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

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Oct 2019, 10:42 pm

Coffee Break
"Faithful Again"
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8
A friend called me and she was very upset. She had a need that had to be met right then and the door had closed on the only source that could help her.. I told her that she was going to have to trust the Lord and not let this upset or discourage her. I then reminded her of the Lord's faithfulness to her in every situation that she has ever gone through. I also reminded her of the times she had been in similar situations and how the Lord had always-- even when it looked hopeless- come through for her. The long and short of the story-- within the hour the Lord had opened up another door and it was so much better than the one she thought she needed to help her.
This morning I don't know what you are facing. You may have a pressing need. Your source of help and support may have fallen through. The door that you thought was the one that you needed to have open may have closed. You may be discouraged over the situation. But let me remind you that God has come through for you in the past, in other times when you faced difficulties, in times that there seemed to be no hope. He has always made a way; He has always been faithful. Like I told my friend, He is the Lord who does not change. If He did it for you in the past, He will do it for you again now. Trust in His faithfulness.
Take a moment to remember what He has already done for you. Think about the times in the past when He came through for you. Let it encourage and renew your faith to believe Him to do it again.
Have a great day. Trust the Lord to come through for you today like He always has in the past.
             About the Masters Business/Lorraine

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

Post  Admin on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 11:17 pm

The Cradle of Hope
by Max Lucado

Christ rose first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will become 
alive again.
1 Corinthians 15:23 TLB

Let's go to the tomb, for Jesus lies in the tomb.

Still. Cold. Stiff. Death has claimed its greatest trophy. He is not asleep 
in the tomb or resting in the tomb or comatose in the tomb; he is dead in 
tomb. No air in his lungs. No thoughts in his brain. No feeling in his 
limbs. His body is as lifeless as the stone slab upon which he has been 

The executioners made sure of it. When Pilate learned that Jesus was dead, 
he asked the soldiers if they were certain. They were. Had they seen the 
twitch, had they heard even one moan, they would have broken his legs to 
speed his end. But there was no need. The thrust of a spear removed all 
The Romans knew their job. And their job was finished. They pried loose the 
nails, lowered his body, and gave it to Joseph and Nicodemus.

Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus the Pharisee. Jesus had answered the prayer 
of their hearts, the prayer for the Messiah. As much as the soldiers wanted
him dead, even more these men wanted him alive.

As they sponged the blood from his beard, don't you know they listened for 
his breath? As they wrapped the cloth around his hands, don't you know they
hoped for a pulse? Don't you know they searched for life?

But they didn't find it.

So they do with him what they were expected to do with a dead man. They wrap 
his body in clean linen and place it in a tomb. Joseph's tomb. Roman guards
are stationed to guard the corpse. And a Roman seal is set on the rock of 
the tomb. For three days, no one gets close to the grave.

But then, Sunday arrives. And with Sunday comes light -- a light within the 
tomb. A bright light? A soft light? Flashing? Hovering? We don't know. But
there was a light. For he is the light. And with the light came life. Just 
as the darkness was banished, now the decay is reversed. Heaven blows and 
breathes. His chest expands. Waxy lips open. Wooden fingers lift. Heart 
valves swish and hinged joints bend.

And, as we envision the moment, we stand in awe.

We stand in awe not just because of what we see, but because of what we 
know. We know that we, too, will die. We know that we, too, will be buried. 
lungs, like his, will empty. Our hands, like his, will stiffen. But the 
rising of his body and the rolling of the stone give birth to a mighty 
"What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering 
death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that 
Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of 
death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus 
died, he took sin
down with him, but alive he brings God down to us" (Rom. 6:5-9 MSG).

From When Christ Comes
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1999) Max Lucado

5 Ways to Stop Discouragement from Getting the Best of You
Leslie Vernick

Discouragement and disappointment are normal emotions we all experience even 
as Christians, but it’️s important to know how to make sure those 
emotions don’️t get the best of us.

First, let’️s look at four reasons why we get discouraged and disappointed.

Job felt discouraged with his wife and friends. They didn’️t get it. In the 
midst of his suffering and questioning God, they tried to be helpful, but 
ended up heaping more shame and blame on Job for his afflictions. We, too, 
can feel let down by our friends and family. They don’️t understand what we’️re
going through or don’️t offer to help as we wish they would. Our 
disappointment can turn to discouragement.

Elijah became discouraged with life’️s circumstances. Despite our persistent 
and fervent prayers, things don’️t turn out the way we’️d hoped they would. 
hoped that after all the miracles the Israelites saw performed on Mount 
Carmel, Ahab and Jezebel would repent and put God first, but they did not. 
Ahab and Jezebel were as stubborn and hard hearted as always, and Elijah 
felt discouraged, exhausted, and told himself that his entire ministry was a 
(1 Kings 19 ).

Jeremiah felt angry and discouraged with God when he believed God was 
against him, and because of that perspective, he temporarily lost hope in 
God (Lamentations 3). The disciples too felt discouraged after Jesus was crucified, before he 
rose from the dead. They said, “We were hoping that he was the one who was 
to redeem Israel† (Luke 24:21). They couldn’️t see the bigger picture and felt disappointed that Jesus did 
not fight for his kingdom.

Peter felt discouraged with himself when he realized that he wasn’️t as 
courageous as he thought he was. Jesus had warned him that he would deny 
him, but
Peter’️s pride kept him from seeing himself clearly (Matthew 26:31 and 74, 75). 
We too can feel discouraged and even depressed when we fail to live up to 
our own or someone else’️s expectations.

Discouragement happens, even to the strongest and best of people. Below are 
five (5) steps you can take when you start to feel the black cloud of 
swallow you up.

1. Be honest. It does you no good to pretend you don’️t feel what you feel. 
You can’️t take action against a negative feeling until you first admit you 
it. A strong Christian is not someone who never experiences negative 
feelings. It’️s someone who has learned what to do with them when he or she 
has them
and how to process them biblically.

2. Take care of your body. If your body isn’️t working, your mind, emotions 
and will are also weakened. I love how God tended to Elijah’️s body 
addressing anything else and provided ravens to feed him. Sometimes the 
circumstances of life drain us dry, and we need to press pause, stop doing, 
simply rest and refresh.

3. Pay attention to your thought life. Maturing as believers means we learn 
to think truthfully (Philippians 4:8
) and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 ).

All of us attempt to make sense of the things that happen in our lives. We 
try to figure out why they happen and what it all means. It’️s crucial that 
pay attention to what stories we are telling ourselves about ourselves, 
about others, about God or a particular situation, and whether or not those 
are actually true. For example, if you look at what Elijah was telling 
himself after he became discouraged, much of it was not true, yet because he 
it, it added to his misery (read 1 Kings 19).

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Jeremiah was also telling himself things about God that were not true but 
because his mind believed his version of reality instead of God’️s, he lost 
hope. Read through
Lamentations 3 . Notice in verse 21
Jeremiah begins to have a change of mind and heart. He says, “This I recall 
to mind, therefore I have hope.† When his thoughts changed his negative 
also lifted even though his circumstances stayed the same.

4. Train yourself to “see† life out of two lenses at the same time

When the apostle Paul counsels us to be transformed by the renewing of our 
mind (Romans 12:2
), he is telling us that our mind needs to be trained to think differently 
than we have in the past. Part of this training is to learn to see both the
temporal (life is hard) and the eternal (God has a purpose here) at the same 

Paul speaks honestly of his temporal pain when he says he is hard pressed on 
every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. Yet he did not become 
despairing, abandoned, or destroyed. Why not? Because he learned to firmly 
fix the eternal perspective on his spiritual eyes. He says, “Therefore we do
not lose heart.… So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is 
unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal†
 (2 Corinthians 4:8–18 ).

Paul never minimized the pain of the temporal, yet discouragement didn’️t win 
because he knew that God’️s purposes were at work. (SeePhilippians 1:12–14 for another example).

5. Press close into God

The truth is life is hard, people do disappoint and hurt us, and we don’️
always understand God or his ways. The prophet Nahum talks about a day of 
and reminds us “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble
, he knows those who trust in him† ( Nahum 1:7). 
If we’️re not in close trusting relationship with God, life’️s troubles can 
become unbearable. The psalmist cried out, “I would have despaired
unless I had believed I would see God in the land of the living† (Psalm 27 ).

One final tip. The best way to chase out a negative feeling is with another 
feeling. The Bible teaches us “In everything give thanks for this is the 
of God† (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude is a powerful anecdote for discouragement. We may not be able 
to give God thanks for the difficult situation that we find ourselves in, 
we can learn to look for things we can be thankful for in the midst of it.

Leslie Vernick is a writer for The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC).. 
ABC exists to
encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the 
Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.

Short pithy quotes from Adrian Rogers

~ ~ ~ ~

Our sins were the nails that nailed Him to that tree--and our hard hearts 
were the
hammers that drove those nails!

~ ~ ~ ~

Reputation is what others think about you.
Character is what God knows about you.

~ ~ ~ ~

If you live for this world--then you are in the junk business. It's all just 
premature junk!

~ ~ ~ ~

Some people go to to Hell--with a chest full of Sunday school attendance 

~ ~ ~ ~

Anything you love more, fear more, serve more, or value more than God--is 
your idol!

~ ~ ~ ~

To be almost saved--is to be totally lost!

~ ~ ~ ~

The devil would just as soon send you to Hell from the pew--as from the 

~ ~ ~ ~

God is sovereign--so live confidently.
God is holy--so live reverently.

~ ~ ~ ~

Where God leads--He feeds.
Where God directs--He protects.
Where God guides--He provides.

~ ~ ~ ~

When you FORWARD these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited by 
delete the unsubscribe information at the bottom of the page.
block quote end

Grace Gems!

A treasury of ageless sovereign grace devotional writings

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

Post  Admin on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 8:55 pm

It Was My Sin That Held Him There: Weeping at the Foot of the Cross
Greg Morse / Thursday, March 29, 2018 7:02 PM
It Was My Sin That Held Him There

On Good Friday, we celebrate the saddest day in history.

Blood streamed down his face. Massive thorns stuck to the head of their
Maker. Groans of agony came from the mouth of him who spoke the world into
The soldiers beat him. They flogged him. They tortured him.

As he inched through the streets of Jerusalem, his cross pressing into his
lacerated back, many shuddered at him. The face of God, which Moses could
look at and live, could no longer even be recognized as human (Isaiah
52:14). Women hid their children from the bloody mass of flesh before them.
Men taunted
him. Soldiers clubbed him. Angels shrieked in horror.

Every prophecy about his suffering was being fulfilled. By judgment and
oppression, he was taken away. His sheep scattered when their enemies struck
One of his own sold him and betrayed him with a kiss. He found no rest as
they beat him, spit on him, and mocked him through the night. In the
he gave his back to those who struck him, his cheeks to those who plucked
his beard.

He stepped forward to Calvary as a lamb to the slaughter.

His Love Was Rated-R

I remember the first time I watched The Passion of the Christ fourteen years
ago. The sight of Roman ninetails sinking their claws into his back seemed
to pierce my soul with Mary’s (Luke 2:35). The blood. The screams. The
anguish. I could never again thoughtlessly tell others that Christ
died for them. The scene forbade cliché. It was grizzly, ghastly, gruesome —

I rarely cry, but as I watched Jesus shed his blood all over the Roman
courtyard, I could not help but weep. As they held the nails over his hands
feet — his mother watching him — every swing of the hammer pierced my heart.
Only the heartless could watch unfeelingly. Has there ever been a more

I did not consider his wounds enough. I did not weep over his suffering as
often as I felt I should have. But how does Jesus respond to me, and people
like me, who take Good Friday to grieve over his unbearable sufferings? Two
thousand years ago he said to those weeping for him that day, “Weep not for
me; weep for yourselves.”

Silence on the Set

Of the many horrors of Calvary, one that was especially acute was the shame
of it all (Hebrews 12:2). His was a public execution. The condemned usually
were naked. To add to this, the prophecy reads, “All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7). It is one thing
suffer; another to do so before a whole nation as they ridicule you.

But mockery was not the only sound made on his behalf. A host of women
trailed behind him, lamenting the expiring prophet. They followed Jesus’s
of blood — as so many of us do today — with drops of tears.

But upon hearing their sobs, Jesus, battered and broken, turned his face
towards them and spoke these gracious, yet shocking words: “Daughters of
do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke

This part of the passion didn’t make the movie.

On that first Good Friday, Jesus turned to his loudest sympathizers — those
who are not cursing him, mocking him, but wailing on his behalf — and
them. He commands their tears escort him no further. He opts to press into
the night without their mourning.

Weep Not for Me

Jesus did not need their tears two millennia ago, and as unpopular as it may
be, Jesus does not need our tears today. And this fact owes to us seeing his
passion through the eyes of faith.

Weep not for me, he said. As if to say,

I am saving my people. I have prayed, tender souls, and know my Father’s
will concerning this cup — shall I not drink it (John 18:11)? My hands
grasp this wood because my food is to do my Father’s will (John 4:32, 34).
And his will is glorious: he sent me to serve and
give my life as a ransom for my people. My body is broken, and my blood is
for you (Luke 22:19–20). Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down
his life for his friends. Do not weep over the labor pains that give birth
to your salvation and unshakable joy (John 16:20–22).

Weep not for me, as if to say,

I am not a helpless victim. I am a warrior-king with thousands of angels at
my beck and call (Matthew 26:53). One word from me and this horror would
One word from me and Rome would be destroyed. One word from me and all would
be eternally condemned. But I was sent to save the world, not condemn it
3:17). Trust that no man — or army — can steal my life from me. I lay it
down of my own accord, and I will take it up again (John 10:11–18).

Weep not for me, as if to say,

I am conquering. You see my heel being bruised and you mourn — but look
through the eyes of faith and see the serpent’s skull trampled (Genesis
Although I walk as the Lamb, I conquer as the Lion — the predator, not the
prey, will hang on the cross (Revelation 5:5–6). I am a King who shall rule
the universe from a tree. And I shall make this cross my scepter. As they
lift me up, I thrust my enemies under my feet as a footstool (Psalm 110:1).
triumphal entry is followed by a triumphal exit. Why should you weep over my
hour of glorification (John 12:27–28)?

Weep not for me, as if to say,

Sunday is coming. I have said repeatedly that in three days I shall rise
(Matthew 16:21; 17:22–23; 20:18–19). Although today is full of unutterable
unimaginable pain, unthinkable terror,
Sunday is coming. My Father’s perfect hand is crushing me, evil men are
murdering me, my disciples have fled from me, but truly I tell you,
Sunday is coming. Joy is set before me and empowers me to endure. A crown
awaits me. An endless celebration awaits me. My blood-bought people await
Eternal glory awaits me. My Father awaits me. Weep not for me.

Weep for Yourselves

Jesus does not stop their tears completely but redirects them: “Do not weep
for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” God’s wrath will
visit the people for their sin. The nation that rejected her Messiah — not
Jesus — is to be pitied.

block quote
“Behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and
the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will
begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’”
(Luke 23:29–30)
block quote end

“Weep for yourselves,” as if to say,

I can bear my cup, but you cannot bear yours. Rome will kill your children
before your own eyes. The beast you conspire with today will surround you
Your anguish will be so severe that it is better to collect these tears in a
bottle to save for that dreadful day.

My sufferings will end at death; yours may not. Many of you will cry for the
mountains to cover you, but that can only spare you from the judgment of
— it cannot spare you from the judgment of God. The hounds of his justice do
not stop at death. He is God of both the living and the dead (Acts 10:42).
Vengeance is his; he will repay (Hebrews 10:30). And it is a fearful thing
to fall unshielded into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

Weep for your sins. Gentle daughters, useless are the tears that fall on my
behalf because of suffering but never fall because of sin. Many weep over my
suffering, but not the sin which caused it. The horror you see before you is
my becoming sin for my people and bearing the wrath they deserve, that they
should have my righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). If you weep, better to
weep over the lust that hammers the nail deeper, the lie that sticks a thorn
in the brow; the cowardly duck that makes a gash upon me, the prideful strut
that keeps me upon Calvary’s path.

It Was My Sin

I watched The Passion of the Christ each year for four years — being moved
every time to tears — all while I was not truly born again. And I thought
better for crying, as if my sins would be passed over if I had tears painted
on my doorpost. It did not take a regenerate heart to weep over the
of Jesus — our world is full of unbelievers who cry over sad things — but it
did take a regenerate heart to mourn over what I rarely really mourned over:
my sins (James 4:8–10).

And those who witnessed Jesus’s execution two thousand years ago didn’t see
their sins in the cross either: “
Who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken
for the transgression of my people?” (Isaiah 53:8) The horror stayed “over
while they remained innocent bystanders. They missed the point and beauty of
the cross. They cried and cried, but had not love. Until we can truly sing,
“It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished,” we weep for
him in vain.

We should weep indeed at the foot of the cross, but not with pity. With
faith. Those tears don’t dry up the Monday after Easter. Those tears mourn
the sin that nailed him there. Those tears sing over him as our conquering
King. And those tears celebrate his death until he returns.

Does Reformed Theology Impede Racial Reconciliation?
John Piper / Thursday, March 29, 2018 7:00 PM

Some have suggested Reformed theology is a hurdle to racial harmony. Pastor
John explains why the opposite has been true over decades of urban ministry..

Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402

A Prayer For My Words

In Psalm 141:3 the Psalmist writes,
"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
"Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips." (NLT)
"Help me to guard my words whenever I say something." (CEV)

Father, put a guard over my mouth when I am about to say something I should
not say. Whether it is a word that is untrue, a word that is negative, a
that is critical, or a word that discourages, Lord, stop the words before
they come out of my mouth. Close the door of my lips and prevent the words
leaving my mouth.

Father, take control of what I say. Help me think before I speak. Help me
pause before I speak. Help me consider my audience before I speak. Some
are inappropriate for some to hear. Some things are inappropriate for all to
hear. Some things do not need to leave my mouth. Father, guard my lips and
control what I say.

Father, help me guard my words when I say something. Help me make sure that
the words I speak are worth hearing. If they are not, let me be silent.
quiet may be better than being foolish. Being silent may be better than
being critical, judgmental, or destructive.

Father, sometimes there are words of encouragement that need to pass through
my lips, let them through. Sometimes there are words of hope that need to
be spoken, let me speak them. Sometimes there are words of exhortation that
need to be shared, please don't let me remain quiet during those moments.

Father, there are times when someone needs to hear that I love them, let me
say those words. There are times when someone needs to hear that I
them, let me say those words. There are times when someone needs to hear
something hopeful, let me say those words.

Father, there are times when I am afraid to speak. Please remove the fear
that prevents me from speaking on behalf of the weak, the oppressed and the
Please remove the fear that keeps me quiet when a child is neglected, abused
or ignored. Please remove the fear that prevents me from speaking when
needs to hear of Your love for them. Help me never to miss an opportunity to
speak for You.

Father, there are times when I need to speak, and times when I need to be
quiet. Give me the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to respond

Father, guard my lips. Open them when they need to be opened and allow the
words that need to pass through them to pass. Close them when they need to
closed and prevent any word that might do damage to another soul from
passing through.

Help me to guard my words whenever I say something.

Tom Norvelle
A Norvell Note (c) Copyright 2008. .

I Feel Angry

Lately, a lighter is flicking within me. A full-blown fire is brewing. I
feel furious at some moments, then hate myself for these feelings the next.
keep getting inflamed, and frankly, I don’t know what to do about it.

Anger combusts in attempt to handle what we can’t control.

I can’t control a kid. I say, “Stay in your seat.”

He turns to his sister and says, “Nope, we’re not going to do that, are we

I aim to keep the car clean, but then he holds up a nut then drops it on the
floor right in front of me. He won’t do what I want him to do, so I do the
only thing that grabs attention: I get angry.

I snap, “You’re cleaning the whole car after school and your room.”

Gone is love, and present is the lonely feeling no one is for me. Gone is
patience, and present is a pressing need to make him line up to my ways.
is a woman who connects with his heart, and present is the one who stomps on

Sometimes I hate myself. Grrr….I hate how I act. And this feeling is SO

Do you feel it too? Do you hate how you do what you don’t mean to do? Do you
hate how you get angry?

May I remind you and me? God is not angry at us for our anger.


-“is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Ps.
-is forgiving.
-is waiting and ready to help us change.
-is our answer when we feel out of control and don’t what to do.

With these truths, I am reminded I can:

1. Forgive the 7+ times I’m offended in a day.

2. Embrace 5 seconds of silence, while expecting God to show me my way.

3. Say sorry for my wrongs. I can admit the emotions that lay dormant under
my anger.
(Example: I felt disregarded by my son when he dropped the nut on the

4. Uncover the lie I am believing as it pertains to this unruly,
anger-producing emotion.
(New truth as it pertains to my lie: Even if everyone else fails me, God
will uphold me.)

5. Give thanks to God for the growth He is doing in me.

6. Pray for the people who hurt me and release them into His hands.

Hope in the Midst of Pain - Tuesday, February 13th 2018

Lamentations 3:21-23

21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the LORD's
mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are
every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."

Lamentations is a difficult book because of the images of suffering that
fill its pages. Yet, in the very middle of Jeremiah's words of pain and
are words of hope. In fact, it is as if the prophet simply turns a corner in
his mind and begins thinking of God's character and nature rather than his
circumstances. It's at that moment where we read these words, "Therefore, I
have hope."

In a broken world, hope can be hard to come by. Each day, we are face to
face with tragedy, sickness and death, but it is within this reality of pain
God brings hope. This hope is not founded on our situation or ability; our
hope is founded on God. How can we have hope in God? Because He is all
all knowing, never-changing, and He loves us. This means that no matter the
pain, God is there. No matter the difficulty, God is guiding us and using
difficulty for our good. If you find yourself in the middle of hard times,
do not fear, because the maker of heaven and earth is with you. Draw close
Him, and He will help you to live in hope, not fear.

Life Lesson: In life, we should think more about how great God is and less
about how great our troubles are.

Dear God,
I know that I can often lose sight of Your love while I'm in the middle of
hard times. Help me to be mindful of Your love, mercy, compassion and
so that I can endure and even rejoice in my pain. Fill me with Your Spirit
so that I may live in hope. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Cross the Bridge

Scripture quotations marked 'NKJV™️' are taken from the New King James
Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights

For God So Loved His Worth: The Temptation to Make Holy Week About Me
Marshall Segal / Tuesday, March 27, 2018 7:02 PM
For God So Loved His Worth

Many of us miss the glory of Passion week because deep down we think we’re
the center of what God did two thousand years ago. We think Jesus came and
and died and was raised mainly for us —
for me. We read the Gospels, and write ourselves into the lead role — the
star worth everything Jesus had to suffer to have us.

If Jesus is merely a supporting actor in our story, his betrayal, death,
burial, and resurrection will still be thrilling, but for the wrong reasons..
Week will be moving, but fleeting if we try to make ourselves the center of
it. But if we find ourselves small in the story compared to the bigness and
power and beauty of God, what moves us will get deeper and sweeter year
after year — and last forever. His love for us will take on new meaning — a
less vain, more satisfying meaning.

God Loves You Because of God

John Piper explains the danger,

block quote
We need to see first and foremost that God is God — that he is perfect and
complete in himself, that he is overflowingly happy in the eternal
of the Trinity, and that he does not need us to complete his fullness and is
not deficient without us. Rather we are deficient without

Unless we begin with God this way, when the gospel comes to us, we will
inevitably put ourselves at the center of it. We will feel that
our value rather than
God’s value is the driving force in the gospel. We will trace the gospel
back to God’s need for
us instead of tracing it back to the sovereign grace that rescues sinners
who need
God. ( The Pleasures of God )
block quote end

God did not write Holy Week into history because he was desperate to have
you (Acts 17:25), but because loving you, despite how little you deserved
love, would display just how loving he is — how
glorious he is. He really does love you — genuine affection, fatherly
provision, sacrificial devotion, tender care — but not because you’re great.

he is great.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus was betrayed for God and his glory. On Good
Friday, Jesus was crucified for God. On Easter Sunday, Jesus was raised for
And in all of it, you were saved by Jesus
for God. Our good news is “the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the
image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). If we’re humble enough to be the small,
sinner rescued by sovereign grace for
his glory, the news gets better, not worse. We will be far happier in a
world that’s not centered on us.

Maundy Thursday: Jesus Was Betrayed for God

On the eve of Good Friday, Jesus was preparing to go to the cross for you,
but his eyes were fixed on his Father’s glory. He prayed,

block quote
“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you. .
.. . I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me
to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that
I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:1, 4–5)
block quote end

He was not a lovesick Savior, but an adoring Son — striving to draw the
world into his admiration of the Father. He wasn’t dying to make you feel
important, but to show you what’s most important —
who is most important.

As he entered the garden of Gethsemane to be betrayed, “He fell on the
ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
And he
said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from
me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’” (Mark 14:35–36). God had called
him to die in love
for you, but he went to please the Father — to do the Father’s will, to
honor and magnify
his wisdom, sovereignty, and love.

Good Friday: Jesus Was Crucified for God

Make no mistake, if Jesus is your Lord, Savior, and Treasure, he died for
you. He bore your griefs (Isaiah 53:4). He carried your sorrows (Isaiah
He was pierced for your transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). He was crushed for
your iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). By his wounds, you were healed (Isaiah 53:5)..
debt was nailed with him to the cross (Colossians 2:14). And he died because
he loved
you: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10)..

But he died for you to glorify the Father. He was “obedient to the point of
death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). “It was the will of the
to crush him; he has put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10). And because Jesus
submitted himself to the Father’s will, the Father “has highly exalted him
bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and
every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).

Even when Jesus was exalted, on the other side of his crucifixion, above
every other name, he was exalted for the glory of another — for the glory of

Easter Sunday: Jesus Was Raised for God

Jesus was betrayed to glorify the Father. He was crucified to the glory of
God the Father. And when he rose — resurrecting
our hope for forgiveness, life, and happiness — he rose for the glory of
God. As Paul says, “He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the
seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world,
taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

Paul actually says, “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father” (Romans 6:4). The resurrection of Christ was so wrapped up in the
of the Father that Paul can say Christ was raised “through” or “by” glory.
In the single greatest act of divine intervention — greater than building up
mountains or carving out valleys on the earth, greater than placing the
stars or forming galaxies, greater than creating man from the dust — the
was revealing his glory by raising his Son. He raised “the radiance of the
glory of God” from the grave into majesty (Hebrews 1:3; see also 1 Peter
Into glory, and for glory.

You Were Saved for God

That God’s glory is the highest purpose of Holy Week does not at all
diminish the good news
for you in Christ’s life, betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection. Our flesh
desperately wants to be the pearl of greatest price in the gospel story —
the treasure hidden in a field for which God sold everything to have. Any
unbelieving person could believe a gospel that made us feel like that — that
made us look that glorious.

The love in that gospel, however, pales in comparison with the love of God
in the true gospel. Instead of fawning over us and our worth, God draws us
himself in love — despite what we are worth because of our sin — to make us
a shining forever picture of
his worth. He tells the world about his glory
through you. He does it through mountains and oceans, stars and galaxies,
through heaven and hell, and he does it
through you. And because of Christ, he glorifies himself in loving you, not
damning you.

Christ was betrayed for the glory of God, because in being betrayed God was
able to adopt sinful us as precious sons and daughters “to the praise of his
glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:5–6). Christ was crucified for the glory of
God, because in being crucified he was able
to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Christ was raised for the glory of God,
because in being raised God made us alive with him (Ephesians 2:5), and
the world “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness
toward us” (Ephesians 2:7).

God’s glory shines brightest in the story of his love for you —
unexplainable mercy, sovereign grace, immeasurable kindness, unwavering
faithfulness —
all of it now working
for you to say something breathtaking about him.

Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Friday, March 23, 2018

Today's Devotional

The Fool

Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are
corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. (NIV)

A number of years ago, in the dark of a winter's morning, an owl attempted
to make off with one of my miniature long-haired dachshunds. Fortunately, it
did not succeed, and I learned and implemented a valuable lesson. A
neighbour showed me how to create webbing from rope and string it from tree
to tree
across my dog run, thereby preventing birds of prey from flying back out, if
they were foolish enough — which they are not — to fly in. That was eleven
years ago, and I have had no problems of this nature since.

Within the world, there is a bird of prey, so to speak, who loves nothing
better than to swoop down and seek to make off with people's souls. The
have many names for him, but the one that I will use today is the prince of
darkness. The prince of darkness is no fool when it comes to knowing that
is one God and only one God. But he does not want the world to know it.
Rather, he desires that as many people as possible will serve him as their
and only god, and he preys upon people in many and various ways. He offers
them riches and power, but his offers are lies. He is canny enough to give
a certain amount of what he has promised and what they want, but there is no
lasting peace or joy or satisfaction in what he gives. In the end, any
or power that he does dispense all fade away, for no one can take such
things with them when comes their time to die.

The prince of darkness also seeks to prey upon the children of light: those
who have chosen to believe in the one true God through Jesus Christ as their
Lord and Saviour. The prince of darkness cannot rob them of their souls, but
through his tricks and deceptions, he can keep them from living the life of
spiritual victory which Christ bought and paid for through His death on the
cross. He does this in various ways, some of which include whispering words
of false guilt or doubt into their minds, such as,
Surely God has not forgiven you that sin, or If there really were a loving
God, He would never allow such suffering in the world
, or The Bible doesn't really mean that; after all, it's just a matter of

However, there is a way for the Christian to guard against this bird of
prey, this prince of darkness. That is, within our minds, to string webbing
from the lifeline of God's Word that He has given to us. Read it, study it,
learn it, know it, and use it, for when we do so, it protects our hearts and
souls and minds from the lies of the evil one. It also prepares us to be
able to share God's truth with those who do not yet know Christ and His
power and salvation. God's Word does not return null and void.

This year, Easter is celebrated on April Fool's Day. How appropriate in many
ways, for many fools denied that Jesus was the Messiah, God with us. But
fooled them all when He died and rose again from the dead, and ascended into
heaven and is seated at the Father's right hand. He was and is no fool, and
neither are those who choose by faith to believe upon Him this day and in
the days to come.

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." What do you say?

Prayer: Father God, may the fools of this world be enlightened this Easter
by the truth of Your Word, that the prince of darkness may be put to flight
for another day. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.

Lynne Phipps
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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Post  Admin on Tue 27 Mar 2018, 11:11 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not 
let my enemies gloat over me." (Psalm 30:1)
By Answers2Prayer
The Deeps

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

"I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not 
let my enemies gloat over me." Psalm 30:1 NIV Like Sienna in the snow, I 
often felt overwhelmed by the deep places and circumstances in life.

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

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

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

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

Remember as the psalmist says in Psalm 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my 
shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and
I will give thanks to him in song." NIV

Dwell on the hope which is yours in Christ Jesus not on the deeps which 
surround you. By so doing your heart will, one beat at a time; indeed begin 
leap for joy and thanksgiving as you place your faith anew in God's goodness 
and mercy.

His answer may not come immediately, but wait for Him and it will come. And 
the situation may be a long and slow journey to overcome, but don't give up,
keep going and you will be an over comer. And in the end, like Psalm 
30:11-12 states, "Your song too shall be: You turned my wailing into 
dancing; you
removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you 
and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." NIV

Prayer: Lord God how good it is to praise and thank You amidst any and all 
situations. We may not always understand the why of what is happening, but 
can always know and trust in the truth of Your word and the promise of Your 
helping and saving presence to be with us always. In Christ's name we pray.
Lynne Phipps Atlin, B.C.
Do you need uplifting messages? Are you enjoying devotionals? Visit 
Scriptural Nuggets and discover hundreds of messages for all 
A real blessing! The Scriptural Nuggets offers it's own newsletter as well. 
Quite inspiring!
If you are interested in trying out this fantastic new newsletter, subscribe 
here or by emailing us .
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 

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Post  Admin on Tue 27 Mar 2018, 11:00 pm

6 Critical Truths to Understand about Anger
Mark Altrogge

The Bible has a lot to say about anger.

I don’t mean righteous anger, the kind of anger we can experience toward 
injustice or evil but sinful anger. Many times we may feel we are 
in our anger because someone wronged us. Anger often involves our sense of 
justice. But it’s very easy to slide into sinful anger, hatred, and 
Here are some Biblical truths and principles that God has used to help me 
make progress in conquering my own sinful anger.

Anger is not caused by other people or our circumstances. It comes out of 
our own hearts.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual 
immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
MT 15:19

No one else can make you angry. Circumstances don’t cause your anger. Anger 
is your own sin. David Powlison says our hearts are like sponges. If I 
a sponge and black ink comes out, it might seem that the squeezing caused 
black ink to come out. Yet I might squeeze another sponge and have clear 
come out. So, it was not the squeeze that
caused the ink to come out, but ink came out because that was what was in 
the sponge. The squeeze merely
revealed what was there in the first place. Other people and circumstances 
can “squeeze” our hearts and if anger comes out, it is because that’s what 
in our heart.

Anger is caused by our own unfulfilled desires.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that 
your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you 
You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, 
because you do not ask.
JA 4:1–2

James says our own “passions”—cravings and desires—cause all our quarrels 
and fights. We desire and do not have; so, we murder, fight, and quarrel. In
other words, we want something and we don’t get it; so, we get angry. 
Whenever you are angry ask yourself, “What is it that I want right now that 
I’m not
getting?” Once I told my kids to go to bed and heard them wrestling and 
throwing things upstairs. When I went up I said, “You’re making me mad,” to 
one replied, “But you have said no one else can make you mad.” I said, “You’re 
right. You are disobeying me, which tempts me (squeezes me), and it is my
anger, my sin.” When I went downstairs I asked myself, “What do I want that 
I’m not getting?” My answer: I wanted to relax. I wanted kids who always 
and immediately obeyed. I wanted to watch TV, not oversee bedtime.

Anger won’t make anyone do the right thing.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to 
speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the 
of God.
JA 1:19–20

Many times we think anger will motivate others to do the “right” thing. 
Parents think anger will make their kids do the right thing, or act 
But anger won’t produce the righteousness of God. Anger might make kids 
outwardly obey, like little Pharisees, but it won’t change their hearts. 
won’t produce inward righteousness in our spouse or coworkers. Anger does no 

Anger toward another person is murder of the heart.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and 
whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone
who is angry with his brotherc will be liable to judgment; whoever insultsd 
his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ 
be liable to the hell of fire.”
MT 5:21–22

Learn more about RevenueStripe...
block quote end

We tend to downplay the seriousness of anger. “I was just venting” or 
“letting off steam.” But Jesus said anger is murder of the heart and a 
of one of the 10 commandments. It can make us subject to the very hell of 

Anger makes things worse.
A harsh word stirs up anger. PR 15:1

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife. PR 15:18
block quote end

Not only does anger fail to produce righteousness, it makes things worse. It 
stirs up anger in others. It stirs up strife. It has the opposite effect to
what we are desiring.

