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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 13 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Jun 2016, 5:56 pm

Does the New Testament Misquote the Old Testament?
by Michael S. Heiser

Sometimes when a New Testament writer quotes the Old Testament, the two 
passages do not match precisely. Is the New Testament writer misquoting the 
Testament? Or is there another explanation?

Luke records that when Jesus began His ministry, He went to the synagogue in 
Nazareth on the Sabbath day. When He stood up to read the Scriptures, “The
scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him” (Luke 4:17).
Jesus read the description of a climactic arrival of the anointed one from
Isaiah 61:1-2,
excluding the last half of verse two. That omission is understandable, but 
if you look at Luke 4:18-19 and Isaiah 61:1-2side-by-side, 
several dissimilarities in what Jesus read are readily 

In the original Old Testament passage, there is no reference to making the 
blind see. Conversely, Isaiah speaks of “binding up the brokenhearted,” a 
absent in Luke. Since Luke is clear that Jesus was reading from a scroll, 
the divergence is not due to Luke (or Jesus) quoting from memory and messing
up the passage! What’s going on here?

Most of the time when a divergence occurs between a New Testament quotation 
and the Old Testament, the answer is the Septuagint, the ancient Greek 
of the Hebrew Bible. It often does not match the Hebrew text from which most 
Old Testaments were translated. Jesus apparently either read from a Hebrew
text that reflected the Septuagint, or Luke fills in the quoted passage with 
the Septuagint. (And since Luke was not Jewish and spoke Greek, the 
Septuagint would have been his Bible.)

Jesus (or Luke) gets the “recovery of sight to the blind” line from the 
Septuagint. The Septuagint also contains a line from the traditional Old 
Testament that isn’t in Luke’s record!

This example shows that it’s worth our time to check cross references, 
especially in quotations. Do it yourself by comparing New Testament 
quotations both
to translations of the traditional Hebrew text, like the NASB or ESV, and an 
up-to-date English translation of the Septuagint (New English Translation
of the Septuagint; Oxford, 2008).

We often don’t realize that even biblical writers depended on translations 
that they considered the Word of God. In the same manner, we can consider 
our own translations the Word of God.

When My Prayers Seem Trivial

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great 
and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you 
not know and understand and cannot distinguish.” Jeremiah 33:3 (AMP)

I could tell by the look on his face that my little guy was upset about 
something. Kneeling down I asked, “What’s wrong, Brody?”

“I can’t find my game, and I’ve looked everywhere!”

Feeling confident it was somewhere in the house, I agreed to help him look. 
We rummaged through closets and toy boxes. I combed through every room in 
house, while Brody frantically searched all the dresser drawers.

After 20 minutes, I started thinking maybe the treasured toy had been 
accidentally left at school or lost during one of our many errands.

My heart ached as I watched the tears puddle up in my sweet boy’s eyes. So I 
asked, “Brody, have you prayed and asked Jesus to help you find it?”

“No Mom … will you pray for me?”

Huddled together we paused and prayed, calling on the One who has all the 
answers. We asked Him to reveal exactly where the game was mysteriously 

As I wiped the tears from Brody’s eyes, we agreed that it was now time to 
wait and trust Jesus to answer our prayers when the time was right.

I knew this wouldn’t be easy. Brody was still longing to have his treasured 
item back, and asking an 8-year-old boy to trust in an invisible God was a
big request that required even greater faith.

Ten minutes later, I heard him running down the hall. “I found it! I found 

With pure joy beaming from his face, Brody waved the lost item in his hands.“Where 
was it, Brody?”

“In my sleeping bag,” he said.“How did you know it was in your sleeping 

Looking at me with a countenance of confidence he said, “Jesus told me it 
was there!”

We hugged and celebrated together — thanking God for answering our prayers.

Losing something so small might seem trivial to some. But to my little boy, 
it was a very big deal. And watching how Jesus made Himself real to Brody 
day was a very big deal to me.

We both learned an important lesson. Today’s key verse reminds us of God’s 
faithfulness when we call upon Him:“Call to Me and I will answer you, and 
you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been 
confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot 
(Jeremiah 33:3).

God invites us to call out to Him when we need answers. He promises to teach 
us things we don’t understand and even show us things that have been hidden.

I’ve discovered that these “things” can be spiritual truths, which He shows 
us in His Word or practical things like giving Brody a thought to check his
sleeping bag which he hadn’t used in weeks.

God loves us. He cares enough to speak to us about the little and big things 
in our lives. There is nothing we care about that God doesn’t want us to 
to Him.

Have you lost something you love and long to have it back? Are you rummaging 
through life looking for answers and not sure what to do next?

If it’s a big deal to you, then it’s a big deal to God. He wants you to come 
to Him about everything. No request is too small. No problem you face is too
trivial or insignificant for God.He’s invited you to ask, so ask and trust 
that He will answer.

Heavenly Father, sometimes I don’t want to bother You with the small 
problems I’m facing in life. I often wonder if they seem trivial or if I’m 
Your time asking for help. Thank You for inviting me to come and ask You 
about anything. The big issues and the small ones. Thank You for loving me 
reminding me what matters to me does matter to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 17:6-7a, “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. 
Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful 

Prayers for a Woman’s Soul,
by Julie K. Gillies, is an inspiring book that will teach wives, mothers, 
friends, sisters and daughters how to cover themselves with prayer on a 
regularbasis. This soul-pampering journey will rejuvenate, refresh and revive a 
woman’s soul!
© 2016 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

The Wilderness Cycle
by Chuck Swindoll

Exodus 17:1-16

Each of us has his or her own wilderness cycle. Some struggle with a quiver 
full of small children at home. Others have no children. Your test may not
be related to the home at all; it may be connected to your employment. 
Perhaps you're wrestling with relationships; you're abrasive and have 
with people. That's why God keeps you with people and grinds away so that 
your long-standing Egyptian habit might be altered. With others it's 
you live continually under the gun of insufficient funds. Maybe it's a 
problem related to academics and school issues. That's your wilderness.

Your wilderness does not separate from you merely because you fly several 
thousand miles to some other spot. Wherever you go, your Egyptian appetite 
you. God is in the business of not only putting you through the Red Sea at 
salvation, but in getting you to Canaan by way of the wilderness. Conversion
is often a brief trip to the altar, but maturity is always married to time.

Remember that this week. You have never lived the seven days in front of 
you, and you will never live them again. Life is like a coin. Spend it any 
you want to, but you can spend it only once. God would like you to learn 
from your experience in the wilderness. He wants to change your appetite, 
your habits, change your style, and, in the process, change your entire 

As I've been writing, such deep, inward changes do not suddenly occur; they 
begin at the cross, where you lay down your arms and accept God's gift, 
Christ. Now may be your time to say, "Lord Jesus, this is Your moment. I 
give You my heart, my life, as Your child."

May we never forget the lessons of history, whether they be our personal 
history or the history of ancient Israel. And may we heed the words of my 
history teacher, Mrs. Allen, "There are two things that you can do with 
history: you can ignore it, or you can learn from it."

Learning from the past may be hard, but continuing in ignorance is 
expensive. Better to learn those priceless lessons today than to search for 
in the scorching wilderness tomorrow.

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.

Insight's Handbook of Old Testament Backgrounds: Key Customs from Each Book, 
Watch Video
Copyright © 2016 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 

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

John 13:16, NIV

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

You and I are . . .

sinners saved, (1 John 4:16)

blood bought, (Phil. 4:5)

prisoners freed, (Num. 14:13)

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

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

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

Copyright © 2016 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at

How Do You Build Trust in Friendships?
By Rick Warren

No one who gossips can be trusted ... but you can put confidence in someone 
who is trustworth
(Proverbs 11:13

If you want to build great friendships, youve got to earn peoples trust. 
Trust is what makes the difference between an acquaintance and a friend. You
talk to acquaintances, but you trust your friends.

Everybody needs one person in their life about whom they can say, That 
person is safe. I can share anything with that person. Theyre not going to 
at me crossways. Theyre not going to reject me. Theyre not going to dump 
me. Theyre going to be there. You need a safe person who you can share 
with your fears, the worst things you feel about yourself, and your 
doubts. Its essential that what is said between you and that person remains 

If you really want people to trust you, you cannot be a gossip. And if youre 
wondering why you dont have any deep relationships, it may be because you
are a gossip. So nobody trusts you!

Did you know that God hates gossip? In fact its right up there with murder. 
We dont think gossip is a big deal. But its a big deal to God!

The Bible
says that you build trust in a friendship by keeping confidences:No one who 
gossips can be trusted ... but you can put confidence in someone who is 
(Proverbs 11:13 TEV).

Trust takes years to build and can be lost in one second of gossip. If you 
want to have deep friendships, youre going to have to zip it on gossip. 
determine not to gossip any more. If you won’t make that commitment, youre 
never going to have your deepest friendships, because people will be shallow
and superficial with you.

Playtodays audio teaching from Pastor Rick 

Talk It Over

 Would your friends describe you as a trustworthy person? Why or why not?
 What can you determine about the person who gossips to you?
 How should you respond when someone initiates gossip with you?

Lessons on the Waiting Life

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.†Psalm 
27:14 (NIV)

I love the thought of living the farm life. But growing up, the closest I 
ever got were the grapevines and gravel driveway that led up to my childhood

To me, the thought of living on a farm meant the chance to play in endless 
dirt. As a tomboy kind of gal, I always had my hands and feet in the dirt, 
I loved when my grandmother would tell stories about her life as a cotton 
farmer while we picked Muscadine grapes.

But it wasn’t until I went off to college and made friends with some South 
Georgia folks that I learned a great lesson about the farm life through the
eyes of a farmer.

A bunch of us went home with our friend for a weekend. In true college 
fashion, we showed up caravan style after our 4-hour drive and piled on beds 
take naps.

That night at dinner, as we sat down to enjoy homegrown food, my friend’s 
dad prayed to bless the food. He also prayed for the soil and the rain. That
stuck out to me, as I had never heard anyone pray like that before.

Later, he explained that the soil needed to be just right and the rain 
needed to come for the crops to grow, so their family would have produce to 
God had allowed him the strength to do the planting, but the rest was 
entirely up to God, and his job now was to wait on the completion of God’s 
while continuing his faithful work.

Later, we went out to see the pecan trees, the fields and the family’s 
livelihood. The farm life was just as fascinatingly beautiful as I imagined, 
it was also educational.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized farming is featured all 
throughout the Bible … from Adam and Eve’s instructions to take care of the 
land, to
Jesus’ use of agricultural metaphors in His teachings.

We can learn a lot from farmers … especially in regard to waiting.

I imagine farmers know first hand what our key verse encourages, “Wait for 
the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD†(Psalm 27:14).

I don’t know anyone else who better understands the toiling, the waiting, 
the trusting and the hope that comes in the middle of waiting on God, more 
a farmer.

I want to have a farmer’s heart when it comes to how I view and face various 
trials in my life, the seasons of waiting and the harder-than-I-realized 

After a crop is planted, a farmer doesn’t just kick back in a rocking chair 
on the front porch for a season of sipping sweet tea and lemonade. (That’s
what I imagine farmers drink.) They look after their crops for anything that 
would threaten to harm their harvest: weeds, bugs, hungry animals, diseases
… the list could go on depending on geography and climate.

My friend’s farmer father didn’t fret over all the cares of the growing 
season. He sought God for provision of every detail … right down to the soil 
his feet.

We would do well to follow his example.

We may not be planning to go out and toss seeds across the yard today, but 
we can make the choice to persevere with patience in any situation we find 
in or any challenge that comes our way.

When we plant seeds of Scripture and the loveliness of the character of God 
continually into our hearts, we will persevere.

Dear God, thank You for providing for me in ways that I see and ways that I’ve 
yet to realize. Help me to wait on You with the assurance that You will
provide for all my needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 3:7, So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is 
anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (NIV)

Galatians 6:9, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper 
time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)
© 2016 by Annie Downs. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks

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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jun 2016, 10:34 pm

What it Really Means to Put Your Hope in Christ
Candace Crabtree
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
Proverbs 13:12
Without hope we can literally become sick. Heartsick. Sick in our minds and 
souls. This sickness can lead to discouragement, depression, hopelessness.
But how do we find hope? Where do we look for it? How do we gain it? How do 
we fill our hearts and minds with the hope of Christ? We may know in our 
that Christ alone is our source of hope… but how do we get our hearts to 
believe it, too?
“Hope, as you will find, is a skill that takes practice.” Edward Welch
Hope takes practice.
Hope takes faith.
Hope takes work.
Hope must be an active word in our vocabulary. Hope is not passive. Hope 
doesn’t arrive on our front doorstep. Hope must be invited in. Hope must be 
Hope must be practiced.
You may be wondering what I mean by “practicing hope” and this is a valid 
question. It sounds odd or maybe you’ve never considered before that we can 
proactive and intentional about filling our lives with hope and joy.
8 Ways to Practice Hope
1. Pray often. Pray without ceasing. When you don’t know what to pray, say 
the Name of Jesus. Pray God’s Word.
2. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ. He delights in you! You are His 
child. You are chosen. You are loved. You are forgiven. You have the hope
of eternity.
3. Confide in a friend. Do not suffer alone. Send out a plea for help by 
text. Let others walk alongside you in your trials.

4. Go outside. Nature can be therapeutic. Take a walk. Thank God for His 
beautiful creation.
5. Count your blessings. Actually name them. Write them down. Create a 
gratitude journal and add to it daily. Count your blessings one by one…
6. Praise. Did you know that when we worship and praise our Father the enemy 
flees? Praise silences the enemy. So turn up the praise music! Have a dance
7. Do not neglect fellowship through the Body of Christ. As hard as it can 
be when we are down and out, we must not forsake the assembling of 
We were made for relationships. Allow others to encourage your heart and you 
can be an encouragement as well! Allow others to lift you up in prayer. And
when you intercede for others, that also helps to take your mind off of your 
own problems.
8. Get in the Word. Stay in the Word. Pray the Word. Memorize the Word. 
Meditate on the Word. His Word gives life to us. Do not neglect the gift of 
Word. This love letter from God is the key to our hopefulness.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let 
us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes 
on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he
endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the 
throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so 
you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3
Friends, we must learn to fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter 
of our faith. For the joy set before Christ, He endured the cross. Can you
imagine? With joy he faced the cross… for you and for me. This passage tells 
us how to gain hope: “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
When we lose heart, we become hopeless. To not lose heart, we must practice 
hope. We must set our hearts and minds on things above and not on earthly 
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things 
above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on 
above, not on earthly things.”
Colossians 3:1-2
God’s Word is full of admonition and encouragement for where to fix our mind 
and thoughts. When we meditate on God’s Word, when we fix our hearts and 
on the things of God, what we are doing is practicing hope. And this act of 
practicing hope is essential to our abundant life in Christ.

Candace Crabtree is just a broken mama thankful for grace and new mercies 
every morning. She and her husband live in East Tennessee where they 
their 3 kids. Candace also enjoys teaching piano, coffee, good books and 
blogging at His Mercy Is New.
On her blog she shares encouragement for weary women from God's Word along 
with resources for learning to pray the Scriptures.
Publication date: March 31, 2016

Polishing God's jewels!

"They will be Mine in the day when I make up My jewels!" Malachi 3:17

(Robert Leighton, 1611-1684)
God has many sharp-cutting instruments and rough files for the polishing of 
His jewels. Those He especially loves and means to make the most 
most often uses His tools upon!

(Richard Newton, "Bible Jewels")
Jewels are polished for the sake of removing specks and blemishes from them. 
They are often cut and polished on purpose to make them look more beautiful.
If a large diamond is to be put on the crown of some great king, it is only 
by cutting and polishing that it can be made to shine with all its 

When you look at a diamond, you see that it has many faces or sides. These 
don't belong to diamonds naturally. When they are found in the mines, they 
none of these smooth faces. They are then like little pebble-stones, without 
any particular shape. These smooth, even sides are made by the jeweler, by
grinding and polishing. And they are made on purpose to make the diamond 
look more beautiful.

In the same way, God cuts and polishes His jewels in order to make them 
shine more brightly and beautifully in the crown of His glory in Heaven.

Sometimes we see good Christian people who have very heavy trials which they 
are obliged to bear for many years. And when we see them bearing those 
we often wonder what it is all for.

God is using those trials just as the jeweler uses the files and wheels--to 
polish His jewels so as to make them brighter and more beautiful in Heaven.

There was that poor beggar at the gate of the rich man, of whom we read in 
the New Testament. He was left to be so poor, and to have all those dreadful
sores, not because God could not help it; He could easily have made him a 
rich man and have kept him from having any sores at all, if He had so 
But Lazarus was one of God's jewels, and God was making use of his poverty 
and beggary and sores--in order to polish that jewel and make it shine more
beautifully in Heaven!

All of God's jewels need polishing!

"I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!" Isaiah 48:10
Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

At the End of Your Rope
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“Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His 
servant... let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”
Isaiah 50:10

I have always been amazed at the advice worldly people give to someone who 
is hurting. “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”
Can you see someone dangling over a cliff, holding on to a rope, and trying 
to tie a knot? It takes two hands to do that!

The first thing we need to remember is “don’t demand to understand.” There 
are some things in life you and I just will never understand. When God 
darkness to overshadow your life, don’t set about lighting your own fire. 
That’s a recipe for heartache.

Trust that His light will come and wait for it. He will come. Believe it.

There’s someone out there who is hurting today and needs more than a pat 
answer of encouragement. Give them the light of Christ.
Discover Jesus
Copyright © 2016 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.|

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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jun 2016, 7:29 pm

The Gift of Prophecy and Prophets

The spiritual gift we look at now is the gift of prophecy. WE find it listed 
in Paul’s writing to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 12:10 (NRSV)
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the 
discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the 
interpretation of tongues.

We find the following definition of the Greek word for prophecy used in the 
above verse as defined by Strong:

1a) a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the 
purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or 
comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling 
future events

So prophecy is giving the Word of the Lord which includes preaching. There 
are people who have been given the gift to be used in a major way. Paul 
lists this in the same chapter where he writes about spiritual gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:28 (NASB95)
28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, 
third teachers, then
miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of 

Just because someone calls themselves a prophet doesn’t mean they are a true 
prophet. We are given warnings as below:

2 Peter 1:20-2:2 (NASB95)
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter 
of one’s own interpretation,
21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men 
moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Chapter 2

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there 
will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce 
destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing 
swift destruction upon themselves.
2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of 
the truth will be maligned;

1 John 4:1 (NASB95)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see 
whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into 
the world.

So give a message if God gives you one. Be sure if someone does give you a 
message that it coincides with what the whole of the Bible says. If it doesn’t 
then forget it.

by Dean W. Masters

A Caring Church

Luke 10:25-37

Do you realize that believers should not have to look beyond the body of 
Christ to have their needs met? We are meant to be a self-sustaining body. 
several decades in ministry, I have seen only one way for the church to 
function as it should: believers must commit to give of themselves on behalf 

For example, a man determines to pray and struggle alongside a hurting 
brother until the burdensome situation is resolved or peace returns. Or a 
makes herself available to answer a new Christian's questions about the 
weekly sermon--the two ladies search the
and fill their minds with Scripture. And there are countless other ways to 
serve others, such as driving an elderly member to the service, teaching a
Sunday school class, or visiting a weary single mom and listening to her 

Before you become overwhelmed by the variety of needs in your church, let me 
remind you that loving each other is meant to be a body-wide effort. One 
cannot meet every need. But suppose you commit to serving a small group of 
folks whom God brings into your sphere of influence. If, in order to care 
them, you surrender self-focused preferences about resources and time, the 
Lord will bless you with more joy and contentment than you've ever known.

To serve others before serving yourself is to practice authentic
I'm certain that if believers commit to meeting as many needs as the Lord 
brings to their attention, then a lazy church can be transformed, becoming a
true body of believers who function together for the glory of God.

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

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights 

Why We Should Love Our Enemies

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
(Luke 6:27)

There are two main reasons why Christians should love their enemies and do 
good to them.

One is that it reveals something of the way God is. God is merciful.

• “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the 
just and on the unjust” (
Matthew 5:45).
• “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to 
our iniquities” (
Psalm 103:10).
• “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in 
Christ forgave you” (
Ephesians 4:32).

So when Christians live this way, we show something of what God is like.

The second reason is that the hearts of Christians are satisfied with God 
and are not driven by the craving for revenge or self-exaltation or money or
earthly security.

God has become our all-satisfying treasure and so we don’t treat our 
adversaries out of our own sense of need and insecurity, but out of our own 
with the satisfying glory of God.

Hebrews 10:34:
“You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property [that is, without 
retaliation], since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and 
abiding one.” What takes away the compulsion of revenge is our deep 
confidence that this world is not our home, and that God is our utterly sure 
and all-satisfying

So in both these reasons for loving our enemy we see the main thing: God is 
shown to be who he really is as a merciful God and as gloriously 

The ultimate reason for being merciful is to glorify God — to make him look 
great in the eyes of man.

Copyright Information

This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit

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More Than Fair-Weather Christianity
View this email in your browser
“If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself.”
2 Timothy 2:13

Are you a fair-weather Christian? There are some who, if their children get 
sick, will stop tithing. If they get a bad report from the doctor, they stop
praising. If somebody hurts their feelings, they stop going to church.

You can tell the commitment level of a Christian by their “fair weather” 
The test is, when everything goes wrong or doesn’t add up, what will you do?

