Who is online?
In total there are 4 users online :: 0 Registered, 0 Hidden and 4 Guests :: 2 Bots

None

[ View the whole list ]


Most users ever online was 115 on Wed 03 Jul 2019, 3:20 pm
Latest topics
» servant @ TWO LISTENERS
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 11:10 pm by Admin

» PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 11:02 pm by Admin

» Delrifkah: HEBREW SAGE MIGHT SAY.
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:57 pm by Admin

» R.D SOUZA Saved by faith
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:51 pm by Admin

» NUGGET Today's Devotional
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:47 pm by Admin

» ISRAEL BREAKING NEWS
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:40 pm by Admin

» My Manna
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 9:18 pm by Admin

» OBAMA AGAIN
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 9:17 pm by Admin

» School convinces daughter she’s a ‘boy’
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 9:11 pm by Admin

» STABBINGS and MURDERS
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 5:03 pm by Admin

» CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 4:44 pm by Admin

»  Goebbels Big Lie to Defame Geller
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 4:39 pm by Admin

» Bill & Hillary Clinton
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 3:52 pm by Admin

»  Report: Jeffrey Epstein told fellow inmates he feared for his life
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 3:47 pm by Admin

»  The Heart-Rending Cry-Tisha B'Av
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 3:29 pm by Admin

» BIBLE STUDY on VERSE
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 11:37 am by Admin

» Daily Disciples
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 11:32 am by Admin

» WAR DRUMS
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:32 am by Admin

» Rep. Ilhan Omar AOC SQUAD must go: READ MORE
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:19 am by Admin

» BIRTH PANGS – Series of Powerful Earthquakes Volcano's Strike Around the Globe
WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 EmptyYesterday at 10:12 am by Admin

Navigation
 Portal
 Index
 Memberlist
 Profile
 FAQ
 Search

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Page 16 of 20 Previous  1 ... 9 ... 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20  Next

Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Aug 2012, 8:25 pm

Thirsty People . . . Living Water

John 4:13-14

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

A sports reporter was invited to the estate of former heavyweight boxing champ, Mohammed Ali. During a tour of the grounds, Ali took the reporter into a refurnished barn which was located at the back of the property. It had been converted to showcase all of Ali's memorabilia, and was filled from floor to ceiling with pictures, articles, plaques, and trophies.

On one wall there were a number of magazine covers displaying his picture. The covers had been enlarged to life-size photographs and framed in glass. As the reporter stood gaping in amazement, Ali walked over to the frames and peered at them. He was perturbed by the traces of droppings from the birds who still made their home in the barn and had no reason to respect their legendary host.

After mumbling under his breath, Ali shuffled to the doorway of the barn and stood staring out into space. When the reporter asked him what he had mumbled earlier, the aged superstar responded, "I once had the world . . . and it was nothing."

What a portrait of our own generation! People are restless and unsatisfied, though laden with earthly treasures. The world searches for relevance and significance, but to no avail. Individuals go from one activity to the next, one fashion to the latest, one relationship to another. They are literally dying of thirst, but hoping that the "new drink" will satisfy them. It never does.

Like billionaire Howard Hughes, whose emaciated body was scarred by needle marks from his addictions, or the millionaire tennis star who was caught shoplifting a fifteen-dollar ring, the population of the world today is in desperate need of satisfying, living water.

Take a look around you at the office, the mall, the library, the grocery store, the park—you are surrounded by thirsty people who are drinking from wells that will never satisfy.

This is the quencher: Through His sacrifice, Christ carved out a well in the midst of the desert, to slake the thirst of our dying world.

Although you cannot force anyone to drink from His well of living water, you can take them to it and tell them how it satisfied your thirst . . . forever!

Prayer Point: Step out of your comfort zone for a moment and pray for someone like Mohammed Ali: a famous actor, musician, athlete, politician, or another person of prominence. Pray that God will bring salvation to that person, and through his or her conversion, many people will see the radical change of lifestyle and also come to Christ.

Extra Refreshment: Read Acts 9:1-31.

Millions of Muslims throughout Iraq, Israel, and Jordan now hear the Gospel in their own language on Wisdom for the Heart! Click on The Forward Movement to read more about this exciting project.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Tue 31 Jul 2012, 11:31 pm

A Matter of Life and Death
John 3:36
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Perhaps you saw the news of the tragic fire in Colorado some years ago. The headline of a USA Today article called it the "Colorado Tragedy," and a tragedy it indeed was. It was not only a tragedy because twelve men died in the fire, but because their deaths were brought about by one wrong decision.

The article related that firefighters carry in their belt pouches a blanket called a shelter. It consists of thin cloth-like layers of aluminum foil and glass glued together, less than an inch thick, and weighs about three pounds. It can be opened, allowing the firefighter to lie under it when the flames get too close. This wonderful invention has saved the lives of many firemen, but in this case, it cost them their lives.

The inferno that raged on Storm Mountain that dreadful Wednesday afternoon took an unexpected turn; the firefighters had successfully contained the blaze to less than fifty acres when all of a sudden, monstrous gusts of wind whipped it back into a fury, spreading the flames over two thousand acres in less than five hours. Many of the men were trapped. One firefighter recalled the event and said that without warning, the forest just exploded. The article reads:



With just seconds to outwit the fires, some firefighters ran back through walls of flame to burned-out, spent ground. They were among the thirty-eight who lived. But at least nine who died had tried to climb into their shelters, in the path of the fire, and found them insufficient shields against suffocating flames and heat. One firefighter summarized it this way, "The guys who used their shelters died; those who ran back into and through the wall of fire to ground that was already burned, lived.

When I read this, I couldn't help but think of humanity running for its life before the flames of eternal judgment. Many people carry their little shelters of religion, good works, baptism, money, or morality, but these shields will not be enough to withstand the heat of God's holy wrath.

The only ones who will live are those who run to scorched ground—ground where the fires of God's wrath have already burned. That ground is none other than Jesus Christ, who has taken upon Himself the wrath of God so that all those who stand "in Christ" will be saved.

Have you made the decision to follow Christ, or are you still hiding beneath your own shelter of misguided whims and ideas? Don't wait another second to make that choice.

It's a matter of life . . . and death!

Prayer Point: If you are already a believer in Christ, thank Him for taking your punishment on the cross and for offering to you His righteousness in return. If you are not yet a believer in Christ, you can accept Him right now. Simply confess that you are a sinner, believe that Christ paid the penalty for your sin on the cross, rose again from the grave and offers forgiveness for all your sin. Receive His free gift of salvation and commit your life to His authority.

Extra Refreshment: Read the entire chapter of John 3, where God's immense love for the lost world is revealed.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Mon 30 Jul 2012, 9:27 pm

Redeeming the Years
James 4:14

You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we liked growing older was when we were kids?

When you were less than 10 years old, you were so excited about aging that you used fractions. If someone asked you how old you were, you responded, "I'm five . . . and one-half!"

Then you hit double-digits and began dreaming of the next major milestone: 13. Oh, to be a teenager . . . life will finally be all that I dreamed it would be. Or so we thought.

When 13 finally got there, you immediately began skipping years. If someone asked how old you were, you said, "I'm almost 16." You might have two years to go, but that's completely ignored. You were almost 16.

Then 21 came and you'd really arrived—right? Even the words sounded like a ceremony: you became 21! But that didn't last very long, did it? Soon you turned 30 and wondered where the time went!

Next thing you know, you're pushing 40, and not long after, you reach 50.

Strange how we word this progression of time, isn't it? You become 21, turn 30, you're pushing 40, reach 50, and you make it to 60! By then you've built up so much momentum that you hit 70!

After that you're simply "in your 80s." But if you make it past that, you start going backward! You say, "I was just 92," or, "I was 95 last year."

Then a really strange phenomenon occurs: if you're one of the select few who make it to the century mark, you start thinking like a kid again. Someone asks how old you are and you say, "I'm one hundred and one-half . . . I'm almost 102!"

It doesn't matter where you find yourself on this timeline, time flies for all of us. Tomorrows seem like they will never come, and yesterdays seem like they never happened. The psalmist writes in 103:15: As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.

It really doesn't matter what age you are. Whether you're 24 or 84, the question is: what are you doing with the time you have left? How are you spending your life now?

If we were cats, we might get nine chances at life (so the saying goes) but as it stands, we only get one. Just one chance at however life unfolds in God's sovereign plan to be: a loving spouse; a godly parent; a faithful friend; a good servant of Jesus Christ.

So let's take the words of Ephesians 5:16 to heart and "make the most of our time."

Be careful not to measure your life by birthdays or special occasions alone; evaluate it by what God is accomplishing in and through the energy and efforts of your life.

When I was a boy, my parents had a plaque hanging over their dining room door that read,

Only one life, 'twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ will last.

That's a good reminder. Life is about much more than aging—it's about living . . . living every moment for the glory of God.

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to help you make some changes or develop some disciplines to enable you to capture the most of your time—right now—for His glory. Ask God to prepare you with His will in mind, trusting Him that when it does not match your plans, His ways are always perfect.