Anger opens the door for Satan

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give 
no opportunity to the devil.
EPH 4:26–27

When we “let the sun go down on our anger” or fail to deal with it in a 
timely fashion, either by asking forgiveness, forgiving others, or working 
out with them, it opens the door for Satan to tempt us to bitterness, 
revenge, slander, and a host of other sins. Cain’s anger at Abel led him to 
his brother. Anger is serious. We must deal with it quickly.

These truths have helped me numerous times when I’ve been tempted to anger. 
I’m not saying I’ve conquered it and I never sin in anger. But by God’s 
understanding these things has helped me make progress. I hope you, too, 
will find God’s Word and Spirit help you make progress in overcoming anger.


Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church
of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for 
worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his
wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog,
The Blazing Center .

Anne Graham Lotz -
Easing Your Burden
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves 
is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7, NKJV

Most of us increase our pain by dwelling on it or by analyzing it. We throw 
a pity party and expect others to join us. We spiral downward into 
withdrawing into self-preoccupation. But the way to overcome is not to focus 
on ourselves or on the pain, but to focus on the needs of others.

Would you get your eyes off yourself and your problems and your pressures 
and your pain and look around? Who do you know who is suffering or 
in some way? What can you do for them? Ask God to bring to your attention 
those you can care for. Because as you do, you will find joy in easing their
burden, and in the process, you will ease your own.


Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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Rejected by His Father

Matthew 27:45-56

“Son, I don’t want anything to do with you!” These are the most devastating 
words a son can hear. It’s worse when the father says nothing, but simply 
his back and walks away. Jesus faced this rejection from His Father as He 
breathed out His life on the cross.

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you 
forsaken me?”

The scourging, beatings, and ridicule were unbearable, but this rejection by 
His Father was worse. Darkness over Jerusalem f
rom 12:00
till 3:00 p.m. dramatically underscored the chaos and devastation of this 
rejection. But Matthew did give us an answer to Jesus' question. Remember 
name the angel gave to Joseph at the beginning in the birth narrative? "You 
will call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins"
(Matthew 11:21 ).

God rejected His Son so that we could be forgiven. Because God turned away 
from His Son at Calvary, He will never turn away from those of us who trust
His Son's payment for our sins. The Apostle Paul put it like this, “He who 
knew no sin, became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of 
in Him.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21 )

LORD, I know how much it hurts me when I’m rejected, but I’ll never begin to 
know your agony when You screamed out as your Father turned away. Challenged
about your identity as God’s Son and ridiculed as powerless to do anything 
about your shame--if proof is needed that we humans deserve eternal 
it was proved by those who mocked and watched at the foot of the cross. Why 
You took our death sentence, I will never understand, but help me never stop

“He left His Father’s throne above, So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam’s helpless race.
Amazing love! How can it be That Thou my God, shouldst die for me!”

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit !

Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Sweet Stuff"
February 6, 2018
James 4:7-8 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he 
will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse
your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The other day I watched a video which showed the wisdom and compassion of 

The film began with a two-thirds-size juvenile elephant stuck in a water 
ditch. That elephant knew how to get out of the ditch, but he just wasn't 
enough to make the plan work. Again and again, he'd get a knee up on the 
bank, and then he would end up sliding back. You could see him getting 
tired, and probably a little bit angry.

The next scene showed two full-grown adult elephants joining the juvenile. 
For the longest time, they just stared at him and his predicament. It almost
seemed as if they were saying, "Well, you really did it up right this time, 
didn't you?" The third and final scene had one of the adult elephants 
into the ditch. He pushed and the other elephant pulled, and soon the 
juvenile was freed.

Truly, you have to like elephants ... unless they're eating the food you 
need to feed your family.

Sadly, when that kind of interaction occurs ... and it occurs often ... the 
elephant often pays for the encounter with its life. It's a sad thing, but
there just aren't any effective ways to deter an elephant who wants to munch 
on your garden.

At least that's the way it used to be.

Now a method which has proven effective in Africa is also being tried in Sri 
Lanka. The elephant deterrent? Honeybees. Yup, honeybees. Tests have shown
that elephants will give a wide berth to honeybees --- or even a tape 
recording of honeybees.

Farmers who have been bothered in the past by elephants who had the munchies 
are being encouraged to line the perimeter of their property with honeybee
hives. Those who have done so have reported surprisingly good results, and 
they have the benefit of honey as a new cash crop.

In short, everybody wins.

Now it occurs to me that the same sort of principle might work for humans. 
Sooner or later, all of us have had the devil, the world, and our flesh come
around to bother us. Like those marauding elephants, it seems there's just 
no way to keep them out of the orderly gardens of our faith.

Well, maybe it's time to introduce some spiritual honeybees into our fight 
against temptation. James tells us if we resist the devil he will flee from
us. So, the question is what can really drive away these unholy three? I 
think Luther identified our honeybees. Once he wrote, "The devil hates music 
he cannot stand gaiety" and "Satan can smirk but he cannot laugh; he can 
sneer but he cannot sing."

Which means, next time you're being tempted, you might want to break into an 
enthusiastic rendering of "A Mighty Fortress" or another hymn of your 
Now I know you probably don't think it will work and I can understand your 
skepticism, but if honeybees can work on elephants, I think these hymns of 
in the Christ might work on our spiritual marauders, too.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I ask that You will send the Holy Spirit upon me and 
grant me the tools which will enable me to resist temptations and stand firm
in the faith. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by John Johnson for Newser on January 27, 2018 Editors on January 
21, 2018.

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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 10:33 pm

The Ant

Nothing preaches better than the ant and she says nothing.
—Japanese Proverb

I remember years ago on the back of comic books and in catalogs 
advertisements for ant farms. I never got one but have seen ants in nature. 
The above proverb is true that you can learn a lot by watching the ant. Here 
is what Solomon said about the ant:

"You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing 
or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at 
harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around 
doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, 
a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what 
comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty 
your permanent houseguest! " (Proverbs 6:6-11, The Message)

It seems like ants are always busy. I guess they do have to rest in their 
colonies from time to time but the rest of their days are spent in working. 
Some might think they are workaholics. People can either be like the ant or 
like the lazy person Solomon was instructing. Neither of these are good in 
the extreme. So what do we need to learn from these?

Ants don’t let anything deter them from what they have to do. If someone 
steps on their anthill, they don’t sit around crying, “Oh no! What are we 
going to do? Our home is ruined! We’ll never be able to get it fixed.” No, 
they get started and get to rebuilding their hill.

I’m not saying that rest is not needed. God told us that we are to rest and 
have an enjoyable time but we are not to take this to excess. Some people 
may live too much like the ant and need to take more time off from work to 
enjoy life. So learn from the ant. Do what you need to do but also take time 
for yourself.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

"And They Crucified Him" #85-30

Sermon Text for March 25, 2018
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on March 25, 2018
By Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Copyright 2018 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Mark 14:24a
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! But before that wonderful victory 
could be won, it was first necessary for the Lord's Son, our Savior, to 
and die. His sacrifice to save sinful humankind is the blessed story which 
saves. Lord, grant such a saving faith in that message to us all. Amen.

When I was a young boy, during the early days of television, CBS produced a 
program called You Are There. Using the best writers, the best actors, the
show pretended they were taking their audience to important dates in 
history. Acting as if they were actually present at these events, You Are 
There reporters
would unfold an accurate history lesson as they interviewed the important 
people at those events. One week they would be on the deck of the sinking 
the next week You Are There would interview Davy Crockett at the Alamo, and 
the following they would be standing on the sidelines for the assassination
of Julius Caesar.

This past week, I went over the list of places and events You Are There 
covered. I was shocked to find that they never had any reporters interview 
Bethlehem innkeeper on the night Jesus was born. They never spoke to a 
shepherd who had heard the angels tell how God's Son had come to change and 
the world. They never went to the stable. They never spoke to Mary and 

But that's not all. Although the program covered the gunfight at the OK 
Corral and Eli Whitney inventing the cotton gin, they never managed to be at 
borrowed Jerusalem tomb of Jesus. What a scoop that would have been to 
record the soldiers collapsing in terror at the sight of the risen Redeemer 
or to
talk to the women who came to finish Jesus' burial and ended up seeing their 
living Lord face to face. No, they never covered that event, and there is
yet a third event which You Are There never covered. They never went to 
Jesus' crucifixion outside the city walls of Jerusalem, almost 2,000 years 
Although the rest of the Christian world will not get there until this 
Friday, Good Friday, the traditional day Jesus died, I would like to take 
you there
today. We are a bit early, but you really have to go there this week if you 
are to understand Dr. Meyer's resurrection message next week.

As we begin our walk up to the hill of crucifixion, let me fill you in on 
the events of the last few days. Less than a week ago, Jesus entered 
as if He were a king. Indeed, the crowds which surrounded Him proclaimed Him 
to be just that: the successor to the nation of Israel's favorite monarch,
David. "Hosanna to the son of David!" they called out. "Blessed is He who 
comes in the Name of the Lord!" they yelled. It was not an event which was 
enthusiastically by everyone. The religious leaders of the nation, feeling 
power slipping from their hands, and fearing what might be the response of 
Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate, began a plot against Jesus.

In short order, and at bargain basement prices, one of Jesus' closest 
disciples, Judas Iscariot, was bribed into betraying His Master. That is 
how, on
Thursday night, Jesus was arrested and put on trial. To be honest, it wasn't 
much of a trial. It was held at an illegal time when the testimony of the
witnesses was bought and paid for. Even so, for a while it seemed Jesus 
might escape the trap. It was only when He claimed to be the Son of God, the 
of the world that they felt they had grounds to sentence Him to death.

Sadly, at least from their perspective, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme 
court, didn't have the legal authority to put anyone to death. To do that, 
needed the blessing of the government. With a bit of fancy footwork, which 
included changing the charges against Jesus, urging the crowd to call for 
death, and threatening to take the case all the way to Caesar in Rome, they 
got Pilate to give in and order a Man whom he knew to be innocent, to be 
to the cross. Which takes us to the place where we are right now-near the 
top of a hill, which more than one person says resembles a human skull. As 
old TV program would have said, "You are there." You are there at the 
crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.

If you look around, you can identify a number of groups. See that small 
bunch over there-the distraught ones with the tears. That is Jesus' mother, 
friends, and John, the only one of Jesus' disciples brave enough to put in 
an appearance. The easiest group to recognize are the members of the Roman 
squad. It is not an easy thing to nail a squirming man to a cross, but 
experience has taught them how to do the job with efficiency and a minimum 
of effort.
In our age, artists show people being crucified on crosses way up in the 
air. The Romans knew better. Such a cross is a waste of wood, and besides, 
far easier to hang a person on a cross with his feet only inches off the 
ground. You can see that part of the job has been done. Now, the soldiers 
for the end and make sure nobody attempts some kind of rescue. They occupy 
themselves by laughing at the condemned, playing games, and dividing up the
earthly goods of the crucified. It is one of the perks of their job.

On this side of the Romans are the fellows who put Jesus on that cross. They 
have waited a long time for this day and feel no need to hold back their 
If you listen carefully, you can pick up some of the things they say. Did 
you hear that one? "Jesus, You saved others, why don't You save Yourself?" 
calls for a bit of an explanation. You see, for the last few years, Jesus 
has been saving others. Not even His worst enemies can deny His miracles. He
touched and healed lepers, those who were possessed by devils, made the lame 
walk, granted sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and most wondrous of
all, raised people from the dead. It's true.

Yes, from the dead. One of His latest miracles, the raising of well-known 
Lazarus from Bethany, really upset the apple cart. People who had written 
His other miracles were touched by this one. It couldn't be explained away. 
The man had not been kind of dead, he had been dead for days. Still, when 
called his name, a living Lazarus, still wrapped up in his mummy-like burial 
cloths, came shuffling out of the tomb. Yes, after that miracle, a lot of
people thought the Messiah had come. So there you have it. Let me ask, do 
you have any questions?

Ah, a question about the two nameless men who are crucified on either side 
of Jesus. No, I hadn't forgotten them. In fact, they are the subject of what
I want to talk to you about. You see, these men are unique in all of 
history. Since God first promised to send His Son to be the Substitute to 
rescue us
from our sins, humanity had been waiting for Jesus to arrive. Adam, Abraham, 
Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah looked forward to this day, and believed God
would keep His promise to send a Redeemer; but all of them lived and died 
without ever seeing the Man who is hanging, right now, upon that middle 

And after the death of these three men, the world will look back upon this 
day as being the greatest injustice the world has ever seen. But these two 
on the cross are different. They neither look forward, nor do they look 
back. Today is all they have. What's that? Do I know their history? No, I 
even know their names. All I can tell you is that both these men were tried 
and justly convicted by Roman law. Both were condemned to the same death; 
were dying next to God's Son; and both could have been saved by Him.

Oh, one other thing: I've been told that when they were nailed to their 
crosses, they both made fun of Jesus, the Man in the middle. Perhaps they 
trying to deflect the jeering and heckling of the crowd away from 
themselves. Possibly they derived some degree of personal joy from the 
derision of Jesus.
(After all, it's human nature to want to look down upon somebody else). In 
their situation, the list of candidates for ridicule is a short one. Who 
maybe it is even possible for these men to want, just for a few moments, to 
feel they are part of the large group gathered before the cross.

Listen carefully, if the wind is right, you can hear the one call out. 
"Jesus," he says "if you really are the Messiah You claim to be, don't You 
it's about time You came down from the cross? And as long as You're getting 
down, why not take the two of us with You?" You know my friend, in our age
it's going to be fashionable to believe Jesus didn't die. People will say He 
went into a coma, or fainted, or well, they will just say He didn't die.. But
this thief knew better than that. He knew if that were to happen, these 
Roman guards would forfeit their lives. He knew that nobody who was 
crucified came
down off the cross alive.

Wait, what? This is strange. The other thief who had earlier been throwing 
jibes of his own is silent. No, not silent. Just thinking. Thinking before 
calls back, "Man, don't you get it? We're dying and will soon answer to God 
for the crimes we have committed. We're here because our lives earned it, 
this Man has done nothing wrong." That's a lot for a man in such pain to 
say, but it appears he is not done. Looking at Jesus, he humbly pleads, 
remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

Over the centuries, wise men will write great commentaries about the Bible. 
Many of those men will say this crucified thief did nothing. In some 
they are right. He was never baptized; he never joined a church; he never 
made a pledge; he never went to a Bible class; and he never gave a single 
to missions. But that does not mean this man did nothing. In those few short 
sentences, this man did a great deal. Consider, Jesus had once said, 
who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who 
is in heaven." No doubt about it, our thief has done that.

Years from now the apostle John will write, "If we confess our sins, He is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all 
If I heard correctly just now, the thief has also made such a confession of 
his transgressions.

But that last part, the request that Jesus would remember him ... and the 
promise of eternal life Jesus gave in return. You know, you can read through
the Gospels most carefully and you will find Jesus never gave such a promise 
to anybody else. We probably shouldn't be surprised. If the thief had lived
to read 1 Corinthians, he would have understood when Paul wrote, "For the 
word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are 
saved it is the power of God." No explanation would have been necessary if 
the thief had heard Paul say, "But God shows His love for us in that while 
were still sinners, Christ died for us." Of course, there is John 3:16.. 
Those familiar words seem written for this dying thief. You remember them, 
God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in 
Him should not perish but have eternal life."

I am glad you have come here with me today. I am glad you are there. I am 
glad you have a chance to see two men who represent all of humanity. You 
like those thieves at the beginning of this execution, we all began our 
lives alienated from the Lord. Certainly not all of us mocked the Lord, but 
doesn't mean we were His friends. Our innate sinfulness was there, and it 
was enough to separate us from the Triune God, and it was enough to keep us 

But then something happened to some of us-just like something happened to 
that thief. I don't know what changed the mind and heart of that man on the 
Was it Jesus taking care of His mother or forgiving those who put Him there? 
I don't know what changed the thief, but I do know who changed Him. 
somehow, the Holy Spirit spoke to him, spoke to both those thieves. And 
somewhere, somehow, one of those thieves was saved, and the other was 
as some who are hearing this message will not be saved.

And that's sadness because it doesn't have to be. Look again at the picture 
in front of you. Jesus, God's Son, our Savior, is dying, As He does, He 
all of our sins. On either side of Him hangs a sinner. Both of them, 
understandably, want to be delivered from their death sentence. One of the 
men said,
"Jesus, save Yourself and us." That man wanted to go back to his sin, back 
to his crimes, back to his old way of life, and pick up where he had left 
Did you notice that Jesus said nothing to him? But the other criminal, well, 
he wanted to be delivered, but he wanted his deliverance to be forward. 
repentantly, he prayed, "Jesus remember me when You enter Your kingdom.." In 
spite of Jesus' pain, in spite of all our sins which He was carrying, Jesus
turned to that man and said, "Today you will be with Me in paradise."

There is a profound truth here. The truth is this. Our sinfulness, our human 
nature, our blackened desire always wants to go back ... back to the dark
.... back where nobody can judge us ... back where nobody can condemn us. But 
the Lord never delivers people backward. His deliverance is always forward.
"Today you will be with Me." That was Jesus' promise, and the direction He 
was taking that thief was forward: forward to salvation, forward to heaven,
forward to an eternity without fear, greed, need, tears, or sorrow.

But that forward direction is not just for this thief. Look at your Bible. 
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness they kept whining about 
they should never have left Egypt. They wanted to go back. But God's 
deliverance is always forward, and although it took a while, His people 
ended up in the Promised Land.

And so it is for you. Actually, that's the way it is for everybody. In the 
course of this message I have repeatedly said, "You are there," and that's 
truth. But now I would like to have you turn around. Go slowly, because you 
are going to be surprised at what you see. The sight almost takes your 
away, doesn't it? Let me tell you what you are looking at. You are looking 
at every man, woman, and child who is alive today. There are billions of 
here There are people from every continent, every culture, every climate, 
and of every color.

But that number is only a small portion of the people you can see. The truth 
is, every person who will ever be born will someday have a you are there 
People from the present and the future will, sooner or later, line up on one 
side of that cross or the other. Every one of us will identify with the 
who wanted to be left alone or the thief who was given a repentant heart, 
faith in the Savior and the gift of eternal life.

Today you have stood at the foot of the cross and watched God's sinless Son 
carry the sins of the world. But this message cannot end without me telling
you there is another you are there moment you must behold. If this day was 
the darkest in humankind's history, and it was, you need to be here for the
greatest day this world will ever see. Be there as a doomed and damned world 
recognizes its Savior who not only carried our sins, but whose resurrection
also defeated death. Listen to next week's broadcast, when Dr. Dale Meyer 
speaks about the risen Redeemer. And if you cannot wait that long to hear 
about the living Lord, then don't hesitate. Please, call us at The Lutheran 
Hour. Amen.
Print this Sermon

Reflections for March 25, 2018 - "And They Crucified Him"
Mark Eischer: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. That was Pastor Ken 
Klaus, and Dr. Dale Meyer joins us now here in the studio. Dr. Meyer, here 
are at the beginning of Holy Week. Our topic for today is how does one make 
or keep Holy Week holy?

Dale Meyer: A day or a week is not holy of itself. Paul teaches that in 
Colossians. We make it holy by giving time to the Word of God in meditation.. 
means that, as we begin this week's journey to the cross, which Pastor Klaus 
presented so nicely to us, we should make an intentional effort to meditate
upon the Word of God and thereby this week becomes holy for us.

Mark Eischer: I think sometimes we have the wrong impression of what holy 
means. It really means to be set apart or consecrated to something. Right?

Dale Meyer: Absolutely. We are not the people of this world. God has called 
us out to follow Jesus, to follow Him to the cross, to the empty tomb, and
one day to heaven. We are a different people. We may have forgotten that 
during the decades when America was, quote unquote, "Christian America," but 
way the culture has changed now, we are, as St. Peter says in his first 
epistle, we really are a "peculiar people." We are holy.

Mark Eischer: As a people set apart by God's grace, how do we make this week 
also set apart and consecrated?

Dale Meyer: I think by taking the time to meditate, to read the Bible and 
our devotional literature, to see also how the people around Jesus reacted. 
Klaus talked about, "You are there." Well, what would we have done if we 
were there? I'm not so sure that we would have reacted any differently than 
people did. Then thirdly, in meditation, in looking back to the story, let's 
also look at our story. Am I living now as someone who knows that Jesus died
for my sins, that He rose for me and I have been called to live a life set 
apart, peculiar, holy?

Mark Eischer: How does one meditate on God's Word?

Dale Meyer: We have the Third Commandment, which says, "Remember the Sabbath
day to keep it holy," and Dr. Luther says, "We should fear and love God so 
that we do not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly
hear and learn it." That's one thing we would especially do this Holy Week: 
take the time to meditate on the Word of God, especially the Passion of our
Lord Jesus.

Similarly, in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition says, "Hallowed be Thy 
Name," meaning may Your Name be holy, Name meaning His revelation. May that
revelation be special to us. Again, Luther: "God's Name is certainly holy in 
itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us 
Then the question is how is God's Name kept holy? God's Name is kept holy 
when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as children 
God also lead holy lives according to it. Help us do this, dear Father in 
heaven, that anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God's Word profanes the
Name of God among us. Protect us from this, Heavenly Father." The Third 
Commandment and the first petition talk about how we sanctify every day and 
lives, and that's by the Word of God and meditation.

Mark Eischer: Would you say that's particularly hard to do in our day and 
age, and if so, why?

Dale Meyer: Great, great question, Mark. I think one is familiarity. Here in 
America, many of us, especially in the church, have been through Holy Week 
so many times that we think we got it down pat. I, for one, as a minister, 
Good Friday, Easter, Christmas, very difficult to preach, simply because of 
this familiarity. How do we crack through the familiarity to see the 
nature of what really happened? That's one.
A second reason is I think in our day and age we have separated spiritual 
from real life. We are body, soul, and spirit, all one person, but in this 
and age, well, that's spiritual. You can take care of that on your own time, 
but now we're here about real life. I think that separation of spiritual 
the realities of life in this sinful world makes it more difficult too. The 
fact of the matter is, Jesus didn't die a spiritual death. The crucifixion
was agonizing, ghastly, and it was body, soul, and spirit. That's another 
reason why I think it's difficult because we've divorced the spiritual from 

Mark Eischer: Again, our question today is, how does one make or keep Holy 
Week holy? Dr. Meyer, what does that look like in your situation?

Dale Meyer: Here's my plan. I think on Thursday, Maundy Thursday, I'm going 
to put my devices away, cell phone away, no Facebook, no tweets, none of 
stuff. I'm going to find a place where I can put it away and not get to it 
very easily, because one of the problems with the blessings of our digital 
is that it makes us superficial and instantaneous. These days, Thursday, 
Friday, Saturday, and then joyous Sunday, got to get all this ephemeral 
out of my mind so that I can actually sit and be still before God on His 

Then I think on Good Friday, that'll be a solemn day. What I have done many 
times in the past and may do again is listen to at least part of Bach's St.
Matthew Passion. It starts out,
"Come ye daughters, share my wailing," and I start to put myself in that 
scene, much the way Pastor Klaus did for us in his fine message today. I 
to reflect on all that's going on here, and I confess I can never fully 
comprehend all that's going on here.

Then Saturday, I'll keep my activity minimal, meditate. I hope to learn 
more, that I really am there at the cross, not just as a spectator, but as 
person put to death. I am put to death at the cross. That's because I have 
been buried with Christ by baptism into death, as St. Paul says in Romans 6,
more and more I want to see that it is my sinful self that was put to death 
on Good Friday. Without dying to my sinful self through Jesus' cross, I 
appreciate the new life that comes Easter morning.
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:
"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"All Glory Laud and Honor" From The Concordia Organist (©️ 2009 Concordia

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Every Calvary Step Was Love
By John Piper
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us. (1 John 3:16)

The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was 
intentional. If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us.
It was love.

“When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the 
Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the 
(John 13:1).

Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”

Therefore, to feel the love of Christ in the laying down of his life, it 
helps to see how utterly intentional it was.

Look at what Jesus said just after that violent moment when Peter tried to 
cleave the skull of the servant, but only cut off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who 
take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal 
my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 
But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 

It is one thing to say that the details of Jesus’s death were predicted in 
the Old Testament. But it is much more to say that Jesus himself was making
his choices precisely to see to it that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

That is what Jesus said he was doing in Matthew 26:54. “I could escape this 
misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be 

In other words, I am not choosing to take the way out that I could take 
because I know the Scriptures. I know what must take place for my people to 
saved. It is my choice to fulfill all that is predicted of me in the word of 
God. It is my choice — every step of the way — to love my people to the 
And I want them to feel this. And be utterly secure and free and radically 
different from the world.

Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402

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

"Ready, Willing, and Able"
February 5, 2018
Psalm 46:1-3 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in 
trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the 
be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though 
the mountains tremble at its swelling.
According to Dallas Fire-Rescue Captain, Charles Hyles, the day started out 
like any other.

He had to keep pushing his three children to get ready for school. Then, 
when they were dressed and fed, he dropped one of his kids off at the Italy, 
grade school and two more at the local high school. After that, he went to 
his uncle's store which was a hang-out for retired fire-fighters.

It was while Hyles was at the store the day dropped its mask of normalcy.

Right before 8 a.m. one of the store's employees arrived and reported there 
had been a shooting at the high school, and children were running all over
the place. Fearing for the well-being of his two boys, Hyles got back in his 
truck and raced back to the school.

Entering the building, he came across a 15-year-old girl whose gunshot 
wounds were being treated by staff.

Kneeling over the wounded teen, he asked if there were any other casualties.. 
He breathed a sigh of relief when he was told the girl was the only victim.
At that moment, he knew his boys were safe. With that piece of information, 
Hyles devoted himself completely to caring for the girl.

Looking up at him, the unnamed girl said, "I don't want to die. Don't let me 

Hyles gave her all the assurances he could. He stayed with her and got her 
on to the emergency helicopter. He gave her a kiss on the head and said he 
see her at the hospital. It was his way of assuring her that she was going 
to pull through.

It took Hyles a while to get to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He 
reports, "I walked in the room, she started crying and said, 'You didn't let 
die.' And I said, 'No, baby. God didn't let you die.'"

Hyles then added, "I didn't do anything different. There's over 1,800 
firefighters in Dallas, (and an) ungodly amount of volunteer firefighters. 
one of them would've done the same thing. I'm not the hero. I'm just the 
piece of the puzzle that God put in place to do this."

There are, my friends, some powerful theological truths in those last two 
paragraphs. The first thing we ought to note is Hyles' recognition that the 
is our real preserver.

How did Luther say it? The Lord "richly and daily provides me with all that 
I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and
guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, 
divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me."

God is in control. That is what Hyles said to the crying young girl. But 
there's more. Hyles also said, "I'm just the piece of the puzzle that God 
in place to do this."

My friends, I wonder how many times the Lord places us into situations where 
we, like Hyles, are a "piece of the puzzle"? How many times does the Lord
drop us into a location where we may be the only ones who can make a 
witness; the only ones who know the Savior and can tell of the wonders of 
His love?
It may not be often, but I pray, when the time comes we will, like Hyles, be 

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the right vision, the right attitude, and 
the right words to point people to the Savior who alone can make a saving 
in the souls of sinners. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
written by Maria Guerrero on Jan 23, 2018 for NBC5 Dallas, on January 23, 
2018. Those
who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which 
was fully functional at the time this devotion was written, click here

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 23:1-22

How Your Pain Can Turn to Praise
Whitney Hopler

Editor’s note: The following is a report on the practical application of 
Michael A. Milton's book,

Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise
(P&R Publishing, 2011).

Jesus said that we would all have trouble in this fallen world. So we expect 
suffering to enter our lives, but when it does, we often try to get through
it as fast as possible rather than asking God what we can learn from it.

If you choose to embrace your suffering rather than running from it, your 
pain can turn to praise as God brings good purposes out of the suffering he 
allowed into your life. Here’s how you can respond to suffering by inviting 
God to turn your pain into praise:

Offer your suffering to God. Rather than pleading with God to take your 
suffering away, view it as a gift that God has allowed to come to you so you 
seek Him more and experience His grace in deeper ways. Keep in mind that the 
same thing that evil forces may intend to destroy you can become what leads
you to experience more of God’s blessings in your life. What will determine 
whether your suffering leads to negative or positive results in your life is
how you respond to it. Decide that you will respond to any type of 
suffering – from illness, grief, broken relationships, financial problems, 
etc. – by surrendering it to God in prayer, asking Him to use it for good in 
your life and trusting Him to do so.

Invite Jesus to help you through life’s storms. Jesus experienced the depths 
of human suffering during His time on Earth, so He knows what you’re going
through. Jesus chose to go through extreme suffering on the cross to pay for 
people’s sins, so He cares about what you’re going through. Realize that 
you’re dealing with the storms of suffering, Jesus is available to go 
through them with you, giving you the peace you need in the midst of the 
storms and
guiding you wisely through them. Connect with Jesus frequently through 
prayer as you’re going through storms to gain the perspective and help you 

Know that Jesus is praying for you. You can trust Jesus, because He has 
prayed for you to trust Him – and He prayed that before He died for your 
sins and
before you were born. Today, Jesus continues to pray for you in heaven. You 
can rest assured that Jesus will take whatever weakness that you entrust to
Him and infuse it with His strength so you can grow through suffering.

Expect God to redeem your suffering. Let your suffering help you see your 
need for a Savior, and keep in mind that your personal story of suffering is
part of the greater story of how God is redeeming the world through Jesus. 
Give your lost causes, hopeless situations, and broken dreams to God, and 
Him to redeem them somehow, because He wants the best for you.

Embrace God’s kindness to you. God loves you unconditionally, and He kindly 
offers you mercy, despite your sins. Feel free to come to Him just as you 
Expect Him to warmly welcome you and give you all the grace you need to 
overcome the suffering in your life.

Confess and repent of your sins to begin receiving healing from God. 
Whenever you recognize a connection between your suffering and some type of 
sin in
your life, confess that sin in prayer to God, and turn away from it 
completely. By doing so, you invite God to start healing you of the damage 
that sin
has caused in your life.

Be confident that your suffering won’t prevent God from accepting you or 
using your life. Rest assured that God has accepted you because of Jesus 
sacrifice for you on the cross, and nothing that you suffer can ever change 
that fact. Rejoice that, not only will your suffering not disqualify you 
serving God, but the specific ways in which you’ve suffered can actually 
become the greatest ways in which God can use your life to help redeem the 
When you suffer in a certain area of your life, you develop compassion for 
other people who are also suffering in that area (for example, you can care
more about cancer patients after you’ve overcome cancer yourself). If you 
respond to your suffering by offering it to God to transform into something 
will use to bless others, you may find that your greatest ministry grows out 
of your deepest suffering.

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Trust God even when people betray you. When people you had once thought you 
could trust betray your trust, you need to set boundaries with them to 
yourself until they earn back your trust (if they ever do). But you can 
still live in faith, even when people have betrayed you, because God is 
trustworthy and you can choose to trust God in any situation – even those 
involving difficult people. Ask God to take what people intended for evil 
use it to accomplish something good in your life.

Overcome your regrets. Although there are consequences to the choices that 
you’ve made in the past, God is always willing to forgive you for your 
and help you learn from them. Be honest with God about your regrets and ask 
Jesus to help you move forward with the peace that only He can give.

Remember that God will complete the good work He has begun in you. Healing 
from suffering is a process. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be patient 
the healing process, however long it takes. Trust in God’s promise to 
complete the healing work that He begins in you.

Live in ways that will help other people seek God in their own suffering. 
Ask God to empower you to live with integrity and love, so you’ll inspire 
to learn more about your faith. When people ask about your faith, tell them 
stories about how God has helped you overcome suffering by turning your pain
to praise. Show others who are suffering that God’s love is stronger than 
any pain.

Adapted from
Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise , copyright 2011 
by Michael A. Milton. Published by P&R Publishing, Philipsburg, NJ,

New Post on - When the Time Comes

When the Time Comes

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:55 PM PST

block quote
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell 
you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it 
only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who 
loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world 
keep it for eternal life.

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this 
hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify
your name!”
(John 12:23-25, 27-28, NIV)
block quote end

Jesus knew His time had come. He was about to be
deserted by His closest friends,
mocked and humiliated by His enemies,
condemned to death by His own people,
separated from His Father with whom He had enjoyed an eternity of intimate 
fellowship, and executed by the most brutal method known.

Yet how did He think of the hours ahead? He considered it His chance to show 
the entire world the amazing love of His Father. It was His chance to plant
the seed from which a bountiful, eternal harvest would grow.

Facing His ordeal, He wasn’t begging for a way out. He was asking the Father 
to glorify Himself through all that was about to happen.

Father, that is my prayer as well. Through my difficult hours, glorify 
Yourself. Through my suffering, let the world see how marvelous and loving 
You are!

[Jesus said]: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him 
who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over
from death to life."
-- John 5:24

Early in Julius Caesar's political career, the people of Rome hated him so 
badly that he thought it best to leave his country. He sailed for the Aegean
island of Rhodes, but on the way pirates attacked his ship and Caesar was 

The pirates demanded a ransom of 12,000 gold pieces, and Caesar's staff was 
sent to make the arrangements for payment. For almost 40 days, the pirates
held Caesar captive.

He would jokingly tell them that he would someday capture and crucify them. 
The amused kidnappers dismissed his threats. But when the ransom was paid 
Caesar was released, the first thing he did was gather his army together to 
pursue the pirates.

The pirates indeed were captured and crucified!

This was the Romans' attitude toward crucifixion. This cruel death was 
reserved only for the worst criminals. It was meant to show extreme contempt 
the condemned. And the pain and humiliation experienced by someone crucified 
by the Romans was unmatched by any other.

They condemned and humiliated the person and name of Jesus thousands of 
years ago just as many people do today. And even though He died a lowly 
we as believers can rejoice in knowing that "He was delivered over to death 
for our sins and was raised to life for our justification"
(Romans 4:25 ).

Jesus died for the sins of all--including those who beat Him and nailed Him 
to the cross. You may know of someone today who doesn't know Jesus. Will you
be the one to tell them about the forgiveness He gives? Will you be the one 
who points them toward eternal life through Jesus?

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life this Easter 
who you can share the story of His death, burial, and resurrection, and the
price He paid for their sins.

Visit the Senior Living Ministries website

The Whole Bible Guides Us Toward Jesus
By Rick Warren

“Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what 
was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself”
( >Luke 24:27 NIV).

