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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Nov 2017, 8:02 pm

Dare to Believe
by Boyd Bailey, Author of Two Minutes In The Bible™️ With Jesus

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be
freed from your suffering”
(Mark 5:33 -34).

At times our faith dares us to believe Jesus, to take Him at His word. It
may be unconventional, like the chronically ill woman who suffered for 12
years.
She was broke at the bank and broken in her heart.

Her last gasp of hope was to seek healing from the Great Healer. Like her,
on occasion, we feel our faith must press through life’s circumstances to
find
the Lord. But once by faith we touch His merciful robe of righteousness, His
healing Spirit makes our spirit whole.

Jesus understands your concerns over rising healthcare costs and the ability
to take physical care of yourself and your family. Go to Him for peace and
a plan that works for you today, not stressing over the what-ifs of
tomorrow. By His grace through faith, let God bring whole- ness to your soul
and comfort
to your body. The Lord’s healing may come through diet, doctors, and
medication, or through an inexplicable miracle of His intervention. Dare to
believe
in His power!

“Heal me, lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you
are the one I praise”
(Jeremiah 17:14 ).

What life challenge are you facing that dares you to believe God? Perhaps a
prodigal child who continues to break your heart. Pray they come to the end
of themselves and become broken before God. Maybe the fear of being alone
ties your stomach up in knots. Let go of the lie that the Lord will leave or
forsake you; trust Him to lead you to those who accept you. Dare to believe
God. Press through your problems in faith, kneeling at Jesus’s feet and
telling
Him your story.

Finally, ignore the noise of the crowd. Some may make fun of your faith or
judge you for being bold, but those who love the Lord will love and
encourage
you in your walk with Christ. Those full of jealousy and insecurity will try
to put you down, believing that doing so will lift them up. In spite of
these
misguided people, as you grow in your intimacy with Jesus, you will have the
spiritual stamina to love naysayers to Christ. They’ll experience your heart
of mercy and sense you have been with Jesus! When you raise your bar of
belief, others raise their bars. Dare to believe and others will believe.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do
everything in love”
(1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ).

Heavenly Father, I pray for the courage to push through my circumstances and
touch the mercy and power of Jesus.

Related Readings
1 Kings 3:6; Psalm 26:3; Mark 1:40; 11:22; Acts 27:25; Colossians 1:4-5

Taken from: Two Minutes In The Bible™️ With Jesus . Copyright (c) 2017 by
Boyd Bailey. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon.
www.harvesthousepublishers.com. Used by Permission.

Boyd Bailey is the founder of Wisdom Hunters, an Atlanta-based ministry that
encourages Christians to live out God's unchanging truth in a changing
world.
The author of many devotional books and e-books, Boyd is also cofounder of
Ministry Ventures, and currently serves as the Georgia President of National
Christian Foundation. Boyd received his Bachelor of Arts from Jacksonville
State University and his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Seminary. He
and Rita, his wife of 30 plus years, live in Roswell, Georgia and are
blessed with four daughters, three sons-in-law and five grandchildren. His
official
web site is
www.wisdomhunters.com and twitter @wisdomhunters.

Prayer: What difference does it make?
Hi there ,

Every morning, for nine days in a row, I listened.

My eyes were supposed to be closed, but instead I watched a few left over
Wheaties swell and sink in my cereal bowl.

In the summer before my freshman year I stayed with my grandparents while
they were building a house. Since they were handy, hardworking, and
adventurous,
they lived in their fifth-wheel camper on the building site during
construction.

During the day we drove nails, raised walls, and framed up a deck. And by
“we” I mean grandpa. I might have handed him a tool, or pulled a bent nail,
but
I was more directly involved with our evening actives: driving the golf
cart, eating ice cream, and swatting mosquitoes.

Every morning we squeezed around their tiny laminate table. We had sweet
rolls and cereal, and if Grandpa was in charge of breakfast we had donuts.
But
it wasn’t the high calorie start to the day that stands out.

With crumbs on the table, dishes to wash, and a house to build, Grandma and
Grandpa stayed at the table and prayed. Since I was company and family, I
stayed
too.

If the sun beat through those crank-out windows promising perfect weather
for work, they stayed and prayed. If rain tapped on the skylight, they
prayed.
When a breeze rattled the metal rings of the scratchy camper curtains, they
prayed.

It wasn’t fancy or magical. I don’t even remember their exact words, but
they prayed for each of their children, their spouses, and every one of
their
grandchildren, from the oldest to youngest, by name. Every day.

I sat with my head bowed, batting away a fly from my soggy cereal and
wondering if such regular and systematic prayers made a difference. Philip
Yancey
titled one of his books, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? It was the
same question I asked that summer in the camper. When God so often does not
do
what we expect, when he does not perform to our demand, when he clearly
answers some prayers with “no” or “not now,” I still ask the question.

Does it make any difference?

It was clear, Grandma and Grandpa believed it did. I suspect those nine
mornings were a snapshot of what 68 years of mornings looked like. In 68
years
of marriage, their prayers did not spare their immediate and extended family
the heartache of death and disease, but they didn’t stop praying.

Does it make any difference? If we’re honest, many of us have answered, ‘No.’
Maybe not in words, but by our actions, or possibly our inaction.
Prayerlessness
betrays our belief about its effect. But how can we make such declarations,
either with words or actions? This side of eternity is too soon to tell.

Dr. Peter Kreeft, author and tenured philosophy professor at Boston College
made this observation:

"I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of
our prayers to God make, and all the people those little prayers were
destined
to affect, and all the consequences of those effects down through the
centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power of prayer that we
would
be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives."

And that’s what Grandpa and Grandma believed. Not because Dr. Kreeft said
it, but because they read it in their Bible—the very Word of the God they
petitioned.

pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s
people.
(Ephesians 6:18)

I suspect they knew what I had not yet learned: prayer wasn’t given to us as
a means to control desired outcomes, but as an avenue for conversation with
a loving Savior who is present no matter the outcome.

We pray not to get what we want, but because we get to know our Savior who
provides what we need.

I could tell you about my grandpa’s “donut attacks,” as my brother called
them, where he’d make an early and unexpected 13 mile trip to the donut shop
because he loved donuts and knew we did too. I could tell you how he played
the piano by ear to accompany his impromptu stories, where we were the
little
heroes who rescued a bird, a bunny, or a brother. I could tell you how he
drove the big yellow school bus to pick up neighborhood kids for Sunday
School.

I was influenced by all of it.

But a nine-day snapshot of what it meant to pray in the spirit on all
occasions—as in, every regular day—is what stands out.

Did their prayers make a difference?

They made a difference for me.

And prayer made a difference for Grandpa too. Because on July 31, when he
stepped into Heaven, his Savior was not a stranger. He’d been confiding in
and
listening to Jesus for the better part of a century, and it made a
difference for all of us.

Do your prayers make a difference? Undoubtedly. But calculating the effect
is better left to God on the other side of eternity. Keep praying, Friend.
It makes a difference.

At Just the Right Time

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died
for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for
a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own
love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us"
(Romans
5:6-8).

At just the right time when we were struggling with temptation the right
person came to be with us. They did not know we were on the verge of giving
in
to the temptation. They just came to be with us. Because they came at just
the right time we were able to stand firm and not fall.

At just the right time when we were feeling lonely the right person showed
up at our door. There did not know we were lonely. They simply came for a
visit
because they wanted to be with us. Because they came at just the right time
we were able to get through another night.

At just the right time when life appeared to be over the right person
reminded us of all the reasons we have to live. We were ready to quit. We
had no
energy or desire to stay in the race. Because they came at just the right
time we saw another sunrise and look forward to the next.

At just the right time when we were struggling with our marriage the right
couple invited us over to dinner. We were talking divorce. We saw no reason
to keep up appearances any longer. They did not know how hopeless we felt,
but because they connected with us at just the right time we continue to
celebrate
anniversaries.

At just the right time when we were at our lowest as parents the right
people sat next to us in church and visited with us when the assembly time
ended.
We were filled with despair. Guilt was destroying us. They did not know how
heart-broken we were but because they were friendly at just the right time
we did not give up.

At just the right time when we were searching for a church home the right
person came by for a visit. They listened to our story. They understood our
situation.
They helped us find a place. They did no know how homesick we were but
because they took the time we now have a church family.

At just the right time when we were most desperate the right person called
to offer assistance. They hardly knew us, but heard that times were hard.
They
said they remembered what it was like and wanted to help. Because they
demonstrated that they cared at just the right time we were able to survive
the
crisis.

At just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for us. God
demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still a sinners,
Christ
died for us.

At just the right time God uses people to represent Him in the lives of
those who need Him. Be aware that today you may be His instrument for
someone He
needs to help. It will likely be at just the right time.

Tom Norvell
www.anorvellnote.org


4 Words That Change Every Situation
Stephen Altrogge

Have you ever had one of those, “Woah, wait a minute!” times when reading
the Bible? You’re slowly meandering your way through a chapter, trying to
clear
your sleep-fogged head, when suddenly a verse jumps out and slaps you in the
face. I had one of those moments this morning.

I was making my way through Psalms 54
, trying to shake off a slight headache, when I read
Psalms 54:4 :

“Behold, God is my helper…”

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Bam! Bible verse to the face (in a good, sweet way). The words “God is my
helper” are astonishing. Think about them for a moment. They literally
change
every situation. God, the God of the universe, the omnipotent, all-wise,
all-loving, righteous, true, angel terrifying, sinner saving, God is MY
HELPER.
Woah. Woah!

There is no situation too great for God. There is no heart too hard for God.
There is no budget too tight for God. There is no boss too difficult for
God.
God is your helper! He is my helper! Those four words change every
situation.

Do you need wisdom today? God is your helper. Do you need strength today?
God is your helper. Do you need patience today? God is your helper. If God
is
your helper, that changes everything.


Not an Option

Sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! - Psalms 66:2

It is not left to our own option whether or not we will praise God. Praise
is God's most righteous due, and every Christian, as the recipient of His
grace,
is bound to praise God from day to day.

It is true that we have no authoritative text for daily praise; we have no
commandment prescribing certain hours of song and thanksgiving: But the law
written upon the heart teaches us that it is right to praise God; and the
unwritten mandate comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded
on
the tables of stone or handed to us from the top of thundering Sinai.

Yes, it is the Christian's duty to praise God. It is not only a pleasurable
exercise, but it is the absolute obligation of his life. Those of you who
are
always mourning should not think that you are guiltless in this respect or
imagine that you can discharge your duty to God without songs of praise. You
are bound by the bonds of His love to bless His name as long as you live,
and His praise should continually be in your mouth, for you are blessed in
order
that you may bless Him--"the people whom I formed for myself that they might
declare my praise";1 and if you do not praise God, you are not bringing
forth
the fruit that He has a right to expect from you.

Do not let your harp hang on the willows, but take it down and strum with a
grateful heart, bringing out its loudest music. Arise and declare His
praise.
With every morning's dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and let every
setting sun be followed with your song. Surround the earth with your
praises;
circle it with an atmosphere of melody, and God Himself will listen from
heaven and accept your music.

E'en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing,
Because Thou art my loving God,
And my redeeming King.

1) Isaiah 43:21

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Kings 2

verse 2 Galatians 6

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification

By Sinclair Ferguson
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Nov 2017, 11:55 pm

he Commission of God

One of the characteristics about God that separates the Christian faith from
other religions is that our God pursues us. While the world's religions
devise
ways to seek out and appease a higher being, Christians know that God is the
One who initiated the seeking. God is the One who calls us to Him. Since the
very beginning of history, God has chosen to commission His people to
testify to His name. Today He is still calling His children to share His
Gospel with
the world.

After His resurrection, Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with
you
always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20
).

The Great Commission is not only for preachers, evangelists, and
missionaries. The Great Commission is for every believer and follower of
Jesus Christ.
We do not need seminary degrees or a library full of commentaries to tell
others about Christ. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive
all the qualification we need. His Holy Spirit will guide our words and
actions. He will equip us to speak with whomever He leads us to, no matter
how
intimidated or nervous we may feel. He will prepare the way for us; we only
need to follow obediently.

We all have a role in spreading the Gospel message until the day of His
return. Yet many of us routinely fail in following through on this
commandment.
We shy away from it; we forget about it. We procrastinate. We become so
involved in our earthly concerns and priorities that we neglect the kingdom
of
God. As we make the Great Commission our top priority, we will discover that
our concerns and excuses are taken care of: "But seek first his kingdom and
his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"
(Matthew 6:33 ).

Throughout history, God's people have disappointed Him in His commissions.
In the days of the Old Testament, God gave His children great victories and
blessings to make Himself known to the world. Instead of sharing about God,
His people became self-focused and kept the message to themselves. Even the
prophet Jonah tried to run away from his responsibility to share God's Word.
In the days of the early Christian church, God's people would lose their
enthusiasm
for witnessing. Eventually the center for missionary activity would change
from one city to another: from Jerusalem to Antioch to Alexandria to Rome.
Eventually
a missionary movement spread from Rome to England, where it crossed the
Atlantic Ocean.

And here we stand at a crossroads. What will we continue to do with the
opportunities God has given us? Will we completely lose our focus and allow
the
Christian church to drift aimlessly? Will we obey the Great Commission and
share the Gospel message while we still have the freedom to do so? Or will
we
allow ourselves to be silenced while countless souls are in danger of
eternal hell?

Only the Holy Spirit can change someone's heart, but God is calling us to be
a part of the process. We can make a difference in the eternal lives of
others.
We can tell our neighbors how Christ changed our lives. We can share with
our friends why we have peace in the middle of difficult times. We can train
our children in the ways of the Lord. And we can unite together in prayer
for the souls of nonbelievers. We can pray that we will continue to have the
freedom to openly speak Jesus' name in public. We can pray that we remain
free to share the full Gospel message, without being confined to a
politically
correct version. We can pray that God will continue to use His people to
spread His Gospel to the ends of the world.

Spend time in prayer today examining your priorities. Where does the Great
Commission fall on that list? Pray daily that God will renew your passion
for
the souls of nonbelievers. Pray that God prepares the hearts of those around
you to receive the Gospel message. Pray for the Holy Spirit to provide you
with opportunities for sharing about Christ. Pray that our country's
freedoms will continue so that we may freely speak the uncompromising Truth
of the
Gospel.

"I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have
a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."
--
Philemon 1:6

****

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national tension, and personal crisis. Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book
Fearless
Living in Troubled Times provides the vital information needed to unlock
that life. Living in constant fear and anxiety are not God’s plan for your
life,
and this book focuses on living a God-honoring life, overcoming fear through
the right perspective, and understanding the true nature of the end times.
Get your copy today for your gift of any amount.

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

Murmuring Or Grateful?
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless
and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Philippians
2:14-15

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you know the problem with many of us when we obey God? We murmur about it
while we are doing it! And God is taking notes, because halfhearted
obedience
isn’t obedience at all. Remember, God is looking at the heart, not the deed
(see 1 Samuel 16:7).

Do you know why we murmur? Because we’ve taken our eyes off Calvary. Jesus
didn’t murmur on the way to the cross. Oh no. Do you thank God for the pains
in life? Or only the gains?

ACTION POINT:
Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the
Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Copyright ©️ 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.


Are You Suffering from the Jonah Syndrome?

We all know that Jonah was the prophet who tried to run from God’s call. But
do you know the reason he tried to run? Jonah was afraid that if he preached
repentance to the people of Nineveh, who were Israel’s arch enemies, God
would forgive them.

In other words, Jonah had a problem with the goodness of God.

He would have been much happier if God simply wiped out the people of
Nineveh rather than had mercy on them, and he actually complained about this
at the
end of the book.

But as shocking as it is to see the wickedness of Jonah’s heart, many of us
are just like him. I call it the Jonah Syndrome, and in times past, it has
affected me too.

Let me explain exactly what I mean.

We see from 2 Kings 14:25
that Jonah had no problem prophesying that the Lord would expand the borders
of Israel, but when it came to going to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria,
to warn the people that destruction was coming, he looked for a way out,
knowing that the Lord was a merciful God and that if the Ninevites repented,
God
would forgive them.

Did Jonah care about his personal reputation, not wanting to look bad if the
prophesied judgment didn’t come to pass? That could definitely be part of
it. But what we do know is that he had a real problem with the mercy of God.

The Scriptures state that after the people repented in sackcloth and ashes,
“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God
relented
of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it”
(
Jonah 3:10 ).

And how did Jonah react? This was the greatest response to any message
preached in human history, the greatest altar call ever given (to put it in
contemporary
terms).

Did Jonah rejoice? Not one bit. In fact, the Word says, “But it displeased
Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry” (
Jonah 4:1 ).

How remarkable! Jonah was terribly upset that God had mercy on more than
120,000 people.

block quote
“And he prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O LORD, is not this what I said when I
was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I
knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding
in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD,
please
take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ And the
LORD said, ‘Do you do well to be angry?’” (
Jonah 4:2-4 )
block quote end

But it gets worse. God caused a plant to shelter Jonah from the heat, but
then it died quickly, and the prophet got even angrier.

block quote
The Lord said to him, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor
did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a
night.
And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than
120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also
much cattle?” (
Jonah 4:10-11 )
block quote end

You might say, “Well, Jonah’s attitude was miserable, but certainly none of
us have attitudes that bad.”

Are you sure?

Have you ever gone through a church split and found yourself upset because
God still blessed the people on the “other side” (of course, the “wrong
side”
from your perspective)?

Have you ever been hurt by a ministry and grumbled when the Lord continued
to bless them and even work miracles for them?

Have you ever been glad (rather than grieved) to see a colleague fall, as if
this vindicated you? (If a brother or sister’s failure is your success, you
do not have the heart of the Lord.)

These are all symptoms of the Jonah Syndrome, and the sooner we recognize
them, the sooner we can repent and ask the Lord for a transformation of
heart.

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A number of years ago, I was involved in a very difficult split, one which
brought pain and confusion to many people, as much as we all tried to avoid
it. Yet God sustained both of the entities involved, to our mutual surprise.

“Lord, how can you bless those people when they treated us so poorly?” we
thought to ourselves.

“God, surely you won’t sustain them when they are so wrong in this matter!”
those on the other side thought to themselves.

Yet the Lord blessed and sustained us both while we struggled to find common
ground in order to reconcile.

The key that unlocked the door for reconciliation was the recognition that
God was for both entities involved in the split, since He cared for both
equally,
loved the sheep involved in both groups equally, and wanted to bless all of
us equally. (It’s also important to realize that none of us are ever
perfectly
righteous, whichever “side” we are on.)

I remember well the night of reconciliation and the hugs and tears and
laughs and renewed fellowship, and I remember well how we smiled at one
another
and said, “I bet you were surprised to see how the Lord came through for us
and sustained us!”

Yes, both “sides” were surprised to see that the Lord was for both of us....

Let’s remember the Lord’s words in the Parable of the Workers in the
Vineyard, where he rebukes those who had a problem with the owner’s
goodness, asking,
“Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15
)

And let’s remember the words of Jacob (James), that “judgment without mercy
will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over
judgment!”
(
James 2:13 )

As we have received mercy, let us show mercy, never forgetting there are not
different “camps” or “sides” in the Body of Christ–even if we use those
terms
descriptively–but just one family with one Father, and He desires to do good
to all his children.

Can we share his heart?

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

Content provided by OnePlace.com .

The Golden Rule

"“But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those
who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To
the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from
the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either. Give
to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the
person who takes them away. Treat others in the same way that you would want
them to treat you." (Luke 6:27-31, NET)

This Scripture is from the Sermon on the Plain which is found in the book of
Luke. This sermon is similar to the more familiar Sermon on the Mount. The
last verse is what people know as the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is
similar to what Jesus said was the greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor
as you love yourself.”

I read on a web site that every religion has a form of the Golden Rule.
Since Jesus said this was the greatest commandment then if we follow that
commandment we will end up in heaven. Then all the Golden Rules from all the
religions were listed. Most, if not all, of the other religions have a
negative version of this rule, “Do not do to others what you would not want
them to do to you.” If this is the case, I think I would follow some other
religion than Christianity since it would be easier to follow. If I saw a
homeless person sitting along the side of the road I would not kick him
because I would not want to be kicked if I were in that position. This would
satisfy the Golden Rule for most religions so I could go to heaven by acting
this way.

As Christians we should "do unto others as we would have them do unto us",
but to go to Heaven we must believe that Jesus went to the cross and gave
his life as a sacrifice for our sins, repent and receive Him as our own
personal Savior. That, and that alone, will let us into heaven!!!!!!!

Jesus commands us to go further in loving others. He doesn’t just give us a
vague command but spells things out in the verses before the Golden Rule. If
we belong to Him He expects us to do more than not to do unto people but to
do for them.

In the novel “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo Jean Valjean was put in prison
for stealing bread so that he might feed his family. When he left prison he
was given his papers. Everywhere he went to try to find a place to sleep no
one would let him have a room because his papers showed he had been in
prison. Someone told him that the priest would let him spend the night. In
the middle of the night Jean leaves the house with a silver candlestick. The
next day a policeman sees Jean and takes him back to the priest’s house. The
policeman asks if Jean was the man who stole his candlestick. The priest
said Jean did not steal anything. He gave the candlestick to him. Then the
priest took the matching candlestick and gave it to Jean saying, “Here. You
forgot to take this one also.”

This story shows the true love which Jesus even mentioned in the verses
above. This is the kind of love we are to show to others if we belong to
Jesus Christ.

Are you truly listening to Jesus? You may red these words and think they are
good things to follow but are you willing to follow them? So many times we
read His words but let them go in one ear and out the other. Follow Jesus
totally. “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

by Dean W. Masters

3 Ways to Cultivate Authenticity and Let Your Real Self Shine
Lisa Murray

Authenticity and The Courage To Let Your Real Self Shine Through

The truth is, sometimes I’m not fine. There are moments my day hasn’t gone
great, and yes, some days the weather really
does stink.

That’s what I want to say at least, but I rarely do. How about you?

There are a lot of things about me I don’t say, many truths I keep tucked
inside, hidden in the bottom drawer of my heart, for fear others wouldn’t
want
to hear about what’s really going on with me. Somehow I believe if I let
them see the real me, they might think I’m crazy, too much to handle. Or
they
might just reject me altogether.

So I’ve learned to edit myself. If we’re honest, I think most of us edit
ourselves. We’ve learned to do a fair job stitching together the prettiest
sides
of ourselves to show people while keeping the worn and ragged edges hidden
out of sight. We pray no one will notice and try to convince ourselves our
patchwork
looks as good as new. As long as no one gets too close.

Up close is where the reality of our threadbare and disheveled selves might
poke through. Where the tears, the insecurities, the pockets full of
unworthiness
spill their ugly selves onto our identity. It isn’t pretty.

The problem is, all the years I hid my truest self, all the years I kept
everyone at arm’s length, I also kept the beauty of intimacy and
vulnerability
from ever reaching my impenetrable, fear-filled heart.

Relationship is the casualty of a guarded heart, the victim of pretense and
shame.

Authenticity at its core is transparency and admission of failure. It's the
rejection of insincerity and hypocrisy. It's truth-telling about all areas
of life, even our soul spaces, where our greatest fears and sorrows reside.

Brene Brown describes authenticity as, the daily practice of letting go of
who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.

Authenticity is a gift not just to ourselves, but to all of our
relationships. Here are three ways you can start to cultivate authenticity
and let your
real self shine through.

1. Claim Your Belovedness

The more we as Christians own our worth based on God’s incredible love for
us, the more we can begin to see ourselves as worthy, not based on
performance,
certainly not based on perfection, but based on position. Upon Whose we
are. God’s beloved children.

Henri J.M. Nouwen describes, Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the
spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the
"Beloved."
Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.

When our worth is based solely on other’s acceptance or approval, it is a
roller-coaster waiting for the next dive. It is inconsistent at best, bumpy
throughout, and at some point always crashes to a halt.

However, knowing ourselves and our worth as God’s beloved, in whom He
delights, is the stongest foundation for each of us to grow curious,
eager —to explore,
to create, to dream, and possibly even to dare.

2. Resist The Urge To Strive

Striving is a lethal drug for a perfectionist. We remain almost helpless to
resist its power, its compulsion to prove, to perform, to achieve. Yet
striving
will almost certainly destroy us from the inside out. It fills us with fear
and empties us of any courage or creativity.

Striving has been one of the fiercest competitors throughout my life, and I
would dare say, it has gotten the best of me many times in the past. What
makes resisting the urge to strive so difficult is how intensely our culture
celebrates it. We revere the pursuit of acquisition, we extol the virtue
of accomplishment, and fantasize that rest is waiting for us just across the
finish line. Until we cross the finish line, and realize that even here,
there is no rest. Just another finish line, another demand, another task to
prove our worth.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Martin Luther expressed, I have held many things in my hands, and have lost
them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.

Once our worth is settled, we can rest in believing whether we succeed or
fail, whether we are celebrated or not, whether our ranking on amazon.com is
at the top or on the bottom, we are enough. Period.
Our performance is not attached to our worth.

3. Be More Emotionally Honest

No, that doesn’t mean to emotionally vomit on anyone and everyone with whom
you come into contact. Emotional honesty simply means we become more
intentional
about accepting ourselves —our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values,
opinions, and perspectives —and we are not afraid to share appropriately and
respectfully
with those around us.

Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT) states, Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is
forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose
record the
LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

Do you share freely your opinions with others, even if they differ? Do you
find yourself withholding your thoughts and feelings from the people around
you? Is your highest priority
not to do or say anything that might make people unhappy with you?

We can find healthy, compassionate ways to let our true selves shine through
without being disrespectful or unkind. The more we feel worthy, the easier
it is to risk potential ridicule or rejection from others because we don’t
need their approval to feel good about ourselves.

Mother Teresa shares, Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be
honest and transparent anyway.

If you find yourself longing to let go of the façade, craving a place that
is real, you can begin today to cultivate authenticity in your life.

Claim Your Belovedness. Your worth is settled.

Resist The Urge To Strive. You are enough.

Be More Emotionally Honest. Let the real you shine through.

Authenticity embraces our healing journey in its totality —the journey
toward accepting who we are, toward becoming more courageous, toward
embracing who
we are not yet, but will one day be. The journey is beautiful, it is
hopeful. It is Christ in us, the way of peace.

Lisa Murray is a Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist, author, speaker, coffee lover, and wife. Her online
community
lisamurrayonline.com
provides a compassionate place embrace peace in the midst of the stresses
and struggles of life. In her new book, Peace for a Lifetime, Lisa Murray
shares
the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and
abundant, the fruit of which is peace. While she grew up in the Florida
sunshine,
she and her husband now live just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN. Peace
for a Lifetime is available on
Amazon.com.
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Nov 2017, 1:29 am


What Do You Really Love Most?
Jon Bloom / September 25, 2017

What are you seeking? I don’t mean in the abstract philosophical sense, as
in “I’m a seeker of truth” or “I’m just looking for happiness.” I hope you
seek
the former and I
know you seek the latter. No, I’m asking down here, on the runway, where you
actually
do things. What are you really seeking?

There are other ways to phrase the question:

What do you really want?
What are you dreaming about having?
What’s fueling your hope for the future?
What’s capturing your attention most?
What are you focusing your reading on?
What are you searching the internet for?
What are you spending your time and money on?
What are you making plans to pursue?

Or we could ask it negatively: What desired person or thing is fueling your
depression and cynicism, because as much as you want him or her or it, they
seem unattainable?

What are you seeking? Your answers will tell you what you love.

Love Always Seeks

It is the very nature of love to seek the beloved, whether our beloved is a
human lover (Song of Solomon 7:10) or money (1 Timothy 6:10) or some other
worldly thing (1 John 2:15) or God (Deuteronomy 4:29; 6:5). We cannot help
but seek what we love. And we cannot help but grow disillusioned, bitter,
and
even hopeless if we don’t believe we can have what we love.

Pursuit is the mark of real passion. That’s why David wrote such things as,
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after” (Psalm 27:4), and “O God, you are my God;
earnestly I seek you” (Psalm 63:1). When he composed these psalms, he was
consumed with love for (desire for) God. And love compelled him to seek his
beloved.

And it’s why Paul wrote things like, “for the love of Christ controls us” (2
Corinthians 5:14). The Greek word,
synechō, translated in the ESV as “controls,” others have translated as
“compels” (NIV) or “constrains” (KJV). What Paul meant was that the love of
Christ
urged, even forced him to action, to pursue what captured his heart in ways
that caused some to accuse him of being out of his mind (2 Corinthians
5:13).

Love controls, compels, constrains us. Love pursues. Love must act because
love in word only is no true love; for true love always produces action (1
John
3:18).

Have We Lost Our First Love?

The first indicator that we have lost our passion for God, that he is no
longer our preeminent love, isn’t embracing false doctrine, falling into
immorality,
or out-right apostasy. In fact, we might even still be serving Christ and
enduring hardship with a measure of faithfulness that most observers would
commend.
No, the first warning sign can be seen in Jesus’s words to the church in
Ephesus:

I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you
have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned
the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent, and
do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your
lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:3–5)

Though the Ephesian Christians were still toiling, patiently enduring evil
adversity (Revelation 2:2), they no longer were burning with desire and
therefore
no longer earnestly seeking Christ. The love of Christ no longer controlled
and constrained them like it used to. And the “works” they no longer did was
the whistleblower of their loss of affection for Christ. Jesus considered
this a serious problem and his warning was urgent.

It is a serious problem, because if what we love the most drives our
pursuits, and Jesus is not what we love the most, we will be spending our
energies
and resources elsewhere, however orthodox we may yet remain at the creedal
level.

What Are You Really Seeking?

So what are you seeking? What we do when given the choice, what we choose to
pursue, what we want to seek are indicators of what has captured our
affections.

Is the love of Christ controlling, compelling, constraining us, or is
something else? Are we serving Christ out of an affection for him that makes
it hard
not to, or out of a sort of weary, dreary obligation? Or do we no longer do
the works of faith like we used to do — not because the focus of our calling
has changed, but because we just no longer have it in us like we used to?

Jesus’s call to the Ephesians to repent was not mere warning, but gospel.
Repentance is an escape from the bondage of sin, whatever it is. The very
fact
that repentance is possible, because of what Jesus has done for us in the
cross, is astoundingly wonderful news! The call to repent is a call not to
have
our shame exposed and bear God’s stern frown on us. It’s a call to return by
the grace of God to the place of greatest hope and fullest joy.

It’s not a question of whether we will seek out what we love. The question
is, what are we really seeking? Our works are our whistleblowers, because
they
tell us what we love. And if we do not love what we ought, God has provided
us a way to escape from bondage and to return to joy.

And then let us again quest for the real Treasure: “Seek the Lord your God
and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with
all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

The Morning Star of the Reformation: John Wycliffe (c. 1330–1384)
Stephen Nichols / September 25, 2017
The Morning Star of the Reformation

John Wycliffe has been called “The Morning Star of the Reformation.” The
morning star is not actually a star, but the planet Venus, which appears
before
the sun rises and while darkness still dominates the horizon. The morning
star is unmistakably visible.

The Morning Star of the Reformation rumblcdl

Darkness dominated the horizon in the fourteenth century, the century of
Wycliffe, who was born in 1330 and died in 1384, almost exactly one hundred
years
before Luther was born. By his teenage years, Wycliffe was at Oxford. Thomas
Bradwardine (known as “Doctor Profundus”) taught theology and William of
Ockham
(famous for “Ockham’s Razor”) taught philosophy. Before long, Wycliffe took
his own place among the faculty. Appointed the Master of Balliol College,
Wycliffe
lectured and wrote in the field of philosophy. But the tug of biblical
studies pulled on him. He applied himself rigorously to the study of
theology and
Scripture. As he did, he realized how much the church had veered off in so
many wrong directions.

Setting the Stage

In the 1370s, he produced three significant works as countermeasures to the
church’s corruption. The first one,
On Divine Dominion (1373–1374), took aim at papal authority. Wycliffe was at
a loss to find biblical warrant for the papacy. In fact, he argued that the
papacy conflicts with and obscures the church’s true authority, Scripture.
The second major work was
On Civil Dominion (1375–1376). Here Wycliffe targeted the Roman Catholic
Church’s assertion of authority over the English crown and English nobility.
He
saw no reason for England to be obliged to support a corrupt church. In his
third major work, On the Truth of Sacred Scripture
(1378), he further developed the doctrine of the authority of Scripture.

These three works were crucial to setting the stage for the Reformation. Two
faculty members visiting at Oxford returned with Wycliffe’s writings to
their
home city of Prague, which in turn influenced Jan Hus. He would consequently
go on to be a second “Morning Star” of the Reformation. Martin Luther’s
early
writings reveal the fingerprints of John Wycliffe. Yet, as important as
these works are, they pale in comparison to his most important contribution,
the
Wycliffe Bible.

Reformation Began with Translation

In On the Truth of Sacred Scripture, Wycliffe called for the Bible to be
translated into English. According to Roman Catholic law, translating the
Bible
into a vulgar, common language was a heresy punishable by death. It is
almost impossible to imagine why a church would want to keep God’s word from
people,
unless that church wanted to hold power over the people. Wycliffe was more
convinced of the power of the word of God than the power wielded by the
papal
office. Consequently, he and a group of colleagues committed themselves to
making the word of God available.

Not only did the Bible need to be translated; it also had to be copied and
distributed. This was before the printing press (invented in 1440), so
copies
had to be made painstakingly by hand. Despite the challenges, hundreds of
the Bibles were produced and distributed to Wycliffe’s troop of pastors, who
preached across England as the word of God made its way to the people.
Wycliffe’s followers came to be called Lollards. They were enclaves of
reform not
only in England, but across Europe.

These efforts in translating, copying, and proclaiming the Bible in English
were driven by a singular motive, expressed by Wycliffe this way: “It helps
Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue which they know best.” In
his final years, Wycliffe endured falling out of favor with the church and
nobility
in England. Of course, he had long ago fallen out of favor with the pope.
Yet, Wycliffe declared, “I am ready to defend my convictions even unto
death.”
He remained convinced of the authority and centrality of Scripture and
devoted to his life’s calling to help Christians study the Bible. Having
suffered
two strokes, John Wycliffe died on December 30, 1384.

“Heretic” and Hero

In 1415, the Council of Constance, which condemned Jan Hus to death,
declared Wycliffe a heretic. His bones were exhumed and burned and the ashes
were
put into the River Swift.

But the reforming efforts of Wycliffe could not be quenched by the flames or
stopped by a council’s declarations. This Morning Star shone brightly
against
the horizon, signaling the soon coming of daylight.

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

The Morning Star of the Reformation kbwo302a

Martin Luther didn’t stand alone 500 years ago. Nor does he stand alone
today.

To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we invite you to join us
on a 31-day journey
, beginning October 1, just 5–7 minutes each day, to meet the many heroes of
the Reformation.

Does God Really Love Me?
Jason Meyer / September 25, 2017

If you want to know whether God loves you, don’t look in the mirror. Look to
Jesus. We look away from our failures to behold his victory.

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

Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Is God Really Trustworthy? Do You Really Trust God?

trust God, God is trustworthy, God is faithful, worry, fear, faith, trust in
God Okay, the first question is not the real issue, is it? The real question
is, Do you really trust God? Do the two go together? Absolutely.

Most of us want to trust God for the “fix”–the answer that we’ve asked Him
for. Claim the promise. Right? So we confess it, we act on it, and we nail
it
down! God said it, that’s that! Yes, I really trust God. And we wait to see
the fix.

What Happens When…

Lost your job? You child is rebelling? Received a bad report from the
doctor? It’s only a matter of time…until God will come through. Right?
Right! Do
you really trust God? Maybe….

Is God really trustworthy? Yes! What if? What if the fix doesn’t happen?
Unemployment stretches on. Children don’t return. You don’t get well. Is God
still
trustworthy?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your
paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

That verse in Proverbs says to trust in the Lord with all your heart–not a
part, not halfway, but all. Lean not to your
own understanding. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. Refrain from
dictating to God when or how something should happen. God is God; you are
not.
That’s where the problem lies with the “trust” issue.

In all your ways–that means all–acknowledge Him. Make His name known; put
Him first; make Him “boss.” And He
will (not maybe) direct your paths. It doesn’t say God will answer the way
you want, but He will direct, lead, or prod you in the right direction, the
“path” He has laid out for you (even if you don’t have a clue what to do).
Another translation says He will make your way smooth. He will make your way
bearable.

Trusting God Is a Challenge

Trusting God is a challenge for me. I bet it is for you, too. It’s easy to
trust God for ___________ but when it comes to _______________. We’ll both
just
fill in the blanks, okay? God knows what our most difficult issues are.

Let’s test our “trust quotient.” How do you know if you’re trusting God?
Here are four possible ways:

Real Trust Means:

1. No timetable

2. No fixes

3. No worry

4. No control (of mine)

Here’s another way of looking at it:

The ABC’s of Trusting:

1. A sking God’s help ( Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 46:1)

2. B elieving God is in control (Jeremiah 32:17, NLT)

3. C onfessing God’s faithfulness (Psalm 89:8, NLT; Deuteronomy 32:4, NLT)

4. L eaving the answer to God (even if He decides not to “fix” the problem).
(Psalm 31:14, NLT; Romans 11:33, NLT).

Wait a minute! It’s that last one that tests us the most, would you agree?
That’s the one that doesn’t fit our “alphabet order.” Because believing that
God is trustworthy is believing that God will never act any other way than
what will ultimately bring good. He is God; He is faithful; and He is good.
And no lack of trust in Him will ever change the character of God.

The question is not, “Is God really trustworthy?” The question is, “Do you
really trust God?” Only you–and God–can answer that. But there is a
sweetness
in the relationship when your faltering steps of faith turn to quiet rest
and total dependence on One who will never disappoint you, never fail you,
and
who is always, 100% faithful.

• This post first appeared in 2012.

It’s Your Turn

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Friday, September 22, 2017

Today's Devotional

More Than I Can Handle

1 Corinthians 10:13b – God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to
be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out
so that you can endure. (NLT)

My arms were full, and I didn't know whether or not I could make it to the
car.

At 14 years of age, I began my first real job: bagging groceries at the
local Piggly Wiggly®️ grocery store. Though I had helped my grandfather on
the ice
cream truck for several years, this job initiated me into the real work
world. In addition to bagging the groceries, we carried them to the
customers'
cars. Most customers bought enough groceries that we needed a buggy to
transport them, but occasionally, a customer would have only a couple of
bags. Trying
to impress them and whomever else, I attempted to carry them. Today, bags
are plastic and have handles, and that wouldn't be an issue, but back then,
it
was. Bags were paper and had no handles. A shifting of the contents in the
bags might mean groceries spilled and got damaged.

When someone is going through a difficult period or even a series of
unfavourable circumstances, I've heard numerous believers say, "God won't
put any
more on you than you can handle." It's another one of those statements that
we've formulated to comfort and encourage. Perhaps it does, but the problem
is that it can't be supported biblically.

Though I don't know where the saying originated, it may be based in part on
Paul's statement that God won't allow us to be tempted to the point that we
have to give in. But difficult circumstances and temptations are not
necessarily identical.

In reality, God will put more on us than we can stand — and He has a reason.
I, like most, tend to think that I can handle life myself, just as I thought
that I could handle the grocery bags. Trying to manoeuver through life
without help from anyone else — particularly God — is foolishness. When God
allows
more into my life than I can handle on my own, it forces me to turn to Him,
which is what I should have done in the first place.

God wants to be our burden bearer. He will give wisdom and courage for every
situation that we face.

Let us allow God give us strength to face each life situation.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that we can depend on You to guide us through
every circumstance of life. Amen.

Martin Wiles < mandmwiles@gmail.com >
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA
Thought for Today: Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of
this faith is to see what we believe. – Augustine
Verse for Today: Matthew 13:22 – [Jesus said] "The one who received the seed
that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries
of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it
unfruitful." (NIV)

Pray
September 25, 2017

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. (v.
17)

Paul’s letter includes much encouragement to the early Christians in
Thessalonica. This predominantly Gentile community of faith needed
instruction on
matters that were important for growth, unity, and fellowship with the
Spirit. Verses 16-18 provide vital instruction for all believers: reminders
to rejoice,
continually pray, and thank God in all circumstances. It is easy for us to
praise God and express our gratitude to him for each beautiful sunrise or
the
food on our table, but pray continually? This is challenging, until we allow
ourselves the joy of making prayer a way of life.

Don’t know when to pray? Consider times when you are alone. Perhaps on your
daily commute. Or when you run, bike, or go for a walk. Or as you do the
dishes
or fold laundry. These are wonderful times to talk to God.

Can’t decide how to pray? Reread 1 Thessalonians 5:12-25. Consider those you
know in leadership roles, the importance of living peacefully with everyone,
tactful correction, encouraging the weak, practicing patience, and seeking
good instead of evil. Based on these things, make a list of people in your
life
to pray for. Then talk to God, for he is listening. As Stephen Curtis
Chapman’s “Let Us Pray” reminds us,

Let us pray, let us pray, ev’rywhere in ev’ry way . . .
For the Father above, He is listening with love,
And he wants to answer us, so let us pray.

—Joy Petroelje

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of fellowship with you in prayer.

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

How to Pray for the Toxic People in Your Life
Jennifer O. White

Love gives. Loves goes the extra mile. Love endures.

That love is not always reciprocated.

As Christ followers, we strive to give love from a pure heart that doesn’t
require a person to love us perfectly in return. We intentionally allow God
to be our source of perfect love, and we relinquish the right to demand it
from others. In obedience to God and His Word, we set our hearts on being
patient
and kind. We commit to modeling Jesus’ sacrificial love. But sometimes the
person we give our love to consistently betrays and wounds us. How do we
give

1 Corinthians 13
love in that situation?

Kuddos to Debbie McDaniel for her insight in "
How to Protect Yourself from these 10 Toxic People ." McDaniel wisely
suggests we set boundaries and limit the control an unhealthy person might
be placing
on our life. She also notes when "we look deep into the mirror of our souls,
we may realize that we are the ones who have some unhealthy tendencies that
God wants to change."

Exposing Dysfunctional Patterns

I’ve got a really strong mercy streak. For decades, I’ve looked for the best
in everyone. I pursued relationships with very emotionally unhealthy people.
I was sure God loved them and I could, too, but I had no idea how to employ
boundaries. I gave love no matter how much pain was delivered to me in
return.
I was too timid to speak the truth in love.

I lived with a desperate fear of confrontation. My rational thinking dropped
into a coma if I sensed any threat of an explosive reaction. Eventually
resentment
wrestled mercy to the ground. Wounded and exhausted, I would just walk away
from the relationship.

That is how I handled my first marriage. Years later, I was very close to
repeating the pattern in my second marriage.

A major crisis in our marriage led me to intense Bible study and prayer
counseling. God exposed many of my own toxic relationship patterns. I was
addicted
to the approval of others. I was a great blamer and gossiper. If there had
been a contest for arrogant victims, I would have won the crown.

I once was blind, but now I see.

Restoration is God’s Work

Pride kept me from seeing these things about myself. It also kept me focused
on how the “other person” needed to change so I could be ok. With amazing
grace, God revealed the truth for the purpose of restoring me to wholeness.

He sent His Word and healed me and delivered me from self-destruction.
(Psalm 107:20 , my paraphrase)

God offers healing and freedom to everyone.

He is waiting to transform the lives of everyone leaking nuclear emotions
and throwing verbal grenades. The controller, the abuser, and the too-easily
angered are not immune to the power of God’s Word. We are promised that
nothing is impossible with God (
Luke 1:37 ,
Mark 10:27 ). There is hope for the bully, the addict, and the one whose
mind is stuck in a negative gear. The blamer, the gossiper, the arrogant,
and the
victim are all offered fresh doses of mercy from God each and every day.