Extra Refreshment: Read all of Psalm 103 for a bit more perspective.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Fri 27 Jul 2012, 9:45 am

Deposits and Investments

2 Timothy 2:2

The things which you have heard from me... entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Isn't it interesting that Jesus Christ never said to make disciples by taking them to church—or to a Bible study group, for that matter. Not that these activities aren't an integral part of a disciple's growth, but the Lord has something much more personal in mind.

My life was personally impacted in such a way by a college professor. He had taught my father thirty-five years before I was enrolled in his class at the Bible college. For my entire college career, Dr. Fred Afman called me by my father's name. I never bothered to tell him my name wasn't Keith!

There were times I'd read something in Scripture that confused me or hear a preacher say something in Chapel that troubled me, and I would go to this older gentleman's office for advice. He'd answer his door, smile, and say, "Well, hello there, Keith; come on in and have a seat." There in his office he would answer my questions, or even correct what I'd heard in Chapel, from Scripture.

This same life-on-life investment continued in seminary. I often went to Dr. Eugene Petersen's office, where he would answer my many questions about ministry, pastoring, and preaching. With patience and care he addressed my thoughts and corrected any misconceptions. His personal investment fanned my desire for pastoring and preaching the Word of God; it grew into a steady flame.

I will forever be indebted to these two men. They modeled our verse for today as they modeled life-on-life mentoring.

That word entrust was a first-century banking term that literally meant "to make a deposit." Paul is saying in our text, "You have learned things from me, Timothy; now I want you to take that truth and personally deposit it into the lives of other disciples."

When you teach a child something about Christ, you are making a deposit into his heart; when you share Scripture or prayer with another believer, you are making a life-on-life deposit that Christ would define as true discipleship.

Frankly, my writing at this very moment reflects what I've had modeled and taught to me by others. That's what discipleship is: taking what Jesus Christ taught us and depositing it into the lives of other believers.

There are three components that define true discipleship. The first is touch. You can't disciple at a distance. The only way iron can sharpen iron is through personal connection. This is the touch that invests when others withdraw; it perseveres when others disappear.

Second, you must make the commitment of time. You won't be able to reproduce your life and passion for Christ in a day. You didn't grow overnight—we humans aren't like Jack's beanstalk! We're more like apple trees that need a lot of time to grow before fruit begins to appear.

The third component is truth: the truth of God's Word. This keeps the discipleship process on track, rather than one opinion contradicting another. Without truth, discipleship of any kind—coaching a team, tutoring a student, teaching an instrument—will not have permanence. The center of spiritual discipleship is the truth of Scripture.

The goal is more than information... it's transformation.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have all three of these qualities at your disposal.

Is there someone in your life in need of a deposit—an investment that will last for eternity? Then act... begin a life-on-life influence, no matter how small or simple. Offer a personal touch, an investment of your time, and the principles of God's truth.

That kind of investment will reproduce fruit well beyond your lifetime. In light of eternity, make a deposit into someone's life... today!

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to show you one person with whom you can start rubbing shoulders today. Perhaps you need to ask Him to help you find someone to disciple you. Ask Him to give you the humility and confidence you need to be involved in "life rubbing against life" as you grow more into the likeness of Jesus.

Extra Refreshment: Read John 1:35-42 and notice the investment made by Andrew. Who knew his influence would produce such abundant fruit?!
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 9:33 pm

Without Love

1 Corinthians 13:2

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Of all the many kinds of "loves" in our world today, it fascinates me that when people see true love in action, they intuitively know it is the real thing.

I recently read a few statements from children regarding love, and some of them were rather profound.

•Rebecca [age 8] said, "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend down to paint her toenails anymore, so my grandfather does it for her. That's love."
•Danny [age 7] said, "When my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure the taste is okay—that's love."
•Chris [age 7] said, "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he's handsome."
•Elaine [age 5] said, "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." I like the way she thinks!
Most of these kids understand acts of sacrifice to be a reflection of agape love. But some of their companions missed the mark a little bit.

•Like Karl who said, "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving lotion and they go out and smell each other!"
•Lauren said, "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." She'll catch on one day!
•But Jessica perhaps delivered the most profound statement of all when she said, "You really shouldn't say ‘I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot, because people forget."
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul delivers to the church in Corinth one of the most remarkable, yet challenging pieces of prose on the subject of true love. In the process, he shatters the myths that abound today.

He effectively says, "It doesn't matter who you are, who you think you are, or who others think you are; if you sacrificially act toward others with agape love, your life will be meaningful."

That may seem hard to swallow at first, but when we test his statement in every aspect of life, we realize that he is right on the money.

Think about it: what is a marriage without love? Or a family? Or a friendship? Or a church? Or a career? Without love, life is like a fireplace without a fire or a pool without water. It's cold . . . it's empty.

The Bible makes it clear that "God is love." He doesn't just love or act in love or say He loves. He is love! And that means our ability to agape-love is a gift that comes directly from His character. When we love others, we are acting most like God, for that is who He is.

The tragedy in our world is not that people don't love—many do. Even unbelieving wives taste the coffee before handing it to their husbands; they even give them the best piece of chicken. They just don't know why.

Apart from God, the world not only loses the reason to love but has no incentive to continue to love someone when the recipient is unloving in return.

Love, at its core, grows cold and is empty if we do not surrender to the God of love Who is the source of agape love.

Let's take to heart this description from Paul and remind ourselves today that were it not for Christ's agape love toward us, we would not be able to offer it faithfully to others.

Demonstrating the character of Christ is agape love . . . it might include—but goes way beyond—giving away the best piece of chicken!

Prayer Point: As little Jessica so poignantly challenged us, let's take time today and prayerfully consider someone we can show love to in a substantial way. Then, thank God for the undeserved love He has given you in Christ. Ask Him to show you some tangible way that you can demonstrate His love to someone else.

Extra Refreshment: Read 1 Corinthians 13.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Tue 24 Jul 2012, 10:00 pm

Father Knows Best
Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Have you ever volunteered to work in a nursery or preschool and noticed that toddlers never thank teachers for taking something away from them? When was the last time you heard a child say, "Hey, thanks, Teacher . . . it was about time I shared that Tonka Truck with somebody else." Or, "Thanks a lot for taking those Cheerios away from me . . . seems like I haven't been able to go anywhere without 'em lately!"

Hardly—it's the other way around, isn't it? Most times kids have a fit because they want more of something, not less.

I remember going to the grocery store one day to grab some fruit and vitamin-enhanced bottled water. Okay—I picked up a bag of chips and some donuts as well . . . my doctor said I needed a balanced diet!

While I was busy scouring the aisles, I noticed a mother who seemed rather worn. I quickly realized why. Her daughter [who looked to be about two years old] was standing up in the back of the grocery cart crying at the top of her lungs. This little red-haired girl was having a meltdown right there on Aisle 6.

What a sight! All blotchy-faced with tears streaming down her cheeks, she was standing on her tiptoes, her knuckles white as she held onto the side of the cart.

She was mad! In fact, if she had been bigger we would have all been in danger!

Despite the exhausting tantrum, I still remember her mother calmly saying over and over again, "No, you can't have that . . . no, you can't have that either . . . no . . . no . . . no."

The little girl was too young to realize that her mother was actually protecting her. Pesticides, pills, and bottles of cleaning fluid aren't good packages to put in your mouth. But tell that to a two-year-old.

As I thought back on that experience and the pity that I felt for the young, patient mother, I began to realize how often we as Christians are like that little girl.

We might not always throw a fit—at least not externally—but how often do we reach for a relationship or a job or a dream and get frustrated with God when He says, "No . . . no . . . no."

The truth is we're a lot more like that two-year-old on Aisle 6 than we'd like to admit. She saw things she wanted but didn't realize they were things she didn't need. All she knew was that big bottle of Windex looked like Kool-Aid but her mom wasn't letting her have a drink. And she was thirsty, for goodness' sake!

I wonder how many times our Father in heaven patiently listens to us fuss and fume, knowing we'll never come back to thank Him for saving us from something harmful.

How often do we go back to our Savior later in life and say, "Lord, thanks so much for protecting me from those things I wanted but certainly didn't need." Or "I was thirsty and thought that stuff would quench my thirst, but You knew better . . . so, thank You."

Are you having an internal tug-of-war with God right now over some object of your affection? Has He kept something just out of reach that you're convinced would be good for you? Has He refused to give you something you want—something, or someone, you'd rather not be without?

No matter what you might be going through, take time today to thank God for always being a loving Father—the Parent who has promised to provide for you what is good and best, even when it doesn't feel like it.

He loves you . . . and truly is the Father who knows best!

Prayer Point: Instead of fussing and fuming with the Lord today over some unrealized desire, quiet your heart in confidence as you thank Him for being the Perfect Parent—for withholding harmful and destructive things while offering good and perfect gifts that He knows will satisfy and sustain you.

Extra Refreshment: Read James 1.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Mon 23 Jul 2012, 11:19 pm

Putting on the Dog

Ephesians 4:22-24

You were taught with regard to the former way of life to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

For centuries the aristocracy of Europe showed off their wealth in a number of pretentious ways. Not only did they live in mansions and travel in ornate coaches, but upper-class women spent lavish amounts of money to have small dogs bred. They were referred to as "lap dogs" and became as much a part of the fashion of the day as the expensive gowns worn by the elite.