Only God could have put the Bible together. It contains 66 books written 
over 1,600 years by 40 authors -- and it has one theme.

Having a single unified theme is one of the reasons we know that the Bible 
is God’s Word. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is all about God 
humanity. Jesus is its star.

The fact that the Bible has only one theme is nothing short of a miracle. It’d 
be one thing if one person wrote the Bible. The Koran was written by one
person, Mohammed. The Analects of Confucius were written by Confucius. The 
writings of Buddha were written by Buddha. You’d expect them to be uniform.

The Bible, on the other hand, was written by 40 different people, at every 
age and in every stage of life, on three continents. And they all wrote the
same story: Jesus’ story. Prophets and poets, princes and kings, and sailors 
and soldiers all had the same story. Some were written in homes, others in
prisons, and others on ships. You couldn’t have put together a more diverse 
group of authors.

Yet the story is the same.

Imagine if I gave 50 people each a piece of paper, and I told them to tear 
their pieces of paper into different shapes -- but I never said how I’m 
to use them. What’s the likelihood I’d be able to take those pieces of paper 
and make a map of the United States out of them? Those odds would be 
low. If I did that, most people would think it was a trick.

That’s the miracle of how the Bible was put together.

We tend to think that the New Testament is about Jesus and the Old Testament 
is about Israel. But that’s not true. The Bible says in Luke 24:27
, “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what 
was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself”(NIV). The New Testament
wasn’t even written then.

The pictures, the metaphors, the analogies, and the illusions -- from 
beginning to end -- are about God’s plan to redeem people and build a family 
eternity. It all began with Jesus. You can see him in every book.
That’s a miracle.

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Post  Admin on Fri 23 Mar 2018, 10:02 pm

Life is a Celebration

How you view your life will make a world of difference in how you live your 
life. If you live your life viewing it from a biblical perspective, it will
have deeper meaning than if you see it through a pessimistic looking glass. 
Ecclesiastes 11
, we find Solomon’s ultimate conclusion to his view on life, and the lessons 
he learned. Here are four key points from these two chapters:

1. Life is a stewardship; invest it wisely. Read Ecclesiastes 11:1
–6. Everything in life--not only possessions, but also family, friends, 
relationships, everything you have--is a gift from God. He entrusted you to 
all of His bounties on His behalf. You don’t own it, but He’s giving it to 
you to manage it for Him. You see, the whole of life, Solomon said, is a 
and so we must invest it wisely.

2. Life is a celebration; delight in it. Read Ecclesiastes 11:7
–12:8. For us to enjoy life and to see it as a celebration, there are three 
things that we must do--rejoice (11:7–9), remove (11:10–11), and remember 
Rejoice in each day. Anticipate every new day as a wrapped gift from the 
hand of God, and look forward to literally waking up and unwrapping that 
gift each day. Start your day with gratitude. Remove bitterness, false 
beliefs, bad habits, and unwholesome relationships from your life now before 
endanger your future. Remember the constant presence of God. Wherever you 
go, He is with you and He is watching over you. Remember to obey His Word, 
seek His righteousness and His kingdom first--for that is the secret to your 
success. Remember to place Him first in every decision you make.

3. Life is a school; grow in it. Read Ecclesiastes 12:9
–12. How does God teach us in His school of life? Primarily, it is through 
His Word. Our textbook is the Bible, and our teacher is the Holy Spirit. 
are always new lessons in God’s school. There are always new examinations 
coming up and every time we think we’ve passed one exam, there is another 
on the way. We always have opportunities to grow, progress, and advance.

4. Life is a responsibility; succeed in it. Read Ecclesiastes 12:13
–14. Life is a gift from the hand of God. And like any gift, there is an 
obligation associated with it--an obligation to value it, to cherish it, and 
gratefully use it. We need to fear God with a godly fear--an attitude of 
gratitude, reverence and awe. It is an attitude of love and respect for the 
and the greatness of the giver of the gift.

You may feel that you have been heading in the wrong direction. This is the 
time; this is the moment for you to get back into the game of life. Begin to
see life as a stewardship to be invested wisely. Begin to see it as a 
celebration to be delighted in. Begin to see it as a school in which you 
grow. Begin
to see it as a responsibility in which to succeed. Just as the old hymn 
reminds us, life is worth the living simply because Christ lives.


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and this book focuses on living a God-honoring life, overcoming fear through 
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The Healing Power of Forgiven Sin
Greg Morse / Sunday, February 4, 2018 7:00 PM
The Healing Power of Forgiven Sin

His body didn’t work.

How long had he been known as “the paralytic”? How long had his legs not 
obeyed? How long would he be held a prisoner in his own bed?

But the word on the street was that the Messiah was coming. When the 
paralytic heard of it, he couldn’t help the impulse to do what he had been 
to do for some time: hope.

Story after story testified that Jesus could heal him. He could raise a 
cripple from his bed, he could resurrect fallen limbs — but would he? These 
Forsaking caution, the paralytic enlisted his friends to carry him to his 
only hope.

The house was full. They couldn’t get through the door — but going home was 
not an option. They climbed to the roof, bore through the ceiling, and his
friends lowered him down through the roof. Though many pressed in on the 
miracle-worker, Jesus, delighting in their faith, called out to the 

Take heart, my son . . . ”

As the Messiah began to speak, rain began to fall upon the desert; the sun 
was cresting the horizon; hope, his estranged friend, drew near again. 
to even his closest of friends, the years had worn on him. His spirit lay 
nearly as limp as his legs. But Jesus commanded him to
take heart. He knew. In the crowded room, the Messiah himself called him “my 
son.” Certainly, the healing was about to come.

“Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2). Then came the 
pause that felt like an eternity to a man with no use of his legs.

Imagine yourself standing there. You just made a way through a roof for your 
paralyzed friend to get to Jesus. As the Pharisees balk about his authority
to forgive sins, you might wonder, “Does he not see him lying here on the 
bed? Does he not know our purpose for coming all of this way? Is he unable 
heal? Would our friend not ‘take heart’ and feel more like ‘his son’ if 
Jesus healed his broken body as well as forgave his sins? What’s forgiveness 
your legs don’t work?”

How often, in our own pain, have we been tempted to wonder the same thing?

Why Does the Caged Bird Sing?

With chronic pain in our bodies, with disabilities and heartache in our 
homes, with death and violence in our world, with hobbled hopes and drooping 
we wonder why our Messiah does not heal us.

At times, despair grips our throats so tightly that we can only lift our 
voices loud enough to whimper, “Why, Lord?” Why arthritis, why cancer, why 
why divorce, why this loss and that grief, why? Some of us have moments when 
we wonder, like Job, why we were even born. We long for death — but it does
not come (Job 3:21).

But what if, for those beaten by the violent winds of this life, Jesus’s 
words to the paralytic were a warm bowl of soup for our weary souls? “Take 
my sons and daughters; your sins are forgiven.”

The greatest need for the paralytic was not the revival of his limbs, but 
the renewal of his soul. And this restoration came not through the healing 
was to follow, but through the knowledge that his sin was forgiven.
Take heart, take courage, take joy in the fact that you, though formerly red 
like crimson, are now as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). He did not primarily
need strengthened legs, but a strengthened heart — a heart that knew it had 
peace with God, a heart that heard God call him
son. A heart we need today.

Jesus gave him something better than limb resurrection; he gave him soul 
rebirth. Even if he was to go home on that bed, trapped in the same prison 
a body, Jesus’s words that his many sins had been forgiven, was reason 
enough to make the caged bird sing a thousand lifetimes.

A Few More Tossings of the Sea

If you are a child of God, if the Spirit bears witness with your spirit that 
you are his (Romans 8:16), if he whispers to your soul that these words are
yours, then how can you not rejoice? Although your life is hard, although 
sleep is your greatest companion, although expectations and dreams lie upon 
side as spent limbs,
your sins are forgiven. You have a higher reason to reclaim hope than that 
your circumstances change and suffering ceases: your name is written in 
(Luke 10:20).

Jesus did go on to heal his legs. In so doing, he proved himself to be God 
and showed that healing in this life is not insignificant, nor are decades 
pain and disability. But healing in this life is not ultimate. Our Messiah 
does not mend the bodies of all his children in this age — though he 
will in the next. What he does do, however, is speak to each of his sheep, 
“Take heart, my beloved. Because of my work on the cross for you, your sins
are forgiven, your crimes are forgotten, and your future glory will one day 
make all this suffering like a distant dream.”

Let God’s forgiveness — that which no money can buy, no good deeds can earn, 
and no suffering can steal — breathe heaven’s air into your lungs. Satan is
robbed of his accusations against you. You have been adopted into Christ’s 
family. You are perfect in God’s eyes in union with his Son. Let this news 
you up on wings like eagles — though your health, happiness, and legs be 
anchored to the floor. Christ has given us more than new legs; he has given 
a new heart, a new hope, and a new future — by giving himself, bloodied on a 
cross, for us. He shall not spare us anything for our ultimate good.

Remember, in the words of J.C. Ryle, “A few more years of watching and 
praying, a few more tossings on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and 
a few more winters and summers, and all will be over. We shall have fought 
our last battle and shall need to fight no more.”

And then we shall be with him without paralyzed affections, minds, or 

Now, as we lie on the floor, he whispers, “Take heart, my child; your sins 
are forgiven.” Yet soon enough we will hear, “Rise, my child, and enter into
the joy of your Master.”

Did Jesus Say I’d Be Healthier If My Faith Were Stronger?
John Piper / Sunday, February 4, 2018 6:00 PM
Did Jesus Say I’d Be Healthier If My Faith Were Stronger?

If you have a mustard seed of faith and mountains aren’t moving, you may 
have the wrong kind of faith — or God may have a better plan.
Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402

New Post on - Your Glory, Lord

Your Glory, Lord

Posted: 04 Feb 2018 09:55 PM PST

Sovereign Lord,
Fountain of all goodness and beauty,
You are perfect wisdom.
You are perfect love.
What else could I want but
Your will?
What else matters?

Knowing You, my Father,
what could I desire but
to glorify You?
What other ambition could
fill my heart and
fire my imagination?
You are
good and
great, and
You are always with us
right here,
right now.
Everyone needs to know You!
Help me glorify You, Father.
This is the high privilege for which
You created me.
This is the purpose for which
You saved me at such a precious price.

You are my master.
I am Your joyful servant.
Exalt Yourself through me.
Use me as pleases You.
Use my weaknesses.
May they make it plain that
You deserve all the glory,
not me.
Use my ignorance.
Lift Yourself through my failures.
Lead me through
suffering, or
Humble me in any way You choose
if it will show the world just how
radiantly wonderful You are!

I am Your servant.
I cannot choose my path.
You choose, my Lord.
Just help me fulfill
this one goal,
this one desire:
to stay faithful to You.

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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Mar 2018, 11:29 pm

Speak Well of Others
by Debbie Holloway, Contributor

"The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked 
gushes evil" (
Proverbs 15:28 ).

In this age of Internet and social media, gone are the days of the 
off-switch for dialogue. Time was, conversations ended. Then, with the birth 
of online
discussion forums, they could continue indefinitely (with every word 
preserved for all to see). Now that we are chained to mobile devices, the 
and exchanges never even have to pause. We may start them at our computers, 
but we continue them in the the car...during dinner. Even 
real-life banter with friends and family, fingers fly over smartphones to 
contribute thoughts to the discourse of the Internet world.

It's hard to step back once you get used to it. I find it to be a very 
love-hate thing; bittersweet for several reasons. On the one hand, I am 
amazed and delighted by the ability to connect, share, grow, and learn that 
modern technology provides. On the other hand, the ability to tear apart an
opponent with the stroke of a key makes certain biblical mandates that much 
harder to follow.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to 
speak, slow to anger”
(James 1:9 ).

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may 
know how you ought to answer each person”
(Colossians 4:6 ).

I believe that graciousness of speech, speaking well of others (even my 
enemy or opponent) is something God requires of me. As someone who rarely 
away from conversation or confrontation, every day is a battle for me in 
this regard. I find myself asking,

Is this a hill to die on?

Is this going to change anyone’s mind, anyway?

Is it even my job to change this person’s mind?

Is this loving? Worth the fuss? Compassionate?

More times than not, recently, I’ve begun to type up a Facebook comment only 
to delete it before pressing “post.” Not because I changed my stance or 
my opinion. Rather, because words don’t die on the World Wide Web – and I 
have no second chance at a first impression. Perhaps the fewer cold, 
words I type into Facebook in the midst of an argument, the fewer tempers 
will be lost, fewer hearts will hurt, and fewer friends will feel annoyed, 
or attacked. Perhaps the more I distance myself from the social media 
circus, the more I can pay attention to the flesh-and-blood conversations 
that might
arise over the dinner table or on the train. Perhaps the less I scroll 
through Facebook, the more chances I’ll have to look into people’s faces and 

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your 
old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new 
the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like 
God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off 
and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still 
and do not give the devil a foothold”
(Ephesians 4:22-27 ).

Intersecting Faith and Life: Before you post anything today on
Twitter , Facebook , or Google +,
weigh your words carefully. Do they provoke edifying discussion, or simply 
anger? Do your words match up with the fruits of the spirit (
Galatians 5:22-23 )?

Further Reading

Ephesians 4:17-32

Psalm 141

Why Churches Shouldn't Shame Members for Missing Church
RJ Thesman

Samantha (a pseudonym) called me just as I was leaving for church. Her voice 
a troubled whisper, I could barely make out the words. “Please…could you 
I need help.”

Although I was the church pianist and expected to strike up a prelude in 15 
minutes, the urgency in Sam’s voice carried me past the church parking lot
and into a residential drive. I found her in a fetal position on the floor, 
the victim of incest by her drunken uncle. We spent several hours together,
crying, praying, notifying authorities and family members.

When I arrived home, I discovered several messages on the answering machine.. 
Some were concerned for my safety although I had sent a quick message to the
church office that I was needed by a person in trouble.

But later comments were accusatory, how the service just didn’t seem right 
without me, how faithfulness is a required virtue.

Although Samantha continued to meet with me for recovery counseling and the 
church staff totally agreed with my decision to miss church, some members 
gave me “the look” and an occasional verbal dig. Of course, I did not tell 
anybody the real nature of my absence. Still, their response added to the 
nature thrust on me by years of membership in a legalistic church. I had to 
work through my own false guilt and realize I could not be two places at the
same time but needed to make the best, most important choice.

Now, after years of ministry and more training, I hold the view that church 
membership does not require our attendance at every single service and all
special events. In fact, I think it’s a good idea to take a Sabbatical now 
and then – especially for church staff.

A quick internet search uncovers several sites that load on the guilt for 
missing church. The site
“Open Thou Mine Eyes”
states that the Christian who misses church causes damage to himself as well 
as to the cause of Christ.

Yet the “Got Questions”
site holds a more balanced viewpoint with a post about reasons for missing 

Another personal experience underscored my need for missing church as I 
recovered from a situation involving spiritual abuse. Although I loved the 
people, the church itself and its many programs no longer carried the love 
of Christ. It had become an institution that condemned my status as a single
mom yet exhausted me with its demands that I serve.

On the advice of my spiritual director and the blessing of an associate 
pastor, I took a Sabbatical. Sundays became true days of rest as I slept in, 
spent the awake hours in contemplation and worship. I sang to the Lord, 
journaled about a scripture he gave me, sat on the deck and praised God for 
beauty of his creation, prayed through my list and listened quietly as the 
divine whisper brought solace to my soul. During those weeks outside church,
I grew closer to the God I love and learned more about my need to spend 
quality time with him – outside the church walls. That Sabbatical was the 
of healing I needed.

Some folks understood when I explained my need for a break. Others implied 
it was a spiritual lapse, a month of back-sliding that would damage my 

What would Jesus do? Throughout the Gospels we read few instances where 
Jesus appears in the synagogue, actively taking part in the traditions of 
He spent most of his time with the sick, the doubters and the poor who 
needed a kind word. Jesus followed the principle recorded in
Micah 6:8
, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to 
walk humbly with your God.”

To love mercy might be defined as helping another person on a Sunday morning 
or serving the homeless in a soup kitchen rather than occupying space in a

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We are encouraged to not abandon our meetings and to fellowship together (
Hebrews 10:25
) but does that mean we always need to be within the church walls and 
present at all church programs? Can’t we also fellowship with others in a 
shop or in the bleachers at a ball game?

Could we be more evangelistic outside the church property? What if we 
invited a single mom to join our family for pizza rather than track her down 
invite her to the next revival service?

We need to also consider the question, “Why do we go to church?” Is it 
because our family has always attended and we want to continue the practice? 
we members so our children can be involved in wholesome activities and make 
friends with other kids who live in the same neighborhood? Are we regular 
because the pastor is a good teacher and Sunday is the only day we crack 
open our Bibles?

Or do we attend to use our gifts and encourage other believers? Are we there 
to support the institution of the church in hopes that it will not die? How
can we add to the overarching value of the church? Can we be open-minded 
enough to allow members to use their gifts outside the church?

The landscape of “church” is changing as millennials leave and older saints 
die. In order to reach the lost in the future, we will need to be more 
– to consider the possibility of house churches without a host of church 
staff and a stage for the worship band.

As we march into the chapters of Revelation, we will need to redefine how 
and where the bride of Christ meets and what church membership requires – 
placing shame on any souls for not attending regularly.

Questions to consider might be:

list of 3 items
• Why is a certain person not at church? Maybe s/he like Samantha was 
completely incapable of leaving her house. Without adding shame, how can we 
to that person?
• Will the church truly suffer if one less person is listed on the roll that 
day or misses the chance to throw an offering in the plate?
• When it comes to church attendance, what does God require of us? A 
five-year pin or quality time ministering to others?
list end

Certainly, we need to encourage each other and spend time with other 
believers whenever possible. Like most issues, a sense of balance and 
moderation rules.

But when we shame our brothers and sisters for lax attendance, we take on 
the role of judge and jury. God does not require that attitude from us.

The Apostle Paul reminded the church in Rome not to stumble over the 
cornerstone of Christ. “The one who trusts in him will never be put to 
shame” (
Romans 9:33 ).

Since the practice and consequences of shame were erased by our Lord on the 
cross, then we have no business trying to revive shame as a stumbling block
for someone else.

Photo credit: ©️Thinkstock

RJ Thesman is an author and a certified writing coach. She writes from the 
heartland of Kansas where she lives with her adult son and an elderly cat. 
can follow RJ at

Constantly Communicating

At that time Jesus declared . . . - Matthew 11:25

This is a pointed way in which to begin a verse--"At that time Jesus 
declared." If you look at the context you will realize that no one had asked 
Him a
question and that He was not in conversation with any human being. Yet it is 
written, "Jesus declared, I thank you, Father." When a man answers, he 
a person who has been speaking to him. Who, then, had been speaking to 
Christ? His Father.

Yet there is no record of it; and this should teach us that Jesus had 
constant fellowship with His Father, and that God spoke into His heart so 
so continually, that it was not a circumstance peculiar enough to be 
recorded. It was the habit and life of Jesus to talk with God.

Let us then learn the lesson that this simple statement concerning Him 
teaches us. May we also enjoy silent fellowship with the Father, so that 
often we
answer Him, and although our friends don't know to whom we speak, we will be 
responding to that secret voice that they do not hear but that our own ear,
opened by the Spirit of God, recognizes with joy.

God has spoken to us; let us speak to God--either to affirm that God is true 
and faithful to His promise, or to confess the sin of which the Spirit of
God has convinced us, or to acknowledge the mercy that God's providence has 
given, or to express agreement with the great truths that God the Holy 
has revealed to us.

Intimate communion with the Father of our spirit is a great privilege! It is 
a secret hidden from the world, a joy with which even the nearest friend 
not interfere. If we desire to hear the whispers of God's love, our ear must 
be purged and fit to listen to His voice. This very evening may our hearts
be in such a condition, so that when God speaks to us, we, like Jesus, may 
be prepared at once to answer Him.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Genesis 38

verse 2 Mark 8

Click here to learn more about Truth For Life

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

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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Mar 2018, 10:46 pm

Is Christian Radio of the Devil?

Years ago a friend startled me by saying, “Christian radio is of the devil!” 
Of course, such a statement is meant to be provocative and not the whole 
He did not intend to disparage missionary broadcasts of the gospel into 
unreached areas of the world. But he did want to challenge our daily 
exposure to
many forms of Christian media.

Although the Internet did not exist when I first heard his shocking 
statement, such a sentiment might help provoke us to evaluate how we use 
media today in its various forms — the Internet, social media, video, and, 
yes, even radio.

Five Questions

Over the years, I have found my friend’s challenge to be an important one 
because it exposes my un-assessed assumption that if something is 
then it is of necessity a good thing of God, irrespective of how I’m using 
it. Might the
medium of Christian radio serve purposes in my life which are opposed to the 
message it proclaims?

Let me offer five questions for evaluating your own use of Christian media, 
even as they often carry the greatest message to us and the world.

1. Am I learning to worship without community?

I wonder if Christian media may deliver many of the elements of worship, but 
without offering the full sense of worship that God intends. But you say,
“I have worshiped!”

Christian radio, for instance, might give us the impression of a worshiping 
community in relationship, but does it really engage us as God has designed?
For example, we may feel like we have a personal relationship with morning 
hosts, DJs, and “radio personalities.” This is understandable, because they
use language that implies a relationship with the listener. Although no one 
would want radio hosts to sound diffident or unfriendly, what we experience
as “relationship” is not a relationship in any normal sense of the word. 
They do not know us; we do not know them. We “know” about the persona that 
projected through the medium. Not only is it a one-sided relationship, but 
it is a fantasy posing as a kind of relationship.

In contrast, true Christian community poses significant relational 
challenges. Perhaps this very reality makes us desire the comfort Christian 
media can
offer. But what if the challenge of relationships in the body of Christ is a 
true good thing of God? What if God intends to sanctify us through gathering
for corporate worship? Throughout the New Testament letters, for example, 
the writers assume that relationships are not easy, but difficult, 
and sanctifying — and the challenge is significantly revealed in the drama 
of corporate worship.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “He who loves his dream of a community more than 
Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though
his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. .. 
.. . Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its 
and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to 
grasp in faith the promise that is given to it” (
Life Together , 26–27).

Although we often fail at this in the gathered community of church, we also 
succeed — quite often. And to worship God with the people of God — in real,
flesh-and-blood relationships — is what God created us for. Does Christian 
radio imply something easier — a wish-dream?

2. Am I submitting to teaching without accountability?

I wonder if Christian podcast and radio often act against our relational 
accountability with Christian teachers. But you say, “I can check on the 
integrity of any nonprofit on the Internet!”

Accountability is not merely fact-checking or financial. More importantly, 
Paul tells Timothy that relationships are an intrinsic part of the
message: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses 
entrust to faithful men” (2 Timothy 2:2). Here Paul is speaking to his 
friend whom
he personally taught. Indeed, that Timothy was taught in person is the key 
point for Paul: “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,
knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:14).

Paul links the message with the messenger in a fundamental way. This is his 
explanation: “You . . . have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in 
my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness” (2 Timothy 3:10). The 
person known to Timothy authenticates, validates, and is even a part of the 

No such relationship exists in the mass media of Christian radio and 
podcasts. In this day of Facebook, Twitter, email, and texts, we need such 
knowing; we need to witness, firsthand, who our teachers are in order to 
know their message. This is true accountability. Do we long for connection 
those who teach us?

3. Am I experiencing the illusion of intimacy?

I wonder whether our favorite Christian media tend to isolate us from others 
instead of building intimacy. But you say, “Christian media connect me to
my church family!”

Might it be that Christian radio, for instance, cultivates a false sense of 
community because it does not promote intimate (read: accountable and 
relationships between listeners? That is, not only do we not know the 
speakers or the musicians, but as listeners, does it isolate us from each 

Pandora and Spotify use individualism as a part of their business plan — 
your music delivered to you, individually. I suspect that Christian radio 
other genres of media and other types of private entertainment) typically 
ends up isolating us from each other. They deliver the ingredients of 
so that we worship — or are entertained — alone. And although there is no 
biblical injunction against private worship, the tendency of Christian radio
is to privatize worship.

Musician Harold Best explains this sense of intimacy: “One of the realities 
of electronic and fabricated intimacy, in addition to its being artificial,
is that it is almost entirely one-dimensional.” He means that it travels one 
way, from someone to us (not from us to them), and that we cannot know the
person speaking or singing. It is as if the singer or speaker is saying, 
“‘What you see and hear is what we really are. There is no need for more.’ 
artists may not want it this way, but that is the way the media work. . . . 
The whole person is hidden” ( Music Through the Eyes of Faith
, 167).

If we hunger for human connection, Christian radio and podcasts are not that 
connection. So, could it be that they feed in us a desire for independence,
preference, privatization, and even isolation?

4. Am I cultivating a consumer mentality?

I wonder what the effect on the church will be if the elements of worship 
are delivered to us instead of our making them for ourselves. But you say, 
I need to just soak in Christian music while I drive!”

Perhaps. But for almost all of history, music was something people made 
together. And for most of history, we knew our teachers, and they were in 
the room
with us. No longer. Most of our music is now made for us by people we do not 
know. What will be the outcome of this experiment?

Of course, this same challenge could be made against many of our worship 
services, not just Christian radio and music. Still, while the tendency to 
rather than participate, antedates Christian radio and the Internet, I 
wonder if our modern media reinforce a wrong desire? Could it be a move 
toward a
method which is out of keeping with the way the message is to be 

5. Am I developing false standards for the church?

I wonder if Christian media tend to set a false standard for worship that 
makes us unsatisfied with “real church.” But you say, “I still love my 

Good, but I have heard the comparison of “real church” with Christian music 
and podcasts — and I have felt it. While all the elements of worship through
Christian media are not perfect, they are as perfect as the producers want 
them to be. Those who deliver Christian media to us are able to deliver near
perfection, if they choose to do so. But real worship in a real church with 
real people cannot do that — perhaps
should not do that.

Christian media may subtly (or not so subtly) change our expectations for 
the gathered church. We may begin to wonder, “Why can’t church be as good as
feel it should be?” To what extent is that feeling promoted by our media 
consumption? Real church, in contrast, may have the great advantage of being 

What happens if real relationships — painful, challenging, personal, 
immediate, wonderful, hopeful, and sanctifying — seem less attractive than 
the pretend,
false, and easy offer of Christian media? This concern may warn us of a 
possible danger. If we are still deeply connected to our church family, it 
not be
because of Christian media, but in spite of it. What if the glitter and 
style of modern media become the standard in our minds, even if we do not 
it to be so?

Consider the Costs

So, is Christian radio “of the devil”? And not just radio, but our various 
forms of modern Christian media? About now, you should consider charging me
with hypocrisy — this article is Christian media! No, the obvious truth is 
that God does use our modern media — including websites like this one — for
which we can and should be grateful. Still, I also am grateful that my 
friend put the issue in such provocative terms. If he had just said, “Be 
I would not have thought so deeply.

Listen to good Christian music and podcasts. Listen in the gaps in your day.. 
Read soul-nourishing substance online. But as you do read articles and 
listen to podcasts, worship to great music, and watch videos, please wonder 
with me about these questions. Consider our media’s subtle, and not so 
costs and effects.

Is Christian radio only the good we may assume?

Don’t Turn Off Your Brain — or Your Heart
John Piper / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 7:00 AM

God gives us understanding when we think over what he says. He won’t give 
without our thinking and we can’t know without his giving.
Desiring God / PO Box 2901, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Fulani violence against Christians

Fulani violence against Christians
Feb 04, 2018 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Genesis 18:23, NET "Abraham approached and said, “Will you sweep away the 
godly along with the wicked?”"

Pray that we will intercede for the wicked as well as the godly, knowing 
that without God’s influence, we might do the same thing.

Today's People Group

“The violence here in Nigeria constitutes a real challenge for churches and 
mission work. But on the other hand, people displaced by that insurgency can
come to places where they can easily be reached by the gospel.” Reverent 
Ifejika (meaning nothing is impossible for God) was talking to a visiting 
“The upsurge in attacks have made some Muslims detest their religion and to 
ask the question: ‘Is this really a religion of peace? Is it really what we
should follow?’ And as they come into contact with those who follow Christ 
and believers who show them his love, some of the Fulanis are turning to 
We have heard stories of how God visited some Fulani through wonders and 
miracles. Out of this crisis, something great has come. For years churches 
focused on converting people and claiming territories, without making 
disciples. However, even before this upsurge of violence the era of Western 
in Africa had changed. For security reasons westerners could no longer go 
into areas they used to go. In the meantime, African Christians can 
and mix with all people.”
Regardless of the efforts made by Nigeria’s Muslim President, Buhari, to 
stop the brutal violence against Christians (primarily caused by Boko Haram) 
persecution continues especially in the Middle region where the Hausa-Fulani 
Muslim herdsmen have intensified their attacks.

Pray for the courage of believers reaching out to Muslims in spite of all 
they are enduring!

Learn more at Joshua Project .

Copyright ©️ 2018 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.

Five Ways Affliction Helps
By John Piper
block quote
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. (Psalm 
block quote end

This verse shows that God sends affliction to help us learn his word. How 
does that work? How does affliction help us learn and obey the word of God?

There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences of this 
great mercy. But here are five:

list of 5 items
1. Affliction takes away the glibness of life and makes us more serious, so 
that our mind-set is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s word. And 
this: There is not a single glib page in the book of God.

2. Affliction knocks worldly props out from under us and forces us to rely 
more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the word. For the
aim of the word is that we hope in God and trust him. “Whatever was written 
in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and
through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 
15:4). “These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the 
the Son of God” (John 20:31).

3. Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for 
help, rather than treating it as marginal to life. “You will seek me and 
me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

4. Affliction brings us into the partnership of Christ’s sufferings, so that 
we fellowship more closely with him and see the world more readily through
his eyes. Paul’s great heart longing was “that I may know him and the power 
of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his
death” (Philippians 3:10).

5. Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so 
brings us into a more spiritual frame and makes us receptive to the 
word of God. “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves 
with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has 
from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). Suffering has a great sin-killing effect. And the 
more pure we are, the more clearly we see God (Matthew 5:8).
list end

May the Holy Spirit give us grace to not begrudge the pedagogy of God 
through pain.


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Post  Admin on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 10:35 pm

Understanding the Old Testament
by Ryan Duncan, Culture Editor
The Almighty--we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant 
righteousness he will not violate. –
Job 37:23
Like many Christians, when the New Year started I resolved to spend more 
time reading my Bible. I had already spent most of the previous year combing 
the New Testament, so I decided to start at the very beginning and make my 
way through the Old Testament. Maybe it’s a sign of how little I’ve read my
Bible lately, but I had forgotten how brutal the Old Testament could be. In 
particular, I spent a lot of time going over the Old Testament laws and the
punishments for breaking them. It baffled me that the smallest infraction on 
the most obscure law could often lead to exile, or even death.

If you’re like me, you probably found yourself questioning these pages of 
the Old Testament. After all, how could a loving God condemn someone so 
for eating pork or working on the Sabbath? This is a question I still 
struggle with, but a verse in Deuteronomy helped me toward understanding it 

"Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out 
before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me 
in to
possess this land,' whereas it is
because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out 
before you.
Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you 
going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these 
the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may 
the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to 
"Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to 
possess because of your righteousness, for you are
a stubborn people.” –
Deuteronomy 9:4-6

I think our problem is that humanity likes to look at the Bible (and 
history) through rose-colored lenses. We forget that back then there was no 
no internet, no police, no hospitals, and the ruling governments weren't all 
that interested in things like free speech or trial by jury. The Old 
law was a harsh and rigid guideline because the Israelites lived in a harsh 
and brutal world. God knew that telling the early Israelites to "turn the 
cheek" would eventually lead to their destruction, so he took measures to 
protect them until the world was ready to receive the Gospel of Grace 
his Son. The Old Testament will always be difficult to understand, but that 
does not make God’s love for us any less true.

Intersecting Faith and Life: If there is something in scripture you do not 
ask a pastor or bring it to your small group.

Further Reading

Job 38

When a Dream Dies

“Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the L
ORD! This is what the Sovereign L
ORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to 
Ezekiel 37:4 b-5 (NIV)

I sat on my porch with my Bible and a hot mug of coffee. Early morning is my 
favorite time of day. Just me, Jesus and a smattering of birds. However, 
morning, as I looked out over my backyard, my eyes landed on a mound of fur 
nestled in the grass.

I moved in for a closer look. My heart sank as I discovered what appeared to 
be a curled-up lifeless baby fawn. Probably the same fawn my neighbor had
seen nursing from its mom the day before. My heart broke. I understand the 
circle of life, but
still. A baby fawn lay dead in my yard. Most likely the target of the coyote 
I’d seen roaming around.

I couldn’t get close enough to see the wound. Sometimes that is the way of 
things. I would have to wait until my husband got home to take care of the 
as I didn’t have the nerve.

All morning long my mind returned to the still form lying in the sun. Hours 
passed. At noon I looked out of the window and the fawn remained unmoved. I
couldn’t stand it. I had to know what had happened to it. So I mustered up 
my courage and made my way to the fawn. Three feet away. Stop. No signs of 
attack. I inched closer.

Finally, I knelt down by the beautifully-crafted creature, admiring God’s 
handiwork. But I couldn’t see what had killed it.

“What happened to you, little deer?” I whispered.

Suddenly, the fawn’s head popped up! Startled eyes stared into mine.. Like a 
deer caught in the headlights, I fell back on the grass. Time stood still 
a moment as we stared at each other in disbelief!

Finally, the fawn sprang to its feet, wobbled a bit and scampered off. I sat 
in the grass and laughed and laughed and laughed. So, the fawn wasn’t dead
after all. It had simply found a bit of grass and fallen asleep ... until 
almost noon.

After my heart rate returned to its normal pace, God spoke to my heart: 
“Sometimes things are dead, and sometimes they just need to be woken up.”

I pondered those words for the rest of the day. I called a friend who was 
struggling in her marriage -- in a very bad way. The sort of way that leaves
you wondering if it will survive. I told her the story.

Sometimes things are dead, and sometimes they just need to be woken up.

Sometimes a marriage is dead, and sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

Sometimes a friendship is dead, and sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

Sometimes a dream is dead, and sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

I think of how God told the prophet Ezekiel to speak to the valley of dry 
bones: “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word 
the L
ORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath 
enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make
flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and 
you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the L
ORD’” (Ezekiel 37:4-6 ).

I imagine Ezekiel felt pretty silly talking to those dry bones. And honestly 
sometimes I feel pretty silly obeying God and speaking life into the dry 
of some of my situations.

So here’s the word for me and you today.