God created those who hurt us. He has a good plan for their lives. He knows
the “why” behind their destructive behaviors. He knows the lies they believe
about themselves. He knows what stands in the way of their wholeness. He is
a Shepherd who pursues every sheep that wanders away from all He offers.

Partnering with God

We are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, empowered by Him to believe in what we
cannot yet see. We are vessels of His mercy, His wisdom, and His Word. His
mighty power is at work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we can
ask or imagine ( Ephesians 3:20
).

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood ( Ephesians 6:12 ).

There is a dark force of evil behind every lethal personality disorder and
self-defensive coping mechanism. Every casualty in a relationship war has
fallen
prey to the one who steals, kills, and destroys.

The great news is... God has far more power than Satan. The God of angel
armies makes us ready for battle with His truth, salvation, faith,
righteousness,
peace, and the sword—the Word of God. His banner of victory flies over us.
When we arm ourselves and pray, we salute His authority and partner with His
plan for the family of God.

What would delight our God more than for us to turn our minds away from the
problems and focus on Him? He is our solution.

Praising God is a powerful first line of defense. We can worship and adore
Him, our wonderful counselor and supreme relationship expert.

Holy God. You are full of mercy and compassion, slow to anger and full of
love. No one can measure Your greatness. You open your hand to satisfy the
needs
of everyone.

You protected Daniel in the lion’s den. You provided an ark before the
flood. You create streams in deserts. No situation is too dire for You.
Everything
is possible because You are the Creator and Redeemer.

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You love imperfect people extravagantly. Your perfect love drives out fear.

You are mighty to save!

We can choose to live prayerfully and humbly before God. He can help us love
those who do not love us well with a pure heart.

Father, I may be blind to my own role in toxic relationships. Help me see
the truth about myself. Apply the healing power of Your Word to my heart and
mind. Deliver me from any stronghold that causes me to harm people with my
words and actions. Save me from self-destructive patterns.

I struggle in my relationship with ______. I need You to give me wisdom on
how to love ____ well. You are my shield and defender. Show me how, when and
where to erect boundaries in our relationship. I believe You are my healer
and I trust You to guard my heart and mind.

I need Your specific directions on how to interact with ______.

I want to love _____ with a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere
faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

Help me to love ______ courageously. Fill me with Your truth and compel me
to fearlessly tell the truth with love. Let Your perfect love cast out all
of
my fears related to our relationship.

I forgive ______ for hurting me. I ask You to forgive me for _______ and
_______. I acknowledge my emotions: _______, _________, and _______. And I
invite
You to steady my heart so my emotions do not rule my decisions

I surrender what I think our relationship should be. Please transform it so
that it honors You.

In Jesus, I pray. Amen

The toxic person in your life may feel like an enemy. That is certainly how
Satan wants you to feel about your husband, your family member, your church
leader, etc. But remember the real culprit is Satan.

God has given us clear instructions to bless those who curse us and pray for
the people who mistreat us (
Luke 6:27–28
). Jesus modeled this pure love for us on the cross, and when He washed
Judas’ feet knowing he was going to betray Him.

Praying for your enemy is like training for the Christian Olympics. The
stakes are high. The requirements are intense. But the reward is far greater
than
any gold medal. Your prayer can be used by God in a person’s life, their
family, and the generations after them.

Use this prayer prompt to launch an ongoing conversation with God on behalf
of the toxic person in your life.

God, I acknowledge You as _______’s provider. Thank You for providing all
______ needs to live in peace and harmony with me and others.

Your Word is alive and a gift of healing to ______. I invite You to fill
_____’s life with It. Let It be a salve to _____’s wounds. Use it to set
______
free from the snare of the enemy.

You are the Good Shepherd. Please rescue _______ from paths of destruction.

You are the Wonderful Counselor. Break down the walls in _____’s heart and
mind with Your battering ram of revelation. Give ____ spiritual wisdom and
insight
to know You. Flood ______’s heart with Your light.

Where _____ has endured shame, pour double portions of honor into _____’s
life.

Your Holy Spirit intercedes for _____ 24/7. Use me to do the same and raise
up an army of intercessors on _______’s behalf. Let heaven and earth work in
tandem to deliver ____ from evil.

Make _____ ready to hear me and others speak Your truth in love. Help ____
to experience Your love and Your presence.

You are the One who can enable _____ to hunger for Your Word and obey Your
commands. Let that be so for ________.

With faith in Jesus, I pray. Amen

Jennifer O. White is the author of Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s
Armor After the Wedding Dress
and Marriage Armor for the #PrayingBride . Jennifer is a natural encourager
who offers hope from the truths of God’s Word at her blog,
Prayerfully Speaking. With every blog post, Jennifer is exalts the one true
God who can empower us to do more than we can ask or imagine.


Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
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Today's

Turning Point
Friday, September 22

What a Friend

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his
master is doing; but I have called you friends.

John 15:15

Recommended Reading
Proverbs 18:24
You’ve seen them—lists of reasons why dogs are “man’s best friend.” Dogs
love unconditionally, are always there for you, are always glad to see you,
are
ready to forgive, love going places with you, will protect you from danger,
and on and on. We would be fortunate to have a human friend who is as
faithful
as a canine friend!

Actually, we do have such a friend—and this friend adds a trait of which not
even our four-legged friends can boast. That friend is Jesus and He
understands
everything we go through in our life. Jesus can “sympathize with our
weaknesses” since He was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”
(Hebrews
4:15). Besides faithfulness, empathy may be a friend’s most desirable trait.
The concept of friendship was clear in the Old Testament—it was a covenant
idea, as in Abraham being friends with God (2 Chronicles 20:7). When Jesus
instituted the New Covenant with His disciples, He told them that He was now
their friend—loyal, sacrificial, loving, and empathetic.

Human friends may disappoint us, but Jesus never will. He is a friend that
“sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
Joseph Scriven

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Micah 1 – 4
David Jeremiah'

TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright ©️ 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Lost Sheep

Luke 15:4-6 – What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of
them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one
which
is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his
shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends
and neighbors,
saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost."
(NKJV)

Although I usually park my sport utility vehicle parallel to the garage, on
this day, I parked further away from the garage than normal. Hopping out of
the vehicle, to the left of my foot, I noticed a glimmer of gold — my ankle
bracelet, purchased in India for me by a friend. Having searched diligently
for it for many days, I was convinced that it was forever lost. Here it was,
missing both pieces of the clasp! Given all the vehicles and machinery that
had been operating in my yard, I could not believe that it was not mangled.
"Thank You, God," I said aloud, picking up my find with joy. Immediately, I
knew that God wanted me to write about this experience, but I didn't know
why until an encounter with a stranger provided the answer.

I am a collector of sea glass, broken pieces of coloured or clear glass that
have been frosted and rounded by tumbling on the seashore. I was searching
for sea glass on a beach when I met a woman and her children. She also
seemed to be looking for sea glass, so I asked her if she had had any
success. She
replied that she never found any. This question sparked a conversation in
which she shared a number of her burdens. Eventually, I asked her if I might
say a prayer for her, and she gratefully nodded. I took both of her hands in
mine and prayed with her. At the conclusion of the prayer, she said, "Thank
you. I needed that." I replied, "It was my pleasure." Then I pointed to the
left of my foot where a piece of sea glass was resting, and said, "Your
first
piece of sea glass!" We exchanged phone numbers, intending to keep in touch.
I firmly believe that God placed me there at that moment, not to find sea
glass, but to reach out to one of His children who was hurting and needed to
be reminded of God's love.

The theme of many recent readings and sermons has been about what we can do,
individually, to bring God's message to those around us, who, like the
metaphorical
sheep, may be in need of someone searching them out to extend the Father's
love. Even as one who is outgoing and speaks confidently of my faith, I have
wondered how I am to do that. The answer, it seems, is pretty simple: by
using everyday conversations to minister to people. Did you ever stop to
think
that God may be sending you to the grocery store, the office, a parking lot,
or even a beach to seek out His struggling sheep and bring them God's love
through a demonstration of kindness, hope, and friendship?

Prayer: Dear God, we know that You call us to spread Your message of love,
hope, and forgiveness in this world of conflict and turmoil. Help us to seek
Your lost sheep, wherever we are, through everyday encounters and
conversations. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.

Orlanda Drebit < orlandadrebit@hotmail.com >
Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada

----------------------------------------------------------
Thought for Today: Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is
a goodly Christian weapon. – Martin Luther
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5 Tips from Proverbs for Making (and Keeping) Friends
Molly Parker

Upon moving to a new neighborhood, many of us have been greeted with warm
welcomes and even warmer apple pies from folks across the street, fence,
wall,
or courtyard. As a result, friendships were made... some of the time. But
why not most of the time? And how do we nurture those friendships when they
do
happen, long past the gobbling-up of apple pie? Not just in our
neighborhoods, but all throughout our community?

With inspiration from the book of Proverbs, here are five tips for making
(and keeping) friends:

1. Be the best listener this side of the Mississippi.

“Fools have no interest in understanding, they only want to air their own
opinions”
(Proverbs 18:2 NLT).

Let’s be honest, we love talking about ourselves. The old quote, “Enough
about me; what do you think about me?” hits a little too close to home for
some
of us. But when we focus on others—How are you feeling? Where did you go on
vacation? What’s your favorite breakfast place?
—people feel heard. Their voice matters!

Not only that, but learning about our friends, about what makes them,
well...
them, broadens our own perspectives about the world we share. And every time
we seek to understand our friends, God begins transforming us from being
me-me-me-focused
into others-focused.

2. No matter how chipped your nail or important that email, look up, make
eye contact with people, and smile!

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart” (Proverbs 15:30 a NLT).

When making new friends or nurturing the ones you’ve got, be quick to smile.
If you want someone to know you care—I see you and I value you; I’m
approachable
and I’m friendly—flash those pearly whites. And since smiling is contagious,
you’ll probably get one back. It’s a win-win! No wonder God has us smiling
only a few weeks after we’re born. He knew our smiles would make us
irresistible, deepening our attachments to those we love.

3. Cat got your tongue? Not sure what to say? Give your friend a compliment
today!

“Anxiety weighs the heart down, but a good word cheers it up”
(Proverbs 12:25
NIV).

If her banana bread is good, open-a-bakery-right-this-minute good, tell her.
If you value the wisdom of a friend who is wiser-in-years than you, tell
him.
If she says to you, “Pretty sweater,” say to her, “Pretty earrings!” A
sincere compliment can point our most solemn, worried, anxious friends in
the direction
of gratitude. Out of all the ways God chooses to encourage his children, the
good words we say to each other are among them! He involves us—what a
privilege!

So, go for it! Tell the overwhelmed guy down the street he’s an amazing dad,
and be used by God today.

4. Give your friend YOU.

“A generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will themselves be
refreshed”
(Proverbs 11:25 NLT).

Helping a friend out of a financial pickle is a nice thing to do. Providing
a meal for a neighbor is also a nice thing to do. But how tempting it is to
stop there, to stop short of giving a piece of ourselves, something of our
souls.

Think back to when a friend took time to get to know you and soon found
herself entrusting you—gifting you—with her most fragile and broken parts.
Did
you find her transparency refreshing? Did you feel honored that she was able
to relax enough to open up around you? Did it free you to become generous
with your own heart in return? Poet Kahlil Gibran once wrote: “You give but
little when you give of your possessions, it is when you give of yourself
that
you truly give.”

5. Let common ground abound.

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“The rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all”
(Proverbs 22:2 NLT).

It doesn't matter if you’re rich or poor, brown or black, a pungent cheese
lover or not a pungent cheese lover, we are all created by God. We bear His
image. What a beautiful thing to have in common, right off the bat! What a
sense of comfort, belonging, and community our made-from-God-ness brings to
us. After all, we're in this together. “Better together,” as Pastor Rick
Warren would say.

But how can we practice this in our day-to-day? Where to begin? We can start
small: “Did you get BBQ sauce on your shirt? Look, I spilled ranch on mine!”
Then perhaps: “You had to take geometry twice? I didn't pass until my third
try.” Then beautifully moving on to deeper things: “You lost your mom to
cancer? So did I.”

In conclusion, and to put it more succinctly, five tips for making (and
keeping) friends can best be summed up with a saying from John Maxwell:

Believe in others before they believe in you. Serve others before they serve
you. Add value to others before they add value to you.

Molly Parker cherishes her role as contributor and editor for
Anchored Press


Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness."
Colossians 3:14 (ASV)
By Answers2Prayer
Fluffy
Recently a kind lady found a six week old puppy abandoned in her driveway.
It was skin and bones, covered in fleas, and close to death. It was beyond
belief
how anyone could do this to a little, baby dog. This wonderful woman,
though, rescued this tiny, white ball of fluff, took him in and bathed him a
long
time to kill the fleas. Then unable to raise him herself she put a notice on
Facebook trying to find him a good home. It was there that my daughter saw
it. She knew that I was hoping to get my oldest son, JJ, a new puppy. It
wasn't long then until we were bringing this little guy home. My son named
him,
"Fluffy."

After another bath, a few good meals, and a trip to the vet Fluffy no longer
seemed sick or sad. Instead his true personality emerged. Just this morning
he chewed on my ankles, my toes,the rugs, his chew toy, and his own tail. He
wiggled out of his new collar. He whined his way onto my lap while I ate
breakfast.
He wolfed down his puppy chow and pooped on the floor. He barked at his toy
bone, chased the my old beagle all over the house, and french kissed the
cat.
He also melted all of our hearts with his happiness and unconditional love.
It looks like he is going to be quite a handful as he grows up but we don't
mind. I am sure that he was meant to come to us at this time and to bring
his love into our lives.

Isn't it incredible how our Heavenly Father can use even the worst acts that
some of us do to bring out the best in the rest of us? I thank that sweet
lady who saved Fluffy's life and I want her to know that he will always be
loved and cared for here.

We are all connected in this life. We are connected with each other. We are
connected with God. We are connected with all of His creatures. We can
weaken
those connections with acts of evil or we can strengthen them with acts of
Love. May you always choose Love.
Joseph J. Mazzella
Announcement:
Do you need to be prayed for or do you know someone in need? Don't hesitate
tocontact us
. We are here to pray for you and to offer you encouragements.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."

Five Short Rules for Christians

(Brownlow North, 1810-1875)

1. Never neglect daily private prayer; and when you pray, remember that God
is present, and that He hears your prayers.

2. Never neglect daily private Bible reading; and when you read, remember
that God is speaking to you, and that you are to believe and act upon all
that
He says.

3. Never let a day pass without trying to do something for Jesus. Every day
reflect on what Jesus has done for you--and then ask yourself, "What am I
doing
for Him?"

4. If you are in doubt as to a thing being right or wrong--then go to your
room and kneel down and ask God's blessing on it. If you cannot do this,
then
it is wrong.

5. Never take your standard of Christianity from other Christians--or argue
that because such and such people do so and so--therefore, you may. You are
to ask yourself,
"How would Jesus act in my place?"--and strive to follow Him alone.

~ ~ ~ ~

Dearly Beloved,

COME YE THANKFUL PEOPLE, COME

“Enter into His gates withthanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and blessHis name” (Psalm 100:4 NKJV).

As somebody who grew up partlyin a farm settlement setting and partly in what can be referred to nowadays asa traditional church setting, I can easily identify with Henry Alford, a 19th century Anglicanclergyman, who composed the hymn “COME YE THANKFUL PEOPLE, COME” which hasbecome a traditional harvest song that is now associated with Thanksgiving Day.Like any other person who has ever lived in a farming community, I know the importancethat is associated with the harvest time. The fruit ofthe work of the whole year depends on the harvest. This cannot be accomplisheduntil the crop is ready and which must be harvested diligently lest pests orweather spoil the harvest. During thebusy harvest season, farmers literally work tirelessly to get the job done. Thefarmers would relax and celebrate only after the harvest. Well, if you have nothad that experience, you should be able to appreciate the urgency of deadlines,the joy of an important job well done, and the relief of a break after a busytime at work.

It was against this background that Reverend Henry Alford composed the popular harvest orthanksgiving hymn. He called on thankful people to come and raise thesong of “Harvest Home” because all the harvest of the year is safely gatheredin before the winter storms begin. He attributed this harvest to divineprovision. So, people that are thankful should come to thank God in His temple.Alford affirmed that the whole world is God's own field where several thingsare happening. He then prayed that the Lord of harvest would enable us to havegood harvest from this “field”. He further reminded people that the Lord shallcome one day to take the harvest home, that He shall ask His angels to cast“the tares” in the hell fire, but the “fruitful ears” will be stored in the“garner” for eternity. This is in comparison to the parable of Jesus Christ inMatthew 13:24-30 and the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:12. Lastly,Alford prayed that God should quickly come with His angels to bring His finalharvest home by gathering His people in, so that they may be free from sorrowand sin, and be forever purified and abide in His presence.

At a glance, this hymn is ahymn thanksgiving and/or harvest. It is indeed good to thank God for thus farHe has helped us this year. However, the lyrics of the hymn are more about thefinal harvest that God will do in the future. As you celebrate the Harvestand/or the Thanksgiving this year, are you ready for the last harvest when Godwill “reap” you and place you in the place that you rightly belong? Will thatplace be in His everlasting presence or the eternal damnation in the lake offire?

In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray that youwill be able to live your life in thankfulness of God, and in a way that Hewill be able to harvest you into His presence forever.


One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life!

( J.R. Miller )

"As your days--so shall your strength be!" Deuteronomy 33:25

One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life, is to live one day at a
time. Really, we never have anything to do any day--but the bit of God's
will for
that day. If we do that well--we have absolutely nothing else to do.

Time is given to us in days. It was so from the beginning. This breaking up
of time into
little daily portions means a great deal more than we are accustomed to
think. For one thing, it illustrates the gentleness and goodness of God. It
would
have made life intolerably burdensome if a
year, instead of a day--had been the unit of division. It would have been
hard to carry a heavy load, to endure a great sorrow, or to keep on at a
hard
duty--for such a long stretch of time. How dreary our common task-work would
be--if there were no breaks in it, if we had to keep our hand to the plough
for a whole year! We never could go on with our struggles, our battles, our
suffering--if
night did not mercifully settle down with its darkness, and bid us rest and
renew our strength.

We do not understand how great a mercy there is for us in the briefness of
our short days. If they were even twice as long as they are--life would be
intolerable!
Many a time when the sun goes down--we feel that we could scarcely have gone
another step. We would have fainted in defeat--if the summons to
rest had not come just when it did.

We see the graciousness of the divine thoughtfulness in giving us time in
periods of
little days, which we can easily get through with--and not in great years,
in which we would faint and fall by the way. It makes it possible for us to
go on through all the long years and not to be overwrought, for we never
have given to us at any one time--more than we can do between the morning
and
the evening.

If we learn well the lesson of living just one day at a time, without
anxiety for either yesterday or tomorrow, we shall have found one of the
great secrets
of Christian peace. That is the way God teaches us to live. That is the
lesson both of the Bible and of nature. If we learn it, it will cure us of
all
anxiety; it will save us from all feverish haste; it will enable us to live
sweetly in any experience.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

~ ~ ~ ~
" One Day at a Time! " Superb poem by Annie Johnson Flint.

Welcome to the Nugget
September 21, 2016
Simple quiz to see how you handle fear.
By Answers2Prayer
What joy, the plane landed a bit earlier in Quito, Ecuador. My friend would
be waiting for me and we'd be on our way to our week of ministering to those
affected by the earthquake.

The airport employee who guided me out of the plane grabbed my bags and led
me toward the exit of the airport. Then he asked, "What does the friend
who's
picking you up look like?"

I leaned on my white cane and gave a silly grin. Although I met her during
her visit to the states, being blind, I had no clue what she looked like.

"Don't worry," I said, "she'll recognize me and we'll be on our way."

We waited. And we waited. No friend. Then logic filed in my head. What if,
since I've been traveling so much, I ended up in the wrong country, or
arrived
on the wrong date.

"This is Ecuador, isn't it?" I asked, sort of joking.

Whew! He said it was. At least it was the correct country. But with no one
there to meet me, I had to decide what to do. I couldn't use my cell phone;
it had no service in a foreign country.

Here's when we have the choice--whether we allow fear to rule us or faith
empower us.

I chose the latter because of this test I gave myself. And I invite you to
take it too:

* Is God aware of our every glitch?
* Is He faithful when we encounter unexpected circumstances?
* Is His faithfulness active even when we fail?
* Does His answer come in ways we never predicted?
* Is His protection available no matter where we are?
* Does He warn what to do about fear, worry and anxiety?
* Can I rest, knowing His hand is upon me no matter if I'm blind, deaf or
crippled?
* King David might have taken this test because he declared: "The LORD is my
light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my
life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
(Psalm 27:1)

I passed the test, then gathered my suitcases around me, plopped in a chair
near the exit and relaxed while I waited. If you also answer "yes" to all of
the above, you're on the way to a life of faith. And if you recognize His
promises as you answered the questions, you've arrived at a place where
faith
rules, where peace reigns, where your steps are firm. And best of all, even
when circumstances don't change, your heart is secure, your thoughts are
calm
and His answer is sure to come.

And my answer indeed came. My friend had received wrong information from the
airline, telling her the plane was delayed for three hours. Eventually she
sent someone to pick me up from the airport. And although I didn't know this
person, I still trusted--not so much in her as she was a stranger, but I
trusted
in god who is truly trustworthy.

How about you? Are you at a place strangely painful? What does the test
reveal about your fear, about your faith?
Janet Eckles
If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

On the Lack of Lightning Bolts
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com Contributor

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths
straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

I memorized these verses years and years ago, along with John 3:16
and other verses that good little children in Sunday School learn. In my
five-year-old mind, I associated the proverb with a mental picture of a road
stretching out for miles until it merged with the horizon. That was the
“straight road” that I could so easily understand – clearly marked,
unswerving,
and, most importantly, unchanging. All I had to do was trust God and keep
following that path. Little did I know, right?

At times the journey has felt more like an anecdote that Abraham Lincoln
told of a man traveling through a thunderstorm. Through the mud and the
sheets
of rain, the poor traveler felt that he would lose his way entirely. The
thunderclaps seemed right overhead, jolting his senses every few moments.
Only
the flashes of lightning helped him keep to the road. Finally, after a
particularly loud crash, the man fell to his knees and cried, “O, Lord God,
if it’s
all the same to you, I would like a little more light and little less
noise!”

The major and minor uncertainties I’ve encountered – and will encounter in
the future – often leave me with that sentiment. I think back to the promise
of paths made straight and grumble that the signposts would be a lot easier
to follow if they were in neon. We all ask, is this the career path you want
me to take, God? Is this the man you want me to marry? Should I buy this
house? Are we supposed to settle at this church? In what kind of school
should
we enroll the kids? God, I could really use a lightning bolt to clarify
things!

It’s easy to forget that the proverb reserves the promise until the
last quarter of the verse, not the first. Review the wording of verse 6 with
me. “In all your ways
acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight
.”

I memorized this verse years ago, but I’m still learning it by heart.
Task-oriented person that I am, it’s easier to visualize myself making
“progress”
towards a goal than it is to stop and refocus on inner attitudes. It doesn't
occur to me that part the plan is simply standing still, waiting, and
listening.
I demand lightning bolts to see God’s working rather than taking
responsibility for the part assigned to me. My part lies in the trusting,
the repudiating
of self, and a settled confidence that he will work all things for his
purpose.
Then... the path is straightened. We may not even realize it this side of
heaven, but the promise is that he guides our feet when our eyes are on him.

I fully believe that the Lord guides us in specific ways – through the Word,
through the counsel of godly mentors, through nudges of the Holy Spirit –
and yet we get caught up in the road metaphor a little too much. We’re so
distracted looking for the path that we forget a lifestyle of worship. To an
extent, it matters less
what we’re doing than
how we’re doing it. As Paul wrote, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever
you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (
1 Corinthians 10:31 )

The wonder of God’s plan for us lies in this – in taking our eyes off the
road at our feet and looking to him, God finds our way for us.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Step one: trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Step tw do not lean on your own understanding. Step three: in
all your ways acknowledge him. Result: whatever your path, he will direct
your steps and make your path straight.

Further Reading:
Psalms 37:34
Philippians 1:4-6
Waiting on the Promises of God

A HEBREW SAGE MIGHT SAY. . .
"If you don't know what you're living for, you haven't yet lived." [–Rabbi Noah Weinberg] Life is the most precious thing we have. Everyone wants to live a meaningful life, but we are so occupied with living that we don't have a moment to really think about living. Ask the important consequential questions about life and start focusing on living a life of real purpose that will be eternally blessed.

THREE TABERNACLES
"Exactly as I show you — the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings — so shall you make it." [Exodus (Shemot) 25. 9 Tanakh, Torah]

This is the first mention of the Tabernacle wherein the religious life of Israel was centered during their time of wandering in the desert. All the details of its design, construction, and service occupy thirteen chapters in Exodus/Shemot — more times then any other item in HOLY WRIT. These details provide a wealth of typological intimations of the person and work of the LORD Y’SHUA ha’MASHIACH.

However, this Tabernacle was based on the pattern of "the TRUE TABERNACLE which the LORD erected, and not man." [Hebrews 8. 2] "But MESSIAH came as HIGH PRIEST...the greater and more perfect TABERNACLE...entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." [Hebrews 9. 11 - 12] There is a Heavenly Tabernacle where the ALL-TOGETHER LOVELY ONE now dwells, and the furnishings and service of the earthly tabernacle where mere "copies of the things in the heavens." [Hebrews 9. 23] "Y’SHUA has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the True, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of GOD for us." [Hebrews 9. 24 - 25]

Even as promised in the OLD COVENANT, "I will set MY TABERNACLE among you...I will walk among you and be your GOD, and you shall be MY people." [Leviticus/Vayikra 26. 11 - 12] The REDEEMER OF ISRAEL also came to earth, entering as the third TABERNACLE. "And the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld HIS glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the FATHER, full of grace and truth." [John 1. 14] In the Greek, the word skeenoo translated “dwelt” it actually means "tabernacle, to tent, encamp, occupy, reside (symbolic of protection and communion)" — thus the human body that Y’SHUA had became GOD’S TABERNACLE, and HE will dwell there forever. Although that body died, it was raised incorruptible, immortal, eternal...yet still it is a physical body, merely one that will never die again.

Finally, we have MESSIAH’S glorious assurance in the last book of the NEW COVENANT, that in this TABERNACLE, HE will dwell among us eternally. "Behold, the TABERNACLE OF GOD is with men, and HE will dwell with them, and they shall be HIS people. GOD HIMSELF will be with them and be their GOD." [Revelation 21. 3 - 4] It just keeps getting better and better for the saints of all ages! HalleluYAH!

Sha’alu (Pray) for the Shalom (Peace) of Jerusalem and all of Israel!
Redeem Israel, O ELOHIYM, out of all their troubles!
We bid farewell to Shabbat with the Havdallah Service. Havdallah (separation) is the ceremony that marks the symbolic end of the holy day of Shabbat and ushers in a new week. The ceremony, consisting of lighting the special candle, blessing the wine, and smelling the spices, is intended to require a person to use all five senses taste the wine, smell the spices, see the flames of the candle and feel its warmth, and hear the blessings. After the ceremony, it is customary to say together: “Thus we celebrate the LORD GOD OF ISRAEL WHO separates the sacred from the mundane and forgives our sins. May it be YOUR will, O LORD, that our home becomes a sanctuary worthy of YOUR PRESENCE, wherein YOUR HOLY NAME is hallowed, that YOU come and grant YOUR blessings on us! Amen”
Praised is YOUR HOLY NAME, O LORD GOD. YOU have made YOUR eternal law our portion, and gave us a goodly heritage. YOU appointed us to proclaim YOUR truth to the nations and to win them for YOUR Law of Righteousness. Sanctify us for the service to which YOU called us, O HEAVENLY FATHER, that YOUR NAME may be hallowed through us in all the world. Gather all YOUR children around YOUR banner of truth that YOUR praise may resound from one end of the earth to the other, and that the entire human family may be blessed with truth and peace!
Shavuah Tov — have a good week.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem, is praying for the return of our Messiah and Lord and for the Kingdom of God He is bringing when He comes. Then God's Will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven and the world will experience true godly universal peace which is the fruit of Righteousness.

Web Page: www.delrifkah.com

A HEBREW SAGE MIGHT SAY. . .
If you don't have words, share what you have, share the silence.

MAGNIFIED MERCY
"Oh no, my lord! Your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die." [Genesis (Bereshith) 19. 19 Tanakh, Torah]

This audacious and impudent plea of Lot, son of Haran (Abraham's brother), to the angels who had spared his life when they called down fire from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, contains the first reference in HOLY SCRIPTURE to the mercy (Hebrew: checed) of GOD ALMIGHTY. Though Lot was a righteous man, he had a selfish, unregenerate attitude. Nevertheless, the MOST HIGH GOD not only showed HIS grace in dealings with Lot, but even magnified HIS mercy, love and great kindness to him.

This first mentioning of mercy therefore lays the foundation for the ruling theme of the doctrine of CREATOR GOD'S checed throughout the WRITTEN WORD. The mercy of our LOVING GOD can only be properly described as being exceptionally excellent, and this fact is repeatedly confirmed throughout HOLY SCRIPTURE.

David said — "The LORD'S steadfast checed (mercy) is from everlasting to everlasting, for all eternity toward those who fear HIM, and HIS beneficence (Hebrew: tsedaqah – righteous, justice, charity) is for the children's children of those who keep HIS covenant and remember to observe HIS precepts." [Psalms (Tehillym) 103. 17 - 18 Tanakh, Kethuvim] "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is HIS mercy toward those who fear Him." [Psalms (Tehillym) 103. 11 Tanakh, Kethuvim] The mercy of our LOVING LORD GOD is unlimited, measureless, eternal and infinite; and HIS compassion never fails. Nothing could ever be more marvelously magnificent than this!

The Apostle Paul said of the HOLY ONE, HE is "rich in mercy, because of HIS great love with which HE loved us." [Ephesians 2. 4] Peter even spoke of "His abundant mercy has begotten us again into a lively hope through the resurrection of MESSIAH Y’SHUA from the dead." [1 Peter 1. 3]

It is only "according to HIS great mercy HE saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done." [Titus 3. 5] We can say as King David did, "Only goodness, mercy and steadfast love will pursue me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the HOUSE OF THE LORD forever." [Psalms (Tehillym) 23. 6 Tanakh, Kethuvim] How very grateful we should be to the ETERNAL, GREAT & MIGHTY GOD for HIS everlasting mercy!

Sha'alu (Pray) for the Shalom (Peace) of Jerusalem and all of Israel!
Redeem Israel, O ELOHIYM, out of all their troubles!
HEAVENLY FATHER, guide us into a finer way of living; may YOUR mercy lead us to express joy, YOUR strength to be more determined to do YOUR will, YOUR grace to be kind, tender and affectionate one to another, and YOUR perseverance to believe.
May we encourage one another all the more, as you see the day of MESSIAH'S return drawing near. Grace be with you all. Amen

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem, is praying for the return of our Messiah and Lord and for the Kingdom of God He is bringing when He comes. Then God's Will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven and the world will experience true godly universal peace which is the fruit of Righteousness.

Web Page: www.delrifkah.com

Like an Eagle

There was a man out West who caught an eagle and kept it in confinement for
17 years. At last having to move a distance he advertised to sell all his
goods at auction, and that at the close of the sale he would liberate this
old eagle, captive for so long. People came for hundreds of miles to see the
bird set free. The auction was over. Low clouds hung over the earth, dark
and drear. The cage was opened, but the eagle did not move. His master
called him. Still he stayed inside.
At last his master pulled him out and with all his strength tried to push
the bird toward the zenith. His great wings only spread to allow him to
settle back to the man’s shoulder. The man was nonplussed. Just then there
shot through the clouds a bright beam of sunshine, straight to the eagle’s
eye. And the eagle rose as if by magnet towards the source.

God created eagles to soar on the currents of wind. He created us to be his
children and soar on his love and the Holy Spirit. WE are like an eagle. We
are trapped on this earth and don’t know that we can be free. The whole
world seems dark to us as we are blind to the truth of God. Then when we see
the
S-O-N we fly to the source. WE realize what we were created for.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about eagles:

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
31 But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high
on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and
not faint.

We may try to fly on our own power. That means that we might quit trying to
walk the Christian life because we cannot do it on our own. We don’t have
to. If we just wait for the Holy Spirit then we won’t be trying to walk on
our own strength but in the strength of Jesus Christ just as the eagle soars
on the wind.

Acts 1:4-5 (NASB95)
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to
wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from
Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy
Spirit not many days from now.”

Jesus told his disciples to wait until they were endued with power by the
Holy Spirit. They could not do what He commanded them to do until they were
filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the same for us. Once we are filled with
the Holy Spirit we can soar on the currents of the Spirit. Then we will not
get tired or faint in our daily Christian walk.

by Dean W. Masters
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 04 Nov 2017, 12:53 am

Is it Time to Let Go?

“A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast
away...”—Ecclesiastes 3:6 (ESV).

Overwhelmed by my overstuffed closet recently, I felt the need to purge and
organize. It was time to rid my life of clothing, shoes and purses and
anything
else hiding in the deep recesses of my walk-in that didn’t add anything to
my life. Did you notice the irony here?

I needed less to add more, not more stuff, but to embrace the orderliness of
a life filled with God and not more possessions. As I finished removing
outdated
clothing or items I’d bought on sale and had rarely worn, I wondered why we
allow ourselves to accumulate so much. Why do we treasure things and not the
life we’ve been given?

The acquisition of stuff doesn’t add anything to our lives. If anything, it
detracts us from the joy-filled life we should be living. What do I mean?
Each
piece of clothing, each knick-knack on our shelves, each gadget we purchase,
each new electronic device we embrace requires time and maintenance. The
things
we own can end up owning us.

But it’s not just material things we cling to. We clutch grudges and anger
to our chests as if we were a selfish child refusing to share a favorite
toy.

Just as leaves are releasing their hold of the branches they’ve clung to
since last spring, autumn is time for us to purge our homes of unnecessary
belongings,
and also to release anything in our lives that doesn’t add to it.

Author and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis once said, “Getting over a
painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at
some
point in order to move forward.”

Purging ourselves of sin and anger, releasing our grudges and hurt, risking
rejection and embracing forgiveness leads to a peace-filled life. When we
atone
for our mistakes by asking for or seeking forgiveness, we can embrace
freedom.

Freedom also lies in releasing our fears to God. For me, there’s nothing
more cathartic than finally letting go of my doubts and worries, trusting
that
my Heavenly Father is in control.

When we try to control the outcome of situations, our attitudes reflect an
unwillingness to move forward. I can attest to that. I used to be the queen
of control freaks. If I wasn’t in the driver’s seat, I became a back seat
driver giving directions to the person behind the wheel. So how do we let go
of the past? How do we break free of the chains keeping us in a prison of
our own making?

What needs to happen for us to uncurl our fist, lay open our palm and
embrace the life God wants us to have?

We ask for help. God’s help. He is the only One who can provide and sustain
us as we seek to grow spiritually.

And, if you’re stuck in a difficult time, jump-start an attitude change by
letting go of possessions. You might start with your closet.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with
your thoughts about this post and please feel free to share this post with
others.
Thank you for subscribing.
If you need a speaker for your women's event, please check out my website at
www.carolaround.com or email me at carol@carolaround.com.

For more inspiration, visit my blog at carolaround.com

Copyright ©️ 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.


Welcome to the Nugget

September 16, 2017

The Sunglasses

By Answers2Prayer
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Why is it that the moment we are in the midst of the worst circumstances,
God seems so far away? And the more we pray and seek His help, ever
believing
for God's mercy and grace, the more it seems that He doesn't respond? Is
this how Job felt when he said, "Even today my complaint is still bitter;
his
hand is heavy despite my groaning. O that I knew where I might find him...If
I go to the east, he is not there, and to the west, yet I do not perceive
him. In the north when he is at work, I do not see him; when he turns to the
south, I see no trace of him." (Job 23:2-3, 8-9 NET)?

But wait. Hasn't God promised to never leave us or forsake us? "...He will
not fail you or abandon you!" (Deut. 31:6 NET). Why then, in the midst of
our
problems, is He not there?

Recently my husband and I had the privilege of visiting "Rock City Park" in
Olean, New York. This is a unique land formation made up of tall,
flat-topped
boulders with narrow, deep ravines running between them. It is most
impressive to see how deep these ravines are, and I was leaning out over one
when my
sunglasses slipped from my head and tumbled to the bottom.

Of course, they were just sunglasses, but they had cost 25$, and I really
didn't want to lose them. At the first opportunity, my husband and I took
the
designated staircase to the foot of the boulders and searched every ravine
we found. As I reached the end of one long, narrow crevice, I noticed a
small
opening that led to the next one. Certain that we were in about the same
place where I had lost my glasses, I "corkscrewed" my way through that
opening.
Things didn't seem quite right from the other side, however. The landmarks
weren't quite the same. This couldn't be the right spot...and I squirmed my
way back out.

We went back to the gift shop next, and I asked the attendant if there was
any way to get those glasses. He was kind enough to loan us a tall ladder,
and
I was able to climb down the designated ravine to rescue my eyewear. As I
was heading back towards the ladder, however, I noticed a familiar-looking
opening
under a fallen boulder...I was in the same ravine I had wiggled my way into
not 30 minutes earlier. I had been where my sunglasses had fallen, I had
likely
come very close to stepping on them; but I hadn't seen them. Once I had
crawled out of that tiny hole under the fallen boulder, my eyes had
immediately
gone upward, and I had been too intent on the landmarks at the top to even
search the ground under my feet.

While in the midst of our problems, it seems that God is as lost as my
sunglasses. In the same way I searched for my eyewear, we search for God;
and just
like the glasses were, indeed, right there, so is God. Hasn't He promised to
never forsake us (
Deut. 31:6 )? Isn't He faithful? "Know therefore that the Lord your God is
God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand
generations
of those who love him and keep his commandments." (Deut. 7:9 NLT. See also
Ps. 36:5 , Ps. 119:90 , 1 Cor. 1:9 , Rom 3:3
, etc.). The bottom line is this: God is faithful to keep His promises, and
this includes His promise to never leave us or forsake us.

The problem is, just as I was too distracted with trying to figure out where
I was in relation to where I had been when the sunglasses fell to actually
see them under my feet, we can easily become distracted by our
circumstances; and when we allow our eyes to fix on our problems, we won't
see, feel or
hear God's presence. This doesn't change the facts, however, that God is
always faithful and will never abandon us. Whether we realize it or not, He
is
carrying us through.

So what do we do when we can't find God in the web of our circumstances?

The first thing I did to find my sunglasses was look for them. In the same
way, we need to seek God, especially in times when we don't see Him. The
second
thing I did was find a ladder. There is a "ladder" for finding God as well.
Our "ladder" is our faith in His goodness and love. We need to cling to the
fact that even when we don't see Him, even when it appears that He isn't
answering our prayers, it is then that He is carrying us through. When we
fully
embrace this Truth, we will begin to see His hand upon us, even in the midst
of our circumstances.

Don't abandon the search. Instead, seek Him. Get out your "ladder" of faith
and keep on believing in the One who will never abandon you to your
circumstance.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE ...
Curious about the strange temple described in intricate detail in the last 9
chapters of Ezekiel? Check out the "Lessons From Ezekiel's Temple" series,
recently published in The Nugget

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

If chastisement were not necessary

( James Smith , "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

"No chastening seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,
it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been
trained
by it." Hebrews 12:11

Afflictions are always painful--and days of affliction are often gloomy. But
as we are training for eternity, as we are maturing for Heaven, and as
afflictions
are necessary discipline--we
must be afflicted. If chastisement were not necessary--then our loving
Father would never use the
rod. But as every one of us needs correction--He chastens every son whom He
receives. God's chastisements are intended for our instruction--they are
designed
to teach us . . .
the evil of sin,
our need of grace,
the holiness of God,
the preciousness of Jesus,
the emptiness of the world,
and the blessedness of Heaven.
These are lessons of the deepest importance to us--lessons that we are slow
to learn; and therefore we must have line upon line, and stroke upon stroke.

Heavenly Father, help us to bow to Your sovereign will, to bear with
patience every stroke of Your rod, and to learn the holy and important
lessons which You intend to teach us. May we not only
submit to Your discipline--but, seeing the love which ordains it, and the
need there is for it--even
acquiesce in it. Keep us from fretting at pain, repining at losses, or
giving way to too much grief at bereavements--knowing that all these things
come
from You, and that You design them for our good. Help us to understand that
every trial and every trouble is a
blessing--and will end in eternal glory. Sweet thought!

O for grace to yield ourselves to You--and to sweetly acquiesce in all Your
paternal dealings!

"Blessed is the man whom God corrects--so do not despise the discipline of
the Almighty." Job 5:17

~ ~ ~ ~

Over the next month, we will be posting 30 professionally narrated audios,
comprising the 30 chapters from John Bunyan's classic, "
THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
". We suggest that you read along in the text as you listen to this amazing
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2. Obstinate and Pliable
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Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Bitter or Blessed?
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 32:1, NKJV

Your heavenly Father has been waiting for you to come home to Him, waiting
for you to confess your sin of resentment and rebellion, waiting to
celebrate
the joy and love and pleasure He wants you to have in relationship with Him.
Don’t make excuses; don’t rationalize your bitterness. Go to God; ask Him
to cleanse you of your sin. Ask Him to uproot your bitterness. Invite Him
into your life to take control of everything, including past memories of
abandonment
or abuse or adultery, present circumstances of injury or injustice, and
future dreams and disappointments.

Follow the example of the psalmist, who wrote, “I will confess my
transgression to the Lord” (Ps. 32:5, NIV).

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

Wouldn’t you rather be blessed than bitter?

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


Welcome to the Illustrator

(Mailing list information, including how to remove yourself, is located at
the end of this message.)

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

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

By Answers2Prayer
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The Power Of The Truth

Our church holds drop-in evenings for neighbours who are curious, hurting,
or seeking. During these informal, yet structured, get-togethers, we offer a
meal, we share stories, and we talk about King Jesus, Who was sent to earth
to save His people.

One evening, we were joined by a young woman. She was polite and
soft-spoken. However, she did not share anything about herself, and she
seemed distant
when we explained the words and works of Jesus.

But that changed drastically. After three or four visits, she started to
bombard us with questions, tricky questions. Why was Christianity better
than
Buddhism? Why have Christians waged religious wars, killing one another and
destroying each other's livelihood? Were we aware of witches and evil
spirits?
Why are there so many Christian hypocrites?

We were unable to answer all her questions to her satisfaction, and we felt
badly when she stopped coming. Did we fail her? Did we turn her off when it
was obvious that we did not have all the answers? Did she catch us
contradicting ourselves? Did we fumble our explanation of the good news?

How thankful we were when she returned several months later! Again, she was
bursting with questions. This time, her questions were not tricky or
aggressive.
She was thirsting to hear more about Jesus. She asked us to help her
understand why He would have died also for her. She wanted to know more
about angels.
She wondered how and when Jesus will come back. And then, without warning,
she stopped coming again. This time, we felt worse. We had missed our second
chance with her.

Unbelievably, about half a year later, she returned. She looked beautiful
and confident. During the meal, she shared her story. She explained that
over
the previous two years, she had gone to different Christian churches,
attending their evening classes and outreach efforts. During these years,
she became
aware that the Lord was calling her to follow Him. This awareness was
confirmed when she noticed that in each church, the people spoke the same
truth.
With tears in her eyes, she confessed that Jesus was her truth, her way to
the Father, and her way to life eternal.