Over time, it became a trademark of the wealthy for a woman to have her portrait painted with a little dog nestled in her lap.

In America, the late 1800s brought times of financial prosperity for many people. Men became millionaires almost overnight through the development of the railroad, oil, and real estate. Many of the wives of these businessmen desired to emulate their wealthy counterparts in Europe and not to be outdone, they acquired lap dogs of their own, spending large amounts of money in the process. One of the most popular dogs bred and owned during this time was the poodle.

Cynical observers took notice of this practice and coined the phrase, "putting on the dog"—a phrase which still exists today, meaning ostentatious activity by someone who is attempting to show off his/her wealth or position in society.

Unfortunately, this same principle is carried over into our churches every Sunday morning. We put on the dog more often than we would like to admit . . . and in more ways than perhaps we even know.

Consider these examples: faking a pious attitude in the service when our hearts are far from sincere; flaunting our clothing or accessories in an unseemly way; using spiritual vocabulary to make people think better of us than we deserve; making an exaggerated display of dropping the gift in the offering plate—the list goes on.

Pretentiousness takes many different forms and we all struggle with it in our lives.

Frankly, it's a lot more comfortable to put on the dog than it is to expose who we really are. Transparency is extremely difficult, and sometimes it's just easier to hide behind a poodle!

But while everyone else might be fooled into thinking that we have it all fluffed up and under control, God sees past the makeup, the expensive suit, and the bleached smile.

God sees our hearts and knows exactly who we are at any moment. God sees past the gimmicks and the props . . . you can't hide from Him behind a poodle.

So, let's stop putting on the dog and get real. Let's start by developing the habit of genuine, transparent conversation. Let's admit to one another our failures and ask for prayer for specific needs and accountability between brothers and sisters in Christ.

When the body meets together, it should be without pretense and show; there should be honest expressions of both praise and pain—needs as well as niceties.

The truth is the Christian experience should be a breeding ground for godly partnerships and persistent prayer . . . not for posing with lap dogs for pious portraits.

The church is simply no place for putting on the dog. Maybe we ought to hang a sign in the lobby that reminds us all: "No Poodles Allowed . . . Come Just as You Are."

Prayer Point: Maybe it's been awhile since you looked in the mirror of God's Word to see what you really look like. Perhaps there are still poodles in your own portrait that you need to pray for God's help to remove. Will you pray for God to reveal them to you today? Once He does, pray that He will give you courage to make the changes.

Extra refreshment: Read Galatians 3, where Paul rebukes a group of Christians for putting on the dog of legalism.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 5:04 pm

The Dreaded Word: Practice!

Hebrews 5:14

But solid food is for the mature, who, because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

When I was just a boy, my parents made me practice at the piano for an hour a day. Was that cruel or what? I took piano lessons from the 2nd grade until I entered the 11th grade. In my senior year I tied for first place in a national competition with an original piece in G minor entitled Summer's End.

When I went to college I thought it would be a good idea to continue taking lessons. So I asked around to see who was considered the best piano teacher on the music faculty. Every person I asked gave the same name: Mrs. Hermann. This woman was so well-respected for her musical expertise that the college music hall had already been named after her and her husband.

Well, that settled it. I went to Mrs. Hermann's studio and knocked on her door. She came to the door and I said, "Mrs. Hermann, I'd like to take piano lessons from you."

She replied, "I'm sorry, but my schedule is now full."

I begged, "Please, I've been told you're the best teacher on campus . . . would you let me play something for you first?"

She agreed. I went in, sat down at the piano, and played for about a minute before she interrupted me and said, "I'll make room for you on my schedule." "Great!" I said, rather proud of myself for making such a good impression.

She then said, "Now you need to understand that if you take lessons from me you will be expected to practice four hours." I said, "No sweat! Four hours a week will work just fine!"

She then replied, "No, young man—I mean four hours every day!"

Whoa! In that moment, my entire life passed before my eyes. I couldn't imagine any torture greater than practicing that much. With a polite handshake, Mrs. Hermann and I parted ways and I decided then and there that becoming a better pianist wasn't that important after all!

As I look back on that decisive moment, not to mention the 10 years of piano lessons that preceded it, I've come to realize that learning to play the piano has a lot in common with learning to live the Christian life. The same concept applies to both: if you want to achieve a higher level of performance, you have to be willing to practice.

Salvation is a gift . . . spiritual discernment isn't. Salvation can happen in a moment; spiritual maturity takes a lifetime. In fact, having a discerning, godly walk with Christ will require hours of practice every day. That's why the writer of Hebrews reminded his audience that the ability to discern between good and evil is only acquired through consistent practice.

But this is an encouraging message to us. We can start at any time. Wherever you find yourself today, whether just a beginner in the Christian life or a believer for many years, start practicing. And keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the only One who ever mastered the Christian life. He also happens to be both the Model and the Teacher of how to walk in wisdom.

Thankfully, He always has room in His schedule to teach one more student. But He's a lot like Mrs. Hermann: He expects His students to practice. And the students who learn and grow in godly discernment are always the ones who are willing to practice . . . every single day.

Prayer Point: Identify areas in your life where you have grown over the past few months and thank God for giving you strength to change. Then identify areas where growth is still needed; pray for God's strength to help you change over time.

Extra Refreshment: Read Psalm 15, which outlines for us the attributes we as Christians should incorporate into our lives.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 11:25 am

Down Memory Lane
1 Chronicles 16:11-12
Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually. Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done; His marvels and the judgments from His mouth.

Some of you had the privilege of living in one house throughout your entire childhood. It is a rare occasion these days, but I was fortunate enough to have lived in the same home for 18 years before I went to college.

During my freshman year, my parents moved. They were kind enough to send me their new address!

A few years ago I decided to take a trip down memory lane and see that old house where I had grown up. I climbed the steps to that familiar porch and knocked on the door, hoping that whoever lived there would let me revisit the rooms freighted with meaning and memories.

A young woman carrying a baby on her hip answered the door. I said, "I know this is going to sound strange, but I grew up in this house. I lived here 25 years ago and I'd love to walk through it again." She said, "Cool! C'mon in," and I did.

I walked into the living room with my shoes on. That was a no-no when I was growing up, and I half expected to hear my mother's reminder coming from the kitchen for me to leave my dirty shoes at the door!

I turned right and made my way into the dining room. I noticed the drop ceiling that my father had hung many years before was still in place.

From there I moved into the kitchen and peered through the familiar side door that overlooked the back yard. I noticed that the infamous bush was gone: that bush had supplied my mother with an ample amount of switches for four mischievous sons. The bush was gone. God had answered my prayers at last—decades later!

I finally made my way upstairs to my little bedroom. This was by far the most endearing place of all. To my left was open floor space, long ago occupied by my bed. That was where I had knelt one night as a teenager and gave my heart and my life—without reservation—to Jesus Christ. That was the place where it all started for me—it was the place where my spiritual life began.

There's something special about taking trips down memory lane, isn't there? Whether it's visiting an old home or catching up with a friend you haven't seen in years. It seems that as soon as you step through the door or see the face of that loved one, things just pick up right where they left off. Memories have a way of flooding back as old times are relived through laughter and tears.

Have you found the same to be true in your relationship with God? One of my professors in college once said to me that the Christian life isn't so much about learning new things about God as it is remembering the old things. God has done so much for us in the past and, like that old hymn so beautifully confirms, "He's proved His love o'er and o'er."

Our problem is that we often forget what God has done. As days turn to months and months to years, bringing new trials and new challenges, we forget to retrace our steps of faith and remember how God provided in every circumstance.

We're so focused on the present that we forget to visit the past.

Perhaps you need to reminisce today . . . to ponder the events where God was with you and brought you safely through the troubled waters to the other side.

Maybe you need to travel back in your mind to that bedside, or dorm room, or church service where you gave your life—without reservation—to Jesus Christ.

When your future seems dark and discouraging, perhaps the best muscle to exercise is your memory. Do what David urged the Israelites to do in 1 Chronicles 16 . . . take a trip down memory lane!

Prayer Point: Take some time to write down specific instances where God has proven Himself to you in a powerful way. Then praise Him for His unfailing love which stays with us even when we forget it's there.

Extra Refreshment: Read 1 Chronicles 16:1-36, recounting where David pleads with the Israelites to remember God's character and covenant promises. Israel needed reminding as much as we do.

Becoming the Exception
Deuteronomy 8:6

Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

Believers once knew what it meant to fear God. Men like John Huss and John Wycliffe willingly faced death for refusing to denounce their faith, knowing that God had warned, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father."

Men like Jim Elliot and Nate Saint refused to use their guns against the attacking natives, believing that dying for Christ was far more important than killing unbelievers who would never have another chance at salvation. But this kind of reverence for God and His gospel is rare today.