For my friend struggling in her marriage ...

For my friend who cries for her adult son who walked away from God ...

For my friend who longs to cuddle up with a good husband rather than a good 
book ...

Don’t assume the dream is dead. Sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

Dear Lord, Wake me up! Stir my heart. It’s not over until You say it’s over. 
I commit to continue to pray for what others deem as a lost cause, for I 
that there is never a lost cause when it comes to Your power to save, to 
deliver, to redeem, to rebuild. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Galatians 6:9
, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will 
reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)

James 5:16
, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

Perhaps what needs to be awakened today is the romance in your marriage. It’s 
easy for the routine of life to lull marriage into a sleepy slumber. To 
Valentine’s Day, check out Sharon Jaynes’ new book, A 14-Day Romance 
Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage.

Click over to Sharon’s website for a free downloadable: “
25 Ways to Romance Your Husband.

Read the verses in Ezekiel 37:1-10
.. How do you think Ezekiel felt when God told him to speak to the dry bones?

What would have happened if Ezekiel refused, telling God that it was a lost 

Is there anything in your life that you feel is a lost cause? If so, what is 
God saying to you through today’s scripture and devotion?
(c) 2017 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

Anne Graham Lotz - Greater than We Think

Greater than We Think
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and 
godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.

2 Peter 1:3, NKJV

God is bigger than we think and greater than we think. Nothing is beyond His 
ability, whether it’s

a problem to solve,

a marriage to reconcile,

a memory to heal,

a guilty conscience to cleanse,

a sin to forgive,

a business to save,

a budget to stretch,

another mouth to feed,

or anything else we could name.

All are within His power to “fix.” He is more than able to sustain your 
marriage and your ministry, your faith and your finances, your hope and your 

Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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AnGeL Ministries
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When Should You Leave a Church?
Dr. James Emery White

Let’s talk about something that isn’t often talked about.

When should you leave a church?

It’s not like leaving other organizations. Sure, there are times it’s a 
non-issue, like when you have to move. But the rest of the time? A church is 
family, so leaving is like a divorce.

And, like a marriage, you shouldn’t divorce on a whim.

So let’s start off with why you shouldn’t leave a church.

You shouldn’t leave angry over unresolved conflict. This is the number one 
reason why people leave, and it’s the number one worst reason for leaving. 
goal of Christian community is to work things out. So work it out. Only 
leave if you can’t pursue biblical conflict resolution to its intended end, 
is reconciliation.

You shouldn’t leave for the next “it” thing. In too many cities, there is a 
migratory pattern among churched believers going to whatever is the “next,
next” thing. The hot youth group, the hot speaker, the hot singles ministry, 
the hot… you get it. This is based on a consumerist mindset as well as 
Neither is a good reason to leave.

You shouldn’t leave because you’ve put your kids in charge. This one is 
tricky, but let me delve in. Let’s say little Johnny suddenly decides he 
to go to a friend’s church. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the church 
you are attending, it’s just that Johnny has a new friend, or set of 
and wants to go where they go. This plays on every parental insecurity about 
wanting Johnny happy and churched, so you go to the new church.

This is a bad precedent. Not only does it trivialize what involvement and 
membership in a church community is meant to embody, but it puts Johnny in 
driver’s seat of the family’s spiritual commitments instead of the parents. 
Johnny’s friends will come and go, and when they do, you will have left the
church you loved. Better to ride things out with Johnny than make a 
knee-jerk decision to uproot and move.

You shouldn’t leave because you feel your needs aren’t being met, you aren’t 
being ministered to or you aren’t “getting anything” out of the service.
Let’s call this what it is: spiritual narcissism. The value of narcissism is 
the classic “I – me – mine” mentality that places personal pleasure and 
at the forefront of concerns. Historian Christopher Lasch went so far as to 
christen ours “the culture of narcissism,” calling it our new religion.

As Christians, this should be antithetical. We follow a Savior who said, “I 
did not come to be served but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for
many (
Matthew 20:28
)”, “Whoever wants to be first must become last (
Mark 9:35
)”, and “Whoever wants to be great among you must become the slave of all (
Matthew 20:26
).” And who then bowed in submission to the Father and said, “Not my will, 
but yours (
Luke 22:42 ).”

Yet a spiritual narcissism has invaded our thinking, where the individual 
needs and desires of the believer become the center of attention. “I want to
go where I’m fed” or “I need to be ministered to” rolls off our tongues 
without even blushing. The Bible teaches we should be learning to feed 
and seek not to be served, but to serve others. When we walk out of a 
worship service and say, “I didn’t get anything out of it” – as if worship 
were about
we receive rather than what we give to
God – that’s idolatry, making ourselves the focus of worship instead of God. 
Spiritual narcissism is no reason to leave a church. It’s a reason to 

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

So when should you leave?

You should leave because there is genuine theological disagreement. If a 
church or its leadership or its teaching body departs from historic 
orthodoxy, you should leave. Just make sure you are defining historic 
Christian orthodoxy in the right way and not making tertiary matters 

You should leave because the leadership has lost integrity and is not being 
held accountable. There are churches where the leaders have drifted from 
integrity, sexual integrity or integrity related to the proper manifestation 
of humility and servanthood, and there is no mechanism for accountability
or no willingness to engage it. In other words, a blind eye is being turned 
toward what are, in fact, biblically disqualified leaders. You are not 
to follow or support leadership that has forfeited their right to lead even 
though they remain in leadership.

You should leave because the vision, values and mission have drifted from 
its biblical moorings, and there is no sense that they will return to shore..
If a church has a mission that “lost people matter to God and therefore they 
should matter to us,” but over time has drifted from evangelistic fervor 
no indication that it will ever fan those embers back into a flame, go where 
it’s burning.

But the bottom line? For most of us, the choice should be to stay. Just as 
the easy-divorce mentality of our day is an affront to God’s vision for 
the easy-departure mentality from church involvement is an affront to God’s 
vision for the church as the new community.

So while there are a few times we should leave,

… there are many more times when we should stay.

James Emery White
About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community 
Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and
culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as 
their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding 
and Reaching
the New Post-Christian World
, is
available on Amazon
.. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit
, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church 
and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter
@JamesEmeryWhite .

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Today's Devotional

Best Meal Ever

Luke 22:19b – This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in 
remembrance of me. (NLT)

According to my wife, I eat some strange things.

My wife and I come from different regions of South Carolina, and we have 
different eating habits. On one of our earlier dates, she was fixing my 
plate. Out of habit, I said, "Make sure you put some pot liquor on my 
rice" — a saying and practice foreign to her — pot liquor being the juice in 
pot with the cooked vegetables. Neither did she understand putting 
vegetables over white rice — until she spent a few years in the Low Country 
and was
served white rice with every meal. Some of the things that we put together — 
such as grits and fried cubed steak — she had never experienced. Getting her
to add vegetables on top of the gravy that she had just put on her rice was 
out of the question.

Since I love to eat, almost any meal that I consume is good. But I suppose 
that the one that Jesus served to His disciples was strange — not the bread
and wine, but what He told them about it. Eating the bread was eating His 
body, and drinking the wine was drinking His blood. This practice accounted 
the early Christians being accused of cannibalism. Some church traditions 
teach that the wine and bread become Jesus' blood and body when consumed.

Early churches observed the Lord's Supper every time they met. I've been 
more accustomed to churches that do so quarterly. Dad always gave the 
warning to examine oneself before partaking of the elements. Paul said that 
"every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the 
death until he comes again."
(1 Corinthians 11:26 NLT)

So what's the big deal about Communion or the Lord's Supper? Of all the 
meals that I might enjoy, this should be the most pleasurable because of 
what it
represents. Other meals merely fill my belly, feed my muscles, and leave my 
body. This one sticks around and gives me continual spiritual nourishment.
Eating the bread reminds me that Jesus was my substitute. His body was 
broken as He paid for the sins that I had committed, was committing, and 
would commit.
Drinking the wine — or juice — reminds me of the blood that He shed for my 
sins, "for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews
9:22b NLT)

Enjoy a good meal, but don't neglect the best meal.

Prayer: Father, thank You for allowing Your Son to give His life so that we 
might have life. Amen.

Martin Wiles

The Faithful Lover
February 4, 2018
Read: Song of Solomon 1:9-17

Behold, you are beautiful, my love. (v. 15)

Just as no one knows for sure if the Song of Solomon was actually written by 
King Solomon or is just “Solomonesque,” so also no one knows exactly why 
love poem, with its tricky plot line and just a passing mention of God, was 
first included in the Bible. There is a clue, however, in the Jewish 
of reading the Song during the Passover Seder.

Many Jewish scholars consider the Song a midrash, or commentary, upon the 
book of Exodus, the great salvation story of Israel. The Song shows an image
of God as a faithful lover within the bonds and bounds of a covenant 
relationship. This biblical relationship is built on love instead of just 
legal obligations.

Staying in love over time has its challenges. Husbands and wives take each 
other for granted, our hearts and minds (and eyes) wander, and lovable 
become irritations. Over time our experience of salvation also has its 
challenges. We struggle to stay alert to the glories of God’s saving grace, 
our prayers may become worn out and tired. One way to avoid this is to 
attend to the words of this Song. That’s why the Song is read at Passover, 
so people
hear God’s voice saying, “Behold, you are beautiful, my love.” More than 
anything, God loves you. Do you believe it? Read the words of the Song as 
just to you. —Jeff Munroe

Prayer: Lord, may we hear your voice of love.

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

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“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: 
for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:9

The devil is the sinister minister of fear. When he clamps his icy fingers 
of fear on your heart, do you become afraid of what he’ll do to you if you
take a stand for God? Don’t be afraid. Fear is an insult to God, who said, 
“I will be with thee.” Fear will destroy you.

Are you a worrywart? One lady said, “Don’t tell me it does no good to worry. 
Most of the things I worry about never come to pass.” Be not dismayed. God
will take care of you.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what your fears are, then confess them as 
sin. Repent, then reach up and take hold of His right hand that is 
to sustain you and give you the victory!

Two Words to End Any Conflict?
Vaneetha Rendall Risner

A friend recently announced that she’d discovered the most powerful words to 
end relationship conflict.

I was admittedly skeptical. Each relationship is different, I reasoned. Each 
conflict has its unique characteristics. Besides, if there are universal 
to end conflict they should be, “I’m sorry.” Or perhaps “I love you.” Or 
even, “I was wrong.” And those were not her words.

Nonetheless, I jotted her words down on a scrap of paper. I’d reread them 
from time to time when I was cleaning my office. Each time they felt 
significant, though I didn’t know why. For months, the words kept coming 
back to me.

Finally, I tried them myself. In an actual conflict. The idea came to me 
unexpectedly, in the middle of arguing my point with someone.

And the results blew me away.

So I decided to make them my words for 2018. Each January, I choose a 
specific word or phrase to focus on for the entire year.
A popular writer first gave me the idea to blog about it. In past years I 
have chosen words like encourage, pray, joyfully accept
, savor , charitable and available .

Immediately, I knew these new words would be perfect for 2018.

What are these powerful words?

“I agree.”

I’m guessing most of you are underwhelmed. I was.

At first, I objected to my friend’s assertion because it seemed insincere to 
agree with someone just to keep a relationship intact. I don’t want to seem
patronizing. Besides, sometimes disagreeing, even challenging someone, is 
the most loving thing to do. I don’t want to lie just to keep the peace. I 
struggle with being a people pleaser, so pretending to agree with someone 
seems to play into my weakness and sin.

But as I thought more about it, I realized that when I’m in conflict with 
someone (usually a member of my family), I don’t WANT to agree with them. I 
to pinpoint what I disagree with, not affirm what I think is correct. I 
focus on their poor word choice. I get defensive at their accusations of 
never” or “you always.” I look for ammunition to mount my defense.

As part of my rebuttal, I start listing everything I can to support my case, 
ignoring any elements I agree with in their position. I question their 
while rationalizing my own.

In every conflict, I focus on what is wrong with the other person’s 
statements rather than agreeing with what is right.

Yet inevitably, I have found there is always some truth in the arguments of 

Sometimes there is great truth, and other times there is only a small 
amount. But I can always look for what I agree with. And when I can 
acknowledge what
I see as truth, my acknowledgment has the power to completely disarm the 
other person.

To agree sincerely, I must listen attentively to what the other person is 
saying to find the truth in it. Sometimes I need to look past exaggerations 
an irritated tone to hear the heart behind their words. Often there is pain 
buried behind their accusations. And I don’t need to agree with their 
– it’s often not the conclusion that people are most tied to anyway. They 
just want to be understood.

My friend who told me about the power of the words, “I agree” had been 
deeply hurt by a friend. Whenever she tried to talk to him about the 
he denied her statements, deflected the conversation or blamed her. She felt 
trivialized and misunderstood.

To show her the power of agreeing, a counselor role-played with her, playing 
the part of her estranged friend. The counselor responded to her statements
saying, “I agree. You’re right, I did do that. I know that I really hurt 

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

My friend was surprised at her emotional response to the therapist’s words, 
even though they were only role-playing. That simple acknowledgment was more
powerful than she expected.

After that day, my friend tried agreeing with others when they were upset 
with her, trying to find the part that she could agree with. Inevitably, she
found something.

Often, she had to look past the person’s inflammatory words to see what they 
were really upset about. It required humility. It required being willing to
look at the situation purely from another’s perspective, without reference 
to her own. It involved listening, paying close attention to their words. 
found it was especially helpful with her children, as it encouraged her to 
consider their point of view more intentionally.

As I mentioned earlier, I tried saying “I agree” with a non-defensive 
attitude myself. I was involved in a discussion about politics, which I 
rarely talk
about. But as the discussion was getting more heated, I stopped to consider 
what the other person was saying.

Rather than focusing on what I wanted to say next and how I disagreed with 
the other person, I looked for something to agree with. When I found it, I 
“I totally agree with what you just said. That’s a great point.”

The other person was taken by surprise. Immediately, the hostility in the 
argument vanished and we were able to move on amicably. I was startled.

I didn’t expect agreeing to be so disarming. And as a result, I want to 
learn to do this more. That’s why I chose “I agree” as my words for 2018.

But I know it won’t be easy. In the middle of a conflict, the last thing I 
want to do is agree. Or to step back and admit I am wrong. Or even to stop 
really listen, rather than plan what I am going to say next.

I can’t do this in my own strength. I am so tied in to wanting to be right. 
But that is why Christ came. Not only does he forgive me, he sets me free 
the power of sin and death.

So besides remembering the words “I agree,” I need a heart change. I need my 
desires to change. I need to possess love and kindness and self-control, 
are all part of the fruit of the Spirit. I need to genuinely care about 
people and to curb my tongue before my agreement has any meaning. I also 
need humility.
Behavior modification cannot do any of that – only God’s Spirit can. And so, 
as his Spirit brings my words to mind, he must also help me follow through.

Change will not happen overnight. I know I will forget my word and I will 
argue without seeking common ground.

But I am praying that as I put the words, “I agree” before me every day, I 
will start seeking to understand others more. It may be a slow process. But
true lasting change starts in the mundane daily interactions of life.

I think it will be worth it. Don’t you agree?

This article was originally published on Dance in the Rain
.. Used with permission.

Welcome to the Nugget
January 30, 2018

Just Winter
list of 4 items
By Answers2Prayer
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Contact us
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"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. 5:14-16 NIV)

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a dark, dreary day. 
The Christmas decorations had been taken down. The old year had given way to
the new. Now it was just Winter. Outside a bitter wind was blowing. Gray 
clouds covered the sun. Several inches of snow lay on the grass and trees. 
my water was dripping so my pipes wouldn't freeze and I was sipping coffee 
so I wouldn't freeze either. I asked my dog if he was ready to go for a 
but he just turned around and lay down next to the heater. I shook my head, 
zipped up my sweater and slipped on my thick socks while I looked out my 
window. I wasn't looking forward to another 3 months of this. I sat wearily 
at the kitchen table to eat my oatmeal. Then suddenly I saw him! A 
bright red cardinal had landed on a low hanging limb of the bare tree in my 
backyard. I looked lovingly at him while he stared back at me. He gently 
his wings, gave me a final, knowing nod, and flew into the sky. His visit 
had left my spirits a little higher, my heart a little lighter, and my soul 
little closer to Heaven.

Sometimes in our lives it is just winter. Sometimes the gray gloom of this 
world piles on the problems and troubles. Sometimes life feels both cold and
bitter. Sometimes it is very hard to see the light. It is times like these 
when we need to call on our own inner cardinal. It is times like these that
we most need to shine our own light, share our own love, and let ourselves 
fly. It isn't always easy and often takes effort, but with Heaven's help it
can be done.

Just remember that God loves you in the Winter as well as in the Spring. 
Life may not always give you what you want but it does give you what you 
to grow kinder, better, more loving, and closer to God. Let your inner 
cardinal fly then. Let God's light shine through you. Let your love help 
warm this
world in the Winter as well as the Spring.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella


DThe book of John is packed full of life-giving nuggets of Truth. We invite 
you to read previously-published devotionals from the Book of John by 

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

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Tabernacle of True Prayer

Peter I 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A 
PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies 
of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

When people hear the word "prayer", they may think of several things. They 
may think of the prayers children say at bedtime like, "God bless Mommy and 
Daddy." They may think of prayers where people just ask for things like, 
"God please help Susie with her test today. Please make Bobby well." But 
true prayer is more than this. It is a intimate dialog between a person and 
the most holy God. We can see an analogy of this in the Old Testament 

to enter the tabernacle, one must enter through the door. The same is true 
in true prayer. Jesus Christ is the Door. We must surrender to Him.

The first thing we see when entering the tabernacle is the altar. We do not 
have to bring a sacrifice because the sacrifice has already been paid by 
Jesus Christ on the cross.

The priests performed the sacrifice then washed using water in the laver. If 
we have submitted to Jesus Christ, we are a member of the royal priesthood 
as Peter wrote. Before we can go into the holy place, we must wash ourselves 
and become pure, clean and holy

Psalms 66:18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;

This is the reason we must cleanse ourselves before we go to Him in prayer. 
We must confess and repent of our sins and be washed by His precious blood.

Once we are cleansed, we can enter the holy place. there we find the 
lampstand, the table with the shobread and the altar of incense. The 
lampstand stands for the Holy Spirit which illumines us. the shobread is the 
bread that the priests could eat. Jesus Christ is the Bread of life which we 
are to receive spiritual nourishment from. the altar of incense represents 
the prayers of the saints. The priests were responsible for keeping the 
lamps lit and keeping the fire on the altar of incense. they had to go in 
early every morning to do this. We must also enter the tabernacle of prayer 
every morning before we face the world.

There is a thick veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies which is 
where God dwelt. The high priest could enter this place only once a year. 
when Jesus Christ died on Calvary, the veil was torn in two from top to 
bottom. God was showing us that He has taken away the veil and that all can 
enter the Holy of Holies if they have surrendered to Jesus Christ.

In this place the ark of the covenant with the mercy seat upon it is found. 
The mercy seat is where God is found. God wants to have a dialog with us, 
not just us talking to Him. He wants communion, not just a wish list from 
us. He wants to spend time with us to talk to us. do you allow time for 
communion with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? We need to take time 
to listen and not just talk.

by Dean W. Masters

The Best Leaders Are Often Least Noticed: Robert Chapman (1803–1902)
Jon Bloom / Monday, January 29, 2018 7:00 PM
The Best Leaders Are Often Least Noticed

Robert Cleaver Chapman tried his best to be forgotten, but God intervened on 
our behalf.

An unusually humble man, Chapman would have been pleased if you haven’t 
heard of him — and most Christians haven’t. And he would have likely 
my drawing your attention to him here. But I’m doing it anyway because I 
know you’ll be the richer for knowing him. And I doubt he minds now, having 
in heaven for nearly 120 years.

You might be surprised to know that he was one of the most influential 
Christians in 19th-century England. Many prominent English leaders of that 
era whose
names you
do know, like Charles Spurgeon, J.C. Ryle, Hudson Taylor, George Müller, 
even Prime Minister Gladstone, knew, loved, and revered Robert Chapman, and 
his counsel. Why?

block quote
He became legendary in his own time for his gracious ways, his patience, his 
kindness, his balanced judgment, his ability to reconcile people in 
his absolute fidelity to Scripture, and his loving pastoral care. (
Agape Leadership )
block quote end

In short, it was the beautiful and (sadly) rare way Chapman loved others 
that made it crystal clear to everyone whose disciple he was (John 13:35). 
called him “the saintliest man I ever knew.”

From Birth to Barnstaple

Robert was born in 1803, to Thomas and Ann Chapman. It was clear early on 
that he was very bright. At age fifteen, he left home to apprentice as a 
in London. He excelled in his apprenticeship and by age twenty became an 
attorney of the Court of Common Pleas and of the Court of the King’s Bench. 
couple years later he started his own law practice. Experienced lawyers saw 
a promising professional future for Robert.

The Best Leaders Are Often Least Noticed f4kyepqv

But during his apprenticeship he also experienced a growing spiritual 
hunger. An older Christian lawyer befriended Robert and invited him to John 
Chapel, where, under the evangelical preaching of Harington Evans, the 
twenty-year-old Chapman understood the gospel and was converted.

Over the next few years, Chapman became increasingly involved in the 
ministry of John Street Chapel and Evans mentored him in preaching. But as 
his interest
in studying the Bible and participating in gospel outreach increased, his 
interest in law decreased.

Finally, at age twenty-nine, Chapman gave up law altogether and agreed to 
become the pastor of a little Baptist church called Ebenezer Chapel in 
a town of about seven thousand in the southwest of England. He would 
minister there for the next seventy years.

Agape Leader

Before becoming a pastor, Chapman had resolved to not merely preach Christ, 
but to live Christ. And when he stepped into pastoral leadership at Ebenezer
Chapel, he had ample opportunity to exercise his resolve.

Ebenezer had so many internal conflicts that it had burned through three 
pastors in the eighteen months before Chapman arrived. Not only that, but 
of Chapman’s theological convictions differed significantly from the church’s. 
The situation was ripe for another short pastorate, but that didn’t happen.

Because Chapman really believed in the power of and practiced prevailing 
prayer. And he had supreme confidence in the power of the word faithfully 
prayerfully preached to transform people. And he determined to be doggedly 
patient and tender with the people. Rather than exacerbate tensions by 
to push through theological and structural changes quickly, even ones he 
felt strongly about, Chapman committed them to prayer, faithfully preached 
taught the Bible, and extended to the people tenacious, persevering love. 
Eventually, most people in the church embraced what Chapman taught and 

Division in the Church

But not everyone did, which provided Chapman a very different opportunity to 
live Christ in an even more profound way.

Two years into his ministry, despite doing all he could to prevent it, a 
small group of Ebenezer members split off to form their own church. Not only 
but this group demanded that the rest of the church move out of the 
building, since they saw themselves as the faithful remnant of the church’s 
convictions. In response to this, Chapman did something unusual: he led the 
rest of the saints at Ebenezer (the majority group) to relinquishing the 
to the splinter group. He believed it was better to be wronged than to have 
Christ’s name put to shame in the town because of infighting over property.
The Ebenezer saints made due for a few years until they were able to build 
what later became known as the Grosvenor Street Chapel.

But this turned out not to be exceptional for Chapman. He practiced this 
kind of love at all levels, great and small. He frequently gave needy people 
met the literal coat off his back. Or he’d give away the last bit of money 
he had, even if it was his train fare home from some place. This happened 
some regularity, and when it did, Chapman would board the train and simply 
ask the Lord to provide his fare, which he always did. The frequent guests 
stayed overnight at his home always found their shoes cleaned and set 
outside their doors in the morning. And since many of the folks who attended 
church were domestic workers who had precise work start times, he sought to 
always begin and end meetings on time.

As you can imagine, Chapman’s consistent, godly agape leadership over the 
course of decades fostered a culture of love in the church he led. And its 
lasted beyond his life. A generation later, the church resulting from the 
small splinter group ended up revering Chapman. And the
Grosvenor Church remains a thriving, evangelical witness for Christ in 
Barnstaple to this day.

Blessed Peacemaker

Chapman became renown for the gracious and tender way he treated people. But 
that didn’t mean he wasn’t tough. He stood firm on his settled biblical 
and once said to a friend, “My business is to love others, not to seek that 
others shall love me.” But, since he was so consistently patient and kind,
even in disagreement, others tended to love him.

A man strong in the Scriptures, full of wisdom, and deeply concerned that 
Jesus’s church not veer into unfaithfulness, Chapman was drawn into numerous
theological controversies and conflicts between church leaders. He really 
did grieve over the damage that leaders’ pride and impatience caused in the 
of Christ. He rigorously practiced, and encouraged others to practice, Paul’s 
admonition that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to 
able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with 
gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24–25).

In cases where people became angry with Chapman and withdrew from him, he 
always pursued them, doing everything he could to be at peace with them 
12:18). And as long as the tension and distance remained,

block quote
Chapman referred to them as “brethren dearly beloved and longed for” 
(Philippians 4:1). His sorrow was genuine. There was no sense of “good 
riddance” on
his part. He had no sense of relief to be done with those who . . . opposed 
him and would have no further Christian fellowship with him. These were his
“brethren whose consciences lead them to refuse my fellowship and to deprive 
me of theirs.” (
Robert Chapman: Apostle of Love )
block quote end

Apostle of Love

From the time of his arrival in Barnstaple till the end of his life, because 
of his deep love and concern over people’s souls, Chapman was a relentless

block quote
He talked with people on the streets and at their houses or rooms. He 
frequently held gospel meetings in the workhouses and talked individually 
with the
homeless and destitute inmates. . . . He began open-air preaching . . . and 
became quite good at it. (
Robert Chapman: Apostle of Love )
block quote end

Many came to Christ due to Chapman’s personal witness.

He also carried the unreached nations heavy on his heart, and he interceded 
daily for them. He had a particular burden for Spain. He taught himself 
and took three different extended trips, walking the length and breadth of 
the country for months at a time to personally evangelize lost Spanish 
and to encourage the few Christians there. He also spent time in Ireland 
doing the same thing.

Chapman developed a friendship with Hudson Taylor and was an enthusiastic 
intercessor, financial supporter, and U.K. representative for the China 
Mission. And he loved George Müller and his orphan work in Bristol. Müller 
considered Chapman one of his most trusted counselors.

Chapman never married. But his home was rarely lonely because he made it 
into a place of refuge and refreshment for weary and discouraged Christian 
Many pastors and missionaries were profoundly encouraged by spending time 
with and receiving counsel from this godly, gentle saint.

Example Worth Examining

Robert Chapman had a long and fruitful ministry — he lived to be 99 years 
old and left no blemish of moral failure. He preached his final sermon at 
Street Chapel when he was 98 (and went an hour and a quarter!). He was 
spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy and vigorous right up to the 
end —
evangelizing, visiting, counseling, teaching, and especially interceding. 
Then on June 2, 1902, he suffered a stroke, which led to his death ten days 
on June 12th.

One of the reasons we haven’t heard more about Robert Chapman is that he 
sought to remain anonymous. He was disturbed by the phenomenon of Christian 
in his day and didn’t want people thinking more highly of him than they 
ought to think. He discouraged most efforts to publish his sermons and other 
and even burned most of his personal papers to discourage the tendency he 
saw for people to turn leaders into posthumous heroes. Because, as he once 
“What is most precious in the sight of God is often least noticed by men” 
( Agape Leadership

Robert Chapman didn’t want people to look at him; he wanted them to look at 
Jesus Christ. He didn’t want to distract others from Christ. And, of course,
he was right about this: no one surpasses Jesus as a model of loving 
leadership. No one has shown greater love (John 15:13). More than anyone 
else, we
need to keep “looking to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2).

But I do think Robert Chapman is worth examining, and I wish he hadn’t 
destroyed his papers. I’m thankful for
Robert Peterson and Alexander Strauch
, who have compiled most of what is available about Chapman into helpful 
biographies. For Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my 
if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). And Chapman took that “if” 
very seriously. He lived that verse.

We need as many models of such love as possible.

Philippians 1:27–28: Our Love Warns of God’s Wrath
John Piper / Monday, January 29, 2018 7:00 PM

Our love for one another in the face of persecution warns our opponents of 
the judgment to come.

Watch Now

Why Do You Want God to Forgive You?
John Piper / Monday, January 29, 2018 7:00 AM

Jesus didn’t die just to forgive your sins and rescue you from hell.. He died 
to bring you to God.

Watch Now

Following Christ Is Costly — But How Do You Count the Cost?

John Piper / Monday, January 29, 2018 4:53 AM

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Our Great Mission

Matthew 28:18-20

If you’re a believer, you are part of the awesome body of Christ, which is
called to bring His light to the world both individually and corporately.
many see the church as a social organization, that’s not what the Bible says
it is. Sometimes we forget that our purpose isn’t simply to have fellowship,
sing, preach, and worship. Jesus entrusted us with good news of the true
life He offers to everyone. This calling isn’t just for foreign
for every believer. Your mission field includes your family, friends,
coworkers, and perhaps even a people group God puts on your heart, often
right in
your community.

Before returning to heaven, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission,
in which He promised to be with believers to the end of the age. That pledge
still stands. He doesn’t send us out to do His work on our own. Vowing never
to leave us, He gave the assurance that all tasks He assigns will be
through us by His Holy Spirit.

What an honor to be included in the Lord’s redemptive plan for the world! He
invites you to have a vital part in His kingdom work of transforming what
is broken and giving new life. Everything you do in obedience is an
opportunity for His Spirit to work powerfully through you!

He is still speaking His message of assurance to us: You’ll have Me as your
companion, your captain, your victory. You’ll have Me as your resource, your
energy, your anointing. Everything you need, you’ll find in Me. How does
recognizing the greatness of your calling change the way you see your daily

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

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

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Carrying It Alone - #8103

OK, I couldn't put it off any longer--we had to move the piano. And in spite
of my Arnold Schwarzenegger-build (this is radio; you'll never know), I
it wouldn't be a good idea to move that monster alone. In fact, I remember
my dad needed surgery after he helped move a piano once! So the time we
the piano was determined by one thing: what time could some guys be there to
help? As we eased that piano slowly down the front steps, I was so thankful
for those other guys. I had my hands full just carrying my corner. This was
something that was obviously never meant to be carried alone.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Carrying
It Alone."

That could be a mistake you're making right now--maybe you've been making it
for a long time. You have some things in your life that are pretty heavy,
and they're really weighing you down, maybe even crushing you sometimes.. But
the problem isn't just how much that monster weighs. It may be that you're
insisting on carrying it alone. You won't do what I did when I had something
that was too heavy for me alone. I called for help.

Well, our word for today from the Word of God reminds us that going it alone
is unnecessary, it's unwise, it's unprofitable. Ecclesiastes 4 beginning in
verse 9, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their
work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up! ... though one may be overpowered, two can
defend themselves."

You get the picture. God says, work with someone else on it. Walk with
someone else. Fight the battle with someone else. Notice, Jesus even sent
the early
disciples out two-by-two. The involvement of some people who shared my load
made the difference in whether or not I could carry what I had to carry on
that piano day. That same equation could make all the difference for you.

Could it be that you've been overwhelmed by your pain, by your issues, by
your burden because you've insisted on trying to deal with it yourself? When
you fall, you stay down because you've not let anyone in that can pick you
up. When you try to carry something heavy alone, you end up injured, or you
end up with more pain. You can even be paralyzed.

Maybe it's your pride that's kept you from sharing the burden you're
carrying. Or the fear of what someone might think. Or a victim mentality
that sort
of perversely thrives on feeling like a martyr. Maybe it's hard for you to
trust because of past betrayals. But whatever the risks of asking someone to
help you with this, the risks are far greater of being crushed by it alone.

Let someone in, won't you? Let your wife or your husband into this aching
part of you; or your mom or dad. Or open it up to the help of a spiritual
or a spiritually mature friend. Maybe you need to talk with a pastor or
counselor who can bring some objectivity and experience to sorting it out.
have probably walked this road with others before you.

Now you may be the one a hurting person calls on for some help. And if they
do reach out and they ask you to help carry the load, realize what a trust
they are giving you. Don't ever betray their confidence, don't condemn, and
don't take it lightly. Listen a lot before you talk. Pray with them about
Look for practical ways that you and others can help.

Maybe you're carrying the load of many years right now, or of a recent blow.
It may be something you've wanted to be a secret, but that secret is like
a cancer eating you up inside. You've got to let someone in. You've carried
this alone long enough. With the loving help of someone lifting the other
you can finally make progress on what has been unmovable until now.

This email was sent to

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

Hospitality: Communion People
January 30, 2018

Read: John 6:35-51

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will
never cast out. (v. 37)

The table is a place of family. It is a place of belonging. By welcoming
others to our tables, we extend this belonging and sense of family. By
our food with others, we offer life and love, just as Jesus did on the

Often, those who most need this sense of belonging are those who don’t
otherwise receive it. In the Gospels, Jesus demonstrates this truth by
welcoming the lonely, the outcast, and the unwanted. These folks are still
around us today. They also are our neighbors and need the welcome and love
God. But do they have a place at our tables?

We cannot offer the gift of belonging to folks on the edges of society if we
do not know them. We cannot know them if we have no way of interacting with
them. Welcoming the folks who most need our welcome means going out of our
way to see people who have been pushed to the margins. It means taking the
to talk with the man on the street corner who asks for money or to get to
know the new refugee family in town or the woman with a disability who
grocery store carts. The people who most need our welcome first simply need
to be
seen. What a gift, then, to get to know someone, and to make them an honored
guest. —Amy Curran

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the gift of each other.

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

Should Christians Be Saying "God Told Me"?
Josh Buice

It happened again recently. I was listening to a sermon online and the
preacher said, “God told me.” Apparently everyone in the congregation
it from the response I heard, but I immediately turned it off. This type of
communication is becoming more prevalent in Christian circles. It’s showing
up in conversations because people are hearing it from the pulpit and
reading it in books they purchased from the local Christian bookstore.
Perhaps it sounds spiritual or is emotionally stirring to the congregation.

Although the “God told me” method of communicating makes for interesting,
suspenseful, and entertaining
stories, what people need most is to hear from God. I would like to make a
simple request. Please stop saying “God told me” unless the phrase is
followed up with a text of Scripture. Have you considered the connection
between the “God told me” language and the sufficiency of Scripture? What
does the “God told me” phrase have with the third of the Ten Commandments?

If God spoke to Moses from a burning bush ( Exodus 3:4-6),
to Samuel in the dark of night (1 Samuel 3:1-9 ),
to Elijah in a cave ( 1 Kings 19:9),
to John the Baptist and others at Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:9-11),
and to Saul (subsequently Paul) and his traveling companions on the road
leading to Damascus (Acts 9:4-7)—
why would God not speak to us today? That’s a fair question, but it might
surprise you to know that God does still speak to us today. He does so
throughHis sufficient and authoritative Word.