The burden of guilt fell off our shoulders. We had fumbled our answers. We
had been unable to find proof texts. We had become a bit defensive at times.
But, thankfully, we do not have to feel badly. Even though we spoke the
truth in weakness, the Truth had spoken powerfully, and was heard. May our
experience
encourage those who doubt the power of their faltering witness.

Prayer: Dear and gracious Father, we confess that often we speak the truth
in weakness when we reach out to our neighbour with Your Word. We thank You
from the heart that You will use our weak words to convince others that
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and Life eternal. Amen.

Jane deGlint Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Announcement:

Answers2Prayer offers 68 Online Bibles available in different languages.
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If you know of an online Bible in a language that we do not yet have
available, please let us know by
sending an e-mail . Thank you my friends.

God bless.

In His love,

Rob Chaffart

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

Every Believer Faces a Red Sea Moment
Jason Soroski

Every believer at one point or another has a Red Sea moment, a situation
from which there is no escape, and only an undeniable act of God can lead
you
safely out.

Throughout Scripture, we witness Gods amazing acts and numerous miracles.
But with all the miracles of the Bible, the exodus from Egypt is the one
that
most defines God’s redemptive plan. In times of celebration and in times of
deep trial, God is repeatedly referred to as “the God who led you out of
Egypt”
as a remembrance of who he is, what he has done, and what he remains capable
of doing.

Between an Army and the Sea

In Exodus chapter 14
, the Israelites are fleeing from Egypt when they found themselves on the
verge of being brought back into slavery or even killed. The sea in front of
them and an army behind them, they felt hopeless and impossibly trapped.

We likewise find ourselves in places where there is no solution, no answer,
and no way out.

In the case of the Israelites, their freedom and their very lives were all
but lost. An entire nation of people were given a taste of freedom only to
now
find themselves at a dead end, the enemy closing in, and no escape. There
was nothing to save them - apart from an act of God.

Between the Red Sea and the army that brings death is not a good place to
be.

It is a scary place to be.

When I find myself in a Red Sea moment, I don’t typically anticipate the sea
drying up and everything turning out ok. I don’t expect to walk out on dry
land where there was a sea. I can’t imagine a scenario where the powerful
army of Pharaoh is going to be swallowed up in defeat. What I do see are
bills
that are due, I see danger, I see pain, I see discouragement, I see defeat,
and it is all I can do to decide if I am going to swing away at the enemy
knowing
I am not going to make a dent, or just toss aside all God has taught me over
a lifetime and surrender.

But the most overlooked aspect of the Red Sea moment is this: it was God who
put them there.

It Was On Purpose

God intentionally put them there, and God who knew exactly how this was
going to play out. There was never a doubt.

Never. A. Single. Doubt.

Could it be that we find ourselves standing between the sea and an
approaching army because God puts us there
on purpose?

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and
encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by
the sea,
directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are
wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I
will
harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for
myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I
am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.

God knew the result. All along. He planned it.

However, staring down the barrel of a certain defeat, the Israelites who had
seen God perform astounding miracles to provide their freedom now questioned
everything about him and everything about their future:

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the
Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the
Lord. 11
They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you
brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out
of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve
the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than
to die in the desert!”

Learning to be Still

Maybe, just maybe, they thought, the past wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe
slavery was better than uncertainty and defeat and whatever punishment was
waiting
for them back in Egypt. These people cried out daily for deliverance, yet
when deliverance came they did not at all like what it looked like. There
was
finger-pointing, there was second guessing, but the fact is that God placed
them in that exact spot in that exact moment so that he could perform a
miracle
that would define himself and his people forever.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see
the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today
you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to
be still.”

It is not up to us to fight, it is up to us to follow. We have to trust that
God not only knows our situation but knows the outcome. The ability to be
still when everything in you is screaming to do anything but be still is the
essence of faith, and it is then that we see the greatest miracles.

Your Defining Moment

Your Red Sea moment could well be your defining moment.

Do you want your life to be a testimony of God’s greatness? Get ready for
God to position you by the sea.

Are you asking God to work in mighty ways in your life? Get ready for the
sound of Pharaoh’s army approaching from behind.

And then grasp on to him tightly in prayer.

God occasionally wants us in a position where we have no way out, no
solution, no options, no choice but to trust in him.
As frightening as it is, most miracles only come when we need a miracle.

David slaying Goliath. The walls of Jericho falling. Daniel in the lion’s
den. Jesus rising from the dead. And the parting of the sea:

30 That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and
Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites
saw
the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people
feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

When God has us firmly entrenched in a Red Sea moment, it requires much
prayer, much faith, and much trust. Our deliverance is not going to come
quickly
or easily, but it will come in such a way that God is glorified. It will
become a moment that sustains you through a lifetime of pain and a moment
that
can be celebrated in times of joy. It’s ok to be afraid, but not ok to let
that fear overtake your faith. For faith is stronger than our fear, and God
is stronger than any situation we face.

As a writer and musician, Jason Soroski strives to be mindful of the small
things that we may otherwise overlook in our everyday lives. Jason holds an
M.Ed. from Missouri Baptist University, and is the author of

A Journey to Bethlehem: Inspiring Thoughts For Christmas and Hope for the
New Year


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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 31 Oct 2017, 9:31 pm

Friday, September 15, 2017
Today's Devotional

The Best Wine Ever

John 2:10 – Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper
wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the
best
till now. (NIV)

I think that this must have been the best wine ever produced in history.
Why? Because the person who miraculously made it was Jesus, so He would make
it
the most perfect wine ever. It wouldn't be mediocre or some of the cheap
stuff folks now buy. It would reflect the sovereignty, power, and grace of
God
all in one, so it must have been the best wine ever made. Perhaps, we'll get
to taste how good it was when we participate in the great heavenly feast
that
is yet to come.

I like the process that Christ uses here. He has empty vessels filled with
water which, when poured back out, has miraculously turned into wine. As
well
as being a miracle, I think it is also a reflection of what Christ can do
for each one of us. He receives our empty lives and fills them with the
living
water of God's Word, and then, when we are ready to share this blessing with
others, it is poured out and received as a wonderful wine of Christ's mercy,
grace, and love. In other words, He miraculously changes us in order to
share the fruits of our faith with other people.

Today, and throughout this coming weekend, we will be given opportunities to
share our faith with our families and friends, acquaintances and strangers.
Let's hope and pray that what we pour out from our spirits will be something
sweet and palatable, exceptional and life-changing.

Points to ponder: How has Christ changed the emptiness in my life? How have
I shared my faith with others?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for filling our lives with Your love and
grace, mercy and compassion. Grant us opportunities today to share these
blessings
with the people we encounter. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart < traqair@aol.com >
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

One Bad Apple

In the late 1970’s my hometown, Erwin, Tennessee, started a festival which
is now our annual Apple Festival which occurs the first weekend of October.
That gets me to thinking about apples around this time of year. You may have
heard the phrase, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” That is what
happened after the walls of Jericho come a tumblin’ down. God had told the
Israelites just what to do. That included taking the items He had told them
to take to be used for God’s service and nothing more. What happened?

Joshua 7:1 (NLT)
1 But Israel was unfaithful concerning the things set apart for the Lord. A
man named Achan had stolen some of these things, so the Lord was very angry
with the Israelites. Achan was the son of Carmi, of the family of Zimri, of
the clan of Zerah, and of the tribe of Judah.

No one was to take anything for himself. Achan did not obey. God didn’t say
that Achan was the only one responsible, God was blaming all the Israelites.
They next went up against the small city of Ai. They said there would be no
problem with this city but because of the sin of Achan they were defeated.
Not only this but because of what Achan did, God commanded for all his
family and animals to be stoned and burnt. What a terrible price to pay for
one man’s sin.

Achan hid the things he had stolen. He was pretending to be a good
Israelite. One can fool others but cannot fool God. God does not take sin
lightly. Innocent people suffered because of what Achan did.

Achan excused his sin but we need to examine ourselves daily to see if we
might be the bad apple in the barrel. Then we should not excuse what we have
done wrong but should deal with it. If we don't deal with it it may affect
those around us.

One bad apple does spoil the bunch in some way. Ask God to lead you by his
Holy Spirit in what to do so you won't be a bad apple that spoils the bunch.

by Dean W. Masters

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
David Mathis / October 28, 2017
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

The Reformers didn’t just protest; they sang. The Protestant Reformation,
which began in earnest 500 years ago this week, didn’t just give birth to
preaching
and writing, but it inspired music and unleashed song.

That God declares us rebels fully righteous on the sole basis of his Son,
through faith alone — such news is too good not to sing. And that our
Creator
and Redeemer himself has spoken into our world, and preserved his speech for
us in a Book, to be illumined by his own Spirit — such news is too good not
to craft into verse. Perhaps the greatest evidence that the Reformation
released real joy in freeing captives from the bondage of man-made religion
is
that its theology made for such a good marriage with music. The Reformation
sang.

Battle Hymn of the Reformation

Leading the way not just in word, but in song, was Martin Luther. He wrote
nearly forty hymns, many of which he composed not only the words but even
the
music. His most famous, of course, “A Mighty Fortress,” often is called “The
Battle Hymn of the Reformation.” The song embodies with strength and gusto
the very spirit of the Reformation, breaking free from the flaccidity and
poverty of medieval theology with rich God-confidence.

The hymn takes its inspiration mainly from the first two verses of Psalm 46,
along with the refrain of verses 7 and 11.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear . . . (Psalm 46:1–2)

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:7, 11)

Psalm 46 opens with God as “refuge and strength,” and the battle hymn opens
with God as “mighty fortress” — literally, a strong or unshakable castle.
Line
three is “help in trouble”; stanza three is “we will not fear.”

But that’s where the parallels end. Rather than a mere hymnodic expression
of the psalm, we do better to call it a Christian hymn inspired by it. What’s
generic in Psalm 46, Luther makes specific, and Christian. He names the
personal agent behind the trouble: “our ancient foe,” the devil. He puts a
human
face and person to the rescue: “Christ Jesus it is he.” And the hymn apexes
with the glorious Himalayan peaks of Romans 8.

How Did We Get the English?

Perhaps at this point, or sometime in the past, you’ve wondered about the
English version we sing today, Hey, didn’t Luther speak German? Who brought
this
powerful hymn into English, and how faithful is it to Luther’s original?

The hymn came into English as early as ten years after Luther composed it,
but the version most of us sing today was translated by Frederick Hedge more
than 300 years later, in 1853. It is by no means a literal translation of
the original, understandably taking certain licenses for the sake of meter
and
rhyme. Add to that the fact that Hedge was a Unitarian minister — meaning he
believed in God’s oneness but not threeness. In other words, he was no
Trinitarian.
He believed Jesus was fully human but not God, inspired by God but not his
eternal divine Son.

To give Hedge his due, his English version well embodies the mood and major
themes of Luther’s original. “Mighty fortress,” admittedly less familiar
imagery
for us, captures Psalm 46 better than what comes to our minds today when we
think of a “castle.” What’s in view in the psalm is first strength, not
beauty.
Think Helm’s Deep, not Disneyland. And we can thank Hedge for his powerful
quatrain, alluding with Luther to Luke 21:16–18, at the finale:

Let goods and kindred go
This mortal life also
The body they may kill
God’s truth abideth still

What the Unitarian Lost

However, we shouldn’t be too surprised that a Unitarian translator might
miss some things, both small and large — some intentionally and others
unavoidably,
given the nature of translating lyrics as opposed to prose. To help you
better enjoy the power of Luther’s original, let’s note seven variants,
thanks
to a “woodenly literal” translation by John Piper, reviewed by German pastor
Matthias Lohmann. (The full translation is posted below.)

1. Offense, Not Just Defense

Hedge’s second line says God is “a bulwark never failing.” What we miss from
the original is that God, our Mighty Fortress, is not only defensive but
also
offensive — literally, “a good defense and weapon.” He not only protects but
leads us forward into victory.

2. Help from Every Misery

In crafting his poetic lines, Hedge says God is our helper “amid the flood
of mortal ills.” Luther’s original is more sweeping: “he helps us get free
from

every misery.” This is the major theme we see emerge: Luther’s is stronger.

3. Luther’s Wonderful Extreme Statements

Speaking of every, Hedge’s translation consistently softens Luther’s extreme
statements. Which means that as strong as “A Mighty Fortress” is in our
English,
it is even stronger in its original form. Not only does our God, our Mighty
Fortress, free us from “
every misery,” but “With our power
nothing is accomplished / We are very soon lost” (compare with “Did we in
our own strength confide / Our striving would be losing”). So also, Satan
“does
not do
anything to us” is a more forceful claim than simply “his rage we can
endure.” And related to our “goods and kindred” (literally, “goods, honor,
child,
and wife”), Luther asserts, “They will have
no profit,” which Hedge leaves out altogether and fills the gap with “God’s
truth abideth still.”

What’s lost in Hedge softening Luther’s edges? Luther’s extremes better
capture not only God’s extreme fullness and power, but also our extreme
emptiness
and powerlessness.

4. God Works All According to Plan

We said above that the hymn culminates with Romans 8. Not only is Satan
utterly unsuccessful in his efforts against us (Romans 8:31), but in the
final
stanza, Luther alludes to Romans 8:28, with Ephesians 1:11: “[Christ] is
with us
according to plan.” Hedge again says less (“Through him who with us
sideth”), opting just to capture “with us” but not the divine sovereignty
of “according
to plan.”

5. The World Could Be Much Worse

Hedge’s “though” at the outset stanza three introduces a subtle difference
worth noting. “Though this world with devils filled” concedes a magnitude to
the evil presently at work in our world that Luther did not. He did not
think the world was full of devils. Devils enough, for sure, but not a world
full
of them. Luther says “even if.” He raises a hypothetical to make a case for
God-confident faith now. “
Even if the world were full of devils” — and it is not full of devils, but
just one — but even if this were the case, “We would not thus fear so very
much
/ We will nevertheless succeed.”

Luther aims to conquer fear, and feed faith, in the present by asserting
that even if our plight was much worse, we would still be utterly secure in
Christ.
How much more should we now rest secure in his unshakable sovereignty!

6. No Other God Than Jesus

Most significantly, the Unitarian drops Luther’s reference to Jesus as God.
Hedge inserts “from age to age the same” in place of “there is no other
God.”
This is the greatest of Luther’s extreme statements that doesn’t make Hedge’s
cut, and this is the single biggest oversight or alteration. Might it not
be fair to assume
alteration since Hedge was Unitarian?

It is gloriously true that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever
(Hebrews 13:8), but that’s not what Luther had in his original. Rather, it
seems
to have made the Unitarian squirm, and he sought to rescue this otherwise
strong hymn from what he thought was Trinitarian error.

7. His Kingdom Is for Us

Finally, Hedge’s last line (“His kingdom is forever”) loses Luther’s “for
us” (literally, “The kingdom must remain for us”). It’s a small loss, yes,
but
sweet and important. This is the great for-us-ness which the Reformation so
wonderfully recaptured. In Christ, we not only catch a glimpse of God’s
spectacular
kingdom, but we’re invited in. We become part of the reign from the inside
(even, in some real way, reigning with him, 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6)
— in a kingdom that not only remains forever but is
for us, for our eternal good and everlasting joy.

So, this weekend, and into the future, as we enjoy Hedge’s admirable
translation — for which we should be thankful — we can rest assured that
Luther’s
original is even stronger, and even better. And Psalm 46 and Romans 8 are
even better, and even stronger, than what Luther could capture in verse. The
God we sing about will always be stronger, and better, than even our best
songs can say.

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

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
A “Woodenly Literal” Translation
by John Piper, with Matthias Lohmann
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
A “Woodenly Literal” Translation
by John Piper, with Matthias Lohmann

A strong castle is our God,
A good defense and weapon.
He helps us become free from every misery
That has now affected us.
The old evil enemy
Is now in earnestness with his intents.
Great Power and much deception
Is his cruel armor.
On earth is not its likeness.

With our power nothing is accomplished.
We are very soon lost.
The right man fights for us
Whom God himself has chosen.
Do you ask who that is?
His name is Jesus Christ,
The Lord of hosts,
And there is no other God.
The battlefield he must hold.

Even if the world were full of Devils
And would want to swallow us up,
We would not thus fear so very much.
We will nevertheless succeed.
The prince of this world,
How bitterly he might pretend to be,
Nevertheless will not do anything to us
Because he is judged.
A little word can fell him.

That word they shall let stand
And will have no thanks for it.
He is with us according to plan
With his Spirit and gifts.
If they take the body,
Goods, honor, child, and wife,
Let them go away.
They will have no profit.
The kingdom must remain for us.


The Happy Professor: Zacharius Ursinus (1534–1583)
Thomas S. Kidd / October 28, 2017
The Happy Professor

The opening of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) makes one of the most ringing
affirmations of faith in all of Christian history:

Q: What is your only comfort in life and death?

A: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in
death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

The Heidelberg Catechism was the product of a team of authors commissioned
by the German elector Frederick III, a devout Protestant prince during the
early
decades of the German Reformation. Chief among the catechism’s authors was
University of Heidelberg professor Zacharius Ursinus.

Humble Reformer

Ursinus was a student of Philip Melanchthon, who himself was one of the key
disciples of the great German Reformer Martin Luther. Luther had died in
1546.
As a young man in the 1550s, Ursinus journeyed through many of the major
capitals of the European Reformation, meeting Geneva’s John Calvin, among
other
key Reformed leaders.

The Happy Professor peyzb87e

During this era, German Reformers were deeply divided over theological
questions such as the exact nature of the Lord’s Supper. When the humble
Ursinus
was called to become a professor at Heidelberg in 1561, he declared, “Oh,
that I could remain hidden in a corner!” But God was calling Ursinus to
Heidelberg
to help secure the legacy of the Reformation.

The Heidelberg Comforter

The Heidelberg Catechism was published anonymously, but most observers today
credit Ursinus with taking a lead role in writing it. Its emphasis on
Calvinist
doctrine made it one of the most broadly influential catechisms of the
Reformation era.

The Heidelberg Catechism was quickly translated into a number of other
languages, including English in 1572. It would be surpassed in notoriety in
the
English-speaking world only by the Westminster Confession of Faith, produced
in England during the next century. One of the reasons the Heidelberg
Catechism
was so successful is that it used unifying language about disputed issues,
such as those related to the Lord’s Supper. Ursinus did not wish to further
exacerbate divisions among Protestants.

Befitting Ursinus’s Calvinist convictions, however, the catechism paints a
grim picture of the state of humanity outside of Christ. In question and
answer
(Q&A) 5 of the catechism, Ursinus tells us (based on a host of supporting
biblical references) that we are “inclined by nature” to hate God and our
neighbor.
Q&A 8 asks whether we are “so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any
good.” Ursinus answers that yes, we are that corrupt, “unless we are
regenerated
by the Spirit of God.”

Conversely, a life redeemed by God is one of holiness, contentedness, and
unspeakable joy into eternity. The comfort contained in the first question
comes
from understanding the great depth of our sin, the great rescue Christ
brings from the “misery” and wrath we face because of that sin, and the
great thankfulness
to God that the knowledge of our deliverance brings. Ursinus explains that
our “new nature” in Christ
is a “heartfelt joy in God through Christ, and a love and delight to live
according to the will of God in good works.” Joy in our redemption, to
Ursinus,
is the foundation of holy living.

Legacy of Joy

In spite of Ursinus’s efforts to unify the feuding Protestant factions,
Frederick III’s successor removed him and other Calvinist professors from
the Heidelberg
faculty in the 1570s. Ursinus found work at a Reformed academy not far from
Heidelberg. He died in 1583, at age 48.

Through the Heidelberg Catechism, and through the extensive lectures he
published defending the theology behind the catechism, Ursinus left a rich
repository
of biblical instruction for future generations of believers. Ursinus’s
teachings still inspire much joy today, not least because of the great work
God
did through him and the whole host of Reformers.

For more on Zacharius Ursinus:

The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century
Catechism
by Kevin DeYoung

An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism by Lyle D. Bierma

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Repulsive Leftovers - #8005

If you've ever had a teenage son, you'll know this answer. When a teenage
boy gets home from school, what's the first question he asks? Right! "What's
for dinner?" Now one of our boys' un-favorite answers to that question was
that dreaded "L" word-leftovers! By the way, that was especially scary after
Thanksgiving...turkey would never end. Now leftovers aren't too many
people's first choice for a meal. Right? And the longer they've been left
over, the
more unsatisfying that choice becomes. I know I've never been to a
restaurant who offered an item called "leftovers". Let's face it. Leftovers,
they're
second best-at best.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Repulsive
Leftovers."

No one gets very excited about leftovers-including God. But when God asks
many of us, "What are you giving Me?" our honest answer would be,
"Leftovers."
In our word for today from the Word of God, God is telling His ancient
people that they're showing contempt for Him, and these are people who are
doing
a lot of these religious things! He says they're disrespecting Him by
bringing Him defiled offerings. He explains it in Malachi 1:8. Remember, God
called
for the sacrifice of only an unblemished, perfect animal.

Here's what He says: "When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that
not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not
wrong?...With
such offerings from your hands, will God accept you?...Oh, that one of you
would shut the temple doors, so you would not light useless fires on your
altar!
I am not pleased with you, says the Lord Almighty, and I will accept no
offerings from your hands." Wow!

Imagine God saying, "Forget all your church meetings, all your Christian
activities! They're useless. Close the church! Keep your offerings! You're
wasting
your time. I'm not accepting what you're giving." Man! Well, that's God's
reaction when His children offer Him the leftovers of their lives. His
people
in Malachi's day said, "Giving God this perfect animal is such a waste. I
can get good money for an animal like that. I'll just give the Lord this
blind
one or this crippled one-I don't need them. I can't do much with those." And
God says, "You know, I'd rather have nothing than what you don't really need
anyway-your leftovers."

You remember the day the religious leaders in Jerusalem were throwing their
big offerings in the pot with great fanfare? Remember the only gift Jesus
said
impressed Him? The gift of a poor widow who quietly gave everything she had.
It doesn't matter to Jesus how much you give-it seems to be how much you
have
left that matters to Him. One recent study showed that the giving of
American Christians-the percentage of their income given to the work of
God-had dropped
by one-third in the past 30 years! The trend seems to be to spend more on
ourselves and to give less to our Lord. I can't imagine He is any more
pleased
with us than He was with His children in Malachi's day.

God calls on His children to give the "first fruits" to Him. To a farmer,
that meant real faith giving. Before he knew what kind of harvest he'd
ultimately
have, he brought to God right off the top. Now it's interesting to note that
many Christian ministries say that one-fourth to one-third of their total
income for the year comes in during December, especially as people are
thinking about their income tax deductions.

Could it be that some of us are waiting until after the harvest to see what
we can "afford" to give to the Lord-or our "last fruits?" See, it's the gift
of faith that pleases God. A gift that involves little risk and little
sacrifice is not a gift that means much to a God who sacrificed His one and
only
Son for us.

Our spiritual words and our activities might not be the best measure of our
relationship with God. No, it's often the sacrificial giving of our finances
that most accurately shows how much we really love Him. Not how much you
give, but how much you have left...not leftovers. Because your Lord says, in
Numbers
18:29, "You must present as the Lord's portion the best and holiest part of
everything given to you."

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

Dry Ground
September 17, 2017

Read: Exodus 14:13-22

And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the
waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. (v. 22)

Sometimes everywhere we look there is another hill to climb, another boulder
blocking the path, another valley to trudge through. The Israelites must
have
felt that way when they realized all of Pharaoh’s chariots and soldiers were
in close pursuit. They were terrified and in their dismay cried out: “Is not
this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the
Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than
to
die in the wilderness” (Exod. 14:12).

But God had a bigger plan. What people saw as disaster God knew was an
opportunity. What the Israelites understood as man’s wicked intent, God used
for
his glory. Exodus 14 tells us the amazing story of the parting of the Red
Sea. When there was no way forward, God provided dry ground for the
Israelites
through the waters of destruction that would overcome their enemies.

Don Moen’s “God Will Make a Way” reminds us of how the Father moves in the
midst of our trouble. No matter what trial you face, no hill is too steep,
no
waters too deep for our all-powerful and loving God.

Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

—Joy Petroelje

Prayer: God of might and power, seize my fear and direct my steps, I pray.

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

Rest, and Trust God’s Timing
By Rick Warren

“Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act. . . . Don’t fret and
worry -- it only leads to harm”
(Psalm 37:7-8 TLB).

Proverbs 19:2 b says, “Impatience will get you into trouble” (GNT). It’s
frustrating when you’re in a hurry and God isn’t. God is never in a hurry!
The
Bible says a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day to
God. One of the most useless things to try to do is to speed up God. When
we try to take matters into our own hands and help God out, we get in
trouble.

When you get a dream from God and make the decision to go for it but then
are forced into God’s waiting room, you start trying to figure out ways of
doing
God’s dream on your own.

But the Bible says to trust God’s timing: “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently
for him to act. . . . Don’t fret and worry -- it only leads to harm” (Psalm
37:7-8 TLB).

Resting can be an act of faith. It means you’re waiting on God. When Jesus
and the disciples were in a boat that was caught in a big storm, Jesus just
kept sleeping through all the ruckus while the disciples freaked out. When
they woke him up to ask, “Why are you sleeping?!” he responded, “Do you
think
God is going to let the boat sink with me in it?” By sleeping through the
storm, Jesus was saying that we can trust God even in the middle of a storm.

When we get into a storm, we tend to lie awake all night and fret about it.
But that means we’re not living by faith. We can’t get any sleep because we
don’t really trust God to work it out. God says, “Don’t fret. Remember that
I’m always with you, and you can trust my timing.”

Worry only makes you miserable. So stop worrying, and start trusting God to
work in you and through you while you are in a delay on the way to your
dream.
Talk It Over

Why does rest so often make us feel guilty?

What do you think God is trying to teach you while you have been delayed?
What have you learned about yourself and about God in a delay by design?
What is one thing you can change about your schedule or your expectations so
that you are not tempted to rush God in this phase of your faith?
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 25 Oct 2017, 1:48 pm

The Apple of Your Eye

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my
commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them
on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 7:1-3,
ESV)

I have heard of boys who wanted a BB gun for their birthday or Christmas.
Their parents would say they were not getting one because they might put one
of their eyes out. Most of the time people are very careful about protecting
their eyes. There are all kinds of goggles, masks and protective glasses
that people wear for different jobs and leisure activities. In the above
Scripture, the apple of the eye refers to the pupil of the eye.

If we are so protective of our eyes, why aren’t we as protective of God’s
Word? WE take it for granted too often. Most of us have a number of Bibles
around the house available for us to pick up and read but how many of us
read them as much as we should? For the Word to be written on our heart we
need to read it more and even memorize it.

What would you do if someone came and took all your Bibles away? You might
say that you can read the Bible on the internet but what if that was also
taken away? What if there was no access anywhere to God’s Word? WE would all
wish we had taken it more seriously.

WE need to read the Word not just for information or to memorize it but so
that it will affect our lives. AS the Psalmist wrote:

"I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. "
(Psalm 119:11, HCSB)

And If you really know your Bible you might be able to solve a crime:

A Haifa policeman, who knew his Bible, got on the trail of a gang of
smugglers. They used an ass-drawn caravan to escape. The policemen managed
to capture some of the asses, though the smugglers got away. The clever
officer let the beasts of burden go without food for several days and then
he turned them loose. And just as he predicted from Isaiah 1:3, “the ox
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib,” the starving animals led
the police directly to the smuggler’s hide-out!
—World Christian Digest

by Dean W. Masters

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Life and Love
----------------------------------------------------------

Life and Love

Posted: 04 Sep 2017 09:55 PM PDT

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER John 14:15-26

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he
who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will
disclose
Myself to him.

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and
We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
(John 14:21, 23, NASB)

Loving and obeying God always leads to Him
coming to us and
making His home in us.
Our union with God is a union of love.
As we love Him, He comes to us.
As He comes to us, we love the more.

As we love God, we love others out of love for Him.
That love then unites us closer with Him.
God is love. (1 John 4:8, NIV)
Life in Him increases love,
which increases life,
which increases love,
more and more forever.

Life in God is a life of love.
Life in God flows from love.
Life in God flows into love.

from KenBible.com

Trusting God When the Pain Seems Pointless
Randy Alcorn / September 8, 2017
I’ve written nine novels. Suppose you could interview characters from my
books. If you asked them, “Would you like to suffer less?” I’m sure they’d
answer,
“Yes!”

I empathize with my characters. But as the author, I know that in the end
all their suffering will be worth it, since it’s critical to their growth,
and
to the redemptive story.

God has written each of us into his story. We are part of something far
greater than ourselves. God calls upon us to trust him to weave that story
together,
so that, in the end that will never end, we will worship him, slack-jawed at
the sheer genius of his interwoven plotlines.

Pointless Pain?

But like my fictional characters, who are clueless to my strategies, we lack
the perspective to see how parts of our lives fit into God’s overall plan.
Cancer, disabilities, accidents, and other losses and sorrows appear
devastatingly pointless. However, just because we don’t see any point in
suffering
doesn’t prove there is no point.

Joni Eareckson Tada is celebrating her fiftieth year in a wheelchair. Does
celebrating seem the wrong word? It certainly would have to Joni as a
17-year-old
desperately wanting to end her life. Yet looking back, we see her
exponential character growth and the countless lives — my family’s
included — God has
touched through Joni. Scripture teaches us that in our sovereign God’s
loving hands, no suffering we face is
ever purposeless, no matter how it seems at the moment.

How many times does God have a purpose in events that seem senseless when
they happen?

All Things for Our Eternal Good

Romans 8:28 is one of the most arresting statements in Scripture: “We know
that for those who love God
all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his
purpose.” The context shows that in a groaning, heaving world, God’s concern
is conforming his children to Christ’s image. And he works through the
challenging circumstances of our lives to develop our Christlikeness.

In the Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament, Joseph said to his brothers (who’d
sold him into slavery), “As for you, you meant evil against me, but
God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept
alive” (Genesis 50:20).

“God meant it for good” indicates God didn’t merely make the best of a bad
situation; rather, fully aware of what Joseph’s brothers would do, and
freely
permitting their sin, God
intended that the bad situation be used for good. He did so in accordance
with his plan from eternity past. God’s children have “been predestined
according
to the purpose of him who works
all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).

Nothing about God’s work in Joseph’s life suggests he works any differently
in the lives of his other children. In fact, Romans 8:28 and Ephesians 1:11
are emphatic that he works the same way with us.

Do you believe the promise of Romans 8:28? Identify the worst things that
have happened to you, and then ask yourself if you trust God to use those
things
for your good. The Bible asserts that
he will.

The Gift of Our Trust

If we foolishly assume that our Father has no right to our trust unless he
makes his infinite wisdom completely understandable, we create an impossible
situation — not because of his limitations, because of ours (see Isaiah
55:8–9).

Occasionally, like Joseph eventually experienced, God gives us glimpses of
his rationale. Some time ago, a friend of mine endured a serious accident
and
a painful recovery. But it saved his life. Medical tests revealed an
unrelated condition that needed immediate attention.

In that case, a compelling reason for the accident became clear. In other
cases, we don’t know the reasons. But given all that we don’t know, why do
we
assume our ignorance of the reasons means there are no reasons? Only God is
in the position to determine what is and isn’t pointless. (Didn’t the
excruciating
death of Jesus appear both gratuitous and pointless at the time?)

A Head Start on Eternal Joy

Given the option while facing his trials, I’m confident Joseph would have
walked off the stage of God’s story. In the middle of Job’s story — with ten
children dead, his body covered in boils, apparently abandoned by God — ask
him if he wants out. I know his answer because in Job 3:11 he said, “Why did
I not die at birth?”

But that’s all over now. On the coming new earth, sit by Job and Joseph and
Jesus at a lavish banquet. Ask them, “
Was it really worth it?”

“Absolutely,” Job says. Joseph nods emphatically. No need to wonder how
Jesus will respond.

One day, we too will see in their larger context, with an eternal
perspective, God’s severe mercies, some of which we never understood, and
others we resented.
We’ll wonder why we prayed to be more like Jesus but then begged God to
remove what he sent to answer those prayers.

“Therefore we do not give up. . . . For our momentary light affliction is
producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we
do
not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18, CSB).

Faith is believing today what one day, in retrospect, we will see to have
been true all along. Let’s not wait until five minutes after we die to trust
that God always has a point. Let’s learn to do it here and now, eyes locked
on our gracious, sovereign, and ever-purposeful Redeemer.

How Can Dying Be Gain? The Key Text for Christian Hedonism
John Piper / September 8, 2017

Christian Hedonism stands on the truth that Jesus is more precious than
anything we stand to lose when we leave our temporary home in the present.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the
LORD!" Psalm 27:14

By Answers2Prayer
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Waiting

As I was researching this devotion, I tried to find out how various church
leaders said they would get ready if they knew they had only a week or a
day,
before they would stand before Jesus. The results were fascinating:

* In the 13th century, St. Francis said he would keep on watering his
garden.

* In the 1500s, Martin Luther said, "If he knew Jesus was coming tomorrow,
he would plant a tree today."

* In the 18th century, John Wesley, said "I would spend my last day exactly
as I expect to spend it now."

Amazing, isn't it?

Three representatives from three different branches of Christianity,
speaking from three different centuries, are in agreement. They all believe
the best
way to prepare for Jesus' coming back is to be in a constant state of
preparedness.

More important than the advice of these three is that which comes from the
Savior, Himself. Jesus says, "Keep watch, because you do not know the day or
the hour" (Matthew 25:13).

About 20 years ago, a father who had taken his two children swimming in the
Atlantic, realized the tide was pulling them out to sea.

Knowing his limitations, he told his daughter -- the stronger swimmer --
"Honey, I've got to get your brother to shore. When I do, I'll come back for
you.
I want you to float on your back till I return. You don't have to swim. Just
float on your back."

With that the father swam away, brought his son to shore, and in a state of
near exhaustion, went out with some lifeguards to find his daughter. She
wasn't
where they expected her to be. Further and further out to sea they searched.
After two hours, they spotted a little body floating in the water.

No, don't worry. She was okay.

After they brought her aboard the boat, one of the lifeguards asked, "Were
you frightened being out in the ocean all by yourself?"

She answered, "I wasn't afraid. My father told me to float on my back, and
he told me that he would come back. I trusted him. He loves me and never
lies."

That's the attitude the Lord expects from us as we wait for Jesus to come
back. He expects us, for as long as it takes, to remember He loves us,
hasn't
forgotten us, and to be unafraid. Understand, I'm not going to tell you that
your life will be untroubled. Christians have more than their share of
tribulations.
But I will tell you that until Jesus returns He will give you what you need
to deal with those problems and pains.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, stay with me. In a troubled world with myriad
sorrows, be by my side and keep me prepared for that unknown hour when Jesus
will
return to me or I will be brought to Jesus. In the Savior's Name I ask it.
Amen.

Pastor Ken Klaus Lutheran Hour Ministries All rights reserved; not to be
duplicated without permission.

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16 - The prayer of a
righteous
man is powerful and effective.
Send your prayer request to us
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20 - For where two or three
come together in my name, there am I with them. Hallelujah!

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

7 Things to be Thankful for as We Age
Cindi McMenamin

I celebrated my 49th birthday this week.

Notice I said "celebrated"- not "ignored" or "shrugged at."

Ok, originally, my thought was that 49 doesn't have quite the same ring to
it that 29 had...or even 39 or 42! But then I remembered something I heard
years
ago as I approached 30: "If you don't like getting older, consider the
alternative."

Every day, women younger than me are dying of some form of cancer. I know
others whose lives have been cut short due to traffic accidents, heart
attacks
or some other unthinkable, or unexpected tragedy. So I am truly blessed to
have another year of life. By complaining of my age, I'm complaining about a
privilege ...being allowed to live another year and enjoy life. That kind of
complaint doesn't make sense to me. And so, instead of complaining about the
inevitable effects of aging (like more body aches and pains, diminishing
eyesight, and the 1- to 2-pound weight gain that the average woman
experiences
yearly after age 35!), I thought I would focus on what I am
thankful for as I grow older.

First Thessalonians 5:18 tells me that God's will for me is to "give thanks
in all circumstances" and that includes the circumstance of aging. And
Psalm 90:12
tells us to "number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom."
I believe that means we are not only to seize the day and make each one
count,
but we are to be thankful for the number that we do have...be it 49, 59 or
even 99. (Funny how those who do reach 99 years of age are usually very
grateful
for their age, but those of us 50 years younger than them aren't!) As I
started thinking about it, there is much to be thankful for when it comes to
getting
older.

Several years ago, when I wrote my book, When Women Long for Rest, it was my
challenge to focus on the few things that matter in life, make each day
count,
and aim for a life that grows more beautiful, not more busy, through the
years. Each time I celebrate another year of life, it's a good time to
review
that challenge and see how I'm doing.

So, as I focus today on the few things that matter in life, here are seven
things I want to share with you that any of us can be thankful for as we
age:

1. Credibility: When I was in my 20s and wanting to write books to
strengthen the faith of women, I was told that age would greatly help my
credibility.
In other words, I was a little young to be speaking about life's
experiences. With each year, we gain more life experiences and those make us
wiser and
more credible when it comes to offering advice, ministering to others, or
just putting some weight behind our words.

2. Friendships: Another year of life not only means another year of
opportunities to make friends, but another year of opportunity to deepen the
friendships
we do have. How precious it is when you can recall a friendship that is
nearly as old as you are!

3. Experiences: Each year of life represents more time on this planet to
enjoy the beauty of what God created. (Get outdoors on a nice day and relish
in
it and you'll know what I mean.) When I remember that we were created to
love God and enjoy him forever, it reminds me that forever has already
started
and I don't want to miss any of it complaining about how old I am while here
on earth.

4. Forgiveness. There is no sadder story than the one in which a person dies
before he or she had a chance to make amends with someone. The longer we
live
the more opportunities we have to forgive others, just as God has forgiven
us (
Colossians 3:13
). Why live with the burden of bitterness? Live freely by freely forgiving
and you'll feel a lot younger than you actually are!

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

5. Investing Eternally: Another year of life means we have another year to
invest in encouraging, inspiring, and serving others. I think about this,
particularly,
when it comes to my daughter. How many years will I be able to invest in her
life? Maybe it comes to your mind as you think of a grandchild or family
member.
If you can't think of anyone whose life you are investing in right now, that
might be a nudge from the Holy Spirit to start looking for someone who needs
a touch, or someone to care. There is always someone who needs help, weekly
care, discipleship in the Word, or simply some kindness on a daily basis
because
they have no one else. Who can you reach out to so that you can really start
living?

6. Longing for Heaven: The longer we are here on this earth (and the more we
outlive others), the more intense our longing can be for heaven. While we
are to enjoy the life God has given us here on earth (in our relationship
with and service to Him and others), we don't want to become too attached to
where we forget where our home really is.

7. Intimacy with God: The more we age here on earth, the more we discover of
God and his wondrous ways before we leave this earth to meet him face to
face.
I can only hope that my years on this planet attest to my years of communion
with God. As I near "the big 5-0" the words to an old hymn come to my mind:
"Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before." There's something
about aging that makes those words ring even truer.

What are YOU thankful for as you grow older?

Cindi McMenamin is a national women's conference and retreat speaker and the
author of a dozen books, including When Women Walk Alone
(more than 120,000 copies sold), Women on the Edge
, and her newest,
God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart
. For more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen
your soul, see her website:
StrengthForTheSoul.com .


How the Minor Prophets Help Us Enjoy Jesus
Matthew S. Harmon / September 9, 2017
How the Minor Prophets Help Us Enjoy Jesus

When it comes to true joy, Jesus was deadly serious. He tells his disciples,
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your
joy may be full” (John 15:11). His words are the key to experiencing
fullness of joy in our lives. But the words of Jesus are not merely what the
Gospels
record him saying. Jesus makes it clear that in some way everything in the
Bible relates to him — his life, death, and resurrection, and his message of
repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24:44–49).

If we’re honest, though, we can find parts of the Bible confusing, and even
boring. We encounter strange customs, different kinds of literature, lists
of unfamiliar names, and complicated systems of laws. As a result, we often
gravitate toward certain parts of the Bible and avoid the uncomfortable
terrain.

But if we believe what Jesus says about our joy in him hinging on the words
of God, then we need the whole Bible. To maximize our joy in him we need
maximal
Scripture. So let’s look at how one often-neglected section of the Bible
helps us enjoy Jesus: the Minor Prophets.

Six Fresh Glories

Despite their name, the “Minor” Prophets pack a major punch. These final
twelve books of the Old Testament have strange names and often use poetic
language
to introduce people and stories that are literally thousands of years old.
But when we read the Minor Prophets to know Jesus better, and enjoy him more
deeply, we see his glory afresh in at least six ways.

1. Discover the character of Christ.

We see the manifold character of God that Jesus displays in his incarnation.
God reveals himself as a jealous husband whose people have committed
adultery
with other gods (Hosea 1–3). Jesus is the Bridegroom of his redeemed people,
the church (Mark 2:19–20; Ephesians 5:22–33).

God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding steadfast love,
but will not clear the guilty (Jonah 4:2; Nahum 1:2–3). Jesus was the
fullest
embodiment of grace and truth (John 1:16–18), while at the same time being
the righteous Judge who will execute God’s wrath (Revelation 19:11–21).

2. Uncover the horror of the sin for which Jesus died.

We see the horrible depths of the sin that Jesus dies for on the cross.
Often in graphic detail, the Minor Prophets describe the many different ways
sin
manifests itself, such as spiritual adultery (Hosea 2:1–13), idolatry (Hosea
4:10–19), mistreating others (Amos 1:2–2:16; Micah 2:1–3:12), racism (Jonah
1:1–6; 4:1–11), and impurity (Malachi 1:6–14).

We see the same sins in the world today and in our own hearts (Romans
1:18–3:19; Ephesians 2:1–3), exposing our need for Jesus.

3. Anticipate a real day when Jesus will judge the world.

We see the awful judgment that Jesus bears on the cross for his people. The
Minor Prophets repeatedly refer to the coming Day of the Lord, when God will
execute judgment on his enemies (Joel 1:2–2:11; Obadiah 1–16; Zephaniah
1:2–18). The judgment threatened for Israel and the surrounding nations
anticipates
the final judgment on all humanity on the last day (Acts 17:30–31).

It is this judgment for the sin of his people that Jesus took upon himself
at the cross (Matthew 27:32–56).

4. Recognize the King of kings.

We see descriptions of the righteous king that Jesus fulfills. Unlike the
unfaithful kings who ruled over Israel and Judah, God promises a king from
David’s
line who will establish peace and rule over God’s people as a shepherd
(Micah 5:2–5). His reign will extend to all nations and transform creation
itself
(Amos 9:11–15; Zechariah 9:9; 14:9).

As the true son of David (Matthew 1:1), Jesus has become our peace
(Ephesians 2:14) and rules over his people as the Good Shepherd (John
10:11–18). He
sits at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:1–13), awaiting the day when
he will transform creation (Revelation 21–22).

5. Appreciate the beauty and cost of our salvation.

We see stunning promises of the salvation that Jesus accomplishes. Because
God is compassionate, he promises he will tread our iniquities underfoot and
cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18–20).

As “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29,
35–36), Jesus “bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to
sin and
live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

6. Remember we have Jesus’s Spirit living in us.

We see glorious promises of the Spirit that Jesus pours out on his people.
As part of redeeming his people, God promises to pour out his Spirit on all
his people, regardless of their sex or social status (Joel 2:28–32).

As the risen and exalted Lord, Jesus pours out the Spirit on his people to
empower us to live holy lives and bear witness to him (Acts 2:1–41).

Minor Prophets for Maximum Joy

So, as we see the character of God in the Minor Prophets, our hearts are
stirred with fresh wonder that he took on flesh and dwelled among us.

As we see the depths of our own sin, our hearts are prompted to confess and
turn away from them.