Today, the church is not only losing its testimony—it is no longer living up to it. Warren Wiersbe writes in his book, The Integrity Crisis, these sharp and painful words:

For nineteen centuries the church has been telling the world to admit and confess its sins. Today, in the twilight of the twentieth century, the world is telling the church to face up to its sins and to begin living what it preaches.

I might add that is true for us in the twenty-first century! For hundreds of years, men have stood firm in the gospel despite being persecuted, laughed at, and at times, slaughtered. But a shift has taken place. Now, not only do Christians shy away from persecution and hardship, questioning God in the midst of it, but their lives are full of sin, hiding under the cloak of religion rather than living up to their testimony.

Part of the problem is rooted in our shamefully low viewpoint of God. When we hear truth from God's Word, we are convicted but not changed; we are challenged but not converted.

It naturally follows that an inferior view of God will birth a shallow view of His Word.

Today, the Bible is not only being questioned and debated, but it is being disobeyed. Why? The fear of the Lord is no longer before our eyes. Christ has become an after-thought, rather than an all-consuming thought.

Reverence for the things of God takes a back seat today in the public arena. The crowd who claim the name of Christ but float downstream in the current of popular culture find their lives swirling in the eddy of religious pluralism, inclusivism, and universalism— spiraling rapidly downward—moving farther and farther away from distinctiveness and purity.

This crowd becomes the rule. You must choose to be . . . the exception.

Prayer Point: Pray for the kind of faith in God that Abraham had, the kind of purity that Joseph had, and the kind of heart that David had. Pray that God will teach you to fear and love Him, and ask for strength to live an extraordinary life for Him.

Extra Refreshment: Read Hebrews 11—a chapter filled to the brim with the names of people who have lived in fear of God and who are being rewarded for it now.
Millions of Muslims throughout Iraq, Israel, and Jordan now hear the Gospel in their own language on Wisdom for the Heart! Click on The Forward Movement to read more about this exciting project.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 2:49 pm

Hiding Our Sin

Romans 8:1

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

In Dr. Richard Hoefler's book, Will Daylight Come, he tells the story of a young boy who was visiting his grandparents. Johnny had just been given his first slingshot and had taken it into the woods. Unable to hit anything because of his poor aim, he was still having the time of his life.

On his way home for lunch, he cut through the back yard and saw his grandmother's pet duck. He took aim and let a stone fly. This time—for the first time—his aim was on the mark. To his shock and dismay, the duck dropped immediately. It was dead!

Johnny panicked and in frightened desperation, hid the duck in the woodpile, but not in time to escape the curiosity of his sister, who was standing by the corner of the house. She saw the whole thing! With a look of shame and fear, he followed his sister inside for lunch. But Sally said nothing.

Getting up after lunch, their grandmother said, "Okay, Sally, let's clear the table and wash the dishes." Sally responded with a smile, "Oh, Grandma, Johnny said he wanted to help you in the kitchen today. Didn't you, Johnny?" Then she whispered in his ear, "Remember the duck."

Needless to say, Johnny ended up doing the dishes after lunch. Later in the evening, Grandpa asked the children if they would like to go fishing, but Grandma interjected, "I'm sorry, but Sally can't go. She has to stay here and help me get supper ready." Sally just smiled and replied, "That's all been taken care of. Johnny said he wanted to help today, didn't you, Johnny?" The look she gave him delivered that same threat, "Remember the duck."

This went on for several days, as Johnny did all the chores around the house, both his and Sally's, until he could stand it no longer. Trembling all over, he went to his grandmother and confessed everything.

To his surprise, Grandma took him up in her arms and said, "I know about the duck, Johnny. I was standing at the kitchen window and I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I was already willing to forgive you. I've been waiting for you to tell me about it. And—I would never have mentioned the duck again."

Imagine the look on Johnny's face when he heard his grandmother's words, "I already forgave you"!

What a powerful reminder to us of what our own Father has said to us in His Word: "There is now no condemnation for those who believe!" It's as if He reached down from heaven and lifted our sorrowing, fearful bodies into His arms, and reminded us that He saw all our sin take place and has already forgiven us.

This is a beautiful truth for a Christian. No matter what you've done or where you've been, God has already forgiven you—He simply waits for us to tell Him about it so our fellowship with Him can be fully restored.

My good friend put it wonderfully when he said, "God will not love you better when you become better." This, after all, is the marvel of God's forgiveness. He died on the cross not only for your past sins, but also for your present and future sins.

So quit hiding your "ducks" in the woodpile—bury them! God has already seen them . . . and He has forgiven you.

Prayer Point: Confess any hidden sin to God, knowing that He has already seen it, and pray for His forgiveness. Wash yourself in the reviving, overflowing stream of God's mercy.

Extra Refreshment: Read Psalm 139, where David reminds us that although nothing is hidden from God's eyes, He continues to love us intensely.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:26 am

Invisibly Involved

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

The internet has allowed people to engage in events worldwide. Today we can surf sites and witness incidents unfolding in real time.

A decade ago, much was made of the approaching millennium Y2K. At that time, an article from the Wall Street Journal caught my attention. Daystar International Ministry had high hopes of using a strategically located webcam to capture an unusual sight: the second coming of the Messiah! This was expected at the stroke of midnight, signaling the year 2000.

I won't take time to mention the prophetic problems Daystar was overlooking. Okay--maybe I will mention one . . . the people who care about His second coming won't be watching Him descend to Jerusalem; we'll be coming with Him!

Imagine capturing God on film! You would have Messiah where you could actually see Him. Your own personal DVD from Daystar for $29.99—if you purchase it in the next fifteen minutes, of course!

A paparazzi photo frenzy would be old news compared to such a spectacle as this.

A miraculous sighting of the Lord seems far more marketable and exciting than the invisible working of God . . . an idea that won't sell many DVDs.

Still, the longing in all our hearts remains—a longing that has television shows spinning off series after series: trying to understand the ways of God; imagining how heaven responds to earth; interpreting the role of angels and demons in the affairs of mankind.

There are today fabricated reports of miraculous occurrences all across the globe: visions, sightings, miracles, and strange happenings.

I'll admit that it would be exciting to see with my own eyes a miracle performed by God. That's so much more interesting than attempting to discern His invisible providence—His invisible working in the ordinary events of everyday life.

Yet for the believer today, that is where God actually is at work—in the mundane, tiring, ordinary, and even repetitive duties of life. It may come without the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai, but He is working in our lives right now just as He worked in the lives of His disciples and followers in the first century.

Howie Stevenson, former Music Minister who served with Pastor Chuck Swindoll for many years, was fond of saying, "God moves among the casseroles." He meant that God was just as much at work in a person making dinner in the kitchen as He was in Paul planting a church in Ephesus.

God knows how easy it is for you to doubt His sovereignty when you don't see and hear His power . . . or sense His presence in the silence. But He has spoken, and He is present.

Walter Chalmers Smith put it this way when he wrote the first verse to a hymn in 1867:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

Most blessed, most glorious,

The Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious—

Thy great name we praise.

Kitchens, cubicles, car pools, and conference rooms—all are the Holy of Holies. You are in His presence today; although invisible, He is at work in you at this very moment. You don't need a camera to prove it—God promised it.

So trust His heart . . . even when you can't see His hand.

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord for greater trust in His presence and involvement in your life, addressing Him as "The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and me." This will help remind you that He is the God of all history—past and present.

Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Corinthians 1:2-7 to see one way that God is absolutely involved in your life.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Fri 13 Jul 2012, 8:19 pm

"Not Guilty!"
Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

I have documentation from Rabbi Reuven Lauffer [Jerusalem, Israel] of an incredible story . . . one relating to the Holocaust: the incarceration and slaughter of Jews in the concentration camp known as Auschwitz. This true story took place toward the end of World War II.

At Auschwitz, as in all the camps, there was no lack of great Jewish scholars. One night ten of those learned men made up a Jewish court of law and put God on trial.

The central premise of the trial: how was it possible that God, who is totally good, could create such a living hell as Auschwitz? The debate raged back and forth all night; finally, the court returned a verdict of "Guilty!" God was guilty of failing His people.

However, upon adjourning the court, the entire barracks rose and began to pray their morning prayers. Even after finding God guilty, they prayed to Him!

What an incredible statement of faith it was for these Jews to continue praying to God, even while the torture and systematic killing continued. Yet, I thought how tragic that they were now praying to a God they believed had left them all alone.

If we were honest with ourselves, each of us could point to a time when we felt as though God had left us . . . and it took infinitely less than genocide to make us accuse God of abandonment.

When Moses gathers the people to hear his final counsel, he is 120 years old. His life drawing to a close and the final opportunity looming before him, Moses speaks to the Israelites, reminding them that God does not leave His children.

Think about it—they had just come from 400 years of generational slavery! They had not yet entered into the land which God had promised them!

A man's last speech is usually devoid of self-aggrandizement and is often saturated with words of truth. Moses spoke the words of our text; he believed—he knew—that God does not ever leave His children.

How did Moses convey this truth? He knew it in his heart; he professed it with his lips; he lived it until the end.

This marvelous promise of security should serve to strengthen us in the face of any and all trials. Our trust is in the Lord and His promises, as recorded in Scripture.