In chapter 1 and paragraph 6 of the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith
(1689), we find these words:

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory,
man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily
contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be
added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

During the days of the Old Testament, God was communicating to prophets in
order to write Holy Scripture and to prepare the way for Jesus’ birth. All
of the audible communication of God has direct connection to the redemptive
plan of God to save sinners. God’s direct communication with His people was
not centered on what to eat for breakfast, the need to give money to a
random person at a bus stop, or to go join a group of college students at a
morning workout.

During the days of the New Testament, and the early church period, God’s
audible voice, although rare, was connected to the redemptive plan of God in
Christ. Once the Bible was completed, there was no longer any need for God
to speak to people audibly or to provide direct (divine) communication. God
has communicated everything necessary for faith and life, worship and
service, in His sufficient Word. To use the “God told me” language violates
sufficiency of Scripture. Simply put, it needs to stop.

It’s strange that many churches that once stood courageously for the
inerrancy of Scripture in the past frequently employ the “God told me”
language in
their pulpit today. We don’t allow Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses to play
the “God told me” divine revelation card, and we shouldn’t allow Baptists or
Presbyterians or Methodists or mainstream evangelicals to have a free pass
on this crucial issue.

The “God told me” language majors on our stories rather than God’s story.
We need more of God and less of us in our singing and preaching today. If
are genuinely hungry to hear from God, we must direct them to God’s Word.
To raise children on “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”
and to emphasize the authority of God’s Word is a good thing. But, when
those same children arrive in the worship service on the Lord’s Day and hear
preacher waxing eloquent about how God talked directly to him in the early
hours of the morning — that’s severely inconsistent. John MacArthur writes:

Preoccupied with mystical encounters and emotional ecstasies, [many] seek
ongoing revelation from heaven – meaning that, for them, the Bible alone is
not enough. [With them], biblical revelation must be supplemented with
personal “words from God,” supposed impressions from the Holy Spirit, and
subjective religious experiences. That kind of thinking is an outright
rejection of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-7).
It is a recipe for far-reaching theological disaster. [1]

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

Although some people unintentionally use the “God told me” vocabulary
without understanding the implications, in other cases, certain people and
use the phrase as a means of claiming that they
actually heard directly from God. This intentional use of God’s name is a
clear violation of the third commandment ( Deuteronomy 5:11).

For whatever the reason, some people feel compelled to us God’s name as a
stamp of approval on their stories, their decision to move churches, their
to go into the ministry, or their decision to take a job transfer. Either
way, it’s not true. It’s intellectually dishonest. We as evangelicals must
not allow people to continually get away with using this language. We
certainly shouldn’t celebrate it. Hear the word of Charles Spurgeon from a
he preached titled, “The Paraclete,” October 6, 1872:

Take care never to impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to Him [the Holy
Spirit]. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonored by persons –
I hope they were insane – who have said that they have had this and that
revealed to them. There has not for some years passed over my head a single
in which I have not been pestered with the revelations of hypocrites or
maniacs. Semi-lunatics are very fond of coming with messages from the Lord
to me,
and it may spare them some trouble if I tell them once for all that I will
have none of their stupid messages… Never dream that events are revealed to
you by heaven, or you may come to be like those idiots who dare impute their
blatant follies to the Holy Ghost. If you feel your tongue itch to talk
trace it to the devil, not to the Spirit of God. Whatever is to be revealed
by the Spirit to any of us is in the Word of God already – He adds nothing
to the Bible, and never will. Let persons who have revelations of this,
that, and the other, go to bed and wake up in their senses. I only wish they
follow the advice and no longer insult the Holy Ghost by laying their
nonsense at His door. [2]

It is through the Word of God that we hear God proclaim to us the reality of
sin (Romans 3).
From the Scriptures, we hear God declare good news that makes us wise
unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
God speaks from His Word to correct us and warn us of error (2 Timothy..
3:16-17). As we continue to hear God speak through His Word, we grow into
spiritual maturity and experience the ongoing renewal of our minds
(Romans 12:1-2). God speaks today, but we must not cling to extrabiblical revelations.
Such words are empty and impotent sayings that are more closely associated
with mysticism than Christianity.
Important questions to ask when someone uses the “God told me” language
An appeal to those who preach and teach the Bible:

Don’t immediately classify a friend as a lunatic or a heretic if they use
the “God told me” language in their communication. However, when you hear
talking in this manner, it should serve as a big red flag. Exercise wisdom
and gentleness when confronting this error among friends or church members,
but in the case of calling out false teachers, mark them so that others will
not be led astray.

Originally published on Delivered by Grace. Used with permission.

Josh Buice serves as the Pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church located in
Douglasville, Ga. He and his wife Kari have four children (Karis, John Mark,
and Judson). He earned his M.Div. and D.Min. in expository preaching from
the school of theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He
regularly at Delivered By Grace . DBG is a theology blog that focuses on
theology, SBC, preaching, the church, and many issues within the Christian

Anne Graham Lotz - Do You Know Him?

Do You Know Him?
Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all

Psalm 119:89-90, NKJV

The One Who called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, promising to fully
bless him if he would follow Him in a life of faith is the same Person Who
calls us out of the world and promises to bless us if we follow Him in a
life of faith.

The One Who delivered His children from bondage to slavery in Egypt with a
titanic display of power is the same Person Who was crucified then rose from
the dead to deliver His children today from the bondage of sin.

The One Who halted the entire invasion of Canaan by the Israelites while He
extended His grace to one Canaanite prostitute is the same Person today Who
stops to care for and extend His grace to sinners.

The One Who answered Elijah’s prayer and sent down the fire to consume the
sacrifice on Mount Carmel and then sent down the rain to end the three-year
drought in Israel is the same Person today Who hears and answers prayer. Do
you know Him?

Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.


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Post  Admin on Fri 09 Mar 2018, 10:03 pm

"The Will of God"

The Will of God will never take you...
Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The Will of God will never take you...
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The Will of God will never take you...
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercy of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The Will of God will never take you...
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

The Daily Encourage

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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Mar 2018, 11:29 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know 
in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 
By Answers2Prayer

Walking into the Light

"I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." 
(Isaiah 42:16b KJV)

Some years ago, I checked in at a high-rise hotel, and was instructed by the 
hotel clerk how to find my room. I stepped into the elevator and pressed the
button for the floor to which I had been directed. When the door opened, I 
stepped out into an inviting, brightly lit lobby. However, when I looked 
the hallway where the clerk said that I would find my room, I was surprised 
to see that it was totally dark. Concluding that the hallway lights must be
burned out, I decided that my only recourse was to try to grope my way down 
the hall in the darkness.

Before walking more than a couple of metres, however, a ceiling light above 
me came on. Then, after walking a few more metres, a second ceiling light 
along came on, and so on down the hallway. I realized then that this was an 
energy-saving system: the lights came on by motion detection. So, despite 
initial uncertainty on my part, the light was there for me when I needed it.. 
Probably other hotels have this same system, but this was the first one that
I had ever seen, or have seen since.

The thought came to me how much this is like our Christian journey, where we 
can now only "see through a glass, darkly" (See
1 Cor. 13:12
). God doesn't expect us to find our own way, so He lights our path by His 
Word. We don't need to grope in the dark. Let us walk confidently with the 
of God's Word to guide us, and as we walk confidently, the way will open up 
before us.

"O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." 
(Isaiah 2:5 KJV)

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for providing Your Word to show the way for us. 
Help us to walk it day by day with confidence. Amen.

Walter Haldorson , St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada


One of the ministries connected with Answers2Prayer provides inspirational 
.. If you have written inspirational stories and would like to share them 
with others, please feel free to submit them to me. The writer of any story 
on our site will receive proper credit. Please
submit your story to us . Thank you.

Rob Chaffart

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

Obeying God Requires You Take a Risk
By Tom Holladay

“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in 
Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of 
for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead’”
(Matthew 2:19-20 NIV).

Today’s devotional is by Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

As uncomfortable as it was for Joseph to move his family to Egypt, imagine 
how scary it would be for him to obey God’s command to return to Israel. It
was like going back into the jaws of the lion. He was going to take Mary and 
Jesus back to where his son’s life had been in danger. But because Joseph
trusted God and what he was saying, Joseph took the risk and went there 
because he knew that was the right place to be.

The Bible says, “Even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you” (Psalm 56:3 
CEV). Notice this verse says, “
when I am afraid,” not “if I am afraid.” We may want a life of no fears in 
this world, but that only happens in Heaven. In this life, we’re all going 
face fears of one kind or another.

We have some big fears and some little fears. We fear the future, we fear 
what’s going to happen with our jobs and our family, and we fear little 
like whether we said the right thing to someone, whether that presentation 
went well, or even making a phone call.

In all of these situations, you have a choice to make. Are you going to let 
the fear control you, or are you going to take a risk of faith because you
know you have a God who loves you?

That risk of faith could mean going someplace you’ve never been before or 
forgiving someone you thought you couldn’t forgive. It could mean leaving 
job. A risk of faith could also be praying about something or deciding to 
trust God with a situation or a relationship you’ve held tight in your hand.

What Christ-like risk is God telling you to take in faith?

Play today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

list of 3 items
• What is the risk you’ve put off taking that you need to take in faith?
• With what does God want you to replace your fear?
• What have you learned about God by taking a risk in the past? How does it 
encourage you now?
list end

For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit !

Celebration of Community: Spiritual Feast
January 27, 2018

Read: John 6:1-11

So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. (vv. 10-11)

Just as the people on the hillside sat and ate together like family, we who 
share the Communion feast become one family around the Table. When we 
the body and blood of Jesus, we become part of the body of Christ, which is 
the church. We are members of this body with one another—we are made one 
in Christ. When we receive this feast together, we are given the gift of one 

In order to truly flourish, people need to belong to a family. We need to be 
known deeply by others, and also loved for who we are. We also need the 
of being cared for by others as well as the purpose of caring for others. We 
need a sense of belonging, or we will feel adrift in the world.

Jesus knows what we need. He knows that our need for belonging is just as 
deep as our need for physical nourishment. Communion is, for us, a 
of belonging to one another as well as to God. When we receive Communion, we 
are adopted into the ever-growing family of God. At this table, we recognize
that we have been given spiritual brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, 
aunts, uncles, and cousins. Through Communion, we receive the spiritual 
of belonging to God, and we also receive the emotional nourishment of 
belonging to one another. —Amy Curran

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for inviting me, and all of us, into your family.

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

Front and Center in the Mind of God

by Chuck Swindoll

Psalm 8:1-9

It's humbling to think that the Creator of the universe, whose power, 
knowledge, and goodness know no limits, actually cares about us and loves us 
and personally. Think about how difficult it would be to reach the CEO of a 
major corporation to discuss your problems with a product. Or imagine trying
to get a few moments alone with the President of the United States to talk 
about your foreign policy concerns. We all know how poorly that would turn 
It's not their fault; with limited time and energy, they have to prioritize. 
Furthermore, we who have large families sometimes find it difficult to stay
current with all our little ones. Keeping up with the daily lives of our ten 
grandchildren could turn into a full-time job; almost impossible for mere
man. So, the fact that the Ruler of the universe takes personal care of me 
is more than I can fathom. He takes a personal interest in each one who 
in Him. He adds oil to our grind of feeling overlooked by reminding us of 
His personal interest.

Perhaps as you read this you feel alone, deserted. What a distressing, 
barren valley is loneliness! But listen! If you have the Lord Jesus Christ 
as your
personal Savior, you have a constant Companion and Friend. He never leaves 
you in the lurch. This psalm is proof positive that He does not consider you
unimportant or overlook you. He isn't irritated by your coming to Him with 
your needs. He never looks upon your prayers or requests as interruptions. 
as James reminds us: He gives "generously and without reproach" (James 1:5). 
He provides good gifts without "variation or shifting shadow" (1:17).

Do you know why? The answer is Grace—sheer, undeserved, unmerited, unearned 
favor. Therefore, right now, cast your feeling of insignificance and despair
on Him. Tell Him that you are claiming this Eighth Psalm as a promise of His 
personal grace, concern, and love for you.

Remember, this is a psalm "on the Gittith." David composed it perhaps as a 
victory hymn after defeating the giant, Goliath. I challenge you to take 
personal "giant" of feeling overlooked and ask God to give you victory over 
it today. Who knows? Another Goliath could fall by sundown.

David concludes his song with a benediction, the same words he used in the 
doxology: "O L
ORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth" (Psalm 8:9).. We 
add to David's benediction our own affirming response: Amen.

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the 
Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy 
Inc., 2012). Copyright ©️ 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are 
reserved. Used by permission.

Our Best for His Highest

The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll

Copyright ©️ 2018 Insight for Living Ministries. 
All rights reserved worldwide.

I'm Happy for You...(Not)
by Kelly Givens, Editor,

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

“Just installed our kitchen countertops! They’re GOREGEOUS.”

I rolled my eyes as I glanced at the pictures someone - no older than me - 
had just posted online. Picture after picture of their sparkly new kitchen,
inside their custom built (
custom built, I tell you!) house. I looked up from screen and into my own 
tiny apartment kitchen with its plain, generic countertops. Nothing 
in my place. I tried not to think about it, but it was too late - jealousy 
had flooded my heart. It’s scary how natural it flowed in. All I wanted in 
moment was to be OUT of my apartment and into some glamorous space of my 
own. Can you relate?

I love it when the Bible is black and white. There’s no confusion 
Romans 12:15
- we’re called to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who 
weep. Pretty simple... except when it isn’t. I bet most of us wouldn’t have
to think too hard to remember a time we failed pretty miserably at rejoicing 
over someone’s joy, or weeping as another wept. Why do we have this 

When we fail to rejoice with those who rejoice, there could be several 
reasons why, but here are some I thought of off the top of my head: 
jealousy or envy, discontent, bitterness.

What about when we fail to weep with those who weep? Here are some reasons 
(excuses, really) that come to mind: lacking compassion, both generally in 
or toward a certain individual; perhaps not taking the time to listen or 
really put yourself in the person’s position; too busy to notice the 
of others, distancing yourself emotionally from pain.

I’ve thought of some scenarios that may indicate we’re failing at
Romans 12:15 :

list of 6 items
• Instead of rejoicing at someone’s news, we immediately begin to compare 
how our circumstances measure up.
• We’re quick to say “Oh yes, that happened to me once, too” instead of 
silently listening and acknowledging the hurt of others.
• We try to come to the rescue in every situation, rather than acknowledging 
that some suffering isn’t solvable or explainable (think Job and his 

• We brush off the pain of others because we think they are “taking things 
too hard.”
• We’re quick to say, “Well at least you’ve never experienced
this" (insert whatever horrible thing we’ve experienced).
• We think they cheated their way to the blessings, just got lucky or don’t 
deserve the good thing they received (their parents are totally paying for
that custom-built house
list end

So what’s at the root of all of this? What’s the “sin beneath the sin,” so 
to speak?

I think central to our failure to rejoice and weep with others is a 
preoccupation with self. We can’t step outside of ourselves long enough to 
truly step
into both the blessings and sufferings of those around us. It’s taken me a 
while, but I’ve tried to make a habit of acknowledging the joys and 
of others without immediately inserting myself into the situation. This isn’t 
a natural inclination for me. Satan is the master of deception and loves
to make us fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book: that everything is 
about us.

Ultimately, the key to mastering Romans 12:15
isn’t just thinking about ourselves less.
We’ve got to think about God more. People are most successful at eliminating 
bad behaviors or habits from their lives when they replace them with a good
habit or behavior. So, I not only have to stop focusing on myself, but I 
have to replace all that time I spend thinking of myself with thinking of 
This is life transforming; this is the key to killing pride - not simply 
humbling yourself, but exalting God - who is the only thing worthy of our 

When I’m thinking about God, and not about myself, he reminds me of some 
powerful truths:

I’ve come from dust and I’ll return to dust. Genesis 3:19
reminds me that no matter how much I get ahead in life, eventually I’m going 
to die. And nothing on this earth is worth coveting when I acknowledge that
I can’t take it with me.

I am beautifully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139
reminds me that God made me perfectly, intentionally, knowingly- so I need 
to stop comparing the body I have to others. He made me just right.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30
reminds me that envy is a crippling sin; I could literally waste my life 
away being envious of others. Contentment, on the other hand, brings life.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 reminds me that our part of our calling as Christians is to 
care for those burdened and help carry the burdens of others. I don’t get to 
on this part of my faith if it doesn’t come naturally to me or if I feel 
inconvenienced or uncomfortable by it. I don’t get to ignore the sufferings 
others; I’m called to
step into it.

After meditating on God’s promises and blessings, I am able to recall all 
the wonderful things about our apartment (hello, cheap rent!) and the many, 
ways God has blessed and provided for me.
Proverbs 30:8
says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” 
As Christians, contentment in our own circumstances is the surest way to
reflect the all satisfying power of Christ to those who may need to be 
reminded of where their joys and sufferings begin and end.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Do you struggle to rejoice with those rejoicing 
or weep with those weeping? Check yourself - what’s stopping you? Pray that
God would help uncover the “sin beneath the sin” - the ways you’re focusing 
on yourself instead of focusing on Him.

Posted by: "Gospel from India" gospelfromindia
​​ He became sin for us!

​There is a day of judgment coming when every man and woman and boy and girl will have to stand before a righteous God to give an account for one thing—what did you do with Jesus Christ?

The Bible says the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23. 
I believe the Bible, that death is coming upon every person in the world who is without God.

God loves us in spite of our sins-
- in spite of the dreadful wickedness of our heart. 

God says, “I love you,” and the Bible teaches that God is a God of mercy, that He’s a God of love, that He’s a God of forgiveness.

He sent His Son to the cross. 
And the Bible teaches that God took all of your sins and all of my sins and laid them on Christ. 

​​He became sin for us and His blood was shed. 
That blood was symbolic of His broken heart and His life that was given for you.

I want you to receive Him by an act of faith. 
I want you to trust Him. 
I want you to believe in Him. 
I want you to make Him your own. 

Make Him your Lord, your Master. 
Receive Him as your own. 

This is the Good News.

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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Mar 2018, 10:57 am

Weakness and Failure Will Build Your Faith
Vaneetha Rendall Risner / Saturday, January 27, 2018 7:00 PM
Weakness and Failure Will Build Your Faith

There are so many things I wish someone could have told me at thirty, 
because at thirty I thought I had life figured out.

I didn’t.

Life turned upside down quickly. I wish someone had said to me,

block quote
You are holding onto meaningless things, and you are believing in yourself 
for the wrong reasons. Stop judging your life by your achievements or 
whether material or relational or reputational, because none of them will 
last. What you now consider blessings will be taken away, and when they are,
you will discover that being blessed is deeper and more lasting than you can 
block quote end

There is no way I could have prepared my thirty-year-old self for what lay 
ahead. How does one prepare for the unknown? I’m glad I didn’t know what was
coming, but I wish I had known that while God was taking away my earthly 
treasures, he was giving me something that could never be taken away — he 
giving me himself.

I wish I had known that trusting God would never be a mistake and that he 
would use every ounce of my pain for my good and his glory. And I wish I had
known that life in Christ would continue to get better, because Jesus always 
saves the best wine for the end.

The Cost of a Successful Career

My late teens and twenties were marked by unmitigated success. Named 
valedictorian of my high school class. Accepted at every college I applied 
to. After
college, worked for a prominent financial institution. Earned an MBA from a 
prestigious university. Met and married a business school classmate. 
in my work as I climbed the corporate ladder.

Life was glorious from a worldly perspective. I was denied nothing my heart 
desired. I had everything I wanted. But it came with a price.

My once-vibrant faith from college took a back seat to my career. My quiet 
times were mostly on the run, if they happened at all. My friendships were 
but I was too busy to care. My faith was shallow, but it seemed good enough..

Then I hit my thirties. A serious marriage struggle put us in counseling for 
years. Our infant son died. I had four miscarriages. I was diagnosed with
post-polio syndrome, though the symptoms were just starting.

Stay-at-Home Achiever

My seemingly perfect life had taken a huge turn. I had decided to stay home 
full time after our first child was born. I shifted my focus from my career
to being a devoted wife and mother. I made gourmet meals, took photographs 
of my children’s every breath, and made scrapbooks to commemorate every 

I prayed for my husband and made time to be together. I planned regular 
family nights and homeschooled our children. I had consistent quiet times, 
women’s Bible studies, and mentored women on marriage.

My struggles forced me to lean on God, and I learned to adjust to a 
different life — one that was less in the limelight, but still felt 
accomplished. Just
different priorities and accolades.

Nowhere Else to Turn

But midway through my forties, it all fell apart. My husband left for 
another woman, citing my inadequacies as a wife. My children walked away 
from God
in anger, highlighting my failure as a parent. Our home became a place of 
rage and regret, the opposite of the sanctuary it once was. My arms began 
because of post-polio, and so I had to stop cooking, scrapbooking, and 
hospitality to concentrate on self-care.

Everything I worked for was gone. The things that I had valued 
disintegrated. There was not a shred of accomplishment I could cling to.

Those days were more painful than I can put into words. My friends and 
family rallied around me, but inside I was dying. Nothing I had accomplished 
to matter.

I clung to God as I knew there was nowhere else to turn. And from that 
desperation came an unexpected delight in God. I craved fellowship with him.. 
word revived me daily. I prayed more earnestly.

And my relationship with others had a newfound authenticity. There was 
nothing to hide behind. I had no appearances to maintain. Everything was 
laid bare.

And I slowly realized this epic failure was a huge gift.

Identity and Security

As my life was tested by adversity and failure, I gained a truer sense of 
who I was. It was not based on my achievements. What people thought of me. 
I did or had done.

My identity was based on Christ.

My successes in life never gave me security. Quite the opposite, they 
pressured me to keep succeeding.

But failure gave me an inner confidence. It has taught me about myself. What 
I could lean on. What could and would be shaken. And what was unshakable.

Amidst my failure, I understood more clearly what constitutes true blessing.. 
True blessing always rests in God himself.

God Builds on Our Failures

The Bible shows us how God uses our failures and frailties. David sinned 
against God when he decided to take a census, counting his people instead of 
on God. God punished him, and in David’s repentance, he built an altar on 
the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. And it was on that very ground,
the place of David’s failure and repentance, that the temple of the Lord was 

God’s temple in Jerusalem, the holiest place where he would dwell on earth 
with man, was built on the ground of human failure.

We offer nothing to God. He isn’t after our success. He wants our heart. Our 
repentance. Our dependence on him.

Now God does not dwell in a temple made by human hands. He dwells in us. And 
in the same way, God’s greatest work in us is built on the ground of our 
God does his most extraordinary work when we rely on him alone.

To Me at Thirty

What would I tell my thirty-year-old self?

Trust God. He is going to use everything in your life to draw you closer to 
him. Don’t waste your suffering, for it will be the making of your faith. 
one day, as your faith becomes sight, you will be grateful for it all.

If God Doesn’t Heal You
Kathryn Butler / Friday, January 26, 2018 7:03 PM
If God Doesn’t Heal You

Weeks of chemotherapy eroded the lining of her mouth, mangled her immune 
system, and culminated in an hours-long surgery to carve out a tumor the 
of a grapefruit.

Throughout, friends and loved ones lifted up a heartfelt but singular 
prayer: Heal her, Lord. She wrapped herself in their words as if girding 
in armor. Afterward, she pointed to a line on the pathology report that 
described dead cells at the center of the tumor, and she praised God for his 
She reasoned that the chemotherapy had killed the tumor before her surgeon 
ever put knife to skin, and the healing for which she prayed was at hand.

But those dead cells didn’t promise cure. Rather, they indicated a cancer so 
aggressive that blood vessels could not tunnel to its center. The tumor was
growing so rapidly that it could not support its own middle. Months later, 
the cancer not only returned, but spread, clogging her lungs and dotting her

Reeling in Grief

As the delicate balance of her organ systems teetered and collapsed, prayers 
for a cure became more ardent, from her church as well as from her own lips..
Her doctors recommended home hospice, but she clung to her conviction that 
must melt away her disease, and insisted upon last-ditch chemotherapy 
instead. Still, the cancer continued its deadly march. Fluid ballooned her 
and saturated her lungs. One awful night, with ICU alarms sounding her 
elegy, her heart quivered and lurched to a stop.

Wholly unprepared to lose her, her family reeled in grief. They agonized 
over how to endure without her, and struggled to reconcile this flickering 
of a beloved, faithful life, against their continual appeals to God for 
How had this happened? they lamented. Had God noticed their prayers? Had he 
even listened? Did they not pray enough? Was their faith too meager? How 
God ignore her, when she was so faithful to him?

God made heaven and earth, catapulted the planets into motion, and assembled 
the scaffolding of our cytoplasm. Surely, he could also eradicate our 
realign our bones, or restore blood flow to areas that mottle.

A Thorn for Now

God can and does heal. In my own clinical practice, he used a patient’s 
improbable recovery
to draw me to himself. Throughout Jesus’s ministry, he performed miraculous 
healings that glorified God and deepened faith (Matthew 4:23; Luke 4:40).
The Bible encourages us to pray in earnest (Luke 18:1–8; Philippians 4:4–6). 
If the Spirit moves us to pray for healing, whether for ourselves or our 
we should do so with fervor.

Yet while we pray, we must attend to a critical distinction: although God 
can heal us, we must never presume that he

Death is the consequence of the fall (Romans 6:23). It overtakes us all, and 
most commonly recruits
illness as its vehicle
.. When Christ returns, no disease will blot God’s creation (Revelation 
21:4), but for now, we wait and groan as our bodies wither. We may perceive 
healing to be the greatest good, but God’s wisdom surpasses even the most 
impressive reaches of our understanding (Isaiah 55:8). We cannot bend his 
to resemble our own.

Time and again the Bible depicts instances when God does not immediately 
eradicate suffering, but rather
engages with it for good (Genesis 50:20; John 11:3–4; Romans 5:3–5). “A 
thorn was given me in the flesh,” the apostle Paul writes of his own 
physical affliction.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made 
in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:7–9). God responded to Paul’s prayers for 
healing not by curing him, but rather by working
through Paul’s suffering to draw him nearer to his glory. In the most 
exquisite example, through his suffering and death, Christ redeems us from 
our sins
and pours grace out upon us (Romans 3:23–25; Ephesians 1:7).

A Heartbeat to Heaven

When we ignore God’s work in suffering, and cleave breathlessly only to our 
hope for a cure, we forsake opportunities for closure, fellowship, and 
preparation at the end of life.
warns that those of us within a religious community are more likely to 
pursue aggressive measures at the end of life, and more likely to die in an 

If we set our eyes only on a cure, rather than on the reality of our 
physical mortality, we may chase after treatments that not only fail to save 
us, but
which also rob us of our capacities to think, communicate, and pray in our 
final days. We forget that if our healing is not within God’s will, we will
need fortitude, peace, and discernment to endure. And if cure does not come, 
a single-minded focus on healing strands ourselves and those we love with
unsettling doubts about the validity of our faith.

The gospel offers a hope that exceeds the reparation of our bodies. This 
side of the cross, even as our vision darkens and the world closes in,
we need not fear death. Christ has overcome, and through his resurrection 
death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55–57). Death is but a momentary 
a transition, a heartbeat before we reunite with our risen Lord (2 
Corinthians 4:17–18). In the wake of the cross,
death is not the end. Through Christ’s sacrifice for us, through God’s 
overflowing and sufficient grace, we have spiritual healing to sustain us 
eternity, even while our current bodies warp and break.

Pray for More

When life-threatening illness strikes, by all means pray for healing if the 
Spirit so moves you. But also pray that, if cure is not according to God’s
will, he might equip you and your loved ones with strength, clarity, and 
discernment. Pray he might grant us all peace
to endure — through the pain, through the infirmity, with eyes cast 
heavenward even as fear drives us to our knees. Pray that as the shadows 
and the light within us dwindles, that the light of the world might 
illuminate our minds and hearts, drawing us toward himself in our final 
moments on
this earth. Pray we would know in our hearts that our end on this earth is 
by no means
the end.

However dark death seems, it is fleeting and transient, a mere breath before 
the eternal life to come.

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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Mar 2018, 11:47 pm

Why Jesus Came: He Is Greater than the Ashes
By Debbie McDaniel, Writer

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me 
to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the 
to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the 
prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance 
our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in 
Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of 
instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of 
Isaiah 61:1-3

Throughout the Bible and ancient practices, ashes have often been the symbol 
of deep repentance and grief. As the days of Lent are acknowledged each 
we see all around us the visual reminders of ashes on foreheads, and are 
reminded of this one Truth, “...for dust you are and to dust you will 
Genesis 3:19

Not exactly a nice thought to get your day going. But the reality of it all 
sinks in deep. Because, as many of us know, life is not always “happy.” 
it’s difficult. We feel pain, loneliness, even deep grief and despair.

You may understand if...

- You’ve ever lost a loved one or had to say good-bye too soon, left to 
journey through dark days of grief, wondering if you’d ever be able to carry 
without them at your side...

- You’ve ever received a hard diagnosis, faced the fear of the unknown, and 
felt the effects of disease and pain...

- You’ve ever set at the bedside of a dying friend, and held a hand that 
once was strong, whose life had been cut short from the ravages of cancer....

- You’ve ever been to a funeral for a sweet baby, or a precious child, and 
watched endless tears flow from hurting souls of a Mama and Daddy....

- You’ve ever been deeply wounded, betrayed, abused, or mistreated....

It’s true, life is not always easy. It deals harshly sometimes, it seems 
unfair, and we may wonder where God is, or why He didn’t stop that difficult 
or illness from happening.

Job was there too. This righteous man who loved and honored God. Yet he lost 
everything. It crumbled around him, all he held dear. And he knew without
God, he was nothing. And we find him in the beginning of the book of Job,
“...he sat in the ashes.” Job 2:8

Daniel was there. He and the people had suffered under captivity, he prayed 
to God on behalf of his people, that God would have mercy. He repented, and
confessed his own sin, his deep need for Him. He knew where true strength 
and help came from, “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by 
and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.”
Daniel 9:3

Tamar was there. She had trusted and yet was betrayed. David’s own daughter 
had been taken advantage of, then was left on her own, alone, with no hope
for her future, to pick up the broken pieces of shattered life. “And Tamar 
put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her
hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.”
2 Samuel 13:19

And in their times of ashes, they may have wondered too...

Where was God in it all? Deep grief, crime, captivity, illness, death of 
loved ones, shattered hope, and broken dreams?

His Truth says this: He was there, in the midst of it.

And though we may not always see it, or feel it, or even understand it, we 
can know beyond a doubt, that He is with us now too. Always.

Jesus came to bring life, freedom, restoration, redemption, healing, favor, 
goodness, joy, and so much more. He came to trade our brokenness and ashes
for hope and beauty. He will never waste our pain, but will bring His 
greater purposes from it all. We can trust Him even in the most difficult of 
and know that the ashes on our lives will fade away, as His beauty within us 
shines brightly through.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Have you sometimes felt as if your life has been 
marked by ashes, pain, or difficulty? Choose to thank God today, that even
in the hard times, He’s with you and has greater purpose and hope in store. 
Remember, there’s beauty ahead, straight out of ashes. Christ redeems and is
greater than anything we may face in this world.

Further Reading:
Matthew 28:20
1 John 4:4
Jeremiah 29:11
John 16:33

Post by: Christine Hoover

In winter, I spend an inordinate amount of time holed up in my home under a 
blanket, guzzling hot coffee, and longing for spring’s arrival. It’s not my
favorite season, but favorite or not, winter is important. Despite what we 
see with our eyes, the earth in winter is busy creating life. We only know 
is so because spring eventually comes, and then we marvel at what that life 
looks like.

Is it possible that God designed winter and the earthly cycle of life, 
death, and renewal in order to speak a deeper truth? I believe, because the 
says it’s so, that everything in creation is designed speech about its 
Creator. Just as we find him on warm summer days, standing in the sand, 
to the waves crash against the shore, we find him in the stillness of 

Winter, however, often speaks of a barrenness we don’t want to hear about.

Annie Dillard writes, “All that summer conceals, winter reveals.” And so we 
need a life with winters, because we need our hearts revealed. Winter comes
to strip us bare of our delusions, to make us face reality: we have 
imperfections that we can’t perfect. We are helpless to find a formula to 
reason or
act our way out of our helplessness. We are human, and we, in our 
barrenness, must be acted
upon if we’re to experience eternal life, joy, and the supernatural..

Winter then, after stripping us bare, points us to the invisible motion as 
if in invitation to these very things: life is happening. God is at work, 
upon us.

The harshness of our waiting winter tells us that this world has nothing for 
us and that we have nothing for ourselves. We have this hope–one, and only
one–that there is life waiting for us beyond death.

Although we are not yet in that world, we have reasons for our hope: the 
words of God. With words, he formed the earth and its seasons and cycles. 
words, he continues creating. We can trust his words. In our winter, we must 
draw ourselves under the warm blanket of God’s promises, a sure comfort in
the darkest of hours.

This is what God did with the prophet Jeremiah:

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see? 
And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have 
well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.'” (1:11)

In Jerusalem, the almond tree, the first to bud in the spring, was said to 
“watch for spring.” God used the almond branch to comfort Jeremiah in his 
circumstances. The almond branch was a reminder that God is always in 
process of keeping his promises, that he is, at this very moment, hurtling 
all of
us toward eternal spring. He pointed to the almond branch—the coming of 
spring—and told Jeremiah to watch and wait.

We too watch and wait, not in fear of this winter in which we live, nor in 
fear of our own spiritual poverty or even final death. We watch and wait, 
because all of this God is right now working for our true life, when winter 
will forever turn to spring.

Christine Hoover is a Bible teacher and the author of several books, 
Messy Beautiful Friendship. Her latest book, Searching For Spring: How God 
Makes All Things Beautiful in Time, frames the life of faith according to 
seasons and according to Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything 
beautiful in its time.” Searching for spring is really a search for God’s 
work, where suffering and death become fruitful life. Christine invites 
readers like you, who may be weary and withering, to join her on a treasure 
for beauty in both familiar and unexpected places.

The Value of God’s Creatures

by Chuck Swindoll

Psalm 8

All of us need to be needed. We want to be wanted. God created us with a 
desire to know we can contribute something valuable and to have a 
impact in the lives of others. In years past, great men and women longed to 
leave their marks on the world, to create a legacy that would continue after
they had passed away.