As we see the awful judgment that our sin deserves and that Jesus
experienced in our place, our hearts are moved with gratitude.

As we meet the all-powerful, perfectly righteous King of kings, we tremble
at his holiness and authority, and submit ourselves totally to his lordship.

As we see the promises of salvation that we now experience through the work
of Jesus, our hearts are filled with greater joy and assurance.

As we see the promises of the Spirit, that same Spirit witnesses to our
hearts that we are children of God and heirs of an eternal inheritance.

The Minor Prophets will help you enjoy Jesus more deeply, if you let them.
Why not begin your journey to greater joy in Jesus through reading the Minor
Prophets? Pray that through these twelve short books God would open your
eyes wider to see wonderful things in his word (Psalm 119:18) and shine into
your
heart brighter “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:18–4:6).

John Piper’s Prayer in the Path of Hurricanes
John Piper / September 9, 2017
John Piper’s Prayer in the Path of Hurricanes

God doesn’t mean for us to forget him or minimize him when hurricanes
devastate human life. John Piper turns Godward and prays in the path of
hurricanes.

Listen Now

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Today's Devotional

Angels All Around Us

Matthew 18:10 – See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I
tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in
heaven.
(NIV)

Have you ever wondered how you escaped a car accident with only a scratch,
whereas it could have been so much worse? I have, on many occasions. There
were
times, while driving my car, when I changed the radio station or inserted a
music disc into the CD drive, just to look up and see that I had swerved a
little too far to the left, narrowly missing an oncoming car. Something or
someone made me look up at just the right time.

Psalm 91:11-12 – For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you
in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not
strike your foot against a stone. (NIV)

A few years ago, my youngest daughter and I were driving home from a
shopping trip. It was wintertime. We were coming down a hill, and the stop
light turned
yellow. We came to a stop. We heard a muffled sound behind us, getting
louder the closer it came towards us. By the time we realized what was
happening,
a huge transport truck passed us on the right-hand side driving through a
red light. As the light turned green, we noticed the truck on the side of
the
highway. We saw the driver's face. As far as I could see, he was apparently
shaken and in shock. We surmised that his brakes must have failed. When we
looked behind us, we wondered how this huge transport trailer could have
passed us without impact. The truck had about two feet between my car and
the
lamp post to pass us. If that truck had hit us, it would have hit the
passenger side where my daughter was sitting. It was a miracle. I believe it
was
an angel that intervened at just the right time.

We often don't recognize that these celestial beings have come to our aid
until much later, when we reflect about the incident and wonder how we got
through
it and lived to tell about it.

God sends His angels to help and protect us, sometimes without our knowing
about it at all. The least that we can do in return is to intervene to
assist
and guard others, and be an "angel" to them.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for sending Your angels to help and protect us.
Empower us to be "angels" to others, whether it be by volunteering in a
retirement
facility or hospital, sending a card, visiting the home-bound, making a
phone call, sending flowers, or giving someone a much-needed hug. Amen.

Rosemary Hagedorn



*Connecting man to man to God**
**For week of 10/22/2017**
**Issue 545**
**The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.*

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

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

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/2%20Corinthians%205:7

* CONSIDER **
*“Stay within whispering distance. If you stray, you won’t hear his voice.”
- Unknown

* YOUNG BIBLE READERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE FAITHFUL ADULTS, STUDY
FINDS **
*Most churchgoing Protestant parents of young adults say their kids grew
up to be Christians. But half of them don’t actually practice the
Christian faith, their parents say.

And the biggest factor predicting their spiritual health as young adults
is whether they read the Bible regularly as kids.

Those are among the findings of a new study among Protestant churchgoers
about parenting and spirituality from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Which factors predict the highest spiritual condition? The top factor:
Bible reading. Twenty-nine percent of the young adults regularly read
the Bible while growing up, according to their parents. On average, that
group has 12.5% higher spiritual health than otherwise comparable
individuals who didn’t.

In addition, spiritual health levels are 7.5% higher on average for
young adults who regularly spent time praying while growing up (28%),
regularly served in church (33%) or listened to primarily Christian
music (22%) than for comparable individuals who didn’t.... Read this in
full at
http://lifewayresearch.com/2017/10/17/young-bible-readers-more-likely-to-be-faithful-adults-study-finds/

* THE STAGGERING PICTURE OF CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION: AN INTERVIEW WITH
JOHNNIE MOORE **
*Is your perspective on the state of the church worldwide too
comfortable? What do you think when you hear about the astonishing
escalation in Christian persecution in the 21st century? What should you
be doing about it?

Bible Gateway interviewed Johnnie Moore about his book, The Martyr’s
Oath: Living for the Jesus They’re Willing to Die For (Tyndale House, 2017).

Q: Describe the staggering picture of Christian persecution today.

Johnnie Moore: “Staggering” — that’s a good word! The stories in The
Martyr’s Oath will stagger you, for sure.

Like the Syrian refugees I met who’d converted to Christianity upon
arriving in a neighboring country. Word got back to a jihadist family
member still in Syria. He wrote them a letter saying “If you don’t
return to Islam I will find you and crucify you.”

The family wrote him back, “We will not leave Jesus, and we are happy to
die for him but please don’t crucify us. We are not worthy to die as our
savior died.”

Stop and think about that: they’re so willing to die for him, and we
struggle so hard to live for him!

A thousand such incidents happen every week!.... Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/10/the-staggering-picture-of-christian-persecution-an-interview-with-johnnie-moore/


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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
6 Things It Means to Be in Jesus
By John Piper

[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but
because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus
before
the ages began.
(2 Timothy 1:9)

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it
means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ.

If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. Second
Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace
in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4,
“God chose us
in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans
8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor
things
present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything
else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in
Christ
Jesus our Lord
.”
4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins.
Ephesians 1:7, “
In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our
trespasses.”
5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God
in Christ is imputed to you. Second Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made
Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that
in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. Second
Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is
in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new
has come.” Galatians 3:26, “
In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Good News About The Bad Stuff - #7995

When you get a couple of veteran airplane travelers together, before long
you're going to hear some "war stories." In fact, you're about to hear one
now.
It was one of those days at the airport. I was scheduled on this morning
flight from the West Coast back to the New York area with a connection in a
Midwest
city. When I arrived at the airport, I learned my flight was being delayed
for about four hours. Well, that's not that uncommon. but it was killing all
my options for getting home for a while. Another flight on the same airline
had been canceled, so now there is this long line of us not-so-happy campers
at the airline's ticket desk. We're there for an hour and a half in line.
The longer we had to wait, the more options were slipping away. Well, I
found
I had to quietly pray and remind Jesus and me that Jesus is Lord. The men
behind me were becoming increasingly vocal about their unhappiness, so being
the crazy man I am, I decided to try a little humor and lightheartedness.
Pretty soon, we were laughing at our situation instead of overheating about
it.

When we finally reached the front of the line, one man said, "Hey, I'm glad
we had someone like you in this line." To which I said, "Hey, you can't pick
your situation, but you can pick your attitude." Well, when the ticket agent
finally figured out a way to get me home, he said, "I think you owe me."
Instead
of a flight where I had to change planes in another city, he had gotten me a
non-stop. Instead of arriving at 10:30 at night, I'd be arriving at 8:30.
And as I was just about to board, the agent called me back and changed my
seat assignment. I was First Class! I had a great meal, I had the room to
get
a lot of work done, and I had a divine bump-in with a flight attendant I
knew from 18 years ago who really needed a pastor that night! Needless to
say,
I had no complaints about God's happy ending!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Good
News About The Bad Stuff".

That frustrating day at the airport, I saw God do again what He is so good
at doing-allowing the bad thing to happen to us so He can do a better thing
for us. There's no way I could have flown non-stop, first-class, and gotten
in earlier that day unless the airline made it happen at their expense. They
did, but only because of the bad stuff that happened.

That is one microcosmic example of how God loves to work in the lives of His
much-loved children. In fact, we have His word on it that He is always
working
on the better thing to come out of that bitter thing. It's in our familiar
word for today from the Word of God, Romans 8:28, sure enough. It's a
statement
you may know very well, but you might need to apply it to the hard things
you're facing right now. Here's the rest of the picture beyond what you can
see
from where you are now. "And we know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
For
those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His
son... And those He predestined, He also called; those he called, He also
justified;
those He justified, He also glorified."

In other words, God's got a lot tied up in you! After working this
incredible, detailed, eternal plan to bring you this far, do you think He's
going to
mess you up now? The Plan is still on course; it's still on schedule. And if
there's bad stuff, be assured God's taking you through that so He can do
something
much better than you could have ever expected.

Look at the worst thing that ever happened-the Cross. But through that came
the most beautiful things God has ever done. When my baby brother died when
I was four, it looked like a senseless tragedy. But that death brought my
whole family to Christ-including me-and indirectly, all the people that it's
been our privilege to bring to Jesus over the years. Through the bitter
thing, God is taking you to a better thing. If you depend on His promise to
work
this together for a greater good, you can choose your attitude-joy-even if
you can't choose your circumstances.

Like me standing in that long airport line with dwindling hopes that day,
maybe all you can see and feel is things are getting worse. But little do
you
know that at the end of this ordeal God's waiting for you with something
that is more "First Class" than you could have ever dreamed!

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

Apple Dumplin’

Back in the 1970’s my home town started a festival called Old Joe Clark
Days. It honored the man from there who was a bluegrass performer at Renfro
Valley, Kentucky for many years. Since then the name of the celebration was
changed to the Apple Festival. A civic organization started a contest called
the Apple Dumplin’ contest where parents would put their children’s photo on
containers and place them in stores weeks before the contest. During the
festival there was a container for each child set up downtown. The child
that had the most money put in all its containers became the Apple Dumplin’.
I am sure the mother and father of each child would say that child was the
apple of his or her eye. This means that he loves that child so much that he
would do anything for that child, even give his own life if that child was
in danger.

There is someone that loves each one of us this much. God sent his own son
to die for each of us so that we would not have to die spiritually:

John 3:16 (CEV)
16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so
that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really
die.

If you surrender your life to Jesus Christ then you are a child of God. God
then says that you are the apple of His eye:

Zechariah 2:8 (NASB95)
8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the
nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His
eye.

The original Hebrew for “apple of the eye” really means the pupil of the
eye. You would do anything to protect your pupil and so God will protect you
as the apple of His eye. He loves you and knows what is best for you. You
may not believe that He is there right now but He is ready to act on your
behalf.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great
delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you
with singing.”

Can you believe that God will rejoice over you with singing? You may know
what it feels like when you are rejoicing over God in your singing. God
feels the same way about you. I can’t wait to hear God singing to me when I
get to heaven.

There is no competition between Christians in God’s sight. Each one of us is
the apple of God's eye. Each one of us is God's little apple dumplin’.

by Dean W. Masters

Needing God’s Strength for the Unbelievable
August 31, 2017

Read: Genesis 17:15-21; 18:9-15; 21:1-7

Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to
you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. (17:14)

“Age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel.” Though these sayings
aren’t completely true, our age doesn’t have to dictate what we can or
cannot
do. At age 85, Ed Whitlock knows this all too well. Whitlock is a long-time
runner who was recently featured in the
New York Times for completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in under four
hours—a record time for runners in his age group. According to the article,
doctors who have been studying Whitlock consider him to be a phenomenon. His
athletic achievements are extremely uncommon for anyone at that age.

At ages 100 and 90, Abraham and Sarah are told in Genesis 17 that they will
have a baby. They obviously have questions and concerns, being well above
child-bearing
age; Sarah even laughs in disbelief. Who will ever believe them? Conception
at that stage in life is highly unlikely. It will have to be a miracle. They
will need God’s strength to believe his word for this unbelievable promise.
Yet one year later, just as God promised, Abraham and Sarah have a son.

Sometimes, we get in the way of our own achievements by allowing limitations
to completely shut us down. Let’s look up instead. Let’s keep our sights on
extraordinary things, believe God for the unbelievable, and tap into his
supernatural strength. —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: Lord, we want to believe. Please, help our unbelief!

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

How to Find True Joy in the Midst of Struggles
Pam Kanaly

Are you waiting for the day when most of your problems are gone? When you
enter a better season that’s much more suitable for your “happiness” factor?
If you’re like me, for a long time I believed “I’ll be filled with more joy
when…” and I had all kinds of ways to complete that line.

This, however, I’ve learned and am still learning: Happiness and joy are as
opposite as salt and pepper. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s totally AWESOME
when
they happen at the same time. But when there’s a deep-rooted sadness over a
situation we can’t fix, joy feels impossible. Yet, Paul writes in
Philippians 4:4 to “rejoice always.” He must be living the “blessed” life.
Right? No, he is writing these words in prison, and to further the matter,
he
later speaks of himself in 2 Corinthians as being
“sorrowful yet rejoicing.” Does he know something we don’t? Apparently so.

Many of you are going through grim struggles. Husbands have passed away way
too soon, children are breaking hearts, or reports from the doctor contain
devastating news. How is it possible to have joy in these scenarios? In
spite of great sufferings that seem too great to bear, Paul offers a pathway
that
enables us to move forward with peace.

Years ago, I learned there are three kinds of joy. The first is emotional
joy. This kind of joy is based on our emotions. For example, if we’re
feeling
relieved, we think we’re experiencing joy. Or if we’re excited that we’ve
lost a few pounds, we’re joyful. Is this the joy Paul was speaking of? No.
Both
instances describe a feeling of happiness, which is an emotion that comes
and goes, originating from an
outside
stimuli. It’s rooted in cosmetic issues.

Then there’s circumstantial joy. This kind of joy is determined by the
happenings around us. Perhaps, you lost your job, your health has taken a
downturn
or your former husband did not pay child support. “If only circumstances
were different,” we say. “Then I’d find joy.” Again, this isn’t true joy.
Instead
it’s a kind of joy based on secular realities that are unpredictable,
leaving one constantly vulnerable to outside elements. Both of these two
kinds of
joy leave one on the rollercoaster ride of life.

Lastly there’s the kind of joy Paul was talking about: spiritual joy. It has
nothing to do with our emotions or circumstances. It’s not a joy based on
temporal things. It’s a joy based solely on the Lord—not touched by the
world and revolving around who God is and what He has promised for His
children.
It’s a reality that surpasses our understanding. It’s a peace that abides in
the heart that knows no matter what, all is well because Jesus is in the
midst
of its outcome. It’s not driven or tossed by worldly issues but remains a
constant
inside
stabilizer above emotions or circumstances.

So here are the two big questions: How do we cultivate spiritual joy? And
how did Jesus nurture this kind of joy as He considered the cross? Hebrews
12:2-3
unlocks the secret, and might I add The Message Bible gives a flavorful
explanation:

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.
Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed –
that
exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along
the way: the Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of
honor,
right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go
over that story attain, item by item that long litany of hostility he plowed
through.
That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

So we get to pick. Which will govern our day? Emotional joy? Circumstantial
joy? Or spiritual joy?

Truths to ponder:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so
that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13 NIV)

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
(Psalm 94:19 NIV)

“Your love has given me great joy.” (Philemon 1:7 NIV)

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your
presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
(Psalm 16:11 NIV)

Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in
Washington, DC, and best-selling author of
The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions , remains one of the nation’s
leading advocates for single mothers. She is the co-founder of the national
organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers
worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam is a favorite in
Oklahoma
having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother of Achievement –
2015.Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma.
ariseministries.net


Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Yes to All God’s Promises and More
By John Piper

All the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him
that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
(2 Corinthians 1:20)

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it
means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ.

If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

1. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he
lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “[God] raised us up with [Christ] and seated
us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
2. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. Second
Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ].”
3. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. First Corinthians
1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ
Jesus.”
4. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied.
Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his
riches in
glory in Christ Jesus.”
5. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.
Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will
guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
6. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin
is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Lord.”

7. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the
Lord. First Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ
shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity
die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again!

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

Post  Admin on Sat 14 Oct 2017, 10:08 pm

Encounter on the Damascus Highway
by Chuck Swindoll

Romans 10:15-17

Various methods are employed to communicate the good news of Christ to the
lost. Some of the approaches appear to be successful and effective on the
surface,
but underneath they leave much to be desired.

The Harvard Approach is quite different. The thinking behind this method is:
Let's all discuss the world's religions. Because it's reason centered, it
attracts both genuine and pseudo intellectuals. The modus operandi is
invariably
a vague discussion that shifts from Baha'i to Buddhism . . . from the pros
and cons of no prayer in public schools to the rapid growth of the
Rajneeshies
in the 80s. This approach is educational and occasionally quite stimulating,
but it suffers from one mild drawback—no one ever gets saved! Specifics
regarding
salvation by grace through faith are frowned upon. The direct discussion of
forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood at the cross and His miraculous
resurrection is about as welcome in a sophisticated rap session on religion
as a life-sized bust of Martin Luther would be in the Vatican.

Perhaps the most popular is the Mute Approach, which promotes: I'm a silent
witness for God. The best you can say about this method is that no one ever
gets offended. That's for sure! Somewhere down the line this person has
begun to swallow one of Satan's tastiest tidbits: "All God expects of you is
a
good, silent life. Others will ask you about Christ if they are interested
in hearing." You know, I can count on one hand (and have fingers left over)
the number of people in my entire life who have suddenly come up and asked
me about Jesus Christ. While no one can discount the value of a godly life,
that
alone never brought anyone into the family of God.

Let me offer a better approach: Open your mouth and give witness to what you
believe! Here's how the Paul expressed it,

That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers
who bring the good news!" But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for
Isaiah
the prophet said, "L
ORD, who has believed our message?" So faith comes from hearing, that is,
hearing the Good News about Christ."
(Romans 10:15b–17)

And what do they hear? You sharing what you believe!

Yesterday, I told you about a few methods of evangelism that are
ineffective, or at least are not the full picture of how God desires His
children to share
the good news with others. Today, I want to tell you about an alternative. A
method that works . . . and also glorifies the One it should glorify: the
Savior.

I submit to you the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered method is set
forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26–40. That grand
and gifted
gentleman was engaged in a citywide crusade at Samaria. God was using him
mightily (8:5–8). Suddenly, the Lord spoke to Philip and instructed him to
leave
the city and spend some time in Gaza, a desert area (8:26). Faithful Philip
"got up and went" (8:27). He was
available (Principle 1).

He then encountered a distinguished statesman from Ethiopia riding in a
chariot en route back home (8:28). Of all things, he was reading Isaiah! The
next
verse tells us that the Spirit of God prompted Philip to go and get
acquainted with the traveler. Philip was
led by the Spirit (Principle 2). In today's terminology, he felt a keen and
definite assurance that God would have him strike up a conversation and
later,
quite probably, share with that person the magnetic claims of Christ. In
other words, he sensed that God was clearly opening the door.

As you'd expect, Philip cooperated. Obedience (Principle 3) is essential.

He then heard the man reading aloud (8:30) and calmly asked, "Do you
understand what you are reading?" What an excellent start! A proper opening
(Principle
4) is essential. Philip didn't barge in and start preaching, nor did he
crank out a canned, broken-record series of statements. He simply asked a
logical
yet leading question. The statesman instantly invited the stranger to come
and sit by him and assist him in his quest for understanding (8:31–34).

This remarkable response was met with great tact (Principle 5) on Philip's
part. Even though he had his foot in the door, he remained gracious,
courteous,
a good listener, and yet sensitive to the time he might speak of salvation.

When that moment came, he "opened his mouth" (8:35) and became specific
(Principle 6) concerning faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No reluctance. No
vague dialogue about religion . . . he spoke only of the Savior, the main
issue.

The last few verses (8:36–38) describe the brief but memorable follow-up
(Principle 7) Philip employed in this case.

As you rub shoulders with hungry, thirsty humanity and sense their inner
ache for help and hope, keep these principles in mind. Let's become more
alert
to those empty chariot sidecars God wants us to occupy. You may even begin
to feel comfortable in them before long. You know what? There isn't any
place
I'd rather be when Christ returns than riding shotgun in a
twenty-first-century chariot.

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright ©️ 1985,
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

The Gospel of John with Psalms and Proverbs
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org

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



Living With Suffering

There he proved them ( Exod. 15:25 ).

I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were
little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and
marked
with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted
until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had
been
stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some
had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of
the
steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He
knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or
bridge.
He knew this because his testing room revealed it.

It is often so with God's children. God does not want us to be like vases of
glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel,
able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.

He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand
dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the
fiercest
storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of
suffering. Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to
prove
that suffering is indeed God's testing room of faith.
--J. H. McC

It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often
casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross
and
alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life's unquiet sea
have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ
than
smooth waters without Him.
--Macduff

What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering?
Streams in the Desert

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today's Devotional

Field Workers

Matthew 9:37-38 – Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, "The harvest is
plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send
out workers into his harvest field." (NIV)

This summer, I had an opportunity to visit my friend who, with her husband,
volunteers at a Christian retreat camp as caretaker. As we casually strolled
over the rolling property, she pointed to a wooded area down the hill.
"That's the orchard," she explained. However, I did not see an orchard.
"Where?"
I asked. Again, she pointed at the wooded area. But looking down, I saw only
a field that was overgrown with lush weeds and tall bushes. "Is that an
orchard?"
I wondered out loud. "Yes," my friend reassured me, "but the weeds have
taken over. No one had time to maintain it. By now, it has become impossible
to
pick the apples." Then I saw. The fruit trees looked like mere bushes amidst
the lavish weeds.

On the drive home, I had time to process the haunting impression that the
overgrown orchard had left with me. How many figurative orchards that I
should
have looked after are overgrown with weeds? How many spiritual fields that I
should have harvested have become inaccessible due to my negligence? I could
think of a few. I have taken detours around people whom I know very well,
but whose burdens seem too painful for me to share. Rather than helping them
with their burdens and sharing the hope of Jesus, I stayed in my comfort
zone. Paralyzed by insecurities, I have walked away from people who were
receptive
to the good news of Jesus. There are still other persistent weeds that
prevent me from being effective in the field during the time of harvest.

These painful considerations made me realize how dependent we field workers
are on the power of the Lord of the harvest. There are willing workers, but
many are ineffective. They are sidetracked by other duties. They lack the
strength to withstand the heat of the day and the exhaustion of the late
afternoon.

But the Lord of the harvest is keen to answer their prayers for support. He
removes their weakness when they remember His strength. He makes the weeds
of unproductiveness disappear when they focus on His harvest. When they are
labouring in the field, they notice how many people are working beside them.
To their joy and relief, they realize that neither the accessibility of the
harvest nor the number of field workers depend on them.

The most wonderful truth unfolds before their eyes. The Lord prepares His
harvest by ripening immature hearts into hearts that are ready to accept
Jesus
as Saviour and bring forth fruits of righteousness. Are we prepared to
harvest them?

Prayer: Dear Lord of the harvest, we thank You that You have opened our
hearts to receive our Lord Jesus. Humbly, we ask that You would make us
willing
to leave our comfort zones and enter unfamiliar territory with the call to
follow Jesus. Enable us to work in the field that You have prepared for the
harvest. In our Saviour's name, we pray. Amen.

Jane deGlint

True Change Takes God’s Strength
August 30, 2017

Read: Genesis 32:22-32; 33:1-10

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip
socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then
he
said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let
you go unless you bless me.” (32:25-26)

Ryan Speedo Green was a troubled and angry kid. Around age 12, he threatened
the lives of his mother and brother and was sent to solitary confinement in
a juvenile detention center. Today, at age 30, Ryan is a celebrated
bass-baritone opera singer. He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House
in New
York and is currently with the Vienna State Opera House in Germany. If Ryan
had stayed bound to his past mistakes, and if his mentors didn’t offer him
forgiveness and opportunities along the way, he may not have changed.

In Genesis, we read about Jacob who also has a tough past. In earlier
chapters, he exploits his father and brother’s weaknesses to unfairly obtain
an inheritance.
By the time he is reunited with his brother, Esau, Jacob is a different man.
He wrestles with God and, despite compromised strength, he holds on to God
until God changes him.

We cannot let the past define us, but we should own up to our mistakes. Let’s
pray for God’s strength to change our ways and for God’s intervention to
change people’s hearts. Only then can we move forward as people with a new
identity. —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: God, give us the strength to release our past and embrace our
change.

Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Welcome to the Nugget

August 24, 2017

We are Loved

By Answers2Prayer
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"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps
me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."
(Ps. 28:7)

The other day my two sons and I got into my old car to drive to the local
post office. I backed out of my drive slowly like I normally do and then
pulled
to a stop at the side road that leads to the main highway. When it was clear
I pulled out and stepped on the gas. As I stepped on the clutch and tried
to shift into second, though, I immediately knew that something was wrong.
The normally solid gear shift now felt like a spoon in a bowl of soup. I
tried
quickly to get it to lock into any of the gears but to no avail. Thankfully,
the steering wheel was still working fine and I allowed the car to coast to
the end of the side road where I was able to pull safely into a wide spot
and turn the engine off.

My sons and I walked back to my house, borrowed my daughter's car, and drove
to a local garage to arrange to have my car towed in for repairs. It was
only
later in the day that I finally realized how blessed and watched over I had
been. I could have been on the main road when that stick shift failed. I
could
have been doing 55 miles per hour instead of 15. I could have been in the
middle of a curve with no place to turn off the road. I could have had a car
too close behind me that wouldn't have been able to stop in time. A hundred
things could have made this incident dangerous or deadly. Yet, the gear
shift
broke at just the right moment to keep me and my boys safe.

Far too often we only see the bad things in life. We get angry with God when
things don't go our way, and we fail to see the thousands of times that they
do. We are loved and watched over in this life more than we can ever know.
God loves us and His angels protect us every single day. Yes, my car broke
down.
Still, my sons and I are safe. We are loved. And we have been given more
time here in this world to share our own love and light. Thank you God!

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a
righteous
man is powerful and effective."
(NIV) Send your prayer request here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three
come together in my name, there am I with them."
(NIV) Hallelujah!

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


nourish

Singing Takes Sunday’s Truths Into Monday

The songs we sing on Sunday provide the soundtrack for our week. Singing
files away the messages the lyrics convey in our minds and hearts. If we don’t
sing about a particular truth, it’s very likely we’ll pray about it less and
live with little thought of it. Christ-filled songs can help motivate us
into
a day when we would rather stay in bed than get up and face that chore or
meeting or project. They support us when we lack courage and need to bolster
our faith. They help us remember Scripture. They keep uprooting the weeds of
worry and fear that tangle our feet and trip us up. They help us when we don’t
know how to explain the gospel to a friend, but recalling a lyric gives us
the words. They comfort us when we are hit with something unexpected or
tragic.

Every day we wake to the sound of two voices—the one of Wisdom and the one
of folly; the voice of the Lord and the voice of this fallen world. The
gospel
that seemed so clear and true on Sunday morning can so easily be chipped
away at, twisted a little, and devalued by the messages we hear through the
week.
Singing deep songs of the Lord keeps the right voice loudest in our ears.

We need to sing over and over again of how we were once under the wrath of
God, condemned to die, without even a hint of hope. We need to sing of how
hope
came from above, in human form, as the Son of God entered the world to
provide a way for the salvation of all mankind. We need to sing of how …

He made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:7–11)

Friends, if our singing is not impacting how we process life—if it is not
strengthening us, training us, encouraging us, and comforting us, then we
have
not unwrapped the gift that singing is to us. We’ve been playing with the
wrappings. Most of us sing at times in our week, or hum a tune that reminds
us
of its lyrics. Be singing what you sang on Sunday. Be singing the gospel.

Is there a hymn, or hymns, from your past that acts as a “milestone marker”
for your walk with Christ? Why is it still significant and how does it speak
to your heart today?

Join the conversation on Facebook.
Sing Excerpt fromSing!
by Keith & Kristyn Getty
©️ 2017. Used with permission from B&H Publishing Group
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Baptism has no saving power in itself, but it is an important symbol that
demonstrates our covenant vows to Jesus.


How to Stay in When It’s Hard: Making Disciples in Difficult Places
Jim Bloom / August 11, 2017
How to Stay in When It’s Hard

As followers of Jesus, we all share together his great call to disciple the
nations (Matthew 28:19). We all share his great promise that he is with us
to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). But some of us are called to make
disciples in very difficult places, where Satan has long held sway and the
brokenness
of our world is especially evident.

I serve with a group of kindred-hearted men and women who focus on making
disciples among the poor and marginalized. Some of us live and minister in
intense
places. Helping Christian workers stay in such places is crucial for what we
do. We’ve learned that going to a hard place is one thing, but staying there
is another.

What is it, then, that has helped my wife and me stay where Jesus has called
us?

Look to Things Unseen

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up
people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather
teach
them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” (quoted in
You Are What You Love , 91).

Just like going about the task of collecting wood is not enough for igniting
a zeal for ship-building, neither is calling people to the everyday tasks
of missions enough to sustain workers in hard places. It is a vision of
glory beyond the horizon that keeps us going when the accumulation of
disappointments,
losses, and seeming failures threaten to kill our zeal for kingdom-building.

If we want to stay in hard places for the sake of God’s kingdom, our hearts
need to be captivated by the immensity of God and his redemptive purposes in
the world. Only that breathtaking vision can hold us in contexts of immense
pain and seeming hopelessness.

If you’ve lost your vision, fix your eyes again on Jesus. Ask God to ravage
your heart again a glimpse of what lies just beyond the rough edges of the
world.

Lean into God’s Promises

“People, your longevity in mission may very well depend upon your leaning
into the promises of God.” I remember Michael Duncan saying these words in
2003
to a gathering of leaders in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He had learned them the
hard way.

In 1985, Duncan had led a missionary team sent from New Zealand to the slums
of Manila. He served there nine years, but after nine years of suffering in
this context, he no longer knew what to do with God and his promises. He
could no longer trust God for the future and began to lose hope. Therefore,
he
and his wife resigned and returned to New Zealand. I will never forget one
of his final statements to us:

Without faith and hope I deserted a place and a people. This act of
desertion has become one of the deepest regrets of my life, and I wouldn’t
wish it
on anyone. So I say to you again: keep looking to God and keep leaning into
the promises. For when you look to God you will have faith and when you lean
into the promises you will have hope and where there are faith and hope,
there too will be love . . . and love “remains” with the place and people.

Keeping our Lord always before us (Psalm 16:8), and trusting his precious
and magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:4), produces hope — hope in a better
future
than the pains and frustrations we’re feeling today. Faith and hope provide
the fertile soil for love to flourish. And love, as Duncan says, wishes to
remain with the place and people.

Learn How Impoverished You Are

We [missionaries] have not understood that the members of the Body of Christ
are scattered in all lands, and that we, without them are not made perfect.
. . . Consequently we have preached the gospel from the point of view of the
wealthy man who casts a mite into the lap of a beggar, rather than [a
farmer]
who casts his seed into the earth, knowing that his own life and the lives
of all connected with him depend upon the crop which will result from his
labor.
(Roland Allen, Missionary Methods
, 185).

It is reason enough to stay in a hard place simply to gain this perspective.
We are impoverished without our brothers and sisters from different
ethnicities,
cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds joining us at the table of the Lord’s
banquet. Not just in eternity, but now in our present experience.

If my wife and I had not stayed in our community, we would have missed out
on discovering what
we needed from brothers and sisters who are different from us, brothers and
sisters we desperately need. We will not stay in a hard place if we honestly
do not apprehend
our own need for those to whom God has sent us. But being naturally
self-centered and self-sufficient, we can miss this if we do not stay.

Yes, there is labor, toil, and fatigue in a hard field. But God loves to
provide us valuable resources and spiritual refreshment in the people who
live
in these difficult places. They must be at the table with us if we will be
complete.

Learn Your Heart Before You Go

If you think Jesus may be calling you to a hard place, let me pass along
some wisdom I gleaned from Tolkien’s
Lord of the Rings as the elf-lord Elrond addresses the dwarf-lord, Gimli:

“The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone is
any charge laid: . . . the others go with him as free companions, to help
him
on his way. You may tarry, or come back, or turn aside to other paths, as
chance allows. The further you go, the less easy will it be for you to
withdraw;
yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do
not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each
may
meet upon the road.”

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,” said Gimli.

“Maybe,” said Elrond, “but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not
seen the night fall.”

“Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking hearts,” said Gimli.

“Or break it,” said Elrond.

This counsel has served me for many years. You do not yet know the strength
of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road. Let
him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the night fall. These are
echos of Jesus’s wisdom in the parable of the four soils (Luke 8:4–8), and
when he tells his hearers to count the cost before following him (Luke
14:25–33).

Many of us have the tendency, like Peter, to proclaim our loyalty unto
death, only to melt in fear at a servant girl’s question. And, like Peter,
we often
“do not yet know the strength of [our] hearts.” We have had people join our
mission, declaring their intention to give themselves to this ministry for
life, only to be gone a few years later.

To “vow to walk in the dark [when we have] not seen the night fall” is not
wise. That’s why when folks join our mission, we help them discern their
calling
through a process of increasing levels of commitment over time. This gives
them time and opportunity to test their calling through real experience and
built-in exit points to withdraw if they learn their call may be elsewhere.

Yes, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but Paul
learned both how low he could go and how much he could abound through much
testing
(Philippians 4:12–13). Therefore, as we seek to follow Jesus into a hard
place, we must go with a deep humility, admitting that our knowledge of our
heart
is limited, trusting him to lead and sustain us wherever we go — and stay.

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

Apple Cider

Isaiah 55:1 - Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who
have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and
without cost. (NASB)

On a hot, fall day our high school marching band took part in the Apple
Festival in Chilhowie, Virginia, USA. We marched in a parade, then waited
around for our time to compete in the field competition. After that parade,
I was hot and thirsty. I went to a vendor who had cans of soft drinks. The
one I bought was good and cold, but it did not quench my thirst. Then I saw
a vendor who had bottles of ice cold apple cider. I bought one of those, and
that hit the spot.

We are created with a spiritual thirst, but most people don't know what will
quench that thirst. We may try different things, activities, or
relationships, but they don't quench it completely. Disappointed, we go on
to something else which we think might fill that need in us. But Jesus
Christ is the only one who can really quench our spiritual thirst.

There is a cost to what we *think* will quench our thirst: possessions,
adventures, relationships. But what *will* quench our spiritual thirst is
free: the cost is not ours to pay. But to quench this thirst it cost Jesus
Christ His life. He gave His life so we could be filled without cost.

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

Let us all partake of Jesus Christ to quench our spiritual thirst. And let
us share Him with others so they may know what will truly quench their
thirst.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for giving Your life for us. Thank
You for offering Yourself to quench our thirst. Help us to continually drink
from Your supply. Help us to let others know that You are the only One who
can quench their thirst. Amen.

by Dean W. Masters

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Most Dangerous Role Of All - #7992

She's a princess in the royalty of Hollywood; one of the most successful,
A-list, admired actresses in America. Behind the glamour, there are
unrelenting
struggles and unanswered questions. She was given some major recognition at
an international awards ceremony, and as she expressed her gratitude, she
also
opened up her heart in a brief moment of extreme candor. She said, "You
know, I play so many roles, sometimes I wonder who the real me really is."
I'll
tell you this, you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have that going on.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most
Dangerous Role Of All."

Playing a role. You know, a lot of folks are doing that. Following the
script you're supposed to follow, acting the way you're supposed to act,
giving
such a convincing performance that you almost believe it yourself. That gap
between playing the role and experiencing the reality becomes horribly
expensive
when you're playing the role of belonging to Jesus Christ, when you really
don't belong to Him.

That's why, in a passage of the Bible written to church folks, God gives a
life-saving warning. It's in 2 Corinthians 13:5, our word for today from the
Word of God. He says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the
faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you -
unless,
of course, you fail the test?" For those of us who have spent a lot of time
around Jesus, it's particularly important that we don't assume we
automatically
have Jesus. We need to examine ourselves-to test ourselves. Christ Jesus
isn't, in the Bible's words here, "in you" unless there's been a time in
your
life when you've consciously opened the door of your life to Him and invited
Him in to run it from now on. When you know the words, go to the meetings
and you believe the beliefs, it's just way too easy to miss this one
life-or-death step.

My friend Gary is in the medical profession. The other day he took me aside
and he told me his personal Jesus-story. He said he and his friends had gone
forward at a church meeting as young teenagers. And while he went through
what he described as an "accepting Christ" thing, he never really had a
personal
transaction with Jesus Christ that day. He did what he was supposed to do on
the outside, but nothing really happened on the inside. From that point on,
he said, he played the role.

Gary became a Sunday School teacher in his church, a deacon, and even the
youth director. No one would have even thought to question whether or not he
was really a Christian. One of his former professors invited him to a men's
retreat one day, and he looked forward to impressing this respected
Christian
friend of his with what an active Christian he had become. But instead, that
friend kept pressing him for an answer to this question: "If you died
tonight
and God asked why He should let you into His heaven, what would you tell
Him?" Gary answered with his spiritual r ©️sum ©️. His friend told him that
none
of that could get him into heaven. It was that night Gary finally realized
he was playing the role but missing the reality. He fully committed His life
to Jesus Christ that night. And that has made all the difference in the
world, and all the difference in where he will spend all of eternity.

Could it be that you have missed that step? The eternity-changing step of
actually telling Jesus, "I believe you died for me. I believe You are my
only
hope. So beginning right now, I'm totally Yours." That takes courage. It
takes honesty to admit you don't really have Jesus, but the cost of
continuing
to just play the role is way too high to pay; too awful to pay. God brought
you here today so this could finally be your personal Jesus-day. So as He's
speaking to you I your heart, with that tug you feel, don't miss this moment
of truth. "Jesus, I'm Yours for real, beginning today."

I'd love for you to visit our website because that's where I have laid out
the statements from God's word that will help you be sure that you have
actually
nailed down your relationship with Jesus Christ. That this indeed is your
Jesus day. Go to ANewStory.com.

Tonight you can finally go to sleep with the peace you've never had. It's
the peace that comes from only knowing that you really do belong to Jesus
Christ.

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


Anne Graham Lotz - The Joy of Working Together

The Joy of Working Together
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Colossians 3:17, NKJV

What task has God assigned you? Has He assigned you to

establish a home,

strengthen a marriage,

lead a family,

serve a church,

teach in a classroom,

or comfort in a sick room?

Check your attitude toward the assignment. Do you grumble and complain about
it? Do you neglect and ignore it? Do you resent and reject it? Or do you
enjoy
fulfilling it as your service unto the Lord? God wants you and me to enjoy
our service to Him, whatever it may be. And He also wants us to discuss each
detail with Him as we do the work. One of His pleasures, as well as ours, is
the joy of working together as we complete the task. Often, the more
difficult
the task, the greater the joy because it enables us to see the power of God
and just what He can do in and through and for us.

Blessings,

Copyright ©️ 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Where to Bring Your Broken Heart
Josh Squires / August 11, 2017
Where to Bring Your Broken Heart

“Help. My heart is broken.”

This is one of the most common refrains in my counseling ministry. There are
many causes: love unrequited, jobs lost, dreams quashed, spouses and
children
taken. No matter its roots, the pain is unbearably similar for its
sufferers. And the question that hangs over it all is this: “Now what?”

Weep Well

Grief is an act as well as a feeling. When hearts are broken, cheeks should
be wet. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. There is something about weeping
that is incredibly scary. It’s a vulnerable act that floods our thoughts and
feelings, leaving us fatigued. Little wonder then that people avoid it like
the plague, or feel that they need to make an excuse for it.

But Scripture itself does not take such a negative view on mourning. God
does not tell his children to “dry it up!” Rather, God stores our tears in
his
bottle (Psalm 56:8). In an ancient, arid land where bottles were not a dime
a dozen, only precious things were kept in bottles. Even more, God himself
weeps and makes no apology for it (Luke 19:41–44; John 11:35). When God
finds his heart hurting, his cheeks are not dry, and you should not be
ashamed
if yours aren’t either.

It’s not enough to merely give our emotions vent; they need to be shepherded
(Psalm 120:1; 130:1). Christians are not merely those who weep, but those
who weep well. It is not true that our stress, sadness, anger, and negative
emotions just need an emotional outlet to release the pressure. This
“hydraulic”
view of the affections often does more harm than good — before we know it,
we can barely put our emotional kettle on the burner before the whistle
begins
to wail for relief.

Instead, the key is to marry an emotional outlet with hope. This does not
mean that we always, at every single moment, need to sustain a conscious
feeling
of hope alongside our grief — God makes room in Scripture for passages like
Psalm 88 and Job 3. He does not ask the believer to take a Pollyanna view of
the believing life. But Paul reminds the Thessalonians that their grief is
different from a mere emotional outpour (1 Thessalonians 4:13). It is
grounded
in the truth of the gospel which is the spring of hope and life itself
(Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17). Gospel hope is the foundation of
healthy
grief. We may not always see it or focus on it, but it is there, and it will
rise again (Psalm 51:12).

Go to Prayer

Grief needs prayer. It is the communion of our souls with their Maker and
Sustainer. The Psalter is not just a collection of ditties for believers but
a living example of the prayers of the faithful. Praying isn’t about
changing God’s mind but submitting the most earnest desires of our hearts to
him,
and trusting his stewardship with them, even when those desires are aborted.

Christ calls out through prayer in his most desperate hour (Matthew
26:36–39). And Paul tells us that even when we don’t know how to pray as we
ought,
the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, mending our prayers on the way up (Romans
8:26). There is something about prayer, about giving unto our Lord those
thoughts
and feelings which are most intimate, that makes our hearts more pliable to
the comfort that only the gospel brings.

God loves to hear the raw, unscripted prayers of his children’s hearts
(Psalm 62:8). But prayer is more than just an emotional dump. Our prayers
are prayers
to a God who has revealed himself and provided for us in his word. In grief,
our prayers and our souls will benefit by feeding on God’s word.

Meditating on Scripture forces our hearts to move beyond ourselves and think
on the grand scope of God’s redemptive work for his people (Colossians
1:13–14).
It gives hope where otherwise there may be none (John 14:27; Romans 8:31–39;
Hebrews 13:6; James 1:2). It puts our grief in perspective, reminding us
that
our heartache is but a tiny glimpse of the pain experienced by God at the
cross (Matthew 27:46) — a suffering that he entered into willingly (John
10:18),
despising the cost of shame for the joy of redeeming a people (Hebrews
12:2).

Go to Rest

Grief is exhausting. Physically and emotionally, we find ourselves worn out.
A persistent and terrible fog seems to descend on our minds and bodies
making
it hard even to breathe at times like these. Those in grief need rest. More
than just physical rest (though often no less), we need spiritual rest. It
is in these moments that the words of our Lord seem sweeter than honey:

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

Resting in Jesus often means intentionally disengaging from the busyness of
the world. Choosing to focus what little emotional energy we have on Kingdom
purposes helps provide a peace that mere logic cannot explain (Philippians
4:4–9).

Go to Friends

Grief isn’t private. It’s often difficult and humiliating to let someone in
on the depths of our pain, but God loves his people too much to let your
suffering
begin and end with you. Keeping your grief hidden robs the church of our
ability to have the unbelievable joy of Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s
burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

All people at all times do not need to be clued into the depth of the
darkness in which you find yourself, but allowing others to walk beside you
in your
time of distress is a way of serving them, while also allowing them to serve
you. It’s a reminder that the life of a pilgrim in this fallen world is far
from rose-colored and, someday, when the current trial is behind you, the
church will get the benefit of witnessing God’s tangible faithfulness to
you.

All too often, Satan uses our grief to indulge our desire to isolate, not
only personally but corporately. Gathering for worship just feels like a
chore
too difficult to manage. When we grieve, it may be difficult to sing, pray,
or concentrate in worship. It may feel as if the Lord’s Supper is a hollow
activity. But
worship is the ventilator of our spirits
— keeping us alive when all else seems to fail. Bit by bit, even when we don’t
appreciate it, worship is consoling our grief and nurturing our souls back
to health.