The words of the last verse from the great hymn "How Firm a Foundation" take on new meaning when we sing:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I will not desert to his foes.

That soul, though all hell

Should endeavor to shake

I'll never, no never, no never forsake.

Do you cast your cares upon Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:7) or charge that He isn't concerned? In the midst of your conflicts and struggles, do you trust and rest in God or indict, try, and find Him guilty of neglect?

Jesus said, ". . . lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Do you believe the words of Christ? If your answer is "Yes," then the verdict must be . . . "Not guilty!"

Prayer Point: If you have had doubts about God's faithfulness, ask Him to increase your faith. Then ask Him to help you remember all that He has done for you and those whom you know and love. Take time to thank your trustworthy Father.

Extra Refreshment: Read and try to memorize 2 Timothy 2:11-13.
But You, O Lord . . .

Psalm 102:11-12

My days are like a lengthened shadow, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your name to all generations.

What you think these men had in common at the height of their careers during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s?

· Owen D. Young
· James F. Byrnes
· Pierre Laval
· Harlow Curtis
· Hugh Johnson

More than likely you do not recognize the names of any of these men. You certainly could not tell what they did or how they rose to fame. Yet each of these men was at some point in his life Time Magazine's "Man of the Year." They were judged as the person having had the greatest impact on the rest of humanity during a given year.

It is our nature to think that we are really something special. This is why the business of celebrity is so successful. We have a desire to be great at something, and we are even willing to be somewhat satisfied with news of the lives of celebrities—reveling in their fame by proxy.

Think about the yearly audience of the Super Bowl; the Final Four; the NBA playoffs; the Masters; the Stanley Cup; Wimbledon; the Bowl games; the World Series. Factor in the weekly audiences of American Idol; The Celebrity Apprentice; Survivor, and many more "reality" shows. The American public has high hopes and watches intently to see who the winners will be.

Then you have the Academy Awards—for days before and after, water cooler talk centers on who will win/won which Oscar. Why? It's not as if the contenders are really the characters they portray—they're just good pretenders. Maybe that's why we find them so fascinating—we want to be good pretenders, too.

The writers of Psalms had no illusions about who we really are. There is line upon line in the book of Psalms regarding the nature of man.

Here in Psalm 102, the days of our lives are compared to withering grass, but not so the Lord's. He is great and His name lives for all generations—He is the same . . . His years will have no end.

Why do we insist on plying mankind with glory and adulation when we have the God of the universe before us? Our attention and adoration should not be focused on man's folly, but rather upon the greatness of God. J. I. Packer addresses this very point:

The Christian's instincts of trust and worship are stimulated very powerfully by knowledge of the greatness of God. But this is knowledge which Christians today largely lack; that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby. We are modern men, and modern men—though they cherish great thoughts of man—have, as a rule, small thought of God.

Let's get real about ourselves and mankind as a whole: admit that underneath the façade the world sees, we all are sinners by nature, deserving none of mankind's praise.

Should we really care about the comings and goings [and every detail in between] of celebrities; stars; idols? No!

Let's focus our aim where it should be, and say with the Psalmist, "But You, O Lord . . . "

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to help you meditate on His greatness. As you read the Scriptures, take time to praise God for Himself—the One whose years will have no end.

Extra Refreshment: Read Psalm 103 and make the first and last verses come alive to you today.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 8:14 pm

The Church That Changed
Acts 11:1

Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

I can still vividly remember a change that occurred in our household years ago. It was when I took our older daughter to her first day of kindergarten.

If you had watched us from twenty yards away, we would have made the perfect picture. She had on new shoes and was carrying her shiny lunchbox; I was holding her hand as we walked from the parking lot to the school. But if you had come within earshot, you would have discovered that we were actually arguing!

She wanted me to stay in the car, saying, "Daddy, I don't need you to take me to class; I can do this by myself!" And I was saying, "Listen, you might be feeling good about all this, young lady, but I'm not—so why don't you just allow me a little insecurity! Okay?"

I remember that change. She went from a dependent five-year-old to an independent kindergartener.

No change is easy. We naturally resist the rough waters; the upheaval; the emotions; the hardships—there're all cousins to change.

The most difficult changes to make are those involving lifelong traditions and heritage.

I'll be even more specific: changes are hard to accept when it comes to church; when it involves your relationship to Christ; when it affects how you worship.

How about you? Can you do an internal audit of your deeply cherished church traditions?

· Are they biblically based . . . or culturally based?

· Are they resistant to the things Christ resists . . . or are they conformed to your peers' opinions?

· Are they open to the things Christ teaches . . . or are they closed by personal bias?

Let's be honest: were the Lord to have restricted salvation to the Jews only, we would be lost!

Since Israel is God's light to the nations, it was His predetermined plan that this light should shine to the Gentiles. Remember Abraham was given three promises from God in Genesis 12-17:

1.He would have the title deed to the land of Israel.
2.He would have a great progeny.
3.He would be a spiritual blessing to the entire world.
Paul asks in Romans 3:1, "What advantage has the Jew?" His answer was that they had the oracles [Word] of God, and Christ would be born of the natural seed of Abraham, thus fulfilling God's promise to him that he would bless the entire world.

So, what about us? Are we to be a blessing, too? Are we to accept, and even promote, change that brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations?

Are we to drop cultural barriers for the cause of Christ? Are we to welcome all who are saved into the family of God?

These questions bear answering . . . some traditions bear changing.

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to give you a heart for people . . . and to help you see where change is needed in your own life. Most of all, ask Him to help you love others as Christ has loved you.

Extra Refreshment: Read Acts 15, and take note of the actions of the church when God worked among the Gentiles.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 8:24 pm

God Uses Broken Things

John 21:15-17

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,"Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him,"Tend My lambs."
He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him "Tend My sheep."

Kathy Ormsby was a success story: a dean's list student at North Carolina State University; a pre‑med major; an All‑American distance runner.

At the University of Pennsylvania Penn Relays in April, 1986 she set an American collegiate record for 10,000 meters. She was "on a roll," and qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in 3000, 5000, and 10,000 meters. She was a celebrity, and everything seemed so right for this twenty-one-year-old junior in college.

But something was dangerously wrong—she had become obsessed with winning.

In the first week of June, 1986 she began the 10,000 meter run at the NCAA track championships in Indianapolis. At 6500 meters, she abruptly quit. Totally burned out, her life's purpose suddenly became clear: life was nothing more to her than just winning one more race.

She turned and jogged out of the stadium, ran to a bridge two blocks away, and jumped. She fell forty or fifty feet onto a flood plain.

Today this woman is paralyzed from the chest down. Kathy Ormsby will never run again. The Seattle Times article of June 11, 1986, asked the question, "How many other athletes, obsessed with winning, are heading for a fall?"

In today's text, Jesus Christ is restoring Peter from his denial and betrayal of Him. In loving mercy our Lord takes those who belong to Him—broken and despondent—and makes them whole and useful for His purposes.

This is the purpose of our lives: to know Him and to glorify Him. Paul called us "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

Peter's difficulty stemmed from believing that he really was what his new name signified—a rock.

Jesus was in the process of teaching him an important concept: apart from His strength, Peter was a piece of crumbling sandstone. In other words, he was broken. That is painfully clear as Christ reverts to Peter's old name, asking, "Simon . . . do you love Me?"

Vance Havner wrote:

"God uses broken things. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is the broken soil that produces a crop; it is the broken clouds that give rain; it is the broken grain that gives bread, and it is the broken bread that gives strength. . . . God uses broken things."

Brokenness is defined as being totally subdued; humbled; weakened and infirmed; crushed by grief. It's not bad to find yourself in that condition; after all . . . God uses broken things.

Prayer Point: Lift your heart to God in surrender and submission, praying to be broken for His purposes. Tell Him you are willing to be changed!

Extra Refreshment: Read the letter to Philemon to get a perspective on a changed life.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 10:18 pm

Then Comes the Good Part!

John 20:18

Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.

A family was watching The Greatest Story Ever Told, a film on the life of Christ. One of the children in the family was deeply moved. As Jesus journeyed to Calvary, tears rolled down her cheeks. She sat absolutely silent until Jesus had been taken down from the cross and put into the tomb. Then she suddenly grinned and shouted excitedly, "Now comes the good part!"

Now comes the good part! Indeed it does! The resurrection of our Lord is the basis of our faith. Without it, we would be lost! Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

· The gospel would be meaningless.

[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9).

· Forgiveness of sins would be hopeless.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins (I Corinthians 15:17).

· Present life would be joyless.

Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (I Corinthians 15:18-19).

· Godly living would be fruitless.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

· Future life would be worthless.

Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:1-2).

Do you understand what is at stake? If there is no resurrection, there is no Gospel; if there is no Gospel, there is no forgiveness of sin; if there is no forgiveness of sin, there is no present joy; if there is no present joy, there is no future hope.

We may sit silently during part of this life; we may shed abundant tears of sadness as we watch and wait. But just remember that Christ is preparing a place for us in His Father's house . . . and then comes the good part!

Prayer Point: Talk to the Lord with gratitude for your salvation. Use the words death, burial, and resurrection when you pray. Keep in mind that you have eternal life because of His resurrection.

