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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Oct 2016, 10:28 pm

Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening!

(" Every Day! " Author unknown, 1872)

"Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening!" 1 Samuel 3:9

Lord, I may not expect to hear You speak to me with an audible voice, as You 
spoke to Samuel; but by Your Word and by Your Spirit--You still speak to the
hearts of Your people.

O Lord, but speak thus unto me. Speak to my mind, my conscience, and my 
heart . . .
words of instruction,
words of warning,
words of reproof,
words of counsel,
words of comfort--
according as You, in Your infinite wisdom, see fit.

Speak to me as my Savior--tell me of Your redeeming mercy.

Speak to me as my Friend--draw near and commune with my heart.

Speak to me as my Father--and tell me of Your care and constant love.

When burdened with sin, say unto me, "I, even I, am He who blots out your 
sins as a cloud, and your transgressions as a thick cloud!"

When struggling with inward corruption, say unto my soul, "I am your 
salvation!"

When distressed in the hour of trial, say unto me, "Do not fear, for I am 
with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and 
help
you--I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

In every time of need, say to my heart, "My grace is sufficient for you."

"Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening!"

~ ~ ~ ~
So many of you have been patiently waiting! We have just now published "
Every Day!
"--some 150 pages of choice devotional quotes!

We have published Grace Gems for SEPTEMBER in one file!

~ ~ ~ ~
Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend

Today's

Turning Point
Monday, October 3

Better Than Feelings

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3b

Recommended Reading
Psalm 19:7-11
Aleister Crowley was an early-twentieth-century British artist, novelist, 
and occultist. He founded a religion he called Thelema and saw himself as a 
prophet
who would guide humanity into an age of self-realization. The Beatles were 
fans—Crowley was one of those appearing on the cover of the famous “Sgt. 
Pepper’s”
album cover. Supposedly, the guiding rule of his religion was, “’Do what 
thou wilt’ shall be the whole of the Law.” Many people trace one of the 
guiding
maxims of the 1960s—“If it feels good, do it”—back to Crowley.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
“The Sixties” took that principle to heart and many today still do. How 
often do we hear people explain a decision by saying, “It just felt right”? 
But
is “feeling good” enough of a guiding principle for life? Think about your 
own feelings: Today you feel good and tomorrow you don’t. The decision you 
make
today, you wouldn’t make tomorrow. We need something more permanent, 
consistent, and dependable as a guiding principle for life. The psalmist 
trusted in
God’s guidance (Psalm 23:3b) and in God’s Word (Psalm 19:7-11).

Don’t get caught up in the religion of “anything goes.” Establish your life 
on the guiding principles of God and His Word.

Men give advice; God gives guidance.
Leonard Ravenhill

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Matthew 5 – 6
David Jeremiah's Website

TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2016 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163


Why Won’t God End My Suffering?
MaryLynn Johnson / October 5, 2016
Why Won’t God End My Suffering?

I don’t remember the day I was diagnosed with a physical disability. I was 
only three years old. Disability is something that has always been a part of
my life, and it probably always will.

Growing up, there was no doubt in my mind God created me the way he had for 
a reason. This disability would be present in my life for as long as he had
chosen, to fulfill his mysterious, but good purposes.

Still, as I’ve grown up, I also have come to see that sickness is not what 
God originally intended for our bodies. Sickness is confined to this sinful
world where we live for a brief time. Suffering is a sign that we’re broken, 
and in need of a Savior. It also points to God’s power and sovereignty. I
know God can heal people, but I also know he may choose not to, for our 
good.

Those two things can be difficult to reconcile. If God can end our suffering 
on earth, why doesn’t he? Why does he allow sickness to afflict us if 
sickness
is not what he ultimately and eternally wants for us?

There are no easy answers. But it is okay, even good, to wrestle with 
questions like these. The grieving and wrestling brings us back to precious 
truths
for the suffering.

God Is Good, Not Cruel

When I see circumstances of suffering in my own life or in the lives of 
others, my mind immediately turns to
why questions. God declares that he works all things together for the good 
of those who love him, “those who are called according to his purpose” 
(Romans
8:28).

But how are we supposed to interpret suffering as something good? It seems 
unfair that he would prolong our pain, allowing it to rob some of the 
quality
or length of our life.

God does desire for our bodies to be whole one day. He also desires for our 
hearts to be drawn to him with a profound understanding of his grace and 
love.

C.S. Lewis summarized it well in The Problem of Pain: “On the one hand, if 
God is wiser than we, his judgement must differ from ours on many things, 
and
not least on good and evil. What seems to us good may therefore not be good 
in his eyes, and what seems to us evil may not be evil.”

When it does seem as if God is withholding healing from us, it is not 
because he is cruel. Our understanding is limited, and we will never fully 
see things
from his perspective. We may have trouble comprehending how God can use 
suffering for good, but we also do not have the wisdom or authority to say 
it cannot
be true.

Desiring Healing and Embracing Suffering

When suffering enters our lives, we often feel like there are only two 
choices: 1) accept our circumstances will never improve, or 2) constantly 
wish for
something to change.

But we are not limited to those choices. God has given us a unique freedom 
through Christ that enables us to simultaneously hope for future healing and
restoration, while also embracing peace in the midst of our suffering today. 
This freedom allows us to engage our doubts and questions, and still 
cultivate
the contentment to which we’ve been called. It shows us that struggling does 
not prove our lack of faith; it strengthens our faith as we look to God’s
word for answers and apply the hope of his promises to our immediate and 
difficult circumstances.

It is okay to want things to be different. When we bring our requests before 
God, we have the opportunity to model the example Christ himself gave us in
his prayer before the crucifixion (Luke 22:42). He exemplified both a 
genuine hope for something different as well as an acceptance of 
God-ordained suffering.

Jesus did not hesitate to ask the Father for another way to accomplish his 
plan, but his requests were ultimately presented with a heart of surrender.

Everything We Need

Feelings of insufficiency and envy are some of the hardest to fight in the 
midst of suffering, walking through all the overwhelming questions. But in 
humility,
and carried along by grace, we wrestle both to rejoice with others in their 
healing and to walk alongside others through their pain, knowing our 
suffering
cannot and should not be compared.

We need to remember that God’s care for us is deep, and he will always 
provide everything we need. He already has.

Perfect health is something I have never known in this life. But if I don’t 
have it, I do not need it to accomplish what God has planned for me. He didn’t
make a mistake when he made me. Nothing in my life has ever happened outside 
of his will. My physical limitations do not disqualify me from the tasks 
that
have been and will be assigned to me. In fact, I believe they have strangely 
and beautifully prepared me for those tasks. The circumstances and 
inconveniences
have been given to me, and I trust they are part of God providing what I 
need for his calling on my life.

Healing in this life may come. Or we may be called to a deeper and more 
rewarding journey of faith through our suffering. There’s no denying that 
the road
is hard, but God is here to walk beside us and remind us that he is working 
in all our circumstances.

Eventually our suffering will come to an end. If we are in Christ, it is 
only temporary. On that day, when faith becomes sight, we will experience 
glory
that will not be worth comparing to every hard thing we have experienced on 
this earth.

Millions Sold, No Money Taken
John Piper / October 5, 2016

John Piper shares where the money from his book sales go and why he chooses 
not to keep his royalties.

Desiring God
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Minneapolis, MN 55413
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Post  Admin on Wed 26 Oct 2016, 3:25 pm

And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place (
Luke 9:10).

In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone. It is not in society that 
the soul grows most vigorously. In one single quiet hour of prayer it will
often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the 
desert that the dew falls freshest and the air is purest.
--Andrew Bonar

"Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile,
Weary, I know it, of the press and throng,
Wipe from your brow the sweat and dust of toil,
And in My quiet strength again be strong.

"Come ye aside from all the world holds dear,
For converse which the world has never known,
Alone with Me, and with My Father here,
With Me and with My Father not alone.

"Come, tell Me all that ye have said and done,
Your victories and failures, hopes and fears.
I know how hardly souls are wooed and won:
My choicest wreaths are always wet with tears.

"Come ye and rest; the journey is too great,
And ye will faint beside the way and sink;
The bread of life is here for you to eat,
And here for you the wine of love to drink.

"Then fresh from converse with your Lord return,
And work till, daylight softens into even:
The brief hours are not lost in which ye learn
More of your Master and His rest in Heaven."

----------------------
Purchase your own copy of this devotional.
Or, catch up on Streams in the Desert in our Archives

Help For a Heart That Worries
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. ( Psalm 56:3 )

Friend to Friend

The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to 
save, nor is his ear to dull to hear.”
(Isaiah 59:1
) Though I know in my heart this is true, I still sometimes go back and 
forth between doubt and worry
as if God’s arms are short and his ears are dull. My friend Erica does too.

She came to my door with a package to deliver and a story to share. I signed 
for the package and we began to catch up. Her kids are grown. Mine are 
teens.
Her daughter just got married. My oldest just went to college. Mama to mama 
we shared and cared.

“My daughter and her new husband might be moving to Chicago. I have to be 
honest, Gwen,” she said seriously, “I’m not doing well trusting God with 
this.
I’m struggling with anxiousness and worry.” I listened and nodded with 
understanding, knowing full well the strain of worry and anxiety.

Then she perked up and shared a story that went something like this...

God impressed a message on my heart this morning that challenged and 
convicted me! I just have to tell you about it. I ride motorcycles. Have for 
years.
I love the feeling of being out in the open air. It’s exciting and 
invigorating. When I ride, I feel vulnerable and alert. It’s risky and 
requires balance,
it’s much more difficult than driving my car, but I ride because it 
energizes me and makes me feel alive.

This morning I rode my bike to work while it was still dark. I don’t usually 
do that because the headlight is small, so the light is dim. As I was 
riding,
I began to thank God for allowing me to ride my bike to work. I thanked him 
for allowing me to feel alive and energized along the way. And as I did, He
spoke to my heart. I sensed He was saying, “Erica! This is what I want my 
relationship with you to be like: exciting, risky, and energizing, like 
riding
your motorcycle! But instead you take your car with me. You want to feel 
safe. You want to see with brighter headlights. You grasp for more control, 
by
worrying and fretting about things you can do nothing about. In doing so, 
you miss out on a faith that is alive and energizing... a faith that trusts 
me
and takes risks.

She shared that story with tears and conviction in her eyes. We were both 
moved and challenged. It left me with a fresh longing for deeper faith.

I want to ride.

I want to take risks with the star-breathing, mountain moving, 
speak-through-a-burning-bush, unpredictable, and unsearchable All-mighty 
One!

God does not call us to a safe faith. He does not promise that we will have 
a clear view of all that lies ahead. He does not promise us simplicity. 
Instead,
He invites us to embrace a vibrant faith that trusts Him. A faith that is 
alive and energized, in spite of the unsteady unknowns. His arms are not too
short to save and His ears are not dull to hear. He is powerful, capable, 
compassionate, merciful, holy, just, and faithful.

These truths should hush our noisy doubts and calm the anxieties that seek 
to unnerve us.

God is sovereign and His ways are mysterious.

And in the center of all of my questions this one resounds: who better to 
trust than God?
Myself? Hardly. My paycheck? My medical chart? My emotions? I might as well 
chase the wind.

In contemplating this, I journey back to what the Bible has to say on such 
things.

“Live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 )

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has 
promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” (Psalm 56:3-4)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own 
understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight 
your paths.”

Is the Lord calling you to trust Him with something or someone today?

Decide to ride.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Please quiet my anxious heart. Give me courage to step out in 
faith, beyond what I can see or attempt to control. I bring these heart 
burdens
to You now ______________.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

READ Isaiah 41:10
, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous 
right
hand.” Consider what your day would look like if you believe this to be 
true. Spend a few moments in responsive prayer.

More from the Girlfriends

Gwen Smith is a speaker, worship leader, songwriter, and author of the new 
book, I Want I ALL , who wants to help you think big thoughts about God – 
and
inspire you toward His grace and truth.

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070
info@girlfriendsingod.com
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Post  Admin on Tue 25 Oct 2016, 12:12 pm

Our Identity

. . . Man greatly loved. - Daniel 10:11

Child of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Has your unbelief 
made you forget that you are also greatly loved? Surely you must have been 
greatly
loved, to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb 
without blemish and without spot? When God crushed His only Son for you, 
what
was this but being greatly loved? You lived in sin and rioted in it; surely 
you were greatly loved for God to have been so patient with you. You were 
called
by grace and led to a Savior and made a child of God and an heir of heaven. 
Doesn't this all prove a very great and superabounding love?

Since that time, whether your path has been rough with troubles or smooth 
with mercies, it has been full of proofs that you are greatly loved. If the 
Lord
has chastened you, it was not in anger; if He has made you poor, still in 
grace you have been rich. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be, the 
more
evidence you have that nothing but unspeakable love could have led the Lord 
Jesus to save a soul like yours. The more disapproval you feel, the clearer
is the display of God's abounding love in choosing you and calling you and 
making you an heir of heaven.

Now, if such love exists between God and us, let us live in the influence 
and sweetness of it and use the privilege of our position. We should not 
approach
our Lord as though we were strangers or as though He were unwilling to hear 
us--for we are greatly loved by our loving Father. "He who did not spare his
own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously 
give us all things?"1 Come boldly, believer, for despite the whispers of 
Satan
and the doubts of your own heart, you are greatly loved. Meditate on the 
exceeding greatness and faithfulness of divine love this evening, and then 
go
to your bed in peace.

1 Romans 8:32

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Ezekiel 35

verse 2 Psalms 85

Zeal Without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable 
Sacrifice
by Christopher Ash

Thousands of people leave Christian ministry every month. They have not lost 
their love for Christ, or their desire to serve him. But for one reason or
another, they are exhausted and simply cannot carry on. Christopher Ash 
knows this experience all too well. As a pastor of a growing church, and 
then in
his role of training people for ministry, he has found himself on the edge 
of burnout a number of times and has pastored many young ministers who have
reached the end of their tether.

His wisdom has been distilled into this short, accessible book
, in which he reveals a neglected biblical truth and seven keys that flow 
from it. Understood properly, and built into our lives as
Christians
who are zealous to serve the Lord, they will serve to protect us from 
burnout, and keep us working for God's kingdom and glory
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 


God is Not Judge Judy
by Kelly Givens, Editor, iBelieve.com

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then 
peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, 
impartial and sincere.”
- James 3:17

Last month I found myself in a situation that needed a good dose of wisdom. 
I had to make a decision and felt unsure what course of action was best, so
over those next few days I prayed for wisdom on what I should do. I also 
looked for verses in the
Bible
that talk about wisdom, and was surprised by what I found.

When I think of wisdom, usually the first thing that pops in my head is King 
Solomon and that poor baby. You probably know the story- God had given 
Solomon
an incredible amount of wisdom, so much so that people from all over were 
coming to him with their questions and disputes. In this recorded case, two 
prostitutes
came before the king, both claiming to be the mother of the same baby boy, 
both insisting that the other had stolen the infant after the death of the 
other’s
child. This was obviously before DNA testing, so what could be done? Well, 
Solomon had a sword brought to him and decided to settle things by cutting 
the
baby in half! Now, that doesn’t seem like a very compassionate king! It 
sounds more like something Judge Judy would do.

Judge Judy doesn’t want to hear your sob story. Her Honor gets right to the 
facts, lays down her decision and moves on to the next case, end of story.
I realized I was asking God to be the” Judge Judy” of my life- I would 
present my problem and “ask for wisdom,” but what I really wanted was for 
God to
give me a definite answer that didn’t leave any lingering questions. 
Obviously, God is not Judge Judy, and this is not the kind of wisdom he 
gives. So
how should we think of wisdom? Let’s go back to Solomon- who really wasn’t 
like Judge Judy at all.

While it may have seemed bizarre that Solomon was going to cut a baby in 
half, the king had wisely discerned that the true mother would care more 
about
the safety of the child than her possession of him. And so it was- the 
mother cried out for the boy’s life to be spared, and Solomon declared her 
the
rightful parent. In doing this, he spared both the child and the women 
further pain. But this is more than Solomon just being cunning or smart. 
There’s
compassion to this decision too- an essential part of wisdom.

When Solomon asked God for wisdom, God didn’t just fill his head with the 
right answer to every problem that would ever come up. No- he filled him 
with
“wisdom” as James describes it- he filled him full of consideration, 
peacefulness, mercy, goodness, impartiality and sincerity. King Solomon 
wasn’t wise
because he knew the law book forwards and backwards, or because he was 
particularly clever or a good problem solver. He was wise because his 
decisions
flowed from a heart and mind focused on values that are essential to the 
Kingdom of God. He didn’t bother punishing the one woman for stealing a baby 
or
stoning both women for being prostitutes (which the law would have 
demanded). His wisdom was compassionate, merciful, and just: it was true 
wisdom from
above.

Intersecting Faith and Life: What problems in your life are you seeking 
wisdom in? Approach those problems in light of James 3:17
and trust that God will equip you with the wisdom you need for the 
challenges you face.

Further Reading:
Psalm 37:30
James 1:5
1 Corinthians 1:19-29

Check out fantastic resources on Faith , Family , and Fun at
Crosswalk.com !


Anne Graham Lotz - Willing to Be Whole
View this email in your browser

Willing to Be Whole
"Do you want to get well?"

John 5:6, NIV

Jesus didn’t ask the man beside the pool of Bethesda, “Do you need to get 
well?” But, “Do you want to get well?” There was no preliminary introduction
or social niceties or even casual conversation, just a Stranger asking a 
question that would seem to have had a very obvious answer. Surely, without 
question,
anyone who was a paralytic would want to be able to walk.

But Jesus knew that it’s easy for physical weakness and mental depression 
and a lifetime of hopelessness to rob a man of his willingness to do 
anything
about it. It would be less demanding in many ways for the man to be carried 
about by others. His paralysis absolved him from taking responsibility in 
life.

Jesus knows one of the greatest barriers to our faith is often our 
unwillingness to be made whole-our unwillingness to live without excuse for 
our spiritual
smallness and immaturity. And so the question He asked was very relevant 
then and still is today: “Do you want to get well?”

Blessings,

Copyright © 2016 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at 
www.annegrahamlotz.org.
Our mailing address is:
AnGeL Ministries
5115 Hollyridge Drive
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Post  Admin on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 7:28 pm

One Bad Apple

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

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

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

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

Achan excused his sin but we need to examine ourselves daily to see if we 
might be the bad apple in the barrel. Then we should not excuse what we have 
done wrong but should deal with it.

Is there someone in your local congregation that looks like a Christian but 
is continuing in something that is not pleasing to God? They may not think 
what they are doing is detrimental and they may make excuses for what they 
do but God doesn’t like it. That one person can stunt your church. Innocent 
people will be affected. You will be affected by their living in sin. Achan’s 
relatives didn’t know what was going on until they were stoned to death. The 
effect on the church may not be as drastic but there will be an effect.

It is not popular to preach against sin today. Most preachers you hear on 
radio and television try to build people up instead of coming against sin.

1 Peter 4:17 (NCV)
17 It is time for judgment to begin with God’s family. And if that judging 
begins with us, what will happen to those people who do not obey the Good 
News of God?

WE do not condemn anyone but we can judge by their fruits as to where they 
stand. Paul says not to have anything to do with these people that they 
might turn from their sins. Paul did recommend that the Corinthians throw 
one person out of their church but then asked that same church in his second 
book to the Corinthians to let that person in since he had repented of his 
sin.

One bad apple does spoil the bunch in some way. Ask God to lead you by his 
Holy Spirit in what to do with the bad apples in your midst.

by Dean W. Masters

Dad Enough to Sing
David Mathis / September 14, 2016
Dad Enough to Sing

I want my sons to grow up believing that a grown man singing is one of the 
most natural sounds in the world. It doesn’t have to be
great singing. I’m no accomplished vocalist. Yet I don’t want my boys — or 
my daughter, for that matter — to ever think it’s strange for men to sing. 
Rather,
it’s strange, and sad, when men don’t sing.

To my fellow dads, I’d love for you to consider with me what it might mean 
to put your fathering to song. What small but significant steps might you 
take
toward making your home a more tangible place of happiness?

You don’t need to sing well to parent with song. We’re not talking about 
talented baritones and basses. Just singing. And of course, this isn’t just 
for
dads. Moms have an indispensable part to sing as well, with unique potential 
to bring joy into the home through music and song.

First, consider two reasons why we would want to intentionally fill our 
homes with song, then a few practical ideas from a young father who’s 
finding his
way. Even if you weren’t raised to sing, perhaps this is your chance to 
begin redeeming God’s marvelous gifts of music and song for your family.

Home Made Happier

When Daddy sings, the home is happier. Singing is the sound of joy in God. 
It is joy in God made audible. Singing around the house, in the car, and as
we go through life fills the air with joy, and helps to establish a family 
fellowship of warmth, rather than coldness. Dads who are man enough to sing
contribute in significant measure to making theirs a happy home.

We Christians sing because we know a God who is indomitably happy (Psalms 
115:3), even in the most trying of circumstances. Our God is a God who 
sings,
even over us:

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will 
rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult 
over
you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

If Christians don’t sing, who will? Television talent contests fill with 
soloists raised in the church because non-Christians have fewer reasons to 
sing.
Does an atheistic, agnostic, secular, or pragmatic worldview inspire song? 
We find exceptions to the rule, but the exceptions accent the norm. Song is
the language of praise when you worship a happy God.

“The church is meant to sing,” says songwriter and worship-leader Bob 
Kauflin. “In different times in church history, churches have established 
singing
schools.” It’s Christians who have reason to sing, whatever our 
circumstances. Christian dads have a hope deeper than any trouble, not only 
to steady our
own souls, but to build into our families, by opening our mouths with song.

Every Heart Engaged

But not only do we make our homes happier through song. When Daddy sings, he 
inspires the hearts of his children to grow and flourish, not just their 
minds
and bodies. As the sound of joy, song is a language of the heart. Filling 
life with music and song is a way to encourage and cultivate the heart, 
rather
than suppress it.

Singing to and with our children, says Kauflin, “engages kids’ hearts like 
normal speaking doesn’t.” Song not only teaches truths, but
helps us to feel the gospel
— and as dads, we not only want to shepherd our children’s outer lives, but 
their inner person as well.

But what should we sing, and when, and how?

1. Sing Scripture

What better lyrics to put to music than the very words of God himself? I 
still remember Steve Green’s
Hide ‘Em in Your Heart lyrics from my childhood, and our family has enjoyed 
learning Seeds Family Worship songs in the car (especially the album on
The Character of God). Many other good options exist. No doubt, some have 
put Scripture to bad music. I wouldn’t recommend confusing your kids’ 
musical
palette with cheesy music, but you can seek out those who are doing it well.

Most of us aren’t able to write our own songs, but you might be surprised 
what you’re able to do if you give it a try.

2. Cultivate the Habit of Song

Spontaneous singing around the house and in the car shows our kids the 
overflow of joy in our hearts. But how do you cultivate a habit of song that 
will
overflow into spontaneous moments? Through creating some structure that 
brings song regularly into your family’s life. It could be singalong songs 
in the
car, or at bedtime or mealtime. Structure and spontaneity aren’t enemies 
here. Structure produces spontaneity.

When I take the kids out to breakfast on Saturday mornings, I take the drive 
as a cue to teach them a song. We’re now working through “A Mighty 
Fortress.”
They’re able to catch on quicker than I would have expected. For a while, we 
taught “Stronger” at bedtime and encouraged the boys to sing along as they
learned it. Try different triggers, and look for what works in your family 
life.

3. Sing Through Unpleasant Tasks

Take a page from Mary Poppins and sing your way through unpleasant tasks. A 
spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down — and so does a song about
medicine. Consider singing when it’s time for the kids to take their 
medicine — or at diaper change. This has been one of my favorite parts of 
trying to
be a singing dad.

How much good will it do our children to hear Daddy sing not only in the 
happiest moments, but also during unpleasant chores?

4. Enjoy Music Together

Even in families with parents who love music, it can be easy to overlook 
singing and sharing in music
together. Kauflin encourages parents to “introduce music to your house if 
you haven’t already.”

“It used to be easier. Pre-iPod, when you had your stereo system and 
everybody listened to the same thing, it was just a lot easier. I was just 
with a
family yesterday that made a practice of listening to music together. That’s 
just a great practice.

“We have so much available to us now, different styles of music, but songs 
that you can sing together. Of course, if you do have musicians, get them 
leading
in songs. A number of families have their twelve-year-old playing the piano 
and just singing simple worship songs. Boy, what that does to encourage 
their
understanding of how God might use their gifts to encourage the church and 
just what it does to build the family together.”

Enjoying music together won’t look the same in every family — and for sure, 
not every Dad will sound the same — but don’t miss the joy God makes audible
when Daddy is willing to lead with song.

Where Does My Help Come From?
Gloria Furman / September 14, 2016
Where Does My Help Come From?

As I looked forward to settling into my new role as a mother, I was given a 
role that I didn’t anticipate — caregiver for my husband.

A couple of years after we got married, Dave developed a debilitating nerve 
condition that afflicted both of his arms. My athletic, cheerful husband 
became
disabled and discouraged. When our first child grew past about eight pounds, 
it broke Dave’s heart (and mine) that his chronic pain and atrophy wouldn’t
allow him to hold his newborn. We needed help and hope.

We Lift Up Our Eyes for Help

Our “new normal” as a family of three seemed to be overly complicated now, 
and I struggled to adapt gracefully. After undergoing a major surgery on his
arms, Dave began to recover. I was relieved and hopeful.

