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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 10 Jun 2017, 9:24 pm

Seven Habits of Truly Effective Living
by Alex Crain, Crosswalk.com Contributor

The phrase, "begin with the end in mind" will be familiar to anyone who has 
read the life management book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,
by Stephen R. Covey. But if you aren't familiar with the phrase or the book, 
the general idea of "begin with the end in mind" is fairly straightforward.

Simply stated, before beginning any project, you should always ask the 
question "How do I want this to turn out?" Otherwise, you may end up 
climbing a
ladder, but not find success because your ladder is leaning on the wrong 
wall.

While the advice in Covey's book can help sharpen focus and cultivate good 
work habits, something that's missing from the book is the God-sized 
perspective
on life that we see in
Psalm 92 .

Stephen Covey invites his readers to the pathway of success by beginning 
with their own desires. In other words, "Imagine life as you want it to be." 
Naturally,
the ideal life for most people is one surrounded by beauty, expensive 
things, favorite people, etc. We want plenty of leisure time and the health 
to enjoy
these things. But without God, such a life is depicted in Scripture as empty 
and deceptive. It is a dream that springs from a heart tainted by sin. 
Frustration
and disappointment results when our primary source of motivation is the 
self.

If we are to be truly effective at living, we must humbly begin with God's 
end in mind.

Psalm 92 paints a picture of the ideal life as that of a righteous person 
who bears good fruit, even to old age. He is "full of sap and very green." 
In
other words, he is filled with spiritual vitality at the end of life when 
the temptation to grumble and express radical selfishness is often the 
strongest.

The roots for a strong, 'sap-filled' soul are found in Psalm 92. Here, the 
seven habits of truly effective living are unfolded for us:

#1 Seeing thankfulness and praise to God as something desirable, not as a 
duty (Psalms 92:1
). Far from complaining, his lips are filled with praise--declaring that 
there is no unrighteousness in God, his Rock (
Psalms 92:1 ).

#2 Focusing on God's lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness at 
night
( Psalms 92:1). For the righteous man, each day begins and ends with God. God is central 
in his thoughts throughout the entire day. 'Lovingkindness' refers to God's
covenant loyal love, which assures salvation for His people.

The righteous person is not self-righteous
. Rather, he looks to God's promises as the basis for his right standing 
before his Creator-Judge. Christ fulfilled these promises and delivers from 
a
life of vain pursuits all who trust Him.

#3 Enjoying resounding music and singing for joy at God's great works (Psalms 92:1 ).
"You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy 
at the works of Your hands."

#4 Pondering the deep thoughts of God ( Psalms 92:1)-
-not being characterized by a shallow, pragmatic view of God that sees Him 
merely as a means to get other things.

#5 Praising the transcendence of God--declaring that God is the "Most High" 
who is above all His creatures. The righteous one realizes that man is in
no way equal to God. Thus, he can never legitimately view God with suspicion 
or call Him into judgment (Psalms 92:1 ).

#6 Resting securely in the fact that, in the end, God will have the final 
say on all matters. He will deal justice to the enemies of righteousness (Psalms 92:1 ).

#7 Depending continuously upon God for strength--for "fresh oil" (Psalms 92:1
), knowing that yesterday's supply never carries over to today.

Perhaps you know an older believer who embodies these seven habits. My own 
'eighty-something' grandmother is one such saint. We affectionately call her
"Meme." Not long ago, Meme lay in a hospital bed with a serious health 
situation. I called her on the phone expecting to cheer her up, but she was 
the
one who brought cheer to me.

Instead of complaining about her pain, she spoke with delight about truths 
she had just read that morning in her well-worn Bible. She told me of the 
various
hymns and spiritual songs had been going through her mind throughout the 
day. She took time to ask me about my family and how things were going in 
ministry
at our local church.

Her prayer at the close of our conversation was full of gratitude and praise 
to the Lord. The tone of her voice showed a deep awareness of God's presence
right there with her. While I listened, I thought: This is Psalm 92 in 
action--here is someone who, throughout her life by God's grace, has learned 
and
is still practicing the seven habits of truly effective living.

Intersecting Faith & Life: If these seven habits aren't part of your daily 
life, why not pause right now and ask God to make them so?

Further Reading:

Philippians 2:12
Numbers 14


Anne Graham Lotz - Jesus Understands
View this email in your browser

Jesus Understands
I will pour . . . on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and 
supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.

Zechariah 12:10, NKJV

Hymn writers and artists have conveyed to us a picture of Jesus hanging on a 
Cross on a hill far away. In fact, the place of execution was just outside
the city gate, beside the main road leading into Jerusalem. And those to be 
crucified were only raised two to eighteen inches above the ground. That 
meant
all the dignity and modesty and purity of Jesus’ physical person was 
stripped away and He was left naked to die in searing, scorching heat, 
writhing and
groaning in agony, at virtually eye level with those who passed by on their 
way to and from the city.

In their rush to get to the temple area in time to purchase a lamb for 
sacrifice, did the pilgrims preparing for Passover even notice the Lamb that 
God
was sacrificing for their sin? As Jesus poured out His life, people must 
have passed by without a glance.

In a small way, are you pouring out your life for those who don’t notice? 
Jesus understands.

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

Altar-Call Christians?
by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com Contributor

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will 
love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does
not love me will not obey my teaching”
(John 14:23-24).

I’ve watched a lot of altar-calls in my day. The church in which I grew up 
routinely had altar-calls at the end of Sunday morning services. “If you’ve
never asked Jesus into your heart, and you want to now, raise your hand. 
Come to the front. Pray this prayer...” Granted, not every church and every 
denomination
does the whole altar-call thing. But it’s a pretty recognizable event in the 
land of “Christianese.”

And it’s not baseless. After all, Paul wrote to the Romans:

"If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart 
that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved"

(Romans 10:9).

And,

"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is 
with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, 
‘Anyone
who trusts in him will never be put to shame’
" (Romans 10-11 ).

But I wonder sometimes if we grasp those verses a little too tightly, and 
forget about the kind of life that Jesus was calling us to live. Are we 
living
like
Christians – like those “belonging to Christ” or “members of Christ’s 
household” – or are we simply living like people who prayed the Sinner’s 
Prayer that
one time?

Take a look at a few of these verses:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I 
tell you, Do not resist an evil person”
(Matthew 5:38-39 ).

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross 
daily and follow me”
(Luke 9:23 ).

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat 
or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on”
(Matthew 6:25 ).

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light 
for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth 
comes
into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has 
been done through God"
(John 3:20-21 ).

Jesus said those things. Jesus said to follow him. To give, make peace, feed 
the poor, and endlessly love.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Ask yourself... Are you walking in the 
footsteps of Jesus? Are you walking in the light? Or are you just someone 
who said
the Sinner’s Prayer one time, long ago?

Further Reading

John 14
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 10:07 pm

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - God Is Drawing Us to Himself
----------------------------------------------------------

God Is Drawing Us to Himself

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 09:55 PM PDT

Do you hear God’s Word continually prodding you?
It is urging you to
give thanks to Him!
Sing to Him!
Rejoice in Him!
Praise Him!
Trust Him!
Hope in Him!
Delight in Him!

Do you hear God calling?
God is calling us to Himself.

He is the source of
all life,
all love,
all blessing,
all that is good for
heart and soul,
mind and body.
So out of a deep longing for our very best, He is
pursuing us,
inviting us,
eagerly drawing us to Himself.

If you want all the riches that life offers,
seek the God who is seeking you.
Talk to Him.
Walk with Him.
Confide in Him.
Love Him.
Follow Him.
Turn yourself toward
your Source,
your Father,
your God.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Today's Devotional

Love Lifted Me

Psalm 40:2 – He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the 
mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 
(NLT)

The hymn writer, James Rowe, penned the hymn, Love lifted me. When I sing 
the first few words, "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful 
shore,"
I am brought back to my childhood.

I was going home from my friend's house, which was a "country mile" from my 
home. In the summer, it was a short walk across the hay field. In winter and
spring, I was forbidden to take the shortcut. One day, I decided to hop 
across the wet spring field really quickly! I would be home in a jiffy! Each 
step
sucked at my boots, ugly mud grabbing me. One boot and sock disappeared into 
the frothy, brown earth. Another step landed me on my "kiester", bootless,
completely defeated, and alone. I started to yell for my mom, but I was too 
far from home. I must have yelled wildly and loudly because my friend's two
big brothers heard me. They came to my rescue and pulled me out of the mud 
and helped me to get home safely. I must have been a sight! My momma, who 
loved
me, put me in a tub of warm water out in the backyard and cleaned all the 
mud away.

There are many kinds of muddy fields in life: times when we feel hopeless, 
dejected, sad, discouraged, miserable, disheartened, despairing, despondent,
defeated, and feeling like giving up because there is no solution, no way 
out of our dilemma. In such situations that are out of our control, we can't
do it ourselves, but God can. We must never give up, for "everything is 
possible with God"
(Mark 10:27b NLT). Paul advises us to "be thankful in all circumstances" (1 
Thessalonians 5:18a NLT), because giving thanks to God demonstrates our 
trust
in Him, and our faith actually releases His power to help us.

I cannot sing the hymn Love lifted me without remembering that boot-sucking 
dilemma. But every time I see a muddy spring field, I am reminded how I 
still
desperately need to be rescued and how, when I call on my Saviour, He hears 
and sets me free!

Prayer: Lord, as we look at the many pits of despair, the muddy fields, the 
areas of discouragement, we thank You that You are there to set our feet on
solid ground. We thank You that not only do You set our feet on solid 
ground, but Your care is ongoing. You steady us as we walk along. May each 
one of
us experience that all-encompassing lifting, love, and care of a gentle, 
compassionate God. Amen.

Carol Sefton 

When Words Don’t Work
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

“Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights 
with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very 
great.”
Job 2:13
(NASB)

A few weeks ago, a doctor told me I’d probably lose my big toe as some 
uncommon benign process had done damage to my bone. While I’m grateful to 
have other
solutions now, imagine my dismay the day I received that worst-case 
scenario.

I cried a lot and felt overwhelmed at the thought of amputation, the reality 
of rehab and how my life would make room for healing. I didn’t have words.

But right in the middle of my attempt to process the early prognosis, a 
longtime dear friend told me she wanted to stop by. She told me she wouldn’t 
stay
long, but she just wanted to visit with me.

My friend arrived at the door, brought a chair into the bedroom and sat. She 
didn’t try to offer words of comfort or some super spiritual word of 
encouragement.
I’m so glad because I’m not sure her words would have worked. She made it 
clear she just wanted to be there and support me with her presence. This 
friend
acknowledged my pain without focusing on it. We laughed a bit, and she let 
me cry a bit too.

Sometimes life delivers news that knocks the wind out of us, and we just don’t 
have words -- for our pain or for the pain of others. And here’s what I’ve
learned: Words matter, but sometimes our presence matters more.

When Job experienced great tragedy in his life, he had three friends who 
came to visit. They came intending to sympathize with him and comfort him.
(Job 2:11
) But when they realized how bad things were, they mourned with him then sat 
with him in silence.

“When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, 
they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they 
threw
dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with 
him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for
they saw that his pain was very great.”
(Job 2:12-13 , NASB)

The beautiful thing about Job’s friends is that they were friends of action. 
They looked out for him and noticed he was hurting. They came to Job without
him having to call them to attention. They didn’t start out attempting to 
fix his problems but chose instead to simply be with him
in his despair.

They acted as friends, even though they were speechless. They joined Job in 
his active grief but didn’t say a word. There was nothing to be said. They
understood the value in the companion of silent presence. They were willing 
to mourn with him, mingle their tears with his and offer quiet comfort.

It’s only later that Job’s friends make things worse when they tried to use 
their words to explain Job’s troubles. In fact, only in their attempt to 
explain
the pain did his friends earn their reputation for being insensitive, 
heartless and cruel.

But we can learn from their first response. Job’s friends came and sat with 
him in a demonstrable way to show their support without offering a solution.

And this is what I noticed about the beauty of my friend sitting with me.

Her presence mattered.

My toe.

Maybe someone’s breast cancer diagnosis or chronic fibromyalgia.

My rehab.

Maybe someone’s recovery from divorce or from financial troubles.

My adjustments.

Maybe someone’s new baby, empty nest, lonely heart or journey through grief.

We are a culture driven by what we can do. While doing has its place, let’s 
remember that “being” -- our presence with someone we care about -- carries
importance as well ... even if we don’t think we have something helpful to 
say.

Sure, sometimes we don’t know what to do, so we do nothing at all. While our 
intentions are real, in lieu of grand gestures we don’t act because we’re
unsure if our actions actually matter. We discount the beauty of “being 
there.”

My friend’s presence reminded me that it’s okay if you can’t “fix it.” It’s 
perfectly fine if you don’t have a solution or can’t provide the perfect 
answer.
Proverbs tells us that sometimes words just don’t work.

“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who 
restrains his lips is wise.”
(Proverbs 10:19 , NASB)

Even counselors know sometimes the best thing to do is simply sit and 
listen. You don’t always have to have the right word to say or know the 
perfect thing
to do. When words don’t work, your presence alone can be both a personable 
and poignant way to show a hurting friend you care.

Dear Father, help me see others who are hurting. Help me respond in a way 
that serves them and honors You. Give me words when words are a help, but 
help
me be there for others when my presence is what they need most. In Jesus’ 
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 12:15
, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (NASB)

1 Thessalonians 5:11
, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are 
doing.” (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
We know how hard it is to choose love in the midst of everyday life 
...especially if we don’t feel the same kind of love back. That's why we’re 
releasing
our new
Listen, Love, Repeat collection -- to remind you to choose love, even in the 
most difficult-to-love circumstances. In a world full of hurt, will you 
choose
to listen, love, repeat?
Shop here.

Encouraging others is something we all can do. Click here
to download a free printable Chrystal has made available to inspire you.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has someone ever been present in a way that helped you during a hard time? 
How did that encourage you?

Who needs your presence more than they need your words? How can you make 
yourself available today?

(c) 2017 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Jun 2017, 9:26 pm

Chosen Before Time Began

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
Ephesians 1:4

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Did you know that God chose you before He laid the foundations of the earth? 
You talk about “old time religion”! Well, friend, you can’t get much older
than that! Before there were any trees, mountains, birds, and bees, God 
chose you to be one of His children. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “God 
certainly
must have chosen me before I came into this world because He never would 
have chosen me afterward.”

That means you and I cannot take credit for our salvation. First John 4:19 
says, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” Somebody asked a little boy,
“Have you found the Lord?” And the little boy said, “I didn’t know He was 
lost.” How miraculous that God has chosen us. When left alone to ourselves, 
we
would never have chosen Him.

ACTION POINT:
Though His love for us is a divine mystery, it can bring great assurance to 
a believer’s heart to know “He first loved us.” Allow God’s Word to teach 
you
further what it means to be chosen. Read Matthew 20:16, 24:22; Luke 10:20; 
John 6:37-39; Romans 8:28-39; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 1:9-11; 2 
Timothy
1:9.
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.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
A Shoulder to Cry On - #7898
When a little child gets home later than they're supposed to, you know 
there's going to be something on the other end. There's going to be a 
worried and
not very happy parent waiting for them. I heard recently about a little girl 
who got home unusually late from school only to find a daddy who was, of 
course,
not happy at all. He asked the little girl why she was late. She said, 
"Because my friend broke her dolly." Her dad said, "Oh, okay, so you stayed 
with
her to fix it?" He didn't expect her gentle little reply, "No, Daddy. I 
stayed with her to help her cry."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A 
Shoulder to Cry On."

You may know someone right now who needs a friend like that; someone to help 
them cry. It's part of being a follower of Jesus actually to be that kind
of friend, that kind of coworker, that kind of person in your family.

Paul talks about this caring, sensitive, unselfish lifestyle in our word for 
today from the Word of God in Romans 12:15. Here's what He says, "Rejoice
with those who rejoice: mourn with those who mourn." When you're rejoicing, 
you need someone to share your joy. When you're hurting, you need someone to
share your burden. If you're a Jesus-follower, that's supposed to be you for 
the people you know. Because that's how your Master lived His life. He was
actually attracted to people who were hurting. He followed the need.

We don't always do this too well, do we? Look, you're probably like me. 
You've got a really busy life, you've got a full schedule. Someone who needs 
comfort
and encouragement and who needs time...well, let's be honest. They can feel 
like an interruption, an intrusion, maybe even a nuisance. Those feelings in
themselves are not a problem unless you allow those feelings to give you a 
hard heart and to make you unresponsive to a need that God has dropped into
your life. Yeah, God has dropped into your life. And that's what it is: God 
is hearing someone's cry, God is feeling someone's pain, and God is sending
to them one of His children to show them His love; one of His children like 
you.

Which means that we can't be all rigid about our sacred schedules and plans 
and our "to-do" lists. We need this Spirit-led flexibility to stop for 
someone
who needs a friend to "help them cry." People are a lot more important than 
tasks.

One reason we don't move in next to someone who's hurting honestly is 
because sometimes we don't know what to say. You know, that really doesn't 
matter.
Your job is to let them talk, to let them cry, to listen in a way that you 
can identify what that person needs right now, and then to see if you or 
someone
you know can help with some of those needs. I've heard of a tribe in Africa 
where they have a wonderful custom. When someone dies, one of the elders of
the village comes to the grieving family's hut and just sits there quietly 
for a couple of days. He doesn't say anything; he doesn't do anything, 
unless
he is asked to. He's just there, and his presence alone is comfort. That's 
not a bad model.

And strangely, what often qualifies you to be a comforter turns out to be 
the hardest things you ever faced in your life. Because you've been the one 
who
cried, you can help someone else who's crying. You are God's wounded healer. 
Or as Paul says, "God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort
those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" 
(2 Corinthians 1:4).

So would you like to be your Savior? Then stop for people who need you, and 
be there to help them cry.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.


6 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Prayer Life
Scott Slayton

Every believer knows what it is like to struggle in his or her prayer life. 
You know you need to pray and feel guilty for not praying more, so you kneel
down, fold your hands, close your eyes, and then have no idea what to say. 
Then once words start coming out you don’t know if you are praying for the 
right
thing or if your prayers are even being heard.

If this is your experience, here are a few practical steps you can take to 
reinvigorate your prayer life.

Sometimes our hesitation in prayer is driven by our insecurities about 
whether or not we will be heard. In times like these allow the message of 
the Gospel
to remind you that your audience with the Father is not conditional upon 
your performance as a believer. Remember that Jesus gave himself in your 
place
after he lived the perfect life none of us could have lived. God raised him 
from the dead and exalted him to the right hand of God. When we trust in 
Christ,
God gives us Christ’s righteousness and adopts us as his children. In 
addition, he gave us the Holy Spirit who helps us pray when we don’t know 
how to
pray. Because God is our Father, Jesus gave his life for us, and the Holy 
Spirit helps us, we have every reason in the world to come to him in prayer,
knowing we will be heard. When you feel like God will not hear you, remember 
this Gospel message.

Often the way we talk about our devotional lives hinders the way we pray. We 
often present prayer and Bible reading as if they are two unrelated halves
of the “quiet time.” The greatest help to my prayer life I ever heard came 
from Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life . He 
pointed
to biblical meditation as a bridge between Bible reading and prayer. As we 
think deeply about Scripture, asking it questions and plumbing its depths 
for
application, we think of things that will move us to pray. We will see 
things we should thank God for, sins we should confess, challenges we need 
the Spirit’s
aid to conquer, and ministry opportunities for which we need strength. When 
we read our Bibles we need to read them with an eye towards communion with
God and requests we should bring before him.

When you don’t know how to pray, trying praying a prayer God inspired in the 
Psalms. The Psalms cover the whole range of human emotions and stir up our
affections when we are dry. Pray Psalm 6 when you are hurting, Psalm 51 when 
you have sinned, or Psalm 63 when you desire to meet with God more than 
anything
else. Let Psalms like 19 or 100 help you see the glory of God and the praise 
due to his great name. To aid you in this, read through the Psalms and keep
a list of which ones would be helpful to pray in different times of need.

If you aren’t sure what to pray for, stop and make a list of things to pray 
about. Ask yourself some key questions to get the list started. Are there 
sins
I need to confess? What are some reasons I have to thank God for his 
goodness to me? What people in my life need to hear the Gospel? What 
Christian friends
do I have who need encouragement? What are things causing me stress and 
anxiety? These and other questions will yield a list that you could spend a 
significant
amount of time praying through.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

We can learn a lot about prayer by listening to other people pray. Often as 
believers we need other people to teach us how to pray. One resource to help
us with this is a book of prayers like The Valley of Vision . We can read 
prayers other believers prayed and be drawn near to God as our hearts begin 
to
be meshed together with the words of the prayer. Also, in our age where we 
are tempted to pray with a sometimes thoughtless informality, reading 
prayers
that have been carefully thought through can give us greater insight into 
our own prayer life.

If you get confused about what to pray for and don’t want to sit in a room 
by yourself, head outside. Walk around your neighborhood and pray for your 
neighbors.
If you have been in the neighborhood for a while you know their names and 
situations. If they are not believers, pray for opportunities to talk to 
them
about Jesus and pray for the Lord to open their hearts. If you don’t know 
them well enough to have an idea of how to pray for them, pray for 
opportunities
to get to talk to them or pray about how you can go out of your way to 
engage them. Let your prayers drive you to look for ministry opportunities 
with
those around you.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Jun 2017, 7:20 pm

Connecting man to man to God
For week of June 4, 2017
Issue 537
The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.


Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for 
Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.


Today’s issue is going out to over 2,169 weekly subscribers. Thank you 
in advance for forwarding this issue to friends, family and associates! 
To have a friend start their own Free subscription to CONNECTIONS, 
please have them visit:
http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/page33.html


Whenever I’m afraid, I put my trust in you—in God, whose word I praise. 
I trust in God; I won’t be afraid. What can mere flesh do to me? Psalm 
56:3-4
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+56%3A3-4&version=CEB;NIV;CSB;NLT


* CONSIDER **
*“The more selective you are about seeds, the more delighted you will be 
with the crop.”
-Max Lucado


* WHAT IS PENTECOST? **
*by Jason Byassee
Pentecost is the birthday of the church. That’s why we’re having the 
festivities we’re having today - one service all together, with bits of 
our usual three mixed, and a party after.


Some of my favorite moments as a pastor come when I introduce one of 
y’all to someone else. I’ll see you around town and say, “So-and-so, 
meet so-and-so; you’re church members together, parts of the same body.” 
Whether we know one another by name or not, we belong to one another, 
like ankles to legs, knuckles to hands. Pentecost is the reason why.


But what is Pentecost? Christmas is clear enough: God gets born. Easter, 
too: Jesus rises from the dead. There’s a reason marketers do well with 
those two holy days. Imagine trying to hold a Pentecost sale or to buy 
and send a Pentecost card. Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit is 
poured out on the church. The Spirit is like a hurricane, “a violent 
wind,” Scripture says.... Read this in full at
https://www.faithandleadership.com/jason-byassee-what-pentecost


* VIDEO: DAY OF PENTECOST MEDITATION ON ACTS 2 **
*When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 
Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one 
could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like 
a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started 
speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted 
them.... Watch this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/06/video-day-of-pentecost-meditation-on-acts-2/


* DAY OF PENTECOST: WHEN THE CHURCH WAS BORN **
*by Derl G. Keefer
All of God’s working in the hearts and lives of humanity was about to 
culminate on this exciting, empowering and experiential day, Pentecost!


The Holy Spirit always had been present and working in the world from 
Genesis 1:2 until Jesus’ nativity. Christ and the Spirit were 
intertwined. The Holy Spirit has been called “Christ’s other Self.” As 
the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit has had a relationship 
with humans by giving them power, love, life, hope, boldness, morality 
and holiness. It was on the Day of Pentecost that He imparted to the 
followers of Christ all of these qualities in a personal, collective and 
universal way by birthing the church.... Read this in full at
https://www.preaching.com/common-lectionary/day-of-pentecost-when-the-church-was-born/


* WELCOMING THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: AN INTERVIEW WITH SAM STORMS**
*The Bible teaches we’re to be filled with the Holy Spirit and that 
God’s presence and grace is manifested among his people as they serve, 
love, and minister to one another. Yet why do gifts of prophecy, 
healing, tongues, and other supernatural gifts of God seem to be 
inconsistently demonstrated?


Bible Gateway interviewed Sam Storms about his book, Practicing the 
Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life (Zondervan, 
2017).... Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/05/welcoming-the-gifts-of-the-holy-spirit-an-interview-with-sam-storms/
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 04 Jun 2017, 10:15 pm

Victory Is Just a Prayer Away

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Uphold me according unto Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be 
ashamed of my hope.”
Psalm 119:116

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Paul did much of his writing from a prison cell. Maybe you also feel like 
you are in a prison of sorts today with every door shut in your face. Maybe 
you
are in a prison of despair and doubt. Perhaps you just heard from the doctor 
and received a bad report, or are dreading a visit this week. Maybe you’re
in a financial prison of debt or a domestic prison of abuse and you feel 
there is no way out. Friend, I want to tell you that there is a way out for 
you.
God is still on His throne. He hears and answers every prayer.

Victory over your situation is just a prayer away. The circumstances may not 
change, but your perspective and attitude will change as you begin to pray
and praise God. You and I don’t have a need that God cannot meet.

ACTION POINT:
Pray this prayer today: “Father, I need You. I need You to forgive me where 
I have failed You. I need You to change my heart and strengthen my faith so
I see my prison as a palace. Change my attitude from dread to joy, from 
jealousy to contentment, from worry to trust. I love You. In Jesus’ name. 
Amen.”



The Life-Changing Power of the Cross and the Resurrection
By Debbie McDaniel

“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to 
the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

The cross is empty and so is the tomb.

You can try to bury Power, but it won't stay there. You can try to bury 
Truth, but it is not dead. You can try to bury Love, but it cannot be 
contained.

Jesus is alive, He won the victory of sin and death. And He’s still the 
same, even in all the days after the Easter weekend. He never changes.

He made a way for us to live free.

No other truth in history has the ability to change our lives and affect our 
future like this. Yet so many still choose to reject Christ’s sacrifice and
love. He offers us a choice today, and it’s the best decision you could ever 
make.

What Christ’s Death on the Cross and the Power of His Resurrection Offers:

-It provides a bridge, a way, to God. It gives us an opportunity to have a 
personal relationship with the very God who made us and loves us more than 
we
could imagine. Without the cross, there is no way to cross over to the other 
side of relationship with him. Any attempt will fail. He is the Only Way.

-It provides opportunity for forgiveness of sin. Through the price that 
Jesus paid on Calvary, we have the chance to be forgiven of our own sin. He 
took
our sin and shame upon his very shoulders. He took the blows on our behalf 
so we wouldn’t have to suffer. Such incredible love. Such amazing sacrifice.

-It provides freedom to all those who believe. Freedom from the shackles of 
sin. Freedom from shame. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from
hopelessness. Freedom from despair. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from 
guilt. Freedom from darkness and eternal separation from God.

-It provides new life. We are not only forgiven and set free, but we have a 
whole new life and destiny through Christ. We are changed, from the inside.
He renews our minds. He changes our hearts and desires. He gives us fresh 
purpose for every day set before us.

-It provides power for us to live today. When Jesus died on the cross, and 
was buried, it didn’t stop there. The final picture of all that the cross 
provides
lies in the powerful Resurrection of our Lord. He won. He didn’t stay dead. 
His power broke through, and that same power is alive within us today. As 
believers,
God gives us the power of the Holy Spirit, living and moving through us each 
day.

-It provides the way to have victory over the enemy. We don’t have to fear 
him or his attacks. As we live aware of his traps, the power of Christ over
our lives gives us a covering and protection from his evil schemes. We’re 
not left to fend for ourselves. We don’t fight in our own strength. We can 
stand
strong in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ.

-It provides for us an eternal heavenly home. We never need to fear about 
what will happen when we die. In Christ we have been given the gift of 
eternal
life. This earth is only our temporary home. God is preparing a place for 
us, with him, to live forever. And you can be assured it will be far greater
than we could ever imagine.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus 
Christ.”
1 Cor.15:57

Intersecting Faith & Life: Dear God, thank you for your great gift of love 
and sacrifice, so that we can live free. Thank you for the power of the 
cross
and the Resurrection. We ask that the truth of it all sinks deeply into our 
hearts and changes us forever. Fill us fresh with your Spirit today. In 
Jesus’
Name, Amen

Further Reading:
2 Corinthians 5:17
John 8:36
Ephesians 1:7
Acts 1:8


Guest Devotional: "Arise"
By She Reads Truth

"When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a large crowd 
gathered around Him while He was by the sea. One of the synagogue leaders,
named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet and kept 
begging Him, 'My little daughter is at death's door. Come and lay Your hands 
on
her so she can get well and live
.'" - Mark 5:21-23

We don’t know a lot about Jarius’s daughter. We know she was young, about 12 
years old. We know her father was a ruler in the synagogue and he grieved
at the thought of losing his daughter. Was she his only child or the baby of 
a big family? Had they long prayed for her healing, or had she fallen ill
quickly, without warning? Many details of her story are a mystery.