I’ll give you some hints. Keep giving. Keep praying. Keep praising. Keep 
witnessing. Keep worshipping. Don’t fail to be faithful.

Think of three things you can do today to bring the light of God’s Son to 
someone who may be struggling with his or her faith. Then go do it!
Copyright © 2016 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.

Getting Nowhere Fast

"Meanwhile, Boaz went up to the town gate and sat there." Ruth 4:4

The town gate was the place in town where many legal transactions took 
place. Boaz wanted approval from the elders to marry Ruth, but he first had 
to clear
any prior claims to her estate. Instead of running around, making things 
happen, Boaz went to the gate, sat and waited until the people he needed to 
with came by the gate. Boaz was secure in his purpose and knew he was in 
God's will so he trusted plans to unfold.

Are you rushing around trying to make things happen or are you waiting on 
God to lead the way? Relax, regroup, and let God lead the way.

PRAYER: Lord, let me learn to wait. Show me your plan for my life and give 
me the patience and the trust to let it unfold in Your way. Stop me from 
around, trying to make things happen and let me rest in your peace.

3 Steps to Overcome Fear and Not Give Up
Annie F. Downs

I’m scared of the ocean. I’m not too proud to admit that to you. It is the 
literal home of animals that choose to eat humans.

I am a human. I do not want to be anything’s dinner.

For years, I have avoided the ocean for this reason. I have always loved 
going to the beach, and I am perfectly happy sitting on the sand or swimming 
a pool. But swimming in the ocean, even as a thirty-something year old 
woman, just did not seem like a worthy risk.

Until last fall.

Twenty of my girlfriends and I took a weekend trip to the beach. Wives, 
mamas, hard working women, everybody left their babies and husbands and jobs 
lives to take a short but sweet vacation together.

And on our first day at the beach, the waves were massive but manageable, 
and we wanted to play.

This situation immediately put my heart in conflict. Fun is a high priority 
to me, and the idea that all these friends who spend their lives serving 
and caring for others were going to throw caution to the wind and play in 
the waves? Well, that’s all my dreams come true.

Also? All my nightmares come true because SHARKS.

Do I face my fears and play with my friends in the water or do I stay where 
I am, seated comfortably on the beach, and take a lot of hilarious pictures
on my iPhone of my friends getting absolutely creamed by the waves?

. . . . .

It’s a silly example to be sure, but doesn’t it resonate with you when you 
think about your own fears and struggles?

The risk to quit your job and start a new career.

The risk of asking that woman on a date.

The risk of sharing your dreams.

They all look like they could be fun, like those big waves in the ocean, but 
what if there are sharks in the water?

Fear is always trying to whisper to you about how you should live your life, 
offering to decide for you how you want to spend your time, money, and 

And then that one opportunity comes around and you think, “this could be 
worth it. This could be the time that I’ll be glad I didn’t listen to my 

. . . . .

But how do you decide, in that moment, if the risk is worth it?

1. Sift out the truth.

You’ve got to figure out what is true and what is a lie. In my situation, is 
it likely that a shark is going to eat me if I’m playing in the ocean with
my friends, only up to my waist in crystal clear salt water? It’s not 
impossible, there’s a little risk, but it’s definitely not likely.

For all the daily risky decisions that you face, probably less of the 
oceanic type, you must find the truth, embrace it, and let the lies that 
fear whispers
fall to the ground. We have the
to center us, to remind us what is true and what God’s ultimate plan is for 
our lives. We can turn there, any time, and find hope and direction and 
that can speak the true things into our stories.

But at times when the truth seems hard to find...

2. Invite others in

We were never meant to do this life alone. Whether that is your spouse or 
counselor or small group, we have to invite other people into our fears and 
them help us identify truth where we can’t see it ourselves.

I sat on the beach with my friends that day and just said out loud, “we’re 
not going to get eaten, right?” with a little half smile on my face (and 
panic in my heart).

“No. We aren’t.” Molly replied.

And that’s all I needed. I needed someone else to hear my fears and fight 
them with me. I wanted to stay right on that beach, to give up on swimming 
the waves, but my people wouldn’t let fear win.

I was facetiming this morning with my little brother across the country. He 
asked a simple question and suddenly tears were in my eyes and I said 
a fear that I had not previously been able to put into words. It didn’t 
change the situation, but it changed me to invite him into the sentences 
in my head.

3. Look for lovely

And at some point, you just have to plug your ears to the fear voices and 
look around you. What is beautiful about the situation right before your 
Even on the hard days, can you find one little bit of beauty to help you 
hang on? Like a gas station in a cross country trip or a knot in the rope 
are climbing, those moments will be what helps you hold on when it all feels 
to hard or the fear sounds too loud.

The girls and I ran out to the waves and for almost an hour we got tossed 
around, slammed to the bottom of the sea, and laughed our heads off. We 
over waves like we were children and I lost my very favorite hat. But it was 
a beautiful afternoon.

I’ll never regret running out to the water with my girlfriends, making 
memories doing something we may not repeat again anytime soon. Even though 
it cost
me my Boston Red Sox baseball cap, the risk was worth it. I’m glad I didn’t 
let the fear win.

Annie F. Downs,
author of
Looking For Lovely
(April 5, 2016, B&H Books), is also a speaker and blogger based in 
Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight 
the everyday
goodness of a real and present God. An author of three previous books - 
Let's All Be Brave, Perfectly Unique, andSpeak Love, Annie also loves 
around the country speaking to young women, college students, and adults. 
Annie is a huge fan of bands with banjos, glitter, her community of friends,
boiled peanuts, and football games.

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5 Essential Insights for Deepening Your Spiritual Life
Liberty University

If you’re a believer, you have a spiritual life. Just like any other kind of 
life, it can grow or wither, thrive or struggle, or ebb and flow. As 
of Christ, we should be wanting to move closer to him and dive deeper in our
but it can be challenging to know just how to go about doing that. How do we 
actually take our spiritual life to the next level?

Dr. Mary Lowe, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Professor for 
Liberty University’s School of Divinity, shares five essential insights that
help all of us as believers strengthen our faith:

1. If you want to grow spiritually, you have to plug into community. “The 
importance of social connections cannot be underestimated or ignored if we 
to grow and develop spiritually,” Dr. Lowe says. “It’s what shapes us 
socially, emotionally, psychologically, morally, and spiritually.” If you 
currently attending a church consistently, that’s a great place to start. If 
you are, perhaps the next step for you is to join a small group or a 
team. Attending events at your church throughout the week is another good 
way to stay connected with other believers.

2. Growing spiritually transforms every part of who you are. Deepening your 
spiritual life will inevitably affect other parts of your life, too. “Paul
tells us in Ephesians 4 that the goal of the transformation process 
empowered by the Spirit is to achieve “the fullness of Christ” (4:13) by 
“growing up
into all aspects” (4:15) of Christ’s complete and perfect humanity,” Dr. 
Lowe says. “An awesome goal that we can accomplish only when we cooperate 
the way God has designed us to grow as Christians.”

3. The people around you affect you, so choose wisely. “We tend to think 
that what we do individually has little or no impact on the larger ecology 
Body of Christ,” Dr. Lowe says. “But the reality is that we are more 
connected in more ways to more people than we may realize so what we do 
does have an impact on others, either directly or indirectly. I think that’s 
at the heart of what Paul is getting at in 1 Corinthians 12 when he notes
that ‘If one part [of the Body] suffers, every part [of the Body] suffers 
with it; if one part [of the Body] is honored, every part [of the Body] 
with it.’ How we treat one another impacts how we grow with one another.” If 
your friends or family are pulling you away from your faith or making it 
for you to avoid temptations, it might be wise to step back from those 
relationships in a healthy and honest way. You don’t need to cut ties 
but choosing to surround yourself more and more with other believers who 
will encourage you and hold you accountable to your faith will be essential 
your walk with the Lord.

4. The Internet can also be a powerful tool in your spiritual growth. If you 
think about it, we use social media in our world now in a similar way that
Paul and other disciples used letters in the
It’s a way of connecting with others who are physically far away while 
sharing news, encouragement, and our lives despite the distance. “Online 
show us that we can give and receive care for one another, value those 
relationships, and share with one another those dimensions that go into 
connections and community,” Dr. Lowe shares. “Paul models this for us 
through the way in which he fostered the spiritual growth of his churches 
the medium of letters written to encourage and strengthen believers (1 
Thessalonians 4:1, 18; Ephesians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 10:11).” While in-person 
are still essential to our spiritual lives, the Internet can provide unique 
ways for us to learn and stay connected to a broader Christian community.

5. Influence can span three degrees. Dr. Lowe shares the insights of 
Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler who studied and wrote a book on the 
effects of
social networks in our lives: “Social influence does not end with the people 
to whom a person is directly tied. We influence our friends, who in their
turn influence their friends, meaning that our actions can influence people 
we have never met. Everything we do or say tends to ripple through our 
having an impact on our friends (one degree), our friends’ friends (two 
degrees), and even our friends’ friends’ friends (three degrees).” This can 
both a wonderful and challenging, and Dr. Lowe says the key to growing and 
developing spiritually is to “know how to maximize the positive influence of
social networks and take steps to diminish the negative influences.”

Faith is not something that can grow in a vacuum. It thrives when rooted in 
community, with accountability, encouragement, and wisdom shared among other
believers both near and far. It blossoms when attended to, like any other 
living thing. The more we prioritize our spiritual life, nurture it, focus 
it, and give it the proper ingredients of prayer, time in the Word, and 
fellowship, the more we will see our faith deepen and produce fruit.

Dr. Lowe shares one story of how community powerfully impacted her own 
spiritual life: “My husband Steve and I were part of a Sunday school class 
at our
church for nearly 10 years before we moved away. During that time, we 
experienced what it meant to grow in community. That small group became more 
a collection of individuals. We became a community as we worshiped together, 
prayed together, shared our fears, and asked tough questions of our own 

This community studied Scripture together, shared meals together, spent time 
together, and lived their lives together in a variety of capacities.

“Comparing the first day we walked into that class and the last time we came 
together, we knew more, we had closer relationships, and we did more for 
around us,” says Dr. Lowe. “We had greater trust for one another, we 
encouraged each other more, and we became more aware of God’s leading in our 
We weren’t the same people as we were in the beginning. Sharing those 
moments allowed the wet cement of our Christian fellowship to set and build 
up the
body one brick at a time.”

When we focus on these five essential insights Dr. Lowe shared, we can grow 
closer to both Christ and other Christians. We can grow both the strength 
the depth of our faith, with the ultimate goal being “that we may present 
everyone complete in Christ,” as Paul says in Colossians 1:28.

Written by Rachel Dawson, editor for Sponsored by
Liberty University,
training champions for Christ since 1971; and
Liberty University Online,
the largest Christian university in the world with over 200 online programs.

Sing It Out!
by Chuck Swindoll

Exodus 14:23-15:22

After God drowned Pharaoh's entire army in the sea, for the first time in 
history Israel found herself living in the Egyptian desert, out in the open,
completely on her own. The Hebrews had begun their journey to the land of 
Canaan. God had proven Himself faithful; the nation had walked through the 
on dry land. How awestruck they must have been! As a result, they sang a 
song of great praise to God. All the way from verse 1 to verse 21 of Exodus 
they continue to sing.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever, on the spur of the moment, scratched 
out a song of praise to the Lord? I recommend it to you; it's actually an
exciting experience. You say, "Well, Chuck, that's fine for you, but I'm not 
some kind of eloquent, creative poet. I don't have that gift. Words don't
flow through me like that."

Really? How do you know if you never try? The next time you go through an 
experience, and God proves Himseld faithful, stop and think, Maybe I could 
a song. (Even if it's for an audience of One.) That's how praise songs are 
born. Why not compose one today?

On the heels of this Hebrew song of triumph and gratitude comes a word 
denoting a particular time; "then." When? After the Red Sea. After the first 
of freedom. After their wonderful song of praise. Scripture records, "Then 
Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of

What a description of the Christian life! All of us have been through the 
Red Sea. Spiritually speaking, believers have all been placed in God's 
through the cross. We have come to know the Lord Jesus. And in coming to 
know Him, we have been delivered for the first time from bondage to the old 
How glorious! Freed from the domination of our old master, we have been 
given a new song, a new life, a new beginning. But in this beginning we 
discover we must endure some wilderness experiences. Looking back, we later 
realize they were deserts designed by God for a very real purpose. But what
a come-down after our Red Sea conversion.

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.

Daily Renewal
May 9, 2016

2 Corinthians 4
This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of 
glory beyond all comparison. (v. 17)

When Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, they were facing 
persecution, death, and suffering for preaching the good news of Jesus 
Christ. Even with
constant danger, he urged them to remember God’s promises.

Many people live with invisible aches that cannot be detected. They may feel 
abandoned, and for them it doesn’t feel like “light” affliction. Closest 
may not even know the great inner pain that their loved ones have. Some have 
scars much deeper than skin from growing up with abusive parents, divorces,
wayward children, and more.

Even if we go through horrible trials as the first Christians did, we can be 
assured that our Lord cares at all times and will not forsake us. Paul said
we should never give up hope and we should fix our gaze on the things we 
cannot see. The things we can see will soon be gone and will not last 

If you are going through a deep valley, offer it all to the Lord. He is the 
only hope in our stressful lives. Surrendering your past and present pains
to God doesn’t mean life will be perfect, but you won’t be consumed. We can 
hold on to hope because as our bodies waste away, our spirits are being 
every day. This passage assures us that the one who raised Jesus from the 
dead will raise us out of our earthly sufferings and into his presence in 

Faithful Father, thank you for your mercy and hope amidst great pain.

Author: Myrna Folkert

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Today's Daily Encounter

Divine Healing

"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of
the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in
the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith
will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him
up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore
confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous
man is powerful and effective."1

A Daily Encounter reader asks: "I would really
appreciate it if you could shed some light on an issue
that I've been struggling with. What are your views
regarding divine healing? I was reading Andrew Murray's
book, Divine Healing, where he states that Christ Jesus
died both for our physical and spiritual lives. He goes
on to say that every sickness is inflicted by Satan
(the devil). Hence, we, as sons of God, can find
healing in Jesus."

Far be it from me to disagree with the above-mentioned
distinguished author, but while Satan is a direct cause
of some problems, he is not of all. Sometimes we blame
the devil for far too many things (and give him too
much "glory/attention"). I once gave a talk on the
following subject: "The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It--I
Can Foul Things Up All by Myself." True, Satan is the
originator of all that is evil and bad, and while he is
a powerful being, he is not omnipotent (all powerful),
omniscient (all knowing), or omnipresent (all present).
These are characteristics of no one but God.

We sin because we are sinners, not because the devil
made us do it! We also get sick because we live in a
broken, sick world. To blame Satan for every sin I
commit, for every problem, and every sickness can be a
handy excuse to hang on to if I don't want to accept
reality and responsibility.

When it comes to sicknesses ... some are caused by
germs, infections, and viruses; by eating contaminated
food or drinking germ-laden water; by not washing one's
hands before eating; by being bitten by a mosquito, and
so on. It is impossible to avoid some of the sicknesses
caused by these things. However, by practicing healthy
hygiene (and having loving relationships), we are able
to avoid some, if not many, of them.

While I believe in divine healing, I also believe in
living responsibly. Also, we sometimes get sick and
open to infections and viruses because we don't get
enough rest and exercise, or eat a well-balanced diet.
So will God heal us when we act irresponsibly? I have
my doubts and wouldn't plan on it.

Then, too, many of our diseases are DIS-EASES which are
caused or greatly aggravated by things that are
troubling us emotionally--such as unresolved,
supercharged, repressed negative emotions of guilt,
resentment, hatred, jealousy, worry, anxiety, an
unforgiving spirit, and so on. Stress, too, is a
"killer." And some ulcers, for example, are caused not
by what we eat but by what is eating us as are many
other ills.

I don't believe God will ever heal us from our symptoms
if we fail to face and deal with the cause/s. If he
did, he would be keeping us immature and irresponsible.
This is why James says that if we are to find healing,
we need to first confess our sins and faults--this
includes dealing with and resolving any and all
unresolved emotional issues, including deeply buried
super-charged negative emotions which cause many and
varied sicknesses.

Speaking personally, when I learned to admit and
resolve my buried grief and anger, I was healed of
distressing hay fever and bursitis. But I didn't
resolve my grief and anger overnight. It wasn't a quick
fix/healing, but rather a process of working through
and resolving these deeply buried negative emotions.
Only when I did, was I healed.

The reality is if we follow and live by sound
biblical principles, we will have a much greater chance
of living healthily and being healed of many DIS-EASES;
that is, things that are troubling us and cause us to
be ill at ease. At other times, when our illness has
not been caused by irresponsible living and/or is
totally out of our control, God does heal. Thousands of
people can attest to this fact. Even the secular media
reports how prayer is a powerful means in the healing

It seems to me that the important thing to do if we
have an illness or any other problem, and want to be
healed is to pray the right prayer. First (based on
James's admonition to confess our sins and faults
before praying for healing) if you know of any sin or
unresolved guilt, worry, anxiety, resentment in your
life, confess and resolve this/these to clear the way
for healing.

Second, if there is a deeper, hidden cause behind your
sickness, ask God to reveal this to you and lead you to
the help you need to resolve it.

Third--also in harmony with James' admonition--call for
the elders of the church to pray for you and anoint you
with oil in the name of the Lord.

Many, I'm afraid, go directly to the third step,
ignoring the first two. Not good nor effective!

On the other hand, regardless of what some people and
authors say (even if we follow the preceding steps),
not every Christian who gets prayed for is healed. Some
do. And some don't. Dorcas (in the Bible) was raised
from the dead. John the Baptist lost his head and
stayed dead. The Apostle Paul had some kind of problem
but was never healed of or delivered from it. (God had
a higher purpose for him and he may for us also.)

Here's what Paul wrote after having a profound,
heavenly experience: "To keep me from becoming
conceited because of these surpassingly great
revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a
messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I
pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he
said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my
power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will
boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that
Christ's power may rest on me."2

By way of interest, it was because of Paul's profound
spiritual experiences and responsible position that God
allowed a messenger of Satan to torment him. If we are
not truly committed to and faithfully serving God, it's
not too likely Satan is going to torment us for
something that we are not experiencing or doing!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, here are the symptoms in
my life (name them). Please confront me with any area
in my life where I am not acting responsibly, and any
unresolved issues in my life that may be a cause behind
my symptoms, and lead me to the help I need to resolve
these so I can be healed. Help me to know what to do
and, if it is in harmony with Your will, please heal
me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NIV).
2. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NIV).

Click HERE to return to Part 1 of Divine Healing.


NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on:
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on
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:

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
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Phone: 949-940-9050
Copyright (c) 2016 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2016
ACTS International.

The Gift of Miracles

We now look at the gift of miracles.

1 Corinthians 12:10 (NRSV)
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the 
discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the 
interpretation of tongues.

Here is what Matthew Henry said about the working of miracles:

To another the working of miracles; the efficacies of powers, energeµmata 
dynameoµn, such as raising the dead, restoring the blind to sight, giving 
speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, and the use of limbs to the lame.

So the gift of miracles goes beyond the gift of healing which we studied 
last time. Both are mentioned as gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible 
there are accounts of God’s followers who have done all the things that 
Matthew Henry wrote about. These things still happen.

Once I heard a young man who had just gotten back from a mission trip to 
Haiti. He did not speak the language but needed an interpreter. He had 
worked with that interpreter for most of a week with nothing happening. No 
one even gave their life to Jesus Christ. So one night toward the end of 
that week he prayed that the Lord would let him be involved in some kind of 
ministry while he was there on this mission trip. The next day he was 
standing in the street without his interpreter when a woman came up to him. 
He could not understand a word she said but noticed that one eye was missing 
and the eyelid was closed. He thought she had come to him for prayer to 
restore her sight so he prayed that the Lord would do just that. After he 
prayed, he looked at her and could see a milky substance swirling around in 
that eye socket. Then a whole eye formed. She started praising god!

If the Lord puts it on your heart to do anything like he did for this young 
man in Haiti, don’t second guess Him. Follow His leading and His dunamos 
power will come through. You don’t know what might happen!

by Dean W. Masters

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Post  Admin on Sun 05 Jun 2016, 9:22 pm

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's Turning Point
Tuesday, May 3

The Remedy for Loneliness

Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?
John 21:16

Recommended Reading
John 21:15-19
An English newspaper recently ran a story about “Britain’s Most Unloved 
Dog.Maggie, who was abandoned in 2003 by a large family that could no 
cope with pets, ended up at a place named Serendipity Kennels. Over the past 
eleven years, more than 50,000 people looking for a dog have bypassed her.
No one has offered to give Maggie a home.

If that story touches your heart, think of the millions of babies, children, 
teens, adults, and senior adults in the world today who are lonely and 
We can’t meet all the needs in the world, but there are two things we can do 
each day.

First, let’s be on the lookout for those needing love. Our streets, stores, 
schools, offices, and even churches are filled with lonely people. Often we
can provide the lifeline of friendship, and sometimes it costs us little 
more than a smile and a kind word.

Second, let's keep telling our loved ones that they are our loved ones. No 
one can be told too often that they are loved. Husbands, wives, sons, 
brothers, and sisters all need to hear us say: I love you

The reassurance of love is the remedy for loneliness.

A Single Thought: Verbalize your love for others—it bears repeating.

