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Post  Admin on Fri 29 May 2015, 10:59 pm

The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had in a Restroom
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

A cheerful heart is good medicine
(Proverbs 17:22
NIV).

Friend to Friend

A few months ago, I was in the airport headed to New Jersey. It was a 
typical rush, rush, rush morning. Grab the bags, trudge through traffic, 
hunt for
a parking space, follow the herd, wade through security, dash to the gate.

Folks aren’t usually very friendly in airports. Eyes look straight ahead. 
Purposed feet slap the floor. Overstuffed bags roll behind. It’s not that 
people
are grumpy. They’re just “flatish.” (That’s a new word for today.)

On this particular morning, I looked just like everyone else. “Flatish.” 
Before settling in at my gate, I decided to make one last trip to the 
restroom.
I’m so glad I did. It was one of the most joy-filled places I had been in a 
long time.

Gretchen, the “hostess” for this privy, donned a silly little hat on her 
head with whimsical feathers waving about the top. If it wasn’t for the 
official
attendant’s vest she was wearing, I might have thought she was on her way to 
Mardi Gras. With a spray bottle in one hand and a cloth in the other, 
Gretchen
welcomed each “guest” into her “home.”

A woman in a green jacket exited a stall and Gretchen swooped in behind her.

Squirt, squirt squirt with the disinfectant. Wipe, wipe, wipe with her 
cloth. “Right this way, madam,” she motioned to the next person in line, 
“This one
is ready for you! Come right in!”

With all the poise of a valet opening the castle doors for a person of 
honor, Gretchen welcomed each woman as if she were the most important person 
in
her day. I stood back and watched as this 5 foot 5 inch bundle of joy wiped 
off toilet seats and cheerfully invited her next guest into the pristine 
stalls.

Gretchen had an effervescent sense of joy… wiping toilet seats. It seemed to 
come from a deep-seated heart of gratitude. And it spilled over to every 
single
woman who left her station. Women entered weary and worn and left with a 
skip in their step and a smile on their face. Some even lingered…as if they 
wanted
to soak in just a little bit more before facing the world.

On the counter rested a tip jar filled with thanks. But I don’t think the 
“tips” were for wiping the germs away from the toilet seats, but for wiping 
the
doldrums away from the ladies’ hearts. And for some strange reason, I just 
wanted to give Gretchen a hug.

I did.

She didn’t mind.

Gretchen reminded me just how contagious gratitude and joy can be. And how 
desperately I want to be a carrier. I hope you do too.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, make me a woman of gratitude. I pray my heart will be 
infected with thankfulness and I will spread it to those around me. I pray 
the Holy
Spirit will stop me from grumbling, and spur me to give thanks in all 
circumstances.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

List 10 things that you are grateful for other than Jesus and your family. I 
know you are thankful for those two. Let’s stretch. It doesn’t have to be
big. I’m thankful for hot water! For indoor plumbing! For the sunshine! For 
the rain! For vacuum cleaners! For makeup! (Gotcha on that one didn’t I). 
For
eyes that see! For the color of the sky! (I mean, it could have been 
orange.) For food in my pantry!
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070
info@girlfriendsingod.com

Love Worth Finding Ministries
Is It Written All Over Your Face?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Acts 4:20

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Somewhere in California during the gold rush of 1849, the story is told of 
two gold miners who struck a particularly rich vein of gold one day. They 
decided
not to tell anyone else, so they could keep it for themselves. They went 
into town to get better equipment to mine the gold, but when they left, 
scores
of people followed. Their jubilation was written all over their faces.

ACTION POINT:
Is what is in your heart written all over your face? Oh, how I pray that 
each person reading this today will not hide what they have found in Jesus 
Christ.
I want people who see you today to say, “I don’t know what is going on with 
her, but I want what she has. I want what he has.” The gift of salvation is
for you, but it is also for others to behold and desire in you.