Here’s what else we know: her father’s faith led him to Jesus, the only One 
with the ability to save his daughter.

Jesus went, stopping along the way to minister to a woman who had been 
bleeding for 12 long years. While Jesus was tending to this woman a man from 
Jarius’s
household came to tell him Jesus not to bother--the child was already dead. 
But Jesus went anyway. He quieted the ones who did not believe, the people
in the house weeping and wailing. And though she was already dead, Jesus 
went to the little girl and said one thing: “Get up.”
(Mark 5:41 )

And she did.

Is He calling you to do the same today?

Hear this: it doesn’t matter who you were before He told you to get up. In 
fact, I love how little we know about the characters in this story because 
it
speaks volumes about who our Savior is. There was only faith by the grace He 
supplied--everything else was Him bringing death to life.

We don’t know what happened next. Did her whole family place their trust in 
Jesus? Did she go on to become a passionate follower of Christ because he 
saved
her in such an extravagant way? We don’t know, and that’s okay. Because 
nothing could change what happened that day.

The new basis of her identity was this: she was dead and Jesus brought her 
back to life. If you believe in Him, that’s your story too.

Last year, last week, even what you did last night does not define you. Your 
sin, your shame, your accolades, your family name--none of these details 
matter
compared to the truth of who He is and who you are in Him. The fruit God 
produces after He raised you from the dead can be beautiful and glorifying 
to
God, but you are everything you are because of the moment when He said: 
“Little girl, I say to you, get up.”

You are everything you are because he brought you back.

You are everything you are because you are loved.

You are everything you are because you’ve been made alive.

No sin in your life is beyond the power of Christ’s forgiveness, and no 
brokenness is beyond the reach of His healing, restoring touch. It’s time to 
get
up. Arise.

Excerpted from the She Reads Truth Bible
. Published by Holman Bibles, Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, 
general editors. copyright 2017.

Further Reading:
Mark 5:21-43
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Jun 2017, 10:44 pm

Our Ultimate Hooray!
by Chuck Swindoll

Mark 15:46

Few things solemnize the finality of death like making funeral arrangements 
and choosing a coffin, or arranging the details of a memorial service. They
are among the grueling but necessary duties of the bereaved. Death comes to 
all; Good Friday reminds us of that grim reality.

Yet, what gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave?

What is the ultimate hope of the disabled, the amputee, the abused, the burn 
victim?

How can the parents of children who have brain damage or physical handicaps 
keep from living their entire lives totally and completely depressed?

Why would anyone who is blind or deaf or paralyzed be encouraged when he or 
she thinks of the life beyond?

How can we see past the martyrdom of some helpless hostage or devoted 
missionary?

Where do the thoughts of a young couple go when they finally recover from 
the grief of losing their long-awaited baby only weeks away from a full-term
birth?

When a family receives the tragic news that a little daughter was found dead 
or their dad was killed in a plane crash or a son overdosed on drugs, what
single truth becomes their whole focus?

What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal 
diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily 
resurrection
.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives—more 
than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise 
shattered
thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the 
details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, 
threadlike
thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right" and "Thank God, all this 
will change" and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the 
despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day"
1
when, as John promised in the Revelation:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more 
death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.
(Revelation 21:4 NLT)

Because the grave is not the end for anyone who believes.

Hooray for such wondrous hope!

1. Sanford F. Bennett and Joseph P. Webster, "Sweet By and By."

Copyright © 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by 
permission.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
When You're Hit With Life's Hammer - #7893

Full disclosure here. I'm not the guy you want to call when you need a guy 
to do a job with a hammer. Okay. But look, I do know the fundamentals. A 
hammer
can be used to build something, right? Or to tear it down. Either way, what 
a hammer hits is not going to stay the same. Life's hammers are like that:
Losing your job, your health, the one you love most, as I did recently. 
Tragedy. Divorce. Betrayal by that person you trusted. Family heartbreak. 
Those
are hammers! And maybe one of those has hit you recently. Or it maybe hit a 
long time ago but its effects are still there today. And whatever the hammer
hits can't possibly stay the same. The only question is whether the blows 
will build you or tear you down. But the hammer doesn't decide that. We do.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When 
You're Hit With Life's Hammer."

Each summer, I travel with a team of young Native Americans who've been 
hammered all their lives by family violence, sexual violence, addiction, and 
depression.
Most have been to a dozen or more funerals by the time they're 16 - many of 
them are their peers.

But when they talk about their lives with reservation young people like 
them, they don't sound like victims. Oh, they acknowledge the damage the 
blows
have done. But what they talk about most is hope! Because they made choices 
that have made them stronger, more compassionate, people of great faith, and
they hand out hope wherever they go. They're amazing!

We don't get to choose if and when life's hammers hit, but we totally choose 
what kind of person it's going to make us. Will I let this tenderize my 
heart
or turn it hard? Will I let pain open up my heart or close my heart in fear 
that I'll get hurt again? Will I let it go, by forgiving and be free, or 
will
I let it grow into a cancer in my soul? Will I let the blows equip me to be 
a wounded healer for other bleeding people, or is it going to make me one of
those hurt people who hurt people?

The hole left by my Karen's absence, I'll tell you, is unfillable. But God 
has used it to open my heart to Him and to other wounded people as never 
before.
I'm living with His promise, and it's our word for today from the Word of 
God: "He comforts us in all our troubles so we can comfort others" and "give
them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

When we've been hurt, we can choose to let the hammer turn us inward, 
putting up walls that say, "Leave me alone." People get that vibe and they 
oblige,
and we end up self-isolated at the very time when we need people the most. 
On the other hand, if we choose to reach out, we can experience the very 
flood
of love and support that we're going to need to heal.

Maybe the worst choice we can make when the hammer hits is to turn our back 
on God. We go, "why?", and the heavens seem silent. But when we turn our 
back
on God at the very point where we need Him the most, we're turning our back 
on the only One who can make any sense out of what's happened. Who can bring
meaning out of our pain. Who has the hope and the supernatural strength we 
need to go on. As the Bible promises, "I can do all things through Christ 
who
gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). Even through the most leveling blow 
of my life.

My Jesus gets it. No one took the blows He did. Literally loving me enough 
to take the hellish punishment for my sin so I wouldn't have to. And anyone
who loved me enough to die for me will never do me wrong. So, yes, I can 
trust Him. Even when I can't understand Him.

I would encourage you, if you've never reached out to Him and begun your 
relationship with Him, tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm yours." And let me urge 
you
to go to our website and there get all the information you'll need to get 
that relationship started. It's ANewStory.com.

When my son was three years old, we visited the U.S. Capitol. You can 
imagine how those long, steep stairs looked with little legs. Impossible. 
But he
made it to the top! Not with his strength. With his daddy's. I carried him.

Just as Jesus has been carrying me and wants to carry you. He's carried me 
where I never could have gone without Him.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

In Remembrance of Me
April 12, 2017

Read: Luke 22:14-20

This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. (v. 
19)

Ask someone to talk about their happiest memories, and see how quickly they 
mention food. The smell of home-baked bread, Thanksgiving dinner, the 
chocolate
chip cookies your mom used to make when you were a child—it’s remarkable how 
many of our best memories revolve around eating.

Think about the role food plays in the story of salvation. Manna from 
heaven, the Passover meal, the feeding of the 5,000, the fatted calf slain 
when the
prodigal son returned home, the disciples sitting on the beach, by the Sea 
of Galilee, eating baked fish with the resurrected Jesus—again and again God’s
people experience God’s grace when partaking of food.

The most significant meal in the story of salvation is the Last Supper. Down 
through the centuries Christian writers and preachers have used countless
words to try to explain the meaning and significance of this meal. Yet Luke’s 
telling of the story is elegant in its simplicity: “This is my body,” said
Jesus, “which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me . . . This cup 
that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (vv. 19-20).

I have served and partaken of the elements countless times. But those words 
still stop me in my tracks, and put a lump in my throat: “given for you . .
. poured out for you.” Sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, 
tremble. —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of salvation.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Jun 2017, 4:13 pm

Sharing the Excitement

When the Samaritan woman accepted Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, she was 
instantly transformed into a new being. When something new and exciting 
happens
in your life, what do you do? Share it with your friends and neighbors. The 
woman at the well was so thrilled she left her water jug behind in her 
eagerness
to tell everyone what Christ had done for her!

She went back to the streets where she had previously walked in shame with 
her eyes downcast as people whispered unkindly about her. She had given her
sin and guilt to Jesus and now could boldly engage each and every person she 
met in earnest conversation about her amazing experience. In short, she 
became
a witness.
John 4:27-42
tells the story.

Many Christians talk about witnessing but most don’t have a truly accurate 
view of what being a witness means. To better understand the term, just look
at what a witness in a court trial does. His duty is simple: to tell the 
truth about what he experienced. He is not responsible for fully 
understanding
the law or the process; he is only obligated to tell what he saw and heard. 
Telling others what we experienced when we met Jesus is our duty as 
witnesses
for Christ, and it should be our joy to do so. How can we keep the gift of 
salvation quiet and not share it with others?

The Samaritan woman was not a Bible scholar and did not fully understand all 
that had just happened to her, yet she could not contain her excitement. Her
simple testimony was to tell everyone she met, “Come and see.” That sums up 
our role as witnesses: we are to invite others to come and see what Jesus 
has
to offer them. We are messengers, bearers of the most valuable invitation 
people will ever receive.

Christians are often relieved to learn they are not responsible for saving 
souls; that role is divine and not ours. Just as a witness is not 
responsible
for the verdict, we are not held accountable for whether the people we 
invite to know Jesus ever accept that invitation. A witness only tells his 
experience
and then leaves the outcome up to the judge or jury. In the same way, we 
share the Good News and then the Holy Spirit takes over.

What was most effective about the Samaritan woman was the joy that 
overflowed from her changed heart. She went from being a woman who drew 
water in the
heat of the day to avoid contact with the townspeople to actively engaging 
everyone she knew to tell of her wonderful experience. Her simple testimony,
unschooled and incomprehensive, was highly effective. Verse 39 says, 
“...Many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman 
who testified...”

Do you want God to use you more this year to witness to the wonder of His 
love, mercy and grace? We must first start with confession of any sin in 
our
own hearts and repentance. Even worldwide revival must start with facing our 
own sin.

Pray that God will reveal to you any secret sin you may have rationalized or 
not yet dealt with. Ask for a pure heart so you can go forward with His 
work.
Then go out into the workplace, the gym, the classroom or wherever God has 
placed you and share the story that only you can tell--the story of how you
came to know Jesus and all that He has done for you. Someone you know needs 
to hear it.

****

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We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and 
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I Got Shoes
April 8, 2017

Read: Luke 15:11-32

Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, 
and shoes on his feet. (v. 22)

Rev. Wilbur Washington was the first African-American president of the 
General Synod of the Reformed Church, and a wise and wonderful man. It was 
Wilbur
who pointed out to me something about today’s parable that I had never 
noticed—on returning home the prodigal son received sandals.

Shoes, Wilbur explained, were tokens of sonship. Only slaves went barefoot. 
Hence the old spiritual: “I got shoes, you got shoes, all God’s children got
shoes. When I get to heaven gonna put on my shoes, gonna walk all over God’s 
heaven, heaven, heaven.”

What a grand reception—shoes, a ring, a robe, the fatted calf, the feast. 
Item after item speaks of welcome and acceptance. And all this for a boy who
had treated his father shamefully, and who richly deserved every ounce of 
his current misery. No wonder the scribes and Pharisees grumbled. They 
resented
the father’s graciousness. And no wonder the tax collectors and sinners 
“were all drawing near to hear him” (15:1), because they saw in the story a 
glimmer
of hope.
If you ever get a chance to view Rembrandt’s painting, The Return of the 
Prodigal Son, take a good, long look at the old, wizened father as he pulls 
his
son to himself. Rembrandt depicted the father as being blind. His eyes are 
clouded shut. He sees his wayward son, not with his eyes, but with his 
heart.
And so God sees us. —Lou Lotz
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your unfathomable grace.

Our mailing address is:
Words of Hope

Every Day

You have come . . . To the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than 
the blood of Abel. -
Hebrews 12:22 , 24

Reader, have you come to "the sprinkled blood"? The question is not whether 
you have come to a knowledge of doctrine or an observance of ceremonies or
to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus?

The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly 
come to Jesus, we know how you came--the Holy Spirit kindly brought you 
there.
You came to the sprinkled blood with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, 
and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your 
everlasting
hope. You came to the cross of Christ with a trembling and an aching heart; 
and what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of 
Jesus!

The dropping of His blood is as the music of heaven to the penitents of 
earth. We are full of sin, but the Savior bids us lift our eyes to Him; and 
as
we gaze upon His streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, 
"It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting 
righteousness."

Sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that 
blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "looking to 
Jesus."
Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this--"to whom coming." Not to whom 
I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If you have ever come to the
sprinkled blood, you will feel your need of coming to it every day. He who 
does not desire to wash in it every day has never washed in it at all. 
Believers
constantly feel it to be their joy and privilege that there is still a 
fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a 
present coming
to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle 
our doorpost fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that 
the
destroying angel must pass us by.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Leviticus 21

verse 2 Psalms 25 , 27

Capturing God

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

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

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 2:21 pm

The best evidence of Christianity!

(Frederick Marsh)

Jesus is the chief among ten thousand--the altogether lovely One!

Christ is the Chiefest--or better than the best.

His love is unknowable! Ephesians 3:19

His riches are unsearchable! Ephesians 3:18

His joy is unspeakable! 1 Peter 1:8

His ways are untrackable! Romans 11:33

His grace is inexhaustible! 2 Corinthians 9:8

His peace is unfathomable! Philippians 4:7

And He Himself is unsurpassable! Exodus 15:11

His character was beautiful with holiness in every detail. Hebrews 7:26

His love was pure and faithful in all its affection. John 13:1

His service was true and beneficent in all its workings. Acts 10:38

His words were tender and true in all their utterances. John 7:45

His life was consistent in every department. Mark 7:37

His aim was single and concentrated in glorifying God. John 17:4

His mission was to benefit all who would trust Him, in dying a death which 
they deserved. 2 Corinthians 8:9

Christ is Christianity--and the best evidence of Christianity is Christ!

"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" 
Song of Songs 5:16

Where Do You Turn for Help?
By Rick Warren

“By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ”
(Galatians 6:2 NCV).

When we go through major disappointments in life, our natural reaction is to 
pull back and isolate ourselves. We want to handle it ourselves. We want to
keep our losses and failures and mistakes and crises a secret. We want to 
withdraw. This is a terrible idea!

When you go through disappointment or crisis or loss, that’s when you need 
your friends the most. You need to accept help from others. God doesn’t 
intend
for you to handle all the pain and stress in your life by yourself. We were 
wired for each other. We need each other. We’re social beings. The first 
thing
God said in the Garden of Eden is, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” We’re 
made to be in relationships.

Job 6:14 says, “When desperate people give up on God Almighty, their 
friends, at least, should stick with them”
(MSG).

There will be times in your life when you are in so much pain you will say, 
“I don’t even believe in God right now!” You need to have friends who will
come alongside you and say, “That’s okay. We’ll believe God for you right 
now.”

There will come a time when you’ll say, “I don’t have any faith right now. I’m 
full of doubt.” That’s when you need your friends to step in and say, “That’s
okay. We will have faith for you. We will trust God for you in this.”

“By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ”
(Galatians 6:2
NCV). What is the law of Christ? It’s this: Love your neighbor as yourself. 
The Bible commands us to help each other. Every time you help somebody who’s
going through pain, you are fulfilling the law of Christ.

Trying to handle your trouble yourself will only make you more tired and 
stressed out. You need to accept the help of others and let your friends 
carry
you through it. And know that God is with you all the way. He is at work in 
your circumstances, even if you can’t see him working at this point.

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

• Who in your life supports you through your loss and disappointment? How do 
you do the same for them?
• What are the things you find the most helpful when you’re in a difficult 
situation?
• How can a small group provide the kind of support you need when you’re in 
trouble?
• What can we learn about God through the support of our friends who follow 
Jesus, too?

For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !

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

"God's Power to Change Your Life" Hardback Book

Pastor Rick wrote God’s Power to Change Your Life to help you get out of 
your rut and back on track with God’s big dreams for your life.
God’s Power to Change Your Life will help you:

* Become more loving
* Live more peacefully
* Cultivate patience
* Develop self-control
* Follow your God-given dreams

God’s Power to Change Your Life is our gift to thank you for your support 
this month, so please give now and
request your copy .

Thank you for helping share the hope of Christ through Daily Hope!

This devotional (c) 2017 by Rick Warren
. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

You can also listen to Rick Warren on OnePlace.com .

Jesus Through the Bible
by

We believe in a Christ-centered Bible. The salvation that was expected in 
the Old Testament is exhibited in the Gospels and then explained in the rest
of the New Testament.

From Genesis we learn that Jesus is the seed of the woman who will crush 
Satan’s head, and the son of Abraham who will bless all the nations of the 
earth.
From
Exodus we learn that Jesus is the Passover Lamb whose blood saves us from 
the angel of death, and the wilderness tabernacle where God dwells in glory.
From
Leviticus we learn that He is the atoning sacrifice that takes away our sin. 
From
Numbers we learn that He is the bronze serpent lifted up for everyone who 
looks to Him in faith. From
Deuteronomy we learn that He is the prophet greater than Moses who comes to 
teach us God’s will.

So much for the Pentateuch.

What do we learn from the historical books? From Joshua we learn that Jesus 
is our great captain in the fight. From
Judges we learn that He is the king who helps us do what is right in God’s 
eyes, and not our own. From
Ruth we learn that Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. From 1 and 2 Samuel
we learn that He is our anointed king. From 1 and 2 Kings
we learn that He is the glory in the temple. From 1 and 2 Chronicles we 
learn that He is the Son of David — the rightful king of Judah. From
Ezra and Nehemiah we learn that He will restore the city of God. From
Esther we learn that He will deliver us from all our enemies.

Then we come to the poetic writings. From Job we learn that Jesus is our 
living redeemer, who will stand on the earth at the last day. From the
Psalms we learn that He is the sweet singer of Israel — the Savior forsaken 
by God and left to die, yet restored by God to rule the nations. From
Proverbs we learn that Jesus is our wisdom. From
Ecclesiastes we learn that He alone can give us meaning and purpose. From 
the
Song of Solomon we learn that He is the lover of our souls.

This brings us to the prophets, whose special mission it was to prophesy 
about the coming of Christ.
Isaiah tells that He is the child born of the Virgin, the son given to rule, 
the shoot from the stump of Jesse, and the servant stricken and afflicted,
upon whom God has laid all our iniquity.
Jeremiah and Lamentations tell us that Jesus is our comforter in sorrow, the 
mediator of a new covenant who turns our weeping into songs of joy.
Ezekiel tells us that the Spirit of Jesus can breathe life into dry bones 
and make a heart of stone beat again. Daniel
tells us that Jesus is the Son of Man coming in clouds of glory to render 
justice on the earth.

These are the Major Prophets, but the Minor Prophets also bore witness to 
Jesus Christ.
Hosea prophesied that He would be a faithful husband to His wayward people.
Joel prophesied that before He came to judge the nations, Jesus would pour 
out His Spirit on men and women, Jews and Gentiles, young and old.
Amos and Obadiah prophesied that He would restore God’s kingdom.
Jonah prophesied that for the sake of the nations, He would be raised on the 
third day.
Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
Nahum prophesied that He would judge the world.
Habakkuk prophesied that He would justify those who live by faith.
Zephaniah prophesied He would rejoice over His people with singing.
Haggai prophesied that He would rebuild God’s temple.
Zechariah prophesied that He would come in royal gentleness, riding on a 
donkey, and that when He did, all God’s people would be holy.
Malachi prophesied that before He came, a prophet would turn the hearts of 
the fathers back to their children.

From Genesis to Malachi, the Old Testament is all about Jesus. But of course 
it is in the New Testament that Jesus actually comes to save His people. 
Whereas
the Old Testament gives us His background, the New Testament presents His 
biography.

The gospels give us the good news of salvation through His crucifixion and 
resurrection. The
Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus is the Messiah God promised to Israel. The
Gospel of Mark is that He is the suffering servant. The
Gospel of Luke is that He is a Savior for everyone, including the poor and 
the weak. The
Gospel of John is that He is the incarnate word, the Son of God, the light 
of the world, the bread of life, and the only way of salvation. But all the
gospels end with the same good news: Jesus died on the cross for sinners and 
was raised again to give eternal life; anyone who believes in Him will be
saved.

Then the New Testament turns its attention to the church, which is still 
about Jesus because the church is His body. The book of
Acts shows how Jesus is working in the church today, through the gospel, by 
the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then come all the letters that were written to the church — letters that 
tell about Jesus and how to live for Him. In
Romans Jesus is righteousness from God for Jews and Gentiles; in 1 and 2 
Corinthians
He is the one who unifies the church and gives us spiritual gifts for 
ministry. In
Galatians Jesus liberates us from legalism; in Ephesians He is the head of 
the church; in
Philippians He is the joy of our salvation; in
Colossians He is the firstborn over all creation. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians
Jesus is coming soon to deliver us from this evil age; in
1 and 2 Timothy and Titus He shepherds His people; and in Philemon He 
reconciles brothers who are separated by sin. This is the gospel according 
to Paul.

Hebrews is an easy one: Jesus is the great high priest who died for sin once 
and for all on the cross and who sympathizes with us in all our weakness.
In the
epistle of James, Jesus helps us to prove our faith by doing good works. In 
the
epistles of Peter He is our example in suffering. In the
letters of John He is the Lord of love. In Jude He is our Master and 
Teacher. Last, but not least, comes the book of
Revelation, in which Jesus Christ is revealed as the Lamb of God slain for 
sinners, Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the
end, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the great Judge over all the 
earth, and the glorious God of heaven.

The Bible says that in Jesus "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17) 
and this is as true of the Bible as it is of anything else. Jesus holds the 
whole
Bible together. From Genesis to Revelation, the Word of God is all about 
Jesus, and therefore it has the power to bring salvation through faith in 
Him.
It is by reading the Bible that we come to know Jesus, and it is by coming 
to know Jesus that we are saved. This is why we are so committed to God’s 
Word,
why it is the foundation for everything we do, both as a church and as 
individual Christians.

We love the Word because it brings us to Christ.

Content provided by OnePlace.com .
Jesus Through the Bible by Philip Graham Ryken.
2005 Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
Revised 2007, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. All rights reserved.

All Scripture from English Standard Version of the Bible, unless otherwise 
noted.

Philip Ryken is the Bible teacher on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals’ 
weekly radio broadcast,
Every Last Word, and is a member of the Alliance Council. Dr. Ryken also 
serves as president of Wheaton College. He was educated at Wheaton College 
(IL),
Westminster Theological Seminary (PA), and the University of Oxford (UK), 
from which he received his doctorate in historical theology. He is the 
author
or editor of more than 20 books, including Written in Stone: The Ten 
Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis
and He Speaks to Me Everywhere: Meditations on Christianity and Culture

The Ministries of Francis Frangipane

Beware of the Stronghold of Cold Love
( En Español )

Is your love growing softer, brighter and more visible? Or is it becoming 
more discriminating, more calculating, less vulnerable and less available? 
This
is a very important issue, for your Christianity is only as real as your 
love. A measurable decrease in your ability to love is evidence that a 
stronghold
of cold love is developing within you.

Jesus warned of our era. He said, "Many will fall away and will betray one 
another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will 
mislead
many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold" 
(Matt. 24:10-12). So let us honestly ask the Lord to examine us: Is our love
hot or cold? Another's thoughtlessness may have wounded us deeply, but 
instead of forgiving the wound or going to them and discussing it according 
to Matthew
18, we go to others with our complaint. The wound then begins to germinate 
into a root of bitterness, and many are being defiled (Heb. 12:15). What is
growing in us is not love but bitterness, which is unfulfilled revenge.

Again, Jesus warned that "stumbling blocks [would] come" (Matt. 18:7). There 
will be times when even good people have bad days; there will never be a 
time
when "stumbling blocks" cease to be found upon your path. Remember also, 
people do not stumble over boulders but over stones -- little things. When 
you
have stumbled over something, you've stopped walking.

Have you stumbled over someone's weakness or sin lately? Have you gotten 
back up and continued loving as you did before, or has that fall caused you 
to
withdraw from walking in love? To preserve the quality of your love, you 
must forgive those who have caused you to stumble. Depending on the issue 
itself,
it may be that you legitimately cannot trust them, but you do not have a 
reason to stop loving.

Every time you refuse to forgive or fail to overlook a weakness in another, 
your heart not only hardens toward them, it hardens toward God. You may 
still
think you are open to God, but the Scriptures are clear: "The one who does 
not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen"
(1 John 4:20). You may not like what someone has done, but you do not have 
an option to stop loving them.

What do I mean by love? First, I do not merely mean "tough love." I mean 
gentle, affectionate, sensitive, open, persistent love. God will be tough 
when
He needs to be, and we will be firm when He tells us to be, but beneath our 
firmness must be an underground river of love waiting to spring into action.
When I have love for someone, I have predetermined that I am going to stand 
with them, regardless of what they are going through. I am committed.

We each need people who love us, who are committed to us in spite of our 
imperfections. The fullness of Christ will not come without Christians 
standing
with each other in love. We are not talking about salvation but growing in 
salvation until we care for each other, even as Christ has committed Himself
to us.

The goal of pulling down the stronghold of cold love is to see our hearts 
restored to the heart of Christ. You will be challenged in this, but if you 
persist,
you will discover the height and depth and breadth of Christ's love. You 
will become "a body filled and flooded with God Himself" (Eph. 3:19 Amp).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds, available 
at
www.arrowbookstore.com .

Anne Graham Lotz - Because He Lives
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Because He Lives
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 10:11, NKJV

Real meaning to your life is found in the glorious dawn of God’s story, 
which breaks into full revelation in the Person of Jesus Christ. What an 
astounding
truth! What a life-changing message!

Because He emptied Himself of all but love, you can be filled.

Because His body was broken, your life can be whole.

Because His blood was shed, your sin can be forgiven.

Because He submitted to injustice, you can forgive.

Because He finished His Father’s work, your life has worth.

Because He was forsaken, you will never be alone.

Because He was buried, you can be raised.

Because He lives, you don’t have to be afraid.

Because He was raised, you can be strong.

Because He reached down to you, you don’t have to work your way up to Him.

Because His promises are always true, you can have Hope!

Praise God for just giving us Jesus!

Blessings,

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Anne Graham Lotz - Because He Lives
View this email in your browser

Share
Tweet
Forward

Because He Lives
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 10:11, NKJV

Real meaning to your life is found in the glorious dawn of God’s story, 
which breaks into full revelation in the Person of Jesus Christ. What an 
astounding
truth! What a life-changing message!

Because He emptied Himself of all but love, you can be filled.

Because His body was broken, your life can be whole.

Because His blood was shed, your sin can be forgiven.

Because He submitted to injustice, you can forgive.

Because He finished His Father’s work, your life has worth.

Because He was forsaken, you will never be alone.

Because He was buried, you can be raised.

Because He lives, you don’t have to be afraid.

Because He was raised, you can be strong.

Because He reached down to you, you don’t have to work your way up to Him.

Because His promises are always true, you can have Hope!

Praise God for just giving us Jesus!

Blessings,

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

Post  Admin on Tue 30 May 2017, 11:09 pm

Meaningful Memorials
by Chuck Swindoll

Esther 9:28

The Lincoln Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial . . . .

Memorials are places provided for us to stand and be quiet, to reflect, and 
to pass on to the next generation the roots of a nation's heritage. They 
give
the present significance because they give the past perspective.

My fear for our present rapid-paced lifestyle is that we have so few 
memorials, so few monuments, even mental monuments. Life is lived in the 
fast lane.
Superficial decisions. Hurry-up childhoods . . . . So little time spent 
stopping and recording segments of our lives in a journal. So little 
emphasis on
listening and learning and honoring . . . .

In order to have perspective, we must have monuments and memorials, places 
to return to and learn from and talk about and pass on. If we don't, we are
destined to live rootless, fast-lane lives without much significance.

Excerpt taken from Dear Graduate: Letters of Wisdom from Charles R. 
Swindoll, copyright © 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved 
worldwide.
For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

Family Tree Fun quiz
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org

Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.
 