Weep and Draw Near

In a world where sin infects and impacts all things, it is impossible for
believers to make it through without hearts that break. But we have a God
who
is not silent at such times. He knows, because he has walked in our shoes
(Hebrews 4:15). He has felt the terrible pangs of a broken heart. And at
such
times, he does not tell us to shut up and go away, but rather to weep, draw
near to him, and rejoice in him.

Raised to New Life: The Symbol of Baptism
John Piper / August 11, 2017
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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Memorial Stones
By Skip Heitzig

Humans love to make monuments. Whether it's the Arch of Titus in Rome, the
Arc de Triomphe in Paris, or the battlefields of the Civil War in the United
States, we're fond of setting up memorials and statues to remind us of great
historical events.

When God told the children of Israel to build a monument in Joshua 4
, it was much less elaborate--just twelve rocks from the bottom of the
Jordan River. And what did it commemorate? God parting the Jordan and
bringing the
Israelites into the Promised Land.

Read Joshua 4:20-24
: "Those twelve stones which [the children of Israel] took out of the
Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel,
saying:
'When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, "What are
these stones?" then you shall let your children know, saying, "Israel
crossed
over this Jordan on dry land"; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of
the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did
to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that
all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is
mighty,
that you may fear the Lord your God forever.'"

Have you ever forgotten a great scriptural truth, and when you've heard it
again you've just gone, "Oh man, that's been there this whole time? How did
I forget?" Well, God understands our tendency to forget. That's why He
commanded the Israelites to set up stones--so they would be reminded of His
great
acts of love and mercy. And it would make the next generation curious as
well: "What are those rocks doing there?" And then they would be told the
story
and their faith would in turn be strengthened.

Now, the spot where Israel set up this memorial was at a place called
Gilgal, which became their base of operations in the Promised Land. That
meant any
time they would return from a battle feeling discouraged, all they would
have to do was look at the twelve stones. "Look at those rocks. They came
from
the bottom of that river when the waters rolled back and we walked over on
dry land. Remember what God has done."

And here's an interesting note: Gilgal means rolling or a circle, possibly
referring to an ancient pagan altar where stones were set up in a circle for
ritual worship. So the Israelites took this place where other stones were
set up to other gods and, in a sense, reclaimed the site for Yahweh, the
true
and living God. It was a place where they could take their kids and say,
"Look, God did this for us. Don't forget this."

Now, as beautiful as that is, I have to tell you the bad news: eventually
Gilgal lost its spiritual significance. Later on, it reverted back to a
place
of pagan worship while the children of Israel occupied the land, and God
pronounced judgment on it because of that (see
Hosea 4:15 ; Amos 4:4 ;
Amos 5:5
).

So, what's the lesson? If you don't cultivate a garden of remembering what
the Lord has done for you, weeds are going to grow up. We should make it a
goal
to set up personal memorial stones, keeping a journal or some way of
remembering what God has done. It gives you perspective and helps you
remember spiritual
milestones that you can then pass on to the next generation.

Read the very last verse of Joshua 4
again: the stones were set up "that [Israel] may fear the Lord [their] God
forever" (v. 24). That didn't happen, unfortunately--that's the sad history
of the nation. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be yours.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
For more from Skip Heitzig, visit ConnectionRadio.org

Do You Have to Sing in Church if You Don't Want To?
DiAne Gates

The melody of the praise chorus wafted down the hallway before I reached the
sanctuary—and my heart grumbled. A praise chorus was the last thing I wanted
to hear this morning, much less sing.

Don’t they have any compassion? I wondered how many others, just like me,
came to the sanctuary each Sunday morning with heavy hearts. Hearts full of
grief
and gloom, and yet I’m supposed to sing like nothing’s the matter? Yeah,
right!

“They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of
their
distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea
were hushed”
(Psalm 107:27-29 NAS).

Why should you sing in church?

Once inside, the tempo changed and the familiar chords of Amazing Grace
filled the building with that sweet old hymn; thoughts of bolting out the
door
flashed through my mind. Of all songs this morning—tears rushed to my eyes
and trickled down my cheeks—Daddy’s favorite hymn.

The knot in my throat grew beyond-swallowing-size. First Daddy, Lord, and
now Michelle.
The knot swelled. And her birthday’s this week. I stood like a stone statue
wrestling to hogtie my emotions, my hand digging in my purse for the Kleenex
stash I’d come to depend on since our daughter’s death, wishing I were
anywhere but in the Sanctuary.

But the words to the last verse rang in my ears: When we’ve been there ten
thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s
praise than we first begun. In spite of the tears and the raspy sounds
groaning off my tongue, I managed to join the congregation repeating—Amazing
Grace,
how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
—and release and relief flooded my heart.

The lady standing next to me slipped her arm around my shoulders in a warm
hug, and we sang and wept together.

What storm prevents you from crying/singing to the Lord in your distress?

Sacrifice of praise—what’s that?

This transpired over 16 years ago, but I still remember driving home that
Sunday when the realization washed over me… I had offered my Father in
Heaven
a sacrifice of praise! And He heard and answered the pain in my heart,
covering me with His emergency room blanket of comfort!

Oh, the lessons God teaches when we’re willing to obey. Singing had been
buried on the bottom of my throw-away pile during the year following
Michelle’s
death—and I’ll confess, some mornings since then too, but I’ve learned when
I don’t feel like singing… especially when I don’t feel like singing
… that’s God’s Spirit signaling… I must sing.

I will choose to trust you, Lord.

One night a few months ago, overwhelmed with fear and loneliness—my husband
was out of town—something woke me up. I searched the house, found nothing,
but fear grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. I pushed the play button in my
memory labeled "unrealistic expectations," tossing, turning, and rehearsing
all
the secondary losses the death of our daughter inflicted on family
relationships. And I was a mess.

I cried out the Lord Jesus, “I know you tell me not to be afraid, but I’m
scared. Nobody cares about me anymore.” The song “Jesus loves me this I
know,
for the Bible tells me so…” answered in my heart. I lay in the dark singing,
again and again.

Next thing I knew, it was morning. Jesus calmed my fears, silenced
disturbing thoughts, and wrapped me in His comfort when I sang the truths of
His Word.

Does God really give me comfort when I sing to him?

“Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6 KJV).

My father and daughter no longer have earthly breath—but I do. This
Scripture tells me singing’s not a choice. It’s a necessity. Sometimes we
sing out
of the joy and the peace in our souls. Other times we sing from the despair
smothering our hearts—offering up the sacrifice of praise to our Redeemer.
But a sacrifice costs the bearer something, or it isn’t a sacrifice. God
knows your heart and mine, and He promises to meet us at our point of
obedience
to Him.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Many of you aren’t struggling with the loss of a loved one, but you’re
struggling. Maybe over the louder-than-we’d-like praise choruses. Or the
fight you
had with your husband on the way to church. Your job, or your prodigal son
or daughter. Whatever the reason, God stands ready to receive your sacrifice
of praise, so he can pour out his comfort to your hurting soul.

What other Scriptures say we are required to sing?

“And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem, kept the feast
of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the
priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the
Lord.”
(2 Chronicles 30:21 KJV).

Singing has been an integral part of worship by God’s people since the
beginning. Not just in church, but every day. Everywhere. Melody and music
are gifts
from our Creator God. Can you imagine a world without music?

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and
sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre; with the lyre and the
sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn. Shout joyfully
before the King, the Lord”
(Psalm 98:4-6 NAS).

God is the Creator of everything that exists—even music and singing. And
every time that voice in your head says, “I don’t want to sing,” ask, “Would
God
be saying that to me?” Or are they words from the enemy, whose goal is to
lure you into defying or ignoring the Lord God Almighty? But your Father in
Heaven
loves you enough to allow you to make that choice.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with
gladness, come before His presence with singing… Enter into His gates with
thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His name”
(Psalm 100:1-2, 4 KJV).

Please pray with me:

Father in Heaven, please grant me the ability to discern the voice of Your
Spirit, and the willingness to hear and heed what Your Spirit whispers to
me.
Allow me to keep singing to You, regardless of my feelings… because You, in
every situation, are worthy of all my worship and praise. Amen.


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Today's Devotional

Spanish Lesson

Mark 7:8 – You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to
human traditions. (NIV 2011)

Christ's teaching influences my whole life, but some parts of the gospels
directly relate to what I do as a Presbyterian minister. Much of the
criticism
that Jesus had for the religious clerics of His time still applies today,
and I confess to struggling with denominational practices and New Testament
tenets.
I inwardly flinch when I read about Jesus rebuking the Pharisees and
Sadducees, because I see myself doing things similar to what they did. This,
in turn,
causes me to question whether or not I am guilty of holding on to human
traditions, rather than keeping God's commands.

Years ago, I can remember discussing this with a Roman Catholic friend who
was training to become a priest. The conversation took place in Valladolid,
Spain, and we were talking about our denominational differences and what was
personally important about our religious traditions. At the end of the
discussion,
my friend said words that I will never forget, which still influence me
today: "No matter what our differences are, John," he said, "I am a
Christian first
and a Roman Catholic second."

Can you imagine what kind of positive and effective influence that we would
have on the world if church people everywhere became Christians first and
their
denominational choice second? A lot of the religious wounds on earth would
be healed, and we could begin to fix our broken world. For me, this means
that
the challenge I face is to be a better Christian than a Presbyterian, and to
continually become a better disciple of Christ than a pastor. In the end,
is that not what Christ expects of me, as well as all of us who follow His
ways?

Point to ponder: Do people see me as a Christian or something else?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all want to be Christians at home, in church, in
school, in our workplaces, and wherever else we go. Help us to grow closer
to You
in such a way that our faith will be honestly and positively displayed to
those around us. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart traqair@aol.com

What it really means to surrender your life
August 22

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will
go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8

Over 200 years ago, a humble shoe cobbler by the name of William Carey stood
before an austere group of ministers at a Baptist association in London,
England.
And he said to those men, “God has put it on my heart to reach the masses
with the Gospel message and to take seriously the command of Christ to take
the
Gospel to the world.”

Well, one rather pompous minister stood to his feet and said to Carey,
“Young man, sit down. When God chooses to save the pagan, He’ll do it at His
own
time and in His own way.” But that would not suffice for William Carey. Bold
in his faith, he went to India, led countless people to Jesus Christ, and
sparked the modern missions movement!

All it took was one little shoe cobbler in England to change the world for
Christ. And he did it despite the fact that many people, even Christians,
were
against Him going. What a bold testimony of faith!

What would your life look like if you served God with that kind of fervor?
Where would you go? What would you do? Take a bold step of faith today and
tell
God, “Wherever... whatever... whenever... I’m yours!”

SURRENDER YOURSELF TO GOD TODAY BY FOLLOWING HIS CALLING ON YOUR LIFE...
WHATEVER IT MAY BE!

Radical Adjustments
by Chuck Swindoll

Joshua 1:9

Extreme dilemmas are usually solved by radical adjustments. It used to be
called "fighting fire with fire." Minor alterations won't do. If the
situation
is getting completely out of hand, a slight modification won't cut it. It's
get-with-it time.

• If the tumor is the size of a grapefruit, taking a handful of vitamins
three times a week isn't the answer.
• If the foundation has shifted so much that the walls are cracking and the
windows won't close, the place needs more than a paint job.
• If the ship is sinking and the storm is getting stronger, it's time to do
something much more decisive than dialogue.
• If the church is emptying because needs are going unmet, singing hymns
and preaching longer sermons won't do the trick.
• If the family isn't talking, serving more meals is hardly the way to turn
things around.

The most radical alternative may sometimes be the most practical. These will
not be the most popular or enjoyable decisions . . . or the most diplomatic.

Radical adjustments make waves, not friends. Heads sometimes roll and hearts
often break. The uninvolved public seldom understands or agrees, especially
at the outset. But the strange thing is that radical adjustments, more often
than not, make pretty good sense when reconsidered through the rearview
mirror.
After the fact, stone-throwing critics ultimately nod their approval . . .
calling the decision "courageous" or even "visionary." What the critics
usually
overlook is just how painful the drastic decision really was.

Are you facing dire circumstances today? Are you paralyzed with fear as you
consider a radical adjustment that God wants you to make? You're not alone.
Tomorrow I'll share with you a story of people who encountered an extreme
situation in which their only choice was to make a radical adjustment. For
now,
commit again to the Lord the radical step which you believe He wants you to
take. As you do, listen to His words to His servant in Joshua 1:9.

On October 12, 1972, a Fairchild F-227 of the Uruguayan Air Force was
chartered by an amateur rugby team. The plan? To fly from Montevideo to
Santiago,
Chile . . . a flight pattern which required flying over the rugged Andes.
There were forty-five on board, including the crew. Bad weather brought the
plane
down in Mendoza, a small Argentinian town. Since the weather improved the
following morning, the Fairchild set off again, flying south to the Planchon
Pass. They would never make their destination.

• At 3:21 p.m. the pilot reported to Air Traffic Control in Santiago that
he was over the Pass of Planchon.
• At 3:24 p.m. he reported their plane was over a small town in Chile named
Curico. He was authorized to turn north and begin his descent to the airport
of Pudahuel.
• At 3:30 p.m. he reported his height—15,000 feet.
• When Santiago control tower spoke to the F-227 one minute later, there
was no reply . . . nor would there be for the next ten weeks. An extreme
dilemma
had transpired.

Several things made search attempts futile. The Andes are a vast,
treacherous, and confusing range. The top of the plane was white, making it
impossible
to spot from the air. Heavy snowfalls caused the vessel to blend into its
surroundings. There was little chance that the plane would ever be found,
and
less chance still that any of the forty-five passengers and crew could have
lived through the fall.

Ten weeks later, a Chilean peasant tending his cattle in a remote valley
deep in the Andes spotted two gaunt, bearded figures in the distance. They
made
wild gestures. They fell to their knees as though in supplication, but the
peasant, fearing they were terrorists, fled the scene. The next day,
however,
he returned and noticed the two strangers were still there across the river.
He approached the bank of the river, wrapped some paper and a pen into a
handkerchief
and tossed it to the other side.

When it was thrown back by the bedraggled figures, these words had been
written with a quivering hand:

I come from a plane that fell in the mountains. I am Uruguayan . . .

Those who endured the ordeal had done so because of a radical adjustment.
They had become cannibals. Instead of starving to death, they decided to
strip thin layers of skin off the frozen bodies of the victims and survive
by
eating the flesh of those who had once been their friends and teammates. It
was literally a life-or-death, albeit painful, decision. But because of it,
sixteen survived and were rescued. Their story is told in a book that bears
an appropriate one-word title—
Alive.

It's possible that you find yourself cornered today. Although you are not
lost in the foreseen Andes, you feel gripped with fear because your
situation
is extreme. It's time to get control of your finances. Or break off that
compromising relationship. Or say yes to God's clear leading. Or come to
terms
with your priorities. Or get your career in gear. It's no time for a mild
and easy shift. The dilemma is extreme and the only solution is a radical
one.

You've thought it through and you've considered all the alternatives. Your
throat is sore from praying and your eyes burn from weeping. You know it's
right,
but you're scared.
Really scared. Initially, somebody won't understand and you'll not be able
to explain. Yet you are convinced it's best . . . it will glorify God . . .
it can be supported by scriptural principles . . . and it's right.

So? So quit procrastinating and do it.

Had Christ not taken a drastic step, sinners like us would've never survived
the fall. We would never have been rescued. We would be permanently lost.
The cross was God's incredible response to our extreme dilemma. Christ did
something radical.

Now it's your turn. Get with it.

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright ©️ 1985,
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

The Church Awakening
Visit insight.org
Copyright ©️ 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved
worldwide.

Thoughts on Why Everything Exists
John Piper

One of the main points of the book, Spectacular Sins and Their Global
Purpose in the Glory of Christ , is that sin and God's wrath against it were
part
of God's plan when he created the world. This is different from saying that
God sins or that he approves of sinning.

The main reason for making this point is to exalt the revelation of God's
grace in the crucifixion of Jesus to the highest place. This is the point of
the universe--the glorification of the grace of God in the apex of its
expression in the death of Jesus.

Jesus died for sin ( 1 Corinthians 15:3
). The death of Jesus for sin was planned before the foundation of the world
(
Revelation 13:8 ;
Ephesians 1:4-6 ). Therefore, sin was part of the plan. God carries this
plan through in a way that maintains full human accountability, full hatred
for
sin, full divine justice, and full saving love for all who trust Christ. And
we don't need to know
how he does it to believe it and rest in it and worship him for it.

This morning I was meditating for my devotions on Ezra 8 and Ezra 9
. I saw there another pointer to the truth of God's planning for human sin
and divine wrath.

In Ezra 8:22
, Ezra says, "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and
his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him." This text leads me
to ask: Did God know before creation that his creatures would "forsake him."
Yes, he did. The plan for their redemption was in place before the
foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:3-6
).

Was Ezra 8:22
true before the foundation of the world? Yes, it was. God did not become
holy and just
after creation. He has always been holy and just. "His power and his wrath
are against all who forsake him" because this is, and always has been, the
holy
and just thing for God to do.

Therefore, since God knew that his creatures would forsake him, he also knew
that his power and wrath would be against them. Therefore, this was part of
his plan. He created the world knowing that sin would happen and that he
would respond as
Ezra 8:22 says he does.

This planning is what Paul means in Romans 9:22
when he says that God was "desiring to show his
wrath and to make known his power. . ." And if you ask Paul why God would go
forward with this plan, his most ultimate answer is in the next verse: "in
order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy" (
Romans 9:23 ).

God knew that the revelation of his wrath and power against sin would make
the riches of his glory shine all the brighter and taste all the sweeter for
the vessels of mercy.

"The riches of his glory" are the riches we inherit when we see his glory in
all the fullness that we can bear (
Ephesians 1:18
) and are transformed by it (
Romans 8:30 ; 2 Corinthians 3:18 ; 1 John 3:2
). These riches of glory reach their supreme height of wonder and beauty in
the death of Jesus as he bore the condemnation of God's wrath and power in
our place (
Romans 8:3 ; Galatians 3:13 ).

In other words, God's plan that there be sin and wrath in the universe was
ultimately to bring about "the praise of the glory of his grace" in the
death
of Christ (
Ephesians 1:6
). What is at stake in the sovereignty of God over sin is the ultimate aim
of the universe, namely, the exaltation of the Son of God in the greatest
act
of wrath-removing, sin-forgiving, justice-vindicating grace that ever was or
ever could be. The praise of the glory of God's grace in the death of Christ
for sinners is the ultimate end of all things.

Christ is the aim of all things. When Paul says, "All things were created .
. .
for him" ( Colossians 1:16
), he means that the entire universe and all the events in it serve to
glorify Jesus Christ. May the meditations of our hearts take us ever deeper
into
this mystery. And may the words of our mouths and the actions of our hands
serve to magnify the infinite worth of Jesus and his death. This is why we
exist.

By John Piper. (c) Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email:
mail@desiringGod.org . Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.


God's Comfort For Those Who Comfort Others

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be
watered. -
Proverbs 11:25

We are taught here the great lesson that to get, we must give; to
accumulate, we must scatter; to make ourselves happy, we must make others
happy; and
in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of
others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be
useful bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and
unused gifts that become apparent by exercise. Our strength for work is even
hidden
from ourselves until we take our stand and fight the Lord's battles or climb
the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we
possess
until we try to dry the widow's tears and soothe the orphan's grief.

We often find in attempting to teach others that we gain instruction for
ourselves. What gracious lessons some of us have learned in visiting the
sick!
We went to teach the Scriptures, and we came away blushing that our
knowledge of them was so poor. In our conversation with humble saints, we
are taught
the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into
divine truth. So watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace
there is where we had not looked for it, and how much the humble saint may
outstrip us in knowledge.

Our own comfort is also increased by working for others. We endeavor to
cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Consider the two men
in
the snow-one massaged the other's limbs to keep him from dying, and in doing
so kept his own blood circulating and saved his own life. Remember the poor
widow who supplied the prophet's needs from her own meager resources, and
from that day she never experienced need again. Give, and it will be given
to
you-good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 13

verse 2 Romans 11

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

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

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

• Jesus as the True Prophet
• Jesus as the Great High Priest
• Jesus as the Conquering King
• Jesus as the Seed of the Woman
• Jesus as the Son of Man
• Jesus as the Suffering Servant
• Jesus as the Lamb on the Throne
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c)
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good

Strength for Such a Time as This
August 23, 2017

Read: Esther 4:12-17, 8:4-8

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for
the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.
And
who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
(4:14)

Injustice is wrong, but saying it’s wrong and acting to right the wrong are
two different things. Yes, Christians are called to pray for change.
However,
we are also called to seek justice (Isa. 1:17). We should not sit
comfortably in our communities and depend on others to stand up for what is
right. We
must make a choice. We will either ignore the problems or do something to
change them.

Queen Esther had an important choice to make. Would she risk her life to
save her people from an unjust death, or would she remain silent to keep
herself
safe inside the palace walls? Persian traditions limit her abilities, but
she is uniquely positioned to influence the king. The key to her success is
admitting
that she can’t change anything without God’s strength. By fasting and
praying, she gains clarity and courage to stand before the king, and her
request
saves the lives of her people.

Like Esther, we need courage to do what’s right even if that puts our jobs
and relationships at risk. Let’s ask ourselves, “What’s happening in our
sphere
of influence?” Maybe God has us right in the middle to change it! —Ericka
Loynes

Prayer: God, give us strength to seek justice for those who need it in such
a time as this.

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

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 30 Sep 2017, 1:45 pm

Strength to Move Past Our Failures
August 20, 2017

Read: Luke 22:54-62 ;

Acts 2:36-41

But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And
immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord
turned
and looked at Peter . . . And [Peter] went out and wept bitterly. (Luke
22:60-62)

Have you ever known people who are outspoken? They are not afraid to say
what’s on their mind and may pride themselves on being the only honest folks
in
the room. Though honesty is admirable, people speaking without thinking are
like bulls in a china shop. You can bet that they are going to cause some
damage.

Out of all the disciples, Peter was probably the most vocal and to the
point. He was quick to give his opinion and to let you know when he didn’t
agree.
So, it was no surprise that when Peter was told he would deny Jesus, he was
quick to reject it. Later, however, it happened. Peter had failed Jesus, and
his words left an ugly mark.

Whether we’re soft-spoken or outspoken, we all fall short of where we want
to be. The true test of our character depends on what we do after we make a
mistake. Judas Iscariot and Peter both betrayed Jesus, but Judas’ sorrow led
to death, whereas Peter’s sorrow led to repentance and life (2 Cor. 7:10).
We can stay down and wallow in self-pity, or we can reach out to God and ask
for his strength to help us recover (Prov. 24:16). —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the strength to get back up when we fail.

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

Kill Me Now
by Shawn McEvoy

If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now --if I
have found favor in your eyes -- and do not let me face my own ruin."
Numbers 11:15

...while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom
tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die."I have had enough,
Lord,"
he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
1 Kings 19:4

Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah 4:3

What kind of a person feels like this? A schmo like me, at times, sure.
Maybe you, or people you know. Surely not the heroes of the Old Testament.

Well, truth is, even God's greatest leaders and prophets got to the point in
their respective stories where, even after witnessing indescribable miracles
and blessings, their circumstances were so overwhelming, impossible and
undesirable their attitude was, "Just kill me now, Lord!" Exhausted in body,
soul,
and spirit, they cried out that they had had enough. They could go no longer
in their own power.

The first quote above is from Moses, who had a People Problem. The wandering
Israelites were hungry, and as usual, it fell to Moses to solve the problem.
He cried out to the Lord, "Was it I who conceived these people? Was it I who
brought them forth?" He looked around and couldn't figure out how to satisfy
everyone.

The second quote is from Elijah, who had a Pity Problem. This was a prophet
who had just called down fire from heaven, destroyed the prophets of Baal,
and witnessed the end of a long drought. But just a few verses later, one
vow from one wicked queen has him in such despair that he fears he can't go
on
like this.

The third quote is from Jonah , who had a Pouting Problem. He'd finally
obeyed to the point of going to Nineveh and preaching repentance, but when
the Lord
relented and stayed his hand rather than destroying the city, Jonah wasn't
happy. He folded his hands and "became angry" that the destruction he
forecast
never arrived.

Consider who these men were and what they had seen, what the Lord had done
through them. Moses parted the Red Sea and led a people out of slavery.
Elijah
stood strong during a time of tremendous pagan influence, prayed down fire
and rain, and actually never died (so chalk up at least one unanswered
prayer!).
Jonah is one of the first stories we tell our children, about how God
provided a great fish to swallow him for such a period as he could learn
about obedience
and repentance.

Not only that, but these guys all show up in the Gospels, in one way or
another. Moses and Elijah are present at Jesus' transfiguration ( Mark 9 ).
In
Matthew 12:38-41 , Jesus tells the Pharisees they won't get any sign from
him other than the sign of Jonah, foreshadowing the three days He Himself
would
spend in the belly of the Earth.

But interestingly enough, Jesus, even with all he had going on, apparently
never felt this way. He knew his destiny was to die, but even so prayed that
such a cup might
pass from him. And let's not forget that he is our example, not Moses, not
Elijah, and not Jonah, great as they were.

When we feel the way that these guys did, we need to realize that anyone
wanting to die rather than trust God through adversity is under attack. And
our
enemy can bring that attack through people, pity, and pouting. It comes when
our body is not healthy, our soul is not happy, and our spirit is not holy.

But conveniently enough, Paul shows us a prayer that covers all these bases.
He writes in 1 Thessalonians 5
, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your
spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will
bring
it to pass." (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ).

You aren't alone when you feel like you can't go on, or like you would be
better off dead than standing strong in the face of the overwhelming task
God
has given you, especially when you are weak in body, soul, and spirit, and
the enemy is on the attack. And truly, it is comforting to know that some of
the
Bible
's greatest faith warriors and miracle workers shared these feelings. But it
doesn't mean they were right. Let us not indulge hopelessness, for it may
always be found. Instead, let us remember that we serve a God of hope and of
miracles and we follow the One who never copped to people, pity, or pouting,
but willingly laid his life down for
others, not for himself.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Develop a plan that gives you exercise and rest
in proper amounts for your body, soul, and spirit, so that you will be less
prone to attack.
Editor's note: The content was taken from this original article .


We need to elevate the average person’s knowledge for preventative
legal checkups, but how?
ByMARY E. JUETTEN

Access to justice was on the agenda at the recent ABA Annual meeting and
even appeared in the Global Legal Blockchain announcement, that took
place during ILTA 2017. The 2016 ABAReport
on
the Future of Legal Services in the US noted that, in addition limited
financial resources, people cannot address their legal issues because
they often do not know that a legal problem exists. Therefore, it’s
equally important to address this education gap, particularly for
preventative legal services.

*Statistics Don’t Lie*

Over the past seven years since my law school graduation, I have spoken
to thousands of entrepreneurs about taking early steps to protect their
businesses.SBA statistics

show that over 19 million businesses operate as sole proprietorships,
putting personal assets at risk. These companies are small operations,
without any employees, and over 80% report revenue less than $50K.
Therefore, the sole proprietors most likely cannot afford a traditional
lawyer. Although incorporation or LLC formation is relatively
inexpensive, for some reason, these business owners forge ahead, risking
their family security.

A couple years ago, when preparing for Small Business Association (SBA)
and SCORE (formerly Service Corps of Retired Executives) webinars, I
looked at the Kaufman studies that showed at the end of the first year
in business only one in five startups had protected any of their
intellectual property. In one webinar, with over 400 businesses owners,
more than 100 responded online that they do not believe that they had
any intellectual property (IP) worth protecting. Of course, all have
some type of IP, and all businesses have a name that either needs to be
protected or defended. It appears we have an education challenge around
mission-critical steps for small business.
READ MORE: https://abovethelaw.com/2017/09/the-education-gap-in-the-law/


September 27, 2017
ByMark Jones, Komando.com
Cybercriminals have been extremely active lately. Nearly 143 million
Americans are still dealing with Equifax's data breach, which means
you're most likely impacted. If so,click here to find out what you need
to do with your Social Security number immediately
.

Even though the Equifax breach was so substantial, we can't take our eye
off the ball and stop paying attention to other attacks. We've just
learned of a massive data breach at one of the country's most popular
chain restaurants and your finances could be at risk.

*Has your financial information been stolen?**
*We're talking about the popular fast-food chain, *Sonic Drive-In*.
There are about 3,600 Sonic locations across 45 states in the U.S.
KrebsOnSecurity recently discovered about 5 million stolen credit and
debit card numbers for sale on theDark Web
. A common
thread with many of the stolen cards is they were recently used to make
purchases at different Sonic locations. The company later confirmed that
it had recently seen unusual security activity with its point-of-sale
(POS) system.
The company told Krebs, "Our credit card processor informed us last week
of unusual activity regarding credit cards used at SONIC. The security
of our guests' information is very important to SONIC. We are working to
understand the nature and scope of this issue, as we know how important
this is to our guests. We immediately engaged third-party forensic
experts and law enforcement when we heard from our processor. While law
enforcement limits the information we can share, we will communicate
additional information as we are able."
At this time, the company does not know how many or which of its
locations have been impacted by the breach. It's also unclear if other
companies were part of the breach.
READ MORE:
https://www.komando.com/happening-now/421901/millions-of-credit-card-numbers-stolen-from-popular-fast-food-ch


The Eternal Shore: Five Things We Forget About Heaven
Gavin Ortlund / August 10, 2017
The Eternal Shore

In 1952, Florence Chadwick tried to swim from Catalina Island to the coast
of California. For fifteen hours, she endured choppy waters, possible shark
attacks, and extreme fatigue. Then a thick fog set in. She gave up.

Two months later, she tried again. This time, though it was foggy again, she
made it. When asked what made the difference, she said, “The first time all
I could see was the fog. The second time I kept a mental image of that
shoreline in my mind while I swam.”

For me, Chadwick’s comment gives a great image of how heaven should function
in our lives as we follow Jesus. In order to persevere through the fog and
fatigue of life, we need a mental image of the eternal shoreline toward
which we swim.

But if you’re like me, you tend to think about heaven far less than you
should. Many days it’s completely off my radar screen. What’s more, when we
do
think about heaven, we have a lot of misconceptions about it, as Randy
Alcorn
has helped us understand .

So lately, I’ve been trying to think more about heaven. As I’ve done so,
several features of heaven have surprised me. Think of these as qualities we
often
forget about heaven — parts of the shoreline most likely to be overlooked.

1. All the Saints Are Equals

When I picture my grandfather in heaven, I picture him as he looked toward
the end of his life, because that is when I knew him. But of course, he won’t
have an aged, broken-down, 84-year-old body in heaven — any more than those
who die in infancy will remain infants for all eternity. Everyone in heaven
will have a perfected resurrection body (Matthew 22:30).

So here is a happy thought: my grandfather greeting my children in heaven,
and all of them hugging as equals. Oh, how I pray for this! What a joy it
would
be to introduce them.

2. All the Saints Are Friends

Imagine being out for a walk and bumping into Charles Spurgeon. Or Moses. Or
Joni Eareckson Tada (who, of course, can walk and run!). All the saints,
from
all times, will be your intimate friends and neighbors. It is, after all,
eternity, so if you miss anyone over the first ten billion years, you’ll
have
no less time to get started.

Personally, I look forward to having a conversation with C.S. Lewis. I feel
like I have come to know C.S. Lewis somewhat because I have spent so much
time
in his books. I cannot wait to tell him all that I love about
Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, and Till We Have Faces, and see what he
thinks about my theories.

3. Sadness Is Permanently Unmade

We know that earthly sadness cannot enter heaven. This is true, but the
Bible seems to point to something even more profound — that heaven will
enter our
earthly sadness.

Once when I was preaching on heaven, my eye was drawn to Revelation 21:4:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” This verse seems to be
claiming
more than simply, “We won’t weep in heaven.” The imagery of God
wiping away our tears seems to suggest consolation for, as well as the end
of, earthly grief. Heaven will not merely end our pain — somehow, it will
mend
it.

Tim Keller puts it like this
: “Resurrection . . . means that every horrible thing that ever happened
will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual
glory
and joy even greater.” It’s like at the end of
The Lord of the Rings, when Sam asks Gandalf, “Is everything sad going to
come untrue?”

Imagine yourself newly arrived in heaven. God Almighty summons you. As you
stand trembling before him, he surgically draws up the deepest wound of your
life, healing you and transforming your pain into glory and joy.

Such imagery is tender to the point of embarrassment. Dare we believe it?
Dare we not?

4. Every Pleasure Finally Finds Itself

We tend to think about the spiritual joy of heaven more than its physical
pleasures. But I think heaven will have both. I’ll be the first to admit I
don’t
know how to imagine all the details, but I don’t think God created
waterfalls, raspberries, relationships, and art only to destroy them forever
so we could
float in an ethereal, cloudy realm. And I’m pretty sure the “pleasures
forevermore” at God’s right hand (Psalm 16:11) are not exhausted by an
eternity
of singing praise choruses.

That means something startling: not only will heaven heal your earthly
sorrow, but it will also recall, answer, and fulfill all your earthly
happiness.
Your happy moments on earth are not lost to you. They will return to you, in
some deeper form — part of that final, settled Happiness of which they were,
even at their best, mere anticipations.

It’s like in The Chronicles of Narnia when one of the characters makes it to
heaven and says, “This is the land I have been looking for all my life,
though
I never knew it till now. The reason we loved the old Narnia is that it
sometimes looked a little like this.”

In happy moments, I sometimes pray, “Lord, store this up until heaven.” I
believe that is a valid prayer.

5. We Will See Jesus

How amazing will it be to finally see, with our own eyes, the risen,
glorified, incarnate Christ in heaven? Truly, this will be one of the most
glorious
parts of heaven. The one to whom we’ve prayed a thousand times — but he’s
always been invisible to us — now we can look into his eyes. We can put our
hands
into the holes in his wrists. We can hug him and say, “Thank you” into his
ear.

But there are hints in the Bible of something even more intriguing (Psalm
11:7; 17:15; 27:4; Revelation 22:4). Theologians have often spoken of the
“beatific
vision” — that heavenly vision which involves not our resurrected bodily
eyes, but “the eye of the soul.” In this way, it is said, we will behold
Christ
in his divine nature — a glory that surpasses the sweetness of laying our
physical eyes on him.

Even the greatest theologians labor to describe this experience. But all
agree it is the ultimate happiness of creatures.
John Owen claimed
that it “will make us blessed unto eternity.” Jonathan Edwards called it
“happifying.”

Such an encounter with the glory of Christ can scarcely be imagined. How
will we even endure such light and joy? Surely this will be the pinnacle
moment
of our existence, as we ascend into that permanent roar of joy from which we
shall never, and can never, descend.

That Eternal Shore

These features of heaven’s eternal shoreline change how we swim, don’t they?
For now, we struggle through rough waters, deep fatigue, and thick fog. But
the day is coming soon when the seemingly unending waves will give way to a
broad, sturdy shoreline where the joy is full and the pleasures are
forevermore.
Knowing this awaits us at the shore can help us keep swimming, no matter how
choppy the waves get.


Kindness

While traveling from one city to the next, a man was overtaken by robbers.
Taking his clothes and possessions, they left him badly beaten. Not long
after
the attack, a priest traveled the same road. He passed by without stopping.
Then another traveler saw the man but did not offer to help.

Finally, someone stopped--a Samaritan. He put bandages on the man's wounds
and took him to an inn for the night. The next day he gave the innkeeper
money
and instructions to take care of the wounded man.

The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10
is a wonderful example of godly kindness. It also demonstrates that kindness
often requires something of us--time, plans, privacy, and desires. The Good
Samaritan interrupted his travel plans to help a stranger. What better
example to follow than that of Christ? He gave us the ultimate gift of
kindness--He
died that we might live.

However, we cannot learn to be kind simply by disciplining ourselves.
Kindness can be hard work, and from time to time, this may mean that we have
to face
difficult situations that drain us emotionally and physically.

Often kindness cannot grow apart from conflict and strife. We learn to be
kind through the kindness of others, but we also learn a greater kindness
when
we are called to be kind and caring in difficult situations.

A disagreement with a co-worker, spouse, friend, or family member can tempt
us to be abrupt or uncaring. Circumstances appear out of focus and God's
fruit
of kindness becomes lost in the battle. However, through the power of Christ
we are able to act in kindness even toward those who hurt us. Is there
someone
who needs your kindness today?

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love
as brothers, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8).

****

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3 Ways to Speak Life Today
By Sophie Hudson

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth
with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not
sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the
devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest
work
with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in
need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is
good
for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who
hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for
the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and
slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
" - Ephesians 4:25-32

I hope you don’t find this hard to believe, but since I work with teenage
girls every day, I sometimes have to deal with a little bit of drama.

Shocking, I know.

Sometimes the drama is because of a misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s because
of a social media post (if I could, I would insert all the red-faced emojis
right here). Sometimes it’s because of a boy.

More often than not, the drama is directly tied to words. And believe me,
there are all sorts of word-related offenders: a hastily sent email, a group
text gone wrong, a sarcastic remark in the hallway, a rumor that’s passed
along thoughtlessly--we could go on and on.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of one of those things, you know
how much it can hurt. But sometimes, we’re the ones who do the hurting, and
I
understand why it happens. We’re always looking for ways to feel connected
to other people--to feel accepted and “safe”--so when the enemy dangles bait
that gives us a chance to be a mocker as opposed to mocked, to be the
scorner instead of scorned, we can feel tempted to lunge at that seemingly
tasty
morsel. So we start a rumor, share some gossip, roast the new girl--and we
act like it’s all in good fun.

After all, the bait looks delicious, right?

But don’t be fooled, sweet girls: that bait is a trap. And that trap will
hook you and hold you for longer than you ever intended to stay there.

That’s why it’s critical to use our words well. Proverbs 18:21
tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who
love it will eat its fruits” (ESV). So every time we speak, we are choosing
life or death.

Let me repeat that.

Every time we speak, we are choosing life or death.

We can build up, encourage, love, and support. Or we can tear down, wound,
hate, and reject.

So, I just want to offer three quick suggestions that will hopefully remind
us of how important it is to speak life today:

1. Every single person is made in the image of God. Every. Single. One. It’s
good to remember that before we share the latest rumor or pass along “news”
that’s really none of our business. The person you’re tempted to talk about
is precious in God’s sight. Choose your words carefully.

2. Empathy changes how we respond. Instead of firing off a sarcastic remark,
take ten seconds to really think about how the other person feels--and how
you feel when people are unkind to you. Think about the possibility that
what you and the other person really need is a conversation, not an
argument.

3. It’s so much more rewarding to create a culture of honor and esteem than
it is to settle for a culture of mean. And if you’re tempted to think the
culture
can’t be any different--that you can’t make a difference--then stand up for
someone who’s having a tough time. You’ll see what an impact even one person
can have.

Give grace. Speak life. Your words are more powerful than you know.

Excerpted from All in All Journaling Devotional: Loving God Wherever You Are
by Sophie Hudson. (c)2017 Used with permission, B&H Publishing Group.

Sophie Hudson loves to laugh more than just about anything. Through her
books and her popular blog, BooMama.net, she offers encouragement and hope
in the
everyday, joy-filled moments of life. A devoted fan of pajama pants, Sophie
loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire
seasons
of TV shows in record time. She lives with her husband and son in
Birmingham, Alabama.
Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !

7 Habits to Help You Fight Comparison
Jaquelle Crowe

“If only” are two of the deadliest words in a Christian’s vocabulary. If
only I looked like her. If only I had as much money as him. If only my kids
were
as well-behaved as theirs. If only I could speak, work, cook, travel, think,
do,
be like someone else.

We are plagued by comparison.

We compare our bodies, our jobs, our families, our skills, our stuff, our
intellects, in an ever-increasing desire for complete satisfaction. We want
to
be attractive, successful, and happy. So we measure ourselves against the
people around us. But instead of resulting in contentment, our comparison
delivers
compulsive jealousy, pride, and shame.

We envy those who are “better” than us, and we look down on those who are
“worse” than us. And once we’ve started comparing ourselves, we slide into a
bitterly insatiable cycle. The more we compare ourselves, the more we
need to compare ourselves. It’s an addiction. We’re on a quest for
acceptance and joy, but are paralyzed by the pressure to look, do, and be
better than
the people around us.

Because of this, we are distracted from our purpose, mission, and need to
pursue holiness. This is why comparison is so deadly.

Comparison Is Anti-Gospel

But comparison isn’t just unhealthy for Christians; it’s downright
antithetical to the faith we profess. The gospel is a message of radical
acceptance—but
it starts with recognizing we are not okay. We’re not beautiful, worthy,
successful, perfect, or better than anyone else. We’re all sinners, every
one
of us. But in Christ, God has accepted us. He cleansed us, clothed us, saved
us, changed us, loved us, adopted us—
and he fulfills us.

As Tim Keller famously said,

The gospel is the good news of gracious acceptance…Christians who trust in
Christ for their acceptance with God, rather than in their own moral
character,
commitment, or performance, are
simul iustus et peccator – simultaneously sinful yet accepted. We are more
flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and
accepted
than we ever dared hope at the same time.

The God of the universe has accepted us! Why would we try to find our value
in being better than another human? I believe the search for acceptance is
ultimately at the root of our comparison. We want to be better than others
so we can be loved more. We think, “If I was prettier, smarter, wealthier, a
better parent, spouse, employee, I would be loved.”

But we have been accepted, and nothing we do can change that. Yet comparison
rejects the humble glory of the gospel and says, “No, that’s untrue. I need
to work harder.”

Seven Habits to Help You Fight Comparison

So how do we get out of this self-destructive trap? How do we break the
cycle? Ultimately, we embrace our identity as children of God, wholly
accepted
and loved. But how do we get to that place?

First, we have to recognize that it’s not an overnight cure or a magical
mental shift. Instead, change comes from intentionally cultivating holy
habits
that fight the lure of comparison.

Here are seven of these holy habits to pursue:

1. Feast on gospel-truth.

Get in God’s Word and marinate your mind in gospel-truth. Read and reflect
on and apply what you read. Get your strength and sustenance for each day
from
this living, active book.

2. Look for your comparison, and confess it.

Start intentionally looking for what triggers your comparison. Are there
regular rhythms or moments when you struggle with it? Identify them, notice
them,
and repent of them. Recognize comparison for the sin it is, and run from it.

3. Surround yourself with humble teachers.

Listen to the people who are not marked by insecurity, comparison, and envy.
Take counsel from the humble. Surround yourself with those who are generous
and big-hearted and who love others deeply.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

4. Read books that challenge your self-focus.

As I’ve struggled with my tendency to compare myself to others, two books
(after the Word of God) have hugely helped me. The first is New Morning
Mercies,
a daily gospel devotional by Paul Tripp, and the second is
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller. Both of these books
recognize that we humans have a self-focus problem and seek to re-orient our
perspectives
by giving us practical (and kind) help in pursuing humility.

5. Train yourself to love better.

Instead of using people as measuring sticks against yourself, take steps to
treat them as image-bearing individuals. Serve them. Pray for them. Do good
to them. Encourage them. Give to them. Sacrifice for them. And see your
attitude toward them change.

6. Cultivate gratitude.

We compare ourselves because we are discontent. Fight comparison by
nurturing daily thankfulness. Start noticing small mercies. Include specific
times
of gratitude in your prayer time. Pay attention to all the ways God is
showing his grace to you.

7. Remind yourself of your identity in Christ.

In other words, preach the gospel of acceptance in Christ to yourself. You
are fully known and fully loved by your Creator God, and nothing can change
that. As you seek to combat comparison, rejoice in the gospel. This is the
only thing that has the power to break the chains of jealousy, pride, shame,
and self-focus, and free us to live satisfied, content, and happy in Jesus.

