly”
(
1 Peter 2:23). Talk about being unjustly accused – Jesus was, yet continued
to trust the Lord and did not revile in return.

Give a gentle response.

“A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). Be gracious even to those
who offend you, even as God is gracious to us when we offend him.

Don’t defend yourself too quickly.

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Defensiveness can rise out of pride and being unteachable.

Consider what might be true in the critique, even if it is given in a poor
way.

Even if it is given with the intent to hurt or mock, there still might be
something worth considering. God might be speaking to you through this
person.

Remember the Cross.

Someone has said that people won’t say anything about us that the Cross hasn’t
said and more, which is, we are sinners who deserve eternal punishment.
So actually, anything anyone says about us is less than what the Cross has
said about us. Turn to God who accepts you in Christ unconditionally despite
your many sins and failures. We can be discouraged when we see areas of sin
or failure, but Jesus has paid for those on the cross and God is pleased
with
us because of Christ.

Consider the fact that you have blind spots

We can’t always see ourselves accurately. Maybe this person is seeing
something you can’t see about yourself.

Pray about the criticism

Ask God for wisdom – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you
should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (
Psalms 32:8).

Ask others for their opinion

Your critic could be right or completely off-the-wall. If this is an area of
sin or weakness in your life, then others will have seen it too.

Consider the source.

Don’t do this too quickly, but consider the other person’s possible motives,
their level of expertise or wisdom, etc. They may be criticizing you to hurt
you or they may not know what they’re talking about.

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend

Today's
Turning Point
Friday, July 7

The Gift of Music

And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would
take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and
well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

1 Samuel 16:23

Recommended Reading
1 Kings 10:11-12
It’s a natural instinct—singing to calm a fussy infant. Yes, there’s usually
rocking and bouncing involved, so maybe it’s not just the singing. But most
parents don’t rock or walk with a fussy infant in silence. There’s just
something about gentle singing that seems to help.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
And not just with infants. Very few people, after a tiring and stressful day
at work, come home and turn on hard rock or heavy metal music. But they will
turn on something soothing, uplifting, or encouraging. Given the amount of
music that apparently fills the halls of heaven (Revelation 5:9-10, 13;
14:1-3;
15:3-4), it should be no surprise that we, made in the image of God, respond
so positively to edifying music. Such music certainly helped King Saul when
he was distraught. David playing on the harp soothed Saul’s soul when
nothing else would.

We are so surrounded by music via various media that we can easily forget
the power of edifying music. Remember to incorporate beautiful music into
your
daily routines.

The sole object of all music should be the glory of God and pleasant
recreation.
Johann Sebastian Bach

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Proverbs 24 – 26
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website

The Pathway of Spiritual Growth

Romans 8:29

God predestined us to grow into His likeness, but this doesn't happen at the
moment we are saved. While we are redeemed by the Savior's precious blood
and immediately have a new heart, our transformation is a lifelong process.

The Holy Spirit enables this journey. Growth is impossible without Him,
regardless of our efforts. Yet we can welcome or hinder His transforming
hand.

One way we give God willing access to our lives is by obeying this mandate
in Romans 12:2
: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind..."

Everyone chooses either a biblical or worldly philosophy as his or her
source of truth--and that choice shapes the mind and spirit. Therefore, the
Lord
tells us to immerse our mind in Scripture, allowing Him to mold us into His
beautiful image.

The Bible story about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness illustrates
this principle. After saving them from Pharaoh's abuse, God did not bring
them immediately to the Promised Land. The Lord knew doing so would bring
sinful ways with them. Instead, He led them to the wilderness and gave the
Ten
Commandments. Only after they learned to obey and turn to almighty God were
they ready for the next step.

The process of sanctification isn't always pleasant. In fact, it's often
painful for us, just as it was for the Israelites. In God's amazing wisdom
and
love, however, He knows what we need to leave our old ways that lead to
death. And He builds new character in us--full of life and joy.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please
visit
www.intouch.org .
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights
Reserved.

The Big Ask
July 8, 2017

Read: Exodus 3:7-10

I will send you . . . (v. 10)

God’s mission is stunning, his call is daunting, and his task towers over
our lives, but for some reason God chooses us. God told Moses, “I will send
you.”
God invited a shepherd to rescue his people from a king. There is a mystery
in this story: if God can talk from a flaming plant, can’t he just wipe out
Egypt in one cosmic sweep of his hand? Well, God did destroy Pharaoh and his
army in dramatic fashion, but not before Moses acted. For reasons that still
sometimes baffle us, God carries out his mission through human beings.

Just as daunting as confronting a pharaoh was God’s call to a virgin to give
birth to a king. God could have rolled back the clouds to enter our world
but instead he chose a small-town girl who was already engaged to give birth
to the Savior of the world. God could have chosen renowned philosophers but
instead picked uneducated fishermen to carry the gospel to the ends of the
earth. And similarly, God chooses you, too.

God still sees people all around the world who do not know him. God hears
their cries of pain and sighs of sadness. God knows the suffering they
endure
and the injustice they bear. We might see a bit of this through the news,
but God sees it all. We might demand of God, “What are you going to do about
all this suffering?” But God whispers, “I will send you.” —Jon Opgenorth

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to be captured by the significance of your
mission.
Our mailing address is:
Words of Hope

A Note of Encouragement

Send this Note to a friend.
Shane Hale underneath an umbrella looking to the sky

Why all the umbrellas?
...by Shane Hale

Home Depot sells umbrellas for $5. A real bargain. I bought a couple back in
the Spring of 2016. A few days later I passed a fella pushing a shopping
cart
down the I-65 service road as a wall of those big dark Mobile rain clouds
approached. I stopped and handed him one of my umbrellas. "You might need
this."
He agreed, smiled and thanked me.
Giving a blessing.

Homeless man pushing a loaded cart in the rain
A few days later I saw another fella quickly walking through a neighborhood,
tool bag over his shoulder, dirty from the day. It had just started to rain
and he was about to get soaked. I rolled down my window and handed him my
other umbrella. He was all smiles. Told me very enthusiastically, "Boy you
ain't
nothing but a blessing, just a blessing!" Then as he looked down to open the
umbrella, he said, "God is so good to me!"

That last statement really rang with me because he wasn't talking to me. He
was talking to himself. Like he expected it. God's
favor, that is. A $5 umbrella...hand-delivered out of the blue...by a white
dude...as it began to pour rain. It all not only brightened this man's day,
it re-affirmed his faith in God's timely provision. The man's enthusiasm,
his witness, did the same for me. Blessing in return.

Blessings reach more than those who receive them.

The next morning I went back to Home Depot and bought 20 more umbrellas. The
lady ringing up the sale asked, "Why all the umbrellas?" I looked at her
very
seriously and said, "Because it is going to rain." I let it hang for a few
seconds as we just looked at each other. Then I explained to her that I buy
them to give away.
Being a blessing.

Two women sharing an umbrella in the pouring rain
I put most of the umbrellas in my shed and left a handful in my truck. Soon
after I was riding across town with my boys and Captain Questions asked me,
"Daddy, why do you have so many umbrellas in your truck?" Fair question. I
told them the stories, that it is a way I can directly help other people in
a time of need, that there is joy in giving, that God love's a cheerful
giver, and that everything we have God has given us. The lesson alone was
worth
the $100.
Another blessing...Dividends.

Here's the thing. The point of the story is not, "Look at Shane. Look at
Shane." The point is, you don't have to perform great dump-truck-size,
biblical
parting of the seas, "I just destroyed the Death Star" acts of giving to
make a difference in someone's life.

God uses those who make themselves available.

Small, simple acts of kindness can make a big difference in another person's
day AND YOURS! There is a real joy that is found in giving and I believe
with
all my being that God multiplies our efforts for His glory. I mean,
seriously, why wouldn't He? He's God.

Bright colored leaf against a dark stone in the water
Need a win? Don't walk around looking for a blessing. Step out and be one!
On many occasions God has answered my distress call in a time of great need
and it was always, ALWAYS I SAY, delivered not by a bolt of lightning or in
a puff of smoke but by another human being. By someone who chose to make
himself
available to God's calling.

I'm telling you, living in God's will is an awesome experience. Make
yourself available to His call and He will give you a job for The Kingdom.
Believe
it!
Get in the boat. Do your part. Be a blessing.

Eliminating Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes we all feel as if our prayers lack the power to penetrate our
ceilings. It seems as though our petitions fall on deaf ears and God remains
unmoved
or unconcerned about our passionate pleading. Why do these feelings haunt
us?

There are several reasons why we are sometimes frustrated in prayer. One is
that our expectations are unrealistic. This, perhaps more than any other
factor,
leads to a frustration in prayer. We make the common mistake of taking
statements of Jesus in isolation from other biblical aspects of teaching in
prayer,
and we blow these few statements out of proportion.

We hear Jesus say that if two Christians agree on anything and ask, it shall
be given to them. Jesus made that statement to men who had been deeply
trained
in the art of prayer, men who already knew the qualifications of this
generalization. Yet in a simplistic way we interpret the statement
absolutely. We
assume the promise covers every conceivable petition without reservation or
qualification. Think of it. Would it be difficult to find two Christians who
would agree that to end all wars and human conflict would be a good idea?
Obviously not. Yet if two Christians agreed to pray for the cessation of war
and conflict, would God grant their petition? Not unless He planned to
revise the New Testament and its teaching about the future of human
conflict.

Prayer is not magic. God is not a celestial bellhop at our beck and call to
satisfy our every whim. In some cases, our prayers must involve the travail
of the soul and agony of heart, such as Jesus experienced in the Garden of
Gethsemane. Sometimes young Christians have been bitterly disappointed in
"unanswered"
prayers, not because God failed to keep His promises, but because
well-meaning Christians made promises "for" God that God never authorized.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Do you have unrealistic expectations that account for seemingly unanswered
prayers? Are you treating God like a celestial bellhop?

Psalm 102:17-18: "He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not
despise their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, that
a people yet to be created may praise the Lord."

Psalm 141:2: "Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of
my hands as the evening sacrifice."

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul
is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more
information, please visit
www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343.
(c) R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 07 Aug 2017, 11:31 pm

The Most Meaningful Prayer Request

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you know what the average prayer request is about? Physical healing. 
“Pray for my aunt who is a Christian and she is about to die.” “Pray for my 
saved
uncle who is having heart surgery.” How many prayer meetings have you been 
to where people asked for prayer for their lost neighbor who is going to 
hell?

More often than not we are more interested in keeping the saints out of 
heaven than we are in keeping the lost out of hell. It is not a tragedy to 
die
and go to heaven. It is a tragedy to die and go to hell. Friend, it’s time 
we elevated our prayers outside of the physical realm of life into the 
spiritual
realm.

ACTION POINT:
Take a look at your prayer list today—where are the lost who need to be 
saved? What are you doing to help them find their way?

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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

Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.
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wanted to receive these devotions from Love Worth Finding Ministries.

Our mailing address is:
Love Worth Finding Ministries

Not Fair!

2 Samuel 6:6-7 (NKJV)
6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to 
the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger 
of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his 
error; and he died there by the ark of God.

David took men to Judah to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. They 
were on the road with musical instruments, singing and dancing. It was a 
great day! The Ark was coming to Jerusalem! The Ark represented God. 
Wherever the Ark was, there was the blessing of God.

They had put the Ark on a cart drawn by oxen. In the Scripture above we read 
where the Ark was about to fall off the cart when Uzzah touched the Ark. God 
killed him right then and there.

I’m sure a lot of those people who saw this said, “God, that’s not fair! Did 
you want the Ark to hit the ground?” God is not fair, Our heavenly parent is 
just. If God was fair, God might let something slip by but God is not fair. 
God is just. That means that our heavenly Parent expects all the 
commandments to be done to the letter of the law. If they aren’t then there 
are consequences.

David and those in charge of the Ark must not have known the laws on how to 
handle the Ark. Either the laws had not been handed down from the fathers or 
not read. It was to be carried with poles that went through rings at its 
base. The Ark represented God and was to be considered holy. Nothing unholy 
could come in contact with it. If it did, there was a consequence.

Today we have no excuse to not know what God wants of us. WE don’t have to 
rely on The Word being passed down by mouth from generation to generation or 
for it being lost. Most of us have at least one Bible. WE need to read the 
Bible to know what God expects of us. WE need to not only read it but 
meditate on it. We need to pass it on to the children as well. Then we will 
all know it well enough to know what to do in most situations.

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

by Dean W. Masters

5 Steps to Peace in a Really Bad Situation
by

How do you get peace in a really bad situation? You may be in the fight of 
your life financially and about to lose your home. It may be that you've 
been
diagnosed with lung cancer as my father-in-law was. It may be that your 
marriage is falling apart. You fill in the blank. We're either headed into a 
crisis,
in the midst of one, or coming out of one. Now, coming out of one is great. 
We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from 
that.
But how can we get peace if we're headed into or in the midst of a crisis? 
God tells us how to do just that in
Philippians 4:4-9.

The first thing you have to do is focus on God instead of your situation. 
That's easier said than done, but that's what Paul means when he says, 
"Rejoice
in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice" (
Philippians 4:4). He's not saying that we're happy about what we're going 
through; he's not even saying to rejoice in our difficulties. He's saying 
rejoice
in the Lord, and that's something altogether different.

Biblical joy is the knowledge that God is in control of your circumstances 
and allows only that which is good for you into your life (
Romans 8:28). That's why James says to consider it joy when a trial comes 
your way (
James 1:2). It's not that the trial brings joy; it's what God is doing for 
us through the trial; His good work is coming into our lives. Because we 
know
that, we consider the trial joy; we rest in the Lord. In essence, we worship 
Him. That's what Job did when he lost his possessions and his family; he 
said,
"Blessed be the name of the Lord" (
Job 1:21).

The morning my father died was sad; not only were we very close, but it 
pained me to see my mother suffer as well. At the same time, we knew that 
God was
involved in every detail and was doing a good thing in our lives through our 
hurt. As we focused on that, we were able to worship, find joy, and tell 
others
about the goodness of God and the good times we had with my dad. A couple of 
deacons from the church arrived within an hour of his passing. As they came
into the room, we were laughing about some story as we'd been reminiscing, 
and one of them made the comment, "Somehow I knew there would be joy in this
house today." Again, it's not that we were happy about my father's death. 
But we forced ourselves to focus on God and in so doing we found joy.

But that's only the beginning; we can't stop there because Satan and the 
flesh have a way of coming back to bite us. From our focus on God, we have 
to
literally engage in serving others. Paul says, "Let your gentleness be known 
to all men; the Lord is at hand" (
Philippians 4:5). As you rejoice in God, that should move you to then focus 
on others. Let your gentleness, kindness, patience, and heart be known to 
others.
How can you do that? Paul says the Lord is at hand; God is near and will 
help you.

And it's not just that God wants you to serve others in the midst of your 
trouble. It's that He knows our weakness. Our tendency will be to focus on 
ourselves
and spiral down into despair. But if we focus on others, we'll be distracted 
and not have time to spiral down. More than that, we'll derive a certain joy
in serving others before the Lord.

The morning my father died, a man's car broke down in front of our house. He 
was taking his daughter to school, and the car just quit on him. I saw him,
went out to help, and gave them a lift to school so the little girl wouldn't 
be late. The man and I came back to check on the car. While we were doing
that, I remember looking over as the funeral home folks were carrying my 
father out of the house and thinking, "That's just like the Lord to be kind 
enough
to get my focus on someone else. Thank you Lord."

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Now, that's well and good. But what happens when we're alone or when it's 
time to go to bed? We have to give our trouble to God through prayer. I 
remember
tossing and turning one night as my mom was to have open heart surgery the 
next day. I couldn't get any peace. I did remember God's Word though: "Be 
anxious
for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (
Philippians 4:6). Well, that's what I was doing; I was praying over and over 
again but I still couldn't get any peace or sleep! And then I realized; I
was praying like the pagans do (
Matthew 6:7-8). I was worried if I didn't say just the right thing, mention 
every possible problem, or pray with just the right attitude, that God 
wouldn't
hear my prayers. When I realized what I was doing, I simply gave it to the 
Lord. That's why He says to pray; He means for us to tell Him what's 
burdening
our hearts and give it to Him so we can rest. He gives us permission (and 
commands us even) to stop thinking about our problems and let Him deal with 
them.
When we do that, He gives us the peace. When I did that, I went right to 
sleep. If we pray and leave our burden with God, "the peace of God, which 
surpasses
all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (
Philippians 4:7). God's peace, like a Roman soldier, will guard our hearts 
and minds so that no troubling thing plagues us.

It doesn't work! That's what we say when we're filled with worry, fear, or 
despair. The truth is we can't take any one of these things without the 
other.
Each of the things we're talking about forms a whole. God is telling us what 
to do in the midst of a troubling state of affairs. He's telling us to focus
on Him and others; to think about Him, to pray to Him, and to think about 
Him again. It's not enough to pray. Once we pray, Paul says we're to force 
ourselves
to think about the things of God and not what's bothering us. It's not easy; 
that's why it's called a battle. But the way we fight is to change what 
we're
thinking about.

You might say certain thoughts plague you because you're in a longterm 
dilemma that seems never ending. Yes, but you don't have to dwell on the 
difficulties.
Reorient the focus of your thoughts. Paul says, "Finally, brethren, whatever 
things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, 
whatever
things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good 
report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything 
praiseworthy--meditate
on these things" (Philippians 4:8
).

Take it one step further. The more you meditate on the things of God, as 
Paul says, the more you'll know God and His ways. You'll know that He is 
indeed
working these things for good in your life. You know that "the Lord God is a 
sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He
withhold from those who walk uprightly" (Psalms 84:11
).

But there's one more thing. You've moved your focus from your troubles to 
God and others. Paul says now to make sure you keep doing that. Keep doing 
the
things God has told you to do. "The things which you learned and received 
and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" (
Philippians 4:9). If you do what God is teaching you to do, you'll have 
peace. And don't overlook the nuance of what Paul says here. Earlier, he 
said that
the peace of God will guard your heart. That's true; that's what we want. 
But here he says the God of peace will be with you. That's even better! You 
get
peace because you have the God of peace walking with you through the fire.

Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and 
He'll be with you in your fiery furnace as well (
Daniel 3:25). They were at peace even though they didn't know whether God 
would actually keep them alive or not (
Daniel 3:17-18). All they knew was that God was with them and would see them 
through one way or the other. And that's what you need to realize; God is
with you and will see you through one way or the other. And that's not 
resignation or defeatist. That's confidence. God has a plan for you and it's 
good.
You walk with Him because He's walking with you. That's how you get peace in 
a really bad situation.

Dr. Paul Dean invites you to discover more about yourself, God, and others . 
. . and develop a Christian worldview. Dr. Dean is a pastor, cultural 
commentator, and author.
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New Post on KenBible.com - from Prepare Yourself for Worship
----------------------------------------------------------

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Posted: 23 Jun 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Worshiping in the Darkness

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me. (Psalm 23:4, NASB)

Father, sometimes all I can do is
worship You in the darkness.
Sometimes, whether from
sickness,
sorrow, or
moods I can’t control or understand,
I can’t sense Your presence.
I can’t feel Your love.
I can’t see You working.
I can’t span the distance between us.

You offer no explanations.
You seem silent,
unconcerned,
gone.

But God, I know You are my Father.
I know You are always good.
I know You are always here, even when I can’t
see You or
feel You.

So even when the darkness engulfs me,
I will remember who You are, and
I will worship You,
praise You, and
trust You.

A Quiet Request
June 27, 2017

Read: Mark 5:25-34

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be 
healed of your disease.” (v. 34)

What a contrast we see in the people who come to Jesus for help in Mark 5. 
Yesterday we saw Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue. Today it is a woman who
was not allowed to come near the synagogue. She was considered “unclean” 
because she suffered from constant bleeding (see Lev. 15:25-30). In Mark’s 
account
she remains nameless—just some woman in the crowd. No one knew her or cared 
about her. Except Jesus.

That’s how it is with Jesus. He has compassion on those who suffer. And her 
suffering was both physical and spiritual. She had sought help from doctors
and spent all the money she had, but they were unable to help.

Like Jairus, this woman was desperate. She didn’t know where else to go for 
help. Then she heard about Jesus. Self-conscious about her malady, she tried
to approach Jesus from behind quietly and in secret. The moment she touched 
him, the bleeding stopped and she was healed.

But she had been found out. Jesus knew immediately that power had gone out 
from him. So the woman fell to the ground in front of Jesus, trembling with
fear. But Jesus was not angry. He called her “daughter,” praised her, and 
blessed her on her way. No one who comes to Jesus need be afraid. No matter 
who
you are or what your need, Jesus will not turn you away. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for caring so deeply for us. Amen.
Our mailing address is:
Words of Hope

You Grow as You Help Others Mature
By Rick Warren

“The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust 
to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”
(2 Timothy 2:2 NIV).

If you want the special blessing of God on your life, you need to learn from 
other believers who are more mature than you, and you need to mentor 
believers
who are younger than you.

Every Christian needs both a Paul and a Timothy. A Paul is somebody who’s 
been a Christian longer than you and is helping to train and encourage you. 
That
person may only be a month older than you, but he or she knows a little bit 
more and can mentor you.

To have a Timothy means there is somebody in your life who hasn’t been a 
Christian as long as you, and you are helping build that person's faith. You 
are
offering your Timothy encouragement and discipleship as he or she grows in 
the Lord.

So you have a Paul and a Timothy in your life. But you are also a Paul and a 
Timothy to someone else.

In 2 Timothy, Paul says this to Timothy: “The things you have heard me say 
in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also 
be
qualified to teach others”
(2 Timothy 2:2 NIV).

There are four generations in that verse. Paul says to Timothy that he 
helped mentor him, and now Timothy must find somebody to mentor, and then 
that person
can find somebody else to mentor.

Don’t be intimidated by the word “mentoring.” Mentoring is as easy as taking 
someone to breakfast once a month and asking, “How’s it going?” You just 
need
to be a friend. Listen to, encourage, and pray for that person. You don’t 
have to be the perfect Christian to do this. You just have to be willing.

When you do that, you will receive a blessing from God in your life that you 
cannot imagine.
This devotional (c) 2017 by Rick Warren
. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
The Powerful Root of Practical Love
By John Piper

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the 
brothers.
(1 John 3:14)

So, love is the evidence that we are born again — that we are Christians, 
that we are saved.

Sometimes the Bible makes our holiness and our love for people the condition 
of our final salvation. In other words, if we are not holy and not loving,
we will not be saved at the judgment day (e.g., Hebrews 12:14; Galatians 
5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:10). This doesn’t mean that acts of love are how we 
get
right with God. No, the Bible is clear again and again as Ephesians 2:8–9 
says, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own 
doing;
it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.” No, when the 
Bible says that we are saved by faith but that we must love people in order
to finally be saved, it means that faith in God’s promises must be so real 
that the love it produces proves the reality of the faith.

So, love for others is a condition of future grace in the sense that it 
confirms that the primary condition, faith, is genuine. We could call love 
for
others a secondary condition, which confirms the authenticity of the primary 
and essential condition of faith which alone unites us to Christ, and 
receives
his power.

Faith perceives the glory of God in the promises of future grace and 
embraces all that the promises reveal of what God is for us in Jesus. That 
spiritual

sight of God’s glory, and our
delight in it, is the self-authenticating evidence that God has called us to 
be a beneficiary of his grace. This evidence frees us to bank on God’s 
promise
as our own. And this banking on the promise empowers us to love. Which in 
turn confirms that our faith is real.

The world is desperate for a faith that combines two things: awestruck sight 
of unshakable divine Truth, and utterly practical, round-the-clock
power to make a liberating difference in life. That’s what I want too. Which 
is why I am a Christian.

There is a great God of grace who magnifies his own infinite beauty and 
self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust him. 
And there
is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook or cranny of 
life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Love Will Lift You

Love lifts a broken heart--not just any love, but the love of God. Most of 
us have sung James Rowe's hymn, "Love Lifted Me." The first verse contains 
these
words:

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more.
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me--now safe am I.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help, love lifted me!

Sometimes nothing can lift our hearts like the love of God. Friends abandon 
us. Colleagues try to bypass us. Even our families may fail to understand 
us.
But God's love for us never changes.

Even when we act unlovable, God continues to love us. When we are 
undesirable, He embraces us. When it seems that the world has turned against 
us, God's
love remains. He has promised never to leave us hopeless.

Difficulties in life can certainly leave us feeling broken and confused. 
Many times, disappointments come in order to teach us more about the depths 
of
God's love. In desperation, we turn to God. This is when we discover that 
only His love can truly lift us up and restore our sense of hope.

We may struggle to find another way around our problems, hoping that someone 
or something will bring relief, but nothing can help us outside the love of
God. Only His love has the ability to satisfy our every need.

Maybe you are wondering if God really loves you. Have you yielded to sin? Or 
have you allowed the world and its trappings to come between you and your
Savior? Cry out to Him and He will restore the joy of your salvation. When 
nothing else can help, love will lift you.

****

This month, generous partners have committed $500,000 to
Leading The Way and are challenging all our partners to help match their 
gifts. Join us as we boldly proclaim the Gospel through 24/7 broadcasting; 
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new believers in closed countries; and help the persecuted around the world. 
Consider a generous gift to
Leading The Way this month, and help us press on to see lives transformed by 
the hope of Christ.

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We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and 
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Leading The Way
" at OnePlace.com

Anne Graham Lotz - Do You Believe This?
Do You Believe This?
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even 
though he dies."

John 11:25, NIV

Do you believe this? Do you believe that . . .

when there is no hope,

when there is no recourse,

when there is no answer,

when there is no help,

when there is no way,

when there is no remedy,

when there is no solution,

when there is nobody,

there is hope if you have Jesus?! Do you believe that Jesus can make a way 
when there is no way?

With Jesus, all things are possible!

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


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

"Doggy Doors"
July 1, 2017
James 1:14-15 - But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by 
his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and 
sin
when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Ask around and the experts will tell you about the greatest fights in 
history. In the top 10, most would likely list the "Thrilla in Manila" 
between Muhammad
Ali and Joe Frazier. Others would mention the 1952 battle between Rocky 
Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott. That battle was won by Marciano who 
finished his
career undefeated.

Truly, those were epic contests, but they were mere skirmishes when compared 
to the 2016 battle waged by "Boone the boxer." Before I go further, allow
me to share that Boone the boxer is a dog owned by the Scott Gray family of 
Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Dog or no, right before Halloween last year, Boone 
got
himself into a prime-time fight. And if you're wondering how this battle 
began, I can tell you: the Gray's house has a dog door to make Boone's 
comings
and goings more convenient.

Unfortunately, that dog door can be used by other animals -- other animals 
like skunks, for example.

The Grays were not at home the night an uninvited skunk came in through the 
doggy door. A few hours later when the family returned, Boone and the skunk
were still at it. Mr. Gray managed to corner the skunk in a bedroom and have 
it removed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Experts were called in to tell how the Grays might restore their home to 
pre-fight conditions.

What the experts said was this: get rid of your clothes; toss your 
furniture; tear the sheet rock off its studs, and begin over. The insurance 
company
agreed that doing those things would be the way for the Gray family to 
proceed. Oh, the insurance company also said something else, something like 
"While
we feel sorry for you, and deeply regret what has happened to your home, you 
should know your homeowner's policy does not cover your domicile for damages
done by skunks that gained entrance through a doggy door left open."

As this devotion is written, the Grays have shelled out $70,000 and they 
estimate they will spend another $50,000 before they are done reclaiming 
their
home.

Now there ought to be a devotional point to this sad story -- and there is. 
The point is we need to watch what comes into the homes of our hearts.

James talks about the process of how a sin begins in a simple way. It all 
starts when a heart which ought to be owned by the Lord has been built with 
a
doggy door. It doesn't take too long before an unchristian temptation 
saunters in. Left unchecked, that desire will grow and become a sin which, 
as James
says, "brings forth death."

Now, unlike the Gray family, we do have good news for those who find their 
hearts have been befouled by sin. We have a Savior who can, for people of 
faith,
remove that sin and set things straight. Scripture is clear: if we confess 
our sins, the Lord wall forgive us our sins. But, the Bible tells us God's 
people
are smart if they don't leave open a doggy door for sin, in the first place.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the faith and the wisdom to stop sin before 
it starts. Keep my heart dedicated to giving thanks for the Savior who has
done all to win my forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by Adalberto Toledo for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on June 6, 2017. 
Those
who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which 
was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please
click here .

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12; Acts 10:24-48
Print this Devotion
Subscribe to this Podcast
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's
Turning Point
Monday, July 3

Desired

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I 
sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5

Recommended Reading
Psalm 139
David was forgotten. Instead of being summoned to join his father and 
brothers when they met with Samuel, he was left in the field tending sheep. 
David
was only sent for after God had confirmed, one by one, that none of his 
brothers would be the next king. Gideon was hiding from the enemy when God 
called
him to be a mighty warrior. God knew Gideon, his strengths and weaknesses, 
and what he was capable of with God's strength.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Regardless of your current situation, God sees you. Whether you are tending 
sheep or serving in the kings court, you are not overlooked. God has not 
forgotten
you and knows your purpose. If you are feeling stuck or unsure, look to God. 
He has made each of us with unique strengths and weaknesses, even if we 
cannot
see or articulate them.

Depend on Him for meaning, purpose, and insight into your strengths and 
weaknesses. You exist because He thought of you, formed you, and gave you 
life.
Our best course of action is to trust in our loving Creator.

A humble person is not one who thinks little of himself, hangs his head and 
says I am nothing. Rather, he is someone who depends wholly on the Lord 
for
everything, in every circumstance.
David Wilkerson

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Proverbs 12  14
David Jeremiah's Website
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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A Loving Father and a Caring Savior
June 26, 2017

Read: Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing 
him, he fell at his feet, and implored him earnestly. (vv. 22-23)

I love this story because it is about a father and his daughter. I have only 
one daughter and although I love my sons, there is a special bond that I 
have
with my daughter. I’ve heard others say, too, that the father-daughter bond 
is an especially strong one.

Jairus, in our story today, must have had such a relationship with his 
daughter. Certainly parents are greatly affected by the things that happen 
to their
children, especially when they encounter danger or illness. And Jairus’ 
daughter was gravely ill, at the point of death. His back was to the wall. 
He was
desperate, and although he was one of the leaders of the synagogue, Jairus 
came to Jesus.

That was a huge step for Jairus to take. Above all, it meant swallowing his 
pride. The ruler of the synagogue seeking out the one who had been run out
of the synagogue? Unthinkable! Yet that was exactly what he did. And Jesus, 
wonderfully displaying the love and power of God, received Jairus warmly and
raised his daughter from the dead.

No matter who you are or what you have done, our Lord will receive you and 
help you. What a blessing to know that! Why not go to him now? He won’t turn
you away. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, help us cast all our cares upon you, because you care for us 
(see 1 Peter 5:7). Amen.

The Lesser Blessings
by

God has the very best for us but most of us never get there. We settle for 
blessings like money or security or other things we can acquire. While these
things are considered blessings, they should be considered as second-rate 
blessings. In other words, you can do better.

Let me explain. When most American talk about “being blessed,” they are 
talking about material things: houses, cars, boats, jobs. Without doubt, 
these
things are provided by God – and they are blessings. But sometimes the 
acquisition of these blessings has cost us something of much greater value. 
While
it is not always the case, some lesser blessings cost us greater blessings. 
We have traded. If financial gain is the best blessing you have, you are not
experiencing God’s best. According to Jesus, you can’t serve both God and 
money (Matthew 6:24
).

Plainly put, if you skip worship to go out for a day of relaxation, your 
relaxation is a more valued blessing to you than experiencing God’s presence 
with
your church family.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

If you make a lot of money on your job but you neglect your family in doing 
so, your money is a more important blessing than your family. You have 
blessings,
but they are lesser blessings. You have settled for second-rate.

Life has fooled us. Many of us have been duped into thinking that money = 
blessing. Dig a little deeper and you get to real blessings:: relationships,
love, eternal life, the Presence of God. These are first-rate blessings – 
Greater Blessings!

Jesus asks you a very straightforward question: “What do you benefit if you 
gain the whole world but lose your soul?
” (Mark 8:36) I think we know the answer: lesser blessings.

Don’t settle for the lesser blessing. Let God give you His very best!

You Cannot Handle Your Pain
J.A. Medders / July 1, 2017
You Cannot Handle Your Pain

Do you know how to lament?

Pain, suffering, sorrow, illness, and grief are unavoidable in this world — 
but God has given us a way to find hope in the rubble of life. Lament is an
underground tunnel to hope.

An entire book of the Bible is an exercise in lamenting before the Lord. We 
have numerous psalms of lament. So, why don’t we lament more in the church
today? Why do we put the noise-cancelling headphones over our hearts, 
keeping ourselves busy to avoid the pain? Let’s not busy ourselves to avoid 
lamenting;
let’s learn to lament well.

Relearning Our Humanity

Of course, we want to avoid suffering, grief, and trauma, but the reality is 
we can’t. The rippling effects of Adam and Eve gnashing into that fruit 
still
affects us and the world today.

Everyone we know and love will return to the dust. Family members will hear 
heavy words from their doctor. Great loss will strike dear friends. We will
weep. And pretending like we can manage our sufferings on our own won’t 
help. We weren’t built to handle them. We need the body of Christ — and we 
need
Christ himself, our sympathetic High Priest, the man of sorrows, the one who 
shouldered our grief.

When we act like we can handle our suffering on our own, we commit 
idolatry — acting like we are God, capable in ourselves. Lamenting is 
relearning our
humanity. Lamenting is admitting that we can’t handle it, knowing we need 
God’s power, mercy, and grace. If we could handle our sufferings, we wouldn’t
need Jesus, his cross, his power, and his resurrection. Lamenting is how we 
grieve as those who have hope.

More Than You Can Handle

You’ve heard people say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” 
Wrong. Tucked into this dollar-store saying is a sense of self-reliance: I 
can
make it. I should be able to do this on my own. But Christianity is the 
abandonment of our self-reliance: “God, I need you!” His power is made 
perfect
in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). For all of our I-can’t-evens, there 
is our God who
can and our Savior who did.

Christianity is picking up our cross, dying with Christ, rising with Christ, 
living with Christ. Every day is more than we can handle. Without Jesus, we
can’t do anything (John 15:5), certainly not bear the unbearable in front of 
us. We will regularly experience more than we can deal with, which is why
we need God to be our refuge, our shelter, our dwelling place. Lament 
teaches us to uncork our hearts and pour them out to God in faith.

We all are either suffering now or know someone who is. Lamenting is 
incredibly relevant at this moment. Cancer, death, illness, heartache in our 
families,
betrayal, loss, injustice in the world, personal fears — in all of these 
dark valleys, God gives us a proven pathway to himself in lament.

What Is Lament?

Lamenting is the honest vocalizations of grief to God. And often within 
earshot of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Open Lamentations and hear 
Jeremiah’s
vocalizations of suffering, pain, and grief. “Though I call and cry for 
help, he shuts out my prayer” (Lamentations 3:8). Jeremiah feels like God 
isn’t
listening to him. Today, we’d say, “When I pray, it feels like my requests 
don’t make it past the ceiling. I pray and I don’t feel anything.” Honest. 
Uncomfortable.
Real.

Moses laments in Psalm 90:13, “O Lord! How long? Have pity on your 
servants!” He’s not sure how much longer he can hold up. He’s weary. How 
long do we
have to face this? Today, we’d pray, “Lord, how much longer will my friend 
have to endure this? Please, Lord, in your kindness, bring their wayward 
child
home.” Lament is personal pleading — vocalized emotions and thoughts.