1 Chronicles 13 16
David Jeremiah's
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2016 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.

Come with Me

“And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that 
they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so
that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ 
knees, saying, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’†Luke 5:7-8 

Google Maps is my friend when I drive to an unfamiliar place. It tells me 
exactly where I’m going and when I’ll arrive.

I also like lists. A grocery list gets me in and out of the store quickly. A 
schedule tells me what to expect from my day. My yearlong planner maps out
my goals.

While these are helpful in my everyday life, I usually don’t have that 
luxury in my faith.

Sometimes, Jesus simply says, Come with me, Suzie, and I have no idea what 
the next step looks like, much less where the finish line ends. I don’t know
if I have everything I need or if I’m equipped for the journey.

My emotional reaction might look like this:

If You’ll just tell me the plan (every part of it), I’ll come with You.Lord, 
if You’ll assure me that I’m the right person for this, I’ll go.Just hand
me the itinerary, and I’m Your girl.

In today’s key verse, Simon Peter is exhausted after an all-night fishing 
expedition. He has just finished washing the heavy nets weighted with 
when Jesus approaches.

Jesus asks Simon to put the boat out a little from shore, so Jesus could 
teach the crowds. Simon agrees.

A bit later, Jesus asks Simon to go fishing. Simon has just fished all night 
without results. He’s exhausted, but because Jesus asks, he takes that step.

The abundance of fish is so great that it nearly capsizes Simon’s and his 
fishing partners’ boats.

Simon sinks to his knees and asks Jesus to leave him. It’s not because he’s 
afraid, but because he’s in awe.

Come with me.

That was Jesus’ invitation. Simon left his boat, his business and the fish 
behind to follow Jesus.

When we read this story, we often focus on the fish as the miracle, but 
Simon left the heap of fish behind. He understood that walking with Jesus 
was the
real miracle.

In fact, following Jesus was the beginning of a lifetime of miracles for 
Simon.While making plans and scheduling and doing our own thing is a natural 
Jesus is perched in our “boats†with a spectacular invitation.

He asks us to walk in faith with Him in our marriages, in the midst of 
disappointments, as we make plans and dream, in our relationships, in our 
places and in every aspect of our lives.

Come with me.

Have you resisted that invitation? I have. I can look back and see that I 
resisted, only to discover that Jesus was trying to give me the greatest 
of His presence. He was trying to lead me out of my comfort to discover His 
plans for me.

Simon Peter was changed the day he decided to follow Jesus. He saw lame men 
leap to their feet. He walked on water. He went through hard places as well,
but always with Jesus as his leader.

When Simon accepted the invitation, it changed him, and it changed his 
story. Once he might have been described as a man with salt on his cheeks as 
fished all night. When all along, Jesus knew that Simon was a fisher of men.

Come with me.

That’s the invitation for all of us who believe.

Jesus, the invitation to “come with You†is for me. I accept it. Right where 
I am. I may not know where You are taking me, but I trust You. Thank You for
sitting in the “boat†of my life and walking with me every day. In Jesus’ 
Name, Amen.

Luke 5:11, “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, 
and followed him.†(KJV)

Imagine faith that changes every aspect of who you are. This is the faith 
that comes from saying “yes†to Jesus’ invitation. Check out Suzie Eller’s 
Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads.

To connect with Suzie, stop by her
today, where Suzie is offering a giveaway of her latest book, Come With Me.

When you sense an invitation from Jesus in an area of your life how do you 

It’s OK to acknowledge your doubts, for that’s what you do in any healthy 
relationship. But this is where change takes place. Say “yes†when “no†
to take root.

© 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

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Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jun 2016, 10:30 am

4057 cdd Coercion
Wednesday May 4, 2016
Volume 17 Number 090
Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Romans 10:17
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" NKJV

A woman heard from a friend that cod liver oil every morning helped dogs 
maintain a healthy shinny coat. She thought she would give it a try. She 
a large bottle of cod liver oil for her very big dog.

Every morning, the lady rose early and pried the dog's jaws open and forced 
the liquid down his throat. He struggled, he whined and he hid behind the
couch --- but still she persisted. She thought, "This big dog just doesn't 
know what's good for him." Faithfully each day she repeated the process 
the dog protested as best he could.

One day, the large bottle tipped over on the kitchen floor. As it spilled 
she released her grip on the dog. She scurried to wipe up the mess. To her 
the dog sniffed at the fishy liquid and began lapping up what had spilled. 
He actually loved the stuff. He had simply objected to being coerced.

A positive mind finds a way something can be done. A negative mind looks for 
all the ways something cannot be done. Forcing a solution is not the answer.
Solutions must be found in our own insightful way.

Reading the Bible because I have to, because it is required, because someone 
else wants me to sounds a lot like forcing cod liver oil down the throat of
a big dog.
Perhaps a better way would be to discuss the excitement of a Biblical story 
and then without spilling the outcome, challenge a loved one to read all 

It's just like the big dog who rejected coercion, but found enjoyment when 
he discovered the cod liver oil on his own. He found his solution --- his 

Now every morning the woman places the cod liver oil in a special bowl and 
the big dog wags his tail in anticipation of the event and enjoys every last

Prayer: Father thank you for excitement embedded throughout Your love 
letters to me in the Bible. Help me to enjoy, understand and embrace each 
page with
no thoughts of coercion. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Pastor Bill Team Prayer
Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Copyright (c) 2016
Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries
All Rights Reserved

The Highway to the Promised Land
by Chuck Swindoll

Exodus 14:15-22

Had we been in charge of the Red Sea project, we would have handled it 
differently. Our group of engineers would have pushed back that water a week 
advance. We would have installed great, massive fans to dry out the land. We 
would have erected huge neon signs. Somebody would have brought in 
stands to handle the hot dogs and drinks. You see, when people do it, the 
project takes on all the trademarks of market-driven hotshots. The 
is easily eclipsed by human ingenuity.

That's not God's plan. When He wants you cornered, outnumbered. And there 
are no signs. There is no slick ad campaign. There are no great human 
to trust in. There's just an uncrossable Red Sea and an encroaching army of 
impossibilities. So you wait. And time passes. He will fight His way at His
time. Bite your nails all you want to—He's in no hurry.

Do you feel cornered right now? Up against it? Overwhelmed? Listen, child of 
God, your predicament is by His design. It takes those dark and dreary 
of heartache and those dead-end feelings of intimidation to prepare you for 
the glorious days of deliverance.

Perhaps you're a single adult. Those can be frustrating, hard years and 
lonely times. More than anything you'd like to find a spouse.

Or maybe you're married. You can be so involved in making a living that you 
fail to make a life, and then the time is gone.

Or perhaps you feel backed into some physical cul-de-sac, where you've 
languished for weeks, months, maybe years . . . still in that wheelchair.

Listen carefully. Read this slowly. Coming to the Red Sea is just as much a 
part of His plan as crossing it. It may well be that the Lord is breaking a
habit born in Egypt, a habit that has no business living in Canaan. Those 
habits are tough to break. The tears flow as God works in His time. But in 
burning of those tears, God becomes very significant and real. And we 
realize, at last, that a predicament in God's hands finally leads to a 
highway to
the Promised Land.
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.



I was at a campground in Middle Tennessee. Looking for a little escape for 
my mind and a little exercise for my body, I asked one of the counselors to
suggest a good walk. He pointed me to the road. “There’s a major hill, and 
when you think you’ve reached the top, it curves left and the hill actually
keeps going.”

Sounds miserable, I thought. “Sounds great!” I said.

I headed out on the walk and sure enough, the curving hill was legit and I 
was struggling. I was looking at my feet, resting my hands on my knees as I
tried to push myself up the hill. My back was killing me and my thighs were 
throbbing in that way that isn’t like “we’re getting stronger” but more like
“we’re breaking.” I stopped for a minute, stood up straight, and stretched. 
I looked around, maybe for the first time in the thirty minutes I had been
on the road.

The green in the trees was incredible. The flowers were just starting to 
bloom and right there, on the edge of the road, were petals in every shade 
pink. I looked up the hill and all the way there were patches of flowers.

Pull quote

I decided to finish the hill differently. I didn’t quit. I didn’t run from 
the suffering back down the hill to camp. I just stood up as I continued to
walk. It might not have been as fast and determined, but the view was way 
better. I stood tall, back straight, and I looked straight ahead as I 
the flowers and took notice of the variety of greens, because colors blow my 
mind. (Like seriously. The amount of greens in the woods is unreal to me.)

Every bit of the pain changed when my view changed. It didn’t go away; it 
just wasn’t my focus anymore. Instead of focusing on my suffering, I began 
focus on the beautiful things God had put in my path.

Read Ephesians 6:10-19.

Verses 13-14 say that after you have done everything to prepare, what do you 
do next?

Right. You “stand firm” (v. 14). I picture this as the same type of 
head-held-high posture, the one that can see the flowers and see the greens 
even when
the hill is still only halfway climbed. But I also picture someone like my 
friend, Bianca.

Pull quote

When Bianca walks into a room, she carries herself with confidence, not 
because she thinks she’s the bee’s knees (spoiler alert: she is), but 
because she
knows God made her on purpose. As a result, no matter what life throws 
her—and it has thrown her some curve balls—she’s surefooted on the gospel. 
You can
hear it in Bianca’s conversations; even if it’s through tears, you can hear 
that she doesn’t give up on God. She sees things differently than I do, I 
because of this. She’s quick to see the good in the situation because her 
head doesn’t hang down and stare at the dirt (not literally, but also 
Bianca is an example to me of what it means, even in suffering, to continue 
to stand.

Read Romans 5:3-5.

You’re probably not going to like me saying this, but I have to tell you the 
truth. Suffering matters. Suffering has a purpose. Whether it’s suffering
in relationships, in health, in your profession, or in your spiritual walk, 
it all has a purpose. It’s all shaping who you are and who you become. You
need to hold your head high and look around when you’re feeling weighed 
down—because what comes next is so worth it.

Perseverance. Character. Hope. And a way better view.

Looking for Lovely Bible Study
Excerpted from
Looking for Lovely Bible Study
by Annie F. Downs.
© 2016. LifeWay Press.
Used by permission.

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Post  Admin on Fri 03 Jun 2016, 9:27 pm

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Unforgettable You - #7666

I'm so glad we have lots of things around our house that bloom when Spring 
pushes out Old Man Winter. Now, if you have allergies, you probably don't 
forward to Spring, but I hope you can at least enjoy some of its extravagant 
beauty. And it isn't just things to see.

Every year, as I'm rushing around the yard doing my chores, I catch this 
beautiful scent every time I pass by this one flowering bush. It's actually 
far from our trash cans; not the most fragrant item in our yard. But I love 
to catch the aroma of those flowers. I love it when the iris and the peonies
start to bloom (I would have no idea what they were if my wife didn't tell 
me). They give off this inviting fragrance, like this fantastic yard 

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

A dear friend of ours wore this distinctive perfume for all the years we 
knew her-it was her trademark scent really. You could close your eyes and 
knew it was her. At her funeral, our pastor talked about that perfume and 
the fragrant trail she always left wherever she went with the life she 
She touched ours and so many others with the fragrance of her life.

That's how it's supposed to be for anyone who belongs to Jesus Christ; 
leaving a trail of fragrant blessing wherever you go, with whomever you 
meet. How
are you doing on that? Like those flowers in our yard, there should be this 
compelling beauty about your life that brings beauty into theirs. Even if 
a lot of trash in their life right now. The fact is we all give off some 
kind of fragrance with the way we treat people, the way we handle stress, 
we make people feel more or less important, whether we bring sunshine or 
clouds into a situation. This would be a good day for you to evaluate: what 
of trail, what kind of life-fragrance do I leave?

One man who shows us the kind of trail we're supposed to leave is written 
about in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Acts 4:36-37. At a
time when the just-birthed Christian community had many needs it says, 
"Joseph...whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of 
sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' 
feet." This man had left such a trail of encouragement the apostles actually 
his name to fit the impact he made. They called him "Mr. Encouragement." If 
people were to change your name to something that describes the effect you
have on them, what would they call you?

That name should reflect at least one of the qualities of what the Bible 
calls the "fruit of the Spirit"; that is, the kind of person the Holy Spirit 
you. According to Galatians 5:22-23, you should be giving off a fragrance of 
"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness
and self-control." So how are you doing with that?

Do people feel that you care about their need? Do you stop to weep with 
those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice? Are you calm in the midst 
the frenzy or are you just another stress-carrier? Do people feel important 
when they're with you because you listen to them and focus on them? Do they
feel lifted up or put down by being around you? People are so starved for 
praise and appreciation. If you give it, you will be a magnet.

And all this is so they will want to know why you're so different from 
everybody else in their busy, self-centered, self-promoting universe. A life 
a beautiful fragrance gives you the opportunity to point them to the One who 
makes you that way because of how He has treated you, and that of course is
Jesus. In the words of Matthew 5:16, they will "See your good works" and 
ultimately they will "praise your Father in heaven." Your fragrant life can 
lead them to eternal life.

When people pass your way, would you let them catch a whiff of Jesus so 
they, too, can experience His love.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. ·

1 Corinthians 11:1

The apostle Paul urges us to be imitators of God, our heavenly Father. But 
how are we to imitate a God we cannot see? Are we to dress like Jesus’ 
or does this admonition go much deeper?

What’s at the Core

Quite simply, the goal of every Christian is to become more Christlike—after 
all, the very word “Christian” denotes “a Christ follower.” Paul tells us,
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (
Eph. 5:1).
We should heed his exhortation and earnestly desire to be like Jesus in 
every way. Paul also writes, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (
1 Cor. 11:1).
When I think about this, I wonder exactly what Paul meant by “imitate.” Does 
this mean that we should wear the same style toga and sandals that Jesus 
Does this mean we should only eat kosher foods?

Probably not.

In fact, I think it is obvious that Paul is speaking about following Jesus’ 
example in terms of his mission, values, motivation, priorities, thinking,
teaching, and attitude. In other words, being imitators of Christ is 
something that stems from the inner core of our being. This occurs when who 
we are
on the inside begins to be transformed as we become more like him and have 
his heart and mind. The internal change in turn is reflected in the way we 
think, and act.

The crucial component we need to understand is that imitating Christ begins 
with developing a strong spiritual core. If we simply try to imitate Christ’s
external behavior—being kind, compassionate, and merciful without 
strengthening our spiritual core—then we risk missing out on the very 
process that makes
us Christlike. We end up acting like a Christian sometimes, but not truly 
being a Christian at all times.

Think about Jesus: His actions stemmed from who he was. The doing part 
flowed naturally from Jesus being authentically Jesus. This being stemmed 
from his
spiritual core. In other words, Jesus did not try to act like anything he 
was not. Therefore, if we are to be imitators of Christ, we need to stop 
to act like Christians (external actions) and instead focus on being a 
Christian at our core (internal transformation). When this becomes our 
focus, we
will discover that it’s not difficult to act like a Christian, because we 
simply will be one. Period.

Point to Ponder

It’s easy to act like a Christian when you are at church. But who are you 
for the rest of the week? Has your encounter with Christ transformed you at 
core? Do you know that
Copyright Information

Devotions by Christine Caine, Copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip 
& Empower Ministries.

The Kindness of God
May 5, 2016

Ephesians 4:25-32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted. (v. 32)

“Be kinder than necessary, because everyone is fighting some kind of 
battle.” It’s debated who originally offered this advice, but it’s good 
advice, because
everyone has issues to face. Acquaintances mask their problems well, and we 
know nothing about the hurts or fears of strangers. Even good friends may 
their deepest pain.

Ever have someone pass you on the road, wildly blowing their horn, when you’re 
already going the speed limit? It’s aggravating. How rude, we think. But
we have no idea what that driver’s day looks like. A phone call from a 
family member about a tragic event or being told, “You’re fired” may be 
the erratic behavior. Or, maybe it’s just rudeness!

Try this: instead of making an assumption about a person’s motives, pray for 
the person acting out. We only see negative outward actions and not the 
We need to show grace to other people instead of judging them, especially 
when we don’t even know them. It takes much prayer for patience and 
to be kind. Yet if you respond to people in a positive way when they are 
inconsiderate, it may make them reconsider their actions. After all, wasn’t 
God’s kindness that led us to repentance (Rom. 2:4)?

These verses in Ephesians remind us to speak truth, share, and be kind to 
others. Because God gives us mercy and grace every day, let’s make every 
to extend this kindness even when others don’t appreciate it.

Giving Father, help me to be kinder than necessary today.

Author: Myrna Folkert

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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jun 2016, 12:10 pm

The Gift of Healing

The next gift of the Holy Spirit we are looking at is the gift of healing. 
This is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9 and 28.

When Jesus had chosen his twelve disciples, this is what He told them:

Matthew 10:1 ASV
And he called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over 
unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease and all 
manner of sickness.

Jesus said the following right before He ascended to heaven:

Mark 16:15-18 ASV
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to 
the whole creation. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but 
he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. 17 And these signs shall accompany 
them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak 
with new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any 
deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the 
sick, and they shall recover.

This Scripture says that those who follow Jesus Christ will have these gifts 
which are to be used. This does not mean that all will have these gifts all 
the time or that God will heal everyone that is prayed for. Jesus did not 
heal all the sick in the region. Healing is done when God wills it for His 

Some people make a big deal out of healing and we see that on television 
quite a bit. But the Lord might give you the gift of healing just for one 
person. If you feel led to use it, don’t wonder if He is really wanting to 
use you this way or not. We can stop the flow of the Holy Spirit and lose a 
chance to use a gift.

In the book of Acts we can find a number of ways Jesus’ followers healed 
people. Some used a touch. People sent Paul cloths to touch and send back to 
them and were healed. There is only one place where it gives us instructions 
on how to heal but this is only one way:

James 5:14-16 Darby
14 Is any sick among you? let him call to him the elders of the assembly, 
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 
15 and the prayer of faith shall heal the sick, and the Lord shall raise him 
up; and if he be one who has committed sins, it shall be forgiven him. 16 
Confess therefore your offences to one another, and pray for one another, 
that ye may be healed. The fervent supplication of the righteous man has 
much power.

Jesus gives us gifts of the Holy Spirit to use as He leads. If He is leading 
you to use any of them, don’t be afraid even though it may be something you 
are not sure of. If it is of Him, it will be right. Be obedient to His 
leading, even in the gift of healing.

by Dean W. Masters

Rounding Third and Heading for Home
View this email in your browser
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the 
2 Timothy 4:7

When Jesus came to the end of His life, He said, “I have finished the work 
which Thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4).

He stayed on the track, and so did Paul. They accomplished what God had set 
out for them to do.

Every man has a race that he must run. Every woman has a race set before 
her. God knows the course. And everything God commands of you, He will 
you to do. Whether you’re nine or ninety, young or old, rich or poor, God 
has a plan for your life! God has a race He wants you to run!

What is the race God has set before you? If you are not certain, inquire of 
Him. What He asks of you, He will empower you to do. Thank God for the power
to finish the course. Discover Jesus
Copyright © 2016 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you indicated at that you 
wanted to receive these devotions from Love Worth Finding Ministries.

New Post on - Miracles?


Posted: 03 May 2016 09:55 PM PDT

Some find Jesus’ miracles hard to believe. To them, the Gospel accounts 
sound like fantasy or myth, or at least superstitious exaggeration.

But look at the incredible natural wonders all around you. Our world 
overflows with miracles we would never believe if we didn’t see them for 
or if scientists didn’t assure us they were so. Couldn’t the Being who 
created all this also easily do the miracles of Jesus?

Jesus turned six large jars of water into wine (John 2:1-11). But the 
Creator does that on the vine every day.

Jesus healed many people sick with various illnesses and conditions. But 
that’s a small thing to the Creator. He designed each of our bodies to 
heal themselves. Right now your body is healing and restoring itself in 
thousands of ways without you even being conscious of it.

Jesus calmed a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27). But 
picture our globe from the Creator’s point of view, with storms stirring and 
constantly around the world. To calm one storm is nothing for Him.

Perhaps the hardest miracle for us to accept is raising the dead. Jesus 
raised a widow’s only son (Luke 7:11-16), a twelve-year-old girl (Luke 
and His friend Lazarus after he had been dead four days (John 11:1-45). 
Finally Jesus himself was raised from the dead.

All myths?

The Creator brought human life into being from the “dust of the earth”, that 
is, from the natural elements found on this planet. Now that’s a miracle!
Could not such a One also resuscitate life whenever He chooses?

Look at a garden on a bitter day in winter. If we knew nothing of seasons, 
would we ever believe that same garden just a few weeks later, in the full 
of spring?

Look at what rain can do to a desert that seems utterly barren. It is 
transformed to a garden of life – life unimagined just hours before.

Tiny seeds, seemingly dry and hardened, will blossom to life when conditions 
are right. In Japan, a single seed was excavated from an ancient settlement
about two thousand years old. The seed was planted, watered, and brought to 
life. Further, it apparently proved to be a type of magnolia thought to be
extinct for a thousand years.

Look around. Is it logical to believe that the One who created all this 
could not have done what Jesus did? Is it logical to impose human 
limitations on
a Being who can speak a universe out of nothing?

The more we learn of our world, the more we recognize in Jesus the same 
power, the same astonishing wisdom, the same tender, intimate love.

That is what amazes me most about Jesus’ miracles – not what He did, but how 
He did it. He didn’t heal as we might expect a “god” to heal. He didn’t heal
from a distance. He wasn’t detached or “professional” or condescending. He 
was moved with compassion. He gave of himself in deep love. He healed 
not just with absolute power but with a personal touch and a gentle word.