In our youth, we tend to derive a lot of self-worth from our ability to 
contribute to others or to assist others in their need. Being in the swirl 
of activity,
resourceful and responsive, our youthful exuberance blinds us to the fact 
that it will someday end. Then, ever so slowly through a chain of events or 
abruptly without warning, we find ourselves sidelined and no longer in 
demand. One circumstance or another can seize our usefulness and leave us 
in its devastating wake. Injustice can take our freedom. Slander can take 
away our reputation. Illness can take away our strength. Bad fortune can 
away our wealth. Depression can take away our hope. And let's not forget the 
steady incursion of age on our vitality. Merely growing older can move us
out of the fast lane. By being passed over for a promotion or being benched 
because a stronger player joins the team, we feel overlooked. It hurts.

No one wants to feel set aside.

The eighth song in God's ancient hymnal is a great one for those times in 
our lives when we feel bypassed, set aside, overlooked. It highlights the 
God places upon His creatures, and none more than humanity.

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the 
Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy 
Inc., 2012). Copyright ©️ 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are 
reserved. Used by permission.

Our Best for His Highest

The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll
Copyright ©️ 2018 Insight for Living Ministries. 
All rights reserved worldwide.

Anne Graham Lotz - A Greater Miracle

A Greater Miracle
"Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you 
may believe. But let us go to him."

John 11:14-15, NIV

Jesus was glad Lazarus had died without Him?! What does that mean? We know 
it doesn’t mean He enjoyed knowing that Lazarus had died or that He enjoyed
thinking about the family’s grief and despair.

Jesus was teaching His disciples – and you and me – a life lesson. And what 
a life lesson it is! The lesson is this: There is a greater miracle than 
healing! It’s the miracle of the Resurrection! Be encouraged!

Even if your prayer is not answered

and your loved one is not healed

and your marriage is not reconciled

and your financial problems are not solved

and your child is not found –

there is hope! Jesus was glad because He knew God would be glorified to a 
far greater extent by the death and resurrection of Lazarus than He would 
been by Lazarus’ healing and recovery from sickness.

Would you rejoice with Jesus for the greater miracle that IS coming to you?


Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
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3 Ways to Trust God Again after Hard Times Hit
Cindi McMenamin

Editor's note: This is the first of a three-part series on Overcoming Life's 

If you've ever found yourself saying "This wasn't supposed to happen" I know 
how you feel.

I, too, found myself saying that at 19 years old when my father's alcoholism 
was revealed and my parents divorced. I was raised in the church so that was
the last thing I expected to happen in my family. Everything I found 
security in seemed to crumble beneath me. I found myself wondering why God 
hold my family together. Why didn't He prevent the brokenness from 
happening? Why did He seem to be sitting it out?

My comfort came -- and the questions were stilled -- when I stumbled upon 
these verses in the Bible:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," 
declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways 
than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts"
( Isaiah 55:8-9 ).

It was as if God was saying "I know what is going on here, Cindi, and 
although you don't understand it, you must trust Me through it." I realized 
that it wasn't so important for me to understand why I was hurting, but it 
was essential that I
trust the One who, in love, was allowing the hurt to happen.

I chose to trust God that day, rather than question Him. And I can honestly 
tell you that today, almost 30 years later, God has worked that entire 
for good in my life (by working a deeper trust in me and showing me how to 
be compassionate toward those who hurt), in the life of my father, who is 
30 years sober and ministering to countless other alcoholics, and in the 
lives of my other family members. Did God cause those hurtful situations in 
family? No. But He was able to work through them to bring some purpose out 
of our pain.

Our lives often don't go as planned, but don't think for a minute that 
anything that has happened in your life took God by surprise.

After 30 years of ministering to women, as well as experiencing pain in my 
own life (a little of which I mentioned above), I can assure you God has a 
and He knows what He's doing in allowing whatever breaks your heart, slows 
you down, or gives you grief.

In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts, I offer ten steps toward 
healing and wholeness. The first step is to realize there's a reason and a 
behind your pain. I know that's easier said than done so let me give you 
three practical ways to start trusting this loving, all-knowing God on a 
basis -- even when you're hurting:

1. Thank God in the midst of your pain

Scripture says "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for 
in Christ Jesus" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18
, emphasis added). To be able to say "Thank you, God, even though I don't 
understand this" is not only an act of obedience in which you live out God's
will for your life, but it is an act of faith. (And
Hebrews 11:6
says "without faith it is impossible to please Him...). Can you practice 
this crucial step of faith and obedience right now by thanking Him for 
painful memory you have, not because you
feel thankful, but because you're commanded to be thankful...and because you 
desire to please His heart?

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

2. Tell God You're Ready to Grow

Hurtful times are opportunities to grow closer to God. Tell Him you're ready 
to see what He wants you to see and to know Him in the way that He desires.
By doing this you are placing yourself in the position where He can teach 
you what He wants you to learn.
Jeremiah 29:13
says "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." To 
say "God, I'm ready to grow" is another way of seeking Him and His refining
work in your life.

3. Trust the Process

Even if you can't see anything good coming out of your pain, trust the 
process God is allowing you to go through which will prepare you for 
greater later. He really does, in all things, work "for the good of those 
who love him...." (
Romans 8:28
). And the very next verse tells us
how God works all things together for our good: "For those God foreknew He 
also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son
...." ( Romans 8:29
, emphasis added). So if you're going through heartache and you don't 
understand it, trust that He is working on your character to make you more 
like Christ.
That is reason enough, when we think of what Christ endured for us so that 
we could someday be with Him.

So start trusting today that the One who loves you and won't let anything 
touch your life that hasn't first gone through His loving hands has a reason
for what He's allowing. He wants you to be more like Him.

Can you take that huge step of trusting He has a reason for the pain in your 

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of eleven books, including
When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold),
Women on the Edge
, and When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts
.. For more on her ministry and for free resources to help strengthen your 
soul, see her website or contact her at .

Publication date: August 10, 2012

New Post on - Worship in the Book of Revelation

Worship in the Book of Revelation

Posted: 25 Jan 2018 09:55 PM PST

A reflection on Revelation 1:4-8, 17-18; 4:8-11; 5:8-14;
7:9-12; 11:15-17; 15:3-4; 16:5-7; 19:1-7; 22:13, 16

The primary purpose of prophecy is not to give us a roadmap for the future 
but to give us God’s perspective. Through prophecy, the reality of God 
our false, materialistic view of life. Through prophecy, we see Him as the 
focus of our daily world and our eternal destiny.

As a book of prophecy, Revelation exalts God as the center of life, as its 
Beginning and end, its Source and Goal. Thus it is not surprising that such
a God-centered book is permeated with worship and praise. Reading through 
its praise passages, several basic truths become clear:

1. Praise is a simple, honest acknowledgement that God is, and that He is 
who He says He is. Praise acknowledges God, what He has done, and what He is
doing. We don’t need advanced intelligence or complex reasoning to praise 
God. Praise is simple faith’s response to God and the truth about Him:
block quote
God is the Creator. All that is flows from Him.
God is eternal, enveloping all the past, present, and future.
God is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End and
everything in-between. He is the All-in-all.
God is holy, both transcendent and pure.
God is our Redeemer. He saved us from sin through the death of His Son.
God is worthy of all worship, power, wisdom, riches, and glory.
In His own perfect time, God will re-assert His complete control over 
creation and will judge our world in righteousness.

2. As we focus on God, praise draws us deeper and deeper into His 
magnificence. Seeing God, we think and talk less about ourselves and more 
about Him.
3. Among those who know and trust God, praise is contagious. Praise often 
causes other believers to join in the praise. Praise spreads. Praise will 
until it envelops all creation (Revelation 5:8-14).
list end

Do you long to praise God in a way that is pleasing to Him? Immerse yourself 
in the praise and worship of Revelation.

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

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Mar 2018, 12:03 am

Praying for You, Right Now!
Dr. Gary L. Welton

Social media is used today for every purpose (and many of the posts are not 
particularly prosocial). Too many of the “news” stories have been slanted so
far (sometimes to the right, and sometimes to the left) as to become fake, 
by any reasonable standard. But Facebook is also used to announce, share, 
celebrate positive events, like weddings and births. I often think that 
Facebook is at its best when it focuses on newborns and toddlers. Facebook 
also become a quick way to communicate needs and request prayer when facing 
human trauma.

My recent Facebook feed includes the stories of two little girls recently 
hospitalized at Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital for serious threatening 
both associated with chronic conditions—sisters, no less. I am powerless to 
do anything for these two little girls, and that feeling of being powerless
is experienced exponentially more so by their parents and grandparents. I 
know of no comment to make except to offer prayers on their behalf.

When my wife was going through her cancer treatment, and dealing with most 
of the fine print associated with the chemotherapy drugs, it meant a great 
to us, as we sat in the hospital, to see those Facebook comments coming in 
from people promising to support us with prayer. Unfortunately, we are all 
at times of saying “I will pray for you,” and then living with prayer 
promise dementia. We too often make the promise to pray, and then totally 
to follow through. Because of this, I treasured (and continue to treasure) 
the comments that regularly came from one co-worker (herself recently 
by cancer), “Praying for you, right now!”

The offer of prayer, though, is a theistic statement of faith. It is a 
recognition that our times and our lives are not always under our control, 
but that
we are dependent on the love, care, and ultimate wisdom of our God. Of 
course, there are many (and a growing number) in our society who do not 
accept our
theistic lifestyles, and hence reject the notion of offering up prayers to 
God. These atheists, making an attempt to practice a different lifestyle, 
sought a new way to convey their concern for others in troubling situations.. 
Perhaps you have seen their politically correct comments on Facebook. As I
was reading the comments of “Prayers,” and “Praying right now,” I was taken 
aback the first time I saw the comment, “I will think happy thoughts for you

I recognize the potential impact of optimism and happy thoughts. We do 
sometimes have to reorient our thinking, move beyond ruminating on troubling 
and think happy thoughts. I am not, however, impressed with the idea of 
placing my faith and confidence in happy thoughts. Indeed, I am a weak 
person and
need the crutch of faith. I am not ashamed of my human weakness. When we 
fail to admit our weaknesses, we become hypocrites. It is only when we make 
for the needs of our human condition that we are able to live full human 
lives, and hence fulfill our created roles.

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In my human condition, I need the prayers of my church and my family, as I 
deal with day-to-day stressors and challenges of life. My fellow 
all of my friends, and all of my family members also need my prayers on 
their behalf. I’m glad to think happy thoughts for them as well, but as the 
Year unfolds, I promise to pray for them “Right Now” as I see their stories 
unfold: prayers for them as they experience the traumas of the human 
and prayers for them as they celebrate the joys of their relationships.

As I see your Facebook posts this year, be aware that I am praying for you, 
“Right Now.”

Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for institutional assessment, professor 
of psychology at Grove City College, and a contributor to
The Center for Vision & Values . He is a recipient of a major research grant 
from the Templeton Foundation to investigate positive youth development.

3 Ways Not to Be Stupid, According to the Bible
J. A. Medders

We pray for all kinds of things in our lives—healing, strength in 
temptation, help with children—but have you ever asked God to help you not 
be stupid?

When the Bible talks about stupidity, it’s not merely addressing book-smarts 
or street-smarts, I.Q. or knowing lots of information about a lot of things..
You can be really smart and still be super stupid. Knowing the superfluidity 
factors of quantum mechanics pales in comparison to knowing how to live 
before the Lord.

When God is addressing our stupidity, he’s talking about our lack of 
wisdom—a kink in our walking in holiness before the Lord.

I don’t want to be stupid. I’m sure you don’t either. Here are three areas 
where the Lord points out common stupidities to avoid. And with the 
Jesus leading our lives, stupidity can be in our past.


“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is 
( Proverbs 12:1 CSB)

Stupid people aren’t the ones being corrected; it’s the ones who hate being 
corrected. Pride and stupidity are the
Tweedledee and Tweedledum of our lives . They love to travel together, play 
off of each other, and clog up your life. Do you hate when your spouse 
you? Your boss? A friend? Hear the word of the Lord.

“Father, humble me. Help me to hear from my friends, family, and others in 
my life. I know I’m still being made more like Jesus. Help me, Spirit.”


“When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, I was stupid 
and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you.”
( Psalms 73:21-22 CSB)

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If we think we know what should happen in our lives, and think God doesn’t 
have a clue what he’s doing—we are at the lowest low of stupidity. If you 
careful, you may start acting like that chicken in Moana.

“Holy Father, help me to trust you in this situation. I don’t pretend to 
know everything going on, but I know you do. Jesus, you always submitted to 
Father, and you did that for me. Help me, Lord.”


“A stupid person does not know, a fool does not understand this: though the 
wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be eternally
( Psalms 92:6-7 CSB)

If we, who know the promise of eternity, want to trade the eternal treasures 
and joy of the risen Christ for the glimmering gravel of today—we’ve put on
the dunce cap.

“Lord, help me to not love the things of this world more than you and what 
you offer me. Keep me content. Keep me looking forward to the future reward
more the temporary pleasures of sin.”

Lord, just, help me not be stupid. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeff Medders is Lead Pastor of Redeemer Church
and the author of
Rooted: Theology for Growing Christians and
Gospel Formed: Living a Grace-Addicted, Truth-Filled, Jesus-Exalting Life . 
You can read more about Jeff on his blog, .
Originally published on . Used with permission.

Celebration of Belonging: Spiritual Feast
January 26, 2018

Read: John 6:51-59

Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 
(v. 56).

In the story Les Misérables, the single mother Fantine is faced with the 
challenge of providing for her young daughter, Cosette, despite very limited 
and opportunities. Fantine’s story is one of deep personal sacrifice of 
everything she has, ultimately including her life, all for the sake of the 
daughter she loves so much, simply because Cosette belongs to her.

The strength and depth of a mother’s love is perhaps one of the closest 
parallels we can draw to the depth of God’s love for us. We are a hurting, 
people. We are plagued by loneliness and fears, insecurities and 
disappointments. We need spiritual healing and nourishment in order to 
experience fullness
of life. In a word, we need to

Through Communion, we celebrate and receive the gift of God’s abundant love. 
This love is strong enough to raise Christ from the dead, and it is also 
enough to resurrect our dead and dying souls. As Communion people, we can 
trust that God’s powerful love is working on our behalf. Our belonging to 
is a gift rather than something we earn. This means we can bring our deepest 
hurts and sins to God without fear, knowing that we are God’s beloved 
We can come to God as we are—with the hope that we are being transformed and 
renewed by the power of God’s love. Through Communion, we receive the gift
of God’s mother-love. —Amy Curran

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for making me your beloved child.

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

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The Broad Way

Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23 (NASB95)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is
broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and
there are few who find it…
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of
heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name
perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from
Me, you who practice lawlessness.

These words come from the Sermon on the Mount which were given by Jesus
himself. He said that many people are on the broad way which leads to
destruction. He is talking here about eternal things and not physical. There
is a narrow way which He calls people to but there are few that truly follow
it. This means that few will end up in heaven. Jesus even said that some of
those that look like some of his greatest servants won’t be in heaven. They
might say the right words and do many great things but they are not truly
following Jesus Christ. This does not mean that what you do can save you but
that if you have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ you will obey
him. As Jesus said,

John 14:15 (NASB95)
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

So those who do not belong to Jesus Christ and follow the narrow way end up
in hell. Is there any way for them to get out of hell? Let’s see what Jesus
said in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus:

Luke 16:24-26 (NASB95)
24 “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and
send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off
my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’
25 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you
received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is
being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm
fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be
able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

So we see that hell is a place of agony. Jesus says that it is like a thirst
that cannot be quenched. He also says that no one that is in hell can get to
heaven. They had their chance to give their lives to Jesus Christ while they
were on earth.

I heard someone say that if we could see all the souls that were going to
hell it would look like a rainstorm where each drop was a soul. There is no
chance for anyone to change their eternal destiny after death so we must
tell others about Jesus Christ while they are living. We must follow the
leading of the Holy Spirit to reach others to bring them to follow the
narrow way and to go to heaven with us.

by Dean W. Masters

Pray Shorter Prayers
David Mathis / Wednesday, January 24, 2018 7:00 PM
Pray Shorter Prayers

For most of my life, two of the Bible’s most important verses on prayer have
been lost on me. I must have been distracted by the more famous verses on
prayer that immediately followed.

How many of us know “The Lord’s Prayer” by heart, in the King James Version
of Matthew 6:9–13, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . .
.. ”? But before Jesus
models prayer for us, he
teaches us to pray in the two previous verses. And two thousand years of
accumulated tradition and repetition may have clouded Christ’s expressed
at work in his now-famous example prayer.

Ironically, at least for me, what Jesus says immediately before was long
drowned out by the same mindless repetition he so clearly disavows in the

block quote
“When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they
think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for
your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7–8)
block quote end

Against Our Gentile Instincts

As fallen humans, we can understand why Jesus would need to steer us away
from heaping up empty phrases. We are prone to this. Apart from God’s
revelation to us, this is our Gentile-instinct in seeking to petition the
divine. Like the prophets of Baal at Carmel, we expect that calling on the
“from morning until noon” and limping around the altar (1 Kings 18:26), even
cutting ourselves in our own ways (1 Kings 18:28), might win us an ear in
heaven. And apart from God’s special work
in us, we’re liable to turn the Lord’s Prayer itself into the very thing
Jesus warns against in the same breath.

One aspect, among others, that’s so amazing about Jesus’s model prayer in
Matthew 6:9–13 (and Luke 11:2–4) is its simplicity and terseness. Jesus
does not “heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do.” He does not pretend to
be heard for his many words.

Arts, Thys, and Trespasses?

In our English, Jesus’s sample prayer is a mere fifty words, and only four
sentences. Can you remember the last time, if ever, you heard a public
so simple, unpretentious, and to the point? And this straight from the mouth
of our Savior himself.

Maybe it’s the arts, thys, and trespasses of old English that allow us to
think such a manifestly simple prayer could be a kind of pagan incantation
bead after bead on a rosary, or on bended knee before a football game. We
could memorize a more contemporary version to guard us against the wrong
But most likely, the issue is deeper, and we haven’t yet really owned the
remarkable freedom into which Jesus invites us — or deeply known the
Father to whom he sends us.

Free to Pray Simply

Liberty from heaping up worn and empty phrases, and from many words, is the
glorious freedom in which we walk as children of the Father. When we pray —
note Jesus’s
when, not if — we come to a God who already has initiated toward us.. We
never introduce ourselves to his highness for the first time, or reintroduce
suspecting he’s too important and busy to remember our name. Prayer is not a
conversation we start, but a response to the God who speaks first, calls
and claims us as his own, even before we return interest in faith and

We are free to abandon our empty, evangelical stock-phrases, and free from
needing many words, extending our requests to a certain length to impress,
in Christ, we already are known, loved, cherished, and secure. We are not
unknown citizens approaching a distant dignitary, but children drawing near
“our Father.”

Reverent and Spiritual

This doesn’t mean we approach with anything less than reverence. He is,
after all, our Father in heaven. And if children should respect their
earthly fathers,
how much more we our heavenly Father? Simple, childlike language doesn’t
mean flippancy, frivolity, or nonchalance.

And simple language doesn’t mean carnal petitions. What a jarring aspect of
Jesus’s prayer! While his model prayer is manifestly and liberatingly
the content is not. At least it’s not natural. Instead of starting with
daily bread, Jesus begins with the hallowing of God’s name, not ours, and
the coming
of God’s kingdom, not man’s. These are the longings and expressions of
born-again hearts, not the whispers of the worldly.

Without the new birth, we will pray, if we pray, with pretense (and unholy
length), and with the same carnal desires as anyone else in the world. But
the new birth, we will pray — not if, but when — with simplicity and
profundity, with new desires for God and his honor.

Our God Loves to Give

Jesus doesn’t just warn us of empty phrases and many words, but he tells us
why: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). God’s
foreknowledge is no reason to keep silent. That’s not Jesus’s logic but
exactly the opposite. Our Father already knowing what we need is an impetus
pray — and to use simple, direct language — because he doesn’t only
know our needs, but he is our Father, who loves his children, and wants to
meet our needs.

In the end, how we pray says a lot about how we view our God. Do we already
have his attention, or suspect we need to flag him down? Do we assume he is
suspicious of our needs, or that he is pressured to meet them from a limited
supply in the midst of increasing demand? Is he distant or near? Is he

and good? Is he just and merciful?

Even Better Than We Ask

When Christians pray, we pray as those who have been freed from praying like
the world. We pray as those who first have heard from our God in his word,
who have embraced his gift of unsurpassed grace in the person of his Son,
and who have no need to earn his favor with our repetition, posturing, and

Rather, we can ask simply, as children. We can ask profoundly, with new
hearts trained on him, not just the things of earth. And we can ask with
confidence knowing that our Father already knows our needs, and knows them
even better than we do, and is even more committed than we are to meeting
in the deepest and most enduring ways.

Most of Life Is Waiting
Jani Ortlund


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Living in a Posture of Surrender
January 11, 2018

Read: Mark 8:34-37; Philippians 2:5-7

You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. (Mark 8:34 Message)

Life can seem like a boxing match—the jabs, the right hook, the uppercut all 
take their toll, but we never see the knockout punch coming, and then we go
“down for the count.” When severe illness or other hardships come into our 
lives, how do we get back up? We get out of the driver’s seat!

What a verse to read when our bodies fail us! At the time when we want most 
to be in control of our bodies, our treatment, our schedules, Jesus tells us
to move over into the passenger seat. We need to learn about surrender. 
Surrendering the goal (and illusion) of being in charge is the foundational 
of our spiritual journey. If we want to walk with Jesus, we must give up 
control of our lives. As Eugene Peterson says so well about Mark 8:34, we 
go or grow with God and remain in charge of the journey. We need to 
consciously turn our will over to God. Surrendering does not mean giving
up on our lives; it means giving our lives to God.

Paul says something similar in Philippians 2:7. He advises us to have the 
same mind and love toward others as Jesus did, who “emptied himself” by 
human. Now that’s a posture of surrender! We need to renounce the idea that 
we are in control of our lives and completely submit ourselves to God, 
that we are safe in God’s hands—as Jesus did when he assumed 
humanity. —Karen Bables

Prayer: Jesus, I surrender all.

For Such a Time as This
By Debbie McDaniel, Writer

“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as 
Esther 4:14

God is the only One, who has the power to turn trials into blessings. Don’t 
ever doubt that He is Able. Nothing is impossible with Him.

He’s always at work even when we can’t see the whole story, even when things 
look uncertain.

And that sets the stage for great things to happen, “...for such a time as 
Esther 4:14

Queen Esther had a choice. When Mordecai sent word to her about the great 
danger their people were facing, she could have simply tried to save 
She could have kept quiet. Just hoped for the best, or turned the other way.. 
But she and Mordecai both knew that God had given her great purpose in her
position. She was wise, she made a plan, she didn’t stay stuck in fear or 
worry, she prayed and fasted, and asked for their people to do the same. She
was willing to act, to follow God’s lead, to save the lives of her people, 
even if it meant she might lose hers. (
Read the whole story in the book of Esther)

Though our current situations may look different than what Esther faced, we 
might still be struggling with great fear or uncertainty. The future may 
dark. A hard diagnosis or recent loss may have sent us spiraling. Yet often 
God places us in positions of influence, or in strategic locations, with 
purpose in mind. Many times, the places where we find ourselves is not 
really “all about us.” It’s about Him. It’s about His bigger plan.

May God help us to follow His lead, believing that His timing is perfect, 
remembering that He’s always faithful.

If you find yourself facing times of trouble or testing right now, be 
assured that God is at work in your situation. He’s working within you, and 
on your
behalf in all the events that surround you, no matter how difficult. In 
whatever we face, God is still on the throne. He is powerful, nothing is too 
for Him.

Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord, He will not fail you, or leave you to 
struggle through on your own. Not ever.

And He is faithful to turn our pain into greater purpose, in our own lives, 
and for those around us.

Intersecting Faith & Life: If you’re facing uncertainty over the future, or 
have a big problem that’s troubling you today, give it to God. Again. Be 
to pray, fast, wait for His direction, then act on the wisdom He provides. 
Know that He is for you, and will never fail. Believe that He is at work, 
setting the stage for great things to happen.

Further Reading:
Ephesians 3:20-21
Romans 8:28
Luke 1:37

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Dr. Kari Vo

"What's In the Jar?"
February 17, 2018
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of 
purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. (John 2:6)

Read John 2:1-11
There were several stone water jars in the house at Cana, meant to be used 
for washing. These were good-sized jars. They were probably nearly waist 
high. Filling them up with water would take some time. But once they were 
filled, the needs of the household would be taken care of for hours or 
days -- even if there was a wedding going on with lots of people. Jars like 
that were worth something -- humble, but very useful.
And that's a pretty good description of us, too, isn't it? Humble but 
useful -- at least, we hope so! We're only stone jars -- not gold or silver 
or anything with jewels all over it -- not even copper or bronze. But full 
of water (after a lot of work) they're useful things to have around.
No doubt those stone jars could have served out their useful lifetime 
without anybody paying much attention to them. But then Jesus got involved.
"Go fill those jars up with water," He says to the servants. Fine, they do 
it. That's nothing unusual. But then He shocks them. "Now dip some of it out 
and put it in a cup and take it to the master of ceremonies." Say what? 
Nobody drinks washing water! But they did it, and you know the rest of the 
story: the washing water had become the best wine.
What a shock to the bridegroom! He knew there wasn't supposed to be wine in 
those jars. And what a shock to us when Jesus takes the blah, boring water 
of our everyday lives and turns it into the wine of God's grace and mercy, 
passed through us to others who need it. "That's not what we were made to 
carry!" we might protest. "That's too good for us!" And so it is. But Jesus 
gives us the high privilege of being carriers of His love to others.
During this time of Lent, pour out that love and mercy to the people around 
you -- the love and mercy Jesus has showed you, even from the cross.
THE PRAYER: Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and use me to Your glory. 
Reflection Questions
list of 3 items
1. Which do you prefer, water or wine-and why?

2. Has God ever used you to do something you felt was above your worthiness? 
If so, what was it?

3. If you are willing, tell the story of a time when God turned the ordinary 
"water" of your life into unexpected "wine."
list end
Author Dr. Kari Vo serves as theological writer for Lutheran Hour 
Ministries. She holds a doctorate in English (Renaissance period) from St. 
Louis University
and has worked in writing and publishing for 30 years. She has published 
several books and written dozens of articles. Originally from California, 
and her family are missionaries to the Vietnamese immigrants in the St. 
Louis area.
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Exodus 25-26; Mark 1:1-22

"Here I Raise My Ebenezer"

There's a peculiar line in the classic hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every 
Blessing". It's in the second stanza; and it says, "Here I raise my 
Ebenezer." Most
people are probably not familiar with the single verse from which that line 
originated. Robert Robinson apparently not only knew of the verse but also
understood its meaning and importance, for it was he who wrote those words 
into his beautiful and timeless hymn.

In 1 Samuel 7:12 we are told that "Samuel took a stone and set it up.... and 
called its name Ebenezer, saying 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'" That
stone was a reminder to the Israelites of God's faithfulness and might. It 
was set up so that no matter what situation they were in, they would be able
to hark back to their defeat of the Philistines in which God was faithful to 
deliver them.

What reminders do you have of God's faithfulness in your life? It may be a 
picture, a song, a powerful verse that really spoke to your heart during a
difficult time. Whatever it is, keep it at hand so that when you are 
discouraged you can not only use it to recall how God has blessed and helped 
but you can also look forward to His future faithfulness.

Ebenezer - from two Hebrew words pronounced together: "Even Haazer" - "Stone 
of Help."

David Jeremiah

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Surprising Reason You Are Where You Are - #8093

Some years ago, we took a delegation of teenagers to a youth conference at 
the Jersey Shore, and one of our volunteers was one of the counselors. One 
she left the meeting early to check on one of the kids from our group. She 
started walking down the Boardwalk. Suddenly she hears this cry for help 
the water down below. She realized that a girl was out there in that dark 
ocean about to drown. So she yelled for others to come, she pulled off her 
and she jumped into the water. She knew this was a life-or-death situation, 
and she said, "I just had to do something." Pretty soon a couple of men 
in to help her and together they were able to rescue that young woman. And 
you know what? Our friend realized the real reason she had been out on the 
that night. Much to her surprise, she had literally been placed there to 
save a life!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Surprising Reason You Are Where You Are."

Now our word for today from the Word of God comes from the amazing story of 
Esther, which is told in the book in the Bible that carries her name. Esther
was a young Jewish woman who was in Persia as part of the Jews who had been 
brought there when the Persians conquered her people. But through an amazing
series of events, she becomes the Queen of Persia, the wife of the most 
powerful man in the world, but no one knew she was a Jew.

When a power-mad member of the king's court engineered this royal decree to 
have the Jews annihilated, the man who raised Esther sent her a message, 
her to use her access to the king to save her people. To do so, she would 
literally have to risk her life because the law required that anyone who 
to the king uninvited - even the queen - would be put to death unless the 
king extended his golden scepter to spare them, and Esther had not been 
by the king for a month.

The challenge Esther receives is in our word for today from the Word of God, 
Esther 4:14, and it may very well be the challenge that our Savior has for
you at this point in your life. Here it is. "Who knows but that you have 
come to royal position for such a time as this?" In other words, God has 
you where you are, not just to enjoy the benefits of your position, but to 
save lives!

Have you considered that maybe that's the same reason you've been positioned 
where you are? You work where you work, you live where you live, you go to
school where you go to school, you do what you do because God has assigned 
you there to be those people's link to Jesus!

Some years ago, my friend Gary was talking with a woman whose dad teaches at 
one of America's military academies. This woman was really spiritually 
for her dad. Gary knows a lot of influential people and he offered to call 
the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to invite her dad to an 
adult outreach. Or, he said, "I'll even call a Christian cabinet member I 
know in this administration." But to my friend's surprise, this woman said, 
that won't work." Gary asked her what would work - who could get through to 
her father. Her answer? "Another professor. Someone like him."

That's probably how the people around you are going to be reached for 
Christ - through someone who does what they do, lives where they live, faces 
they face. And for the people around you, that would be you.

I don't know what you think of when I say the word "evangelist" - probably 
someone preaching on a crusade platform - but I hope you'll start to think 
the man or woman in the mirror. Because all that is, is someone who carries 
the Good News of Jesus to people who need Him. Of all of the millions of 
children, you're the one He has positioned to rescue the people around you. 
And where you are is your stretch of the beach and you're His designated 

Like a young woman near the ocean that night, like that Jewish girl placed 
in a strategic spot, you've been placed where you are to save someone who is
dying - eternally if they die without Christ. You're not there just to enjoy 
your spot. You are there to save lives!

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

Anne Graham Lotz - The Proof of Love

The Proof of Love
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still 
sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8, NKJV

Has someone suggested to you that:

If God really loved you, He would heal your disease?

If God really loved you, He would never have allowed you to lose your job?

If God really loved you, He would bring your spouse back home?

If God really loved you, you would be healthy and wealthy and problem free?

Yet God has said that the proof of His love is none of those things! The 
proof of His love is that while we were sinners, passing Jesus by on the 
of life, He sent His only, beloved Son to die for us.

Would you thank God, not just for saying, “I love you,” in words, but for 
proving it?


Copyright ©️ 2018 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

“While we were still sinners…” Ro. 5:8

Take notice, the line above does not read…
“While we were trying really hard to improve…”
“After we had started to get wise…”
“Once we read the book of John three times…”
“As soon as we looked like Mary, not Martha…”
“After a huge and long prayer that really showed God you loved Him…”
“After we proved we would have Christian value for the future…”
“Because you did better things than the other woman…”

No. While you were a sinner. . . while you had dirty knees and an unclean 
heart, while you still were doing that horrible blasted thing you always do,
while you brought nothing to God on your own…right then, Jesus chose to die 
for you.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Tim. 1:15

Jesus, sans sin, saves sinners. Lamb of the world. King of Kings. Lord of 
Lords. Lion of Judah. He came (and got) what he was after: our sin and our 
What we hate in us, Jesus annihilates. He throws it as far as the east is 
from the west, and remakes us into His image. Glory.

What love is this?!

Right now, love calls you deeper. Will you respond? What must you clear out 
so Love can make His way in and renew your spirit? So that you can abound in

No matter how unworthy, messed up, horrible or guilty you feel, there is 
nothing that can separate you from Jesus’ love. There is no amount of 
that can devalue the price Jesus paid on the cross. There are no lengths 
that can’t be erased by his grace.

Invite Jesus in, no matter how badly you feel about things. No matter how 
wrong you may have been. No matter how bad that thing from the past really 
No matter how hurt you feel. No matter how badly you’ve been sinning.

Jesus will take it, then remake you. It is that simple.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still 
sinners, Christ died for us.” Ro. 5:8

He loves you.

Prayer: Jesus, all of you is what all of me needs. Everything else is of no 
merit in comparison to your glory and grace. Fill me with you and lead me in
your ways. Thank you for the price you paid, to love me. I love you so very 
much. I confess, (share with Jesus here). I need your help (share more with
Him here). What do you have for me, God? In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears 
has been called “A must read,”
“Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it 

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless 

Is Suffering Inevitable?
by Shawn McEvoy, Managing Editor,

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what 
is right rather than for doing what is wrong
1 Peter 3:17 , NAS

Suffering. It's not standard daily devotional fare, because let's face it, 
usually we want to begin or end our day being uplifted, or even better, 
up God, rather than focusing on our pains and problems.

But there's the rub... we all have pains and problems. Christian and 
non-Christian. Lifelong disciple and baby believer. Red and yellow, black 
and white.
Everyone, from the moment he or she was born, has struggled, tried, failed, 
hurt, sinned, misunderstood, and reacted. Humanity shares a true brotherhood
over suffering, one that we might understand a lot better if suffering 
weren't also so
relative. By which I mean, one person's issues may sound simple, 
easy-to-solve, even petty to another. "That's nothing compared to what I've 
had to endure!"

But the fact is, your sorrows and difficulties are real to you. It's one 
reason why I'm no fan of when people say a certain place or time in their 
isn't "the real world," as if the spot they are currently tucked away at is 
immune from any degree of difficulty.

Suffering is very real, and there's certainly no reason any Christian would 
expect life to be otherwise. We purport to follow a "Suffering Savior." His
stripes have healed us, and wow do we seem to feel them sometimes, which is 
as it should be, as we deserved them instead of Him. If we agree that no 
but One - no matter where they lived or how easy or hard they had it - has 
escaped sin's corruption, then how much more must we agree that truly NO 
has escaped suffering?

Look at what Peter suggests in today's verse: you can suffer for doing good, 
or you can suffer for doing bad. By extension, some of the problems in your
life may be a result of your own rebellious choices, while other hurts may 
naturally result from walking so closely with Christ that you ache at the 
and hardship around you, with the world despising and persecuting you.