But then, after we moved overseas to begin a new ministry, his health took a 
turn for the worse. In the darkest nights, my husband would pace the floor
in agony. While he wrestled, I would stay awake, alternatively worrying and 
praying. The trouble-filled days couldn’t pass by fast enough.

We had an urgent need for practical help with daily life — extra hands 
around the house — and at times God did send that kind of help. At other 
times,
God gave us the ability to simplify our routines. Sometimes God sent so much 
practical help our way that we felt spoiled!

The psalmist sings a question, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where 
does my help come?” (Psalm 121:1). He doesn’t miss a beat and answers 
himself,
“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

My help comes from the Lord. Today, eight years after those initial dark 
nights, Psalm 121:1–2 tastes sweeter to me than ever before. After standing 
on
that rock-solid truth knowing my life depended on it, it has become at once 
more filling, more certain, and more weighty. My husband is still disabled,
and I’m still the primary caregiver for him and our four kids, but time is 
teaching me how sweet it is to look to Jesus for help.

Where Do You Look?

Psalm 121 would have been sung as Israel approached “the hill of the Lord” 
to worship him (Psalm 15:1; 24:3). But the mountain on which Israel met with
God was not the only possible object of their attention. “The hills” — on 
which many nations worshiped their false gods — could have appeared as 
alluring
havens of hope, or intimidating causes of concern.

Either way, the psalmist’s appraisal of his situation reflects the place in 
which we all find ourselves. Our help comes only from the hill of the Lord
— the Lord who made all the hills (Psalm 121:2). All other hills we see 
before us in life can neither rescue us nor destroy us.

During many of those dark nights, I was sure that some hills were meant to 
ruin us. I would tell myself, “Well, the story’s over. This is the end.” On
other occasions, when we would hear about new medical treatments, I would 
think, “We’re saved!” In those times, I was looking for help more in the 
hills
God had made than in the God who made them.

Seek Help in the Highest Hill

When the hills in your life look like the solution to your pain or the 
source of your affliction, the psalmist teaches us to look elsewhere for our 
help.
We look with spiritual eyes to the heavenly hill of Zion, the dwelling place 
of the Lord. “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm
121:2).

The source of your help is both personal and impeccably competent. Neither 
fret over the hills nor try to hide in their fleeting shadows — the Lord 
made
heaven and earth. “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the 
Lord of all the earth” (Psalm 97:5). Look to the Lord who is eternal, 
all-powerful,
and who loves you.

He may give you the perseverance you need to stay faithful to him at the 
foot of that hill. He may effortlessly wipe that hill out of the way. He may 
open
your eyes to see that the hill is actually full of horses and chariots of 
fire sent on your behalf. The source of your help is what matters: Your help
comes from the Lord
.

Our Ground of Hope Is Calvary’s Hill

Jesus gives us the kind of peace that surpasses understanding even as he 
strips away the false assurance we take from our earthly circumstances. 
“This
is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 
119:50). He is kind to teach us that our help comes from him alone.

Our despair over life in this fallen world would truly be the end of all our 
stories — were it not for a cross that stood on one particular hill two 
thousand
years ago. Jesus climbed that hill and took on the greatest obstacle 
humanity has ever faced — the just wrath of God because of our sin. Christ 
suffered
for our sins, “the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to 
God” (1 Peter 3:18). “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that
we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1)

In this life we may be struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9). 
In the shadow of the cross, every affliction that threatens to squeeze your
joy right out of you is meant to strengthen your faith. Because the decisive 
battle in the war against your soul happened at the cross, you don’t have
to put false hope in crumbling hills or be afraid of what is hiding in them. 
Jesus offers us a life that is more full and more enjoyable than the life
that revolves around those hills.

Whether they seem to you like trouble or shelter, look away from those hills 
to Calvary, to Christ crucified on your behalf. He alone is your help.

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Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah

Today's

Turning Point
Wednesday, September 28

The Power of Song

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the 
remembrance of His holy name.
Psalm 30:4

Recommended Reading
Psalm 30
Before coming to Christ, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, traveled 
from England to Georgia as a missionary, but the experience was a failure. 
As
he returned home in frustration, his ship ran headlong into a terrible 
storm. Wesley was terrified, but he couldn’t help noticing a group of German 
Christians
aboard the ship. They trusted God so completely they held a worship service 
in the storm. In the middle of their singing, a wave rose over the vessel 
and
bore down like Niagara. But the Christians didn’t miss a note. Wesley 
realized the German believers had something he didn’t have; and through 
their influence,
he shortly afterward trusted Christ completely and felt his heart “strangely 
warmed.”

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Trusting Christ enables us to sing in the storm. Our Lord gives songs in the 
night, and He teaches us to sing songs of deliverance as we wait on Him. An
old hymn says “Singing I go along life’s road, praising the Lord, praising 
the Lord.” Others, noticing the melody of our lives, will be drawn to 
Christ.

Today sing a song of deliverance. Sing a song of praise.

To God—the Father, Son, and Spirit—One in Three, / Be glory; as it was, is 
now, and shall forever be.

John Wesley, in his hymn “We Lift Our Hearts to Thee”

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Zechariah 1 – 5
David Jeremiah's Website
Copyright © 2016 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.

Worship Is Not Made-to-Order
Josh Philpot / October 1, 2016
Worship Is Not Made-to-Order

Many years ago, I visited a member of my congregation who told me that she 
didn’t need to come to our church services because she worshiped God just 
fine
at home. In fact, she reported that she worships with the squirrels and the 
trees outside her front door, which certainly isn’t possible in a stuffy 
room
where we sing songs that she doesn’t even like. By staying at home, she got 
what she wanted.

We love to have our individual preferences and desires met, and this craving 
does not disappear when it comes to worship. The Pharisees, like unfaithful
Israel before them, taught “as doctrines the commandments of men” — their 
individual preferences in worship led God to condemn their practices as 
“vain”
worship (Mark 7:6–8). And when we indulge this craving today, we join the 
Pharisees (Matthew 15:1–9), Israel (Exodus 32; Isaiah 29:13), Saul (1 Samuel
13:8–14), and others whose worship God regarded as worthless, because 
ultimately, they worshiped by their own desires and not God’s.

Desiring God’s Desires

Mercifully, God does not leave his people blind to what he desires in 
worship. In Deuteronomy 12, God instructs Israel in the proper way to 
worship him.
Repeatedly throughout this passage, we see that God — not our own desires — 
tells us what acceptable worship looks like. This repeated theme makes 
Deuteronomy
12 a very instructive passage for Christian worship today.

In Deuteronomy 12, God tells the Israelites where to worship him — the place 
of his “name” (Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 21). God also emphasizes that the 
Israelites
must not do whatever they
desire to do. They must not sinfully worship like the Canaanites, following 
their manner and location of sacrifice. Rather, the Israelites should do 
what
“the Lord your God will choose” (Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 26).

In particular, they must worship the way he desires to be worshiped, and at 
the place where he desires to be worshiped. This is because God is “the Lord
your God” (appearing eighteen times in this chapter). God is the personal 
God of the people. He
alone is the only legitimate object of Israel’s worship.

Notice the subtle indictment on the Israelites. They cannot conduct their 
own worship services according to their own desires because everyone is 
doing
“whatever is right in his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8). If Israel’s worship 
was to be conducted in this manner, then who would determine which direction
to take in worship? Worship according to our own desires not only exalts our 
own will over God’s will, but it also renders worship ineffectual by 
replacing
the solid backbone of God’s design with a mess of competing opinions and 
preferences.

So, the answer for Christians today is no different than it was for Israel: 
we need to be able to put our personal tastes aside, push out the tastes of
the world, and let God himself govern our worship. If the goal of creation 
is that
God’s glory might fill the whole earth (Numbers 14:21; Psalm 72:19), then 
the goal of our churches should be that the
knowledge of God, not individual tastes, might characterize our worship 
(Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). In short, our desires need to be aligned to 
God’s
greatest desire — the enjoyment of his glory.

Reset the Desires of Your Life

Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, God expresses concern not only with 
formal worship, but with how Israel would relate to God in their daily 
living.
Israel is chosen from among the nations to be God’s special people, through 
electing and saving them. In response, since God chose Israel, he also has
the authority to choose how they should live: in grateful and joyful 
holiness.

The Promised Land is full of idols, which God commands the Israelites to 
destroy, and the basis for this command is holiness. God’s name will dwell 
there,
and his people are to be identified by that name and live by that name 
(Deuteronomy 5–6). Thus, if they are God’s chosen people they must worship 
at God’s
chosen place according to his command, to “do all that I am commanding you” 
(Deuteronomy 12:14). In other words, not only our desires for personal 
worship,
but our whole life needs to be conformed in holiness to the desires of the 
one we worship.

Thus, being chosen by God, we too are obligated to align our whole lives 
with the God who chose us. This means that we are to desire holiness. When 
our
desires are rightly oriented, they can be put to use as the fuel of our 
worship, not an inhibitor. Aligning our desires to the desires of God is the 
root
of healthy Christian living, which should motivate acts of sacrificial 
charity among all people groups — especially the vulnerable and marginalized 
in
society (Deuteronomy 12:12, 18).

We Are Invited into God’s Presence

There is an enormous reward in following God’s desires both in our weekly 
and daily worship. In truth, we are a disgraced people, utterly devoid of 
helping
ourselves in any way. The last thing we should do is dictate to God or to 
one another how we might worship him. However, if we are willing to align 
our
desires for worship and desires for living to the desires of God, his very 
presence is made available to us.

Being invited into the presence of God for worship should lead to a posture 
of humility and reverence. But these are not postures we adopt out of fear
or because we’re worried that God might not have us. Rather, our reverence 
springs from serious consideration of God’s holiness and majesty. On the 
contrary,
when we enter God’s presence in right worship, we should be filled with 
joyful confidence that God will bless us there.

The God of the universe has himself chosen us and given us of himself. Now 
the place of God’s name is on Christ, and we enter his presence by God’s 
Spirit
that lives within us. In worship, we receive a blessing greater than our own 
preferences could ever win — we are given the opportunity of God’s own 
glorious
presence. Let us therefore rejoice in gratefulness of God’s mercy as we seek 
to know and love what God desires.

Unmistakable: How We Know the Bible Is True
John Piper / October 1, 2016
Desiring God
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Copyright © 2016 Desiring God, all rights reserved

Without Asking
by Chuck Swindoll

Job 2:11-13

Friends care enough to come without being asked to come. No one sent a 
message saying to Eliphaz and Bildad and Zophar, "Would you please come and 
bring
a little sympathy and comfort for Job? The man is dying in this crucible of 
anguish and pain." That wasn't necessary, because real friends show up when
someone they love is really hurting. Friends don't need an official 
invitation. Spontaneously, they come.

Friends respond with sympathy and comfort. Sympathy includes identifying 
with the sufferer. Friends do that. They enter into his or her crucible, for 
the
purpose of feeling the anguish and being personally touched by the pain. 
Comfort is attempting to ease the pain by helping to make the sorrow 
lighter.
You run errands for them. You take care of the kids. You provide a meal. You 
assist wherever you can assist because you want to comfort them.

Friends openly express the depth of their feelings. They have ways of doing 
that, don't they? It's not uncommon to see a friend standing nearby in the
hospital room fighting back the tears. It's not unusual for the friend to 
express deep feelings. Casual acquaintances don't usually do that; genuine 
friends
make their feelings known.

Friends aren't turned off by distasteful sights. On the contrary, they come 
alongside and they get as close as possible. Friends are not offended 
because
the room has a foul smell. Friends don't turn away because the one they've 
come to be with has been reduced to the shell of his former self, weighing 
half
of what he used to weigh.

Friends see beyond all of that. They don't walk away because the bottom has 
dropped out of your life and you're at wits' end. On the contrary, that 
draws
them in. These men literally tore their robes, sprinkled dust on their 
heads, and raised their voices and sobbed as they sat down on the ground 
with Job.
They demonstrated the depth of their anguish by staying seven days and seven 
nights without uttering a word.

Friends understand, so they say very little. Words are not always what they 
need. What they need is you.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives 
(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. 
Swindoll, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Searching the Scriptures
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Global Prayer Digest People of the Day.
T4 Global Mobile School
Sep 28, 2016 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Psalm 119:15-16, NKJV "I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate 
Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your 
word."

Pray that as the people of northern India learn God’s word that it will 
remain in their hearts. Pray for many to teach His word to others in their 
communities.

Today's People Group

Have you ever heard of a mobile school? T4 Global Mobile School is not a 
brick and mortar facility, but an audio device. Instead of people coming to 
a
building, this “school” goes to them. Where are they? They may be gathered 
by a well or in a hut. In the center is the audio device. T4 Global does not
create small groups, but rather it finds where people are already gathered 
and commissions them as a mobile school. What they are hearing is the gospel
message in their own language.
The school is the “mobile teacher” led by a reliable community member, and 
the classroom is where people already gather. The teachers are trained 
mentors.
The learning process is collective listening to a gospel message, then 
discussing it, repeating it, and applying it. The learners discuss what they 
learned
and replicate it with others and become trainers of trainers. The result is 
a cascading effect to others in the community and beyond. T4 Global partners
with other ministries to transform lives with the 4T’s: truth, translation, 
trust, and appropriate technology. Gospel materials are now available for 
three
more unreached people groups in India, the Didayi people, the Dom, and the 
Ho people.

Pray that the T4 Mobile school will transform the lives of these unreached 
people so that they will learn to live like Jesus.

Learn more at Joshua Project .
Copyright © 2016 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.


KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Lord’s Supper and Passover
----------------------------------------------------------

The Lord’s Supper and Passover

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 09:55 PM PDT

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Exodus 12:1-28, 43-51

When Jesus initiated the Lord’s Supper, He and His disciples were 
celebrating Passover. To understand the Lord’s Supper, we must look briefly 
at Passover.

Passover memorialized God’s deliverance from the hopeless and bitter bondage 
of slavery into the glorious freedom of God’s chosen and blessed people.

Read the Exodus 12 account of Passover while keeping the Lord’s Supper in 
mind. What parallels do you see? Here are a few:

• Both were remembrances, re-enactments of God’s salvation. God reveals 
Himself primarily by His actions, and some memories of His actions are too 
important
to be entrusted to words alone. Both Passover and the Lord’s Supper were 
ways of physically acting out what God had done for His people.
• The Lord’s Supper, the new Passover, is so sweeping that it makes the 
first Passover, which is glorious in its own right, into a mere 
foreshadowing of
what God did for us in Christ.
• The first Passover celebrates the defeat of the greatest power among 
nations, the oppressor of God’s people. The Lord’s Supper celebrates the 
defeat
of all evil.
• With Passover, God demonstrated His power through killing Egypt’s 
firstborn. With the Lord’s Supper, God demonstrated His love by offering His 
own firstborn.

• Jesus invested the bread and wine, parts of the Passover meal, with a new 
meaning. They became symbols of His own body and His own blood. He Himself
was the meal God offered.
• Jesus became the unblemished Passover Lamb on whom God’s people feasted. 
It was His blood that saved them from death.
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States


Make Your Talent and Skills Matter
By Rick Warren

“Use every part of your body to give glory back to God”
(1 Corinthians 6:20
b TLB).

When you’re getting ready to be used by God, he doesn’t just want to see 
that you’re spending your time on the most important things. He also wants 
you
to use your talents in view of eternity.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:20 , “Use every part of your body to give 
glory back to God”
(TLB).

There’s a big misconception about Heaven that even many Christians
have. Some people think that when you get to Heaven, all you’re going to do 
is kick back and eat bon-bons, wear a white robe, play a harp, and float on
clouds. But none of those things are in the Bible!

So what are you going to do for all those trillions of years when you get to 
Heaven?

God has plans for you to serve in Heaven. There are going to be things to do 
in Heaven -- enjoyable things to do in order to serve God. What he’s doing
right now is giving you time on Earth to practice serving. Why would God 
give you a place of serious service in eternity when you’ve done nothing in 
this
world but live for yourself? If you sit on the bench all through life, 
saying, “I live for me,” and then when you get to Heaven you say, “OK, God, 
take
me off the bench and put me on the A team. Let me serve you now,” God’s 
going to say, “Forget it. What serving skills did you develop with your time 
on
Earth? You have no serving ability.”

You’re not going to take any of your money to Heaven. You’re not going to 
take any of your possessions to Heaven. You’re not going to take a single 
material
thing to Heaven.

What are you taking to Heaven? Only two things: your character and your 
skills. God wants you to understand that
right now is your chance to get ready for the real thing. Right now is your 
chance to develop your serving skills and build your character to be more 
like
Jesus.

Are you doing anything to use your talents for God? Or are you using all 
your talents on yourself? God wants you to serve him well here on Earth
and forever in Heaven.

Talk It Over

• In what ways are you using your skills and talents to serve God? In what 
ways are you using your skills and talents to serve yourself?
• What does it mean to develop your serving skills?

For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com !
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Post  Admin on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 8:54 pm

'm Desperate
Dena Johnson

~~O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for 
you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there 
is
no water.
Psalm 63:1

I received a message from a friend recently.

“What do you do when the bad stuff just keeps coming? Not little things like 
the unexpected bill or problems at school but the big stuff. Things like 
death
and serious illness and major loss. How do you keep going? How do you 
reconcile the loving God of scriptures with the God who allows loss after 
loss to
just keep coming?”

Yes, I understand her question. I understand the pain behind her words. The 
confusion. The fear. The frustration. The anger.

She and I have both been hit hard over the last few years. And it seems the 
hits just keep coming. We both find ourselves treading water, barely able to
keep our heads above water.

And the never-ending trials have driven me to my knees with one simple 
prayer:

God, I’m desperate for you.

I’m desperate for the God of Adam and Eve
, the God who fellowshipped with them in the cool of the morning, the God 
who walked in the garden with them each day.

I’m desperate for the God of Abraham, the God who faithfully fulfilled His 
promises long after it was physically possible.

I’m desperate for the God of Hagar, the God who sees our pain and anguish, 
the God who comforts us in our distress.

I’m desperate for the God of Jacob, the God who reveals Himself to us, who 
wrestles with us until we are forever changed.

I’m desperate for the God of Joseph, the God who redeems our every pain, 
lifts us from the pit, and sets us in a position of power when He sees fit.

I’m desperate for the God of Moses, the God who calls us from obscurity to 
lead His people to the freedom He called them to.

I’m desperate for the God of the Israelites, the God who parts the Red Sea 
to make a way where there is no way, the God who provides for our every need
at just the right time.

I’m desperate for the God of Rahab, the God who saves us from our sinful 
past and places us in a position of honor.

I’m desperate for the God of Joshua, the God who breaks down the walls and 
leads us into the Promised Land, the land filled with the good things He 
came
to give us.

I’m desperate for the God of Naomi, the God who turns our bitterness into 
joy.

I’m desperate for the God of Ruth, the God who takes our grief and brings a 
kinsman-redeemer to restore all that has been taken from us.

I’m desperate for the God of David, the God who anoints us, positions us, 
and forgives us when we genuinely repent.

I’m desperate for the God of Elijah, the God who takes us to a place of 
total isolation so we learn complete dependence, the God who honors the 
fervent
prayer of an ordinary man, the God who pours out His power in front of His 
enemies.

I’m desperate for the God of Elisha, the God who gives a double dose of His 
power.

I’m desperate for the God of John, the God who loves me deeply and 
intimately, the God who calls me His beloved.

I’m desperate for the God of Mary, the God who invites us to sit as His feet 
and soak in His goodness and His grace.

I’m desperate for the God of Lazarus, the God who resurrects us from the 
dead, gives me new life.

I’m desperate for the God of Peter, the God who sees strength and courage in 
spite of my failures.

I’m desperate for the God of Paul, the God who changes me in an instant, 
wipes out my past and gives me a beautiful new future with a purpose only He 
could
create.

I’m desperate for the God who calls me a masterpiece, the God who promises 
He has a purpose for which He created me before time began.

I’m desperate for the God of Revelation, the God who is preparing an eternal 
future for me where I will rejoice in His presence for all of eternity, 
where
He will wipe every tear and I will never again experience pain.

I’m desperate for my God, the God of the Bible
, the God who has been forever faithful to me.

This world is a difficult place. It’s filled with hurts and pains, grief and 
loss. The last ten years have been filled with more pain and anguish than
I ever imagined I could survive.

And yet God has proven Himself faithful. He has walked with me every step of 
the journey, carried me through in ways I never could have dreamed. He has
taken my pain and replaced it with blessings abundant.

I don’t know what’s next in this crazy journey called life. But with every 
twist and turn, I find myself longing for my Father, longing to have all He
has to offer.

I know my Savior. And I am desperate for everything He has for me, 
regardless of the trials I must walk through to get to Him.

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst 
for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?
Psalm 42:1

 Anne Graham Lotz - Breaking the Silence
View this email in your browser

Breaking the Silence
You have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.

1 Peter 1:22, NKJV

Is God silent in your life? Could it be that He has given you Truth to which 
you have not responded obediently? Has He given you truth through a Bible
study,

or your pastor’s sermon,

or your daily devotions,

or an inspirational book,

or a godly friend,

that you have yet to apply and obey? Have you been frustrated because the 
Bible doesn’t seem to make sense to you? And when you pray, is it as though 
your
prayers hit the ceiling of your room and bounce back? Have you felt as 
though God has abandoned you? If so, you need to go back to the last thing 
you can
remember that He told you and act on it. If you can’t remember, just return 
to the Cross by faith. In prayer, confess your sin of disobedience whether
it was willful or not. Ask God to break His silence in your life.

Blessings,

Copyright © 2016 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Inspiration Ministries Daily Devotion

Prepared for Challenges
Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Asa called to the LORD his God and said, 'LORD, there is no one besides You 
to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength;
so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come 
against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against
You.'" 2 Chronicles 14:11 NASB

Even during times of general peace, King Asa felt that Judah needed to be 
prepared for possible attacks. So he built fortified cities. Yet, in spite 
of
these preparations, Judah was overwhelmed when the Ethiopians attacked with 
a huge army.

Faced with what seemed like an inevitable defeat, Asa turned to God. This 
crisis reminded them of how much they needed Him, and how futile it was just
to rely on their weapons and resources. And because they trusted Him, and 
not their own strength, resources, or abilities, God gave them an 
overwhelming
victory.

In our lives, we can face difficulties and problems that seem overwhelming 
and obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. But we need to realize that
no problem is too great for God to solve. We can turn to Him, and have faith 
and confidence that He will help us.

Today, ask God to help you to be prepared for the challenges of your life. 
For any problems and difficulties you face. You may find yourself in 
situations
that seem overwhelming. You feel opposition from the world and Satan. But 
you can trust in God.

Make sure that you are not depending on the world or your own strength, but 
are living in obedience to His commands. That He is the Lord of your life.

Commit your problems and needs to Him, and ask Him for the wisdom, 
resources, and power you need. Have confidence that He hears you. That He is 
with you.
That He will answer your prayers, and give you victory!

Today's Inspiring Prayer

Father, I commit these needs to You: _______. Thank You for victory! I 
believe that You can solve every problem that I face. I trust in You. In 
Jesus'
name. Amen.

Further Reading: 2 Chronicles 14
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Oct 2016, 3:27 pm

October 20

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 59; 2 Thessalonians 3

Today’s Thoughts: Blessed Assurance

And having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:21-22 

The book of Hebrews instructs us to live by faith in God alone. The originator of our Christianity is Abraham, the father of faith. Because Abraham believed God, it was counted unto him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). His faith made him “right” before God. As a result of this righteousness, God protected his family as they grew into a nation, the Israelites. Moses was raised up as their first official leader to establish their worship, culture and Laws of the land. God spoke to Moses as he wrote down God's ways for the people, including the Ten Commandments. These rules were given to instruct the Israelites in how to live. These rules were enforced to protect them from walking away from God and to protect them from destroying themselves (through transmission of diseases) and each other. These ways were not given to replace "faith."

However, by the time Jesus came to earth, the rules were valued more than faith, mercy and kindness. The rules became more important than the people. For God so loved the world that He sent His Son, Jesus, to restore what was lost. Because of the love of God, our High Priest died on the cross and rose from the dead to allow us to live by faith, not by works.

Faith is not established by obeying the rules or the Laws of the land. Galatians 2:16 says, "a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus." Jesus did not abolish the law; He fulfilled it so that we can be accredited as righteous (“right” before God) through faith in Him alone. Christianity started through Abraham's acts of faith, and through our High Priest, we overcome the world through our faith. Jesus alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Today, let us draw near to the Lord with a true heart in full assurance of faith, knowing that we have a High Priest who understands our sufferings, forgives us of our sins and cleanses our conscience.

Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
Daily Disciples Ministries, Inc. 

Elaine, let the rivers flow! 

Genesis 26:18-19 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

There are times in our lives that we are going through a spiritual valley and we want to obtain victory -- we want to have answers -- we want God's power to flow through us again.

In this passage, Isaac found springing water after digging up the wells of his father Abraham again. In Hebrew, the phrase springing water is "mayim chayeem". It literally means "living waters".

Yeshua (Jesus) made us a promise during the feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." - John 7:38

The Lord promises us rivers of living water -- not a puddle, not a pond, not a lake -- He said rivers! These waters are not meant to be stagnant and not meant to be dammed up! They need to be flowing -- unrestricted!

We, who are believers in Messiah, have those living waters within us -- but we must clear out the obstacles in our lives that prevent them from flowing! Sins of unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, and clinging onto pet sins are just a few of the barriers which can damn up the "rivers" of living water! Let's seek the Lord and ask him to search us deeply and thoroughly that we know how to destroy those obstacles that clog the free movement of His Spirit in our lives! 