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300

The Wilderness Experience
Monday, March 16, 2015

“Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in 
the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; 
and the angels ministered to Him.”
– Mark 1:12-13 NKJV
For more than forty years, Vladimir Horowitz dazzled audiences. Born in the 
Ukraine in 1903, he sprang to worldwide fame in 1925 as a last-minute 
replacement for an indisposed pianist at a concert in Hamburg, Germany. The 
audience went wild, and word spread.

He continued to dazzle audiences with remarkable technique. His concerts 
were described as “events,” marked by “electricity” and the “thunderclap 
when he appeared.”

Then, in 1953, at the height of his fame, Horowitz surprised many by 
retiring from public performance. Was this just a sabbatical? No one really 
knew for sure.

Then, suddenly, in 1965, he returned to the concert stage. Audiences were 
astonished. He still had virtuoso technique but new dimensions had been 
added to his playing. During this “retirement” he gained a broadened 
perspective. His musical understanding reflected new depths of maturity.

Horowitz had demonstrated a truth that was central to creation: The value of 
rest. God Himself had rested “on the seventh day” and taught the importance 
of the Sabbath day.

We particularly see the importance of being apart when, immediately after 
Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit “drove Him into the wilderness.” This was a place 
of testing and purging. A place of perspective, where He could be alone with 
the Father.

In your life, be sensitive to the need for time to withdraw and be alone 
with God, apart from the busyness of the world. He knows how easily you can 
stagnate spiritually, how you need to be refreshed and renewed.

Be sensitive to His call on your life. Seek opportunities to be alone with 
Him, for prayer and Bible study, and moments to withdraw to deepen your 
relationship with Him, that you may emerge with new levels of ministry, 
understanding, and power.

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, I seek to have a wilderness experience, alone with You, separated 
from the noise of the world. Speak to me. Refresh me. Grant me Your 
perspective on my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: Mark 1
Inspiration Ministries
PO Box 7750
Charlotte, NC 28241

Inspiration Ministries UK
Admail 3905, London W1A 1ZT
UK Charity No 1119076
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Post  Admin on Thu 28 May 2015, 7:28 pm

Healing Wounded Hearts
by Dean Masters

Psalm 30:11-12
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my 
sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise 
and not
be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

God will heal your wounded heart and He will bring victory into your life so 
you can get excited about life again. David had really seen it all in his
lifetime and had incredible heartache as well and yet he is acknowledging in 
these verses that God had stepped in and turned his mourning into dancing.
That is not just a heart that has been healed that is a heart that is 
rejoicing with all of the joy it could possibly have had before heartache 
came to
reside.

Are you ready for healing? That may sound like a strange question but 
sometimes we get so comfortable with our pain that it becomes “who we are”. 
Ouch!
If we are released from that pain or struggle in our lives then what? I have 
seen people that really don’t want healing even from physical ailments 
because
it is how they get attention. Sometimes we can become addicted to just 
complaining to God about everything until we can’t even enjoy a day if we 
aren’t
complaining about something if not to God then to someone else.

God wants victory in your life on every level and He wants you to live a 
life of joy! Why would anyone want what you have if you are nothing but an 
Eeyore
walking through life moping and complaining? God has so much more for you 
than that! If you know someone like that please encourage them today to 
allow
God to work in their lives so they can enjoy all that He has in store for 
them.

Start today and restart your day by praising God for who He is and what He 
is about to do in your life! God will bring you to a new level of life if 
you
will allow Him to. I know how tempting it can be to start right out by 
explaining to God all the wrongs you felt have been done in the last 48 
hours of
your life and how you would like Him to fix everyone and everything, but if 
that is really true then ask Him to give you a day of joy and victory and 
then
live in it! Ask Him to show you today what is right in your life and the 
people around you and give you the ability to focus on that and to live in 
joy
and peace letting go of the negative. God loves you and truly has the best 
in store for you but you have to let go of the rest in order to see it.

Quote:
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to 
what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


| March 11, 2015 at 6:56 am | Categories:
Devotionals
| URL:  http://wp.me/p1MljK-1kP

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
Search A Word With You

Grace to Match Your Need - #7348

72 Hours That Rocked the World

Some people see Easter as just a social event with Easter Egg Hunts and 
family gatherings. In this booklet, Ron shares that it's so much more! He 
explains
the "72 Hours That Rocked the World" and what it can mean to you personally.