Extra Refreshment: Read all of 1 Corinthians 15 for Paul's awesome teaching on the Resurrection.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Thu 05 Jul 2012, 10:09 am

Faith is . . .
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

My favorite professor often quoted from Lewis Carroll's book entitled Through the Looking-Glass. He especially used the conversation between Alice and the White Queen:

"How old are you?" asked the queen.

"I'm seven and a half, exactly."

"You needn't say ‘exactly'; I can believe it without that. Now I'll give you something to believe: I'm just one hundred and one, five months, and a day."

Alice protested, "I can't believe that!"

"Can't you? Try again—draw a long breath, and shut your eyes," the queen urged.

Alice roared, "There's no use trying; one can't believe impossible things!"

To this the queen responded, "I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it half-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

The unregenerate man on Main Street, USA believes this is the meaning of faith: take a long breath, close your eyes, and begin to believe things that are impossible to believe.

What do you think? Maybe you have been afraid that this is its meaning. It is not!

We expect this kind of thinking outside the church, yet we are shocked when we find it inside the church. Faith is not an elusive, passive thing—it is alive and active.

The fruit of faith is substance and evidence—that which shows in our lives and proves what we believe.

So what is faith? Faith is the act of:

· considering Jesus Christ worthy of trust as to His character and motives;

· placing confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do;

· entrusting the salvation of our soul into the hands of Christ;

· committing the work of saving our soul to the care of the Lord.

This means taking ourselves out of our own keeping and entrusting ourselves into the keeping of Jesus Christ.

This means that we listen to what God is saying in His Word. Paul exhorted Timothy, his son in the faith, to "accurately handle the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15) because it is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

A friend once asked, "When was the last time God spoke to you and what did He say?" Then he held up his Bible and said, "This is where He is speaking. Are you hearing Him? Are you obeying Him?"

How about you—are you walking by faith? "Now, faith is . . ."

Prayer point: Take time in your prayer life and Bible reading, treating it like a conversation. Before reading the Scriptures, ask God to help you hear Him. After reading the text, ask God to help you obey Him. Pray as the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).

Extra Refreshment: Read in Hebrews 11 the instances of people hearing God and doing what He says.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Wed 04 Jul 2012, 12:26 am

I Believe I Will

John 3:17-18

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

I remember, as a boy, visiting the home of an elderly couple in Wisconsin as we traveled on our way to Minnesota. The man, in his eighties and near death's door, was confined to his chair. We sat in the living room—my father and mother, my three brothers, and I.

Although the man's children supported my missionary parents, he was not a Christian. I can still hear my father as he shared the plan of salvation with him and then asked, "Would you like to receive Christ as your own Savior? Would you like to ask Him into your life?"

The man said, "I don't believe I will."

Something pressed upon my father to risk offense, because he simply rewound his conversation and started over. He pulled his chair right up to the recliner where the old man was sitting wrapped in a comforter. I remember the urgency in my dad's voice.

Here was a man who had lived a respectable life, raised decent children, attended church, and accomplished a lot of good things. Here was my father telling him that he was not good enough in himself!

After explaining the gospel yet another time, Dad put the question to him again: "Would you now place your faith in Christ and simply receive Him as your personal Savior?"

I held my breath. It was then that the man replied, "I believe I will."

Now there were tears running down my cheeks. None of us knew it at the time, but within a few months the man would die.

Death comes to all. It's a reality of the planet we inhabit. This is the reason Jesus Christ came into the world—that it might be saved.

But why are we in this desperate condition? The Scriptures tell us that all men are sinners (Romans 3:10-23) and death is the result of that sin (Genesis 2:17; Ephesians 2). It is spiritual death.

Now that's a problem, and the solution can't be found in mankind because all men are dead. Christ took the punishment that was ours and bore it Himself, offering us His righteousness in return. He paid the debt for our sin on the cross. This He did for all who will believe and accept His gift of salvation.

The death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior provide the proverbial life raft, the cure, the escape from death's everlasting clutches. But the raft must be inflated; the cure must be swallowed; the escape must be made through the open door.

We would think it crazy that a drowning man would pass up a life raft and say, "I don't believe I'll get in it." It would be fatal to turn from the cure and say, "I don't believe I'll take it." It would be suicide to slam the escape door and say, "I don't believe I'll go." Yet, we seem quite unconcerned when a similar response comes from those with whom we've pled to accept Christ's love and sacrifice: "I don't believe I will."

How about you? As you start down this path of spiritual retreat, will you believe on His name and accept His shed blood as the payment for your sins? Will you receive His saving forgiveness? There should be only one answer . . . "I believe I will."

Prayer point: If you have never come to know God through His Son, pray that He would show you the good news in John 3. If you do know Him, pray that God would help you keep in mind that everyone needs Jesus.

Extra Refreshment: Read Romans 3:21-26, the passage that some call the "heart of the Gospel."
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Mon 02 Jul 2012, 6:55 pm

Disturbing the Peace

Matthew 10:34

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

A riot took place in Kansas a few years ago; it wasn't in a back alley or a city park—it was in the House of Representatives!

The elected officials started their session as they always did—with prayer—but the man who was asked to pray was Pastor Joe Wright. The provocative words of his prayer caused an uproar in the House. He prayed:

Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that's exactly what we've done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and we have inverted our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism, and worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery, and neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice, and shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem, and abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition, and polluted the airwaves with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas and have been ordained by You to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wow! What a prayer!

Joe reminded every Representative—and us— that our culture has been deceived, and stands in need of repentance.

He may as well have been pointing a gun at them by the way they responded to his prayer.

Before he had even finished, representatives were flooding the microphones to begin their angry tirades against this pastor. His prayer for pardon and wisdom quickly made its way into national headlines that read something like this: JOE WRIGHT—YOU HAVE UPSET OUR WORLD!

Telling the world that they've given sin respectable names and are in need of a Savior doesn't go over very well. That means they are sinners! Are you willing to upset your world today?

Now go out . . . and disturb the peace!

Prayer Point: Pray for boldness to share the gospel with unbelievers, asking God to give you the kind of passion that Joe Wright, the apostle Paul, and so many others had for sharing their faith, even though it might just upset your own world.

Extra Refreshment: Read Acts 4.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Sat 30 Jun 2012, 12:27 am

Sola Scriptura!
John 17:17

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."

I believe we are living in an exciting era. It is a period in church history when the debate over the nature and sufficiency of God's Word is once again at the forefront of peoples' minds. We are hearing the rumblings of the sixteenth-century argument of truth versus error—the Reformation cry of "Sola Scriptura" . . . the Scriptures alone!

In recent years there has been much hullabaloo over the accord that was struck between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Roman Catholic Church. They announced that the issues of the Reformation are no longer divisive issues today.

Oh?

I read an issue of Newsweek magazine with the cover article featuring "The Meaning of Mary: A Struggle over Her Role Grows within the Church." The article read:

There is an incredible surge going on within the Catholic community to have a new dogma made. More than 100,000 signatures are arriving every month in Rome from people around the world who want to see Mary take the next step in a progression of promotions that began in 431, when she was given the title "Mother of God," to 1854, when she was declared sinless, to 1950, when she was declared to have been taken up bodily into heaven instead of dying. Now, the movement is gaining ground to have her formally declared Co-Redeemer.

The article explained that the late Pope John Paul was quite convinced that Mary is the co-redeemer of humanity. In one announcement he made in April, 1997, he postulated:

Having created man "male and female," the Lord also wants to place the New Eve beside the New Adam [the new Adam being Christ] in the Redemption. Mary, the New Eve, thus becomes a perfect icon of the church. We can therefore turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully imploring her aid in the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role of co-operator in the redemption.

What I found interesting is that Newsweek, although a secular magazine, had enough insight to reply, "This view seems to contradict the basic New Testament belief that there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

The core of the Reformation remains—what do the Scriptures say, and are they the final authority?

Whether it's our view of Mary, Purgatory, salvation by faith alone, or any other issue, the church today needs as much reform as it did in the 16th century, and our reformation cry must echo the cry of old: "Sola Scriptura" . . . the Scriptures alone!

God's Word is the only truth that teaches what is sufficient for faith and practice, and the only truth that answers the question, "What must I do to be saved?"

No matter what century we're in, there is no higher authority on earth than the Scriptures

. . . alone!

Prayer Point: Pray that God will renew your vigor for studying His Word. If the Bible has become just a collection of stories or characters to you, or a book that you open only on Sundays, pray that God will give you new eyes to see His truth, and a renewed mind to grasp it.

Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Timothy 3.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Thu 28 Jun 2012, 8:49 pm

Counting the Cost
Luke 14:27

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."

You probably have never heard of Stephanie Stephenson, and I doubt you will ever hear about her again. Stephanie was a freshman music major at Southwest Missouri State University. Her teacher encouraged her to audition for the Broadway production of Les Miserables, to give her some acting experience. She traveled to Branson, Missouri, where the auditions were being held, and tried out with one hundred other women.

A few weeks later, Stephanie was shocked to receive a telephone call from the director in New York, asking her to come for a second audition. The applicants had been narrowed down to five women, and she was one of the five.