Jeremiah and Moses show us that we lament not just for the sake of getting 
things off our chest — but for the sake of getting our eyes back on God.

Lament Leads to the Lord

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah recalls the yet of God’s mercy. “But this I call 
to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never 
ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your 
faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope
in him’” (Lamentations 3:21–24).

Moses remembers the faithful love of the Lord, knowing he can find 
supernatural joy — a satisfaction that surpasses all understanding — in the 
midst of
his suffering. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we 
may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you
have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil” (Psalm 
90:14–15). We plead with God to satisfy us with himself, the one who gave 
his only
Son for our sins so that by faith in him we might have eternal life.

Biblical laments don’t leave us dangling; they lead us back to the Lord. 
Satisfaction in the hope of the gospel sustains us in our suffering. We 
process
our pain and recall the steadfast love of the Lord. Remember your crucified 
and risen Savior. An empty grave serves as a sure tombstone for all your 
sufferings.
One day, in the twinkling of an eye, he will make all things new. The 
trumpet is being tuned now.

Until then, vocalize your grief to God and rest your hope on him.

What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate: Part 1
John Piper / July 1, 2017

Jesus calls us to keep our marriage covenant in a way that tells the truth 
about him.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

A Spiritual Barometer Check

True knowledge of God manifests itself in love for all the saints. Growing 
maturity in Christ evidences itself in growing love for His people. Does an
individual possess a lot of knowledge regarding doctrine and theology? 
Great, we can never gain enough knowledge of doctrine and theology. Let us 
pursue
knowing God with all our minds. The man who stops growing in knowledge of 
God ceases seeking God. But here is the essential question, has that 
knowledge
heightened our love for the saints? What does our love for our brothers and 
sisters in Christ look like? Christians love Christians. And the more we 
grow
in Christ, the more we will love His bride.

In Colossians 1, Paul thanks God for the love that the Colossian Christians 
have for all the saints (1:4). Agape love—that over-analyzed and still 
misunderstood
word in our Evangelical circles—contains the idea of pro-active care or 
concern for another. A concern so great that a person willingly sacrifices 
their
own interests for another. This kind of love marks the Colossian Christians.

Such love only flows from union with Christ (Colossians 1:4). If a person is 
not in union with Christ, they will never have this kind of love. But if a
person is in union with Christ, they will be marked by this kind of love. If 
we asked, “What is that black and white striped animal?” Most would know the
answer instantly. If we asked, “What is that animal that has a mane and a 
loud roar?” Most would reply instantly. A zebra and a lion are known by 
their
respective attributes. They are identifiable. The Christian is identified by 
his or her love for the saints. “They will know you by your love for one 
another,”
said the Lord Jesus (John 13:35).

If we claim to know Christ but do not love the people He died for, we are 
simply deluding ourselves. If we claim to love God but harbor disdain for 
the
Church, our proclamation proves vacuous. Paul links love for God and love 
for His people together. “We thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus AND of 
the love that you have for all the saints” (Colossians 1:3-4). Christ links 
love
for God and love for His people together, “This is my commandment, that you 
love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

If a person is a Christian, they love Christians. And that love grows as we 
mature in the faith. Despite all the trials we may endure in relationship 
with
other believers, we fall more in love with them because they are Christ’s. 
He died for them and we are united with them for all of eternity. We love 
our
Lord, so we love His Church.

It is not always easy to discern where we are at in the Christian faith. Am 
I more mature today than I was yesterday, last week, or last year? Do I 
cherish
Christ more? Am I storing treasures in heaven? Or is my heart set upon the 
things of earth and my love for Christ is waning? One of the easiest ways to
assess ourselves is to examine our love for all the saints. Do I love God’s 
people more today? If so, it is assuredly true that I also love Christ more.
It is a good barometer of our spiritual health. One that I must seek to 
employ regularly for it does not lie. If I love God, I will love His people.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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The Daily Gospel” by Timothy Brindle

When Paul said, “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in 
Rome,” he was writing to Christians (Romans 1:15). Celebration of the gospel 
does
not cease after you become a Christian, and Timothy Brindle explains why it’s 
the Christian’s source of joy daily.

And when I see my beautiful Savior who suffered
For all of the numerous ways I have blundered,
I’m then moved to be truly gracious to others
And exhibit the Spirit’s fruit of patience to brothers.
But most of all, the gospel brings me close to my Father,
So in the warmth of his love I can soak like a sauna.
So now I want to obey him and show him my honor,
Not to earn his love, but as a chosen responder.

Preaching to the Streets vosqfh67

“Take Me There” by Trip Lee (feat. Jimmy Needham)

Paul saw death as gain because death meant fellowship with Jesus, which he 
said is “far better” than life on earth (Philippians 1:21–23). Trip Lee and
Jimmy Needham also long for a better country on “Take Me There.”

Hey, I ain’t know about you, but I can’t wait till the day
When I’ll be with my Lord and everything is okay.
And I’ll be just like him, so my sin ain’t in the way.
Baskin’ in his glory, that’s where I wanna stay.

The Missing Link Between Bible and Prayer
David Mathis / June 23, 2017
The Missing Link Between Bible and Prayer

The Christian discipline of Bible meditation is the most important, 
underrated, and misunderstood of all the ways of receiving God’s word.

Desiring God
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Minneapolis, MN 55402
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Bragging Rights

1 Chronicles 16:23-27 (NRSV)
23 Sing to the Lord , all the earth.
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
25 For great is the Lord , and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.

We don’t have bragging rights in ourselves but n the Scripture we have the 
right and are commanded to brag about our great God to the whole world. WE 
are to sing God’s praises everywhere.

God is a great God who made heaven and earth and everything therein. God is 
not an idol made of wood or stone that does not live. To God belongs all 
honor and majesty. WE need to let everyone know this.

WE should be so excited about what God has done for us and the whole world 
that we can’t help but tell everyone what God has done. WE should want to 
let everyone know so they can know God also. WE should be bragging every 
chance we can about everything God has done. WE need to bring people face to 
face to Almighty God so they can see how great and loving God is before they 
have to come face to face with God on Judgment Day and face God’s wrath. As 
Charles Spurgeon wrote:

If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. 
If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let 
no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

by Dean W. Masters

.Scott Hubbard / June 23, 2017
Learn How to Be Brought Low

You don’t need to be anyone special to know what it means to be brought low.

You don’t need to be Job to know that God gives and takes away (Job 1:21). 
You just need to know the heartsickness of hope deferred (Proverbs 13:12), 
or
the bitterness of solitary pain (Proverbs 14:10), or the ache of God’s 
seeming silence (Psalm 13:1). In other words, anyone with a pulse knows what 
it
means to be brought low.

But can we stand up, square our shoulders, and say with the apostle Paul, “I 
know how to be brought low” (Philippians 4:12)?

Can we say, “I know how to face financial disaster,” or “I know how to be 
betrayed,” or “I know how to endure years of chronic pain”? The words stick 
in
my throat.

School of Faithful Suffering

There was a time when Paul didn’t know how to be brought low. We know that 
because he says a verse earlier, “I have
learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

There was a time when Paul didn’t know how to give thanks from the dirt 
floor of a prison cell. But God taught him (Philippians 1:3–5). There was a 
time
when he didn’t know how to rejoice when others in ministry stabbed him in 
the back. But God taught him (Philippians 1:17–18). There was a time when he
didn’t know how to gaze at the blade of Caesar’s sword and say, “To me to 
live is Christ, and to die is gain.” But God taught him (Philippians 1:21).

And God can teach us. So, let’s take a seat in this bittersweet classroom 
and learn, with Philippians as our study guide, three lessons in being 
brought
low.

1. God works wonders in the low places.

When Paul drafted his plan to evangelize the known world, he surely didn’t 
write at the top, “Get stuck in prison.” We can safely assume a jail cell 
didn’t
fit neatly in his five-year personal ministry goals or church-planting 
strategies.

But it fit into God’s. And at some point, shackled to a Roman prison guard, 
Paul realized as much. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened
to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known 
throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment
is for Christ” (Philippians 1:12–13).

Paul’s imprisonment did not sabotage God’s plan to advance the gospel. 
Prison was God’s plan to advance the gospel. And the same is true for us. 
Being
brought low may ruin our plans, but not God’s better, wiser, kinder plans 
for us. If we will learn how to be brought low, we will one day testify, “I 
want
you to know, brothers, that this bankruptcy has really served to free me 
from money’s stranglehold.” Or, “I want you to know that this betrayal has 
really
taught me how to forgive.” Or, “I want you to know that this sickness has 
fueled my hope for heaven like nothing else.”

It’s okay if you’re still too low to look back and chart the sweep of God’s 
good purposes over the expanse of your sorrow. But while you’re there, 
remember
this, on the testimony of Scripture and a thousand saints: God works wonders 
when he brings us low.

2. Jesus knows the low places.

Perhaps the most painful part of being brought low is the loneliness. Even 
the most faithful comforters cannot plumb the depths of our sorrows, or 
always
speak the right word in the right tone, or discern our ever-changing needs. 
But there is one who has promised, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
And he is one who knows the low places.

For us, being brought low is usually a passive experience. We’re thrown, 
dragged, and kicked into this pit; we don’t jump in ourselves. Who would 
choose
this grief?

Jesus would. He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but 
emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness
of men” (Philippians 2:6–7).

Jesus traveled from the highest place to the lowest place on purpose. He 
left the praises of angels to face the scorn of men. He left the happiness 
of
heaven to feel the horror of Gethsemane. He left the right hand of his 
Father to endure the forsakenness of the cross.

Jesus has seen every shade of sorrow, heard every tone of grief, and tasted 
every flavor of pain. So, as Zach Eswine writes, “When we search for 
someone,
anyone, to know what it means to walk in our shoes, Jesus emerges as the 
preeminent and truest companion to our afflictions” (
Spurgeon’s Sorrows , 85).

The time will come when we’ll sit in the bright light of hindsight, and 
praise will cascade from our mouths in fountains. But until then, we are not 
walking
this trackless waste alone. We have a man of sorrows who is acquainted with 
grief (Isaiah 53:3), and he leads our way.

3. God will raise you up from the low places.

But Jesus does more than comfort and console when he meets us in our pain. 
He also promises, with all authority in heaven and on earth, that we will 
not
stay there.

Jesus embraced a lowly station, and he submitted to the lowliest death 
humans have devised — “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8) — but he did 
not
stay low, and he did not stay dead. He rose up from his humiliation in a 
blaze of resurrection glory, and took his seat in the highest place, 
receiving
from his Father “the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

And now this King of heaven pledges to all who are his that he will 
“transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that 
enables him
even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20–21). Jesus’s 
living, glorified, death-conquering body declares that the low places do not 
last
forever, that the grief of the tomb gives way to Easter gladness. Whereas 
God’s wonder-working power (lesson one above) assures us that he is doing 
good
things right now that will bear fruit for this life, his promise to raise us 
up guarantees that one day we will be done with pain altogether. We will be
done with being brought low.

When Jesus breathes life into your lowly body and raises it up in glory, you 
can be sure it’ll be the end to everything else that’s broken. Your poverty
will turn to riches, your heartache to healing, your loneliness to steadfast 
love. You’ll finally gain Christ himself (Philippians 1:21–23; 3:8). You’ll
bow and sing beneath his lordship (Philippians 2:10–11). You’ll know the 
power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10).

Your citizenship does not lie under this shadow of sadness, but in the 
bright skies of heaven, from which “we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus 
Christ” (Philippians
3:20).

Grieve and Give Thanks

Those who know how to be brought low do not play the stoic, as if these 
lessons could shield us from the stabs of our sorrows. Instead, we move 
forward
in faith, learning to let joy and sorrow mingle together in the same heart, 
learning what it means to feel, and speak, and act in a way that is 
“sorrowful,
yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

We are not sorrowful only, as if this low valley has swallowed all that is 
high and lovely and good. Nor do we only rejoice, as if the valley is not 
really
a dreadful place after all. No, we grieve and give thanks. We sob and we 
sing. We say with George Herbert, in his poem “Bittersweet,”

I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament, and love.

God Loves Good Hip-Hop
David Daniels / June 23, 2017
God Loves Good Hip-Hop

Music is arguably the most influential art form on earth.

This influence is not only attested to by music psychology, but also by the 
Bible in its attention to at least two realities. First, all art forms are
powerful, but those which involve words exercise extra influence.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will 
eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). God used words to create the world, and 
our
use of words is a way we mirror him as image bearers (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 
1:27). God also uses words to save the world. “How are they to believe in 
him
of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone 
preaching?” (Romans 10:14).

The preaching of Christians through hip-hop has been used by God to move 
many listeners to call on the name of the Lord.

Music and the Mind

Second, Scripture affirms the effect of music on the mind.

In 2 Kings 3, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha when a harpist played. 
In 1 Samuel 16, a harmful spirit from God tormented Saul
until David played a lyre. God used music in these passages as a means to 
breed serenity.

Matthew Henry said in his commentary on 1 Samuel, “Music cannot work upon 
the devil, but it may shut up the passages by which he has access to the 
mind.”
It’s no wonder why a group of harp, tambourine, flute, lyre-wielding 
prophets is mentioned in 1 Samuel 10.

John Piper encouraged readers of his book When I Don’t Desire God
to “wield the weapon of music in the fight for joy in God” because the Bible 
repeatedly commands us to sing and to play instruments (Exodus 15:21; 1 
Chronicles
16:23; Psalm 33:2–3; 57:8; 81:2; 96:1; 150:1–6).

“Surely God has not created music as a pointless distraction from rational 
apprehensions of God,” Piper said. “Surely, this too is part of the creation
that is ‘declaring the glory of God.’”

A Perfect Place for Joy

The genre of Christian music that has arguably used words the most 
influentially since the mid-90s has been hip-hop. And Christian hip-hop has 
often been
significantly influenced by Reformed theology, especially
Christian Hedonism .

Artists like Trip Lee, KB, Shai Linne, and S.O. have each waved the banner 
of satisfaction in Christ alone throughout their discographies. Jackie 
Hill-Perry,
a Desiring God contributor, dedicated an entire album called
The Art of Joy to the concept.

Outsiders may condemn hip-hop entirely because secular artists wave banners 
of misogyny, violence, and substance abuse. But hip-hop is a perfect place
to proclaim our message of joy in God for his glory, for at least two 
reasons.

Authenticity

At its roots, hip-hop culture demands authenticity. Pioneering hip-hop emcee 
KRS-One once said, “It’s not about a salary. It’s all about reality.” Where
better for us to declare the
reality that our highest happiness is rooted in knowing the infinitely 
valuable Creator and Lord of the universe?

Authentic artists who truly believe “God is most glorified in us when we are 
most satisfied in him” will organically express this satisfaction in their
art. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Artists 
will write and rap so that their joy in God may be complete (1 John 1:4).

Boastfulness

An even more central characteristic of hip-hop is braggadocio. “The art of 
the brag has been integral to hip-hop since the very beginning,” top hip-hop
website DJBooth said.

The art of the brag precedes hip-hop (by several thousand years). God told 
the prophet Jeremiah, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands
and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and 
righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24).

By definition, “boast” is synonymous with praise or glorify. God created 
humans to glorify him (Isaiah 43:7). Emcees who boast in talent, money, or 
women
are doing what they were designed to do — only with a mistaken supreme love.

Trip Lee grasps this. The teaching pastor, rapper, and founder of a ministry 
named Built to Brag released a single in 2011 titled “Brag on My Lord,” 
which
says,

We don’t wanna waste our time braggin’ on small pleasures, you know?
We wanna brag on the greatest treasure.

A Playlist of Pleasure in God

Below are some examples of Christ-exalting hip-hop found at Rapzilla’s 
playlist on Spotify. These songs pass a test given by Piper in
When I Don’t Desire God:

“Is this joy [that music awakens in us] rooted in something good about God? 
Is it shaping my emotions into a Christ-exalting configuration? Is it 
stirring
my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at 
the cost of my own comfort?”

Preaching to the Streets p0dez0wf

“Give My All” by KB

KB began his 100 EP with a similar heartbeat to Paul in Acts 20:24, “I do 
not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may 
finish
my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify 
to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Funny how I don’t want the stuff people dream of,
Rich living in a beachfront, eased up with my ease up.
So what if they think you the man?
That don’t mean nothing in the kingdom.
So what I want y’all to remember me for?
If you forget my name, please remember my Jesus.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Jul 2017, 11:43 pm

The Five Qualities of Friendship

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as 
brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”
1 Peter 3:8

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are five qualities of friendship.

1. Harmony. We are to be of one mind, not necessarily singing the same note, 
but complimenting one another.
2. Sympathy. We hurt when friends hurt. The world is looking for friends 
like this.
3. Fraternity. We are to love one another like brothers. There is no 
brotherhood like the brotherhood in Jesus Christ.
4. Pity. If you want to be a real friend, you’re going to have to feel 
deeply. You’ll need to put yourself in the place of the other person.
5. Humility. Genuine courtesy is thinking of the other person’s needs before 
your own. You are less concerned with your rights, and more concerned about
the relationship.

ACTION POINT:
Begin to develop these characteristics of friendship in your life and watch 
God change your world!
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
The email address this message was sent from does not accept replies. If 
you would like to send a comment, prayer or praise, please visit us
here
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth 
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.


We know a dance would be more fun, but we believe we must go through hell to 
get to heaven, so we keep marching
. -- Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom

Christ gets overshadowed by Christianity all the time. Christ is a person. 
Christianity is a religion. Big difference.

“Christ gets overshadowed by Christianity all the time. Christ is a person. 
Christianity is a religion.”


Sometimes we get so immersed in the religion that life becomes dominated by 
manmade do's and don'ts. Seriously, think about all the traditions and 
routines
we’ve created that have nothing to do with Christ. All the standards about 
when you're supposed to sit and stand, and what you're supposed to look 
like,
and what movies you can go to, and what you can drink, and how much you are 
supposed to give, and what words you can say, which rock bands are okay, and
blah blah blah. And as long as you stay in line, everybody is happy.