He loves us. The God of all the universe loves us. That is the miracle.

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Post  Admin on Wed 01 Jun 2016, 1:00 pm

Tongue Control
May 4, 2016

James 3:3-12
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. (Eph. 4:29 NIV)

Have you ever gossiped? I know I have. It’s easy to tell a friend a juicy 
detail that begins small and can grow out of control. James says “the tongue
is a fire” that can corrupt a whole person and set the course of one’s life 
ablaze with destruction (James 3:6). James mentions many sins of the tongue
such as slander, boasting, and quarreling. Speech that flows out of our 
mouths as praise to God one moment can mutate into gossip about someone the 
That’s how quickly our tongues can get us into trouble.

In contrast, the Holy Spirit’s power is like fresh water, which can 
extinguish those sparks of sinful speech before they turn our lives into 
raging forest
fires. We need to submit to God to control these sins of the tongue. We can 
ask the Holy Spirit for his strength. “Resist the devil, and he will flee 
you,” James says, and the Lord will purify your heart (James 4:7-8).

Jesus said that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45 
NIV). A leader recently asked people to imagine if what you say in private 
read aloud by Jesus in front of your church. Ouch! Those strong, humbling 
words are important to remember. Yet if we wash our minds and hearts with 
fresh Word of God, clean words can flow from our mouths to edify others.

Living Water, help me to tame my tongue with the fresh water of the Word by 
your Holy Spirit.

Author: Myrna Folkert

A Dangerous Motive

Who has given a gift to God that he might be repaid? For from him and 
through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.
(Romans 11:35–36)

When it comes to obedience, gratitude is a dangerous motive. It tends to get 
expressed in debtor’s terms. For example, “Look how much God has done for
you. Shouldn’t you, out of gratitude, do much for him? Or: “You owe God 
everything that you are and have. What have you done for him in return?”

I have at least three problems with this kind of motivation.

First, it is impossible to pay God back for all the grace he has given us. 
We can’t even begin to pay him back, because
Romans 11:35–36
says, “Who has given a gift to God that he might be repaid? [Answer: 
Nobody!] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be 
forever.” We can’t pay him back because he already owns all we have to give 

Secondly, even if we succeeded in paying him back for all his grace to us, 
we would only succeed in turning grace into a business transaction. If we 
pay him back it was not grace. If someone tries to show you a special favor 
of love by having you over for dinner, and you end the evening by saying 
you will pay them back by having them over next week, you nullify their 
grace and turn it into a trade. God does not like to have his grace 
He likes to have it glorified (Ephesians 1:6, 12,14).

Thirdly, focusing on gratitude as a motive for obedience tends to overlook 
the crucial importance of having faith in God’s future grace. Gratitude 
back to grace received in the past and feels thankful. Faith looks forward 
to grace promised in the future and feels hopeful. “Faith is the assurance 
things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1).

This faith in future grace is the motive for obedience that preserves the 
gracious quality of human obedience. Obedience does not consist in paying 
back and thus turning grace into a trade. Obedience comes from trusting in 
God for more grace — future grace — and thus magnifying the infinite 
of God’s love and power. Faith looks to the promise: “I will be with you 
wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9),
and ventures, in obedience, to take the land.
Copyright Information

This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit

 Your Christian Walk
by Andrew Murray

[Adapted from
The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray,
one of the many free classic books available in our
online library.]

1. The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.

The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon 
Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun every 
afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication 
with God that my soul can be strong. The manna of one day was corrupt when 
next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain 
it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying 
God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.

2. To this end, let your first act in your devotions be a setting yourself 
still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon faith and 
speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to 
communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who works all in all, is
even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you 
know God is very near.

3. When you have given God His place of honor, glory, and power, take your 
place of deepest lowliness, and seek to be filled with the Spirit of 
As a creation it is your blessedness to be nothing, that God may be all in 
you. As a sinner you are not worthy to look up to God; bow in 
As a saint, let God’s love overwhelm you, and bow you still lower down. Sink 
down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His 
and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low before God.

4. Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus. God delights in nothing 
but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those who 
near to Him. Enter deep into God’s holy presence in the boldness which the 
blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most pleasing. In 
you are within the veil. You have access into the very heart and love of the 
Father. This is the great object of fellowship with God, that I may have 
of God in my life, and that God may see Christ formed in me. Be silent 
before God and let Him bless you.

5. This Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love, and He 
looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His face
with trust, until His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart 
glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a 
Savior and Keeper from the power of sin. Do not ask, can I be kept from 
sinning, if I keep close to Him? but ask, can I be kept from sinning, if He 
keeps close to me? and you see at once how safe it is to trust Him.

6. We have not only Christ’s life in us as a power, and His presence with us 
as a person, but we have His likeness to be wrought into us. He is to be 
in us, so that His form or figure, His likeness, can be seen in us. Bow 
before God until you get some sense of the greatness and blessedness of the 
to be carried on by God in you this day. Say to God, “Father, here am I for 
You to give as much in me of Christ’s likeness as I can receive.” And wait
to hear Him say, “My child, I give you as much of Christ as your heart is 
open to receive.” The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh and perfected Him,
will reveal Him in you and perfect you in Him. The Father loves the Son, and 
delights to work out His image and likeness in you. Count upon it that this
blessed work will be done in you as you wait on your God, and boldest 
fellowship with Him.

7. The likeness to Christ consists chiefly in two things: the likeness of 
His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5). The death of Christ was the 
of His humility and obedience, the entire giving up of His life to God. In 
Him we are dead to sin. As we sink down in humility and dependence and 
surrender to God, the power of His death works in us, and we are made 
comformable to His death. And so we know Him in the power of His 
resurrection, in
the victory over sin, and all the joy and power of the risen life. 
Therefore, every morning, “present yourselves unto God as those that are 
alive from
the dead.” He will maintain the life He gave, and bestow the grace to live 
as risen ones.

8. All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you. 
Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase in 
the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His presence, 
remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God. Seek in God’s
presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so truly that your 
whole life may every moment be spiritual.

9. As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship with 
the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you will 
how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to know what 
it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy Spirit 
can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to God can mean. 
Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let every approach to 
and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very 
definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.

10. “By faith” must here, as through all
and all the spiritual life, be the keynote. As you wait before God, let it 
be in a deep quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy,
so mighty, so loving. In a deep, restful faith, too, that all the blessings 
and powers of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield 
in the faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity, to work 
out all God’s purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, 
God will be all in all to you.

[Continue your journey into the
Deeper Christian Life.] Featured Ministry

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4075 cdd Invisible Weapon
Monday May 30, 2016
Volume 17 Number 108

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Ephesians 6:12
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, 
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against 
hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" NKJV

The story is told of the Colonel. In the early morning of D-Day, June 6, 
1941, the Colonel came ashore in France, with 30 of his men, at one of the 
beaches in the war. It was Omaha Beach. They landed as a hail of German 
gunfire and artillery explosions erupted all around them. Everyone had a 
but the Colonel. They departed their landing craft into the unknown of 
battle, most in their late teens and early 20's, scared beyond their 

Just off to their side another landing craft was opening its forward door 
when a shell from a German gun atop the mountain slammed into it. The entire
landing craft was destroyed and in seconds 30 bodies were floating in the 
now ever reddening sea.

The Colonel instinctively ran as fast as he could in knee deep water to aid 
the wounded. All the while reciting John 14:1-4, "Let not your heart be 
you believe in God, believe also in Jesus. In My Father's house are many 
mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place 
you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive 
you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you 
and the way you know."

These were men the Colonel had prayed over as one of the Chaplains for this 
landing. Now it was his responsibility to usher them into the Kingdom. Once
on the beach the Colonel and his remaining men stood looking at a 100-foot 
wall --- with bullets raining down on them --- the early morning turned into
night. The Colonel grabbed his shovel. He dug his bed for the night in a 
sandy fox hole on that beach. He was on his knees giving the Lord glory, 
and honor that he had survived day one.

That night he didn't sleep --- no one slept --- with the sound of explosions 
continuing through the night and tracer bullets lighting up the sky. The
night was spent in prayer. The next morning, they broke through enemy lines 
and climbed that 100-foot embankment. Day two and he was still alive. Thank
you Jesus.

The famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle would describe the beach as a "thin 
red line" of American blood embedded on the shore.

History records that more than 1,500 men died on Omaha Beach and the front 
lines moved inland on their way to Berlin. The next days were filled with 
death and destruction. The Colonel lived on as he carried his Bible from 
challenge to challenge. His angels were working overtime.

A few days back the Colonel made sure each soldier was offered a pocket 
sized Gideon Bible. I reckon no one said no to the offer. The famous line 
are no atheists in fox holes" was probably coined before this battle but it 
became oh so relevant as troops stormed the Normandy beaches.

The Colonel survived the skirmishes, Battle of the Bulge and was at the 
Remagen Bridge spanning the Rhine River. Each day he read his Bible and 
on, never carrying a weapon. His angels leading the way.

After the war, the Colonel and two members of the victorious underground 
decided they would climb one of the highest mountains in Germany. It was a 
wind swept cold day. As they reached the summit there stood a large Cross. 
The wind at that elevation made it difficult for the men to keep their 
so they held on to the Cross.

The Colonels time in Europe was coming to an end. His prayers had been 
answered day by day and his angels would escort him home to the USA. Looking 
his experience on the mountain top had been preparation for the storms of 
life that lay ahead. All was well as long as he hung on to the Cross of the 
Jesus Christ. And that is just what he did the rest of his life.

Currently there are more than 400 World War 2 veterans who die each day. 
This is Memorial Day --- say a prayer in remembrance for all who died while 
in the armed forces. And for those currently serving to keep us safe and 

Prayer: Father --- God Bless America --- and bless each and every veteran 
dead and alive who gave so much for this country. In the name of the Lord 
Christ. Amen!

FYI Notice: If this email has been forwarded to you by friends or family and 
you would like to receive your own Cyber Daily Devotion Monday through 

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Pastor Bill Team Prayer
Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Copyright (c) 2016
Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries
All Rights Reserved

All Things May Be Lawful, But…
View this email in your browser
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things 
are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
1 Corinthians 6:12

If you want to be a victor in the race God has for you, you must learn the 
discipline of laying aside some weights. Many times these weights are good 
in our lives. But good things are bad things when they keep us from doing 
the best things.

Life would be simple if it were a choice between good and bad. But typically 
it’s a choice between good and best.

Our verse says “all things are not expedient.” When you think of the word 
“expedient,” think of the word “expedition.” You are going somewhere, and if
something doesn’t speed you on your way, it’s excess baggage and you need to 
get rid of it.

Ask God, “Are there legitimate, lawful things in my life that are keeping me 
from running the race You’ve given me?” If revealed, ask for discipline to
lay them aside! Discover Jesus
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
Copyright © 2016 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you indicated at that you 
wanted to receive these devotions from Love Worth Finding Ministries.
Our mailing address is:
Love Worth Finding Ministries
2941 Kate Bond Rd
Memphis, TN 38133

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Today's Turning Point
Monday, May 2

The Golden River

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His 
Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we 
ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11

Recommended Reading
1 John 4:7-19
Love is an emotion that’s hard to describe. It’s an emotional longing for 
another person and a deep satisfaction when that love is reciprocated. It 
intense anguish when it isn’t.

Love is an attitude that operates more deeply than feelings. Attitudes are 
dispositions of the heart that anchor our emotions, just as the unshakable 
support the trees on its slopes.

Listen to Today's Radio Broadcast
Love is a supernatural virtue instilled in us by God. “The fruit of the 
Spirit is love…” (Galatians 5:22).

Love is an action. It manifests itself in selfless service. When we love 
others, we do things for them. “Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his 
in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in 
him?” (1 John 3:17)

Love is a choice. We can determine in our hearts to love even the unlovely. 
This comprehensive, inclusive quality of love can only be experienced by 
our lives to Calvary. When we receive God’s love through Jesus Christ, it 
flows through us to others like a golden river.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God (1 John 4:7).

A Single Thought: Just as God chose to love us, we must choose to love 
1 Chronicles 10 – 12
David Jeremiah's
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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The Gift of Faith

Now we look at another gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of faith.

1 Corinthians 12:9 Darby
9 and to a different one faith, in the power of the same Spirit; and to 
another gifts of healing in the power of the same Spirit;

Here is what Matthew Henry says about this gift:

To another faith, by the same Spirit; that is, the faith of miracles, or a 
faith in the divine power and promise, whereby they were enabled to trust 
God in any emergency, and go on in the way of their duty, and own and 
profess the truths of Christ, whatever was the difficulty or danger.

So faith is a gift and nothing we can conjure up. We are given the amount of 
faith we need at the time. We find the following Scripture which seems a 
little contradictory:

Matthew 17:19-21 KJV
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast 
him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I 
say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto 
this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and 
nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but 
by prayer and fasting.

It sounds like we can get more faith by doing more things like praying and 
fasting. There is another verse which Paul wrote about how to get more 

Romans 10:17 KJV
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

This word here is the spoken Word of God. This doesn’t necessarily mean 
hearing someone reciting Scripture but the small little voice inside of us 
which is Jesus Himself speaking to us. I believe that is where the prayer 
and fasting come in. We get too busy to listen for the Lord to speak to us 
personally. Prayer is to be a two way street. We must have a relationship 
with the Lord Jesus Christ to have faith. Only when we have a relationship 
will we hear the still small voice telling us what is about to happen or 
reassuring us. And that is where faith comes from.

You don’t usually get gifts from strangers do you? Sometimes you might get a 
gift from an acquaintance but most of the time gifts come from people you 
are close to. Definitely, the best gifts are going to come from those who 
are close to you. Jesus wants to give you gifts, spiritual gifts. But He won’t 
force them on you and will not give them unless you have a personal, 
intimate relationship with Him. One of the gifts He gives is the gift of 

by Dean W. Masters

Created for Community
by Bob Thune & Will Walker

Community is something we all want.

No matter how you’re wired—introvert, extrovert, socially adept or socially 
awkward—something in your soul longs for meaningful relationships with other
humans. We long to know others and be known by them. We treasure friendships 
that allow us to truly “be ourselves.” Though some of us have never found
this sort of community and though others have been deeply wounded by 
relationships, all of us still long for deep, authentic, real community.

How did we get this way? How did this craving, this longing, get hard-wired 
into us? The Bible answers that question by explaining that we are created
in the image of God. God created us for community.

Created for Community

One of the oldest and most cherished doctrines of historic Christian 
theology is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Nicene Creed (c. AD 325) 
summarizes the
Trinity this way:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of 
all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the 
Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of 
Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with
the Father.... And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son 
is worshipped and glorified.

The Trinity means that God himself is in community. More accurately, God is 
community: one God, three persons. “Before all worlds”—before any sort of 
community existed—there was God, dwelling in perfect, loving harmony in his 
threefold being.

In the biblical account of creation, this Triune God says: “Let us make man 
in our image” (
Genesis 1:26).
Human beings are made to image God, to reflect his likeness. That’s why our 
longing for community seems so deep and primal. It’s how we’re made as God’s
image bearers

So if deep community is something we all want, if it’s part of being made in 
God’s image, then what makes it so hard to attain? What keeps us from 
the type of meaningful human relationships that God wired us for?

The Fall: Broken Community

If you think for a moment about the nature of your relationships, you’ll 
quickly identify another tendency that’s present—something darker and more 
than your God-given desire for community. It’s the tendency to use people to 
meet your own needs first. It’s not hard to see how often we are 
pursuing our own interests and protecting ourselves from people and 
relationships that will demand too much of us. For example, think of the 
times you’ve
intentionally avoided someone who bothers you. Or the times you’ve said what 
people wanted to hear in order to avoid offending them. Or the times you’ve
stopped pursuing certain friends because they were no longer useful to you. 
Or the times you’ve clung to bad or unhealthy relationships just to escape
the feeling of being alone.

Our inherent selfishness is evidence of what the Bible calls “sin.” When we 
hear the word sin, we tend to think of bad behavior. But sin is deeper than
external actions. The Bible often talks about sin in terms of unbelief. In 
other words, rather than believing what is true, we believe lies, which 
leads to bad behavior and negative emotions. Unbelief was at the root of the 
first sin. Eve believed the Serpent’s lie about God and his intentions 
them: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it [the 
forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (
Genesis 3:4-5).
Unbelief is a failure to see and believe what’s true about God, the world, 
and ourselves. It’s not taking God at his word, not believing his promises,
not trusting in his goodness.

And sin’s impact is not just that we don’t believe, it’s that apart from 
Christ we’re unable to believe. Sin has turned us in on ourselves and warped 
relationships with others. We need Someone who can deliver us from our 
unbelief and selfishness and restore our capacity for true, deep, lasting 

Redeemed for Community

This is where the good news of the gospel meets us. The word gospel 
literally means “good news”—a message, a proclamation, an announcement. One 
of the
paradoxes of this message is that before it can be good news, it must start 
with bad news: we are sinful, broken people. We are rebels against God. We
are mired in lies and self-worship, and we look to things other than God to 
give us identity and significance. We can’t free ourselves, make God happy
with us, or do enough good works to make up for our sins. But God, rich in 
mercy, sent Jesus to earth as our substitute. Jesus took our place in his 
as he obeyed God fully and worshiped him totally, things we failed to do. He 
substituted himself for us in his death, as he paid the penalty we owed to
God for our sin and unbelief. If we humble ourselves, acknowledge our need, 
and turn to him, God the Holy Spirit will apply Jesus’ substitutionary work
to us by faith. The Bible calls this redemption, a word that means “to be 
delivered, ransomed, or set free.”

What does Jesus redeem us from? Sin and all its effects. What does Jesus 
redeem us for? A life that images God and reflects his goodness to the 
In other words, one of the chief things that Jesus accomplishes when he 
redeems us is to restore our capacity for community. Not for a community of 
who look and act just like us, but a community made up of people from every 
tribe and tongue and nation on earth (
Revelation 7:9).
God has created us for community, and Jesus has redeemed us for community. 
In doing so, he has made us into his very own body (
1 Corinthians 12:27)
that is able to live, love, and make known his “good news” to our friends 
and neighbors.

But wait: If Jesus redeems us for community, then why is community still 
such hard work? Why are relationships still fraught with brokenness, even 
Christians? This is the tension we live in. Even though Jesus has delivered 
us from the penalty and rule of sin, he has not yet eradicated sin from the
world. Because of sin’s ongoing presence, we are prone to unbelief. We 
easily forget the good news of the gospel and fall back into lies and 
That’s why the Bible encourages us not just to receive the gospel, but to 
“stand” in it (
1 Corinthians 15:1)
and to “continue” in it (
Colossians 1:23).

In other words, building and enjoying healthy community is going to require 
us to believe the gospel, to believe that what Jesus did for us has power 
relevance for the way we relate to God and others. This requires an 
intentional focus on our part. It means identifying the unbelief in our 
hearts that
hinders our ability to love and serve others and to receive love from them 
in turn. It means receiving the healing, liberating truths of the gospel in
ways that allow them to soak deep into the core of our being. And guess 
where this work of ongoing transformation takes place? In community.

Transformed in Community

Did you ever notice how patient you are—as long as no one is getting on your 
nerves? Or how loving you are—as long as you’re surrounded by people who are
easy to love? Or how humble you are—as long as you’re respected and admired 
by others? Every one of us is a saint in isolation! It’s in community that
our real weaknesses, flaws, and sins are exposed. That’s why community is 
essential—not optional—for transformation. We can’t become the people God 
us to become outside of community.

You see, redemption is not the end of the story. God is preparing us for 
“new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (
2 Peter 3:13).
His goal is a renewed creation, where redeemed humans dwell in perfect 
harmony with each other and with their Creator. God is out to prepare his 
for this glorious future by transforming them now, a process the Bible calls 
sanctification. The agent of sanctification is the Holy Spirit. The tool of
sanctification is the truth of the gospel. And the context of sanctification 
is community.

Consider some of the “one another” statements in the Bible: “Love one 
another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (
Romans 12:10).
“Comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” (
2 Corinthians 13:11).
“Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love 
serve one another” (
Galatians 5:13).
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (
Ephesians 4:32).
Isn’t it obvious that none of us can do these things perfectly? These 
commands aren’t given just so that we’ll know what we should do; they’re 
also given
so that we can try, and fail, and grow in our experience of God’s grace. 
Trying to fulfill these “one another” commands helps to reveal our sin, 
us to Jesus in repentance and faith, and causes us to depend on the Holy 
Spirit for transformation. Community is the laboratory in which we learn to 
on God’s grace and experience the gospel’s transforming power.

Community is also the primary context for mission, our outward focus as 
believers. God wants to use our communities, messy and broken as they are, 
to draw
others into his story and introduce them to Jesus, the Redeemer! It’s not 
just about us becoming more like Jesus; it’s about people who don’t know 
coming to know him as Savior and Lord.

We sometimes treat community like the safety net under a tightrope walker: 
it’s a good thing to have in case something bad happens. But the Bible talks
about community as if it’s the tightrope itself: you can’t move forward 
without it. We are created for community. We are redeemed for community. And 
are transformed in community

This article is reproduced from The Gospel-Centered Community: Leader's 
Guide Copyright © 2013 by Robert H. Thune and Will Walker. Used by 
permission of
New Growth Press (
and may not be downloaded, reproduced, and/or distributed without prior 
written permission of New Growth Press.