Stephanie had always dreamed of performing on Broadway. She talked it over with her parents, who were deeply committed Christians, as was she. They agreed that she could make the trip.

Another few weeks passed, and Stephanie was even more stunned to receive word that she had landed a role in Les Miserables. Without stage experience, and with the promise that she would later join the Broadway cast, Stephanie was sent to the touring production troupe for a year on the road, to sharpen her skills and gain exposure.

When parts were assigned for the first performance, she was given the role of a prostitute wearing a tawdry costume. Her angst was apparent; she struggled and made every excuse imaginable to justify playing the part. Finally, she sought the director and asked if she could be given a different part, but instead of finding a sympathetic ear, she was rebuffed and told, "It's just acting, and if you can't separate your personal life from the role, you'll never make it in this business."

Stephanie then appealed to the producer, but was given virtually the same answer: "Get over it . . . it's just a part . . . it's not really you . . . don't throw this opportunity away."

Stephanie ceased to plead, left the troupe, and walked away from her dream of a future on Broadway. After the young actress was gone, the associate director and executive producer of Les Miserable talked to the Associated Press about her decision to leave, making this comment: "She's gorgeous and she's talented and she could have played the daylights out of the role, probably to great acclaim on Broadway. But I respect what she did. She is a brave young girl to forgo an amazing career."

Knowing the cost of following Christ and yet willing to make the sacrifice, Stephanie Stephenson turned her back on the stage— relinquishing a promising career, the smell of grease paint, the glare of footlights, the excitement of curtain calls, the thrill of applause—and that's why you've never heard of her . . . but God has.

Prayer Point: Pray for God to reveal to you ways in which you may be compromising your faith for something else, whether it is a friend, a loved one, a job, or a hobby. Pray that God will give you the strength to turn your back, knowing that the joy He offers will be far greater than the object or person who is coming between you and Him.

Extra Refreshment: Read Luke 14.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Wed 27 Jun 2012, 7:56 pm

The God of All Comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

My wife and I had the privilege of meeting Joni Erickson Tada, the Christian author who was paralyzed from the neck down as a young lady. In the early years after her diving accident, she wrote about coming to terms with the fact that God's plan for her life was to remain paralyzed.

In one of her books, A Step Further, she wrote:

On a rainy afternoon in the early summer of 1972, about fifteen people gathered in a tiny oak church not far from my home. The group consisted of close friends, family, and church leaders whom I had called together to pray for my healing. By the time our brief service was over, the rain had stopped. Exiting through the front doors of the church, we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow in the misty distance. It gave me just one more reassurance that God had heard our prayers. God had indeed heard . . . but He did not heal.

Those who have heard Joni speak have been struck by the peace of Christ that emanates from her face and through her testimony. She is an example to us all of the fact that we can trust God even when times are hard. She has devoted the remainder of her life to reminding believers that, even when God chooses to give sickness instead of health, His plan is always perfect. Even when it doesn't feel good, His will is always perfect.

During my college years I had a friend who went on a hike one night with a group of adventurous young people. Unable to see clearly what lay ahead, he literally walked off the edge of a steep cliff. Though he survived the fall, he was paralyzed from the waist down.

Today Scott Mitchell is the founding pastor of a thriving church in Atlanta, Georgia, believing that, if it hadn't been for that fall, he would not be the man he is today. He now spends his life and ministry sharing with suffering believers the comfort he experienced from God during that trial.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians that this is the very reason for some of our afflictions—that we may be able to comfort others who are afflicted. Therefore the question we should ask during times of suffering is not, "Lord, will You please get me out of this?" but, "Lord, will You show me who I can help through this?"

Everyone in the world is suffering in some way, but not everyone has experienced the comfort that God offers in the midst of it. Follow the examples of Paul, Joni Erickson Tada, and my friend, Scott, who made the decision to use their afflictions for good . . . to comfort others.

Prayer Point: Consider an area of trial in your own life, whether it is physical illness, emotional pain, family strife, etc., and thank the Lord for allowing you to go through it. Then pray that God will bring someone across your path who is going through a similar trial and needs comforting.

Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Corinthians 1.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Tue 26 Jun 2012, 10:14 pm

The God of All Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

My wife and I had the privilege of meeting Joni Erickson Tada, the Christian author who was paralyzed from the neck down as a young lady. In the early years after her diving accident, she wrote about coming to terms with the fact that God's plan for her life was to remain paralyzed.

In one of her books, A Step Further, she wrote:

On a rainy afternoon in the early summer of 1972, about fifteen people gathered in a tiny oak church not far from my home. The group consisted of close friends, family, and church leaders whom I had called together to pray for my healing. By the time our brief service was over, the rain had stopped. Exiting through the front doors of the church, we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow in the misty distance. It gave me just one more reassurance that God had heard our prayers. God had indeed heard . . . but He did not heal.

Those who have heard Joni speak have been struck by the peace of Christ that emanates from her face and through her testimony. She is an example to us all of the fact that we can trust God even when times are hard. She has devoted the remainder of her life to reminding believers that, even when God chooses to give sickness instead of health, His plan is always perfect. Even when it doesn't feel good, His will is always perfect.

During my college years I had a friend who went on a hike one night with a group of adventurous young people. Unable to see clearly what lay ahead, he literally walked off the edge of a steep cliff. Though he survived the fall, he was paralyzed from the waist down.

Today Scott Mitchell is the founding pastor of a thriving church in Atlanta, Georgia, believing that, if it hadn't been for that fall, he would not be the man he is today. He now spends his life and ministry sharing with suffering believers the comfort he experienced from God during that trial.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians that this is the very reason for some of our afflictions—that we may be able to comfort others who are afflicted. Therefore the question we should ask during times of suffering is not, "Lord, will You please get me out of this?" but, "Lord, will You show me who I can help through this?"

Everyone in the world is suffering in some way, but not everyone has experienced the comfort that God offers in the midst of it. Follow the examples of Paul, Joni Erickson Tada, and my friend, Scott, who made the decision to use their afflictions for good . . . to comfort others.

Prayer Point: Consider an area of trial in your own life, whether it is physical illness, emotional pain, family strife, etc., and thank the Lord for allowing you to go through it. Then pray that God will bring someone across your path who is going through a similar trial and needs comforting.

Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Corinthians 1.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Mon 25 Jun 2012, 10:40 pm

Constantly Abiding

John 15:9

"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love."

When you desire God; when you talk to Him in prayer; when you privately meditate on His Word; when you relate the events of life to Him; when you praise Him for His delights and His discipline—you are abiding in Him.

If you are a father, you never had to sit down with your son and say, "Okay, son, I want you to watch carefully how I walk, and then I want you to imitate me." No—he shuffles along in your shadow of his own will.

As a mother, you didn't have to tell your daughter to watch you put on make-up or arrange your hair style. Oh, no—she's already sneaked into your room and tried it out for herself! Kids don't need formal lessons to pick up on the way you do things. They learn it by simply abiding with you, by watching you, by imitating you.

It was Dr. Alexander Graham Bell who advised the parents of a little girl named Helen to send for a teacher from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. Johanna Sullivan had graduated as valedictorian of her class, triumphing over her impoverished past—her mother's death when Anne was eight years old; her abusive father's abandonment two years later; four years in the state almshouse, where her only sibling died. Life for the nineteen- year-old had been difficult. A year after her graduation, she was chosen for the task of instructing six-year-old Helen Keller, a blind deaf-mute. Anne's success was monumental.

After weeks of arduous work, Helen was able to realize that the sign language letters Annie pressed into her hand spelled the name of objects. Two years later, Helen was reading and writing Braille fluently. At the age of ten, she learned different sounds by placing her fingers on her teacher's throat and feeling the vibrations. When Helen went to college, Annie Sullivan spelled every lecture into Helen's hand. While Helen earned the degree, Annie received a college education, too.

When Annie died in 1936, after fifty years of companionship to Helen, the sorrowing woman wrote these endearing words about the person who had become her eyes, her ears, and her mouth:

My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. I feel that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to her—there is not a talent or an inspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.

In many ways, what Anne Sullivan was for Helen Keller, Jesus Christ wants to be for us. He desires to be our eyes, our ears, our mouth. He promises to be our friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), but we must be dependent upon Him . . . as dependent as Helen Keller was on Anne Sullivan.

When we abide [dwell, stay, continue] in Christ, people will see the evidence written all over us. We will imitate His character and share His perspective.

Abiding in Christ is not a list of rules—it is a way of life . . . for the Christian.

Prayer Point: Seek the Lord right now as you would your closest friend. Cry out to Him with your distresses and afflictions; thank Him for His many blessings, and praise Him for always being a faithful companion, even in the times when you are not.

Extra Refreshment: Read Psalm 27.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Fri 22 Jun 2012, 2:12 pm

Run for Your Life!

Genesis 4:7

"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

It was late summer when Sir Ernest Shackleton left England with twenty-seven men, bound for Antarctica . They set sail on the HMS Endurance, initially built to carry polar bear hunting parties into the Arctic. Sir Ernest had first been to the Antarctic in 1901; in 1907, he led his own expedition in a failed attempt to be the first to cross the continent. This time he was determined to succeed! They left the last port of call December 5, 1914.