It probably looks really "Christian" on the outside, but what religion 
really does is teach you to march. Worse yet, we begin to see Jesus as the 
master
drill sergeant.

If I’m marching and I mess up, I’m like, “Oh no!” What’s the drill sergeant 
gonna say? “BRISCOE! What are you doing? How many times have we gone over 
this?
Give me twenty. Now, get back in line and do it right this time!”

Jesus, on the other hand, is like the dance instructor that Libby and I had 
at Billy Bob's. He's not into religion and rules, he's into
relationship. He knows that if we keep our eyes on Him and follow His lead, 
we will be free to move to the music – His Spirit – within the boundaries of
His Word. But if we are focused on the routines, traditions and rules, we 
spend our life marching, trying to get it right, trying to get better and 
trying
to improve, trying to stop messing up, and trying to stop sinning... and we 
miss the dance with Him.

In fact, if you look through all the accounts of Jesus in the Bible, you’ll 
see that the only people Jesus ever yelled at were the drill instructors who
were leading the only people Jesus ever yelled at were the drill instructors 
who were leading the forced march of religion. The only ones
. Think about that.

So let me ask the question: Do you see Jesus as a dance instructor or a 
drill sergeant?

Who would you rather spend the rest of eternity with?

Jesus, today, I want to follow You for who You truly are, not who religion 
has made You to be. Tell me the truth about who You are in Your Word. Give 
me
the ears to hear that truth so I can stop marching and start dancing with 
You! Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at 
OnePlace.com

Why We Need Jesus Every Day
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Contributor

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never 
go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"

John 6:35

Not a day goes by that we're not in need of God's grace and peace. Every 
morning we need His Spirit to fill us again, to strengthen us for what's 
ahead.
Every day we need a fresh word that He speaks to our hearts, that keeps our 
focus on what's most important. Trying to run this race of life without Him,
will do nothing but drain us dry.

The people of Israel spent 40 years in the desert. Wandering in circles. 
Times were intense, hot, dry. I'm sure they got weary. But God met them 
where
they were. He made sure they had what they needed. They learned through 
every hard and grueling step, how much they had to rely on Him.

They were hungry. And God sent manna. Every day a miracle was there, right 
before their eyes. They just had to pick it up.

“When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the 
desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is
it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is 
what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. 
Take
an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And 
when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have 
too
much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had 
gathered just as much as they needed.Then Moses said to them, “No one is to
keep any of it until morning.”

Exodus 16:14-19

And just like the people of Israel had to gather it fresh every morning in 
the wilderness, so it is with us. They couldn't store it up; they had to 
look
for it daily. And God always provided. Each morning it was there, waiting 
for them. Every day He made sure it met their needs, they were satisfied, 
they
were nourished, they were cared for. And they never lacked, for God's 
resources never run dry.

That's what He does for us every single morning. Sometimes we miss it, out 
of busyness or stress. We try to get things going too fast, spinning wildly,
trying to get it all done, and sometimes we might start to forget what 
matters most.

But even for those times, His grace is there. He waits for us. His patience 
and His peace, it never runs dry.

Each day, His miracles are all around, right before our eyes. We just have 
to choose to look for them, to pick up His provision, and stay close to His
Presence.

God's got our past covered, our future secured, and there's more than enough 
grace for this day.

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never 
go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'" John 6:35

Jesus is our Bread of Life. He promises that as we come to Him, and pick up 
with words, spend time first with Him, and allow His truths to nourish our
spirits and lives, we will be satisfied.

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Sometimes life may be hurried and stressed. But 
choose not to allow the enemy to steer you away from God. It’s those times 
you
need Him most. Make the choice to come to Him daily. Allow Christ to meet 
your deepest needs and His Spirit to bring refreshing to your soul. He is 
enough.
He is more than enough.

Further Reading:
Matthew 11:28-30
Matthew 5:6
Exodus 16
John 15:5
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 29 Jul 2017, 6:46 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

When You Don't Know What to Do

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those
who weep."1

"John Patton, in his book, From Ministry to Theology,
relates the story of a rather green chaplaincy
resident, naive to many of the pressures and pains of a
teaching hospital. While on call one night, the intern
was summoned to the room of a woman whose baby had been
stillborn a few hours earlier. 'We want our baby
baptized,' the young mother said, cradling her lifeless
daughter, her husband at her side. 'Her name is
Nicole.'

"The intern didn't know what to do, but asked them to
come to the chapel a few minutes later. In the meantime
he tried to find another, more experienced chaplain to
take over, but to no avail. He was on his own and quite
unsure as to how to proceed. He had not only
professional uncertainties about what he had been asked
to do, but theological qualms as well. Still, he knew
he had to meet with grieving parents. He sketched in
his mind something to say, hoping it would be
appropriate to the moment.

"The young parents arrived at the appointed time, but
the chaplain found he could not say what he had
prepared. Instead, and almost without realizing what he
was doing, he took a tissue, wiped at the tears in the
eyes of the parents, then wiped his own tears and
touched the tissue to the baby's head and said,
'Nicole, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' He said nothing
else--the tears were more eloquent than words could
have been."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me an
understanding and tender heart so that I will always
rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who
weep. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 12:15 (NKJV).
2. Thomas R.Steagald, "More Eloquent Than Words,"
Michael Duduit in The Abingdon Preaching Annual, 1995
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994), pp. 316-317. Cited
on www.sermons.com .

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php . Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
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U.S.A.

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Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2016
ACTS International.

What Holds the Key to Your Heart?
LYSA TERKEURST

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell 
everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in 
heaven.
Then come, follow me.’” Luke 18:22 (NIV)

I long to be a woman who follows hard after Jesus. And I’m not talking about 
a plastic-Christian life, full of religious checklists and pretense. No, 
that
would be hypocritical at best and deadening at worst.

I want the kind of soul-satisfying closeness that can only come from daily 
keeping pace with Him. A rich and deep level of intimacy that frantic 
attempts
at rule-following will never produce.

Rules and regulations were an everyday reality for God’s people in the Old 
Testament. Lists of dos and don’ts to help sinful people maintain fellowship
with a holy God. First the Ten Commandments. Then law after law about 
sacrifices and ceremonies, food and cleanliness.

But in the New Testament, Jesus shows up on the scene and turns everything 
upside down with His message of grace. A message that declares, “Following 
rules
won’t get you into heaven. Being good won’t earn you bonus points. Lay down 
your checklists ... your agendas ... everything ... and follow Me. Believe
in Me. Receive Me.”

It was a complete shift in thinking. One that left people perplexed, like 
the rich ruler in Luke 18 .

We first meet the rich ruler when he approaches Jesus with a question: “Good 
teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18 b, NIV)

Jesus, already knowing his checklist-mindset, begins naming several of the 
Ten Commandments. It’s a list the rich ruler feels he has kept well. But 
Jesus
has more to say: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and 
give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow 
me”
(Luke 18:22 b).

It would be so easy to gloss over this moment and think Jesus is simply 
talking about money. We could be tempted to label this a story for “those” 
people
-- the ones we think have more money than they know what to do with. But the 
words in this conversation are for every single one of us. Because the core
issue Jesus is getting at is this:
What holds the key to your heart?

Oh, how I want my answer to be “Jesus.” I want to want Him most. To live 
completely captured by His love. Enthralled with His teachings. Living proof 
of
His truth.

There have been others who have gone before me who desired this as well. 
Imperfect heroes of faith we read about in the Bible who, despite their 
shortcomings,
pleased God. And it wasn’t perfect actions that carved a path to God’s 
heart. It was something else. Something less defined that can’t be outlined 
and
dissected. Something that was sometimes messy and offensive. But something 
that was so precious at the same time it caused God to pause.

Abandon.

It’s a word used to describe a little girl leaping from the bed’s edge, 
completely confident her daddy will catch her. It’s the same thing that 
fueled
David’s courageous run toward Goliath with nothing but a sling and five 
smooth stones. It’s what fueled Joshua. And Moses. And Noah. And Paul.

And it’s the one thing Jesus is asking of the rich ruler. Not for a life 
lived perfectly, but a heart of perfect surrender. So this is my prayer:

“Everything I have. Everything I own. Everything I hope for. Everything I 
fear. Everything I love. Everything I dream. It’s all Yours, Jesus. I trust 
You
in complete and utter abandon.”

Sadly, it’s also the one thing this man felt he could not offer. He stood on 
the edge of everything uncertain with the arms of all certainty waiting to
catch him. And he just couldn’t jump; he lived his life entangled in lesser 
things.

He was not captured by, enthralled with or living proof of the reality of 
Jesus. And so he walked away from the only One who could ever truly satisfy 
his
soul.

Oh, friends. Let’s not allow this to be the tragedy of our lives. Let’s be 
found captured by Jesus’ love, enthralled with His teachings and living 
proof
of His truth. Let’s be found living with abandon.

Because the life that follows Jesus with abandon is the life that gets to 
experience His presence, His provision, His promises, His soul-satisfying 
abundance.

Father God, please forgive me for all of the times I have settled for lesser 
things. I want to want You most. Today, I am handing You the key to my 
heart.
The key to everything in my life. I love You. I need You. And I want to 
follow hard after You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 16:24 , “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my 
disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:

Did you know deer release the old by shedding their antlers every year, 
causing them to grow a new set?

We’ve partnered with Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson for this “Making You 
New” necklace -- made from shed deer antlers -- to remind us that God is 
doing
a new thing and we can trust Him in our own seasons of release!

You can order yours here today.

CONNECT:
Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 
writing team with our free First 5 app .

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Spend some time prayerfully reflecting on whether or not there is anything 
that holds your attention and your affection more than Jesus. Ask Him to 
show
you one practical step you can take this week to help you start seeking Him, 
and Him alone, for true soul satisfaction.

(c) 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks
----------------------------------------------------------

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not be anxious about anything, but in 
everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests 
to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your 
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4, 6-7, NIV)

When I feel stressed, I tend to be impatient and
unkind to those around me.

Lord, help me make friends with
interruptions,
unfinished tasks,
unpleasant surprises,
delays,
demands,
uncertainties, and
feelings of inadequacy.
They are going to come.

How do You want me to react to them, Lord?

1. Rejoice in who You are.

2. Commit my need to You.

3. Give thanks for what You are already doing to meet that need.



Welcome to the Nugget

June 13, 2017

Too Much Stuff

By Answers2Prayer
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"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust 
destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in 
heaven,
where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."
(Matt. 6:19-21 NLTI)

I was driving to the grocery store on a warm morning in May. The trees which 
had looked like skeletons only two months before were covered in lush, 
robust,
green leaves. Birds were flying to and from their nests to gather food to 
feed their newborn babies. Butterflies were floating along the roadsides 
looking
for freshly blooming wild flowers. The fields were full of buttercups and 
dandelions. The sweet scent of clover was filling the air as well. I smiled 
as
I watched the golden sunshine reflecting off the leaves. It was such a 
peaceful and heavenly time. I felt happy to be alive.

My calm was broken, though, as I rounded a curve. A huge moving truck was 
coming my way several feet over the center line. I swerved as far onto the 
berm
of the road as I could to miss it. It was followed by not one but two other 
moving trucks just as large. I wondered if all the stuff inside of them 
belonged
to the same person. I slowed down my car and waited for my heart rate to 
follow. It was then that I noticed a self-storage business along the side of 
the
highway, building new units for all the people who couldn't fit their 
possessions into their houses. I saw a young couple carrying boxes into one 
of the
units. It seemed strange that a couple just out of their teens could already 
have too much stuff.

I lost my own taste for owning stuff when a house fire in the middle of the 
night destroyed everything my family owned when I was only eleven years old.
The only thing I had left was the underwear I was wearing. Yet, our whole 
family had awakened in time to escape and we thanked God for our lives. In 
the
weeks that followed friends and family gave us a lot of stuff to get us back 
on our feet, but none of it seemed as important any more. What was important
was seeing my Mom's smile, giving my Nana a hug and a kiss, and watching my 
Dad snooze in his chair after a hard day's work. What was important was the
stuff of the soul, not the stuff of this world.

Since then I have tried to limit the things I purchase. I didn't want too 
much stuff crowding up my life. I wanted to only buy what I needed and to 
spend
my days in learning, growing, and loving others.

In this life we are given a limited amount of time. We can spend it loving 
each other, enjoying this beautiful world God made for us, and making it a 
better
place or we can spend it acquiring stuff. One gives us joy. The other gives 
us work. One builds us treasures in Heaven. The other takes our treasures 
here
on Earth. One fills our lives with peace, kindness, and happiness. The other 
fills our days with worry, fear, and regret. Make your choice wisely then.
Fill your life with love not with stuff.

Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed 
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a 
righteous
man is powerful and effective."
(NIV) Send your prayer request here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three 
come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

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

We Never Face Our Battles Alone: A Reminder that God is with Us
by Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Contributor

“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you..." Judges 6:16

Some days can seem hurried, pressured, and tense. We know God’s truth, we 
believe His goodness, and yet we still find ourselves struggling, minds 
racing,
before our feet even touch the floor in the morning.

Our focus gets blurred. We start listening to the lies of other voices that 
do more harm than good. The constant media headlines tell us how dark and 
broken
our world is. Images and reminders all around us shout that we’re “not 
enough.” The enemy is great at heaping on guilt, condemnation, and fear. The 
problems
we face seem more like giants of impossibility than anything good that God 
can ever bring from them.

But often, out of His goodness and grace, when we find ourselves right smack 
in the middle of huge feelings of defeat, God shows up strong.

Many others have been there too. All through the Bible, story after story 
tells us of those who needed God’s reminders that He was near. With them. 
Close.

And He never failed, not once.

Gideon found himself feeling weak and afraid. In Judges 6
, we find that he and his people were facing great suffering and defeat at 
the hand of the enemy. He doubted God was even with him. In fact, when an 
angel
showed up, he was threshing his wheat in the pit of a winepress, not up on a 
hilltop where this was usually done. He was fearful and trying to keep 
hidden
from view of the enemy who’d been raiding their land. The angel spoke 
straight through to his fear and weakness, "When the angel of the Lord 
appeared to
Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."
Judges 6:12

Don’t you love that he called him “mighty warrior” right at the time he felt 
so discouraged and afraid?

But God sees "mighty" when we see "weak." He sees victory when we see 
defeat. He gives hope, when we're filled with disappointment.

Gideon questioned, "If God was with us, then why did this happen?"

Sounds familiar...ever been there?

“If God is really here, then why?”

“If God is really good, then when?”

“If God really cares, then how?”

And even with the questions, after His people had turned their backs on Him, 
God is still gracious, patient, loving, and kind. He sends his messenger to
encourage, to remind Gideon and all of the Israelites, that He was surely 
with them.

Yet while staring straight at an angel, Gideon continued to persist with 
defeated thoughts, "But I am the weakest, I am the least...how can God save 
Israel?"

“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you..." Judges 6:16

Five powerful words. That can see us through anything we face in this life.

“I will be with you.”

God's presence is real. He gives us strength for every day. The battle can 
be intense. And some days especially, the enemy seems really strong, and we
feel really weary. We can find ourselves wrestling again with the same 
defeated thoughts that we thought we'd finally laid to rest just the night 
before.
Disappointments come. We struggle with feeling like we haven't measured up, 
we listen to the lies that we are "less than..."

But God still answers us. Just like He did for Gideon.

He's still with us, no matter how we might feel, or what struggles flood our 
thoughts. He is filling us with the power and grace of His Spirit, just 
enough
for the day.

For this day.

A reminder for your heart, in whatever you might be facing, "The Lord is 
with you...mighty warrior."

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: How do you need to be reminded of God’s Presence? 
Is there an area you’ve been struggling to carry on your own?Just like 
Gideon,
God never asks us to fight the battles we face all be ourselves. He reminds 
us that He fights for us, and most importantly, that He’s with us. Give Him
your struggle again today, lay it down, and trust God to work powerfully on 
your behalf.

Further Reading:
2 Corinthians 12:9
Joshua 1:9
Deuteronomy 31:6
Psalm 27:1

Sent Home
June 25, 2017

Read: Mark 5:18-20

Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you. 
(v. 19)

The man who had been demon-possessed was a changed man. He was changed so 
much that he begged Jesus to be allowed to go with him. But Jesus said no.

Does this surprise you? Here was a willing worker, someone who obviously 
wanted to follow Jesus and serve alongside of him in this exciting new 
venture.
But Jesus told him no.

Jesus wasn’t rejecting him. He had something else important for this man to 
do: “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for 
you,
and how he has had mercy on you” (v. 19). God has ministry for every person. 
As Jesus looked at this man who was so greatly changed from a wild maniac
into a peaceful disciple, he knew immediately that his ministry was to be in 
his home territory. Jesus realized the tremendous impact his life could have
on those who knew his past. In him, they would be able to see how much the 
Lord had done for him. He could be more greatly used at home than “on the 
road”
with Jesus and the Twelve.

Each one of us is unique. Our Lord knows best where we can serve him the 
most. Not all of us are sent overseas to foreign cultures to witness. For 
some
of us our ministry will be close to home. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, whether it’s home or far away, please use me to share how much 
you have done for me. Amen.
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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Expectation

Matthew 7:11 – If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good 
gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good 
gifts
to those who ask Him! (NIV)

I saw the notice on the community bulletin board, and I knew that reading it 
was risky, but I read it anyway. They wanted to give away three Siamese 
kittens.
I thought,
Oh, my! They will go quickly! and willed the ad out of my mind. A couple of 
weeks later, however, the ad was still there. I thought to myself, Well, 
maybe
I'll just call, for surely they are all gone now, and once I know that they 
have all been well situated, I won't think about them any more. I called. 
All
three were still available. You guessed it. One came home with me.

I always make sure that I get a male kitten. Females can be difficult, as 
far as I'm concerned. Fortunately, they had a lovely male, whom I named Leo.
He was just the sweetest, most loving little fellow. He learned his name 
very quickly; he came whenever I called him; and he got along well with the 
dogs
and the other felines. I knew that a male would work out best.