In the classic allegory Hinds' Feet on High Places, Much-Afraid journeys 
with companions named Sorrow and Suffering, and these two assist her in her 
up the Injury Precipice, which is a part of her transformation into "Grace 
and Glory."

The same is true for you. Your sufferings have informed you, educated you, 
helped you along in your journey. You may despise them, but they are yours.
And they will be with you whether you are doing right, or not. Of course, 
the nature of them will be quite different.

There may yet be one way, though, to avoid suffering. There's a third 
option, left out here by Peter, but not left out
by John in the Revelation
.. It's the middling, lukewarm response to life, the do-nothing approach.. 
This is the approach that cocoons itself off from life and all of its pain 
also all of its involvement). And make no mistake, "Life is pain, Highness. 
Anyone who says differently is selling something," says that famous 
the Man in Black in
The Princess Bride.

You may not feel anything from inside a cocoon; in fact, it may be an 
abundance of pain and suffering that forced you in there. But remember, no 
that cocoons itself is intended to stay locked up forever. The point is to 
be rested, healed, matured, transformed. To become more beautiful, useful. 
the emerging process itself carries a degree of struggle, but one that, if 
the insect did not go through unhindered, would leave it too weak to fly.

So be lifted up in your suffering today.

It is a companion.

It is designed to transform you.

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Surrender your life to Christ and have Him give you a new heart.
From Dis-ease to Ease
January 10, 2018

Read: Isaiah 53:4-6; Matthew 9:2-8

By his wounds we are healed. (Isa. 53:5 NIV)

Months into my cancer diagnosis, I noticed a shift in the way I looked at 
life. Before cancer, I focused on the
ease of my life. Now everywhere I looked I only saw signs of
dis-ease: doctor appointments, blood draws, chemotherapy, and medication 
after medication. I used to be grateful for my health. Now I routinely 
over my disease.

The answer, which is obvious but not easy, is to focus on Jesus. Jesus sees 
us as whole and complete people. He doesn’t draw lines between our physical,
mental, emotional, or spiritual makeup. In the Gospels, Jesus heals leprosy, 
reduces fevers, cures blindness, and increases mobility. But he also 
prejudices, weeps at suffering, and has compassion on people who were like 
sheep without a shepherd. He also is anointed by the Spirit, battles the 
in the desert, and casts out demons.

In Matthew 9, Jesus says first to a paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” 
then second, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” Both commands heal the 
and both were needed—we
all need some kind of healing, but we tend to focus on the physical. My 
healing might not be a remission from cancer, but healing will happen. When 
surrender every part of who we are to Jesus, we can trust that we will be 
healed. Sometimes the healing we get isn’t the healing we want, but when 
touches someone’s life, healing happens. —Karen Bables

Prayer: Jesus, I know that you care about my wholeness. Please heal what 
needs healing in my life.

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

Thinking Theologically

by Chuck Swindoll

Hebrews 6:17-18

I confess to you, at times I've doubted God's purpose and promise. I say 
that to my own embarrassment. When things hadn't worked as I thought they 
when I received a no instead of a yes or a yes instead of a no as an answer 
to prayer, when I couldn't unravel a situation and fit it with the character
of God . . . those have been times when I've said, "I know down inside this 
isn't right."

When the bottom drops out of your life, when hope starts to wear thin, when 
human logic fails to make much sense, think
theologically! Read Hebrews 6:17–18. The theological facts are: (1) there is 
an unchangeable purpose with God, and (2) that purpose is guaranteed with
an oath.

It's at this juncture I should add: Don't try to explain it all to someone 
else. You can't. If you could, you would be God. The only thing you can 
theologically is that the issue you struggle with is part of His 
unchangeable purpose, guaranteed with an oath, neither of which is a lie. 
That's theological
thinking. As Solomon states so well: "[God] has made everything appropriate 
in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11a).

Let me give you a syllogism—a theological syllogism:

God is in control of the times and seasons.
Some times are hard, and some seasons are dry.
block quote end

So the conclusion is:

God is in control of hard times and dry seasons.
block quote end

We are quick to give God praise when the blessings flow: when the checking 
account is full and running over; when the job is secure, and a promotion is
on the horizon; when the salary is good; when our health is fine. But we 
have a tough time believing when those things aren't true.

There are benefits that come from thinking theologically, as found in 
Hebrews 6:18:

So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, 
we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the
hope set before us.

One benefit to thinking theologically is you will have "strong 
encouragement." Logical thinking will discourage you, but theological 
thinking will encourage
you. And you will also have a refuge of hope. Encouragement is the opposite 
of discouragement. Hope is the opposite of despair. When you accept the fact
that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control 
of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then
is in God and not in yourself.

In those seasons when it's difficult to see God's purpose and promise, 
remember where your hope and encouragement are found—in the person and 
of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright ©️ 1990, 1995 by Charles 
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional information
and resources visit us at .

When I Lay My Isaac Down
Thank You for Giving with Joy and Faith

The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll

What to Do When People Don't Sympathize with Your Suffering
Nancy Guthrie
When Things Get Quiet

Oftentimes when we lose someone we love, people come around us, and it is so 
great in the lowest days of our lives to be surrounded by people who really
care. And people are generally really good to show up in those early 
days—those days in between the death and the funeral or the memorial 
service, and
for a few weeks after.

And then we sense that everybody's moved on, and maybe there will begin to 
be only a few people who seem to remember. And people seem to expect that 
losing a loved one, we should be on some kind of steady trek to getting 

What people who haven't been through grief don't understand is, so often in 
the midst of that loss, we feel so supported by others, and that can provide
a burst of strength to get through early days. But, then things get really 
quiet, and everybody seems to disappear, slowly one by one. Maybe only a few
people remember.

People go on with life and they stop asking about it. That can really hurt 
because for a while, for the grieving person, it gets worse because the 
is just sinking in. There are all of these firsts that we don't get to 
experience with the person we've lost, and all of the reminders seem so 
For many people, it gets worse before it gets better, and just before we're 
at our lowest, that's when people really start to forget.

Give Some Grace

We have some options when that happens. One option is that we get really 
bitter and resentful toward people who aren't bringing it up anymore. We 
a sense of entitlement to everyone's attention and sympathy and we keep a 
score on people. Maybe we don't write it down, but we know.

It's just so easy to grow resentful in the midst of grief as we feel that 
people are forgetting us. Going down the path of choosing to take offense 
become bitter leads to disrupted relationships and alienation from people. 
Here we are lonely in the midst of grief and that loneliness just grows.

The other pathway is to be realistic about people and their ability to enter 
into your suffering, to stay, and to remember. I hope if you're a grieving
person that God has given you at least a few people who still remember and 
still have the courage to ask you about your grief. But, perhaps it's 
to expect that everybody should continue to focus on it.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

You can't help thinking about your loss because it's like a computer program 
running in the back of your mind. It's always happening—a veil through which
you see everything. But, many people are going on with life and they do 
forget, and if they haven't been there, they don't understand that it might 
getting harder for you, instead of easier.

I encourage you to recognize that perhaps it's not appropriate to expect 
someone who hasn't been there to get it. We think they should know, they 
understand, they should know what to do. Well, if they haven't been there, 
then they really don't know.

Help Others Help You

The other thing I would say is don't expect people to read your mind. Maybe 
they really think you don't want them to bring it up. So, it can be really
helpful to people to just tell them. Maybe you write a letter six or twelve 
months down the road and send it to all the people close to you, and tell 
I just want to tell you guys where I am in my grief. I'm still feeling this 
tremendously, and honestly, it's really hard for me that nobody's talking to
me about it anymore. This can be really awkward and I recognize that, but I 
want you to know that I want to talk about this person who died, and I want
to talk about how this is impacting me, and I still really need you to draw 
in close.

So, don't expect people to read your mind. Tell them that you want to talk 
about it. Don't be afraid to bring it up yourself. But, probably most 
don't hold onto the resentments towards the people who have forgotten. 
Instead, ask God to do a work of grace in your heart, to give you the 
strength to
begin to reach out to other hurting people. Ask God to open your eyes to the 
hurting people around you, that you could begin to extend to other people
the kind of care, concern, and compassion that you so wish other people 
would show to you.

Article originally published on
.. Used with permission.

Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her church, Cornerstone Presbyterian 
Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and at conferences worldwide. She and her 
David, are the cohosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 
10,000 churches nationwide and also host Respite Retreats for couples who 
experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is also the host of
Help Me Teach the Bible, a podcast of the Gospel Coalition.

What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really 
What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really 
by Nancy Guthrie

Practical and down-to-earth, this short guide will equip you to come 
alongside a loved one who is hurting and offer comfort in ways that
really help.

When God Is Doing Something New, and We’re Still Stuck in the Old
by Debbie McDaniel, Writer

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new 
thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the 
and streams in the wasteland."
Is. 43:18-19

Sometimes...God is wanting to do something "new" and yet we're still stuck 
in the "old." It's hard at times. To let go. Of what's familiar, and what we
know. It seems easier to stay "comfortable," to just keep going with the 
flow, not to mess anything up. But then "new" happens, and often sends us 
on one big, long loop.

For those who like change - "new" is mostly exciting.

For those who don't like change - "new" is mostly stressful.

Your family, if you're like most, is probably a mix of those two traits..

But here's what I love about God. He thinks and works outside our own box of 
thinking. He doesn't always work in the ways that we would have chosen for
our "new." If we had to have a "new."

He sees the big picture. He knows what He's doing. He works behind the 
scenes of life that unfold our every day, in the places where we can't 
always see
or understand all the “why's.”

So we can trust...that He has our best in mind. That He's got our back. He’s 
with us right now. And He's secured our future too.

Sometimes our "new" comes out of great blessing, new opportunities. And 
sometimes it comes through great pain, huge loss.

People move, life happens, decisions are made, many change jobs, kids grow 
up, and there are times we might go through some really tough struggles. We
may even start to feel cheated. Like life is unfair.

But it still breathes this truth: God is not finished with our lives yet. 
You're still here. And He has great purpose in all that you walk through, 
in every life change and season.

Whether we recognize it or not, we’re rubbing shoulders everyday with people 
that we needed to meet in our "new," however hard that new thing may be.

We can rest in His care for us. He knows. He sees. He works in ways we don't 
always "get," but there's peace in knowing we don't have to try to control
it all. We can let go - of the need to figure it all out, and the striving 
to make things happen.

We can trust Him.

Our future awaits, and there's still good around the bend. God has more in 


Intersecting Faith & Life: If you find yourself in a new season right now, 
or you’re struggling to find the good in changing times, be assured that God
has the best in store. Choose to trust that He’s working on your behalf 
today, even in ways you may not fully see or understand.

Further Reading:
Isaiah 55:8-9
Jeremiah 29:11
Revelation 21:5

His Love Endures Forever
by Ryan Duncan, Editor

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures 
forever! -
1 Chronicles 16:34

Last December I had the privilege to be part of a short-term mission’s trip 
to Vladimir, Russia, where I worked alongside Russian Christians in the city’s
orphanage. The trip was incredibly challenging, but the opportunity did help 
me learn a lot about God and about myself. In particular, I remember the 
morning where our interpreters invited us to attend their Church. The 
building they met in was small, and as I took my seat with the rest of the 
I realized there couldn’t be more than thirty people in the congregation.

I found that number rather depressing. My own Church here in the states wasn’t 
what I’d call big, but it certainly had more than thirty people in it. A
small voice in the dark part of my mind wondered if this was a sign of 
change in our world, that maybe Christianity was beginning to die out. I was 
in this dismal frame of mind when the congregation stood for the first song, 
and it was at that point something extraordinary happened. The people of 
small Church began to sing together, and I was amazed at the passion they 
displayed toward God as they worshiped.

Afterward, my interpreter took me aside and began to tell me about the 
history of the Church. Apparently this little Church had been in the 
community for
ten years, and it wasn’t shrinking, it was growing. My interpreter told me 
how it was through this Church that he had first come to know Christ. He was
the only Christian in his family, and was doing his best to witness to them, 
but in the meantime he considered the people here just as close as any 
or sister. Nearly everyone in the Church was involved in some kind of 
outreach, some even worked with the orphanages full time.

All of this from a Church of thirty people. Sometimes I lose sight of who 
God really is, and what he can do with the smallest of offerings. God will 
be threatened or hindered by our world. He will always be there for us no 
matter how far we stray or how hard mankind tries to remove him. Through the
rise and fall of countless empires, all the advancements of science, through 
war and pain, the spirit of God has endured.

I guess the writer of Psalms knew what he was talking about when he wrote,

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures 
Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures 
– Psalms 136:1-4

Intersecting Faith and Life: Try to find ways to live your faith, consider 
getting involved in your Church outreach.

Further Reading

Psalms 100:5

Apostle of Love

1 John 3:16-24 (NCV)
16 This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we 
should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 Suppose someone has 
enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then 
God’s love is not living in that person. 18 My children, we should love 
people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring. 19 
This is the way we know that we belong to the way of truth. When our hearts 
make us feel guilty, we can still have peace before God. God is greater than 
our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 My dear friends, if our hearts do 
not make us feel guilty, we can come without fear into God’s presence. 22 
And God gives us what we ask for because we obey God’s commands and do what 
pleases him. 23 This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son, Jesus 
Christ, and that we love each other, just as he commanded. 24 The people who 
obey God’s commands live in God, and God lives in them. We know that God 
lives in us because of the Spirit God gave us.

The apostle John is known as the apostle of love. The reason is how many 
times he uses the word “love” in his gospel and epistles. He saw love in 
action because he was so close to Jesus all during his ministry. It is 
believed that John was the disciple that Jesus loved more than the others.

IN the Scripture above, John said that we have seen the greatest love that 
anyone can give. That is the giving of a life. Jesus gave his life for us. 
He suffered a cruel death but more than that, he took all our sins on that 
cross. That is the greatest love of all. If He was willing to do that for 
each of us, why can’t we give what we have for others to show His love to 
them? If we truly belong to Jesus Christ it is really His love working 
through us.

WE can stop the flow of love, though. WE can think that we don’t have 
enough to give to help anyone. WE are too busy with our own families and 
work that we don’t have time to help anyone else. There are things that we 
can do to show God’s love to others that don’t take much time, though. WE 
just have to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to know what to do 
and when to do it. It might just be giving a smile to a person who has had a 
bad day.

John later in this Scripture tells us how we can know that we are children 
of god. WE must believe in Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean just believe that 
He existed but that He is who He said He is and trust him for our salvation.. 
Then if we do this, then we will want to show our love of Him by following 
his commandments which includes doing to others what you would have them do 
to you.

Frances Ridley Havergal wrote one of her most famous poems while she was in 
Dusseldorf, Germany. She had gone to Germany to do some specialized study. 
While there, she saw a copy of Sternburg’s great painting: “The 
CRUCIFIXION.” The title above the picture was, “All this I did for thee; 
what has thou done for Me?”
Inspired by the probing question, she wrote her famous poem, “I Gave My Life 
for Thee.” But she was not happy with the poem and threw it into the fire, 
but a draft blew the paper out of the fire and onto the hearth. Feeling that 
this might have been Providential, Miss Havergal took the slightly-scorched 
paper, folded it, and sent it to her father in England.
He composed a tune to match the words and had it published. However, the 
tune we now use with this superb poem was written years later by P. P. 
Bliss, an associate of D. L. Moody. The tune he wrote is now the one we use 
with this great song: “I gave my life for thee, what hast thou done for Me?”

by Dean W. Masters

Two Tips For Life Impacting Prayer
Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:07 pm (PST) . Posted by: "Dean Masters"

Why? Why do we toss out that rote prayer line to complete our prayer time, 
without even giving thought to it? Is it just how we do things or does it 
mean something?

To give you some background, for a long time I prayed like a beggar.

God…please answer my prayer and fix things. God… please hear me. God, I can’t 
do this any longer. Won’t you please fix it?

Then, I’d use an “in Jesus’ name,” like a bow to wrap up all my complaining, 
agonizing, and posturing. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Jesus approaches prayer differently than I do. I’m struck by the time he 
addressed the blind man. Of course, this stumbling man wanted to see, but 
still asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Here, I notice Jesus wanted to hear the blind man’s “specific” request. 
Jesus pushed deeper than surface level words into the deep requests of the 
He pushed past the nebulous words into the real.

Friend, today I believe God asks you, “What’s your real request? Child, what 
do you want me to do for you?”

What is your answer? No, not that one. Your real one.

Mine is: that I would trust God when no one sees. That I would really 
believe His words in those super-hard, I-hate-life moments.

There is extreme power in asking Jesus for that thing you really want/need 
“in the Name of Jesus.”

Ever wondered why? When we use this phrase, we should expect God WILL:

list of 1 items
1. Glorify the Father
list end

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be 
glorified in the Son.” Jo. 14:13

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will 
receive, and your joy will be complete.” Jo. 16:24

The degree to which I can dwell on the Father being glorified, through my 
prayers, is the degree to which I experience joy.

The irony is – I often don’t even have to see my prayer swiftly answered to 
get this joy. If I can trust that, behind the scenes, God is pulling the 
glory-falling strings, I can rest in His timing. On the contrary, if I 
believe my prayers serve no purpose, are too big, are wasteful or are 
and I only focus on my natural eye, I’ll miss His supernatural purpose 
behind the scenes. I must “keep the faith.”

Why? God’s working ways are much higher than our praying ways. There is 
always a grand purpose. Our prayers are being answered. And God hears. Loud 

What prayer do you need to recommit to believing in? How might you imagine 
the Father’s glory building because of that very prayer?


Prayer: God, thank you that you hear my every prayer. You know my every 
desire. You are well acquainted with all my needs. Help me, Lord, to know my 
wants. Help me to go deeper than surface-level pleas, so that I can see true 
and meaningful life change that brings joy. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears 
has been called “A must read,”
“Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it 

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless 

God is Awake when YOU Are...
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By Answers2Prayer
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Lately it seems I've been waking up far too early for my liking.

In the early morning hours it can be a mite lonely, and the funny thing is 
I've never been an early riser. This morning my eyes opened before the sun 
up, this time in part to my wife's cell phone receiving a pre-sun up text. 
Boom! That was it. My brain roared to life and it seemed hopeless to resume
sleep. I quickly decided it was time for a cream cheese bagel and coffee, 
and as I pleasantly discovered, a pre-dawn word from the Lord who thankfully
never sleeps and always seems to know what I need and when.

The older I get, I find that my thoughts collide in what can only be 
described as 'male mental-pause'. Yes I believe there is such a thing! Do 
you ever
find yourself fussing over that to which you have little control? In life we 
would all prefer a glassy lake covered in mist as opposed to a choppy 
surface fueled by fear and concerns instead of the wind.

Our daily existence as you well know is not always calm water and light 
summer breezes. Life can beat us down and leave our faith taxed. We may feel 
and discouraged, perhaps even angry at the Lord for not stepping in sooner. 
But I've learned it's in those moments that God reminds us that we are not
alone in our afflictions, that our Lord and Savior is with us for the 

This morning as I sipped my black dark roast coffee, yes black, I opened the 
bible app on my phone to check the verse of the day. I don't always find it
applies to my current situation or needs, but this morning's verse was a 
'Kaboom!' moment, instantly calming my worried mind. The scripture is this: 
not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. 
He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."
(Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT). This simple verse is packed with wholesome goodness!

I love when God surprises me with a warm chocolate brownie. I felt a sudden 
wash of relief, that in life's uncertainty, my Heavenly Father will be 
out front, that no matter what obstacles lie ahead; I need not fear. And the 
best part is He promises to never leave me alone, never leave you alone; 
fail me nor abandon me, never fail you nor abandon you! Stop and ponder that 
truth for a moment! That's a whole tray of brownies dripping with fudge 
My friend, claim this verse for whatever it is you're going through right 
now. If you're afraid and discouraged, look ahead of you and see Jesus 
a path. If you feel alone, take heart! He is with you. Do you realize that 
in God's eyes you matter to Him? You're a cherished treasure to our Lord!

This biblical truth is such wonderful news for a soul that craves 
nourishment and a heart that pines for encouragement.
Deuteronomy 31:8
is a keeper for me, and if I wake up again early tomorrow morning, I'll 
rivet God's word to my heart and allow Him to go on ahead.

Next time you wake up early or just need a boost to keep going, take a 
moment to first soak up God's word. Then go enjoy that tray of brownies! I 

Paul Smyth


Can we, as Christians, learn something from the Election process? Check out 
the mini-series, "
Of Elect and Select "!

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

“…that we may be partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:4

Have you heard the phrase, “The universal fatherhood of God and the 
universal brotherhood of men”? It sounds warm and fuzzy, but it is cold and 
of truth. God is not the Father of all people; God is the Father of those 
who are born into His family.

But you say, “But pastor, didn’t God create all human beings?” Yes. “And if 
God created all human beings, wouldn’t that make God the Father of all human
beings?” No, it makes God the creator of all human beings. There’s a 
difference between fatherhood and creation. God created rats, roaches, 
buzzards, and
rattlesnakes. He’s not their father. God becomes our Father not by creation, 
but by conception when we’re born into His family.

Read the story of creation in Genesis—making the distinction between the 
creations of God and the Creator called God. Go on a nature walk and thank 
that He rules over creation, causing the sun to shine, the rain to water the 
earth, and for you to have your next breath.

Discover Jesus | Donate | Today's Message


Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 22 Jan 2018, 12:23 am


One year the youth at my church presented the musical “The Surprising 
Christmas Pageant ( The Story of the Birth of Christ Told with Humor, 
Mystery and Awe)” by Dennis Hartin. In this musical an angel went to Mary 
and told her the message from God about her giving birth to Jesus Christ. 
Then the angel went to Joseph and told him about Mary who is going to give 
birth to the Messiah. When the angel appeared, both Mary and Joseph said, 
“It’s an alien!” The angel then had to tell them it was not an alien but and 
angel with a message from God. When the angel was finished both Mary and 
Joseph said, “I would be less scared if you were an alien.” Samuel might 
have thought the same thing in the following Scripture:

1 Samuel 3:10-15 (NLT)
10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel 
replied, “Yes, your servant is listening.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, 
“I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all 
my threats against Eli and his family. 13 I have warned him continually that 
judgment is coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming God and 
he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his 
sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.” 15 Samuel stayed in 
bed until morning, then got up and opened the doors of the Tabernacle as 
usual. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said to him.

This was the first time Samuel had ever heard God speaking to him. It took 
god three times to get Samuel’s attention. When Eli finally figured out that 
God was trying to talk to Samuel, Samuel was scared. This was a heavy load 
to put on anyone.

Why don’t people listen for and to God today? You might do your duty and 
read your chapter of Scripture almost every day but you don’t take time to 
meditate on it and let God speak to you through it. You might spend a little 
time in prayer but it is just giving God your wish list of things you want 
Him to do for you. You don’t take time after your talking to allow God to 
talk to you. Could it be because you are scared of what God might say to 
you? You might hear God tell you to do something like God told Samuel to do 
or like what God said to Moses at the burning bush. God had things for these 
two people to do for Him.

When He talks to you He may have something for you to do. No matter what God 
has to say, He can’t say it unless you listen. Take time to listen to God. 
He may just want to say,


by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

Welcome to the Nugget

November 16, 2017

How Old are You?
By Answers2Prayer

"And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and 
drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days
of his life that God has given him under the sun."
(Eccl 8:15)

I have another birthday coming up soon. With the card, cake, present and 
hugs will, of course, come the inevitable question, "How old are you?" I 
gotten to the point now where I can honestly say, "I'm not sure." This body 
of mine is going to be 50 years old. This vehicle that carries around my 
will have been here half a century soon. Parts of it look younger and other 
parts of it feel older. My energy level has certainly gone to the dogs. Some
of the time I feel like my two month old puppy who is chewing on my toes 
right now. Some of the time I feel like my twelve year old beagle who is 
by the fan. Mentally my age varies too. In some things I feel like a wise 
old sage. In other areas I feel like a first grader. Emotionally there are 
when I feel like a five year old playing in the sunshine. There are other 
times when I feel like a nineteen year old looking forward to the rest of my
life. There are still other times when I feel like a ninety nine year old 
wondering where all the years have gone. Spiritually it is just as 
I feel like the eternal soul that I truly am. Yet, that eternal soul is also 
forever young.

From now on then I am just going to live each day with all of the love, 
laughter, and joy that I possibly can and let the years take care of 
After all, it isn't the number of years you live that matters. It is how you
live them. For all of us here the longest life is too brief. Why then should 
we waste a single moment not living our lives to the fullest? Why should we
pass up a single opportunity to love, to share, to help, to care, to smile, 
to pray, to laugh, to sing, to dance, or to be kind?

How "old" are you? Are you the slowly aging body you see in the mirror or 
are you the forever young soul within it? Are you a collection of wrinkles 
gray hairs that will one day turn to dust or are you a Child of God meant 
for an eternity of love?

Joseph J. Mazzella


Does anyone out there find the Bible dull? Lacking in excitement and 
action? Check out:
Lights, Camera, Action!
-- A mini-series in the books of Joshua and Acts by Suresh Manoharan.

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

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

"No One Could Survive"
November 6, 2017
John 10:11, 12a, 13-14, 16 - (Jesus said) "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good 
Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand ... flees
because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the Good 
Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me. ... And I have other sheep that 
not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. 
So there will be one flock, one Shepherd."
If you want a dog to herd your flock of sheep, you may want to take a look 
at a Border Collie. If you want a dog to protect your sheep, you need to get
a Great Pyrenees. The "Pyr," which looks like a white St. Bernard, is 
willing to fight and to die in the protection of the flock.

Roland Hendel of Santa Rosa, California, had two such dogs. One protected 
their flock of goats during the day; the other did the same job through the 

When the wildfires started to cross the valley toward his home, Hendel 
decided to evacuate. He got his children, their dogs and cats. Sadly, the 
had to be left behind. There was no room for them.

On his Facebook page, Hendel wrote, "Odin, our stubborn and fearless Great 
Pyrenees would not leave the goats."

As they drove away, the family cried because they were certain they were 
saying goodbye to their dog and their goats. It took some time before Hendel 
his family could return to what once had been their home. The house was 
gone, and some of the trees were still smoldering when they arrived.

Everyone agreed that nothing living could have survived that inferno.

Everyone agreed, that is, except for the goats who showed up, seemingly out 
of nowhere. And Odin, their dedicated caretaker? Well, Odin didn't run to 
His limping leg prevented that. Nevertheless, Odin did show up, along with a 
few baby deer who, like the flock, had been preserved, in some miraculous
way, by that big hero of a dog.

Two-thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ referred to Himself as the 
"Good Shepherd."

In the verses which followed that statement, Jesus explained exactly what 
that term meant to Him.
list of 3 items
1. It meant that because He loved His sheep He would lay down His life to 
save them.

2. It meant that He knew His flock, and they would follow Him to safety.

3. It meant that He would call together a great flock of those who trusted 
His voice.
list end
Yes, Jesus is the Shepherd, and like everything else He predicted, His 
prophecies here proved true. Jesus did lay down His life so His people might 
On a Roman cross, He was crucified and in a borrowed tomb His lifeless body 
was placed.

Everyone agreed nobody could ever survive that cross. And everyone would be 
right. Jesus did die.
But Jesus also ended up defeating death. He showed to all the world He was 
alive, and instructed His undershepherds to increase the size of the flock.
They were to bring in all who had been saved by the Good Shepherd who laid 
down His life for the sheep.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we, like sheep have gone astray. On our own we would 
have died. But we have been saved by the Good Shepherd who laid down His 
to save us. May we gladly follow Him all the days of our lives. In His Name 
we pray. Amen.

Prayer and Identity
November 14, 2017

Read: Psalm 131

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not 
occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. (v. 1)

When I walk in the door of my house at the end of a workday, I’m usually 
greeted by a high-pitched “Daddy!” as my son runs down the hallway. Usually 
this, he sits quietly on my lap while my wife and I unpack the events of our 
day together. My son is two. He doesn’t know many words, and he certainly
can’t understand our conversation. But to him, it doesn’t matter. He is 
content to sit on my lap and be reunited with his parents at the end of the 

The psalmist, King David, writes of a similar experience: “I have calmed and 
quieted my soul” (v. 2). For David, prayer is an opportunity to be reminded
of his identity as a child of God. There is a time to speak, to ask 
questions, to understand the conversation—and there is a time to be quiet 
and rest
in our identity as God’s own children. As we get older, we sometimes forget 
what it’s like to be little children.

What would happen if your prayer life took on a fresh childlike quality? 
Just imagine a young child content to be with its mother. So may your soul 
within you when you stop to pray, greet the Lord, and simply be at rest in 
his presence. —Ben Kampmeier

Prayer: Father, help me to be quiet enough today to be reminded of my 
identity as your child. Amen.

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

Sailing through the Storm

By Greg Laurie

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you 
sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
– James 4:8

One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 
So they boarded their boat and were cruising across the Sea of Galilee, a 
freshwater lake known for its unexpected storms. And sure enough, a storm 
came. This one was a doozy, because even the seasoned sailors were 
of life.

Meanwhile, what was Jesus doing? He was asleep in the boat. The disciples 
woke Him up and said, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
(Mark 4:38
nkjv). In other words, “Hey, Lord, are You paying attention? Don’t you care 
that we are going through this? Wake up and do something.”

So Jesus rebuked both the storm and the disciples. He turned to the storm 
and said, “Peace, be still!” (verse 39 nkjv), and it stopped. But then He 
to His own disciples and said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you 
have no faith?” (nkjv). Jesus was saying, in effect, “Boys, you haven’t 
anything. I said, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side.’ I didn’t say, ‘Let’s 
go to the middle of the Sea of Galilee and drown.’ ” Jesus didn’t promise
smooth sailing, but He did promise a safe passage.

It’s better to be in a storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him. I 
would rather be in a fiery furnace with Jesus than in a palace without 
in a lion’s den with Jesus, or in a prison, or even shipwrecked. As long as 
I know the Lord is there, then I can get through it.

Remember, God is with you, regardless of what storm, regardless of what 
shipwreck you are going through right now. You are not alone. He cares. And 
will never leave you or forsake you.

Heavenly Father, whatever storm life may bring our way, remind us to cling 
to you. For you are the one who calmed the seas with a single word. Amen.

Scripture to Comfort
by Meghan Kleppinger, Contributor

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 , NAS

If you have ever suffered a broken relationship and/or heart, the loss of a 
loved one, or any number of other devastations, than you know about "that"

It's that pain that originates in the bottom of your stomach and initially 
feels like a big numb ball. Later it develops into a raw gnawing that can 
be equated to burning stabs of fire. It makes it way up through the 
intestines and finally settles in the throat, choking out all attempted 
spoken words
and creating such an excruciating sensation that tears are sure to follow.

Like any other person who has spent more than a few days on this planet, I 
know "that" pain well. It comes quickly and when it does, it's difficult to
believe that it will ever go away. It brings about sorrow, grief, and as it 
eventually begins to fade away, it brings guilt.

This has been a tough year for my family. We've lost friends and recently, 
just a few short weeks ago, my grandfather. I know I'm not an anomaly and 
people all over the world are suffering a similar pain, so as I began to 
pray about what I should write about for this week, I started thinking about 
has really been helpful for me during these times.

Friends and family have been great, but most of all, scripture has been 
comforting me. My hope is that the scripture I share with you will be 
to you as you grieve or that you can use it to minister to others who are 

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I 
give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
(John 14:27 )

"And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out 
within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
(Romans 5:5 )

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed n 
spirit." (Psalm 34:18)

"The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the 
will of God lives forever."
(1 John 2:17 )

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)

"And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer 
be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the
first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

And finally...

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring 
with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by 
word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the 
Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself 
descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with 
the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are
alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet 
the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore 
one another with these words."
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 )

Intersecting Faith & Life: Go to the Word of God for comfort. In the words 
of Matthew Henry, ""The Word of God gives us great help in attaining the 
we need. It is living, very lively and active in seizing the conscience of 
the sinner, in cutting him to the heart, and in comforting him and binding 
the wounds of the soul. It is powerful. It convinces powerfully, converts 
powerfully, and comforts powerfully.""

Further Reading

Revelation 21:3-5
Why Does God Comfort Those Who Mourn?
Learning True Comfort

A Prayer for When You Don't Feel God’s Presence

Dr. James MacDonald

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes 
refuge in him."
(Psalms 34:8 , ESV)

Sometimes we find ourselves in seasons of life when God’s goodness is 
hidden, when it’s either invisible to us or we’re blind to it. Let’s be 
honest enough
to admit that those are real struggles. We’ve been in those times, and 
perhaps you’re in one of them right now. If you’re in such a season and can’t 
yourself to shout “hallelujah,” you don’t need to feel bad about it. I would 
never want to lay a guilt trip on someone for not feeling like shouting 
at that moment.

But if we’re to walk in faith--if we’re to be people who truly live by 
faith--we must believe God is good even at times when we can’t see anything 
pointing to it or giving evidence of it. Faith is believing the Word of God 
and acting upon it, no matter how we feel, because God promises a good 

Here’s what you may be tempted to do during times when you don’t feel His 
goodness: you may wonder whether you should take care of things yourself. 
might be inclined to conclude what you suspected all along--If I want good 
things to happen, I’d better go out there and get them, because God sure isn’t
guaranteed to do it . . . because He’s not good “all the time.”

And that’s just not true. He has promised us good, based upon His own 
goodness. God is good, He’s always been good, and He’ll always be good. 
Check out
how consistently this is established in Scripture: “We know that for those 
who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called 
to his purpose”
(Romans 8:28). In every situation, even in our darkest situations, we “give 
thanks to the Lord, for he is good”
(Psalm 136:1). In fact, “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18 ).

Father God, I know You are good. Even when my heart wavers and I don’t feel 
it, I know You are good. Thank You for being bigger than my feelings. Thank
You even for entrusting me with these times when believing is hard, when 
faith requires looking without seeing. You have never failed, though I often 
You have never proved untrustworthy, though I have proved so fickle and 
forgetful. So today, I put no trust in my emotions but only in what You have 
me through Your Word to be true--that You are good, all the time. In Jesus’ 
Name, Amen.

Editor’s Note: Content adapted from Our Journey Onlinewith Dr. James 
MacDonald. Used with permission.For more from Dr. James MacDonald please 
Walk in the Word on

Ship Ahoy

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever 
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

As people who have received mercy from God, we need to grant mercy to others 
who are fallible and in need of forgiveness. To be hospitable is to be 
to be forgiven is to be charitable; and to share Scripture is to speak of 
Christ. Sometimes it all comes together in a wonderful way.