4 Steps for Helping Non-Believers Going Through Hard Times
Jeff Lyle

Standing in a hospital waiting room with some Christian friends and several 
members of their family, I knew that I was not sufficient to rescue them 
from
the circumstances they were facing. Another member of their family was on a 
breathing machine in the intensive care unit, and had been given a 
disheartening
prognosis. Before the fuller family had arrived at the hospital, I had 
taken some time with my Christian friends and we gathered together in a 
circle
to intercede for their family member who was in such poor shape. A few hours 
later, when the rest of the family arrived, the dynamic changed as there was
now a mixture of committed believers, casual believers and non-believers. 
All of them were hurting and something within in me wanted to be used of God
to minister comfort and hope to them - all of them - in their time of 
struggle.

So what should a Christian say or do when someone who does not share faith 
in Christ needs counsel, help and hope?

"Light in a messenger's eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives 
health to the bones."
~Proverbs 15:30

Experience has revealed that wisdom must be employed when we are seeking to 
connect with others in ways that touch their sensitive and fragile emotions.
When a follower of Jesus is going through a hard time, there is common 
ground: point them to Him and then walk alongside in any way we are able. 
Jesus
is the clear focus when believers comfort and minister to one another. 
However, when the person needing hope or encouragement does not believe in 
Jesus,
what can we do? I believe that wisdom guides us to consider the following 
four steps...

1. Don't assume that their hour of need is your moment for evangelistic 
ambush

Christians have a reputation, whether valid or not, for hijacking difficult 
moments in non-believers' lives and turning them into an open door for 
proselytization.
Be sensitive to their surface needs as you prayerfully seek direction from 
God about the needs of their souls. If they sense you rushing past their 
fear,
their pain or their emotions in order to bulls-eye them for spiritual 
conversion, you may actually take them backwards in their considerations 
about the
Gospel. Obviously you want to be ready for the possibility of them meeting 
Jesus personally, but do not assume that the immediate moment is sovereignly
designed for their salvation. Listen carefully for God to guide you.

2. Slow down and listen intently

This step applies to more situations than just our discussion today! We 
Christians tend to speak more quickly than we listen. Additonally, we also 
listen
sometimes only in order to find a way to give a rebuttal or clarification of 
something being said to us by non-believers. Hurting people sometimes say
things they don't mean, or which are inaccurate or even, in our opinion, 
ungodly. Non-believers can be refreshingly honest about their doubts toward 
or
anger with God. Avoid turning their emotional words into an argument, 
especially when they need to know that you are a safe place for them to 
express their
struggle or confusion about what is happening to them. Listen to them and 
don't give in to the impulse to "set them straight" theologically if they 
process
raw emotion in ways and language that Christians might never utilize.

3. Offer them objective hope

Christians know that God loves our non-believing friends and family members. 
They may not share our confidence about God's love, but we know that He 
cares
for them. Look for ways to gently share how God has come alongside you in 
your own times of heartbreak, doubt or pain. If the opportunity arises, tell
them your own story, leaving off that grappling hook to reel them in to see 
things the same way you do. All humans share one thing in common: we have 
all
known pain and suffering on some level. Connect with them as a fellow human 
and offer them true compassion as you tell them how your own personal hope
continues to rest in the Lord. You may simply be the gentle seed-planter 
during this season of struggle in the person's life. Be content with that. 
Planting
and watering belong to us. Plant testimonial seeds of hope within them from 
your own life. God harvests those seeds later at the appropriate time.

4. Remember that there is only one Savior (and He is not you)

You likely cannot fix their dilemma. You probably won't be able to make all 
of the pain go away. Their fear will not magically disappear simply because
you care for them. Jesus ultimately has to do the heavy lifting in times of 
struggle, so you can be free to serve your non-believing friend or family 
member
without any sense of guilt or failure if things do not immediately change 
for them. God will use you in those lives, and this is contingent more so on
your
availability than your ability. Do not fear messing things up; you will not 
create any catastrophe as long as you are intentionally loving, relationally
sensitive, and sincerely compassionate.

Before I left the hospital that day, I was, for a couple of hours, able to 
make small talk with all of the family members – both the Christians and 
those
who were not. When it came time for me to leave them, they knew that I was 
more of a friend than someone trying to play the rescuing hero. I politely 
asked
if it would be appropriate for me to pray for their loved one in the ICU 
and, interestingly, all of the family members came and joined hands as we 
went
to the throne of Jesus to petition aid for the man in the hospital bed.

Whatever God did that day in their hearts and minds, my hope is that they 
considered the possibility, as non-believers, that Jesus is very real and 
able
to do abundantly more than we asked or thought during their season of 
hardship. At the very least, I wanted to leave them with an opportunity for 
valid
hope. I presented that package as best as I could. They would have to decide 
whether they wished to unwrap it and discover for themselves what was 
inside.

Jeff Lyle is a ridiculously happy husband to Amy with whom he shares the 
privilege of raising a daughter and son in metro-Atlanta. Having served the 
people
of Meadow Church since 1997, Jeff is also the founder of
Transforming Truth Ministries
. Through their global media outreach, Transforming Truth serves the Body of 
Christ via television, a Roku channel and written devotions on the 
Transforming
Truth website. Jeff pours his life into strengthening the Church according 
to God’s Word, avoiding non-biblical traditions and passing trends in 
ministry,
in order to come alongside people who long to be transformed by God’s truth.

Publication date: December 9, 2015
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 29 May 2017, 9:55 pm

Seek the Lord

2 Chronicles 15:1-2 (NLT)
1 Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2 and he went out to 
meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he 
shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay 
with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find 
him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.

After Asa and the people heard this, they did seek after the Lord. They were 
so zealous that they killed anyone that didn’t seek the Lord. Asa had most 
of the pagan shrines torn down but not all of them. There was peace between 
them and other nations until Asa started trusting in other nations rather 
than God for their peace. This is the start of his downfall. It finally 
ended this way:

2 Chronicles 16:12-13 (NLT)
12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot 
disease. Even when the disease became life threatening, he did not seek the 
Lord’s help but sought help only from his physicians. 13 So he died in the 
forty-first year of his reign.

Some people use this Scripture to say that Christians should not go to the 
doctor. I don’t believe that is what this is saying. Asa didn’t die because 
he went to the doctor but because he didn’t ask God to heal him first. God 
can and does use doctors but the healing is truly done by the Lord.

If we seek the Lord he will provide all that you need. Then you will rejoice 
as the Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 22:26 (NLT)
The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the Lord will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.

This is what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 55:6-7 (NLT)
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. 7 
Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their 
minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the Lord that he may 
have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Seek the Lord.

by Dean W. Masters

Lay Aside the Weight of Discouragement
Jon Bloom / March 9, 2017
Lay Aside the Weight of Discouragement

Discouragement often feels circumstantially determined, something we can’t 
help feeling because powerful forces beyond our control are causing it. That’s
why our response to discouragement is often passive — we sit, weighed down 
with a heavy spiritual listlessness looking at the world through the grey, 
bleak
lenses of fear.

Yes, discouragement is a species of fear. It is a loss of courage. We don’t 
always recognize discouragement as fear because it can feel like 
hopelessness
with a side of cynicism. We might even call it depression because we have an 
accumulation of fears that are intermingled and seem somewhat undefined. 
And,
of course, if we’re discouraged, we feel depressed. We feel like giving up.

And when we feel like giving up, we are vulnerable to a whole range of 
temptations. When we give in to those temptations, our sin just confirms our 
discouragement,
and we easily slip into a cycle in which fear drives us into hiding, hiding 
opens us to sins of selfishness and self-indulgence, and caving in increases
our sense of helplessness and self-pity. So we sit, weighed down by fear and 
condemnation, feeling stuck.

But God doesn’t want us feeling stuck. Jesus didn’t endure crucifixion so we 
would live defeated. He has purchased our forgiveness of sins, our freedom
from the weight of fear, and our power to overcome the world, our flesh, and 
the devil. Discouragement is not as powerful as it feels. We can defeat it
if we confront it.

Discouragement Defeated

A famous biblical example of discouragement is when the twelve spies 
returned after scoping out the Promised Land. They reported the land indeed 
“[flowed]
with milk and honey,” but the inhabitants were “strong,” some were giants, 
and the cities “fortified and very large” (Numbers 13:27–28). Ten of the 
twelve
spies said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are 
stronger than we are” (Numbers 13:31). This so discouraged the people that 
they
refused to trust in God’s promises and power. As a result, they wandered in 
the wilderness forty more years. Only Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful 
spies,
lived to see those fears defeated.

Another famous example was the discouragement Saul and his army felt over 
Goliath’s challenges and taunts (1 Samuel 17). Fear immobilized all the 
warriors
until a teenage shepherd named David arrived with faith in a huge God. He 
stood up to the giant, and dropped Goliath face down with one stone (1 
Samuel
17:49). Then suddenly full of courage, Israel decimated the Philistines.

A New Testament example is found in Acts 4, after the same council that had 
facilitated Jesus’s death threatened Peter, John, and the rest of the 
Christians.
When the apostles reported these threats, everyone felt the seriousness. But 
the church responded very differently than the ancient Israelites or Saul’s
army. When tempted with discouragement, instead of being immobilized by 
fear, they responded with faith, asked God for help, and as a result “were 
all
filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with 
boldness” (Acts 4:31).

Strengthen Your Weak Knees

While we are not facing fortified Canaanite cities, or giants with javelins, 
or councils with crosses, we face a number of things in life that tempt us
to lose courage.

One morning recently, discouragement settled over me like a thick, grey fog. 
I didn’t even recognize what it was at first. I just felt fear creeping over
me that all my hope in God would end up disappointed. My courage started 
draining out of me, and suddenly I didn’t have energy to read my Bible or 
pray
or do anything spiritually meaningful.

Then I caught myself and said, “Why am I fearing that God won’t be 
faithful?” Then I recalled numerous times when God had been wonderfully 
faithful to
me, as well as numerous times I had felt needlessly discouraged — just like 
this time.

I began to talk back to my fears and to the devil: “No! I’m not falling for 
this again!” I prayed for God’s help. Then I took up my Bible and in my 
scheduled
readings read this wonderful text:

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make 
straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of 
joint
but rather be healed.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one 
will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:12–14)

Faith-fueled courage poured in and revived me. The grey, depressing outlook 
changed into a color-filled world of hope in God. And my spirit, which just
minutes before had cowered in discouragement, was full of the bold energy of 
the Holy Spirit.

Confront Discouragement

Satan loves to tempt us with discouragement because he knows we are easily 
intimidated by what is or looks dangerous and overwhelming. He casts God as
the bad guy for bringing us to this hopeless place, and then encourages us 
to feel justified in feeling discouraged. The way out of this demonic 
deception
is to confront the discouragement head on. How do we do this?

• First, we ask, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” (Psalm 42:5). Press for 
an answer.
• Second, we preach to our souls to “hope in God” (Psalm 42:5). Don’t listen 
to discouraging self-talk; preach courage-building promises.
• Third, we lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees (Hebrews 
12:12). Pick up our Bibles and get on our praying knees and pursue the 
strength
that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11).
• Fourth, we make straight paths for our feet (Hebrews 12:13). Get out of 
the mental or physical place that is making us stumble in discouragement.
• Fifth, we strive for holiness (Hebrews 12:14). We are made holy through 
faith in the justifying work of Christ, and we walk in holiness through the 
obedience
of faith (Romans 1:5). Walking by faith in Christ is not easy. It is a 
striving (Hebrews 4:11); it is a fight (1 Timothy 6:12). It’s meant to be 
hard.
God has all sorts of sanctifying good for us in all the fighting he requires 
of us.

When we’re discouraged, remember the Canaanites, remember Goliath, remember 
the council, and remember your own stories — when God showed up to deliver
you from discouragement. What discourages us is not as powerful as it feels 
in the moment. We overcome our fear by confronting our discouragement and 
exercising
faith in God’s promises. Those are precious moments in which we will see the 
power of God.

What Is Revival and Where Do We Find It?
John Piper / March 9, 2017
What Is Revival and Where Do We Find It?

Revival is a concentrated work of God where Christians in various churches 
earnestly desire more of Christ, boldness in witness, and commitment to 
missions.

Listen Now

Why Does God Ask So Much of Moms?
Nancy Wilson / March 9, 2017
Why Does God Ask So Much of Moms?

Whatever our age, we women are often tempted to ask ourselves what we are 
for and what we should be doing. Even in a nest full of hungry children, 
women
can be dogged with these questions. The answer, of course, seems mighty 
obvious to the children: “Feed us! Hold us! Teach us! Love us!” But still, 
we often
ask, “Is there something more? Something else?”

I remember asking these questions when I still had small birds in the nest. 
I knew the answers: God had given me work to do, work right in front of me,
and it was good work — work he had particularly assigned and designed on 
purpose for me. So, I worked hard and fed and held and taught and loved 
those
birds.

My birds have long ago flown the nest and now have crowded nests of their 
own. I still ask those questions from time to time, and I still know the 
answers.
My physical nest may be empty, but my spiritual nest is crammed full of 
things to do and things to learn. God gave me duties then, and he has kindly 
given
me duties now — in fact, even
more duties, not fewer.

All that work in the early years was preparation for the work he has for me 
now. It turns out that
now is always the moment for duties. We all have duties. There are no 
exceptions, no matter how old we get. Many of our duties are mundane and 
relate to
keeping our homes. These never fly away. But it is in these mundane duties 
where we often find some of the richest spiritual fruit.

Preparation for Ministry

Here is one example of a mundane duty God gave me twenty years ago. It was 
pretty straightforward, not out of my comfort zone at all. Our family 
started
a weekly dinner on Saturday nights to kick off the Lord’s Day. When we 
started, I prepared a meal for six, or maybe a few more if we had guests. It 
took
planning, but it wasn’t hard. I could make it complicated if I wanted to, 
but I seldom wanted to.

Then the grandbabies started arriving, and we added high chairs and toddler 
seats. Then, the babies had little brothers and sisters. Now, we have a 
bunch
of hungry teenagers to feed. My duties stayed the same, but it required more 
from me than before. To be honest, I often feel like I have less strength
for work that now requires more. But this is good, because now I do not 
breeze in feeling like I have mastered feeding the whole group. More than 
ever,
I have to look to the Lord for strength and help.

God gave me a light load, and then gradually added to it. He trained me week 
by week, slowly adding more mouths to feed. But he also gave me more 
strength
and help as the numbers increased.

Why Does God Give Us Strength?

I’ve learned countless techniques, recipes, and strategies for how to cook 
for a crowd, but the spiritual lessons have been far more important. I have
learned to obey when I don’t feel like it. I have learned to lay down my 
ideal schedule and my tidy house. I have learned that obedience will always 
be
blessed. And, of course, I am still learning.

What a shame and waste it would be to give up now, after learning so much, 
after so many years of practice. How much better to be aiming to increase, 
to
work harder, to trust him more, to get better at pleasing God in my duties, 
rather than simply trying to get through or looking to give up.

We don’t get to quit because it’s too much trouble, or because we don’t feel 
like it anymore, or because we prefer the quiet and peace of an empty house.
God forbid. Our prayer should be, “God, give me more strength, so I can love 
you with all of it.”

Extraordinary or Mundane

You probably have different duties than I have. You may be called to 
long-term care for an aging mother, or a child with disabilities, or a 
husband with
a serious illness. You may be leading a women’s ministry in your church, or 
teaching children in Sunday school.

Whatever your duties, extraordinary or mundane, they require more strength 
than you have. And that is for your good. Why? Because when you know you don’t
have enough strength, you will call on the Lord for his. Whoever said, “God 
will never give you more than you can handle,” did not know what they were
talking about. God often gives us far more than we can handle, which is why 
we need more strength than we have. He hears our prayers, and loves to give
us his strength. And those are the times when we feel ourselves loving the 
Lord with all our strength.

Lord, Use Me Up

Whatever your duties, when you approach them by faith with all your 
strength, God will bless you with increase. Then you will have more to give 
back in
serving and pleasing him. We don’t put spiritual increase in a savings 
account in case we need it for some emergency. We invest it in the duties 
right
in front of us now. In fact, if we don’t use what we have to glorify God, we 
will lose it.

We must keep looking for our duties all the way to the end. God has prepared 
good works for us, even past the age of sixty-five. What have we learned 
walking
with God all these years? We are to share the strength he gives us with 
those around us. We are to help others grow in Christ. We are called to 
sacrifice
and serve.

Many of us have been affected and shaped, more than we know, by the world’s 
glittering agendas. By the time we are older women, we think we should be 
set
up for retirement, so that we can travel and shop and relax. But we were not 
created for that. We have not been given strength so that we can relax. We
have grown stronger so that we can work harder. We can bear more burdens, we 
can testify more clearly and boldly to the Lord’s faithfulness and grace,
and we can apply ourselves to do more kingdom work than ever before.

As long as we live, our prayer should be, “Use me, Lord. Use me up!”

1 Peter 5:12: We Get Grace, God Gets Glory
John Piper / March 9, 2017

God’s grace turns rebels into citizens, orphans into children, an adulteress 
into a sinless bride. We receive the grace, he receives the glory.

Watch Now

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 28 May 2017, 9:25 am

Welcome to the Nugget
March 23, 2017
Take the Time to Dance

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck
up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 
down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to 
mourn,
and a time to dance...He has made everything beautiful in its time."
(Eccl 3:1-4,11)

It was over twenty years ago. My young family and I had just moved into the 
house I live in now. I could hear my children playing in my son's bedroom 
while
I washed the breakfast dishes in the kitchen sink. Our television was on the 
country music video channel and I was humming along to the tunes while I 
scrubbed
the frying pan. Suddenly, I felt a gentle tug on the leg of my blue jeans. I 
looked down and saw my little daughter looking up at me with her sparkling
blue-grey eyes. She had snuck back into the kitchen unheard. I smiled down 
at her, dried my hands, reached down and picked her up. I held her in my 
arms
and we swayed back and forth for a few minutes to the music coming from the 
TV. Then she giggled, gave my neck a big squeeze, and motioned that she 
wanted
down again. I gave her a final spin around, set her down, and watched as she 
laughed and ran down the hallway to play again.

I knew that she probably wouldn't remember this moment, but I made sure to 
place it carefully in the treasure chest of my soul. Even then I was aware 
of
how fast she was growing up and knew that if I blinked I would miss it. I 
was right too. The days flew by far too fast.

Soon she was too "big" to dance with Dad anymore and hugs and kisses had to 
be done in private so I wouldn't embarrass her in front of her friends. 
Before
I knew it she was in high school, then college, and then living on her own. 
Yet, when I look at my adult daughter these days part of me still sees that
bright eyed little girl so full of laughter and love.

Time in this life is brief. Always remember then to take the time to dance. 
Take the time to love. Take the time to pray. Take the time to laugh and to
sing. Take the time to give hugs and kisses. Take the time to watch the 
sunset. Take the time to thank God for every day you have.

Take the time to cherish each moment you are given. Life is too short not to 
be lived in joy.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
Announcement:
Curious about what God truly wants the most from us? Check out Written on 
the Heart !
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give."

Hold On with Both Hands
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, 
rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that
love Him?”
James 2:5

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Are you facing a struggle in your life today? Perhaps there is a decision 
that you need to make, but don’t know what to do. Friend, let me tell you 
the
way to find what God wants for you.

Take hold of the Lord with both hands and in faith tell Him, “Sink or swim, 
live or die, once and for all, now and forever, I’m going for You, God.”
John Dryden, the famous English poet, said, “Reason saw not, till faith 
sprung the light.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “Faith goes up the stairs 
that
love has made and looks out the window which hope has opened.”

ACTION POINT:
You don’t know what God can do through you until you step out in faith. Take 
that step today.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Trail You Leave - #7887

One of the men on our Team stopped me and said, "Have you been down to the 
men's room lately?" That's not usually something we stop and discuss in the
hall, but I was anxious to find out why he wanted to know. He said, "Well, I 
walked in and smelled this beautiful aroma." Well, I had to agree that we
wouldn't normally associate a public restroom with a beautiful aroma. He 
went on to say, "When I got back to my office, it had that same beautiful 
aroma."
And what was the explanation for this spreading fragrance? Clarene, the 
wonderful volunteer who had been cleaning our offices every week. She'd been 
doing
her scrubbing and spraying. And though we didn't see her in any of those 
rooms that day, she left that great aroma wherever she had been.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Trail 
You Leave."

Our friend who does the cleaning, she's not the only one who leaves an aroma 
behind. You do. I do. The only question is, "What kind of trail are we 
leaving
where we go?"

And that leads us to our word for today from the Word of God from 2 
Corinthians 2:14. "Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal 
procession in
Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of 
Him." Paul is echoing here the life-attitude that he talks about in my life
verse actually - Romans 8:37. And it has nothing to do with how painful your 
circumstances might be. I mean, he lists the ugliest things that can happen
to you in life, and then he says, "In all these things, we are more than 
conquerors through Him who loved us." See, God's calling us to live with the 
joy
and positiveness of someone who is always on the winning side.

And when you do, you just leave this special fragrance everywhere you go. 
People feel something after you've been with them. They feel important or 
maybe
ignored, they feel relaxed or they feel stressed, they feel lighter after 
they've been around you or heavier. You're leaving some kind of emotional 
scent
everywhere you go. We all do. It's supposed to be the scent of Jesus - the 
One the Bible describes as the "Lily of the valley" (Song of Solomon 2:1).

Things should be sweeter after you've been there...lighter. But the aroma 
you leave has everything to do with the time you spend with the Lily of the 
valley.
When you're with Jesus, you become like Jesus, and you create the kind of 
climate Jesus created wherever He went. People feel more encouraged, more 
cared
about, and more joyful. The effect of your presence is the fragrance that 
comes (the verse says) from "the knowledge of Him."

When you neglect your time with Jesus, you start to turn harder, you get 
more self-focused, more stressed, our default position, you get more 
negative.
You tend to bring out the worst in your family, your co-workers, your 
friends, and even your casual contacts.

I like the word "everywhere" in this fragrant verse, that "...through us He 
spreads 'everywhere' the fragrance of the knowledge of Him." This Jesus 
aroma
is supposed to be spread everywhere. That means that you've got a wonderful 
mission in every contact of your day - not just to get your business done,
but to leave a Jesus-touch where you go.

So you first make it your goal to sweeten and lighten the atmosphere at 
home, and then at the grocery store, in a traffic jam, where you work, 
waiting
in a line, in each phone call, each appointment, each text. Life is so much 
richer when you make it your conscious decision to leave a little love and
encouragement everywhere you go. And on the days when you feel the least 
like doing it, it will do the most for you.

At our office, we experienced the fragrant trail left behind by a person who 
improved every room she was in. When you've really been with Jesus and 
you've
let His attitude become your attitude, you're going to leave a trail that 
makes people very glad you were there.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. 

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Apr 04, 2017 01:00 am
Today's Devotional

Luke 24:45, NET "Then He opened their minds so they could understand the 
scriptures."

Pray that new Bible translation efforts will result in millions more being 
able to understand the Scriptures and obey them.

Today's People Group

So many languages and dialects, so many small people groups… and so few 
Bible translations! It is an arduous task – the attempt to translate the 
Bible
into every language and dialect in the world. Everyone deserves to hear and 
read God’s word in his or her own mother tongue. That has been the goal of
Wycliffe Bible Translators since its inception. Some missionaries have 
dedicated their entire lives to translating the Bible into one language. 
However,
with today’s exponentially expanding technology, it is possible to complete 
the task of translation in the very near future.
The newest “miracle” software program called ParaTExt is providing an easy 
way to search for words and meanings that previously demanded hours of 
tedious
work. Time is the critical component in translation work. Whenever that time 
can be shortened, it frees up translators to collaborate with others and 
move
forward more rapidly. At the present time Wycliffe translators are working 
on translations in 2,000 languages! ParaTExt identifies the locations of key
biblical words and phrases and shows how they should be translated. It is 
also incredibly helpful for a team to be able to use translations of a 
nearby
language as a source text. ParaTExt not only increases the speed and 
accuracy of the translation process, but also allows local speakers to 
participate.
Now translators can collaborate on a translation even when continents apart!

Pray for technology to enable translators to finish the task so that there 
will be no people left without God’s Word.

Learn more at Joshua Project .
Copyright © 2017 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.

Living a Drama-Free Life
CINDI MCMENAMIN

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The 
old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

I remember the evening I started living a new opening act.

My mother, who suffers from chronic back pain, had just undergone major back 
surgery. I hadn’t heard from her since the surgery, although I texted and
left messages -- with her
and my brother, who lived nearby and was checking on her at the hospital. I 
received a few jumbled text messages from her that made no sense at all, and
got a call from her cell phone in which no one responded on the other end.

I reminded myself my brother would call me if there were need for alarm, and 
that God was in control of the situation.

Three days after Mom’s surgery, I finally heard her voice. But I could 
barely tell it was her. She called at 9 p.m. (midnight her time) and 
struggled to
talk, telling me she was in excruciating pain. She said she’d been given 
pain medication, but the doctor wasn’t allowing any more of it for several 
hours.

She called to say she didn’t think she could make it through the night.

My first instinct was to react emotionally. I thought about demanding to 
talk to the nurse and insisting my mother get the meds she needed. I thought 
of
calling my brother and chewing him out for not responding to the situation 
or taking care of it in person. I thought of venting to my husband and 
daughter
about what was going on with my extended family.

But instead, I paused and realized that rather than escalating the drama in
three different locations, I could ask for God’s wisdom to respond in a way 
that glorified Him.

So I prayed, Help me, Lord, to know what to say to Mom in this moment. Then 
I told my mom how badly I felt she was in such pain, prayed for her and 
asked
God to “still the storm” and to be her Peace, Provider, Protector and 
Physician through the night.

My mom calmed down, told me she loved me and hung up the phone. And I did 
something new. I didn’t call each of my siblings and talk of the “drama” I’d
just experienced with Mom. I didn’t recount the situation to my own family 
so they’d know all I had gone through. Instead, I thanked the Lord quietly 
that
through His help, Mom was comforted, the two of us drew closer together, and 
the drama was diffused.

At that moment I realized a new day had dawned: With Christ living in me, I
CAN be drama-free!

For years, I believed I was stuck in a cycle of dysfunction because of how I 
was raised to deal with my emotions. But because of the
“new person” I am in Christ, and the wisdom He provides when I call upon 
Him, I can have a new opening act -- one in which I respond maturely, rather 
than
react emotionally, when circumstances start to overwhelm me.

When I die to my identity (Galatians 2:20
) and start identifying with Christ, my emotions are no longer central. My 
opinions don’t rule. My perceived rights are not absolute.

My emotions, opinions and rights are His, and He expresses Himself through 
me. Therefore, His response becomes my response and His actions become my 
actions.
Instead of “I blew it again,” it becomes a matter of “I surrender again.” It’s 
a matter of thinking -- or saying aloud -- I’m Yours, God, for whatever
You have in mind.

The easiest way to be drama-free is to be free of me. Free of myself and 
filled up with the Person of Christ. Only then can I realize the Greater 
Story
is the One in which He becomes more and I become less.

Lord, thank You for the newness of life that is possible through Christ. 
Thank You, too, that wisdom is just a prayer away so I can respond to 
situations
maturely, instead of reacting emotionally. Help me live a drama-free life 
that’s focused on You and Your truth, not me, my opinions or emotions. In 
Jesus’
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 3:30 , “He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV)

James 1:5
, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to 
all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Diffuse the drama in your life by reading Drama Free: Finding Peace When 
Emotions Overwhelm You , now on sale at Cindi McMenamin’s website.

Jesus’ Encouragement to Our Troubled World
By Debbie McDaniel

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the 
world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

In John 16
we find Jesus speaking to his disciples of events that would soon unfold. 
They needed to hear His words of encouragement and Truth more than ever, for
He knew the darkness of the hour still to come. He taught them about the 
power of praying in His name. He told them how they would soon be scattered, 
but
that those who belong to Him would never be alone. For God is always there, 
close. He reminded them that they should not be surprised at the tension 
they
would feel in an unbelieving world.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace 
(security, safety, undisturbed, blessed state). In the world you have 
tribulation
(trouble, oppression, pressure, affliction), but take courage (be of good 
cheer, take heart), I have overcome (carried off the victory, conquered) the
world.”
John 16:33

Words that have such meaning, that hold such power still today. These were 
some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before his journey to 
the
cross.

Last words always contain rich meaning. These are important for us to hold 
onto today.

He reminds us that only in Him can true peace be found.

He reminds us that in spite of the struggles we will face in this life, we 
never walk alone, for He is with us. He will never abandon us in our trials
or leave us to work it all out on our own.

He reminds us to take courage.

He reminds us He has overcome. He has won the victory, and through Christ, 
we too are more than conquerors.

Jesus never called us to embrace the world and all it offers. But He calls 
us to follow Him, to be salt and light, and to walk in love.

It’s a whole new day ahead. And He has plans for you, for me, to make a 
difference in these days, in the life of another soul, for His purposes.