We don’t want to be alone. We want to love and be loved; and we know that 
genuine relationships make our lives rich. But somehow living in community 
ends up being harder than we thought. This 9-lesson small group study helps 
participants learn how the Spirit shapes diverse people into a 
community that reflects Jesus to a watching world. Featured Ministry

Bishop Vernon G. Lambe, Sr. & Elder Ruth Ann Lambe
Concepts for Living

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Fifteen Tactics for Joy

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of 
joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:11)

How shall we fight for joy?

1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.
3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life.
4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt — how to fight like a justified sinner.
5. Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is.
6. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.
7. Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for 
8. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
9. Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the 
10. Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence.
11. Get the rest, exercise, and proper diet that your body was designed by 
God to have.
12. Make a proper use of God’s revelation in nature.
13. Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.
14. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy).
15. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for 
the unreached.
John Piper
Copyright Information
This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit


A Work of Art

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from 
yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. 
For we
are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God 
prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:8–10


I still have a picture our oldest daughter made for me many years ago. It 
came at an especially busy and stressful time in my life. And so the thought
and creation of her artwork is especially meaningful to this mama!

It’s beautiful with all of its colors, shapes, words, and images—made 
especially for me. To this day, I have it hanging just above my desk where I 
see it often. It’s a reminder of the love my daughter expressed to me that 

Pull quote

Did you know God has created you as a piece of art? We are His “handiwork” 
or “masterpiece.” The word in Greek is where we get the word poem. The 
Artist Himself has crafted each one of us in unique ways. He has made us 
into something special.

Through Christ, we are His “new creation.” Coming to Jesus in faith is just 
the beginning. It’s where God started with us. He has saved us, and is now
shaping us, to use us for His good in the world.

This is true as a mom, as a wife, and as a woman. In all of our roles, God 
has shaped us to do good in the world—to step confidently, equipped by His 
into His drama.

Imagine if I had failed to see the beauty of the artwork my daughter gave me 
that day. What if I had dismissed it, paid little attention to it, or simply
discarded it?

You are God’s work of art, and He continues to shape you into the Christlike 
person He created you to be. You are a beautiful, powerful piece of art in
the hands of the master Artist. The plans He has prepared are not yet 
finished. So walk in His love. Enter the story of His redeeming grace. 
Wherever God
has you, do good for His glory!


Lord, I want to be molded and shaped into who You want me to be. Help me to 
remember that You have uniquely made me. You are not changing me just for my
own good, but for the good of the world—where You are at work. Give me 
strength to do what You have created me to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Entry by Ruth Schwenk
Excerpted from
Pressing Pause
by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk.
© 2016. Zondervan.
Used by permission.

4 Small Ways You Can Change the World Everyday
Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning

What if God isn't asking us to make big changes in His world? What if God is 
using us to make small changes? God is not absent from the world He created;
He is present and He is at work. He does not need us, but yet He delights in 
using us to accomplish His purposes. So what does it looks like to make 
changes for God? It starts with expanding our every day world. Bestselling 
author Erwin Lutzer recently described four steps to expand our world.

Here are Four Steps to Expand Your World According to Dr. Erwin Lutzer:

1. See with Your Eyes

should actively pursue opportunities for the gospel. We should be looking 
for those in need as Jesus did. Jesus looked at human need, and He 
to crowds and multitudes. Dr. Lutzer explains, “What you are in your heart 
determines what your eyes see.” If your heart is only focused on you or your
family or your job, then that is all you will see. We can miss opportunities 
to take part in God’s work by not seeing the world through God’s 

When Jesus tells a lawyer in Luke 10 the story of The Good Samaritan, He 
points out that first a priest and then a Levite saw a man left for dead by 
The passage says they saw him…but passed by. They had eyes only for their 
own need, but another man, the most unlikely of the three—a Samaritan, had 
and showed the man mercy. Jesus told the lawyer, “You go, and do likewise.”

2. Feel with Your Hearts

It’s not enough just to see, we also have to feel compassion in our hearts. 
It is compassion that prompts action. Matthew 9:36 tells us, “When he 
saw the crowds he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and 
helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

What kind of world do we live in? Dr. Lutzer describes it as a crowded world 
(nearly 7 billion people), an urbanized world, and a suffering world. This
world is full of poverty, natural disasters, starvation, abuse, 
persecution—it is a world filled with pain. But we are not called to look 
out for ourselves
and our own…we are called to look upon this world as Jesus did and have 

3. Go with Your Feet

In Matthew 9:37, Jesus says to his disciples “The harvest is plentiful but 
the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out 
into his harvest field.” This passage tells us the harvest is plentiful…that 
there is work to be done; it also tells us that Someone is already at work
in the harvest, and He is in charge of sending out workers to His field. It 
is God who sends out laborers to work in His field, and we are to pray for
more to be sent including ourselves.

What does this look like in action? It looks like going into neighborhoods 
and areas of need, participating in local ministries, and giving or going 
international ministries. But good works are not enough, we have to share 
God’s message with our mouths.

4. Speak with Your Mouth

We have seen that people are in need, and we know that they need more than 
our good works. They need us to explain the gospel; they need to be invited
to the story. Only God can transform hearts, but He is constantly preparing 
hearts to hear His message—an amazing opportunity He so graciously shares 
us and desires us to take part in. If you’re wondering if the need to speak 
is really that great, Dr. Lutzer puts it this way, “Do we understand what it’s
like to be disconnected from God? Groping to try to find him but not knowing 
how.” Do you remember what it was like before you or someone in your family
accepted Jesus as their Savior?

Dr. Lutzer states that it’s as simple as befriending someone and asking 
them, where are you on your spiritual journey? We don’t have to have all the 
but when we ask questions we start to build bridges toward relationships. 
Dr. Lutzer also comments that he’s never had anyone say no to this question:
“Would it be OK if I share with you something that somebody once shared with 
me that changed my life?” Try to think of three or four non-Christians that
you know and want to pray for, and then ask God to send you as a laborer in 
His field.

The most important thing to remember is that this is God’s harvest not our 
harvest. He is at work preparing hearts to hear His Truth, and He calls us 
be co-partners—something we are incredibly unworthy for, but by His grace 
are included in. We must ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His; we
must pray for opportunities to show compassion to those whom He loves. God 
allows us to make small changes in His big world by sharing the testimony of
His great truth and grace with those whom He has prepared to hear. Will we 
let those opportunities pass us by, or will we see, feel, act, and speak 
His mercy?
Written by Liz Kanoy, editor for Sponsored by
Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning.

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Post  Admin on Sat 28 May 2016, 11:42 pm

Did I Hurt God’s Feelings?

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day 
of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 (ESV)

Wouldn’t it be great if God answered you immediately, every time you prayed 
or asked Him a question?

Just imagine. You’d always have His clear direction and sure confirmation. 
You’d know exactly what to do in any situation. No more hesitating or 
that be fantastic!

Well, several months ago, I was dealing with a tough situation and kept 
asking God to bring clarity to what I should do. I searched Scripture and 
some great verses that could apply.

But I longed for more. I wanted specific words from Him pertaining to my 
specific situation. One solid sentence would do. Just something … anything … 
give me a clear, concise direction.

I brainstormed solutions. Offered God suggestions. Even pouted a little. But 
no specific words came.

Then one evening during my quiet time, I asked again, Lord, why haven’t You 
given me direction with this situation? You know I’m struggling and waiting
for a specific word from You, right?

Within seconds, Ephesians 4:30, today’s key verse, popped into my thoughts: 
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of

Huh … ?

My heart sank. My shoulders slumped. My eyes gazed down at the floor.

Lord, how have I grieved Your Holy Spirit? You know I love You more than 
life itself.

I quickly picked up my Bible, turned to Ephesians 4, and there it was 
staring back at me in black and white print: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit 
of God,
by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and 
wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all 
(Ephesians 4:30-31).

God had definitely taken His holy highlighter and illuminated specific 
words. Except, these words were not the ones I expected.

It was time for a little personal Bible study, so I read through Ephesians 
4, looking up cross-references and commentary notes to better understand. 
I mulled over the tough situation I’d been asking God about — this time with 
a new perspective. His perspective.

I prayed some more and began quietly listening instead of doing all the 
talking. And then it hit me …In the prior days of wrestling with my issue, I 
sight of the fact that I was also expressing a lot of frustration, 
irritation and ugliness. Not just in my thoughts, but with my words … to my 
family and
a close friend.

Sure, I was still praying daily, reading my Bible and listening to worship 
music. But I was also planting tiny seeds of bitterness and anger inside my
heart every time I thought about the situation or expressed it to others.

These tiny seeds of sin were taking root and sprouting ugly weeds of 
negativity in my thought life, attitude and words.

This sin wasn’t breaking my relationship with God, but it was definitely 
creating a hindrance in our fellowship and grieving His Spirit.I had 
the truth that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person with feelings and 
emotions. And my expressions were definitely in contrast to the fruit of the 
which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control.

You can bet I didn’t waste time before saying I was sorry and confessing my 
sin. Nothing is more important to me than my relationship with God and the
close fellowship I have with Him.

So how do we maintain close fellowship with the Holy Spirit on a consistent 
basis? A few examples are given in the same section of Ephesians 4: “Be kind
to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ 
forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, ESV).

When we live like Christ — forgiving and extending kindness to others, 
expressing genuine love from a tender heart that’s been shaped by God — we 
joy to Him. And that joy also enriches our friendships and makes our 
relationship with others so much sweeter!

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit as my Guide and 
Companion for life. Thank You for loving me unconditionally, even when I act
in ways I know I shouldn’t. Make me aware of any unconfessed sin I’ve held 
on to, so I can repent and continue to move forward with You. In Jesus’ 

John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the 
truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he
will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (ESV)

Galatians 5:22-23a, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” 

Infuse new life into your relationship with God by studying how the early 
believers lived out Holy Spirit-fueled faith in the book of Acts. The First 
study of Acts just launched this week! Get the Acts
Experience Guide
here and download the free
First 5 app

Connect with Leah DiPascal on
Or stop by
her blog
today and sign up for this week’s fun giveaway.

The Holy Spirit works within us to reveal the truth of God’s Word in every 
aspect of our lives. He always points us to Jesus and brings glory to the 
a true believer, your relationship with God is secure in Christ. Don’t let 
sin hinder your vibrant fellowship or quench the Holy Spirit’s workings in 
life. Take a few minutes now and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself in an 
undeniable way.

© 2016 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

Anne Graham Lotz - Jesus Revealed in Us
Jesus Revealed in Us
Those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their 
faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4:19, NIV

If our kids always behave

and our boss is always pleased

and our home is always orderly

and our bodies always feel good

and we are patient and kind and thoughtful and happy and loving, others 
shrug because they’re capable of being that way too. On the other hand, if

we have a splitting headache,

the kids are screaming,

the phone is ringing,

the supper is burning,

yet we are still patient, kind, thoughtful, happy, and loving, the world 
sits up and takes notice. The world knows that kind of behavior is not 
It’s supernatural. And others see Jesus revealed in us.

Copyright © 2016 AnGeL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"You do not have, because you do not ask." James 4:2b

By Answers2Prayer
Subscribe Unsubscribe
More Illustrations
Contact us


Eighty-one year old Clarence Blackmon is an Army veteran. Blackmon also has 

Recently, upon returning to his North Carolina apartment after a hospital 
stay, Blackmon found his cupboards were bare, as was his pantry, his 
and freezer. With his stomach making earthquaky sounds, he contacted local 
stores, but they refused to deliver until he had made a deposit, something 
was physically unable to do.

In desperation, Blackmon called 911. Talking to dispatcher Marilyn Hinson, 
he said, "I can't get out of my chair. What I need is someone to get to the
grocery store and bring me some food because I need to eat something."

Hinson might have given Blackmon a lecture on the proper use of 911. She 
might have told him that he should contact some local food banks. She might 
encouraged Blackmon to hire a taxi, which could stop and pick up the 
groceries for 115-pound Blackmon.

Hinson did none of those things.

No, what Hinson thought was this: he's hungry and I've been hungry. 
Remembering her tough times, Hinson went out, bought and delivered the food 
The story of Blackmon started to make the rounds. Soon more groceries began 
showing up. There was enough to fill his shelves and be shared with the 
food banks. But there's more. A home nurse was scheduled to show up twice a 
week to make sure Blackmon is okay.

According to the doctor, the nurse won't be calling on Blackmon for too 
long. He has been given less than six months to live. To that he replies, 
the doctor doesn't know, and I don't know ... only God knows and I thank God 
I'm still here."

Now this is the point in the devotion where I'm supposed to give you 
something to think about. The problem is there are so many ways we could go. 
For example,
we could talk about Jesus' words, "Even as you have done good to the least 
of these, my brethren, you have done good to Me" (see Matthew 25:31-40). Or
we could spend some time discussing Paul's statement: "I have learned the 
secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things 
Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12b-13).

Instead, I would like to point out Blackmon has groceries because he asked 
for them. In that spirit I call your attention to the text at the top of our
devotion. James is quite blunt when he tells his fellow believers, "You 
don't have because you do not ask." We may sing, "Take it to the Lord in 
but all too often we forget to ask the Lord for specific things we need. 
True, in such matters we most certainly ought to pray, "Not my will, but 
will be done" (Luke 22:42b).

But we also need to remember that the Lord, who sent His Son to do all that 
was necessary to forgive and save us, is also waiting to hear our prayers,
which praise, thank and, yes, make requests of Him.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it is right and proper for us to come to You in 
prayer. You are our Creator, Benefactor, Redeemer and Guide. In large 
matters and
small may we make our requests known to You. In the Savior's Name I ask it. 

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


I want to thank our dynamic group of volunteers for making a difference in 
this world. Thanks to them, we can provide you with the many aspects of this
ministry. God is our guide and He blesses others through you! If any of our 
subscribers feel called to possibly reach out to others, please let me know.
There is still a need for more volunteers! Many are called, but few answer 
the call. Your part would mean a lot to the Lord’s work. If interested,

please contact us.
Thank you.

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

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Post  Admin on Fri 27 May 2016, 9:04 pm

Are You a Jesus Sellout?
Kelly Balarie

I sold out.

Why? I don't know, but what I do know is that sometimes it feels better to 
blame others...

Business school said if you wanted to succeed you needed to work for this 
type of company.

My parents said if you want to survive you need to do this kind of work.

The world said if you want to be recognized you better be rich and powerful.

So, while my heart said counseling, my ambition said business. I nodded and 
then obeyed...

And so it was. I scoured online for the best companies. I researched their 
in's and outs. I learned the details of their roles. I filled out 
after application. I was a mad-woman on a mission who knew her destination - 
and neither potholes, nor roadkill, nor old dreams were going to stop me.

I became slightly crazed...

I remember the interview like it was yesterday. Two suited-folk leaned in; 
they grilled me. Each question they lobbed was meant to press me, to trip me
up, but I didn't buckle. Instead I tightened my every muscle, made eye 
contact and said, "This has always been my dream job."

My replies rolled off like balls on a tee. I knew their mission like it was 
my first name. I knew their organizational culture as if I had grown up in

Their smiles were big and their body language said it all - I was in; I was 
the perfect candidate. I was a success.

Kind of...

Did I speak truth? Not at all.

Did it matter? Not so much.

One on a mission to fruition doesn't care so much about right intentions.

One laser-driven, can't often see where God wants them to drive.

I got the job.
I sold out.

Like Judas (Mk 14:10), the man who betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

We know him, right? And, we don't have much sympathy for his likes. Instead, 
we stand a little taller saying, "I would never be like him. I would never
sell Jesus out for ______ (money, ambition, dreams, success, hopes, 
expectations, results, health, finances, etc.)."

But, would we?

Do we?

Maybe Judas is a lot more like you and me than we think:

Maybe others told him what mattered - and he listened.

Maybe he didn't think so much about Jesus - as he did his end goal.

Maybe the world spoke that real power was getting in with "powerful types".

What are you chasing after, believing that it is going to deliver you to 

If Christ isn't in it, you can be sure joy and peace won't be in it either.

The outcome is universal:

Judas/Destination Seekers say, "I sinned. I handed over (innocence) to be 

The world says: “We don’t care! That’s a problem for you, not us.” (Mt 

Just as Judas ended up a dead man, hung by his own transgression, so do we.

What happened with me? My ambition delivered the fruit of ambition: stress, 
anxiety and pain. I left this job not too long after I started.

Why do I say all this? This post isn't meant to depress you, it is meant to 
resurrect you - to your unique calling of God. It is meant to break your 
molds and frames and pre-established standards. It is meant to awaken you to 
God's unique and pointed call for your life. It is meant to help you listen
to and then follow God, so that you can walk right up to his abundant life. 
It is meant to help you see beyond what is seen - and into the unseen. It is
meant to help you do the one thing Judas' didn't do - say, "I am sorry God, 
your way is really the only way."

It is meant to help you consider, "What good is it for someone to gain the 
whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Mk 8:36)

Nothing is worth selling out Jesus. It's meant to remind us of that.

for Clear Vision
Lord, we want you. We mess up. We get our eyes thinking we need big apples 
to bite from. They never please. Help us to remember how sour they taste and
how rotten they feel after we get a good chunk out of them. Help us to taste 
and see that you alone are good. You alone are worthy. Only your plans bring
us through to our best plans. You have the greatest gifts in store for us. 
We don't want to settle for average and stress-filled, while you have 
and peace-filled. Grant us the fullness of peace in our wait and calm 
through our storms so we can stick with you. Forgive us. We need you. Amen.

I Will Not Retreat
by Chuck Swindoll

Exodus 6:13

Right after God told Moses what He would do, He said to him, "You must 
believe it. I command you to do this thing." "Now the LORD spoke to Moses 
and Aaron
about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to 
bring the Israelites out of Egypt" (v. 13 NIV).

God was saying, "This is going to happen. The Israelites will come out of 
Egypt. This isn't wishful thinking or a nice sentiment. I intend to bring it
to pass. Get ready to execute the plan."

So often the arrow that penetrates our soul at the weakest point is our 
unbelief. We know in our heads what God has said, but it takes faith to put 
into gear, to get out there and start practicing what He has told us to do. 
Then and there, at that split-second of hesitation, the battle is won or 

This is how we need to pray, even when we feel as if we never want to pray 
again: "Lord, I don't feel like praying right now, but hear my prayer 
Lord, I will believe You, even though the tide is rising, and I'm already on 
tip-toe. I will believe You, even though it seems like it's taking You 
to keep Your promise. I will believe You, even though I've come to the 
ragged end of my strength, the dregs of my hope, the broken shards of my 
I will not look for a shortcut. I will not rely on a carnal option. I will 
not retreat from the battle. I will believe You!"

God's promise to Moses is the same to us: "Because I am who I am, I will do 
what is best for you." There isn't a day on this side of eternity, no matter
how grim, that can't be improved by clinging to that reassuring thought.

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.

Rules for Running a Rewarding Race
Watch Video
Copyright © 2016 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved 

Welcome to the Nugget

April 30, 2016

By Answers2Prayer

"This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and 
knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to 
the full
and complete standard of Christ." (Eph. 4:13)

As I have gotten older one thing I have realized is that I really want more 
out of life. Now I am not talking about bigger bank accounts, more money, a
huger house, or a fancier car. What I really want more of are the things 
that money just can't buy. I want more of the things that strengthen the 
and nurture the soul. I want more of the things that bring us closer to 
love, closer to others, closer to Heaven, and closer to God.

I want to watch more sunrises and more sunsets. I want to spend more time 
smelling the flowers in the Spring and looking at the leaves in the Fall. I 
to listen to more music and sing more songs. I want to read more books and 
gain more wisdom. I want to give more hugs and kisses to my children and 
one day to my grandchildren. I want to spend more time watching my dogs play 
and listening to my cats purr. I want to pray more to God and listen to His
voice in the silence of my heart, mind, and soul. I want to think more 
inspiring thoughts and share them with others. I want to speak more words of 
I want to do more acts of kindness. I want to help others more. I want to 
lift more people up and let more people lift me up as well. I want to share 
smiles. I want to enjoy more laughter. I want to select more joy, create 
more happiness, choose more peace, and then give it to others. I want to 
more sunshine, eliminate more darkness, and make Earth more like Heaven. I 
want to write more truth, let more people know that God loves them, and show
them that they can love too. I want to do more and more to make this world a 
better place for everyone.

I pray too that all of you spend your days getting and giving more of what 
is essential in this life. May you have more love. May you share more joy. 
you get more wisdom. May you give more goodness. And may you forever grow 
more in oneness with God.

By Joseph J. Mazzella


Israel is close to celebrating it's 66th birthday. In honor of the rebirth 
of this country, the Nugget will be posting for a 5 part mini-series, "God 
a Small Nation" by Suresh Manoharan, designed to bring to the forefront the 
significance of Israel to all followers of the Lord God of Abraham.

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

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Post  Admin on Thu 26 May 2016, 10:53 pm

The Gift of Knowledge

We now look at another spiritual gift found in the following verse:

1 Corinthians 12:8 ASV
8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another 
the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit:

Matthew Henry has these comments to say about the gift of knowledge:

To another the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit; that is, say some, the 
knowledge of mysteries (ch. 2:13): wrapped up in the prophecies, types, and 
histories of the Old Testament: say others, a skill and readiness to give 
advice and counsel in perplexed cases.