Before long, Leo turned six months old, and I took him to the veterinarian 
to be neutered. She gave him a thorough checkup and told me that he was in 
great
shape. There was just one problem which involved genetics — a problem that 
he was born with. He was a she. Leo was actually Cleo. What a laugh we had 
about
that mistake!

To make a long story short, Leo becoming Cleo still ended up perfectly, for 
she was exactly what I had wanted: a loving, affectionate kitten that got 
along
with everyone. That caused me to think about what I would have missed if I 
had known that she was a female and said "No", instead of bringing her home.
God knew exactly what I was looking for and what would fit the bill. I'm so 
glad that the owners made a mistake when they sexed the kittens, or else I
would have missed out on this special blessing.

I wonder how often this happens to us in our everyday life experiences. We 
miss out on God's special blessings because we already have our minds made 
up
about what we want or think should happen. When it doesn't measure up to our 
expectations, we get discouraged, miffed, peeved, or just plain mad about
the whole thing. Yet, if we would trust that the gifts that God gives us are 
good, as He has promised that they would be, instead of trusting that what
we want will make us happiest, we just might discover everyday joys and 
blessings that are right there in front of us waiting to be embraced and 
relished.
What special blessing might you be missing today, because the gift that you 
received wasn't the one that you wanted?
Prayer: Father God, thank You for being such a good God Who promises us good 
gifts. Help us to have hearts and minds open to Your will amidst our own 
longings
and desires, that we might not miss the special blessings of the good gifts 
that You choose to bless us with. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
Lynne Phipps < lynnephipps@hotmail.com >
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

3 Untruths You’ve Probably Said to Hurting People
Erik Reed

Christians like to encourage people. This is a great thing. When someone we 
care about is hurting or enduring trials, we are quick to give words of 
encouragement
and comfort. When we are suffering, others are generous to do the same for 
us.

But an important question regarding this is, What kind of counsel are we 
giving or receiving?

Unfortunately, the comforts often given in these situations are not helpful 
or biblical. They may be popularly used, but they are rarely 
biblically-grounded.
In fact, some people have heard the following statements and words of 
comfort so often that they assume they’re in the Bible.

Here are three of the most common unbiblical phrases people use to comfort 
those who are hurting. Brace yourself, as you have most likely used or heard
these!

This is not true. Things may not always “turn out okay.” The cancer does not 
always go away. The relationship does not always get repaired. The job 
promotion
does not always come. The wayward child does not always return. Things do 
not always turn out okay, even when we exhibit extraordinary faith and pray 
fervently.

Nevertheless, we should absolutely pray and put our faith in God! Yes, we 
avoid treating God like a genie who guarantees our requests, but we 
certainly
do not lose faith or believe our prayers are meaningless.

God’s will for our lives is good, even when it hurts. We put our faith in 
God, trusting his wisdom and love. We pray for humility to submit to 
everything
he brings to us. But it is not our faith or our prayers that guarantee our 
outcomes. We choose to trust God and ask him to strengthen our faith during
trials, regardless of our circumstances.

Some of you are gasping right now. You would swear this is in the Bible. But 
it’s not. The verse being misinterpreted here is 1 Corinthians 10:13. There,
Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God 
is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but 
with
the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able 
to endure it.”

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

The verse is commonly quoted to imply that God will never put more on us 
than we can handle, but is actually about temptations to sin. It has nothing 
to
do with our trials, pain, or suffering. And it is certainly not a promise 
that our loads will be manageable.

The truth is this: God will absolutely put more on you than you can handle. 
Why would he do that? So that you will quit trying to “handle” everything on
your own and die to your self-reliance. God loves us too much
not to break us of our independence from him. Our trials and tribulations, 
which are often more than we can handle, are used by him to teach us humble
dependence.

I’ve been guilty of using this phrase before. But it’s not in the Bible; it’s 
believed to be from a poet in ancient Persia. The idea is that suffering
is cyclical and seasonal, so “just endure it” and it will go away. Yet, it 
may not. Some people will endure a lifetime of difficulty and pain. We have
brothers and sisters in Christ who live in parts of the world where 
difficulty is as inherent as life itself. So there is no guarantee it will 
pass.

Instead of counseling with this antidote, we should encourage people to 
trust in the all-sufficient grace of Christ available to us (2 Corinthians 
12:9).
He promises to be our hope, help, and strength in our weakness. Rather than 
clinging to the hope of our trial passing with time, we should instead cling
to Christ and know he is with us
in the middle of our trials.

Yes, one day all suffering will cease when Christ returns and the New 
Jerusalem is established. For now, pain is a part of life on this fallen 
earth. So,
as sufferers and comforters, may we comfort biblically. May we point people 
to the Christ who is more than enough for us—even in our bitter providences.

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

Erik Reed is the pastor of The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN. His passion is 
to lead the local church to show Jesus as incomparably glorious. He loves
preaching, leadership, and pouring into other leaders. Erik is married with 
three children. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a B.A.
in Religious Studies and of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a 
MDiv in Pastoral Studies. Erik is a regular contributor to LifeWay Pastors.

Image courtesy: Pexels.com
Publication date: June 7, 2017


No Place for Islands
by Chuck Swindoll
Romans 15:1-7

Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the 
chain is broken.
Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and 
the game is forfeited.
Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one 
musician and the symphony is incomplete.
Nobody is a whole play. Each one is an actor. But take away one actor and 
the performance suffers.
Nobody is a whole hospital. Each one is a part of the staff. But take away 
one person and it isn't long before the patient can tell.

Cars are composed of numerous parts. Each one is connected to and dependent 
upon the other. Even if a tiny screw comes loose and falls out of the 
carburetor,
it can bring the whole vehicle to a stop.

You guessed it. We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. 
Isolated islands we're not. To make this thing called life work, we gotta 
lean
and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and 
forgive. And reach out and embrace. And release and rely.

Especially in God's family . . . where working together is Plan A for 
survival. And since we're so different (thanks to the way God built us), 
love and
acceptance are not optional luxuries. Neither is tolerance. Or 
understanding. Or patience. You know all those things you need from others 
when your humanity
crowds out your divinity.

In other words:

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each 
other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 
Rejoice
in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When 
God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice 
hospitality.
(Romans 12:10–13 NLT)

Why? Because each one of us is worth it. Even when we don't act like it or 
feel like it or deserve it.

Since none of us is a whole, independent, self-sufficient, supercapable, 
all-powerful hotshot, let's quit acting like we are. Life's lonely enough 
without
our playing that silly role.

The game's over. Let's link up.

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

The Little Red Book of Wisdom
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Being There For the Garbage - #7943

Hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people had fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq after 
the 1991 Gulf War, and they were spread over miles of mountainside on the
Turkish border. Christian agencies were flooding in with food, medical help 
and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But most of the Christian workers connected
with the people there only from trucks and distribution points, where they 
handed out food and blankets. But the missionaries from one particular 
mission
organization really broke through the barrier that others were encountering 
when they tried to talk about Jesus. They had a unique way of getting close
to the people and winning their respect and their trust. You ready to hear 
their radical outreach strategy? These missionaries picked up the garbage. 
See,
it was everywhere on those mountainsides, and it was getting pretty gross. 
Nobody wanted to do the garbage, but those who were willing to were the ones
those people listened to.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Being 
There For the Garbage."

What opened doors and hearts among those needy people on that Iraqi 
mountainside is the same thing that will open doors and hearts where you 
are-a willingness
to win the right to be heard by being there for people's garbage.

It's what Jesus did. In Philippians 2:5-7, our word for today from the Word 
of God, He tells us: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ 
Jesus:
who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God 
something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of 
a
servant, being made in human likeness, He humbled Himself and became 
obedient to death-even death on a cross."

This is the Jesus who touched the lepers that no one else would touch, who 
stopped for people that everyone else walked by, who washed the dirty feet 
of
His followers, who defined His day by the needs of people who came to Him 
for help, and who allowed men He had made to beat Him and crucify Him. The 
King
of heaven came to us as a servant and He stole our hearts away.

You have neighbors who really need your Jesus, coworkers, friends and family 
members. How are you ever going to get them interested in the Jesus who is
their only hope? By serving them; by being there to help them with the 
garbage of their lives. In Jesus' name, be there when their health levels 
them,
when their marriage is struggling or over, when they lose a loved one. Be 
there when all the funeral folks have gone home. Be there when they're 
struggling
financially, when they don't have enough help, when their business is in 
trouble, when their kids are in trouble, or when they've lost their 
reputation
and nobody wants to be around them any more.

Their moment of loss is your moment of loving opportunity to show them 
Jesus' love in action. When others walk out, you walk in. Then you will be 
ultimately
in a position to explain to them where this love comes from. You're just 
loving them like you've been loved. By a Jesus who had poured everything out 
for
you, because He died of a cross to clean up all the garbage of your life and 
the garbage of theirs.
First, you show them Jesus by serving them in the midst of their garbage. 
You win the right to be heard by being there to help pick up the pieces and 
pick
up the garbage. Initially, they may not be interested in your message, but 
who can be against someone who picks up their heavy burden and helps them 
carry
it; who is there when nobody else is? You can't be against that. It's that 
kind of love that will open their heart to the greatest love of all!
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

The Harvest Is Sure
June 20, 2017

Read: Mark 4:1-20

And other seeds . . . produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding 
thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. (v. 8)

As Jesus continued his ministry outdoors, he saw a farmer sowing seeds. He 
used that as an illustration of what happens when the gospel is shared with
people. We sow the seed of the Word in the lives of people in the hopes that 
they will come to know the truth of the gospel.

But not everyone believes. Like the seed on the side of the road, some 
people reject the gospel forthwith. They think they are doing fine without 
it and
it never has a chance. Like the rocky soil, some people initially hear the 
gospel but don’t continue in it—they never reach a mature faith and the seed
dies.

Seed planted in the weed-choked soil represents those who accept the gospel 
and live by it, but as time goes by and life gets filled with so many 
interests
and activities, the seed of the gospel is crowded out. Things like sports, 
work, entertainment, or even family start taking priority.

But the good news is that our sowing of seeds is not in vain. The harvest is 
sure. Some will hear the gospel, accept it, live by it, and pass it on to
others. The disciples needed to hear that and so do we. No matter what 
obstacles Satan throws in our way as we present the gospel, God will have 
his way.
So keep on sowing! —John Koedyker

A Tale of Two Prodigals
by Steve Arterburn

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have 
is yours.But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours
was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” --Luke 15:31-32

In The Return of the Prodigal Son, one of Rembrandt’s most 
emotionally-charged paintings, you see a father and his two sons. But if you 
look more closely,
you’ll see a tale of two prodigals.

At first glance of the oil painting, you will see the rebellious son who 
takes center stage. Remember him? He is the wayward son that demands an 
early
inheritance, leaves home to see all that the world has to offer, and comes 
to his senses in a smelly pigsty. In spite of his sin, he returns home.

When the younger son sees his father, he humbly admits, “‘Father, I have 
sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called 
your
son,’”
(Luke 15:21
). The father recognizes that he is truly repentant, forgives him, and 
celebrates his homecoming.

But if you gaze carefully at Rembrandt’s masterpiece, you will see the older 
son who lurks in the shadows. He is the son that does everything right and
always obeys--at least, on the outside. But deep down inside, bitterness 
and anger consume him.

Listen to what the brooding brother says: “‘Look! All these years I’ve been 
slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders...But when this son of yours
who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the 
fattened calf for him!’”
(Luke 15:29-30 ).

Out of these two prodigals, which one do you identify with the most? 
Perhaps you’re like the wayward son who acted out; yet, believe it or not, 
you might
actually relate more to the envious son who acted in.

And let’s face it. Whether we’re rebelling outwardly or inwardly, we are all 
prodigals.

Intersecting Faith & Life: It’s not too late to stop reacting and start 
responding appropriately to the circumstances that you are facing. No matter 
what
you’ve been through or what you’ve done, God wants you to take your life 
back so that you can live with Him and for Him.

So, what are you waiting for? Go home to your Father. After all, He is 
waiting to welcome you home with open arms.

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m a prodigal and have wandered far from home. Today, 
I realize that I need to take responsibility for allowing my past and my 
pain
to control me. Give me courage to step out of the shadows, and help me to 
lean into your grace-filled embrace.

For Further Study:
Luke 15
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The Touch of the Master’s Hand
June 10, 2017

Read: Mark 1:40-45

Moved with pity, [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him. (v. 41)

Here, as in so many places in the Gospels, we see Jesus filled with 
compassion. When Jesus encountered human suffering and sickness, he simply 
could not
turn away. He was moved to the core of his being, thus displaying the heart 
of God.

And what suffering he saw in this leper. The physical suffering in leprosy 
would have been bad enough—the skin becomes ulcerated, the eyebrows fall 
out,
the whole appearance of the face changes, and breathing becomes labored. But 
there was also emotional and spiritual suffering. Lepers were outcasts from
the community. Considered “unclean,” they were required to keep their 
distance from healthy people.

But Jesus touched this man. Imagine the stir that must have caused! Jesus 
did not see an “unclean” person” but he saw someone who was suffering and in
desperate need.

My father-in-law loved reciting famous poems and short stories. One poem he 
liked to repeat was “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra Brooks Welch.
It tells the story of an old violin being auctioned off. Initially the 
auctioneer could barely get three dollars for it. Then a man came forward, 
dusted
the instrument off, tightened the strings, and played magnificently. 
Subsequently the auctioneer received three thousand dollars! The difference 
was the
touch of a master’s hand. Has Master Jesus touched you? When he does, it 
will change you forever. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, thank you for touching us and making us new.

Encouragement for your week: Praising God Through the Trials and Turmoil

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Praising God Through the Trials

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? 
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God”— Psalm 
43:5
(ESV).

Gulley-washing rains have plagued parts of the country during the past 
months, leaving a path of destruction behind in many areas. Lives have been 
lost
and property has been destroyed due to the flooding.

Living close to the lake, I’ve seen the aftermath. My house is on higher 
ground but some of my neighbors have had to contend with rising water 
because
their homes are lakefront property. One neighbor has even been fishing off 
his front deck, and a road running in front of his property is no longer 
passable.

While on my daily walk through the neighborhood, I’ve watched as the rising 
waters have left the neighborhood lakeside picnic area unusable. The three
concrete picnic tables and the large fire pit were swallowed by the rising 
lake levels.

When the rain abated for a week, the tops of the picnic tables came into 
view, as did part of the fire pit. The torrential rains returned and they 
disappeared
once again. Now, as the water begins to recede, driftwood debris graces the 
shoreline. Some of the pieces are beautiful, even with the ugliness left 
behind.

While I contemplated the mess left behind by the storms, I thought about the 
trials we face in life. They come and go, just like the lake water levels
rising and falling with our capricious weather.

In the book of Mark, we read about a terrible storm. On a boat crossing the 
Sea of Galilee, the disciples were with Jesus when a “furious squall came 
up.”
Among the 12 disciples were some seasoned fishermen but even they were 
afraid for their lives.

They wondered if God cared. After all, they had been handpicked by Jesus. 
They were His confidants, His closest friends. They had obeyed Jesus when He
told them to “go over to the other side.” Why, now, were they going through 
such a turbulent time?

None of us is exempt from the storms of life. However, through the tough 
times, we can learn that no storm is too great to prevent God from 
accomplishing
His will in our lives. While we may not understand at the time why the 
trials happened, we must thank Him that through them we can know Him better. 
Thank
Him? For the trials?

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever 
you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your 
faith
produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be 
mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Author Kay Arthur, says if we’ll quit moaning and crying, “God can use those 
things to make us into someone He can use in the lives of others to show 
them
that no matter where they’ve been, no matter how deep the hole, no matter 
how painful the trial, there’s hope. There is victory.”

Trust God. He’ll use your trials for His glory.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with 
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with 
others.
Thank you for subscribing.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.
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The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most
David Mathis / June 14, 2017
The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most

God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory.” When your soul hungers, 
when your tank feels empty, when you’re running on fumes, when you open your
Bible in the morning and ask for God’s help, a great go-to request is this 
simple, honest, humble plea: “Father, show me your glory.”

God made the world to show and share his glory. He made us in his image to 
reflect him in the world. But we will not fully reflect him if we haven’t 
yet
stood in awe of him and enjoyed his beauty in our hearts. And our hearts 
cannot look on him in awe if we haven’t yet
seen him with the eyes of our souls. Changed lives (and a changed world) 
begin with seeing glory. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being 
transformed
into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 
3:18).

“God, show me your glory.” History hangs on him answering that request. And 
one great evidence of his work in a human soul is feeling, and then 
expressing,
that longing.

Two Memorable Models

It’s not only a wise request to make for ourselves, but also for others. The 
apostle Paul prayed for Christians that “the eyes of your hearts [would be]
enlightened” so they might know “the riches of his glorious inheritance in 
the saints, and . . . the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who
believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19). Instead of starting with your wife’s 
convenience, what if you prayed, “Show her your glory”? Along with your 
neighbor’s health,
“God, show him your glory.” Even before your children’s safety, “Father, 
show them your glory.”

But don’t miss the opportunity to begin with yourself and pray often for God 
to show you his majesty. When we make this sacred and powerful request 
today,
we do well to consider the two biblical figures who asked the question most 
memorably.

Moses’s Audacity

First is Moses. Before leading God’s people up to the Promised Land, Moses 
wants to know more about God. Will he handle his stiff-necked, unworthy 
people
with grace, or is it just a matter of time before he breaks forth in 
righteous anger against his people’s sin? Who is God most deeply? So, Moses 
asks,
“Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God responds,

“I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my 
name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will
show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19)

God will show his glory to Moses by putting his goodness on display. 
Something stronger than wrath, and higher than mere power, drives the heart 
of God
with his chosen people. Most deeply, he is a God of grace and mercy.