Elaine, let's seek the Lord this Sukkot season -- and purpose to re-dig our wells again! And I expect the Lord has a great blessing for us if we do!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: We are hoping to come to the United States this upcoming January-March for a cross country speaking/music tour. If you want to hear timely word from Worthy News Founder and Director, George Whitten and powerful Israeli Worship Music from Baht Rivka Whitten, Lazman Hazeh Music, as well as testimony of life and ministry in the Land, make sure to book soon for your Congregation, Conference, Church, Home Fellowship or Israel focused Event. We hope to hug you! Please send an email to george [ @ ] worthyemail.com for more information.

Editor's Note: Watch George's message: Which voice will you listen to in the last days?


"Be Inspired!" — A Year with Jesus for 10/20/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower, 

You need to be inspired if you are going to face the challenges of living in these last days. As Paul warned Timothy, there are a lot of people who are mean, uncaring, unrighteous, and spiritually counterfeit. Stay away from these kinds of people. They will seek to involve you and entrap you in their sin. 

The way to resist their influence is learning to recognize what is good, right, and holy. So stay close to godly people who live for Me. They display My righteous character in their lives. They show My gracious compassion to those in need. Read about the martyrs and heroes of the faith who were faithful even in the face of death. Look at the things they invested their time and efforts in doing. Spend time in the holy Scriptures. Read about My heroes of faith. The inspired Scriptures are given to you so you can understand the Father's will and live the way the Father intended for you. These holy Scriptures are God-breathed. They are inspired by the Father and breathed into the hearts of those who wrote them. These Scriptures are practical and useful. So spend time with the Scriptures, always asking the Holy Spirit to help you hear My voice. I want you to know what you are to feel and what you are to do based on what these Scriptures say. Rather than complicating and confining your life, these Scriptures are given to you to inspire you to holy living, courageous action, and victorious commitment. 

So be inspired!
Verses to Live

Paul didn't pull any punches with Timothy when he talked about how hard it was to live in the last days. Timothy knew Paul was imprisoned and awaiting death. Timothy had known that this would likely happen because he knew that Paul had been stoned and left for dead in Lystra by people who hated him (Acts 14:8-20). To remain loyal and to be strong, Paul knew Timothy needed to be inspired. I want you to be inspired by Paul's words today, too.
And know this: in the last days, times will be hard. You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people. They will rebel against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy, uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good. Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure more than they love God. Even though they may look or act like godly people, they're not. They deny His power. I tell you: Stay away from the likes of these. They're snakes slithering into the houses of vulnerable women, women gaudy with sin, to seduce them. These reptiles can capture them because these women are weak and easily swayed by their desires. They seem always to be learning, but they never seem to gain the full measure of the truth. And, just as Jannes and Jambres rose up against Moses, these ungodly people defy the truth. Their minds are corrupt, and their faith is absolutely worthless. But they won't get too far because their stupidity will be noticed by everyone, just as it was with Jannes and Jambres. 

You have been a good student. You have closely observed how I have lived. You've followed my instructions, my habits, my purpose, my faith, my patience. You've watched how I love and have seen how I endure. You have been with me through persecutions and sufferings — remember what they did to me in Antioch? in Iconium and Lystra? I endured all of it, and the Lord rescued me from it all! Anyone wishing to live a godly life in Jesus the Anointed will be hunted down and persecuted. But as for the wicked and the imposters, they will keep leading and following each other further and further away from the truth. So surely you ought to stick to what you know is certain. All you have learned comes from people you know and trust because since childhood you have known the holy Scriptures, which enable you to be wise and lead to salvation through faith in Jesus the Anointed. All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God's people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work. 
(2 Timothy 3:1-17)
Response in Prayer

O Father, forgive me for not spending enough time in your Scriptures. I thank You for the inspiring stories of courage about men and women of faith. I thank You for the words of warning and the examples of the bad consequences for those who do not heed those words. I thank You for the many practical teachings in the Scriptures. Father, I thank You that as I read these words of inspiration, the same Spirit Who inspired the Scriptures is at work in me to apply them to my life, to open my eyes to Your deeper truths, and to conform me to be more like You each day. I ask for Your inspiration to be at work on me and in me to conform me to Your will. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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On Loan
by Chuck Swindoll

Job 1:21

With Job facedown in worship to God, the only one cursing is Satan. He hated 
it! He resented Job's response! Of all things, the man still worships his
God—the One who would allow these catastrophes to happen. There wouldn't be 
one in millions on this earth who would do so, but Job did exactly that. The
wicked spirits sat with their mouths wide open as it were, as they watched a 
man who responded to all of his adversities with adoration; who concluded
all of his woes with worship. No blame. No bitterness. No cursing. No 
clinched fist raised to the heavens screaming, "How dare you do this to me 
after
I've walked with you all these years!" None of that.

Instead he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall 
return there. Blessed be the name of the Lord." That says it all. At birth 
we all
arrived naked. At death we will all leave naked, as we're prepared for 
burial. We have nothing as we are birthed; we have nothing as we depart. So 
everything
we have in between is provided for us by the Giver of Life.

Get that clearly in your mind. Get it, affluent Americans as we are. Get it 
when you stroll through your house and see all those wonderful belongings.
Get it when you open the door and slip behind the steering wheel of your 
car. It's all on loan, every bit of it. Get it when the business falls and 
fails.
It, too, was on loan. When the stocks rise, all that profit is on loan.

Face it squarely. You and I arrived in a tiny, naked body (and not a great 
looking one at that!). And what will we have when we depart? A naked body 
plus
a lot of wrinkles. You take nothing because you brought nothing! You own 
nothing. What a grand revelation. Are you ready to accept it? You don't even 
own
your children. They're God's children, on loan for you to take care of, 
rear, nurture, love, discipline, encourage, affirm, and then release.

Praise God for "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from 
the Father of the heavenly lights" (James 1:17 NIV).

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll,
Great Days with the Great Lives
(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. 
Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Searching the Scriptures
Watch Video
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2016 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.

5 Powerful Prayers from the Bible
by

If you ever feel at a loss for what to pray, there’s no better guidebook for 
petitions to our Heavenly Father than the very book He wrote—the Bible. 
Almost
every book in there contains a plea or request, and page after page points 
to another reason we need a Savior. So, when you feel like you just don’t 
have
words, turn first to the Word.

Although we could list hundreds of prayers, we plucked out five of our 
favorites to show just how filled to the brim the Bible is with ways to call 
upon
our great God.

When the author of Chronicles dutifully provides us with a list of Judah’s 
descendants, he can’t help but stop himself. Right in the midst of all these
names, he comes to Jabez, a man he wants us to notice, a man of true honor. 
If you’ve ever felt like you’ve caused pain or if you’ve ever wanted to 
believe
that God can do more than you can ask or imagine, this prayer is for you:

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and 
enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so 
that I
will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

This prayer is the true classic. Most of us have said this prayer and could 
likely recite it right now. But there’s much more to this model that Jesus
gave us than rote recitation. This is a prayer with real power: God’s 
kingdom coming, God’s will being done, all that we need for the day. It’s 
truly power
packed. So, take a closer look at what it teaches:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

We may never be swallowed by a great fish, but we can still experience the 
shame and regret that Jonah felt after he ran from God. The prophet’s plea 
to
the Father provides a poignant scaffolding for our own prayers of 
repentance. And remember that God heard and answered this humble, honest 
prayer:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.

You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.

I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’

The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.

To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.

“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.

But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

This one was a tough choice because the
Psalms
are stuffed full of cries and petitions. If you ever want a primer for 
prayer, you can’t go wrong with this wisdom book. But we chose
Psalm 3
because it provides a concise portrait of crying out to God in the midst of 
great stress. David’s words are no less relevant to our modern workplace and
lifestyle as they were to his battles:

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

When Hannah received the child she begged God for, her first instinct is to 
praise the One who provided. She wants to thank Him for His greatness and 
His
deliverance. Too often we pray before receiving, but then forget to pray 
after God answers. Let this prayer guide you in thanks:

“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

“There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,
and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

This article is part of our larger
Prayers
resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face 
uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to 
pray
or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows 
your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Gauda People of Odisha
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Gauda People of Odisha
Sep 25, 2016 12:59 am

Today's Devotional

Psalm 18:1-3, NKJV "I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my 
rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will 
trust;
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold; I will call upon the 
LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."

Pray that the Gauda people will abide in God’s protective love.

Today's People Group

These Hindus actually eat beef! Many people associate Hindus with 
vegetarianism, but not all of India’s people groups fit this mold. The Gauda 
people of
Odisha are not vegetarians. In fact, one of their main means of support is 
cattle-herding. Since they are landowners, they are able to do agricultural
work as well. Of course, just as with many other people groups, there are 
some individuals who have professional careers and even participate in 
politics.
There have been some church planting efforts among the Gaudas in the last 
two years; but statistics reflect a very low percent of them are evangelical
Christians. Their main language is Oriya, and there are many ministry tools 
available in their language: The JESUS Film, God’s Story Video, and the 
Story
of Jesus for Children. Particularly exciting are online resources: Online 
New Testament and Online Scripture (Talking Bibles). Hearing the gospel 
message
in one’s heart language makes it real. Today, one can listen in privacy to 
Christian messages with smart phones, reducing the threat of exposure that 
many
new believers face.

Pray for God to bless the efforts of church planters to reach into all areas 
where the Gaudas live and work to introduce them to the Savior. Pray for the
Gaudas today to reap the benefit of seeds planted and prayers offered up by 
early missionary efforts in India.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.
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Post  Admin on Wed 19 Oct 2016, 4:29 pm

First-Hand Experience
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"We have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days ... For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence."
Psalm 44:1-3 NASB

 
The psalmist knew that his people needed God's help to be victorious: It was only through His name that they could "trample down those who rise up against us." They could not trust in themselves or their own strength or resources; God alone could help them.

Yet the psalmist still felt that something was lacking: They knew these things but needed a first-hand experience of God's power in their lives.

It was important to know what God had done in the lives of other people, in their time and throughout history. But his needs could not be met from a history book or second-hand reports. These accounts could provide encouragement, but he still needed to experience God's deliverance for himself.

This is true in our lives as well. We can learn from history, remembering that the Bible is filled with examples given for us (1 Corinthians 10:6). But we all need first-hand experiences. We all need to know these truths for ourselves.

When we go through pain, we need relief. When we feel discouraged, we need encouragement. When we face defeat, we need victory. When we are sick, we need healing. We need to have daily, personal encounters with Him, and know that He is real in our lives.

Today, do you need victory? Help? Healing? Wisdom? Answers to prayer? Don't be content with second-hand experiences. Cry out to God for your specific needs. Believe that His promises are true for you. Seek Him until your needs are met, and you have the answers. Don't give up but draw closer to Him. Remember, He longs to have an intimate relationship with you.

 
Today's Inspiring Prayer

Father, I need Your help with these problems: _______. I believe that You can do anything. Thank You for answering my prayers. I trust in You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Further Reading: Psalm 44


Inspiration Ministries Daily Devotion

Jesus Calls Us
Saturday, September 24, 2016

"Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother 
of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said
to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.' And 
immediately they left their nets and followed him."
Mark 1:16-18 ESV

While her husband became an important church leader, Cecil Alexander, who 
was born in Ireland in 1818, had a ministry of her own, particularly through
her poems.

The story is told that, one day in 1852, she was working on a new poem. When 
her husband inquired, she said it was based on his sermon from the previous
Sunday. He looked surprised, commenting that he didn't think she was paying 
attention. To prove him wrong, she correctly identified the theme.

Impressed, he later mentioned that the next Sunday was St. Andrew's Day. He 
wondered if she might write a poem inspired by Andrew's life. That night, 
before
retiring, she read the Biblical account of Andrew's call, and began writing 
her initial ideas. This eventually became the poem, "Jesus Calls Us," which
became a hymn with a powerful message, and many practical applications.

She described how life can be like a "wild, restless sea," filled with 
"tumult." But, no matter our circumstance, if we listen carefully, we can 
hear Jesus
calling us, "His sweet voice" calling to us, "Christian, follow Me!"

She reminded readers how Andrew had heard Jesus calling, and turned away 
"from home and toil and kindred" and left all to follow Him.

She knew that the world attracts us, how easily we can worship "the vain 
world's golden store." Our days might be filled with joys or sorrows, "toil 
and
hours of ease." But "still He calls, in cares and pleasures, 'Christian, 
love Me more than these!'"

Today, remember that Jesus calls you to follow Him. Seek to hear Him. Commit 
your way to Him, and don't trust in your own understanding. Let Him direct
your path.

Today's Inspiring Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, I will follow You wherever You lead me. I will seek You 
first. I give my heart and life to You. In Your name. Amen.

Further Reading: Mark 1
© 2016 Inspiration Ministries, All rights reserved

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
"
Pitching In"
September 27, 2016
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was 
without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the 
Spirit
of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
It's probably been close to 40 years ago since a tornado hit the Minnesota 
town of Lakefield, where I was the pastor.

Understand, it wasn't a giant tornado. It didn't flatten the town, nor did 
it leave hundreds homeless and without power. On the other hand, it did 
level
some crops in the field, smashed windows, tore up trees, and destroyed one 
of the outbuildings on the Fricke farm.

It also left us all pretty shook up.

Indeed, we were still deciding what to do, and where to begin, when a bunch 
of pickup trucks came rolling into town. No, they weren't looters like you
read about so often. These were members of the Mennonite Church from 
Mountain Lake. They had heard what had happened and wanted to help us out.

Without ceremony they went up to a house in need, knocked on the door, and 
offered to board up a broken window or cut up a tree and stack the firewood.
Seeing what needed to be done, young men, fathers and grandfathers did what 
was necessary. Then, having made a difference, without waiting for thanks,
they quietly left.

Today, more than four decades later, I remember their outstanding acts of 
charity.

The only reason I bring them up is because similar reports are coming out of 
Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The floods which came cost the lives of 13 people
and left thousands homeless.

But it could have been worse.

Churches, civic groups, volunteers showed up and helped save 30,000 people.

Before government agencies could get going, a student at Notre Dame 
organized a food drive; folks in Appalachia filled a truck with diapers, 
baby food,
and sundries. High on the list of those people helping were church groups 
from all over the country.

Like the Mennonites of Mountain Lake, Christians stepped forward to assist 
because their Lord had told them to care for each other. How did He say it?
"For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 
you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor,
in your land."

The Savior who fed the hungry thousands with a few loaves and fishes would 
agree. His entire life was spent helping those who were in need. Indeed, His
life, death and resurrection were God's plan to give a heavenly home to lost 
and sinful souls.

His sacrifice did for us that which we could not do for ourselves. In thanks 
to Him, and in spite of the negative opinions of others, we will do what we
can to help the poor in our land.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You were a Friend to those who were outcasts; a 
Comfort to those who were alone; a Source of peace to those who were 
troubled.
May we, in large ways and small, reflect that love which we have received, 
to others. This we ask in Your Name. Amen.

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: Isaiah 41-42; Romans 7
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all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
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Anne Graham Lotz - God Is Great-Still!
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God Is Great-Still!
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.

Psalm 37:23, NKJV

Before the Flood, God had said, “Come into the ark” (Gen. 7:1, NKJV). The 
clear implication was that God was already inside, inviting Noah to join Him
there. After the Flood, when God said, “Come out of the ark” (Gen. 8:16, 
NIV), the implication is that He had left and was asking Noah to follow. The 
great
God of the Exodus Who led His people out of bondage to slavery in Egypt, 
parting the Red Sea to allow them to pass on dry ground and so escape the 
armies
of Pharaoh – that same great God led Noah, his wife, his sons, his sons’ 
wives, and all the animals out of the ark!

God’s greatness has not been diluted in any way over the years of time. He 
is just as great today as He has been in the past. So why do you think He 
cannot
lead you out of trouble? Why would you think He cannot lead your entire life 
so that you find peace and fulfillment? Why do you think He is unable to 
lead
your children in the right direction that will be pleasing to Him and good 
for them? God is great!

Blessings,

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Inspiration Ministries Daily Devotion

Be Thou My Vision
Friday, September 23, 2016

"Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself 
known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream."
Numbers 12:6 ESV

The words were written more than a thousand years ago. Passed down from 
generation to generation. Sung in isolated monasteries and magnificent 
cathedrals.
By solitary Believers and whole congregations.

These are the words to the hymn "Be Thou My Vision." Thought to have been 
written by Dallan Forgaill in Ireland, perhaps as far back as the sixth 
century.
(We know the words from a translation provided by Mary Byrne and Eleanor 
Hull in the early twentieth century.)

Forgaill was a passionate poet committed to preserving the Gaelic language. 
But these words expressed how much more he needed God in his life, and what
God meant to him.

His prayer as that God would be his "vision." That His presence would be his 
light. That nothing else would interfere, "by day or by night, waking or 
sleeping."

He looked to God for vision for He alone provided wisdom and the "true 
Word." What a glorious, intimate relationship: "I ever with Thee and Thou 
with me,
Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with 
Thee one."

He knew that he needed God for the battles of life. That God would be his 
shield, and "sword for the fight." God provided his shelter and "high 
tower."
How he needed God to raise him "heavenward, O Power of my power."

He didn't need riches or "man's empty praise." God Himself provided the only 
inheritance he needed. God was "first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my
Treasure Thou art."

While the benefits were clear here on earth, he knew there were eternal 
rewards, praying that, "my victory won, may I reach Heaven's joys, O bright 
Heaven's
Sun!"

Make sure that God is your vision. That He is the "Ruler of all," and Lord 
of your life.

Today's Inspiring Prayer

Father, be my vision. Direct my steps. You are my only hope. I look to You. 
I trust in You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Further Reading: Numbers 12
© 2016 Inspiration Ministries, All rights reserved

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithyma: but the 
Spirit suffered them not
(Acts 16:7)
.

What a strange prohibition! These men were going into Bithynia just to do 
Christ's work, and the door is shut against them by Christ's own Spirit.

I, too, have experienced this in certain moments. I have sometimes found 
myself interrupted in what seemed to me a career of usefulness. Opposition 
came
and forced me to go back, or sickness came and compelled me to retire into a 
desert apart.

It was hard at such times to leave my work undone when I believed that work 
to be the service of the Spirit. But I came to remember that the Spirit has
not only a service of work, but a service of waiting. I came to see that in 
the Kingdom of Christ there are not only times for action, but times in 
which
to forbear acting. I came to learn that the desert place apart is often the 
most useful spot in the varied life of man--more rich in harvest than the 
seasons
in which the corn and wine abounded. I have been taught to thank the blessed 
Spirit that many a darling Bithynia had to be left unvisited by me.

And so, Thou Divine Spirit, would I still be led by Thee. Still there come 
to me disappointed prospects of usefulness. Today the door seems to open 
into
life and work for Thee; tomorrow it closes before me just as I am about to 
enter. Teach me to see another door in the very inaction of the hour. Help 
me
to find in the very prohibition thus to serve Thee, a new opening into Thy 
service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a man may at times be called to
do his duty by doing nothing, to work by keeping still, to serve by waiting. 
When I remember the power of the "still small voice," I shall not murmur 
that
sometimes the Spirit suffers me not to go.
--George Matheson

"When I cannot understand my Father's leading,
And it seems to be but hard and cruel fate,
I Still I hear that gentle whisper ever
pleading,God is working, God is faithful, ONLY WAIT."

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day
by Inside BST

Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets 
complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we 
just feel
the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to 
keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of
ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (
Jeremiah 17:9
)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (
Psalm 139:23).

These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make 
it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve
gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they 
do.

But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If 
we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to 
identify
them and call them what they are.

Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

We don’t like to dig around inside and examine what’s going on. Why? Because 
when we start looking, we often find areas that need some major renovations.
That gets messy, and most of us are far too busy to go and look for things 
to fix.

So, we just tie on the “I’m okay” superhero cape and trudge onward. It’s 
usually only when some sort of tragedy strikes that we finally realize we 
aren’t
as okay as we thought.

But that’s not the biblical model. In the Bible, the Psalmist continually 
cries out for God to search him and test him and examine him so that He can 
keep
doing the necessary renovation work (for example,
Psalms 11, 17, and 26).
The attitude of Scripture is more like this:

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” (
Lamentations 3:40)

Honestly, admitting daily that we’re not okay and that we need God’s help 
can be scary. It means owning our weaknesses and doing the hard work of 
self-examination
on a regular basis. But thankfully for us, God specializes in weakness, 
especially when we aren’t sure where to start:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what 
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans 
that
words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)

We’re weak. He’s strong. And that’s the best truth there is.

If we’re ever looking for justification to do something dumb, we usually 
start here: No one will ever know. True, there might be a thousand 
variations
on that theme, but it almost always comes back to anonymity. That’s why 
private browsing on the Internet and personal devices such as smartphones 
and tablets
can be some of the most dangerous tools known to humanity. (They’re not 
necessarily bad, but “personal” devices do have drawbacks.)

No one will know if I watch this. No one will know if I go here while I’m on 
that work trip. No one will know if I post this anonymous and hurtful 
comment.
No one will ever know.

First of all, there’s no such thing as true anonymity in our world. What we 
do in “private” very often has a way of being found out and exposed. (Just
pay attention to all those hacking breaches you see in the news.)

More importantly, though, God has a way of making our “no one knows” sins 
come out—and He doesn’t miss any:

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of 
your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)

Day by day, we let this lie bring us low and keep us from living the life 
God has planned. You see, God knows—He always knows the dumb things we do.

But He still loves us:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still 
sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

You can’t hide... and you don’t need to.

This lie really could be 2b, since these two excuses are like twins. If it’s 
not enough that no one will know, we also like to tell ourselves that no one
will get hurt. If it’s behind closed doors, if it only involves two 
responsible adults, if it only impacts me, then it’s got to be okay.

However, what we usually mean is that no one will get hurt that we can see 
right now. We often don’t like to follow the chain of problems beyond the 
moment
or the immediate circumstances. But what we don’t always consider are the 
spiritual ramifications that could pop up or the problems that might not be 
so obvious.

We also don’t take into account that God Himself is grieved and pained by 
our bad choices. God felt major pain because of raging sin before
the Flood
(Genesis 6:6),
the rebellious grieved His Holy Spirit in Israel (Isaiah 63:10),
and Jesus longed to gather His people to Him when they refused to accept Him 
(Matthew 23:37).

In other words, our sins always inflict grief and pain. And they do so to 
the very one we should want to please.

Often, the easiest way out of dealing with a destructive pattern in our 
lives is simply to make it an acceptable or unchangeable part of who we are. 
Whether
we see it as a part of our nature or simply as something we “can’t fix,” 
this lie helps us avoid feeling responsible. We can’t stop it because it’s 
just
too deeply embedded.

But what we don’t like to admit is that God is the one who made us. We were 
intended to look like, act like, and be like Him (
Genesis 1:27; 1 John 3:2).
Sure, we all trip up somewhere on the way to that goal, but saying something 
is “just the way I am” means saying that God messed up or was taken by 
surprise
by our struggles. We’re really just saying that He can’t change us.

Thankfully, we’re wrong. He specializes in making broken things new.

Your struggles are real. Just confess that first. They stink; they hurt; 
they mess us up. Once you get that out of the way, you can begin the often 
very
long, very painful process of being made like Christ. Just keep this promise 
in mind:

“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the 
day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Got that? He’s not going to give up halfway through because you mess up or 
because you’re just a special case. He will complete the work.

We just have to admit that it is a problem before we’ll ask and seek 
transformation.

Tomorrow is the time for
Bible study,
for that new morning prayer routine, for that meeting with our pastor or 
Christian friend. Tomorrow is when we’ll tell our spouse the truth. Tomorrow 
is
when we’ll get honest with God.

But—and this is the truth—many times that “tomorrow” never comes. Even in 
the midst of how miserable some of our bad life choices make us, we just don’t
like to make changes today. We look for a more opportune time—when it won’t 
be so hard.

That’s why the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews make sure that we get 
focused on today:

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden 
your hearts…” (Psalm 95; Hebrews 3)

Telling yourself that you’ll make a change tomorrow certainly makes you feel 
better about today’s failures, but it rarely ever changes us. We must 
remember
that a lack of commitment to change today comes with a steep price:

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that 
none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)

We don’t even know if we’ll have a tomorrow, but we do know we have a right 
now. And God is faithful in that right now.

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the 
day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with 
his
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 5:8–9)

Article first appeared on BibleStudyTools.com.
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The Apple of Your Eye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dean W. Masters

"There's No Other Friend Like Jesus" #84-02
Sermon Text for September 11, 2016
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on September 11, 2016
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
(How Are Christians to be In the World But Not Of the World?)
Copyright 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries
Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Luke 15:1-10

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 
2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes
sinners and he eats with them."

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia.

It was an unlikely friendship. A young woman, who worked in the city and was 
making her way up the ladder in the professional world, met a homeless 
veteran
on the streets. He had a long, scruffy beard, deep lines in his face, and a 
past that made life very difficult. His name was Tony. There is one thing I
learned in New York City. There are two kinds of people on the street. There 
are those who are there to scam you; there are those who kind of run the 
street;
and then there are those who are making their way, finding a way to get life 
done. Tony was that second kind of guy. So, these two unlikely people, they
began to talk. They even occasionally would have lunch together in the park 
when she would bring her bag lunch down and they would sit and just get to
know one another. Their unlikely friendship continued to grow. In fact, when 
a difficult time came in her life and hope seemed to disappear, this young
woman said, "Tony was there for me, he listened each day as things got worse 
and he surely pushed me to move forward and continue working towards my 
ambitions
and dreams."