To be a friend.

To encourage.

To offer care and show compassion in a world that is broken.

Praying that His huge grace, wisdom, and strength cover us today. And that 
in Him, we will find freedom from worry, letting go of the stress that 
clings
too tightly, the pressing needs of tomorrow, and struggles we battle today, 
and fully embrace His peace.

Take courage my friends...

For He’s the Overcomer. And we are never alone.
Peace.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Do you sometimes struggle with feeling like you’ve 
been left all alone in your troubles? Choose to take courage today, 
reminding
yourself of this truth: God promises peace in the midst of all we walk 
through. He will never leave us and is faithful to see us through.

Further Reading:
John 14:27
Romans 8:37-39
Philippians 4:6-7

Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 27 May 2017, 2:20 pm

A Visit from the Preacher
April 3, 2017

Read: Luke 10:38-42

Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. (v. 
42)

Mary’s cell phone beeped. She read the text, then turned to her sister, 
Martha, with a worried look. “The preacher’s in the neighborhood. He’s going 
to
pay us a visit.” Martha said, “What?! And this place is a mess. Quick, you 
tidy up the house. I’ll get some food cooking in the kitchen.” But Martha 
had
been in the kitchen only a few minutes when there came a knock at the door. 
It was the preacher, Jesus.

Which one are you—Mary or Martha? We tend to identify with one or the other. 
Martha is a doer. Mary is contemplative. Martha achieves. Mary appreciates.

The truth is, nobody is all Martha or all Mary. We are all part Martha, part 
Mary. Your Martha part is hurried, striving. Your Mary part is thoughtful,
meditative.

If your Mary part dominates entirely, the basic physical needs of your life 
will not be met. For most of us, though, the danger of that happening is 
remote.
The greater danger is that your Martha part will dominate.

What we have to bear in mind, as we journey on our road to Jerusalem, and as 
we deal with the tension between our Martha part and our Mary part, is that
Jesus pronounced the Mary part to be the better part.

Slow down. Listen. Think. Don’t just do something, stand there. “Be still, 
and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Lord, help me to balance my life.
Words of Hope
700 Ball Ave NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503

Welcome to the Nugget
March 29, 2017
A "God-Addiction"
By Answers2Prayer


"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, 
my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water."
(Psalms 63:1)

Food.

A necessity of life.

One we all require, one most of us enjoy, and one that a few of us think too 
much about! There are, in fact, a few (or perhaps many?) of us who have the
constant desire to have something in our mouths. We are never fully 
satisfied, even though the stomach may be already complaining of being too 
full. We
have a "food addiction".

Those last two sentences describe persons like myself who sometimes turn to 
food to satisfy needs not necessarily related to need for food; but as I 
prepared
my longed-for, planned-out, much anticipated breakfast this morning, a new 
"food-related" thought occurred to me: oh that I would long for, plan out 
and
anticipate my spiritual food as much as I do the physical kind!

The thought set me back a few paces. I mean, I spend time with God--Quality 
time!--first thing every morning, right? And I also try to spend quality 
time
with Him before going to bed each evening. Isn't that enough? Doesn't that 
indicate that I truly long for and anticipate my time with Him?

I've met a few people--very few, I'll admit--who care absolutely nothing 
about eating. They can go for hours, even days, without eating, and never 
feel
the slightest desire to fill their stomachs. In fact, most of these people 
tell me they eat only because they know it's good for them and they have to
do it. Is that how I view my time with God? Do I force myself to be with Him 
only because I know it's good for me? If you had asked me yesterday, I would
have responded with a resounding
"No!" But today I'm not so sure. One thing is clear to me: if I'm only 
spending time with God because it's good for me, then I'm doing it for the 
most
wrong reason possible.

In all fairness, I often long to be with God; but when I sit back and 
analyze my reasons on these occasions, don't they generally have to do with 
the fact
that I am going through some trouble times? Don't I usually want something 
from Him? Something like healing? Peace of mind and heart? Guidance? It's 
true
that God delights in being asked to supply our needs; but what about simply 
desiring to sit at His feet? Delighting in His presence? Absorbing His love
and grace?

Life is full of suffering: sickness, death, relationship problems, lack of 
finances, job difficulties, problems with the kids, neighbors, pets, 
in-laws...You
name it! And anyone who has read this post for long knows that I encourage 
you with all my heart to take these to God, to surrender them into His 
hands,
to surrender yourselves to His will, to let Him carry you through; but a new 
idea is burning on my heart as I type: Why not pursue Him with all of our
hearts, souls, minds and spirits--Not just when problems are knocking at the 
door, but--
all the time! Why not pursue Him in the same way those of us with food (or 
other!) addictions long for, anticipate, seek and prepare our 
"gratification"?
Why not pursue a..."God Addiction"!

It's true that the word "addiction" usually carries a negative 
connotation--a connotation of too much or uncontrolled desire. Yet we can
never have too much of God! Think about it: Trouble comes knocking at the 
door, we wouldn't need to try to find Jesus or figure out how to hear His 
voice
over the hard times screaming in your ear. We wouldn't need a crash-course 
in taking a stand in faith. Instead, we would know God so intimately that 
there
wouldn't be a single doubt in our minds: He
will take care of us, our families, our work situations, or whatever the 
problem may be. The results would be far better than simply running to Him 
every
time there's a problem; rather, the results would bring unspeakable joy, 
unsinkable faith, unstoppable love! Why not truly take the time and effort 
to
truly fall in love with Jesus--today?

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

In his love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, 
Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of 
Cancer", Author
and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and
Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and 
inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries
. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

Announcement:

Gates in the Bible Curious about the meanings of gates in the Bible? Check 
out the
Gates in the Bible series published through the Nugget.

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

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Monday, April 3, 2017

Today's Devotional

Something To Think About

At two degrees north of the Arctic Circle, in Inuvik, Canada, the sun sets 
for the last time below the horizon in early December. After nearly 30 days
of darkness, the return of the sun is celebrated around January 6th at the 
annual Inuvik Sunrise Festival, with food, dance, music, snow carving, and 
winter
activities.

1 John 2:8b – The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 
(NIV)

While I was watching a documentary about the Sunrise Festival, a 
thought-provoking comparison popped into my mind. Great crowds of people 
were gathered
together with upraised arms. All eyes were glued to the sky. Some were 
singing, while others were dancing, leaping, and cheering. They were all 
waiting
breathlessly, expectantly, joyously for the moment that they had looked 
forward to for so long, the moment when the sun would return and peek above 
the
horizon. Soon the frigid winter would release its icy grip, and the long 
darkness would be over. The sun would be back on its throne and reigning 
once
again.

It struck me, that in the Bible, there is an amazing parallel to the return 
of Son of God.

Luke 21:27 – And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with 
great (transcendent and overwhelming) power and [all His kingly] glory 
(majesty
and splendor). (AMPC)

What a day of rejoicing that will be for those who have committed their 
lives to Jesus Christ, Who came to this earth to redeem mankind through the 
sacrifice
of His life.

It is impossible to imagine how we will feel if we are privileged to be part 
of the crowd standing there as we hear His voice calling us up.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 – Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], 
shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the 
clouds
to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the 
eternities) we shall be with the Lord! (AMPC)

Then, as we gather together with Jesus and His bride, the church, in the 
heavenly dining hall for the marriage supper of the Lamb, our feasting and 
rejoicing
and singing and praising and thanksgiving will be far beyond our wildest 
imaginations.

I realize that the celebration of the return of the sun that I watched on 
the television was a very important highlight for the Inuit people of the 
Arctic,
yet it pales into insignificance in light of the day of the return of the 
Son of God.

None of the Inuit ever doubt that the sun will return, because of their 
personal experience, so they watch with joyous expectation. Similarly, we 
who have
a personal experience with the Son of God have no doubt that He will return, 
and it could be at any moment. So we, too, watch with joyous expectation,
and we say, "Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly."

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that the eyes of many people who do not believe 
that the Son of God will return to this earth, even though He promised that
He would come back, may be opened. Heavenly Father, help us to rise to Your 
challenge of making disciples of all the nations. In Jesus' name, we ask. 
Amen.
Thought for Today: The impossible is sometimes just the untried.

Verse for Today: John 19:38-39 – Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for 
the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because
he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body 
away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus 
at
night. (NIV)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 25 May 2017, 11:21 pm

Give God Your Worries
by Chuck Swindoll

Isaiah 50:10

Let's get six words clearly fixed in our minds. These six words form the 
foundation of God's therapeutic process for all worrywarts.

WORRY ABOUT NOTHING,
PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING

What qualifies as a worry? Anything that drains your tank of joy—something 
you cannot change, something you are not responsible for, something you are
unable to control, something (or someone) that frightens and torments you, 
agitates you, keeps you awake when you should be asleep.

All of that now needs to be switched from your worry list to your prayer 
list. Give each worry—one by one—to God . . . .

Tell Him you will no longer keep your anxiety to yourself . . . .

The more you practice giving your mental burdens to the Lord, the more 
exciting it gets to see how God will handle the things that are impossible 
for you
to do anything about.

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

Faith for the Journey
Take Time
Visit insight.org

Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 24 May 2017, 10:46 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Turning Stress Into Success

"A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and
health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are
like rottenness of the bones."1

A "friend" invoices you for considerably more than his
original quote. A family member takes seriously ill and
is in the hospital for months. Responsibilities and
expenses soar. The result? Stress!

I know because these things all happened to me in the
course of a single year. Stress is a normal part of
contemporary living. Ignore it and it will take years
off your life. As Francis Ford Coppola said in The
Godfather movie, "When the mind is stressed, the body
cries out." However, if we deal with our stress
creatively, we can turn our stress into success. How
can we do this?

First. Realize that some stress is helpful. It provides
motivation. For instance, if it weren't for the stress
of needing to eat and having to pay our bills, we may
not want to go to work.

Second. Be aware that stress is only troublesome when
it continues for too long or if there is too much of
it.

I read about a ten-ton bridge that had been serving a
community very well for over fifty years. During the
course of those years it had carried millions of tons
of weight. But one day the driver of a logging truck
ignored the ten-ton load limit sign. The bridge
collapsed. Life's like that. All of us can carry our
"load limit" day after day, year after year, but only
one load at a time. Overload us and we collapse too.

Many readers will be familiar with the research Thomas
Holmes has done on stress. He found that too much
change at one time was the greatest cause of stress. An
accumulation of 300 or more "life changing units" in
any one year may mean an overload of more stress than
an individual can carry. On his scale, death of a
spouse equals 100 units, divorce 73, marital separation
65, marriage 50, and so on. (See the link to a
"Personal Stress Test" at end.)

Third. The next step in turning stress into success is
to recognize symptoms as early as possible.

Writing in Eternity magazine some time ago Fred
Stansberry talks about "stress-related diseases such as
cancer, arthritis, heart and respiratory diseases,
migraines, allergies and a host of other psychological
and physiological dysfunctions which are increasing at
an alarming rate in our Western culture."

Other symptoms of stress have been listed as, "tense
muscles, sore neck, shoulders and back, insomnia,
fatigue, boredom, depression, listlessness, dullness,
lack of interest, drinking too much, eating too much or
too little, diarrhea, cramps, flatulence, constipation,
palpitations--heart skip, phobias, twitches,
restlessness and itching."

Fourth. Identify causes. As already mentioned change is
one of the chief causes of stress. An accumulation of
life's everyday annoyances can also build up a
significant stress level--perhaps even more than one
single traumatic event. As the old saying puts it:
"It's the little things that bother us / and put us on
the rack / you can sit upon a mountain / but you can't
sit on a tack."

Whatever the cause of your stress is, be sure to
identify it so you will be in a position to do
something about it.

Remember also what René Dubos said, "What happens in
the mind of man is always reflected in the disease of
his body."

The first four steps for turning stress into success
are: (1) Realize that some stress is helpful; (2) Be
aware that stress is only troublesome when it continues
for too long or if there is too much of it; (3)
Recognize symptoms as early as possible; and (4)
Identify causes. The fifth step in turning stress into
success is: Seek a practical cure.

1. The starting point to turn stress into success is to
lessen your load. Eighty percent of the cure can come
out of writing down all your cares and responsibilities
in order of priority, then eliminating the least
important.

2. Remember that Superman and Superwoman exist only in
comics and films. Everybody has a breaking point, so
recognize yours and call a halt before you reach your
limit.

3. With stress comes pent-up feelings. Get them "off
your chest" by sharing them with a trusted friend or
counselor. This of itself can bring immediate relief
and helps you to think and plan more objectively.

4. Stop fighting situations that can't be changed. As
one father told his impatient teenager, "If you would
only realize and accept the fact that life is a
struggle, things would be so much easier for you."
Learning to live with and get on top of struggles is
what helps us grow and mature.

5. Try to avoid making too many major life changes
during the course of a single year.

6. If you hold resentment towards another person,
resolve your differences right away. Never "let the sun
go down while you are still angry."2

7. Make time for rest and relaxation. Learn to "come
apart and rest a while before you come apart."

8. Watch your diet and eating habits. When under stress
we tend to overeat--especially junk food which
increases stress. A balanced diet of proteins,
vitamins, and fiber while also eliminating white sugar,
caffeine, too much fat, alcohol and nicotine is
essential for lowering stress and its effects.

9. Be sure to get plenty of physical exercise. This
keeps you healthier and helps burn up excess adrenaline
caused by stress and its accompanying anxiety.

10. The ultimate answer to turning stress into success
is to learn to trust God and live in harmony with his
will for your daily life. Read again the words in
today's Bible verse above.

God's peace comes through accepting and trusting to God
those circumstances that can't be changed, however
difficult they may be. Perhaps this is what Christ
meant when he spoke of taking up our cross daily and
following him. Certainly he fully accepted his cross
and trusted his situation to God and thereby was
totally vindicated.

And so with us. If we take responsibility to do what we
can to lessen our stress load and then, like Christ,
take up our cross and daily commit and trust our life
and way to God, we too will turn our stress into
success, knowing that, in the words of the poet:

'Tis not the softer things of life
Which stimulate man's will to strive;
But bleak adversity and strife
Do most to keep man's will alive.
O'er rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep,
But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.3

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please 'give me the
courage to change the things I can and need to change,
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and
the wisdom to know the difference.' And again, help me
to trust my life to You in every situation in which I
find myself. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).
2. Ephesians 4:26 (NIV).
3. Author Unknown

<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.


Shield of Faith
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. -- C.S. Lewis

“We have an issue with the blood test. We are sending it to the lab,” he 
said.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Either mono or leukemia,” he said.

For twelve days, my prayer life went through the roof, as I struggled to 
find stability in a situation where I had no control, no certainty, and 
nothing
on earth that could contain my fear. There was nowhere I could put my trust 
and expect return. Over and over I begged Jesus to do something, that He 
would
be enough for me, that He would heal my heart as it was constantly being 
crushed with worry.

It was my son’s blood that was in question, after all. Our elementary-aged 
Cameron. His life was teetering on the brink of the unknown and there was 
nothing
I could do about it.

Well, maybe one thing:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your 
lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you 
were
taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. --Colossians 2:6-7

God has given us a shield of faith, a defense against the flaming arrows of 
fear and doubt. Again and again we must lift it up to protect our hearts and
minds. During those two weeks I was suspended in the fog of uncertainty and 
fear. During those days I learned to pray, “Jesus, I trust You with the next
30 minutes. I know a whole bunch of stuff is going to happen, and I give it 
to you.” 31 minutes later I’d add, “Jesus I give you the next 30 
minutes....”

It’s not always easy to do. Sometimes, big problems affect my concentration. 
Sometimes I can’t even focus on the words I’m reading in my Bible. Instead
of just fighting through it, I’ll take out my journal and I’ll write my 
thoughts down so I can capture them on the page and take them to Christ. 
“All right,
Jesus, here’s what I’m scared of, worried about, concerned about, what needs 
to be fixed.” At the end I say, “Jesus, I’m officially giving this stuff to
You. Be enough for me and take away my worry. Your will be done.”

After twelve days, Cameron’s blood showed that he had mono instead of 
leukemia. While we were hugely relieved, I learned again what it means to be 
fully
honest with God, emotional with God, surrendered to God, resting in God.

Satan’s arrows will come. He HAS given you the shield of faith. Will you 
raise it over your heart and mind today?

Lord, many are saying of my soul, “There is no deliverance for him in God.” 
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my
head. I am crying to You, the LORD, with my voice. You have answered me from 
Your holy mountain. Selah. (from Psalm 3:3-4)

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

love
Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's Turning Point

David Jeremiah's Website A Special Feature for February and March

Wednesday, March 29

Love, Period

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an 
everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

Jeremiah 31:3

Recommended Reading
Deuteronomy 7:6-11
How many times have you heard someone say (or perhaps said it yourself): “I 
love you if . . .”; “I love you because . . .”; “I love you when . . . ?” 
Compare
those phrases with these: “I love you even though . . .”; “I love you in 
spite of . . .”; “I love you, period.” The truth is we don’t hear people say 
those
words
verbally as much as we see them act out the words non-verbally. The first 
set of words are examples of conditional love; the second set are examples 
of
unconditional love. God loves the second way: “I love you, period.”

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
God has always loved that way. In fact, He told His Chosen People, Israel, 
that He did not choose them because they were a large and impressive people
(Deuteronomy 7:7). In truth, He didn’t choose
them at all. He chose Abraham, their forefather. And because of His love for 
Abraham, Israel enjoyed His love as well. Even when Israel was at her worst,
God said through Jeremiah, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Don’t ever mistake the world’s love (if, because, when) for God’s love (no 
conditions). God’s love for you never changes (2 Timothy 2:13).

God doesn’t owe us anything—yet in His grace, He still gives us good things.
Billy Graham
Read-Thru-the-Bible
1 Samuel 22 – 24
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright ©️ 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

Rebecca Barlow Jordan

7 Benefits of Simplifying Your Life

Unfortunate circumstances may force us to simplify our lives. But we can 
also choose "voluntary simplicity" at any time. Here are seven benefits of 
simplifying your life:

Unfortunate circumstances may force us to simplify our lives. But we can 
also choose “ voluntary simplicity
” at any time. Here are seven benefits of simplifying your life:

1. Our Wants Decrease

When we value what God treasures, “things” become less important.

2. Our Spiritual Desires Change

Our focus changes from pleasing self to choosing God’s ways.

3. Our Friendships Deepen

We see others as God sees them–as worthy of time, love, and commitment.

4. Our Time Multiplies

Some things that used to matter, don’t anymore, leaving us with more time to 
choose the things that do.

5. Our Bodies Rest More

When we stop stressing and start trusting God more, our bodies will usually 
respond positively.

6. Our Creativity Sharpens

Hurry and worry block creativity; simplicity frees us to think clearly and 
creatively again.

7. Our Giving Increases

We understand that “extra” is not always meant for our own consumption. God 
blesses us so we can bless others.

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and 
end up being….Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, 
God-provisions.
Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns 
will be met
(Matthew 6:20, 33, The Message).

It’s Your Turn

What about you? What does “simplifying your life” mean to you? What other 
benefits do you think we might experience from simplifying? How have you 
simplified
your life? 


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Do - #7882

Professional tennis star-a nun. What? Sounds like two different stories 
doesn't it? In this case, it's the same life story. Andrea Jaeger first 
picked
up a tennis racket at the age of eight. By 14, she was a tennis pro. Soon 
she was challenging tennis greats like Chris Evert and Tracy Austin; she was
ranked number two in the world. Then came a serious shoulder injury that 
required seven surgeries and she was forced to retire. She took her prize 
money,
she moved to Colorado, and started a charitable foundation that helps sick, 
abused, and at-risk children. So she became an Episcopal nun, and she was 
actually
burying her life in a ministry to needy children. According to USA Today, 
after her injury she was told, "Your life's over. You've failed. You'll 
never
amount to anything." Oh, were they wrong. The article on her new life 
concluded this way: "Her name will never be etched on Grand Slam hardware, 
but she
can live with that. 'It's like I have kids' names in my heart,' and she 
says, 'That is life's trophy.'"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most 
Important Thing You'll Ever Do."

Priorities. They keep getting jumbled, don't they? Stuff that really matters 
slips to the edges, and stuff that really doesn't matter much fills up our
life. Until something happens that reminds us what really matters; like a 
tragedy, a funeral, or some kind of wakeup call. There was a little saying I
heard so many times as a teenager that I think I became immune to it. But 
it's still packed with truth that can give you the most significant, most 
satisfying
life possible. It simply says, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only 
what's done for Christ will last."

A tennis pro turned angel of mercy said the trophy she wants for life is 
those "names in her heart." The Apostle Paul was thinking like that when he 
penned
our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. He's 
looking ahead to eternity where only things that last forever will survive. 
He
said to the people he had introduced to Jesus Christ, "What is our hope, our 
joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus
when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy." See, Paul 
had names in his heart; the names of people who were going to be in heaven
because he loved them enough to tell them about Jesus.

I hope you have names like that. Do you? There's something so much more 
important than a championship, or a scholarship, or a business 
accomplishment.
And that's the people who will be in heaven forever because you introduced 
them to your Jesus. We pour out so much of our life-energy into things that
won't last. But the people you work with every day, go to school with every 
day, recreate with, live around; those are people who will live forever in
heaven or hell. For some, you are God's designated rescuer, positioned in 
their life by Jesus to be their hope of knowing about Jesus. And it starts 
when
you allow God to burn in your heart the names of people He wants you to 
reach. You carry those names in your heart all day, every day. You pray for 
those
names in your heart every day. You ask God for open doors to tell them about 
Jesus. You look for those open doors, and you go through them when they 
open.

The great legacy of your life will be the names you carry in your heart. 
Because when you rescue someone spiritually, that name in your heart is 
written
by God in His Book of Life in heaven. And you can't do anything more 
important or more lasting than that.

The prophet Daniel tells us about the two groups of people we will see on 
Judgment Day: "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: 
some
to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." Then he 
explains the part you could play in helping to change someone's eternal 
address:
"Those who lead many to righteousness, (will shine) like the stars for ever 
and ever" (Daniel 12:3). Now, that is a life that matters.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

Acquiring Great Faith

Hebrews 11:17-19

I’ve had people tell me, “I wish that I had great faith.” While most of us 
would like God to just drop that kind of confidenceinto our laps, it’s not 
the
way He operates. Faith increases as a result of our obediencein little 
things. We all marvel at Abraham’s willingness to offer up Isaac at the Lord’s 
command.
But have you ever stopped to consider all of his smaller steps of submission 
that prepared the way for this enormous test?

Throughout his lifetime, Abraham obeyed God. At the Lord’s command, he left 
his country
(Gen 12:1-4 ), was circumcised (17:10, 26), conceived Isaac in his old age 
(21:1-3), and sent his son Ishmael away (21:9-14). By the time he was asked 
to
offer Isaac as a sacrifice, he already knew that his God would always be 
faithful to His promises. His previous experiences had taught Him to trust 
the
Lord.

In the same way, each small step of obedience solidifies our confidence in 
God. Then, when He challenges us with a more difficult assignment, a firm 
foundation
of assurance enables us to trust andobey Him. Great acts of faith flow from 
our past interactions with the Lord. By neglecting His simple commands, we
miss priceless opportunities to witness His faithfulness.

Having trouble trusting God for something big? Maybe it’s because you’ve 
ignored those “small” and “insignificant” promptings of the Holy Spirit. The 
Lord
considers each of His commands important and promises to reward every act of 
obedience, regardless of size. Great faith begins with little steps.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please 
visit
www.intouch.org .
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. (c) 2016 All Rights 
Reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 22 May 2017, 5:05 pm

Tickle My Ear

Exodus 20:18-19 (DARBY)
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the flames, and the sound of 
the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they 
trembled, and stood afar off, 19 and said to Moses, Speak thou with us, and 
we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Moses had just been on the mountain. God had spoken to him and given him the 
Ten Commandments. These people were afraid of God because of the thunder and 
lightning. Moses told them that the reason God let the lightning flash and 
thunder roll was so that they would not fear God but be in awe of God.

Today there are a lot of people who Don’t have the awe of God. They want to 
go listen to a man instead of listening to God. They choose to go to a 
church where the whole Word is not spoken, where the teacher will tickle 
their ears. Paul’s prophecy to Timothy has come true:

2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NLT)
2 Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or 
not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good 
teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right 
teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who 
will tell them whatever they want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and 
follow strange myths.

Are the teachers and preachers you listen to true people of God? Are they 
truly born again? Are you listening to someone who tells you what you want 
to hear or a truly Biblical teacher?

Do you trust only in the teaching of others? Do you spend time in the Word? 
Do you really study it and not just read it to calm your conscience? In your 
prayer time, do you give time for God to speak to you or do you do all the 
talking so you won’t have to listen to God?

Spend time in communion with God through personal Bible study and prayer. 
Find a minister that God speaks through and gives you the truth of the whole 
Word of God.

by Dean W. Masters

"The Power of a New Beginning" #84-28

Sermon Text for March 12, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on March 12, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: John 3:1-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever 
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed. Hallelujah! And in Him there is a new 
beginning possible for all who believe. Amen.

Is that possible? Is it possible to actually have a new beginning in your 
life right where you are right now? Is it possible to have that in our 
lives?
It's the old obstacles overcome. The baggage that weighs us down; gone, sent 
packing. Is it possible to truly be a new person? A new person today, 
tomorrow;
old habits, old mistakes left behind.

Now you're probably saying "That's a nice thought, Pastor, but that's... 
that is not real life. That's not the way it is; what's done is done. I hear 
this
all the time; what's done is done. You've just got to learn to live with the 
way things are.

But today I beg to differ. What's done in your life is not done. It's not 
the end of things. The situation where you're at right now; you're not 
stuck.
You may be overwhelmed. You may be overcome. You may be under water. You may 
be sinking fast. But it is not a signed, sealed, and delivered deal because
of Who Jesus is.

And so today it is Jesus Who comes alongside of us and He says; here it 
comes, ready? "Stop believing in yourself." That's what He is actually 
saying to
you. "Stop believing in yourself." Why, because you have Someone much better 
to believe in. Someone Who actually does believe in you. Someone Who 
actually
knows what you can be, what you were created and redeemed to be; and Someone 
Who can make that happen in Him for you. Stop believing in yourself on your
own terms. Put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Listen to these hope-giving words again. Jesus said these life-restoring, 
hope-restoring words; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only 
Son."
Put your faith in Him. "For whoever believes in Him will not perish but have 
eternal life." So if you have a chance today, He's saying, "Stop believing
in yourself." Stop trying to do things on your own terms. Stop trying to 
muster up your own determination because you have a Lord Who is determined 
to
love you, to forgive you, to grace you, to bless you, to be the you He 
created and redeemed you to be.

That's help that comes outside in, not inside out. That's help that comes 
outside in and all of us, all human beings on the face of the planet, need 
God's
outside in help for their life and salvation.

Let me give you a little glimpse of what that's like. His name was Xzayvier. 
Little Xzayvier knew what he wanted to be from the time he was just a little
boy. He wanted to be a soldier. He wanted to defend people. He wanted to be 
there to fight for what was right.

Only one problem: his right leg never bent straight. As he started to grow, 
it became more painful and there was nothing they could do. They actually 
did
a surgery on him when he was two years old. They broke his leg. They tried 
to straighten it out. They tried to get it to start stretching. It just 
didn't
work.

By the time he was seven years old, he had had several surgeries; none of 
which worked. And then, finally, they said to the parents, "The only way 
we're
going to be able to deal with this is we have to amputate his leg." And so 
little Xzayvier who wanted to be a soldier, they had to amputate his leg 
just
above the knee.

That dream would never be, right? It would be impossible. I couldn't almost 
read this because this is what little Xzayvier said to his mother after he
lost his leg. He said, "Mom, when I grow up, could they give me your leg?" 
And what did she say? "Honey, if I could give you my leg, I would do it."

Anyway, a couple of years passed and they were outside walking one day and 
there was this guy who was in town that day. His name is U.S. Army 
Specialist
Larry Harris and he was doing some community service in little Xzayvier's 
neighborhood and he bumps into him. They're walking; and by the way, 
Xzayvier
had a little walker now and that's how they did it. And he still was a 
joyful little kid just doing the best he could and they ran in to each 
other.

Special Army Specialist Harris ran into them and they started talking about 
this and little Xzayvier said, "I've always wanted to be a soldier." And do
you know what he did? He ran inside, as only he could with his... he ran 
inside and he got his teddy bear. He brought out the teddy bear and he gave 
it
to Harris. The teddy bear had fatigues on.

Harris looked at this teddy bear and this is what he says. He said, "I was 
determined from that moment on to help this little boy." He said this, "We 
have
veterans who have been to war and combat; they really need our help, but 
this little one needed my help too and I was bound and determined to find a 
way
to help this little wounded fighter. Outside in. It's the only help that 
finally works.