Jesus Christ knows all things. No one can hide anything from Him. He used 
this when He talked with the woman at the well:

John 4:16-18 Darby
16 Jesus says to her, Go, call thy husband, and come here. 17 The woman 
answered and said, I have not a husband. Jesus says to her, Thou hast well 
said, I have not a husband; 18 for thou hast had five husbands, and he whom 
now thou hast is not thy husband: this thou hast spoken truly.

Jesus used this word of knowledge to convict the woman so she might follow 
Him. Those of us who have asked Jesus Christ into our hearts have Him living 
inside us. Since He used this word of knowledge, we Christians can also use 
it as He gives the word to us. Peter was given a word of knowledge as we see 
in the following Scripture:

Acts 5:1-4 KJV
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and 
brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, 
Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to 
keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not 
thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast 
thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but 
unto God.

Here Peter had a word of knowledge which was something that he could not 
know beforehand. He was a mere mortal like you and me but he had Jesus 
Christ living inside him and was filled with the Holy Spirit who gave this 
word of knowledge to him.

The Holy Spirit may give you a word of knowledge for someone. It will be 
something that is true but you would have no way of knowing. This word of 
knowledge is given to bring someone to Jesus Christ or to let a Christian 
know that God knows what he is doing and needs to repent. Be open to the 
leading of the Holy Spirit and don’t be afraid to speak to someone if He is 
leading you to. It is not to show off but to bring someone closer to Jesus.

by Dean W. Masters

Welcome to the Nugget

April 28, 2016

The Captivity of the Ark, Part 3: The Beth Shemesh Massacre
By Answers2Prayer

It was a somber time in Israel's history. The Ark of the Covenant had been 
taken captive and was being held by the enemy, the Philistines, and God's 
priest Eli was dead, as were his two sons, Hophni and Phineas. For all 
appearances, God was gone from Israel. However, last week, in "The Captivity 
the Ark," Part 2, we saw that God was busy teaching the Philistines some 
important lessons on His sovereignty. It shows us that when we go through 
times, we must also consider how God may be using our own circumstances to 
bring Truth to dark places.

Within the boundaries of their knowledge of the Ark of the Covenant, it must 
be said that the Philistines showed utmost respect for the Ark of God; but
did Israel have the same amount of respect for this gold-covered box?

It would be expected that they would show the Ark even more respect than the 
Philistines, for they knew that it represented the actual presence of God.
Israel had also been given instructions on how the ark was to be housed, 
transported, etc. If you look carefully at God's instructions for the Ark (
Numb 4:15),
you see that even taking the Ark into battle in the first place was 
disrespectful, and even upon its return, Israel did not transport it 
immediately to
Shiloh to put back in the tabernacle. In fact, they didn't even have it 
carried on the shoulders of the God-appointed Levites (See
Numb 4:15).
Instead, they set it on a rock and offered sacrifices to it, and some of 
them even touched the ark, which was also strictly forbidden (See
Numbers 1:51)!

God's response? He didn't just strike the people with tumors and rats: "Then 
He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of
the LORD. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the 
people lamented because the LORD had struck the people with a great 
(1 Samuel 6:19)

Even after the deaths of these 50,070 men, the people still didn't remember 
how important it is to fear the Lord. The ark was still not taken to Shiloh,
it was still not placed in the care of God-appointed priests. Instead it was 
kept in a simple house and guarded by a man named Eleazar: "So the men of
Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD. They brought it to 
Abinadab's house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the 
ark of
the LORD." (1Sam 7:1-2, NIV2).

Why is it that the Philistines, after only seven months, showed more respect 
for God and His Ark than Israel?

I believe that the answer lies in the fact that after all those years of 
possessing the Ark of the Covenant, God's presence in Israel had become 
They had lost their fear of the Lord.

When I look at new believers, I often sense a much higher degree of respect 
for God than I sense in seasoned believers. Are we in danger of falling into
Israel's trap, and in so doing, are we putting ourselves in danger of 
separation from God's presence?

As I examined my own heart in the Lord's presence this morning, I realized 
that I, too, have lost my sense of awe and respect for the Most High God. 
I bind and cast out demons in the name of Jesus and I pray down God's 
healing power over sick bodies; yet I snap out in anger at my family, I 
to remain in control of everything that happens at home, and I continuously 
fail in regards to temperance. If I truly feared the Lord, I would sense my
own "dirtiness" in the presence of a Holy God! I would make my own 
sanctification a higher priority! I would approach His throne of grace with 
far more
reference and worship, just like I did when I was first saved!

Friends, wherever you find yourself in your walk with God, remember: God is 
holy. Yes, He wants to be our friend, yet in our friendship with Him, we 
not attempt to bring Him down to our level. Instead, we must attempt to 
raise ourselves to His level. We must treat the presence of God with the 
the Philistines showed the Ark of the Covenant, and not with the apathetic 
disconcertment of the people of Beth Shemesh; for in so doing, we will 
another Beth Shemesh massacre.

This is the last lesson in "The Captivity of the Ark" series. If you have 
missed any of the former lessons, you will find them published online by 

Or if you do not have access to the Internet,
email me
and I will be happy to forward them to you.

In His love,

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


Are you looking for that rest, peace and security that everyone says comes 
from Jesus? Visit the mini-series, "Eternal Music"and find out!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus
By Skip Heitzig

Back in 1855, a man by the name of Joseph Scriven wrote a poem that 
eventually became a very popular song: "What a friend we have in Jesus, all 
our sins
and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer."

Would you agree that we have many acquaintances but few true friends? You 
might know a lot of people as acquaintances, but to be given the designation
of a friend, you've got to be a special person.

I want to look at a very special friendship: the friendship Jesus has with 
His own, as described in John 15:12-17. And there are a few things I want 
to glean from this text. Number one: Jesus picks His friends. "You did not 
choose Me, but I chose you" (v. 16). Now, this is different in human 
because in human friendship, there is a mutuality about our friendships. We 
choose each other.

But Jesus said, "You didn't choose Me; I chose you." This tells us He is so 
important and so high in rank that He can have this prerogative of choice.
This also shows us His love. Think about it: God knew all about you before 
He chose you, and He still chose you. That's love. This also speaks to us 
Jesus' intention. God has a purpose for your life: "You did not choose Me, 
but I chose you and appointed you"—selected or ordained—"that you should go
and bear fruit" (v. 16). God doesn't want us to just sit around and watch 
life go on. He said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every 
(Mark 16:15).

The second great truth we see in these verses is that Jesus helps His 
friends. First and most importantly, He saves you: "Greater love has no one 
this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (v. 13). Here, Jesus was 
speaking of His own death. We always look to the cross as the greatest 
of love, don't we? Because Jesus didn't just choose you to be His friend; He 
came to this earth and paid the bill for you to become His friend—by dying
on the cross and washing away your sin.

There's something else He does to help us: He lets us in on the plan of God. 
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his 
is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My 
Father I have made known to you" (v. 15). In ancient times, a master 
go to a slave and say, "I'll let you in on my secrets and my plans." No—that 
was something reserved only for friends. And Jesus has revealed to us the
whole scope of life, from the beginning of creation to the end of the 
consummation. We're in on the details (see Matthew 13:10-11; Luke 10:22-24).

Finally, Jesus anticipates His friends—He expects His friends to do 
something. Notice verse 14: "You are My friends if you do whatever I command 
In other words, Jesus' friends actively obey Him. The word do is a positive 
word. He didn't say, "You're My friends if you don't do this and that." For
a lot of people, their
is all about negatives—what they don't do. So what do you do that's 

Not only that, but Jesus' friends will repeatedly obey. The word do is in 
the present subjunctive, meaning it's a continual, habitual lifestyle of 
And look at the word whatever. This tells me that Jesus' friends 
unconditionally obey Him. Anything He tells you to do, you do. That includes 

I thank the Lord that His friendship is a two-way street. It's not just what 
He has done and what He continues to do; it's reciprocal: we're His friends
if we do whatever He tells us. So often, we understand that we're His 
children, that we're the sheep of His pasture and servants of the Most High 
But I pray we'll understand that we are His friends—and what a friend we 
have in Him!

Copyright © 2016 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.

Standing Out: When You Don't Fit In
by Jarrid Wilson

We all want to be liked, cherished, and appreciated by our peers. But what 
if I told you that God could care less about these things? What if I told 
that God didn’t care how many Facebook friends you have, or how many people 
follow you on Twitter?

And what if I told you that God isn’t worried about how popular you are? In 
fact, what if i told you that the purpose of the Gospel isn’t to fit in at
all, but to in fact stand out…

Romans 12:2
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the 
renewing of your mind.

In today’s worth-seeking world, being “liked,” and “wanted” is something we 
all yearn for. And whether we want to admit it or not, It’s how our culture
forces us to feel, and not to mention it’s how our culture advertises us to 

The World Says:

But when we begin to look into the depth of
none of those things are actually true.

God has called us to be different. To stand against the grain. To be a city 
on a hilltop (
Matthew 5:14).
And to be the change for a world that lacks hope.

Realizing you don’t fit in is a good thing. You weren’t made to fit in. You 
were made to fulfill your calling in Christ. You were made to fit out.
Jarrid Wilson is a pastor, blogger, and aspiring world-changer

Unshakable Peace
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will 
not be shaken
(Psalm 16:8,

Friend to Friend

Susan lived “the good life.” One filled with prosperity and love. For years, 
she and her husband owned a thriving business that allowed them and their
children to be surrounded with beautiful material things. They had a 
glorious lake home, a lavish boat, and luxury cars. Everything the world 
counts as

In spite of their earthly wealth, when faced with the truth of the Gospel, 
Susan and her husband realized that they were spiritually bankrupt and in 
need of a Savior. Within months of each other, Susan and her husband both 
accepted Christ and began to thrive in newly found faith.

A few years into faith, Susan was squeezed by difficult circumstances. The 
family business took a turn for the worse and had to close its doors – 
many friends and employees jobless. Then the IRS audited her husband. Scary 
legal ramifications threatened to crush them if large amounts of money were
not paid to accommodate accounting debt.

They lost everything.

Financially ruined and emotionally stunned, Susan and her husband were 
forced to sell all that they owned.

Years later, they still waded through the deep waters of financial strain. 
Their debts were far from being forgiven and the economy had grown 
dim. Through the turmoil, Susan learned to trust in God as her Provider.

As she trusted Him, God faithfully filled her with supernatural peace, 
strength, and joy. She experienced God’s provision through His Word, through 
presence, and through her friends.

When her pantry had been empty, God knew. He sent friends to her home with 
bags of groceries and gift cards.

When her soul had been discouraged, God knew. He sent reminders of His 
promises and love through Scripture and through the encouragement of godly 

Despite the fact that her bank account was still bare and the days were 
still complicated, Susan considered herself to be wealthier post-loss than 
because she knows the soul-level unshakable peace that is found in Jesus.

As the time of His betrayal and crucifixion approached, Jesus told his 
disciples that though they would grieve His death, their grief would be 
turned to
joy. He encouraged them to believe all that He said and gave them a 
compelling promise. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may 
have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the 
world” (John 16:33).

He promised His bewildered disciples that, in Him, they would have peace in 
the midst of trouble.

And how wonderful to know that His promise is valid for us too.

No matter what you go through, you can experience unshakable peace, and 
declare, “I will not be shaken!” as the psalmist did in Psalm 16:8. God 
knows what
you have been through and what you are going through.

He promises peace to each believer through Jesus.

Part of our unsettled nature is that we try to cling to the things of 
earth – to the “American way” of living – to the here and now. When we put 
our trust
in things of this world, we give anxiety, fear, jealously, discontentment, 
greed, and insecurity open access to our lives. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Instead of finding ways to hold on to what you have, be encouraged today to 
let go.

Let go of what doesn’t matter.

Even let go of those things that seem worth your worry.

“So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or 
“What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your 
Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his 
righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore 
do not
worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has 
enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31-34, NIV)

Seek God first, friend … above and before any earthly thing, large or small. 
Have faith that He will meet you at your need. God wants us to store up 
where moth and rust will not destroy.

He wants us to trust Him.

When we do, He promises that we can live with an unshakable peace that 
passes understanding.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I need your unshakable peace! Please forgive me for placing my 
trust and hope in things of this earth. Lead my soul to find rest in You and
in Your perfect plan for my life.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 16. Underline your favorite verses and consider committing them 
to memory..
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion is an excerpt written by Gwen Smith featured in the book
Trusting God.

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Pretending I’m Fine or Proving I’m Right

“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 (NIV)

If someone says something or does something that hurts me, what is the godly 
response? Is it to pretend like everything is fine so I can keep the peace?
Or is it to confront the person to prove how wrong they are?


If ever I catch myself pretending or proving, I know I’m processing my hurt 
the wrong way.

The godly way is approaching this situation with soul integrity — responding 
in a way that’s honest but also peacemaking. James 3:17 says, “But the 
that comes from heaven is first of all pure (honest); then peace-loving …” 
Yes, I want this kind of wisdom — this soul integrity. I want to be honest 
peacemaking at the same time. But how?

I must remember I need real honesty combined with real peacemaking.

Real Honesty.
Not all honest expressions of my feelings can be categorized as “real 
honesty.” You see, my honest feelings may not be truthful assessments of the 
I can be honest with how I feel and still exaggerate or misinterpret what is 
factually true. I can feel justified in being blatant about my feelings —
not hiding a thing — and yet prideful for being so real, all under the guise 
of being “honest” enough not to stuff my emotions.

But in reality, honesty that isn’t real isn’t honesty at all. It could just 
be emotional spewing. That’s why we need peacemaking honesty — honesty 
in by the Holy Spirit — if we’re going to have authentic soul integrity.So, 
if I want real honesty, I have to ask the Holy Spirit to show me real truth.
I need to see things from the other person’s perspective. I need to ask 
questions with the desire to better understand instead of throwing out 
of accusation. Ultimately, my goal should be to add peacemaking to my 

Real Peacemaking.
It must grieve God to see plastic versions of peacemaking that aren’t reined 
in by honesty. That’s what we do when we stuff our emotions and pretend 
is okay. The upside to stuffing is that we have the semblance of 
peacemakers. But when we do this at the expense of honesty, we harbor a 
corrosive bitterness
that will eventually emerge. Either it will erode our health and later 
present itself in a host of emotional and physical anxiety-induced 
illnesses, or
it will accumulate over time and surprise everyone when the peacemaker 
eventually erupts. Saying “I’m fine” to keep the peace when we’re really not 
builds walls and shuts down intimacy.

Sometimes, dishonesty comes in the form of saying things that aren’t true. 
But it’s also dishonest when we don’t say things that are true.

It may seem godly in the moment, but it’s false godliness. Truth and 
godliness always walk hand-in-hand. The minute we divorce one from the 
other, we stray
from soul integrity and give a foothold to the instability that inevitably 
leads to coming unglued.

Yes, we’re after soul integrity — honesty that is also peacemaking that 
leads to godliness. This soul integrity brings balance to unglued reactions. 
makes us true peacemakers — people who aren’t proving or pretending but 
rather, honestly demonstrating what they experience in a godly manner.

And being a true peacemaker reaps a harvest of great qualities in our lives: 
right things, godly things, healthy things.

Dear Lord, it is only through You that I’m able to bring all my exploding 
and stuffing under Your authority and truth. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit 
gives me the wisdom to move beyond my reactions. Help me lean on You. In 
Jesus’ Name, Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, 
comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of 
and peace will be with you.” (ESV)James 3:18, “Peacemakers who sow in peace 
reap a harvest of righteousness.” (NIV)

Do you find yourself stuck in the same reactions? Your feelings are hurt, 
but you stuff them to keep the peace. Or maybe you explode and yell, instead
of calmly talking it out? Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued, will equip you to 
find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest 
butkind when offended.

Is the Lord moving you toward real honesty, real peacemaking or a 
combination today?Thinking about your current relationships, what are some 
applications you can make as you pursue soul integrity?

© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

The King's Table
by Ryan Duncan, Entertainment Editor

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told 
you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. –
John 14:2

One of my favorite
stories is
2 Samuel 2:1.
The story begins a few years after David has finally become King of Israel. 
Before this, his life had been an endless string of running, fighting, and
hiding, as he was mercilessly pursed by Saul, who wanted nothing more than 
David’s head on a spike. Now Saul was dead, and David would have been 
justified in dishing up some well-deserved payback on the royal family. 
Instead, he does something completely different.

David reaches out to Saul’s last living grandson, a poor cripple named 
Mephibosheth. Despite being Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth’s life hadn’t been 
great. His legs had been broken as a baby, both his parents were dead, and 
he was living alone in exile. When he heard David was coming, Mephiboseth 
assumed that was it for him. Just imagine his surprise at what followed,

"Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness 
for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land 
belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table." 
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should 
a dead dog like me?" Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's servant, and said 
to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to 
and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for 
him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided
for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my 
table." (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Then Ziba said to 
the king,
"Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." 
So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons. 
had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba's household were 
servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he 
ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet. –
2 Samuel 9:7-13

The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart, and I think here 
we can see why. The story of David’s compassion to Mephibosheth is in some
ways a foreshadowing to God’s compassion for all of us. We are all the 
broken children of
Adam and Eve,
people who turned their backs on God. Yet instead of abandoning us, God has 
made a place for us at his table. He has brought us out of exile and taken
us home.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Whatever trials you may be facing, always 
remember that you have a place at God’s table.

Further Reading
Luke 6:37-38

Christ's Comprehensive Love

Psalms 149:4

How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people's 
interests that He does not consider, and there is nothing that concerns 
welfare that is not important to Him. He doesn't merely think of you, 
believer, as an immortal being, but as a mortal being too. Do not deny it or 
it: "Even the hairs of your head are all numbered."3 "The steps of a man are 
established by the LORD, when he delights in his way."4

It would be sad for us if this covering of love did not tackle all our 
concerns, for what mischief might be done to us in that part of our lives 
that did
not come under our gracious Lord's protection! Believer, rest assured that 
the heart of Jesus cares about your smallest concerns. The breadth of His 
love is such that you may turn to Him in every case; for in all your 
afflictions He is afflicted, and just like a father cares for his children, 
so He
cares for you. The smallest interests of all His saints are all borne upon 
the heart of the Son of God.

And what a heart He has, which does not merely understand the nature of His 
people but also comprehends their diverse and innumerable concerns. Do you
think, Christian, that you can measure the love of Christ? Consider what His 
love has brought you—justification, adoption, sanctification, eternal life!
The riches of His goodness are unsearchable; you will never be able to 
convey them or even conceive them.

Oh, the breadth of the love of Christ! Shall such a love as this have only 
half our hearts? Shall it have a cold love in return? Shall Jesus' marvelous
loving-kindness and tender care be met with only faint response and delayed 
acknowledgment? My soul, tune your harp to a glad song of thanksgiving! Go
to your rest rejoicing, for you are not a desolate wanderer but a beloved 
child, watched over, cared for, supplied, and defended by your Lord.

3 Matthew 10:30 4 Psalm 37:23

reading plan

verse 1 Song 4  verse 2 Hebrews 4

ESV Daily Devotional New Testament

Author and pastor Kevin DeYoung answers important questions about the Bible 
raised by Christians
and non-Christians alike, helping readers understand what the Bible says 
about itself and the key characteristics that contribute to its lasting 

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We now study another gift of the Holy Spirit which is the gift of wisdom 
which Paul lists:

1 Corinthians 12:8 KJV
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word 
of knowledge by the same Spirit;

The following is what Matthew Henry says about the gift of wisdom in his 

To one was given the word of wisdom; that is, say some, a knowledge of the 
mysteries of the gospel, and ability to explain them, an exact understanding 
of the design, nature, and doctrines, of the Christian religion. Others say 
an uttering of grave sentences, like Solomon’s proverbs. Some confine this 
word of wisdom to the revelations made to and by the apostles.

Here is what James wrote about wisdom:

James 3:17 ASV
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, 
easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, 
without hypocrisy.

So the wisdom we are to give as the Spirit leads has to come from God. If it 
doesn’t follow the things which James wrote of then it is not from God and 
should not be taken as from God. The Lord may put on your heart to give a 
word of wisdom to someone as you are talking to them but it cannot 
contradict the whole of the Bible. It must not take a verse out of context.

One way to know the wisdom of God so that you can impart His wisdom to 
others is to read the Bible and spend time in prayer and listening to God 
speak to you.