This article originally appeared on UnlockingTheBible.org
. Used with permission.

Jaquelle Crowe (@JaquelleCrowe) is a 19-year-old writer from eastern Canada.
She’s a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and the editor-in-chief
of
TheRebelution.com . She is the author of
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Crossway,
April 2017). You can find more of her writing at jaquelle.ca .
Image courtesy: ©️Thinkstock/WavebreakmediaLtd
Salem Web Network | Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. | 111 Virginia St.,
Suite 500, Richmond, VA 23219
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


God's Steadfast Love

The steadfast love of God. - Psalms 52:8

Meditate a little on this steadfast love of the Lord. It is tender love.
With gentle, loving touch, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their
wounds.
He is as gracious in the manner of His steadfast love as in the matter of
it. It is great steadfast love. There is nothing little in God; His
steadfast
love is like Himself-it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so
great that it forgives great sins to great sinners after great lengths of
time
and then gives great favors and great privileges and raises us up to great
enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.

It is undeserved steadfast love, as indeed all true mercy must be, for
deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the
sinner's
part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed
at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if
delivered
from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in
the sinner himself. It is rich steadfast love. Some things are great but
have
little efficacy in them, but this steadfast love is a tonic to your drooping
spirits, a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds, a heavenly bandage to
your broken bones, a royal chariot for your weary feet, a bosom of love for
your trembling heart.

It is manifold steadfast love. As Bunyan says, "All the flowers in God's
garden are double." There is no single steadfast love. You may think you
have
only one steadfast love, but you will find it to be a whole cluster of
mercies. It is abounding steadfast love. Millions have received it, but far
from
its being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is
unfailing steadfast love. It will never leave you. If mercy is your friend,
mercy will be with you in temptation to keep you from yielding, with you in
trouble to prevent you from sinking, with you in living to be the light and
life of your countenance, and with you in dying to be the joy of your soul
when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 1 Samuel 9

verse 2 Romans 7

Name above All Names

By Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

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

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

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

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

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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


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

"No Matter the Circumstance ~ Count on Christ!"
August 21, 2017
Matthew 15:21-23a - Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre
and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out,
"Lord,
Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon
possession." Jesus did not answer a word. ...
Count on Christ! That's the message of our lesson for today. In this lesson
we see a woman who is at the end of her rope. She's a loving mother who had
a very sick daughter, and the Bible says that her daughter was troubled by a
demon. Her world was in chaos.

When the world in all its chaos gets very real, then the uniqueness of Jesus
shines even more clearly. That's what this lady understood. No matter what
she was facing, Jesus was here, and that made all the difference for her.

Her faith in Him made all the difference too because in her mind He would do
what was best for her and for her daughter. To that end her persistent faith

demonstrates that you can count on Jesus, even when you can't count on
anything else.

You can count on Jesus when all else fails; you can even count on Him when
He seems silent for a time. Why? The cross and the resurrection demonstrate
publicly what He thinks about you and what He wants for us.

So even when Jesus is silent, or even when He appears to be unconcerned, the
woman of this text says don't you believe it. He loves you and will do what
is best.

Back to the lesson. Hey! In fact, what about Jesus' responses? He seems to
put her off; He seems to mildly insult her. Why would He do such a thing??
It
seems so unlike Him.

Some say His silence -- or later His even somewhat rebuke -- some say that
was to deepen her faith and trust in Him.

I say no it's much more than that. It's to exhibit her faith, to demonstrate
her faith for all to see -- especially those of us today who might be having
a hard time with what we think God is doing for us or not doing for us at
the moment.

Her faith was a shining example for those present and for us today. She was
in essence saying, "Whatever you do for me, Jesus, it will be best for me.
I can put my trust in You alone. So I'm committing my life, my daughter's
life, to You. Period."

Some people think the woman's faith caused Jesus to act. That misses the
whole point too. She knew the depth of the mercy of this Jesus who stood
before
her. He was the one that David longed to see. He was the one that Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob yearned for. He was the Lord, the Master who brings God's
mercy
to her and to all.

She was bold in her response. She said, "I have a Master who treats me with
mercy!"

Jesus, You know, if You want to call me a house dog, I'm okay with it. It
means I'm a part of Your house. You're my Lord, I'm with You. I'm no stray.
I'm
not on my own. I'm with You, and that's all right."

You see everyone in the world, we all have a master, but most people go
searching for love and peace and happiness in other sinful people or in
inanimate
things. They try to go it on their own, but they don't realize His crumbs
are better than everyone else's filet mignon.

• Lord, if only Your crumbs -- that's enough for me.
• If only Your loving touch -- I will rest secure.
• If only Your simple word -- I will be satisfied.

Wow! I wish I could have seen Jesus' face. I think He couldn't wait to bless
her trust in Him. Jesus is overjoyed at such confidence in Him, and that's
what He wants for you today, too!

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let this woman be an example to all of us of faith's
persistence to engage You as the source of our very lives, now and forever!
Amen.
In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Readings: 1 Chronicles 17-19; 1 Corinthians 13
Print this Devotion
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Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission;
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 28 Sep 2017, 2:21 pm

When Life is Harder than You Expected
Jennifer Heeren

I have a great, big imagination that I thank God for because it brings
immense creativity to my life. However, there is a downside to it. I can see
a lot
of wonderful scenarios happening in my future. Some of which give me a
direction to walk toward and may even be from God. But others may simply be
of my
own mind and not a plan for my future. I can want a lot of things that may
not actually be the best for me.

God seems to sort through the multiple scenarios that get caught in my head.
Some of them may come to be and some of them won’t. The expectations that
aren’t from God will dissipate over time. The ones that are from God will
grow over time. This growth requires patience, faithfulness, and even
self-control.
God uses trials in life to grow this fruit in my life. Not everything that I
can dream will come to fruition. Life is harder than I expect. And this is
a good thing.

A good thing? How can that be?

Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take
heart, because I have overcome the world”
(John 16:33).

He doesn’t say to enjoy the trials. He knows that a lot of them will be
sorrowful. But when I see them, I can take heart (or be encouraged) that
Jesus
has overcome them by giving me the ability to withstand those
disappointments and go forward to something better.

Jesus overcomes these obstacles of disappointment by using them to grow my
faith and dependence on Him. The more I see my botched expectations, the
easier
it is to go in the exact direction that God planned for me all along.

Disappointments in life are tests that help me to develop my “God sight.” If
something doesn’t turn out like I expected, it’s an opportunity to see a
little
bit more of God’s plan. Seeing what doesn’t work helps me to see what does.
Of course, sometimes it’s my own stubbornness that causes me to have to
learn
things the hard way, and the hard way almost always contains
disappointments.

But… Jesus has overcome all of this! He gives me the strength every day to
make new choices when my initial expectations don’t work out.

My growth in the areas of patience and faithfulness leads to strengthened
endurance.
James 1:4 says that when my endurance is fully developed, I will be perfect
and complete, needing nothing. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? But perfect,
complete, and not needing anything doesn’t mean independent. Independence
and my pride is what gets me into a lot of trouble—that’s my before picture.
My after picture (or at least the one that I am striving for) is one of
complete and utter dependence on God and this is how I become complete and
whole.

Jesus’ death and resurrection overcame the world’s evil and gave believers
like me the strength to overcome my trials and problems. I overcome by
living
a different way—His way—instead of my own way.

But then there’s another problem. Life isn’t just hard when I do things my
own way and then reap the consequences. It’s also hard even when I am trying
to follow God’s way.

Trials come when I go my own way and when I follow God. Faith and obedience
don’t guarantee a smooth life with no disappointments.

Life can often be harder than we expect when tragedies happen:

• You’re diagnosed with a debilitating illness or even paralysis and are
bedridden.
• Your child dies way before his or her time.
• You watch a loved one slowly fade away from cancer.

Any of the above can happen to believers and unbelievers. No one is immune
from life’s tragic moments. Life is very fragile, as well as precious.

Disappointments can come simply because it’s a fallen world.
Satan does everything possible to distract people from following God. He can’t
really stop you from living your life for God but he can place obstacles
in your way that hinder you. He can whisper doubts that can go straight to
your heart if you let them. And if those doubts imbed themselves within your
mind, they can take root as bitterness. Bitterness comes out in the form of
anger, self-pity, and even depression, all of which halt your ability to
walk
along God’s path for your life.

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But… let me repeat… God has overcome all of that!

The phrase “But God…” appears a lot in the Bible for a very good reason.
Disappointments will happen
but God is with you to comfort and help you walk through them.

When disappointments seem to block my way, I can hurdle them and continue on
my way. Occasionally though, it’s not that simple. Some disappointments are
bigger than others. Those may require me to step off the path for a bit and
nurse my wounds by reading God’s Truth and connecting with other people for
extra encouragement. But then… I can get back on the road and go forward.

Life is always going to be harder than I expect. My expectations and God’s
ultimate plan often look different.

Bring God all of your expectations.

Stay near to Him.

Learn from Him through it all.

And… the sum of your life will be better than you expect no matter what
elements go into it.

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:21
)

Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people
are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write
devotional
articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is
always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She
regularly
contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her
husband. Visit her at
www.jenniferheeren.com .


Rebuilding the Temple

Haggai 1:2-4 (NASB95)
2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come,
even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.” ’ ” 3 Then the word
of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you
yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”

The Israelites had been in exile throughout Babylon but those who wanted to
were allowed to come back to Jerusalem where they found the city, including
the temple in shambles. When they first got back they started working on the
temple but then left it alone while they just took care of themselves. There
are some people who become Christians and do all that Christians should do
but then they let other things get in the way. They start building their own
houses of careers and leisure pursuits. These things are not bad but they
leave the building of the temple of their spiritual lives unfinished.

If you belong to Jesus Christ, He lives in you and you are a temple. If you
truly belong to Him, He is your firm foundation on which to build. He even
tells us how to build our temple:

Matthew 7:24-25 (NRSV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be
like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock.

So Jesus Christ is the rock and we build our temple through obedience to
Him. What are the building blocks we are to use? Peter tells us:

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NASB95)
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith
supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in
your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in
your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and
are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At times in our lives some of the building blocks might not be as strong as
they once were. Do any of us need to rebuild part or all of our temples?

by Dean W. Masters

5 Exciting Ways Jesus is with You Always
by Jesus’ Economy

by John D. Barry, CEO of Jesus’ Economy

If Jesus seems distant to you, you are not alone. For many, Jesus is
abstract. He is like that piece of modern art you just don’t get and have
trouble
relating to. But this is not the Jesus in the gospels nor of early church
tradition. Jesus is
right here, right now—and that idea will renew your life.

1. Jesus is indeed fully human and fully God—that changes everything.

In the moment when God becomes flesh, God is with us in a more profound way
than ever before. Jesus took on the form of a person in order to forever
bond
the spiritual and physical—to bridge the gap sin had created.

“ ‘Behold, the virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and
they will call his name Emmanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ ” (
Matthew 1:23 LEB )

And this changes everything, right here, right now. If God is with us, then
what can stand in opposition (
Romans 8:37–39
)? God is dwelling among us:

“And the Word became flesh and took up residence among us, and we saw his
glory, glory as of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and
truth.”
(
John 1:14 LEB )

The word used here for “took up residence” (often translated as “dwelt among
us”) has the connotation of “setting up his tent.” Jesus becomes a refugee;
right here on earth. Like all the refuges around our planet, Jesus built a
tent; his tent was flesh.

So often we profess Jesus as Lord, as God, but we forget his humanness in
the process. It was his humanity that allowed for Jesus to be our suffering
servant
(
Isaiah 53:10–12
). And it is his humanity that allows for him to directly relate to us (
Hebrews 2:10–18 ).

This is why the early church fathers so adamantly opposed a belief known as
Docetism—the idea that Jesus was not a real person but instead only spirit
(or God). Yet, today, we often act like Jesus is somehow far away—that he is
only spirit. Let’s reclaim him as suffering servant too—as God
and human among us.

2. Jesus is seen in the faces of the hurting and oppressed.

Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he proclaims his purposes by quoting
the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… he has anointed me to proclaim good news
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and
recovery
of sight to the blind, to send out in freedom those who are oppressed, to
proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” ( Luke 4:18–19 LEB
)

I see the face of Jesus crying out to me in the faces of my hurting
friends—like those I know living in poverty in
Bihar, India
. He cries out the same cry that he did then: “freedom—physical and
spiritual freedom. Work alongside me to bring renewal.” This is profoundly
seen when
Jesus explains to his disciples that at the end of all things the following
will happen:

“Then the righteous will answer [the King, Jesus], saying, ‘Lord, when did
we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you as a guest, or naked and
clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ And
the king [Jesus] will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, in as
much as you did it to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it
to
me.’ ” (
Matthew 25:37–40 LEB )

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Jesus tells us, when we serve the hurting, we serve him: We see him. I have
held the hands of the hurting Jesus mentions and heard them cry out prayers
to God for redemption. I have felt their pain. I have seen Jesus stand
alongside them in their anguish, but I have also felt the burden of the
great needs
of our generation in the process. Jesus is among the hurting and the
oppressed. The question is will we also be?

3. Jesus is sitting beside you—and can be in you—through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus sitting beside you, in conversation—it’s a wonderful picture and one
that a dear friend tells of often. I long to feel that close to Jesus. To
picture
him there, talking with me. And this is precisely what Jesus wants. This is
the type of relationship he envisions through the Holy Spirit in us. Near
the
end of his time on earth, Jesus tells his disciples:

“But when he—the Spirit of truth—comes, he will guide you into all the
truth. For he will not speak from himself, but whatever he hears he will
speak,
and he will proclaim to you the things to come. He will glorify me, because
he will take from what is mine and will proclaim it to you. Everything that
the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he takes from what is
mine and will proclaim it to you.” ( John 16:13–15 LEB
)

There is a direct connection here between the Holy Spirit’s relationship
within the Trinity, and our relationship with Jesus and God the Father. May
we
embrace the idea of Jesus as friend, sitting beside us through the work of
the Holy Spirit among us and in us. It is through the Holy Spirit that
renewal
is brought to our lives. And it is the Holy Spirit that guides the process
of bringing renewal to the world.

4. Jesus is there when we break bread together in his name.

After his resurrection, Jesus shows up on a road, walking with two
disciples. At first, they don’t recognize him (
Luke 24:20
). The disciples tell Jesus of all the events that have occurred with the
crucifixion and the subsequent account of his resurrection. But despite
Jesus’
words about the necessity of his death, according to “the Prophets,” they
still don’t recognize him (
Luke 24:25–26
). They hear, but do not yet believe. But then this happens:

“When [Jesus] reclined at the table with them, he took the bread and gave
thanks, and after breaking it, he gave it to them. And their eyes were
opened,
and they recognized him, and he became invisible to them. And they said to
one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking
with
us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?’ ” (
Luke 24:30–32 LEB )

It is in the meal, and likely in the act of remembering Jesus through the
Eucharist, that
the disciples see him, as he is. Their hearts may have burned, but this is
when their eyes are opened. Hospitality, blessing, a focus on Jesus’
sacrificial
act—this is how we see him.

5. Jesus is in the movement to bring the gospel to the unreached.

Jesus, as a person and as our God, is not merely an idea. We must take
action. Jesus wants to offer physical healing to our generation—to our
earth—and
we have the blessing of being able to be part of it. But the poverty of our
world runs beyond what can be seen; it is also spiritual.

I have seen with my own eyes the desperate need for the good news of Jesus
in unreached places, like
Bihar, India
. I also know the facts—that only 0.3% of the Church’s resources are
allocated to areas where the Church is not. The idea of Jesus among us, in
us—right
here, right now—is also an urgent cry to stand up, lift up, and take action.
To bring the gospel where it is not accessible.

Matthew’s Gospel records that after Jesus’ resurrection, he met his eleven
remaining apostles and said to them:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go
and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I
have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of
the age.” (
Matthew 28:18–20 LEB )

Let us be the generation that brings God with us to every nation, to the end
of the earth. Let us live as if Jesus is sitting beside us, right here in
it all—because he is. He is right here. What will you do with that?

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy


nThe Bow and Arrow

Have you ever been described as an impatient person? It is easy to feel
impatient. Maybe traffic isn't moving fast enough and you are going to be
late
for your meeting. Or you can't get through the checkout lane quickly enough
to pick up your children from the babysitter. These daily irritations can
zap
your strength and cause you to lose sight of what really matters.

The source of true patience is the Spirit of God. His patience toward us
allows us the opportunity to grow and to become more like Him. He does not
give
up on us. When we are stubborn and fail to learn what God wants to teach us,
He continues to demonstrate His patience.

Many times, we grow impatient with a colleague, friend, child, or spouse and
forget that God is patient with us and requires us to do the same with
others.
One of the causes of impatience is spiritual shortsightedness. Our view is
limited. Therefore, many times we only see what has a direct impact on our
lives.
We become impatient because we can't see life from God's perspective!

God has a greater plan. While He does not always show us the details, we can
know the big picture--we are in His loving hands.

Oswald Chambers writes:

Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like
a bow and arrow in the hands of the archer. God is aiming at something the
saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the
saint says, ‘I cannot stand anymore.' God does not heed, He goes on
stretching
till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's
hands.
The Barbarians Are Here – Get Your Copy Today

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In his top-selling new book The Barbarians Are Here, Dr. Michael Youssef
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begin a New Reformation that will restore the hope of Western civilization.
There is hope for spiritual awakening--but the clock is ticking. The
Barbarians Are Here will open your eyes to the greatest threat the world is
facing--and
the only solution to defeating it.

We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and
around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately
proclaim
uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at
http://www.ltw.org/

Listen to Michael Youssef on Today's Broadcast of "
Leading The Way
" at OnePlace.com

God Sees You
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

She [Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God
who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me”
(Genesis 16:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Let’s face it. People let us down. They disappoint us. And so does God.
Often our experiences fall short of our expectations for God to meet all our
needs
the way we think He should, and like a lover who has been wronged, we tend
to guard our hearts against future disappointment by lowering our
expectations
and trust. But make no mistake about it, God sees. God understands. He is
not aloof.

One day I was sitting on the patio with my friend Beth and her stepfather,
Sam, waiting for the grill to heat up before placing steaks on to cook. Beth’s
mom opened the door and gave Sam his orders -- telling him what to do and
how to do it. When she went back inside, Sam made a hand signal, pointing in
one ear and out the other. We all three laughed. Then he placed his ruddy
hand on Beth’s arm, a hand worn by years of working under the hood of cars
of
every make and model.

“She was pretty hard on you growing up, wasn’t she?” he asked.

“You have no idea,” Beth answered with a sigh.

But Sam did have an idea. He understood. And that one simple gesture let her
know that he had peered into her heart and had seen the truth. The
weathered,
uneducated country mechanic had looked under the hood of her heart with
wisdom and seen the damaged engine within. A heart, though healed by Christ,
that
still felt the phantom pains of a little girl who felt she was never good
enough, who was constantly told what to do and how to do it--and who never
did
it quite right. Sam saw her heart, and for that, Beth loved him. And so did
I.

How like God. He places His hand on your shoulders, looks into your eyes,
and lets you know that He understands. “I see you,” He says. “I see what you
are going through.” Like Hagar who experienced a sudden glory moment with
God in the desert, we too can know God as
El Roi, “the God who sees me,” (Genesis 16:13 ).

The book of Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest, Jesus, who
understands what we are going through. He “sympathizes” with our weakness
(Hebrews 4:15
). The word “sympathizes” comes from two Greek words,
smy andpathos, meaning, “suffer with.” We are not alone in our suffering
and there are glory moments to be found in the dark if we will keep our eyes
open to see.

God did not write the story of your life and then sit back to watch it play
out. He is in the story with you. As a matter of fact, He has the leading
role.
Oh, we try to butt in and take the spotlight. We try to push Him out of the
way and take over the lead. But when we get to heaven and look at the
playbill,
we will see that God had the leading role all along, and our names were
there in supporting roles as a display of His glory. Oh, if we only knew.

Let’s Pray

El Roi, I praise You that You are the God Who sees me. You know everything
that I am going through, everything I have gone through, and everything I
will
go through in the future. Thank You for watching over me and always doing
what is in my best interest. I love you, Lord.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Have you ever felt like God didn’t care about you?

Did you realize that many people in the Bible felt the same way?

But what is the promise of Hebrews 13:5 ? “Never will I leave you; never
will I forsake you.”

What does “never” mean? You got it! It means never!
Seeking God?
GirlfriendsInGod.com

Anne Graham Lotz - God Loves Even Me!
View this email in your browser

God Loves Even Me!
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Hebrews 13:5, NKJV

In the midst of our suffering, it can often be difficult to glimpse the
glory to come. Suffering is so immediate and can seem so permanent that we
can
easily lose sight of the big picture. The pain can be so crushing and our
hearts can be so broken that we just don’t understand why! Why me? Whenever
that
question tends to fill my mind, I hear Him whisper to my heart, “Anne, why
not you? Just trust Me! Trust Me to be with you. Trust Me to bring you
through.
Trust Me to be enough for you. Trust Me – because I love you!”

When I don’t understand why, I trust Him because . . . God loves even me!

Are you hurt because you’ve thought that if God truly loved you, you would
be exempt from pain and problems and pressure? Lay your hurts at His
nail-pierced
feet – and just trust Him because He loves even you!

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


The Shadow of the Giant
by Chuck Swindoll

1 Samuel 17:50

Goliath reminds me of the cross-eyed discus thrower. He didn't set any
records . . . but he sure kept the crowd awake!

Day after day, he paraded along the slopes of the Valley of Elah throwing
out threats and belching blasphemies across the creek with a basso-profundo
voice
like twenty out-of-tune tubas. He was not only ugly, he was huge, well over
nine feet tall in his stocking feet. His armor included a bronze coat of
mail
weighing two hundred pounds, a solid-iron spear (the head alone weighed
twenty-five pounds), and a big bronze helmet. Add another club, bronze
leggings
and boots, plus that face of his . . . and you've got the makings of a
shoo-in linebacker for the Chicago Bears or next season's center for UCLA's
starting
five. Pity the poor private who drew duty as Goliath's shield bearer! It was
about as suicidal as a novice drifting into the Devil's Triangle on a hang
glider. Goliath, you see, was the pride of Philistia; and if you didn't
believe it, all you had to do was ask him, or ask Saul's army (if you could
find
them).

Paralyzed and hypnotized, the camp of the Israelites sat galvanized in their
tents. The only noise heard from the Hebrew troops was the knocking of their
knees or the chattering of their teeth—in unison. Goliath was, up to that
point, eminently successful with his basic strategy of intimidation. His
threats
boomed across the valley with chilling regularity, producing the desired
result:
fear. The inspired record informs us that those monotonous blasts from the
giant's mouth sounded forth every morning and every evening for forty long
days.
The dawn of that forty-first day, however, was the beginning of the end for
the giant from Gath.

Some ten miles away, a handsome, muscular teenager—the runt in a family of
eight boys—was sent on an errand by his father. That innocent errand proved
to be an epochal event in Jewish history. Fresh from the wilderness, the
sheep trails, and more important, from the awesome presence of God, David
stopped
and stared in disbelief when he reached the battleground.

For a young man whose unsullied character had been nursed in solitude and
spawned in secret acts of bravery, the scene before him was staggering. The
young
shepherd simply could not believe his eyes. Refusing to accept his brothers'
rationalizations or listen to the giant's threats, David saw through the
Philistine
strategy and withstood it through sheer, solid faith. He knew His God could
handle any threat.

Are you facing a giant today? Tomorrow we'll learn from David two timeless
truths about giant warfare.

Yesterday, we visited David as he faced off against Goliath. Refusing to
accept his brothers' rationalizations or listen to the giant's threats,
David
saw through the Philistine strategy and withstood it through sheer, solid
faith.

You know the outcome. With a well-worn leather sling and a smooth stone, and
unbending confidence in his mighty God, David introduced Goliath and all the
Philistine hordes to the Lord of hosts, whose name they had blasphemed long
enough. The account concludes with a profound statement:

Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he
struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's
hand.
(1 Samuel 17:50)

What an interesting counterstrategy! To this day, two timeless truths of
giant warfare live on. Both are as appropriate today as they were in the
days
of Goliath.

Prevailing over giants isn't accomplished by using their technique. That's
"lesson one" for all of us. Goliath might have been mistaken for the
battleship

Missouri
with all his noise and bronze. Not David . . . he didn't even carry a sword!
His greatest piece of armor, the lethal weapon that made him unique and gave
him victory, was his inner
shield of faith. It kept him free from fear, it made him hard of hearing
threats, it gave him cool composure amidst chaos, and it cleared his vision.

Conquering giants isn't accomplished without great skill and discipline. To
be God's warrior, to fight His way, demands much more expertise and control
than one can imagine. Using the sling and stone of the Spirit is a far more
delicate thing than swinging the club of the flesh. But oh, how sweet is the
victory when the stone finds its mark . . .
and how final.

Are you facing a giant?

Chances are you've already bumped into one or more of them this week. Is the
intimidation reaching unbearable proportions? Do your ears ache from their
constant threats? Don't run . . . but don't try a bigger club, either. Be
like David. Turn your Goliath over to Jehovah, the giant-killer. Explain to
your
powerful God how anxious you are for
Him to win this victory for a change—not the giant and not you.

Then load up your sling, soldier, and don't forget the stones. You're in for
the time of your life.

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright ©️ 1985,
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 11:54 am

How to Have Brave Faith When Life Gets Scary
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

“...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without
fear of harm."
(Proverbs 1:33 , NIV)

Friend to Friend

Let’s face it. Life can be scary.

We watch the news and feel like Chicken Little. The sky always seems to be
falling.

We lose sleep over our loved ones, our lost ones, and our little ones.

We worry about the economy, finances, and employment.

We shake and shudder when more medical testing is required or the diagnosis
is not favorable.

We are anxious with “what ifs” and “whys.”

It’s understandable that we wrestle with the opponent of fear. The world is
broken and life isn’t a Hallmark movie or a fairy tale. (Although I
do love a good Hallmark movie!) In the same token, while I realize it’s
completely normal for us to process emotions of anxiety and unrest, the
Bible says
that it is not God’s plan for us to crumble in its wake. (2 Timothy 1:7
)

We can’t let fear run our lives. Fear was never meant to control or consume
us.

The good news is that God doesn’t just tell us to suck it up and deal. He
gives us the tools we need to help us in the fear-fight.

Proverbs 1:33
says, “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without
fear of harm." I sure do like the promises in this verse. Yes, please. I
want to live in safety and be at ease. Order me up some of that, God! (You
want this too, right?)

So how can you and I have a brave faith when life gets scary? Let’s consider
the text and break down the promises found in
Proverbs 1:33 by looking at the: who, what, and why.

...but whoever listens to me...

WHO is the “me” we need to listen to? The context of the chapter lets us
know that the me is God’s wisdom. I listen to God’s wisdom when I go to Him
with
my fears instead of allowing them to grip me. When I pray and place my
anxieties in His care. When I reflect upon God’s Word, power, plan, and
strength
more than on the words of that analyst on the news channel.

God is the source of the wisdom I must listen to.

WHAT does it mean to “listen” in this verse? The Hebrew word shama’ is used.
Shama’ means to hear, listen to, yield to, obey. (Strongs H8085) So to
listen
to the wisdom of God does not simply mean that my ears need to process His
wisdom. It means that my
heart needs to process and implement His wisdom. It is not just about
hearing audibly, it’s about hearing spiritually ... and responding
accordingly.

...will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

WHY does it matter if I accept and walk in God’s wisdom verses my own? My
own wisdom is limited.
(1 Corinthians 1:25
) It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom
can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead me to the
safety
and ease I long for deep inside.

God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and
rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. And
it’s
free for the asking! He gives us wisdom when we ask for it. That promise is
found in
James 1:5
. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all
without reproach, and it will be given him.”

When we ask for and listen to God’s wisdom - when we hear it, yield to it,
apply it and obey it - we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s
peace. We will be at ease in Christ. Not with perfect lives, but with lives
that are led by the Spirit of God, not controlled by fear and anxiousness.
We can and will experience calm in spite of the chaos.

I hear your push back. Really? That seems too easy. It’s just not that
simple, Gwen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to tap an easy-button here. The Biblical
instruction might be simple, but the implementation of it isn’t. If you and
I are going to live with a brave faith we need God’s help. Remember? Jesus
said that without Him we can bear NO fruit.
(John 15:5 ) What does fruit have to do with this conversation? Glad you
asked...

And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace... (Galatians 5:22 )

Peace. God’s peace is more powerful than the fears of this earth and His
peace abounds in His presence. It is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work
within
us.

When you and I spend time with Jesus... when we look beyond our fears to God’s
sovereign strength... when we trust in the wisdom of God and set our hearts
on His Word, we find the peace our hearts long for.

Let’s Pray

Dear God, I need Your peace today. I know that in order to be at rest I have
to stop juggling fear with faith. So I ask for Your wisdom. Help me to be
brave. I come now and hand over these concerns (
pause to personalize this). Fill me with Your love, joy and peace instead,
Lord.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I
in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do
nothing.”

(John 15:15) What would it look like for you to bear the fruit of the Spirit today when
it comes to the worries of your heart?

Compassion
August 4, 2017
Read: Luke 8:40-56

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out
from me.” (v. 46)

A recent TV series called Undercover Boss tells real-life stories of the
founders and CEOs of companies going in disguise as entry-level employees to
see
how things in their company really work (or don’t). They meet people who are
struggling to pay bills, get through school, raise families, or persevere
through various issues. At the end, the CEO reveals his or her identity and
often provides life-changing assistance to the people who demonstrated the
kind of work ethic that makes those companies work.

Jesus was on a mission. This was the biggest mission of all: to save people
from sin. He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and certainly nobody,
especially his disciples, ever would have expected Him to take significant
time with people who in his day would have been considered insignificant.
But
this woman mattered to Jesus. He had compassion on her and provided for her
beyond anyone’s expectations.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our big purposes and plans. We live with
blinders on to accomplish our agenda for each day. Yet, all around us are
people
who matter to God and ought to matter to us. Take time to recognize those
people and reach into their lives as Jesus would. Often it is people, and
not
plans, who
are the agenda of our day. Obedience to God’s calling requires a
compassionate response. Ask God who is on his agenda for you. —Joel
Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, keep us humble and focused on the people you’ve placed in our
lives.
Words of Hope, 700 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-459-6181 woh.org
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


PresbyCan Daily Devotional
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Today's Devotional
Tell Them

Mark 5:18-19 – As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been
demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go
home
to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how
he has had mercy on you." (NIV 2011)

When I first became a Christian, I wanted to tell the whole world about
Jesus, but my biggest problem was how to communicate my faith to my family
and
friends. They knew everything about me — the good, the bad, and the ugly —
so convincing them that I had changed was an uphill task. They watched me go
from a heavily drinking alcoholic to a fervent disciple of Jesus. I guess
they thought that all I was doing was replacing one form of addiction with
another,
which to some degree was actually true. It took years for them to accept
that my faith was truly a life-changing experience for me, but I don't think
that
it had any real influence over their own individual spirituality.

At the end of today's gospel story in Mark 5:1-20, when Jesus heals the
demoniac, the healed man asks to follow Jesus and go with Him. Christ,
however,
did not let him. Instead, Jesus wanted the man to go back to his own people
and tell them the story of his miraculous cure. In other words, Jesus was
giving
him a mission to spread the news about God's mercy and grace in a region
that had actually rejected Jesus. It would be an uphill task, because the
man's
people would remember him as a deranged lunatic, so it would take years for
his story to be accepted.

We all love our families dearly, as well as our closest friends. Sharing our
faith with them can sometimes be a hard thing to do, but it is a worthwhile
mission. We never know what long-term effect our faithfulness to Christ will
have with the kinfolk around us. So long as we love and cherish them, our
faith may have a positive influence on their own lives. We just have to keep
praying and persevering without being self-righteous, condemnatory, or
overbearing.
As Jesus Himself said, "Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and
how He has had mercy on you."

Points to ponder: How do I communicate my faith to my family? Do I show them
love, mercy, and grace?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, bless our families and friends with Your love and
goodness. Help us to cherish and support them, so that they may see that our
faith
in You is both compassionate and encouraging. In Your holy name, we pray.
Amen.
John Stuart

4 Things I Got Wrong about My God-Given Purpose
Heather Caliri

My old friend Pedro leaned against my kitchen counter, drink in hand, and
asked me a question I knew I should be able to answer.

“How is God using you these days, Heather?”

I stared at him, a sudden knot in my throat. I did not know.

I’ve always been a doer, an achiever, a planner. But having kids had made it
harder to serve, and pursuing new ways to ‘use my gifts’ exhausted me.

In my twenties, I had assumed the right ministry role would give me my One
True Purpose. But it didn’t work like I’d hoped—and then I got pregnant.
Pedro’s
question showed me I had stopped believing God could use me for anything
important.

There in my kitchen, I felt shame. Had I really given up hope?

Six years later, my old shame makes my heart hurt. At the time, I didn’t
give myself credit for how I already served God. I couldn’t recognize God’s
purpose
in my ordinary life because I didn’t really understand what
purpose was. I couldn’t see it, even though it was right under my feet.

Here’s what I got wrong about finding my purpose.

1. I thought "purpose" was a fancy destination, not a long, dusty journey.

For most of my Christian life, I assumed finding my purpose was like a
cosmic job search. I should put together a mental resume and seek out job
openings
(ministry or service opportunities) that fit my profile. When I landed a
“purpose,” I should keep it for life.

But like the modern job market, purposeful living isn’t that
straightforward. To wit: when I had kids, I didn’t have time or energy for
“ministry.” I barely
had energy to
wash my hair.

But God created babies, and post-partum recovery, and parenthood. God
created the aging parents we care for, is unsurprised by our mental or
physical health
problems, and pays attention when we move to new states.

God didn’t design our purpose to fit only one stage of life.

In truth, our purpose is an ever-evolving, multifaceted apprenticeship to
Jesus, not a single, clearly defined role that lasts forever.

I’ve found great comfort in realizing that the ebbs and flows of my life are
both modeled in Scripture (wandering the desert, anyone?) and reflected in
nature (the cycles of tides, moons, and even my own body.) I’m on a long
journey towards God’s kingdom, not parked ‘til retirement in a cosmic
cubicle.

2. I thought "purpose" would be prestigious, but I’ve often found it in the
mundane.

Can I say something that I really wish weren’t true? Feeding kids, doing
laundry, and changing diapers has been part of God’s purpose for my life.

Yes, sure, yadda, yadda, yadda. But mostly, I don’t want to hear it.

Honestly, I got tired of changing diapers. I love my kids, but the idea of
childcare being my life’s main purpose makes me want to poke my eyes out.

Your mundane, purpose-driven but less-than-loved tasks might look different
than mine—making peace with singleness, caring for an elderly parent, or
enduring
financial hardship. We all live ordinary lives with ordinary, necessary, but
not-fun challenges.

I’d really, really like my purpose to involve work that’s a little bit
fancier and prestigious. (I wouldn’t say no to a generous salary, either.)

Let me be clear: God has also used my ambition, my gifts (writing, like I’m
doing now), and my intelligence to form my purpose, in a very important way.
I would not be a whole or complete person if He did not.

But if I’m really honest, the resurrection-changes that have freed me to
live as a beloved child of God have come in some hidden places: patiently
playing
blocks with my toddler, pursuing loving honesty with my husband and parents,
persevering through post-partum depression.

My point is this: it is a mistake to assume that our purpose is only over
there in fancy-land, without looking around at the loving and intentional
work
we have to do right
here. We must seek our purpose in the wider world
and through the very crucial work we do at home, by ourselves, or to care
for other people.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Mundane, ordinary life might not get accolades or recognition. It is not the
only way God calls us to serve. But it can transform our souls—and others’—for
eternity.

3. I thought ‘purpose’ was deadly serious, but it's brought me deep joy.

Being a bit of an over-achiever, type A, perfectionistic person, I tend to
assume that if something is good for me, it should probably be hard,
uncomfortable,
and tiring. Nose to the grindstone, people! No shirking!

But we serve a God that, according to the Westminster Catechism, created us
to
enjoy Him forever. My workaholic mindset isn’t God’s plan.

Serving God is ultimately pleasurable. Seeking his purpose should bring us
deep joy.

That does not mean it’s a walk in the park; we will endure hardship, work
humbly at thankless tasks, and be braver than we prefer. But if our purpose
doesn’t,
on the whole, make us
alive, something is terribly wrong.

This might seem to contradict the previous point. Ordinary, daily life (like
being up with a newborn) can be mind-numbingly difficult.

Still: with my second baby, (and without the postpartum depression that I
did not recognize or treat after my first birth), hard work and sleepless
nights
felt deeply
right. I groaned, but I knew I was where I needed to be.

If your life feels dead, if anxiety, or exhaustion or bitterness overwhelms
you,
get serious, even professional help. Ordinary hard work lit by God’s purpose
can be extraordinarily satisfying. Bitterness, rage or mental illness,
however,
is a sign your
foremost purpose is to heal.

4. I thought finding "my purpose" was up to me, but God brings purpose to
our lives.

If “purpose” is a job search, then I could definitely take charge. I’d seek
the proper education, credentialing, and contacts. I’d apply for the
position,
I’d do the work, and I’d get
darn good performance reviews.

This is nothing like how God works out his purpose in our lives.

God creates in us every gift and ability that allows us to be useful. His
Spirit gives us bravery, wisdom, and fortitude. He shepherds and guides us.
We can do
nothing apart from His power.

Our Job Within God’s Purpose

So what is our job?

Our job is to yearn. To notice when we’re stuck and intentionally seek help.
To pay attention, to ask, to seek, to knock. To be curious about next steps.
To have eyes to see God’s purpose in our laundry, in our neighborhood
committee, in our commute,
and in our art, in our ministries and jobs.

We might get muddled about our direction, get lost, feel discouraged, and
make mistakes. It’s okay if you don’t know exactly where you fit. It’s okay
to
cry out in frustration, to ask for wisdom and help. Despite our poor
eyesight and weakness, God can reveal his Kingdom—right in front of our
nose.

As the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins sang, “The world is charged with the
grandeur of God.” Living awake to His majesty is our deepest, most true
purpose.
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Heather Caliri is a writer from San Diego who uses tiny, joyful yeses to
free herself from anxiety. Tired of anxiety controlling your life? Try her
mini-course,


Living Plan B: A Lesson from Exodus
By Ray Pritchard

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through
the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face
war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the
people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.

- Exodus 13:17-18

Some time ago I heard the following statement on the radio and thought it
was worth passing along: "The key to success in life is how well you adapt
to
Plan B." There is a world of truth in that simple sentence. So many of us go
through life frustrated because we're still working on Plan A. That's the
one where everything works out, where your marriage lasts forever, where
your children grow up without any problems, where you climb to the top of
the
career ladder, where everyone loves you, where all your dreams come true and
you live happily ever after. Plan A is life the way we all thought it would
be. It's life with a happy ending.

Unfortunately, Plan A rarely pans out. Life isn't that simple, or that easy.
Check out Exodus 13:17-21
. When the children of Israel left Egypt, God did not lead them by the
shorter coastal route to the Promised Land. Instead, he led them south into
the
wilderness. No doubt there was some grumbling and murmuring. Why go the long
way? Why not take the road that goes along the seashore? Answer: The
Philistines
lived along the coast and God wanted to spare the Jews from having to fight
them and be tempted to return to Egypt. What seemed like a detour turned out
to be for their benefit. In this case, Plan B was better.

What's Plan B? It's the reality that your divorce is final and your marriage
is over. It's the reality that your first career choice was a mistake and
now it's time to start over. It's the reality that you don't have the money
to buy the bigger house you want. It's the truth that you have cancer and
your
future is uncertain. It's the understanding that some people who seemed to
be close friends aren't going to be there for you when you really need them.
It's the reality that your dreams aren't going to come true, at least not in
the way you expected.

Born in poverty and educated at home, he failed in his first business
venture, ran for office the next year and was defeated, failed in yet
another business,
had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in five more elections. But he
never gave up, and in 1860 he was elected president.

Plan A not working out for you? Don't despair. Plan A rarely works out. Your
success in life is largely determined by how well you adapt to Plan B. Just
ask Abraham Lincoln, the greatest Plan B president in American history.

----------------------------------------------------------
Editor's note: This content came from the original article: Plan B Living .
Content provided by Keep Believing Ministries .

Anne Graham Lotz - Take Up Your Cross
Take Up Your Cross
God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14, NKJV

The cross is not just a symbol of love or a fashion statement. The cross is
your daily decision to deny yourself,

your rights,
your wants,
your dreams,
your plans,
your goals,

and deliberately, wholeheartedly, unreservedly live out your commitment to
His will and His way and His Word and His wisdom. The cross is your decision
to live for Jesus. Period. No “ifs,” “ands,” “buts,” or “maybes.”

Would you take up your cross . . . every day . . . and follow Him?
Blessings,
Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


Preparing to Entertain

The first Sunday on which I invited guests for lunch after church, the oven
settings failed. We all arrived at the house, anticipating the mouthwatering
aroma of baked ham and instead opened the door to . . . nothing. The oven
was cold, the ham even chillier, and my smile of welcome instantly froze on
my
lips.

This was not at all what I had envisioned. As I hurriedly microwaved slices
of ham on a dinner plate, I felt disappointed. I wanted my guests to come
into
my home and find rest and nourishment for both body and soul. I wanted them
to sit at the table and enjoy themselves. I wanted the ham to be delicious.

And I don’t think my disappointment was wrong. With regularity, I see
articles on hospitality that assert some version of
this statement
: “It is not about your house or your meal; it is about the Christ-centered
fellowship that takes place at your house over your meal.” Christians
frequently
speak as if hospitality is good, but anything that resembles “entertaining”
is bad. We disparage well-ironed linens and beautifully arranged flowers;
like
the austere guests in
Babette’s Feast , we view a sumptuous meal with deliberate skepticism.

I can agree with the basic premise of these sentiments: Christians should
not reduce hospitality to Instagram-worthy tableaux. If we are motivated in
our
hospitality by a desire to impress others—or to use them for our own social
advancement (Luke 14:12)—we sin. God abhors pride (Amos 6:8), sending his
Son
to die because of it and his Spirit to kill it where it yet festers in our
hearts (Col. 3:5-13). Self-promotion disguised as a dinner invitation is not
true hospitality.

But I’m not convinced that inviting people to a delicious and carefully
presented meal necessarily makes biblical hospitality into something worldly
and
inferior. In fact, folding linen napkins, making a complicated new recipe,
lighting some candles, or queuing a playlist of beautiful music can be acts
of love toward the neighbors we welcome.

Hospitality—welcoming others to share our homes and lives—can take place in
the space of five minutes with little prior preparation. It can be practiced
over McDonald’s coffee or PB&J or no food at all. It can happen in an untidy
house or at the neighborhood pool. Whenever we invite someone into our life
for the good of her body and soul, we practice hospitality. Hospitality is
more than entertaining. But it does not have to be less.

God himself welcomed the first people into a garden containing “every tree
that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). And throughout
Scripture, hosts honor their guests with extraordinarily time- and
effort-consuming hospitality. Abraham fed his angelic guests meat that was
“tender and
good” with cakes made from “fine flour” (1 Sam. 18:6-7). Jesus rescued the
near-disaster at Cana by providing the guests with abundant “good wine”
(John
2:10). And the consummation of Christ’s kingdom is described in Revelation
as a marriage supper—a feast of blessing for every guest (Rev. 19:9).