But let me pause. Do you need a little outside in help today? I mean; are 
you at that point too where whatever you're dreaming about just seems 
absolutely
impossible? There is no way this is going to be. Your life's just the way it 
is and that's the way it works. Is that where you are?
Well, that's the context of John, chapter 3. Nicodemus was stuck. Nicodemus 
sneaking around at night looking for Jesus because he was stuck in his life.
He was a person who was empty in his life. He had climbed the ladder of 
success. He was a leader in his community, but that wasn't enough. He was 
disheartened,
broken-hearted, he was empty. He regretted a lot of his mistakes. He 
regretted a lot of his missteps.

And so he sneaks around because he's thinking maybe Jesus is the place to go 
for this stuff. Nicodemus, there was no way he could believe in himself 
anymore
and he had enough of that regret. He had enough of that guilt. He'd had 
enough of that disappointment. He needed help outside in.

And that's why Jesus...He understood exactly what was going on. He looks at 
him and He says, "If you want My help, you must be..." what... "born again."
Now I love Nicodemus' response to that because Nicodemus says, "Born 
again...hmmmm...uh, Jesus, how can a man be born when he is old?" Basically 
what the
translation is "Jesus, are you crazy?" There's no way. This is impossible. A 
second chance, impossible. It's too outlandish. It would take a miracle. 
There's
no way. But that's exactly why outside in help from God comes for people 
like you and me.

Now back to little Xzayvier. One day, Friday afternoon, a bunch of Humvees 
come roaring down a street with police cars in the front and police cars in
the back. Do you see what I'm talking about? They pull up alongside the 
school. Outside comes Harris. He goes into his classroom...and Xzayvier 
doesn't
know any of this stuff is coming. Did you...so he's sitting in class, just 
an average day, and then he sees Harris standing with his fatigues. "Young 
man,
can you take a ride with me?"

He gets up and as he walks over and he's walking with that little walker 
with him, and they walk outside and all of his classmates and all of his 
school
is lined up and they're like this. And they're clapping and they're saying 
his name and he gets into the Humvee. What's going to happen next?

He gets in and they start to go and then the sirens go on and the streets 
are actually blocked off. They thought he was the President of the United 
States.
They literally start racing towards the Army Reserve Center. Xzayvier has no 
idea what's happening.

Then they get to the Army Reserve Center and there's his mom and his dad and 
his family. They usher him to the front and then Harris sits down. His job
is done. Distinguished Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bauman stands up and this 
is what he said, "Over the past 40 years I've had the honor of swearing in 
several
soldiers, some who have gone on to become generals. I've never sworn in a 
young man this age. Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Xzayvier, 
do
solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United 
States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true 
faith
and allegiance to the same, and I will obey the orders of the President of 
the United States and the orders of the officers over me according to the 
regulations
and uniform code of military justice, so help me God." And that little boy 
said it with all the fervor he could muster. And then Bauman said this, 
"This
14th day of October, you are now an honorary soldier."

Can you imagine what had changed that day because there was outside help 
that came in that literally made what was impossible possible? He said this 
to
his mom. He wasn't about worrying about that leg anymore. He looked at his 
mom and said, "Mommy, do you understand today I became a soldier? Can you 
believe
it?" Can you believe it?

I've got even more good news for you. On top of that new beginning, allow me 
to let you in on a secret. The American Legion, the United States Veteran's
Association, they stepped in to help little Xzayvier with his leg problem 
and he's getting some of the finest care today all expenses paid by this 
community
that gathered around him that day.

That's what can happen when outside in helps. When outside in helps, it has 
the capacity to help. That has the commitment to help. And that's what Jesus
is talking about today. "God so loved the world." That He had the capacity 
to help and He got involved in whatever you're going through so that you 
could
have His life and salvation.

I understand if you don't fully identify with little Xzayvier. I get that 
because I don't have that issue but maybe you've felt that loneliness. Maybe
you've felt that struggle. Maybe you've felt that frustration. Maybe you're 
in the middle of something right now that is absolutely impossible; and I 
guess
I'm asking the question can there be even greater help than what Harris gave 
to him. What does this text say? Absolutely. The greatest help of all is 
that
God Himself, the One Who literally created the heavens and the earth, came 
down. He came down with a message of life and salvation for a people just 
like
you and me.

God so loved the world that He came for you. In Christ, the impossible 
forgiveness is made possible in Jesus. In Christ, God's love which surpasses 
anything
that's here in the human existence, even something that's as incredible as 
an event like this, it's nothing compared to the love of God in Jesus Christ
for you. God so literally loved the world that He sacrificed His only Son. 
God literally moved heaven and earth so that he could be your Savior.

I love Philippians 2. If you ever want to see a Bible verse that should blow 
your mind, it says, "Have this mind in you which is in Jesus Christ." And
what was the mind of Christ; that even though He was God He became man and 
even as a man, He became a servant unto man so that He might redeem and 
restore
rebellious mankind to Himself. That's what it's all about; capacity, 
commitment, outside help come just for you and me.

Now that's what happened to Nicodemus. Jesus didn't let him be. He was his 
help too. Do you know what actually happened the rest of his life? Because 
Nicodemus
was sneaking around trying to get to Jesus that night, but Jesus got to him. 
He began to realize that Jesus was the answer to his impossible dream.

When you go in John, chapter 7, a little time later, Nicodemus stands up for 
Jesus, among his peers. He actually stands up and defends Him when they're
going to go try to arrest Him. He's saying, "Hey, this Jesus; He's the real 
deal." And then John 19, and this is probably the most powerful, John 19, 
after
Jesus has been crucified on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea comes to gather 
His body and who's there with him? Nicodemus.

He's not going to be silent about Jesus any more. There is no reason to hide 
his love for Jesus because he's experienced the power of a new beginning 
that
comes with those who put their faith not in themselves but in the Jesus Who 
loves them with an everlasting love.

Now remember Nicodemus' question; "How can a man be born again when he is 
old?" Good question. Look, I want that new beginning. I need that new 
challenge.
I need that new purpose. I need...how does this happen Lord Jesus? And then 
I love the verse in Romans, chapter 6, because it's the same kind of thing
that Jesus says to Nicodemus God says to you. It says, "Therefore those who 
are baptized into Jesus Christ, they are literally baptized into His death.
So that just as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, you too will walk in 
newness of life."

When He says that you're washed in His Name, He connects you to His death, 
He connects you to His resurrection so that you can have a beginning right 
now.

Splashed with grace, wet with grace; you were literally brought back in time 
and you were put through the paces so that you can walk where Jesus walks
today. That's what God gives us through baptism, the Lord's Supper, through 
the power of His Word. We can have new beginnings each and every day of our
lives.

So help has come. That's John 3:16. Help has come and it's not an inside out 
thing. It's an outside in thing. And when that outside in thing is Jesus 
Christ
Himself, there is a capacity for a new beginning, a commitment for a new 
beginning that comes from God Himself for people like you and me.

Put your faith in Him, not in yourself. Trust in Him, not in the things of 
this world and with a heart that now beats eternally in His love; that faith
will make all the difference in your life. That can start today. Don't trust 
me on it; trust Him.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; and all 
of God's people said, "Amen."

Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for March 12, 2017
Guest: JoAnn Zintel
ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour and this is Action In 
Ministry; a call to action in response to all that God has done for us in 
Jesus
Christ.

SELTZ: Mark, as I was talking about new beginnings today and the only love 
that lasts, today you might be thinking about other loves that didn't last.

ANNOUNCER: That's right. Maybe you weren't looking for a new beginning but 
that's where you find yourself today as the result of divorce. If so, we 
want
you to know about a print resource we have titled
Beyond Divorce
. Here to talk with us about it is JoAnn Zintel. She's the coordinator of a 
divorce care program at her church and she knows first-hand the pain divorce
can cause, but she's also a firm believer in the power of God's restoration.

SELTZ: JoAnn, again, the pain...we're sorry that you went through that but 
we're also so happy that you're here to talk about that restoration power. 
It's
great to have you.

ZINTEL: Thanks.

SELTZ: Now, listen JoAnn, the first thing we read in this booklet are the 
words, "The Journey Begins". So we understand, perhaps, 40% of first 
marriages
end in divorce and the rate's even higher for remarriages. What is common 
with those beginning this journey of divorce?

ZINTEL: It's a difficult journey. The journey becomes difficult way before 
the divorce actually happens or occurs.

SELTZ: Okay.

ZINTEL: Once it does occur there's a tangled ball of emotion; conflicting 
emotion. You might hate a person and love them at the same time, which makes
absolutely no sense. Then some people are just...just numb.

SELTZ: Wow.

ANNOUNCER: How does God help someone deal with the pain of divorce?

ZINTEL: I think that it's really a time when a person is brought to their 
knees; where they really have little hope. They've lost hope in their 
marriage,
which is a very difficult place to be.

ANNOUNCER: Right.

ZINTEL: And so they're kind of on the ground not really sure how to get up. 
That's at the point where self-sufficiency; this fake idea that we can be 
self-sufficient
without the Lord; ends and we have to figure out how we're going to begin to 
build our life back. That's where I've seen myself, as well as others, 
really
begin to feel the presence of Christ.

SELTZ: Yeah.

ZINTEL: And reach out to Christ.

SELTZ: Like I've always talked to my some of my guys doing city ministry; 
I've said, "When you get stripped down and you realize that all you have is 
Jesus
and you're scared because that's all you've got, then you realize that's all 
you need." Then life does change, doesn't it?

ZINTEL: Yes.

SELTZ: It really does. Well, this booklet brings out an interesting point. 
It does say that divorce is Satan's playground. What does that mean and why
does Satan...why do you think he attacks marriages so intensely today?

ZINTEL: I think one of the reasons is the family. I think the family is the 
first opportunity to become aware of our humanness...

SELTZ: Right.

ZINTEL: ...and our ability to get along with others.

SELTZ: And even put God's gifts of forgiveness to work, right?

ZINTEL: Sure. Absolutely.

SELTZ: And so Satan goes after that. Why else do you think he goes after 
that stuff?

ZINTEL: I think because God created marriage. I think that is sacred and 
something to be attacked.

ANNOUNCER: Now many people get stuck in that pain that follows a divorce. 
They live with bitterness, hatred, mistrust. They find themselves unwilling 
to
love again because they don't want to be hurt again. How do you help people 
see beyond divorce?

ZINTEL: One of the most difficult things that I see with working with people 
that are healing from the pain of divorce is this tendency to blame the 
other
partner...

ANNOUNCER: Okay.

ZINTEL: ...for what's happened in the marriage. And, I think it's really 
important for people to look at what was their own ownership in the failure 
of
that marriage which brings us to the reality that I'm forgiven in Christ. 
Christ forgave me, and as a result it's my responsibility to forgive others.

ANNOUNCER: Okay.

SELTZ: That's what I love about this booklet. It's powerful, to the point, 
and, if you're listening in today, even if you are the one that cheated on 
your
spouse, or you were the one that gambled all your money away, or whatever 
the case might be, you too can receive the same grace, and forgiveness, and 
restoration.
But whatever side you're on, it's one thing to hear about this grace and 
forgiveness, it's another thing to embrace it and to really realize it's 
there
for you, isn't it?

ZINTEL: That's true, and forgiveness is a choice. That's been my experience, 
and I think one of the most difficult people to forgive was myself, as far
as the mistakes that I made in the past. The only way I'm able to do that or 
the only way I've seen other people come to that reality is through Christ.

SELTZ: We all aren't going to experience the pain of divorce, but we all can 
experience, like you've talked about, the only love that lasts and that's
the love of Jesus Christ that sustains us even when others fail and send us 
on a journey that we didn't choose.

ZINTEL: Right.

SELTZ: JoAnn, it's so good to talk with you today. Thanks for coming.

ZINTEL: Thanks for having me.

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

ANNOUNCER: To read or download this resource, go to lutheranhour.org ; click 
on Action In Ministry. Or call 1-855-john316. That's 1-855-564-6316.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for March 12, 2017
Topic: Is Holding a John 3:16 Sign an Effective Way to Share the Good News?
ANNOUNCER: Now Pastor Gregory Seltz responds to questions from listeners. 
I'm Mark Eischer. Today a listener says they watch sporting events on TV and
sometimes you see in the background, someone's holding up a sign that says 
'John 3:16.' Now, we love that verse from the Bible, but the question today
is by holding up a sign like that, is that an effective way to share the 
gospel?

SELTZ: Before I answer, Mark, I'm giving a quiz. Can you recite the verse 
that our listener references?

ANNOUNCER: Definitely. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave 
his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have 
eternal
life."

SELTZ: Do you know what I would say to all our listeners right now? Commit 
that verse to memory. It will be an encouragement to begin learning today. 
Teach
it to your children and your grandchildren. It's been called the "Gospel in 
a nutshell," for a reason. It talks about the summary of the saving work of
God for us in Jesus Christ.

ANNOUNCER: And for that reason it's a beautiful and life-transforming 
message. God's love for each of us is so strong that He allowed Jesus to be 
sacrificed
in order to take our sins upon Himself. He suffered the consequences of our 
sin and in exchange He gives us His righteousness, His forgiveness, and the
gift of eternal life.

SELTZ: Yeah, powerful, powerful stuff. So if you're going to hold up any 
verse, that's it. Because your faith...it talks about how we don't have to 
face
eternal death. Instead, by faith, we are saved. There's nothing like it. It 
is real hope for the world!

ANNOUNCER: But holding up the sign with the reference? Is that an effective 
outreach?

SELTZ: Well, I'm never going to criticize someone who has the courage and 
the calling to direct the world to one of the most life-changing statements 
in
God's Word. John 3:16 is Good News; it's the Good News in the middle of a 
lot of bad news. People need it; but, I will say that effective outreach 
doesn't
necessarily start or stop there.

ANNOUNCER: What do you mean by that?

SELTZ: John 3:16 is a method of outreach that uses public media. So is the 
Lutheran Hour, for that matter. We're broadcasting the Good News. I know 
some
of our listeners personally, but there is no way; here's the point; there is 
no way I can know everyone. And, while the Spirit of God does work wonders
with the Good News in broadcast....

ANNOUNCER: ...the real foundation for reaching people with Jesus is being in 
relationship with people.

SELTZ: That's right. That's why one important way to use this radio 
broadcast is also as a resource for outreach. If a listener comes to faith 
in Jesus,
or if a Christian hears the broadcast, he or she can say to a friend or 
family member who doesn't know Jesus, "This message seems to be just for 
you. Why
not listen? It helped me a lot. I wonder if it can bless you, too."

ANNOUNCER: From that I understand that a John 3:16 sign may or may not cause 
someone to read the Bible, but it could serve as a conversation starter for
someone who is led to reach out to someone else in their life.

SELTZ: Exactly. If someone holds that sign up on TV, you might be watching 
and say, "What does that crazy sign mean?" That might go on in your living 
room.
It can be a conversation starter and each one of us needs to be ready to 
share the hope that we have in Jesus. He wants us to have that hope, but He 
wants
others to have it as well.

ANNOUNCER: Just think; if everyone were to talk with others in their lives 
about that greatest hope that we can share.

SELTZ: Right. When it comes to effectiveness, that's the most effective way 
to share Jesus. An organization, an institution, or even our program will 
never
be as effective as a person in relationship with another person sharing the 
hope we've got in Christ. You, if you're listening in, you are the most 
effective
instrument of sharing Christ with people in your life. I tell people that we 
exist here at Lutheran Hour, to help you, now listen to this, help you 
become
the best you you can be in Jesus so that others might get to know Jesus 
because they got to know you.

ANNOUNCER: The Apostle Peter said, "You are a chosen people, a royal 
priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, so that you may might 
declare
the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" 
(1 Peter 2:9 NIV). We're the ones that God has called to share that Good 
News.

SELTZ: And if you're looking for what to say it, you go back to the verse 
our listener referenced. John 3:16 is a simple way to say, "Hey look, God 
loves
you. He sent His Son as your Helper, your Savior, your Friend. If you 
believe in Him, your life's not going to crumble. In fact, you'll receive 
the gift
of eternal life.

ANNOUNCER: If you want to grow in sharing your faith, call us to receive a 
free copy of our book, Make Him Known. This booklet addresses questions many
people have and it provides a Biblical foundation for sharing your faith. 
This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour Ministries.
Visit lutheranhour.org
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 21 May 2017, 10:57 pm

5 Psalms for People Who Struggle with Anxiety
Candace Crabtree
Anxiety and depression are two words that I desperately wish were not in my 
personal vocabulary and experience. But, they are. God allowed me to walk 
through
several years in the valley of the shadow of death and now that I’m on the 
other side of it, I believe He had my good in mind. I believe He taught me 
things
in the valley that I could never have learned on the mountaintop. I believe 
that He wanted to prove to me that I truly am never alone, though I felt it
many times. I believe He wanted to teach me that my feelings do not equate 
truth. God wanted to show me parts of Himself that I might never have known
otherwise.
My season of depression is over for now; however, the anxiety can creep in, 
often unannounced, and leave me reeling. Sometimes the fear is so thick that
I just know if I reach out my hands I can touch it. Sometimes the fear and 
anxiety keep me awake at night.
I know I’m not the only one that struggles. God has taught me much on this 
journey and I hope that these verses and these words will remind you that 
you
also aren’t alone, you aren’t forsaken, and the God of the universe loves 
you. He longs for you to trust Him even through seasons where we don’t 
understand
what is happening around us or in us.
For me, praying God’s Word in particular has been one thing that has helped 
me my heart so much. Sometimes in the depth of despair we don’t feel like we
have the words to pray. So, instead, God gives us His own word and we pray 
it back to Him. We want to be close to God but don’t know how. His Word 
provides
that closeness and nearness of Himself. He gives us Himself through the gift 
of His Word. His Word can be your lifeline, friend, don’t take it for 
granted!
Here are some of my favorite verses to pray when I’m struggling. Draw near 
to God and He will draw near to you.
Psalm 23 - This passage is so well known to most people, but don’t overlook 
the profound truth and comfort this Psalm brings to us just because you’ve
heard it many times before. Speak the words to God:
“God, You are my shepherd, I lack nothing. You make me lie down in green 
pastures, You lead me beside still waters, You restore my soul. You lead me 
in
paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Even though I walk through the 
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me! 
Your
rod and your staff, they comfort me! You prepare a table before me in the 
presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. 
Surely
goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell 
in Your house forever. Amen.”
Psalm 23:1-6
Psalm 27 - This Psalm is one of my life verses. I’ve struggled a lot with 
people pleasing which I think leads to anxiety so often. Wondering and 
worrying
and becoming fearful of what others think or what they might do or say about 
us. We can’t live in that place! We must preach the gospel to ourselves and
remind our hearts the The LORD alone is our light and our salvation!
“God, You are my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? You are the 
strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked come against 
me
to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an 
army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear!”
Psalm 27:1-3
Psalm 34 - I like to think of this Psalm as the Psalm for the brokenhearted 
and fearful one. God love the brokenhearted, you know. And we are all 
broken,
by the way.
“I will bless You at all times, Your praise will continually be in my mouth. 
I sought You, Lord, and You heard me, You delivered me from all my fears.
When we look to You we are radiant. Your angels encamp all around those who 
fear You and You deliver us. Help me to taste and see that You are good, oh
Lord. You say I will be blessed when I trust You. Those who seek You lack no 
good thing.”
Psalm 34:1-10
Psalm 61 - Isn’t it encouraging to read the words of David, a Bible hero, 
who struggled like we do? That may be one of the reasons the Psalms are my 
favorite
place to camp in God’s Word when I’m struggling. I especially like Psalm 61 
in the New King James because of the word “overwhelmed.” I have spent 
seasons
living in an overwhelmed state. When I find myself there, I pray these 
words:
“Hear my cry, O God; from the ends of the earth I cry to You, when my heart 
is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you are a 
shelter
for me, a strong tower from the enemy…”
Psalm 61:1-3
Psalm 91 - Psalm 91 is another Psalm with such comfort that helps us learn 
how much it truly impacts us when we abide in Christ. Psalm 91 tells us that
when we abide or dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we can REST in His 
shadow. He gives us rest from our worry, from our fears, from our anxiety.
“You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:2
When the anxiety sets in, repeat some of these verses out loud. Speak them 
to God. Memorize His Word. Cling to these truths. Repeat to the Lord, “I 
trust
You, I trust You…” and when we abide in Christ, the peace that passes all 
understanding begins to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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
Did you catch the beautiful truth in that passage? Prayer brings peace. When 
we are anxious about anything we are instructed to take it to God - with 
thanksgiving
even! And then? Then, the peace of God, which we may never understand, will 
GUARD our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Prayer brings peace. Prayer 
gives
us more of Jesus. And that is just what we need in our moments and seasons 
of anxiety: more of Jesus.
Note - If you or a loved one struggles with anxiety, depression or any 
mental illness, please reach out for help! Tell someone, a friend, a spouse, 
or
your doctor. There is help, hope and healing available for you! Do not 
suffer alone.

Candace Crabtree is just a broken mama thankful for grace and new mercies 
every morning. She and her husband live in East Tennessee where they 
homeschool
their 3 kids. Candace also enjoys teaching piano, coffee, good books and 
blogging at
His Mercy Is New
. On her blog she shares encouragement for weary women from God's Word along 
with resources for learning to pray the Scriptures.
Publication date: May 5, 2016

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Monday, March 27, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Deeps

This spring has brought many days of snow. Almost daily it continues to 
accumulate. And now
the deeps have come. The white fluff has risen to the point of making it 
difficult to manoeuver the driveway, the paths, the corral. And for my small 
dog,
Sienna,
the deeps literally mean being overwhelmed by snow. As I turn around to see 
where she is, the snow is crowding around her chest and neck. The only way
that she can continue is for me to bend down and pluck her out of the depth.

Psalm 30:1 – I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths 
and did not let my enemies gloat over me. (NIV)

Like Sienna in the snow, I have often felt overwhelmed by the deep places 
and circumstances in life.

When we first purchased our present home, the owner had been untruthful 
concerning repairs done to the roof, and within our first two months, as 
residents,
it required $30,000 in repairs. We did not have $30,000.

I also worked at a job where for three years I was bullied constantly. I 
fought despair daily, but there were no other employment opportunities, and 
I
needed to work.

A family member betrayed us, and we lost our home. We wondered where we 
would go or what we would do with the limited funds that remained.

Yes, I am familiar with the deeps, as I'm sure you are, too. In fact, you 
may be in
the deeps right now. You may be wondering how you will go on, how you will 
get out of or through the situation. If this is true, then I encourage you 
to
do what the Lord encouraged me to do amidst
the deeps: thank Him in all things, for He is aware of your situation and He 
is able to help you.

Psalm 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, 
and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in 
song.
(NIV)

Dwell on the hope which is yours in Christ Jesus, not on the deeps which 
surround you. By so doing, your heart will, one beat at a time, indeed begin 
to
leap for joy and thanksgiving as you place your faith anew in God's goodness 
and mercy. His answer may not come immediately, but wait for Him, and it 
will
come. The situation may be a long and slow journey to overcome, but don't 
give up. Keep going, and you will be an overcomer. In the end, your song 
will
be like the psalmist's:

Psalm 30:11-12 – You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my 
sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be 
silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord God, how good it is to praise and thank You amidst any and all 
situations. We may not always understand the why of what is happening, but
we can always know and trust in the truth of Your Word and the promise of 
Your helping and saving presence to be with us always. In Christ's name, we 
pray.
Amen.
Lynne Phipps


God's Unseen Glory
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory 
as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. –
John 1:14

If I had to choose a favorite moment in the life of Christ, it would 
probably be the story of the blind man in
John 9
. Most Christians are familiar with the passage, it begins with Jesus 
walking through the temple with his disciples when they come across a man 
born blind.

“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked 
Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born 
blind?’
Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but 
it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” –
John 9:1-3

For a long time I believed the “works” Jesus talked about meant healing the 
man’s blindness. That’s what the story was all about, wasn’t it? Jesus 
performing
a miracle to prove he was the Son of God? Actually, no. In fact, the real 
message of
John 9
turned out to be something much different.

After receiving his sight, the man is brought before the Pharisees to be 
questioned. The religious leaders are torn: this Jesus performed a miracle, 
so
he must be some kind of prophet, but he did so on the Sabbath, a true man of 
God wouldn’t break the Sabbath. Eventually they just decide to pull rank (
We are the Pharisees, We decide who gets credit for this miracle!) Listen to 
how the once-blind man responds,

“The man answered and said to them, ‘Well, here is an amazing thing, that 
you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that 
God
does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He 
hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone 
opened
the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do 
nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you 
teaching
us?’ So they put him out.”

If Jesus had wanted to be recognized for his power he would have ridden into 
Jerusalem as the conquering hero the Jews expected him to be. Instead he 
came
quietly, touching the lives of the lost and overlooked. His “works” were the 
restoring of hearts and souls, not just physical bodies. By doing so, he 
gave
a blind man the ability to see truth, where the Pharisees became blind to 
it. Let us make sure the Church doesn’t become blind as well.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Ask questions. Don’t be like the Pharisees, who 
were so wrapped up in their legalism they failed to recognize God. Seek to
grow your faith at every opportunity.

Further Reading
John 10


It’s Not How You Start. It’s How You Finish
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the 
faith” (2 Timothy 4:7
NIV).

Friend to Friend

I sat by her bed.

Her hand swollen...full...unmoving.

Feet that danced just a few weeks ago now stilled. Arms that lifted just a 
short time ago now limp. Words that spilled easily just a moment ago now 
halted.
How could life seep away so quickly, right before my eyes?

Mom was ready. But I wasn’t.

Mom called to tell me she was going to the emergency room. She had abdominal 
pain and couldn’t stop throwing up. I had just been at her house four days
before, and this was something new.

“She has an ileus,” the doctor explained. “Part of her intestines have 
stopped working. But her heart isn’t strong enough to survive surgery. If 
her intestines
don’t start working on their own, she will die.”

Four weeks into the sitting and waiting, it looked like Mom was going to get 
to go Home. Not to her little brick house in the colonial neighborhood...the
one with cedar shingles, cobblestone street, and white picket fence where 
she had lived for more than 25 years, but her home in a celestial 
neighborhood
with familiar faces, golden streets, and the presence of God. Mom was ready. 
She had been planning the party for quite sometime.

I gently held her fluid-filled hand. Sky-blue eyes looked off into the 
distance. Her mind replaying bits and pieces of life.

“Mom, whatcha thinking about?” I asked.

“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” she whispered.

“Who told you that?” I asked with a knowing smile.

“You did,” she replied.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you more,” she countered.

Mom had regrets. We all do...if we’re honest. But she finished well. She had 
made sure that her grandkids, extended family, and I knew we were loved. She
had made preparations of her passing as easy as possible for me, the lone 
child responsible for all the details. She loved Jesus and was thrilled to 
get
to see Him face to face.

The last week of her life, I was having a bit of a crying spell. Mom had 
requested the doctors remove all the machines, all the tubes, all the 
medications.
“Comfort care.” That’s what they called it.

“Well Mom, it looks like you’re going to get to see Jesus before I do.”

And in a quick wit that served her well to the end, she teased with a 
twinkle in her eye, “Are you jealous?”

And to be honest...I was.

We never know when our last day on this earth will be. But here’s what we do 
know--we have a choice right now, today, to finish well. Your new start to
the finish could begin today. Regardless of your past mistakes and missteps, 
weakness and failures...regardless of how you started this race, you can 
decide
to begin your finish well.

Let’s Pray
Lord, I have made so many mistakes in my life. A trail of regrets lie 
behind. But praise You I’ve chosen to leave them behind and not carry them 
into my
future. No matter how I started, I pray that You will give me the wisdom and 
the power to finish well.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.


Love Is a Skill That Can Be Learned
By Rick Warren

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. 
Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7
NLT, second edition).

Love is a skill that can be learned. In other words, it’s something you can 
get good at, and that means you get better at love by
practicing
love.

You may think you’re a good lover, but God wants you to become a great 
lover, a skilled lover, a master lover. Yet, most people never learn how to 
love.

You can become an expert at relationships. Wouldn’t you like to become known 
as a person of extraordinary love? When people speak of how you love others,
they might say, “He doesn’t care who you are or what you look like” or “She 
doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done or where you’re from.”

The only way you get skilled at something is to practice. You do it over and 
over. The first time you do it, it feels awkward, but the more you do it,
the better you become.

The same is true with love (1 John 4:7
). Let’s practice loving each other. The Bible says, “Practice these things; 
be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all”
(1 Timothy 4:15 HCSB).

One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one 
of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer.

The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, "Lord, I hate buttermilk."

The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going.

The deacon continued, "Lord, I hate lard."

Now the pastor was totally perplexed.

The deacon continued, "Lord, I ain't too crazy about plain flour. But after 
you mix 'em all together and bake 'em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits."