If you need an answer from the Lord, it may come from Him personally or it 
may come from someone else but you need to do what James tells us to do:

James 1:5 Darby
5 But if any one of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all 
freely and reproaches not, and it shall be given to him:

by Dean W. Masters

7 Christian Sayings That Aren't Christian at All
Laura Polk
Yes, you’ve heard them. You’ve likely said them. But, have you stopped to 
consider the meaning behind them? While certainly well intended, there are a
multitude of Christian phrases that actually aren’t Christian at all. Or, at 
least, not specifically biblical. So before you go any further in your 
of offering a helpful phrase that is easily understood, make sure you 
understand the root as well:
1. God will never give you more than you can handle.
Although one of the most quoted phrases, this is actually not in the
The verse that is taken out of context, speaks of temptation specifically, 
not difficulties in general (
1 Corinthians 10:13).
God wants us to live a righteous life, so he won’t allow us to be tempted by 
sin that we cannot control. But otherwise, God does allow things into our
lives that overwhelm us. Think of Job, who lost everything and wished for 
death. Certainly that was more than he could handle, and the Bible makes it 
that God allowed it in his life. But, being a redeeming God, these things 
are often used to bring us closer to Him, His will, in our futures, or in 
cases to be used in ways that we simply may not understand in this life.
2. Hate the sin, love the sinner.
While this sounds Biblical and may make sense based on other biblical 
truths, this phrase actually finds its root in a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, 
the sin and not the sinner.” Mostly used when trying to make sense of 
something we don’t agree with, this phrase does reflect biblical teachings 
even though
it is not a Bible quote. Just as God hates sin, we are actually called to do 
the same (
Psalm 97:10)
when we choose to follow Him. We are also called to love our fellow man 
second only to God, which is essentially saying we should love sinners since 
men (including ourselves) sin. (
Matthew 22:37-40).
3. Everything happens for a reason.
While this is true, when used by Christians during someone’s time of need, 
this quote implies that God has a reason for everything that happens in our
lives. Since He is omnipotent, He certainly knows why things happen in our 
lives, but it doesn’t mean He is necessarily the source. We have been given
free will. He doesn’t orchestrate every part of our lives, choosing what 
will happen to us and when it will happen. And while He certainly can take 
and use it for His purpose, often the “reason” things happen is staring at 
us in the mirror.
4. It’s not our place to judge.
Yes, Jesus commanded us not to judge others (
Matthew 7:1).
However, considering that in the following passages he began differentiating 
between judgments we should make, we can understand that when taken out of
context this phrase is often used to stop us from pointing out the sin in 
other people’s lives, or to silence our own critics. It doesn’t mean that we
can’t look at something someone is doing that is wrong, and form an opinion 
about it. That’s called discernment. Used in this way, it allows us to make
better calls in our own lives. Instead, we are told not to judge by mere 
appearances (
John 7:24),
but to judge fairly. To not judge hypocritically (
Matthew 7:3-4),
and based only on the facts. (
Proverbs 19:5).
5. All you need to do to go to heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.
Before I became a Christian, this was one of the most confusing phrases of 
Christianese I’d heard. In fact, when I gave my life to Christ, I wondered 
I was doing it right, or if I needed to say some kind of speech to invite 
him “into my heart” even though I had no idea what that meant. What this 
means is that in order to experience salvation in Jesus Christ, you must 
believe that Jesus is Lord. Maybe because we often think of a deep belief as 
that we believe “with all our heart,” or because once we become believers, 
we often experience a “change of heart,” this phrase has become common in 
circles. However, you will find no direct biblical reference to it. What the 
Bible does say is that if you believe in your heart and confess with your
mouth that Jesus is Lord, you are saved. (
Romans 10:9-10)
6. When God closes a door, He opens a window.
Often given as an excuse for why things don’t go the way we planned, this 
has no biblical basis at all. Instead, the actual phrase comes from… get 
The Sound of Music. While God is certainly loving, this suggests that no 
matter what, He will fulfill whatever hopes and dreams we are pursuing. That 
our plans fail, He will find another way to work it out for us. But, the 
truth is that God does say no at times. And while it’s true that He works 
things for our good (
Romans 8:28),
He is looking at things from an eternal perspective and our ultimate good. 
Not what we might envision.
7. Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.
While many don’t want to admit it because of how society tends to view 
religion as a straitjacket of rules and regulations, Christianity is by 
a religion. And while this phrase is certainly intended to avoid negative 
perceptions, the truth is we are an “organized system of beliefs, 
and rules used to worship” (Merriam-Webster). Certainly, having a 
relationship with God is core to our belief system. But, it doesn’t change 
the fact of
what we are, nor should it.
In all likelihood, most Christians have been both the giver and receiver of 
a few of these phrases. But, to those not familiar with the Bible, they can
come across as biblical truth. Next time, rather than pulling out a 
carefully coined phrase, simply speak from your heart, supported by 

Laura Polk is a writer, speaker, and textile designer residing in North 
Carolina with her three children. 

Giving Your Best
Thursday April 28, 2016
Volume 17 Number 086

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Colossians 3:23
"Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" NKJV

Adam Smart spent the summer recording a survey in one neighborhood. It was 
hot and it was a tough job. "I'm not interested! --- Good bye!" as the door
slammed. You'll never know how many times Adam heard that. He finally caught 
on and began with, "Before you slam the door, I am not selling anything and
I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and the community."

The young woman inside the doorway paused --- "Sure, but just for a moment," 
raising her eyebrows as she shrugged her shoulders. "Come on in. Don't mind
the mess. It's tough keeping up with my kids." It was an older home in a 
section of the valley where people with meager income found affordable 
With the little they had, the home looked comfortable and welcoming.

"I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and family. Although this 
may sound personal, I won't need to use your names. This information will
be used."

She interrupted Adam. "Would you like a glass of cold water? You look like 
you've had a rough day." "Why yes!" Adam said eagerly.

Just as she returned with the water, a man came walking in the front door. 
It was her husband. "Joe, this man is here to do a survey." Adam stood and 
introduced himself.

Joe was tall and lean. His face was rough and aged although he looked like 
he was in his early twenties. His hands were like leather. The kind of hands
you get from working hard, not pushing pencils. She leaned toward him and 
kissed him gently on the cheek. As they looked at each other you could see 
love that held them together. She smiled and tilted her head, laying it on 
his shoulder. He touched her face with his hands and softly said, "I love 

They may not have had material wealth, but these two were richer than most 
people. They had a powerful love. The kind of love that keeps your head up 
things are looking down.
"Joe works for the municipality," she said.

"What do you do?" Adam asked. She jumped right in not letting him answer.

"Joe collects garbage. You know I'm so proud of him." "Honey, I'm sure the 
man doesn't want to hear this," said Joe. "No, really I do," Adam said.

"You see Adam, Joe is the best garbage man in the municipality. He can stack 
more garbage on his truck than anyone else. He gets so much in one truck 
they don't have to make as many runs," she said with such passion. "In the 
long run," Joe continues, "I save the municipality money. Man hours are down
and the cost per truck is less."

There was silence. Adam didn't know what to say. He shook his head searching 
for the right words.

"That's incredible! Most people would gripe about a job like that. It 
certainly is a difficult one. But your attitude about it is amazing," Adam 

She walked over to the shelf next to the couch. As she turned she held in 
her hand a small framed paper.

"When we had our third child Joe lost his job. We were on unemployment for a 
time and then eventually welfare. He couldn't find work anywhere. Then one
day he was sent on an interview here in this community. They offered him the 
job he now holds. He came home depressed and ashamed, telling me this was
the best he could do. It actually paid less than we received on welfare."

She paused for a moment and walked toward Joe.

"I have always been proud of him and always will be. You see I don't think 
the job makes the man. I believe the man makes the job!"

"We needed to live in the municipality in order to work here. So we rented 
this home," Joe said. "When we moved in, this quote was hanging on the wall
just inside the front door. It has made all the difference to us, Adam. I 
knew that Joe was doing the right thing," she said as she handed Adam the 

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

"I love him for who he is. But what he does he does the best. I love my 
garbage man!"

Prayer: Father thank you that your standard is the best of the best --- help 
me live up to it. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Currently the amount we need to complete the matching funds pledge by 
Tuesday May 3rd is $2,274.00.

Giving in support of Pastors Bill and Carol while in Jerusalem.
Click Here
Mail to us at: ccm, PO Box 406, Cambridge, MN 55008
Each gift receives a bottle of Holy Land Anointing Oil
(Please place Jerusalem 2016 in the check memo)

And if helping financially currently is not possible please pray all the 
funds come in.

Pastor Bill Team Prayer
Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Copyright (c) 2016
Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries
All Rights Reserved

Living In and Extending Grace

One of Jesus’ unforgettable stories about grace is sometimes called the 
parable of the prodigal son. Henri Nouwen, in his book The Return of the 
Son, points out it is really the story of two prodigal sons... and one 
gracious father. One son’s lostness is obvious. A runaway who defiantly 
flees to
a distant country looking for fulfillment he had not allowed himself to find 
at home, this son is the picture of obvious sinners--people who have 
pursued life and pleasure apart from God.

Although less obvious, the older son is just as lost. On the surface this 
son did all the things good sons are supposed to do. He stayed home, worked 
kept the rules, stayed within the lines. But he was, in his own way, far 
from home. Judgmental and jealous, his words reveal the inner complaint of a 
that felt it never received what it was due. He did not know joy, for joy 
and resentment cannot live in the same heart. This son is a picture of the 
leaders of the day--people whose very pursuit of righteousness left their 
hearts prideful, cold, and far from the Father. And they didn’t even know 
were lost.

One son wandered off. One stayed dutifully behind. Neither lived a life of 
abundance in the father’s house. And what about the older son? The one who 
hard, kept the rules, and fulfilled his obligations only to become 
increasingly resentful and joyless. Might there be a bit of him in you? It’s 
sad but
true that many of us have an easier time being saved by grace than we do 
living in grace. Over time, ours becomes a life of inner complaint. In our 
way, we end up equally far from home.

The gracious Father desires only to bring his children home. He longs for 
each of us—older and younger sons alike--to walk back into his welcoming 
He invites us to relax in his love, to feel his esteem, to be the recipient 
of a lifetime of lavish feasts at his table. He longs for us to live in 

The good news is that you really can grow to experience grace more and more. 
Grace starts with repentance and forgiveness and grows as we train our eyes
to see the many aspects of the Father’s everyday generosity often taken for 
granted--a warm home, a satisfying meal, the kind words of a good friend, 
sight of a garden blooming in a riot of color, the body of Christ gathered 
in rich worship. Grace surrounds us every moment, but we must develop eyes 

We grow in grace when we give ourselves permission to celebrate and enjoy 
life. For the grace-impaired among us, this actually takes some discipline 
a new understanding. God has saturated the world with wholesome pleasures. 
Wholeheartedly enjoying them is not sinful. It’s not frivolous. It is an 
part of spiritual life, an irreplaceable part of what it means to live in 

The father in the parable said it best: “Everything I have is yours.” Linger 
on those words. Live with them. Your Father is saying them to you. How would
your life be different today if you really believed God meant those words 
for you?
John Ortberg

True Friendship
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Proverbs 27:17

True friends will put an edge on your life. They will make you a sharper 
person. Not all my friends do that for me, but my best friends do. Have you 
had a friend who loved you so much that he would even hurt you in order to 
help you?

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of 
an enemy are deceitful.” What truer words of love can be spoken than from 
heart of a friend who is going to spend an eternity with you? Even if those 
words hurt, they are words that will heal.

Do you have a friend who sharpens you as iron? It will only take you a 
moment to send that friend an encouraging note or postcard. Do it today.
Discover Jesus

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
May God continue to strengthen and encourage you by the Love Worth Finding 
Copyright © 2016 Love Worth Finding Ministries, All rights reserved

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When I Don’t Feel Like I Measure Up

“When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with 
themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12b (NIV)

Do you ever compare yourself to other women and feel like you don’t quite 
measure up? Maybe you feel like you’re not as smart, pretty, fun, organized 
as good at _______ as they are.

It’s so easy to think that if we had more or knew more, we’d be secure. But 
the truth is, even people who “have it all” still struggle with feelings of
insecurity. The Bible opens with the story of a woman who had everything, 
but it still wasn’t enough (Genesis 2).

God had established Eve’s worth as His child and the crown of His creation. 
He also supplied Eve with every woman’s desire: intimacy, beauty, security,
significance and purpose. Yet Satan conjured up feelings of insecurity by 
luring Eve’s eyes off what she had and on to what she didn’t have.

Boy, can I relate. Like Eve, I’ve heard Satan’s whispers telling me I’m not 
all I could be — or should be. One day I was reading her story in Genesis 3,
and I noticed that Satan’s questions and suggestions were intended to plant 
seeds of doubt in Eve’s heart. He wanted her to doubt God and herself.

The enemy’s whispers tempted Eve to try to “be” more and “have” more by 
seeking significance apart from God’s provision. He convinced her something 
missing in her life and that the forbidden fruit would make her be “like 

It was a foolish comparison. All comparisons are. Yet we do it all the time. 
If only I were like her … if only I had a house like hers, a husband like
hers, a job like hers … if only my children behaved like hers … if only 
_______, then I’d feel significant, satisfied and secure.

In today’s key verse, 2 Corinthians 10:12b, Paul warns us that those who 
“measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, 
not wise.”

Comparison will always leave us feeling like we don’t measure up. We can try 
to do more and be more, yet it’s never enough.

If only Eve had focused on who she was and what she had as a child of God. 
If only we would, too. Yet Satan wants us to focus on our flaws and feelings
of inadequacy, then exhaust even more energy figuring out how to hide them.

We don’t have to go along with his schemes. Instead we can equip ourselves 
to recognize his lies, refute his temptations with truth and focus on God’s
acceptance, security and significance.

Then we can thank God for His provision and His promises that remind us of 
who we are in Him:

I am accepted …
Ephesians 1:3-8, I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14, I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10, I am complete in Christ.

I am secure …
Romans 8:28, I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39, I am free from condemnation. I can’t be separated from God’s 
Philippians1:6, I am confident God will complete the good work He started in 

I am significant …
Ephesians 2:10, I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12, I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Author and psychologist Dr. Neil T. Anderson says, “The more you reaffirm 
who you are in Christ, the more your behavior (and beliefs) will begin to 
your true identity!”

So, the next time we’re tempted to use the measuring stick of comparison — 
let’s commit to measure UP by focusing upward on Christ and who we are in 

Lord, thank You that in Christ I’m chosen, holy and dearly loved. When I’m 
tempted to measure myself according to the world’s standards or my foolish 
help me recognize Satan’s lies, refuse his temptations and rely on Your 
truth about me instead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Peter 5:9, “Stand firm against him [the devil], and be strong in your 
faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going 
the same kind of suffering you are.” (NLT)

2 Corinthians 3:4-5, “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not 
that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our
competence comes from God.” (NIV)

This devotion is taken in part from chapter 6 of Renee Swope’s book:A 
Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of 
© 2016 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

The Day I Rolled Down the Window
by John UpChurch, Contributor

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear 
has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

The guy had no teeth on top. Sadly, I noticed that first. His cigarette 
dangled between gum and lip.

While my wife jogged into Walgreens, this guy passed up dozens of other open 
spaces to squeeze his red coupe between our Prius and a truck that stuck 
over the white line. He glanced over at us for only a moment before his 
window stuttered down and a mud-and-oil stained mitt poked out of the window 
wave at my daughters in the backseat.

I confess. I didn’t exactly feel neighborly.

And then the guy began speaking and pointing to our car. I couldn’t hear a 
word through the glass, but that didn’t stop him from mumbling around his 
which was probably 80% ash. Smiling from the silliness of it, I zipped the 
passenger-side window down and wondered what would compel him to speak to a
complete stranger in a parking lot.

Gas mileage. Seriously.

This random guy in the parking lot of Walgreens wanted to compare gas 
mileage. At least, that’s what opened the door for conversation. From there, 
I learned
what he did (shoeing horses), found out how his work had hurt his back 
(bulging disk), saw a picture of his prized new jackdaw (I had no clue 
and realized how much you can love a guy with no upper teeth.

He was real. He had no pretensions, no conceit, no desire to be anything 
more than he was. You got the raw, muddy man. And, sadly, I would never have 
to the guy on my own if he hadn’t put his huge hand and ashy cigarette out 
the window. Sadly, I didn’t want to get messy.

But, really, love is all about the uncomfortable mess—just as God revealed 
in my life. To Him, I once looked much worse than toothless, much dirtier 
mud-covered. But Jesus didn’t care. He saw something through all that muck 
He loved. And am I ever glad He did.

and Life: Love means getting close to people who are nothing like us. God 
may put people there for us to reach out to that don’t fit our ideal image 
people we want to be around. They could reek of smoke, have few teeth, or 
even champion political views we don’t like. It’s enough to make us squirm.

But there’s one key here that we cannot forget: He loves them. Jesus touched 
the diseased, dirty, and destitute. He wasn’t afraid of engaging with the
unpopular and scandalous. Instead, He specifically sought out those that no 
one else would. His grace knew no social barrier.

We can’t let being uncomfortable prevent us from sharing that love.

For Further Reading

1 John 1:1

James 2:1

Shortcuts to Futility
by Chuck Swindoll

Exodus 6:2-29

So many times you and I miss the opportunity to watch the Lord work in 
mighty and miraculous ways. Why? Because instead of "standing still" and 
Him pull off our deliverance, we seek out the carnal alternative. We look 
for the back-door escape, a fleshly shortcut.

Notice how God handled His man, Moses. Without rebuke, the Lord gave Moses 
two pieces of counsel. One related to His person; the other related to His 
He told Moses who He was, and then He told him what He was going to do. And 
the order in the Lord's response is as important as the facts themselves.

Right off the top, He repeated the message from the burning bush, saying, "I 
am" five different times in Exodus chapter 6.

"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 2)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 6)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 7)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 8)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 29)

Time after time He punctuated His message to Moses by saying, "Look, Moses, 
your eyes are in the wrong place (again). Get your eyes back on Me (again).
Remember who I am (again)."

Who is the Lord? Ask the prophet Isaiah. Troubled and sick at heart over the 
moral condition of his nation, Isaiah glanced toward the sky one day and 
the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up" (Isaiah 6:1 NKJV). That's 
all he needed to see. He fixed his eyes on the Lord, and, suddenly, his 
perspective changed.

If you have been a believer for any length of time, you will have heard 
these words over and over. But that's all right; here they are again. Until 
eyes are fixed on the Lord, you will not be able to endure those days that 
go from bad to worse.

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.

Rules for Running a Rewarding Race
Watch Video
Copyright © 2016 Insight for Living Ministries. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Experiencing LIFE Today

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord We are one in the Spirit, 
we are one in the Lord And we pray that all unity may one day be restored 
they'll know we are
by our love, by our love They will know we are Christians by our love – 
lyrics by Pete Scholtes

John’s first letter is loaded with encouragement to those in doubt. It’s an 
awesome message, really. (Not too long either; you can read it in a short 
He writes so that we might be certain that we are born of God. He is 
offering assurance to those who are born again. That certainty, however, 
comes only
through an honest introspection that reveals the inner presence of the Holy 
Spirit overflowing through us. Through Christ, are we living right? Defying
sin? Overcoming the world? John gives one more “born again signpost” to 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who 
loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not 
God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent 
his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is
love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an 
atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also 
to love one another. —1 John 4:7-11

The old song says that the world will know we are Christians by our love. 
But do you know what? You will know you are a Christian by your love, too!

Agape God, I praise You for Your unconditional love and I believe that You 
ARE love. I desire You, Lord. I ask that, in Christ, Your love would be in 
and then flow through me. May Your love flowing through me be a “born again 
signpost” to the world and a supernatural confirmation to me that I am Your
child. Amen.

Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the
Telling the Truth broadcast

The Journey to Obedience

Genesis 12:1–9

Recommended Reading:
Proverbs 3:5–6; Luke 9:23–27; Hebrews 11:8–19

If you’ve ever seen the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration team, 
you’ve witnessed firsthand the incredible capabilities of the F-16 fighter

The F-16 was developed to act as a support weapons system for the U.S. 
military’s larger and more expensive fighter aircraft, the F-14 Tomcat and 
the F-15
Eagle. Blindingly fast and agile, the F-16 Fighting Falcon carries out a 
wide range of air-to-air and, with its heavy bomb load capacity, 
missions. An amazing technological achievement, the F-16 has a top speed of 
over 1300 mph (2124 km/h) and a ceiling of 50,000 feet (15,240 m), which it
can reach in approximately 60 seconds. Its combat radius is 340 miles, 
carrying six 1000 pound (453 kg) bombs. These same aircraft also excel in 
service in patrol and combat situations around the world.

Of course, whether in a show or in combat, an F-16 requires one vital 
element to be effective: a pilot who is in complete control. Despite its 
technical capabilities, without a pilot in control an airborne F-16 would 
either fly uselessly in a straight line or spiral out of control. Either 
a devastating crash is inevitable.

Similarly, if you possess every gift imaginable but don’t allow God to guide 
you in using those gifts, you could very well become useless. Or worse, you
might spiral out of control and crash. As the ultimate “Pilot” of your life 
(yes, the “God is my co-pilot” bumper stickers are misguided), God can do 
and remarkable things.

Imagine what might have happened if Abram (Abraham) had set out on his own 
way instead of taking the journey God had set before him. Ultimately, 
willingly left behind everything and everyone he knew to follow God’s will. 
Yet as a direct result of his obedience Abraham experienced God’s 
the rewards were greater than he could ever have imagined.

God desires the same for you. When you begin a relationship with him, he 
calls you to leave behind what’s comfortable and familiar to set out on a 
filled with wonder, blessing and the promise of a new life. On your journey 
to obedience you’ll leave behind old habits, old attitudes, old sins and old
ways of thinking. Yet the blessing that awaits you is greater than you can 
begin to imagine.

Is God the Pilot of your life? When you allow him to guide you, God offers 
not only a full and satisfying journey through life but a home for all 
Like that F-16 pilot, God is ready and willing to take all of your potential 
into his skillful hands and use it to fulfill his ultimate mission.

To Take Away
• In what ways does your life show that you are living for God’s purposes 
and seeking his approval rather than the world’s?
• Why is it difficult at times to leave behind your “old life” and step out 
in faith?
• When you pray, ask sincerely that God will steer you away from foolish 
choices and self-centeredness and take you on the ride of your life.
NIV Men's Devotional Bible

Editor's Note: This devotional was originally published in 2008. We're 
re-running it today in honor of Keeper, whose earthly journey came to an end 
May 19, 2014.