Recommended Reading: John 3:10-17

One evening Dawson and Lila Trotman opened their home to some sailors, and 
after dinner Dawson asked everyone at the table to share a favorite 
verse. One Navy man was getting ready to share John 3:16 when the Trotman’s 
three-year-old daughter, Ruth, quoted it before it was his turn. The sailor
was chagrined. But going back to the ship that night, he couldn’t get away 
from Ruth’s childlike recital of John 3:16, and he realized for the first 
that he was part of the “whosoever.” Kneeling beside his bunk, he received 
Christ as Savior and soon thereafter wrote a letter telling Dawson and Lila
what that evening had meant to his life.1

Our culture isn’t known for hospitality, forgiveness, mercy, and 
evangelism—but those have never gone out of style on God’s calendar.

I want to be a man who both knows the Bible from cover to cover and also 
lives it!

Dawson Trotman

1 Robert D. Foster, The Navigator: Dawson Trotman (Colorado Springs: 
NavPress, 2012), 117-118, 220.

Read through the Bible: Acts 10 – 11

Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah

Copyright ©️ 2017 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved

4 Signs of True Contentment
Founders Ministries Blog

by Jeff Robinson

As fallen men, even redeemed fallen men, we will never be entirely content 
in this life. Our hearts are too prone to wander, far too apt to flirt with
idolatry, for us to be completely content in Christ. As Calvin famously put 
it, the human heart manufactures idols day and night every day. Still, we 
for contentment and, like Paul in Philippians 4:11, we seek to learn the 
secret to contentment in Christ.

If we are content in Christ, what shape will our lives begin to take? What 
is the contented heart drawn to? When my contentment is in Christ, then four
things ought to be true of me.

list of 4 items
• I will exhibit a deeper love for God’s Word. Because my contentment is in 
Him, I will want to know Him more. We know Him more through His Word. 
is a plant that must be tended daily, as Spurgeon said in his inimitable 
style: “Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would 
it, it must be cultivated. It will not grow in us by nature; it is the new 
nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful
and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in 
it.” One of the primary means is by hiding His Word in our hearts and having
it on our person as a constant reminder that apart from our Lord, we can do 
• I will exhibit a deeper and more mature love for God’s church. When your 
satisfaction is found in Christ, then you will want to be in His church and
with His people. It will also transform the way you see the church. This 
building is not the church; you are. And when your contentment is in Christ, 
will love God’s people, all of God’s people, not just those people with whom 
you are comfortable. And you will love His church, even though it is 
and stained with sin. If I am content in Christ, then it will set me free 
from false expectations in others and will set me free to love people who 
from a different background than do I.
• I will not fall apart when adversity comes. I will rest in the absolute 
sovereignty of God and in His prerogative. You and I have a very limited 
to exegete our circumstances. Because we are weak and lack omniscience 
(though we crave it), there will be many moments in life when we simply do 
not understand
what is going on. We will face moments when the God whom Scripture calls 
good brings or allows things into our lives that will not seem good. They 
even seem very bad: The doctor said it was cancer. Stage four. The boss said 
my position has been cut. Your son continues to reject the God I taught him
to love. ISIS beheaded another Christian. Your daughter admits same-sex 
attraction. There will be times when all you have is Christ, but if you are 
in Him, He will be enough. When we our content in Christ, we can say with 
Paul, in
Phil. 3:7–8 , “But whatever gain I had, I counted loss for the sake of 
Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss for because of the surpassing 
worth of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all 
things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” When it
pleases the Lord to take away some earthly blessing I cherish, then I should 
be able to say with Job, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed
be the name of the Lord.”
• I will want others to know the great gain that comes from godliness with 
contentment. I will want my friends, neighbors and family members to find 
peace that passes understanding. Thus, I will not be embarrassed to proclaim 
to them the only path that leads to the Celestial City.
list end

I have written this series, not because I am always content or am an expert 
in the doctrine of contentment. Actually, I have written this because I am
an expert in discontentment and am seeking contentment in Christ. May it 
please God to grant it. So far, I must say, it comes and goes. I have to 
much of discontentment.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

I close out this brief series with memorable words from Spurgeon on the 
absurdity of discontentment for the follower of Christ:

“Permit me to remind you again, that you should be contented, because 
otherwise you will belie your own prayers. You kneel down in the morning, 
and you
say, “Thy will be done!” Suppose you get up and want your own will, and 
rebel against the dispensation of your heavenly Father, have you not made 
out to be a hypocrite? The language of your prayer is at variance with the 
feeling of your heart. Let it always be sufficient for you to think that you
are where God put you. Have you not heard the story of the heroic boy on 
board the burning ship? When his father told him to stand in a certain part 
the vessel, he would not move till his father bade him, but stood still when 
the ship was on fire. Though warned of his danger he held his ground. Until
his father told him to move, there would he stay. The ship was blown up, and 
he perished in his fidelity. And shall a child be more faithful to an 
parent than we are to our Father, who is in heaven? He has ordered 
everything for our good, and can he be forgetful of us? Let us believe that 
he appoints is best; let us choose rather his will than our own. If there 
were two places, one a place of poverty, and another a place of riches and 
if I could have my choice, it should be my privilege to say, ‘Nevertheless, 
not as I will, but as thou wilt.’” (Spurgeon’s entire sermon from Phil. 4:11

Solid Joys Daily Devotional | Desiring God
Solid Joys: Daily Devotionals from John Piper
Fighting Words
By John Piper
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will 
strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right 
hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief 
with one of my most often-used promises: Isaiah 41:10.

The day I left for three years to study in Germany, my father called me long 
distance in New York and gave me the promise of this verse on the telephone..
For three years, I must have quoted it to myself hundreds of times to get me 
through periods of tremendous stress.

When the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound 
of Isaiah 41:10. I love this verse.

Of course, it’s not the only dagger in the arsenal my faith.

When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight 
unbelief with the promise of Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be that goes 
out from
my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that 
which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with 
the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle 
unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you
should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).

When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the 
promise, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

When I am anxious about the welfare of those I love, I battle unbelief with 
the promise that if I, being evil, know how to give good things to my 
“how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those 
who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).

So by all means fight unbelief with every promise in the book. But it helps 
to have one central, default weapon. And for me that has been Isaiah 41:10,
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will 
strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right 
Precious, precious promise!

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, All rights reserved.

Posts : 66613
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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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New Post on - Run with Endurance
Run with Endurance

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 09:55 PM PST
Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 2:3-6; 4:7-8
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let 
us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
(Hebrews 12:1, NASB)

Picture a stadium. We living believers are the athletes, in the midst of a 
long and grueling race. At times we glance up and all around us. Who fills 
stands in this immense stadium? It is the witness of all the heroes of the 
faith listed in Hebrews 11…plus so many more.

Are all those believers who have left this world actually watching us now? 
We don’t know. Their witness is what’s in view in Hebrews 12. Their example
encourages us and urges us on. If they could speak to us right now, what 
would they say? Or to phrase it another way, what is their example shouting 

“God is always, always, ALWAYS faithful!”
“Just keep trusting Him!”
“The hardship lasts only a short time. It will soon be over. Hold steady!”
“Your obedience and faithfulness will bear fruit far beyond what you can 
“Don’t let anything hinder you!”
block quote end

That last statement is what the scripture emphasizes here: let nothing 
hinder you…absolutely nothing! This is a long and demanding race. Top 
marathon runners
ruthlessly shed anything that will weigh them down. They get rid of 
everything that will hold them back in any way. Their clothing, their own 
body weight,
their diet, their daily habits—every aspect of their lives is examined in 
detail. Anything that’s a hindrance, even to the slightest degree, must go.

Consider this: even the marathon is short in comparison to life. The 
struggles of life are so much greater, and its stakes are infinitely higher.. 
Our rewards
are deeper, richer, and forever. If a marathon runner must exercise such 
self-discipline and ruthlessly shed all hindrances, how much more should we 
are racing for our eternal destiny?

I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow 
partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but 
one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who 
competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it 
receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
(1 Corinthians 9:23-25, NASB)

Honestly examine your life for anything that hinders your race. What about 
that small sin? What about that small distraction that eats into your time,
energy, or devotion? Ask a marathon runner if there are any
small irritants or small
encumbrances. By the end of a long run, they all loom large. Shed them now! 
God will be glad to help you.

Then you will be prepared to run with endurance the race that is set before 

Father, help me lay aside everything that is
weighing me down and
holding me back.
Everything, Lord.
Every habit,
every false and fuzzy way of thinking,
every misplaced priority,
every laziness.
Fix my eyes on Jesus—
His life,
His holiness,
His complete devotion to You.

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Today's Devotional

Coincidence — Or God's Works?

I try to attend worship on Sundays in two different churches: one at 9:30 
a.m., where I sing in the choir, and another at 11:00 a.m. I had been asked 
sing at the second service. During my daily devotions, I read about living 
water. Suddenly, the words "Come to the water" popped into my head. Hmm, 
is the name of that song? Using an online application, I was able to 
discover that the name of the song was "For those tears I died". I 
immediately called
the church organist and asked if he had the music for this song. Later in 
the week, we practiced the song, but it has an irregular rhythm, and it is 
to sing. After practicing, I did not feel well prepared. Normally, I would 
have chosen something else to sing, but I really felt strongly that God 
me to sing this song. There had been many losses — deaths and ill health — 
in this church, and I just felt God pushing me to share this message with 

I arrived at church for the 9:30 a.m. service — uncharacteristically early. 
I asked the organist what the choir was singing, and he replied that he had
not yet chosen anything. I asked if he had the music for "For those tears I 
died". He did, and was pleased that I had volunteered to sing it. Before I
sang, I shared with the congregation that I might stumble with this song, as 
I was not as well prepared as usual to sing it, nor was I planning to sing
it for this congregation. Nevertheless, I felt God urging me to share this 
song. I shared that whenever we are going through a difficult period of 
we feel alone and cry out to God, "Where are you?" This song responds that 
the Lord is standing right beside us. As I regarded the congregation, I saw
numerous Kleenexes dabbing at eyes.

This is the first verse and chorus:

You said You'd come and share all my sorrows,
You said You'd be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!
And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied;
I felt ev'ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."
- Marsha Stevens

After I finished singing, the guest minister stood up and said, "I continue 
to be amazed at how God works. If I had searched for the perfect song to 
today's sermon, that would have been it. Over thirty years ago, that was the 
first Christian song that I learned. It brought a tear to my eyes then, and
did so again today." He went on to preach an incredible sermon about those 
times when we are in pain, and we cry out, "Where are You, God?"

When we are tempted to think, "That was a happy coincidence," we need to 
remember that God's grace is constantly intervening in our lives.

Isaiah 55:8-9 – "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My 
ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are
My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (NKJV)

Even in times when we are experiencing periods of illness, loss, and 
difficulty, and God seems distant, let us trust that He is right there 
beside us every
step of the way.

Prayer: Lord of all life, it is easy to find Your hand in the large aspects 
of life. When we search, we can find You in the small activities of each 
sometimes providing answers to unspoken prayers. Thank You for all the times 
when You find us a parking spot when we are running late. Thank You for the
times when we think, "I don't think I can face the busyness of this 
afternoon", and a commitment is rescheduled for another day. Thank You for 
Your whispers
that urge us in Your direction. Thank You — to make up for all of the times 
when we have neglected to say thanks for Your intervention and guidance in
the minutia of our daily lives. Amen.

Orlanda Drebit < >
Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada


Thought for Today: In anger, the tongue works faster than the brain.

Verse for Today: Deuteronomy 8:18 – But remember the Lord your God, for it 
is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his 
which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. (NIV)

Praying Long (Part 2)
November 3, 2017

Read: Psalm 17

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear 
my words. (v. 6)

Years ago, I learned a pattern of prayer called “Tabernacle Prayers,” which 
acknowledges the symbolism of the tabernacle furniture in terms of its 
as ultimately fulfilled by Jesus. This approach allows me to dedicate long 
periods of time to prayer. Here is a quick overview:

list of 7 items
• The Eastern Gate of the Tabernacle. I praise Jesus Christ as the gate into 
God’s presence.
• The Outer Courtyard with the Bronze Altar. I praise God for Jesus and the 
cross as the place of atonement for sin.
• The Bronze Laver. I confess my sins to our holy God and seek his washing 
and cleansing through Jesus’ blood.
• The Golden Lampstand. I praise Jesus who is the light of the world and 
pray that his Holy Spirit cause his light to shine through my life.
• The Table of Showbread. I ask God to provide spiritual nourishment through 
his living written Word (Bible) and living personal Word (Jesus).
• The Altar of Incense. I offer prayers of worship and sing praises to God 
in Jesus’ name.
• The Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. I pray directly to God 
through Jesus for my family, my church family, my struggles, my dreams, etc..
list end

May this wonderful tool enrich your prayer life as it has mine. —Bob Bouwer

Prayer: Lord, teach us to honor you in our prayers. Amen.

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

Praying Long (Part 3)
November 4, 2017

Read: Psalm 141

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my 
hands as the evening sacrifice! (v. 2)

Would you ever consider offering to God an “evening sacrifice” of prayer? I 
wonder if the psalmist regularly prayed his evenings away. What if we were
to find a way to encourage ourselves to linger before God in prayer with 
greater focus and intensity? We busy ourselves with many activities, yet 
about praying? Here is a simple way to pray for a longer period of time with 
specific focus on several key elements using the acronym ACTS:

A Adoration. Spend a period of time just praising and exalting God for who 
he is and what he does. Sing a Song and offer a praise offering to God.

C Confess. Go through the Ten Commandments, confess your sins, and seek God’s 

T Thanksgiving. Offer prayers of thanksgiving from A to Z of all God’s 
goodness toward you.

S Supplication. Ask God to supply your needs and voice your concerns.

Pick an evening this week and set an alarm on your phone and pray for 20 
minutes using ACTS as your prayer outline. It’s one way to put good 
into action. —Bob Bouwer

Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray like the psalmist. May I do this for your 
glory, for my spiritual good, and the spiritual well-being of others. Let my 
be as incense before you. Amen.

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

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

"Golden Ruling"
November 8, 2017
Matthew 7:12 - (Jesus said) "So whatever you wish that others would do to 
you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
Teenager Lauralie Mufute had been asked to sing the anthem at the New Jersey 
Devils' hockey game at the Prudential Center. In front of the crowd of more
than 14,000 she began, and she did well, until she got to the line "through 
the perilous fight."

That's when her memory failed her.

She took a breath and began again, and her memory failed her again. But not 
to worry. That crowd had seen what had happened, and their hearts went out
to her. That's why, when Mufute stopped the second time, some 14,000 fans 
were prepared to do the right thing. Without any kind of cue or coaching, 
joined together to help her out.

Reports from those who were there said it was "the most amazing anthem I 
ever witnessed."

I have seen that same kind of sprit at a Christian congregation. I remember 
a Sunday morning when the pastor was standing before the altar ready to lead
the congregation in prayer. His mind was not exactly where it should have 
been. He had mentally jumped forward in the service because when they 
the collection plates forward, the elder had handed him a list of five names 
which had to be added to various prayers that were coming up.

That is why his mind was on autopilot when he said, "Let us now join 
together in the prayer which the Savior has taught us: 'Come Lord, Jesus, be 
our Guest

Realizing what had just happened, the pastor immediately had four 
revelations. In order, they were
list of 4 items
1. "I hear the congregation snickering rather than praying with me; that's 
not right";

2. "I have just made a very big mistake";

3. "How do I start over with dignity?";

4. "My congregation is not going to ever let me forget this."
list end
He was right about number four. They never let him forget. Now that 
congregation could have said, "What kind of minister is it that doesn't know 
the Lord's
Prayer? He is embarrassing us." Yes, they could have said that, but nobody 
did. But, whenever the opportunity presented itself, with a good-natured 
they'd say, "Pastor Klaus, would you lead us in the Lord's Prayer? You do 
remember how it goes, don't you?"

There you have it: two stories, both of which illustrate how Jesus' Golden 
Rule has been applied.

The great tragedy is that the Golden Rule is not applied often enough. There 
are a lot of reasons for that. Sometimes people don't think of it; sometimes
people are just plain nasty; other times it is a way to make them feel 
superior. Whatever the reason, it is not the way the Lord expects His people 
show appreciation for the forgiveness and salvation He has won for them.

He knows the world is watching His people and judging Him by what they do. 
That's why He encourages another standard for our lives. And, by the way, so
did Luther, when he said we "should put the best construction on 

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let us see people with eyes of love. Help us look 
past their mistakes and do all we can to glorify the Savior by building 
up. This we ask into the Name of our crucified and ever-living Lord. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one 
carried by Michael Harthorne for Newser on October 21, 2017. Those who wish 
to reference
that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at 
the time this devotion was written:
click here
.. See also
Jane Becker, October 21, 2017 - NY Daily News .

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: Lamentations 1-2; Hebrews 12

Welcome to the Nugget

November 9, 2017

What to do When it ALL Falls Apart...
list of 4 items
By Answers2Prayer
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Contact us
list end

"We have some good news and some bad news," the airline rep announced to 
those of us sitting at the gate.

We squirmed in our seats.

"The good news is that we identified the mechanical problem with the plane," 
she said. "The bad news is that we need to bring a part from Chicago. It 
be at least two hours."

Groans of annoyance echoed throughout.

That meant I missed my connecting flight and the changes resulted in my 
4-hour trip turning into 13 hours.

We waited for three hours. Then the lady seated to my left said, "Why 
weren't they honest with us? This is totally ridiculous."

The lady to my right let out a huge huff. "All my plans for the day fell 
apart. This is a horrible way to treat their customers."

And since I'm a mind-your-own-business kind of gal, I said to myself: Chill 
friends. This delay might be a way for God to protect us from a disaster 
flying in the clouds.

Then, suddenly another announcement: "Those of you on flight 2049, approach 
the counter for a courtesy voucher for your inconvenience."

I knew it would be a lunch voucher, and navigating to make a line would be 
cumbersome with my white cane. So I turned to the lady to my left and said,
"Would you be so kind as to get the voucher for me?"

"Not a problem," she said.

Later on, she came back and placed two slips of paper in my hand. "Here, we 
all got a $200 voucher toward our next flight."

Woo hoo! Thank you, Lord! I quickly stuffed it in my purse.

Next, I heard the same ladies talk on their cell phones, "You won't believe 
what happened. Because of the delay, I got a $200 voucher...I love this 
It's the best."

I've done that. Maybe you have, too. We praise only when good things happen. 
When doors open, opportunities come, blessings show up, surprises happen,
and good times appear...we praise God and we rejoice, right?

But when mechanical malfunctions in life cause all to fall apart, we're left 
stuck in sorrow, frustration, and anger. Who could blame us, we grumble and

But the one who taught me not to fall for that trap is Habakkuk (I know, 
strange name). But when I get to heaven, he's on my list to give a big ol' 
because this is what he said when he found himself in the gate of emptiness 
because all his plans had fallen apart.

"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 
sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the 
LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior"
(Habakkuk 3:17-18).

In the waiting for answers, in the sadness of emptiness, and with broken 
plans, what rumbles in your heart and what slips from your lips?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home
for more inspiration.


The ultimate in prayers, changeless throughout history, powerful in 
simplicity: The Lord's Prayer. Please

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

Showing Genuine Love For Others
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“Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand 
hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.”
Psalm 18:35

Can a person donate to the poor and not have love? Can a person work in a 
soup kitchen for the homeless and not have love? Yes.
You say, “A person wouldn’t do that!” Oh yes, they would…if they had a 
guilty conscience. Sometimes it is neater to write a check or donate some 
used things
than to give of our time.

Do you know what the world needs? Not more money, though I’m sure they’d be 
glad to take it. First Corinthians 13:3 says, “And though I bestow all my 
to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not 
charity, it profiteth me nothing.” You can give without loving, but you 
cannot love
without giving of yourself to others.

Ask God to show you the ways you can show His genuine love to others.

Can the Word of God Really Ease My Pain?
Vaneetha Rendall Risner / November 11, 2017
Can the Word of God Really Ease My Pain?

Some days I wake up crying.

When I do, I often don’t even know why. Perhaps it is the weight of unspoken 
problems that I’m too afraid to articulate, coupled with a vague dread of
what might come next. Or perhaps it’s the growing realization that the pain 
I’m feeling will only intensify throughout the day.

I had one of those days recently. The day before, my arm had felt useless. I 
couldn’t pick up my coffee. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t do what I wanted.
I felt trapped inside my body, which had become an all-too-familiar feeling.. 
At times, it has almost felt like a living death.

A Cry for Help

As I lay in bed, contemplating what the day might hold, I felt tears welling 
up inside me.

“Stop, don’t do this,” I told myself. But I couldn’t force the tears to 
stop, and they started trickling down my face. Before long, my pillow was 
and I felt hopeless.

Your life is miserable. You’re a burden. You can’t do anything for yourself, 
were the ugly voices I kept hearing until I forced myself out of bed.

I pulled my robe on slowly and stumbled into my prayer closet. I didn’t want 
to go but I knew I needed this.

“Please God, help me. Show me your truth,” was my only cry. I could not 
muster anything more. I just sat in the semidarkness, praying, and then I 
my Bible and started reading.

Do I Trust Him?

Without God’s word, I would start interpreting life on my own. By my 
experiences. My feelings. My finite perspective.

I knew that his word was the only place to find truth. If I judge life by my 
despair, my pain, my circumstances, I will always live life skewed. I will
judge everything by what I see. But life is so much more than what I can 
see. There is a reality that goes far beyond my experience.

I turned the pages of Scripture to the first reading for the day, wondering 
what God had for me. It was Psalm 56, a beloved passage. The one sentence 
read, “In God I trust.” I wondered if I trusted him. Trusting felt harder 
when life was pressing in. But as I took in the familiar lines, a sense of 
peace washed over me. A peace that was inexplicable. A peace that surpassed 

When I Am Afraid

Sometimes it requires perseverance to understand what I’m reading, like 
mining for gems. I need to grapple with the text a while before I discover a 
And other times, like that day, God feeds me freely from his hand. I just 
need to receive it.

block quote
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God 
I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
block quote end

God knew I was afraid. He didn’t condemn me. But he called me to trust him 
in the middle of my pain. He alone could drive out my fears.

block quote
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.
block quote end

God knew my sleepless nights. All the tears I have cried. All my fears, 
spoken and unspoken. It was all laid bare before him.

And these words, these words took my breath away: “This I know, that God is 
for me.”

God Is for Me

God is for me.

Even when life looks like it’s splintering, God is for me. And if God is for 
me, he is orchestrating everything in my life for my good. I can trust him
even when everything looks dark. He tells me not to be afraid. He will take 
care of me.

God is for me. Those words kept echoing through my mind.

block quote
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I 
may walk before God in the light of life.
block quote end

What a fitting end to the psalm. He indeed has delivered my soul from death.. 
He has kept my feet from stumbling. He has empowered me to walk before him
in his light. My legs and feet have become increasingly frail, and walking 
is getting harder. But he who created me knows every detail of my life, and
he will keep me from falling.

New Tears

My eyes teared up for the second time that morning. But these were tears of 
joy. And hope. This was the true reality, not my circumstances. This word 
God, penned thousands of years ago, reminded me of the truths I so easily 

I smoothed out the pages with my hands and almost hugged the Bible. God’s 
word had become life to me. It sustains me. It revives me. It comforts me. 
comforts me.

I wanted to take the words and eat them, to let them nourish me. I was 
reminded of Jeremiah who said, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and 
words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16). 
These words were the delight of my heart. They brought light to my eyes. My 
of the world, my life, and my struggles were all changed in the light of 
Scripture. And in that light, my dark shadows disappeared.

As I left my prayer closet, I was grateful for the way my perspective had 
changed. I was filled with hope. My circumstances were no different than 
I entered, yet my emotions had been strangely transformed. Meeting with God 
had reframed everything.

Because God is for me, in Christ, I can trust him. I can trust him with my 
weakness, with my fears, with my pain. And with that knowledge, I can face 
day. With that knowledge, I can face anything.

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Are You Listening?
by Ryan Duncan, Editor

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. –
Proverbs 12:15

It’s common to hear Christians say, "Speak the truth with love," but what 
about listening? I once read the story of a young man who was struggling 
a number of problems. He was depressed, his faith was waning, and his 
parents eventually convinced him to sit down with their Church's pastor.. The 
of the appointment, the pastor walked in and, before the young man could 
even open his mouth, began to speak about "How the grace of God was 
for all things."

"By the end of the meeting I knew a lot about him and what he believed, but 
he knew absolutely nothing about me," the young man would later recall.. 
one of the most overlooked commands in the Bible is that we are to
listen to others. Too often, in our zeal to share the word of Christ with 
others, we end up trampling them in platitudes and redundant scriptures. But
listening can be a powerful tool. Listening builds understanding, diminishes 
fear, and can be comforting in a time of sorrow.

Look at this passage from the book of James,

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, 
slow to speak
and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous 
life that God desires.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and 
humbly accept the word planted in you,
which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive 
yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man 
who looks at his face in a mirror
and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he 
looks like.
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,
and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he 
will be blessed in what he does. –
James 1:19-25

Listening is the first step in acting out the scriptures, not speaking. The 
Church has the potential to do so much good in the world, to share the love
of Christ with so many people. However, in order to do this we must first 
stop talking, sit quietly, and get to know them. We need to hear their 
understand their hurts, empathize with their anger, and then, when they have 
nothing else to say, that is when we speak our truth. It's time to start 
our ears before we use our words.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you been listening to others? Take a 
moment and consider how you are reflecting Christ.

Further Reading

Proverbs 17:28

Posts : 66613
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 75
Location : Wales UK

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

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Jan 2018, 11:45 pm

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: How to Know God Really Loves You
Greg Morse / November 1, 2017
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Class that day began so peacefully.

My university professor began the Christian Love and Marriage class with a
“fun little assignment to get the creative juices flowing.”

The task was simple: Draw what you think of when you envision the love of

She went around and handed out crayons and blank sheets of paper for our
project. We had fifteen minutes.

The first five I just sat there. How could I, who could barely draw straight
lines for stickmen,
draw the love of God?

As my peers joyfully scribbled away, I grabbed the black crayon. I still
recall those next ten minutes of worship.

The alarm rang — time for show and tell. Each of us went around and shared
our drawings, explaining why we drew what we did.

The first student unveiled her picture: a collage of lipstick red hearts,
shiny bubbles, and a dozen or so smiley faces.

The second student revealed a unicorn galloping over a rainbow.

The third, a meadow with the sun shining down on laughing butterflies.

The fourth, a worn-out teddy bear.

As each explained their picture, one thing became obvious: despite my
previous assumption, none was joking. All artists took their work seriously..

“God’s love makes me feel a kind of warmth inside,” explained one girl.

“Yeah, his love is magical, like the best dream you don’t want to wake up
from,” added another.

“I just see a big bouquet of butterflies when I think about how God loves
all of us.”

“I just feel a sense of home with God’s love, like I do when I remember my
childhood teddy bear.”

I revealed my picture. My classmates were first shocked. Then confused. Then

“That’s pretty barbaric of you,” said the first.

“I don’t think such a gory event should depict God’s love,” contributed the

“This is why some people don’t want to explore Christianity,” scolded the

In my drawing, a hill quaked. Lightning flashed. Darkness enveloped. Two
dark crosses backdropped the third. My sore hand held up my nearly torn
artwork depicting my Savior dying on the cross for my sins.

“I believe this to be God’s own picture of his love,” I said.

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died
for us.
(Romans 5:8)

Fact or Feeling?

Notice what happened: When prompted to draw what each envisioned as the love
of God, each drew what they
felt when considering the love of God.

Instead of looking without themselves, they gazed within. The objective
reality of God’s love for sinners was evidenced for them —
not in the crushing and torture of the Son of God two thousand years ago —
but was displayed in the fluttering sensations in their own hearts. How did
know God loved them? Their feelings told them so.

And their inners did not tell them of the fierce love of God demonstrated in
the Son of God being brutally executed as he bore the wrath of God on
behalf. The fallen human heart is too politically correct, too Hallmark, too
civilized to mention that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son
to be brutally murdered for it.

When God showed his love for sinners, it was rated R.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

If handed a box of crayons and a paper, I would be surprised if many would
draw what my nominally Catholic peers did. But I too often share their
to look within instead of without to see whether God truly loves me from day
to day.

list of 6 items
• I felt like I counted my family’s interests above my own today: He loves

• I didn’t experience much joy in the word the past few mornings: He loves
me not.

• I am happy because I finally shared the gospel with my coworker: He loves

• I was incredibly angry in my heart towards my spouse last night: He loves
me not.

• My heart overflowed today in corporate worship: He loves me.

• I didn’t feel any warm sensations of his presence during prayer: He loves
me not.
list end

This life is utterly exhausting. It may not be legalism, but feelism is just
as tyrannical.

Although it is true that if we have absolutely no subjective experience of
God’s love ever, we most likely are not a child of God (Romans 5:5; 8:16).
we must not confuse faith’s gaze from the cross to our feelings. The Spirit
in Romans 5:5 directs our gaze to the cross in Romans 5:6.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

The gospel has a far better word for us than our fickle feelings:

list of 9 items
• The Father sent his only Son into the world so that I might not die in my
sins (John 3:16):
He loves me.

• That Son emptied himself and took on human form to rescue his people
(Philippians 2:6–7):
He loves me.

• Jesus Christ loved his Father and perfectly obeyed on my behalf, even unto
death on a cross (Philippians 2:8–11):
He loves me.

• Jesus stepped forward in Gethsemane (John 18:4), bowing his knee to his
Father’s will (Matthew 26:42):
He loves me.

• He was beaten as to be unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14). He was whipped,
scourged, spit on, mocked, slapped, bloodied, beaten, shamed:
He loves me.

• The Father crushed his own Son (Isaiah 53:10). He gave him the cup of
wrath bearing my name (John 18:11). God did not spare his own Son (Romans

He loves me.

• The Light of the world was snuffed; the Bread of life, broken; the King of
kings, executed; the Lamb of God, slain; the Son of Man, tortured; the Son
of God, forsaken; the Rock of ages, stricken; the blood of Christ, shed:
Oh, how he loves me.

• And the Father raised the Son from the dead. The Son reigns over the
universe as my great Prophet, Priest, and King. The Spirit has made me new,
is sustaining
repentance and faith, and has sealed me for the day of Christ.
He loves me.

• Jesus, our life, is coming back. He will marry us. He will take us into
his kingdom to reign with him. The time hastens on.
He loves us.
list end

As Christians, we no longer look to the drooping flower of our own love for
God, peeling away petal by petal, muttering frantically to ourselves:
He loves me, he loves me not.

Instead, we sing,

When Satan tempts us to despair,
Reminding of the lack within,
Upwards we look and see him there,
Who proved his love by conquering sin.
block quote end

We spend our lives looking outside of ourselves to Jesus, the founder and
perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1–2), who has proven God’s love once and
all, and will amaze his people afresh with that love forever.

Six Common Ways Preachers Dishonor God’s Word
John Piper / November 1, 2017
Six Common Ways Preachers Dishonor God’s Word

The stakes are high when pastors do not root their points plainly from the
text in front of them. Here are six consequences.

Jesus Calling: How Well Are You Listening?
J.A. Medders / November 1, 2017
Jesus Calling

In middle school, my parents diagnosed me with a common disorder: selective

I couldn’t hear my dad telling me to do the dishes or take out the trash,
but I could hear him whispering about my upcoming birthday presents. I don’t
think I’m the only one with this problem. Selective hearing, also known as
disobedience, is banned in the kingdom of Christ. Disciples must always be
dialed in to the voice of our Lord.

Listening to Jesus is vital to the Christian life. Discipleship demands
non-selective hearing from Jesus. I’ve never heard his voice with my ears,
the risen Christ does speak to me: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing
through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). He speaks via the Scriptures.

Hear His Voice

Today, we can hear Jesus speak with our eyeballs. In the red letters? Yes —
and in all the black ones, too. We hear and behold his glory from Genesis to
Revelation by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As Puritan John Owen says, “To behold it [the glory of Christ] is not a work
of fancy or imagination; it is not conversing with an image framed by the
art of men without, or that of our own fancy within, but of faith exercised
on divine revelations. This direction he gives us himself, John 5:39,
the Scriptures; for they are that which testify of me.’”

Genesis to Revelation is filled with the words and glory of Christ, inspired
by the Holy Spirit, drawing his sheep to follow him. The Scriptures are more
than ink printed on a forest of dead tree bark. The Bible is living and

Open it up. Listen.

The Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). The Father’s love for the Son calls us to
He wants us to listen to Jesus — to obey Jesus, to submit to Jesus, to
follow Jesus. The Father invites us to view Jesus like he does — as the
Son with whom he is well pleased, and as the voice who is worth hearing.

Your love for the Lord is expressed in how you listen to the Lord (John
14:6). Your view of Jesus is revealed in how you hear him. There is a direct
between our ears and our hearts. Worship is more than Jesus listening to
what we have to say about him; it’s also our listening to what Jesus has to
what he wants, what he commands, what he promises. And we must listen
without selectivity.

Jesus gets our full attention. We can’t say we love Jesus while we tune him

Don’t Edit While You Hear

Are you listening to Jesus in a non-edited manner? Selective listening is
rebellion. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Do you find yourself
the Bible and thinking, “Well, that’s not what he really meant,” or, “That’s
just asking too much,” or, “I can’t do that”? If we find ourselves tweaking
and diluting the Bible to fit comfortably around our desires, hunches, sins,
and idols, the apostle John warns us: maybe you don’t know Jesus after all.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his
commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar,
and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the
love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever
he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John
Hearing Jesus, the Word of God, in the word, is ground-level discipleship.
How can we follow Jesus if we don’t hear from Jesus? Every time we crack
the Bible, we are sitting down to hear Jesus. Like sheep with the Good
Shepherd, we are listening to his direction. Listening is for discipleship,
comfort, rebuke, correction, training in righteousness, and encouragement —
all of which Jesus speaks to us from the Bible.

There is no more refreshing voice in the universe than Jesus’s. Why not go
to him? There’s a lot of voices in this world, but only one that commands
soul, our life, our all. We listen to Jesus, the beloved Son, because we
love Jesus — and because he loves us. He has nothing bad to say to us.

Next time you open the Bible, offer a simple prayer: “Speak Lord. My Bible
is open. Your servant is listening.” He promises, “My sheep hear my voice,
I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Self-Esteem Won’t Save You
John Piper / November 1, 2017

You were made to be stunned by God, not just feel good about yourself. You’ll
find your truest self when you forget yourself.
Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Copyright ©️ 2017 Desiring God, all rights reserved


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