He paused, "Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up 
that we don't like, whenever we don't understand what You are doing, that
we need to wait and see what You are making.
After you get through mixing and baking, it'll probably be something even 
better than biscuits." Amen.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Bring Your Friends to Jesus

You may have made sacrifices in your life to help others have life’s 
necessities, an education, or better opportunities. They are all worthy 
sacrifices,
but the ultimate sacrifice is made when we step out in faith to bring 
another to Jesus. Mark tells us of four friends who did not allow seemingly 
insurmountable
obstacles to prevent them from bringing their friend to Jesus.
Mark 2:1-12 .

Four men watched as their quadriplegic friend lay immobile, destined to a 
life of physical infirmity. The men developed an irrepressible commitment to
their friend. They purposed to bring him to Jesus on a stretcher. The day 
they did, the crowds were alarmingly large and aggressive. No one would give
up his place near Jesus so the men could bring their friend to the front to 
be healed. This did not dissuade these men. They did not stop in the face
of impossible circumstances.

Because the stakes were so great, the four persisted. They had committed to 
bringing their friend to the Lord, and they did not waver in that 
commitment.
They climbed onto the roof of the building where Jesus spoke, dug a hole, 
and lowered their friend down to Jesus.

What struck Jesus first was not the man’s paralysis but rather his friends’ 
faith. They could not heal the man physically or convert him spiritually,
but they had an undaunted faith that Jesus could. The men believed that if 
they could just bring him into the presence of Jesus that He would do the 
rest--and
Jesus honored that faith.

Jesus’ first move was not to heal the man’s paralysis. Instead, He 
addressed the man’s spiritual condition by forgiving his sins--a far greater 
need.
Not only did the man walk out of the house healed physically, Jesus saved 
him from eternal death and gave him eternal life. His friends could not have
given him a greater gift.

Often, we are satisfied if our families and closest friends are saved. It 
should not stop there. The paralytic may have been a neighbor, a former 
co-worker,
or a family friend. Like these men, when God brings people into our lives 
and places their unsaved condition on our hearts, we can trust Him to honor 
our
faith. Our only task is to bring them to Him. They may have no faith at all, 
but God will honor our faith.

Is there someone in your life who is unsaved? Are you committed to bringing 
that person to Jesus? You may have tried in the past with no results. George
Mueller prayed for some people for 23 years before they were saved. Will you 
commit to praying with renewed commitment for them? Do you need to invite
them to church or a small group?

Pray today that God will give you undaunted faith that your friend will 
surely come to know the Lord. Then be obedient to do your part to bring them 
before
Jesus.

****

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 19 May 2017, 10:37 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." (NKJV)

By Answers2Prayer

The Shepherd's Voice

During the time when I lived in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, I saw many 
flocks of sheep in the desert area where we were building a 175-mile 
pipeline.
On several occasions, I had to fly to our field office in the interior of 
the Omani desert in the small Cessna airplane that we had. One time, as we 
were
coming into to land, there was a young shepherdess girl with about 25 or 30 
sheep just at the end of the landing strip. The noise of the airplane and 
the
sudden appearance of it from the sky scared the sheep, and they scattered in 
every direction. Later, we saw that she had called them, and they were all
back together again. They had recognized her calming voice, and obviously 
they had listened to it. More than likely, she was the only human being with
whom the sheep were familiar, and quite possibly, she was the only person 
who could bring them back together again. A shepherd cares for his or her 
sheep.

It is a known fact that the raising of sheep was and still is a very 
important business in the Middle East. It was so in Bible times, and the 
Bible is
full of stories about sheep, with literally hundreds of references to sheep 
and the keeping of sheep. As a matter of fact, according to Sheep101:

Sheep are mentioned in the Bible more than 500 times, more than any other 
animal. The prominence of sheep in the Bible grows out of two realities. 
Sheep
were important to the nomads and agricultural life of the Hebrews and 
similar peoples. Secondly, sheep are used throughout the Bible to 
symbolically refer
to God's people.

Many sheep are still being raised in the Middle East. We were in Jordan some 
years ago, and along the way from Petra to Amman, we saw many flocks of 
sheep
looking for food in the desert, all accompanied by a shepherd.

In John chapter 10, Jesus makes several references to Himself being the Good 
Shepherd. The people could understand and relate to these sayings of Jesus,
because keeping sheep was big business at that time. But these were the 
verses which really caught my eye:

John 10:27-28: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall 
anyone
snatch them out of My hand. (NKJV)

These words of Scripture tell us that Jesus is -- or can be -- our Shepherd, 
if only we let Him. When people have wandered away, when we are scattered
by the events around us, when we are distraught about one thing or another, 
let us just relax and listen to the Shepherd's voice.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for all people who have wandered away 
from the faith, and who are seeking for peace in their hearts. We pray that
they will listen to the Shepherd's voice. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

Joel Jongkind Meaford, Ontario, Canada

Announcement:

I want to thank our dynamic group of volunteers for making a difference in 
this world. Thanks to them, we can provide you with the many aspects of this
ministry. God is our guide and He blesses others through you! If any of our 
subscribers feel called to possibly reach out to others, please let me know.
There is still a need for more volunteers! Many are called, but few answer 
the call. Your part would mean a lot to the Lord's work. If interested,
please contact us . Thank you.

Rob Chaffart

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



TIME  Posted by: "Dean Masters"
It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, 
career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the 
country
in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had 
little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife 
and
son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The 
funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old 
newsreel as
he sat quietly remembering his childhood days. "Jack, did you hear me?" "Oh, 
sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm
sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were 
doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over on 'his side of the 
fence,'
as he put it," Mom told him. "I loved that old house he lived in," Jack 
said.


The Devil Knows How to Discourage You
Jon Bloom / March 16, 2017
The Devil Knows How to Discourage You

This principle seems to hold true in nearly every area of life: The most 
satisfying joys we experience are realized mainly through adversity and 
struggle,
while poor, unhealthy, thin joys can be had without much effort. Fulfilling 
joys usually require strenuous pursuit.

Another similar principle also seems to be true: When the pursuit of a 
fulfilling joy moves from an inspiring idea to actually having to work hard 
for
it, the reward suddenly diminishes in appeal. Therefore, we must often 
strenuously pursue a fulfilling joy when we don’t feel like it.

I find both principles are often true when it comes to thanking God. A heart 
full of thanksgiving experiences profound joy. But cultivating a thankful
heart is hard work — work we often don’t feel like doing.

But God knows this about us, and his many commands that we “magnify him with 
thanksgiving† (Psalm 69:30), “come into his presence with thanksgiving† 
(Psalm
95:2), “sing to [him] with thanksgiving† (Psalm 147:7), pray “with 
thanksgiving† (Philippians 4:6), eat “with thanksgiving† (1 Timothy 4:3), 
indeed, “give
thanks in all circumstances† (1 Thessalonians 5:18) are not intended as 
guilt-ridden reminders of how ungrateful we are. Rather, these commands are 
prescriptions
written by the Good Physician to help us escape from chronic bouts of 
discouragement.

Why Are We Discouraged?

Discouragement is, by definition, a deficit of courage.

Biblical courage is the ability to face uncertainty, adversity, danger, or 
suffering with faith-fueled hope that God will keep his word to us, come 
what
may. Paul went so far as to say that since “all the promises of God find 
their Yes in [Christ],† especially the resurrection, we should “always [be] 
of
good courage† (2 Corinthians 1:20; 5:6).

But we are not always of good courage. Why? Because unbelief in the promises 
of God dis-courages us. This is the focus of all Satan’s massive, 
multifarious
strategies: to
dis-courage us through
dis-belief in God’s promises. His strategies are disorientingly 
sophisticated, but his goal is simple: to discourage Christians. Discouraged 
Christians
are immobilized threats. They are diffused gospel bombs. They are silenced 
evangelists whose faith-anemia can be contagious.

Is it really any surprise that we find discouragement a chronic problem? 
Daily placed before our eyes, spoken into our ears, and breaking our hearts 
are
reasons to be discouraged — and our indwelling sin is quick to believe them.

That is precisely why right after Paul says, “we are always of good courage† 
(2 Corinthians 5:6), he says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight† (2 
Corinthians
5:7). Worldly perceptions will tend to sap our courage. But faith perceives 
a reality so hopeful that even death itself cannot quench the resulting 
courage.

Thanksgiving and Courage

What does this have to do with thanksgiving? Nothing is as en-couraging as 
seeing God’s abounding grace (2 Corinthians 9:8), and gratitude is what we 
feel
when we see it (2 Corinthians 1:11).

But what we need to understand is that biblical thanksgiving is not merely 
our grateful response to a perceived grace received from God; it is a
means to perceiving that grace. Biblical thanksgiving is not merely a 
command to be obeyed; it is a call to see beyond our normal perceptions to 
hundreds
of graces we would otherwise miss due to our sin-induced myopia. And it is a 
call to see future graces in God’s promises so certain that we can thank God
for them now.

That’s why God commands us so often in the Bible to give thanks. The 
commands prompt us to ask, “What do I have to be grateful for?† That 
question alone
can stop the train of our thoughts from derailing into discouragement, while 
it draws us back on the track of faith. It forces us to answer, and
in answering, we start seeing graces. So, the obedient act of giving God 
thanks actually results in our feeling grateful to God. The commands are in 
and
of themselves gracious.

God intends for this practice of thanksgiving to become a gracious habit. 
The more habitual thanksgiving becomes, the more gratitude we will feel. We 
will
find that to “give thanks in all circumstances† (1 Thessalonians 5:18) is 
not an impossible ideal, but an increasingly satisfying joy, and a potent, 
counterintuitive
antidote to discouragement.

The Best Things Are Hard to Learn

Thanksgiving is a counterintuitive antidote to discouragement because when 
we feel discouraged, we don’t feel like giving thanks. That’s why we must 
remember
those two common principles: 1) fulfilling joys usually require strenuous 
pursuit, and therefore, 2) we often don’t feel like pursuing the things we 
need
most. This experience is “common to man† (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we 
experience it, we shouldn’t be surprised as if something strange were 
happening
to us (1 Peter 4:12).

Experiencing the joy of gratitude requires the hard work of learning the 
habit of thanksgiving through daily practice. It’s difficult to learn 
because
of our deeply ingrained habits of seeing the world through self-centered 
lenses. And because Satan works hard to distract us with all sorts of 
discouraging
things.

But there is abounding grace available to help us see grace (2 Corinthians 
9:8). That’s why there is an abundance of commands for us to give thanks! 
These
commands are a grace, for they call forth in us what they demand of us.

Mine the Bible
for the “thanks† and “thanksgiving† commands, and practice them — especially 
when you don’t feel like it. That’s likely when you need them the most. And
“give thanks in all circumstances† (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Fight 
discouragement with thanksgiving. Fight hard! God will supply the strength 
you need (1
Peter 4:11; Philippians 4:19).

As you obey, you will begin to see and savor the grace you missed before.

Do We Really Need Musical Worship?
John Piper / March 16, 2017
Do We Really Need Musical Worship?

Qualified leaders should help God’s people come together to express his 
infinite value by lifting their voices and hearts in song.

Listen Now

The Pastor, the People, and the Pursuit of Joy
John Piper / March 16, 2017

Your joy in God multiplies exponentially as you seek the good of your 
brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

Watch Now

Weary Mom, Come to Me
Trillia Newbell / March 16, 2017
Weary Mom, Come to Me

Motherhood is hard. Can I get an amen?

While we bear the difficult physical aspects of mothering, our minds and 
hearts come alongside and accuse us of laziness, insufficiency, and failure. 
Perhaps
that’s one reason Jesus commands us to love our God with all our heart, all 
our soul, and all our mind (Matthew 22:37).

We lack joy in motherhood — and enjoyment and peace in our Savior — the 
moment we step away from the gospel and try to do this “mom thing† on our 
own.
Instead, as we mother, we need to remind ourselves daily of the truth of God’s 
word, specifically the gospel.

Find True Rest

Jesus graciously and compassionately reminds us time and time again to come 
to him.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in 
heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is 
light.† (Matthew 11:28–30)

It can be easy to hear this offer and suspect that Jesus is only speaking to 
first-century Pharisees. They were considered wise by worldly standards 
(Matthew
11:25), and Jesus often rebuked them for their pride and arrogance. But here 
we see Jesus calling
us all to be like children:

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and 
revealed
them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.† 
(Matthew 11:25–26)

It is the Father’s gracious will that we would not only receive salvation 
but also understand and experience the true rest Jesus offers. We preach 
this
truth to our children, yet
we need to be like
them to receive and rest in the good news for ourselves.

Come, Weary Daughter

Jesus invites us to come. He is speaking to us directly: You, weary 
daughter, come to me.

Isn’t it good news that he doesn’t qualify his invitation? He doesn’t ask us 
to wait until we have peace to come. He doesn’t ask us to come worry-free.
No, Jesus lovingly calls us to come with all our cares, all our fears, and 
all our burdens.

If we are thirsty, we don’t head to the oven to find something to quench our 
thirst. No, we run to the faucet. We find a water source that will meet our
need. Similarly, if we are dead, dry, and weary, we don’t run to a desert 
land of self-pity and work-harder. No, we run to Jesus who says, “If anyone 
thirsts,
let him come to me and drink† (John 7:37). He invites us to come because he 
is the only source that will provide true and lasting satisfaction. He 
refreshes
and meets our deepest needs.

He invites you, mom, who labors and are heavy laden. You who have been 
working hard to be the best, only to realize that your efforts leave you 
more condemned
and doubting than refreshed and encouraged. He invites you who have been 
trying to earn favor before God based on your performance rather than 
resting
in his finished work for you on the cross. He invites you and me to find 
perfect and true rest in him.

He invites us to take his yoke and learn from him. A yoke, by definition, is 
a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and 
attached
to the plow or cart that they are to pull. That wooden, heavy load you are 
pulling as a mother, Jesus desires to trade places with you. His yoke is 
easy,
and his burden is light.
He wants to do the heavy pulling for you. What do you receive in return? 
Rest for your weary soul.

Pursue Real Rest

It is difficult to enjoy the freedom of salvation, the joy of motherhood, 
and the gift of children when we are weighted down with burden. We need the 
transforming
work of the Spirit to open our eyes to the truth that Jesus can and will 
carry our burdens for us.

Today, ask your heavenly Father to prove himself faithful. Ask him to lift 
the burdens you’ve been carrying. Bring his easy and light yoke home. He is
offering it to you as a free gift of his grace.

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

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure 
you had a man's influence in your life," she said. "He's the one who taught
me carpentry," Jack said. "I wouldn't be in the business if it weren't for 
him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important....
Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," he added.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his 
hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children 
of
his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his mom stopped by to see 
the old house next door one more time. Standing in the doorway, Jack paused
for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap 
through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step 
held
memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture ... Jack stopped suddenly. 
"What's wrong, Jack?" his mom asked. "The box is gone," he said. "What box?"
"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must 
have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 
'the
thing I value most,'" Jack answered.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, 
except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.
"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get 
some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work 
one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a 
package.
No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three 
days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.

The small package was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years 
ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught
his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser," it read. Jack took the package out to 
his car and ripped it open. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside. "Upon my death, please 
forward this package and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I 
valued most
in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears 
filled his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the gold box. There inside he found
a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely 
etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:
"Jack, thanks for our time! Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most ... was ... my time," Jack thought.

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared 
his appointments for the next two days.
"Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my family," Jack said. "Oh, by the way, 
Janet, thanks for your time!"

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Does God Want You to Spend Time with People Who Always Hurt You?
April Motl

I grew up on old movies and classic sitcoms. Summer mornings always included 
a dose of
I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show. Now, when the need to take a lazy 
break pulls at me until I can’t stand up any more, rather reluctantly I 
succumb
to the TV thing. Me and my tiny man-child plop down for a shared re-run of
Andy Griffith.

As I started rewatching the series as an adult, I realized how much watching 
these TV shows seep into our worldview as kids. Andy Taylor is known for 
being
the “sheriff without a gun” because he says most folks are good and sensible 
enough that if you just have a nice chat, most things can be worked out.

I love that idea. I wish the world worked that way outside the little box in 
my living room. I wish the powers that be could sit down to a game of 
Scrabble
and work out the problems all over the globe. And I have wished, prayed, 
worked, sweated, cried, prayed more, and tried for relationships in my life 
to
work that way too.

I want every issue to be talk-out-able. I want every relationship in my life 
to brim over with warm fuzzies. But in God’s gracious wisdom, He delineates
(for those of us who keep trying to make the world our Mayberry) a series of 
cautionary red flags for our relationships so we can know who to let into
that precious little main street of our heart and who doesn’t belong there. 
Before we dive into the Scriptures that speak to this issue of hurtful 
people,
let me share a piece of my own wrestling with this matter.

Some years back, I kept returning to the Lord with a broken heart over a 
relationship that I felt was supposed to work, but just didn’t. I prayed so 
much
over this dearly loved person. I believed that if I gave 100 percent to the 
relationship, it would be 50 percent better until it grew to become a truly
healthy, God-honoring relationship. I went on like this for years.

Eventually, totally worn out, I asked God why He kept allowing this 
relationship to hurt me so much. I felt the Holy Spirit press the same 
question into
my heart, “Why are you allowing this relationship to hurt you so much?” Then 
in my devotional reading, I noticed a few Proverbs say things like “do not
associate with” XYZ person. I did a quick word search through Scripture to 
find a number of red flags God gives His children to follow in the 
relationship
department. I wasn’t in a covenant relationship with this person (marriage), 
yet I was absolutely bound to them despite the clear direction of Scripture

not to align my heart with them.

As I struggled with this relationship and how to walk in God’s truth and 
grace in the midst of it, I confided to one of my Christian friends how 
discouraged
I was over my inability to follow what I thought Scripture was instructing 
me; that I should be content with insults (2 Corinthians 12:10
), and that suffering well finds favor with God (1 Peter 2:20
), so I felt I should be able to just live in this pain and do it well. She 
pointed out that when we go the extra mile for someone or suffer those 
insults,
it’s generally for the purpose of our witness.

But this person was a professing believer and my actions weren’t witnessing. 
Even when I spoke about the pain I felt, and tried to confront their 
inappropriate
behavior, I was simply told that “love covers all sin” and clearly, I didn’t 
have enough love. So I felt guilty for hurting and ashamed that I couldn’t
figure out how to be healthy in this relationship.

Eventually I felt the Lord impress on my heart “You are not your own, you 
were bought with a price”
(1 Corinthians 6:19
). You are choosing not to obey by being in this relationship. It’s not a 
matter of you being mean or nice. It’s a matter of you choosing to obey Me, 
the
One who paid the price for your heart.”

I reread that list of red-flag Scriptures and prayed about how to follow 
through with love and grace. So here’s my list of verses I use as red flag 
warnings
to be cautious in a relationship. Everyone needs grace. Everyone makes 
mistakes. And love triumphs over judgement, so be prayerful as you apply 
these words
of wisdom:

“There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an 
abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed 
innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false 
witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.”
(Proverbs 6:16-19 NAS)

(This passage wasn’t a “stay away from verse” but we are wise to avoid close 
relationships with people who practice things the Lord says He hates. So 
watch
out for those traits in the people you let into your life and don’t be that 
kind of person either!)

“Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, 
Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.”
(Proverbs 22:24-25
NAS)

“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not 
associate with a gossip.”
(Proverbs 20:19 NAS)

“But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if 
he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a 
drunkard,
or a swindler -- not even to eat with such a one.”

(1 Corinthians 5:10
NAS)

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels 
about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive
person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to 
do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they 
are
self-condemned.”
(Titus 3:9-11 NIV)

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him 
into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him
a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
(2 John 1:10-11
NAS)

The context of those last verses has to do with people who are professing 
believers. The 2 John passage refers to people who distort Christ and the 
Gospel.

At first read, these verses feel harsh to me. I’m not great with boundaries. 
They feel confrontational and uncomfortable. It’s easier to think about 
obeying
God by forgiving or exercising patience. Yet, by limiting the influence 
damaging people have in our lives, we will end up protecting the energy, 
purity
of heart, and focus God wants to use in our lives to reach people for Him.

Sometimes, we allow ourselves to endure unnecessary wounding in 
relationships because we figure it’s our duty or because it brings us to a 
place of humility
that honors Christ. While there are a plethora of verses that instruct us to 
take up our cross and follow Christ
(Mark 8:34
), there’s much needed discernment in applying godly wisdom to our 
relationships as well.

In light of these verses, I’ve had to realign some relationships. People I 
dearly loved but had violent tempers did indeed create sticky snares in my 
life
that God wasn’t calling me to be part of. I also learned to give less of my 
heart to people addicted to gossip and slander.

In each circumstance where I had to limit the influence that person had in 
my heart, the individual was a professing believer. They were not open to 
any
correction and did not change that facet of life (or got worse) over the 
course of years. None of my realigned relationships lost my love, 
forgiveness,
or prayers. They were simply redirected off the main street of my heart. If 
we truly believe that we are not our own, then regardless of how much we 
might
love a person caught in such activities, we must realign our interaction 
with them because our Lord tells us to.

When we consider how we are not our own, we must also recognize that 
sometimes offenses will come our way and they too have been sifted through 
our Father’s
hand. Because we don’t own the rights to our hearts anymore, our Father 
instructs us to forgive. He allows us to choose whether we will cling to 
grudges
or grace. But in the end, if we are really following Him, the choice has 
already been made.

It is a tricky tightrope walk that applies with balance verses like:

“But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all 
men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for
He Himself knew what was in man.”
(John 2:24-25
NAS)

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, 
with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak,
then I am strong.”
(2 Corinthians 12:10 NAS)

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of 
sins.”
(1 Peter 4:8-9 NIV)

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
(Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Jesus didn’t casually give Himself to people because He knew they weren’t 
trustworthy, and at the same time Paul knew he was called to give himself 
freely
to the insults and persecutions of the people he was trying to reach. Those 
are hard to live out with balance! Both Peter and Proverbs declare guarding
and loving are to be done “above all!” Personally, I can’t find that balance 
on my own! I need the help of the Holy Spirit.

As I have been growing in the realization that my heart isn’t cheap 
(regardless of how I treat it) and growing in my attempts to honor God with 
my relationships
through obedience, I have acquired a few practical tools:

1. Pray! Talk to God about every relationship you invest time in. Pray 
before you go to visit/chat with a friend, pray during your visit and pray 
afterward.
Pray, pray, pray about your relationships!

2. Check with someone you know has your best interest at heart.
When I was a kid I would talk to my grandma about my friends. She would say, 
“Honey, those are acquaintances; friends don’t treat you like that.” I would
assure her that they were indeed my friends (mostly because they were the 
only people who were remotely close to being friends) even if they didn’t 
act
like it. Now as an adult, it is generally my husband who reminds me to be 
careful with my heart. Some people are just people you know, not 
soul-sisters.
Even if you wish they were!

3. Recognize that all your friends and family members are indeed human and 
will let you down – you will do the same to them too. So don’t make 
perfection
the price tag for intimacy.

4. Recognize that if you feel lonely in the friendship department, it might 
be because God wants you to lean into Him more right now instead of being 
distracted
with people. Cultivate your relationship with the Lord first and foremost!

5. When offenses in relationships come your way, ask the Lord how He wants 
you to respond. Forgiveness is a given, but perhaps He isn’t requiring you 
to
remain so close or maybe He wants you to lovingly confront the other person. 
Check your motive for being close to the person. Is this a healthy, 
Christ-centered
relationship?

6. Consider how your relationships center around God. The relationships that 
have Jesus as the center (ie. we talk about Scripture, pray for each other,
etc.) are the ones that are most precious. So apply grace liberally in those 
relationships.

Finding balance in relationships isn’t easy! But at the end of the day, our 
heart belongs to our Lord! It is of great worth to Him, and no longer 
belongs
to us. May we all grow in wisdom to know the true cost of our heart and 
guard it with honor.

April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to 
talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. 
Collaborating
with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry 
dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, 
men
and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry 
outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and 
stages,
across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern 
California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, 
Dayspring's
(In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for 
crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more 
information, visit Motl
Ministries at:
www.MotlMinistries.com .

Take Life as It Comes
by Chuck Swindoll

Ecclesiastes 11:6

The only way we can come to terms with reality—is by trusting God, 
regardless. No ifs, ands, or buts.

If I am a farmer and God allows a flood to come and wash away my crops or 
God chooses to give me the beautiful season rains and a bumper crop, I trust
Him and I give Him praise.

If I am in industry or some profession and someone throws me a curve and God 
allows my whole world to be reversed, I trust Him and I give Him praise.

I take life as it occurs. I don't waste time in the pit of doubt. Nor do I 
worry over crop failures and strikeouts.

We can't wait for conditions to be perfect. Nor can we wait for things to be 
free of all risks—absolutely free, absolutely safe. Instead of protecting
ourselves, we have to release ourselves. Instead of hoarding, we are to give 
and invest. Instead of drifting, we are to pursue life. Instead of doubting,
we are to courageously trust.

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

Faith for the Journey
Take Time
Visit insight.org

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

Today's Daily Encounter

Solo Deo Gloria

"You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of
my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But
remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you
the ability to produce wealth."1

"J. S. Bach became known worldwide for his remarkable
musical talent, but he never ceased to credit his
Creator as the one who was responsible for his ability.
The pages of his musical compositions could well have
been used to satisfy a personal pride as his name
appeared on them. But he was determined to give glory
to God for his accomplishments. So he always concluded
his original compositions with the three letters INS.
They stood for the Latin words meaning 'In the name of
Christ.' At other times Bach began his score with the
letters JJ, meaning 'Jesus help', and then ended his
composition with the letters SDG for the Latin Solo Deo
Gloria, meaning, 'To God be the glory.'"2

The problem of pride is as old as mankind ... actually
it's older, for it was Satan's downfall. "I will make
myself like the Most High [God],"3 he declared. It has
also been the downfall of many a man. "Pride goes
before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall,"4
warned King Solomon.

It's so easy to forget that all that we are and have
comes from God--"For in him we live and move and have
our being"5--and yet so many of us act as if we were
the creator of our talents, the maker of our abilities,
and the master of our tomorrows--none of which is true.

On the other hand, humility is not putting yourself
down. True humility is acknowledging what gifts we
have, abilities we possess, and accomplishments we have
achieved--but all the while, like Bach, gratefully
acknowledging Solo Deo Gloria--to God be the glory.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the gifts
that You have given to me. Help me to invest and use
these wisely in the work of Your Kingdom on earth and
always remember to give You the glory. Thank You, too,
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (NIV).
2. Harold H. Lentz, Preaching the Miracles, CSS
Publishing, Lima, Ohio, 1999. Cited on:
http://www.esermons.com/
3. Isaiah 14:13-15.
4. Proverbs 16:18.
5. Acts 17:28 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * * * *

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

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

Phone: 949-940-9050
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.


A Prayer for Those Waiting on Healing
By Meg Bucher

“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.”
(Ephesians 3:20 )

When our mobility is threatened, the world seems to stop. Suddenly 
everything becomes painful, nerves fry, and our prayers become urgent. 
Crying in a heap
on my floor, I laid my collegiate athletic self to rest... I thought for 
good. Or, for as far forward as I could see. Whether His response to our 
agony
is miraculous or deferred, we can trust He is healing us through seasons of 
pain.

The flow of life is a mystery to everyone but God. Surrendering ourselves to 
His will allows us to navigate unspeakable, and seemingly endless, pain.

Father, we praise You, for You love us perfectly. You set the stars in the 
sky and the oceans’ borders in place. Everything moves under Your omnipotent
hand. To heal us gives You joy. We don’t understand pain. You tell us that 
sin has consequences in this life, yet we struggle to draft together a lofty
purpose and reasoning for the when, why, where, and who it befalls. Father, 
You are grace and love and hold us in perfect justice and fairness. You grow
us through every season, painful and not.

When we are in pain, the world seems to stop for us. Every move becomes more 
poignant, and dependent on Strength above our own. Thank You for lending us
Your power in times of weakness and sickness. Thank You for gluing us 
together when we are emotionally coming unwound. Thank You for holding our 
tongues
when the daggers of insult threaten to wage war in our hearts. Thank You for 
loving us completely and perfectly, providing the care and companionship 
through
medicine, family, friends, and church families that pray for us and unite 
for our cause.

Forgive us, Lord, when we are too quiet and scared to reach out. Whether it 
be to speak of our pain under a blanket of
prayer, or shout of our miracles to Your glorious Name. Forgive our silence, 
and quicken us to share our grief and our miracles with You and others as a
testimony of hope.

Father, you can heal us in a heartbeat. We pray for Your miraculous healing 
today. From depression, life-long disease, sudden failures, addictions and
massive handicaps. We pray for miraculous healing because we know you are as 
capable of fixing our physicality as you are to hold the oceans in place as
the earth spins around. Through Your Son’s death on the cross, we have the 
opportunity to be healed spiritually. By believing in Jesus we are connected
straight to You in prayer and presence. Bless our hearts to believe in You 
beyond our heart’s capacity. Strengthen our
faith where it is weak and strengthen our resolve to linger in Your presence 
a little longer each day.

Take our pain away, according to Your will, in Your time. We’re not promised 
a painless life on this earth, but You do want us to live a happy one. Send
Your Spirit to help us see past our circumstances and onto Your calling on 
our lives. Sickness and injury can’t stop God-placed dreams. Fill our hearts
with hope as we wait on You to move in our lives and flow out from our 
hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Editor’s Note: Content taken from “A Prayer for Those Waiting on Healing” by 
Meg Bucher. You can read that piece in full
here . All rights reserved.

10 Reasons to Sing through Life
Sarah Coleman

It is your time to sing. Sing? Yes, sing. I don't mean to audition for the 
next season of American Idol, but I believe God wants you to sing. Sing like
the woman of
Isaiah 54 .

Singing through life is an attitude. Singing is being beautiful, letting 
wonderful surprises happen to you, walking on sunshine, and living beyond 
status
quo. Far over and above all that you could ask or imagine? You better 
believe it!

You may think, that’s fine for you to say, but I don’t have a husband who’s 
a Christian. Or, I’m not very beautiful. I’m not smart. I don’t have much 
money.
My marriage is on the rocks. I look after my sick mother-in-law. I’m sick 
with a horrible, incurable disease. I’m single and I’ll never find a 
husband.
Life just plain stinks!

There are plenty of excuses, but regardless of your situation, you can sing 
through life. Esther's husband was not a Christian. Leah was not very 
beautiful.
Rhonda wasn't smart. The widow Jesus pointed out in the temple didn't have 
much money. Abigail had a terrible marriage. Ruth looked after a sick 
mother-in-law.
The woman with the issue of blood had an incurable disease. Rehab was single 
with no prospects. And life was pretty bad for Job, Hannah, and Solomon's
wives (well, I wouldn't want to be one of 700). Yet they all managed to 
sing. They made the most of their situation, and as a result, things turned 
around.

I challenge you to take a step of faith and sing. Be in love with God and 
life. The miracle is about to happen for you. You have reason to sing.

“Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud 
and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the 
desolate
woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says 
the Lord
( Isaiah 54:1 ).

1. You are about to give birth

God is about to birth in you new ideas, strategies, dreams. This promise is 
not for everyone else. It is for you. You will experience renewal. You will
birth newness. Good things are about to happen to you. Expect them.

Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no 
expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams
(
Isaiah 54:2
).

2. You are about to be enlarged

No one in the Bible wanted to be enlarged more than Jacob. He struggled to 
be born first, bargained for a better birthright, and was prepared to 
wrestle
more from God. God has more for you. Go after it!

For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy 
other nations and resettle the ruined cities
( Isaiah 54:3 ).

3. Your descendants will inherit the nations

It may appear as though your descendants will inherit debt, but the Word 
says otherwise. Godly children will unlock unprecedented blessing.

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no 
more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth 
and
the sorrows of widowhood"
( Isaiah 54:4 ).

4. There is no shame

Shame binds. Isaiah 53
explains that Jesus dealt with shame on the Cross. Leave guilt and 
condemnation behind. Your destiny is freedom.

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my 
faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be 
broken,”says
the Lord, who has mercy on you
( Isaiah 54:10 ).

5. God is faithful

The Almighty will fulfil his promise. The Lord is not angry with you, he has 
mercy upon you. He is faithful to do all he said he would do. What a great
God we serve.

I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and 
your walls of precious stones
( Isaiah 54:12 ).

6. God will build your prosperity

When the devil builds prosperity it is temporary and does not satisfy. When 
God builds it, it lasts for eternity.

You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies 
will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near
( Isaiah 54:14 ).

7. You will live in peace not terror

You and your children will never be threatened, or violated. People of peace 
don’t hang out with those involved in such behaviour. And terror: it will
not come near. You have nothing to fear.

If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever 
attacks you will go down in defeat
( Isaiah 54:15 ).

8. God is on your side

The Lord told Joshua, "I will be with you, only be strong and courageous." 
God is on your side, only be strong and courageous. The Lord conquers over 
your
enemies.

But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will 
silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by 
the
servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have 
spoken!
( Isaiah 54:17 )

9. No weapon formed against you shall prosper

No weapon of gossip, offense, anger, lies, disease, or discouragement will 
prosper. The Word of God wins every time.

10. God has spoken!

These are not my words. The Lord Almighty has spoken. It is your time to 
sing!

The Cross of Christ has given you reason to sing. Meditate and declare these 
confessions. You can do it. Sing!

Sarah Coleman is an Australian author and communicator. Her books include
Single Christian Female and Make Yourself Amazing
. She is passionate about the Kingdom of God. She also loves being a wife 
and mother to two boys. To read more of Sarah's thoughts go to
sarahcoleman.com.au .

Publication date: June 3, 2014

Welcome to the Nugget

March 21, 2017

What Went Right

By Answers2Prayer
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"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is 
admirable--if
anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
(Phil 4:8 NIV)

Today I made the mistake of turning the news on. I found my senses instantly 
assaulted with stories of fighting politicians, corrupt corporations, and
countless crimes. It seemed like the only news worth showing was mankind at 
its very worst. It seemed like the only thing they wanted to talk about was
what went wrong today.

After a few minutes I turned the television back off. I poured myself a 
glass of iced tea, sat down at my kitchen table, and instead thought about 
what
went right today. Today the sun came over the horizon and bathed the world 
in its golden, life-giving light. Today my little house once again kept me 
warm,
safe, and dry. Today I had 3 meals of wonderful food that kept me healthy, 
alive, and energized for the work of the day. Today whenever I reached my 
hand
down I had a furry head to pet as my dogs and cat shared their unconditional 
love with me. Today I got to hug and encourage my handicapped sons and see
the boundless joy that they share with the world.

Today I talked with my daughter and was once again amazed at the incredible, 
young woman she has become. Today I got messages from friends and family 
both
online and off sharing their lives and their love with me. Today I shared a 
few messages of love and joy myself. Today I felt God's love for me flowing
through all of His creation and encouraging me to once again spread His 
love, tell His truth, and shine His light.

When you are at the end of your days in this world are you going to dwell on 
what went wrong or rejoice in what went right? God showers this world in 
goodness
and we need only to open our hearts to see it. Rejoice in everything that 
goes right in your life then. Give thanks for it. And do your best to add 
your
own goodness, kindness, and love to it as well. By doing this you will be 
helping God to make this Earth a lot more like Heaven.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed 
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a 
righteous
man is powerful and effective."
(NIV) Send your prayer request here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three 
come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

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

Post  Admin on Mon 15 May 2017, 6:02 pm

Bird in the Garage
Once we had a bird get into our garage. WE don’t know how long it had been 
in there when we heard it flying around hitting the walls and ceiling. WE 
tried to help it find the way out the big opening but it wouldn’t go out. It 
would fly up to the ceiling toward the opening but always go above the 
garage door which was up on its track. Sometimes it would rest on the door 
itself. After a long time of chasing it, the bird finally flew towards the 
back wall into the corner behind a freezer. WE could hear it flopping around 
back there. We finally got the bird out. WE carefully scooted it outside and 
shut the garage door so it wouldn’t get back in.

There are a lot of people like this bird. They are trapped but they don’t 
know it. They try to get to heaven by doing good works. Jesus told us the 
following:

Matthew 5:19-20 (NRSV)
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and 
teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of 
heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the 
kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that 
of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Some try to keep all of the commandments. They, like the rich young ruler, 
think they have kept them all but have they? There is no one that ever lived 
except for Jesus Christ who did this. So how does one get to heaven? One 
must surrender his life to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth 
and the Life. No one can get to heaven except through Him. When one accepts 
Jesus as his Savior then he has the righteousness of God which is far better 
than the righteousness of the Pharisees. Then he will be free just like the 
bird that was helped out of the garage. The Christian will be free to know 
god’s love fully and to freely give that love to others.

An odd thing is that some birds that have finally gotten out of the garage 
still want to come back inside for some reason. The same thing can happen to 
someone after he becomes a Christian. He wants to live his best but gets 
caught up in legalism. This is like flying back into the garage. He is not 
free but is trapped into trying to keep the commandments to earn brownie 
points with God. WE are to keep the commandments of Jesus Christ but we 
don't do it to earn our salvation or to earn extra merit but do this through 
his power within us. WE will want to do his will because of his love for us 
and not because we are trying to earn his love.

Galatians 5:1 (NASB95)
1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free ; therefore keep standing 
firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery .

Give your life to Jesus Christ and be led by his Holy Spirit. When you 
belong to Jesus Christ you are free to love. You will do what he wants 
because you want to and not because you feel like you have to.

Now if you are flying around in your own garage, get out of there and really 
soar!

by Dean W. Masters


Weak Moms, Strong God
Sarah Walton / May 13, 2017
Weak Moms, Strong God

Mother’s Day can be painful. I often look at my children and feel crushed by 
the weight of responsibility to raise them with the obstacles we face. 
Living
with Lyme Disease makes motherhood physically painful, and having passed 
Lyme on to my four children is emotionally painful. Our circumstances often 
feel
overwhelming and impossible to overcome.

I have the desire to bring up godly, well-balanced children, yet I often 
feel as though I never get beyond simply keeping bellies full, preventing 
World
War III from breaking out in our home, and getting through the day — all 
while carrying a thousand-pound backpack filled with fears, doubts, grief, 
and
weariness.

Oh, how different life is from the naive picture that I had formed in my 
head before the realities of motherhood began. Don’t get me wrong, I am so 
thankful
to be a mother. It is a precious gift and privilege that I do not deserve. 
However, it is also a journey that has been far from what I imagined.

Mom’s Internal Struggle

These last ten years of motherhood have been mixed with joy and pain, 
sweetness and sorrow, growth and loss. God has been faithful to carry us 
through
many dark days, but the internal struggle often remains within me.

I’m failing to be the mom that my kids need.
Will they always carry the baggage of the pain they have faced?
The burdensome trials in front of me are too much to bear.
If only I had done more.

Each mother carries her own unique fears, anxieties, and struggles, but we 
all desire to be the mom that our children need, don’t we? These burdens and
fears will either consume us and create perpetual anxiety within us or, by 
God’s grace, they will lead us to the one who is not only in control, but 
knows
exactly what our children need — and loves them more than we ever could.

What Children Need Most

If you are feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, afraid, or discouraged as a mom 
this Mother’s Day weekend, would you join me in laying our burdens down 
before
Christ, reminding ourselves of the God we serve, and viewing our role as a 
mother through the lens of what he says?

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the 
number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, 
and
abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147:3–5)

What do our children need in us as mothers? A mother with no baggage? A 
mother who guards them from harm and protects their path? A mother who does 
daily
devotions as a family and faithfully brings them to church? A mother who 
provides opportunities for their growth and development?

Yes, these things are good, but they are not ultimately what our children 
need most from us. Before all else, our children need these three traits in 
their
mom.

1. A mom who loves Jesus more than a mom who “does everything right.”

We will fail our children. Whether we overreact, overprotect, waste our 
time, pass on a bad habit, discipline in anger, or neglect to discipline, we 
will
make mistakes, and sin will be intermingled with even our best efforts.

Trying to be the perfect mother for our children will always leave us 
discouraged, guilt-ridden, and weary. Our children need us to stop fixating 
on our
successes and failures and start fixing our gaze on Christ.

We do this by shaping our lives with his word and making focused time with 
him a priority. Though this will look different in different seasons, we 
want
to make time to bring our weary and striving selves to the truth of his word 
and allow the Spirit to fill us with more of Jesus.

As we take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on him, our kids will be 
exposed to something far greater and impactful than a mom striving for 
something
unattainable. We will still fail, yes, but as we seek to know Christ in 
tangible rhythms of life, we will grow to love him more — and that love will 
naturally
overflow into the lives of the precious children who are watching us ever so 
closely.

2. A mom who humbles herself under God’s loving plan, even when it’s not her 
own.

My experience as a mother has been nothing as I expected it would be. So 
much of what I envisioned has been shattered by special needs, a family with 
chronic
illness, a life-altering neurological disorder, doctor appointments, 
physical limitations, and financial loss.

Honestly, I have resisted humbling myself and accepting this as God’s plan 
for me on numerous occasions. During those times, I have found myself 
quicker
to anger, irritation, self-pity, and loneliness, because I’m fixated on what 
I wish life would be, rather than humbling myself under God’s good plan for
me and my children.

However, as I have grown in his grace through these hard years, I have 
learned that humbling myself under God’s plan does not mean that I will 
always walk
around with a smile on my face despite the heartache deep within me. It does 
mean, however, that by faith I choose to bring my heartache, disappointment,
fear, sorrow, and weariness to Jesus, asking him to help me trust his 
goodness and purposes in my circumstances.

3. A mom who trusts that God is bigger than our baggage, failures, and 
circumstances.

It’s easy to look at the circumstances that you or your children are facing 
and feel defeated and overwhelmed. Whether it’s a devastating illness, an 
inherited
sin or habit, a child’s insecurities, a traumatic event, or a rebellious 
child, we will all be faced with circumstances that are far beyond what we 
can
handle in ourselves.

However, the blessing of facing these circumstances is that they provide an 
opportunity for us to let go of our need for control and desire to earn God’s
acceptance, and instead trust that God is greater than the most hopeless 
circumstance and rebellious heart. Life’s trials can become turning points 
that
take us from being moms who strive for control and perfection, to moms who 
confidently and freely trust in God’s control, promises, forgiveness, 
goodness,
faithfulness, and redemption.

What a powerful witness it is to our children when they see peace and joy 
flowing from their mom amidst challenging circumstances and their own 
rebellious
hearts. And what greater gift can we give our children than to give them a 
glimpse of a trustworthy Savior who is greater than our sin and greater than
our trials?

In His Strength

Sister, if you find yourself facing circumstances that are more than you can 
handle, or you feel inadequate to be the mom you desire to be, remember that
the Lord’s “delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in 
the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in 
those
who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 147:10–11).

As we learn to trust Christ, rather than our own wisdom and strength, and as 
we learn to fear God, rather than our own failures or trials, he will guide,
equip, and strengthen us to be the mother he desires us to be.

Every Good Church Is Messy
Keith Welton / May 13, 2017
Every Good Church Is Messy

I have been in the church for over twenty years now. I’ll never forget my 
first experience in a real Bible-believing, Spirit-filled, grace-singing 
church.
I was surprised people enjoyed being there, floored that they knew the words 
to the songs, and freaked out that they talked about their faith when they
weren’t at church. I saw spouses doting over each other, kids being 
respectful, and college students staying sober. It had a tremendous effect 
on me —
I was sold on the church.

Twenty years later, I have felt the pains of being in church. I have felt 
the pain of getting ground up in the gears of church politics, leaders 
leaving
members in the dust on decisions, friends uttering harsh words, members 
ruining their lives in sin, and congregational meetings that almost seemed 
like
an episode of Jerry Springer.

Church hasn’t always been pleasant. But while I’ve watched many people give 
up on the church and flee from it like a haunted house, nevertheless, I 
still
love the church and even decided to move my family to rebuild a struggling 
church. What I am doing may confound people, but despite the imperfection 
and
sin we see in the church, we still love the church.

No Surprises

No one should be surprised that the church is made up of sinners — it’s one 
of the admissions that opens the membership door in the first place: we are
not perfect and never will be in this life. At its best, the church in this 
age consists of sinners who are sincerely but imperfectly following Christ.
And inevitably, the church also has people who are not truly following 
Christ.

Even the earliest churches in the New Testament were this way. People were 
proud of their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:21), unloving, unwilling to associate
with other races (Galatians 2:11–12), some were involved with lawsuits (1 
Corinthians 6:1), some were getting drunk during communion (1 Corinthians 
11:21),
some were living in sexual immorality and even sleeping with their own 
family members (1 Corinthians 5:1)! Paul actually told one church their 
meetings
did more harm than good (1 Corinthians 11:17) — that’s amazing.

Paul was not derailed by any of these things. And he certainly didn’t give 
up on the church. He said these differences are necessary to prove who is 
genuine
in their faith (1 Corinthians 11:19). The mess was in line with what the 
apostles expected, and it should be with us, too.

So, why do I love the inconvenient, messy, and sometimes painful local 
expression of Christ’s body?

1. We are humbled by those who are hard to love.

God is bringing people of different backgrounds, nationalities, 
socioeconomic statuses, and spiritual maturity levels together (Ephesians 
3:10). The church’s
diversity is a beautiful thing, and part of the beauty is that it grows us 
by bringing us into orbit with people unlike us — sometimes with people who
are hard to love.

Loving lovable people is easy. Associating with unlovable people in 
unlovable situations will always make us marvel at the love of Christ. It 
forces us
to grow in knowing and sharing that love. In the mess, we will find 
beautiful displays of forgiveness, compassion, humility, and reconciliation. 
These
never would have been seen apart from the mess.

2. We are warned by those who fall away.

Some of the worst things I’ve seen in the church were caused by people who 
had fallen away (or were falling away) from the faith. Seeing the results of
their actions was sobering. When I first saw the problems in the church, I 
thought Jesus was the problem. I thought his work in our church was 
insufficient,
or at least incomplete, and that he was the reason we faced the issues we 
did.

Then I realized most of those people causing scenes were struggling in their 
faith. This aroused compassion in me, rather than judgment, and it made me
want to pray for and help them (Matthew 18:12). If I had left the church at 
the first glimpse of trouble, I would not have understood the root issue of
the problems — or the vital importance of striving in faith side by side 
with other Christians (Philippians 1:27).

3. We are prepared to love outside the church.

I have become more gracious and less judgmental. I have learned to work 
through disagreement when it occurs. This lesson has been massive, not just 
in
church settings, but for how I act at the office and with my family. I have 
learned to love better, more fervently and consistently.

If you have not had a reason to question loving the church, then your love 
has not been tested. Great lessons happen in the life of the church.

4. We learn to love what God loves.

The greatest and most important reason why I love the church is that God 
loves the church. Christ loves his bride, his holy ones for whom he died to 
purchase
them with his own blood (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:22–23; Revelation 21:2, 
9–10; 22:17). If the one who had to die to make us holy is not ashamed to 
call
us brothers, how could we refuse to love those who are sinners like us 
(Hebrews 2:11)?

God’s plan to make his grace known to the world is not for a bunch of 
perfect people to live together in perfect harmony, but rather, for sinful 
people
to cling desperately to Jesus, even in the hardest instances. God’s light 
may not shine in every corner of the church, but it still shines all around.
When the church looks to Jesus for help in our weaknesses, powerful things 
can happen.

Paul saw the mess in each of the churches, and he still gave his life to 
building them (Acts 20:24). The reason we love the church, and all its mess, 
and
all its baggage, is because it’s there that we see God’s amazing grace 
conquering our sins and transforming us to look like his Son. When the world 
sees
that, even the mess of the church can make Jesus look great.

God So Loved the World
John Piper / May 13, 2017

John 3:16 represents a glorious love, but there is more to God's love than 
the free offer of the gospel.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 14 May 2017, 10:50 pm

Reach Out to Others
by Chuck Swindoll
Proverbs 11:25
Close, open relationships are vital. A glib "Hi, how are ya" must be 
replaced with genuine concern.

The key term is assimilation. When I use the word here, I'm referring to 
people reaching out to one another.
Being absorbed in the function of the family of God as a participant (rather 
than a spectator)
. . . relating to
. . . working with
.. . caring for others whom I know and love.
As I read it over, I see written between the lines the reminder:

This is not automatic.
I am personally responsible.
So are you!

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

Welcome to the Nugget
March 14, 2017
Winds of Change
By Answers2Prayer
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 3:8)

A few years back change was brewing in our home. We had enjoyed a season of 
peace and calm without any crises. However change was in the wind. 
Circumstances
were stirring with my husband's job. For a while it was a breeze, not a full 
gale hurricane.

Everything is for a season, the good times as well as the bad times. Each 
change takes some of the old with it, yet brings something new. That's 
always
somewhat difficult for me. Change is certain, yes. But the unknown is still 
a little scary.

In the Bible, we read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In 
the book of Matthew (28:20), Jesus promises that the same faithful God who
is with us today will be with us in the newness of tomorrow. We don't have 
to be alone! That takes the fear out of it.

I have to remind myself, sometimes daily, that when I feel anxious I have 
jumped into the future. Staying rooted in the moment will make anxiety flee.
I need to ask the Lord to send an angel to hold my feet and ankles and help 
keep me grounded in the present.

The book containing the wisdom of the ages, the Bible, says this: "Do not be 
terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before
you, will fight for you"
(Deut. 1:29,30).

Winds of change may continue to blow. Yet we cannot go anywhere God is not 
already there.

That is good news.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy 2016

Announcement:

The book of Job has many valuable lessons to teach us. Over the past two 
years, several studies have been published in the Nugget on the book of Job. 
If
you have missed any of these studies, please click
here
, and may God bless you abundantly as you learn the valuable lessons God has 
to teach us in this thought-provoking book.

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give."
From: lyn@sermonillustrator.org
http://scripturalnuggets.org/


Should You Feel Shame for Missing Church?
Kelly O'Dell Stanley

If we could read people’s minds on Sunday mornings, we’d see all kinds of 
interesting thoughts...

• I’m tired. This is my only day to sleep in.
• People at church are hypocrites.
• They won’t even notice I’m not there.
• The ceiling would cave in if I walked through those doors.
• I know I should go, but I don’t feel like it.

Sound familiar? I’ve been there. This article is for you, whether you attend 
regularly but feel guilty when you need to miss a week, or whether you do
not go to church at all. I
do go to church on Sunday mornings (but, I’ll admit, not to every service 
our church offers). I love it and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without 
it--but
I’ll be the first person to say that you should not feel shame for missing 
it.

Because here’s the truth: God doesn’t exist only within the walls of a 
church.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit 
dwells in your midst?”
(1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV)

That’s right. The Holy Spirit dwells within us. We can--and should--have a 
relationship with God that extends outside the walls of church, beyond the 
formal
times of praise and worship, and even when we’re not around other believers.

The reality is that church can be complicated. And the words “church” and 
“God” are not interchangeable.

Countless people have been hurt by others in the Church. People have been 
judged, chastised, and abused in the name of religion. Some have been taught
false beliefs about God and faith. No matter how well-meaning we are as a 
whole, the Church will hurt people and lose people. It’s inevitable.

The Bible instructs us to devote ourselves “to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”
(Acts 2:42)--in other words, to gather with other believers for times of fellowship. 
It also teaches us to
“not giving up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25
 and to worship God. You can do that outside of church, too, so why does 
going to church matter?
According to Ephesians 4:11-13
, the purpose of the church is to build up believers, to equip God’s people 
for works of service. The church exists to teach us how to interact with 
others,to grow deeper in our faith, and to hear the Word of God (which instructs, 
teaches and convicts us). Why would the disciples tell us that some are 
appointed
to be pastors and teachers and evangelists and prophets, if we weren’t 
supposed to gather together somewhere to learn from them?

1 Corinthians chapter 12 explains that all of us who have placed our belief 
in Jesus become members of one body. For the body to function correctly, all
parts are necessary. In order for the Church to function as God intended, it 
needs all of us. Does that mean you have to go to church to be “saved”? No,
because we cannot earn salvation--God offered it freely. Nor are we saved by 
our works
(Ephesians 2:8-9). Doing what the Bible tells us to do doesn’t save us from our sin, and 
nowhere does the Bible say “attend church diligently every Sunday or you 
will go to hell.”
God calls our hearts to obedience, and the concept of church fulfills all of 
the instructions the Bible gives us. Personally, my faith has been formed
in large part due to the people within my faith community--by hearing good 
teaching, by witnessing changed and faithful lives, by walking alongside 
others
trying to live for God. Is my church perfect? No, and neither am I. Any time 
people interact with others, there’s a potential for strife and 
misunderstanding,
for discord and hurt feelings. I’m not trying to downplay the very real 
damage done by some people within the church, and sometimes there are 
legitimate
(and wise) reasons for people to leave their church.

But all in all, going to church can be valuable. What we stand to gain is so 
much greater than what we miss if we do not go.

So that settles it--we should feel shame and guilt when we don’t go, right? 
Nope. Because shame has no place in a relationship with God. We live under
grace, which means that Jesus came to pay the price for all of our failings, 
all of our sins, all of our mistakes.

If we fall short (as we all will do), we don’t have to fall into despair. 
Instead, all we have to do is tell God that we know what we’ve done and want
to turn away from that behavior. When we ask God to forgive us, He does. And 
then we can let go of it, and all related guilt and shame and remorse, 
because
that is exactly what
He will do. Let it go.

Honestly, if I thought God would beat me up every time I turned back to Him, 
I’d never do it. And if I believed He held Himself back and only made 
Himself
known within the walls of the church, I’d start asking what kind of God He 
is.

When we ask these questions, though, we discover something amazing. He’s 
magnificent and holy and omnipotent--and yet He chooses to dwell inside us. 
If
we are the temple, we don’t need church in order to find Him. He’s already 
everywhere we are.

As Christians, we can show our love for God by trying to live as Jesus 
taught his disciples. This includes having fellowship with other believers; 
encouraging,
serving, and honoring one another; and hearing, reading, and studying the 
Word of God. Each of these things
can be done outside of church, but the reality is that if you’re not 
gathered together with like-minded people, it’s more difficult to reach 
spiritual
maturity. I know that in theory I can have a strong relationship with Christ 
on my own, apart from church, but in practice, my faith deepens and 
strengthens
the more I am around other members of God’s Church. If, for whatever reason, 
you can’t be there (on a given week, or for a specific season of your life),
then be intentional about filling your life with the things the church can 
provide.

But that pesky guilt? Those feelings of shame or embarrassment you feel when 
you don’t go? Let it go, and instead hold tight to the God who created the
Church. The One who wants to capture our hearts. The One that is with us no 
matter where we are.

Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, help me to let go of my shame and to trust in the reality 
of Your deep and abiding love for me. I want to honor You and know You 
better,
both within and without the walls of the church. Help me do that in the 
place where You want me to be. Thank You for not hiding Yourself but for 
dwelling
in me. Please show me how and where I can serve You best. In Jesus’ name I 
pray, amen.

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



The Service of Motherhood
Philippians 2:1-11

Children are a blessing from the Lord (Ps. 127:3-5). Motherhood is a great 
honor and privilege, yet it is also synonymous with servanthood. Every day 
women
are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they 
are awake at night nursing a baby, spending their time and money on 
less-than-grateful
teenagers, or preparing meals, moms continuously put others before 
themselves.

Sometimes this constant serving can be exhausting and even 
discouraging--particularly for a first-time mother. But you can take real 
encouragement from
Jesus. One of the best examples of gracious servanthood is found in
John 13:3-16
. By kneeling to wash His disciples’ feet, the Lord showed that the key to 
true leadership is humility. And it is humility that leads to eternal 
reward.

Unless you are willing to stoop down and get your hands dirty, you will miss 
the real riches of motherhood. By dying to your own desires and pouring your
life into someone else, you become like Christ and create a godly legacy 
that will carry on for generations to come. What greater blessing could one 
hope
for? Of course, the motivation for serving others is not to reap benefits, 
but when we follow God’s plan for our life, that’s what happens.

In giving us children, God places us in a position of both leadership and 
service. He calls us to give up our lives for someone else’s sake--to 
abandon
our own desires and put our child’s interests first. Yet, according to His 
perfect design, it is through this selflessness that we can become truly 
fulfilled.

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.

7 Daily Steps to Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart
by John UpChurch

Perhaps you’ve been told that as a Christian you must learn to “trust in the 
Lord with all your heart.” But this famous passage from
Proverbs 3
contains more than just a general statement about living. Instead, you’ll 
find the steps you need each day to truly walk with God.

Follow these 7 daily steps to make sure you’re leaning on the Lord:

We live in a world where trust must be earned and seems to be in short 
supply. But Solomon, the famous king who wrote Proverbs, knew that trust is 
exactly
where we must start:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding 
(Proverbs 3:5 )
Most of us have faced disappointments, which have taught us that we can only 
depend upon ourselves. But living the life God has called us to means 
unlearning
that lesson. Instead, we’re meant to rest in God’s understanding.
We may know in our minds that He possesses all wisdom:
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How 
unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
Romans 11:33
But sometimes trusting Him completely like that can be tough. So, each day 
we must consciously lay aside our own plans and expectations—and surrender 
to His plans.