In the middle of all that, Tony even gave this young woman a gift. After he 
heard about her struggles he caught her on the way to work one day. He 
tapped
her on the shoulder and took an antique watch face from his army jacket 
pocket. He pressed the treasure into her hand and said, "I don't have much 
but
I wanted you to know that you have done what many others would not, simply 
by being my friend." By being my friend.

Now as unlikely as that story sounds, I can relate to Tony and to his 
friend. When we lived in New York, there were all kinds of people that we 
met and
there was this wonderful lady on Riverside Drive and 120th Street, who 
seemed intent on bringing blessing to people each day. She looked homeless 
but she
always had flowers in her hand to give away and she never seemed to want 
anything in return. She brought so much joy to others but she especially 
brought
joy to my wife and daughter as they met her coming off the subway on the way 
to school each day. Now those of you who know my wife, Yvette, know that 
such
good deeds don't go to waste. So, every Thanksgiving while we were in New 
York, Yvette would bring her Thanksgiving dinner sometime during the week. 
Let
me just say this. I know that things on the street sometimes can be very 
dangerous and not everybody you meet is going to be the kind of friend I'm 
talking
about. But let me just say this; use your sanctified common sense and 
realize that simple things, just being a friend, can make all the 
difference.

So the challenge is laid. How are we at befriending people these days? 
People can easily become tasks, obligations, or background noise in our busy 
and
preoccupied lives. Even the people close to us can become afterthoughts as 
we focus on our own agendas and get drawn away from personal interaction 
because
of smart phones, television screens, and our list of things to do. We hurry, 
hurry, and hurry some more.

Wouldn't it be wonderful, then, in the midst of all of this, to find a 
better way?

I think that's what the Apostle Paul was getting at when he said some very 
well-known words. You may recognize this quote from 1 Corinthians. He says, 
"And
now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men 
and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging
cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all 
knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love,
I am nothing. If I give all that I possess to the poor and surrender my body 
to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:3
NIV).

Paul was saying that all the knowledge, skills, and insight ultimately add 
up to nothing on our own terms. We are sinful human beings; and having a 
lock
on the issues, being able to out-debate others, and being right about all 
kinds of things can actually be worthless in the end. Without love, without 
caring
for people, the issues don't mean a thing. The most excellent way is caring 
about people in the midst of issues, turmoil, and challenging conversations.
Befriending people as people of God's grace while navigating this life, 
that's the best course for us all.

But even knowing that, there are still times when it's not easy to figure 
out.

The Gospel of Luke shows us that this was an ancient conundrum. Chapter 
fifteen begins by saying,"Now the tax collectors and sinners were all 
drawing near
to hear [Jesus]. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, 'This 
man receives sinners and eats with them'" (Luke 15:1-2).

The Pharisees and Scribes, they didn't look at the sinners as people. They 
were issues. They were problems. They were rebellious outsiders at worst and
weak-spirited disobeyers at best. But Jesus saw them as people. Jesus 
received them and ate with them.

This was a shocking development in the first century; to receive and eat 
with undesirables? You weren't supposed to do that. And, in the first 
century,
who you ate with was very important. If you ate together, if you broke bread 
with someone, you expressed fellowship, a relationship. You were friends.
By eating with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus broke the categories, 
labels, and judgments. He befriended the people behind the labels. The 
Pharisees
didn't like it. Jesus was breaking the rules, rules they made up to keep 
people in their place. He seemed to be permissive and careless. He was 
upsetting
the social order. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was criticized as "a 
friend of tax collectors and sinners" (11:19).

But instead of making enemies, Jesus brought God's repentance and God's 
grace to people, all people, so that new life could grow in them. Jesus was 
good
at befriending people. It's counterintuitive, but that's the way God's love 
works.

That's what Jesus did for you and me but not through forced tragedy or 
struggle. First, He made this befriending love possible by coming all the 
way for
us, living our life, dying our death, and giving us His love and life, one 
that we can share! And even though our sinful inclinations and desires run 
counter
to His holiness and goodness, He doesn't write us off as hopeless projects 
and insurmountable issues. God sent His Son Jesus to walk with us, to dwell
with us, to save us, and to befriend us. That is why Jesus gave His life for 
you. He paid the price for all of our sins and blunders and guilt and shame
when He was put to death on the cross. He rose from the grave to embrace you 
as family and to call you friends. In Christ you are a new creation. The old
has gone, the new has come.

That's what the Pharisees and Scribes couldn't see. Religious works, secular 
works, any of our works, they don't work when it matters most. We don't get
our acts together in order to be loved by God. For God's love to reach us He 
seeks us, He finds us, and He lets His transforming grace and love make us
new creations from the inside out as a gift.

In order to make that clear, Jesus responded to the grumbling of the church 
officials with two stories. First He told the Parable of the Lost Sheep. 
Jesus
said, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he 
not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep
until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his 
shoulders and goes home....... I tell you in the same way there will be more 
rejoicing
in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous 
persons who do not need to repent" (Luke 15:4-7 NIV).

God has a heart for and a focus on people who get lost. Like a sheep we may 
wander away without thinking much about it. Or we may be enticed by 
something
that looks like it's worth pursuing. Sometimes we fall down or stumble into 
trouble. At other times enemies may hurt us and drag us into a dark and 
difficult
pit of despair and lostness. Whatever may happen to us as God's precious 
sheep, Jesus is a Shepherd Who is not about majorities, numbers, or 
impersonal
efficiency. He seeks the lost. He looks for us. He pursues you and me even 
at this very moment. He looks and searches until He finds you. He turns you
around and carries you home. Do you need someone to carry you home today? Do 
you need Jesus to put you on His shoulders and bring you through the 
treacherous
territory you are traveling? Through His Word of life today, your Savior is 
picking you up. He gives you help in time of need. And all of heaven 
rejoices
over you. That's what kind of Friend you have in Jesus!

To drive the point home to the doubters and scoffers, Jesus sat with that 
group of tax collectors and sinners and He told another story. It was the 
Parable
of the Lost Coin. As Jesus broke bread with sinners, He said, "Or what 
woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp 
and
sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has 
found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, "Rejoice 
with
me, for I have found the coin that I lost" (Luke 15:8-10).

So know this; you are worth searching for. God will turn the world upside 
down to find you. He will peer into every corner and venture into each dark 
and
dusty place to bring you back. He wants to celebrate your restoration, your 
new life, your forgiveness, your new outlook, your restored soul. You may 
not
realize it. You may not even feel it at the moment. You may be unaware of 
it, but God is looking for you right now. Turn to Him in repentance and 
watch
for Him in your need. This is God's joyful pursuit through His Son. That's 
what kind of Friend you have in Jesus.

I know you need that kind of friend. I need that kind of friend. I sure want 
to reflect that kind of friendship to others, how about you? There's a 
shortage
of befriending these days, isn't there? Wouldn't it be wonderful if 
followers of Christ, Christians, the church, could become the best 
befrienders for
our time in the midst of all of the things we see going on in our world? 
With the friendship we've been given by the grace of God, wouldn't it be 
fantastic
if we who were lost but now are found could be people who come alongside the 
lost and who seek those who have stumbled or who have been tossed aside?

Without fear and filled with great joy, we would put grumbling aside and 
emulate the Friend of sinners, Jesus Christ. We would venture in, get into 
conversations,
listen carefully and see how the Holy Spirit is preparing the hearts of many 
who may want to listen to Jesus. What a grand and noble ambition it would
be for you who have been saved by grace to give the Good Shepherd a chance 
to carry another precious lost soul safely home.

A grandmother, by the name of Ann Rodgers, understands the blessing of being 
found because of care and persistence. You see, Ann was on her way to visit
her grandchildren when her car ran out of fuel on a remote stretch of road 
in Arizona. She was 72 years old and she did her best to get help. She 
stayed
with her car for as long as possible, but no help came. She decided to try 
to get cell phone service, so, with her loyal dog; she climbed up several 
ridge
lines in the area. No service was to be found anywhere, and then, Ann got 
lost.

It started to get very scary in the wilderness where wild animals like bear 
and bobcat roamed. Ann and her dog drank water out of ponds and ate plants
to survive. Ann found a clearing and formed a sign out of rocks that said, 
"Help!" She also left a note under one of the rocks indicating that she was
heading downstream to find a ranch.

It was three days before anyone found her abandoned car. A search began, but 
after six days, no one found anything. Many were losing hope that they would
find Rodgers and her dog alive. Three more days passed. Ann had been in the 
wilderness day and night for nine days.

Searchers were discouraged; except for some hikers who were determined to 
look for traces of evidence that Ann had been close by. These searchers 
weren't
angry with Ann because she drove down a remote area of highway all by 
herself. They didn't hold a grudge or stand in judgment because Ann left her 
car
and wandered into the hills. They didn't shun her because she showed a lack 
of wisdom in the wilderness. No, the hikers searching for her valued her 
life,
cared about her family, and wanted to celebrate finding her. They just 
wanted her back.

As the hikers neared a creek bed, they spotted tracks. They sought her out, 
clue by clue, and yes, after 9 days lost, she was all the way found. Ann 
Rodgers
was lost, but was found by people who cared enough to be her friends and to 
search for her to the end.

What tracks do you observe today? What clues can you see in people's lives 
that will help you connect to and befriend ones who don't know Jesus? We 
don't
need to be angry with people's errant life-decisions; getting lost in sin 
and destructive behavior is a human condition we all share. It's not 
necessary
to hold a grudge because people have wandered away from a faithful walk with 
God, because the power of that walk is God's gracious love, period. We 
befriend
people, love people, and show care for all people because Jesus befriended 
us and He saved us. In Him, the lost become found, sinners become saved. We
want to celebrate people being found. It's as simple as that. It's as simple 
as genuine friendship in Him for others.

If you believe in Jesus, you've got a heavenly Friend that really matters 
right here on earth right now. You have people in your life that matter to 
you
and to Him. By faith in Jesus Christ, go and share what a Friend you have in 
Him! And, I can tell you this, when they receive His love and His friendship
as a gift through you, life doesn't get any better than that. Try it and 
see. Amen.
Print this Sermon

Action in Ministry for September 11, 2016
Guest: Dr. Bruce Hartung

ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. This is Action in Ministry 
and Pastor Seltz, today is a day of national remembrance for our listeners
in the United States.

SELTZ: Mark, it's been 15 years since the terror attacks of 9/11 and it 
reminds us how traumatic events and tragic losses they can shake us to our 
core.

ANNOUNCER: With loss comes grief and that's going to be our topic today with 
Dr. Bruce Hartung who has written a booklet for us titled
Grief: Where Sadness and Hope Meet.

SELTZ: Dr. Hartung, thanks for joining us today.

HARTUNG: Thanks very much.

SELTZ: Now listen, when we're talking about grief, certain days or events 
can trigger memories of loss; why are some of those things just things that 
don't
seem to heal.

HARTUNG: Well, there's often a saying that's used: "Time heals all wounds." 
This is a bad saying.

SELTZ: ...a bad saying.

HARTUNG: Time itself doesn't hardly do anything. First off, it's what you do 
with the time and then the question is how important and significant are the
things that were lost. So if there is a deep personal loss, that grief and 
pain likely will stay with you for the rest of your life. Dietrich 
Bonhoeffer
talks about the pain that's inside stands as a monument to the importance of 
the person and so when we tell people time will make it all go away or 
something,
we're really dishonoring the relationship and dishonoring the importance of 
the person who's involved and who's been lost, at least in this world; 
that's
why this is an important kind of thing to be talking about.

SELTZ: To work through that.

HARTUNG: Yes.

SELTZ: Wrapped up in that sullen word grief is a whole host of emotions that 
can be manifest in a variety of ways. How are some of those ways? How does
it manifest itself in our lives?

HARTUNG: They can manifest themselves in anger, for instance, because anger 
can be a significant expression of the loss and the why did this happen. It
can manifest itself in depression and sadness. It can manifest itself in 
anxiety, which is what do I do now, what's happening next. It can manifest 
itself
in lethargy, sort of a dulling of things.

SELTZ: But, how do we make sure that we don't get stuck in those kinds of 
responses?

HARTUNG: One version of stuckness, at least it seems to me, is that we try 
to kind of handle everything internally and figure that maybe if we're grown
up and all that kind of business...

SELTZ: I can get over this.

HARTUNG: Absolutely. It's up to me. I should be able to do this. Part of 
that stuckness then, I think, has to do with that. If it stays inside, one 
possibility
is that it's kind of...you see, grief is like a pinball machine, at least I 
put that in the book.

ANNOUNCER: Okay.

HARTUNG: You have to be old enough to know what a pinball machine is. The 
little ball gets bounced around in all kinds of different ways and sometimes
just stuff comes and goes in our emotional lives. Remembrances come out of 
the blue sometimes and there are times we feel we are over it and times that
we don't. That's an ongoing process.

ANNOUNCER: Then how do you move us from that closed system into something 
that's more open, something that's unstuck?

HARTUNG: When you or I were baptized, we were made into a new relationship 
with God but also a new relationship with each other. St. Paul talks about 
that
as the body of Christ. Within that community are opportunities for people to 
share the hopes and fears that they have. So, part of getting unstuck has
to do with our capacities to risk talking about the kinds of things that 
we're experiencing and thinking and feeling with other people, who, in a 
safe
way, can understand, embrace, and help us.

SELTZ: Dr. Hartung, thank you so much for being here to talk about it, but 
thanks for writing it and sharing it with others.

HARTUNG: You're quite welcome and I pray that the booklet may be used in 
constructive and useful and helpful ways to the glory of Christ and to the 
health
and well-being of the people who serve Him.

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

ANNOUNCER: To view or download this content for free, go to lutheranhour.org 
and click on Action In Ministry. That's lutheranhour.org. Or call 
1-855-john316.
That's 1-855-564-6316.

LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for September 11, 2016
Topic: How Are Christians to be In the World But Not Of the World?

ANNOUNCER: Now Pastor Gregory Seltz responds to questions from listeners. 
I'm Mark Eischer. Pastor, in John, chapter 17, Jesus prayed that His 
disciples
wouldn't be taken out of the world, but that they would remain in the world 
as His servants. The question for us then is how are Christians to be IN the
world but not OF the world?

SELTZ: That's a challenging balance, isn't it?

ANNOUNCER: Let's make sure we understand what we're talking about here. To 
be IN the world means being present here as a person on earth-living our 
lives
here and now because we're not yet in heaven; but being OF the world is when 
you adopt the practices, the values, the outlook of a secular culture that
does not follow or honor Christ. Is that accurate?

SELTZ: Mark, I don't think I could have said it better myself. So, the 
question then becomes what is a Christian to do? If all that is true, how 
can we
be present with people who do not follow Christ? How can we co-exist in a 
world that, in some cases, runs counter to the ways of God? And more than 
that,
how can we be an influence on the world instead of coalescing to the world's 
influence on us?

ANNOUNCER: It's a tall order and we often don't do the greatest job of 
following through.

SELTZ: That's true. Statistics show that, in the United States, there is 
often no measurable difference between those who identify themselves as 
Christians
and those who don't and that's in the areas of marriage integrity, personal 
purity, and other markers of what might make a person look like a Christian.

ANNOUNCER: Is there any hope?

SELTZ: There is always hope, Mark! Especially because of Jesus, the risen 
Savior, there is always hope. The one thing the statistics don't reflect is 
a
person's seriousness about their faith. You see, when people really do read 
their Bibles and go to church regularly, not just say they are Christians,
the statistics actually do change quite a bit. But it's not the statistics 
at all anyway. It's the power of knowing and trusting in God in Christ.

ANNOUNCER: What are some ways all of us, then, could live IN this world 
without being OF the world?

SELTZ: I think there are three key teachings of the Bible. First, Jesus 
identified us as salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 
5:13-16).
We bring something unique, then, to the world. Instead of the same-old, 
same-old, and instead of darkness and bad news, followers of Jesus stand out 
as
people who bring flavor to life-the good flavor of what is right and 
constructive and helpful.

ANNOUNCER: And followers of Jesus also bring His light into the darkness of 
the world.

SELTZ: They do indeed. They bring the hope, the encouragement, and the 
restoration of God's grace and salvation for all. It's ultimately what 
people need,
what people even yearn for. We need to be bold, then, about living and 
sharing the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

ANNOUNCER: How can we be salt and light effectively when the world seems to 
ignore or even disrespect the church?

SELTZ: That leads me to the second Scriptural reading. Peter said, "Always 
be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for 
the
hope that you have. But do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15 
NIV). We are salt and light with humility and kindness. We are IN the world 
as
people who can give an answer about the hope we have. We keep from being OF 
the world when we follow the pathway of His love instead of the temptation
to mere power and control.

ANNOUNCER: Certainly not an easy balance. You just wish the world would 
listen and shape up!

SELTZ: Peter understood what you meant, Mark. Remember, he was once a 
forceful disciple. But as he followed Jesus and was humbled, the Holy Spirit 
gave
him wisdom and grace to influence in a gentle and caring way. We're called 
to do the same.

ANNOUNCER: How, then, can followers of Jesus be prepared to be this kind of 
influence in the world?

SELTZ: That leads to my final portion of Scripture. In Philippians, chapter 
four, it says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by 
prayer...with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6-7 
ESV). A Christian is IN the world without being OF it only by God's strength 
and
grace. If we're going to be prepared as salt and light and if we're going to 
display a humble but clear influence, we need to be people of prayer in 
Christ,
we need to be people who read and hear God's Word, and people who are 
connected to the community of faith so we can practice the life that God 
calls us
to.

ANNOUNCER: It's essential that we have a solid and ongoing connection to 
Jesus, because He is the Source of our personal obedience and this 
life-changing
message that we offer to the world.

SELTZ: Exactly!

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran 
Hour Ministries.
Visit lutheranhour.org
Read Today's Devotion
Music Selections for this program:

"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"Jesus Sinners Doth Receive" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia 
Publishing House)

"O God of Light" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing 
House)
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Today's Daily Encounter

Moonlight Sonata

"Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?"1

Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the world's greatest
musicians, was born into a musical family in Germany.
As a child he spent many lonely hours practicing his
music every day.

By the age of eleven he was already composing his own
music and conducting an orchestra. In his late teens he
went to Vienna for further study. There he reached
fame, though not fortune.

I have read how, one evening, as he was out walking he
passed a cobbler's house where he heard someone inside
practicing one of his compositions. As he stopped to
listen he overheard a girl say that she wished she
could hear a real musician play it properly.

Beethoven went into the house and, noticing that the
young lady at the piano was blind, offered to play the
piece for her. He did so for her for more than an hour,
and while he did, darkness fell and the lone candle in
the room had gone out.

Outside in the night sky the moon shone brightly and
sent its radiant beams glistening into the room where
Beethoven sat playing beautiful music. He was so
inspired by the appreciation of his music by the young
lady and the beauty of the atmosphere in the room that
he composed his famous "Moonlight Sonata."

Do you ever feel that your dreams have been shattered
and you feel all alone in the darkness of despair. I
certainly have. However, when our life is truly
committed to Christ, it's in these "dark nights of the
soul" when God is working in us to give us more
understanding of life and compassion for others--and in
time will bring back the music into our life.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in my 'dark nights of the
soul'--even though I feel that You are far away--help
me to see with my heart and know that You are at my
side, and that You will never leave me nor forsake me.
And help me to 'see' that You are using my
circumstances to help me become a better, healthier,
and more loving, whole person. Thank You for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

1. Job 35:10 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * * * *

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

http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.
Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org
Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2016
ACTS International.


Blessings In the Pool
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed
(Proverbs 11:25,
The Message).

Friend to Friend

It all started with a swimsuit. I had to buy one. Dan and I were joining our 
kids and grandkids for a week of family vacation in Charleston, South 
Carolina.
The beach, a swimming pool, and water parks were on the agenda, and I wanted 
to do them all!

Ladies, I know you can understand my feelings of terror at the thought of 
having to find a swimsuit that actually fits and looks good on me. I had two
days before we left, and both of those days were crammed full – 
appointments, meetings, and writing deadlines stared me in the face.

I prayed. Yes. I. Did. I asked God to help me find the right swimsuit. It 
had to be modest, it had to look good on me, and it had to be cheap!

On my way home from a doctor’s appointment, I passed one of my favorite 
stores. I only go in this store when they are having a huge sale and when I 
have
a coupon. I saw the bright red “Clearance” signs in the store window and 
knew I had a great coupon in my purse. Yes!

I had exactly 25 minutes to get in the store ... find a swimsuit ... and get 
out in order to make it to my next meeting on time.

When I walked in, I saw a very small rack of swimsuits in the back corner of 
the store. I asked the sales lady if those were the only swimsuits they had.
“I’m afraid it is,” she said. “Our big sale was last week, but take a look. 
You never know what you might find.”

With the faith of a mustard seed, I headed for that rack. And then I saw 
it - a gorgeous black swimsuit. It was modest, beautifully made, and it was 
my
size. I held my breath and looked at the price tag. Oh. My. Word. It had 
been marked down 60% and I had a coupon for another 20% off. When I tried it 
on,
I did a happy dance in the dressing room, thanking God for leading me 
straight to that suit.

But that is not the whole story.

When we got to Charleston, the grandkids wanted to swim. I put on my new 
suit and humbly accepted the compliments of my husband, children, and 
grandkids
as we headed to the pool.

Two older women were in the pool, lazily exercising and talking. When they 
saw us, they smiled and waved. Then one of the women said, “I love your 
suit!
You look so cute in it!” Made. My. Day.

Our grandkids demonstrated all of their aquatic accomplishments as Dan and I 
applauded and praised them. One of the ladies said, “Your grandchildren are
beautiful! I know you must be so proud of them.” At that moment, the 
invisible “Dump Here” sign that seems to be on my forehead started flashing, 
and I
sensed God’s hand at work. My husband and daughter did too as they slowly 
moved the kids to the opposite end of the pool.

For an hour, Julia and Shirley shared their hearts and their lives with me - 
the loss of a husband – the long-term affects of a nearly fatal car wreck
– how they found God. I shared my journey as well. When I told them I was 
going to be speaking in Birch Run, Michigan, Julia gasped. “I live close to 
Birch
Run. I’m coming to that conference. I’m just here visiting Shirley.” When it 
was time for me to go, the three of us joined hands in that pool and prayed
for each other. Oh, how I love the way God orders my steps.

When I walked in the door of the condo and shared what had happened, our 
daughter Danna said, “And just think, Mom. What if you had not bought that 
suit?
You would have missed those two women.”

Yes. I would have missed the blessings in the pool.

Don’t underestimate God.

There is nothing ordinary about your day.

There are people God places in your path for an eternal reason. The sales 
clerk where you shop needs to see God’s love in your smile. The unplanned 
stop
where you run into a friend who needs encouragement is really an opportunity 
sent by God. You get your mail and see your neighbor in her front yard. Does
she need to know that you care ... so she can know God cares?

Wake each day with a “yes” in your heart. Then start looking.

Look for God in your circumstances ... in the people you meet ... in the 
unwelcome intrusion of a neighbor ... in the infuriating behavior of a 
co-worker
or the exasperating antics of your teenager. Look for the opportunity to 
show them God, and don’t miss the blessings.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today with a “yes” in my heart. Whatever You want me 
to do, I will do. Whatever You want me to say, I will say. Wherever You want
me to go, I will go. Thank You for Your love and for the plan You have for 
my life. I surrender, Lord. I don’t want to miss the chance to bless others
or Your blessings in my life.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Right now, empty your heart of everything except a “yes” for whatever God 
has in store for you today. Surrender your agenda. Look for God’s handprints
in your life. At the end of the day, record the ways God used you in the 
lives of others. List the blessings you received because you were willing to 
say
“yes.”

More from the Girlfriends

NEW BOOK from Mary Southerland! Mary has updated the E-Book, Fit for Life, 
and released it in a soft cover book.
Fit for Life
addresses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual areas of your life 
and teaches you principles that will empower you to bring each area under 
God’ control.
Be sure to check out the
FREE MP3s on Mary’s website  www.girlfriendsingod.com

How God Feels about the Poor
by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land 
to fail.
(Amos 8:4)

How do you treat the poor? It is important for us to realize how God feels 
about the poor of this world. I have experienced being poor. My dad died 
when
I was fourteen, and it was up to me to support my mother and sister. I had 
to secure a special permit to get a job. Then, after I was converted and 
felt
called to the ministry, some folk took an interest in me and helped me get 
through school.

In the days of Amos, God accuses them of even making "the poor of the land 
to fail." That is, the poor were brought down to such a low poverty level 
that
they never could escape from it. The poor always suffer more acutely in a 
godless nation - I don't think that statement can be successfully 
contradicted.

Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the 
sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel 
great,
and falsifying the balances by deceit? (v. 5)

God knew what was in their hearts. "The new moon" and "the sabbath" were 
holy days on which business was not transacted. God is saying that even when 
the
rich went to the temple to praise God, they were so greedy and covetous that 
they were thinking about business the next day and how they could make more
money by cheating their customers. They not only practiced their sin during 
the week, but they carried it into the temple. What a picture this gives us
of Israel in that day - and of modern man as well.

That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, 
and sell the refuse of the wheat? (v. 6)

The poor even had to sell themselves into slavery. That was permitted in 
that land under the Mosaic system. They would buy the needy for a pair of 
shoes
- that's how cheap they were! And they would sell the poor the refuse of the 
wheat. That means they got the "seconds," the leftovers which an honest 
dealer
throws away. I have never felt right about giving old clothes to help the 
poor in the church. I have never felt they should be given the leftovers of 
anything.
Remember how David said, "… neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the 
Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing …" (
2 Samuel 24:24).