In The Hidden Art of Homemaking , Edith Schaeffer writes, “Food should be
chosen to give pleasure, and to cheer up people after a hard day’s work, to
comfort
them when they feel down for some reason, to amuse them when things feel a
bit dull, or to open up conversation when they feel silent and
uncommunicative
. . . There is no occasion when meals should become totally unimportant” (p.
120, 123). Carefully-chosen food, lovingly prepared and beautifully
presented
demonstrates honor toward our guests. It is an act of self-sacrificing
love—serving the needs and desires of others at cost to ourselves.

Schaeffer goes on to tell the story of a homeless man who stopped by her
house one day asking for a cup of coffee and some bread. Rather than simply
giving
him the bare essentials he requested, Schaeffer went inside and prepared
soup and two different kinds of sandwiches, which she cut into triangles and
arranged
on her best china plate. She brought this food out to the waiting man with a
copy of the Gospel of John and a bouquet of flowers entwined with ivy on a
tray.

When her children questioned her efforts to make such a beautiful and tasty
presentation for a transient man who had only requested a crust of bread,
Schaeffer
replied, “Who knows, perhaps he’ll do a lot of thinking and someday,
believe. Anyway, he may realize that we care something about him as a
person, and that’s important” (p. 130, emphasis original).

These days, I have my oven settings figured out, and the food is usually
ready on schedule after church. I iron the damask napkins from my husband’s
grandmother
and stack the plates from our wedding registry, and then I serve the men and
women and children who join me around the table. Who knows? Perhaps each
guest
will realize that I care about him or her as a person. And I think that is
important.

Megan Hill is the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of
Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches . She lives in Massachusetts
and is a member of West Springfield Covenant Community Church (PCA) where
her husband serves as pastor.


Just Passing Through—Our Real Home Is Waiting
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from
fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
1 Peter 2:11

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
God saved you out of this world and sent you back into this world to tell
the world that Jesus saves. He is scattering you as precious seed. You are
an
ambassador upon foreign soil for the King of kings.

You are not only scattered as precious seed, you are also scattered as a
persevering saint. You are a foreigner in a land where you march to a
different
drummer. You don’t settle down in this world. It’s not your home; you’re
only passing through.

ACTION POINT:
You ought to pray, “Lord, if I am building a nest, put a thorn in it.” If
you dabble and delight in this world, yet your citizenship is in heaven, you’re
going to have one foot in the world and one in heaven—just enough religion
to make you miserable in the world and just enough of the world to make you
miserable in your spiritual life.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is
one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all
your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as
yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.'" (Mark
12:32-33, NIV2)

By Answers2Prayer
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More Illustrations
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Don't Do Anything But Love

"'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is
one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all
your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as
yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.' When
Jesus
saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the
kingdom of God.'" (Mark 12:32-34, NIV2)

The Kingdom of God is all about love, real, genuine love, a sacrificing love
like Jesus demonstrated on the cross, a love that showed His love for God
and for each one of us.

How can we show our love towards God?

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and
his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12, NIV) Our actions will show
where
our heart is truly focused on.

One day a man appeared to church near Petersborough, Ontario, with satanic
tattoos woven all over his body. He also wore a hat, even when in the
sanctuary.
A deacon, who was shocked by his attire, quickly called the pastor who was
sitting in front of the church: "There is a man sitting off to the right
wearing
a hat in the sanctuary! It's a disgrace! He shows no respect towards God.
What would you like me to do with him?"

The pastor prayerfully consider the options and answered: "Do nothing!"

"But, but . . ." The deacon protested.

The pastor reiterated: "Do nothing!"

The deacon hung up. Five minutes later he called the pastor again: "It's a
disgrace! This man sours the experience of everybody in this congregation.
We
should do something about this!"

Calmly the pastor repeated: "Do nothing!"

The next week that man with a hat and satanic tattoos came back to church.
He also came the following week and the week after that. After church that
fourth
week, he went up to the deacon who had complained so bitterly about his hat,
and told him: "I came to church to shock those attending. I wanted a
controversy,
so I could prove you were all hypocrites. Instead you accepted me with open
arms and respected me the way I am. Never have I seen such love. I would
like
to become a Christian."

This man then took a Bible study course and eventually was baptized.

Love is what attracts people. Words without actions means nothing: "Dear
children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in
truth."
(1 John 3:18, NIV)

"Look at that woman in our sanctuary! She is definitely a prostitute. Look
how she is dressed!"
What will you do about it?
Rob Chaffart
Announcement:
As promised, on the first Monday of every month, we be publish one oldie
from our devotional files. Enjoy!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely
give."




Boldness and Power

“A large number of people believed ... The Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was ... granting that signs and wonders be done.” Acts 14:1-3 NASB

Many Jews and Gentiles in Iconium responded to the Gospel. Then the atmosphere changed when disbelieving Jews stirred up trouble, trying to make it more difficult to respond.

Some Gentiles became “embittered.” It would have been a logical time for Paul and Barnabas to run away. To react with fear. To water down their message. To compromise.

Instead, they renewed their commitment to speak “boldly.” The Jews wanted them to give up or stop preaching. Instead they became even bolder, believing that God would do “signs and wonders.” As a result, many miracles took place and many believed.

Eventually Paul and Barnabas had to depart Iconium, but they left after this time of bold witness. After they had demonstrated the reality of the Gospel.

In our lives, we can expect opposition and difficulties. Some people will resist and reject the Gospel. There will be problems to overcome. How easily we can allow ourselves to be influenced by criticism. But there is much we can learn from how Paul and Barnabas acted in Iconium.

Today, make sure that you do not give in to fear, compromise, or worry. The Bible assures us that God wants us to live our faith boldly and put our faith into action. He wants us to be instruments through which He might demonstrate His power.

Be willing to believe Him for miracles, that signs and wonders might be done in your life, and in the lives of others. Make a commitment to live with a bold faith. Expect God to demonstrate His power that He might be glorified and lives might be changed.

Prayer

Father, I commit these needs to You: ___________. I believe that You will demonstrate Your power in these situations. You can do all things. Help me to witness for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Pray for favor for Inspiration Ministries’ Worldwide Distribution Department.
Extended Reading
Acts 14
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 1:15 am

Pain
by Chuck Swindoll

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

They called him "Old Hickory" because of his tenacity and grit. His mother
chose "Andrew" on March 15, 1767, when she gave birth to that
independent-minded
South Carolina rebel. Wild, quick-tempered, and disinterested in school,
Andrew answered the call for soldiers to resist the British invasion at age
thirteen.
Shortly thereafter, he was taken prisoner. Refusing to black an enemy
officer's boots, he was struck with a saber—Andrew's introduction to pain.

Although he bore the marks of the blow for the rest of his life, Andrew's
fiery disposition never waned. A fighter to the core, he chose to settle
arguments
in duels and lived most of his days with two bullets painfully wedged in his
body. After he distinguished himself on the battlefield, his name became a
national synonym for valor and stern persistence. When politics nodded in
his direction, "Old Hickory" accepted the challenge: first the Senate, then
nomination
for President. The shadow of pain appeared again in another form as he lost
a narrow race with John Quincy Adams.

Four years later, however, he ran again . . . and won! But pain accompanied
the victory. Two months before he took office he lost his beloved wife,
Rachel.
Grief-stricken, the President-elect pressed on. Even as he was being sworn
into office as our nation's seventh President, he fought the anguish of a
raging
fever caused by an abscess in the lung.

Some time later, one of the bullets within him had to be surgically removed.
He endured that operation—done without anesthetic—in typically courageous
fashion. Even his political career was painful. A nasty scandal split his
cabinet, and critics clawed at him like hungry lions. Although he stood firm
for many months, the telling signs of pain began to manifest themselves. He
was one of the few men who left office, however, more popular than when he
came. "For once, the rising was eclipsed by the setting sun," wrote a
contemporary sage. And it was pain, more than any other single factor, which
drew
the qualities of greatness out of Andrew Jackson.

Pain humbles the proud. It softens the stubborn. It melts the hard. Silently
and relentlessly, it wins battles deep within the lonely soul. The heart
alone
knows its own sorrow and not another person can fully share in it. Pain
operates alone; it needs no assistance. It communicates its own message
whether
to statesman or servant, preacher or prodigal, mother or child. By staying,
it refuses to be ignored. By hurting, it reduces its victim to profound
depths
of anguish. And it is at that anguishing point that the sufferer either
submits and learns, developing maturity and character, or resists and
becomes embittered,
swamped by self-pity, smothered by self-will.

I have tried and I cannot find, either in Scripture or history, a
strong-willed individual whom God used greatly until He allowed him to be
hurt deeply.

It was just such a person who wrote these words for all to read:

Guests
Pain knocked upon my door and said
That she had come to stay,
And though I would not welcome her
But bade her go away,
She entered in.
Like my own shade
She followed after me,
And from her stabbing, stinging sword
No moment was I free.
And then one day another knocked
Most gently at my door.
I cried, "No, Pain is living here,
There is not room for more."
And then I heard His tender voice,
"'Tis I, be not afraid."
And from the day He entered in,
The difference it made!

—Martha Snell Nicholson

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright © 1985,
1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used
by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .

For Jesus, With Jesus

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He
suffered.
Hebrews 5:8

Recommended Reading
Isaiah 53:10-12
In the classic board game Monopoly®, one of the most coveted cards to draw
is the orange “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Every player eventually winds up
in jail—you land on the policeman in the corner or you draw the “Go Directly
to Jail” card. But if you have the “Get Out of Jail Free” card … no problem!
You can go to jail and get out of jail in the same turn!

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
That’s fun because it’s a game. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes we end up in the jail of suffering, calamity, sickness, trouble,
or
pain—and there is no orange card to set us free. New Christians sometimes
think following Jesus means no more troubles. Then they learn that Jesus
suffered
during all three years of His earthly ministry. And His disciples, later as
apostles, suffered as well, even as they walked in God’s will. Here’s what
we must remember: Suffering
for Jesus is to suffer with Jesus. He promised to be with us until the end
(Matthew 28:20), never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).

Following Jesus, whether through blessings or burdens, has the same result:
being conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29).

There is a certain kind of maturity that can be attained only through the
discipline of suffering.
D. A. Carson

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Jeremiah 4 – 5
David Jeremiah's

Website
David Jeremiah's Website
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 11 Sep 2017, 11:33 pm

Let Go and Get Going
Scott Hubbard / July 31, 2017
Let Go and Get Going

If the quarter lands heads five times in a row first, it means we should
break up. If tails five times in a row, we should not.

It was an anguished prayer. My girlfriend and I had been dating a few
months, and the way forward was a fog. Desperate to know God’s will for our
relationship,
I turned to a coin in my pocket.

Heads. Heads. Heads. Tails. Sigh. Tails. Tails. Heads.

I was a new Christian, gripped by the Bible’s stories of miraculous answers
to prayer — and eager for my own. If God answered prayers with seas parting,
armies fleeing, fire falling, and prison doors opening, couldn’t he answer
me with a flipping George Washington?

I kept at it for a while longer, each flip shoveling another handful of
disappointment over my half-buried hopes. I gave up.

Fireworks Show?

You may have never looked for answers to prayer in a quarter; it’s certainly
been a long time since I have. But I wonder if you share an assumption that
inspired my flip-a-coin prayer — an assumption that still subtly shapes my
own expectations for how God relates to us.

Here’s the assumption: in real, bona fide answers to prayer, we are more
like spectators than actors. In other words, we expect answers to prayer to
feel
something like a fireworks display: we pray, take our seats, and then enjoy
the show. We all know (or have experienced) stories that follow this
pattern.
You pray for healing, and the tumor vanishes overnight. You ask for
financial provision, and an anonymous envelope appears in your mailbox. You
beg for
wisdom, and three people offer you the same unsolicited counsel.

And, of course, Scripture brims with spectacular answers to prayer. Moses
prays in the wilderness, and water bursts from the rock (Exodus 17:4–6).
Hezekiah
cries out for deliverance, and Assyria’s 185,000 keel over dead (2 Kings
19:14–35). The early church pleads for Peter’s release, and the chains fall
off
his hands (Acts 12:1–11).

Sometimes God bares his mighty arm so powerfully that the world gropes for
an explanation.

God’s Answers in Our Acting

But what about when you pray and the tumor disappears through three rounds
of chemo? Or when financial provision comes after weeks of scouring the web,
looking for a new job? Or when you discern your next steps by researching
the options and consulting a mentor? Is God somehow less involved in these
answers?

David didn’t think so. At the beginning of his reign, he asks God to “bless
the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you” (2
Samuel
7:29). The answer to that prayer, as the next chapter shows, was not a
fireworks display. David did not sit back and watch God destroy his enemies.
Instead,

David defeated the Philistines and subdued them” (2 Samuel 8:1); “
he defeated Moab” (2 Samuel 8:2); “David had defeated the whole army of
Hadadezer” (2 Samuel 8:9).

David prayed for help, and then he picked up his sword and went to war.

But then David wrote Psalm 18, a fifty-verse celebration of God’s answer to
his prayers for deliverance. He sings, “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy
to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:3). According to
David, it was
God who “sent out his arrows and scattered them” (Psalm 18:14); it was
God who “rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me” (Psalm
18:17).

What’s going on here? Did God defeat these enemies, or did David? The
answer, of course, is both. David acted one hundred percent, and God
answered one
hundred percent. God did not answer David’s prayer
apart from David’s acting; he answered through David’s acting.

I Did It, God Did It

If you’re like me, you may hesitate to sing a psalm of praise when God
answers your prayers
this way. In your small group or with friends, you wish you could share some
real, spectacular answer to prayer — some story of how God acted totally
apart
from anything you did. But for David, God’s answering through our acting is
already real and spectacular. Why do we struggle to see it that way?

In Letters to Malcolm , C.S. Lewis gives one reason:

We profanely assume that divine and human action exclude one another like
the actions of two fellow-creatures so that “God did this” and “I did this”
cannot
both be true of the same act except in the sense that each contributed a
share. (50)

We sometimes assume that more of our involvement in an answer to prayer
means less of God’s involvement. If we contribute seventy percent toward an
answer
to prayer, then God only contributes thirty percent. But David and the other
biblical authors believed they could act one hundred percent and still
praise
God for answering one hundred percent.

If someone asked David, “Who won those battles?” he could sincerely say, “I
won them.” But he wouldn’t waste a breath before adding, “But I’d prefer to
say God won them. It’s God who equipped me with strength (Psalm 18:32), who
trained my hands for war (Psalm 18:34), and who made my enemies sink under
me (Psalm 18:39).”

When David fought and won the battles, he knew God was answering his prayer.
And he thought that kind of answer to prayer was so magnificent it deserved
worship.

Let Go, Get Going

So when we pray, we do not let go and let God. Rather, we let go and get
going. We let go of the burden by admitting our weakness and
trusting a specific promise
from God, and then we get going by doing whatever needs to happen for our
part.

We pray for opportunities to share the gospel, and then we go knock on our
neighbor’s door. We plead for strength to resist lustful temptation, and
then
we text or call a friend. We beg God to guide us with some hard decision,
and then we do
not flip a coin, but we research, seek counsel, and think hard.

And then, when God answers in our acting, we make a big deal about it. We
marvel that the living God is at work in us both to will and to work for his
good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We praise him for equipping us with
everything good to do his will (Hebrews 13:21). We tell “the glad news of
deliverance
in the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9).

Answered prayer is more than fireworks. It’s also the thrilling experience
of God’s answering in our acting. Both types of answered prayer require God’s
supernatural help, both demonstrate his power, and both call for celebration
(Psalm 126:2).

Isn’t Hell an Overreaction to Sin?
John Piper / July 31, 2017

If we think hell is an overreaction to sin, it’s because we think too little
of the glory of God, and we dismiss too quickly the odiousness of our sin.


Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Our Weakness Reveals His Worth
By John Piper

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

God’s design for suffering is that it magnifies Christ’s worth and power.
This is grace, because the greatest joy of Christians is to see Christ
magnified
in our lives.

When Paul was told by the Lord Jesus that his “thorn in the flesh” would not
be taken away, he supported Paul’s faith by explaining why. The Lord said,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9). God ordains that Paul be weak so that Christ might be
seen as strong on Paul’s behalf.

If we feel and look self-sufficient, we will get the glory, not Christ. So,
Christ chooses the weak things of the world “so that no human being might
boast
in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:29). And sometimes he makes
seemingly strong people weaker, so that the divine power will be the more
evident.

We know that Paul experienced this as grace because he rejoiced in it:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the
power
of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with
weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am
weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

Living by faith in God’s grace means being satisfied with all that God is
for us in Jesus. Therefore faith will not shrink back from what reveals and
magnifies
all that God is for us in Jesus. That is what our own weakness and suffering
does.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Obedience
August 2, 2017

Read: Luke 6:43-49

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and not do what I tell you? (v. 46)

According to a recent article in the Telegraph and Flightradar24, depending
on the time of day and year between 13,000 and 16,000 airplanes are hurtling
through the skies globally at hundreds of miles per hour. Supposing 100 to
200 travelers per passenger flight, more than a million people are in the
sky
as you read this. If you’ve ever seen a live flight tracker (and I don’t
suggest doing this while waiting to board your flight), you can see why the
people
who guide the planes to their destination are not called air traffic
advisors but air traffic
controllers. (And why they’re so stressed, too!) If the planes don’t follow
the lead of the controller, huge problems arise.

Today’s passage reminds us that the word “Lord” means something. More than a
term of respect, using the word “Lord” is a complete and total surrender of
ourselves to the care and control of Jesus. Obeying God is a fundamental
requirement for every believer and opens the door to a life that bears fruit
and
allows us to withstand life’s storms. Obedience is the proclamation of your
heart that God knows best and that his plans are best. Faith that walks
bears
fruit only when we’re walking in the right direction, which calls us to
discern God’s leading and then to follow him. Calling Jesus our Lord and not
living
in obedience to him empties the title of its meaning. —Joel Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, help us to trust you enough to obey you no matter how we see
things. Amen.

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

Why Every Person Should Attend a Funeral Once a Year
Colin Smith

Every person should attend a funeral at least once a year.

Going to a wedding reminds you that the marriage bond is sacred. Going to a
funeral reminds you that life is a vapor, that one day yours will be gone.
When it is announced in church that someone has died, I try to remember that
one day someone will make that announcement about me.

Even Christians commonly say, “She passed away,” which neatly avoids using
the “D-word.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but I prefer to look this
enemy
in the face and name it. Death is the great reality towards which all of us
are moving, but we live knowing that Christ has conquered it.

Face the Ultimate Reality of Death

Our culture has devised many ways to keep us from thinking seriously about
death. People make a spoof of it at Halloween. Hollywood sentimentalizes it
with weepy movies, and the card companies follow suit with empty slogans.

Some time ago, I came across a message by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on John 8. The
year was 1960, and the whole world was in fear at the prospect of nuclear
holocaust.
This was just before the Cuban missile crisis. There were many marches in
major cities around the world on the theme of “banning the bomb” and so
forth.

Lloyd-Jones made this observation: Here are thousands of people on the
streets protesting about the danger of death coming through a nuclear bomb.
They’re
concerned about this mode of death: “We cannot have people dying through a
bomb.”¹

The point is well made, but here’s the problem: Many of the people who were
rightly and passionately concerned about the mode of death seemed to give
little
thought to the unavoidable reality of death itself. They’re worried about
how people might die, but they had nothing to say about the reality that all
of us eventually will die.

People die in many ways—some die in war or through an act of violence. Some
die through an illness, a heart attack or cancer, and others die from old
age.
Some die early in life, while others live a long time. These things are
important, but they’re not the ultimate things.

However I die, and whenever it happens, when I close my eyes I will awaken
in a world of light, love, peace and joy—in the presence of Jesus. Here’s
what
matters most: Whatever the mode of death and whatever its timing, every
person dies in one of two ways: in their sins, or in the Lord.

Follow the Light from Heaven

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk
in darkness but will have the light of life”
(John 8:12). Imagine we’re all in a dark tunnel. One man has a light, and he
is coming toward us, walking through the tunnel. If we walk with him, we
walk
in his light. But if we refuse to follow him, his light will get further and
further away from us, and eventually we will be left in darkness.

That is true in this life, and of course, it is true in the world to come.
Beyond this world, there is a place where Christ is. Because Christ is
there,
it is a world of light and love and peace and joy. But beyond this world,
there is also a place where Christ is not. Because Christ is not there, it
is
a world of darkness and hate and turmoil and misery.

There is nothing more tragic than this—to die in your sins. How can I make
sure this does not happen to me? I know I will die. How can I be sure I will
not die in my sins?

How to Be Sure You Won’t Die in Your Sins

“You will die in your sin.” (John 8:21)

Unbelief toward Jesus Christ is the one sin that leaves you taking all your
other sins into your death with you. Unless you believe…you will die in your
sins. Turn that round and you have the hope of the gospel. Unbelief toward
Christ leaves you to die in your sins; but if you believe that Jesus is the
Christ, you will not die in your sins.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Why is this believing so important? Because faith is the bond of a living
union in which you give yourself to Christ and Christ gives himself to you.
Christ
becomes your Savior and your friend. Christ becomes your Lord and master,
and when you belong to him, his home is yours.

There’s more: Jesus lived a sinless life. He is the only person who has ever
done that, or ever could do that. He lived and died without sin. The Bible
tells us that “he bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24
). “The Lord has laid on [Jesus] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Here is the marvelous thing that is true for every person who has faith in
Jesus Christ: Christ carried your sins into his death, so you won’t carry
them
into yours. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, embrace him, receive him,
follow him, and you will not die in your sins. You will die in the Lord!

As the Bible says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Revelation
14:13).

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

Post  Admin on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 2:39 pm

10 Things You Should Know about Dementia
John Dunlop
1. Dementia is already a common tragedy and will become more common.

Every time Jan came to my office she would smile and tell me “old age is not
for cowards.” She would always laugh, proud of her originality but oblivious
to the fact that in her dementia she had told me the same many times.
Indeed, dementia is one of the greatest challenges of aging. And as life
expectancy
increases, dementia will be all the more common. It is estimated that over
one-third of today’s seniors will die with some degree of dementia.

2. Dementia has many causes other than Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease causes roughly 70% of dementia, but many other diseases
lead to it as well, such as multiple strokes and Parkinson’s. There is no
stereotypic
case and each person with dementia must be approached differently.

3. Dementia slowly progresses.

Most types of dementia slowly get worse. The average life expectancy after
diagnosis is seven years, but it may be as long as twenty.

4. Dementia has some purpose in God’s sovereign plan.

Dementia is one of the tragedies of life that forces us to cry out to God.
But even in our desperation we can recognize God has purpose in it. “I cry
out
to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me” (Ps. 57:2). God
does not make mistakes. His purpose may be in the life of the victim, the
caregivers,
society as a whole, or all three. One of the challenges of dementia is to
recognize those purposes and get in line with them.

5. All people with dementia are made in the image of God and deserve to be
treated with dignity and respect.

Being made in the image of God is true of all human beings from the best to
the worst of us. It is not dependent on functional abilities or IQ. Martin
Luther King Jr. spoke rightly when he said “There are no gradations in the
image of God.” The image of God imparts a dignity to all people and demands
our respect.

6. There is no good medical treatment for dementia.

One of the best ways to improve the quality of life of those with dementia
is to respect their God-given dignity.

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7. A good way to show respect for the dignity of those with dementia is to
understand how they see the world and see things as they see them.

When my mother in her dementia thought I was my dad, my response was not to
correct and belittle her but to say “I love you, Lois.” I spoke the truth
and
she was affirmed. We must also show respect by providing for their physical,
emotional, social and spiritual needs even though it may be difficult to
understand
what they are.

8. In many cases giving care to those with dementia is harder than
experiencing dementia itself.

The early stages of dementia can be very frustrating for a patient
increasingly conscious of their cognitive decline. As the disease progresses
many are
quite content living in the present tense. They are not bothered by mistakes
of the past and do not worry about the future. I remember Helen, a dear
saint
who had spent her life serving the Lord in Africa. She had developed severe
dementia and was living in a dementia care facility. I would frequently see
her telling stories from her years on the mission field to an attentive
group gathered round. As she got to the end of the story she would slap her
thigh
and everyone had a good laugh. What did it matter that she told the same
five stories over and over again? Everyone was having a grand time.

9. Dementia is a terminal disease and aggressive measures to prolong life
are rarely appropriate or God honoring.

In the advanced stages of dementia, when the patient is unable to eat, it is
not appropriate to use feeding tubes or to attempt resuscitation in the
event
of cardiac arrest.

10. Dementia like all other diseases will be healed.

The hope of all Christians is to live eternally in the presence of God.
Heaven will be a time to experience the glory of God in ways impossible
while confined
to our present bodies and brains. There will be no more dementia, and those
afflicted by dementia will say with all other believers, “I shall know fully
even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

This article was originally published on
Crossway.org and is adapted from the book
Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia
by John Dunlop, MD. Used with permission.

John Dunlop (MD, Johns Hopkins University) serves as an adjunct professor at
Trinity International University and practices geriatrics in New Haven,
Connecticut,
where he is affiliated with Yale School of Medicine. Dunlop is the author of
Finishing Well to the Glory of God: Strategies from a Christian Physician
and Wellness for the Glory of God: Living Well After 40 with Joy and
Contentment in All of Life.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimages
Publication date: July 27, 2017
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 2:15 pm

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Suffering That Crushes Faith
By John Piper

“They have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when
tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they
fall away.”
(Mark 4:17)

The faith of some is broken instead of built by suffering. Jesus knew this
and described it here in the parable of the four soils. Some people who hear
the word receive it at first with gladness, but then suffering makes them
fall away.

So, affliction does not always make faith stronger. Sometimes it crushes
faith. And then come true the paradoxical words of Jesus, “The one who has
not,
even what he has will be taken” (Mark 4:25).

This is a call for us to endure suffering with firm faith in future grace,
so that our faith might grow stronger and not be proved vain (1 Corinthians
15:2). “To the one who has, more will be given” (Mark 4:25). Knowing God’s
design in suffering is one of the main means of growing through suffering.

If you think your suffering is pointless, or that God is not in control, or
that he is whimsical or cruel, then your suffering will drive you from God,
instead of driving you from everything but God — as it should. So, it is
crucial that faith in God’s grace includes the faith that he gives grace
through
suffering.

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.


Protection for Kashmiris
Aug 02, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Matt 11:28-30, NET "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am
gentle
and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is
easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry."

Pray for this kind of peace to permeate the hearts of those victimized by
strife in Jammu and Kashmir.

Today's People Group

(There are only a small number of followers of Christ in Kashmir, and they
frequently face persecution. This fictitious story illustrates the kinds of
things that happen in Kashmir.)
“Converting to Christianity is a serious and dangerous thing for Lakia to
do. Why risk your life and the lives of your children?” Lakia, a widow
living
in Kashmir with her three daughters, responded to the words of a Muslim
neighbor. “I asked several of the Muslim leaders at the mosque for help and
they
would not help me. They just told me to pray to Allah and be a good Muslim
woman. When I asked the Christians for help, they offered me food and gave
me
small jobs so I could provide for my daughters. They comforted me when I
told them that my only son, Abjul, had been shot and killed for stealing
bread.
They told me about Jesus and how He taught that people should help each
other. He said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will
give
you rest (Matt.11:28).’ I never learned such things when I went to the
mosque. Jesus comforts us like no one else can. I will always follow Him no
matter
what people do to stop me.”

Pray for God’s protection for Christian believers. May they grow in faith
and become strong witnesses that can lead the majority of Muslims and Hindus
in Kashmir to the Living Lord!

Learn more at Joshua Project .
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 07 Sep 2017, 10:03 pm

What Christians Need to Know about Islam
Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's " Ask Roger
" column regularly appears at
Preach It, Teach It
. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in
the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for
laypeople,
or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at
roger@preachitteachit.org .

Dear Roger,

There is so much interest and confusion “swirling around” the issues of
Muslims, Islam, acculturalization, burqas, terrorists and Islamic extremism.
Could
you please give us a simple understanding of what Christians need to know
about Islam?

Sincerely Rachel

One Sunday morning after worship, a young man with Arabic features
approached me. He looked to be in his early 30s, nicely dressed with dark
slacks and
a white button-down shirt.

He wanted to know the differences between Christianity and Islam. When I
shared the gospel, he became quite agitated. The idea that our good works
counted
for nothing on the road to heaven was anathema to him.

Our discussion moved to a rapid conclusion when I quoted Ephesians 2:8-9
: “For by grace we are saved through faith--and this is not from ourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast!”

Not out of control, but clearly disagreeing, he punched the Communion Table
and firmly said, “No, that cannot be.” He rapidly departed.

The Origins of Islam

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was born in 570 A.D. He spent his early
years as a camel driver and managed his wife’s estate.

One evening as he went to pray he heard a voice commanding him to “Read.” He
countered, “But I can’t read.”

Mohammed later wrote that he saw a scroll emblazoned with words and
miraculously began to read. Then the angel Gabriel appeared to tell him that
he was
to be Allah’s messenger.

For the next several years, he faced exile and persecution while he claimed
to receive more messages from Allah.

Mohammed recognized Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as prophets. However, he
set himself above all others. He believed he was the ultimate prophet of
God.
And he declared that none would follow him.

When he was 60, the time had come for Mohammed to take his message to the
world. He and his armies captured the city of Mecca and declared it to be
“The
Holy City of Islam.” Two years later he died. He instructed his followers to
carry on the mission.

Some of his followers captured Jerusalem in 715 A.D. and started the rapid
spread of Islam throughout northern Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia,
and
the United States. That conquest continues today.

Much of Islam’s advancement is done by quiet assimilation, over time, into
another culture--not by military occupation.

The supplanting of one culture with or over another culture is not limited
to Muslims. Historically, the assimilation of one culture into another is an
ongoing process.

For example, the United States is rapidly becoming a non-European-based
country. Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners, Moroccans and Balkan refugees
are
flooding into our country, and their cultures will soon supplant our present
European-American culture. Not one gunshot will be needed to accomplish the
assimilation.

Like Chinatown in San Francisco, people tend to congregate with others from
their own background. There will soon be more Muslims in France than
Frenchmen.
Unofficially, the France government is clamoring for native French people to
have more babies.

Problems arise when Muslims gather in cultural groups that exclude all
others and begin to superimpose their own beliefs. This process is occurring
in
France where Muslims have carved out their own territory, rejecting the laws
of France, and wanting to live by their own laws with their own culture.

But we must remember—with all that being said—many Muslim immigrants are
doing their best to respect and honor our American culture.

The Beliefs of Islam

Christianity has its own set of essential beliefs. The Bible is the Word of
God. Jesus Christ is 100 percent God and 100 percent man (the hypostatic
union).
He died a substitutionary death on the cross in our place to save us from
our sins. He was bodily resurrected on Easter Sunday morning. Whoever
believes
in Him will have their sins forgiven and experience eternal life.

Muslims believe that the Koran is the divine word of God. The Koran reads
much like the Old Testament—same history, events and teachings. In fact,
Muslims
believe in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

However, Muslims believe that both Testaments have been altered by the Jews
and the Christians. Wherever there are conflicts between the Bible and the
Koran, the Koran takes precedent. Muslims also believe that the Koran is God’s
last word to the world, and it was written by the followers of Mohammed
soon after his death.

Muslims believe strongly in the prophets, with Mohammed being the greatest.
They believe that Jesus was a prophet sent only to the Jews.

Muslims believe in angels as messengers of God.

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Muslims believe that all men and women will be judged according to their
works. Muslims will enter into Paradise. Non-Muslims will be condemned
forever
in burning fire.

The Five Pillars of Islam

The “Five Pillars of Islam” are the actions every Muslim is responsible for
during their lifetime. However, not every Muslim group recognizes or agrees
about what the five pillars are… or even how many there are.

The majority of Muslims follow the pillars recognized by the Sunni people
group. The Sunnis are one of the two main branches of Islam. They seem to be
a little more Orthodox than the Shias. Iran is the home for most Shias. The
basic differences between the two groups focus upon who is and who isn’t one
of the first three (or four) caliphs.

1. Faith: A Muslim must recite this often to show personal belief, “There is
no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

2. Prayer: Prayers must be made five times a day facing Mecca.

3. Alms: 1/40 of a Muslim’s income is to be given as alms to the poor.

4. Fast: Fasting throughout the daylight hours during the time of Ramadan, a
religious holiday.

5. Pilgrimage: All pilgrims must journey to Mecca sometime in their lives.

Note: A large faction of Muslims hold to a Sixth Pillar known as “Jihad” or
“Holy War.” In effect, this is a requirement to kill anyone who is an
unbeliever—not
a faithful Muslim.

Incompatibility with Christianity

Islam asserts that the Gospel picture of Jesus is incorrect. They believe
that the correct view was given by revelation to Mohammed. In other words,
the
Jesus revealed in the Koran is not the same Jesus who is portrayed in the
Gospels.

The Gospels clearly proclaim that Jesus is virgin-born, and therefore He is
God. Islam counters with a Jesus who was simply a prophet. According to the
Koran, Jesus is also a prophet only for the nation of Israel. In contrast,
Mohammed is the Prophet for the whole world.

The Bible declares that Jesus is the divine “Word” of God (John 1:1) who
created the universe and died on the cross to forgive the sins of the world.
“Word”
is the Greek word
logos which means “the unrevealed wisdom of God.” In
John 1:14, the Bible declares that “the unrevealed wisdom of God” (Jesus)
has put on an actual body.

The Koran declares that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified. Those things
only “appeared” to happen. They do not believe that Jesus has anything to
do with salvation or eternal life.

Islam teaches salvation by works. The number and quality of deeds is weighed
at the end of life, and if good works outweigh the bad ones, the individual
will go to Paradise. However, if the bad ones tip the scale, the individual
will go to hell.

In contrast, the Bible clearly teaches that we receive salvation by grace
through faith in Jesus Christ, not because of the works we do on Earth (see
Ephesians 2:8-9).

Next, Mohammed’s account begins 600 years after the events of the first
century. The New Testament contains eyewitness testimony of the life and
ministry
of Jesus. Therefore, it is more trustworthy.

How We Treat Muslims

This is the kicker. No matter what others believe—no matter how they treat
us or what their religious beliefs say about who we are—Jesus calls us to
love
them as we love ourselves. That means we treat Muslims just as Jesus wants
us to treat people everywhere.

Julie and I have traveled all over the world, and I can tell you that people
everywhere are the same.

Most Muslims, like all of us, want to live in peace and safety. They’d like
to have a good job and good health. They want good friends and neighbors.
They
want to watch their children grow up to be well-adjusted adults.

When you see a woman wearing a burqa or a hijab, remember that the woman
behind the veil is a real person just like everyone else. Love her the same.

I know that’s tough, especially because we see terror strikes by Muslim
extremists in the news every day. But catch that word, “extremists.” Muslims
who
act in hate and violence are the minority. You do not have to fear them.
“Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Sincerely, Roger

Author’s Note: Much of the material on Islam was gleaned from the book by
Josh McDowell, Answers to Tough Questions. I recommend that you look there
for
more helpful information.

Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from
Casas Church
in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after
conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors,
missionaries,
and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout
his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated,
multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is
deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right
through
the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor
University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate
Seminary
in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening
to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing
and is available in Thai and Portuguese.
His latest work is,
Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer
, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at
Preach It, Teach It
, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife,
Dr. Julie Barrier .

Publication date: June 13, 2017

11 Ways to Discover the Extraordinary Power of Being Ordinary
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of
Michael Horton’s new book Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless
World
(Zondervan, 2014).

Whenever you can do something big to serve God or go on a radical adventure
with him, you likely feel important. Such extraordinary experiences seem to
validate the fact that your life really matters.

But what about life’s ordinary moments, which happen much more often? The
mundane routine of living day to day may seem like nothing special because
it
doesn’t feel exciting. But it’s in the midst of the ordinary that God grows
you most powerfully into the person he wants you to become.

The ordinary becomes extraordinary when you approach it with faith, inviting
God to work through you in every moment you live for him. Here’s how you can
do so:

Accept the circumstances into which God has placed you. Recognize that God
has called you to do what’s right in every situation you face, and when you
do your best to live faithfully in all circumstances, your life makes a
significant impact over time in God’s kingdom. If God calls you to do
something
adventurous like building wells in Africa on a mission trip, go do so. But
realize that the ordinary ways God calls you to respond with faith – such as
working diligently to earn money for your family, helping your children
learn something new, doing errands and household chores, praying for your
neighbors,
and participating in a local church community – are just as significant as
the more adventurous opportunities to serve. Realize that what matters most
to God isn’t
what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. Be encouraged that whenever you
do anything at all with faithful love for God and the people he has made,
God
is using your life to accomplish important purposes. Be willing to say “yes”
to God wherever he has placed you.

Realize that ordinary doesn’t mean mediocre. God’s call to embrace the
ordinary aspects of life doesn’t involve settling for mediocrity by doing
less.
It actually means doing more, with excellence, but investing in things that
you’re tempted to give up on when you don’t seen an immediate return on your
investment. Far from giving up your God-given passion, embracing the
ordinary means tapping into that passion to foster deeper growth in grace,
more effective
outreach, and a more sustainable vision of loving service to others over the
course of your lifetime.

Check your motivations. Reflect on what’s really motivating you to spend
your time and energy engaging in spiritual disciplines and serving people in
need.
Are you pursuing these noble activities because they make you feel important
and radical – or because you want to express your love for God through them?
If you discover that you’re motivated by a desire to justify yourself
through your activities, you won’t be satisfied with what’s ordinary, even
though
God is working through ordinary moments in your life. Confess any misguided
motivations you have, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus simply on
pleasing
God.

Grow in maturity through time and community. As you mature spiritually, you’ll
develop a greater appreciation for how God works through the ordinary
moments
of your life. Time and community are two key elements that God uses to help
you grow: committing time to your activities long term without getting
restless
and giving up on them prematurely, and submitting to the accountability and
encouragement of other believers in a local church community.

Shift your focus from extraordinary breakthroughs to ordinary disciplines.
Rather than expecting that you have to wait for some kind of next big thing
to see God at work powerfully in your life, expect God to show up powerfully
as you engage faithfully in ordinary spiritual disciplines (like prayer and
Bible reading). Deal wisely with your church’s ordinary traditions by
refusing to idolize or ignore them; instead, respect them but evaluate
whether or
not they’re still truly meaningful for you – if so, practice them to draw
closer to God.

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Trade selfish ambition for a passionate drive. Let go of ambition to build
yourself up by doing good work in attention-grabbing ways. Instead, focus on
passionately using the talents God has given you to help meet the needs you
care about the most in the world through ordinary work, which will maximize
your impact over time.

Aim to be a servant, not a star. Don’t worry about trying to gain
recognition for your personal talents in ministry (such as your engaging
speaking skills
or charismatic leadership). Instead, focus on faithfully serving people
throughout life’s many ordinary moments – as Jesus himself did, during his
time
on Earth.

Develop contentment. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn to notice and be
content with the ways that God is constantly working through your ordinary
efforts to live faithfully day by day. Recognize that your calling isn’t
really your own, but God’s power at work in your efforts, as you cooperate
with
him and help fulfill his redemptive purposes in the world.

Become an ordinary hero. While God may sometimes call you to do remarkable
acts of heroism, most often God will use your faithful efforts doing your
daily
work to make a significantly positive impact on others around you. By simply
being faithful to the work God gives you to do each day, you can become just
as much of a hero as you could be by doing something dramatic.

Practice spiritual gardening. The way people grow spiritually is like how
plants grow in a garden. Rather than expecting fast and dramatic spiritual
growth
in yourself and other people (which is unrealistic), be patient and
diligently work toward slow and steady growth. As you personally engage in
spiritual
disciplines and keep loving and serving others, God will bring about
beautiful growth in all of your lives over time.

Focus on people rather than causes and projects. Although God does urge you
to support causes and projects, his main concern is how well you love and
serve
people in the process of working on those efforts. Don’t let yourself get
stuck daydreaming about ambitious causes and projects in the abstract,
without
actually following up on your ideas. Instead, get to work serving the real
and specific people whom you encounter on a daily basis. As you keep dying
to
yourself and inviting God to work through you, you’ll do extraordinary work
in ordinary ways.

Adapted from Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World,
copyright 2014 by Michael S. Horton. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids,
Mich.,

www.zondervan.com .

Michael Horton is the author of more than 30 books and is a professor at
Westminster Seminary California. He also hosts the White House Inn
broadcast/podcast, and is editor of Modern Reformation magazine.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for
many years, is author of the Christian novel
Dream Factory
, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. She produced a site about
angels and miracles for About.com. Now she writes about the power of
thoughts on
her
“Renewing Your Mind” blog.

The Wonderful Gift of ... Suffering?
by John UpChurch, Crosswalk.com Contributor

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on
him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same
struggle
you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”

(Philippians 1:29-30
)

Philippians 1:29
is one of those verses that makes me stop and shake my head in disbelief.
Paul tells the readers of this letter that suffering has been granted to
them.
Granted? Really? As in, "Here you go. Here's a big ol' heaping helping of
suffering"?

If you dig into the Greek behind that phrase, you’ll uncover the word
charizomai. This word usually implies something that’s freely given for
someone else’s benefit. In fact, Paul uses this same word to talk about how
God
forgave our sins (
Colossians 2:13 ; Ephesians 4:32
); how we are to forgive others freely (
2 Corinthians 2:7, 10
); and how God bestows gifts or titles because of His love and power (as in
Philippians 2:9
). In Luke 7:21
, the same word shows how Jesus gave sight to the blind. Free, beneficial
gifts.

All those are well and good. So, why would Paul add something crazy like
suffering to these other good things? Surely, he has to see that suffering
doesn’t
fit in the same category as healing the blind and forgiving sin. They don’t
even share the same zip code. Right?

Well, Paul’s example shows us that they do. Right near the end of Acts (
chapter 27
), Paul gets stuck with a stubborn centurion who can’t wait to get to Rome
and a ship’s pilot who’s happy to oblige. Paul warns that such a trip will
end
badly. They ignore him (word to the wise: never ignore Paul). When they run
into a storm, things look really, really bad. People are throwing supplies
overboard, faces are green, and hope goes buh-bye.

About that time, Paul gets to give his “I told you so” speech, and in that
speech, he uses our old friend
charizomai. An angel had appeared to Paul and told him, “God has
granted you all those who are sailing with you” (
Acts 27:24
). God had granted him seasick sailors (who wanted to kill the prisoners,
mind you) and a stubborn centurion who refused to listen to sense. What kind
of gift is that? God could have granted him a miraculous trip to a nearby
island--perhaps somewhere warm and not so stormy.

But if that had been the case, Paul wouldn’t have done the other part of
this verse: “you must stand before Caesar.” If Paul had been whisked away,
in
fact, we wouldn’t have the books of Acts or Luke (that chapter is filled
with “we” from our good doctor friend who also survived the storm); the
sailors
and centurion wouldn’t have seen God’s mighty act to save every single one
of them; and Paul wouldn’t have taken the gospel to the most important city
in the Roman Empire. God gave Paul the gift of their lives so that the
gospel would bulldoze on.

And that brings up back to Paul’s suggestion that suffering is granted--a
gift. Quite likely, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians not long after
being
smashed into the rocks. Despite the messy trip (or perhaps precisely because
of it), the message of Christ spread throughout the royal guard and people
all over Rome. Other Christians got some backbone to speak more boldly (
Philippians 1:13-14
). Things went boom all over.

Intersecting Faith & Life: The gift of suffering, for Paul and for us, doesn’t
seem much like a gift--at first. But the vantage point makes all the
difference.
Suffering that comes for the sake of Christ always produces a harvest of
awesome. That’s because, in addition to the suffering, God also grants us
the

strength to endure
and the chance to see the gospel take root.

And that’s why Paul can truthfully say, “What is more, I consider everything
a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whose sake I have lost all things” ( Philippians 3:8 ). That’s not empty
boasting from a beaten down man. That’s the triumphant cry of someone who
sees
what lies ahead.