Reaching pack ice (the top layer of frozen sea) on December 11, the ship was unable to make more than thirty miles a day. It was still summer in the Southern Hemisphere, but by mid-January the ice closed in and froze around the ship, causing it to rotate with the floes in a circular pattern around the Weddell Sea. Early May the sun slipped behind the horizon for the last time that year, plunging the ship and its crew into complete darkness.

Winter on the Endurance was cold and still; the men shot seals to supplement their rations, using the thick blubber for cooking fuel. In August the first sounds of pressure were heard as the floes began to break up. Initially the ship was fine, but as millions of tonnes of pressure came against her, the bow split on October 27. After pumping and bailing, the order to abandon ship was given forty-eight hours later, 210 miles from land.

On November 21, 1915, the HMS Endurance sank slowly beneath the ice. Survival, rather than crossing the Antarctic, became the aim of Shackleton and his crew. Their hardships are legendary and their perseverance admirable; on the morning of May 22, 1916, six men from the expedition walked into a whaling station—522 days since setting sail. And after three frustrating attempts, the remainder of the party was rescued August 30, 1916, seventeen months without contact from the outside world.

One author drew these comparisons between Shackleton's ice prison and sin:

• Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go.
• Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.
• Sin will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.

History records a rather profound journal entry during that period: "The ship is pretty near the end and what the ice gets . . . the ice keeps."

What a great analogy to sin! What sin gets, it keeps. God told Cain in Genesis 4: "Sin is crouching at your door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

So, how do we master sin? How do we keep from floating farther and farther away from spiritual safety? Paul answers these questions with practical advice in 2 Timothy 2:22. He tells young Timothy to "flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness." Flirting with sin may not take your life, but it will take everything else it possibly can!

It's interesting that Paul never advised Timothy to battle his lusts—to stand and fight against them. Instead, he said, "Run for your life . . . flee!"

If sin is lurking at your door, keep it closed! Move to another location as quickly as you can . . . and don't leave a forwarding address.

Prayer Point: If you are trapped in sin today, you can rid yourself of it right now. 1 John 1:9 says: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It's far better to 'fess up to Christ, than to face up to the consequences.

Extra Refreshment: Read Genesis 39—a vivid picture of what it means to run for your life!
The Guise of Godliness

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

I have never had a State Highway patrolman stop me and say, "Sorry to bother you, sir, but I just wanted to commend you for coming to a complete stop at that stop sign back there . . . here's fifty dollars—have a nice day!"

Nor have I been pulled over by an officer who said to me: "Hey, I noticed you were keeping the speed limit even when you were going down that steep hill. I thought that was pretty remarkable of you to do that, so I want to give you these gift certificates to the Mall . . . so long!"

This will probably never happen . . . you think?

Truth is, those who abide by the law will often be viewed by men as the "godly" ones. It happened in Jesus' day with the Pharisees and Sadducees; they deceived men, as well as themselves, into thinking that their own good works were enough to make them righteous before a Holy God. They fully expected God to shower them with gift certificates to the bazaar!

Although it is important to obey the law, it isn't the real test of godliness. Actually, it's possible for you to keep the speed limit and still be an ungodly person. It's possible to stop at all the stop signs, hold the door for women, chew with your mouth closed, clock-in to work five minutes early every morning, and perform good deeds galore—and still be completely unholy in your heart.

Although everyone may sing your praises, the question is: what does God see when He looks at your heart?

God reminded Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7 that man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Even today, God is the only one who sees past the gimmicks—the facade, the clothes, the make-up—directly into the heart of every person.

The encouragement of this truth rests in the fact that, because God sees the secret intents and motives of every person's heart, He actually does reward those who keep their hearts pure. Though the world may often get it wrong and may praise deceptive people, God never will.

The world rewards people of influence; God rewards people of integrity . . . and our reward is just ahead.

Prayer Point: Expose your heart before God and ask Him to cleanse you of all the things you have done recently for the eyes of men, rather than the eyes of God.
Extra Refreshment: Read Matthew 6:1-24.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jun 2012, 5:37 pm

Set Apart

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession.

The word sanctification is a common word in the New Testament. It relates to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, minds, and lives, to conform us to the character of Jesus Christ. The simpler definition of sanctification comes from the Greek word, meaning set apart.

The concept is not hard to grasp, as I'm sure you have things in your home that are sanctified—set apart for a particular use. I know I do. My wife's butcher knives were not to be used as swords when my children were younger, pretending to be knights of the Middle Ages. My golf clubs were not meant for hitting rocks and acorns . . . wonder what gave them that idea . . . ?

Some things are set apart for a distinct purpose and shouldn't be used for anything else. The truth is, your life, which has been bought by the precious blood of the King, happens to be set apart for a distinct purpose: to bring glory to God through lives marked by godly living.

When little Victoria Guelph learned at the age of eleven that she was next in line for the British throne, historians tell us that she burst into tears. Then upon regaining composure, she said with great conviction and purpose, "If I am to be queen, then I shall be good."

What a remarkable resolution! Even at the tender age of eleven, Victoria recognized something that many Christians never quite grasp—the principle of sanctification. Victoria determined with passion and conviction that her practice would live up to her position. When told that she would wear the crown as Queen of England, she determined to exercise a godly lifestyle worthy of her crown.

You are more like the royalty of England than you thought—having believed in Jesus Christ for salvation, you are royalty! Peter calls you a chosen race and a royal priesthood, which means that you are the highest order in God's kingdom.

But the question is, have you resolved to live up to it? Are you exercising the kind of character worthy of the crown of life?

Today there is a dire need in our churches for people who will say with conviction, "Since I am headed for a future throne as fellow heir and ruler with Christ in heaven, I will live up to my position while on earth. Because of who I am in Christ, I will determine to live for Christ."

Anything less will become like a dull butcher knife or a splintered golf club—fairly useless in performing the task it was distinctly set apart to accomplish. In God's kingdom, we are chosen vessels to do His work for His glory . . . so, sanctify yourself.

Prayer Point: Ask God to help you identify areas of your life which are not set apart for Him. Take time to carefully think through your daily, weekly, and monthly activities. Are there any that are not consistent with your position "in Christ"? Commit those areas to Him, asking God to sanctify you . . . completely.

Extra Refreshment: Read Romans 8.
Bar the Gates!

Romans 6:13

Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

John Bunyan, one of history's greatest Christian authors, wrote the story of a fierce battle to take control of a city from its rightful ruler. This famous allegory, Bunyan's second most popular work, is entitled The Holy War. His depiction of the human soul is a city, Mansoul, with five gates: Ear Gate, Eye Gate, Nose Gate, Feel Gate, and Mouth Gate.

The enemy of the city is Sin, who comes on a daily basis to attack at one of its five gates. Sin speaks to the Ear Gate; he presents vivid, alluring pictures to the Eye Gate; he tempts the other "Gates" as well.

The interesting thing about this battle is that Mansoul could never be defeated by outside attacks, and Sin could never win in his assaults against the five gates . . . except in one way: someone on the inside had to open one of the gates and let Sin in.

In reality, these five gates are not Bunyan's allegorical creations at all—they are for real! Bunyan had grasped what both Paul and Peter understood: that the soul of man is destroyed from the inside, not the outside.

This is why Paul urged the believers to stop presenting their members to sin. The word presenting in this verse is a military term, used in the transferring of weaponry or arms. Paul was actually saying, "Don't let the enemy use your body as his weapon. Don't let the enemy have your rifle or your sword so he can use it against you! Don't leave yourself unarmed . . . don't open the gates!"

Unquestionably, you cannot be a holy child of God while allowing your eyes to feast on unholy scenes. Most of today's new film releases contain scenes of adultery or fornication. It is a fact, according to recent statistics, that over ninety percent of all sexual content in the average film is between unmarried people or people who are married to someone else.

If you choose to watch sin on the big screen, whether in a theater or your family room, you have just opened the Eye Gate and invited Sin to come in.

If Sin can't get through one gate, he will try another. So, what are the lyrics to your favorite songs, and the lifestyle of your favorite artists? Most secular music today is filled with the same perversion that you see on the screen; merely listening to it may be as deadly as watching it . . . keep the Ear Gate closed!

You are in a Holy War, Christian, just as John Bunyan said. And you may be your own worst enemy! Sin is pounding at each Gate, but he can only come in if you allow him entrance. Sin can't win the battle from the outside.

Don't betray your Mansoul! By all means, reinforce the boundaries . . . fortify the walls . . . bar the Gates!

Prayer Point: Thank God for His available strength to enable your battle against the onslaught of sin. Ask Him to bring to mind any area of your senses where you might be allowing sin to gain entrance into the city of your soul. Confess the treason against His holiness and ask Him for strength to close the Gate and lock it tight.
Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Peter 3.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 59541
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com - Page 16 Empty Re: WISDOM RETREAT@ Crosswalk.com

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 16 of 20 Previous  1 ... 9 ... 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20  Next

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum