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Post  Admin on Mon 17 Jul 2017, 1:42 pm

vYour Deeds Follow

Revelation 14:13 (ESV)
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead 
who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that 
they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

The last phrase in this verse reminds me of the account of Jacob and Esau. 
Jacob stole Esau’s birthright then his blessing. He then left and went out 
on his own. After a while he wrestled with God. He then wanted to make up 
with Esau but knew Esau would be mad. He split his flocks into a number of 
smaller flocks and sent them ahead of him as the following Scripture tells 

Genesis 32:19-20 (ESV)
19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the 
droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, 20 and you 
shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’ ” For he thought, “I 
may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I 
shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.”

Jacob had the idea of bribing Esau but that wasn’t necessary. There are 
people who try to bribe God and get into heaven by their good deeds. AS the 
verse above says, our deeds follow us, they do not go ahead of us like Jacob’s 
flocks. No amount of deeds can get us into heaven. When we meet Jesus Christ 
we will meet face to face. There will be nothing between us and Him. He then 
will either say, “Get away from me. I never knew you no matter how many good 
deeds you did.” Or “Welcome my child.”

This does not mean we are not to do good deeds. WE are to follow all of the 
commands of Jesus including loving one another and making disciples. The 
deeds that follow us will be tested:

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 (ESV)
13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, 
because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of 
work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the 
foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned 
up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as 
through fire.

Your deeds will follow you in another way. They will have some effect here 
on earth while you are here and after you are gone. You may not know what 
effect you have had.

I once read of a missionary in the 1800’s that went from England to Africa 
to work with a tribe that had never had a missionary to visit. He worked 
very hard with the tribe. After a year he had only led one boy to Jesus 
Christ. He was so despondent and depressed that when he went home on 
furlough he did not go back to Africa. He thought, “What is the use?” Many 
years later he had a chance to go back to that tribe. When he got there he 
saw a hut with a steeple on top. He met that boy who was now a young man 
and found out that that guy had led most of the tribe to Jesus Christ.

BE sure, your deeds will follow you.
by Dean W. Masters
Owner of the Master's List
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How Should Christians Respond to Other Religions?
by Theologically Driven

by Ben Edwards

Recent decades have provided Christians with an increasing evaluation of and 
interaction with various world religions. The growth of immigration from 
nations combined with a greater global awareness through travel and 
communication have confronted Christians with the reality of diversity in 
faith and
practice. Protestant Christians have responded in different ways to this 
reality. Often, these responses are grouped in three broad categories. 
with the rise of postmodernism a fourth category has appeared. I will 
endeavor to explain and evaluate these four approaches below, concluding 
with the
approach I believe best adheres with biblical Christianity.


The first approach to world religions may be classified as universalism. 
Universalism proposes that all religions are more or less equal, with no one 
able to claim supremacy. Two common illustrations are used when explaining 
this approach, but provide slightly different nuances. The first is to 
salvation or truth as a mountain top and various religions as paths up the 
mountain. At points along the way these paths may appear different, but when
followed to the end they lead to the same place. Thus, all religions 
ultimately teach the same thing. If adherents merely took the time to 
interact with
one another they would discover how much they actually agreed. This 
perspective would eschew proselytizing, opting instead for simple dialogue.

Another picture is of a group of blind men approaching an elephant, with 
each man grabbing a different part of the animal and concluding partially 
statements about it. However, none of them fully understands the elephant. 
In this illustration, no one religion has a claim to all truth. Instead, one
must recognize that all religions have part of the truth, so the best 
approach is to incorporate beliefs from different religions.

Though this approach is popular among more liberal Protestants, attempts to 
defend it biblically are scarce. This scarcity is not surprising since there
is little to no biblical support for universalism. Throughout the Old 
Testament, the God of the Jews is set in opposition to the gods of the 
peoples. The first commandment in the Decalogue places Yahweh as the supreme 
God. The nation is called to abandon other gods for the true God. In the New
Testament, Jesus points to himself as “the way,” claiming that “no one comes 
to the Father except by [him].” Paul refers to the worship of idols as the
worship of demons and applauds the Thessalonians for turning from idols to 
serve the true and living God. Nor are believers called to look to other 
to gain a better understanding of God. Jesus claimed that those who knew him 
knew God and that those who rejected him rejected God.

Universalism also creates logical difficulties. A thorough study of the 
different religions reveals that they do not all teach the same thing but 
proclaim explicitly contradictory truths. Some religions are monotheistic, 
while others are polytheistic or pantheistic. Some believe that life is 
while others hold to a linear view of history. Clearly all religions are not 
teaching the same thing. Arguing that all religions only have part of the
truth does not ultimately solve this dilemma, for the only way to know that 
each religion has part of the truth is to have access to all of the truth.
Those who hold universalism may have a laudable goal of reducing conflict by 
emphasizing unity, but they do injustice to the Bible and to other 


With the rise of postmodernism a modification of universalism has emerged 
that could be classified as relativism. Whereas universalism claims that all
religions lead to the truth or contain part of the truth, relativism says 
that all religions have their own truths. In essence, a relativist would say
that religions are not different paths up one mountain but different 
mountains altogether. This approach recognizes the clear differences between 
but states that these different truths are not ultimately contradictory 
because they are true in themselves. There is no universal truth by which to 
the truths of the various religions. Again, the relativist sees no need for 
proselytizing, since no religion could be judged as better than another.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

The relativist approach runs into the same biblical problem as the 
universalist approach. Christ not only claimed to be “the way” but also “the 
He called his followers to go throughout the world making disciples, which 
entails conversion to the truth. God is never portrayed as one choice among
many but as the only God.

Ultimately, a relativistic approach to religions crumbles under the same 
difficulty as relativism in general—it is a self-defeating philosophy. 
proceeds on the idea that ultimate or universal truth is non-existent, but 
the claim that there is no universal truth is itself a universal truth. 
relativism is incapable of condemning any action or attitude, since there is 
no standard by which to judge. In relativism, acts of terrorism and acts of
charity are equally valid ways to demonstrate one’s commitment to religion. 
However, most people easily recognize these acts are not equally valid 
of their universal sense of right and wrong. Though some may argue for a 
relativistic approach to religion, they never fully embrace it because of 


A third approach to religion is inclusivism. In inclusivism, one’s own 
religion is the supreme religion, but other religions have truths that will 
lead to the truth found in the supreme religion. From a Christian 
perspective, that means that one can only be saved in Christ, but the Bible 
is not the
only revelation of Christ. On the more liberal end of this perspective, 
proponents argue that sincere worshippers in other religions may be saved if 
follow their religion and never have a chance to hear of Christ and 
Christianity. They believe the Quran has truths in it inspired by the Holy 
so a devout Muslim who never hears of Christ may be saved by following these 
inspired truths in the Quran. On the more conservative end of this approach,
proponents believe that someone may become a Christian by believing the 
gospel of Christ but continue to worship in their original religion. Thus, a 
may put faith in Christ but continue to practice as a Muslim because of the 
inspired truths in the Quran. An inclusivist would practice proselytizing 
may not consider it an urgent matter.

Inclusivism does take seriously the biblical teaching that salvation is in 
Christ alone. It also recognizes the biblical teaching that some revelation
of God has gone out to all people, i.e., general revelation. However, it 
fails to incorporate the Bible’s teaching on how an individual is saved 
Christ. There are no biblical examples of a person being saved without 
knowledge of Christ. Rather, Paul states that people cannot believe in 
someone of
whom they have never heard. Jesus’ command to go and make disciples would be 
less significant if salvation were possible apart from the proclamation of
the Gospel. Inclusivism actually makes general revelation salvific in nature 
when the Bible never indicates that general revelation is able to lead to
Romans 1 and Romans 2 both point to general revelation as important for the 
condemnation of all people, since people universally suppress the truth God
has revealed about himself and his moral law, leaving unbelievers with no 

On the more conservative end, proponents fail to incorporate the biblical 
teaching of conversion. Though they rightly recognize that salvation comes 
faith in Christ, they minimize the transformative effects of that salvation. 
Salvation includes regeneration, which enables believers to turn from their
sinful ways and turn to serve Christ alone. One of the evidences of 
regeneration is a rejection of false religion to embrace biblical 
Christianity. The
proponents also distort the teaching of inspiration. The Bible claims 
inspiration for itself but does not extend that inspiration outside of 
itself. Any
truth in other religions can be traced to general revelation and common 
grace rather than inspiration.


The final approach to world religions is exclusivism. This approach teaches 
that there is only one true religion and only one way of salvation. For a 
Christ is the only way of salvation and the Bible is the only source of 
saving revelation today. Other religions are sourced in man’s rebellion 
God and/or demonic influence. Though other religions may have some truths in 
them, they are not saving truths. Exclusivism encourages proselytizing since
it is the only hope for adherents of other religions to be saved.

This approach best lines up with the teachings of Scripture and of the 
beliefs held by the majority of Christians in church history. A potential 
in this approach is that one may develop an arrogant attitude that assumes 
possession of the truth entails superiority. However, a true understanding 
salvation in Christianity minimizes this danger. Since the Bible teaches 
that salvation is a work of God graciously given to unworthy sinners, those 
have been saved have no grounds for boasting. They do not have the truth 
because they have greater intelligence, morality, or wealth. Rather, they 
the truth because they received grace and mercy and should desire to see 
others experience that same grace and mercy.

Posts : 60984
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Location : Wales UK


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Post  Admin on Sun 16 Jul 2017, 11:37 pm

Six Words to Say Through Tears
Nancy Guthrie / May 28, 2017
Six Words to Say Through Tears

This week I went to the graveside service for a young woman who struggled 
with lots of hard things in this life. As I gave her mother a hug, she 
in my ear, “She’s safe. I know she’s safe.”

This mom has had many difficult days and sleepless nights during her 
daughter’s life when she didn’t have that confidence. But as they put her 
body into the ground, she was taking hold of something solidly true — that 
her daughter’s soul is now “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), 
she is safe in his care.

Grasping for Truth

This is not the first time I’ve been around grieving people and heard them 
repeat something similar — a statement or idea they had taken hold of in 
to try to make sense of their loss or to find comfort in the midst of loss. 
I’ve heard people repeat things like, “She was just too good for this 
and, “Death was the only way he could finally find any peace,” and, “I guess 
God just needed him more there than we do here.” And, of course we often say
and hear, “He’s in a better place.”

When we’re reeling from the loss of someone we love, we look for something 
solid to grab hold of to find stability in a storm of sadness and clarity in
a sea of confusion. Some of the things we grab hold of are profoundly true 
and therefore prove to steady us in the storm. But some of the things we 
hold of emanate from the vacuous spirituality and shallow beliefs of our 
modern culture, instead of from the solid truth of God’s word. They might 
nice, but they simply aren’t true. Or, perhaps more often, they are only 
partly true. Some of the very spiritual-sounding things we say to ourselves, 
hear others say to us, in the midst of grief have no scriptural basis, or 
even contradict Scripture.

C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Comfort is the one thing you cannot 
get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the 
If you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth — only 
soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

So, as we search for something to grab hold of in the midst of grief that 
will bring comfort, or as we search for words to say to someone else who is 
we want to make sure that what we’re grabbing hold of, or offering to 
someone else to hold onto, is profoundly, fully, and eternally true.

Six Words: “I Can Trust God with This”

Since the graveside service this week, I’ve been asking myself, what are 
those profoundly and eternally true things we can grab hold of in the midst 
grief that will serve as an anchor for the soul, when the winds and waves of 
grief are coming over the bow and threatening to take us down for good? I
think the answer is essentially one thing that has many iterations or 
implications, which is: “I can trust God with this.”

Recently I wrote a whole book
about what to say to grieving people, because when we speak to grieving 
people, our words really matter.

But when we are the ones who are grieving, what is far more important than 
what other people say to us is what we say to ourselves — what we say to 
in between sobs, when we have more questions than answers, when the 
emptiness feels overwhelming, when anger is getting a foothold in our heart.

When the grief is fresh and intense, we might take some wild ideas for a 
test drive, but to move toward healing and return to joy requires that we 
this one idea deeply into our souls until it begins to impact us at the 
level of our feelings: “I can trust God with this.”

“I can trust God with this” has all kinds of implications that bring peace 
in the midst of grief’s chaotic thoughts and emotions. It means:

• I can trust God with the timing of my loved one’s death.
• I can trust God with the way my loved one died.
• I can trust God with the unknowns about my future.
• I can trust God with my unanswered questions until faith becomes sight.
• I can trust God to heal the hurt.
• I can trust God to fill the emptiness.
• I can trust God to illumine this darkness.
• I can trust God to restore joy to my life.
• I can trust God to speak to me through his word.
• I can trust God to supply sufficient grace and divine power for facing 
whatever comes.
• I can trust God to cause this to work together for my good and for the 
good of others impacted by this, and to conform us more closely to the image 
• I can trust God that resurrection day is really coming and it will be 
worth all the waiting.

Even if, or perhaps especially if, we’re unsure if the person who died was 
genuinely joined to Christ by faith, we can say:

• I can trust that God knows who belongs to him, even if I don’t know if my 
loved one belonged to him.
• I can trust that God will do what is right, even if I don’t know what God 
will do.
• I can put my trust in a God who is merciful and loves to save, even if I 
don’t know if my loved one trusted in that mercy or took hold of that 

Speak to Your Thoughts

When the sorrow of life seemed to mock his dependence on God, the psalmist 

My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3)

His agonized emotions were speaking to him, suggesting that God had 
abandoned him, so he challenged that voice, rather than believe it. He 
confronted what
was being said to him, rather than letting it determine his outlook. The 
psalmist poured out his complaint to God, but he also intentionally spoke to 
own soul in both a questioning and instructive tone:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5)

Rather than listening to his own desperate thoughts, he spoke truth to his 
thoughts. Rather than trusting his feelings, he challenged them. Rather than
talking about the truth of the gospel as something out there for other 
people, he applied it to himself personally. Praying to God, he preached 
hope to

That’s what we must do in the midst of our tears. That’s what my friend did 
this week in the midst of her tears. When she whispered in my ear, “I know
she’s safe,” in essence she was saying, “I can trust God with this. I can 
trust God to keep her safe.”

What’s the Point of Your New Trilogy of Books?
John Piper / May 28, 2017
What’s the Point of Your New Trilogy of Books?

John Piper believes nothing is more important for his remaining years than 
to focus on the authority and the meaning and the heralding of God’s word.

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

When You Feel Like You’ve Lost Time: God is Able to Restore the Years
By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Writer

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. You will have 
plenty...and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked 
for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know...that I 
am the Lord your God, and that there is no other." Joel 2:25-27

If we’ve lived long enough, we know this to be true...sometimes, life is 
hard. It doesn’t always go our way. Things don’t always work out in our 
And often, it seems we get hit from all sides. Problems can leave us 
spinning, wondering why we didn’t see it coming.

Days, months, even years can go by. We look back and wonder how it all went 
so fast, yet seemed so slow when we trudged through the difficulties. And 
we might try our best to live our lives in a way that honors God, it doesn’t 
erase the fact that we live in a fallen world. We’re constantly face to face
with so many battles - hardship, struggles, broken relationships, illness, 
and our own weaknesses too.

In the midst of all that, we may sometimes feel like we’ve lost time, missed 
opportunities, or blown chances along the way. We may struggle with feeling
as if we’ve walked through too many broken years of pain. Like God could 
never work through that stuff, it’s just too messy, or too difficult.

But the good news is this: there’s still hope. For He alone is our 

He is Able.

He is faithful.

He is greater than anything we face in this life, and much bigger than our 
own brokenness or weakness.

Keep moving forward in His grace and power.

Intersecting Faith & Life: If you need God to redeem your time and restore 
the years the “locusts have eaten,” through the difficulties or hard 
you’ve faced, bring it before Him today. All of it. Ask Him for His power to 
work mightily through all you have faced, bringing good and renewed strength
for this next season still in store. God alone brings hope, choose to focus 
on all the blessing that He can bring from the struggle. He is able to turn
it around to work in your favor, and for His greater glory.

Further Reading:
Jeremiah 29:11
Isaiah 43:19
Job 23:10
Find more by Debbie at www.debbiemcdaniel.com 
A Sweet Aroma To God
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“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and 
maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are
unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that 
2 Corinthians 2:14-15

“Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ!” And when we 
are enjoying this victory, we will be sending off a sweet, pervasive perfume
of His glory.

Do you know how incense is made? By cutting or breaking herbs, then crushing 
them into a fine powder. Then water is added to this powder to create a clay
to form into sticks or cones. What is the purpose of incense? To burn and 
create a fragrant aroma.

When we are praising God in the midst of trials, singing songs of glory in 
the midst of persecution, claiming His victory when a problem arises, then 
are emitting a sweet aroma that is unmistakable to the nostrils of God. This 
is the sweet smell of victory!

Discover Jesus | Donate | Today's Message

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you indicated at www.lwf.org that you 
wanted to receive these devotions from Love Worth Finding Ministries.

Anne Graham Lotz - Energized and Strengthened
Energized and Strengthened
We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from 

1 Corinthians 2:12, NKJV

The Holy Spirit Who now lives in you is the same Holy Spirit in Genesis 1 
Who hovered over the formless, empty, dark blob of earth that dangled in 
As He powerfully energized and pulsated the atmosphere, He prepared the 
planet to receive God’s Word and be transformed into a place of purpose and 
that ultimately, in the end, reflected the image of God.

That same Holy Spirit is now powerfully at work in your life, hovering over 
your heart, preparing you to love God and be fully aware of His love for 
He hovers over your mind, preparing you to understand spiritual things and 
the truth of His Word. He hovers over your will, preparing you to make 
that are pleasing to Him. All the power of God – the same power that hung 
the stars in place and put the planets in their courses and transformed 
– now resides in you to energize and strengthen you to become the person God 
created you to be.

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

A Prayer for When You’re Stuck in the Waiting Place
By Marlo Schalesky

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – 
Romans 8:25

Waiting. I've never been a fan. But it seems I have a PhD in the art. 
Waiting for the results of infertility treatments, waiting for an offer for 
a job,
waiting for a change in a relationship, waiting for a change in life.

And recently, waiting for test results that could mean cancer or mean 
nothing. Once again, I was in the waiting place, and while there, I wrote 

I find myself here again, in this waiting place. The place where I know God 
is sovereign. I know He holds my life in His hands. I know He is there. I 
He cares. I know the very hairs on my head are numbered... as are my days.

And yet there is a knot in my stomach and my eyes flicker to the phone. 
Again. And again. It does not ring. Not yet. Of course, not yet.

But I watch anyway. I swallow. And remind myself of all the things I already 

Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? (Matthew 
6:27 ,Luke 12:25)

When we're feeling stuck in the waiting place, our culture says, "Get out of 
that rut! Life's too short. Stop the excuses. Do something." You'll be told
to smile more, care less, be happy, and think good thoughts.

Good advice, but sometimes change is outside our control. Sometimes we're 
not in charge. Sometimes we're stuck, just like Abram and Sarai were in 
On their way to the promised land,
Genesis 11:31
tells us, "Terah took his son Abram... and his son Abram's wife, Sarai...and 
arriving at Haran, they settled there." Haran wasn't the promised land. But
because of Terah, they got stuck there anyway, and Sarai didn't have the 
power to choose to continue the journey. God had to remove a barrier before 
could move forward. In their case, Terah himself had to die.

If you’re in a waiting place, know you are not alone. God is right there 
with you. Let’s pray to Him now.

Father, can I be honest? I am tired of waiting. Waiting is hard, painful, 
exhausting. But I know that learning to wait well is a beautiful, 
hope-giving thing. So help me wait well. Help me cling to you as I wait. 
Please Lord, let your peace rule in my heart. Help me live by your grace 
day of this waiting. And help me bring you glory as I wait expectantly. In 
Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Editor’s Note: The following is an abridged version of How to be Faithful 
When You're Stuck in the Waiting Place
by Marlo Schalesky. 

Sons and Servants

Martin Luther, the great Reformer, said, “A Christian is free and 
independent in every respect, a bondservant to none.” In the very next 
sentence he stated,
“A Christian is a dutiful servant in every respect, owing a duty to 

We see this reality throughout the Scriptures. Christians have been set free 
and yet that freedom leads the Christian to duty. As an example, Paul 
this truth to Philemon as he appeals for him to receive Onesimus back. 
Onesimus is a runaway slave, who has apparently also stolen from Philemon 
(v. 18).
How does Paul appeal to Philemon? He emphasizes the gospel. Paul reminds 
Philemon multiple times in the first seven verses that he is a child of God, 
recipient of grace (v. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7). He will remind Philemon multiple 
times again before the letter closes (v. 9, 16, 17, 19, 20, 25). Philemon 
abundant love, forgiveness, and grace in Christ. Paul implies that this 
truth matters as we live with others. “Remember the gospel” is Paul’s charge 

In fact, Paul will make this appeal directly in verse eight. He tells 
Philemon that he could command him to do “what is required.” Paul is clearly 
to Philemon’s duty in Christ. Yet, Paul chooses not to demand based upon his 
authority as an Apostle, rather he gently appeals to Philemon as he calls
to his remembrance the gospel. “What is required” pertains to every 
recipient of grace.

A Christian husband and wife have hurt one another deeply. There is pain, 
anger, and even bitterness. Neither is happy. One spouse desires to walk 
believing it is time to start over. This is an all-too-common-scene. As a 
pastor, I have been in many of these conversations over the years. In those 
I am bold enough to demand, as Paul said (v. 8), that they remain together, 
but that accomplishes little. Rather, I have found that when we begin to 
the gospel together and all that this individual received in Christ, what 
was hard ground begins to soften. Remembering the gospel allows the door of 
that has come upon their heart as result of pain, sorrow, and injury, 
sometimes through little to no fault of their own, to begin to swing open a 
on its hinges. Maybe it is but a crack, but that crack allows gospel grace, 
love, and forgiveness to find their way in and even to flow out.

“Remember the gospel Philemon.” It frees us, but it also binds us. That is 
one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. We are free by God’s grace and 
bound to act because of God’s grace. We are a slave to none, but then we are 
a slave to all. We have been set free from duty and yet now all duty is 
of us. “Oh, Philemon, Christ has purchased you, do what is required of you 
for love’s sake, for Christ’s sake.” Remember the gospel.

The Christian needs this reminder daily. The beauty of the gospel delights 
our minds and sustains our souls; and it also provides drive, energy, and 
for the will. As it affects our persons, it informs our actions. Never 
underestimate the power of the gospel to claim lives from death and give 
them purpose in the present.

Posts : 60984
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Anne Graham Lotz - Never Separated Again
View this email in your browser


Never Separated Again
Neither death nor life . . . nor things present nor things to come, . . . 
shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:38-39, NKJV

I love the sea. Every summer, I spend as much time there as I am able. I 
love to see the vast expanse of sky and water. I love to hear the waves 
on the shore. I love to walk along the beach and feel the sand beneath my 
feet and the breeze blowing gently in my face. But the sea separates 
and friends and entire continents from each other! In Heaven, there will be 
nothing to separate us from each other or from God. Ever!

No hard feelings or hurt feelings,

No misunderstandings or critical spirits,

No divorce or death, . . .

No sickness or weakness,

No dangers or hardships. . . .

Nothing will ever separate us in My Father’s House.

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Finding Hope When Good Intentions Go Bad

finding hope-god-s-promises-when good intentions go bad
Good Intentions

This year would be different. After all, gardens take work–and energy. I 
planned to minimize and maintain, nothing excessive this year. No need to 
new flowers. That’s why I planted
perennials .

It all started with five bags of mulch
–one bag per rose. That should make a soft cushy bed for my new rose garden 
and an easy way to discourage weeds. Veggies from previous years, too 
of necessary sun, lost their place to this heartier variety of Knock-Out® 

But then I looked over at the azalea bed a few feet away, and the newly 
planted potato vines for this year. Hmm. Old mulch from past years had 
or washed away. And everywhere I looked, our bushy creatures had been at 
play–or work. New little oak trees were springing up everywhere from the 
buried acorns.


And what about my prized perennial gardens in the back? After close 
inspection, I discovered the same thing. Lots of new little green things: 
weeds. Very
few little brown things, except dirt. They, too, needed mulch to make them 
grow beautiful.


Back to the store. Fifteen more bags should do it.

Not Enough

They didn’t. And I spread it thinner than I should.

I walked around the to the back yard again. More azalea beds–with weeds. 
What happened to last year’s mulch? And what about the tree ring plants? Oh, 
we need to transplant those climbing roses so we can give the new hydrangeas 
a resting place in the shade. That whole adjoining bed will need more mulch,
too. Otherwise, they’ll get too dry.


Back to the store. Fifteen more bags.

Still not enough. What about the front rose bed? And the hostas? Oh, yeah, 
when we transplant the roses to the side, they’ll need some. That bed has 

I walked around the house, checking out all the possible places that needed 
help. Wow! Wouldn’t it be great to mulch down ALL the garden beds, front, 
and back–even the ones that have never had any. Don’t they need TLC too? And 
I probably need to thicken up the thin layers I spread in the back.

Rose-Flower-Bed Knock-Out-Rose Front-Hedge Hostas

One Bag Led to Another

I didn’t plan it that way. One bag led to another. And another. And another. 
By the time we finished, we’d loaded the back-end of our pickup five or six
times at the local home improvement store with a total of seventy-seven (77) 
2-cubit bags of that deep brown, moisture-retaining stuff.

At least I found them on sale.

When Good Intentions Go Bad

Good intentions are often like that. This year will be different. I’ll 
discard that habit. I’m going to do better. No more going backward.

We didn’t plan it that way. But then one thought, one word, one temptation, 
one action leads to another, and before you know it, we’re trapped in a 
bigger than a truckload of brown bark.

Moderation turns to excess. We bury discipline under weedy distractions that 
keep popping up daily. The petals of those fragrant plans we made fade and
drop to the ground, one by one, eventually crushed and beyond recognition. 
And suddenly life has taken a downward turn.

That’s when our lives may feel like empty, dry dirt plots instead of 
healthy, growing gardens. Good intentions have turned into one big mulch 

Finding Hope Is Possible

But finding hope when good intentions go bad is possible and not as 
difficult as it sounds–with faith in the One who stands ready to help. I 
love the promise
in Isaiah 58:11, NIV:

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched 
land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, 
like a spring whose waters never fail.

You’ll hear more about God’s promises in the next few weeks. I’m 
re-discovering and re-believing (is that a word?) those truths I sometimes 
misplace. I’m
pulling out those weedy lies I often believe, and reclaiming those verses as 
they blossom once again in my spirit.

God promises us:
1. His Guidance
2. His Provision of Our Needs
3. His Strength
4. His Transformation

I’d say that’s a good place to start. Wouldn’t you?

Like the cushioning effect of deep mulch, I believe God and His Word will 
cover us with moisture-retaining protection. I want to grow, don’t you?

At least in the case of my mulching escapade, I actually enjoyed spreading 
those earthy smelling sprigs (Does anyone out there share my passion?). And
then, there’s the miracle of surprising energy God gave me to do the job. A

And the mulch was on sale.

But what I really love is seeing the finished product of anything my garden 
will grow with a little help–the Creator’s help, for sure.

So it was all good.

God’s Other Takeaways

God did encourage me with a few other helpful takeaways from that 
experience, however:

Better to spread mulch than gossip or lies.

Better to scatter sprigs of love and joy than hatred and discord.

Better to count your blessings than needless bags of mulch.
It’s Your Turn to Share

What about you? Ever had any good intentions go bad? How is God helping you 
to find hope when your good intentions get out of control? How have you 

Light and Darkness

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. -
Genesis 1:5

Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of 
time in the first day? Then it should be no surprise if I have also changes
in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of 
adversity. It will not always be the sunshine of noonday, even in my soul; I 
expect at times to mourn the absence of my former joys and seek my Beloved 
in the night. I am not alone in this, for all the Lord's loved ones have had
to sing the mingled song of judgment and mercy, of trial and deliverance, of 
mourning and delight. It is one of the arrangements of divine providence 
day and night will not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation 
until we reach the land of which it is written, "there will be no night 
What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.

What, then, my soul, is it best for you to do? Learn first to be content 
with this divine order and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the 
of the Lord as well as good. Then work at beginning and ending your days 
with joy. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises and for the gloom 
evening as it falls. There is beauty in both sunrise and sunset; sing of it, 
and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, sound your notes at all hours.
Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall 
heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously 
the darkness of grief. Continue your service under all circumstances. If in 
the day your watchword is work, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour
has its duty; so continue in your calling as the Lord's servant until He 
shall suddenly appear in His glory.

My soul, your evening of old age and death is drawing near; do not dread it, 
for it is part of the day, and the Lord has said in essence, "I will cover
him all the day long."

1) Revelation 21:25

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Deuteronomy 5

verse 2 Psalms 88

Where was God when that happened?: And other questions about God’s goodness, 
power, and the way He works in the world.

By Christopher Ash

Posts : 60984
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK


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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Jul 2017, 1:32 pm

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

"Real Love"
May 24, 2017
Romans 5:7-8 - For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though 
perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows His 
for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

On January 1, 1968, the Federal Government's seat belt law went into effect. 
After that date all vehicles had to be equipped with seat belts. From 1968
to 1975 all the States in the Union adopted child car-seat laws, which were 
to help protect youngsters who were riding in vehicles.

The question for our Daily Devotioners is this: what protected children when 
they were in the car
before car seats and safety belts? (Youngsters may want to visit with 
grandma or grandpa for the answer to this question.) The answer is whenever 
an accident
or a fast stop seemed imminent, mother would stretch out her arm to hold the 
passengers and children securely in their seats.

A mother's arms are wonderful things, indeed. They are able to enfold a 
child who is hurting, or they can push a little one to safety. As proof, I 
the story of Diane Aluska and her 16-year-old daughter Jenna.

This past Mother's Day the two were coming from Mass at Our Lady of 
Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, New York. They left worship and stopped at a 
donut shop.
As they exited the shop, Diane saw a Toyota Corolla racing toward them in 
reverse. At the wheel of that vehicle was an 80-year-old lady who had 
put her car into reverse and stepped on the gas.

In far less time than it takes to tell, Diane pushed her girl out of the 
path of the car. The daughter received only a glancing blow from the Toyota, 
the mother took the full force of the vehicle's momentum.

Both mom and daughter were taken to the same hospital. The daughter lived, 
while mom did not.

That story shows the power of a mother's love is both tragic and uplifting; 
it is sorrowful, beautiful, and inspirational. One could easily wonder if 
is any form of love that might be equal to, or even better than, this 
mother's sacrifice.

While I personally stand in awe of Diane's sacrificial commitment, there is 
no question that, if she had had a choice, things would not have happened as
they did. By that I mean, if Diane could have slowed down, or sped up their 
activities so the duo could have completely avoided that Toyota, she would
gladly have done so.

In contrast, we see our Lord's divine love. We see Jesus who was born into 
this world for the purpose of fulfilling the Law and carrying our sins to 
cross, where His life paid their price. Rather than running from His 
substitutionary death, Jesus embraced it so we might be saved.

We also need to remember Diane died for her own loving daughter. She might 
not have been similarly inclined to do the same for someone else's child. In
contrast, the Bible reminds us that while "one will scarcely die for a 
righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to 
-- but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ 
died for us."

And that, my friend, is what love is all about.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I who have received such unearned love may 
reflect it to all those around me. May the lost and unloved be brought to
see the greatness of Your saving grace. This I ask in my Redeemer's Name. 
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written By Daniel Prendergast, Kevin Sheehan, and Priscilla DeGregory for 
the New York Post 
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Psalms 12-14; John 8:28-59
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

by Chuck Swindoll

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Monotony and mediocrity mesh like teeth in gears. One spawns the other, 
leaving us yawning, bored, and adrift. In referring to monotony, I do not 
in mind a lack of activity as much as a lack of purpose. We can be busy yet 
bored, involved yet indifferent. Life becomes tediously repetitious, dull,
humdrum, pedestrian. In a word, blah.

Look into the faces of entertainers off the stage. Talk to physicians out of 
the office and hospital corridors. Those in the political arena are equally
susceptible. Show me an individual who once soared, whose life was 
characterized by enthusiasm and excellence, but who no longer reaches those 
and I'll show you a person who has probably become a victim of the blahs.

A blah attack may sound harmless, but it can leave us in an emotional heap, 
seriously questioning if life is worth it.

Yet even during your drab and seemingly meaningless assignments of life, God 
is there! He cares! He knows! From your yesterday to your tomorrow—God. From
the little involvements to the big ones—God. From the beginning of school to 
the end of school—God. From the assignments that will never really make the
headlines (which seem to be mere busy work) all the way to those things that 
gain international attention—God. He is there! So the very next time you 
those clammy, cold fingers of the blahs reaching around you, remember, "From 
yesterday until tomorrow, You, O Lord, are there. You care!"

Excerpt taken from Dear Graduate: Letters of Wisdom from Charles R. 
Swindoll, copyright © 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved 
For additional information and resources visit us at
www.insight.org .
Family Tree Fun quiz
Living the Proverbs
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2017 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 

The Perfect Medicine to Heal a Heart of Negativity

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the 
Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

We sat in an empty waiting room for hours, anxious for an update on my 
sister’s surgery. When the doctor finally entered the room, the news wasn’t 

He explained how her medical situation was worse than expected, and the 
surgery more extensive than originally thought. He then proceeded to explain 
difficult, lengthy recovery and how her life would be changed forever.

You could’ve heard a pin drop under the weight of silence and sorrow. As the 
doctor walked away, my family and I just sat there -- our eyes filled with
tears, and our hearts filled with worry.

But the silence came to an abrupt halt when another group entered the room 
with lots of talking and chaos. I tried to tune them out, immersed in my 
feelings ... until I heard the name of Jesus spoken several times. In that 
moment, when fear and anxiety hung heavy in the air, the mention of Jesus’ 
seemed like music to my ears.

As I lifted my head to see who had spoken His name, I saw a beautiful 
elderly woman with snow-white hair across the room. She was sitting in a 
praying aloud for her husband. Despite the fact that she, too, was in this 
hospital waiting room, waiting to receive uncertain news about a loved one,
she glowed with optimism and had a spirit of encouragement. Joy and 
positivity dripped from each of her words.

She eventually looked up and noticed me staring at her. I quickly averted my 
eyes, hoping to avoid any interaction. But to my dismay, she immediately 
across the room, "Hey, honey! How are you?† I had no choice but to 
acknowledge her and manage a pitiful smile. “I’m fine, thank you.† I hoped 
that would
be the end of our conversation, but she had other plans.

Before I knew it, she’d rolled her wheelchair across the room and stopped 
right at my feet. I tried to gather what was left of my personal space by 
my chair back, but it was already against the wall. I was stuck.

She leaned in and began telling me all about her husband in surgery, but I 
wasn’t in the mood for small talk. Honestly, these details about someone I 
know felt kind of bothersome, but soon, something strange began to happen -- 
her joy and optimism began to feel contagious.

Her smile stretched ear to ear while happiness exuded from her face. She 
shared what a wonderful man her husband was. I found myself hanging on her 
word, secretly wishing I could write down each hopeful, uplifting comment 
and holy promise she spoke. Her faith-inspired, cheery disposition was like 
soothing balm pouring out of her heart right into the empty spaces of mine.

But then, she said something that took my breath away. Something I will 
never, ever forget as long as I live.

“Honey, I hope God blesses your sister. And if He can only save one person 
today, I hope it is her. My husband is 85 years old and has lived a long and
fruitful life."

Huge tears began to slide down my face. How could she even consider the 
thought of putting a total stranger's life ahead of the life of her precious 
And without even hesitating? I was stunned and speechless.

She then took my hands, wrapped her cold, thin, frail fingers around mine 
and began to pray out loud for my sister. Suddenly, it felt as if we were 
only two people in the waiting room, and we had an audience of only One. 
Tears dripped from my eyes onto my lap as she prayed. After she said amen I 
her and prayed for her husband in return. Then, she disappeared as quickly 
as she had appeared.

In today’s key verse, Solomon assures us a cheerful heart is good medicine 
for the soul, the mind and the body. Positive thoughts lead to a positive 
which leads to a positive heart and a positive life. Negative thoughts lead 
to a broken spirit which impacts our minds, emotions and our lives.

You see, negativity holds the power to drain our strength and crush our 
spirits like dried up bones. Optimism has the power to do just the opposite 
positive thinking leads to positive living.

This amazing woman whose name I’ll never know was living proof of the value 
tucked into Solomon’s wisdom. She intentionally filled her heart with joy in
Christ, instead of sadness in circumstances. This equipped her to have 
cheerful thoughts, a positive outlook and an unsinkable faith, no matter 

That day, I walked out of the hospital with a changed heart and a more 
cheerful spirit. I’d seen a glimpse of Jesus in the face of a frail woman. 
Her optimism
and joy kept her heart cheerful and brought healing to the heavy hearts of 
others. Including mine.

Lord, help me have the strength to choose to be cheerful and full of joy, 
despite negative circumstances. Heal my heart and outlook with Your joy, and
use me as a cheerful light in this world filled with negativity. In Jesus 
Name, Amen.

Proverbs 15:13
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the 
spirit is broken.  (NASB)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
God's Design in Detours
By John Piper

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Have you ever wondered what God is doing while you are looking in the wrong 
place for something you lost and needed very badly? He knows exactly where
it is, and he is letting you look in the wrong place.

I once needed a quote for a new edition of my book Desiring God. I knew I 
had read it in Richard Wurmbrand. I thought it was in his devotional book, 
Toward the Heights. I could almost see it on the right hand side of the 
facing pages. But I couldn't find it.

But while I was looking, I was riveted on one page, the devotional for 
November 30. As I read it, I said, This is one of the reasons I have had to 
looking for my quote.Here was a story, not for me, but for parents of 
broken children.

Having broken children is like looking in the wrong place for what you have 
lost and cannot find. Why? Why? Why? This was the unplanned reward of 

In a home for retarded children, Catherine was nurtured twenty years. The 
child had been [mentally handicapped] from the beginning and had never 
a word, but only vegetated. She either gazed quietly at the walls or made 
distorted movements. To eat, to drink, to sleep, were her whole life. She 
not to participate at all in what happened around her. A leg had to be 
amputated. The staff wished Cathy well and hoped that the Lord would soon 
take her
to Himself.

One day the doctor called the director to come quickly. Catherine was dying. 
When both entered the room, they could not believe their senses. Catherine
was singing Christian hymns she had heard and had picked up, just those 
suitable for death beds. She repeated over and over again the German song, 
does the soul find its fatherland, its rest?† She sang for half an hour with 
transfigured face, then she passed away quietly. (Taken from
The Best Is Still to Come, Wuppertal: Sonne und Shild)

Is anything that is done in the name of Christ really wasted?

My frustrated, futile search for what I thought I needed was not wasted. 
Singing to this disabled child was not wasted. And your agonizing, unplanned 
is not a waste  not if you look to the Lord for his unexpected work, and do 
what you must do in his name (Colossians 3:17). The Lord works for those who
wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).

Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

A Deposit of Power
Many Christians view their conversion something like a car wash. You go in a 
filthy clunker, and you come out with your sins washed away--a cleansed 
But conversion is more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power! It 
is as if a brand-new Ferrari engine was mounted in your frame. God removed 
old motor that was caked, cracked, and broken with rebellion and evil; and 
he replaced it with a humming, roaring version of himself.

The Apostle Paul described it as being new creation, old things have 
passed away; behold all things have become new  (2 Corinthians 5:17 ). You 
are fully
equipped. Do you need more energy? You have it. More kindness? Its yours.
Hebrews 13:21
promises that God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. Just 
press the gas pedal. God has given you everything you need for living a 

From Glory Days
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com

Jesus Likes Me, This I Know

He saved me to His delight; He took joy in me.
Psalm 18:19b (VOICE)

I wasn’t expecting anything profound to slip from my 4-year-olds lips while 
we chatted over lunch on that hot summer day. I was just trying to keep my
capricious girl at the table long enough to finish her peanut butter 
sandwich before she raced off to play.

What did you learn at Vacation Bible School today?  I asked as I leaned 
over Maggies pink plastic plate and wiped a drizzle of peanut butter from 

My daughter lifted her sandwich to her lips, took a bite and peered at me 
over the crust like a friendly neighbor peeking across a backyard fence.

I learned that Jesus really likes me ... she said with a giddy grin. 
Soooo much!

Her words floated through the air on the wings of a happy-sing-song. Then 
she reached across the table and gave my hand a tender squeeze. And, 
she said as she laced her sticky fingers through mine, I think He
really, really likes you, too! 

She waved her arms like a baby bird taking flight, and I felt as if my heart 
might take flight, too.

After all, Ive long believed that Jesus loves me -- the cross is proof of 
that -- but some days when I look at the woman in the mirror, its hard to 
my Savior
likes me, too.

I don’t know about you, but some days, I just feel unlikeable.

Some days I feel messed up and maxed out, exasperated and exhausted.

Some days Im not grateful or gleeful, flexible or fun.

Some days I dont bring delight to my husband, my kids or even my dearest 

And to be totally honest, some days I dont even like myself.

Yet like a forgiving friend, the Bible echoes my little girls winsome 

Scripture reminds us that the One who took our place on Calvarys cross 
doesnt merely tolerate us through gritted teeth or embrace us because of 
compulsion. As preposterous as it sounds, the One who first loved us, 
likes us, too. And heres proof:

 Todays key verse says God takes joy in us.
 Psalm 149:4 declares He delights in us.
 Zephaniah 3:17 affirms He rejoices over us.
 And Psalm 147:11 proclaims that we bring Him pleasure.

Its crazy when you think about it -- that the perfect Prince of Heaven 
takes joy in His flawed followers on the dust of earth. But when I remember 
simple truth, it changes the way I pursue my Savior.

When I acknowledge that Jesus enjoys me, I look for ways to enjoy Him, too.
I seek His company as I go throughout my day, whether its talking to Him as 
I drive across town or laughing with Him over my children’s goofy antics.

I notice His kindness in the depths of my daily grind -- the brazen sunset 
over the trees in my backwoods, or the unexpected phone call from a friend 
a hard day.

And I relish His presence in the midst my pandemonium. I savor the song of 
the birds beyond my window, the unexplainable peace in my hurry, the echo of
an encouraging Scripture verse that runs through my mind.

In short, when I remember how the One who died for me also delights in me, Im 
drawn to delight in Him, too.

So, Im gonna keep singing that Sunday School song I learned as a child:
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

But Im also going to celebrate that oft-ignored truth that a 4-year-old 
once spoke to my soaring soul through a mouthful of peanut butter.

Jesus really likes me ... And you know what? I think He really really likes 
you, too ... soooooo much.

Dear Jesus, Thank You for loving me enough to save me and liking me enough 
to savor me. Teach me how to delight in You, as You delight in me. In Jesus
Name, Amen.

Psalm 147:11, But the Eternal does take pleasure in those who worship Him, 
those who invest hope in His unfailing love.  (VOICE)

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

If you need a reminder of how much God not only loves you, but likes you, 
you dont want to miss our life-changing summer Online Bible Study. Jennifer
Rothschild is partnering with us to help set women free of their negative 
self-talk and replace it with the powerful truth of God's Word. Registration
for the Me, Myself, and Lies
P31 OBS is now open! Learn more here .

For more encouragement and for a giveaway that will inspire you to savor 
your Savior, join
Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog today.

How might knowing that Jesus likes you change the way you approach your 
Savior on a daily basis? What is one way you can enjoy Jesus more today?

Prayerfully consider sharing one of the verses listed in todays devotion 
with a friend who needs to know that Jesus doesnt just love her, but He 
her, too.

(c) 2017 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

Posts : 60984
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK


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Post  Admin on Wed 12 Jul 2017, 3:22 pm

If I Have Enough Faith, Will God Heal Me?
Randy Alcorn

Okay, first let me say this: if you don’t have much time, just skip through 
what I’ve written below and go to the video at the end where Joni Eareckson
Tada is interviewed by Todd Wagner. What Joni says in this video is more 
important than what I say below (though I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think 
was also important).

When I became insulin-dependent in 1985, I wondered who wanted me ill, Satan 
or God. The obvious answer? Satan. But I’m also convinced, as was the 
Paul, that the ultimate answer is God. Paul, under the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit, saw God’s sovereignty, grace, and humbling purpose of his 
(see 2 Corinthians 12:7–10
). I have clearly and repeatedly seen the same in my own life.

Upon learning of my disease, well-meaning people sometimes ask whether I 
have trusted God enough to heal me. I respond that when I was first 
I and others
did ask God to heal me. After a while, when God chose not to answer our 
prayers that way, I stopped asking.

When I say this, I sometimes get looks of alarm and quotes about persevering 
in prayer and having faith as a mustard seed. I point out that Paul asked
God to remove his disease
three times, not a thousand times or a hundred or even a dozen. Just three 
times he asked—but God made it clear the affliction had come from His 
hand. Paul had no desire to ask God to remove that which his Lord wanted to 
use to create in him greater Christlikeness and dependence upon God. (Those
who claim anyone with enough faith will be healed must believe they have 
greater faith than Paul and his fellow missionaries who suffered from 
including Trophimus, Epaphroditus, and Timothy.)

I have asked God to heal me more times than Paul asked God to heal him, and 
I’ve cooperated with people who say they feel led to pray over me that God
would heal me. But I don’t regularly ask Him to do so anymore. Of course, I’d 
rejoice if God suddenly healed my pancreas and I no longer needed to take
insulin or deal with low and high blood sugar and the toll they take. I’d 
feel grateful if an ethical medical technology could heal my disease. Yet if
I could snap my fingers and remove my disease—apart from some direct 
revelation from God that I should do so—I would not use that power. Why not? 

God actually has the power to heal me, and He has chosen not to.

Interestingly, when we study the prayers of Scripture, we find that they 
deal far more with spiritual growth than with physical health. Notice the 
of Paul’s prayer for the Colossians:

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and 
may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in 
knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his 
glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and 
joyfully giving
thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of 
the saints in the kingdom of light. (
Colossians 1:10–12 )

It’s striking what Paul doesn’t pray for: an elder’s bout with cancer, the 
flu bug going around Colossae, an Asia Minor recession, kidney stones, back
problems, and good weather for the church picnic. Did they have these issues 
back then? Sure. They had diseases, discomforts, financial strains, and bad
weather. And did they pray for them? No doubt. But Scripture’s recorded 
prayers seldom concern such things. They involve intercession for people’s 
for God, knowledge of God, walk with God, and service to God.

We should pray for ourselves and our suffering loved ones, not simply try to 
pray away suffering. “God, please heal this cancer” is appropriate. “God,
please use for your glory this cancer, so long as I have it” is equally 

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When you pray only for healing, what are you praying to miss out on? 
Christlikeness? Shouldn’t we learn to pray that our suffering causes growth, 
God will give us little glimpses of Heaven as we seek to endure, and that He 
would use us?

Let me be clear: God can and sometimes does heal presently, and we should 
celebrate His mercy. I have often prayed for healing and sometimes witnessed
it. But ultimately, all healing in this world is temporary, since people’s 
bodies inevitably deteriorate and die. Resurrection healing will be 
For that our hearts should overflow with praise to our gracious God.

No one has greater credibility to speak on this subject than Joni Eareckson 
Tada, who in July will mark the 50th anniversary of the accident that left
her a quadriplegic. We recently
featured Joni
after she spoke at our church earlier this year. In a conversation with 
Pastor Todd Wagner of Watermark Church, she answers the question, “If you 
enough faith, will God heal you?” I encourage you
to watch
and listen carefully to this interaction between two people who, over the 
years, have both become my friends. You’ll be glad you did. Todd asks great
questions, and what Joni says is gold.

This article originally appeared on EPM.org
Eternal Perspective Ministries. Used with permission.

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's Turning Point
Wednesday, May 24

A Battering Ram for Prayer

I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant 
in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

Jonah 4:2

Recommended Reading
Ephesians 3:14-21
When theologians talk about the attributes of God, they are referring to His 
characteristics, qualities, and features. As we study the vastness of 
we discover what God is like. He is infinite, without beginning or ending in 
time. He is omnipresent—always present in every place. He is holy, without
a trace of evil or deception about Him. He is a loving God. He is powerful.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Sometimes we compile lists or studies of the attributes of God so we can 
study Him more carefully. Pondering God is the highest and happiest pursuit 
the human mind. We can do this in prayer. When we pray, it’s vital to focus 
on the wonderful qualities of God. Prayer isn’t simply a matter of bringing
our needs to the Lord; it’s a matter of getting to know the God to whom we 
bring our needs. For every problem we face, there’s an attribute of God to 

Are you concerned about a loved one far from home? God is there, too. Are 
you worried about the future? God already knows what tomorrow holds. Are you
distressed about world events? God is powerful, sovereign, and in control of 
all things. Try praying the attributes of God and your prayers will gain a
new focus.

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
Corrie ten Boom

Nehemiah 11 – 13
David Jeremiah's Website
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

Posts : 60984
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Jul 2017, 11:42 pm

Who controls your life?
Ciloa logo
May 21, 2017
Volume XVII, Issue 21
A Note of Encouragement
F 15 fighter jet in flight at sunset

Where God Wants You To Be
...by Chuck Graham

Pilot in an F-15
Once upon a time I was sitting in my office when a friend called. Oh, I 
don't know, let's call him...Geoff. His voice was at a considerably higher 
than normal as he jabbered away at ninety miles a minute. All I could make 
out was

"It" was a ride-along in the rear seat of an Air Force jet, something that 
starts with F and ends with teen. (Probably an F-15.) This was his dream 
made possible by a former employer who also happened to be fairly high up in 
the Air National Guard.

The flight took place at Dobbins Air Reserve Base just north of Atlanta, 
Georgia. Though the Base is an hour away, he made it to my office in half 
time. The experience was so fresh that the outline of the oxygen mask was 
still visible on his face.

The day was awesome...until he took control.

F-15 going vertical
Geoff described the briefing class, his flight suit, and his stroll (think
Top Gun) to the awaiting rocket ship. After a smooth take off, they leveled 
off at an altitude of 10 feet. Yes, you read that right. That all changed,
however, with the words, "Steep Ascent approved."

The pilot turned on the afterburners, Geoff's eyes shot back into his skull, 
and suddenly they were vertical. Leveling out somewhere between Earth and
the Moon, they cruised to the Snowbird MOA where Geoff experienced barrel 
rolls, loops, hard g-force turns, and, I suspect, the vomit bag.

Then the pilot offered Geoff the chance to fly the jet. He quickly grabbed 
the stick and became one with the F-15. Such awesome power! What incredible
control! The "Cool Gauge" was off the chart. He glanced left for only a 
moment, then returned forward to find the jet tilted left.

"She's very sensitive," the pilot said as he took control.

Give control to the One who knows what He's doing.

This got me thinking. Isn't Geoff's adventure a lot like our walk with God? 
(Well, except that we don't get to wear a cool flight suit with our name on

Man facing a night sky filled with stars and the Aurora Borealis on the 
When we follow God, we give up control to Him. He brings us on a journey we 
would never have without Him. We're along for the ride. And when He turns on
the afterburners, we reach heights we've never known as God takes us to 
He wants us to be.

The only time things go wrong is when we take the controls. We glance away 
from the direction God has given us. And when we look back, we're no longer
flying straight.

Is God at the controls of your life? Are you where He wants you to be? Let 
go of the controls and allow God to take you to heights you could never have
imagined. And think of the stories you'll share!

Whoever clings to an earthly life will demand control over it,
but whoever gives control to Jesus will have life worth clinging to.1

Take care & be God's,

Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international 
ministry devoted to sharing God's encouragement and teaching others how to 
one another as long as it is called Today!" He is also an author, speaker, 
teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville,
Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at
www.Ciloa.org .

1. Based on Matthew 10:39...If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but 
if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Ciloa Lawrenceville, Georgia, U.S.A. www.Ciloa.org
Ciloa is funded entirely by contributions from those wanting to share God's 
encouragement with the world.
We invite you to partner with us.
Click the link: Partner with Ciloa to encourage others
Ciloa is a registered service mark of Ciloa, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization. A Note of Encouragement is a copyright interest held by Ciloa, 

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Walking, Talking Refreshment Stands - #7923

I admire my friends who are marathon runners. I don't want to be one of 
them, but I admire them. I actually did have a bit of a running program 
going when
my kids were little. Every morning, I used to run around the block twenty 
times, until my son moved the block! Sorry. I've never run a marathon. I've 
some, and I've talked to my friends who have done the whole 26-mile 
distance. If you've ever watched or run a marathon, you've seen those 
volunteers, probably,
that are stationed all along the way-the ones with the orange slices and 
water. As the miles become more and more grueling, the body can actually 
to shut down. Water is desperately needed to avoid dehydration. The 
potassium in those orange slices replenishes an important deficit in your 
body. I think
it's probably questionable if many runners could make it if it weren't for 
those little like refreshment stands.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Walking, 
Talking Refreshment Stands."

In a way, I guess all of us are marathon runners. Just look at the course 
you have to run every day, every week, every month, and so on. And all of us
reach those points where we feel like we can't go on; where a vital system 
seems to be shutting down. And that's where the refreshment folks are 
needed. I hope the folks around you consider you one of those.

Every one of us needs people who will be our refreshers. We all know people 
who need for us to be their refresher. In fact, here's a great example of 
of those unsung heroes, as recorded in our word for today from the Word of 
God. It's in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, and Paul is writing about this lonely season
of his life. He's isolated in Caesar's prison, awaiting what will ultimately 
be his execution. Now this man who has helped so many run their race needs
someone to help him finish his.

And along comes a man with a name that's a mouthful and a ministry that is 
wonderful. Paul says, "May the Lord show mercy to the household of 
because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the 
contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 
May the
Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day!" Onesiphorus: 
the name literally means "profit-bringer." That's something all of us can 
who makes a person richer because they have been with you.

To be one of God's refreshment stands, you're there for someone when it's 
awkward and you don't know what to do or you don't know what to say. You're 
when it's hard, when it's inconvenient, when they're un-loveable, or when 
you have to "search hard" to find a way to get to them. You go out of your 
to bring some love and some support to a person who needs it. You walk in 
when everyone else is walking out. Your ministry of refreshment can take 
forms. Sometimes it's just a hug. Other times it's a compliment, or a word 
of encouragement, a letter or e-mail, a text, a visit, noticing something 
or praying with them.

It's usually just a matter of obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit 
instead of quenching that prompting. My guess is He's prompting you all the 
to make a move in someone's direction, because He knows who needs what you 
could give. Learn to listen to those promptings from God. I'll tell you 
it's one of the ways you lead a supernatural life. Don't blow off the Holy 
Spirit's promptings.

God's promise to you is this: "He who refreshes others will himself be 
refreshed." He'll give back to you with the measure you give. So what effect 
you having on the people around you? Are you making it harder for them to 
run the race? Or are you one of those holy heroes whose offering them the 
care that they need? You actually may be the difference in someone running 
the distance!

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

 Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend
Turning Point
Thursday, May 25

What Will You Remember?

I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders 
of old.
Psalm 77:11

Recommended Reading
Psalm 77
We are a forgetful people. In the heat of an argument, we forget a friend’s 
kindness and focus on their faults. When the devastation of a financial loss
occurs, we forget God’s previous provision. Worry crowds out trust because 
they cannot co-exist. The way to shrink our worry is to meditate on God’s 
and truth.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
What we allow our minds to ruminate on affects our thoughts, actions, and 
emotions. We are creatures of habit, and cycles of worry are difficult to 
One of the best antidotes to worry is a journal. Whether your journal is a 
list of ways God has provided for you or a rant over the concern crowding 
mind, the worry antidote occurs when you read back over your journal—months 
or even years later. God’s sustenance of you through the valleys and 
peaks of your days will become evident. There is nothing more powerful than 
meditating on His Word and promises and seeing them fulfilled in our lives.
Pray that He gives us the eyes to see and the mind to remember all He has 
done for us.

We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of 
vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as
an invitation to prayer.
John Ortberg
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.


"I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I 
trust.'" (Psalm 91:2)

Mrs. S. had lived alone for many years and got out only with the help of a 
wheelchair. Every Sunday she wheeled herself into the side aisle of our 
(one without handicap access) where she worshiped enthusiastically. She 
always seemed to be "up." People smiled when they were around her.

One evening Mrs. S. spoke to the youth of the church and was asked how she 
could always be so alive, so full of joy. She responded, "Because I *choose*
to. I had no choice about living the last half of my life as a widow or 
having one of my sons killed in the Korean War. And I certainly I didn't 
to have to ride around in this chair for the past ten years. But one thing I 
did choose - to be happy. I decided to make the best of every day and to see
the best in every person."

A friend who had been a missionary in South America told me of taking some 
American visitors through his city. One of them spotted a beautiful, large 
tree in front of a small house as they passed by. The visitor wanted to take 
a picture and, not realizing that the plant was brittle, reached up to pull
down a branch for the camera. A six-foot length of flame-red poinsettia 
snapped to the ground.

At that moment the woman of the house stepped out of the door and confronted 
the gringos standing there, poinsettia branch in hand. Humiliated, they 
to pay for her loss. But they could no more fix the personal damage than 
they could repair the tree. Still, instead of adding to their embarrassment, 
woman cheerfully asked them in for tea. She chose to forgive them, to 
overlook their clumsy behavior. She chose to offer them grace.

Nothing is more crucial to the quality of our lives than the choices we make 
about how we approach the circumstances and relationships of each day. In
the end it is that attitude which largely determines the outcomes we will 
find. The Lord made today, but it is we who decide how we will live in it. I
*choose* God as my refuge . . . I *choose* to believe . . . I *choose* to 
find a way.
Copyright 2007 Dr. Michael A. Halleen

What Does Service Really Look Like?

I don’t know about you but when I think about the words service, calling, 
following Jesus, or discipleship I don’t always think about my refrigerator.
Or my dining room table. Definitely not about my toilet or bathroom. I tend 
to think far off fuzzy thoughts about important titles and business cards,
auditoriums, book contracts, or radio interviews. And then there’s an 
afternoon when Play-Doh® is strewn all over the floor in hard little dribs 
and drabs,
the counters are covered in plates, and there have been a steady stream of 
people through our house by the end of the week, and it shows. Then, I 
that this is what service mostly looks like.

We are everyday ministers of the gospel. It shows up in our homes like 
neighbor kids, friends who need a ride to the airport, hosting a home group, 
a meal for a friend, or even better, welcoming a stranger at church. We can 
become blind to our own ministry that takes place every single day outside
the spotlight but is caught in the bright glare of heaven’s gaze.

Because that’s where we will actually make our names. A name for being the 
place where neighbor kids feel welcome showing up unannounced. A name for 
the door even when it’s inconvenient. A name for making time, giving time, 
being available. Because our open front doors and sometimes nearly-bare 
and sticky dining room tables will be the places we literally practice what 
we preach before we dare go take that message anywhere else.

I’m not always that good at making this obvious connection. I get irritated 
and tired and I like my own personal space. Admittedly, there are days I 
to be wanted by important people with important titles more than I want to 
open my fridge to visitors who know me by name and have seen me in my 
afternoon sweatpants. But while I may have those thoughts, I don’t want them 
to be the boss of me.

I want my dining room table to be the boss of me, especially when I’m 
tempted to set my sights on something “better† than my right now, right here 
and neighbors. That table with the big, wide, country planks that have 
crumbs filling up the cracks. That table with the squeaky chairs we 
constantly have
to repair. That table that can seat stray college students and Tuesday night 
friends. That table that is doing its best work when it’s messy and has 
streaks and an extra bench added down one side. That table and my front door 
are teaching me that the one seat I need to focus on is the one next to me,
not the one across the room or the aisle or even the other end of the table. 
It’s the seat right next to me right now that is supposed to be my teacher.
Whether my best friend, a new friend, a relative, a stranger, or one of my 
own children is sitting in it.

Dear God, please help us not to miss the beauty of the seat right next to 
us. Help us to stop worrying about being impressive and instead to feed the 
who show up at our tables. To feed them our best, our friendship, our time. 
To feed them our patience, our interest, our availability. Perhaps our 
are only as big and deep as our hospitality. And I’m not talking about our 
decor or our skills in the kitchen. I’m talking about our willingness to 
people in despite our decor, not because of it.

This is living. Not just the making room for it with clean floors and 
plates, toothbrushes put away, and sinks wiped down. (Why on earth can’t 
they ever
remember to rinse the sink? I mutter every night.) No, this is what those 
spaces are made for. They hold room for the people. And it’s the people who 
us extraordinary.

We Saved You a Seat
Excerpted from the Bible study
We Saved You a Seat
by (in)courage
© 2017. LifeWay Christian Resources

6 Things Every Christian Does According to the Gospel
Jaquelle Crowe

Meet Paul. He was born like you and me—a sinner, with a tiny fist curled in 
rebellion against God that grew to be a giant fist that declared, “I hate 
so much, I’m going to persecute his followers.† An incalculable antagonist 
to Jesus, Paul wanted to squelch his following. He wanted Christians dead, 
he worked against them every step of the way.

And then Jesus found him and said, “Paul, you are mine† (see Acts 9). Like 
the sudden snap of a switch, the Jesus-hater became a Jesus-follower.

Everything in Paul’s life swiftly and radically changed. Once persecuting 
Christians, he now became their greatest champion.

He also authored thirteen books of the New Testament. In one of these books, 
Philippians, Paul gave a definition of what a Jesus-follower—a Christian—is.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of 
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all 
and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in 
him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that
which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends 
on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may 
his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I 
may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:8–11)

What is a Christian? According to Paul, a Christian is someone who does six 
things: (1) treasures Christ, (2) devalues everything else, (3) puts faith
in Christ alone, (4) knows him, (5) suffers for him, and (6) becomes like 

1. Christians Treasure Christ

Paul suggests that everything—even the most valuable, mind-blowingly awesome 
treasure out there—is worthless when compared with Jesus.

Jim Elliot knew this well. A missionary to Ecuador in the 1950s, Jim was 
murdered by Huaorani Indians, the very people he was serving, before he 
twenty-nine years old. Here was a man who adored Jesus so much, he was 
willing to lose everything to tell others about him. Jim wrote a famous line 
stands as a statement of his life: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot 
keep to gain that which he cannot lose.†

2. Christians Devalue Everything Else

When Paul says that he counts “everything as loss,† maybe you think that he 
doesn’t mean everything.What about popularity? Comfort? Friends? To Paul, 
like comparing fruit cores to a king’s feast. They are indescribably 
inferior. No, that doesn’t mean all of those things are necessarily sinful 
or unimportant;
what it means is that when they are compared to Christ, they’re nothing only 
because Jesus is everything.

Paul was the quintessential example of devaluing everything because of how 
much he treasured Christ. He suffered brutal shipwrecks and bloody beatings,
lashings and imprisonments, starvation and snake bites, thirst, discomfort, 
loss, loneliness, and pain all because Jesus was worth it (2 Cor. 11:23–28).
All because Jesus was better.

3. Christians Have Faith in Him Alone

We live in an age of self-help, where following your heart is the 
contemporary path to salvation. If you can just muster the strength and 
summon the courage,
you’ve got this. You’re the hero. We’re consistently told, believe in 

Yet there may be no message more destructive to biblical Christianity. It is 
one so hideously and thoroughly rotted with self-idolatry that Jesus came
to destroy it. Jesus came instead to call us to die daily to ourselves and 
trust in him as the true and perfect Savior (1 Pet. 2:24).

4. Christians Know Him

You cannot be a Christian unless you know God. Not just know about him. Even 
the demons know about God
(James 2:19). You have to know him as Savior, as Lord, as Redeemer, as 
Justifier, as King, as Friend. This relationship is not one-sided, 
impersonal, surface-level,
or long-distance. It’s present and active and messy and real and fearful and 
divinely wonderful. It is a holy God loving imperfect humans and making a
way for authentic communion with them.

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5. Christians Suffer for Him

To say that Christians won’t suffer is a lie. Suffering is a reality as 
certain as salvation itself. Just ask Paul or Jim Elliot . . . or Jesus. 
God saves you, you sacrifice a life of ease. “Then Jesus told his disciples, 
‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross
and follow me’† (Matt. 16:24). Christians should expect suffering, while 
also recognizing that we have a great responsibility in the midst of it—to 
God (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

6. Christians Become Like Him

Jesus-followers strive to become more holy as God’s Spirit works in our 
hearts to make us more like him. We demonstrate our allegiance to Christ by 
conforming to his image (1 Pet. 1:15–16).
The gospel changes everything.

That means we understand the beauty of the gospel. That means we join with 
the community of his church, and we become a family who lives to worship God
together. That means that we run from sinandrepent and glory in grace. That 
means we cultivate disciplines in our lives that make us more like Jesus.

That means we grow in maturity and use our time in a way that is profitable. 
That means we foster relationships that will build us up by rejoicing in our
family, nurturing good friendships, and considering romantic relationships 
from God’s perspective.

What is a Christian?

Being a Christian means that we love God more. Every day we die a little 
more to our old selves and live a little more like Christ
(John 3:30). That’s why we are called Christians, because we are of Christ, 
for Christ, with Christ, and in Christ alone.

This post is adapted from the book This Changes Everything: How the Gospel 
Transforms the Teen Years
by Jaquelle Crowe, published by Crossway 2017.

Jaquelle Crowe (BA, Thomas Edison State University) is a young writer from 
eastern Canada. She’s the lead writer and editor in chief of 
and a contributor to the Gospel Coalition, desiringGod.org, and Unlocking 
the Bible. Her first book is
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years .
Publication date: April 6, 2017

Posts : 60984
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK


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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Jul 2017, 12:11 am

Children of God

Who are the children of God? Is everyone a child of God? Everyone was 
created by God as David wrote:

Psalm 139:13 (NCV)
13 You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body.

Yes, God made each of us but does that mean that each of us is a child of 
God? Below we see what John wrote about children of God:

1 John 3:1 (NIV)
1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be 
called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does 
not know us is that it did not know him.

John 1:9-13 (NASB95)
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens 
every man.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and 
the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive 
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to 
become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the 
will of man, but of God.

There is a difference between those who live in this world and those who are 
children of God. So how do you become a child of God? How did you become a 
human child? You were born. So…

John 3:3 (GNB)
3 Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of 
God without being born again.”

Are you a child of God? You can be sure you are by the way in the following 

Romans 8:16 (NASB95)
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

If you are not a child of God or are not sure you are, surrender your life 
to Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins and ask Him to live inside you and be 
your Savior and Lord.

by Dean W. Masters

What Happens to Us When We Die?
by Ray Pritchard

We live in a time when there is great fascination about life after death.

Why this fascination with the world beyond the grave? Is it not because 
death is so final? Whatever one thinks about the reports of “near-death” 
death when it finally comes is irreversible. When you finally cross the 
line, there is no coming back from the other side. Death wins the battle 
time. After the doctors have tried the latest wonder drug, after the best 
minds have pooled their wisdom, after the philosophers have done their best 
explain that death is only a natural part of life, we come face to face with 
the ugly reality that someday we will all die. And that death—whether 
or accidental, whether comfortable or painful—will be the end of life as we 
have known it.

Three Great Questions

In answering questions about life after death, we are left with only two 
sources to consult. Either we turn to human experience or we turn to the 
of God. If we turn to human experience, we find many guesses, many ideas, 
many theories—but no sure answers. That’s because, in the nature of the 
no human has a sure answer. The only people who have the answer are dead! 
That leaves us with the Word of God. In God’s Word we find ample, abundant 
God who knows the future knows what happens when we die, and he hasn’t left 
us to wonder about it. The Bible is filled with information on this subject,
so much in fact that we can offer only a brief survey in this chapter.

If you want the answer in one sentence here it is: What happens after you 
die depends on what happens before you die. Consider what the Bible says in
Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the 
judgment” (NKJV). This is an appointment no one will miss. As someone has 
the statistics on death are appalling. One hundred out of one hundred people 
will eventually die. We are all terminally ill with a disease called death;
we just don’t know when the end will come.

One Hundred Sixteen Others the Same Day

As I pondered this, my mind was drawn to the death of a former elder and 
beloved friend of many people in our congregation. He died just short of his 
birthday. On the day of his funeral I found his obituary in the
Chicago Tribune [newspaper]. I counted one hundred sixteen other death 
notices that same day.

Death is no respecter of persons. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of Bill and 
George who were both avid baseball players. One day they wondered if people
played baseball in heaven. They agreed that whoever died first would find 
out the answer and try to come back to communicate with the survivor. 
Bill died. Several weeks later George was awakened with a vision of his 
friend Bill. He was delighted to see him and asked, “Do they play baseball 
in heaven?”
Bill said, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, they play 
baseball all the time in heaven. The bad news is, you’re scheduled to pitch 

And we all laugh when we read about the friendly undertaker who signed all 
his correspondence, “Eventually yours.” He’s right, of course. Death is 
for all of us, sooner than we think for some of us.

Questions and Answers about Death

Before we go further, let’s stop and think about some important questions 
that people often ask about death and dying.

Is There a “Second Chance” after Death?

This is the popular view of many people who hope that those who did not 
accept Christ in this life will somehow have a second chance after 
in the afterlife or perhaps through reincarnation. The answer is quite 
simple: There is no biblical support whatsoever for the notion of a “second 

Hebrews 9:27 declares that we die once and after that comes the judgment of 
God. Let no one be mistaken on this point. The only opportunity you will 
have to get right with God is the opportunity God affords you right now. If 
you dream of coming to God after you die, you are nursing a vain hope.

What about “Near-Death Experiences”?

Such experiences are very popular today. I’ve already mentioned the 
pioneering work of Raymond Moody. Other books in recent years have purported 
to tell
of people who “died,” went to “heaven,” and then were given a “second 
chance” to return to the earth. Some of those books have been extremely 
and a few have been embraced by Christians. However, a close inspection 
shows that most of those books embrace unbiblical heresy, either the notion 
we are saved by doing good works or the idea that everyone is going to 
heaven in the end.

In thinking about this question, we need biblical balance. On one hand it’s 
undeniably true that some Bible characters did see the Lord before they 
Stephen saw Jesus just before he died in
Acts 7. Paul was evidently given a vision of heaven—perhaps during his 
stoning at Lystra in
Acts 14. He alludes to the event in 2 Corinthians 12. However, it’s 
important to say that such revelations did not happen often even in Bible 
times. Not
every believer had or will have a revelation of heaven. Could such a thing 
happen today? Yes, but we shouldn’t expect it or base our hope of heaven 
a last-second experience.

Let’s also remember that Satan is the great deceiver. He can create scenes 
that seem to be scenes of heaven but are actually creations born in hell. 
near-death experiences are demonic in nature. You should never base your 
hope of heaven—or the hope of seeing a loved one in heaven—on a supposed 
or revelation. The only reliable ground given to us is the eternal, 
unchanging Word of God.

What Happens to Children Who Die?

This is obviously a very tender subject to many people. Parents want to 
know: Will I see my child again? The place to begin in answering this 
is with the observation that the Bible doesn’t specifically address this 
question. However, we do know two things are true. First, children are not 
innocent, but sinful. If children who die do go to heaven—and I believe they 
do—it is not because they are morally innocent in the sight of God. All of
us are born with an inclination to sin that leads us away from God.
Ephesians 2:1 says that we are spiritually dead by nature. That applies as 
much to young children as it does to adults. Second, we know that God’s 
is always greater than human sin.
Romans 5:20 reminds us that where sin abounded, grace superabounded. God’s 
grace always goes far beyond sin’s disgrace.

I believe that God’s grace credits children with the merits of Jesus’ blood 
and righteousness so that children who die before they are old enough to 
are covered by His blood, and their entrance into heaven is made sure and 
certain. Thus they are saved by grace exactly as we are.

Can We Contact the Dead after They Are Gone?

The answer is no. Any attempt to dabble in spirit contact is strictly 
forbidden in the Bible. It is sometimes called necromancy or sorcery or 
dealing with
familiar spirits. Remember, demons can masquerade as the dead. They can even 
mimic the voices of our loved ones and give information that only the dead
person would have known (for more on this subject, see
Leviticus 19:26-28, Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:9-14
; Galatians 5:20). In case this isn’t clear, let me make it plain. Do not 
attempt to contact the dead through any means at all—séances, parlor games, 
balls, psychic readers, channelers, or mediums. You are involving yourself 
in that which God forbids. Leave the dead alone.

What Do You Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One?

Over the years I have discovered that it really doesn’t matter what you say 
in terms of the precise words. Those who are grieving will not remember the
words you say, but they will never forget that you cared enough to be there 
when they needed you. If you go with God’s love in your heart, he will give
you any words you need to say. That means we don’t need to answer questions 
only God can answer. If we don’t know the spiritual state of the deceased,
we shouldn’t speculate, either to offer false hope or lay a heavier burden 
on those who are left behind. God is both just and merciful, and in every 
He will do what is right.

What Happens at the Moment of Death . . .

Now we come to the central question: What happens at the very moment of 
death? I have already given the general answer: What happens when you die 
on what happens before you die. The Bible classifies the whole human race 
into two broad categories—the saved and the lost. The saved are those who 
trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The lost are those who haven’t. 
What happens to the saved is radically different from what happens to the 

. . . For the Saved

The Bible is abundantly clear on this point. When the saved die, they go 
directly into the presence of the Lord. At this point we remember the words 
Jesus to the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth,
today you will be with me in paradise” (
Luke 23:43, emphasis added). This appears to be a straightforward promise 
that at the moment of death the repentant thief would pass from his life of 
and his agonizing death into the realm called “paradise.” This would seem to 
contradict the teaching called “soul-sleep,” which implies that at death a
believer “sleeps” in a kind of suspended animation until the day of the 
resurrection. How could the thief be that very day in paradise if his soul 
to sleep when he died? At the moment of death the believer passes 
immediately into the personal presence of Jesus Christ. This is our hope and 
as we stand at the graveside of a loved one.

Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by 
far” (
Philippians 1:23, emphasis added). He also said, “We are confident, I say, 
and would prefer to be
away from the body (that is, separated from the body by death) and at
home with the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis added). These are the words 
of a man who believed that heaven would begin at the moment of his death.
Was Paul looking forward to an unconscious slumber after his death? No! He 
was looking forward to the personal presence of Jesus Christ.

But that’s not the whole story. The soul goes to be with the Lord in heaven, 
and the body is buried until the day of resurrection when Jesus returns to
the earth.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 says, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so 
we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in
him.” Here you have both sides of the truth. Christians who die are said to 
be “with Jesus” (that’s the soul in the conscious presence of the Lord) and
“have fallen asleep in him” (that’s the body which “sleeps” in the grave). 
Listen to Paul’s description of that great reunion of body and soul: “For 
Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice 
of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ
will rise first
” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, emphasis added). Here is a clear promise of future 
bodily resurrection for the believer.

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 adds the crucial fact that our bodies will be “raised 
imperishable"—that is, with a body that is perfect in every way, free from
the vestiges of death and decay In this life our bodies wear out, like a 
clock continually running down, but when we are raised, it will be with 
that can never decay, never wear out, never suffer injury, never grow old, 
never get sick, and thank God, never die.

Many Christians have a wrong view of death. We think we’re going from the 
land of living to the land of dying. But the opposite is true. If you know 
you are going from the land of dying to the land of the living. Here are 
some of the images the Bible uses for the death of a Christian: going to 
and waking up in heaven . . . moving from a tent to a mansion . . . walking 
from the darkness into a well-lit room . . . coming home to see your family
and friends . . . being set free from prison . . . taking a long journey to 
a new land . . . riding a chariot to the New Jerusalem . . . moving into a
brand-new home . . . opening a gate to a brand-new world.

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Christians have always faced death with confidence. The very word
cemetery comes from a Greek word meaning “sleeping-place,” which refers to 
their confidence in the promise of the resurrection. Many pagans cremated 
dead because they saw no further use for the human body. But Christians 
buried their dead as a statement of faith in the coming resurrection of the 
I have been asked more than once how God can raise the dead if the body has 
been burned or lost or vaporized in some terrible explosion. I don’t think
that’s a difficult question at all. If you can raise the dead, you can raise 
the dead. Resurrection is God’s problem, not ours. We don’t need to know the
how of the resurrection as long as we know the who.

As he lay dying, D. L. Moody proclaimed, “Earth recedes, heaven opens before 
me.” Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, cried out,
“The waters are rising, but I am not sinking.” And George MacDonald, the 
English novelist, said, “I came from God, and I’m going back to God, and I 
have any gaps of death in the middle of my life.” John Wesley summed up the 
faith of the early Methodists with four simple words: “Our people die well.”

When Benjamin Franklin was twenty-three years old, he wrote the following 
epitaph. His words catch the essence of the Christian doctrine of bodily 

Once our bodies are raised, we will be with the Lord forever. Wherever he 
is, there we will be, rejoicing, praising, singing, and celebrating 
the ages of eternity.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “We will be with the Lord forever.” Speaking of 
his own return, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were
not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and
take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (
John 14:2-3, emphasis added).

What is ahead for us when we die?

As Tony Evans says, “Have a good time at my funeral, because I’m not going 
to be there.”

... For the Lost

Now we turn to briefly consider the fate of those who die without Jesus 
Christ. The lost fear death and with good reason.
Job 18:14 calls death “the king of terrors.”
Hebrews 2:14 reminds us that the devil holds people in bondage through the 
fear of death. And
1 Corinthians 15:26 calls death “the last enemy.”

Before saying any more, we should note one similarity between the fate of 
the saved and the lost. At the moment of death, the body is buried in the 
while the soul enters a new realm. For the believer, the moment of death 
brings him into the personal presence of Christ. For the unbeliever, death 
an experience of unending conscious punishment.

We can summarize the fate of the lost in four short statements:

1. At the moment of death the soul of the lost is sent to hell where it is 
in conscious torment. In
Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told of a rich man who upon his death went to hell and 
suffered in the flames of torment. It does not matter whether you think this
passage is literal or figurative. If you say it is literal, then it must be 
a terrible punishment. If it is figurative, the figure itself is so awful to
consider that the reality must be much worse.

2. That punishment is eternal. Though this is debated in some circles today, 
Christians have united across the centuries in their belief that the Bible
teaches an eternal punishment for those who do not know our Lord.
Mark 9:43-48 speaks of the fire that is not quenched and the worm that does 
not die—a reference to the continuing existence of human personality in 

3. The body is raised at the Great White Throne judgment. Revelation 
20:11-15 describes the awesome scene as the unsaved dead are raised to stand 
God and receive their final sentence of doom.

4. The unsaved are then cast into the lake of fire where they will reside 
forever, eternally separated from the presence of Almighty God. If this is 
to think about, if we shrink from such a thought, then let us by all means 
do whatever is necessary to make sure that such a fate does not befall us or
the ones we love the most.

This is the final destiny of those who do not know Jesus Christ. To make it 
more personal, it is the final destiny of your friends and neighbors, your
loved ones, your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your children, if 
they die without Jesus Christ. And it is your destiny if you die without 
Christ. Let that thought linger in your mind. The reality of hell is more 
than just a theoretical doctrine. There is a place reserved for you in the 
of fire unless you by a conscious choice put your complete trust in Jesus 
Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Dr. Barnhouse and the Shadow of Death

Only one question remains. How can you personally face your own death with 
confidence? Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse—beloved Bible teacher of another 
the following story. While he was still a young man in the ministry, his 
first wife died. As he was returning from the funeral with his heartbroken 
their car came to a stoplight just as a massive truck pulled up next to 
them, blocking the light of the sun. Seeing the immense shadow that had 
them, Dr. Barnhouse asked his children if they would rather be run over by 
the truck or by the shadow of the truck. “By the shadow,” the children 
replied, knowing that a shadow could not hurt them. “That’s what has 
happened to your mother,” he told them. “Death cannot hurt her because the 
Lord Jesus
Christ took her to heaven. It is only the shadow of death that took her from 

If you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear when death knocks at your door. 
Death comes to all of us—it will come for you one of these days. Do you know
Jesus? If so, then you need not live in fear. Death may be quick or slow, 
painful or painless, but when the moment comes, you will find yourself 
into heaven where you will see Jesus face to face.

Some people wonder if they will have enough faith when they die. They worry 
about losing their faith and wonder if that will cause God to turn them 
When she was a young child in Holland Corrie ten Boom worried about her own 
death and whether or not she would have enough courage when the moment 
came. Her father—Papa ten Boom—knew of her fears and calmed her heart with 
these words: “Corrie, when I am going to take you on the train, when do I 
you the ticket?” “Just before we get on board.” “That’s right. Dying is like 
taking a trip to see the Lord Jesus. He will give you whatever you need just
when you need it. If you don’t have the courage now, it’s because you don’t 
need it now. When you need it, the Lord will give it to you, and you won’t
be afraid.”

In another generation, believers talked about “dying grace.” They meant the 
special enablement God gives to his children as death draws near. Countless
Christians who worried about their last moments on earth have exited this 
life full of faith because the Lord gave them grace just when they needed it

Jesus Has the Keys

Here are the words of Jesus in Revelation 1:18: “I am the Living One; I was 
dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death
and Hades.” Keys are a sign of authority. If you have the keys to my house, 
you can open it and go in anytime you want. It is often said that the devil
owns the gates of hell—that is, he has the power of death. But that’s okay. 
The devil has the gates, but Jesus has the keys. We have nothing to fear in
the moment of death for when the time comes, Jesus will personally unlock 
the gate and usher us into his presence.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even 
though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you
believe this?” (
John 11:25). If you believe in Jesus, you will never die. What an amazing 
promise. But believers die every day. Yes, but for the believer, death is 
the passing from this life with all its sorrows into life eternal in the 
presence of our Lord. The question is not: What happens when we die? But 
What will happen when you die?

Death is not the end of the road, it is only a bend in the road. For the 
believer, death is the doorway to heaven. For the unbeliever, it is a 
into unimaginable suffering. These things are true even if we do not fully 
understand them. They are true even if we don’t believe them.

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. Here is my 
final word to you: Make sure you’re ready to die so that when the time 
you won’t be surprised by what happens next.

A Truth to Remember:

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die.

Going Deeper
Taking Action

Take a moment to calculate the number of days you have lived so far. Now 
take a guess as to how many more days you expect to live. What is the most 
profitable way you can spend your remaining days?

[Taken from FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Christian Life

Posts : 60984
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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"For He Is Good"
July 4, 2017
Psalm 107:1- Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast 
love endures forever!
Only 25 days after the Declaration of Independence had been signed by the 
last delegate, General George Washington's army found itself trapped on the 
of Brooklyn, New York's, East River. The British had 20,000 seasoned 
soldiers ready to attack the 8,000 inexperienced, raw Colonials.

The end, as everyone could plainly see, was imminent.

It would have been imminent, but for some reason -- some illogical, 
inexplicable reason -- the British forces drew up short. They hesitated. 
Some have
suggested the British commander was waiting for his fleet to sail up the 
river. The fleet didn't come, at least not when they were expected. A 
wind blew, rains came, and the British ships couldn't set sail.

If the British hesitated, Washington didn't.

Under the cover of darkness, using small boats, Washington led his men in 
retreat. With haste, carrying a few men at a time, the boats crisscrossed 
river. The goal was to save as much of the army as was possible. The night 
passed before the job was completed. The approach of dawn would make the 
boats target practice for the skilled artillerymen of the British.

That's the way history might have written the end of the Rebel Army, but it 
didn't happen that way.

Just as the sun came up, so did a fog. It wasn't so thick you couldn't see 
your hand in front of your face, but it was thick enough so visibility was 
to less than 20 feet. The fog hung on until the last Colonial boat, the one 
with Washington, was launched.

The best the British could do was lob some shells at Washington's boat, 
which was out of range.

Sitting, as you are in your comfortable house, far removed from that time, 
you may be thinking quite a coincidence or some luck or a great throw of the
dice. It would be foolish to think that God sent the rains, that God 
directed the winds, that God brought up the fog.

Every modern, sophisticated thinker knows Washington's escape was pure fate.

That's what we would say, but almost every one of the American soldiers who 
recorded the events of that night gave credit for these "coincidental 
to the Triune God. And there were many British troops who wondered if they 
shouldn't go home since the Lord was obviously fighting for the Colonies.

No doubt, many of the American men, having been delivered by this miracle, 
thought of Psalm 107:1: "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His
steadfast love endures forever!"

Of course, all this was over two-and-a-quarter centuries ago. Much of 
America has become too sophisticated to rely on God, to think of Him, or 
thank Him.
And that, my friends, is a big mistake. You see, God's mercy endures 
forever, but His patience does not.

Far better for those in America, or whatever country you call home, to give 
thanks to the Lord for not only giving us forgiveness and salvation through
His Son, but also for His blessings and freedoms, which are far more 
dependable than are our thanks.

THE PRAYER: On this day of picnics and fireworks and family, may Your people 
also give thanks for Your hand of protection, which has guided us in the 
even as it does today. This I ask in the Savior's Name.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: 1 Kings 16-18; Acts 13:1-25
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all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Baby, You're a Firework: 3 Ways You're Designed to Shine
J. Scott McElroy

In another life, I produced a fireworks show called “SkyConcert” that was 
choreographed precisely to music and broadcast live on TV and radio. In 25 
of doing that event we were never rained out. I asked the Lord once why this 
fireworks show was so important that he always held back the rain. He 
out a banner hanging outside a local church, festooned with fireworks bursts 
and the word “Joy” in the middle.

Joy. Fireworks are designed for joy. They are constructed with specific 
elements that radiate certain colors and patterns; barium chloride for 
green, copper
compounds for blue, lithium carbonate for red, aluminum and magnesium for 
whites and silvers. The designers know exactly the effect they are looking 
when they put the fireworks shell together. And their work is a gift of joy 
to our eyes.

Pop songs have made the analogy that we are like fireworks. It’s corny, but 
true. We were designed with specific elements; a measure of wit or 
or hospitality, a helping of talent or skill or curiosity, a sprinkling of 
unique insight or perspective. When the Designer planed us, he knew exactly
the effect he was looking for. Believe it or not, like a firework, you are 
designed to be a joyous gift to the world.

You are designed to shine.

Sometimes we assign the designation of shining to the likes of pop stars, 
poets, preachers and prophets. When the Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah at 
son John the Baptists birth,

“He said, ‘And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him…
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.’”( Luke 1:76-79)

Sounds about right for a prophet. But for me?

Yep, you were designed to shine.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will 
give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are 
works, And my soul knows it very well.…” (Ps. 139:13

We are designed specifically by God for a purpose, here in this time and 
place. Just like a specific firework fits into and enhances a fireworks 

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which 
God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph. 2:10)

You were designed to shine the light of God through who you are and what you 

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the 
world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the 
light of
(John 8:12)

We were designed to reflect and carry that light. But that’s not all. Jesus 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it 
its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, 
let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and 
your Father in heaven. (Matt 5: 14)

Your light. You were designed to shine.

Of course, God is always the source of light. He created us in his image and 
breathed life into us. Any light we have is a result of his creation and 
But he did put individual, unique light in each of us. It is illuminated by 
the presence of his spirit living in us.

We share light in at least three ways:

We Emit

We carry it in us and into the circumstances and situations we encounter. 
That light shines at work, at the grocery store, a school, just by walking 
those places. The light of Jesus living inside us shines through us, and the 
light of who God made us to be goes with us.

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Where you go-- where God launches you like a firework-- the light shines. 
You don’t have to do anything to cause that. I want to keep that in mind and
watch for what God might do because of that.

We Reflect

We convey the light—the light of truth in love. We speak out God light found 
in the bible, we pray God’s light in situations.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and 
innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and 
generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the 
word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run
in vain or labor in vain
. (Phil. 2: 14-16)

We Amplify

We have the opportunity to recognize the light in people and call it out. 
When we see someone-- look at them and really see them-- or when we 
what they are good at and affirm that, we are affirming the image of God in 
them and the light he has put in them.

So the next time you see a firework in the night sky, and feel that touch of 
joy and wonder, imagine that that is how God feels about you, his carefully
crafted creation designed to emanate light in unique ways. And he has a plan 
for you to shine the light of joy to the world.

You are designed to shine.

J. Scott McElroy is the author of Finding Divine Inspiration (Destiny Image) 
The Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your 
(InterVarsity Press). He directs The New Renaissance Arts Movement
and blogs at JScottMcElroy.com
. Reach him at Scott(at)

Publication date: June 29, 2017

Let Freedom Ring
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit 
God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to
God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom
. --1 Corinthians 1:30

The Declaration of Independence pronounced the colonies free from British 
rule on July 4, 1776. Freedom does not come without a price. Through the 
War, our nation’s freedom was paid for by the blood and sacrifice of the men 
and women who fought for their dream of what would become the United States.
The battles were not easy, and the years took their toll on our young 
nation. In the end, the price was paid and freedom achieved. By 1781, the 
of July was named a national holiday and today, fireworks, parades, and 
picnics still mark this celebration.

The Gospel message preaches a similar tune. We have been given freedom in 
Christ. We have freedom from death caused by sin. Here again, our freedom 
secured at a great cost. God sent His only Son to die and shed His blood for 
us. The ultimate price of freedom was paid through the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ on the cross. Although the cost was high, Jesus’ death and 
resurrection purchased the freedom of anyone who trusts in Him. By faith, we 
become children
of God and co-heirs with Christ. Through Him, we are made pure, holy and 
blameless; all gifts God gives to us freely.

Still, with this freedom comes tremendous responsibility. The gift of 
freedom is not a license to do as you please. Rather, it is a calling to 
live unselfishly
and righteously. Freedom rings when you chose not to indulge all your 
desires, but chose to live a life honoring the Lord.

As you enjoy Fourth of July festivities and celebrate the freedom of our 
nation, say a prayer of thanks to God for the freedom from sin He has given 
and for the life He has given you to live now and throughout all eternity 
with Him.


1. Why is it hard to separate good works from a saving relationship with 
Jesus? Why does doing good works often make more sense than having faith?

2. Romans 6:16
tells us that we are either slaves to sin or to righteous living. What does 
this mean to you?


Romans 6:15-18 , 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 8:9 ; Ephesians 3:11-13 ;
Galatians 5:1

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Friday, May 19, 2017

Today's Devotional

The Sacred Place Of Loneliness

Psalm 42:2a – My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (NIV)

One morning, while I was at my computer, my 15-year-old son interrupted my 
thoughts with these words: "Mom, do you know what the biggest problem in 
is? It is loneliness!" He had no idea that at that very moment my fingers 
were poised over my keyboard ready to type the title, The Sacred Place of 

That was in the 1990s. My son was eager to share what experts would later 
discover through extensive socio/scientific research: loneliness is at the 
of the troubles facing youth. Without addressing loneliness, healing is 

Once again, my fingers are poised over this title. Today, I invite you to 
consider loneliness, not as a hopeless plight, but as an inner void meant to
be filled by God, and God alone. Consider it, therefore, as sacred space. 
Here is where we discover God. Here, His Spirit intertwines with ours. Here,
we learn to distinguish God's voice from all other input.

In times of deepest loneliness, God often prepares His loved ones for their 
destiny. Abraham stood alone when he ventured into the unknown. Joseph was
left abandoned in prison. The disciple John was banished on Patmos, where he 
received his revelation. We, too, can discover the best things of God in the
experience of loneliness.

As we learn to walk alone with God, we no longer rely on the attention and 
validation of others; we lose our craving for false satisfactions and trendy
notions. We become freer to think and create.

Inspiration for magnificent creative works has often been birthed through 
agonizing loneliness and rejection: art, literature, music, poetry, 
and much more. These visionary works possess a lasting quality. They can 
touch the depths of the human spirit — because they did not arise merely 
the trends of the day.

If we want to live effectively, we must guard this sacred space from 
clutter — like superficialities, busy-ness, and worries. We need to guard it 
the constant barrage of voices; to fail to do so is how we end up doing 
things that God never authorized.

Let's not be quick to flee from the agony of loneliness, but rather to learn 
to embrace it. Consider what Jesus said in His own time of loneliness: "Yet
I am not alone, for my Father is with me."
(John 16:32b NIV) As we learn to be satisfied with God, our pain-filled 
loneliness becomes transformed into peace-filled solitude.

No bird is so solitary as the eagle. He who will fly as an eagle does, into 
the higher levels where cloudless day abides, and live in the sunshine of 
must be content to live a lonely life. God seeks eagle-men [and women]. Let 
us dare to stand alone. (From
Streams in the Desert, December 20, L.B. Cowman)

Prayer: Dear Master, as we consider this sacred place of loneliness, we 
sense an inner battle arising. We thirst for You, yet we are terrified of 
of not mattering to anyone. Train us to enjoy Your presence in the depths of 
our being, that we may dare to be alone with You. Amen.

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who 
sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

By Answers2Prayer
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Closer Than a Brother

B. H. McDaniel was a very successful orthodontist with a thriving practice. 
He also loved to fly his plane for a hobby. One day, he was flying from El
Paso, TX to Lufkin, TX, when the engine stalled, and he couldn't start it 
again. He was over the Davy Crockett National Forest, so an emergency 
was going to be almost impossible. But God was with him every step of the 
way. He looked down and saw an opening among the trees. He tried to set the 
down in the little spot, but it was too short for landing. His plane hit 
hard, skidded into the trees on the other side of the field and broke into 
B.H. broke his back in the crash and lay helpless as the fire began to burn.

By the providence of the Lord, a farmer saw the plane go down and hurried to 
the wreckage. He pulled the Doctor to safety just in time, as the aircraft
was engulfed in flames.

B. H. was taken to a local hospital. That started the long journey of 
healing, then therapy. It was going to take over two years to get even 
limited use
of his legs back. Naturally that was to wreak havoc on his orthodontic 

Enter Dr. Stephen Kerr. Stephen had attended dental college in the early 
days with B.H. and they had become fast friends. One school day without 
thinking about it, the two men made a "friendship pact" (much like David and 
Jonathan in the Bible) that they would take care of the other's family in
case something happened. Then they went on without ever really thinking 
about it.

Now something had happened! There was B.H. lying paralyzed in a hospital 
bed. He opened his eyes to see Stephen standing in the room. It was good of 
to come to B.H. and give support in his darkest hour. But he did more than 
that. Stephen was there to stay. He was an orthodontist also. He immediately
went home to Houston and shut down his own practice. He sold his home; then, 
he and the entire Kerr family moved to El Paso to run the clinic for B.H.
He purchased a portion of B.H.'s practice (to give him cash) and then shared 
the profits with him to give B.H. an income.

That kindness lasted 12 years! That's right! He did the work and shared the 
income with B.H. until the injured man could get around -- first on 
then canes, and when he could sit to do his work. Only then did Stephen sell 
his interest in the business back to B.H. and go home.

"How do you thank a friend like that?" asked B.H. "You couldn't if you tried 
100 years" *

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who 
sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

Because of our sin, you and I were facing the "plane wreck" of eternal 
destruction (cf. Matthew 7:13-14), but Jesus came to us (see John 1:14). But 
did more than that. He died on the cross to pay the price for our sins 
(Ephesians 1:7) so that we might live eternally with Him in heaven.

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his 
friends." John 15:13. Jesus demonstrated this kind of love for us. He is a 
that sticks closer than a brother.

How do you thank a friend like that? You can't, even if you tried 1,000 
years! But you CAN be grateful, and you CAN accept His offer of salvation by 
your faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance 
(Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being 
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

Won't YOU?

David A. Sargent


Do you have a Bible question you would like to see answered? Why not submit 
it to us
. We have dedicated volunteers who would gladly take the time to find your 

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

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Post  Admin on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 9:18 pm

Anne Graham Lotz - Glory Follows Suffering
View this email in your browser

Glory Follows Suffering
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18, NKJV

Bad things do happen to those Jesus loves. But remember this spiritual 
principle: Glory follows suffering, and life follows death.

Miss Audrey Wetherell Johnson was a woman greatly beloved of God. Born in 
England, educated in Europe, delivered from agnosticism, and transformed by 
grace into a gifted Bible teacher and preacher, she answered God’s call to 
the mission field in China during the 1930s. After years of teaching pastors
and church leaders in a theological seminary in Beijing, Miss Johnson was 
scooped up with other missionaries and placed in a Japanese concentration 
for three years of intolerable and unmentionable suffering. Yet once again 
we glimpse God’s glory when we learn that Miss Johnson was finally released,
came to America, and began Bible Study Fellowship, an international ministry 
that now has approximately one million men and women who use her material
and format to study God’s Word each week.

If something bad has happened to you, would you look forward to the glory 
that IS coming?!


Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Change Something, Change You
By Rick Warren

“Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord”
(Lamentations 3:40

You can’t change everything. But you can change you.

When your life feels like it’s falling apart, knowing what you can change -- 
and what you can’t change -- can make all the difference.

You can’t change your past. You can’t change your parents. You can’t change 
the gifts and talents God has or hasn’t given you. You can’t bring back a 
loved one.

Perhaps it’s time to accept all of those things. You’ll start to find peace 
in the midst of troubles when you accept what you can’t change. Otherwise,
you’ll make yourself and the people you love miserable.

There’s much you can’t change, but there’s something important you can 
change: you.

When Jeremiah’s world was falling apart, he wrote this in
Lamentations 3:40
: “Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord” (GNT).

What’s going on in your life that doesn’t line up with what God wants? 
Depending on how we react, crises can help us as we learn to focus our eyes 
on what
matters: Jesus.

To reorder your life God’s way, it’ll take some gut-level self-evaluation. 
You’ll need to do an inventory of every area of your life. You’ll need to 
a look at your relationship with God, your spouse, your kids, and your 
co-workers. You’ll need to look at hurts, habits, and hang-ups that may be 
you down. Nothing can be off limits.

It’s not easy. It can get messy. It’s always tough to turn from sin even 
when it’s tearing us down.

But you can’t find healing otherwise. Healing apart from repentance can’t 
last. When your world is falling apart, you’ll be tempted to bemoan every 
of your life.

That’s a waste of time. You can’t change everything -- but you can change 

And when your world is falling apart, that can mean everything.

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

• What one thing in your life can you change right now that will make a 
positive impact on yourself and others?
• Who can help you ask yourself the hard questions about your priorities, 
relationships, and secret sins as you take a spiritual inventory of your 

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


How To Get Through What You're Going Through Study Kit

Find the strength you need to get though life’s toughest trials!

Loss is a part of life. But it’s in your seasons of suffering that God wants 
to lavish his incredible grace and mercy on you – and give you the true and
lasting peace that only come from him.

Pastor Rick and Kay Warren experienced the loss of their son, Matthew, whose 
27-year battle with mental illness led to the tragic loss of his life. They’ve
taken the lessons they learned through their own personal experiences with 
loss and suffering and created a resource that will help anyone navigating 
a difficult season.

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

You can listen to Rick Warren on OnePlace.com .

Change Something, Change You
By Rick Warren

“Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord”
(Lamentations 3:40

You can’t change everything. But you can change you.

When your life feels like it’s falling apart, knowing what you can change -- 
and what you can’t change -- can make all the difference.

You can’t change your past. You can’t change your parents. You can’t change 
the gifts and talents God has or hasn’t given you. You can’t bring back a 
loved one.

Perhaps it’s time to accept all of those things. You’ll start to find peace 
in the midst of troubles when you accept what you can’t change. Otherwise,
you’ll make yourself and the people you love miserable.

There’s much you can’t change, but there’s something important you can 
change: you.

When Jeremiah’s world was falling apart, he wrote this in
Lamentations 3:40
: “Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord” (GNT).

What’s going on in your life that doesn’t line up with what God wants? 
Depending on how we react, crises can help us as we learn to focus our eyes 
on what
matters: Jesus.

To reorder your life God’s way, it’ll take some gut-level self-evaluation. 
You’ll need to do an inventory of every area of your life. You’ll need to 
a look at your relationship with God, your spouse, your kids, and your 
co-workers. You’ll need to look at hurts, habits, and hang-ups that may be 
you down. Nothing can be off limits.

It’s not easy. It can get messy. It’s always tough to turn from sin even 
when it’s tearing us down.

But you can’t find healing otherwise. Healing apart from repentance can’t 
last. When your world is falling apart, you’ll be tempted to bemoan every 
of your life.

That’s a waste of time. You can’t change everything -- but you can change 

And when your world is falling apart, that can mean everything.

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

• What one thing in your life can you change right now that will make a 
positive impact on yourself and others?
• Who can help you ask yourself the hard questions about your priorities, 
relationships, and secret sins as you take a spiritual inventory of your 

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


How To Get Through What You're Going Through Study Kit

Find the strength you need to get though life’s toughest trials!

Loss is a part of life. But it’s in your seasons of suffering that God wants 
to lavish his incredible grace and mercy on you – and give you the true and
lasting peace that only come from him.

Pastor Rick and Kay Warren experienced the loss of their son, Matthew, whose 
27-year battle with mental illness led to the tragic loss of his life. They’ve
taken the lessons they learned through their own personal experiences with 
loss and suffering and created a resource that will help anyone navigating 
a difficult season.

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

You can listen to Rick Warren on OnePlace.com .

How God Uses Stress for Our Good and His Glory
by Randy Alcorn

Ever been to a football game at half time when the band forms words or 
pictures in the middle of the field? They look great from up in the stands. 
have you thought about what they look like from the sidelines? Pointless, 
confusing, apparently meaningless. We see life from the sidelines. God sees 
from the stands. As we gain perspective, we leave the sidelines and start 
working our way up.

G.K. Chesterton’s character, Father Brown, said “We are on the wrong side of 
the tapestry.” How true. We see the knots, the snarls, and the frayed 
But God is on the right side of the tapestry—the side He is weaving into a 
beautiful work of art. We may not always know what the Master Artist is 
in our lives. But the important thing is, He does.

When we see the all-powerful God on the throne of the universe—God our 
Father committed to our good—we are relieved of much stress. And the stress 
we must
still experience leaves us far richer.

Having a biblical perspective is seeing life through God’s eyes. It is 
seeing order in chaos, use in the useless, and good in the bad. If we are to 
eyes to see God’s hand in everything, we must believe (not necessarily 
understand) what Scripture says about the purpose of stress. Stress is an 
tool in the hands of our God, a tool that is intended both for His glory and 
our good. In this article we will look at some ways God uses stress.

God uses stress to get our attention. God created our bodies. He designed 
them to send us messages. If I stick my hand in fire, my body will send me a
message, quickly and clearly. If I ignore it, I’ll pay the price.

C.S. Lewis said “pain is God’s megaphone.” Some of us are hard of hearing. 
We ignore physical, mental, and spiritual warning signs. God wants us to 
our ears to the messages He sends us through our minds and bodies.

God uses stress to help us redefine or rediscover our priorities. Bill and 
Evelyn’s marriage relationship was a distant one. They had drifted apart 
many years, pouring themselves into their jobs and shortchanging their 
family. But when their son Jason was found in possession of heroin, the 
months that
followed brought unprecedented crisis… and also the desire to pull their 
marriage back together.

Everyone has priorities. Some have never chosen or experienced the right 
ones and need to redefine them. Others of us have long known the right 
and merely need to rediscover them: we’ve tasted right priorities, but we’ve 
allowed ourselves to drift away from them; we’ve replaced fellowship with
entertainment, giving with buying, and family time with the television, the 
lawn, the remodeling job, the causes, and the committees.

By abandoning our God-given priorities we set ourselves up to learn a hard 
lesson. In essence we do what the Israelites did: lived in paneled houses 
God’s house became a ruin (
Haggai 1:4). In response, God sent lack of fulfillment, disillusionment, and 
failure as His messengers. He withheld His blessing till His people 
their priorities.

Twice in Haggai 1:5-11, God’s people are admonished to “Give careful thought 
to your ways.” Stress should take us back to the basics. It is an 
to re-evaluate our priorities and bring them in line with God’s.

God uses stress to draw us to Himself. Time and again it was said of the 
people of Israel, “But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of 
and sought him, and he was found by them” (2 Chronicles 15:4). It was in 
Jonah’s darkest hour, in his most stressful circumstances that he said this: 
my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me” (
Jonah 2:2). The Psalms are full of references of turning to God, seeking Him 
and finding Him in times of intense stress.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his 
temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears (
Psalms 18:6).

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me (
Psalms 120:1).

When our lives are comfortable and stress-free, too often we withdraw from 
the Lord into our own worlds of spiritual independence and isolation. Smug 
self-satisfied, we forget what life is really all about. But as the thirsty 
seek for water, those under stress often seek God. Many non-believers have
come to Christ and many believers have returned to Him in times of stress.

God uses stress to discipline us. Quoting Solomon’s words to his son, the 
writer of Hebrews offers what he calls a word of encouragement:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart 
when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he 
everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is 
treating you as sons (
Hebrews 12:5-7).

(The word son, of course, is generic for “child,” and applies equally to 
God's daughters.)

To some of us, this doesn’t sound so encouraging. But we fail to realize how 
essential discipline is. Scripture says that to withhold discipline from a
child is, in essence, child abuse: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but 
he who loves him is careful to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24). Discipline
is corrective. It is remedial, not revengeful. God sends stresses not to get 
back at us for doing wrong, but to deepen our dependence on Him in order to
do right. Though the stressful experience may seem excruciating at the time, 
it is ultimately all for good:

God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No 
discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it 
a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (
Hebrews 12:10-11).

God uses stress to strengthen our faith. 1 Peter 1:7 tells us: “These 
[trials] have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which 
even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, 
glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

There is only one way a muscle grows—through stress. A muscle that is rarely 
exercised atrophies; it shrinks into uselessness. A muscle seldom stretched
beyond its usual limits can only maintain itself. It cannot grow. To grow, a 
muscle must be taxed. Unusual demands must be placed upon it.

Stress is a demand placed upon our faith. Without it our faith will not, 

Ever seen grass grow through asphalt? It’s amazing if you think about it. 
How does grass, pressed flat and robbed of light, persevere and break 
hard ground? Yet we’ve seen it. Somehow God made those tiny blades of grass 
to rise to the greatest challenge.

In the crucible of stress, as we draw on our resources in Christ, He gives 
us faith and strength to crack through and rise above the asphalt coat of 
under the curse.


This article originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Eternal 
, EPM's quarterly Magazine.

Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 
206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200,

Another Declaration of Independence: Freedom in Christ

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, 
you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will 
you free/". John 8:31-32

Like millions of Americans, my mind is on the Fourth of July holiday and 
what it represents: our freedom as a nation. This freedom is a precious 
bought with the sweat, toil and blood of countless Americans who initially 
fought to obtain it, as well as those who have fought to secure it in the 
since that fateful day in 1776.

But even as I prize my freedom as an American, I am moved to consider a 
greater freedom - my freedom in Christ. It is the freedom that comes with 
a disciple of Jesus Christ. "If you abide in my word," our Lord declares, 
"you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free" (John 8:31-32).

This statement was shocking to Jesus’ audience. These proud men thought they 
already had all the freedom they needed by virtue of being "offspring of 
(8:33). Jesus proceeds to point them beyond any national, social or 
religious freedom they might enjoy to the freedom that comes through His 
person and
work: "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to 
sin" "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (8:34,36). 
to what Jesus’ listeners thought, they were in bondage to sin and subject to 
the tyranny of it.

Commenting on this passage of Scripture Leon Morris writes, "People do not 
always, or even usually, realize that they are in bondage. They tend to rest
in some fancied position of privilege - national, social or religious. So 
these Jews, proud of their religion, did not even know of their need to be 
Even as Christians, we can fall prey to the temptation to trust in other 
things for our freedom from the tyranny of sin - status, money, good works, 
etc. But the true disciple finds freedom in Christ and Christ alone.

What am I trusting in today? The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to 
consider our freedom - as Americans and as Christians. Our national freedom 
is precious,
but our freedom in Christ is of infinite worth.

The great singer-songwriter Chris Tomlin was undoubtedly moved by his 
freedom in Christ when he penned this stanza in his song "Amazing Grace (My 
Are Gone)"...
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing Grace

The saving truth that Jesus speaks of in John 8:32 brings ultimate freedom - 
freedom from sin and death and the devil; freedom from a life of futility
and an eternity of wrath. It is freedom from the tyranny of hate and 
bitterness and cruelty. It is the freedom to love God and neighbor. May this 
of Independence" be on my lips and in my heart this Fourth of July holiday

Mike Pohlman

Free at Last
Free at Last - A message from Dan McNerney. To view as a web page, go here.
For best viewing of future emails, please add
dmcnerney@frontierfellowship.com to your Safe Senders List or Address Book.

Share Dan's Message
Learn more about Dan at here June 2017

Free at Last

The Muslim holy days of Ramadan just ended earlier this week. Once again, my 
Muslim friends invited me and members of my church to attend an iftar meal,
the breaking of the fast at sunset, during their 30 days of Ramadan. On June 
17, I arrived early at the mosque in order to be interviewed with my friend,
Imam Senad Agic, by a religious professor from southern California, who 
asked permission to document our friendship. I was anxious to see Senad, 
I wanted to congratulate him for the lawsuit he and his congregation just 
won in Des Plaines, Ill. Our federal government, along with Senad's 
had sued the city council of Des Plaines for discrimination. The mayor and 
the city council had blocked Senad's congregation from purchasing a building
to establish a mosque in their city. Apparently, they did not want Muslims 
in their community. In early June, the verdict finally came down. The judge
awarded Senad and his people $650,000 for the suffering they had endured and 
the religious freedom they were denied.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood before the masses at the Lincoln 
Memorial in Washington D.C. over 50 years ago, he told the throng he had a 
- that all people, black or white, Gentile or Jew, Protestant or Catholic 
would be free and equal; he called for all people to "let freedom ring." Dr.
King was representing the teachings of Jesus. No one who has ever walked the 
earth has valued freedom more than Jesus Christ. He came to set us free from
sin, free from oppression, free from discrimination, free from condemnation. 
As he once told his disciples, "If you continue in my word, you are truly
my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you 
free...if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 

It is upon those principles that our United States Constitution was written. 
Whenever anyone in our country abuses another person's freedom, he or she
will be punished by our laws. There are no exceptions. This next week, we 
will be celebrating our freedom as a country. One of the most important laws
our founding fathers established was freedom of religion. All Americans are 
free to form their own houses of worship according to their own unique 
of God. We are not a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim nation. We are a free 
people who hold tightly to a separation of church and state. Each religion 
is free
to "compete" against another in its effort to convince people of the 
validity of their truth claims; but no one religion in our country is given 
favor to dominate over another. That would be an abuse of freedom. And, for 
that reason, Dr. King ended his famous speech by saying, "Free at last, free
at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

An increasing number of people in our country today are becoming less 
certain there is an objective truth in our world. They are tempted to 
believe that
truth is relative, subjective, or even malleable for public relation 
purposes and political correctness. Instead of believing there is an 
ultimate truth
or moral order in our universe to which we are all accountable, they espouse 
instead the idea that we are all free to make up our own moral order and 
to suit our own individualist needs and purposes. Nothing could be more 
dangerous for our society, in my opinion. If we lose our grip on ultimate 
our freedoms will evaporate more quickly than we can imagine. In such an 
environment, each person would fend for themselves and their own particular 
of truth. Our society would no longer be held together by an agreed upon 
understanding of ultimate truth or moral order.

Whenever I engage in interfaith dialogue with my Muslim friends, we 
discipline ourselves to hear truth we have never heard before from our own 
traditions and backgrounds. We ask God's Spirit to reveal something new in 
our understanding of his character and creation. My Muslim friends, for 
are endlessly curious about the Holy Spirit and Jesus' command to love our 
neighbors as ourselves, even our enemies. Whenever I visit a mosque during 
I feel convicted that I am not fasting enough, as Jesus encouraged us to do. 
I see my Muslim friends enduring and suffering while abstaining from eating
and drinking during the long hours of Ramadan, especially this year during 
the very hot month of June. They hardly slept because many of them rose from
bed at 3:30 a.m. to eat their last meal before sunrise. I may not agree with 
all aspects of Ramadan by any means, but I do ask myself whether I should
be fasting more often, denying my earthly desires for the sake of seeking 
God's kingdom.

During the interview with the professor from southern California, moments 
before our iftar meal began, Imam Senad turned to me and said, "You have 
my friend for nine years. But the most significant juncture in our 
relationship took place when you stood before the mayor and city council of 
Des Plaines
four years ago and advocated for our religious freedom and right to build a 
mosque in their city. You put your reputation on the line in front of your
own countrymen. We knew at that moment that you loved us at a very deep 
level. In fact, we found ourselves convicted that you loved Jesus more than 
loved Muhammad. We saw a self-sacrificing love in you that was extremely 
attractive. We knew God had sent you to our community."

If during this Fourth of July week you feel less than free in any area of 
your life, ask Jesus for help. No one wants to liberate you more from the 
of worry, insecurity, guilt, sin or injustice than Jesus. He is our 
redeemer, liberator, Savior, Good Shepherd, counsel and friend. Don't let 
the world
or circumstances rob you of hope and freedom. Stay close to his throne of 
grace; Jesus has an endless supply of love, wisdom and forgiveness for those
who ask.

My family and I hope you have a most blessed week of rest and renewal as we 
give thanks for our country and the precious freedom it provides. As you 
out your door to watch the local parade or fireworks, join hands with your 
family, friends and neighbors to say together; "Free at last, free at last,
thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Posts : 60984
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK


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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 4 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 03 Jul 2017, 10:43 pm

Hallelujah! Amen!

2 Chronicles 20:20-23 (ESV)
20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of 
Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah 
and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be 
established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 And when he had 
taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the 
Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, 
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And 
when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men 
of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they 
were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants 
of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end 
of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

Wow, what a battle plan! Just send your praise team out front and let them 
praise the Lord while the Lord God Almighty does the work. It is true what 
the psalmist wrote:

Psalm 22:3 (ESV)
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Where God is, no evil can be. So when you praise the Lord, God is right 
there enthroned on those praises.

Something more important happened in the life of Jehoshophat and his people 
than the praises. They found out the three groups were coming after them and 
they were afraid. Jehoshophat called for a time of praying and fasting. All 
the people then came together to pray. After a time of prayer Jahaziel was 
given a message from the Lord to them. The Lord was going to fight this 
battle for them. They just had to stand and see the hand of the Lord working 
for them and not be afraid. If the people had not humbled themselves before 
Holy God they would not have gotten this message. WE don’t know what the 
outcome of the battle might have been if they hadn’t come before the Lord 
seeking Him.
The people prayed until they got an answer to their prayer. We may not get 
the answer we want but we must praise him no matter what the outcome and not 
just when we get the answer we want as in the following account:

A few days before the annual District Synod of the Methodist Church in the 
Barbados and Trinidad District, British West Indies, was due to meet, a 
particularly well-attended Prayer Meeting was held in the local Methodist 
Church. It was my privilege to preside over this meeting.
Fervent prayers were offered for the work of the Synod and especially for 
its important task in the stationing of ministers.
One good woman who had a reputation for her power in prayer addressed to the 
Lord a few general observations on the duties and responsibilities of the 
Synod, and continued: “Lord, thou knowest that thy servant, our Minister who 
now stands before us, is to attend the Synod. Perhaps the Synod will want to 
station him in some other circuit. If it be thy will, Lord, to leave him 
right here amongst us we shall say “AMEN”. But if it be thy will to send him 
somewhere else we shall say, “HALLELUJAH”.”

So end your prayers with a big “Hallelujah! Amen!” trusting in the Almighty 
God to do what He deems best.

by Dean W. Masters

Judge Not?
Jon Bloom / May 4, 2017
Judge Not?

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you 
pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be 
to you” (Matthew 7:1–2).

This teaching of Jesus is widely misunderstood. A common reduction we often 
hear is, “Don’t judge me.” What’s interesting is that this reduction is the
inverse application of Jesus’s lesson. Jesus is not telling others not to 
judge us; he’s telling us not to judge others. What others do is not our 
concern; what we do is our primary concern. Our biggest problem is not how 
others judge us, but how we judge others.

Caution: Judge at Your Own Risk

Actually, when Jesus says, “Judge not,” he’s not really issuing a 
prohibition on judging others; he’s issuing a serious warning to take great 
care how
we judge others. We know this because Jesus goes on to say,

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice 
the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me
take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You 
hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see 
to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3–5)

It’s not wrong to lovingly help our brother remove a harmful speck from his 
eye. It’s wrong to self-righteously point out a speck in our brother’s eye
when we ignore, as no big deal, the ridiculous log protruding from our own.

So, Jesus is placing, as it were, a neon-red-blinking sign over others that 
tells us, “Caution: judge at your own risk.” It is meant to give us serious
pause and examine ourselves before saying anything. Our fallen nature is 
profoundly selfish and proud and often hypocritical, judging ourselves 
and others severely. We are quick to strain gnats and swallow camels 
(Matthew 23:24), quick to take tweezers to another’s eye when we need a 
forklift for
our own. It is better to “judge not” than to judge like this, since we will 
be judged in the same way we judge others.

Jesus takes judgment very seriously. He is the righteous judge (2 Timothy 
4:8), who is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He does not judge by 
but judges with right judgment (John 7:24). Every judgment he pronounces 
issues from his core loving nature (1 John 4:8).

Therefore, when we judge, and Scripture instructs Christians to judge at 
times (1 Corinthians 5:12), we must take great care that our judgment, like 
is always charitable.

Be Quick to Believe Innocence

The first way to take great care how we judge is to be slow to pronounce 
guilt when evidence is scant or hearsay or ambiguous. This runs counter not 
to fallen human nature, but also our media-saturated culture that encourages 
hair-trigger judgments. We are wise to practice something codified in our
judicial system.

In the United States, when a person is accused of a legal transgression, but 
the evidence against him is inconclusive, our jurisprudence demands we 
his innocence until sufficient evidence can demonstrate his guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt. Such demonstration is typically not quick or 

Be Thorough Before Pronouncing Guilt

Circumstantial evidence is not placed before a “reasonable” judge who then 
renders a verdict based merely on his judicial common sense interpretation.
Millennia of human history have taught us that appearances can be deceiving 
and “reasonable” people have conscious and unconscious biases that shape how
they interpret evidence.

So, our courts demand a rigorous process of evaluating evidence in an effort 
to ensure that deceptive appearances and biases do not distort the truth.
This process requires diligence, patience, and restraint. And while 
reasonable doubt regarding a person’s guilt persists, we are bound to 
believe — at
least in a legal sense — the best about that person. We give him “the 
benefit of the doubt.”

When Paul wrote, “love believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7), he was 
talking about this kind of charitable judgment. Christians are called to 
the best about each other until sufficient evidence confirms beyond a 
reasonable doubt that a transgression has occurred.

Aim for Restoration

When evidence does confirm that a transgression has occurred, a second way 
we take great care how we judge is to “aim for restoration” (2 Corinthians 

If we’re personally involved in such a situation, our goal in confronting 
someone caught in sin or, if necessary, initiating a process of church 
is to gain back our brother or sister (Matthew 18:15). Our goal is not 
punitive, but redemptive. We must vigilantly remain “kind to one another, 
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave [us]” (Ephesians 4:32). Even 
if the guilty person is unrepentant and fellowship must be severed, the 
remains redemptive for the offender (1 Corinthians 5:5) and for the church 
(1 Corinthians 5:6).

Keep Quiet If Possible

If we’re not personally involved or are distant observers, we can still aim 
for the person’s restoration by, if possible,
not saying anything. A wise rule of thumb: the greater our distance, the 
greater our ignorance. And ignorant commentary about a person or situation 
never helpful and is usually nothing more than gossip or slander, which 
Jesus calls evil (Matthew 15:19).

We must remember how faulty our perceptions are and how biases distort our 
judgment. We often think we understand what’s going on, when in reality we 
not. From a distance, love covering a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) looks 
like not repeating a matter (Proverbs 17:9).

Judge with Right Judgment

How we judge others says far more about us than how we are judged by others. 
This is why God will judge us in the manner we judge others, not in the 
they judge us. Therefore, we must judge with right judgment (John 7:24). And 
right judgment is charitably quick to believe innocence, charitably slow to
pronounce guilt, charitably redemptive when it must be, and charitably 
silent if at all possible.

And when in doubt, “judge not.”

Why Does John Piper Complicate Saving Faith?
John Piper / May 4, 2017
Why Does John Piper Complicate Saving Faith?

To come to true saving faith, you have to experience the miracle of 
spiritual sight of the supremely valuable glory of Christ, the image of God.

Listen Now

Letter to a Friend Engaged to a Nonbeliever
Sean Nolan / May 4, 2017
Letter to a Friend Engaged to a Nonbeliever

Dear Kelly,

I was surprised by the recent news of your engagement. While I wish I could 
celebrate with you without reservation, I admit I have some. My greatest 
is that your fianceé does not know or love Christ. Because I love you and 
care about your future, I feel compelled to speak now rather than to hold my
peace, knowing full well how you might receive my “peace.”

I expect that, if you’re honest, you may have your own reservations about 
the upcoming ceremony. I hope you will heed those reservations and 
As I have watched people walk down this road, I have noticed several common 
ways people justify marrying a nonbeliever. I want to address them in hope
that you might experience grace to trust God and his word regarding 

“Others Are Doing It.”

You know my story. My wife began dating me as an unbeliever. But as much as 
I love her and our marriage, it was wrong for her to do so. While God was 
to us, and brought me to a saving knowledge of Christ prior to our wedding 
date, let me be clear: to marry an unbeliever is to sin against God (1 
7:39). Furthermore, the difficult path to my own conversion and then to our 
wedding ceremony is not one I would wish upon others.

I fear you’ve latched onto God’s grace in my marriage (and others like mine) 
as a sort of promise for your own. God has made no such promise. While God
was merciful to bring me to himself despite my wife’s disobedience, we are 
the exception and not the rule — certainly not the model. I know far more 
that did not play out like ours. The Bible gives us more stories like that 
(Exodus 34:16; Ezra 9). Solomon says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes 
but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Don’t let the 
mistakes of others serve as a justification for repeating them.

“He’s a Good Guy.”

While I do think your fiancé is a great guy by earthly standards, it’s his 
standing before God that matters most for marriage. You mentioned how 
it was to you that he respected your boundaries, particularly after your 
last boyfriend pushed the boundaries, even while claiming to be Christian.

I agree that he certainly seems to outshine your last suitor, but it’s easy 
to fall into the trap of lateral comparison. We must be careful about making
choices today based solely on setting them next to bad choices in the past. 
Look for a man striving to imitate Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1). Why did you
put your faith in Jesus, and choose to follow him? Are you absolutely sure 
you won’t regret committing yourself until death to someone who might
never help you see or love Jesus more? If he does not share your captivation 
with Christ, you and he will always stand on unlevel and unsteady ground as
you carry out your vows in marriage.

“Give Him a Chance.”

You’ve mentioned that your boyfriend is “warming up” to the idea of 
spiritual things. You’ve even thought at times he might be on the verge of 
Beware of your heart, which is prone to lie to you (Jeremiah 17:9), and of 
the butterflies in your stomach that often flutter louder than the Spirit 
us. Until you are absolutely sure that he has also been born again by the 
same Spirit alive in you (John 3:5), heed the warning and conviction the 
brings (John 16:8).

Don’t be fooled into thinking he is simply “spiritual, but not religious.” 
There is no such thing as spiritual neutrality. We are always either with 
or against him (Matthew 12:30). Despite his warmth toward you, any attempt 
to have God on his own terms is an attempt to reject the true God over your
life and heart. If he has no interest in the things of Christ now, what 
makes you think things will change after the wedding?

“I’ll Die Alone.”

I know it can be hard to see other couples getting married, holding hands, 
and having kids while you remain single. Don’t let this serve as a reason to
try and seize marriage at the first opportunity.

I wish you could see a glimpse of a future in which you remained faithful to 
your vows to a man who remained faithless toward your Savior. Worse than 
church alone your entire life, while your husband remained at home, is the 
haunting thought that the man you gave yourself to might spend eternity 
from you and God. Worse yet is the thought that he might lead you or your 
children down the same path (Matthew 7:13). It really is possible to be more
isolated and alone within a marriage than without.

Marriage is no savior. It will not ultimately save anyone from sin or 
loneliness or unhappiness. It cannot bear the weight of those needs and 

While the single life is not without trials, remember you are not alone. So 
long as you cling to Jesus, he will be with you (Matthew 28:20). He will 
leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He’s also given you community in 
the church. Even if your hope for a husband is never fulfilled in this life,
you are promised a seat at the great wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 
19:7), and he will far surpass everything you might have experienced with an
earthly husband.

“I Already Said ‘Yes.’”

I know that backing out of your engagement at this point may cost you, 
financially and otherwise. I know it might feel embarrassing. But it would 
be far
better in the long run to lose some money and gain a few months of heartache 
than to commit the rest of your life to a marriage God does not want for 
Until you say, “I do,” it is not too late to wait. God may even redeem the 
situation in a surprising way for his glory if it is handled well.

Would it not speak volumes about your faith if you told him you were 
deciding to entrust your future to God? If you were to say, “The Lord gave, 
and the
Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21)? Tell him 
you will settle for nothing less than being married “in the Lord.” Confess 
disobedience to God and the sin of misleading him. Your repentance and faith 
could, by God’s mysterious grace, be the vehicle God uses to bring him to

Even then, you must make clear to him that a future with you is not 
promised. Should he come to saving faith, it must be to have God, not to 
have a wife.
Otherwise, he risks making an idol out of you and using Jesus as a means to 
something else. If you truly love him, your concern for his soul should 
your hopes for marriage.

I trust that, if you are willing to listen, the Holy Spirit will lead you 
into the truth that gaining a husband while forsaking your soul is a trade 
do not want to make (Mark 8:36). I also pray that you would eventually see 
any wounds I have caused you as the faithful wounds of a friend (Proverbs 
and not as those of an enemy. As you seek God’s will, hide yourself in him 
and his will, and wait with patience for the day he will wipe away every 

With love and grace,
Your Pastor

Matthew 26:22–23: God over Money
John Piper / May 4, 2017

Loving money over God is soul-suicide. Those who love money over God will be 
eternally poor, but those who love God over money will own the universe.

Watch Now

Desiring God
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The New Me
May 12, 2017

Read: Ephesians 4:17-24

You were taught to put away your former way of life. (v. 22 NRSV)

Paul’s words in Ephesians continually invite us to die to some of the things 
that we want most in the present. While we may desire a nicer car, covet a
better paying job, or crave a picture-perfect family, Paul challenges us to 
something different. He challenges us to act differently, but he also wants
us to change how we value things. He challenges us to rethink about what we 
consider good, right, and holy.

The command to “put away your former way of life” calls us to turn from sin, 
but also to change the way we think about ourselves. This means putting away
our feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and any negative perceptions about 
our appearance, anything not rooted in Christ. It is a call to put away our
hatred towards other people, to put away those negative stereotypes about 
people who don’t look or talk like we do.

It is a call to “clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to 
the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24 NRSV). 
is a call to see yourself, not in the ways of the world, but in the way God 
views you, as an entirely new creation. You are now clothed in Christ.

Knowing this, you are free to love. You can “love your neighbor as yourself” 
(Mark 12:31) because, through Christ, you are redeemed, righteous, and holy.
—Ben Aguilera
Prayer: Holy Spirit, strip me of my old self and give me the strength to 
clothe myself with the new self found in you. Amen.

A Prayer for When You Fear Death
By Greg Laurie

“The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the 
stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

Have you ever been stung by a bee? It’s not a fun experience. But though it’s 
painful for the person being stung, it’s fatal for the bee.

When a honeybee stings a person, it can’t pull its little barbed stinger 
back out. This is a one-time experience for them. They had better think 
about who they are going to sting, because once they do it, they are not 
going to survive.

When a bee stings you, not only is the bee’s stinger left in you but also 
part of its abdomen and digestive tract, as well as nerves and muscles. This
massive abdominal rupture kills the bee shortly after it stings.

That is what happened when Jesus died on the cross. In his enduring hatred 
for God’s Son, Satan thought it would be a great idea to have Jesus 
arrested, beaten within an inch of His life, and then crucified and put to 
death on a Roman cross. The devil said, “This is my moment. I am going to 
Him. I will have a role in His death. When He dies, that is the end of Him.” 
Everything went according to Satan’s plan, and like a bee, he flew off 
he had succeeded.

But everything went according to God’s plan as well, and the sting of death 
was its own defeat. As
1 Corinthians 15:54
–55 says, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? 
O death, where is your sting?”

Where is the sting of death for the believer? It is ripped out, because at 
the cross, Jesus took the stinger out of death. This is a great truth. As 
we no longer need to fear death because our souls will live on forever with 

Dear Lord, we will face many terrifying events throughout this life, but may 
we never forget that the ultimate victory belongs to you. Through your 
death has been defeated. As we continue to walk in your truth, help us to 
set our eyes on Heavenly things.

Top 5 Reasons to Seize the Confidence God Offers
Tricia Lott Williford

Let’s start with an invitation: I’d like to invite you to stop being unhappy 
with yourself. To stop wishing that you looked like someone else or that 
liked you as much as they like someone else. I’d like to invite you to stop 
hating your body, your face, your figure, and your flaws. I’d like to invite
you to stop second-guessing all of your decisions and commitments, to stop 
wondering whether your life would be different if you had chosen the mystery
prize behind door number two. I am inviting all of you, all of us, to a new 
conversation. It doesn’t matter when you began torturing yourself with 
but it needs to stop today. Here are five reasons why you simply must seize 
the confidence God offers.

1. You are beautifully and wonderfully made.

This is true today and always, and it has so very little to do with the size 
of your jeans. I am drawn to women who look deeper into themselves rather
than longer at their reflections. Surround yourself with women who admire 
one another for the richness of their life experiences and the wisdom they’ve
earned, for the scars in their stories and the stretch marks on their 
spirits. Wrinkles and scars mean you have loved; gray hair means you have 
Don’t wait too long to appreciate your own beauty.

2. You’re a smart girl with a strong and amazing mind.

Please don’t apologize forbeing an intelligent woman. I think most of us are 
still making up for the first time a woman said to a man, “Please, dear 
help me because you’re so much smarter than I am.” God made men with divine 
purpose, and he made women because he knew the world would need us as well.
Please don’t make yourself smaller in order to make anyone else bigger. 
Instead, color with all the crayons in your box. We need all the smarts you 
so don’t pretend that you don’t have what you can bring.

3. You can take charge of your life.

You must be careful about who gets to speak into it, because there are 
confidence thieves around every corner. Set your boundaries and choose to 
not put
the critics in charge. If you wouldn’t invite them to a dinner party in your 
home, then they shouldn’t get a voice in the sacred space of your heart. 
doesn’t offer a do-over, but you can claim a make-over. Choose one thing in 
your life that you’d like to do differently. Start today.

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4. You were made on purpose, with intentional design, for exactly this thing 
you’re facing.

Don’t be so sure that the next moment is more important than this one. As 
long as you are here, taking breath, then there is more for you—more to 
more to teach, and more to receive. Be present in this moment and in this 
season, because your life is happening today. Your life is never not now.

5. You were made in the image of God.

You belong to him. There is room for you at his table and in this story that 
he is writing about you, with you, and for you. Do you need some 
Does your self-esteem need some attention and your confidence need a boost? 
You only need to look at the cross of Jesus to be reminded of this: The 
of the moon and stars, the Sculptor of the mountains, and the Keeper of the 
sun would rather die for you than live without you. That is a fact, and you
can walk in that confidence.

This is your life, your story, your moment. We live in a world where they 
want you to hate yourself because they think it makes them love themselves 
But that’s just not how it works, so tell them you’re not playing their game 
anymore. The truth is that when you love yourself, everybody wins. And I’ve
always been a big fan of love and winning. You have all the same goodness in 
you as all the people who you think are better than you. Claim your 
and get in the game, girlfriend. You can do this.

Tricia Lott Williford is a remarried widow, an author, a teacher, a thinker, 
and a collector of words and bracelets. She is delighted to release her 
book, You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offers. Thousands of 
people join her each morning for a cup of coffee as they go online to read 
her funny,
poignant stories that capture the fleeting moments of life. She deeply hopes 
that when readers finish her new book, they will think, “That book made me
think and laugh, and now I feel like I can do this next thing in front of 

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Call on Me For the Joy of Hope

All around us the world is changing, and most of these changes are not for 
the better. Our culture is becoming more ungodly, and our society is on a 
spiral. Many Christians feel helpless and hopeless at the condition of our 
world. They have become resigned to the state of society's moral decay. They
are overwhelmed by the sinfulness surrounding them. Yet the Bible teaches us 
that Christians should be the most hopeful people on earth.

Paul encourages us, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in 
(Romans 12:12
). As a Hebrew, Paul would have been grammatically inclined to place the 
most important idea at the end of the sentence. Paul is essentially saying 
when we persist in prayer, we will not only be steadfast during the tough 
times, but we will rejoice in hope.

Paul is not talking about temporary optimism or positive thinking. He is 
saying that persistent prayer leads to a truly optimistic, hope-filled 
on life. Prayer puts things in an eternal perspective. Through prayer, the 
Holy Spirit can show us how God views our circumstances, rather than our 
pessimistic attitudes. Only through an ongoing fellowship with God can we 
find the joy of biblical hope.

Biblical hope comes from knowing who we are in Christ and that we belong to 
Him. Biblical hope comes from the absolute confidence and trust that God has
our best interests in His heart. When we are filled with biblical hope, we 
wake up each morning with enthusiasm waiting to see how God is going to meet
our needs, how He is going to walk with us that day, and how He is going to 
use us mightily for Him.

Paul was no stranger to suffering. He endured beatings, imprisonments, 
persecution, and hardships. Just like our culture, Paul's culture was filled 
senseless hearts, wickedness, reprobate minds, maliciousness, and insolence. 
Yet he could rejoice in a hope that was based upon an absolute trust and 
that comes from persistent prayer. Paul's hope was rooted in the God of 
power and might. He placed his hope in the One who keeps His promises.

Paul grieved over the condition of Roman society, but he did not despair 
because of it. Paul grieved over the cruelty and selfishness of the culture 
his day, but he would not allow them to cloud his vision. Paul experienced 
attacks from bitter people, but he never allowed his persecution to embitter
his spirit.

There are times when we will grieve over issues and people, but even in the 
midst of our frustrations and turmoil we can maintain a consistent state of
mind that is filled with optimism. When we know who we are in Christ and 
where we are spending eternity, we will stay in fellowship with God. Our 
with Him will give us the strength to persevere in tough times and to 
rejoice in hope. We may still feel pessimistic over certain events, but we 
do not
have to be overcome by our emotions.

We can find optimism in this life when Christ lives within us. We can find 
joyful hope when we put our relationship with Christ first and spend regular
time fellowshipping with Him in prayer. A close relationship with God will 
give us joy in the midst of trouble, victory in times of temptations, 
and blessings in times of uncertainty. A solid prayer life will give us 
confidence when everything else is crumbling around us.

How persistent is your prayer life? Is prayer the first activity to be cut 
when your life becomes overscheduled? Do you skip prayer time on the days 
you feel tired or ill or apathetic? Are your prayers half-hearted attempts 
to fulfill a ritual or appease your guilt?

If your prayer life has been lacking, confess to God today how you have 
neglected this important aspect of your relationship with Him. Pray for the 
Spirit's help to guide you in your prayers, to motivate you to spend time 
with Him, to give you the self-discipline to stay focused in prayer, and to 
your heart for the presence of God.


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Alive in Christ
May 8, 2017

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10

Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with 
Christ. (v. 5)

What does it mean to be alive in Christ? It does not mean that you must have 
your life together. Being alive in Christ does not mean that you are happy
all the time. It does not mean that your life is as beautiful and 
put-together as your Facebook posts.

In fact, being alive in Christ means the opposite. Today’s passage states 
that even though we were dead in our sins, God made us alive together with 
It is in imperfection that grace appears. God is at work in the mundane, and 
the everyday messiness of existence. We must not forget that Christ came 
this world to live an ordinary life extraordinarily connected to God the 
Father. Likewise, we become alive in Christ when we are baptized into his 
(Gal. 3:27).

Being alive in Christ does not mean we will be in a constant state of smiles 
and joy. Being alive in Christ means our foundation is so strong that even
when the storms come, we can live through them. Even when we were dead in 
our sins, God gave us life through Christ.

Take a moment right now to remember that Christ invites you to live a life 
in him. Know that, in Christ, your feet are firmly planted on an unshakable
foundation: Christ’s unconditional love for you. In both ordinary and 
extraordinary ways, Christ is inviting us to live free from sin, free from 
—Ben Aguilera

Prayer: Help me always remember that I am alive in you. Amen.

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
People Next Door
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People Next Door
May 11, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Acts 17:16, NET "While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was 
greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols."

Pray that you will be disturbed by idolatry in your city enough to pray for 
the lost and present the gospel to them.

Today's People Group

He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the 
earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their 
that they should seek God, if perhaps they might search for Him and find 
Him, though He is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26, 27, NASB
“Did you know,” said Chuck Register of Peoples Next Door (PND), “that more 
foreign-born residents are in the USA than the combined state populations of
Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 
Louisiana, and Arkansas?”
The PND prayer map shows that unreached people groups like the Gujaratis, 
Hindi speakers, Punjabis, Berbers, Moroccans, Somalis, Wolof, and Thai live,
work, and get a higher education in the North Carolina’s “Raleigh Triangle” 
region. This area includes North Carolina State University, Duke University,
and the University of North Carolina.
While these major universities attract many from hostile non-Christian 
backgrounds, World Relief and Lutheran Family Services help to settle 
hundreds of
refugees each year into the area. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 
has done extensive ethnic mapping. In these last days Almighty God has given
His Church a profound opportunity to reach these beloved unreached people. 
We must not choose to be unavailable.

Pray that the Church will see the need to become aware of these people and 
get involved in their personal, physical, emotional, and spiritual 
Pray that Christ followers will be salt and light, and follow the leading of 
God’s Holy Spirit.

Learn more at Joshua Project .

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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 9:56 pm

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

"The God Whom We Serve"
May 14, 2017
1 Peter 4:10-11 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, 
as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks 
of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God 
supplies -- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus 
Christ. To
Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the 
readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global 
we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write 
our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through 

In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

I know a young girl who worked for a publishing company.

That doesn't make her special. What makes her unique and fascinates her 
colleagues is that she always seems willing to help others. Indeed, one day 
of her coworkers actually managed to corner her and ask why she was so 
willing to lend a hand to others.

Her reply was both unusual and beautiful. She said, "God has given gifts to 
everyone and He commands us to serve others." Then she added it was 
for her to share her gifts with others so she could please and glorify the 
Triune God.

This young lady was a practicing Christian who knew the Lord is pleased when 
believers share what they have and serve others.

Now the person who had asked the question was the first to hear the young 
girl's answer.

That answer had a profound effect upon that listener. She began to do some 
soul searching. What she found didn't please her. A bit of self-examination
revealed she was not the kind of person she wanted to be. In contrast to our 
young lady, this individual refused to share her skills and glorified 
by demanding she be praised for everything she did.

Only after she had looked closely at herself did the Holy Spirit bring her 
to repentance.

Today both young ladies understand that the Lord who has given the gifts can 
be glorified when we use those gifts to be of assistance to others. In 
to the Christ who offered Himself for their forgiveness and salvation, these 
two unique souls have come together to serve Him and others.

If they had a motto, it would be found in the book of Romans, where God's 
people are reminded to offer themselves as a pleasing offering to Him and 
each other because as the body has many members, and not all serve the same 
purpose, so we have to be united as one in Christ's body and support each 
(see Romans 12:3-5).

THE PRAYER: Lord, I thank You for the gifts You have given me in this life. 
Please let my life and attitude share the Savior with the other people 
me. May they all see that, in so doing, I am trying to thank, please, and 
serve You. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Ismara 
Vallejos. She is a volunteer at our Nicaragua office. In that capacity she 
Bible study courses and presents an orientation with
Project JOEL at our public schools. Vallejos has also begun to work as part 
of our radio team.

Lutheran Hour Ministries-Nicaragua is known in-country as "Christ for All 
Nations" or Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones in Spanish. Launching its Gospel 
in Chinandega in 1999, LHM-Nicaragua offers
Project JOEL, an educational program helping children and young people make 
healthy lifestyle choices. High school and university students benefit from
this program as well. Offering
Equipping the Saints (ETS) evangelism workshops to facilitate Gospel 
conversations and
Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) to build up and edify students of 
Scripture, inroads are being made into people's lives with the Good News of 
in Jesus Christ. Based today in León, this ministry center produces a weekly 
radio broadcast and 30-second on-air spots. These are augmented with "Radio
Cristo Nica," an internet and radio program dedicated to sharing the Gospel 
and helping others in this Central American country of six million people.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: 2 Samuel 13-14; John 4:1-26

A Prescription for Loneliness
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“O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust 
in Thee.”
Psalm 25:20

You may be saved today and yet feel incredibly lonely. Here is a practical 
pointer for overcoming your loneliness: Quit dwelling on it. Reach out and 
to help someone who is lonely.

Luke 6:38 promises that when we give, it shall be given to us. There is a 
locked-in likeness to what we give. It is the law of the harvest. If you 
friendship, you must show yourself friendly (see Proverbs 18:24).

Why don’t you keep a stack of cards and a pen handy to write a little note 
of encouragement to a shut-in? Get a prayer list and intercede for others. 
around the world by means of prayer. Jack Hyles, a great preacher, said, 
“There is no life so empty as a self-centered life, and there is no life so 
as a self-emptied life.” As you pour out yourself to others, the Holy Spirit 
will continually pour Himself into you.

Discover Jesus | Donate | Today's Message

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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you would like to send a comment, prayer or praise, please visit us
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth 
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Always Giving

God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. - 1 Timothy 6:17

Our Lord Jesus is always giving and does not for a single moment withdraw 
His hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, 
oil shall not be withheld. He is an ever-shining sun; He is manna in 
unfailing supply; He is a rock in the desert, sending constant streams of 
life from
His pierced side; the rain of His grace is always falling; the river of His 
bounty is ever-flowing, and the wellspring of His love is a constant tide.

As the King can never die, so His grace can never fail. Every day we pluck 
His fruit, and every day His branches bend down to our hand with a fresh 
of mercy. There are seven feast-days in His weeks, and as many banquets in 
His years. Who has ever returned from His door unblessed? Who has ever risen
from His table unsatisfied? His mercies are new every morning and fresh 
every evening. Who can calculate the number of His benefits or value the 
of His provision? Every passing day we are the beneficiaries of a myriad of 

The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of His kindness and with 
the yellow gold of His affection. The river of time bears from the mountains
of eternity the golden sands of His favor. The countless stars serve as the 
standard bearers of incalculable blessings. Who can measure the benefits 
He bestows on His servant or recount the extent of His mercies toward His 
own? How shall my soul extol Him who loads us with daily benefits, and who 
us with loving-kindness? O that my praise could be as endless as His 
provision. O miserable tongue, how can you be silent? Wake up, I pray, lest 
I call
you no more my glory, but my shame. "Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake 
the dawn."1

1) Psalm 57:8

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Numbers 25

verse 2 Psalms 68

Parenting God’s Way

For the last three decades, the idea of the traditional family has been 
under cultural assault. Every movement from the so-called sexual revolution 
same-sex parenting has taken it’s toll on the foundational building blocks 
of our society. How do parents navigate these challenges? God, the perfect 
provides the answers. In this short, but wisdom-rich booklet, Alistair Begg, 
gives practical, biblical instruction on what it looks like to be a father
and to be a mother . . . God’s way.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 

I always carry an oil can in my pocket!

( J.R. Miller , "Intimate Letters on Personal Problems" 1914)

There is a good illustration in one of Dr. Parkhurst's books. He tells of a 
workman who was in a trolley-car one day. As the door was opened and shut,
it squeaked. The workman quietly got up and, taking a little can from his 
pocket, dropped some oil upon the offending spot, saying as he sat down, "I 
carry an oil can in my pocket
, for there are so many squeaky things in this world which a little
oil will help."

Dr. Parkhurst applies this to life, saying that love is a lubricant with 
which we can soften or prevent a great many unpleasant frictions with 
we always have
love and will speak the gentle word, the soft word, the kindly word, at the 
right time. I used the illustration recently in my church in a sermon, and
suggested to the people that
they all carry oil cans, thus trying to make the world a little sweeter
place to live in.

"I am not writing you a new command, but one we have had from the 
beginning--that we
love one another." 2 John 1:5

"The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as 
yourself." Galatians 5:14
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you--so you 
love one another." John 13:34
Feel free to FORWARD these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)
How to Remain Hopeful When the Pain Won't Stop
Janet Thompson

While I was curled up on the couch one Sunday morning, reeling and crying in 
pain from recent surgery, my concerned husband asked what he should ask the
church to pray for me. Our church has a time of “Praise, Prayer, and 
Sharing” when parishioners share prayer requests and praises. As an elder, 
he would
be leading this time of prayer.

“Hope,” I cried.

Then I told him not to say that or they would think my faith was faltering. 
I meant hope that the pain would go away and I’d wake up one morning not 

My husband simply asked for prayer that my recovery would “turn a corner.”

He returned home with a gift bag from the sweet woman who sends get-well 
cards and gifts when anyone at church is ill. I opened the bag and pulled 
a coffee mug decorated with the word “HOPE”! When I thanked her for the “cup 
of hope” and told her the backstory, she said she prays over what gift to
give. She had others to choose from but the Lord told her this was the one 
for me.

I felt the Lord's assurance I needed to keep leaning on Him to get me 
through the pain. I’d like to say I felt better the next day, but the pain 
was still
there day after day. After a brief reprieve, the pain returned even as I 
write this article of encouragement.

It’s not my first encounter with pain. I’ve had breast cancer surgery three 
times, chronic back pain since I was a young girl, and was recovering from
a concussion when the pain started that led to the latest surgery.

Since you’re reading this blog, you probably have a pain that won’t go away 
too, or you know someone suffering. Pain can be debilitating and 
and tests our faith that we're ever going to get better—maybe even testing 
our faith in God.

Not all pain is physical—mental or spiritual anguish is painful. There’s no 
benefit in comparing our degree of pain with someone else’s pain—pain hurts
and we just want it gone. How do we survive pain that is unrelenting and 

6 Ways God Can Help Us Remain Hopeful

1. Cling to verses of hope. After surgery, my pastor came to pray with us 
and the Lord gave him
Jeremiah 33:3 to share with me. I repeatedly prayed that verse. It’s 
reassuring to remember where our hope comes from even when the pain is so 
bad we
can’t read our Bible.

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word”
(Ps. 119:114).

“Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from him” (Ps. 62).

2. Let others help. Friends, family, and church family don’t know where you 
need help unless you tell them. It blesses others to help ease your pain. 
it gratefully.

3. Seek prayer. Sometimes the pain is so bad we can only groan, but God 
hears us: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought 
pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” 
(Rom. 8:26). Give others the opportunity to pray for you, and even though 
pain might not go away, or you aren’t healed physically, there’s spiritual 
comfort in knowing others have your back in prayer.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray 
over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer 
in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up”
(James 5:14-15).

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises 
shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you
know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, 
will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ 
worry at the center of your life” (Phil. 4:6-7 The Message).

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

4. Don’t hide your pain. Tears are healing; it’s okay to be sad and 
disappointed. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my 
tears in
your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Ps. 56:8 NLT).

5. Don’t listen to discouragers. Cast out negative thoughts; they aren’t 
from God. Laugh when you can. Play encouraging praise music. Avoid upsetting 
or anything that brings you down emotionally.

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you 
listen to their cry”
(Ps. 10:17).

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we 
passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus
Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us 
eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen 
in every good deed and word” (2 Thess. 2:15-17).

6. Trust God! He feels your earthly pain and never leaves your side even in 
the dark of night, He’s watching over you. When you feel up to it, reading
the Book of Psalm can provide peace and hope. Psalm 68:8 sustains me during 
physical trials: “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken,
for he is right beside me”

“But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me”
(Ps. 69:29).

What if the pain never goes away?

For some of us the pain may never go away completely, and then we have to 
remember that someday we will trade these used bodies in for brand new 
bodies. That is the hope that keeps us going.

“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like 
tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in 
not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our ‘tents’ again. Sometimes 
we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to 
coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished 
shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing,
our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite 
by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our 
so that we’ll never settle for less. That’s why we live with such good 
cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet!”
(2 Cor. 5:1-8 The Message).

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or 
mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”
(Rev. 21:4).

If you know someone in pain, I wrote a blog post for you, 10 Ways Not
to Help a Sufferer
, that also provides ten ways to help a sufferer.

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying”
(Rom. 12:12 NLT).

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and 
award-winning author of 18 booksincluding, new release
Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten
, and The Team That Jesus Built ,
Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?,
Dear God They Say It’s Cancer ,
Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter
, and the Face-to-Face Bible study Series
. She is alsothe founder of
Woman to Woman Mentoring and
About His Work Ministries
. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com .

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Hindi Speaking Hindus
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Hindi Speaking Hindus
May 12, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Psalm 135:15-18, NIV "The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work 
of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do
not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their 
mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them."

Pray for spiritual openness among Hindus in the West. Pray that they will 
gladly exchange their idols for Jesus Christ, the resurrected Lord.

Today's People Group

India is home to over 2,000 unreached people groups speaking thousands of 
different languages. Among the largest and most unreached people groups in 
are the Hindi speakers, most of whom are Hindu. Hindus believe in 330 
million different names and forms of god. They bow down to their idols 
looking for
favor, but instead they become like their idols. They are blinded to the 
truth, but God is at work. These people groups who have little access to the 
in the cities and villages where they were born are coming by the thousands 
to Gateway Cities across the United States for work and education. Often 
those coming are from high castes which missionaries in India struggle to 
gain access to. They come west with hopes of a new life and are more 
and often more open to the gospel than they would be back home. The Metro 
areas surrounding New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, and 
are home to over 100,000 Indian Hindus, many of whom speak Hindi.

Pray that missionaries and believers living in these and other cities would 
find access and favor in the Hindi speaking communities. Pray that we would
see a gospel movement among Hindi speaking Hindus in Gateway Cities. Pray 
for multiplying communities of Indian believers that worship the One True 
make disciples, and reach the nations with the gospel.
Learn more at Joshua Project .

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Post  Admin on Mon 26 Jun 2017, 10:04 pm

Smilin’ Mighty Jesus

When you live in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee as I do you are bound 
to hear some people slaughter the English language. One day someone said the 
transaction fell out of their car. I don’t know what they meant by that. 
Someone told me that they heard someone say that some of their family had a 
touch of the “smilin’ mighty Jesus”. What they really meant was spinal 

It is funny to hear some people talk but it got me to thinking. Who doesn’t 
need a touch of the smilin’ mighty Jesus? Let’s look at some Scriptures 
where Jesus touched some people or where people touched Him:

Matthew 8:3 (NKJV)
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be 
cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:14-15 (NKJV)
14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother 
lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. 
And she arose and served them.

Matthew 9:29-30 (NKJV)
29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to 
you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, 
“See that no one knows it.”

Matthew 20:33-34 (NKJV)
33 They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” 34 So Jesus had 
compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received 
sight, and they followed Him.

Mark 7:32-35 (NKJV)
32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his 
speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside 
from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched 
his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, 
“Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 Immediately his ears were opened, and 
the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

Mark 8:22-25 (NKJV)
22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and 
begged Him to touch him. 23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him 
out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, 
He asked him if he saw anything. 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men 
like trees, walking.” 25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made 
him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

Luke 13:11-13 (NKJV)
11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen 
years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. 12 But when 
Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed 
from your infirmity.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she 
was made straight, and glorified God.

Matthew 9:20-22 (NKJV)
20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from 
behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If 
only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned 
around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith 
has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Mark 6:56 (NKJV)
56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the 
sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem 
of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.

In these verses we see a variety of physical ailments that Jesus healed. Do 
you have a physical ailment? Do you need to be cleansed of your sin like the 
leper cleansed of his leprosy? Do you have some emotional problems or stress 
or something else that makes you feel like the woman who was bent over? Do 
you have some spiritual blindness that keeps you from seeing all that Jesus 
Christ wants you to see in him and his Word? Are you spiritually deaf that 
you cannot hear the Lord speaking to you? Do you have a stammering tongue 
when he wants you to speak out and witness for Him?

Jesus Christ can and is willing to take care of these if you ask Him to. 
Some reached out to Him and were healed. Call on Jesus or reach out to Him. 
He is right there waiting for you to call or reach out. Like one of the 
blind men it may take more than one touch so don’t give up. Keep asking and 
reaching out. Then you will get a touch of the Smilin’ Mighty Jesus!

by Dean W. Masters

God Plans for the Unexpected and Inconvenient
Jon Bloom / April 24, 2017
God Plans for the Unexpected and Inconvenient

When Luke recorded his version of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2–4), he 
included Jesus expounding on this prayer through an odd parable that would 
have made
his original hearers cringe:

“Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 
‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a 
and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do 
not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I 
get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and 
give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he 
rise and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11:5–8)

What’s odd is that a story about a socially humiliating situation and a 
reluctant, irritated benefactor is supposed to encourage us to pray. What 
Jesus want us to see in this kind of need and this kind of provider?

1. Expect Unexpected Needs

The first thing to see is that the protagonist’s guest was unexpected. Jesus’s 
original hearers would have implicitly understood this.

In first-century near-Eastern cultures, having no food to offer a guest was 
deeply shameful. Note that this man would rather wake his sleeping friend’s
entire family in the middle of the night than fail to provide food for his 
unexpected guest. Both situations (no food and sleeping friend) would have 
deeply embarrassing and he would have avoided them if at all foreseen.

Lesson One: Jesus wants us to expect unexpected needs and respond to them.

2. Prepare Yourself for Inconvenience

A second thing to see is that the protagonist’s unexpected guest arrives at 
midnight. Of course it would
have to be midnight.

Most of us today would consider midnight an inconvenient time to meet an 
unexpected need. Back then it was a
really inconvenient time. We could assume our protagonist also had a family 
who also had their sleep interrupted. It’s not hard to imagine the 
and culturally equivalent grumbling whispers of “Are you serious?” when 
suddenly forced to entertain an unexpected midnight guest — especially when 
no food to offer them. With no 24-hour convenience stores, and no phones to 
discreetly call for help, the man is required to trudge over to a friend’s
house in the dead of night, and wake an entire family to ask for three small 
loaves of bread.

Lesson Two: Jesus wants us to expect to respond to unexpected needs at very 
inconvenient times.

3. Admit Your Insufficiency

A third thing to notice is what the protagonist says to his sleepy friend: 
“Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a 
I have nothing to set before him.”

“I have nothing.” These are powerful words about impotence. The man in the 
parable found himself suddenly called on to respond to a need he lacked the
resources to meet, and this forced him to beg provision from someone who had 
the resources.

Remember, this is a parable about prayer, not hospitality. In the man’s 
words, “I have nothing,” Jesus means for us to see our condition before God. 
this not describe our frequent sense of desperation in the face of someone 
else’s need? I feel this daily as a husband, father, friend, pastor, writer
— as a Christian. I don’t have resident in me the resources to meet the 
needs around me. Our lack tempts us to avoid others’ needs rather than 
expose our

But Jesus not only knows our impoverished condition; he designed it. He’s 
the Vine; we’re the branches. “Apart from [him we] can do nothing” (John 
He wants us to feel keenly that we have nothing to offer on our own because 
this desperation moves us to ask God for what we need. That’s why 
after telling this parable, Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; 
seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

Lesson Three: Jesus wants our inability to meet unexpected, inconvenient 
needs to drive us to plead with God to supply the resources we need to serve 

4. Remember God Is Eager to Help

A fourth thing to notice is the sleepy friend’s reluctance to help his 
desperate friend. This is what really makes the parable odd. The sleepy 
friend doesn’t
want to be bothered. This forces the already inconvenienced and humiliated 
protagonist to become impudent (stubbornly persistent) in begging for help.

Why did Jesus use a reluctant friend to encourage us in prayer? We can see 
his reason in a similar point he made a few sentences later:

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, 
how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask
him!” (Luke 11:13)

Jesus’s point here is that our heavenly Father is more inclined to give us 
good gifts than we evil fathers are inclined to give our children good 
Similarly, the friend’s reluctance in the parable is not a
reflection of our heavenly Father; he is a contrast to our heavenly Father. 
If a selfish, inconvenience-avoiding friend can be moved by “impudence” to
meet his friend’s need, how much more will our eager, generous heavenly 
Father be moved by our persistent prayers! If God delays in answering our 
it is not due to reluctance on his part.

Lesson Four: Jesus wants us to respond to unexpected, inconvenient needs we 
cannot meet, with persistent prayer, remembering our Father’s eagerness to
provide for us.

Will You Accept the Invitation?

This odd parable about prayer is a wonderful gift. Jesus is reassuring us 
that unexpected needs, arising at the most inconvenient times, which are 
our ability to meet, and so press us to plead with God for provision, are 
part of the normal Christian life.

They are, in fact, God’s design. Few things have the power to make people 
feel more loved than our willingness to joyfully sacrifice to make them a 
And few things honor God more than our willingness to really trust him to 
provide for our needs. The two forces combine when we face unexpected, 
overwhelming needs. They are opportunities to sacrificially love like Jesus 
and radically trust in Jesus at the same time.

The First Followers and the Fight for Jesus
Michael Reeves / April 24, 2017
The First Followers and the Fight for Jesus

The dominating issue of the early church revolved around the question, “Who 
exactly is Jesus?” The orthodox church had to fight to show that Jesus is 
God and truly man.

Watch Now

Contentment in Trials: My Son Has a Brain Tumor
Nancy Wilson / April 24, 2017
Contentment in Trials

When I first began leading women’s Bible studies, I was surprised (and a 
little unsettled) that almost always, after teaching on a practical topic of 
living, I would very soon be tested on that very point. If I taught on the 
sin of worry, something would invariably come up that would be a sore 
for me to worry about.

I soon learned that God will have no hypocrites. If I’m going to teach women 
to submit to their own husbands, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22), I had 
be doing that myself. So, I would often pray ahead of time that I would be 
ready for the test that was sure to come. And I might steer away from topics
I thought I wasn’t quite ready for yet. But then, who is ever ready? Do we 
ever think we have mastered the material? But the tests are coming, 

Since we know God gives us all tests, we should not be the least bit 
surprised by them. After all, we are all enrolled in his Bible course, and 
what kind
of class has no testing? So, we should expect tests. And we all know how to 
prepare for tests: we pay attention to the material, we review, we study, 
we apply. Thankfully, God’s tests are always open book.

A few months ago, I undertook the job of writing a book on the subject of 
contentment, something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. Having
learned so much from the Puritans Jeremiah Burroughs and Thomas Watson on 
contentment, I wanted to assemble something simple for women, something to 
contentment attainable and understandable and practical. I wanted the title 
to be
Learning Contentment because it is definitely an ongoing study for me.

After many hours at the computer, I turned in the manuscript for my book the 
end of February. Two weeks later, my son Nate learned that he has a brain
tumor. Though not cancerous, it is life-threatening. His brain surgery is 
scheduled for May 2, and my little book on contentment will be released on 
same day.

Do I think this is a coincidence? Not even close. As I said, God will have 
no hypocrites.

Study Hall

God was obviously preparing me for this trial during those weeks of writing. 
I thought I was writing a book. But God had enrolled me in a focused study
hall to prepare me for a test. A big test. He knew full well that I was 
going to be applying the material in ways I could not see. So, not only was 
going to test me on the material, but he was also kindly preparing me for 
the test. He could have given me the opportunity to write about contentment 
time. But he chose this time. And he chose well.

When Nate was a boy, I remember telling him that someday in the future I 
would be learning from him. He would be the teacher, and I would be the 
That day came long ago. He is an author and filmmaker, writing
fiction for children and nonfiction for adults.

And I continue to learn from him, from his books, his films, his 
observations about life, his humor, his love of life, and his love of story. 
Nate understands
that God is the great Author, and he loves being the character God has 
chosen for him to be. He is content. This brain tumor is a new plot point, 
and we
are all waiting to see what comes next. As
he has said
, he writes his own characters into very hard circumstances that require 
great courage, so how can he object when God writes him into a tough spot 
will require courage of his own?

The Basics of Contentment

So, now what? Do I believe what I wrote about being content in our good God? 
Absolutely. He will never leave us or forsake us. He wants us to exercise
our faith and lean on him, and this happens most when we are in the midst of 
trial. As God tests us, he wants us to test
him, to see if he is as faithful as he promised. And he is. He wants us to 
have practice knowing that our lives are governed entirely by his wisdom and

God knows what he is about, and he’s told us what to do: we are to cast our 
cares on him (1 Peter 5:7), set our minds on things above where Christ is 
3:1–2), and walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). And on top of this, he wants 
us to rejoice in all things, giving thanks for everything (Philippians 4:4;
1 Thessalonians 5:18). This is not amazing, super-special Christian living. 
This is basic Christian living.

When my children were small, there were times I wanted their undivided 
attention. I wanted them to listen carefully to my words and hear me: “No 
across the street!” So, I would take a little, fat face into my hands, pull 
it close to mine, and tell the child to look me in the eye. Then I would 
and they would listen. I have often thought that in trial, this is what God 
is doing to us. In this particular moment, he has my undivided attention. I
am listening. I hear him.

Are You Ready for Your Test?

Your trials are tests. You know the material. It is your almighty Maker who 
is giving you this test now, and it is perfectly suited for you. You have 
over this material before. You know what to do. Sharpen your pencil. Get to 
work. If you do poorly, he provides forgiveness, but you may never get 
chance like this one. Don’t squander it. As Pastor John Piper has said 
before (and I quote him often), “Don’t waste your trials.” There is much 
to be gained through trials. Look for it. Expect it. Be eager for it.

Contentment is a deep satisfaction with the will of God. Contentment enables 
me and you to rest quietly in his hands, knowing we are safe, even (and 
in the midst of trouble. Remember that open-book tests are not helpful if 
the Book isn’t open. And when the Book is open, our hearts must be open too.
We follow where God leads, and he will
never leave us or forsake us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be 
in dread . . . for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not 
you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

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Anne Graham Lotz - His Faithful Servants
View this email in your browser
His Faithful Servants
"No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the 
one who sent him."

John 13:16, NIV

Jesus is our risen Lord and reigning King! You and I are to serve Him by 
getting involved in meeting the needs of others simply because He says so! 
is Lord! And while we should never forget Who He is, we should also never 
forget who we are!

You and I are . . .

sinners saved, (1 John 4:16)

blood bought, (Phil. 4:5)

prisoners freed, (Num. 14:13)

glory bound. (John 17:22, Romans 8:28-30)

We are not our own. We belong to Him. (1 Cor. 6:19, NKJV)

Our lives no longer are to be lived according to what we want but according 
to what He says. We are His faithful servants. If you know your place, have
you accepted it?


Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

What Christians Don't Understand about Prayer
Joe McKeever

I had led a family to Christ. They soon joined our church and were baptized 
the following Sunday. My notes remind me of something the grandfather said.
He was chairman of deacons in a church three hours away, and of course, they 
were excited about what had happened. He said to me, “We’ve been praying for
this family, but one by one. We had no idea they’d all get saved at the same 

Expectations. Dale Caston told me something that took place in a high school 
class when he was a teen. The teacher asked the students, “What do you 
to get out of this class?” She looked at one student: “Eddie, what do you 
expect?” Eddie said, “Well, I’ve had you before–and I don’t expect nothing!”
— What do you expect when you pray? The curse of modern Christianity is that 
we expect little from the Lord, too much from the church, and nothing from

“Thou art coming to a King; Large petitions with thee bring; For His grace 
and power are such, none can ever ask too much.” –John Newton

Now, some quick thoughts on what the Lord has taught and is teaching me on 

1. You don’t have to be perfect to pray.

That’s almost funny; it’s so obvious. But you might be amazed to know how 
many of us shirk from praying because “I’ve sinned.” Well, duh. “He Himself 
our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14). He is under 
no illusions about us, friend. He who created us knew He was getting no 
when He saved us. When we sin, the only one surprised is us. So, go on and 

2. You don’t have to feel like you deserve to pray, have lived so 
righteously that you have a right to have your prayers answered. It’s all of 
grace, friend.
How we feel has nothing to do with anything.

3. The best advice I was ever given–and the best I have ever doled out–on 
this subject is: “Pray Anyway.” In spite of how you feel, what others say, 
you know about a situation, how little or much you know on what the Almighty 
wishes to do in a situation, or a thousand other things, it is alright to

It is urgent that we pray. See Luke 18:1. “Pray or quit.”

4. Honesty in prayer is always best. If you don’t feel like praying, tell 
Him that. He who created you understands tiredness. If you have a fear or 
or question, He can take your admitting that in your prayer. We worship in 
Spirit and
in truth.

5. Do not try to judge your own prayer. Don’t measure your praying by how 
long or how intense or whether you used certain words. We are not the judges
of anything, least of all our own service, worship, and prayers. (I’m 
remembering an email from a pastor’s wife not long ago, who complained about 
man: “He’s not spending an hour in prayer each morning.” So, she’s got the 
clock on her man. Talk about a recipe for misery in a marriage!)

6. Pray your own way. Don’t let anyone–me or your pastor or favorite teacher 
or anyone–dictate to you on the best way or the only way to talk to the 
Some of us love the little ACTS method. We start with adoration, go to 
confession, then to thanksgiving, and end with supplication. It’s a good 
but there’s nothing that says it’s best. Sometimes, we want to start with 
confession (making this CATS!).

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

However you pray, just do it.

7. You will change how you pray as you grow in the Lord. Warren Wiersbe says 
that when we are new believers, we wrestle with the world in prayer. As we
grow, we wrestle with our flesh in prayer. In time, we will find ourselves 
wrestling with God in prayer.

My observation is that sometimes I wrestle in prayer, but most of the time I 
just talk to the Father with no struggling, no resisting, and no hurting,
but only loving and thanking and blessing.

8. Varying how we pray is often a good thing. Beginning with different 
words, ending with a different formula (for lack of a better term), that 
sort of
thing. We all know some people who have used the same format and same 
expressions in prayer for so long, one wonders if they even think about what 
are saying, it comes so effortlessly.

9. Nothing says you have to end your prayer with an “amen.” In fact, “pray 
without ceasing”
(1 Thessalonians 5:17) might imply we should never bring our prayers to an 

When I was a kid walking to school up that West Virginia mountain, I would 
often talk to God. I’ve long since forgotten anything specific about my 
other than one thing. I didn’t want to say “amen,” because that would feel 
like hanging up the phone and ending this call. I wanted the phone to be off
the hook all day long, the Lord to always be there, and for me to always be 
able to talk with Him. My understanding was that of a child, but the point
is as valid and solid as it can be. There is no time in my day when I do not 
want to be in touch with the Father.

10. Pray about everything, no matter how large or small. After all, the God 
of the infinite is also Lord of the infinitesimal. The God of the universe
also originated and planned the operation of the atom and molecule. So, 
clearly, nothing is off limits to His all-seeing eye and far-reaching care.

11. Don’t go around talking about your prayer life, about how much or how 
often you pray, or what the Lord told you in prayer. Go back to
Matthew 6 and see how the Pharisees prayed and why they did it, then guard 
against the same tendencies in yourself.

Prayer is like–please pardon the expression–making love to your spouse. It’s 
something best done in private and not referred to in public unless the 
calls for it. (Yikes, did I say that?) The point is to beware of becoming 
the type of person who spends more time talking about your prayer life than 
do actually praying. Scripture has a word for it: hypocrite. Let’s try not 
to be one of those.

12. As often as you can when praying, allow time to stop talking and sit 
quietly. In fact, I strongly recommend you alternate between a) talking to 
Lord, b) reading a few verses of Scripture, and c) sitting quietly listening 
to Him. Keep a notepad handy to jot down things that come to mind.

13. Guard against legalism. Of requiring yourself to do so many minutes 
(hours?) a day, of praying over your entire list every day, of praying a 
way, or in a particular place. Pray while waiting on the phone, while 
driving, while sleep deserts you at night. All the time, as often as you 

14. If it is true that “in Thy presence is fullness of joy,” according to 
Psalm 16:11, then we should enjoy our prayer times.
See if you can do that.

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What Is Essential to Your Faith?

It’s easy for our culture of individuality and innovation to shape the way 
we think about the church. So what should we believe? Should Christians try
to be more accepting of a postmodern worldview? With so many questions, 
opinions, and interpretations among people today, even within the church, 
should we all agree on as essential to Christian faith?

Finding its genesis in the apostles’ teachings, the Apostles’ Creed contains 
essential Christian doctrines and beliefs that summarize the gospel and make
up the foundation of our faith. The scriptural truths contained in the creed 
help us operate from good theology, with the knowledge that our faith is 
in truth and a rich history that spans past, present, and future. The lines 
of the creed aren’t mere words. They convey the essence of what we confess
and believe as the body of Christ.

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;
born of the virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended to hell; the third day
He rose again from the dead;
He ascended to heaven and sits on the
right hand of the Father Almighty,
From whence He shall come to
judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The creed helps us develop better symmetry as Christians, giving us a more 
robust understanding of biblical teaching. As Christians, it’s easy to stick
with what we already know. Either we don’t grow and remain immature with a 
minimal, two-dimensional faith, or even if we’re growing, we become out of 
instead of developing a holistic, well-rounded faith.

It also helps us with clarity, making clear who God is. While symmetry 
applies to our overall knowledge of core biblical doctrines, clarity is a 
more specific
focus on what we believe about God and the world. By and large, American 
evangelicals seem to be terribly confused about who God is, what He’s up to, 
He’s like, and what He’s about. Surveys reveal shocking misconceptions, many 
of which are similar to the heresies that the Apostles’ Creed was intended
to refute. The Christian life isn’t about our preferences or opinions or the 
latest cultural trends; it’s about God. What you believe about God is the
most important thing in your life; it shapes all your attitudes and actions.

The Apostles’ Creed informs our community, whom we belong to, and whom we’re 
with. As Christians who believe the doctrines summarized in the Apostles’
Creed, we’re part of a people who have been around for thousands of years. 
We’re part of a people who go back to the beginning of humankind, when God 
first people to Himself. Throughout history God’s people, those He has 
chosen and called to Himself, have thrived and worshiped the one true God. 
part of that tradition. We’re a global people. People all over the earth 
will gather this weekend because they share the beliefs expressed in the 
They’ll rejoice in it, they’ll be shaped by it, and massive numbers of them 
will recite the creed together. We’ve been woven into something much bigger
than us. The fabric created by God makes us stronger than any of us can ever 
be on our own. It’s diverse, it’s beautiful, and it’s global.

Lastly, the creed informs the way we counsel ourselves and others. Counsel 
is essentially the point of application. How do symmetry, clarity, and 
lead to a change in your perspective? How do you think and act differently? 
What do you tell yourself or others as a result of believing the doctrines
in the creed? When you grow in your understanding of the person of God, the 
work of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, you’ll think differently.
The result should be an ever deepening maturity and a closer walk of 
obedience with our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostles Creed

Excerpted from the Bible study
The Apostles' Creed
by Matt Chandler

© 2017. LifeWay Christian Resources.
Used by permission.

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Iranian Muslims in the Washington, D.C. Area
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Iranian Muslims in the Washington, D.C. Area
May 10, 2017 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Matthew 16:26, NIV "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole 
world, yet forfeit their soul?"

Pray that the Iranians in the urban United States will understand that they 
cannot ignore their spiritual lives. Pray that they will understand that 
offers what no one else can give.

Today's People Group

“Tell me about Christmas,” the inquisitive Iranian asked. Banaz had been 
living in the D.C. area for four years and was curious about all the 
Her friend replied, “Are you interested in the cultural or the spiritual 
meaning of the holiday?” “Is there a spiritual meaning behind Christmas?” 
Banaz represents a large portion of Iranian Muslims in the Washington, D.C. 
area. Quick at adopting western culture, many are upwardly mobile and 
unaware or uninterested in Christ. They are among the most educated and 
successful immigrants today in the United States. Though they value 
they also value prestige and material goods.
Unfortunately, another aspect of western culture acquired by so many 
Iranians is the idea that one’s theology is personal. As such, many do not 
public worship gatherings. This can be casually observed by the 
disproportionately small number of Iranian-attended Shi’ite mosques, given 
the local population
is commonly estimated at over 100,000 Iranians.

Pray that Iranian Muslims in the Washington, D.C. area would become 
disillusioned with the emptiness of worldly success and become captivated by 
the love
and forgiveness found only in Christ. Pray that many Iranian believers in 
the urban US will gladly share their faith in the Savior with them. Pray 
the desire for close relationships will prompt these Iranians to seek and 
find Jesus.

Learn more at Joshua Project .
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God Speaks to the Quiet Heart
by Chuck Swindoll

Psalm 84:10

If the pace and the push, the noise and the crowds are getting to you, it's 
time to stop the nonsense and find a place of solace to refresh your spirit.

Deliberately say "no" more often. This will leave room for you to slow down, 
get alone, pour out your overburdened heart, and admit your desperate need
for inner refreshment.

The good news is God will hear and He will help. The bad news is this: If 
you wait for someone else to bring about a change, things will only 

All of us can testify, God does not speak to the hurried, worried mind. It 
takes time alone with Him and His Word before we can expect our spiritual 
to recover.

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

Family Tree Fun quiz
Living the Proverbs
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Insight for Living Ministries.

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Eat and Drink with Jesus
Dave Zuleger / April 29, 2017
Eat and Drink with Jesus

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of 
Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of
Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all 
partake of the one bread.
(1 Corinthians 10:16–17)

We often talk about our “walks” with the Lord, but when was the last time we 
sat down and ate a meal with him?

In the ancient Jewish Passover meal, the third cup was called the “cup of 
blessing.” That was the part of the meal that Jesus radically transformed 
what we call “the Lord’s Supper.” Instead of remembering the time God had 
spared all the firstborn of Israel with blood on their doorposts to escape 
Egypt, now Jesus’s disciples would celebrate the body of Jesus broken for 
them, and the blood of Jesus spilled for them, to escape the wrath of God.

The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:16 that when we partake of the 
bread and of the cup, we “fellowship” with our Savior (the word for 
in verses 16 and 17 is the word for “fellowship” elsewhere). In other words, 
we participate with Jesus spiritually at his Table.

This is key: We are not merely remembering Jesus when we come to his Table; 
we are eating with him. Though remembering him remains significant, more is
happening than that. Jesus himself is present by the Spirit. As we eat and 
drink, we eat and drink with him, and renew ourselves spiritually through 

At his Table, we do not eat and drink the physical body of Christ, but we do 
eat and drink of him spiritually. By this we mean that the gospel — which
has been completed once for all as a saving grace — is applied in fresh ways 
as we gather at the Table. Jesus himself meets with us as his blood-bought
body of believers to help us fix our eyes on him and fight sin and treasure 
him, by the power of his Spirit.

Invited to the Family Meal

God invites us to this meal. In 1 Corinthians 1:9, we see this same word for 
participation used for the first time in this letter:

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, 
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our intimacy with Christ comes from our calling by God. One of the ways we 
fellowship with Christ in spectacular intimacy happens at the Lord’s Table.

Jesus meets with us, and among us, as we come to this “fellowship in the 
blood of Christ.” Communion is a holy moment for the church when we not only 
our sin and unworthiness, but then also fellowship with Jesus as we ask him 
to help us live for the glory of the Father.

In this holy meal, we recognize that there is one bread, and that we who are 
many are one body as we all partake from this one bread. This is a family
meal. Christ has taken us all in — in all our diversity, in all our stories, 
in all our sinfulness, in all of our sufferings. Because there is only one
true bread from heaven, all who believe in him are one body, eating and 
drinking spiritually from one great shared hope.

A Better Banquet

The act of eating and drinking together is a unifying, beautiful, and holy 
time to gather as the people of God, confess sins, and receive help as we 
and drink with Jesus. Paul appeals to that very picture in 1 Corinthians 

Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices 
participants in the altar?

The answer is Yes! All of those physically part of the old covenant with 
Israel were meant to come to the altar, eat and drink of the sacrifices as a 
with God, and celebrate their forgiveness as a people. They participated in 
the benefits of the sacrifice and ate and drank in the presence of God.

How much greater, then, is the new covenant family meal that celebrates the 
once-for-all sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins? How much
greater that God no longer dwells in a temple far away, but instead indwells 
us as his temple so that when we come to the Table, Christ is with us by his
Spirit? How much greater that we are not joined by circumcision into a 
physical, temporary nation, but instead joined by the blood of Christ into a 
eternal family?

What a privilege to fellowship as a family with Christ. This privilege keeps 
us united and pressing on in holiness. This privilege provides empowering
grace to help us fight sin so that we won’t mix fellowship with Christ and 
fellowship with sin. This is a meal to help us fix our eyes on Jesus and 
arms as a family, as we walk forward together toward eternal glory in the 
strength that he supplies.

When we finally arrive, we will feast again together, joining in the wedding 
supper of the Lamb, free of sin, in the presence of Jesus, where there is
fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

So, come to the table as a blood-bought family, eager to receive all the 
grace you need in the fight of faith, and eat and drink with Jesus.

Consider Your Calling
John Piper / April 29, 2017

God’s love for his people is so rich and full that they need the Holy Spirit’s 
help to really feel it.

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

There Are No Degrees of “Deadness”
“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be 
condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”
Luke 6:37

Sometimes Christians look at people who have committed adultery or murder 
and compare themselves to them. They may even say, “They’re dead in their 
and sin.” I want to tell you something.

They are no more dead in trespasses and sin than your sweet daughter or 
precious parent who has not received Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation. There 
be some degree of corruption, but there are no degrees of deadness. All lost 
people need Jesus Christ.

You may think you don’t have a testimony to share because you didn’t get a 
Ph.D. in sin before you were saved. Perhaps you were saved as a little 
Well, it took as much of the grace of God to save you as it did to save a 
murderer on death row. Never forget that, precious friend.

Dead people need to stop comparing themselves with other dead people. The 
ground is level at the foot of the cross.
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.


1. Listen without interrupting (Prov 18)
2. Speak without accusing (James 1:19)
3. Give without sparing (Prov 21:26)
4. Pray without ceasing (Col 1:9)
5. Answer without arguing (Prov 17:11)
6. Share without pretending (Eph 4:15)
7 Enjoy without complaining (Phil 2:14)
8. Trust without wavering (Cor 13:7)
9. Forgive without punishing (Col 3:13)
10. Promise without forgetting (Prov 13:12)

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Welcome to the Nugget

May 4, 2017

Is Jesus Really Enough?

By Answers2Prayer
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Contact us

I received a peck on the cheek as I hugged a small, frail woman. "Welcome 
beautiful visitor," she said.

She brought small bowls of rice to feed the children who gathered outside 
her tiny nipa hut nestled in the rural areas of the island of Mindanao, 

In the midst of the humid, scorching heat, she fed them. They sang songs, 
and then she nourished their souls with Bible lessons.

Fighting mosquitoes and wiping sweat beads off my forehead, I listened and 
observed her joy, her passion, and patience with those little ones. As we 
about to leave and head to our next stop in our missions trip, I hugged her. 
"I admire you," I said. "You have so little and give so much."

She gave a shy giggle. "When you have Jesus, you have enough," she said.

Can that be so? Can Jesus really be enough?

Here are three questions to determine if He's truly enough for us:

1. If we lose all we value, can we still declare we believe and trust in 

2. If our plans fail, our heart is broken, and our future looks bleak, will 
contentment still fill our hearts?

3. If His ways contradict ours, will we still embrace joy?

And if we had nothing, can we repeat what Habakkuk 3:17-18 declares? "Though 
the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the
olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep 
in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I 
be joyful in God my Savior."

No matter what you're facing today, can you still rejoice in Him?

Janet P. Eckles


New Post on KenBible.com - The Value of Singing

The Value of Singing

Posted: 01 May 2017 09:55 PM PDT

I love singing hymns – hymns of many types and styles. Singing is such a 
beautiful way of expressing the Word that Christ has planted in us. As we 
we share that Word with each other. We affirm it together. And we lift it in 
praise to our God and Savior.

Augustine (and later, Martin Luther) said, “He who sings prays twice.” I 
never understood that statement until I began singing as part of my prayer 
Singing involves the entire being. It starts from the heart and catches up 
the mind and body as well. When we sing, we embrace God’s Word physically, 
and emotionally. Prayer rises from our whole selves.

As we trust the Word that God speaks to us, joy overflows, and singing is 
one spillway for that joy. Singing is the music of faith. I’ve long felt 
if we have the truth,
saying it is not enough. The truth longs to come to life. It cries out for 
full expression. It yearns to sing and dance, to celebrate with life and 
and physical joy.

Singing does that. Singing sets the truth free.

Singing unites us. Think of what’s happening when we sing together in 
worship. The Word of God is in our hearts and minds and on our lips. We lift 
it to
God together. We unite with each other and with Him.

Hymns express our beliefs about God–our theology–but they do so in terms 
that are heartfelt and life-centered. Yes, abstract, factual hymns have been 
but they generally don’t last. The hymns that God’s children love to sing 
are those that speak their faith with warmth and vitality, in a way that 
with personal experience.

Hymns are a feast for the body, mind, and spirit. Enjoy them completely! Don’t 
just listen to hymns. Sing them! The most life-changing songs are not the
ones we hear but the ones we sing. As Paul urged the young church in 
Colosse, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and 
admonish one
another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs 
with gratitude in your hearts to God”
(Colossians 3:16, NIV).
Sing! Sing to God! Sing from your heart!

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

"At the Crossroads"
May 3, 2017
Matthew 11:4-6 - And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear 
and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are 
and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news 
preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me."
Mr. Julannan lives in the Middle East.

Mr. Julannan is a family man with a wife and children. He works in 
construction and makes a reasonable salary. This is all you probably need to 
know about
Mr. Julannan except for the fact that he liked to drink and he didn't like 

How much did Mr. Julannan dislike Jesus?

• When people gave him Christian pamphlets, Mr. Julannan took them and set 
the pamphlets on fire.
• When he saw Christians gathered together in outside worship, he would 
often spit at them.

Things didn't get better when Mr. Julannan had a few beers. Alcohol made him 
abusive and not just to the Savior, but to his family and neighbors as well.
Of course, that only lasted until he passed out.

That is the way things were and that is the way things would have stayed -- 
except for God's intervention. You see, the Lord took Mr. Julannan to a 
moment: to a place in time when he had to face facts. Some people would call 
it a "come to Jesus" moment.

That moment began when Mr. Julannan was traveling home from work and went by 
an open-air Christian rally. He heard the preacher's amplified voice call
out: Jesus is help for your sins; Jesus is always before you, but you are 
causing Him pain with your sins. It is time to confess those sins to your 
it is time to be brought to faith; it is time to be forgiven and saved."

This time those words didn't infuriate Mr. Julannan. No, this time they just 
got him to thinking.

The next day, as he traveled to work, Mr. Julannan was still thinking. 
That's probably why he didn't notice the train barreling down on him until 
it was
too late. People screamed as they saw the train hit him, knock him down, and 
go over the top of him.

When the train was gone, the people at the crossing went to look for a 
corpse. Rather than a corpse, they found a living Mr. Julannan. Excitedly he 
how the train knocked him down between the tracks, where he called on Jesus 
for help. Mr. Julannan told everybody, "I know my Lord and Savior Jesus 
saved me from what should have been a horrible tragedy!"

It was a crossroad moment that changed Mr. Julannan who now, with his wife, 
hands out Bibles.

I like that story and share it with you for a reason.

Many of you are worried about someone who is near and dear to you. This is 
someone who has little use for the Savior or anyone who talks about Him. If
that is the case, I encourage you to remember, the Lord often sends 
crossroad moments to both believers and unbelievers.

It is when people are helpless that God's loving power becomes most obvious 
and most effective. It is then your words, your concerns, your prayers will
become amplified and by God's grace a lost soul may be saved.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I don't know what it will take for this special 
person in my life to be brought to faith in Jesus. I pray that You will 
reach out
to them and set their eyes on the Savior. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

Today's Daily Devotion is based on an article written for the The Gospel 
Herald Ministries by Leah MarieAnn Klett on March 3, 2017. The website where 
parent article can be found is: 

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Psalms 52; Psalms 57; Psalms 142; Luke 

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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 11:13 pm

10 Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Your Millennial Child Learn to Adult
Steve Arterburn

Let’s face it. Adult children are moving back home in droves.

In fact, 1 in 3 adult children, ages 25- to 34-years-old, live at home 
according to a
new report from the Census Bureau
. Out of the millennials who live at home, 1 in 4 don’t even work or go to 
school. In other words, 2.2 million millennials live at their parents’ home
without making any progress to become an adult.

But millennials aren’t the only ones with problems.

Truth be told, parents play a big role in this phenomenon. Instead of 
letting their kids take responsibility for their lives, they try to rescue 
And the more times parents rescue their children, the harder it will be for 
their adult children to grow up.

If your millennial child is having a hard time learning to adult, here are 
some do’s and don’ts to help them.

1. Do Let Your Millennial Take Responsibility

“For each one should carry their own load.”—Galatians 6:5

As a parent, you need to stop blaming yourself for every bad choice that 
your child makes. Your adult child is responsible for his or her own life. 
is, however, your responsibility to love them and raise them to become an 

2. Don’t Criticize or Compare Your Millennial

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I 
trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would 
be a servant of Christ.”
—Galatians 1:10

Don’t scold your adult child for their mistakes, or compare them with their 
siblings. No one likes someone with a holier-than-thou attitude. Let your 
know that you love them, and that they don’t need to look to you for 
approval. Instead, encourage them to look to Christ.

3. Do Tell Your Millennial About Your Own Mistakes

“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”—Psalm 

If you want to connect with your millennial, tell him about a time in your 
life when you messed up. But don’t stop there! Let him know about what you 
from your mistakes and how Christ helped you during difficult times in your 

4. Don’t Enable Your Millennial

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
—Galatians 6:7

Allow your millennial to experience the painful consequences of their 
irresponsible behavior. If your adult child lives with you and has done 
to break the law, let him know that he has to face the consequences of his 
actions. He can go seek professional help or you can contact the 
but he can’t live at your house.

5. Do Pray For Your Millennial

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped 
praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of 
his will
through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.”
—Colossians 1:9

Don’t take over for your millennial child. If you do, it will hinder their 
success and enable them to be more dependent on you. But pray for them each
day and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.

6. Don’t Protect Your Millennial From Failure

“If you falter in a time of trouble,how small is your strength!”—Proverbs 

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Teaching your millennial that it’s okay to fail is one of the most important 
things that you will ever do as a parent. When they have to face the 
for their irresponsible behavior, they grow and mature. So instead of 
paying for their bills, let them know that they will have to get a job and 
to manage their money.

7. Do Let Go of Your Millennial

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…”—Galatians 5:1

Letting go of your adult child means giving them freedom to live their life 
how they want to. Ultimately, you are not responsible for your child's 
in life or his behavior. Instead, you want your child to take responsibility 
for his own life and depend on Christ to give him strength.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest with Your Millennial

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” —1 Corinthians 

Have an honest, open talk with your 20- to 30-something and say, “We made a 
mistake…we goofed! We love you; however, we failed to raise you to become
an adult.” Let your child know that you won’t bail them out anymore, and 
ask them to come up with a plan for how they can become self-sufficient. 
follow-up with them to make sure that they are really taking steps to get 
out on their own.

9. Do Set a Deadline for Your Millennial

“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” —2 Thessalonians 3:10

If your millennial is still living at home and is not making any progress 
toward becoming an adult, give them a 90-day deadline to get a full-time job
and find another place to live. But if they are still living at home in 90 
days, make sure that you follow through with consequences. This means that 
need to change the locks, move their belongings outside, and don’t give them 
any food or money. Remember, the Bible is clear: you should not reward bad

10. Don’t Keep Rescuing Your Millennial

“A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;rescue them, and you will have 
to do it again.”
—Proverbs 19:19

It’s easy to try to rescue your millennial child from any problems that he 
finds himself in. He may even ask you for food, money, and a place to live 
he knows how to manipulate you. But the more you rescue him, the more 
trouble he’ll get himself into because he knows you’ll always be there to 
bail him

Is it easy to parent a millennial child who is struggling to become an 
adult? No! But with a few biblical principals in place, you can help your 
learn to adult in no time.

If you need help parenting an adult child who is struggling, we can help! 
Call us at 800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433). We are waiting for your call. Or visit 
for information about our many books, CDs, counselors and weekend workshops.

Steve Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host 
of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show,
New Life Live! the founder of Women of Faith
conferences and serves as a teaching pastor at Heartland Church in 
Indianapolis, Indiana. Steve is a bestselling author of books such as Every 
Man’s Battle
and Healing is a Choice. The above excerpt is from his book Is This the One? 
Simple Dates for Finding the Love of Your Life. Steve resides with his 
familyin Fishers, Indiana.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Why It Is Too Soon to Give Up - #7905

Ten more minutes and my wife would have never been born. The story that 
changed everything is hope for any of us who love someone who's making some 
bad choices. My wife's grandfather, Bill, had given up on life. Trashing a 
profitable career for the alcohol and cocaine he could not resist. He was 
with a prison record, he was penniless, he was hopeless and he was suicidal.

And that night, as he walked South State Street in downtown Chicago, he was 
minutes away from Lake Michigan where he'd decided to end it all. One thing
saved him. A mother who had never given up on him. There, on the street, he 
heard the song, the one his mother used to sing to him. It was coming from
the rescue mission he had just passed. Something made him stop and go 
inside. And there a caring mission worker shared a Bible verse that has 
changed more lives than any other. The worker started, "For God so loved the 
world that He gave..." Suddenly, Bill finished it. "...His only begotten 
that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." 
(John 3:16). Somewhere in the long-clouded corners of his memory, he could 
his mother teaching him those words.

And that night - minutes away from ending his life - he found life. The kind 
that verse talked about. "Everlasting" life. He would later say, "I walked
out of that mission, not a reformed man, but a transformed man!" He never 
touched or wanted alcohol or drugs from that night on. And he spent the rest
of his life bringing the hope he'd found to forgotten people across the 
country. And now three generations Bill never met are here, and they're 
and spreading that same hope because of one man's choice that night.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why It Is 
Too Soon to Give Up."

The story behind the story is told in the inscription on the back of a photo 
of young Bill. His mother wrote, "O Will, every night when I read my Bible,
I look at this picture and I ask God to keep you and somehow seal your heart 
with His love. You may see this after I'm gone and you'll know that I never
ceased to pray for you. Mother." She did live ten years after the night God 
answered those prayers.

Even as her son's life got darker and darker, this mother was hanging onto a 
powerful but easily-forgotten truth. That's one that I, too, have hung onto
- even today. Because so much of my life's work has been trying to love and 
rescue people who just keep spiraling downward. It's a hope-preserver for 
of us who grieve and who pray for broken, prodigal people.

Never forget the difference between a chapter and a book. See, many a book 
with a happy ending has some very dark chapters. A loved one's seemingly 
rush to the edge of the cliff? That's not the book. It's a chapter. If we 
lose that wide angle lens perspective, we're going to lose hope. But the 
urges us in our word for today from the Word of God in Galatians 6:9, "Do 
not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a 
And Jesus said that we "should always pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1).

That's what Bill's mother did. She wept over many chapters. She never lost 
sight, though, of the ending God could write to the book of her son's life.
She just kept loving, praying and believing. And the final chapters of 
Bill's life were more glorious and more miraculous than she could have ever 

If we can remember, in the darkest hours of a loved one's heartbreaking 
journey, that this is a chapter, then hope can win when despair is strong. 
as I write this, there are young men and women whose life-eroding choices I 
grieve for. But I know there is a relentless Shepherd who came (He said) to
"seek and save those who are lost" (Luke 19:10). He says, "I will search for 
the lost and bring back the strays" (Ezekiel 34:16). He will do whatever it
takes to bring them home. Even when it meant a cross.

So, as long as there's breath, there's hope. I know, because Bill's 
beautiful granddaughter told me.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 

Yes, We Need Each Other

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some 
is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day 

Hebrews 10:25

To exhort is to comfort and encourage. We need each other. We ought to be 
exhorting one another by saying, “Isn’t God wonderful? Isn’t Jesus great? 
you love Him? Let’s be true to Christ!”

Among fellow believers, we live in a climate that keeps our hearts tender. 
If we stray away from that climate and get away from the people of God by 
worship services and fellowship opportunities, our hearts will grow hard.

When we exhort one another, we are sharing Christ. There’s something that 
happens in our hearts when we tell others about Jesus. It keeps our heart 

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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 9:57 pm

Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1:9 (NASB95)
9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be 
dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua was commanded by God to do some things. He was to lead the Israelites 
into the Promised Land and drive out all of the people that lived there. 
While doing this Joshua was to read the Book of the Law and meditate on it. 
If he did this and obeyed all of the laws, he would be successful in 
everything God commanded him to do.

That is quite a task that God gave to Joshua. Just seeing an angel would 
make you tremble but having that angel give you all of these commands from 
God? Who wouldn’t be shaking in their boots? That is why he is told several 
times to be strong and courageous.

WE who know Jesus Christ are also to read the whole Word of God and meditate 
or think about what we have read. WE also need to commune with Jesus Christ 
through prayer including talking as well as listening with God. We also have 
our marching orders as found in Matthew 28:

19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them 
in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am 
with you always, even to the end of the age.

You will notice that both of these selections contain a similar phrase. He 
will be with us and will never leave us. He gives us the Holy Spirit to live 
inside of us and as Paul said:

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of 
a sound mind.

So as you go making disciples everywhere you go, may you go with the power 
of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ and do not be afraid of what 
others may say or think or do. You are not alone. The Lord will lead you by 
the Holy Spirit to minister every time.

by Dean W. Masters

League of Extraordinary Gentle Men: Where Do Good Dads Come From?
Marshall Segal / June 17, 2017
League of Extraordinary Gentle Men

I became a father since last Father’s Day — which means I have very little 
to say at this point from my experience as a father. But I do see my 31 
with my dad differently now through the eyes of my son. I certainly don’t 
understand fatherhood now like I hope to in ten years, but I see the Father 
my father far more clearly than I did ten months ago.

Coming up on one year of being “Dad” (or really “Da” at this point), I 
appreciate at least one big quality about fatherhood: its impossibility. As 
I learn
how to care for our son, and then look back on all my dad did for our 
family — working far more than forty hours a week to provide for us, while 
some of his best energy and creativity to love, discipline, and play with 
his boys, and to help us know Jesus — I wonder at the miracle.

My dad did not have the same kind of example. My grandfather was one of the 
worst men I have known personally. I struggle to remember a single positive
lesson I learned in the first twenty-five years of knowing him — not one 
memory, not a piece of profound advice, not a character quality I longed to 
For the vast majority of the years I knew him, I learned nothing from him of 
love or loyalty, of honesty or self-control, of marriage or fatherhood. Such
was the playbook my dad received growing up and carried into our family.

But God.

Every good dad is a miracle worked by God in some uniquely impossible 
circumstances. No man has the giftedness, strength, and resolve to love a 
woman and
their children in a way that joyfully sacrifices for their needs and 
consistently leads them to Christ. Every good father, then, is 

Word for Fathers

The New Testament says surprisingly little to fathers directly. The two 
pillar texts are really just one pillar said slightly differently in two 
First, the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians,

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the 
discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Then again in Colossians,

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 
(Colossians 3:21)

The only direct command given to fathers in the New Testament is a 
prohibition: do not provoke your children to anger (or discouragement). I 
take that
to mean that, as a father, I will experience the inclination to 
unnecessarily and unlovingly incite irritation, disappointment, aggravation, 
or even outrage
in my child — through selfishness, through harshness, through neglect, 
through stubbornness or pride, through a thousand other ways. Paul’s words 
our awareness, as fathers, of the effects of our sin on our sons and 

Yes, instruct. Yes, discipline. But do not provoke.

Die in Love for Your Children

“Do not provoke your children.” It’s true, but hardly something we would 
print on a T-shirt for Dad on Father’s Day. How might Paul’s charge be 
positively? Paul would
not say, “Fathers, do whatever necessary to placate your children’s 
unpredictable (and often unhealthy) desires, striving at all times to avoid 
any sadness,
frustration, or disappointment.” We know that because he says to “bring them 
up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Discipline does not mean always saying, “No,” but you cannot have any 
meaningful discipline without it. Good discipline requires regular denial, 
and therefore
regular disappointment, and discouragement, and probably some form of anger 
(as my wife and I are learning already).

Positively, Paul might say to me and other fathers, “Fathers, do whatever 
you can, in the strength and resolve that God supplies, to inspire your 
to love your God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to 
delight to live according to his word.” Inspire, sacrifice, encourage, 
teach, play,
and discipline
not to please yourself, but to see that your sons and daughters are pleased 
in God. Die every day to yourself — to every impulse to trade away moments
of their growth and good for your comfort or convenience — to shape their 
hearts for Jesus.

We will not manage our children’s discouragement and anger for long by 
simply giving them what they want or making their circumstances a little 
more comfortable.
If we really want to father them well, we will model a joyful, selfless, and 
sacrificial love for God that lives to die for others. If our kids discover
that kind of love for themselves, it will stave off a childhood (and a 
lifetime) of discouragement and anger. We will provoke them, instead, to 
and joy.

The Few, the Humble

Not every dad is a good dad, which means Father’s Day is not a holy-day for 
every son or daughter.

Some dads refuse to work.
Some dads give everything to work.
Some dads are demanding and oppressive.
Some dads are distracted or indifferent.
Some are harsh, even abusive.
Some dads, tragically, walk away altogether.

Instead of pointing their children to God and his love, they thoughtlessly 
and selfishly provoke them to discouragement and anger.

But an extraordinary few gentle men love their God and their families with 
supernatural sacrifice and resolve — men like Richard A. Segal, Jr. Of 
they don’t get the final credit. Miracles don’t brag about their ability or 
ingenuity. They can’t explain it, other than to point to the only God who 
true gentle men. They simply and joyfully say, “By the grace of God I am 
what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I 
harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is 
with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Hope for Your Father

Six years ago, God performed another miracle in our family. Months into a 
fight with cancer that would eventually take his life, the grandfather I had
known, feared, and counted hopeless had become another man — a new man, in 
Christ, through faith. God had produced patience where there had been a 
temper. God had produced joy — sure and strong — where there had been only 
bitterness and irritation. God had humbled the proudest and softened the 

He had made a once-terrible father into a chosen son, a once-harsh dad into 
a gentle man — another miracle.

If your father is not the father God calls him to be, God may still make him 
new. He rescued Richard A. Segal, Sr., at age 78, and he could just as 
work a miracle for your dad. Keep loving, keep serving, keep sharing, and, 
most of all, keep praying.

And if you have lost your father, like my dad lost his six years ago now, 
know that God sent his Son to make you his son or daughter forever. He says 
you again this Father’s Day, “I will be a father to you, and you shall be 
sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18). And 
to Galatians 4:4–6, he has sent his Spirit to live in you and to remind you 
that you have a Father who loves you perfectly and endlessly, especially on
Father’s Day.

League of Extraordinary Gentle Men gfrunq0a
If Anyone Loves Me He Will Keep My Word
John Piper / June 17, 2017
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

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5 Things You Should be Doing with God’s Word
by Michael J. Kruger

Psalm 119 is an amazing Psalm. Not only is it the longest Psalm (176 
verses!), but it is also the Psalm that deals the most directly with the 
topic of
Scripture. Virtually every verse, in one way or another, refers to God’s 

David (who is most likely the author) uses a variety of terminology to 
describe God’s Word: commandments, law, statutes, precepts, ordinances, 
rules, words,
testimonies, etc. These all refer to the Scriptures as they existed in David’s 
day (essentially the Pentateuch).

Thus, Psalm 119 is one of the best examples of Scripture speaking about 
Scripture. It is the Word about the Word.

And in it, we find David interacting with the Word of God in five ways that 
should be paradigmatic for all believers:

1. Trusting the Word of God. Time and time again, David expresses his belief 
that the Scriptures are true (
v.151). He believes in them (v.66). He trusts in their reliability (
v.42). He states: “The sum of your word is truth” (

This first step is key. If a believer doesn’t really regard the Word of God 
as being fully and entirely trustworthy, then none of the other steps below
will follow. This is why the church needs to be quick to deal with the 
repeated criticisms of the Bible that so often permeate our culture.

2. Studying the Word of God. David doesn’t just believe the Word; he is a 
student of the Word. He learns it (
v.73), he seeks it (v.155), he has memorized it (
v.153), and regularly meditates on it.

This step ought to naturally for the follow the first one. If God’s Word 
really is true, then we ought to commit ourselves to being diligent studiers 
the Word. We need to embrace it with our minds, as well as our hearts.

3. Using the Word of God. It’s one thing to believe and know the Word. It is 
another thing to rely on it. To look to it as a guide during the 
and challenges of life. To lean on it for encouragement and hope.

David repeatedly affirms that he uses the Word of God as a “counselor” (
v.24), to give “strength” (v.28), and to bring “comfort in affliction” (
v.50). He states, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (
v.105). In short, the Word of God is the very source of life for David (

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This reminds us a very important attribute of God’s Word: it is alive. It is 
powerful and active. When we talk about the attributes of Scripture, we must
remember that it is more than just a true book (encyclopedias can be true). 
It is also a living book. It is the place where the God of the universe 
us and manifests himself.

4. Delighting in the Word of God. What is amazing is that David takes things 
one step further than we might expect. It’s not just that he trusts, 
and uses the Word of God. He actually has affection for it. He has a deep 
emotional affinity towards it.

He “loves” God’s Word (v.159), he “rejoices” at his Word (v.162), the Word 
is “wondrous” (
v.18), it is “better than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (
v.72), and “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (v.103).

I am convinced that this is the missing piece for most believers today. For 
many, the Bible is viewed almost in a utilitarian fashion—it is a 
sterile tool that Christians are supposed to use. It’s like taking your 

In contrast, David has passion, zeal, and excitement for the law and 
commandments of God. And the reason for this is not hard to find. David 
loves God’s
law not because he is a closet legalist. He loves God’s law because the law 
reflects God’s own nature and character. He loves God’s law because he loves
God—and who God is and what he is like.

Any Christian who says they love God but then despises God’s law is living a 
life of contradiction. Indeed, they are living a life that is the opposite
Psalm 119. To love God is to love his law.

5. Obeying the Word of God. Not surprisingly, the prior four characteristics 
naturally lead to this last one. David repeatedly expresses his desire to
actually obey God’s law. He wants to follow it, keep it, and fulfill it.

In our world today, the concept of “obeying the law” is not a popular one. 
Many see this as contrary to grace. However, two things should be kept in 
One, David is not keeping the law in order to earn salvation—he is obeying 
out of love for God. He is obeying out of a heart of faith.

Second, we should remember that Jesus himself was very much about “obeying 
the law.” Before we too quickly despise the concept of law-keeping, we 
remember that Jesus delighted in keeping his Father’s law. And he kept it 
absolutely perfectly—for us. He obeyed on our behalf, and his righteous 
is imputed to us by faith.

Indeed, Jesus embodies all five of these characteristics. He trusted, 
studied, used, delighted in, and obeyed God’s Word. In fact, he did all 
these things
even more than the first David. While David certainly serves as an example 
of what to do with God’s word, Jesus is the ultimate example. One greater 
David has come. And he loved God’s Word.

For more, visit Dr. Kruger's website: Canon Fodder .

A Prayer to be the Hands and Feed of Christ
By Brian Kolodiejchuk

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the 
least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" –
Matthew 25:40

Dear Jesus,

Help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with Your Spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up, and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine.
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way which You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

--Inspired by John Henry Cardinal Newman’s own prayer, prayed by Mother 
Teresa daily after holy communion.

Heavenly Father, in this time of prayer, we reach out in the assurance that 
you will embrace your children and lead us home. Thank you for your grace,
without it we are lost. Teach us to be your hands and feet. Send us where we 
are needed, and help us to look upon other with eyes unclouded by hate.

*Editor’s Note: The following was taken from What You Can Learn from Mother 
Teresaby Brian Kolodiejchuk. 

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah

Turning Point
Tuesday, May 2

Patterns for Prayer

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6

Recommended Reading
Jeremiah 29:12
If someone suggests praying according to ACTS, they may mean to follow this 
pattern: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Or you could use
the PRAISE pattern: Praise, Repentance, Ask, Intercede, Speak the Word, and 
Enjoy His presence. Those and other acronyms serve as good patterns for 
to keep prayers purposeful.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
The prayer Jesus gave His disciples is also helpful. We know it as the Lord’s 
Prayer, though it could be called the Disciple’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
It begins with praise (verse 9), a desire for God’s kingdom (verse 10), a 
petition for provision (verse 11), a desire to be forgiving and forgiven 
12), a prayer for spiritual protection (verse 13a), and concludes with a 
confession of God’s sovereignty (verse 13b). Such an outline has served 
well for twenty centuries.

First, pray! Second, develop a pattern of prayer that incorporates themes of 
praise, thanksgiving, confession, meditation, intercession, petition, and
more. Such patterns can serve as a guide for the time you spend alone with 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
The traditional “Jesus Prayer”

1 Chronicles 10 – 12
David Jeremiah's Website

David Jeremiah's Website
Follow Dr. Jeremiah on: Follow Dr. Jeremiah on Facebook David Jeremiah

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Anne Graham Lotz - Jesus Revealed in Us
Jesus Revealed in Us
Those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their 
faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4:19, NIV

If our kids always behave

and our boss is always pleased

and our home is always orderly

and our bodies always feel good

and we are patient and kind and thoughtful and happy and loving, others 
shrug because they’re capable of being that way too. On the other hand, if

we have a splitting headache,

the kids are screaming,

the phone is ringing,

the supper is burning,

yet we are still patient, kind, thoughtful, happy, and loving, the world 
sits up and takes notice. The world knows that kind of behavior is not 
It’s supernatural. And others see Jesus revealed in us.

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

 Are You a Grumbler?

And all the people of Israel grumbled. - Numbers 14:2

There are grumblers among Christians now, just as there were in the camp of 
Israel of old. There are those who, when punished, cry out against the 
They ask, "Why am I afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this 

A word with you, grumbler! Why should you grumble against the dealings of 
your heavenly Father? Can He treat you more severely than you deserve? 
what a rebel you once were, but He has pardoned you! Surely, if He in His 
wisdom considers it necessary to chasten you, you should not complain. After
all, are you punished as severely as your sins deserve? Consider the 
corruption that is in your heart, and then will you wonder that so much of 
the rod
is necessary to root it out? Weigh yourself, and discern how much dross is 
mingled with your gold; and do you think the fire is too hot to purge away 
amount of dross you have? Doesn't your proud rebellious spirit prove that 
your heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Aren't those grumbling words 
to the holy, submissive nature of God's children? Isn't the correction 

But if you will grumble against the chastening, pay attention, for it will 
go hard with grumblers. God always chastises His children twice if they do 
respond properly the first time. But know this--"He does not willingly 
afflict or grieve the children of men."1 All His corrections are sent in 
love, to
purify you and to draw you nearer to Himself. Surely it must help you to 
bear the chastening with submission if you are able to recognize your 
hand. "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son 
whom he receives."2 ". . . nor grumble the way some of them did and were 
by the Destroyer."3

1 Lamentations 3:33
2 Hebrews 12:6
3 1 Corinthians 10:10
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Numbers 7
verse 2 Psalms 42 , 43

The Fruitful Life

As we become serious followers of Christ, our desire is to live loving, 
joyful, anxiety-free lives. Yet, loving our enemies most always seems 
Even being patient with family members can be a challenge. So, how do we put 
on the gentle garments of grace when we’re so busy battling our old behavior

The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges explores the nine aspects of the “fruit 
of the spirit” described by the Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians 
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, 
and self-control. Bridges explains how to practice the fruit in real life as
we look to the Holy Spirit to mark our character by devotion to 
God-centeredness and God-likeness.

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 
2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good 

The Quiet Plague of Painkillers
Kathryn Butler / April 21, 2017
The Quiet Plague of Painkillers

As he lifted his tattered backpack to his shoulder, its straps still grimed 
from the alleyways in which he slept, I knew we had failed him.

“I’m fair,” he would reply each morning when I peeked into his room. 
Although always courteous, his answer clashed with the sweat that slicked 
his face,
the dark hollows of his pupils that dilated to crowd out color. I stood at 
the foot of his bed, ridiculous in my short medical student coat, and I 
the questions I so earnestly hoped would help him.

He would curl into himself, clutch his abdomen, and exhale answers between 

We titrated medications to help him weather his withdrawal, and soon he 
could sit upright in bed. He sipped tea from a plastic cup, and talked about 
disdain for life on the streets.

“I know I can’t keep living like this,” he would say.

Yet he only spoke in euphemisms. A restlessness possessed him. He never 
reclined into his pillow, but rather propped himself on his elbows, as if 
the sheets at his back disquieted him. Naïve and insecure, I kept our 
conversations shallow.

When he accepted the social worker’s offer to review addiction centers, hope 
leapt within me. Together, we pored over lists of treatment programs. We 
about methadone regimens and counseling strategies. The morning of transfer, 
we found him fully clothed, waiting for us. In my ignorance, I beamed at 

“I need to leave,” he said flatly. “How do I sign out?”

He resisted our urgings to stay. We had offered medications and counseling 
centers, but missed something crucial, something that mattered more than 
We ignored the pain that lurked within him — hidden, coursing to his bones.

The Problem

Failures like ours now fuel an epidemic. Since 1999, the number of deaths 
from opioids in the United States
has quadrupled
. Opioid overdose has claimed the lives of over half a million people since 

Although heroin accounts for many such deaths, more familiar medications 
pave a path to heroin. Coincident with rising death rates, sales of 
opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone
quadrupled between 1999 and 2010 .

Some patients with dependence upon these drugs progress to heroin, which 
they can acquire at a cheaper price. Others succumb to the prescription 
themselves. Prescription drug overdose claimed
15,000 lives in 2015 alone.

How Did We Get Here?

Opioids are a family of compounds that bind nerve receptors. They suppress 
pain, but also produce euphoria, and at high doses impair the drive to 
In the 1970s, the illegal drug crisis in the U.S. inspired wariness 
regarding opioid prescriptions. In the 1990s, however, arguments arose for 
pain as a vital sign commensurate with temperature and blood pressure.

The Joint Commission, which sets national standards for healthcare practice, 
established optimal pain management as a benchmark in 2001. This movement,
combined with aggressive pharmaceutical marketing and studies that 
deemphasized the addictive potential of opioids, incentivized physicians to 
treat pain. The initiative arose from compassion, but dogma, rather than 
evidence, propelled it forward.

A National Crisis

Despite the surge in painkiller prescriptions, Americans report no change in 
. We distribute more and more pills, but the agony remains. Some classes of 
opioids produce dependence after just a few doses, and patients require the
drug just to feel normal. Those who require opioids chronically can actually 
develop hyperalgesia — that is,
increased sensitivity to pain
. Withdrawal cripples victims with chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, 
and insomnia.

Meanwhile, tragedy litters the headlines. Heroin and prescription drugs have 
orphaned kids in West Virginia, and robbed parents of their children in New
Hampshire. The numbers of infants born opioid-dependent have surged in 
Cincinnati. Toddlers in Milwaukee have died of accidental ingestion. Coroner’s 
in Ohio cannot manage the influx of overdose victims.

The crisis has alerted a nation. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) calls for 
an investigation of the top five pharmaceutical companies that manufacture 
President Trump has assembled a commission to tackle the crisis. An American 
Medical Association task force labors to educate physicians. Individual 
centers tighten opioid prescription policies.

The Hurt at Our Hearts’ Core

Such sweeping measures are vital. We must pursue them. Yet they will be 
insufficient, because aside from protocols and treatments, people are
hurting. Medications cannot soothe a boy’s soul as he convulses in 
withdrawal. Mandates cannot stay a woman’s hand as she reaches for alcohol 
when pills
become scarce. Even when we’ve stemmed the overabundance of prescriptions — 
which we must do — a decreased supply will not heal the aching hearts of the

Each and every one of us, whatever our upbringing, race, or occupation, 
bears a pain that rips to the core. The agony runs deep, beyond the reach of 
therapies. It drives our pursuit of possessions, money, jobs, people, and 
substances, all as substitutes for our lost communion with the Lord. Born in
sin, we all groan for redemption (Romans 8:22–23). Our souls thirst for the 
living God (Psalm 42:1–2).

A dear friend who has overcome drug addiction recently described to me how a 
stranger reached him when he hit rock bottom. A man whom he had never met
saw him in distress, and remained at his side for hours until he was safely 
admitted to a hospital. In stopping to help, this Good Samaritan taught my
friend that, after a decade struggling with homelessness and substance 
abuse, his life
mattered. A stranger highlighted his identity as a unique individual made in 
God’s image, worthy of love, made blameless through Christ Jesus (Colossians

A Command to Care

God calls us to follow this Good Samaritan’s example. The Lord places people 
into our paths for a purpose (Acts 8:26–39). He calls us to clothe the 
feed the hungry, and minister to the least (Matthew 25:34–40). I will never 
know if a medical failure in the form of a prescription bottle first wronged
my patient. But I know I failed him when I stood at the foot of his bed as a 
medical student. I failed him when I responded to his pain with protocols
alone, without patience, without love and inquiry — without the gospel. I 
failed him when I did not take hold of his hand, pray for him, and endeavor 
see his suffering and anguish as something only the Lord can take away 
(Revelation 21:4).

The opioid epidemic concerns not only the national consciousness, but also 
each of us as individuals within the body of Christ. Christ calls us to 
our joy beyond the safe boundaries of our churches each week and care for 
our neighbors (Luke 10:25–37). It means digging deeper, one person at a 
It means engaging, casting aside misgivings, and taking risks. It means not 
averting our eyes when the downtrodden loiter on street corners.

We must seek the stories of each person God has placed in our lives. We must 
show all who cross our paths their value in Christ and their preciousness
through a God who so loved them, that he sacrificed his Son, so they might 
live (John 3:16). We must encourage one another in the assurance that, 
deep the pain surges, Christ loves us and has overcome (John 16:33).

God Chose You Before You Chose Him
John Piper / April 21, 2017

The gospel is deeper than your coming to faith or even than the death and 
resurrection of Jesus — your belief is the fulfillment of God's plan from 
God Saves Whom He Wills
John Piper / April 21, 2017
As we come to realize how big God is and how horrifying our own sin is, we 
will come to understand election as an unimaginably great grace.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Copyright © 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"How to Treat Others"
April 28, 2017
Philippians 2:3 - Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in 
humility count others more significant than yourselves.

There is an organization known as the George Barna Group.

The George Barna Group generally goes to Christians and asks them questions 
to which I really don't want to know the answer. By that I mean Barna 
reveal information that makes me feel very uncomfortable. Let me give you an 

A recent Barna Group survey has found there is a great difference between 
church-going and non-church-going Christians. That difference can be summed 
in two sentences:

1. Non-church-going believers say they are "spiritual, but not religious."

2. Non-church-going believers say they "love Jesus, but not the church."

Now the other thing you probably don't want to know is this: the 
non-church-going group of believers is growing. That's right. In 2004 that 
segment of
believers was around seven percent. Today, that number has jumped to 10 

Now a lot of church-going believers I know would say, "If you are a 
Christian, you go to church. That's what Christians do." To that statement, 
the non-church
goers would reply, "Look, we believe in the Triune God. We believe He is 
all-powerful, all-knowing, the Creator and Preserver of the universe. Along 
that, we love the Savior who died and rose for our salvation."

Then they add, "We are a lot like you, but we have lost faith in the 

And if you asked the non-church-attending believer why he feels the way he 
does, and if he were being honest, he would say, "It's because in the church
I have met hypocrites. They say they love as Jesus did but, no matter how 
long I worship with them, I'm still a stranger."

They can go on pointing out that we talk more about money than lost souls, 
that we're always fighting rather than loving, that we seem more concerned 
silly things and not spiritual things that ... well, you get the idea.

Now you know why the Barna Group's revelations make me feel so 

What bothers me even more is that I can't argue against the criticisms of 
those non-church goers. I can't deny what they're saying because they are 
from personal experience. Churches and church-going believers can sometimes 
be as bad as these folks suggest ... sometimes.

Is there an answer to all this? Sure, to love as Jesus loved. In that spirit

1. To the non-church goers, I would say the Bible always encourages God's 
people to be as one. We are to support each other; bear each other's 
commune, and do mission work together. Generally speaking, non-church goers 
don't do all those things.

2. To church-goers I would say remember that we are always the Lord's 
representatives, and it is our job to do the things listed above. Neither a 
new guest
nor an old-time member should ever leave us -- or our church -- feeling that 
Christ's church no longer looks like Jesus.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me love others as You have loved me. In Jesus' 
Name, I ask it. Amen.

The story upon which this Daily Devotion is based was written by Veronica 
Neffinger for ChristianHeadlines.com on Monday, April 10, 2017. The website 
the parent article can be found is: 
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

Joy or Sadness—You May Choose

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His 
only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
1 John 4:9

In his book You Can Have Joy! Arnold Prater wrote about an Englishman named 
John Deckard who had an award-winning passion for roses.

One year, John grew a rose among roses to enter in the annual Garden Show. 
But before he got the rose, his son rushed in and exclaimed, “Daddy, look 
I have for you!” And in his little hand was the prize rose. Visitors to the 
Garden Show were astonished when they saw John’s entry. For in the flowerpot
was a photo of his son with the rose in his hands, along with an honorary 
blue ribbon.

Sometimes your plans may go awry, and sometimes your dreams may be crushed. 
But in their place, God sends His own Son, Jesus. And when that happens, 
else matters but the love of His Son.

What disappointment have you experienced this week? Did you choose joy or 
sadness? What can you learn from today’s devotional thought to apply to your
life the next time a disappointment happens?
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth 
Finding devotions.
Copyright © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

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Do you feel like you are being threshed like wheat? Are there so many things 
going on in your life that you think you can’t bear one more bad thing? 
Read what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 28:26-29 (NLT)
26 The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding. 27 
He doesn’t thresh all his crops the same way. A heavy sledge is never used 
on dill; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never 
rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten softly with a flail. 28 Bread grain 
is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it. He threshes it under 
the wheels of a cart, but he doesn’t pulverize it. 29 The Lord Almighty is a 
wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.

Just as God gives the farmer wisdom to know how to thresh the plant and how 
much to thresh it so the grain isn’t destroyed, God knows who you are and 
what you can handle. He will give you the strength to continue during the 
threshing process and will make it stop just in time. Some plants need a lot 
of threshing to get the seed out. Some of us people need a bit of threshing 
to learn what God wants from us.

Have faith in God. know that He will stop the threshing when the time is 
right. The threshing will not go on forever even if you think it seems like 
it already has. God loves you and wants the best for you. He is letting this 
happen for His purposes to be fulfilled. Surrender all of yourself to Jesus 
Christ and trust totally in the Lord God Almighty. God is in control.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

"God's Got It In For Me" #84-30

Sermon Text for March 26, 2017
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on March 26, 2017
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2017 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: John 9:1-41
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked 
him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3
Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that 
the works of God might be displayed in him."
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! These words of resurrection victory 
are the Lord's ultimate proof of His love and the blessed assurance which is
ours because of the risen Redeemer. God grant such grace be given to us all. 

Over the years I have noticed the number of people who say they don't 
believe in God has been growing. For example, this year, for the first time 
in many
centuries, the percentage of people in England and Wales who claim to have 
no religion significantly outnumbers those who say they are Christians. That
being said, I have also noticed this lack of belief does not touch on every 
aspect of life. For example, let the carpenter hit his thumb with a hammer
and he is not likely to say, 'Goodness gracious that stings." Nor is the 
homeowner who has stubbed his toe on the coffee table likely to hop around 
"How foolish of me; how foolish of me." No, at such times even the 
unbeliever is likely to call on the Name of the Deity in Whom he doesn't 
believe and
ask Him to consign the pain-causing object to the fires of a hell he doesn't 

Now people can say what they want about not believing in a god, but I have 
to say, I'm just a tad skeptical. Not so long ago I was at the Dallas 
waiting for a flight. Entertainment was provided by a television carrying 
non-stop news. The show was interrupted by a commercial for ChildFund 
You've seen the ads. They feature a fellow who, with a butter-smooth voice, 
describes a child in desperate need. The child in this commercial was 
water out of a stagnant pool. The man then told us for a few pennies a day 
we could transform this young one's life.