For Further Reading
Acts 27-28
Philippians 1 (Read the whole thing; it’s short and concentrated.)
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Tue 05 Sep 2017, 10:25 pm

The Doorman
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Editor

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
- Matthew 11:28

Once upon a time, there lived a wise and righteous king who cared deeply for
his people. In order to ensure that his kingdom prospered, the king summoned
one of his servants and gave him this decree,

"Go and stand at the door of the palace. If someone comes and asks to see
me, open the door and allow them in so I may speak with them."

So the servant went and did as the king commanded. People came from far and
wide to see the king. Some were rich men, some were great scholars, others
were from noble families, and when they asked to see the king the doorman
gave them entry. Then one day a poor beggar came to the palace door and
asked
to see the king. The doorman looked him over and frowned.

The beggar's clothes were dirty and torn, he wore no shoes and was
unpleasant to look at.

"Surely my king would not wish to meet with such a man as this," the doorman
said to himself, and turned the beggar away. Soon the doorman began turning
others away; people he deemed too poor, or too sick, or too strange. When
the king discovered what was being done he summoned the doorman to him.

"Why have you been turning people away from the palace?" the king demanded
angrily. The doorman was surprised and replied meekly, "My king, I was only
performing the duty you gave me."

"Your duty was to open the door for those who would see me," said the king,
"not decide if they were worthy to do so."

It's unfortunate when we behave like the doorman in this story. We style
ourselves the "Watchmen on the Wall," and if we see someone who doesn't
quite
fit our definition of worthy, we slam the door in his or her face. But God's
grace is not ours to give away, and true forgiveness belongs to Christ
alone.
Our job is to open the door that leads to Christ, through prayer, through
friendship, and through service. Remember, we all stand on equal footing at
the
door of Christ's mercy.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you been turning away people who are
looking for God? Or lighting the way to the narrow path? Take some time to
consider.

Further Reading
>Luke 14:15-24

HE CAN HEAL THE HURT

Grudge is one of those words that defines itself. Its very sound betrays its
meaning.

Say it slowly: “Grr-uuuud-ge.”

It starts with a growl. “Grr…” Like a bear with bad breath coming out of
hibernation or a mangy mongrel defending his bone in an alley. “Grrr…”

Remove a GR from the word grudge and replace it with SL and you have the
junk that grudge bearers trudge through. Sludge. Black, thick, ankle-deep
resentment
that steals the bounce from the step. No joyful skips through the meadows.
No healthy hikes up the mountain. Just day after day of walking into the
storm,
shoulders bent against the wind, and feet dragging through all the muck life
has delivered.

Is this the way you are coping with your hurts? Are you allowing your hurts
to turn into hates? If so, ask yourself: Is it working? Has your hatred done
you any good? Has your resentment brought you any relief, any peace? Has it
granted you any joy?

Let’s say you get even. Let’s say you get him back. Let’s say she gets what
she deserves. Let’s say your fantasy of fury runs its ferocious course and
you return all your pain with interest. Imagine yourself standing over the
corpse of the one you have hated. Will you now be free?

The writer of the following letter thought she would be. She thought her
revenge would bring release. But she learned otherwise.

I caught my husband with another woman. He swore it would never happen
again. He begged me to forgive him, but I could not—would not. I was so
bitter and
so incapable of swallowing my pride that I could think of nothing but
revenge. I was going to make him pay and pay dearly. I’d have my pound of
flesh.

I filed for divorce, even though my children begged me not to.

Even after the divorce, my husband tried for two years to win me back. I
refused to have anything to do with him. He had struck first; now I was
striking
back. All I wanted was to make him pay.

Finally he gave up and married a lovely young widow with a couple of small
children. He began rebuilding his life—without me.

I see them occasionally, and he looks so happy. They all do. And here I am—a
lonely, old, miserable woman who allowed her selfish pride and foolish
stubbornness
to ruin her life.

Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that,
without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left.

The state of your heart dictates whether you harbor a grudge or give grace,
seek self-pity or seek Christ, drink human misery or taste God’s mercy.

No wonder, then, the wise man pleads, “Above all else, guard your heart.”
(Proverbs 4:23)

David’s prayer should be ours: “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” (Psalm
51:10)

Max Lucado
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"Overcoming This World's Obstacles" #84-47

Sermon Text for July 23, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on July 23, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Romans 8:18-25
Our text, Romans chapter 8. "I find this law at work," says St. Paul.
"Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me, for in my inner
being,
I delight in God's Law, but I see another law at work in me, waging war
against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at
work within
me. What a wretched man that I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is
subject to death? Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ, our
Lord." Christ has risen. He has risen, indeed. Hallelujah!

You know what an idiom is, don't you? It's a picturesque way of making a
point. For example, "Actions speak louder than words" or "A penny for your
thoughts"
or "You're barking up the wrong tree." Idioms can be grammatically unusual
like "Long time, no see." Or their meanings cannot be taken literally like
when
we say, "It's raining cats and dogs," but idioms grab our attention as they
try to make their point.

Here's one that was always a favorite back in younger days, playing sports:
"No pain, no gain." But what's that supposed to mean? I don't like that
phrase
much anymore. Well, it was supposed to mean that hard work and even
suffering at times is necessary in order to make progress or to grow. Did
your mother
ever make you take piano lessons? Now mine did, and I didn't always like it.
Well, truth be told, I really am glad that she made me do that back in the
day.

Yes, some of you, like me, probably didn't enjoy all the practice it took
through the years, but later you discovered that all of that practice-it now
allows you to entertain others or to accompany a choir or lead a
congregation in worship. No pain, no gain. Today I want to use that idiom as
a reminder
of how the Lord inspires you and me through the power of the Holy Spirit to
live our lives in this world to serve others for an eternal purpose.

St. Paul, writing to Christians in the first-century Roman world, encouraged
people to press on in the midst of great challenges. He said it this way in
Romans 8: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not
worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." In this New
Testament
book, Paul is laying down a solid foundation for the expansion of the
Christian church across the inhabited world. Now, the Gospel of Jesus at its
beginning
with Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, outside of Jerusalem, the Gospel
of Jesus Christ, really Jesus Himself, had had its way with Paul.

He turned Paul's life around. Remember Paul? We first learned of him as Saul
in the New Testament book of Acts. He was a great persecutor of Christians
until Jesus miraculously intervened in his life. Jesus stopped Saul in his
tracks on the Damascus Road. Jesus called out, "Saul! Saul! Why are you
persecuting
Me?" That's right. The resurrected, ascended, and
coming-again-to-judge-the-living-and-the-dead Lord Jesus Christ stopped Saul
right in his tracks. It
changed Saul's life forever. Jesus changed this hardened man.

It wasn't just that Paul experienced the awesome presence of Jesus on that
day. He would immerse himself in the Scriptures, studying how this Jesus was
the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises. He, Jesus, was the one
promised by God in the book of Genesis, who had come to save the world from
sin
and death. Paul made it his life's mission to help as many people as he
could to learn the truth of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this long letter to
these
Christians in Rome in order to give them a rock-solid foundation of
Christian teaching that would provide the kind of footing and traction the
church would
need to reach the rest of the world.

However, that mission would not come without a price. No pain, no gain. In
fact, you know that this is true even in your own life. Even the act of
loving
someone has a price to pay. Someone has to make the first move when things
are good and, even more importantly, when there are challenges. Someone has
to be willing to serve, to care, to be vulnerable, to make a relationship
work. Even the power of love is a no-pain, no-gain kind of thing. Sharing
the
love of God in Jesus Christ, that's a no-pain, no-gain thing, too.

Christ literally had to endure the pain of the cross to bring the love of
God to you and all those who believe in Jesus Christ. You and I, if we seek
to
share God's love, there's a price to be paid for that, too. People often
make you pay even when you're trying to share God's love with them. Wow!
Well,
that was true in Paul's day, but we see it also today.

Earlier this year I shared with you that in 2016, 90,000 Christians lost
their lives due to persecution. Sharing the love of God comes at a great
cost.
Still there's a tremendous upside to all of that pain. Christians, we're on
a mission. Paul says in Romans 8, "For I consider that the sufferings of
this
present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed
to us." As Romans 8 reveals, it's not just malicious men and women who try
to
get in our way. Sometimes, it's just life itself.

It's just life in a troubled and broken world. Like Paul says, "Creation,
too, waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Creation
was subjected to futility. Not willingly, but because of Him who subjected
it in hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to
corruption."
Think about that. What does that mean? Well, you feel that corruption in
your body when you're subjected to sickness and disease. You feel it when a
summer
storm comes roaring across the landscape in a deadly tornado or a
destructive hurricane or a terrific drought that wipes out the crops. That's
all part
of creation subjected to futility.

You probably hear it cast differently by other people. They might try to
soften those blows by referring to bad weather as "Mother Nature getting
upset,"
but if you really want to get at the truth of the matter, you have to go
back to your Bible in Genesis chapter three when mankind fell into sin. The
Lord
teaches us that all of creation ended up becoming broken. Everything is set
on its edge as it were. The good and healthy balance of life became upset,
unhinged. The earth became unbalanced like a toy top that starts to wobble
as it loses its energy.

Again, this is what St. Paul is telling us when he talks about creation
longing for the revealing of the sons of God, even in hope that creation
itself
will be set free from its bondage to corruption. Paul goes on to say, "For
we know the whole creation has been groaning together like in the pains of
childbirth
until now, and not only creation, but we ourselves. We, who have the first
fruits of the spirit, we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as
sons
and daughters, the redemption of our bodies."

I'm kind of a news junkie. I'm sure many of you are, too. Then there are
people who refuse to turn on the news. Why? Well, one reason is that they
can't
stomach all the bad news. Well, I can appreciate that. I really can. You
have to admit, there are a lot of bad things happening in our world every
day.
If you allow yourselves to get involved in a news report, it's likely you'll
groan. You'll grimace. Maybe you'll even begin to feel sick. I like to keep
up with current events, but sometimes it really is just too much to bear.

That's what makes Paul's words here so vivid. He says, "We know the whole
creation has been groaning together, like in the pains of childbirth." God's
creation subjected to the brokenness that has come because of humanity's
fall into sin, it literally groans. It aches for something better, something
far
better.

Those of you who are women, who've suffered through the pains of childbirth,
you can attest to Paul's description of creation, can't you-groaning
together
in the pains of childbirth? Only you women can know that suffering. But the
idiom, "No pain, no gain," applies here, too. For every mother and father
who
enjoy the gift of a new daughter or son appreciates the richness of that
pain because of the gain which far outweighs the curse of that suffering.
Well,
the whole creation has been groaning that way.

Then Paul says, "Until now ..." Now here's the big thing for Paul. Here is
the ultimate point of the message. The message of the Gospel reveals that
for
all of the brokenness of this world, for all of the obstacles that get in
the way, there is something better in store for us. Our God who puts limits
on
the destructive power of the fallen creation and intervenes when storms
throw tantrums, He has something far better in store for us. Here it is.
Paul says,
"And not only the creation, but we ourselves. We have the first roots of the
Spirit. We groan inwardly as we eagerly await for our adoption as sons, the
redemption of our bodies." That's it-the redemption of our bodies and souls
eternally in Jesus Christ.

The book of Romans follows closely after the four Gospels of the New
Testament where we learn how Jesus Christ, God's Son, was given to take on
human flesh
and to live in our world of brokenness. Jesus felt, for real, the trouble,
the hardship, that all of us feel. Jesus knows how you and I groan in the
wake
of all the things that are upsetting us. He knows what it's like to lose a
close friend. He healed men and women suffering from leprosy and other dread
diseases.

During Holy Week, Jesus became the focus of a broken justice system in which
religious officials and political officers could be easily bribed to invoke
injustice on those who were innocent. All the stuff that makes for bad news,
Jesus knows it firsthand. However, because Jesus endured all of that
brokenness,
you and I are given to know that He came to redeem us from all of that.
Jesus gives us good news when there's bad news. Jesus gives us good news,
something
much better to gain, to gain a better and long-lasting perspective and faith
through all the pain.

In fact, Christ's pain means great gain for you and me. St. Paul goes on,
"For in this hope, this hope in Christ, we were saved." Paul believed that
we
were born into this world, and not just to be the next progression or
generation of humanity. We were born to be God's next generation of adopted
sons
and daughters of a living hope. Through the death and resurrection of God's
Son, Jesus Christ, we have a tremendous mission for promulgating the joy of
heaven. The joy of heaven doesn't start after we succumb to an earthly
death. It starts right now in your life, and in mine, by faith.

The joy of heaven-where there are no more tears, where there is no more
pain, no more suffering, no more disease, no more multi-car pile ups, and no
more
death-it all starts right now for you and me. When I was a young pastor, I
called on an old veteran pastor who was seeing his last days here on earth,
and I asked him in view of the Gospel, "Why does aging and death still have
to come?" You see, at this young age, I was already tired of dealing with
the
tragedies in hospitals, the tragedies of dying and death. I asked him, "Why
does it have to come to this?"

He said, "Greg, it's God's way of getting us to heaven." Let me just say
that again, "Greg, it's God's way of getting us to heaven." That sounded too
simple,
but you know, over time now, I've begun to realize the simplicity and the
power of that statement. It's true. When you have the joy of knowing that
God
has not abandoned you in this life and has paradise in store for you, it
makes it all worthwhile. No pain, no gain.

Paul here helps us to really appreciate the power of faith. The writer of
the book of Hebrews, some people think Paul wrote that too, he says it this
way:
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things
not seen." Faith is a gift that God gives us in Jesus-that you and I have a
Savior
who knows our pain, but helps us to live for something greater. That's the
joy of sharing life with Jesus now. That's the joy of being on His special
mission
with Him for others, helping others to see His overcoming power by sharing
this joy.

How does it happen? It happens by the power of God's Holy Spirit, sealed
through Jesus' death and resurrection and then alive in your lives-no matter
what
is going on around you. St. Paul says, "Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our
weakness for we don't even know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit
Himself
intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Life lived in this
world will always be a struggle. There will always be pain, challenge,
suffering,
sickness, and dealing with the loss of loved ones and coworkers. That's the
pain, but here's the gain.

In fact, let me ask it this way. Are you not sure how you're going to deal
with all this junk, all this stuff that seems to get in the way? Remember
the
Spirit helps us in our weakness. Not even sure how to pray sometimes?
Remember this promise: "For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but
the
Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Now, that's a
God who gets it. Even the Spirit groans with us, for us, and takes all
things
to the throne of God's grace.

Many of you have heard the story of Jim Elliot. He was a missionary who took
the Gospel to the Aucan Indians in the jungles of eastern Ecuador. They had
never heard of Jesus. Jim Elliot gave his life, proclaiming the Gospel to
them so that they would know Jesus as their Savior, too. Elliot wrote this.
He
said, "He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot
lose." Loosely translated: "No pain, no gain." His manner of life has become
a strong encouragement for me as I consider how to live life through the
junk of this world with an eternal perspective, and I pray that that is a
blessing
for you as well.

Let me close with this blessing for you. I pray that our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in the Spirit He gives, will strengthen you to live with a longing for the
hope that is to come, that is, to live for the gain, even through the pain,
because through faith in Christ Jesus, you already reign. Amen.
Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for July 23, 2017
Guest: Dr. Paul Maier
Mark Eischer: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. This is Action in
Ministry, your call to action in response to all that God has done for you
in Jesus
Christ. Pastor Seltz, in your message today, you helped us look past the
pain of the moment and think instead about the gain that lasts forever.

Pastor Seltz: That's right, Mark. Just as the apostle Paul endured great
suffering for the furthering of the Gospel, so also many others have
continued
to count the cost and accomplish great gain for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Mark Eischer: One such individual was Martin Luther. His story is told in a
video resource titled, A Man Named Martin. One of the contributors featured
in that study is author and historian Dr. Paul Maier, and he joins us now by
phone.

Pastor Seltz: Dr. Maier, thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Maier: Delighted to be aboard.

Pastor Seltz: This theme of "no pain, no gain," was no doubt a part of
Martin Luther's life. He's known as one of the greatest reformers of all
times,
but I guess the question that our listeners might have is "Why did Luther do
this and what was the risk for him?"

Dr. Maier: He was a person who would love computers today because everything
he did was an emphasis with bold, underline, and italics, at the same time.
He wanted to be absolutely sure of his salvation. For that reason, he became
a monk. If he was going to become a monk, he was going to be the best
available.
As a monk, he would fast not for an hour or two but maybe for a day or two.
He'd be on his knees in prayer. He would try to wind his way into God's
favor.
He had these anguishing moments in which he would see that "I can't be as
righteous as God wants me to be," soul searching of all kinds in the process
of becoming a monk.

Pastor Seltz: Then, when he discovers the Gospel and he realizes that it
really does set him free to live as God had made possible for him, and then
he
paid any price to make sure other people knew about that, right?

Dr. Maier: Indeed. It went public after the posting of his 95 Theses and
after that, of course, he became a very public figure in Europe, and indeed
much
opposition dwelled from the medieval church, from the Holy Roman Empire,
which was the overreaching state at the time, and from anybody who didn't
like
Luther. The result was it was one man against the world, for quite a while.

Mark Eischer: Did he expect a different result when he posted those debating
points on the door?

Dr. Maier: It was a case of posting these for serious debate among scholars,
regarding the sale of indulgences. These were documents on paper that
released
a person from the penalties of purgatory in the amount of years, months, and
days. Luther couldn't stand that. It's not biblically grounded. He saw where
the church was erring in other areas as well, and this was the tip of the
iceberg. So he thought this was meant only for scholarly debate. It was in
Latin,
not German. Then, of course, when they were translated into German by an
enterprising printer, in two months all of Europe was talking about Luther's
challenge
with the church.

Pastor Seltz: All that Martin Luther went through, it was critical to the
spreading of the Gospel, but I guess the other side of it is, what are some
of
the transforming results? Society was transformed from some of Luther's
efforts, too. What changed?

Dr. Maier: Everything changed in the sense of how a person lives his life.
It was a pretty meager existence in the Middle Ages, and a pretty dangerous
existence because the church has a monopoly on your life, on anything you
did. It was a case of liberation from the church at the time, and from the
states
close link with the church at the time, too, which was another great problem
for Luther and for the state. The Reformation would be the signaling of the
bell freedom, you might say, for the human being.

Mark: Yeah. Liberation in society, then education for the individual, and
all the freedoms that we seem to enjoy today, there's a lot of it that has
roots
in the Reformation.

Dr. Maier: I've often said the Statue of Liberty ought to be outside of
Wittenberg rather than New York Harbor.

Pastor Seltz: What could we learn from Luther's willingness to endure that
risk, the persecution, the loneliness, that you spoke about? What does it
mean
for us?

Dr. Maier: At the time, poor Luther must've thought, "I'm the only one who's
enduring all this," but then when he realized the importance of the freedom
of the Gospel, then he realized he was liberating-through him God was
liberating-hundreds, thousands of people at the time, millions today, in our
country
and elsewhere.

Mark Eischer: We've been discussing a video resourced titled A Man Named
Martin
, and there's much more to the story of Martin Luther. In just a moment,
I'll tell you how you can access this content.

Pastor Seltz: Dr. Paul Maier, thanks for sharing this message about Martin
Luther and his story of pain and great gain for the Gospel of Jesus. It's a
reminder that God has great purpose for all of us. Indeed, He does work all
things together for good to those who love Him. Dr. Maier, again, what a
privilege
to have you here with us today. Thanks for being here.

Dr. Maier: Blessings Greg, and you, too, Mark.

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

Mark Eischer: To view or download this resource for free, go to
lutheranhour.org and click on Action in Ministry or call 1-855-JOHN-316.
That's 1-855-564-6316.
Our e-mail address is info@LHM.org.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for July 23, 2017
Topic: Overcoming This World's Obstacles
Mark Eischer: Now Pastor Gregory Seltz explores another important Bible
text. I'm Mark Eischer. Hebrews 12, verse 2 says, "We look to Jesus, the
Founder
and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the
throne
of God." Pastor Seltz, what does this verse mean for us?

Pastor Seltz: Well, Mark, before we get to that, just remember Hebrews 12
follows Hebrews 11 and that's important not to forget.

Mark: Well, sure. Twelve follows eleven, but why is that so important?

Pastor Seltz: Because understanding Hebrews 11, it helps us to read and
understand Hebrews 12.

Mark: Hebrews 11 seems to be all about faith.

Pastor Seltz: Exactly. Some people call Hebrews 11 the "faith" chapter. It
begins with a description of faith as being sure of what we hope for and
certain
of what we don't see. The rest of the chapter explains that all the saints
in the Old Testament live by faith in what God had promised.

Mark: If Hebrews 11 is all about faith, does that mean Hebrews 12 is also
about faith?

Pastor Seltz: It is to a point. Hebrews 12 begins by alluding back to the
faith of those who have gone before and the faith of those who believe now,
but
a fundamental shift occurs in verse 2. That's the verse we're talking about
today. Here, we're told to fix our eyes not on those who have faith but on
the One in whom they have faith, so let's fix our eyes on Jesus. The point
is not just having faith, but focusing on the One in whom we should put all
of our trust.

Mark: There's a lot of talk about faith nowadays. Here, we're told to fix
our eyes and our faith on Jesus. What does that mean?

Pastor Seltz: The answer to that is that Jesus is the only true and worthy
object of our faith. It's not faith in ourselves or in our favorite sports
team.
It's not faith in government or our country. It's not even faith in faith,
or the power of positive thinking. Now, those things may or may not be good
at a certain point, or helpful, but they're not worthy of our ultimate
faith. Jesus is the only One and the only thing, the only Person, who
deserves our
faith.

Mark: That's a pretty strong statement. Don't we also put our faith in those
other things?

Pastor Seltz: Well, we may use the language of faith to say that we depend
on those things or hope those things will help us, but the true object of
faith,
ultimately, is Jesus. He's God in the flesh. He's the only One who can
promise and deliver eternal life. He's the only One who can conquer our
enemies
of sin, death, and the power of the devil. Only Jesus is worthy of, and
deserves, our faith.

Mark: What does it mean that He is the Founder and Perfecter of our faith?

Pastor Seltz: Now this is one of those places where the English translation
really doesn't reflect the original Greek. It actually makes more sense in
the Greek, too. The words here are really, "He's the beginning and the goal,
or the end of our faith." Think about it. Jesus, the beginning of our faith,
He's the goal, He's the end point of our faith. Basically, what the Hebrew's
writer is saying, "He's everything. He's the content. He's the object. He's
our hope. He's our promise. He's our life. He is everything."

Mark: That brings a lot more meaning to it, but is He not also the Founder
and Perfecter?

Pastor Seltz: He is. He's the Founder of our faith. He's fully God. He's
always been, will always be, so faith begins in Him. He is also the
Perfecter.
He's the only One who has ever had perfect faith. He fully trusted in God
during His earthly life, but again, there's so much more than just founding
and
perfecting. This verse really says that Jesus is all of that, and more.

Mark: Now we haven't even gotten to the second part of the verse yet.

Pastor Seltz: Yeah, that's right. This gets to the heart of why true faith
is faith in Christ. The writer of Hebrews says, "He endured the cross,
scorned
and shamed, and is seated at the right hand of God." That's the reason we
fix our eyes on Jesus. He suffered death on the cross, rose again on the
third
day, as only He could. He ascended into heaven where He reigns as King, and
He will return one day as judge of the living and the dead. He is the King
of kings. He's the Lord of lords.

Mark: In Him alone, do we find forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.
Like you said, he's everything.

Pastor Seltz: Yeah. That's why we fix our eyes on Him. That's why we trust
in Him alone.

Mark: Thank you Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour
Ministries.
Visit lutheranhour.org
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:
"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"In Holy Conversation" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia
Publishing House)

"My Faith Looks Up to Thee" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia
Publishing House)


Labor Day

This is Labor Day weekend in the United States and Canada. Some people treat
this as the last weekend to take off and take a short vacation while others
treat it as a day to labor around the house. I heard a woman call in to a
radio station the other day saying she was going to labor around the house
including taking down her Christmas decorations. Whatever way the day is
celebrated it should remind each of us who know Jesus Christ what He wants
us to do because of our love for Him:

Luke 10:2 (KJV)
2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers
are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth
labourers into his harvest.

When Martin Luther set out on the work which shook the world, his friend
Myconius expressed sympathy. “But,” he said, “I can best help where I am. I
will remain and pray while you toil.” Myconius prayed day by day, but as he
prayed he began to feel uncomfortable.
One night he had a dream. He thought the Saviour himself approached and
showed him his hands and feet. He saw the fountain in which he had been
cleansed from sin. Then looking earnestly into his eyes the Saviour said,
“Follow me.” The Lord took him to a lofty mountain and pointed eastward.
Looking in that direction Myconius saw a plain stretching away to the
horizon. It was dotted with white sheep—thousands and thousands of them. One
man was trying to shepherd them all. The man was Luther. The Saviour pointed
westward. Myconius saw a great field of standing corn. One reaper was trying
to harvest it all. The lonely laborer was spent and exhausted, but still he
persisted in his task. Myconius recognized in the solitary reaper his old
friend Luther.
“It is not enough,” said Myconius when he awakened, “that I should pray. The
sheep must be shepherded; the fields must be reaped. Here am I; send me.”
And he went out and shared his old friend’s labors.
—Fiery Crags, by Boreham

I heard of one woman who was bedridden but asked for prayer requests which
were put on a bulletin board by her bed so she could pray for them. She
probably did minister to those who were there to help her also. We could do
the same if we were in the same position. We could spend our time in prayer
but also minister to those with whom we came in contact.

May we pray that laborers will go into the harvest field. Let us be open to
the leading of the Holy Spirit that we may become the laborers the Lord is
calling.

by Dean W. Masters
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Go to Bed for the Glory of God
Tessa Thompson

In the short four years I have walked through motherhood, I have come to be
convinced of one thing: It is always worth the time and effort to go to bed
with a clean kitchen. I can imagine few worse early morning greetings than a
sticky countertop and a sink full of dishes. (Okay, an empty coffee pot
may be worse.)

My very gracious husband has learned that if we have late-night company, I
will not be going to bed until the leftovers are put away, the dishes are in
the dishwasher, and the extra chairs are taken back downstairs. Of course,
there is the occasional exception, such as last night’s family sleepover
when
ice cream bowls got left in the sink. However, these exceptions are few and
far between, and cleaning the kitchen has gained a permanent abode in my
evening
routine.

Nevertheless, as clean as my kitchen may be at the end of the day, it never
changes the fact that a hundred other things remain lingering in my mind,
heavy
on my heart, and (still) on my to-do list when my head finally hits the
pillow.

I shouldn’t have reacted that way with my children today. I’m sorry, Lord.
Please help me to grow in patience.

What were those three items I thought of earlier that need to be added to
the grocery list?

The list goes on—character traits lacking in my children, a difficult
decision to make with my husband, and endless meals to plan, shop for, and
prepare.
Of course, I could glue my eyelids to my brow and work on just
onemore thing. But I’m tired. And though the recipe hasn’t been found, the
appointment made, the prayer request answered, or the schedule tweaked, I
turn
off the lights, close my eyes, and sleep.

Ending the Day

Sometimes, one of the hardest decisions of the day is when to end it.
Whether we are full-time college students, stay-at-home mothers of young
children,
or older women looking out for wayward teenagers, life is constantly
presenting new challenges and choices, trials and tasks. And sometimes they
all seem
to pile one on top of the other, no matter how hard we work to address every
nook and cranny of life. Never does the day come when the present is finally
perfected and the future permanently fixed.

What is a weary woman to do?

Continue working diligently? Yes. Ask godly men and women for insight and
suggestions? Yes. Cry out in fervent prayer to the Lord’s help? Yes! Go to
bed
and sleep peacefully?

Yes!

The God of the universe invites us to sleep:

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread
of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep
(Psalms 127:2).

Glorifying God Through a Good Night’s Rest

Has it ever occurred to you that going to bed can glorify God? He created us
to need sleep and He graciously gives it. Therefore, we can please Him by
acknowledging this need and accepting the gift with gratitude.

So how else is God glorified when we choose to get a good night’s rest? Here
are three ways:

1. Sleep acknowledges my limitations.

I may stay in bed because I am lazy, but I go to bed because I am limited—a
fallen, finite creature with a body and mind that must rest in order to
thrive.

I love this quote by John Piper in his devotional, Taste and See :

Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God. “He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep”
(Psalms 121:4). But we will. For we are not God. Once a day God sends us to
bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to
think
we are in control and that our work is indispensable (pg. 336).

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

As hard as it may be to admit it at times, I am a finite creature who is
only able to do anything because of the grace of God. He gives the health
and
energy to manage my home and care for my children. He gives me the wisdom to
deal with my son’s disobedience. He provides the working vehicle so I can
go to the grocery store. He graciously grants me the time to work on a
project while He causes my children to nap.

The tiniest task, the smallest success, the most difficult dilemma—every
part of every day and every week and every year is governed and granted by
the
God of the universe. And lest we forget this, He lovingly reminds us every
night when we tiredly walk away from problems, projects, and possibilities,
and entrust ourselves to our sovereign Creator, who gives us sleep.

2. Sleep prepares me for tomorrow.

In this current season of life, my primary work is wife, mother of two
toddlers, and keeper of the home. Whether you are a mother, wife, student,
sister,
or employee, God has given you work to do; and whether we are cleaning,
studying, disciplining, or discipling, our work requires much from us.

Cleaning my home requires physical strength. Writing a blog post requires
mental strength. Being patient with my four-year-old requires emotional
strength.
And doing all of these things in a way that pleases the Lord, day in and day
out, requires ever-increasing spiritual strength.

Getting a good night’s sleep is a way I can prepare my body, mind, heart,
and soul for the work God has given me to do the following day (or in the
middle
of the night!). My body and mind are helped by the sleep, and my heart and
soul are helped when I am able to wake up early the next morning and spend
time
with the Lord.

3. Sleep helps me to redeem the time.

God commands us in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Look carefully then how you walk, not
as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are
evil.”

Modern technology has opened up a world of endless entertainment and
information to us, making it very easy for us to waste time on things that
do not
line up with our priorities or help and edify our souls. A simple search on
Google can turn into an hour of unproductive browsing. Our desire for some
relaxation can turn into two hours of mindlessly sitting in front of the
television watching reruns. Sometimes the best way to make the greatest use
of
the time is to shut the computer, turn off the TV, silence the phone, and
go to bed.

For example, I may need to find a recipe for the potluck next weekend, but
if it comes to the point where I’m sleepily scrolling through Pinterest for
an hour trying to find the “perfect” one, it’s time to step back, remind
myself of my priorities, and use a recipe I already have!

Using It Right

Of course, just as with any other earthly gift, sleep can be abused and
distorted. The Bible clearly commands us to not be lazy, selfish, or
spiritually
sluggish, as does it exhort us to manage our time well (Eph. 5:16) and work
with cheerful diligence
(Proverbs 31:11-15). And there
are times when we glorify God by denying ourselves sleep in order to serve
others (such as nursing a baby) or seek the Lord in prayer during a time of
spiritual warfare. But just because there is a risk of misusing the gift,
does not mean we should despise or avoid it. Rather, we go to God and ask
for
humility to accept it joyfully and wisdom to use it rightly.

May we learn to lie down and sleep in peace (Psalms 4:8), ever grateful that
we serve a sovereign God who does not slumber and yet glorifies Himself when
His beloved children
do.
This article originally appeared on ReviveOurHearts.com
. Used with permission.

Peace Be with You
July 28, 2017
Read: Hebrews 12:14-15

Strive for peace with everyone. (v. 14)

Each year we plant a small garden in our back yard. The kids can pick cherry
tomatoes for snacks and I have fresh herbs for my cooking. Tending a garden,
though, requires some vigilance. If we don’t give the garden some attention
regularly, it will soon fill up with weeds. And if we wait too long to take
care of the weeds, their roots intertwine with our vegetables and we can’t
pull one without losing the other.

God intends us to be in community with one another to help one another along
the way. And the world is watching how we treat one another. If we let
ourselves
become bitter toward one another, we lose out on a valuable partner in our
walk with Jesus. And our witness to the world is damaged as well.
Disagreements
are inevitable in any relationship, but if we let those disagreements grow,
they can tear us apart. Then instead of a body of Christ that cares for each
other, people see more of the same fighting and anger that is all too common
in our world.

The next time you find yourself in a disagreement with a brother or sister
in Christ, ask yourself, what would it look like to extend grace to that
person?
What can I do to live in peace with him or her? You’ll save yourself from
becoming trapped in bitterness and you’ll show the world around you how God
can
draw us together. —Jen Petersen

Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Suffering That Strengthens Faith
By John Piper

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for
you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
(James 1:2–3)

Strange as it may seem, one of the primary purposes of being shaken by
suffering is to make our faith more unshakable.

Faith is like muscle tissue: if you stress it to the limit, it gets
stronger, not weaker. That’s what James means here. When your faith is
threatened and
tested and stretched to the breaking point, the result is greater capacity
to endure.

God loves faith so much that he will test it to the breaking point so as to
keep it pure and strong. For example, he did this to Paul according to 2
Corinthians
1:8–9,

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced
in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we
despaired
of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the
dead.

The words “but that was to” show that there was a purpose in this extreme
suffering: it was in order that Paul would not rely on himself and his
resources,
but on God — specifically the future grace of God in raising the dead.

God so values our wholehearted faith that he will, graciously, take away
everything else in the world that we might be tempted to rely on — even life
itself.
His aim is that we grow deeper and stronger in our confidence that he
himself will be all we need.

He wants us to be able to say with the psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but
you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and
my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion
forever” (Psalm 73:25–26).

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Today's Devotional

My Unwelcomed Blessings

A friend shared how she had once asked God to stop sending trials because
she couldn't handle any more. She confessed, "God did grant me a trial-free
year;
but it was a spiritually dry year." She missed the warm presence of the
Lord. She added, "I never grew during that year." Through her trial-free
year,
she remembered the value of what I call
unwelcomed blessings.

Occasionally, I ponder such blessings — the ones that I never wanted. These
stress points were the marks of the Master Craftsman whittling away the
rough
edges of my character. It was all for my good, and that is why they are,
indeed, blessings:

Hebrews 12:10b-11 – God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may
share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but
painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for
those who have been trained by it. (NIV 2011)

Trials are much harder to endure when one sees no purpose in them.
Thankfully, God's children need not be ignorant of His purposes. Scripture
provides
answers. Our challenge is to appreciate the outcomes intended by God — those
qualities of spiritual maturity: peace, righteousness, perseverance,
patience,
faith, holiness, and much more.

My lengthy list of unwelcomed blessings includes those times when I was
confronted with loss, hurts, or humiliations; when I felt misunderstood or
rejected;
and when I sensed failure. The initial sting of these training experiences
diminished as I realized how they helped break down my pride, strip the
veneers
of falseness, deflate my self-serving ambitions, and much more.

Scripture puts value on our unwelcomed blessings: "Consider it pure joy, my
brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you
know
that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
(James 1:2-3 NIV 2011)

I admit that I still don't receive trials with pure joy. (I doubt that I
even know what that is!) My instinct is to grumble, control, and fret.
Surely,
it's because I don't yet fully appreciate the intended outcome of this
training: "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and
complete,
not lacking anything." (James 1:4 NIV 2011)

That includes pure joy, which Jesus Himself possessed even in His darkest
hour. He prayed that we, too, would possess that quality: "that they may
have
the full measure of my joy within them."
(John 17:13b NIV 2011)

Jesus could accept His sufferings and death as unwelcomed blessings because
He valued the outcome: the blessings of salvation for many. Jesus was
thinking
of His church, including you and me. Imagine that in itself giving Jesus
pure joy!

Prayer: Dear Master Craftsman, train us to appreciate and crave the
beautiful qualities of spiritual maturity that come through Your whittling
touch. Even
in the pain, may we learn to view it all as for Your glory — joyfully. Amen.

Diane Eaton
Paisley, Ontario, Canada
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Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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10 Reasons to Hope When You're Hurting

1. God is truly in control.
If God is God, then nothing happens apart from His knowledge and permission.
While it is difficult to imagine why God allows some painful things to
happen,
His character, revealed in the Bible and through the testing of generations,
leads us to the conclusion that He is willing and able to sustain you during
the worst of times. "We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we
thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as
a result,
we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.". 2
Corinthians 1:8,9

2. There is an eternal life to come.
"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the Glory He will give us
later." Romans 8:18 "He will keep you strong right up to the end, and He
will
keep you free from all blame on the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ
returns." 1 Corinthians 1:8

3. The story isn't finished yet.
Time after time, the Bible records hopeless situations that ultimately ended
in victory. Think of Job's sickness, Joseph's betrayal by his brothers,
David's
adultery and the many who were healed in mind, body and spirit. "But Joseph
told them, 'Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far
as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought
me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many
people.'"
Genesis 50:19,20

4. God has not given up on you! Don't give up on him.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for
good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

5. There is likely purpose in your pain.
Ask God to reveal His purpose in allowing this difficulty in your life.
That's a legitimate question to ask. Often, the answer comes in the process
of
dealing with your circumstance. "Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble
comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when Your faith is
tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for When your endurance
is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything."
James 1:2-4

6. You are loved!
Even the most unlovable person in the world is actually loved so much by
God, that He let His Son die a terrible death to restore their relationship.
God
does love you! He sees your pain and weeps with you. "He has sent Me to
comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and
prisoners
will be freed. He has sent Me to tell those who mourn that the time of the
Lords' favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their
enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of
mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like
strong
and graceful oaks for His own glory." Isaiah 61:1-3

7. Your prayers are heard.
"You parents - if your children ask you for a loaf of bread, do you give
them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?
Of
course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those
who ask
Him?" Matt. 7:9,10

8. You are not facing this alone.
"For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.' That
is why we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, so I will not be
afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'" Hebrews 13:5,6

9. Others have made it through - you can too.
Try to connect with others who have gone through similar situations. You
will find hope, strength and encouragement. "A person standing alone can be
attacked
and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even
better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

10. Reach out to someone else who's struggling.
Place your focus on someone else and invest your life in him or her. You may
discover that your peace of mind is found in being a source of hope for
another.
"All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source
of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our
troubles
so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to
give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Mike Marino
https://powertochange.com/discover/life/reasonsforhope/

Welcome to the Nugget
July 25, 2017
Three Truths to Count on in Desperate Situations
By Answers2Prayer

A wake up call is one of the "must-do's" when I stay in any hotel during my
travels. So, in my recent trip last week, right before I laid my head on the
pillow, I grabbed the phone to dial "0" for the front desk.

I pressed it and pressed it again. But there was no dial tone. The other
keys were dead too. Hmmm...so I tried all other buttons hoping to get a dial
tone.

Bad move because to my chagrin, I pressed one that responded, "9-1-1, what's
your emergency?"

Yikes! I was too embarrassed to explain I was blind and had pressed the
wrong key.

"I'm sorry," I said. "Please disregard."

Minutes later, there was a knock at the door. "Hotel staff, there was a
9-1-1 call from this room. Is everything alright?"

My cheeks grew hot. "Oh, yes everything is fine," I said. "It was a
mistake."

After I chastised myself for pressing all those buttons, I realized I've
done the very same thing before. When in the hotel room of despair, after
losing
my sight completely, I pressed the button of desperation. I pressed the
button for answers from doctors, from my own ability. I tried to activate
comfort
and solutions on my own.

All lead me nowhere. But when I pressed the button in my heart to call upon
Jesus, He answered. He knocked at my door offering the help I needed--the
comfort
of hope. The light in my darkness. The reassurance for my future. And when I
hated my life, He offered the love to conquer it all.

Have you been there? Something happened to you, to your life, to your health
or relationship? And you're pressing buttons in a desperate effort for
answers...but
none come.

Good news is that we're not alone. David must have been in the hotel room of
desperation too because He relates three truths for us to embrace:

1. We can count on God's response. Rely on His attentive nature. And with
confidence in our soul, we know He hears each sob and sees every tear. "I
waited
patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry."
(Psalm 40:1).

2. He watches our desperate situation. He observes our struggles. And when
we call upon Him, He comes to the rescue: "He lifted me out of the slimy
pit,
out of the mud and mire..."
(Psalm 40:2a).

3. When our world is shaky, God knows where to transport us. He prepares the
perfect place of freedom from our emotions and safety for our soul: "He set
my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
(Psalm 40:2b).

God did that for David and He'll do the same for us today. When the pain
sears. When the loneliness won't let go. When the sadness darkens our
nights.
And when worry nags inside--that's when we can press 9-1-1 in our heart. His
answer is timely and His response powerfully loving.

Facing tough circumstances lately? Whom are you calling for help?

Janet Eckles
If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

Announcement:
Are you an animal lover? Then join us on Thursday for an important lesson
taught to us by a cat: "Sassy", by Joseph J. Mazzella

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

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Underground Spring - #7966

I first noticed it one day when I was mowing the lawn-a little dent in the
ground. Over a few weeks, that little dent became a growing sinkhole. The
ground
was literally collapsing. I asked a neighbor, who was an amateur
"sinkholeologist" what caused this phenomenon. He told me it was the drought
of rainfall
that we'd been having. He said an underground spring had probably dried up.
And that dried up the ground, and the roots above it-and my yard went boom.

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

Now, when the ground collapses, it can be because the spring underneath has
dried up. And you know what? That might be happening to you.

Our word for today from the Word of God, John 7:37 "Jesus said in a loud
voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes
in
Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within
him.' By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later
to receive." And they did on the Day of Pentecost. You know that did come
true. As have all God's children since then when they opened their hearts to
Christ.

Now, Jesus said He was putting this bubbling source of life inside every
believer. And as long as the Spirit-stream is running strong, you'll be
healthy
all the way through. But there are a lot of spiritual sinkholes developing
in believers' lives these days. We all know somebody who collapsed, and it
could
be any of us if we neglect the underground spring.

Collapses don't really happen suddenly, in my yard, in my life or in your
life. There's a gradual slowing of the "spiritual spring" in your heart, a
drying
up. Then the drying of the ground-and then one day, suddenly-but not
suddenly-the collapse.

The point? We've got to keep fresh water flowing into our Spirit-stream!
There is no shortcut to spiritual strength. It's the product of a
consistent,
day-after-day time spent with the Lord Jesus Christ. It's that time when you
come to your Lord with an open Bible, with open hands to receive what He is
ready to give you and to release the sin of the last 24 hours, and an open
heart to let Him plant there what He wants to plant, an open mouth to pour
out
your praise and your heart to Him, and an open mind to let Him help you
think His thoughts about your day and your relationships.

But we get busy or we get lazy. We try to get by with a sprinkling from the
outside-whatever we can soak up from Christian radio, Christian TV, church,
youth group, or Bible study group. But it's not enough just to nurture the
spring inside. You are what you are because of personal, one-on-one,
intimate
time with your Lord, or because of the absence of it. It's the accumulated
inner growth of days spent with Jesus that become weeks with Jesus, then
Jesus-months,
and ultimately, Jesus-years.

There's no way to rush that process or to get a spiritual fix to make up for
neglecting it. It's possible that you're drying up inside without even
knowing
it. There have been just too many days without feeding that Spirit-spring
inside you. Well, you can't have any of those days back, but you can start
building
it up today. You need to be feeding that spring that supports your soul. If
you don't, I'd say you're destined for a collapse.

After all, it isn't the spiritual activity that men see that holds you up.
It's those daily, intimate times with Jesus that only you can see and He can
see. But then, it's what's underground that counts.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
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Today's Daily Encounter

Walking Witnesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
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ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

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

Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.

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

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

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

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

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


"God is Great"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 37:4-5, NIV

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

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

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

By Answers2Prayer

Life is What we Make it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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