The next morning God hides Moses in a cleft of the rock on the top of the 
mountain and draws near.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the 
name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the
Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast 
love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving 
iniquity
and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, 
visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s 
children,
to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5–7)

Moses has his glimpse into the heart of God. He bows in worship. He asks God 
to draw near to his people, pardon their iniquity, and make them his own 
(Exodus
34:8–9).

Philip’s Folly

God meets Moses’s audacious request with favor, but some fifteen centuries 
later, one of the Twelve receives a different answer to a very similar plea.

Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know
me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show 
us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is
in me?” (John 14:8–10)

Why does God honor Moses’s plea, while Jesus meets Philip’s with mild 
rebuke? Because now the glory of God is standing fully embodied in Philip’s 
presence,
looking him in the eyes as he makes his misguided request. Does he not yet 
realize he already has seen more than Moses as he looks on the face of God 
himself
and asks to see the Father?

Jesus’s gracious rebuke comes not because Philip had a sinful longing. It 
was good that he wanted to see the Father. It was admirable that, like 
Moses,
he asked to see the glory. But the kind correction he needed, standing in 
the very presence of God himself in the person of his Son, was that his 
search
to see the very glory of God had come to an end when he came to Jesus.

We Have Seen His Glory

God had said to Moses, “You cannot see my face” (Exodus 33:20). But now 
Philip was seeing God. He was looking on the glory. As John 1:14–18 reveals, 
what
glory God hid from Moses, he now shows us in the person of his Son.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory 
as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from
his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given 
through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever 
seen
God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 
1:14, 16–18)

Jesus has made the Father known. Period. The person of Christ so truly and 
fully reveals God that the Gospel writer can say — with no need to nuance, 
condition,
or qualify — “he has made him known.”

God’s Glory in Jesus’s Face

Jesus is “the [visible] image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Do 
you want to see God? Do you long to look upon his face? Where will we see 
“the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God”? Answer: “in the face of Jesus 
Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Which means, the lowliest Christian already has
seen more of God’s glory than Moses saw on the mountaintop.

Soon we will see Jesus with our physical eyes. “When he appears we shall be 
like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). But for now, we
look on his beauty with the eyes of our hearts. One day God will remake this 
world, and in that new heavens and new earth, there will be “no temple in
the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” 
(Revelation 21:22). And get this: “the city has no need of sun or moon to 
shine on
it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” 
(Revelation 21:23).
Lamp, singular. Jesus, the Lamb, is the singular lamp from which streams the 
glory of God that gives light to the world to come.

Jesus is not one lamp among many. He is the singular source of the light of 
the glory that illumines the world to come.

Where We Turn Next

God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory,” and he doesn’t leave us 
in the dark as to where we should turn our soul’s gaze to have our prayer
answered. Once we pray this audacious, wise, and necessary plea, we’re not 
left clueless as to where to focus next.

When we ask God today to see his glory, he may answer our requests in 
countless ways. He may show us some attribute of his character we’ve missed 
or minimized.
He may open our eyes to his smile behind a frowning providence. He may meet 
some temporal need in a way that warms our soul and fills us with gratitude.
He may give a relational breakthrough that was so long-standing that 
reconciliation seemed humanly impossible.

But the fullest response to our plea “Show me your glory” is to turn the 
eyes of our soul to Jesus. “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells 
bodily”
(Colossians 2:9). And our knowing the fullness of his answer doesn’t mean we 
shouldn’t ask. On the contrary, it inspires us to ask all the more.

7-Minute Clip: Kids Delight to Fear Good Dads
John Piper / June 14, 2017

Earthly fathers represent our heavenly Father. Until our children can know 
God on their own, they know him through Dad.


Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Wheat In The Weeds

" Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer 
who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his 
enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the 
crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s 
workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good 
seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “ ‘An enemy has done this!’ 
the farmer exclaimed. “ ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “ ‘No,’ 
he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until 
the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them 
into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’ ”" (Matthew 
13:24-30, NLT)

" Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples 
said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” Jesus 
replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field 
is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The 
weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the 
weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and 
the harvesters are the angels. “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned 
in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send 
his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin 
and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, 
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will 
shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear 
should listen and understand!" (Matthew 13:36-43, NLT)

When the disciples heard this parable they knew about the weeds that enemies 
would sow among wheat to make the wheat be of less quality. When both plants 
are young you cannot tell them apart. When they mature you can see the grain 
on the wheat and tell which plant is which. But by then the roots of the 
weeds have grown so and meshed with the roots of the wheat so that if the 
weeds were pulled the wheat would come up with them.

What does this parable say to us?

First, Jesus is telling us that there will be a judgment.

Second, Jesus is telling us it is not our place to condemn people. Why are 
we not to condemn? One reason may be that even though we might know the 
Bible from cover to cover we might think we know who is wheat and who is a 
weed but we could be wrong. It could be like once when I was younger when my 
mother took me out to a flower bed. She pointed out the different flowers 
then told me the other plants were weeds and that I was to pull them up. 
Later when she checked on me I found out that I had pulled some flowers and 
left some weeds. I thought I knew what should stay and what should go. The 
same would happen if we were in charge of the condemning.

Another reason we are not to condemn is that we may not be able to tell the 
wheat from the weeds. The disciples didn’t know there was a weed among them. 
At the Last Supper Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. The 
disciples didn’t point at Judas. They asked, “Lord, Is it I?” We need to 
examine ourselves to see if we are truly trusting in what Jesus did for our 
salvation and whether we are living the way He would want us to.

So that is all this parable is saying but that would mean that we are not to 
condemn but just let the weeds be and let them be thrown into the fire 
later. If we read the Bible we know that Jesus wishes that no one would 
perish so it is up to us to show the world His love.

We need to show love to other wheat (believers) to encourage them and not do 
things to uproot them. We need to show the love of Christ to the weeds 
(unbelievers) also. In nature a weed can never become wheat but a human weed 
can become human wheat. As we show the love of Christ to the unbelievers 
they might become believers. So let us all be wheat in the weeds.

by Dean W. Masters

Never Alone" #84-41

Sermon Text for June 11, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on June 11, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: John 7:37-39
"Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told 
them to go, --and when they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has 
been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and 
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with
you always, to the end, the very end of the age.'"

Christ has risen. He has risen indeed. Alleluia.

Have you ever really been stumped? Has life ever completely confused you? 
Have you experienced an event that left you saying, "Dear Lord, I have no 
idea
what to make of this? Show me the way on this one"? A countless number of 
tragic events, one after another, they can cause confusion. Already this 
year,
barely halfway over, we've seen people die in storms in California, 
Mississippi, Texas and a number of other places. One was a teenage girl who 
was a senior
in high school. She loved her music. Her bubbly personality lifted up 
everyone around her. This 18 year old girl lost control of her car during a 
storm
and was killed in a tragic accident. Everyone close to her was devastated. 
There are all kinds of crazy things that happen in people's lives and some 
of
them cause us to ask, "What is going on, Lord? What is going on?"

Have you ever asked that question in your life? I know I have. You might ask 
it about a tragedy in your life. You might ask it because your job is 
torturous
or you don't have a job at all. You may ask it about illness, world events, 
and hurt-filled relationships. "What's going on, Lord? What is going on?" If
you ask that question and you have a desire to be or to continue to be a 
follower of Jesus Christ, we are in a strange, yet wonderful position in 
this
life, aren't we? We are in the position of trusting God, even being His 
public witnesses of making disciples as Jesus commands in Matthew 28 when 
we, ourselves,
don't have all of life figured out.

We're in a position of having Christ's certainty, even though we often carry 
a load of doubt like everyone else. Now this is not unique to being a 
follower
of Jesus. In fact, all of life operates with this dynamic of certainty and 
doubt, and yet you and I carry on business, raise children, plan our days 
and
hope for the future without having all that figured out. You observe life's 
events and face important decisions with the possibility of all kinds of 
doubt.
How do you do anything then, let alone communicate God and His work to other 
people when you always have some doubt? Again, let's look to the Bible then
because it handles difficult questions like this by talking straight.

Look in this lesson, for instance. People standing in the presence of Jesus 
who had risen from the dead, and what does it say? Some doubted. Incredible!
Are you kidding me? Some doubted? That's what it says. Let me say it again. 
Some doubted. The 11 disciples were asking the question, "What's going on,
Lord?" But Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on 
earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And behold, I am with 
you
always, to the very end of the age." Jesus was saying, "Even with your 
doubt, you are called to go out." All throughout the Bible the point is 
this. There
is no power, no strength, no certainty in us as sinners.

We are full of sin, doubt, discouragement, even despair, but the Bible says 
even more boldly, Christ's strength, His power and grace can work with 
people
just like us, just like that. We can be people even with doubt who are 
called to go out with the certainty of the love of Jesus even in the midst 
of our
own struggles. Now how does that work? How is it possible to be a light for 
Jesus Christ from day to day while you carry doubt with you? The answer is
this. Be clear about what you don't know and be clear about what you do 
know. What don't you know? Probably the same thing the disciples didn't have 
much
of a clue about.

First, the disciples doubted the miraculous. They wondered how the 
resurrection of Jesus could have taken place. They were stumped about how 
Jesus was
defying earthly science and sense. They scratched their heads as they 
pondered whether or not they should believe all of this was really even 
happening.
You and I go through the same thing. Whether it is pondering the remarkable 
and mighty acts of God in the Bible or witnessing the wonderful and 
miraculous
actions of God today, you can easily be filled with questions. Did God 
really answer your prayer? Did His word really change the heart of the 
person you
love? Is Jesus really dwelling in you as you eat and drink the bread and 
wine of Holy Communion? You can see a miracle today and question it 
tomorrow.
The miraculous work of God is hard to fully get our minds around.

Second, the disciples, they doubted the meaning. Now I'm referring to the 
meaning of what God was doing, His divine plan, His progression of events. 
Think
about what the disciples witnessed. They saw their teacher suffer and die. 
Then Jesus rose from the dead. He appeared to them a number of times. What 
was
happening? Why was it happening in this way? What was God's big picture? You 
may go through the same thing when you try to make sense of everything that
is happening in your life and in this world. The events can stump you. The 
way the world unfolds can be very puzzling. The meaning of life is often 
hard
to understand.

Third, the disciples doubted the method. They may have wondered why God was 
working in this particular way. Why was this His plan? Why did He choose 
this
timing? As you reflect on life, the world and God's involvement in all of 
this, there may be times when you thought you would do things differently 
than
God. Perhaps you would tone down the mysterious aspects of God. You know, 
like being triune, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Maybe you would give more 
details
about the creation of the world in six days. Perhaps you wouldn't wait so 
long to put an end to sin, chaos, pain and brokenness in this world. With 
the
disciples, we too can doubt God's method of working. It's not easy to 
understand. That's what you don't know. That's what you can't completely 
explain.
The miraculous, the ultimate meaning of all things and even God's method. 
It's good to be clear about that. There are things you and I can't figure 
out.

The Bible even says, "Oh, the depths of the riches, and the wisdom and the 
knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His
ways," but you also need to be clear about what you do know. Yes, there's 
doubt, but what about certainty? Did you notice that Jesus made sure that 
the
disciples were certain about some things? First, the disciples were certain 
about the place. They knew where to meet Jesus. He showed them where it was
and He directed them there. The disciples were certain about the location. 
They knew where to meet Him. You can know that too. You can be certain about
the place. Jesus said, "You search the scriptures because you think that in 
them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me."

You meet Jesus in the Bible, the living Word. Wherever you find the name of 
Jesus proclaimed, there He is to meet you with His grace. Jesus said, "Take
and eat. This is my body. Take and drink. This is my blood for the 
forgiveness of sins." You meet Jesus in Holy Communion, and Jesus said, "Ask 
and it
shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be 
opened unto you." You meet Jesus in prayer, in worship. You can be certain
about the place. Wherever His name is at, there is Christ for you. You know 
where you and the people in your life can meet Jesus to receive His grace,
to be transformed by Him and be encouraged with His eternal hope. There is 
no doubt about where to find Christ. Jesus locates himself in known and 
accessible
places so you can be saved and so that you can connect others to Him. You 
can be certain about the place.

Second, the disciples were certain about the program. Jesus said, "Go 
therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have 
commanded you." Jesus is here to save people, to wash away their sins and 
give
them new life. Do you know God's great and gracious program? Actually, it's 
a proclamation of how things are in Jesus Christ, and an offer to live in 
that
grace and mercy now and forever, so have you heard about to outstretched arm 
of Jesus Christ for you today? God's focus is not to build an organization
or to complicate your life with rules and regulations. God's program is to 
seek and to save the lost, to restore the broken and the wounded, to give 
hope
to the hopeless, to forgive sins and to defeat the enemy of death. That is 
what He accomplished through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.

No matter how mysterious God is, the certain fact is that you know Him 
because He is the savior from sin and death. Through Jesus Christ your sins 
are
washed away. God's program is salvation, rescue, restoration and redemption. 
His program is focused on your life. You may have questions about timing and
events and how God does His work, but you can be certain about His program 
of life and salvation for you through His son, Jesus Christ. The place to 
meet
Jesus is certain. His program of rescue and relief for you is certain.

Third, the disciples were certain about His presence. I'm talking about the 
presence of Jesus through it all. You heard what Jesus said. One of the 
greatest
promises He could ever give: "Behold, I am with you always to the very end 
of the age." There may be a lot that you don't know about your life, this 
world
and the unsearchable ways of God, but you do know one thing because of the 
promise of Jesus: you know His presence. Jesus is with you right now. You 
might
doing wonderfully in life. Everything might be going very well or your life 
might be a wreck. You may be struggling and suffering and stressed out, but
Jesus is with you and when Jesus is with you, He gives you His strength. He 
fills you with peace that passes all understanding. He carries you through
trials, and He gives you wisdom and humility through successes. He teaches 
you so you can shine His light and talk to your loved one about the great 
hope
that you have in Him.

I can't even count the number of people who have said to me, "Pastor, as I 
sat alone in the hospital, waiting for my test in that flimsy gown, 
wondering
what they would find, I knew that I was never alone." Others said to me, 
"Pastor, even though my heart was broken, I was filled with grief, I had the 
strength,
I really did. It was almost miraculous to make it through. Pastor, when I 
needed the courage to pray with a friend, Jesus gave me the exact words she 
needed
to hear. Pastor, when the pressure was on and I thought I couldn't take it 
anymore, I was filled with peace and confidence that Jesus was right by my 
side."
I'm so glad that you're willing to all share those things with me. They cut 
right to the heart, but they cut right to the promise of Jesus. All this is
true for each of you today. God loves you too much to let you walk through a 
very tough life on your own. You have it in writing. You can be certain 
about
the presence of your savior, so listen up.

You may not be certain about the miraculous or the meaning or God's methods, 
but you can be certain about the place to meet God, the program of His 
salvation
and His presence with you always. In fact, here's another wrench in our 
plans in life. Satan will try to jumble those things up for you. He will 
tempt
you to think that life has to totally make sense in order for you to believe 
and trust in God, and yet he will tempt you to doubt the presence of God 
with
you and God's program of salvation from sin. He will try to get you to doubt 
the certain solution. Satan will turn everything around and tempt you to 
trust
only lightning bolts and signs from heaven. At the same time, he will try to 
get you to doubt the places that God has given you to meet Him, His word and
sacraments. That's why reading the Bible gets push aside so easily today.

That's why people are intent on looking elsewhere to find God. People are 
looking for Him in nature, on golf courses, in new age religious fads, but 
they
so easily forget that God meets them in the very present and accessible 
Word, and in His wonderful gifts of Baptism and Holy Communion. Don't let 
yourself
be tempted to forsake gathering with your fellow believers around the 
reading and learning of God's Word, the encouraging fellowship the church 
provides.
Satan will tempt you to get into complex theological arguments about 
puzzling Biblical truths, and yet make you hesitant to teach and proclaim 
and live
out the clear truths that Jesus gives so generously, so what do you do? What 
do you do? Be clear about what you don't know and be clear about what you
do.

You can talk about your faith even when you ask the question, "What's going 
on, Lord?" All you have to say is, "There's a lot I don't know, but what I
do know is this." In fact, that's not just a message. That's a joyous way to 
live life. Amidst the questions of today and tomorrow, you can meet them 
head
on because you know the place to meet your savior in repentance and in 
worship and be filled. You live by the power of His program for salvation in 
life.
That's everlasting life that He gives and you know the joy of His presence 
with you always. Even in doubt, you go out. Even in doubt, you know plenty.
You know what is most important. Stick with it. Keep reading and hearing 
Jesus' good news for you and know this. You are never, never alone and 
that's
good news to have and good news to share. God be with you always in the name 
of our risen and ascended Lord Jesus. Amen.
Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for June 11, 2017
Guest: Rich Cohrs and Marc Debrick
Mark Eischer: You're listening to the Lutheran Hour. This is Action in 
Ministry, your call to action in response to all that God has done for us in 
Jesus
Christ.

Gregory Seltz: Mark, can you imagine walking and talking with Jesus as the 
disciples did, seeing firsthand the miracles He performed, hearing Him 
preach
to the crowds, seeing Him show mercy to the despised? And yet, here it 
comes, they too had many questions about this person that they were 
following.

Mark Eischer: That's right. Even the disciples had to be told who this Jesus 
really was. Like us, they also had their times of doubt and uncertainty.

Gregory Seltz: Right.

Mark Eischer: This week we're offering a resource for you that's titled Do 
You Know Who Jesus Is? It's a booklet designed for children, and joining us
today is Rich Cohrs along with Marc Debrick. Mark is the principal at Zion 
Lutheran School in Harvester, Missouri. Rich and Mark, it's great to have 
you
with us.

Marc Debrick: You bet.

Rich Cohrs: Thank you. Thank you.

Mark Eischer: Rich Cohrs, this booklet was your idea. Tell us how it came 
about and what is it.

Rich Cohrs: There was a time when I was tasked to present the Easter story 
to children at the Easter egg hunt. That was really hard for me to come up 
with,
so I came to the coworkers at Lutheran Hour and said, "Let's put a booklet 
into their hands." From that, developed this series of booklets. It is the 
booklet
that tells the story of Christ from the time of the promise to Adam and Eve.