A fellow, two seats down from mine, commented, "If God was doing His duty, 
we wouldn't have to watch commercials like that." The man's companion, 
at the intensity of what he had just heard said, "I didn't think you 
believed in God." That question opened the critic's venomous floodgates. 
"How can
anyone believe in a god?" he ranted. "God, if He really is there, could fix 
every problem with just a word. But He doesn't. So I don't believe in Him."

Normally I might not say much to such a fellow but that day I had some prep 
time. As we stood in line, I introduced myself and, among other things, 
"It occurs to me that it's not so much you don't believe in God, it's that 
you don't like the god you believe in. You think of him as being apathetic,
cruel, and unpredictable. You also think God's got it in for some people." 
Before we ended I suggested he might want to take a second look at Jesus.

That story is shared because many folks, like this man, are sure "God is out 
to get the world and, more importantly, God is out to get them." Now I can
comprehend why folks feel this way. It is hard for someone who is suffering 
to understand why God would allow tragedies of life to upset their apple 
They reason, "I can't understand how Christians believe God is loving when 
He seems so pitiless and vindictive." Judging God, they mistakenly decide: 
or passively, intentionally or unintentionally, God is out to get them.

You should know this generation is not the first to feel this way. Scripture 
records others who would agree; others, including the Lord's own disciples,
who wondered if the Lord wasn't out to get certain people. That was the 
topic of discussion the day they, and the Savior, came upon a man who had 
blind since birth. Bluntly they asked, "Jesus, tell us, who sinned, this man 
or his parents." You see, the disciples believed God was punishing this 
for some super-sin he or a parent had committed.

Now I can tell you, the Bible does speak of God sending a specific 
punishment upon a specific sin. When Adam and Eve ruined the perfection God 
had given
them in Eden, their banishment was a direct punishment for their 
transgression. When, during the conquest of the Promised Land, the Children 
of Israel
lost a battle to a little, no-account city, it was because of one man's sin. 
The death of David's son was a specific punishment for adultery and murder
and the New Testament's Ananias and Sapphira were struck down because they 
lied to the Lord. To be sure, the Lord does send certain punishments upon 
sins; but you can be sure the people who were being punished knew why.

But such direct punishment is the exception and not the rule. The vast 
majority of bad things which come our way are not sent to point out a 
specific sin.
No, troubles come because sinners who are living in a sinful world are going 
to have bad things happen to them. Why do bad things happen to good people?
It's because those good people are sinners who live in a sinful world. 

To which doubters no doubt will say, "That is all fine and well, but does 
God have it in for certain people; certain people like me?" Jesus answered 
question in His twofold reply to the disciples. First, Jesus categorically 
stated: "neither this (blind) man, nor his parents sinned." Now Jesus was 
saying these folks were not sinners. Every day this man, along with his 
parents, committed a multitude of sins. Jesus was simply letting His 
know that they could search as long as they wanted but they would never 
uncover a sin which demanded this man be born blind.

The second part of Jesus' answer was this: "The man was born blind so the 
works of God might be displayed in him." Having heard the second part of the
Savior's reply I can almost hear your reaction: "Say what? Can you give me 
that again? Did Jesus really say 'this man has suffered all these years so 
Lord could deliver a message?'" Then you'd add: "What point could possibly 
be so important? I wouldn't do that; you wouldn't do that, but you're saying
God allowed a man to stay blind for years so he could be an example? I guess 
I was right: God does have it in for some people."

My friend, in answer to your challenges, all I can say is this: "From our 
human perspective, what I've shared may sound cruel; but from the Lord's 
of view this man's blindness served a higher purpose, a better purpose, a 
godly purpose. And, if you read the 9th chapter of John, you will conclude, 
I have, that before the end of the day, the ex-blind man would agree. He 
would tell you, "God knew what He was doing. The gift of vision is a 
which has changed my life; but knowing the Redeemer changes my eternity."

If you remain unconvinced; if you still demand to know, what cause could be 
so important to justify such apparent cruelty, I could try to give you an 
but I think a better reply might come from Frances van Alstyne. You don't 
know Frances, so a bit of an introduction is in order. Frances was born in 
at Putnam County, New York. When she was six weeks old, Frances came down 
with a cold, a cold which created an infection in her eyes. Tragically, the 
doctor was away and another fellow, a man claiming to be a certified doctor, 
treated her. He prescribed hot mustard poultices be applied to her eyes. I
am pleased to share that Frances' infection passed. What didn't pass was the 
blindness which was caused by the quack's prescription. Frances spent the
next 94 years in darkness.

But that's not the end of her story. Before she was a year old, the blind 
girl's father died. Her mother found work as a maid and her grandmother did 
of the work of raising her. Together grandmother and mother helped the 
little girl learn of the Savior and His Scripture. At the age of five, 
Frances was
examined by the best eye doctor in the country. He told her the blindness 
was inoperable and it was permanent. That had to have been a devastating 
Still, Frances did not conclude God was out to get her. I can say that 
because, at the age of eight, Frances wrote, "Oh, what a happy soul I am, 
I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world contented I will be. How many 
blessings I enjoy that other people don't, to weep and sigh because I'm 
I cannot, and I won't." Frances saw how the Lord had shaped her life in a 
way which would never have happened if she had been sighted. Today, more 
100 years after she died, Frances' story tells us when you trust the Lord; 
He can turn a terrible tragedy into an opportunity.

Now you might think that the little poem I read you is the immature opinion 
of a little girl and that, as she grew older, that opinion changed and 
felt differently. That, my friend, is not the case. When she was an adult, a 
man said to her, "I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give
you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you." To that Frances 
disagreed saying, "... when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever 
my sight will be that of my Savior."

The man in Scripture and Frances van Alstyne agree, when you have faith, the 
Lord can turn your cross into something which can touch others and glorify
Him. The day the blind man met Jesus He not only received the ability to see 
the colors of the rainbow, he also saw the face of His Redeemer. Not only
was his blindness lifted, with eyes of faith he could see the Christ lift 
his sins from his soul. Did God have it in for this man? Not hardly, but He 
did love him. Even as I am sure, in spite of the crosses you carry, He loves 
you too. If you will allow your eyes to be opened, you will believe God can
use your cross for a higher purpose, a better purpose, a purpose that we, 
with our limited view into the future, may not understand until we reach 

Years ago our youngest daughter was learning to ride her two-wheeler. She 
had envied her older brother and sister as they tooled all around the 
on their "big bikes" and she wanted to do what they were doing; that called 
for her giving up her tricycle and learning how to ride "the big bike." The
problem was she wanted to ride a two-wheeler, but she had seen the 
inevitable crashes which had taken place when her brother and sister had 
learned to
ride. That is why, as she mounted her new bike for the first time, she gave 
her mother and me strict instructions: "Don't let go! You won't let go, will
you?" Our reply was, "We will do the best we can." With that 
less-than-reassuring reassurance she started off. Back and forth we went, 
huffing, and puffing,
and doing our best to keep up. Then the time came when we stopped running 
and let her pedal on her own.

Pedaling on her own was the plan. And she did it well... for about 20 feet. 
At 17 feet she looked back over her shoulder and saw we weren't there. She
stopped pedaling and ran into a big bush. She emerged from the bush, 
uninjured, but sputtering, "You said you would help me; you said you'd be 
there. You
said I wouldn't crash." She thought what we were doing was cruel; but, in 
reality we did what we did because we loved her. The same is true with God. 
doesn't hate us; He isn't being cruel toward us. Most certainly He doesn't 
have it in for us. On the contrary, He wants what is best for you and that 
mean trials and tribulations are headed our way. How do I know? I know 
because He has said so; I know because He has shown me and everyone else who 
a good, honest look at Him.

Please, take a look. Look at the Bethlehem manger and see God's Son. Jesus 
had been in heaven where He rightly received creation's praise. But, so you
and I could be saved, the Father sent Him to earth to become one of us. Look 
at Jesus as He did His ministry. He healed the sick, touched the leper, and
returned the outcast to their lonely families. Listen to Him as He taught, 
as He spoke as no other man has ever done. When Jesus was done, you could 
see a wandering son, a lost sheep, or a mustard seed again without 
remembering how much the Lord loves and wishes to save us. Observe Jesus in 
and watch as all of our sins are laid upon Him. He had been strong enough to 
resist every temptation to sin and was powerful enough to keep the 
but the weight of those sins, our sins, crushed Him to the ground. Look at 
Him. Stand at the foot of the cross and hear Him forgive those who had put 
there. Watch as friends place His lifeless body into a borrowed grave. Look 
at Him. Go with the women to the tomb and be greeted by God's angel who 
an unbelieving world Jesus has defeated death. Yes, look at what Jesus has 
done, the sacrifices He has made, and you will know it is impossible for 
a loving Lord to turn His back on us and have it in for us.

Does God have it in for you? Those who already believe can be renewed in 
their trust and belief that all things work together for good to those who 
loved by the Lord. What good can come from your cross and trouble? I don't 
know, but I am sure that God doesn't have it in for you any more than He did
for Frances van Alstyne. You remember Frances, don't you? I didn't share; 
she became one of America's greatest hymn writers. Using her maiden name, 
Crosby, she wrote thousands of hymns. One of those hymns reads: "Blessed 
assurance, Jesus is mine O what a foretaste of glory divine Heir of 
purchased of God Born of His Spirit, washed in His Blood Perfect submission, 
perfect delight Visions of rapture now burst on my sight Angels descending,
bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love This is my story, this is 
my song Praising my Savior all the day long."

If such a faith is yours, I give thanks; but if you need to know more about 
this loving Lord and the blessed assurance of forgiveness and salvation He
wishes you to have, I invite you, please call us at The Lutheran Hour. Amen.

Print this Sermon
Action in Ministry for March 26, 2017
Guest: Paulo Warth and Flavio Knopp Brazil Ministry Center
ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour and this is the segment of 
our program we call Action In Ministry. Today we want to, once again, 
the international work that Lutheran Hour Ministries has been doing for many 
years. We have ministry centers in more than 30 different countries where
dedicated volunteers and staff are sharing the Gospel in many different 

SELTZ: Yeah, and joining us today are Flavio and Paulo from Brazil. They're 
from our ministry center there in Brazil. In fact, I was really privileged
to come down and be with you all...how long ago was that now?

WARTH: Two years ago, I think.

SELTZ: Two years ago.

ANNOUNCER: Already, yeah.

SELTZ: What an incredible journey to go all over Brazil to speak the Gospel! 
These are two wonderful men here. It's great to have you guys here with us
today and to bring your perspective of the work in Brazil.

WARTH: Our pleasure to be here.

SELTZ: The pleasure is all ours. Okay. You serve Lutheran Hour Ministries in 
Brazil; give us a little background on the country, the culture, the 
in the region. Just kind of jump in and share with us so that it can broaden 
the horizon of a lot of our listeners.

WARTH: The population of Brazil is 200 million. 200 million inhabitants; so 
that's a very big country. One thing, I believe, is really a blessing for us
is that in all this big country we speak only one language.

SELTZ: And that is a blessing. People talk about the different languages 
together today and all the issues and that kind of thing; but if you have 
language that encompasses your country, that is a unifying thing, right?

WARTH: Right.

SELTZ: And of course it makes the Gospel easier to proclaim to the whole 

WARTH: Sure. Sure.

ANNOUNCER: What about some of the different religions and the attitudes 
toward religion? What do you find?

WARTH: Brazilians, they are Catholics. They are Christians. But they don't 
know Jesus.


WARTH: We have to tell them about Jesus. That's our biggest challenge.

SELTZ: It's amazing. We have a little bit of that in America. Not as much 
yet, but some of that is growing; where people... "Yeah, it's kind 
it's a Christian place but I don't know anything about Jesus." How can you 
be a Christian?

KNOPP: They just talk about faith. Faith is important...

WARTH: Also that materialism is growing in Brazil. Very much. As economy is 
becoming better, then the materialism is growing...unfortunately. When the
people, they don't...they don't need anything else, they think they are 
self-supporting. They don't want to know about going to church or to be 
in something.

SELTZ: Jesus said, "It's hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven," because of probably that same fact. We have the same challenge 

ANNOUNCER: That's right.

SELTZ: As well...

ANNOUNCER: And could you tell us what the ministry center is doing in 
WARTH: Until now we still use a lot of radio... a lot of radio. But radio is 
not, anymore, the most important media for us; is not anymore. We still 
a program named The Lutheran Hour, which is only 5 minutes of length, and we 
have Five Minutes with Jesus, a daily program. We have every day a new radio
program on the air; every day a new radio program.

SELTZ: So, you're coming alongside of churches, too, with resources and 
things like that...

WARTH: Sure.

SELTZ: ...kind of an undergirding and helping them in their outreach, right?

WARTH: Sure. That's right. That's right. We... we... we in Brazil, the 
Lutheran Hour in Brazil is considered the main evangelistic arm of the 

SELTZ: Right.

WARTH: ...so we can say that we are helping the church in Brazil to grow, 
for sure. Most of the... most of the congregations from the... out of the 
of Brazil, they had their beginning with Lutheran Hour listeners.

SELTZ: You're doing five minutes, we do the half-hour program. We have all 
kinds of other programs too; but it's because there is nobody like this 
and when He confronts people, He actually brings them back to life actually; 
to faith, to life, and then you've got a chance to be the vessel that 
the good news. That's what kind of makes you go wow!

KNOPP: Literally, wow!

WARTH: Please pray for us.

KNOPP: Yeah.

WARTH: Continue supporting us. We need our support and your prayers. I am 
really so thankful to God that He's given us this opportunity in Brazil.

SELTZ: But again, with all these things, thank you for your effort. Thank 
you for your work. There are many people coming to faith just because you've
shared Christ with them. God bless you. Thanks for being here.

WARTH: Thank you.

KNOPP: Thank you.

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

ANNOUNCER: For more information on our ministry center in Sao Paulo, go to 
lutheranhour.org and click on
Action In Ministry . Or call 1-855-john316. That's 1-855-564-6316.
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for March 26, 2017
Topic: Fasting
ANNOUNCER: And now, questions from our listeners with our Speaker Emeritus, 
Pastor Ken Klaus. I'm Mark Eischer.

KLAUS: Hello, Mark. So, let's jump in. What's our subject for today?


KLAUS: Excuse me?

ANNOUNCER: Fasting... to abstain from food.

KLAUS: You're not talking about fasting for the purpose of losing weight, 
are you?

ANNOUNCER: No. I'm talking about fasting as a religious or spiritual 
exercise-and how it relates to prayer.

KLAUS: Got it.

ANNOUNCER: This question comes to us from a listener whose mother is quite 
ill and is having a difficult time of it. He's praying for his mom's 
A friend told him if you really want your prayers to "work," and be 
effective, you also should fast. This friend says he fasts all the time and 
God always
responds positively to his prayers.

KLAUS: There're a lot of ramifications to this question, and I don't know if 
we can cover them all in the time we have, but we'll give it our best. 
we ought to recognize that our Savior did speak about fasting. We read about 
it in Matthew, chapter 6. He spoke about the danger of fasting the way the
Pharisees did.

ANNOUNCER: What did the Pharisees do?

KLAUS: They made fasting into a big production. You know, Mark, it takes a 
while before an individual's fasting will become noticeable to others. 
fasting is not like you're starving yourself down to nothing. In most cases, 
a single day's fast is never going to be noticed or recognized by others.
But for the Pharisees, that just simply wouldn't do. So they put a sour, 
dour look on their faces and dragged themselves around as if death were 
around the corner. Jesus said, "Those fellows just want to be applauded by 
men--they're getting what they want."

ANNOUNCER: And Jesus said we were not to follow that example.

KLAUS: That's right. If you're fasting, don't let others know. Keep it 
between you and the Lord, and the Lord Who sees in secret will reward you. 
are other times Jesus talked about fasting. He referred to fasting before 
tackling certain evil spirits. After His ascension, fasting is, as far as I 
mentioned twice in the New Testament: once when the church was picking 
missionaries and then after St. Paul had been struck down on the road to 

ANNOUNCER: So there is nothing wrong with fasting in and of itself?

KLAUS: Absolutely nothing wrong with fasting. Indeed, many Christians say 
fasting helps them concentrate on their prayer and worship. For those who 
physically able, fasting can be an intensely gratifying experience.

ANNOUNCER: What do you mean by physically able?

KLAUS: Well there are certain conditions, like diabetes, that could make 
fasting problematic and possibly even dangerous. Folks with such problems 
do well to avoid the practice.

ANNOUNCER: All-in-all, there is no problem here with it. So, our listener 
with the sick mother is free to follow his friend's advice?

KLAUS: That conclusion might be a bit premature.


KLAUS: As I said, the Lord has no problem with fasting as long as it is done 
for the right purpose, attitude, spirit of devotion. My concern here is not
in regard to the fast-it's with something else. The friend said, "If you 
really want your prayer to work, you should fast." Now where in heaven's 
is that found in Scripture? It's not there. Fasting may improve your level 
of spiritual intensity or concentration, but God doesn't need to be 
in that way.

ANNOUNCER: God is always more eager to receive our prayers than we are to 
give them.

KLAUS: Exactly, and He certainly doesn't need to be bribed in order to 
respond to someone's prayer.

ANNOUNCER: Does that cover it?

KLAUS: No, not yet. The friend implies the Lord can be forced to respond 
favorably to a prayer offered by a fasting individual. Mark, it doesn't work 
way. God remains in control. He responds or He doesn't respond as He sees 

ANNOUNCER: God graciously hears our prayers on account of Christ--and not 
because we fast or have done anything to merit a response.

KLAUS: That's it. In this, as in everything, the Lord remains in control. He 
acts in His grace and love for us, in Christ Jesus. Believers can be sure
that the same heavenly Father Who sent His Son into the world to save us is 
not going to withhold His blessings. We can be confident that the Lord is 
to hear our prayers; that He will do what is right and He will do what is 
best for His praying people.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Klaus. This has been a presentation of Lutheran 
Hour Ministries.
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Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah

Turning Point
Wednesday, April 19

Skin and Stomach Issues

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it 
glad.Proverbs 12:25

Recommended Reading
Philippians 4:4-9
Psychologists from the University of Basel have released a study showing the 
effects of anxiety and depression on the human body. One of the most 
findings was that depression is more likely to affect our stomachs, and 
anxiety is more likely to affect our skin. The study was conducted among 
teenagers, and they found arthritis and digestive problems were widespread 
among those battling depression. Those teens who were anxious had more 
problems with their skin.

2 Kings 4 – 5
David Jeremiah's
David Jeremiah's Website

An Explanation of Trials

You are my refuge in the day of disaster. - Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his
seasons of darkness and of storm. It is true that God's Word says, "Her ways
ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace";1 and it is a great truth
that faith is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss
But life confirms that if the experience of the righteous is "like the light
of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day,"2 sometimes that
light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer's sun, and
he walks in darkness and sees no light.

There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they
have basked in the sunshine in the early stages of their Christian life;
have walked along the "green pastures" by the side of the "still waters."
But suddenly they find that the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the
land they have to endure the wilderness; in place of sweet waters, they find
troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, "Surely, if I were
a child of God, this would not happen." Do not say that if you are walking
in darkness. The best of God's saints must drink the bitter potion; the
of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual
prosperity; no believer can always keep his heart in constant tune.

Perhaps the Lord gave you in the beginning a smooth and unclouded path
because you were weak and timid. He moderated the wind on account of your
but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the
riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children. We need winds and
tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten branches of
self-reliance, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals
to us the
value of our glorious hope.

1) Proverbs 3:17
2) Proverbs 4:18

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Numbers 6

verse 2 Psalms 40 , 41

The Fruitful Life

As we become serious followers of Christ, our desire is to live loving,
joyful, anxiety-free lives. Yet, loving our enemies most always seems
Even being patient with family members can be a challenge. So, how do we put
on the gentle garments of grace when we’re so busy battling our old behavior

The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges explores the nine aspects of the “fruit
of the spirit” described by the Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control. Bridges explains how to practice the fruit in real life as
we look to the Holy Spirit to mark our character by devotion to
God-centeredness and God-likeness.

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

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last
first." (Matthew 19:30 MSG)

By Answers2Prayer
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More Illustrations
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Graceless Religion. The Helpless Heroes and the Vindictive Prideful, Part 9

Last night I was truly touched when I read about the Prodigal Son in Luke
15: "By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging
around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were
not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, 'He takes in sinners and eats
meals with them, treating them like old friends. Their grumbling triggered
this story' Of the Prodigal Son." (Luke 15:1-3 MSG).

I had never noticed before to whom Jesus was addressing this parable. He was
addressing it to the criticizing Pharisees and religious scholars: the ones
who thought they knew everything, the ones who thought they were pure but
were not. In such circumstances we need to look at the Prodigal Son parable
our focus on the older prideful son.

The first part of the story sets the scene. The younger son was frivolous
and foolish, eager to experience what the world was offering. He was
lost. He came to his senses once he realized that he had spent all his
inheritance. He was truly a shipwreck with no hope in the horizon, and he
"Better work for dad as an employee. At least I would have food that way!"
What he didn't expect is how his dad was overjoyed to see him come back
He welcomed him with open arms and instead of being addressed as an
employee, he honored him as his son. After all, his dad loved him deeply, no
what he had done. It's then that the younger son realized what he had
missed. "My Father loves me beyond imagination!"

The older son, however, who had remained at home with his father, heard
about his younger brother and he became quite upset, filled with hatred.
"The older
brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in." (Luke 15:28
MSG) Just like the Pharisees! (See Luke 15:1-3). When his father came to
he lashed out: "Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never
giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and
friends? Then this son of yours (Isn't he referring to his own younger
brother?) Who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all
out with
a feast!" (Luke 15:29-30 MSG)

The older son was bitter and prideful. It was all about him, not about his
father. He had served his father for the wrong reasons. Love was nonexistent
in his life. He was the one who was truly spiritually lost. He thought he
could earn his father's love, not realizing that his father loved him way
deeply than he thought. It's not about what we can get from our Father: It's
all about experiencing our Dad, just like the youngest brother experienced

The frivolous are the ones who are attracted to our Father. God will never
reject them. He loves all of us genuinely. The prideful religious, however,
are the ones who are spiritually lost. Unlike these sinners who are
searching for their Heavenly Father, these arrogant religious are more
interested in
their own self-righteousness, missing the boat about experiencing their
Heavenly Father. They are the ones who are truly lost!

"This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last
first." (Matthew 19:30 MSG)

In the meantime, the younger son is savoring in the grace of his Dad.

The story doesn't end here, however. The older brother has a choice to make,
but the story doesn't reveal his decision. Will he eventually come to the
party or not?

Our Father gives the religious the opportunity to either experience the real
stuff or to continue their grumbling. After all, some Pharisees joined
ranks. Nicodemus was one of them! Nothing is impossible with our Father!

When Hubert Humphrey, a former vice-president of the United States, died,
most politicians gathered together to attend the funeral. Among them was
Nixon, the only president to ever be impeached. Most of the politicians
tried to stay away from him; Jimmy Carter, however, the president at the
noticed Nixon all by himself. Even though Nixon didn't belong to his party,
Jimmy Carter walked straight to him, shook hands and embraced him, and told
him: "Welcome home, Mr. President. Welcome home!" He, too, knew what grace
looked like

How will we react towards the "refuse" of our society? They, too, hunger for
grace. After all, Jesus was considered "A friend of tax collectors and of
sinners." (Luke 7:34 NIV)

Will you join the party?

Rob Chaffart


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

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

A Prayer to Soothe an Anxious Heart
By Jennifer Heeren

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and 
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
( Philippians 4:6 )

Feelings of worry and nervousness will inevitably pop up as you travel your 
life’s path. Things will happen that you don’t understand. You will be 
to do something even when you don’t have a clue about the outcome. Anxiety 
will present itself to your uncertain mind. But you don’t have to live 
The answer to anxieties is to go to God as soon as you sense a worry. Don’t 
wait. Pray immediately and ask for His strength to carry you.

Philippians 4:6 has the first three steps to talk to God about your anxiety:

1. Pray about everything. Does it say only pray about the big problems? I 
know I have the tendency to try and muddle through in my own meager strength
until I can’t go on anymore. But if I do what Philippians says and pray 
about everything, that really does include
everything. God is strong enough to handle ALL my worries. Whereas, I often 
break from the pressure that I put on myself.

2. Tell God what you need. Don’t use the excuse that He already knows. Of 
course, He knows already. He’s God. Actually, He knows even more than you 
I tend to get so caught up in my wants, that my real needs are often hidden 
from view. God may already know what I need but He wants me to always come
to Him about everything. Even when I ramble on, He probably just smiles and 
listens and is glad that I felt comfortable talking with Him

3. Thank Him for all He has done (and will do). Gratefulness goes a long way 
to cover my anxieties. When I keep a long mental list of all that God has
blessed me with, they often crowd out my anxieties. Also, I can keep a 
mental list of hopes and promises for my future, that also takes up the 
space that
fears try to live. Doubts may seek to fill my mind but thoughts of comfort 
give me renewed hope and cheer
(Psa 94:19 ).

Go straight to the psalms. The psalms are a great place to go when anxieties 
seek to overwhelm you. They often begin with a problem and a crying out to
the Lord. Then they explain what they want. Finally, the Spirit within the 
author remembers the truths about just who God is and extreme comfort is the
result. The situation may not go away but the attitude changes.

Bring your emotions; don’t hold back. In Psa 31
, David comes to the Lord with tears blurring his eyes. He feels as if his 
body and soul are withering away. He feels sadness is shortening his years.
His strength is gone. Like David, we should come to God with all our 
emotions showing. God knows about them anyway so why should I try to hold 
back from him?

Remember that God is very near to you. Psalm 23:4
says that even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, 
when I remember that the Lord is close beside me. I can remind myself often
of this fact that God is indeed very near to me. Then, I don’t have to worry 
about fighting off my enemies. I can simply let God be God.

Remember that the Lord is your light and salvation. Doubts, fears, and 
anxieties seek to surround me with darkness--so much that I can’t keep 
moving forward
on my journey. This is Satan’s goal--to stop me from living out my faith in 
God. But God is my light always, especially when anxiety threatens to darken
my path. With that much light all around me, why should I be afraid
(Psa 27:1 )?

Be desperate. Psalm 34:6 tells me that when I pray out of desperation, the 
Lord listens and saves me from all my troubles. I can be real and honest 
him and I can come to Him like my life depends on it. Just like a parent 
runs to their child’s cries of distress, God will run to mine. And the more 
I am, the closer the Lord seems to me
(Psa 34:18 ).

Remember that He is a Good, Good Father. God is indeed a Good Father. Like a 
mother eagle to her eaglets, God longs to cover you with His feathers and
give you full refuge along with a warm place of safety to rest your head
(Psa 91:2-4
). God promises that He will rescue those who love and trust Him
(Psa 91:14 ). He really does want the best for me and you.

Trust that He has overcome the world and its trials and troubles. Trials, 
and even sorrows are inevitable in this fallen world where evil so often 
to be winning. But I can have peace despite those troubles. I can take heart 
and have courage because Jesus has overcome the world
(John 16:33 ). And His Spirit lives within me so I am an overcomer too!

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, 
“Lord, I am coming.”
(Psa 27:8 )

Pray with me:

Dear Lord, I thank you that I can come to You always for any reason. I’m 
grateful that when I pray to You, You answer me. Help me to come to You at 
beginning of my fears and anxieties instead of waiting until I can’t stand 
them anymore. The quicker I come to You the better. You want to free me from
ALL my fears. Help me look to You for help more often so that I can be 
radiant with Your joy. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Editor’s Note: Content taken from “How to Talk to God about Your Anxiety” by 
Jennifer Heeren. 

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are
by Carrie Dedrick, Editor, Crosswalk.com

You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast
Never stop to think
"What's in it for me?"
Or "It's way too far"
They just show on up
With their big ol' heart
You find out who your friends are

Does anyone know that Tracy Lawrence song? It’s about those situations that 
we sometimes find ourselves in when we just need help.

We sometimes get stuck in unforeseen circumstances. Unpredictability is a 
part of life, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

This morning was one of those days for me.

My husband and I are the proud mom and dad of two rescued dogs, a pomeranian 
and a pomeranian-chihuahua, or as we call her, a pomhuahua. Today the dogs
were scheduled to have their hair cut at the groomer so they will be more 
comfortable with warm weather approaching. The groomer would keep them for 
rest of the day in the kennel until we could pick them up after work.

No problem, right?


I had barely sat down at my desk when I got a call from the groomer. She 
said that my dog suddenly got sick and they couldn’t keep her for the rest 
the day as planned; I needed to pick her up right away.

Remember those unforeseen circumstances I was talking about?

I did what I had to do. My manager was extremely gracious in the situation, 
and let me go pick up my sick puppy. He even went as far as to offer that I
could take her to the vet if necessary.

But this story isn't really about the actual circumstance that interrupted 
my day. It's about what happened afterward.

First, there was the friend that allowed my dog to stay at his apartment for 
the day. I called him, and asked if he would take her in (it saved me a long
trip home). There was no hesitation at all. Of course he would keep her. You 
find out who your friends are.

Then I got back to the office, thinking that I would have a lot of catching 
up to do after a morning "off." Not so. The other editors had finished 
all of my work for me upon my arrival. They certainly did not have to help 
me; they all have to pull plenty of weight at the company without the 
load. But they did. You find out who your friends are.

These generous people led me to think of the kind of friend that Jesus was. 
He was a friend to the lowest of the low, those that would be considered the
societal outsiders of today. Jesus visited the house of Zacchaeus the tax 
Luke 19:1-10
and touched a man with leprosy
Matthew 8:1-4 .

God intended that we have relationships including families, spouses, and 
friends. We form bonds with one another because as it says in
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ,

Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work. If 
one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and 
no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. 
But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can 
themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It is interesting that the scripture says a cord of three strands. I take 
that to mean we should not only have friends physically on this earth, but a
friend in our hearts as well. That friend is Jesus, the third strand, the 
strand that keeps the cord from unraveling.

In situations when we need a helping hand, you do truly find out who your 
friends are. So nurture your relationships. Give friends the love and 
they deserve, and they will reciprocate.

Your friendships need nourishment just as the farmer's crops did in the 
parable Jesus tells in
Matthew 13:3-8
. Plant your friendships in the good soil of consideration, thoughtfulness, 
and generosity. Those friendships will blossom into the best of all, the 
who you can call on in difficult times, the friends who genuinely care about 

Intersecting Faith and Life: You can probably think of a friend that you 
have not spoken to in some time. Reach out to that person with a simple call 
e-mail to catch up. Let that person know that you care about him or her.

Further Reading
>John 13:34

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !

Considering Quitting?
by Chuck Swindoll

Matthew 11:28, 30

Every achievement worth remembering is stained with the blood of diligence 
and scarred by the wounds of disappointment.

To quit, to run, to escape, to hide—none of these options solve anything. 
They only postpone the acceptance of, and reckoning with, reality.

Churchill put it well: "Wars are not won by evacuations." . . .

Giving thought to giving up?

Considering the possibility of quitting? . . .

Don't! . . . The only time the Lord ever used the word "easy" was when He 
referred to a yoke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading:

Philippians 2:12
Numbers 14

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

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

Zechariah 12:10, NKJV

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

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

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

Copyright © 2017 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

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

(Romans 10:9).


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

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

Take a look at a few of these verses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading

John 14

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