It is no accident that the Lord Jesus, when He was here on earth, sat and 
watched how the people gave in the temple. Was that His business? Yes. And 
He
is interested in how much we give to Him and how much we keep for ourselves.

Maybe the reason I love this man Amos so much is that he talks my language. 
He was a poor man himself, and he says the thing that I understand. You see,
Amos is explaining why Israel was like a basket of summer fruit. The 
goodness of Israel was just as perishable and just as soon deteriorated as 
summer
fruit. One evidence of this was the way they treated the poor.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee began teaching Thru the Bible in 1967. After retiring 
from the pastorate, he set up radio headquarters in Pasadena, and the radio 
ministry
expanded rapidly. Today the program airs on over 400 stations each day in 
the United States and Canada, is heard in more than 100 languages around the
world and is broadcast worldwide via the Internet. Listen to him now at
oneplace.com.
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Resisting Traditionalism

The woman had conspired with her husband to commit a slew of treasonous 
murders. Now, as she looked at her hands, she wondered if she would ever 
again
have a clear conscience. “What, will these hands ne’er be clean?” She asked. 
“Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not
sweeten this little hand.”

All of us have known the troubled conscience of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. 
We try to wash away our guilt but find it too deep for us to remove.

One of the ways people try to deal with guilt is by observing religious 
traditions. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day used traditional 
hand-washing to
help make them feel clean before God (Cf. Mark 7:1-23). But Jesus’ wasn’t 
impressed. He knew that their rituals and their hearts were disconnected. 
Jesus’
exposé of their empty ceremonialism can be liberating.

The Appeal of Traditionalism

Ironically, in the Old Testament God prescribed ceremonial washings for his 
people (Cf. Lev. 15:11). Surely he was teaching the safety of sanitation. 
But
at a far deeper level God was cultivating a principle of purity. He was 
training his people to wash their hearts by confessing their sins and 
seeking his
forgiveness. He was preparing them for the coming of his Son who, with his 
precious blood, would wash away all his children’s sins. Old Testament 
handwashing—tied
to God’s plan for moral renovation—was far from an empty tradition. 
Biblically-warranted traditions can become habits that tamp the truths of 
the gospel
to the level of reflex in God’s people.

Here’s the problem: According to Jesus, the Pharisees used tradition as an 
end of religion rather than a means of godliness. They trusted in rituals 
though
their hearts were far from God (Mark 7:6). Though they worshiped God in vain 
(v. 7), going through traditional motions made them feel comfortable and 
superior
to others. In Fiddler on the Roof, the main character Tevye provides an 
honest commentary on this kind of religion. “Because of our traditions every 
one
of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”

But traditionalism is always a lousy substitute for a living friendship with 
God. Mark tells this story well. Jesus’ own disciples had recently preached
the gospel with amazing results. Sinful, fearful, and sick people had found 
hope and wholeness in Jesus (Mark 6:12-13, 56). But having never experienced
the beauty of true religion the Pharisees and scribes’ could only accuse: 
“You don’t wash your hands right!” What a tragedy.

We can be allured by tradition. Some people try to deal with guilt by means 
of secular rituals—shopping, exercise, work, hobbies. Others medicate their
sins by keeping religious routines. Traditional observance can masquerade as 
a vibrant walk with God. By maintaining our familiar religious habits we 
avoid
the risks of true discipleship. By judging others whose traditions differ we 
feel more confident in ourselves. Because customs can make us feel so 
comfortable
we don’t always sense their potential danger.

The Attributes of Traditionalism

Instead of simply defending his disciples for not washing their hands Jesus 
used Isaiah 29:13 (Cf. Mark 7:6-7) to expose the hypocrisy and legalism of
these religious traditionalists.

Hypocrisy is the lip-service of a disinterested heart. Hypocrites wear a 
mask of religion to cover their lack of true piety. The great danger of 
religiosity
is that one can go through the motions—attempting to placate God with 
tithes, sacraments, church attendance, Christian schooling, fancy clothes, 
and conservative
slogans—while wandering far from him. Calvin put it well: “Nothing pleases 
[God] that is not accompanied by the inward sincerity of heart.” God calls 
hypocrites
to de-mask by confessing their sins to God and others. Confession shows that 
we agree with God about what he sees behind our masks.

Legalism is “teaching “as doctrines the commandments of men” (v. 7). 
Legalism makes human tradition weightier than God’s word. Legalists require 
what God
does not require or forbid what God does not forbid. Once man-made laws 
become a tradition, we have a hard time distinguishing them from God’s will. 
Legalism
can actually keep us from obeying God by focusing attention more on our 
rules than on him. With such a mindset it is possible to develop an ethic 
that
strains out gnats and swallows camels (Matt. 23:24).

The Absurdity of Traditionalism

Here’s why "tradition keeping" is never the same as a true friendship with 
God: Defilement comes from within not from without (Mark 7:14-23). Anyone 
can
go through religious motions. But if we are unclean inside, all our 
traditions are a total waste.

Jesus gets to the heart of defilement by listing thirteen sins that flow 
from the heart, thirteen hammers that smash the idol of traditionalism: 
“evil
thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, 
wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” 
(Mark 7:21-22).
Jesus’ closing argument against traditionalism is stunning; clearly unrinsed 
hands are the least of anyone’s problems. Traditionalism can in no way 
purify
our sinful hearts.

The good news is that real purity is not only possible but promised by God 
in Christ. In his very next passage Mark tells about a woman whose daughter
had an “unclean” spirit (Mark 7:24-30). This family was made clean, not by 
conforming to secular or religious traditions, but by a living, 
self-emptying
faith in Jesus Christ.

The Bible nowhere condemns tradition per se. Traditions can broaden and 
deepen our Christian experience. They can stabilize us, keeping us from 
making
crazy mistakes on a whim. But misplaced love of tradition can also blind us 
from God’s will, keeping us from exploring alternatives to our well-worn 
paths.
Trust in tradition will lead us away from refreshing, renewing life in 
Christ. On the other hand, a right use of tradition can help us believe God’s 
promise:
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Is. 
1:18).
William Boekestein pastors
Immanuel Fellowship Church
in Kalamazoo, Michigan and is the author of several books including
Bible Studies on Mark
(Reformed Fellowship, Inc., 2016), from which this article is adapted.


I choose kindness ... I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind 
to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how 
God
has treated me. --Max Lucado

I love the passages that talk about God being compassionate.

...for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his 
face from you if you return to him.
--2 Chronicles 30:9

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate...
--Exodus 34:6

Verses like this show that God the Father has emotion. Again, some of us 
have never seen this in our earthly fathers ... and the emotions we usually 
saw
were sometimes really frightening. But then we find out that God is 
compassionate. Once we know that, we find out that He really cares and He 
feels that
caring. From the depth of His heart, from the core of emotion, God is 
compassionate toward you and me.

“ From the depth of His heart, from the core of emotion, God is 
compassionate toward you and me. ” -
TWEET THIS

That is a very radical thought, if you think about it ... so think about it! 
Compassion simply means "with passion" – but step back from the simple 
meaning
of this word and contemplate the implications of these three words: God. 
Compassion. You. Your heavenly Father is not mechanical in His love for you; 
He
feels it.

I was in the Philippine Islands with a mission team during college. In one 
village, we came across a boy with leprosy. He was shunned by all – an 
untouchable.
The gracious pastor of the tiny evangelical church in town reached out with 
his hands, but he was the only one who was willing to embrace the grotesque
face, the stumps for hands, the disfigured legs ... I could barely look at 
him, let alone touch him. I'll never forget the

morning I came around the corner and found this little boy sitting in the 
lap of one of my teammates, Randy. Randy had taught him how to play 
"Patty-cake".
As stumps hit palms, the distorted face burst into a twisted but pure smile, 
and I saw a visible picture of the compassion of God ... with one big twist:
I'm the boy sitting in the picture of the compassion of God ... with one big 
twist: I'm the boy sitting in the lap of God.

Father, sending Your Son to suffer for me was the ultimate form of 
compassion! Let me see myself as the leprous child on Your lap. Thank You 
for loving
me with a passion only You could muster, for loving me to wholeness. Please 
help me to see the world through Your eyes so I may also show Your 
compassion
to the world! Amen.

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

Humble Submission
by Chuck Swindoll

Job 1:20

Perhaps Job lay under the stars until he was wet from the dew. Finally, he 
spoke. And when he did, what a remarkable response! Verse 20 comprises nine
words in the Hebrew text. These words describe what Job did before the text 
goes on to tell us what Job said. Five of the nine words are verbs. When you
read your Bible, always pay close attention to the verbs, because they move 
you through the action of a narrative, helping you vicariously to enter the
event.

First, Job peeled himself off the ground. He "arose." The next verb tells us 
something strange. He "tore his robe." The word translated "robe" is a term
describing a garment that fits over the body loosely, like an outer gown 
that reaches below the knees. This is not the undertunic; it's the outer 
robe
that kept him warm at night. Job reached to his neck and, not finding a 
seam, he seized a worn part of the fabric and ripped it. In the ripping of 
the
robe he is announcing his horrible grief. It was the action of a man in 
anguish. It's used several times in the Old Testament to portray utter 
grief.

And then we read the third verb. He "shaved his head." The hair is always 
pictured in the Scriptures as the glory of an individual, an expression of 
his
worth. The shaving of the head, therefore, is symbolic of the loss of 
personal glory. And to carry his grief to its lowest depth, his fourth 
action is
to fall to the ground. But, let's understand, this was not a collapse of 
grief, but for another purpose entirely. It's this that portrays the heroism 
of
Job's endurance. He doesn't wallow and wail, he worships. The Hebrew verb 
means "to fall prostrate in utter submission and worship." I dare say most 
of
us have never worshiped like that! I mean with your face on the ground, 
lying down, full-length. This was considered in ancient days the sincerest 
expression
of obedience and submission to the Creator-God.

Before moving on, I'd like to suggest you try this sometime. Palms down, 
facedown, knees and toes touching the ground, body fully extended, as you 
pour
out your heart in worship. It's the position Job deliberately took. Complete 
and humble submission.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll,
Great Days with the Great Lives
(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. 
Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Searching the Scriptures
Watch Video
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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
"
Tears of Laughter"
September 21, 2016
(Jesus said) "I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, 
though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me 
shall
never die. ...." John 11:25-26a
Let's talk about tears. Do you cry? Are you a weeper? Most of us are. Oh, we 
manly men may not want to admit it, but most of us have been known to shed
a tear or two.

Do you need proof?

If so, rent the Disney film Old Yeller. Years ago our family saw the movie. 
We loved the film, until the last ten minutes. For those of you who don't 
remember,
the boy is attacked by wild animals, pigs, I think it was, and the dog saved 
him. Sadly, because of his fight with the pigs, the dog came down with 
rabies,
and the boy had to shoot his pet. I didn't look around at my wife or the 
children, but I could hear some sobbing going on. Me, I was a bit misty.

If Old Yeller doesn't do it for you, then watch Bambi's mother get shot or 
see Dumbo separated from his mom.

Most of us cry. Most of us weep. In this world where catastrophe seems to be 
a constant, where tragedy and terror, sin, sadness and sorrow are almost 
customary
and commonplace, the sorrowful shedding of tears is familiar and frequent. 
Almost everybody weeps over a personal sadness. Think back upon the last 
time
you cried.

Even Jesus shed tears. Centuries before His Bethlehem birth, the Old 
Testament prophet, Isaiah, had, by the Holy Spirit's direction, in detail, 
described
the Savior. He said Jesus would be "despised and rejected by men, a man of 
sorrows, and familiar with suffering." (See Isaiah 53:3.)

Look at Jesus and you will not see a general who sits far removed in a 
command center while His troops march off to engage the enemy in battle. He 
is not
a chairman in a walnut-paneled boardroom who dictates commands to His 
company while the men on the assembly line sweat to take those commands to 
completion.

No, Jesus became one of us so He might -- in our place -- fulfill the laws 
we disobey. He became true Man so that the damnable price that our sins 
demanded
might be paid in full. Because of His sacrifice and resurrection victory, He 
is able to promise that He is the Resurrection and the Life and those who
live and believe in Him will never die.

The comfort those words have given to mourners over the centuries cannot be 
calculated.

Jesus' Words mean that when a soldier's body is brought home from a war, 
taps will not be the final note to be heard. Judgment Day will begin with 
another
trumpet call. Because of Jesus' Words, believing parents who have stood 
helplessly beside the freshly turned earth of a child's grave are given the 
resurrection
assurance that while death has ripped their little one from them, it could 
not do the same to Jesus.

Christ's nail-pierced hands are stronger than death and, because this is so, 
in heaven every tear will be replaced by laughter and joy in Jesus.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord and Savior, in this world we cannot escape tears. 
Accept our thankful hearts which know that the time is coming that, because 
of
Jesus, those tears will be wiped away. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

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: Isaiah 28-29; Romans 1
Print this Devotion
Subscribe to this Podcast
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Change Their World. Change Yours.
This Changes Everything.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
The Legacy of Your Life - #7748

The Kentucky Derby always has its share of drama. The 2006 Kentucky Derby 
was a blowout. A horse named Barbaro took the lead in America's most famous 
race
and left every other horse in the dust. Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby by an 
astounding 6 ½ lengths! Many thought that horse could go on to be one of the
few who has ever won the Triple Crown. Well, sadly, an injury ended that 
dream. But it didn't take away the glory of Barbaro's dramatic Kentucky 
Derby
victory.

The horse was only part of the story that day. In some ways, the bigger 
story was that of Barbaro's trainer, Michael Matz. Eighteen years earlier, 
Michael
Matz had been a passenger on an airplane flight that crashed in an Iowa 
cornfield. During the flight, he had struck up conversations with three 
young children
who were traveling that day without their parents. Then came the crash. Many 
died that day as the plane caught fire. Survivors were struggling to find
a way out of that burning wreckage, but all Michael Matz could think about 
was those three children. He risked his life to find all of them and bring 
them
out alive. And on that day, when the horse Michael trained crossed that 
finish line, there was jubilant celebrating in the box where he was 
watching. Michael
Matz, his wife, and the three (now grownup) children whose lives he had 
saved eighteen years before. Wow!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Legacy of Your Life."

In our word for today from the Word of God, Paul is thinking ahead to the 
day when his race will be over; when he'll be in heaven celebrating the 
lasting
legacy of his life. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, speaking to people he had 
introduced to Jesus Christ, Paul says: "What is our hope, our joy, or the 
crown
in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is 
it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."

Crossing the finish line to heaven--celebrating being there. First with 
Jesus, whose death and resurrection got you there, and then, with all those 
who
are there (at least in part) because you helped to rescue them. You did what 
your Bible said to do: "Snatch others from the fire and save them" (Jude 
23).
You weren't content to just get you out of that burning wreckage of sin. No, 
you had to help those around you make it, too. That's going to make heaven
even sweeter. Or is it?

As you look at the legacy of your life so far, do you see many people you've 
pointed to Jesus? Can you see some folks who will be in heaven because you
were part of helping them go there? How many people understand what Jesus 
did on the cross for them because you explained it to them? Have you been to
some funerals, and looked into the casket and asked yourself, "Why didn't I 
tell them about Jesus while there was still time?"

You can't have any of those days back. But you do have whatever days God 
still has ahead for you. And you can decide what kind of difference you want 
to
make with the rest of your life. I hope it's to help as many people be in 
heaven with you as possible; to give as many people a chance at being 
rescued
by Jesus as you can. Much of what we do and accomplish here won't mean 
anything, even one moment after our last breath. But there's one thing you 
can do
that will last forever, and that is to help someone else live forever by 
showing them Jesus.

The prophet Daniel described that day when "multitudes who sleep in the dust 
of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and 
everlasting
contempt." Every person you know is headed for one of those two 
destinations.

Then he describes ultimate legacy: "Those who lead many to righteousness 
will shine like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:2-3). Why? Because 
they'll
be celebrating forever with people whose lives they rescued.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA
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The Value of Learning History: A Lesson from Jude
John Piper

The little letter of Jude teaches us something about the value of learning 
history. This is not the main point of the letter. But it is striking. In 
this
next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude writes to encourage the saints to 
"contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the 
saints"
(verse 3).

The letter is a call to vigilance in view of "certain persons [who] have 
crept in unnoticed... ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into 
licentiousness
and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (verse 4). Jude describes 
these folks in vivid terms. They "revile the things which they do not 
understand"
(verse 10). They "are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own 
lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an 
advantage"
(verse 16). They "cause divisions, [and are] worldly-minded, devoid of the 
Spirit" (verse 19).

This is a devastating assessment of people who are not outside the church 
but have "crept in unnoticed." Jude wants them be spotted for who they 
really
are, so that the church is not deceived and ruined by their false teaching 
and immoral behavior.

One of his strategies is to compare them to other persons and events in 
history. For example, he says that "Sodom and Gomorrah . . . since they, in 
the
same way as these, indulged in gross immorality and went after strange 
flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal 
fire"
(verse 7). So Jude compares these people to Sodom and Gomorrah. His point in 
doing this is to say that Sodom and Gomorrah are "an example" of what will
happen when people live like these intruders are living. So, in Jude's mind, 
knowing the history of Sodom and Gomorrah is very useful in helping detect
such error and deflect it from the saints.

Similarly in verse 11, Jude piles up three other references to historical 
events as comparisons with what is happening in his day among
Christians.
He says "Woe to them! For they have gone the way of
Cain,
and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished 
in the rebellion of Korah." This is remarkable. Why refer to three different
historical incidents like this that happened thousands of years earlier -
Genesis 19
(Sodom),
Genesis 3
(Cain),
Numbers 22-24
(Balaam),
Numbers 16
(Korah)? What's the point?

Here are three points: 1) Jude assumes that the readers know these stories! 
Is that not amazing! This was the first century! No books in anyone's homes.
No Bibles available. No story tapes. Just oral instruction. And he assumed 
that they would know: What is "the way of Cain" and "the error of Balaam" 
and
"the rebellion of Korah"? Do you know? Isn't this astonishing! He expects 
them to know. It makes me think that our standards of Bible knowledge in the
church today are too low.

2) Jude assumes that knowing this history will illumine the present 
situation. The Christians will handle the error better today, if they know 
similar
situations from yesterday. In other words, history is valuable for Christian 
living. To know that Cain was jealous and hated his brother and resented his
true spiritual communion with God will alert you to watch for such things 
even among brothers.

To know that Balaam finally caved in and made the Word of God a means of 
worldly gain makes you better able to spot that sort of thing. To know that 
Korah
despised legitimate authority and resented Moses' leadership will protect 
you from factious folk who dislike anyone being seen as their leader.

3) Is it not clear, then, that God ordains that events happen and that they 
get recorded as history so that we will learn them and become wiser and more
insightful about the present for the sake of Christ and his church. Never 
stop learning history. Gain some knowledge every day. And let us give our 
children
one of the best protections against the folly of the future, namely, a 
knowledge of the past.

Learning with you, for Christ and his kingdom,

Pastor John
By John Piper. (c) Desiring God. Website:
www.desiringGod.org.
  
Anne Graham Lotz - With God, You’re a Majority
View this email in your browser

With God, You’re a Majority
He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus 
Christ.

Philippians 1:6, NKJV

God is looking for a few good men and women. Men and women who are willing

to go against the current of popular opinion,

to hold firm convictions in a world where “anything goes,”

to speak the truth when it is not politically correct,

to walk with God when everyone else is running away from Him.

God is looking for those who believe

that what He says is more important than what anyone else says,

that what He thinks is more important than what anyone else thinks,

that what He wants is more important than what anyone else wants.

that His will is more important than their own.

God is looking for another Noah. Another Meshach. Another Shadrach. Another 
Abednego. One person with God is not alone but a majority!

Blessings,
Copyright © 2016 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

How you can be prepared for any crisis

September 19

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Many years ago in the Midwest, a young boy wandered off from his house and 
into a huge wheat field. It was getting late and the temperature was 
dropping,
so the parents began to search frantically for the little boy. Finally after 
a few hours of looking, they called the police.

The word got out, and all the people from miles around came together to look 
for that little boy. After a few hours of that, they got the idea to join
hands and comb the field in one big line. And in one far corner of the field 
where no one had looked, they found the boy’s lifeless body. It was so 
tragic.
The father, being interviewed by the local newspaper a few days later, was 
quoted as saying, “If we’d only joined hands sooner, perhaps we could’ve 
saved
my son."

The tragic truth is that many people today are suffering and dying on their 
own because they haven’t joined hands with other people in the faith. They’re
running around frantically trying to solve their own problems and it hasn’t 
occurred to them that they need other people to help!

Don’t try to do life alone. There are no ‘Lone Rangers’ of the
Christian faith.
Walk hand-in-hand with other people in community and you’ll be equipped to 
take on any crisis that comes your way.

DON’T TRY TO LIVE LIFE ALONE. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GODLY MEN AND WOMEN WHO 
WILL BE THERE FOR YOU WHEN HARD TIMES HIT

----------------------------------------------------------
For more from PowerPoint Ministries and Dr. Jack Graham, please visit
www.jackgraham.org
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Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Banias in Odisha
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Banias in Odisha
Sep 19, 2016 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Ephesians 3:14-19, NKJV "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be 
strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may 
dwell
in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length 
and
depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that 
you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Pray that the Bania communities will fully experience the extravagant 
dimensions of Christ’s love.

Today's People Group

(This is a fictitious story about what could happen.)
The delicious fragrance of fresh baked treats filled Neha’s nose. She had 
just come home from a year of studying at a prestigious business school in 
America,
and her Brahmin friend had come by to give her a plate of sweets. Inspired 
by her friend’s generosity, she prepared a plate of food to give to local 
low
caste members. As a Bania, she can accept food from higher castes, but will 
not offer food in return. She can only give food to a lower caste member.
Caste status determines many behaviors in India. The Bania community is part 
of the Hindu caste hierarchy and they are considered part of an upper caste.
The Bania are a wealthy and influential people, known to control the economy 
of India. Banias are a community of shrewd businessmen, traders, bankers,
moneylenders, and industrialists. They number approximately 25 million in 
India, and the greatest concentration live in the northern states like 
Odisha.
Most Banias worship Hindu gods, and 11 percent are Jain. They are 
vegetarian, and set aside food to offer to their gods in their puja room. 
This is a room
in every house dedicated to worshipping the gods with food sacrifice, 
incense, and prayer. Some do know Jesus, but tremendous pressure remains to 
stick
with caste tradition.

Pray that Banias educated overseas will meet Jesus there, be discipled, and 
return to India with Kingdom influence.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.
Frontier Ventures
1605 East Elizabeth Street
Pasadena, CA 91104

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Learn a New Response to Need
----------------------------------------------------------

Learn a New Response to Need

Posted: 18 Sep 2016 09:55 PM PDT

Whenever we feel a need, we want to eliminate it.
All our focus is on ridding ourselves of the source of our discomfort.

But realize that our neediness is permanent and pervasive.
We can never eliminate it.
Eliminate the need that obsesses you right now, and
another will soon replace it.

Instead, God is teaching us to rest in His sufficiency,
right there in the presence of the need.
We can find peace in Him,
even when the need continues for a time.

What needs are you feeling in your life right now?
God is using them to draw you to Himself.
Look past your normal solutions,
your usual sources of relief that never prove adequate.
Turn to Him.
Bring your concerns to Him, and rest in Him.
He is peace.
He is your sufficiency through every need.

Find a Friend to Wound You
Greg Morse / September 16, 2016
Find a Friend to Wound You

Have you ever been shocked to life by the words of a friend?

Recently, I was working out with a friend when I shared that my prayer life 
was dry, time alone with God was sparse, and my soul felt withered. After 
listening
kindly to my half-hearted excuses, he paused our workout, turned to me and 
said, “Bro, I love you, but that’s unacceptable. People look to you. You 
need
to be looking to Christ — it’s not optional.”

Unacceptable.

After the initial assault on my pride, a wave of gratitude and relief washed 
over me. Finally, the truth I had been evading — the God I had been evading
— caught me. God used a friend’s honesty to awaken me from spiritual 
slumber.

Wounds of a Friend

When we think of friends, we often think of the people who we naturally 
like, who like us, and who like the same things we like. We hope for friends 
who
will encourage us, comfort us, and support us — but what about praying for 
friends who are willing to wound us?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. 
(Proverbs 27:6)

True friends are not mobsters who club us with their words to prove points 
or settle scores. But godly friends are not less than EMTs (emergency 
medical
technicians) who will rip open our carefully crafted excuses and stun us 
back to life. They wound us for our good.

And of course, friends must be more than this — after all, we aren’t 
Pavlovian puppies to be shocked every day. But in a world of political 
correctness
and hyper-sensitivity to criticism, such friends with backbones are nearly 
as extinct as they are unwelcomed — even within the church.

Safe Friends Are Dangers to Our Sin

Your soul needs friends who are willing to risk wounding your pride in the 
moment for the long-term good of your soul.

The world cares nothing for our eternal good. Ungodly friends cheer us on 
toward destruction. They bequeath the kiss of flattery — the Dementor’s 
kiss.
They coddle our egos, telling us what we want to hear, not what we need to 
hear. Even the most genuine and moral among them sets sail away from God. 
Thus
we need a crew of Christian companions — a body — to keep us from shipwreck. 
Finishing the race is not an individual endeavor, and eternity is at stake.

Praise God then for the faithful wounds of true friends who protect us from 
ultimate injury. They tell us plainly, “You’re flirting with destruction!”
Or, “Spiritual sloth is unacceptable!” Friends who ask us hard questions, 
who crush the whispering lizard on our shoulder, who are for our eternal 
soul
above our momentary feelings — these are true friends.