What if we don’t feel like we can trust Him like that? That’s where step 2 
comes in…

Surrendering to God begins with our lips and our thoughts. We need more than 
a commitment to depend on Him; we need to cry out to Him to show that 
dependence.
“in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (
Proverbs 3:6 )

When we pray, we admit that His ways are higher than ours. We show that we’re 
leaving our troubles and burdens and dreams in His capable hands. In fact,
the Bible promises that when we reach out to Him in prayer, He hears us:

“Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. ” 
(Psalm 55:17 )
We handed the keys of our lives to Him, and we know that He’s able to lead 
us. But in order for that to work, we have to…

So much in this world can clutter up our relationship with God. John, the 
writer of the fourth gospel, describes them as the desires of the flesh, the
lusts of the eyes, and the pride in our lives (
1 John 2:16 ). In other words, our blessings can easily become our stumbling blocks when 
we think of them as what we deserve or what we need to be happy.

Instead, life works best when we remember the true source of our 
blessings—God—and focus on the things that please Him:

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” (
Proverbs 3:7 )

Sometimes, the only way to live the life God wants us to live is by 
separating ourselves from the bad influences that keep dragging us down. 
That works
the best when we start pursuing something else in their place:

“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and 
peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (
2 Timothy 2:22
Is that easy? Not at all. Fleeing from the evil desires that pull at us 
means spending a lot of time crying out to God and leaning on Him. But our 
Creator
promises to honor our commitment to Him when we shun evil:
“This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (
Proverbs 3:8 )
When we pursue Him, we find life—abundant life. Running from evil and 
pursuing God doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Instead, it means we have 
to make
a serious change:

It’s easiest to put ourselves first. When something good happens, we want to 
congratulate ourselves with a reward. When something bad happens, we want
to console ourselves or find someone to blame. In other words, we often have 
a “me-centric” starting place.

And when it comes to money, the struggle is even harder. But Solomon, who 
had quite a bit of wealth himself, knew that his money didn’t belong to him:

“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 
then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over 
withew wine.” (Proverbs 3:9–10 )

If we can trust God with the first of our wealth, we’re truly showing how 
much we depend on Him. Handing over the first part of our paycheck takes a 
huge
amount of faith, after all. But doing so means being God-centric.

To get there, though, make sure you…

Let’s be honest. We aren’t so good at evaluating ourselves. We will go to 
great lengths to excuse our behavior, our actions, and our sins. Who needs a
defense attorney when we can pretty much find a reason for any bad thing we 
do? The prophet Jeremiah captures this very well:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand 
it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 )

If we’re ever going to truly trust in God and flee evil, we have to know 
exactly where we stand. We have to find an objective measure that tells us 
the
truth. And that truth comes from God and His Word.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll always like what we see or how we see it:

“My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke” 
(Proverbs 3:11 )

That’s right. Sometimes it takes something bad happening or seeing ourselves 
in a bad light before we finally admit that we need to change. And the more
we’re in the Bible, the more likely this is to happen.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (
Psalm 119:11 )

When we have Scripture planted firmly in our hearts, God will often use that 
to deal with us.

When Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to the church, He told His 
disciples that this Counselor would be their spiritual compass or GPS:

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 
will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to 
you.”(John 14:26 )

As we go through our day, this same Holy Spirit guides us, too. That means 
we don’t have to go it alone or hope we’re getting it right. No, the Holy 
Spirit
leads us into all truth and protects us:

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of 
the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14 )
After all, the gift of the Holy Spirit to us believers reminds us that we 
can truly…

When we face a difficult world each day, we can sometimes wonder if God even 
cares. Why do bad things happen? Where is God when I need Him? Solomon 
reminds
us that God never takes a break or leaves us to fend for ourselves:

“because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he 
delights in.” (Proverbs 3:12 )

Even in the midst of turmoil, God sticks with us and uses those challenges 
to shape us. When we understand that, our perspective completely flips. No 
longer
do we see our setbacks as failures; we see them as moments when God, as our 
loving Father, works on us.

And that’s exactly why we can trust in the Lord with all our hearts. He 
cares for us each and every day. He gives us what we need to thrive. He 
pours blessing
after blessing upon us.

Of course, following each of these daily steps isn’t easy. That’s why Jesus 
said we have to deny ourselves and follow Him (
Matthew 16:24
). Trusting God takes a whole-hearted commitment from dawn till dusk. But we’re 
never alone in it:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (
Matthew 28:20b
This article first appeared at BibleStudyTools.com .


The One Sure Way To Deal With Your Stress
March 9

“Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 12:6

There’s a man I heard about who went to the doctor one day suffering from 
stress. The doctor gave him a regimen of exercises to do. But one thing he 
told
him to do first was to go off by himself for a while and look at something big.

“Look at something big?” the man asked.
“Yes,” replied the doctor. “The first step in dealing with stress is to get 
perspective on yourself.”

In Jesus’ life on earth, He often slipped away from the crowds to spend time 
with His Father and reflect upon His greatness. We, as believers in Christ,
can learn from His example, taking time away by ourselves to gain 
perspective on our own lives and reflect upon the greatness of God.

The key to overcoming stress is to walk humbly with God every day. Take time 
at the beginning of your day to reflect upon His infinite vastness. When you
do, you’ll find that reflection will energize you and melt away whatever 
stresses you face!

SPEND TIME DAILY REFLECTING UPON GOD’S GREATNESS AND YOU’LL BE ABLE TO 
OVERCOME WHATEVER STRESS YOU FACE.
Jack Graham
PowerPoint Ministries

5 Ways to Use Music to Praise God on the Go
Whitney Hopler
If you ever pull up next to me at a traffic light and look into my car, you 
might see me singing worship songs along with the radio. If I were to roll
my car windows down so you could hear me, you might wonder why someone would 
sing so loudly and passionately while driving. You might even laugh at me.
Even though I probably look strange (and maybe I sound strange, too), I’m 
not bothered by that, because I feel connected to God when I turn up the 
radio
to sing praises to him on the go.
God craves our praise wherever we go – not just in our church worship 
services – and music is the universal language of praise. The Bible often 
describes
people using music as a tool to praise God. Psalm 150 describes a wide 
variety of different musical forms of praise: “Praise the Lord. ... Praise 
him with
the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him 
with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him 
with
the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything 
that has breath praise the Lord…”
Music is a powerful form of expressing the creativity God has given us as 
people made in his image. It transcends language barriers and communicates 
deep
feelings from our souls. When we use music to express our changing emotions 
to God as we go through each day, we connect with God’s unchanging truth 
that
gives us an accurate perspective on what’s going on in our lives.
The EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum
in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on how people use music in their daily 
lives, emphasizes that music helps people connect their own experiences with
something greater than themselves. The museum’s musical performance space, 
while secular, is called Sky Church because it’s a based on a phrase 
musician
Jimi Hendrix used to describe “a place where people of all ages and cultures 
could come to collectively celebrate musical experiences.”
The Bible describes just such a place in heaven, which the Apostle John saw 
in a vision and described in Revelation 7:9-10: “I looked, and there before
me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, 
people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. … And
they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on 
the throne, and to the Lamb.’” Angels then join the myriad of people in 
heaven
praising God with the music of voices crying out in unison. Our experiences 
praising God right now through music are like soundbites that inspire us to
look forward to the ultimate praise experience: celebrating God together in 
heaven.
Here are 5 ways to use music as a tool for praising God on the go:
1. Thank God during the good times.
God is constantly pouring blessings into your life (from simple gifts like 
the ability to breathe fresh air or enjoy a delicious meal, to dramatic 
blessings
like getting a new child or a new job), and when you’re experiencing good 
circumstances you’re especially able to notice those blessings. When you 
feel
like celebrating something in your life, celebrate by praising God for 
giving you that blessing. Use uplifting music to express your praise 
creatively
to God, such as by praying with music in the background or singing your 
prayers to God. Choose from a variety of different musical genres to match 
your
mood: not just rock and pop, but also jazz, reggae, country, classical, 
electronica, tribal, epic, hip hop, etc. Have fun finding new types of music 
to
express your gratitude to God for what he has done for you – and most 
importantly, for who he is: a perfect God with many wonderful qualities.
2. Give God a “sacrifice of praise” during the bad times.
Remember that God is always worthy of praise, because his wonderful 
qualities never change, even though the circumstances of your life change 
often. Jesus
warned that everyone will experience trouble in this fallen world, so you 
can expect to go through bad times. But you can still praise God when you’re
suffering – and God wants you to, because doing so will strengthen your 
faith. The Bible urges in Hebrews 13:15: “Through Jesus … let us continually 
offer
to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his 
name.” Praising God when your life is not going the way you want costs you 
something;
you must sacrifice your will for God’s will, even when you don’t understand 
it or don’t like it. But when you give God a sacrifice of praise, you’re 
declaring
that you still believe that God himself is good even when your circumstances 
are bad, and that you trust God no matter what. That shows God your true 
faith,
which pleases him and strengthens your connection to him. You’ll go through 
difficult emotions whenever you make a sacrifice of praise, and music can 
help
you express and work through those emotions. Find music that matches the 
mood of the emotions you’re feeling – such as disappointment, sadness, 
frustration,
anxiety, or anger – and play that music while you pray honestly about your 
feelings. Then surrender your feelings to God with the faith that he will do
what’s best in whatever tough situations you’re facing.
3. Start each day well with morning praise.
Incorporate musical praise into your mornings during each new day. This will 
refresh your connection to God and remind you to make daily decisions based
on your relationship with God as your top priority. You can: set your alarm 
to wake you up with music; sing to God in the shower; chant your prayers 
during
morning devotions; and listen to worship music while you’re eating 
breakfast, doing household chores, or as you commute to work or school. If 
you play
a musical instrument of some kind (such as guitar or piano), establish a 
habit of playing for God during your morning devotions, even if it’s just 
for
a few minutes each time.
4. Stay connected to God with afternoon praise.
When you’re busy in the midst of your afternoon activities, you can do with 
them with the right perspective by staying connected to God through musical
praise. The Holy Spirit will hear you whenever you take a quick break to 
sing a praise prayer or play a song on a mobile device while praying a 
silent
prayer of praise along with it. If you can, stream music online or listen to 
some favorites with headphones while you work. Let the constant background
music remind you that God is always working behind the scenes of your life.
5. End your each day well with evening praise.
Praising God with music in the evening will help you reflect on how you’ve 
noticed him at work in your life that day, and prepare you to sleep 
peacefully
– with the confidence that God is caring for you – at night. If you can, 
take an evening prayer walk with headphones and a mobile device, listening 
to
music that evokes the mood of the thoughts and feelings you want to express 
to God. When you enjoy music for entertainment at night (such on a TV show
or at a concert), praise God for that gift. Wind down each day with some 
relaxing music before bedtime, and as you do, entrust your concerns to God’s 
care
with the faith that God will still be working even while you’re sleeping.
Praising God through music is something you can incorporate into your life 
regularly. Whenever you do, God will hear the song in your soul!

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for 
many years, produces the About.com site on angels and miracles at:
angels.about.com
. She is author of the Christian young adult novel
Dream Factory
, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Learn more by visiting her 
website at:
whitneyhopler.naiwe.com .

Anne Graham Lotz - Listening Carefully
Listening Carefully
I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure. . . . I love Your 
law.

Psalm 119:162-163, NKJV

When have you totally misunderstood God’s Word?

When He said, “Love one another,”

did you think He meant to tolerate sin? (1 John 4:7)

When He said, “in all things God works for the good,”

did you think that every story has a happy ending?

(Rom. 8:28)

When He said, “I will surely bless you,” did you think that He

would make you healthy, wealthy, happy, and problem free? (Heb. 6:14)

Isn’t it amazing how we can misinterpret what He says? Listening carefully 
to what God says is important, because if we misunderstand what He is 
saying,
we set ourselves up for disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment.

So . . . would you be quiet and listen with your eyes on the pages of your 
Bible? Listen for His still, small voice to whisper to your heart through 
His Word.
Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 11 May 2017, 10:50 am

The Valuable Lesson We Can All Learn From Loss

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or 
discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Loss visits all of us. None of us gets to opt out.

Rather than praying that we never experience loss again, our prayer should 
be that God would show us what’s possible on the other side of the loss.

While we’re waiting to find out what God might have for us, we might be sad 
for a while but we’re not going to be stuck. We’re going to move forward. 
Love
keeps us going and hope moves our feet.

God does not put loss in our lives to show us His power. God does this to 
allow each of us to go through difficult times to show us His presence 
through
it. It’s as if He reminds each of us in our most difficult circumstances 
that the most beautiful waterfalls only happen in the steepest places in our 
lives.

Love Lives Here Excerpt from
Love Lives Here by Maria Goff
© 2017. B&H Publishing Group.
Used by permission.

To Go, or Not to Go… to Church?
Nathan Tabor

To go or not to go to church … that question has been a hard one for me for 
10-plus years now. I grew up a preacher’s kid, and I had been involved in 
church
all of my life. As I grew older and, in my mind, wiser, I started to see 
behind the curtain a bit. And what I saw, I didn’t like.

I didn’t like the hypocrisy of seeing people say one thing, yet do another. 
I didn’t like the legalism or judgmental attitude of others. Over time, I 
settled
into a mindset that I could have a great walk with God and a relationship 
with Jesus as long as I kept both my quiet time and my prayer life alive… as
long as I did it my way.

Do you feel like that? Are you currently in this mindset?

Occasionally, I would venture out and visit a church here and there. But I 
never felt completely comfortable with one aspect or another. There was 
always
something that I allowed to keep me away.

Over the years, I also used other excuses not to attend church: I was tired 
after a long week of work or that I needed to spend time with my family. But
I never used these excuses when it was something I wanted to do, like go 
work out at the gym or take a vacation.

Basically, I had used one excuse or another to not get involved in any 
church.

What I finally came to realize and understand is that behind my own curtain, 
I was being a hypocrite too. Yes, I admit it! Behind my own curtain, I was
judging others for their attitudes or for what they had done or not done.

Here’s the truth: everyone has issues. Every church has issues. Churches are 
run by people. And people are humans, and humans are sinners, myself 
included.

The difference between them and me was simple: they were at least trying to 
observe fellowship with other Christians and to serve the Lord.

It really started to weigh on me almost a year ago. I need to adjust my 
attitude and drop my hypocrisy and get involved.

Now that I’m actively involved in a church, I still see people doing and 
saying things that I don’t necessarily agree with. Or they may do something 
that
I would handle differently. And I’m 100% sure that some would say the exact 
same thing about me. The difference now, however, is two-fold:

1. I realize that I’m not perfect either, and I’m 100% sure that people won’t 
like the way I say things or handle things at times.

2. The value of fellowship and friendship is both comforting and good for my 
spiritual soul. Not only can I talk with those who need help, I can talk 
with
those who can help me.

When previously I acted on my own—dealing with the hardships of life all by 
myself—I now have many Christian brothers and sisters who have my back. 
There
are comfort in numbers!

So, stop the excuses. Stop the judging and forget about what has happened in 
the past. I promise you, if you join or start participating in a 
Bible-believing,
Bible-teaching church, there will be less damage done to you in that church 
than the damage that will happen to you and your family outside of the 
church.

Nathan Tabor lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter. He has 
founded and owned over two dozen businesses since 1999, grossing over $150 
million
in sales. Some ventures have been wildly successful while some have been 
epic failures. He is passionate about applying God's word to his personal 
and
professional life and helping others do the same as an executive coach and 
business growth consultant. Learn more about Nathan at
NathanTabor.com .

Understanding the Source of Anger

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under 
control." - Proverbs 29:11

The workplace can be a pressure-packed world. The demands that are often put 
on us can bring out things that we never knew were there. Sometimes we begin
to think that the source of that pressure is to blame for our response to 
the pressure. It could be an event, a spouse, a boss, a client, a child, or 
even
a driver who cuts us off in traffic.

I recall responding to a close friend one time, "If you had not done that, I 
would never have responded that way." Later I learned that this response had
little truth to it. We all choose to get angry. No one else is to blame for 
our anger.

"The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in 
life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am" [Dr. Sam 
Peeples].

This simple quote has had a profound impact on how I view my anger now. 
Anger only reveals what is inside of me. I can't blame anyone but me for my 
response
to a situation. I have learned that anger is only the symptom of something 
else that is going on inside of me. This quote now resides on my 
refrigerator
door as a daily reminder of the truth about my response to life's 
situations.

It has been said that anger is like the warning panel on the dash of your 
car. It is the light that tells us something is going on under the hood and 
we
need to find out what is the source of the problem. I discovered that the 
source of anger is often unmet expectations or personal rights. We believe 
we
are entitled to a particular outcome to a situation. When this doesn't 
happen, it triggers something in us. At the core of this is fear, often a 
fear of
failure or rejection, fear of what others think, fear of the unknown.

If you struggle with anger, ask God to reveal the source of that anger. Ask 
Him to heal you of any fears that may be the root of your anger. Ask God to
help you take responsibility for your response to difficult situations.

Copyright 2000 by Os Hillman.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Leaving Love Behind - #7874

My wife was just a little girl when she first met Bob Henley. He was one of 
those older men you look up at and look up to at church. She had a visit to
her childhood church some years ago, and she asked about Mr. Henley. They 
said, "He's 92 years old - and that he would be there the next week." My 
wife
made it a point to attend church there the following week and to reconnect 
with this memory from her past. As they were talking, Mr. Henley said, "You
probably don't remember this (and she didn't), but one day after church you 
came up to me and you grabbed this finger. You were only about this high 
(about
the altitude of a 4-year old). But you grabbed my finger and you said, 'Mr. 
Henley, I love you.'" Now why would he remember that little¬ childlike 
expression
into the 9th decade of his life? He said, "You don't know this, but I was 
raised an orphan. That morning was the first time in my life anyone ever 
said
'I love you' to me.'" Wow!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Leaving 
Love Behind."

All those years without anyone ever telling him they loved him. And the 
power of someone finally letting him know he was loved.

We're surrounded by people who don't know they're loved...or who have not 
been told nearly enough. It's a lonely world of self-focused people. 
Consequently,
you can almost assume that some of the people you know are love-starved. And 
a lot of the mistakes they are making is because they're looking for love
in all the wrong places. Can you see that need behind their deeds?

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 5:1. It becomes 
a summons to action for us in our love-starved world. Here's what it says,
"Be imitators· of God, therefore, as dearly loved children...and live a life 
of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant
offering and sacrifice to God." Did you get that..."live a life of love"? 
Here that love is illustrated with the love of Jesus for us; love that is 
willing
to "give yourself up"...to sacrifice; to go out of your way to put someone 
else first.

I wonder how much of an answer you are to the deep love deficit that people 
around you are feeling. It isn't enough that you love them. You have to let
them know you love them. A lot of children aren't feeling secure in their 
parents' love, not because mom and dad don't love them, but because they 
don't
express their love in ways that the child can feel.

Like that man at Karen's church, people need to be told they're loved. They 
need someone who makes them feel important by just patiently listening to 
them.
You say "I love you" when you show up at the funeral, at the hospital, when 
you celebrate their special moments with them. You say, "I love you" when 
you
drop what you're doing to be with that person. You say "I love you" when you 
hang in there with them when they're aggravating, frustrating, obnoxious,
unlovable. When they're the least lovable, they need your love the most.

For some of us, this expressive love doesn't come naturally because we were 
raised in an undemonstrative family...we've been conditioned to not let our
feelings show. But that emotional paralysis cripples you and it deprives the 
people around you of knowing how you care for them. God's in the business
of liberating people emotionally who say, "Lord please unleash Your love... 
Your love through me."

It's important to look around the circle of people in your life and ask, 
"Does he...does she feel loved by me?" We're called by God to live a life of 
love.
For, as my wife was reminded by a man in his 90s, your simple, honest 
expression of love may be one of the first that person has had in a long 
time, and
it is something they will never forget.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Today's Devotional

Being Watchful And Thankful

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by 
prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 
(NIV)

People sometimes tell me that they admire how I have handled the challenges 
in my life. They could see that being a single parent was not easy, 
especially
given that both my daughter and I had serious chronic illnesses to manage. 
There were also difficulties at work due to my condition, and at school 
because
of my daughter's learning disability.

Well, the truth of the matter is that my way of handling most of the 
challenges was to pray. I was able to persevere and overcome them only 
because I prayed
without ceasing. I didn't handle the problems on my own. God was my refuge 
and strength.

Sometimes, we forget to pray. We might think that our problems are too small 
or that God doesn't really see us or want to come to our aid. But I can tell
you that He most definitely does. One time, while I was coping with work 
pressures and illness in my extended family, my kitchen was invaded by rats. 
The
exterminator finally caught them, but by then, the cupboards were like a 
hazardous waste site. I couldn't bear to clean up the horrible mess myself. 
I
called a cleaning service, but once they saw the extent of the detritus, 
they refused to touch it. I didn't know what to do. I was at my wit's end 
and
emotionally exhausted.

Well, you know what happened next? A church friend that I hadn't been in 
touch with for awhile phoned me out of the blue and asked what was going on 
with
me. I told her my tale of woe and how I was at the end of my rope. In 
response, she offered to clean up the mess for me. She assured me that she 
could
deal with the problem because she grew up in India and this task was nothing 
for her. I just had to get her some bleach, a pair of rubber gloves, and a
face mask. When I protested that I couldn't possibly ask her to do that, she 
insisted, "God told me to call you." Can you imagine that? In my distress,
God sent me someone to rescue me who knew His voice and was obedient. I was 
astounded and so grateful!

How often does that happen and we don't recognize that it is God at work? 
The right person comes along, and we think that it is "just by chance" that 
they
crossed our path. Many, many times I have been aware of God's provision with 
my finances. How else could I have the financial security that I have now?
A friend asked me the other day whether I had help buying my house. I 
replied that I hadn't — but I should have given God the glory. His was the 
only help
that I needed.

It is important that we pray in times of trouble. But it is also important 
that we keep our eyes and ears open to see what God has done in response. A
friend finds a job, a surgery goes well, or we find the money to pay for 
something that we need. God cares for us, and He moves in so many different 
ways
and in all manner of situations to help us. There is nothing that He cannot 
do. God hears us when we pray. For our part, we need to be watchful and 
thankful
for how He answers and moves in mysterious ways.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for Your loving care and for how You watch 
over us. Thank You for how You answer when we cry out to You in times of 
trouble.
Help us to see You at work so that by our testimony, we can give You the 
glory, honour, and praise. Amen.

Anne Graham Lotz - Helpless Without Him
Helpless Without Him
"I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."

John 5:30, NKJV

Have you wondered, in agony, why God is doing what He’s doing? Why He has 
delayed answering your prayer? Have you reacted to the delay by trying to 
help
Him out and speed things up? Have you turned to . . . a doctor, a lawyer, a 
counselor, a friend, pop psychology, a neighbor’s sympathetic ear, or a 
popular
TV talk show? Have you resorted to threats or bargaining or manipulation 
until you’re totally exhausted? Have you come to the absolute end of your 
rope?

One reason God may be delaying His answer to your prayer and postponing His 
intervention in your situation is to bring you to the end of your own 
resources.
Sometimes God waits in order to allow us time to exhaust every other avenue 
of help until we finally realize without any doubt or reservation that we 
are
totally helpless without Him.

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

They sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: 
“Great and astounding are your deeds, Lord God, the All-Powerful! Just and 
true
are your ways, King over the nations! ( Rev 15:3)

The following incident is related by Mrs. Charles Spurgeon, who was a great 
sufferer for more than a quarter of a century:

“At the close of a dark and gloomy day, I lay resting on my couch as the 
deeper night drew on; and though all was bright within my cozy room, some of 
the
external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul and obscured its 
spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the Hand which I knew held mine, and 
guided
my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In 
sorrow of heart I asked,

“’Why does my Lord thus deal with His child? Why does He so often send sharp 
and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He permit lingering weakness to hinder
the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?’

“These fretful questions were quickly answered, and through a strange 
language; no interpreter was needed save the conscious whisper of my heart.

“For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the 
crackling of the oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet, 
soft sound,
a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my 
window.

“’What can it be? surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of 
the year and night.’

“Again came the faint, plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet 
mysterious enough to provoke our wonder. My friend exclaimed,

“’It comes from the log on the fire!’ The fire was letting loose the 
imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost heart!

“Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all was well with 
him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight 
flecked
his tender leaves with gold. But he had grown old since then, and hardened; 
ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up the long-forgotten melody, 
until
the fierce tongues of the flames came to consume his callousness, and the 
vehement heart of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice. ’Ah,’
thought I, ’when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then 
indeed we are purified, and our God is glorified!’

“Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log, cold, hard, insensible; we 
should give forth no melodious sounds, were it not for the fire which 
kindles
around us, and releases notes of trust in Him, and cheerful compliance with 
His will.

“’As I mused the fire burned,’ and my soul found sweet comfort in the 
parable so strangely set forth before me.

“Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us, if that is the only way to get 
harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven 
times
hotter than before.”
 Streams in the Desert

Dear Friend Who Is Battling Lies: Hold on to Truth
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

Often, we can be our own worst enemy. We struggle with feelings of guilt and 
inadequacy, in parenting, in our marriages, in work, from the past to our
present. We “instant replay” all of our mistakes in our hearts, in our 
minds. We feel like we’re not enough, we can’t get it all done. And the 
world can
be really great at reminding us most days where we fall short. The enemy 
whispers his lies of defeat. He’s done it since the beginning of time. He’s 
a
manipulator and deceiver. He’ll attack when we’re already down. He watches 
for our every weakness.

Comparison seeps in.

Feelings of being overwhelmed.

We sink right into that downward spiral of defeat and despair.

And, you may know the story well.

I do too.

But we don’t have to stay stuck there.

Dear friends in Christ, who work so hard, serve faithfully, love well, and 
make endless sacrifices for those you care about...

For those who don't always feel like you get it right, who struggle with 
guilt, insecurity, or deep feelings of failure...

God sees you.

He knows the burdens you carry.

He's aware of how you've tried so hard to be strong for those you love.He 
understands the pain you've faced and even without uttering a word, He 
knows.

He gets it, and you, and me too.

In our weakness, He is strong.

"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 Corinthians 12:9

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

Come to Him, bring all that's on your heart and mind. He promises to give 
rest and peace. He's never asked us to carry it all. He doesn't expect us to
be perfect and strong through our own strength.

But right smack in the middle of our weakness, He shows up Strong, Mighty, 
Powerful, True.

We can let go of the guilt, the defeat, the feelings that we're not enough, 
or the lies the enemy has whispered our way.

God gives us hope and a purpose, He renews our strength like the eagles, and 
He invites us to bring every care, every burden to Him.

And to leave it there.

Not in ourselves. In our own efforts or striving. Not in our image, our 
families, the way we look, or what we own. Not in what we do, or how many 
titles
are behind our name.

Rest for the weary and strength for the overwhelmed are found only through 
Christ.

In the arms of Jesus.

Peace.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Choose today to come to Christ with every burden 
and care you’re holding onto today. He loves you more than you could ever 
know.
Leave your cares, every concern, your struggles with guilt or defeat in His 
hands. He is faithful to carry our loads. He promises rest and peace.

Further Reading:
Jeremiah 29:11
Isaiah 40:31
Psalms 46:10
Proverbs 4:23
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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

Are You an Occultist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dean W. Masters


How God Communicates Truth
by C. Michael Patton

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

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

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

The Bible

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

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

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

Deep breath.

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

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

Notice what Paul says concerning the Bible:

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

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

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

Reason

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emotions

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

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

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

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

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

Tradition

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

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

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

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

Sola Scriptura

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Discussion Questions

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

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


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

Power to Forgive

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

Scripture Focus: John 8:1-11

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

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

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

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

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

We are in urgent need of Prayer and financial partners,
We are also in need of a video camera to make YouTube videos related to these messages
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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

Encouragement for your week: What Happens When We Procrastinate?

What Happens When We Procrastinate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3 Reasons to Keep Hoping Instead of Giving Up
Ryan Duncan

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

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

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

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

“Good always necessitates long waiting.”

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

God Loves You

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

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


It’s Alright to Feel Sad

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

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

This is Not the End

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

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

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

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

*Ryan Duncan is the Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com

Free of Stress
by Chuck Swindoll

Psalm 62:8

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

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

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

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

Honestly.

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

I'm neither.

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

Faith for the Journey
Take Time
Visit insight.org

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

Welcome to the Nugget

March 9, 2017

A Time to Heal

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

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

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

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

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

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a
righteous
man is powerful and effective."
(NIV) Send your prayer request here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three
come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

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

Shadow Spirituality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post  Admin on Fri 05 May 2017, 10:44 am

Where to Run If You're Overwhelmed
JENNIFER ROTHSCHILD

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

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

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

“Rapture me Lord!”

You feel stressed. Guilty. Inadequate. Overwhelmed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cold Showers
by John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps those cold showers really would do me some good.

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

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

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

For Further Reading:

Luke 10:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayers with Power and Punch
by Stephen Altrogge

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

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

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

Father,

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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