Mark Eischer: Wow.

Rich Cohrs: All the way through the Ascension. It's written in four line 
rhyme with illustrations. It is great for little children.

Mark Eischer: I mean, when you rhyme, it sticks inside too. You can hear it 
and you remember it, right?

Rich Cohrs: Yeah. All the time.

Mark Eischer: Why is it important to put this booklet into the hands of 
children then?

Rich Cohrs: You know, it's said that Christianity is one generation away 
from extinction and even if one child doesn't hear about Christ, that means 
that
all the seceding generations will not hear about Him. Children today need to 
know the saving love of Jesus. What's interesting is if we can reach the 
children,
sometimes we can reach the parents and sometimes we can reach the 
grandparents with it too.

Greg Seltz: Yeah, it's amazing what the word of a child who really does know 
Jesus Christ can do.

Mark Eischer: Marc, as the principal of a Lutheran school, how have you been 
able to use this booklet and how does it appeal to different ages?

Marc Debrick: It's a great booklet because the story of Jesus' love and the 
Gospel and His forgiveness for us is a great story, and it can be a simple
story too especially to kids. That simple story kids can use to tell others 
and especially to go home and tell their parents or their grandparents, 
whoever
might be there, so they have that chance to go home and spread that great 
news. Sometimes it's the first time these parents have heard that story. 
Those
parents then, they know their kids are loving school and enjoying that, 
learning so many things. They want to become a part of that too, so many 
times
at our youngest grades, we go all the way up through eighth grade, but our 
youngest grades is where we have the unchurch families and they're going to
hear that story. They become members of our church then too.

Greg Seltz: Yeah. There's nobody like Jesus and when people meet Him, even 
from the mouth of young children, it's like, "Wow. Who is that person? Who 
is
he?" Rich, there are some other ways that this booklet has been used too.

Rich Cohrs: There's an organization that runs a food bank and they include 
this booklet into each bag of food that they hand out. That way, the mothers
can read it to their children, but if the mothers have struggles with 
English, then the children might be able to read it to their parents too.

Greg Seltz: Okay. Well, double blessing.

Mark Eischer: Rich, what did you find most challenging about telling the 
story of Jesus in this way and making it both simple, rhyming and true to 
scripture?

Rich Cohrs: That's the answer to the question. Simple and rhyming and true 
to the scriptures. It's very difficult. When you look at the complexity of 
the
scripture and the simple message of Jesus loves you, but then to add to it 
the dimensions of the rhymes, that will capture the children's imagination,
to use the vocabulary that the children will understand and then to have the 
wonderful illustrations.

Mark Eischer: Yeah. What rhymes with kerygma?

Greg Seltz: What a great way to share the love of Jesus Christ. You guys 
have been talking about this simple non-threatening, easy to understand. A 
great
idea, well-used. Thank you both for coming in and sharing this great 
resource, and folks, you need to get this. Thanks for coming in.

Marc Debrick: You bet. Thank you.

Rich Cohrs: Thank you.

Gregory Seltz: That's our Action in Ministry segment today, to bless, to 
empower and to strengthen your life in Christ for others.

Mark Eischer: Once again, the title of this booklet is Do You Know Who Jesus 
Is? For your free copy of this resource, go to lutheranhour.org and click
on Action in Ministry, or call 1-855-John 316. That's 1-855-564-6316.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for June 11, 2017
Topic: Why am I still exhausted after my vacation?
Announcer: We are back with Pastor Gregory Seltz. I'm Mark Eischer, and 
today's question is, "Why am I still exhausted after my vacation?"

Gregory Seltz: I can relate to that question. How about you, Mark?

Mark Eischer: Well, I've been there, I think.

Gregory Seltz: Yeah. Here we're approaching vacation time for many of our 
listeners. Summer is swinging into play as soon as the kids get out of 
school,
so let me just say at the outset that planning a vacation, it may or may not 
be restful. Even vacation time can make you tired. Sometimes you come home
from a trip and you need a vacation from your vacation.

Mark Eischer: What do you think is the key to real rest?

Gregory Seltz: Let's start where rest, where real rest begins. Jesus says, 
"Come to me all you who are laboring and are heavy-laden, and I will give 
you
rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me and you will find rest for your 
souls." Now please understand I'm not trying to give you a simplistic Jesus
answer to the question. Jesus' words actually dig deeply into what true rest 
is. Sometimes I think we mistake escape for rest.

Mark Eischer: Well, tell me more about that. You know, what is the 
difference between them?

Gregory Seltz: We can escape in any number of ways, but escape typically 
results in added restlessness and stress. For example, you can become very 
stressed
or experience terrible difficulty and heartbreak, but instead of seeking 
rest, you may try to escape the pain and discomfort by drowning your sorrows 
in
alcohol or seeking temporary refuge in drugs. You may veer into buying 
things that give you a short term boost of satisfaction or even take risks 
that
make you forget your troubles, but these are escape mechanisms. In fact, 
they'll leave you feeling worse in the long term and they'll eventually 
complicate
your life.

Mark Eischer: But I can understand how the idea of escaping from fatigue and 
stress might be tempting.

Gregory Seltz: Well, it is tempting. I mean, many times escape is the easy 
path, but Jesus doesn't want you to hurt yourself or others by escaping. He
provides for us real rest.

Mark Eischer: What does look like?

Gregory Seltz: It starts then with God being your refuge and strength in 
times of trouble. It begins with being filled with His encouraging word, 
going
to the Lord in prayer and receiving His presence and communion. It continues 
by following the pattern He established in creation. God rested on the 
seventh
day. He invites us into that rhythm of rest.

Mark Eischer: Here God is getting very practical with us.

Gregory Seltz: He does. We're not made to go at break-neck speed 24 hours a 
day, seven days a week, and we are not created for constant absorption of 
everything
the world throws at us. We need stillness, God's stillness. We need to be 
refueled with God's grace and truth.

Mark Eischer: Here we think of Psalm 23 where it says that our Good Shepherd 
restores our souls.

Gregory Seltz: Exactly. This calls for healthy practices of rest in our 
lives. God's rest on the seventh day is where we get our word Sabbath from. 
It
means seventh, so I'll ask our listeners, do you have a day or time when you 
unplug from your phone, texting and email, when you turn off the TV news 
blitz
and when you plug into stillness with God in His restoring word of life? Do 
you have a rhythm of conversation and fellowship with a friend who can 
listen
to you and speak that word into your life? That's why God created the 
Church. It's not for the purpose of making us more busy. It's for the 
purpose of
remaking our souls and hearts as they get tired and battered.

Mark Eischer: A big issue today is establishing healthy boundaries and 
patterns that allow for rest and replenishment.

Gregory Seltz: To that point, Jesus was tenacious about a rhythm of rest and 
replenishment, so it's important that the commotion stops in our life at 
times
to hear God's voice and receive His restoration.

Mark Eischer: It also sounds to me like you're advocating control over 
whether to be connected or not.

Gregory Seltz: Most definitely, Mark. I mean, we can lose ourselves to the 
control of technology. We do need to disconnect and not feel guilty. We can
lift up the value then of Sabbath, a time of stillness, a recouping of 
relationships and personal identity. We do need to unplug regularly and be 
plugged
into the things of God, to be still and know that God is our savior, friend 
and hope each day.

Mark Eischer: To sum this all up, God is calling us to find rest in His word 
and there to find new strength for when we go back to our regular routine
after the vacation is over.

Gregory Seltz: Indeed.

Mark Eischer: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of 
Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Visit lutheranhour.org
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:
"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 
Concordia Publishing House)

"O Day of Rest and Gladness" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia 
Publishing House)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 11:30 pm

Worship in Your Waiting
Kristin Tabb / June 10, 2017
Worship in Your Waiting

Our daughter, like many sons and daughters, loves Christmas. One December, 
when she was three, she asked us if Christmas was here yet . . . every. 
single.
day. “Just wait,” my husband and I would say. “It’s coming.”

To her delight, we assembled and lit our Christmas tree early in the month. 
She went to bed eagerly that night. The next morning she ran downstairs, 
full
of expectation and hope. The tree was dark and empty. Her face crumpled, and 
she turned to me with a wail, “I have
waited and
waited and Christmas is not coming!” I smiled, but she had my full sympathy. 
I have waited many a day, sometimes with hope, and sometimes not.

Waiting for What We’ll Be

All of us spend most of our lives waiting, whether for “big” things like a 
job, a spouse, a baby, or healing, or something that feels “smaller,” like 
summer
vacation or for little ones to grow to maturity. Waiting can be good, and 
hard, and it isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Often when we’ve 
received
something big that we’ve waited for expectantly, we assume happiness will 
follow, and our desires will be permanently satisfied. Instead, we quickly 
find
ourselves waiting for something else — and sometimes several things at once.

Waiting is a standard part of life in a finite world. Regardless of whether 
our waiting feels easy or hard at the moment, how we wait is shaping the 
people
we are becoming. Worship is essential to that wait because a Godward 
perspective helps us to persevere with patience and hope. Endurance, Paul 
tells us,
“produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us 
to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the 
Holy
Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:4–5).

Worshipful Waiting

If we long for the endurance that produces character and leads us to hope, 
we must be fueled by Godward
worship. Psalm 27 illustrates this principle in action so beautifully. 
Though the psalm opens with the confident question, “Whom shall I fear?” we 
find
that the psalmist actually has much to fear, as he waits in a seemingly 
endless season for deliverance. He faces evildoers, adversaries, and foes 
(Psalm
27:2), an army encamped against him in a rising battle (Psalm 27:3), and 
enemies all around him (Psalm 27:6).

In our waiting, fear longs to ensnare us, replacing faith in our hearts. The 
psalmist feels the oppressive nature of this temptation; he is not blind to
what assails him in his wait.

And yet his eyes can see more than the distressing nature of his 
circumstances, and worship makes all the difference — such a difference, in 
fact, that
the psalmist requests that God might let him “dwell in the house of the Lord 
all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire
in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).

His time of worship in God’s dwelling place is so powerful that he leaves 
enraptured with God’s beauty (Psalm 27:4), reminded of God’s promise to be a
refuge for those who fear him (Psalm 27:5), to answer the prayers of those 
who cry out to him (Psalm 27:7), and to not forsake those he has committed 
to
save (Psalm 27:9–10). This time of worship is so eye-opening, spiritually 
speaking, that he proclaims joyfully in the midst of all his trouble, “And 
now
my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer 
in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to 
the
Lord” (Psalm 27:6).

The end result of his worship is courage and confidence in the Lord — and a 
willingness to wait for God’s deliverance, and to wait with hope. “I believe
that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! 
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the
Lord!” (Psalm 27:13–14). The psalmist exhorts those around him with renewed 
trust in God’s character, promises, and even timing.

What We Really Need

You see, what my daughter needed most that morning wasn’t a Christmas tree 
loaded with presents. The fact that we had taken the time to set the tree up
and adorn it, not to mention our track record of trustworthiness in general, 
could help her recall what was true of us in that moment when she could 
barely
wait for what she dearly wanted. What she needed most was to
trust us, our character and our promises. And that is what God’s children 
need, too, in moments of waiting: to recall who he is, what he has done, and
what he has promised to do.

During worship, God opens our eyes so that we are able to see him — to see 
all the resources available to us in Christ. We have been bought by his 
blood.
He has us, and he will not let us go. During our times of waiting, let us 
not look to false saviors, but rather to our good Father whose heavenly host
surrounds us every moment, even while we wait and wait.

When, in our worship, we catch a bigger vision of the strong and kind heart 
of our God, then we are well prepared for the waiting that lies before us as
long as we live on this earth. We will not stagnate in our waiting, but 
grow, and be blessed by it. In corporate worship, as we turn our eyes 
heavenward,
we wait together for the one we long for most: our God who brings salvation 
(Hebrews 9:28). This is a hope that will not disappoint. When the waiting is
over, we will worship the one who fulfills our expectations beyond what we 
could imagine.

Raise Your Expectations for Sunday Morning
John Piper / June 10, 2017

God’s glory shines everywhere, but in corporate worship there is a unique 
exhibition of glory that we do not see any other way.


Build Your Life on the Mercies of God
John Piper / June 10, 2017

The mercies of God ground our life in Christ. Because he’s immeasurably 
gracious, we have endless riches forever in him.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Why Are We Here?

We live to the Lord. - Romans 14:8

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of 
conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for 
immortality
that we should linger here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven 
and to be found fit to partake in the inheritance of the saints in light, 
even
though he has only just believed in Jesus. It is true that our 
sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be 
perfected until we lay
aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, if the Lord 
had wanted to, He could have changed us from imperfection to perfection and 
have
taken us to heaven at once.

Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single 
moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on
the battlefield when one charge might give them the victory? Why are His 
children still wandering here and there through a maze when a single word 
from
His lips would bring them into the center of their hopes in heaven?

The answer is--they are here that they may "live to the Lord" and may bring 
others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed,
as plowmen to break up the fallow ground, as heralds publishing salvation. 
We are here as "the salt of the earth,"1 to be a blessing to the world. We 
are
here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, 
and as workers together with Him. Let us see that our life fulfills this 
purpose.
Let us live zealous, useful, holy lives, to "the praise of his glorious 
grace."2

Meanwhile we long to be with Him and daily sing--

My heart is with Him on His throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
"Rise up, and come away."

1 Matthew 5:13
2 Ephesians 1:6

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Deuteronomy 15

verse 2 Psalms 102

Where was God when that happened?: And other questions about God’s goodness, 
power, and the way He works in the world.

By Christopher Ash

When a personal tragedy strikes, or when we find ourselves struggling to 
make sense of horrifying world events, do we begin to doubt if God is truly 
in
control? After all, if God is good then why do bad things happen?

Christopher Ash addresses this question head on. In his book, Where was God 
when that happened? , he offers remarkable insight into the challenging 
topic
of God’s sovereignty within a world filled with sadness and pain. This warm, 
pastorally hearted and accessible book will help those struggling with this
question to see the grand vision of the Bible’s answer -- and the tragedy of 
adopting any other viewpoint.

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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

Weary mariner on life's tempestuous ocean!

( David Harsha )

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His 
rebuke--because the Lord disciplines those He
loves, just as a father disciplines the son he delights in." Proverbs 
3:11-12

To the children of God, afflictions are sent in mercy. They are directed by 
love.

They are designed . . .
to draw us more closely to the Savior,
to mortify indwelling sin,
to purify our hearts,
to wean us from earth,
to elevate our affections to that blessed world where there shall be no more 
pain.

Every breeze of earthly sorrow is only wafting us to those high and heavenly 
abodes, where
temporal ills are forever unknown!

Oh, then, when ready to sink under the accumulated ills of life--let us come 
to the Savior in the time of trouble.

Weary mariner on life's tempestuous ocean, when afflictions cloud your sky, 
and billows roar around you--then cling to the Savior in grateful, confiding
love.

Amid all your difficulties and dangers, He will whisper consolation to you, 
and support your fainting soul with the richest consolation and the choicest
promises. You will then be enabled to bear the
trials of life with composure--knowing that, like the Captain of our 
salvation, you must also be made perfect through suffering; and that these 
light
and momentary afflictions are working for you a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory!

You will then experience the sweetness of the divine promises--and in the 
midst of outward trouble, enjoy inward peace.

How to Pray when You Can't Find the Words
Kelly Stanley
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what 
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through 
wordless
groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because 
the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

( Romans 8:26-27 , NIV)
One Sunday morning, a man visiting my church stood to give his testimony. In 
broken English, he described the scene in which he first saw the woman who
would become his wife, the moment when he first felt God calling to him.
“These people were singing, but not with their mouths,” he said. “It was a 
deeper song.”
That’s when my tears started. Because isn’t that what most of us want? To 
reach God, to commune with Him? With or without words.
Let’s face it. I am a writer, and even I have those times when the words won’t 
come.
Usually when we’re without words, it’s because we’re hurt. Cynical. 
Disillusioned. Heartbroken. Weary. We may have lost a parent or sibling or 
child or
friend. We may be facing a broken marriage, a suicidal teen, an addiction, 
financial devastation, or abuse.
Or maybe we’re just uninspired. Tired. Worn out from carrying our fears 
around. Exhausted from overscheduling and under-resting. Dealing with 
depression
or illness or a million tiny little worries.
I’ve been there, desperate for God but unable to draw my mind in, unable to 
reach out to Him, either verbally or in writing. And even in those moments,
I’ve felt the irony. The only One who can truly make a difference in the 
situation is the One I can’t seem to talk to.
But the truth is that words are not required. Prayer, in its most simple 
definition, is communion with God. I often think of it as a conversation, 
but
it doesn’t have to be.
Have you ever sat in companionable silence with a spouse, parent or friend? 
Enjoyed a peaceful afternoon on the porch with a grandparent, no words 
needed?

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When I gave birth to my children, I had no words to describe what I felt, so 
I just sat there, looking at that beautiful new creation, soaking in 
gratitude.
When my mom died, as I stood in the receiving line, some of my favorite 
people walked up, looked into my eyes, hugged me, and moved on. Without 
saying
a single word, they communicated everything I needed to hear. Everything 
they wanted to say.
Next time you feel stuck, when you stumble over words or are wrestling with 
emotions you can’t seem to wrangle, why don’t you try something new? Sit in
silence, your mind focused on God. Look around and find the beauty in your 
environment. Draw a picture, doodling names and images and offer it as 
prayer.
Work your way through your daily tasks, and keep the mindset of dedicating 
your work—laundry, cleaning, dishes, gardening—to God as an act of worship.
Listen to a piece of worship music and let yourself get lost in the sound.
Or sing a new song, from a deeper place.
It just might help you get past whatever it is that is blocking your path. I 
promise you, God will receive it. He will understand that it is prayer. He
will know what your heart feels and what your soul needs.
And before long, the words will come. But even if they don’t, you’ve still 
prayed, and in the process, you’ve drawn closer to God. Because wherever God
is, lives are changed.
With or without words.

Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of
Praying Upside Down
and Designed to Pray
. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also 
a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing
everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She 
blogs at
kellyostanley.com
and calls small-town Indiana her home.
Publication date: May 25, 2016

The Origin

We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:19

There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and 
there is no true love for Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the 
Lord
Jesus Himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, 
all our love to God must spring.

This truth is foundational, that we love Him for no other reason than 
because He first loved us. Our love for Him is the result of His love for 
us. When
studying the works of God, anyone may respond with cold admiration, but the 
warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God's Spirit.

What a wonder that any of us, knowing what we're like, should ever have been 
brought to love Jesus at all! How marvelous that when we had rebelled 
against
Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. We 
would never have had a grain of love toward God unless it had been sown in
us by the sweet seed of His love for us.

Love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: But 
after it is divinely born, it must be divinely nourished. It is not like a
plant, which will flourish naturally in human soil--it must be watered from 
above. Love for Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received
no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts, it 
would soon wither. As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly
bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on 
high. Love must feed on love. The very soul and life of our love for God is
His love for us.

I love Thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord; but all the love is Thine,
For by Thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in Thee.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Deuteronomy 16

verse 2 Psalms 103
Where was God when that happened?: And other questions about God’s goodness, 
power, and the way He works in the world.

By Christopher Ash

When a personal tragedy strikes, or when we find ourselves struggling to 
make sense of horrifying world events, do we begin to doubt if God is truly 
in
control? After all, if God is good then why do bad things happen?

Christopher Ash addresses this question head on. In his book, Where was God 
when that happened? , he offers remarkable insight into the challenging 
topic
of God’s sovereignty within a world filled with sadness and pain. This warm, 
pastorally hearted and accessible book will help those struggling with this
question to see the grand vision of the Bible’s answer -- and the tragedy of 
adopting any other viewpoint.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 

4 Ways to Keep it Together When Your Life is Falling Apart
Cindi McMenamin

Are you one to crumble at life’s circumstances? Or do you allow them to make 
you stronger?

When life brings something painful or you simply feel like your life is 
falling apart, how you respond makes all the difference in the world.

You and I can either react emotionally and escalate the drama of the 
situation. Or we can respond biblically and grow through it.

As I was writing my book, Drama Free
, it occurred to me that there are two kinds of drama in life: 1) The drama 
that life brings and God allows; and 2) The drama that we create through our
response to life.

The drama that life brings is inevitable. Yet how we respond to it 
determines whether or not it will be fruitful in our lives in conforming us 
to the image
of Christ. Our response to the drama also determines whether God gets the 
glory or we shine the spotlight on our frailties, insecurities, and 
emotional
instability.

With help from God’s Word, plus some practical guidance, you and I can be 
drama free – even when the unthinkable happens. Even when you are clearly a 
victim.
Even when life takes an unexpected turn and you are caught in an 
overwhelming whirlwind of circumstances that would make any person lose it.
Even then.

Here are four ways that you can keep it together when it feels like your 
life is falling apart. (These four steps spell the word “CALM” which is what 
you
can be if you practice them.)

C - Consider the bigger picture.

Life – and therefore every circumstance you encounter – is meant to conform 
you to the image of Christ. We know this because Romans 8:28-29
tells us: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those 
who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God
foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Once 
you consider this, you can relax and realize God knows what He’s doing in 
the
circumstances He’s allowing. And you can focus on passing the test, rather 
than failing it through unnecessary drama.

A – Acknowledge God is in control.

You are not at the whim of the weather or the most likely predicted outcome. 
You are not going to consider “averages” or statistics. You are going to 
trust
the God of miracles and whatever He decides to do or not do, for your 
greater good. Try taking a look at God’s track record in the stories of the 
Bible.
People went through trial after trial, but when they acknowledged God’s 
control and remained faithful to Him in spite of their circumstances, they 
experienced
deliverance, protection, comfort, and peace. God has an excellent track 
record of honoring those who trust Him.

L – Look for the lesson.

The lessons are everywhere. And sometimes they aren’t the ones you think. 
Ask God to show you what He wants you to see in the moment, and then stay 
tuned
to His instruction. I find it is helpful, and a reminder to me that God is 
working in my life, when I say aloud, “God, show me what You want me to see
in this situation” or, “Mold me through this, God,” or, “Open my eyes to the 
truth of Who You are through this situation and my pain.” Maybe your short
prayer is simply, “Change me through this, Lord Jesus.” By acknowledging 
that God is doing something through our situation, we won’t miss the lesson.

M – Make it a point to praise.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are instructed to “give thanks in all 
circumstances: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Note that 
command says
in
all circumstances, even the unexpected, uncomfortable, and unwanted 
circumstances. As we thank God for our circumstances – and for whatever He 
determines
to do through them – it will change our perspective and make us people who 
anticipate His provision, rather than dread the worst. That is displaying 
faith,
rather than demonstrating fear or doubt.

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Here is a prayer to start with, that encompasses each step toward finding 
your CALM:

Lord, Thank You that what is happening in my life right now did not take You 
by surprise. You understand the bigger picture of what is going on and I 
trust
You with Your plan and purposes for my life. Thank You that You are in 
absolute control and You are fully able to conform me to the image of Christ 
through
this ordeal as I surrender it to You. Show me what You want me to learn 
through this and help me to remain teachable and sensitive to Your Holy 
Spirit.
I thank You that You are with me, that You will never leave me, and that You 
are drawing me closer to You through this situation so I can experience a
more intimate relationship with You. May You receive glory for how I respond 
to all that Your loving hand has allowed in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk 
with God and their relationships. She is the author of 15 books, including
the best-selling
When Women Walk Alone
(more than 125,000 copies sold),
When God Sees Your Tears
, and her newest book,
Drama Free
: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You, upon which this article is 
based. For more on her speaking ministry, or free articles to strengthen 
your soul,
marriage, or parenting, see her website
www.StrengthForTheSoul.com .

The Necessity of Prayer
June 8, 2017

Read: Mark 1:35-37

Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and 
went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (v. 35)

I was watching a television program the other day and one of the main 
characters found himself in a very dangerous situation. He didn’t know what 
to do.
His enemies were surrounding him and humanly speaking, he saw no way out. So 
he prayed. His prayer went like this: “Lordy, I know I haven’t talked to you
in a long time, but I sure need your help now. So if you’re listening, 
please get me out of this—quick!”

That man typifies how many people see prayer—as the last option. When 
nothing else works, ask God. Instead, Jesus saw prayer as part of the 
regular rhythm
of life. Prayer was more communion with God than request for God’s 
assistance. Jesus was extremely busy. There were always needy people around 
him. He
“gave out” so much that he realized that he also had to “take in.” He needed 
to be renewed and encouraged by his heavenly Father. So he prayed—early and
often.

A wise person once said, “Not to pray is to be guilty of the incredible 
folly of ignoring ‘the possibility of adding God to our resources’” (William 
Barclay,
quoting Albert D. Belden,
The Practice of Prayer). Jesus knew that if he was to meet with people, he 
must first meet with God. If prayer was necessary for Jesus, how much more 
is
it necessary for us! —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, help us to pray early and often, like Jesus. Amen.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 20 Jul 2017, 11:19 pm

Every Day God Gives Opportunities to Help Others
By Rick Warren

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to 
act”
(Proverbs 3:27 NIV).

Every day God gives you little opportunities to show kindness to people 
around you. As he does, he’s watching to see if you’re going to be 
self-centered
or if you’ll notice the people who need a word of encouragement or a pat on 
the back or an errand done for them or some other practical means of help.

The Bible says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is 
in your power to act”
(Proverbs 3:27
NIV). You won’t always have an opportunity to help. So when you do, take the 
Nike approach: Just do it! You probably have people in your life that you’ve
thought about helping. You have the best intentions, but so far, you’ve done 
nothing. Why?

You didn’t act immediately.

We make excuses. One of the most prominent: “I’ll do it when things settle 
down.” Guess what? Things never will. If you’re going to do any good in your
life, the time is now. The Bible says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, 
you will never get anything done”
(Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB).

Do good now because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow.

Jesus says, “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the 
one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and 
all
work comes to an end”
(John 9:4 TLB).

God has assigned tasks for all of us to do in our lives. And our lives are 
ticking away. Don’t wait for perfect conditions; every day, look for the 
opportunities
God gives you to help and encourage others.

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over:

• What are some excuses you’ve may have heard for not doing good quickly?
• Can you describe a time when you “meant to” do good but waited and lost 
the opportunity?
• How is God asking you to do good for someone? What step can you take today 
to make that happen?

For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !

Anne Graham Lotz - God Takes the Initiative
God Takes the Initiative
Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?

Isaiah 40:13, NIV

“Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his 
counselor?” The answer that reverberates through the millenniums is . . . no 
one . .
. no one. God stands in the august solitude of Himself. When He acts, it is 
because He Himself has taken the initiative and made the decision to do so.

God took the initiative

to create the universe: “And God said . . . ,”

to create man: “Let us make man in our image . . . ,”

to create woman: “I will make a helper. . . .”

And God took the initiative to send His Son to be our Savior.

How unbelievably awesome is the One Who created everything!

Our heads should bow,

our wills should yield,

our hearts should love

the One Who took the initiative and revealed His glory through His eternity, 
deity, and activity.

Blessings,

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Word: in Weakness and in Power
----------------------------------------------------------

The Word: in Weakness and in Power

Posted: 05 Jun 2017 09:55 PM PDT

In the beginning, into the silence of nothingness came the Word of God.
The Sovereign of the universe expressed His will,
and it became reality.
The Word of God spoke,
and creation came to be,
and all the morning stars sang for joy.
His powerful Word continues to resound,
sustaining all that is.

Into the darkness of our sin came the Word of God.
God spoke His loving will,
not as an almighty conqueror,
but as a helpless infant.
He didn’t shout;
He whispered.
He didn’t command;
He invited.
The Word of God spoke, not in power,
but in weakness.

And when His Word speaks to us,
He still speaks in weakness, not in power.
He doesn’t demand in harsh tones.
He speaks gently, inviting, drawing us to Himself.

But at a time He alone has chosen,
the Word of God will again speak with absolute power.
The Sovereign of all reality will express His will,
and all that is will respond.
Creation will again be an Eden of
holiness and beauty,
truth and love,
completely one with its Maker.
To those who have listened to His inviting Word,
this will mean sharing the fullness of His life forever.
To those who have ignored His Word,
this will mean eternal exclusion, separation from Him, and death.

He is still speaking in a gentle whisper,
calling, inviting, drawing.
Hear the Word.
Receive the Word.


Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
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Today's

Turning Point
Friday, June 9

Cleared for Takeoff!

For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and 
we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:52b

Recommended Reading
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Richard and Catherine Dotson, both born in 1797, were married for fifty 
years. Catherine died in 1877 and Richard in 1884. They were buried in the 
family
cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. During World War II, an airport was built 
nearby; and after the war, a runway was built through the cemetery. Most of 
the
graves were moved, but the Dotson family refused permission for their 
ancestors to be exhumed. So the runway was built over their graves, and 
markers were
placed in the runway honoring their remains. That’s why Savannah has the 
only airport in the world with grave markers embedded in its runway.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
On reflection, we can see the appropriateness of that. For Christians, our 
cemetery plots are not our final resting places. They are the runways or 
launching
pads from which we’ll be caught heavenward when Christ returns. The 
resurrection of the body will be sudden, literal, physical, and glorious. We’ll 
be
snatched up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

Without death, there would be no resurrection. That’s why death holds no 
terror for the Christian. We’re living on a higher plane.

Our resurrection bodies will never wear out or grow old. Your new body will 
be designed for eternity. It will not be subject to accident, disease, 
aging,
or death. It will never wear out and never die; it will outlive the stars.
David Jeremiah

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Psalms 22 – 27
David Jeremiah's Website
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point's mission is to deliver the unchanging Word of God to an 
ever-changing world.
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.


How to Pray when You Can't Find the Words
Kelly Stanley
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what 
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through 
wordless
groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because 
the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

( Romans 8:26-27 , NIV)
One Sunday morning, a man visiting my church stood to give his testimony. In 
broken English, he described the scene in which he first saw the woman who
would become his wife, the moment when he first felt God calling to him.
“These people were singing, but not with their mouths,” he said. “It was a 
deeper song.”
That’s when my tears started. Because isn’t that what most of us want? To 
reach God, to commune with Him? With or without words.
Let’s face it. I am a writer, and even I have those times when the words won’t 
come.
Usually when we’re without words, it’s because we’re hurt. Cynical. 
Disillusioned. Heartbroken. Weary. We may have lost a parent or sibling or 
child or
friend. We may be facing a broken marriage, a suicidal teen, an addiction, 
financial devastation, or abuse.
Or maybe we’re just uninspired. Tired. Worn out from carrying our fears 
around. Exhausted from overscheduling and under-resting. Dealing with 
depression
or illness or a million tiny little worries.
I’ve been there, desperate for God but unable to draw my mind in, unable to 
reach out to Him, either verbally or in writing. And even in those moments,
I’ve felt the irony. The only One who can truly make a difference in the 
situation is the One I can’t seem to talk to.
But the truth is that words are not required. Prayer, in its most simple 
definition, is communion with God. I often think of it as a conversation, 
but
it doesn’t have to be.
Have you ever sat in companionable silence with a spouse, parent or friend? 
Enjoyed a peaceful afternoon on the porch with a grandparent, no words 
needed?

Learn more about RevenueStripe...
When I gave birth to my children, I had no words to describe what I felt, so 
I just sat there, looking at that beautiful new creation, soaking in 
gratitude.
When my mom died, as I stood in the receiving line, some of my favorite 
people walked up, looked into my eyes, hugged me, and moved on. Without 
saying
a single word, they communicated everything I needed to hear. Everything 
they wanted to say.
Next time you feel stuck, when you stumble over words or are wrestling with 
emotions you can’t seem to wrangle, why don’t you try something new? Sit in
silence, your mind focused on God. Look around and find the beauty in your 
environment. Draw a picture, doodling names and images and offer it as 
prayer.
Work your way through your daily tasks, and keep the mindset of dedicating 
your work—laundry, cleaning, dishes, gardening—to God as an act of worship.
Listen to a piece of worship music and let yourself get lost in the sound.
Or sing a new song, from a deeper place.
It just might help you get past whatever it is that is blocking your path. I 
promise you, God will receive it. He will understand that it is prayer. He
will know what your heart feels and what your soul needs.
And before long, the words will come. But even if they don’t, you’ve still 
prayed, and in the process, you’ve drawn closer to God. Because wherever God
is, lives are changed.
With or without words.

Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of
Praying Upside Down
and Designed to Pray
. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also 
a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing
everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She 
blogs at
kellyostanley.com
and calls small-town Indiana her home.
Publication date: May 25, 2016

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Most Dangerous Time of All - #7936

When you think of being a tourist in Hawaii, you think about fabulous 
beaches, luaus, enchanted islands-fun stuff. My first visit to Hawaii was on 
a stopover
from a mission to Singapore and I saw some of the fun stuff. But there's one 
thing to see in Hawaii that isn't very happy - Pearl Harbor. It was really
touching for me to stand at the USS Arizona Memorial in the middle of Pearl 
Harbor, right over the wreckage of one of the ships sunk by Japanese bombers
that awful December morning. Entombed inside that ship are hundreds of 
American servicemen who went down with her. How could such a total surprise 
attack
have happened? Actually that's been debated by historians for a long time. 
But one reason the attack was so tragically successful was this-it came at 
7:00
A.M. on a Sunday morning-in a place where everyone felt pretty safe...and at 
a time when everyone's guard was down.

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

Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God in Deuteronomy 
6:10-12. It's a warning from God about when His people tend to be the most 
vulnerable
to spiritual disaster. "When the Lord your God brings you into the land He 
swore to your fathers...to give you a land with large, flourishing cities 
you
did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things that you did not 
provide, wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did
not plant-then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not 
forget the Lord, who brought you out of...the land of slavery."

God says, "Look, when times are comfortable and you're doing well, look out. 
That's when My people forget Me." Like Pearl Harbor, we're most vulnerable
to an enemy victory when it's a quiet time, a relaxing time-a time when our 
spiritual guard is down. So if these are basically good times right now, you
could be in the most dangerous time of all.

Why? Because when things are tough, we've got no choice but to depend 
totally on our God. When the Jews were in the wilderness, they couldn't 
afford to
forget what God wanted-they needed Him for the next day's manna, for water 
to drink, for protection from their enemies. But now they're in a season 
where
they've got what they need...they're enjoying God's wonderful gifts to them, 
but they're not feeling the need for God like they did during those lean 
times.
Good times are the times we're most likely to forget the Lord.

That doesn't necessarily mean you wander off into gross sin. It's usually 
more subtle than that. You just gradually stop putting Jesus first. He's 
still
officially #1, but His Lordship is more honorary than real. In good times, 
we tend to become more and more self-focused-spending on ourselves rather 
than
sacrificing for God's work, increasing the time we spend on ourselves and 
decreasing our involvement in the work of Christ, missing our daily time 
with
the Lord-which was our life preserver when times were harder. It's just a 
general spiritual laxness, casual. And boy, your enemy has been waiting for 
this.

In those times when actually you're not consciously putting Jesus first like 
you were when it was tougher, that's when he hits you with his Pearl Harbor
attack and he does damage you never could have dreamed. And when you have 
stopped putting Jesus first because things are going well, you know what 
He'll
do? He'll inevitably do what it takes to make you remember how much you need 
Him.

So, if this is a relatively comfortable time right now, enjoy those great 
gifts from God. But don't ruin it by losing your Jesus-focus and trading it 
for
your old self-focus. Seek first His Kingdom as much in the good times as you 
do in the bad times.

In the wilderness, God brought you out of yourself and He brought you deep 
into Him. Now don't forget Him when you're in the Promised Land He's given 
you.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA
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