Find these friends. Thank these friends. Imitate these friends. They are, as 
a friend of mine calls it, God’s “community grace” to you.

What Would Jesus Say?

Jesus calls his followers friends (John 15:14). Some of us may not have many 
companions, but in Christ we have the Truest Friend, who gives friendship
meaning. But had we lived two thousand years ago, we might not have enjoyed 
living with the Son of God as much as we suppose at first. Jesus was not 
afraid
to wound his friends for the healing of their souls.

He did not walk in step with our non-offensive niceties. He rebuked follower 
and Pharisee alike. He would not have balked to say things that would offend
us. He was without guile, without flattery. He called a spade a spade, and 
sin “sin” — always with love, and always with truth.

But the unbelievable thing is that Jesus also was wounded for his friends 
(John 15:13).

He didn’t do accountability drive-bys and leave it at that. He loved with 
word and deed. He rebuked the sleeping disciples, and called Peter “Satan” 
one
moment, only to lay down his life for them in the next (Matthew 16:23; 
26:36–46; 27:24–56).

Jesus loved his own with comforting words, encouraging words, life-giving 
words — and hard words. And he backed up every sharp word with three 
piercing
nails and a cutting crown of thorns — all for the everlasting good of his 
friends. He hurt his friends in order to help them. He was wounded for his 
friends
in order to heal them (Isaiah 53:5).

Friends Like Jesus

We should thank God when he gives us friends like Jesus, and pray that he 
sends us more.

1. Pray for friends who wound in love.

Though they don’t always feel like it, these friends are a good gift from 
God. Your soul needs these friends. Ask him for them.

2. Pray for friends who also build up.

More than just wounded, we want to be built up. We want to be loved through 
encouragement, affirmation, and deeds as well as tough words (1 
Thessalonians
5:11; 1 John 3:18).

3. Thank friends who love enough to wound.

Often, those friends who do speak the truth in love feel as uncomfortable 
and awkward saying tough things as you do hearing them. They may also fear 
your
disapproval and rejection, so when they do speak up, thank them — even when 
they don’t do it perfectly.

4. Invite wounds from others.

Take initiative to ask friends to be honest with you about your weaknesses 
and blind spots, knowing that, because Christ was wounded for us, we can 
invite

wounds; he is our identity. May we say,

Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is 
oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. (Psalm 141:5)

5. Be a friend who wounds in love.

The author of Hebrews calls us to beware unbelieving hearts that cause us to 
fall away from the living God (Hebrews 3:12). How do we not fall away? We
“exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of 
you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).

Today is called today. Which believers will you exhort? Be courageous and 
speak the truth in love when the time comes (Ephesians 4:15).

Women the World Cannot Explain
John Piper / September 16, 2016

Godly women are clothed with beauty from beyond the world, the distinct 
gracefulness of a hope-filled heart. This is a beauty that the world cannot 
account
for.


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Apple Dumplin’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dean W. Masters

One Question to Unlock Your Evangelism
J.A. Medders / September 13, 2016
One Question to Unlock Your Evangelism

Your neighbor asks what you did over the weekend. You think to yourself, 
Should I mention church?

If I do, am I ready to share the gospel?

If I am, how do I get there?

You know you should say something to your barber, or to the barista at your 
favorite coffee shop — something about Jesus, something about the gospel —
but you feel stuck. Palms are getting sweaty. Guilt is circling like a bird 
of prey. You feel the window closing.

I doubt many Christians need convincing from Scripture that we’re all called 
to evangelize, to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus (1 Peter 2:9–10). 
Evangelism
is the simple and supernatural telling, pleading, and inviting of people to 
turn from sin, and to place their faith in the one crucified to pay for sin
and reigning now over the whole universe. In evangelism, we are telling 
people to run to Jesus.

But we often struggle with how to tell the good news, especially with where 
to start.

One Question

If you struggle to get the conversation with your friend, neighbor, or 
barber rolling toward the gospel, there is one question you can ask that 
will get
you there quickly. Whether you are talking to an Uber driver, a family 
member, or the server at The Cheesecake Factory, this question will likely 
get a
friendly gospel conversation rolling:

“What do you think Jesus is doing right now?”

When I recently asked this question to our server at a restaurant, she was 
struck. “What do you mean is doing? He’s dead. He’s not alive.” She picked 
up
on my grammar. The red carpet suddenly rolled out for me to tell her Jesus 
is not dead. He folded up his grave clothes, walked out alive, is still 
alive
today, and desires for her to be saved.

Jesus is today inviting sinners to faith in him. The one who hears our good 
news in evangelism, hears his voice (Luke 10:16).

• Jesus is holding the universe together with his words (Hebrews 1:3).
• Jesus is sitting at God the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 8:1).
• Jesus is interceding for his people (Romans 8:34).
• Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant with God (Hebrews 9:15).
• Jesus is powerfully working among his church (2 Corinthians 13:3; 
Revelation 1:12–13).
• Jesus is coming back (Titus 2:13).

Remember the radical use of grammar in evangelism — the saving power of a 
two-letter word.

Don’t Forget the Present

People are comfortable saying Jesus was a good teacher, even if they fail to 
acknowledge that Jesus taught that he is the eternal Son of God and the only
way to salvation (John 14:6). Asking about what Jesus is doing right now 
forces us to move beyond Jesus’s earthly life and ministry.

Most people think of Jesus in the past tense. You’ll hear them talk about 
what Jesus was like. He was a good teacher, he was kind, he was prophetic, 
and
so on. When you are evangelizing, bring up the shocking truth of the 
resurrection. “He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God” 
(2 Corinthians
13:4). Don’t get stuck with the rest of the world talking about Jesus in the 
past tense. Jesus is. If we can’t talk about him in the present tense, we
are a people to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19).

In evangelism we need the was and the is. He was crucified for our sins. He 
is alive for our hope and life.

Woven through the book of Acts is the habitual declaration of the 
resurrected Jesus.

• Peter told the crowds, “You killed the Author of life, whom God raised 
from the dead” (Acts 3:15).
• Officials were “greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and 
proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2).
• Festus summarized the buzz as “certain points of dispute . . . about a 
certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (Acts 
25:19).

The disciples in Acts couldn’t keep from talking about Jesus conquering 
death and reigning in heaven, and then inviting people to repent and turn to 
Jesus
Christ. What if his resurrection was the most powerful overlooked tool in 
evangelism today?

A Radical Resurrection

When you ask people what Jesus is doing right now, the conversation is 
moving forward to the resurrection. Your barber will probably agree that 
Jesus died
on a cross, but it’s quite another thing to believe Jesus started breathing 
again. If we can get the conversation to the past and present reality of 
Jesus,
his death and his resurrection, we are acting as his witnesses (Acts 1:8).

I recently asked a man named Josh this same question while playing 
basketball. He was amazed that I really believe Jesus’s brainstem turned 
back on that
Easter morning. “You really teach that at your church?” Every Sunday. “You 
really believe this?” Every day.

In some ways, it is easier to talk about the death of Jesus than his 
resurrection. We can be unashamed of the cross and at the same time be 
ashamed of
the resurrection. The resurrection is a hurdle for modern thinkers. 
Crucifixion isn’t necessarily offensive to Westerners. But telling people 
Jesus is
not dead anymore — not a pile of bone dust in Jerusalem — that invites 
mocking (Acts 17:32).

Faithful, life-changing evangelism proclaims the stumbling block and rock of 
offense, the cross and vacant tomb. Without the resurrection of Jesus there
is no gospel, no hope, no Christianity.

Next time you are in the barber’s chair, or sipping a latte with a friend, 
or sitting next to a stranger on a plane, ask yourself, “What do I think 
Jesus
is doing right now?” And then ask them what they think.

Why Did Jesus Not Seek His Own Glory?
John Piper / September 13, 2016
Why Did Jesus Not Seek His Own Glory?

Jesus does not seek private glory apart from the Father’s glory, but he does 
seek his glory through the Father after his redemptive work is done.

Every Woman’s Call to Work
Abigail Dodds / September 13, 2016
Every Woman’s Call to Work

What has the power to set a woman on edge and make her feel everything from 
shame to pride to embarrassment to judgment to superiority and in between?
Ask her what she does for a living.

Among Christians, this shouldn’t be the case, but alas, many can attest that 
it is. Single women may feel that somehow they’re missing out on the calling
of motherhood and wish they didn’t have to work a job. Others may be happy 
to forgo husband and kids and find joy in a career. If a mom works outside 
the
home, she may fear judgment, whether real or imagined, from the 
stay-at-home-mom contingent. If a mom has embraced homemaking full-time, she 
similarly
tends to feel judgment, real or imagined, by her working counterpart. Or 
better put, real and imagined, for both women.

Women and Work

Before wading into fraught waters, can we take a moment to try to lay aside 
our presumptions? We may assume that because a woman prioritizes her home 
such
that she has no paycheck, she is ardently opposed to any work outside of it, 
and we also may assume that because a woman is getting a paycheck, she 
disdains
the work of the home. These are unkind and dangerous presumptions that 
create inflated divisions in Christ’s body.

We also need to recognize our goal as Christian women: not the freedom to do 
whatever we want, but the freedom to do God’s will. We want this for 
ourselves
and our fellow sisters-in-Christ.

What principles, then, does the Bible give us regarding women and work?

Made to Work

First, work is not optional. God put men and women in the garden to work. 
God gave dominion to them both.

Throughout the Scriptures, we see very clearly that men and women are not 
identical. We need to know what it is to be a woman if we’re going to know 
what
it is to work as one. As basic as this is, it is often overlooked. To be a 
woman is to be made in God’s image, marred and broken by sin. And to be a 
Christian
woman is to be restored and sanctified by Christ who is the perfect image of 
the invisible God — Christ who lives perfectly in accordance with God’s 
word.
He is God’s Word.

God’s word is not silent in regard to the priorities that women in 
particular should have. We are made as helpers, co-workers (Genesis 2:18), 
with the
home as a priority (Titus 2:5) and a place of industry, hospitality, and 
respite (Proverbs 31:10–31). Women are to be fearless in the face of 
frightening
things and submissive to their own husbands, to cultivate inward beauty over 
outward (1 Peter 3:1–6). We are to be examples of generous patrons, selfless
service, and spiritual mothering (Romans 16:1–13). Women manage difficult 
circumstances requiring action and prudence, like Abigail, Jael, and 
Deborah.
And under, in, above, and surrounding all of these principles is the 
understanding that all she does is by, for, and through Christ (Colossians 
1:16–17).

Meet Real Needs

The pertinent question for women entering the workforce or motherhood or 
setting up their home or any sphere of work is this: Am I faithfully obeying 
God
as his child by meeting the genuine needs of others, or am I pursuing 
self-actualization, self-fulfillment, or selfish ambition apart from him?

Our faithfulness first requires a kind of death — death to self and selfish 
ambition. Yet death leads to life — life in Christ, through him, and for 
him.
What exactly that death looks like will vary from person to person, but in 
every case, it will be a gospel act, a spectacle of crucifixion with Christ.

For a single mom who must earn an income, prioritizing Christ and the home 
may mean doing what it takes to provide for her kids’ needs and spending 
herself
at work, then at home, at great cost to herself — to the glory of God and 
for the good of her children.

For a single woman without kids, it may mean considering cross-cultural 
missions or walking fearlessly into her job, while saving some reserves for 
the
life of the church or investing in her neighborhood or opening her home — 
whether it’s an apartment or a house or a room — so she can share what she 
has,
especially Christ in her.

For a married, stay-at-home mom of littles, it may mean seemingly endless 
physical tasks and training, laying down the pre-motherhood feelings of 
proficiency
as she can no longer earn an “A” for her hard work or receive a promotion.

For the mom with a part-time job that helps financially but isn’t essential, 
it may mean laying that job down and the extra financial cushion so that she
can intentionally sow seeds of the gospel in her children. Or it might mean 
keeping that job and using her gifts to serve others.

For the woman whose husband is facing long-term unemployment or disability, 
it may mean becoming the breadwinner or caretaker, shouldering a larger 
portion
of responsibility than she had perhaps desired.

For a mom whose children are older and gaining independence, it may mean a 
shift in the type of work she does, bravely considering the options and 
doing
things she hasn’t done in a long time, or trying something brand new.

Many Different Forms

Sometimes our circumstances aren’t ideal. Often they are not ideal. This isn’t 
heaven. And the call to lay down our lives will take different forms. But
this is our calling, with its countless manifestations. Not because we’re 
the one who finally will save our kids or our family or our neighbors or 
ourselves.
We’re not Christ. But we are Christians. We gladly follow the God-man who 
laid down his own life to meet our truest needs. We gladly echo his great 
sacrifice
in our little deaths-to-self.

We seek to faithfully live the actual life God has given us, not the one we 
hoped for or wish we had. We take the principles God himself has given us —
for work and dominion, the priority of the home, generosity and hospitality, 
caring for the children (and adults) God has given us (their bodies and 
souls)
— and we apply them to the real life in front of us. Not the ideal. Not the 
fantasy. But the actual life God has given us.

The everyday lives of Christian women will not all look the same. Yet our 
hearts will be united more deeply than any exclusive gathering of women who 
work,
or stay at home, or work from home, or any other category, because of our 
clinging together to Christ.

Make Much of Jesus

We understand what faithfulness looks like in our specific situation through 
the guidance God himself gives us in his word, by his Spirit, and through
the counsel of our local church. Our covenant community, and the 
relationships within it, provide the context where we figure out what it 
means to apply
biblical principles to our particular life. The matrix of God’s word, God’s 
Spirit, and God’s people is where we go to get wisdom.

Our work is not about us. It’s not about making a name for ourselves with a 
fabulous career or being superior because things went well for us and we’re
doing it all “right” or trying to “have it all.” If we ache to make a name 
for ourselves — in self-glorification — we should remember that we serve the
one whose name is above all names. He will not suffer us as competitors. And 
far better than making a name for ourselves, he’s written our names in his
book, not because we have a great job, but because we’re his children.

So work really hard. Do amazingly good work. Excel in every single way that 
you can, in every single area that you can, with the self-forgetful 
happiness
that can be found only when you’ve laid yourself down and are trusting in 
the name of a tireless, serving Savior. Trust the author of the Lamb’s book 
of
life to guide you in every circumstance to every good work that he’s 
prepared for you.

1 Peter 4:5: God Will Deal with Your Enemies
John Piper / September 13, 2016

Jesus tells us to love our enemies, but how can we when real injustice is 
committed against us?

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Seizing Opportunities to Serve

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially 
unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Galatians 6:10

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you remember the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37? He was on 
a journey but stopped and helped a bruised and broken man. He didn’t make 
excuses
saying, “It’s none of my business.” It was a golden moment, and he took it.

All around you are people who need the compassion of Christ. They need you 
to see their pain as a golden opportunity to serve them in the name of 
Jesus.

The chief enemy to kindness is busyness. We have our priorities, our jobs, 
our duties, our responsibilities, and we’re too busy. But if we’re too busy
to be kind, we’re too busy.

ACTION POINT:
What’s on your schedule for today? If someone had a flat tire, could you fix 
it? If someone called and needed a ride to the hospital, could you take 
them?
Clear the way for Jesus, my friend.

Discover Jesus

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Spiritual Shopping - #7745

A while ago, my sister-in-law introduced me to this tasty new addition to my 
usual breakfast menu. They're called English crumpets; low fat, great taste.
Then I was hooked. In fact, I decided I had to go get myself more of them. 
Well she told me that there was only one local store that carried them, so I
made my way to that super-supermarket-one I was unfamiliar with. I went to 
where I figured something in the English muffin/bagel category would be: the
bread section, right? No, not crumpets. I tried the bakery section. Failed 
again. I looked in every aisle that I could logically expect to find 
something
from the breakfast bread family. Zip! Nothing! I finally tried something 
really radical. I asked someone who worked there. Yeah, a guy's last resort. 
He
said, "They're in dairy." Dairy? Well, I guess these things are supposed to 
be refrigerated. And dairy is where I found them...at the end of a long 
search!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about 
"Spiritual Shopping."

Now in my search for what would satisfy my appetite, I was shopping in the 
right store, but not in the right aisle. You know, it's easy to make that 
same
mistake when you're shopping spiritually-for something that will satisfy 
your appetite for meaning in life.

You only have to watch a few talk shows or look at some of today's best 
selling books to see that more and more people are shopping in the store 
that says
'Spirituality'. We seem to have concluded rightly that earth-stuff doesn't 
satisfy the human soul. Ecclesiastes says, "God has placed eternity in the 
hearts
of men."

That's right. Earth stuff isn't going to fill that hole. But, see, earth 
stuff doesn't give the meaning and the fulfillment that we can only get from 
something
bigger-something spiritual. It may be that your own search has taken you 
down several aisles, looking for truth, for peace, for significance. There 
are
probably more aisles in the spiritual store than ever before. It's easy to 
get confused, to get deceived, then get lost.

In our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus Christ makes a bold 
declaration about where we will find what our hearts are hungry for. It's in 
John
14:6, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one 
comes to the Father except through Me.'" Now Jesus said our spiritual 
shopping
comes to an end when we go to His aisle and find the way He's provided to 
belong to God. This 'coming to the Father' He talks about is all about 
finding
a personal relationship with the One who created us, the One we're going to 
meet the moment we die.

Basically, there are three possibilities in the Spiritual Store. One is 
religion. You can try to fill the spiritual vacuum in your heart with the 
rituals
and the beliefs of a religion. The second possibility is spiritual 
experiences from meditating, channeling, occult arts, or a wide variety of 
New Age spiritualities.
And the third possibility in the Spiritual Store is a love relationship with 
our Creator.

And the world's best selling book, the Bible, makes clear in its' timeless 
wisdom that it is that relationship we're really looking for. In fact, the 
Bible
says we were "created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). In other words, 
we can't find our ultimate meaning until we belong to the One we were made
by and made for. And the Bible goes on to point out that instead of living 
for Him, we have, day after day, lived for ourselves. And that has cut us 
off
from our Creator, and left us looking to religion or spiritual experiences 
to fill the hole that only a God-relationship can fill.

Jesus came to pay for, to fix the brokenness that has come from our 
self-rule. That's why He died on the cross. That's why He said He is the way 
to get
to our Heavenly Father-because He's the only One who paid the price to 
remove what keeps us from God.

A religion can't love you, neither can a spiritual experience. We need a 
Creator-relationship. And that begins when you reach out and trust Jesus, 
the
Creator's Son, to bring you and God together.

Today you can reach out to Him and say, "Jesus, I don't understand it all, 
but I feel the stirring in my soul that says You are the end of my search. 
Beginning
today, Jesus, I'm yours." At our website I've laid out there as simply as I 
could how you can be sure you belong to the One who gave you life, and the
One who gave His life for you - Jesus Christ. You go to ANewStory.com 
please.

Most of all, let Jesus know you want him. Maybe Jesus was the last aisle you 
thought you'd find answers in. But He's the only aisle where you'll finally
find what you've been looking for so long.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and 
I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it. ―Brennan Manning, The 
Ragamuffin
Gospel

Maybe it was through art, maybe through fiery, angry sermons. I don't know 
where, for sure, but somewhere along the line many of us got the idea that 
God
the Father is angry, and He's sitting up in heaven on a cloud...keeping 
score...all the time. He has a list of laws and rules in one hand and a 
lightning
bolt in the other. He's just waiting for you to screw up. And when you do? 
Kapow!

Is that accurate?

Not even close. Look at what God told Moses when he requested God's 
presence:

I will do the things you have asked because I am pleased with you...
―Exodus 33:17

God is pleased with us. God told Moses that He would be present among them 
because He was pleased with him. Now you might say, "Yeah, that's because 
it's
Moses. I am no Moses." Moses is supposed to be this great godly leader, 
right? Well, he's supposed to be, but he's not. Do you know what happened 
right
before this passage? Moses' followers built a huge, golden cow and worshiped 
it instead of God. If Moses was supposed to be some great leader, shouldn't
his followers like, maybe, follow? But in reality, his people were a mess 
... just like we are, just like you are. But still, God finds pleasure in 
us,
in spite of poor performance.

Lord, it's so hard to understand that even though humanity is broken, You 
still love us, even in the worst of times. Thank You for finding pleasure 
through
me in Christ where the world only sees failure! Amen.

Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the
Telling the Truth broadcast
at OnePlace.com
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Life Is Difficult
by Chuck Swindoll

Job 1:1-12

Life is difficult. That blunt, three-word statement is an accurate appraisal 
of our existence on this earth. When the writer of the biblical book named
Job picked up his stylus to write his story, he could have begun with a 
similar-sounding and equally blunt sentence, "Life is unfair."

No one could argue the point that life is punctuated with hardship, 
heartaches, and headaches. Most of us have learned to face the reality that 
life is
difficult. But unfair? Something kicks in, deep within most of us, making it 
almost intolerable for us to accept and cope with what's unfair. Our drive
for justice overrides our patience with pain.

Life is not just difficult, it's downright unfair. Welcome to Job's world.

Job was a man of unparalleled and genuine piety. He was also a man of 
well-deserved prosperity. He was a godly gentleman, extremely wealthy, a 
fine husband,
and a faithful father. In a quick and brutal sweep of back-to-back 
calamities, Job was reduced to a twisted mass of brokenness and grief. The 
extraordinary
accumulation of disasters that hit him would have been enough to finish off 
any one of us today.

Job is left bankrupt, homeless, helpless, and childless. He's left standing 
beside the ten fresh graves of his now-dead children in a windswept valley.
His wife is heaving deep sobs of grief as she kneels beside him, having just 
heard him say, "Whether our God gives to us or takes everything from us, we
will follow Him." She leans over and secretly whispers, "Why don't you just 
curse God and die?"

His misery turns to mystery with God's silence. If the words of his 
so-called friends are hard to hear, the silence of God becomes downright 
intolerable.
Not until the thirty-eighth chapter of the book does God finally break the 
silence, however long that took. Even if it were just a few months, try to 
imagine.
You've become the object of your alleged friends' accusations, and the 
heavens are brass as you plead for answers from the Almighty, who remains 
mysteriously
mute. Nothing comes to you by way of comfort. It's all so unfair; you've 
done nothing to deserve such anguish.

Pause and ponder their grief—and remember that Job had done nothing to 
deserve such unbearable pain. If it had been you, how would you have 
responded?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll,
Great Days with the Great Lives
(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. 
Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Searching the Scriptures
Watch Video
Visit insight.org
Copyright © 2016 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 
worldwide.

Encouragement

In August 1995, the church I pastored made the decision to do a major 
renovation on our thirty-five-year-old sanctuary. The first step was to put 
together
a crew of people to do internal demolition. Around forty people showed up to 
take care of this task.

Dust was everywhere as we ripped up carpet, knocked out walls, tore down 
ceilings, and dismantled the platform. There were people of all shapes, 
sizes,
and ages. It was a wonderful project for individuals like me because 
absolutely no skill was needed. It doesn’t take much training to destroy 
something.

When this phase was completed, the remodeling began. This was the part that 
required skilled and trained people—those who knew how to construct, build,
and refurbish. Their task was much more difficult and it took much longer 
than the demolition.

Anybody can tear down, but not everyone can build up. It doesn’t take a 
genius to destroy something, but it does take some know-how to construct 
something
of value. The unskilled can quickly take apart that which takes the skilled 
a lot of time to put together.

Do you build or demolish? Lift up or tear down? Encourage or discourage? 
Christians always leave people better than they found them.

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

P. Stevenson, (2007)
"5 Things Anyone Can Do to Lead Effectively"

To receive The Daily Encourager FREE each weekday, click on the following 
link:
http://go.netatlantic.com/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=thedailyencourager

10 Commandments for Becoming You
Nicki Koziarz

The bathroom mirror seems to be the culprit of these types of conversations 
within me. I stand there day after day bushing hair, examining wrinkles and
blemishes, looking into my tired-worn-out eyes, while wondering… who are you 
really becoming?

The truth is, these days I’ve let too much noise in. Understanding who I am 
becoming feels hard to determine. I feel stuck, like there’s a me trying to
get out, but I find myself living in the leftovers of so many life 
situations.

I guess I always assumed that by the age of thirty-four I would know exactly 
who I was and where I was going.

But now it seems most days I’m not sure I will ever arrive at that confident 
place.

And so, as I try to unstick my life process today, I’m thinking through what 
it really means to become … me.

I’m giving myself these permissions, these orders, these Ten Authenticity 
Commandments so to speak… to help me stay true to myself while becoming 
myself.
Maybe if you are feeling a little lost today they might speak to you too…

1.You shall live as though life is a process of becoming.

This process of discovering who we really are isn’t something we simply 
awaken to one day. Life’s peaks, valleys and plateaus all lead us through 
this
process. While life has a start line and a finish line, much of the 
in-between isn’t so definable. But each day has something to offer in the 
shaping
of our souls.

2.You shall pay close attention to the people you are surrounding yourself 
with.

That saying, “you become most like the five people you spend the most amount 
of time with,” it’s true. Do you leave the company of those five people 
feeling
inspired and better about yourself or anxious and fearful of everything you 
said? Choose your five wisely.

3.You shall embrace where you are not where you wish to be.

Life is short. Assume today is all you get. We cannot really live by chasing 
the “one-day” scenarios. What if this is it?

4.You shall have permission to change your mind.

That color you thought you would love until the grave and now you hate it? 
It’s ok to change your mind. That job you worked so hard to get but now your
just not sure? It’s ok to change your mind. Living as you is messy and 
complicated. It’s ok to change your mind, even more than once.