Keeper Lessons
by Meghan Kleppinger

I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I 
Psalms 91:2

Everyone loves those "dog movies." You know the ones – like Homeward Bound 
and My Dog Skip, and Benji, and Lassie. Actually, I can’t watch those movies
because I crumble to pieces whenever I see an animal in harm's way, or 
treated with cruelty. Yes, I know they’re fictional and special effects are 
but it started with Old Yeller when I was five… and please don't ask me to 
explain the rest of that story!

Well, these days, I feel as though I’m living out one of those dog story 

I adopted a 5-year-old collie mix last November that had been rescued by an 
animal society on the day she was to be euthanized. I was told she was 
but hand-shy and that she had been abandoned and probably abused. I quickly 
found this to be true and it nearly drove me to tears each time I would go
to pet her and she would flinch.

About two weeks after the adoption, my dog started having seizures. I can’t 
begin to explain the fear that consumed me. It was nothing compared to the
terrified and confused look in my pup’s eyes. The vet told me that she will 
have to be on epilepsy meds for life and that whoever gave her up probably
did so because they didn’t think she was worth the effort and cost.

I love this dog and I’m committed to keeping her healthy and safe, but I’ve 
had the most difficult time communicating this with her. I even named her 
as a reminder that she has found her forever home and that she is, indeed, a 

The other day while I was walking her, a huge black dog jumped out of 
nowhere and attempted to attack her. I don’t know how to explain my reaction 
this happened. In mamma bear fashion, I didn’t think, I reacted. I started 
screaming at this dog, “Get off of her!” and threw myself between the two of
them. Eventually, I managed to pull out and then walk away, a little shaken, 
but unscathed. I saw two wet saliva spots on her skin - attempted bite marks
- and realized how fortunate we were.

God started to impress some things upon me as we walked home. Here I had 
this dog that was abused, abandoned, unwanted, and considered worthless by 
She has trust issues but at the same time wants so badly to please me.

It made me think of us humans. We have trust issues. We have hurts and pains 
that we don’t understand and don’t want to revisit. Sometimes it’s hard for
those of us who have been hurt to obey God’s call to trust Him.

What God reminded me of was that He doesn’t just tell us we can trust Him, 
or command us to do so, but through scripture and through circumstances in 
lives He shows us over and over again that we can trust Him.

I took my dog out for a walk again the same day as the earlier attack and I 
nearly had a nervous breakdown as I saw two huskies approaching us. I knew
them to be friendly dogs, but the last thing I wanted was for Keeper to go 
into her Alpha-dog “I’ll protect you and myself” mode. She doesn’t initiate
attacks, but she doesn’t shy away from them either.

Anyway, rather than showing her teeth or barking, like she normally does, 
she hid behind me.

I had spent months petting, hugging, grooming and feeding her, and telling 
her that she was “my girl,” but it never seemed to be enough to gain her 
trust. On the day of the attack, something happened. Something clicked. She 
saw by my actions that I cared for her and that in turn, she could trust me.

God reminded me that Jesus stepped in and, knowing the cost, paid the 
ultimate sacrifice for us. Though others may think us worthless, He thought 
we were
worth being saved to the point of death. He has proven that He cares for us 
and can be trusted.

Why then, do we so often try by ourselves to fight those battles that 
threaten us each day? Why do we go into alpha-dog mode when He has told us 
that He
will go before us and fight for us?

Keeper ran behind me when we saw those two huskies because she knew I would 
protect her. Most of all, what God taught me through my dog that day is that
I need to do the same… I need to seek His protective covering and let Him 
take care of me.

& Life: As Proverbs 3 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean 
not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will
make your paths straight."

Further Reading

Psalms 20:7
2 Chronicles 20:17
Why God Can be Trusted: Letter to the Hebrews
Learn How and When to Trust in a World of Betrayal

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Acts 2:1-8 ASV
And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one 
place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a 
mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And 
there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it 
sat upon each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, 
and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation 
under heaven. 6 And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, 
and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own 
language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying, Behold, are not 
all these that speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we, every man in our own 
language wherein we were born?

In this Scripture which describes the first time anyone speaking in tongues. 
these were not unknown tongues but tongues which had not been studied by 
those speaking them. Men from other countries understood the men talking in 
their own languages.

So tongues are known languages which the speaker has never studied. A friend 
of mine was in Jerusalem at a huge meeting where Kathryn Kuhlman was the 
main speaker. A woman from England stood up and spoke in some language and a 
man who only spoke German stood up and spoke in fluent English, translating 
what the woman had said. Some people make up some words because they want to 
be part of the group. Some will wail some phrase they have made up that is 
no tongue known on this earth and has no interpretation.

The first time I had anything to do with speaking in tongues and 
interpretation was at a retreat when I was in high school. there were three 
of us in a room. One boy had experience speaking in tongues and the other 
two of us had no experience. the one boy said something in a language we 
didn’t know and a phrase in English came to my mind but I didn’t say it. The 
Third boy said the phrase I was thinking of and I concurred with him.

I saw a program on Christian TV where they were talking about a man who hadn’t 
graduated from grade school. He was given the gift to speak to someone from 
another country in their own language and understand what he was saying as 
well as knowing what the foreigner was saying. this happened to him with 
several different language groups. this is the first time I had heard of 
this kind of speaking in tongues. The Lord gave him the words and the 
understanding both.

When you pray it is OK to pray in tongues but all prayer, even personal, 
should not be in tongues. Paul said this

1 Corinthians 14:15 ASV
15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the 
understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the 
understanding also.

We must know what we are praying for but also should allow the Spirit to 
pray deeper prayers than we can pray.

You must be filled with the Holy Spirit before you can have any of the 
spiritual gifts including tongues. If you have never been filled with the 
Holy Spirit, ask God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. When you feel the 
Spirit moving you to speak in tongues or interpret when tongues are spoken, 
open your mouth and let God fill it with the words He gives. Do not hinder 
the work of the Holy Spirit in any of the spiritual gifts.

by Dean W. Masters

How to Know with Certainty the Plans God Has for You
by John UpChurch

All around the prophet Jeremiah, the whole world seemed to be falling apart. 
His home, his nation, his people—everything continued to slip away. But 
in the midst of this dark time, God gave a promise that still fills us with 
hope today:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper 
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (
Jeremiah 29:11)

Perhaps you have come face to face with the sorrow that Jeremiah felt. 
Perhaps you, too, know what it’s like to see everything fall apart all 
around you.
You know the pain, the uncertainty.

But do you know the promise?

God gave this pledge to the people of Israel who lived in exile, but it’s no 
less true to any of us who follow Jesus. He does have a plan and purpose for
us that—while not always easy—is assuredly for our good and His glory (
Romans 8).

So, how can we know this plan He has for us? And how can we walk confidently 
in it?

Before God gave this famous promise, He warned the people of Israel not to 
listen to false voices (
Jeremiah 29:8–9).
The same is true for you. All around, you’ll hear advice from a number of 
sources about what your purpose is, why you’re here on earth, and how to 
challenges. In fact, all these voices can be deafening.

But knowing the plans God has for you means listening to the One who has 
them. You need to make time in your daily life to stop and read God’s Word 
speak to Him. That’s the only way you can navigate the cacophony of opinions 
that come barreling at you. When you know your Creator and His voice, you
can hear Him above the noise.

The more you grow accustomed to His Word, the more confident you’ll feel in 
His guidance through the Holy Spirit.

Action step: Make margin in your life for prayer and
Bible study.
You need to hear God’s voice above the roar of the world.

God spoke this passage to the people of Israel who had been dragged away in 
exile far from their homes. They faced some very tough times, but He didn’t
want the former loss to be their focus. Instead, He wanted them to focus on 
the future hope.

The same is true for you. When you face challenges, you’ll want to quit or 
change directions. But if you’ve been spending time listening to God, 
don’t necessarily mean that you need to throw in the towel. In fact, it 
could very well be the challenges themselves that prepare you for God’s 
in your life.

When officials tossed the apostle Paul in prison, he didn’t take that as a 
sign that he should pack it up and return home. He used the opportunity to 
praises and witness to the jailer and his family (
Acts 16).

If your children seem like they’re running farther and farther from Christ, 
if your marriage isn’t getting any better, if no job has opened up, don’t 
those circumstances drag you down. Look for opportunities to shine the light 
of Christ even more. Ask God to keep molding you through the trials.

Keep believing that God is up to something, even if you can’t see it yet. 
After all, God’s purpose for our lives often leads us through the valley to 

Action step: If you’re in the heart of a bad situation, take a moment to 
pray about and look for opportunities that God may have for you. Take stock 
how God is using this tough time to change you.

God gave an amazing promise to the Israelites of Jeremiah’s day:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (
Jeremiah 29:13)

Not long afterward, God would fulfill all the promises He’d made to them. 
You see, from
Genesis 3:15
to the exile into Babylon (and their later return), God had been telling 
them of a Savior, a promised One, a Messiah. And God wanted His people to 
that He would fulfill His Word to them.

In our case, all of God’s plans and promises for our lives begin with the 
cross. Our purpose on this earth starts at Calvary with the death of Jesus 
proceeds to the tomb with His resurrection. As a Christian, we’re here to 
share that good news in all that we do. That’s at the heart of what God 
for us, and His purpose will never take you away from being ambassadors of 
His grace (
2 Corinthians 5:20).

So, any plan God has for you will start and end with Jesus. You’ll have the 
opportunity to share the good news about Him in whatever situation God 
for you.

Action step: Take inventory of your goals and aspirations. Is Jesus at the 
center of them? If not or you’re not sure, ask God to help you keep the 
in sight.

This article first appeared on

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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today's Devotional

The Cure

Matthew 19:26 – Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, 
but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

My mare, Mama had a crippled front leg when I bought her. How it happened, I 
don't know. For many years, she wore a leg brace, which was helpful in 
her comfortable and mobile. One morning, however, we looked out to the 
corral and saw that she was limping badly. The limp quickly grew worse, and 
came the morning when she was on three legs.

The time had come. A horse can't get around on three legs. We had the grave 
dug. I notified the vet to let her know, and asked if there was anything 
that we could possibly do to avoid the inevitable.

An e-mail response arrived back, outlining the possibility of some hope. I 
was to stop by the clinic and pick up a prescription for a drug which would
either work or not work in her situation. Mama was to receive five 
injections over a four-to-five-month period.

The first injection was administered. Mama began to improve slowly. A month 
later, the second injection was shot home, and then, the incredible 
Within days, Mama was running and rolling and chasing about the corral. The 
whole family was stunned. How could this be? In the seven years that we had
had her, never had we seen the likes of what was happening in front of us: 
amazing — totally amazing!

This transformation brought to my mind how Peter, in the name of Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth, commanded a man crippled from birth to walk:

Acts 3:7-8 – Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly 
the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to
walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, 
and praising God. (NIV)

How amazing, totally amazing! Both cures came from God. In each case, God 
worked through man to bring about the cure. In Mama's case, it was God-given
medical wisdom that brought about the discovery of a helpful drug. In the 
beggar's case, it was the Holy Spirit's healing power coursing through a 
of Jesus.

Both of these cases seemed hopeless, and yet they were not. God brought 
about a cure in His own way and in His own time.

Sometimes, I feel hopeless, too, about things which need healing in my life, 
things which I have no control over. Perhaps you go through similar periods.
Yet with God, the Scriptures tell us that all things are possible and that 
God is not a liar. Therefore, we are never without hope. We may not know how
God will change our situation or when or where or why. But as we continue to 
place our faith in Him, even amidst our hopelessness, we can definitely 
and know that only good things will be the ultimate outcome — a healing 
power within itself.

Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a 

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your healing power. Bless each of us today in 
whatever way we need it the most. And though we believe, Lord, help us in 
unbelief, that our faith might be increased and refreshed, blessing us with 
the light and joy of hope renewed. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

Lynne Phipps

New Post on - Mercy, Not Judgment

Mercy, Not Judgment

Posted: 26 Apr 2016 09:55 PM PDT

“Forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:35, NIV).

Jesus, I read the story you told in Matthew 18:21-35. I’m like that man. I 
owe You an overwhelming debt I can never repay.

But You are far less offended by my overwhelming debt than by my unforgiving 
attitude toward my fellow debtors. Forgive my pettiness, Lord. What others
need from me is just one drop from the ocean of Your great mercy.

Merciful Jesus,
Full of compassion,
Patient, forbearing,
Quick to forgive,
Help me show others
Mercy, not judgment –
Kindness and gentleness.
Lord, make me like You.

Welcome to the Nugget

April 26, 2016

The Captivity of the Ark, Part 2: The Ark is Returned
By Answers2Prayer
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It was a somber time in Israel's history. The Ark of the Covenant had been 
taken captive and was being held by the enemy, the Philistines, and God's 
priest Eli was dead, as were his two sons, Hophni and Phineas. For all 
appearances, God was gone from Israel. But just what was God doing behind 
the scenes?

Last week, in "The Captivity of the Ark, Part 1," we saw that God was busy 
teaching the Philistines some important lessons on His sovereignty. How else
might the Philistines have ever learned that God is sovereign? That He is 
more powerful than their god, Dagon? How else might they have learned to 
the One true God?

In fact, the Philistines so learned to respect the God of Israel and His 
ark, that they actually sent it back to Israel:

"the ark of the LORD had been in Philistine territory seven months, the 
Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, 'What shall we 
with the ark of the LORD? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.'" 
(1 Samuel 6:1-2).

Why would the Philistines have to ask priests and diviners how to return the 
Ark of the Covenant? Why didn't they just carry it back and give it to them?

The answer to this lies in the fact that after seven months of illness and 
rats, the Philistines had learned something that perhaps Israel didn't even
realize: God is to be feared! And the fact that they even asked such a 
question of their own priests helps us to understand the depth of their 
respect for God.

This fear of God ran even deeper than this: "They answered, 'If you return 
the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it back to him without a gift; by
all means send a guilt offering to him.'" (1 Samuel 6:3a). In other words, 
the Philistines recognized that they had done wrong in taking God's Ark, and
they wanted to return it with a guilt offering.

And in their newly-found respect of God, they went on to say, "Why do you 
harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel's god dealt
harshly with them, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on 
their way?" (1 Samuel 6:6)

It is true that the Philistines did not return the Ark of the Covenant in 
the way that it was prescribed to be transported (See
Numbers 5:15),
yet this can be understood. They had no knowledge of how the Ark was to be 
moved. They knew enough about respect for God, however, that they realized 
couldn't be moved like any ordinary object:

"Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have 
never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and 
them up. Take the ark of the LORD and put it on the cart, and in a chest 
beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt 
(1 Samuel 6:7-8)

This may seem strange to take untrained cows with calves and shut their 
calves up. Naturally, the cows would want to return to their calves. But in 
doing, the Philistines were doing one last test: "Send it on its way, but 
keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, 
the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we 
know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by
chance." (1 Samuel 6:9).

Miraculously, the cows went straight to Israel (See
1 Samuel 6:10-12).
Isn't it interesting that even in the last hours of the Ark's imprisonment, 
God was able to show the Philistines another sign of His sovereignty and 
to teach them yet another important lesson in the Fear of the Lord?

Friends, the next time you feel that God has abandoned you to your 
circumstances, consider that He may be using those same circumstances to 
work powerfully
in the lives of others, bringing them to a knowledge of His sovereignty and 
power, and teaching them important lessons in the Fear of the Lord.

But did Israel receive the Ark of God with the same reverence as the 
Philistines showed in sending it back? Join us on Saturday for "The 
Captivity of the
Ark," Part 3: The Beth Shemesh Massacre.

In His love,

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


There are many precious lessons about going through trials that can be 
learned from the story of the captivity of the Ark of the Covenant. This is 
subject of the current mini-series: "The Captivity of the Ark". Please join 
us on Thursday for the conclusion!

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

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4 Ways to Know That You're a Prideful Christian
Anne Peterson
All of us have read the
story. Two men are praying. One of them looks over and sees a tax collector 
and prays, “Thank you God I’m not like HIM!”
The second one barely looks up and he mutters, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” 
Luke 18:8-14)
Pride is a struggle for all of us, but it doesn’t always look the same.
Sometimes pride is obvious. We can hardly wait for others to notice what we’ve 
We’re proud about how our ministries are doing, sometimes even proud about 
how busy we are, as if it’s a sign of our spirituality. Doesn’t serving more
mean we’re loved more? For the proud person, the concept of God loving us 
just as we are is a hard one to swallow. After all, what is that person 
If you think this doesn’t describe you, let me ask you, when do you feel you 
can share a petition with God? After you’ve just served him, or after you’ve
blown it?
It’s feasible that we believe God loves us more one day than another. And 
when we fall into that pattern of thinking, we’re putting more weight on our
performance than we are on what God has done for us.
The proud person half listens, waiting for the chance to interject what 
he/she has done.
Perfectionists need to be right. It’s a drivenness. One way to determine if 
this rings true for you is this: What happens when you’re proven wrong? Do
all the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you want to fight?
The perfectionistic Christian may even use scripture about striving for 
excellence to justify their perfectionism. After all, God wants us to do our 
right? To a perfectionist, anything less than perfect doesn’t count.
As a returning student, I remember one biology lab I took. We had just 
received our quizzes back when a woman I’ll refer to as Barb became upset. 
She liked
her A, just not the minus sign attached to it. Barb spent the better part of 
our class arguing with the student teacher why one of her answers should not
have received partial credit. She didn’t let go till that grade was changed. 
As I walked away from that class, I felt convicted. Is that what I’ve looked
like, Lord?
After that day, I cared a little less about being right. Oh, don’t get me 
wrong. I still like being right, just not as much.
Many people who have been pampered carry that over into adulthood. In fact, 
that’s what people usually think of when they hear the word entitlement. But
those who have struggled all their lives can also feel entitled. They feel 
they have put in their time and they deserve to finally be compensated for 

You can see entitlement in the impatient shopper who taps her foot in the 
grocery line. And if my cashier had to stop for any reason? Well I might 
been the one letting out a big sigh. This body language could be deciphered, 
If you knew who I am, you would move faster.
Matthew 20:9-14.
This is a difficult passage for those who feel entitled. After all, don’t 
the number of hours we give carry more weight?
Mark 10:37-38.
Both of these men felt entitled. Of anyone in the world, Jesus was entitled, 
and yet, he laid it down.
Being a martyr
This one may surprise you, I know it surprised me. A martyr appears to be 
thinking of others, but a martyr has an agenda.
“That’s okay, I’ll make the calls, or I’ll do ____________, I don’t mind.” 
Except they do mind, they’re just not admitting it.
But please hear me, there are genuine servants, those content to serve even 
when no one knows about it. They serve out of love.
Martyrs display a false humility where it almost appears they are crouched 
down to look humble.
True humility is standing to your full height next to his highness. There is 
no pretense.
Recognizing pride in ourselves
I’m ashamed to admit I’ve struggled in all these areas.
If anyone had the right to be proud it was Jesus. And yet, if you read
Philippians 2:5-8,
you’ll see he was the complete opposite.
Maybe you identify yourself in some of these examples. If you do, that’s 
okay. Pride sneaks in without warning.
How can we deal with pride?
Sanctification is a process
Philippians 1:6.
If we have accepted God’s salvation, he is at work in us. And God doesn’t 
quit until he’s done. One day I will look like Jesus.
The Holy Spirit faithfully points out areas where we need work and God is 
the one who will work. We just need to submit to him. And sometimes the 
step is the hardest.
Hi, I’m Anne Peterson, and I have a problem with pride.
I’m so glad God paid for that sin too.

Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author. Some of her books 
include her memoir,
Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival,
and children’s books like,
Emma’s Wish.
She recently published
a poetry book for those in grief and most recently
He Whispers,
poetic talks with God. To see more of her books visit
Anne's author page.
She has also authored 42 published Bible Studies and over 30 articles with’s Christian Woman. While Anne enjoys being a
poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still, “Grandma.”
To find out more about Anne you can visit her at:

Children of a Singing God

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
(Mark 14:26)

Can you hear Jesus singing?

Was he a bass or a tenor? Was there a down-home twang to his voice? Or was 
there an unwavering crystal pitch?

Did he close his eyes and sing to his Father? Or did he look into his 
disciples’ eyes and smile at their deep camaraderie?

Did he usually start the song?

O, I can hardly wait to hear Jesus sing! I think the planets would be jolted 
out of orbit if he lifted his native voice in our universe. But we have a
kingdom that cannot be shaken; so, Lord, come on and sing.

It could not be otherwise but that Christianity be a singing faith. The 
founder sang. He learned to sing from his Father. Surely they have been 
together from all eternity.

The Bible says the aim of song is “to raise the sound of joy” (
1 Chronicles 15:16).
No one in the universe has more joy than God. He is infinitely joyful. He 
has rejoiced from eternity in the panorama of his own perfections reflected 
in the deity of his Son.

God’s joy is unimaginably powerful. He is God. When he speaks galaxies come 
into being. And when he sings for joy more energy is released than exists in
all the matter and motion of the universe.

If he appointed song for us to release our heart’s delight in him, is this 
not because he also knows the joy of releasing his own heart’s delight in 
in song? We are a singing people because we are the children of a singing 
Copyright Information

This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's 
ministry, writing, and books, visit

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