5.You shall do something each day that makes you feel alive.

We will lose ourselves no faster than when we stay in the cycle of busy and 
go. What is it that makes you feel alive? Is it snapping a picture? Feeling
dirt beneath your feet? Watching the sunset or rise? Is it laughing until 
your core hurts? Press pause on busy and make a mad dash each day towards 
those
things that make you feel alive.

6.You shall not believe the life you live is second best.

No matter how small someone makes you feel, what the world screams you need 
more of or the lack of something you have today, this life is your life and
it’s the number one life for you. And it’s a great life —if we see it that 
way.

7.You shall keep your excuses in check so they will not become reasons to 
stay the same.

There will always be things you need to work on. Staying healthy, having the 
right thoughts, working harder, working less… there is always room for 
personal
improvement.

8.You shall love your peculiarities rather than try to hide them.

The way you snort when you laugh. Your expressions on selfies. How you 
narrate your dogs life. The way you slurp spaghetti noodles. Your really 
bizarre
Starbucks order. These are the beautiful things that make you, you.

9.You shall love yourself in a way that reflects Gods love for you.

Those moments where you just don’t like yourself? They will come. But 
remember, love covers a multitude of wrongs. [Proverbs 10:12] Give yourself 
grace.
Grace for your failures, grace for the bent places in your life, grace for 
the process of becoming you.

10.You shall stay in the shadow of someone long enough to learn what you 
must learn but then you must move to your own sunlight.

There is a time to learn, a time to sow, and a time to grow. But then there 
is a time to shine your light and help others find their own. Know when your
season of shadow is done.

What about you? Which of these do you need the most in your life right now? 
I’d love to hear what’s going on with you in the comment section today.
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challies.com - Informing the Reforming

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

Is Your Church Messy Enough?
Is Your Church Messy Enough

I love my church. I love the people I gather with week-by-week. They are fun 
and safe and easy to be with. But who said church should be safe and easy?
What if one of the marks of a good church, a blessed church, is that it’s a 
messy church?

I’m sure you know of the parable of The Lost Sheep in Luke 15. We call it 
“The Parable of The Lost Sheep” but it is actually “The Parable of the Kind 
and
Loving Shepherd.” The sheep aren’t the point of the story. Like so many of 
Jesus’ parables, this parable was told in the presence of two groups of 
people—people
who were convinced of their own badness and people who were convinced of 
their own goodness. And in this case Jesus was speaking primarily to those 
good
and religious people.

The parable is simple: A sheep has wandered off from the flock and become 
lost. The shepherd will not rest until he has found it and restored it to 
himself.
He goes, he searches, he finds, he restores, he rejoices. Just think about 
that silly, helpless sheeping, wandering lost and alone in the wilderness. 
Think
about that tired shepherd who had to go wandering far and wide to find him. 
Think of the ways he could have responded when he finally tracked it down.

The shepherd finds his sheep and rebukes it: “You stupid, ignorant sheep. 
How dare you wander off from me?” No. He doesn’t rebuke it.

The shepherd finds his sheep and punishes it: “You dumb, disobedient sheep. 
I’ll teach you to wander off!” No, he doesn’t punish it.

The shepherd finds his sheep and is disgusted by it: “You are filthy and 
smelly! What on earth did you get into? You go clean yourself up right now 
and
I’ll come back later.” No, he doesn’t make it clean itself up.

The shepherd finds his sheep and sells it: “I can’t have a sheep like you 
polluting my flock. Do you know how you made me look in front of everyone 
else?”
No, he doesn’t get rid of it.

“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Yeah, 
that’s the one. When that shepherd finds his sheep, he cares for it. He 
hoists
that big, heavy, dirty sheep onto his shoulders and carries it home, 
rejoicing all the way. He carries it home and calls his friends and throws a 
party
to celebrate.

The point of the parable is that God loves to save the lost. He loves to 
save sinners. He doesn’t save those who are righteous and whose lives are 
all
put together, he saves those who are just plain bad. He saves the messy 
ones, not the ones who are convinced they are clean.

If God is in the business of saving sinners, we need to expect that church 
will be full of sinners—those who are still wandering and those who have 
only
just been found. If our churches reflect God’s heart for the lost, they will 
be full of people with problems, full of people showing the consequences of
a lifetime of wandering. And this means that church may not be a safe and 
easy place. It may not be a place full of people who have it all together. 
It
may be messy. It should be messy. Thank God if it is messy.

How to Become a Citizen of Heaven
Paul Tautges

A passport is a powerful document. It certifies a person’s citizenship and 
carries authority to travel to foreign countries. While visiting other 
countries
as a guest, your citizenship remains, along with a certain amount of 
protection that your country’s government promises to its citizens. And when 
it’s
time to come home your passport guarantees your safe re-entrance. But as 
wonderful as all of that is, there is something infinitely more valuable: a 
spiritual
passport, the guarantee of safe entrance into heaven when we die.

Therefore, I need to tell you how to become a citizen of heaven. Just as not 
everyone reading this blog post is a citizen of the same country, so not 
everyone
is a citizen of heaven. There are 3 truths that I am compelled to help you 
understand from the
Bible.

You are not automatically born into God’s family.

A baby born in the United States is automatically a citizen of this country. 
However, you are not automatically born a child of God, or a citizen of 
heaven.
First
John 3:10
indicates there are only two spiritual families in the world: the family of 
God and the family of the devil.

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children 
of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is
the one who does not love his brother.

You are not automatically born into God’s family. Instead of automatically 
being children of God, the Bible says we are naturally born “children of 
wrath,
like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3). How then can we become a child of God 
and, therefore, also a citizen of heaven?

To be a citizen of heaven you must become a child of God. In order for this 
to be true, you must be born again.

In
John 3:1-3
we read of the encounter Jesus had with a religious leader.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you 
are
a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless 
God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless 
one
is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus then corrected this religious leader’s misunderstanding about 
spiritual things, and called him to turn the eyes of his heart to Him by
faith.

If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you 
believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven 
except he
who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the 
serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever 
believes
in him may have eternal life. (vv. 12-15)

To become a citizen of heaven you must be born again. To be born again you 
must look to Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Savior with eyes of faith.

When you are born again; that is, when you are saved, you become a citizen 
of heaven and receive a spiritual passport.

In
Philippians 4:3,
Paul refers to his fellow workers “whose names are in the book of life.” 
What does that mean? To answer that question, we need to look to the last 
book
of the Bible, the book of the Revelation. In the twentieth chapter we read 
of a future judgment at the Great White Throne. This is the judgment of all
non-believers; i.e. those who have not turned to Jesus Christ in repentance 
and faith. As you read the verses, below, notice the mention of books. There
are multiple books, which record all the deeds of men. And there is another 
book called the book of life. This is where the names of those who have 
turned
to Christ are written.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his 
presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw 
the
dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. 
Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were 
judged
by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the 
sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who 
were
in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had 
done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the 
second
death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the 
book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Later, in the next chapter, this book of life is called the "Lamb's book of 
like." Who is the Lamb of God? Jesus Christ. Those whose names are written
in the Lamb’s book of life are those who are connected to Jesus Christ 
through saving faith in Him--and His death, burial, and resurrection.

When you are born again; that is, when you are saved, you become a citizen 
of heaven and receive a spiritual passport. And the visa is not stamped in 
black
ink, but in the red blood of the crucified Lamb of God. This guarantees your 
safe entrance into heaven after your guest tour on earth is complete. As a
result, you need not live in fear of death.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather 
fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows 
sold
for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your 
Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, 
therefore;
you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me 
before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but 
whoever
denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33)

Therefore, Jesus told his disciples not to rejoice in the miraculous, 
super-spiritual experiences they had been involved in, but instead “rejoice 
that
your names are written in heaven”
(Luke 10:20).

So, let me ask you, my friend, “Are you a citizen of heaven? Is your name 
written in the Book of Life?” If it is then rejoice that your name is 
written
in heaven. If not, today is the day to repent of your sin and turn to Jesus 
Christ who died and rose again to save you forever.

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - Better Bread
----------------------------------------------------------

Better Bread

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 09:55 PM PDT

from the devotional book,
PICTURES OF GOD

Read John 6:26-34

The crowd that Jesus had fed from the loaves and fishes followed Him to 
other side of the Sea of Galilee. When they caught up with Him, their 
opening question
was, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” (John 6:25, NASB). Jesus knew what they 
really wanted, so He ignored their question and cut straight to the point:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but 
because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6:26, NASB)

A “sign” is a miracle intended to verify the truth of a teaching. Jesus 
intended the feeding of the five thousand to be a sign pointing to Himself 
as the
Bread of Life, the satisfaction for all their deepest hungers. The crowd 
didn’t see the sign, only the free food. For people who worked hard for 
daily
bread, free food was a powerful motivator. But Jesus continued to press them 
to understand the real purpose of the sign:

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to 
eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father,
God, has set His seal.” (John 6:27, NASB)

He urged them to look beyond physical bread, shallow and temporary. He tried 
to redirect them toward Himself as the satisfaction for all their deeper 
needs.
But their hearts were focused on themselves, not on Him, and on their 
physical desires, not their spiritual needs.

They pointed out that Moses had provided manna in the wilderness and 
suggested that Jesus should do the same for them. But they were missing the 
point.
Manna had been intended to teach the people to depend on God, not on 
physical bread:

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna…that He might 
make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by
everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3, 
NASB)

Their self-centered, materialistic hearts were causing them to overlook God’s 
greater provision, just as the Jews in the wilderness had done.

What needs are you feeling in your life right now? God is using them to draw 
you to Himself.
KenBible.com.
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A Note of Encouragement

from Ciloa

Send this Note of Encouragement to a Friend
Hands reaching out and holding another's hand
People do not want advice as much as to hear a kind word, feel a gentle 
touch, and know we care for them...Chuck Graham
Because We Care

Volume XVI, Issue 37
September 12, 2016
----------------------------------------------------------

Because We Care...by Cecil Murphey

Man sitting all alone on a bench
As caring people and doers of good deeds, we tend to feel the burden of 
making huge gestures or speaking eloquently to lift our friends out of their 
doldrums,
pain, or heartaches. We focus on the result---that is, making the other 
person feel encouraged, helping them make the right decision, or offering 
insight
into their problems.

What's wrong with such desires?

Troubled woman sitting alone
Nothing.

Our attitude speaks of our desire to stretch our arms toward a hurting 
person. However, desire and wisdom aren't always compatible. I may want to 
pull
her out of depression or get him to start an exercise program. That's an 
excellent intention.

But that's not enough until we apply wisdom. We're zealous to fix 
others---which is both kind and noble. We may struggle intensely to do 
exactly the right
thing or trouble ourselves over precisely the right way to say something.

I suggest something less complicated. If we're convinced we care about the 
person (and not only the result), here it is: Follow your heart.

Woman holding a smiling child
I hesitated to write those three words because too many people feel that 
gives them permission to throw clichéd statements, quote the Bible, or 
overwhelm
others with exhortation.

Before we take any action or say anything, let's ask ourselves: If the 
situation were reversed, how would I respond? Would I want someone to say, 
"I'm
telling you this for your own good"? Would I rejoice if a friend tried to 
pull me out of my depression by saying, "Rejoice in the Lord always"?
Probably not.

Friends caring for each other
I've shed the need to be the great rescuer of souls. I simply want to do 
what little I can for others. I've learned that when I express my 
compassion,
even with no answers (or perhaps especially with no answers), I generally 
connect.

Here's a straightforward response: "I don't know, but I care about you." (Of 
course we have to mean those words.)

Something happens. When we speak from the heart---from compassionate 
caring---most of the time we connect. Our friends know when we speak 
lovingly.
Cec

Cecil Murphey is an author, speaker, teacher, survivor. He has written more 
than 140 books, including the New York Times bestsellers 90 Minutes in 
Heaven (with
Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). 
Ciloa created the Cecil Murphey Center where you will find many of his books 
as
well as other resources to bring action to God's call to encourage one 
another.

Because We Care first appeared in Cecil Murphey's Newsletter 
https://t.e2ma.net/message/if7ni/mu1kxrb,
December 1, 2015. Used by permission.
A Note of Encouragement is a copyright interest held by Ciloa, Inc.

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend

Today's

Turning Point
Friday, September 16

Be Strong and Do It!

Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 28:20

Recommended Reading
1 Chronicles 28:20-21
Near the end of his life, evangelist George Whitefield grew weak but refused 
to give up. His prayer was: “Lord, I am weary in Thy work but not of Thy 
work.
If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more 
in the fields….” Writing to a friend, Whitefield said, “O to stand fast in
the faith…and be strong.”

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
That’s what we need too—the determination to stand strong till the end. 
Scripture repeatedly counsels us to take courage and be strong. We may 
become weary
while serving the Lord, but we mustn’t grow weary of serving the Lord. We’re 
to follow the sample of David, who, in a time of crisis, “strengthened 
himself
in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

Later, in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David advised Solomon to keep going in the 
strength of the Lord. The New International Version translates 1 Chronicles 
28:20
like this: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or 
discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.”

Be strong and courageous today, and He will strengthen your hands.

What! Get to heaven on your own strength? Why, you might as well try to 
climb to the moon on a rope of sand!
George Whitefield

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Hosea 10 – 14
David Jeremiah's Website

David Jeremiah's Website

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TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
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ever-changing world.

Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2016 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Forward Email to a Friend

Today's

Turning Point
Friday, September 16

Be Strong and Do It!

Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 28:20

Recommended Reading
1 Chronicles 28:20-21
Near the end of his life, evangelist George Whitefield grew weak but refused 
to give up. His prayer was: “Lord, I am weary in Thy work but not of Thy 
work.
If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more 
in the fields….” Writing to a friend, Whitefield said, “O to stand fast in
the faith…and be strong.”

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
That’s what we need too—the determination to stand strong till the end. 
Scripture repeatedly counsels us to take courage and be strong. We may 
become weary
while serving the Lord, but we mustn’t grow weary of serving the Lord. We’re 
to follow the sample of David, who, in a time of crisis, “strengthened 
himself
in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

Later, in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David advised Solomon to keep going in the 
strength of the Lord. The New International Version translates 1 Chronicles 
28:20
like this: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or 
discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.”

Be strong and courageous today, and He will strengthen your hands.

What! Get to heaven on your own strength? Why, you might as well try to 
climb to the moon on a rope of sand!
George Whitefield

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Hosea 10 – 14
David Jeremiah's Website

David Jeremiah's Website

View Email Online
Forward to a Friend
Share this on FACEBOOK
Privacy Policy
Donate Now

TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website

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Follow Dr. Jeremiah on Facebook
David Jeremiah Twitter

To ensure that you continue to receive emails from Turning Point, please add
info@davidjeremiah.org
to your address book.

Turning Point's mission is to deliver the unchanging Word of God to an 
ever-changing world.

Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2016 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163
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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; 
all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
"
A Friend Searches until You're Found"
September 12, 2016
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law muttered, "This Man welcomes
sinners and He eats with them." Luke 15:1 (Jesus said) "The Son of Man comes 
to seek and to save the lost!" Luke 19:10
Have you ever been really lost and then experienced the love of someone who 
did everything in their power to find you? I have. Well, I wasn't really 
lost,
but I was misplaced for a while. You see, when I was younger, I would say, 
12 years old or so, my parents took us to this place in the Upper Peninsula
of Michigan. It was where the Black River meets the shores of Lake Superior. 
It is a beautiful place. Once you arrive, in order to get to the beach, you
have to park your car in the parking lot, then make your way from the lot to 
a rickety bridge over the Black River. Once over the bridge there's a fork
in the path. One goes to the beach on Lake Superior; the other goes up this 
hill along this cliff to this beautiful place called Rainbow Falls. Now, I
can't remember all the details of that day, but let's just say this. My mom 
and dad were a bit slow getting out of the car -- at least to me. I guess it
was because we had a new baby brother named Andrew. So, while they were 
fussing over him, I lead my brothers, Eric and Matthew, over the bridge 
because
-- you know how boys are -- we were excited to get to the beach. After 
crossing the bridge, looking at that fork in the road, and realizing my 
parents
were taking a lot of time, I got the bright idea to take my younger brothers 
to the falls first. I thought, we'd go there, take a quick look at the falls
and be back to the beach in no time.

So off we went. I'm not sure how long we were gone, but I guess it was a 
while. All the time we were gone, my dad was feverishly looking for us. My 
mom
was continually calling out our names. As a parent now, I can't even imagine 
what they were going through, but one thing I do understand now: I know they
would have looked for us until we were found, no matter what. How do I know? 
I can still see their faces when they ran to hold us as we got back from the
falls. I can see my mom's tears to this day. I can still see the stern 
relief on my dad's face and still hear him scold me to never run off like 
that again.
Why, because they loved me, they loved my brothers, and they wanted what was 
best for us.

It's hard to imagine today, but there are children whose parents couldn't 
care less about them. There are people who not only don't feel loved -- they
really aren't loved by the people around them or by the families in which 
they were born. It's unimaginable, but that crisis of uncaring is something 
we've
unleashed in our society in the name of "freedom to do as we please." Amidst 
all that pain, God's people can be those who at least demonstrate that's 
there's
another way to live, another way to love, to care for those no one else 
cares about.

And the very best way we can do that is to tell people of the love of God, 
the kind of love that doesn't wait for us to come and find it, to find Him.
Jesus clearly tells us, He doesn't wait for us to come home to Him; He seeks 
us to save us even when we've lost our way. Why?

Because that's the way of God's love.

His love is the kind of love that seeks us out, that finds what was lost, 
that adopts what was orphaned, that covers what is exposed, that won't stop 
until
we are found in His saving, loving arms. I felt that kind of love one day, 
when, as a sinner, I was still loved home. I'm thankful I had that kind of 
love
growing up. It really does make a difference in your life. But I'm even more 
thankful that my parents made sure that I saw the kind of love that God has
for me in Jesus Christ. It's the kind of love that is there for you even 
when everyone and everything else might be against you. Know this today: 
that
love can be yours today, and you too can see what that kind of love can do 
in and through your life!

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, when we look to You in the Bible, help us to see 
that everything You say and do in and through Your Word is coming from the 
heart
of One who desperately desires for all who are lost to be found -- and that 
includes us today! Amen!

In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz

“Praise the Lord!”
View this email in your browser

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, 
and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.”
Revelation 7:12

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
I heard about a man who got a little excited in church and kept shouting, 
“Praise the Lord!”

One day, some of the brethren called on him while he was plowing his fields. 
When they were finished talking, he hung his head and said, “I know it’s the
truth. I have disturbed the services, but you know, I sit there and think 
what the Lord has done for me, how He died in agony and blood for me upon 
the
cross, how He’s forgiven all of my sins, how He’s filled me with the Spirit, 
and—here, hold this mule while I shout!”

If being a Christian and going to heaven doesn’t excite you, then you have 
calluses on your soul. It’s exciting to know the Lord Jesus Christ!

ACTION POINT:
When was the last time you raised your hands and shouted “Praise the Lord!” 
Maybe right now is a good time!

Discover Jesus
Copyright © 2016 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

The Workings of God
by Chuck Swindoll

Esther 7:6-10

The workings of God are not related to our clocks; they are related to our 
crises. That's why God doesn't care if this is the last day you can buy that
car on sale. It doesn't bother God that it is the first day of summer or 
high noon or a quarter after seven or ten minutes to one in the morning. His 
timing
is unrelated to Planet Earth's clock time. So while waiting, look beyond the 
present.

The best way to do that is to pray! Make your life a life of prayer. Tell 
Him, in anguish if necessary, the pain of waiting. Express your panic. Tell 
Him
you're trapped. (Ask Him to hurry up, if that helps. He can handle it!) You 
don't know how you can stay afloat much longer. In those moments, ask Him to
help you see beyond the frustration and fear of the present.

The surprises in store are not merely ironic or coincidental; they are 
sovereignly designed. While anticipating, trust Him for justice. You may not 
live
to see that justice, but it will come. He is a just God; you know He is. So 
trust Him for it.

I have found while in the fog that my great temptation is either to doubt or 
to deny—maybe they're the same thing—to doubt or to deny that He is even at
work. But, more often than not, when something looks like it's the absolute 
end, it's really just the beginning. I can see this later, when I look back.

Esther, our heroine, is a lovely model to follow. And her story is certainly 
one to remember. But the best focus of all? God Himself. How perfectly He
works, how sovereignly He controls, and how remarkably He changes the face 
of things once He moves in. A queen who was passive is actively in charge. A
king who was duped is now fully informed. An enemy who was only moments away 
from exterminating a nation is now an object of scorn. And those ghastly 
gallows,
built for a Jew named Mordecai, will soon suffocate the body of a Gentile 
named Haman.

When will we ever learn? At the precise moment when it will have its 
greatest impact, God ceases His silence and sovereignly makes His move. And 
when He
does, life is full of surprises.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll,
Great Days with the Great Lives
(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. 
Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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"Choose Life!" #84-01
Sermon Text for September 4, 2016
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on September 4, 2016
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
(How Can Christians Cope With Debates and Arguments in the Media?)
Copyright 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries
Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set 
before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in 
order that
you may live, you and your descendants, by loving Yahweh your God, by 
obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life."

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia.

What's your job? What do you do? That's a question people may ask when they 
meet you. In fact, some people feel it's more important than their name! So,
how do you answer it?

You may reply by describing your nine-to-five occupation. Perhaps you talk 
about life in retirement or the daily challenges and joys you tackle as a 
homemaker.
It may be that you discuss your latest pursuit as a student.

So, what do you do? What's your job?

That little inquiry may raise your blood pressure and increase your stress 
level. It may make you feel self conscious. And what about the feelings you
might be having if you are out of a job right now or if you feel miserable 
about the work you're doing. Sometimes there are moments in your life when 
you
feel tempted to think that your best days are behind you and your purpose in 
life has faded.

Dear friends, I especially want you to know, right now, you don't need to 
despair. Whatever your situation in life might be, you have a very important
job to do. You have an incredible purpose. Embedded in your day-to-day life 
at this very moment is an important calling.

You heard me correctly. Whether you are a CEO of a corporation, or a mom 
taking care of her kids at home, a farmer, a laborer, a retiree, or a person 
struggling
with illness or loneliness, you have an incredible purpose; a very important 
job.

A wise salesman once said that his purpose was not to sell products but to 
befriend people. That salesman touched on the ultimate purpose that you and
I have in life, our calling, job number one. It is to show love to other 
people.

That's right. It's that simple and it's that difficult. Your calling, 
whatever you are doing in life, is to show God's love to other people.

But this is not a "have to," kind of thing, you know, like when you were a 
child and your parents told you to do your homework; "Ah, Mom, do I have 
to?"
This isn't a requirement that means difficulty and drudgery. It's a "get to" 
kind of thing; a joyful pursuit that permeates everything you do and every
situation in which you find yourself. It doesn't mean emptying yourself out; 
it means sharing the overflow of love you've been given. You see, we love
others because we have been loved so lavishly by God. In Jesus Christ, you 
have been called God's friend. Now you get to befriend others. You get to 
pour
love and care into their lives. That's your job, your calling. It's your 
vocation.

Jesus said it this way, "Let your light shine before others, so that they 
may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" 
(Matthew
5:16). In other words, because of your love, people will see God's love for 
them. And God's love for you in Christ is the source and the resource for 
that
kind of life, in the midst of all that you've got going on right now!

But that wonderful calling can become buried by a busy life, a distracted 
life, a life of despair. If you're a parent, you know what I mean. You get 
so
caught up in keeping up, so much so that you forget your main purpose is to 
love your kids, to lead your kids! The list of things to do grows long, the
messes around the house overwhelm, task after task can take you away from 
the reason you had children in the first place. You lose your focus on your 
purpose.

And it's not just parents. You may be a business person who gets so 
distracted by the hectic details of your daily work that you forget about 
the customer.
You may get so caught up in yourself; your own success, your own ambition, 
your own accomplishments, your own failures, your own life; that you lose 
sight
of the people you're in business to serve.

You may get so tired; tired of the daily grind, tired of unkind people, 
tired of struggle after struggle; that your true calling is lost in a fog of 
despair.

Walter Wangerin, Jr. tells the story of two workers in his book, Ragman and 
Other Cries of Faith. The workers were gas station attendants. Each had a 
completely
different attitude toward things that yielded vastly different results. The 
first he met on a cold and rainy night. Wangerin was filling his car with 
gas
when the gas station attendant came out to meet him. It was pouring rain and 
the man was there to help. Wangerin said, "I hit seventeen bucks on the 
penny,
capped the pipe, handed him the bills, and watched while he folded them into 
his roll. He did not solve some terrible trouble of mine. Nor did he save
me from disaster or fix something I couldn't fix. Nevertheless, this 
attendant did the extraordinary. He shook my hand. He smiled one more time, 
and to
me he said, 'Thank you.'"

Wangerin slid back into his car with a smile on his face and rain dripping 
from his chin. His son asked him, "Why are you smiling?" Wangerin realized 
why.
He said, "That fellow had built me up. He edified me."

But then he recalled the second attendant. After filling up his tank he 
ventured into the payment booth where the attendant sat staring at her desk. 
He
held out his money to pay.
Without looking at him she said, "Whadda-ya want me to do with that?" 
Wangerin recalled: "I was, it seemed, an intrusion in her life. She snapped 
the bills
from my hand and bedded them in the slots of her register. I stood there too 
long, I think. She said, 'Your car stuck? You waiting for something?' I slid
disquieted into the car and I sat a while. Demolition. Sadness had made me 
sad. The day had been torn down utterly."

Here's the tale of two lives, right? On one hand, the true calling, the 
genuine vocation of a person was accomplished on a rainy night at a gas 
station.
On the other hand, a person's real work, her actual job, became lost in 
drudgery and despair. Does that ever happen to you?

Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just 
as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people 
will
know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 
13:34-35).

Let me say it another way; God's love edifies. It gives life. And you, my 
friend, are in the people business. You've been placed on this earth to 
share
what people need most: enduring, true, life-edifying, divine love. You have 
been freed from a task-driven, striving-for-self-worth existence. God has 
called
you His own. He has declared you precious in His sight and proven it by 
giving up His Only Son so you could be His own. Now you represent Him here 
on earth.
You give what He has given you.

Back to the gas station attendant. Wangerin drove this point home at the end 
of the story. To the reader he asks, "You say, 'but how can I serve the 
Lord?
Anyone can do what I do.' But I say to you, 'Every time you meet another 
human being you have the opportunity. It's a chance at holiness. For you 
will
do one of two things. Either you will build him up or you will tear him 
down. There are no useless, minor meetings. There are no dead-end jobs. 
There are
no pointless lives. Swallow your sorrows; forget your grievances and all the 
hurt your poor life has sustained. Turn your face truly to the human before
you and let her, for one pure moment, shine. Think her important, and then 
she will suspect that she is fashioned of God.'"

And that's the point of our text today; choose life.

That's what Moses was communicating to the crowds as they were preparing to 
finish their journey into the wilderness after being freed from slavery in
Egypt. They would be entering a new land and God wanted to show the world 
something new. Instead of reinforcing the drudgery, distraction, and despair
that the world brings; instead of creating more bad news by leading 
destructive lives, God wanted His people to be life-givers.

So Moses called out to the people and said, "See, I have set before you 
today life and good, death and evil. ... Now choose life, that you and your 
children
may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and 
hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years
in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In Moses' day, people worshipped all sorts of false gods and in doing so 
they tore other people down so as to build themselves up. They abused and 
disregarded
the poor. They debased themselves in harmful and immoral practices. They 
even sacrificed their children on bloody altars; all in their minds to 
please
God. But the true God does not want that for anyone. He wanted people to see 
that they could be life-sharers of God-given life; building others up, 
bringing
light to darkness, and hope to despair because the true God is a God of 
grace, mercy, and rescue. He seeks and He saves.

So Moses cried out to the people, "Choose life, so that you and your 
children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his 
voice, and
hold fast to him" (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV).

As those blessed with life as a gift, choose life then! Choose to be bearers 
and bringers of life. Build up. Show love. Bless the people in your life.
That's your job. That's your calling. In everything you do, whoever you're 
with, choose life.

Some great "life-choosers" have gone before us and led the way. David Ogilvy 
is known as "The Father of Advertising." He was born in 1911 and started his
career by selling cook stoves door to door in England. He pressed on and 
ended up becoming the leader of his own New York advertising firm as 
advertising
principles were just emerging. What was Ogilvy's secret to success? He was 
committed to treating people well. He emphasized that consumers were not to
be looked down upon. They were not the enemy. In fact, he said the consumer 
is "your wife. Don't insult her intelligence, and don't shock her." Ogilvy
insisted on telling the truth and meeting the needs of customers. He chose 
life.

And what about Joe Girard? He is listed in the Guinness Book of World 
Records as the world's greatest salesman. What did Joe sell? Cars! That's 
right,
cars. Girard was a car salesman. For nearly fifteen years, he sold an 
average of six new cars each day. He sold them one at a time to individuals 
like
you and me. What made Joe such a great salesman? Was it his slick approach? 
Was he a fast-talker? Did he steal customers or sweet-talk people? No. Joe
decided to develop strong personal relationships with his customers and to 
really care about them. He listened to what they needed. He kept in touch. 
He
reached out to them and shared his genuine thoughts and feelings. He did all 
this to help them when they had problems. Joe chose life and people couldn't
stop referring others to him.

Or how about Mary Kay Ash? She took the same path in life. She became 
frustrated in the workplace after a man she trained was given a promotion 
instead
of her. So she quit her job and started her own business. Her foundational 
business approach was to "do unto others as you would have them do unto 
you"-the
Golden Rule. She believed in "praising people to success" and she helped 
women lead a balanced life by putting "Faith first, family second, and 
career
third." She encouraged every person in her company to consider every person 
precious-as if each person was wearing a sign that read, "Make me feel 
important."
Mary Kay Ash chose life and she blessed millions. You may recognize the name 
of her company: Mary Kay Cosmetics.

These people knew that their job wasn't just the tasks to be done for the 
day. Their job was people; caring about people, blessing people, loving 
people,
choosing life.

It's exactly what the Creator of the Universe did for you. Out of everything 
God had to think and do, He looked at you as if you had a sign on you that
said, "Make me feel purposeful, important." His first priority since the 
creation of the world was to care about you, to bless you, and to love you. 
Even
in our stumbling failure, constant shortcomings, and persistent sin, God 
chose life. He did it by sending His Son to rescue you. The sacrifice was 
overwhelming.
Jesus paid the price for your sin. He absorbed your brokenness, your 
thoughtlessness, and your rebellion when He gave His life for you on the 
cross. But
Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death and every barrier that would 
separate you from the love of God. As a gift for you, He chose life.

Now you have a delightful job to do. In every task you tackle, at every 
moment in life, in whatever situation you find yourself, you have a calling, 
a
vocation. You get to bless people. You get to show God's love. You get to 
elevate the conversation, change the perspective, and bring dignity into a 
difficult
world. You get to live in the life that He gifts you with, love meant for 
you, love meant for all.

What does it look like? It could be the way you put your work aside and 
disconnect from your cell phone when you get home so you can pay full 
attention
to your spouse or your kids. It may be the way you serve in your community 
and pour into people who are forgotten or in need. It may be the simple 
smile
you give to the nurse's aide in your room or the way you don't blow up at 
the cashier when the line is too long and slow. It may be the way you refuse
to be mean when you send email replies to irate people. It may be the kind 
of way you cheer at your child's ball game and the control you exercise when
you get frustrated in traffic. It may be the time you take to pray with a 
person in need or share the reason for the hope you have.

That's your job. It is your delightful calling. You are in the people 
business by God's grace. You have a grand purpose. Life chose you when God 
called
your name and made you His own through His Son Jesus Christ. Now you can 
choose life too. Every week here on The Lutheran Hour, we'll learn how to do 
this
together in Christ.

Moses told God's people the same thing that day when He said, "For this 
commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it 
far
off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven 
for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' No. But the word 
is
very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it" 
(Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

St. Paul quotes this text in Romans 10 to assure us God's ultimate saving 
Word came near in Jesus, that gift of life has been given to all who put 
their
trust in Him and that life was meant to be lived boldly, courageously, now 
and forever. In Him, by Him, through Him, choose life. You'll be blessed as
you do and so will the others in your life too. Count on it. Amen.
Print this Sermon

Action in Ministry for September 4, 2016
Guest: Suzie Sallee and Claudia Lappe

ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour. This is Action in Ministry 
and today's message focused on an important choice that we make in dealing
with others.

SELTZ: That's right, Mark. As Dr. Walt Wangerin, Jr. said in his book, "We 
were meant to build each other up, to edify;" well, I think the Scripture 
says
that absolutely. We're here to bless. That's what our life is supposed to be 
about in Christ.

ANNOUNCER: But you know there are so many times when people choose to do 
just the opposite; instead of building up, they tear others down, they 
discourage
them. Among young people today we would call that bullying. Suzie Sallee has 
written a booklet titled
The Bully
; and Claudia Lappe is a junior in high school who's experienced and seen 
bullying first hand and she's passionate about this issue.

SELTZ: Claudia, let's start with you. In school you have seen some of these 
things first hand, what's it look like?

LAPPE: Well, a lot of times bullying starts when they're little...

SELTZ: Okay.

LAPPE: ...and when you are little, you don't have a phone or anything to 
bully with so it happens on the playground, which is where everyone is 
together.
One time I was playing on the playground, we were playing tag and the rules 
were completely changed to make me lose.

SELTZ: But it sounds like stuff escalates as we get older too so what starts 
happening as we get older and this bullying keeps going on.

LAPPE: You see when kids get older, everybody gets a phone at some point and 
it's the dream to get a Smartphone...

SELTZ: Right, right.

LAPPE: ...I don't know how often, but there's always new apps being made for 
texting and messaging...

SALLEE: That's right.

LAPPE: ...and sharing with each other. These are all new ways for the kids 
to connect with each other, which is good, but some people use it for 
bullying.

SELTZ: To come at you.

LAPPE: Yeah, and since they're brand new and happening so fast the adults 
can't keep up. I'm sorry.

SALLEE: That's right and not every parent has that tracking that they keep 
on their kid's cell phones and these apps that they will put on to bully 
these
other kids, they can make it anonymous so they don't even know who's doing 
it.

ANNOUNCER: ...who's doing it.

LAPPE: Exactly.

SALLEE: Right. It just goes on and on. As these kids get older, there is so 
much on the websites. All they have to do is put in a search on how to bully
another person...

SELTZ: There's information there on how to do it.

SALLEE: Absolutely.

LAPPE: Everything's on the internet.

SELTZ: So tell us, what can make it better? How can we begin to stop some of 
this kind of stuff?

LAPPE: Well, the first thing you've always got to do is tell an adult, 
specifically a parent, because they're going to support you no matter what.

SELTZ: Right.

ANNOUNCER: Now Suzie, Claudia said that bullying starts when kids are young, 
when they're little; and your booklet is designed for preschoolers through
second grade. Tell us a little bit about the booklet and the approach that 
you took in that.

SALLEE: It's a powerful little booklet and it's jam packed with a lot of 
information. David is a very sensitive little boy, a very caring heart, and 
Billy
is kind of an obnoxious little guy.

ANNOUNCER: But you also share an important insight about the bully himself.

SALLEE: Absolutely. As you read on, you can tell that Billy is just not a 
very happy little boy and so he lashes out. As you read through the booklet,
there is not only a powerful message but lots of teachings that God has 
taught us through Jesus and you've got to read the whole thing to get to the 
end
of it to see how Billy's heart is changed and the powerful part of prayer 
that David offers up on behalf of Billy.

ANNOUNCER: This booklet can be downloaded for free at our website. You can 
also order print copies and share those at your child's school, at your 
church,
or in your neighborhood.

SELTZ: Thank you, Suzie, and thank you, Claudia, for coming in and sharing 
your heart on this very, very difficult issue.

LAPPE: Thanks.

SELTZ: It's going to be a blessing to a lot of folks. That's our Action In 
Ministry segment today to bless, to empower, and to strengthen your life in
Christ for others.

ANNOUNCER: To view or download this content for free go to lutheranhour.org 
and click on Action In Ministry. That's lutheranhour.org. Or call 
1-855-564-6316.

LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for September 4, 2016
Topic: How Can Christians Cope With Debates and Arguments in the Media?

ANNOUNCER: We are back once again with Pastor Gregory Seltz. I'm Mark 
Eischer and our listener has this to say. "In listening to the 
twenty-four-hour news
channels, the media, all we hear is this constant bickering nowadays. How 
should Christians cope with these debates and arguments in the media?"

SELTZ: Mark, there's a whole lot of that going on, isn't there?

ANNOUNCER: Honestly, there are times we're tempted to join right in.

SELTZ: You bring up a good point-and perhaps that is what our listener is 
getting at. It's easy to be pulled into the vortex of the anxiety and 
disputes
of conflicting opinions about the issues of our day.

ANNOUNCER: Should Christians respond differently to these arguments? What is 
our role?

SELTZ: That's where the Christian faith is actually counterintuitive, 
Mark-that's the way God's wisdom manifests itself actually. When it comes to 
debates,
and arguments, and opinions, Jesus always elevated the conversation. He took 
it to the places it needed to go rather than allowing it to go where the 
arguers
wanted to take it.

ANNOUNCER: Any examples of that?

SELTZ: Take Jesus' approach in the Sermon on the Mount. When He began with 
the Beatitudes in Matthew, chapter five, He turned the tables on people. He
spoke in a way they wouldn't have expected. He said, "Blessed are the poor 
in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," or "Blessed are the meek, 
for
they will inherit the earth." Jesus brought that conversation to a new 
level. He brought God's order and God's thinking into the equation. Then 
Jesus reflected
on the laws. I love it when He led off by saying, "You have heard it said.., 
but I tell you..." He elevated, changed the conversation.

ANNOUNCER: So, as followers of Christ, you're telling us we don't have to 
follow the lead of the divisive debates, the destructive bickering. There's 
another
way.

SELTZ: Definitely. This is where Christians need to be as wise as serpents 
and as innocent as doves according to Matthew 10. We aren't here to cause 
offense,
but we also aren't here to cave in to the ways of the world.

ANNOUNCER: How should we handle, then, these pervasive arguments we hear in 
the media?

SELTZ: Let's look at what Jesus did. First, Jesus didn't get pulled into the 
argument. Do you remember when He was confronted by the Pharisees and He was
asked if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

ANNOUNCER: The Pharisees thought they had him cornered, but He looked at an 
inscription on a coin and said, "You must give to Caesar what is Caesar's,
and to God what is God's."

SELTZ: You see what Jesus did. Instead of getting pulled into the argument, 
He elevated the conversation. Suddenly, the people who were trying to trip
Him up and cause an argument were speechless and put on the spot about their 
own citizenship, integrity, and stewardship of life.

ANNOUNCER: Jesus did something similar with the Sadducees when they wanted 
to prove there was no resurrection from the dead. They brought Him a trick 
question
about a woman who had been the wife and widow of five brothers; and the 
question is, "Well, in the resurrection, whose wife will she be".

SELTZ: That all takes place in Matthew, chapter 22. There Jesus didn't get 
pulled into the arguments. He elevated the conversation. When they tried 
their
trickery, He got to the heart of the issue and reinforced the truth of the 
resurrection of the dead for all.

ANNOUNCER: How should, then, we as Christians elevate the conversation?

SELTZ: This is where prayerful preparation comes in, along with regular 
reading of God's Word. You do need to be prepared. But when you feel like 
the context
is argumentative, you can interject questions that set people's sights on 
real issues, the real issues that matter. How can we love people and serve 
them?
What is the best way to do good and shine Christ's light to the world? What 
actions lead to selflessness instead of a selfish grab for power? How can we
be people of integrity and honor?

ANNOUNCER: That could definitely redirect the conversation as well as 
communicate a message. It bears witness to God's character.

SELTZ: That's the second way Jesus handled divisiveness and arguments. He 
kept the focus on God's plan of grace. Do you remember even before Pontius 
Pilate
in John, chapter 18, Jesus says, "My kingdom is not of this world"? He 
always kept the focus on God's plan to seek and save the lost, to meet our 
real
need for forgiveness of sin, a restored relationship with God the Father.

ANNOUNCER: Jesus even refused to be made an earthly king after He fed the 
5000.

SELTZ: Jesus kept the focus on God's mission of salvation by grace through 
faith in His Son, our Savior, Jesus. As arguments fly, we need to remember 
the
eternally, main focus is about reaching people with the Good News of the 
Gospel, the love of God in Jesus Christ.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran 
Hour Ministries.
Visit lutheranhour.org

Apple Cider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dean W. Masters
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KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Circle of Love
----------------------------------------------------------

The Circle of Love

Posted: 04 Sep 2016 09:55 PM PDT

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever 
sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has
decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God 
loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so
that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound 
in every good work.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply 
and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your 
righteousness.
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every 
occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s 
people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because 
of
your service, men will praise God for your obedience and generosity. (2 
Corinthians 9:6-8, 10-13, NIV adapted)

All giving begins with God. He is the source of all good things. He is full 
and overflows in love to all He has created.

He gives to us and urges us to share His joy by giving to others. He frees 
us to give generously, promising that He will supply everything we need.

When we give to others, they respond by giving thanks to God. They complete 
the circle of love that God began when He gave: God, to us, to others, and
back to God. Everyone is enriched. Everyone experiences the joys of 
receiving and giving. We are drawn closer to God and to each other.

If we grow too fearful to take what God gives us and share it with others, 
we break the circle. Others are left in need, and we cause separation 
between
each other and God.

God is offering us the joy of giving. Receive it! Be part of the circle of 
love!
KenBible.com.

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Snake Charmers of India
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Snake Charmers of India
Sep 11, 2016 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NKJV "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 
and
with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be 
in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall 
talk
of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie 
down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and
they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the 
doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Pray that as members of India’s snake charming communities embrace the 
Savior, they will allow His words to penetrate their hearts and souls.

Today's People Group

Denra, the flute player, played a mesmerizing song which coaxed the cobra 
from the woven basket. His entire income depended on the hooded snake, 
swaying
to the movement of the flute. His wife, Sarla, arrived to bring him lunch 
just as two young Christian workers they met weeks earlier stopped to invite
them to a lunch-time Bible study under a nearby mangrove tree.
One young man opened his Bible to read of one ordinary person after another 
who was used by God in His kingdom. Sarla was startled to learn that some of
the people he mentioned were women. She leaned forward, tears streaming from 
her eyes, hearing of one woman after another who became a servant of God.
After the Bible study Denra accompanied Sarla to speak to the young men. She 
stuttered through her tears how she never felt that a woman could do 
anything—yet
this God used them in His kingdom as equals to men. Sarla and Denra gave 
their lives to Jesus Christ that day, renouncing their god of the cobra, 
recognizing
that Almighty God through Jesus was the lover of their souls. They are not 
alone: In the last year 68 families from snake charming communities have 
turned
to Jesus, while 19 families from other castes have joined them in worshiping 
Christ in new fellowships.

Pray for spiritual growth and protection for these precious believers. Pray 
that they will remain faithful to the Lord no matter what comes their way.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.
Copyright © 2016 Frontier Ventures, All rights reserved.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You

Our son had just arrived in the southwestern United States to begin his work 
with Native Americans there. In fact, his supervisor in his non-profit work
was a Native American. And our son was eager to show that he was coming with 
a servant spirit, you know. He had a tremendous opportunity to do just that.
His supervisor needed his help in cleaning out a septic system. The job 
began with our son's hands having to work in that sewage. But the job got 
more
and more involved and so did his body. Before he was finished, he was in 
that septic sewage up to his waist! Needless to say, he never felt more 
disgusting
in his life. And then came the shower; that long, wonderful, heavenly 
shower! He said "Dad, I have never felt so dirty in all my life, and it 
never felt
so good to be clean!"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Shower Of a Lifetime."

Getting really clean after you've felt really dirty is a great feeling; one 
that you might be ready for - on the inside. So many of us carry inside us
the awful burden of the mistakes we've made, or the people we've hurt, the 
wounds we've inflicted, the damage we've done. We've got guilt and regrets 
that
weigh us down, maybe for some destructive choices we've made or some 
compromises or some sin we wish we could go back and erase. Sometimes it can 
feel
disgusting like all that dirt that covered our son that day. We wonder if 
there's any way to get really clean, to finally be free of the weight of it 
all,
the dirt, the guilt, the shame.

When Mark Twain was asked what were the two most important words in the 
English language, he said. "Not guilty." But when we know we are guilty, how 
can
we ever experience the freedom of those two glorious words?

There is wonderful, cleansing news today. Yes, it's in our word for today 
from the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. God is talking to people 
who've
got a past. He mentions "the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, 
homosexual offenders, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, 
swindlers." And
He delivers the bad news that those kind of people will never make it to 
heaven. It sounds hopeless until God turns on His cleansing shower in the 
next
verse.

He says, "And that is what some of you were." Did you get that? Were? You 
mean I can be free from the guilt and shame of the past? How? Well, He says,
"But you were washed, you were sanctified (which means you were made 
special), you were justified (that means you were made right with God) in 
the name
of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

The liberating message God has for you and me is this, whatever you've done, 
whatever you've become doesn't ever have to matter again. Jesus Christ 
offers
you the shower of a lifetime, to forgive every sin you've ever committed, to 
declare you "not guilty," to open the doors of heaven to you as a new, 
spiritually
clean person.

And how can this be? Because, as the Bible says, Jesus "bore our sins in His 
own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). In simple words, you did the sinning;
Jesus did the dying for it. It's all been paid for.

The forgiveness Jesus died to give you becomes yours when you tell Jesus 
that you're trusting Him to be your Rescuer from your sin. And at that 
moment
the shower of God washes you completely clean for the first time in your 
life - and clean forever.

Don't you want that? The past erased from God's Book? Every sin and a future 
and an eternity in heaven guaranteed; paid for by the blood of Jesus, God's
Son. Tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm yours." And I have wanted to lay out for 
you in a way that you can look at and think through and make sure it's yours
exactly how to begin that relationship with Jesus Christ. It's what our 
website is for. It's your day to go there - ANewStory.com. I pray you'll go 
there
today.

So many people have told me how they felt when they made Jesus their Savior. 
They've said, "It's like a huge weight was lifted off my back." That can 
happen
to you right now, right where you are. And you can know how good it feels to 
finally be clean.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA
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God Wants You to Grow Up
By Rick Warren

“From the very beginning God decided that those who came to him -- and all 
along he knew who would -- should become like his Son”
(Romans 8:29
a TLB).

God created you to become like Christ. He wants you to grow up spiritually!

The Bible says, “From the very beginning God decided that those who came to 
him -- and all along he knew who would -- should become like his Son”
(Romans 8:29
a TLB). God’s goal has always been to make you like himself -- not to become 
a god but to become godly, with godly character.

The number one question I’m asked as a pastor is, “Why is this happening to 
me?” I’ll tell you why: It’s to help you grow up spiritually. Everything in
life is designed to help you grow up spiritually -- the good, the bad, the 
ugly, the stuff you bring on yourself, and the stuff that other people do to
you. God is not the author of evil. But God can bring good out of bad 
things.

Instead of saying, “God, why is this happening to me?” say, “God, what do 
you want me to learn from this?” Every situation in life will either make 
you
bitter or better. It’s your choice how you choose to respond to it.

Every problem has a purpose, and the purpose is to help you grow up 
spiritually to be more like Jesus Christ.

So if one of the purposes of your life is to grow up spiritually and to 
become like Jesus, what is Jesus like? The Bible calls it the
fruit of the Spirit.
It says, “He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, 
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control”
(Galatians 5:22
b-23a). These are the qualities God wants to build in your life.

How does God produce those qualities in your life? How does God grow 
character and help you grow up spiritually? God teaches you these qualities 
by putting
you in the exact opposite situation.

He teaches you love by putting you around unlovely people. He teaches you 
joy in the middle of grief. God teaches you peace in the middle of chaos. He
teaches you patience in the Department of Motor Vehicles!

God will teach you all of these qualities throughout your life -- and it 
will take the rest of your life. It’s a process. He will use all kinds of 
situations
in your life to help you develop spiritual depth and become more like 
Christ.

Playtoday’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

• In what kinds of situations have you learned the most about how to be more 
like Christ?
• Why do you think so many
Christians
are still spiritually immature?
• What priority does spiritual growth have in your life? How might your 
priorities need to change?

For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit
pastorrick.com
This devotional (c) 2016 by
Rick Warren.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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

The Egg

In a land beyond the ocean in a country far, far away lived a man. He lived 
a life normal for his small village, working, farming, raising a family, 
just
living life. He was surrounded by beliefs that many of us would find 
strange. Although he worshiped a higher power, a creator, he was surrounded 
by those
who practiced witchcraft, casting evil spells and controlling people’s 
lives.

As time passed some missionaries came to this land and taught people about a 
man named Jesus. Many believed, yet at the same time, many did not. The 
Witch
doctors were of course very unhappy as they made their living selling 
spells, potions and talismans to the people. Those who turned to follow 
Jesus rejected
witchcraft, so there was a constant conflict among them.

The man in our story came to follow Jesus, he began to practice 
Christianity. The man’s wife was a believer in witchcraft and opposed her 
husbands continually
and it was a serious problem between them. It was so much of a problem that 
she couldn’t stand it any longer and decided to take drastic action. She 
went
to the Witchdoctor and asked for a way to change or kill her husband.

The Witchdoctor had the perfect plan; he went to the man’s house while he 
was working in the fields and placed an egg before the door of the house. He
made a special incantation over the egg and sprinkled it with a supposed 
“magic” powder. When the Christian man looked at the egg it was supposed to 
make
him sick and cause him to die.

When the Christian man arrived home he saw the egg and knew just what it 
was. He noticed all of his neighbors watching from their doorways and 
wondering
what he would do. To the man it was a test of his new faith; he no longer 
believed that Witchcraft had any power over him, so he decided to prove that
point. He walked up to the egg and proclaimed loudly, “Look at this, God has 
blessed me with an egg for my supper”. He went into his home, gathered a pan
and things to make a fire. He came out and made a fire in front of his house 
and cooked the egg and ate it to the amazement of all of his neighbors. It
was his testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ.

Now you may think that this is an interesting story, but just a story. But 
it is not! It is a true story that really happened in a small village in 
Kenya.
I have been to the house of the man, I have worshiped at the church he began 
in his village, I have met his wife who was then a believer also.

What is your testimony? What does the world think of when they see you? 
Does your faith show though in the way you live, the things you say, the way
you dress, the faith you exhibit in your actions? Jesus put it in simple 
terms for us in Matthew 5:15-16 where he said, “Neither do people light a 
lamp
and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on 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 glorify your Father in heaven”. How 
are you doing?

Russ Lawson
Messages From the Heart
http://messages-from.blogspot.com/
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