Often when I speak at a church, there is like a question and answer time at 
the end of my talk. There was this one time when the questions ranged from
things about our ministry, to questions about how to reach lost people, to 
my family; it was a little bit of everything. Well, one man in the back 
asked
an amusing question. He said, "Where do you get all this energy?" Well, I 
have been accused of being the Energizer Bunny.

But the ironic thing is that when I came into that church that night I was 
totally depleted from a very heavy weekend of ministry. I was actually 
wishing
I could just go to my room and sleep. I didn't want to be there. In fact, I 
even told the pastor, "The meeting isn't going to be very long. I'm just too
exhausted." It went for two hours. Physically I think I must just have deep 
reservoirs of adrenaline.

Now, adrenaline is our friend at times when we just don't have what it takes 
physically to meet the demands of the moment. It's that amazing substance
that you don't have when you don't need it but that surges into your system 
at just the moment you do need it. And you're able to do things that, if I'd
asked you earlier, you'd say, "No, I could never do that."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Grace to 
Match Your Need."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 9:8. "And 
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all 
times,
having all that you need you will abound in every good work." Well, there it 
is - grace; the spiritual adrenaline of God.

People have been known to do amazing things when they are in the middle of 
an emergency, physically speaking. I mean, they've been able to lift 
incredible
weight, even fight off someone who was much stronger than they were, because 
the adrenaline rush empowered them in a way that they were never empowered
before.

The God who invented adrenaline to give us resources to match our moment 
also invented grace to accomplish that same miracle. Grace could be defined 
as
God's intervening power and love when you're running on empty. And God gives 
us this phenomenal comprehensive insurance policy. He says He'll give it to
us "in all things, at all times, having all you need."

There will never be a situation where you will not have emotional and 
spiritual resources to match it. In fact, to more than match it. The word 
"abound"
there is the same word used to describe the baskets full of leftovers after 
the feeding of the 5,000. It literally means having more than enough. In a
situation that looks like you have nowhere near enough, Jesus will turn that 
into more than enough by releasing His grace adrenaline through your system.
You might be nodding your head, because you're thinking of times it 
happened, right?

I touched that grace in a very powerful way in a single day. In the morning 
I talked with Greg. He and his wife were on the eve of the arrival of their
first child, when the baby died in the womb. They had to go through the 
process of delivering a baby that was no longer alive. You can only imagine 
the
pain in their hearts. I asked Greg, "How are you doing?" He said, "Well, so 
many people are praying. We can feel those prayers. We're hurting. But it's
amazing, we're making it." There's only one explanation for that - strong 
grace.

That night I stood by the casket of a good friend who had died unexpectedly. 
As I talked with his wife and children, I was amazed at their poise and 
their
strength. They'd lost a man they loved so much; a man I know they depended 
on a lot. But they were okay. And they told me about this strength that 
began
to take over inside them; a strength that was more than they'd ever 
experienced before.

That's because they never needed it before. But when they needed it, it was 
there. It was God's spiritual adrenaline - strong grace. And that grace is
there for you in the seemingly unbearable burden you may be facing right 
now. If you know Jesus, there may be some things in your life that are or 
will
be almost unbearable. But because of His grace adrenaline there really is no 
such thing as unbearable.

His grace is always greater than your burden.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

Shadow Spirituality

Have you ever tried to witness to someone who responded, "I don't need 
church or religion—I'm a very spiritual person." Maybe they try to fill 
their spiritual
void with tarot cards, astrology, meditation, philosophy, or yoga. But 
without Christ as their Savior, their efforts to feed their spiritual hunger 
are
in vain. We all were born in a spiritual vacuum, craving wholeness and 
peace. We may try to satisfy our hearts and souls with temporary fixes, but 
only
God can permanently and completely fill that longing inside of us.

God is the only source of true spiritual fulfillment. Anything else is 
temporary and false. It is a shadow of the real spirituality of God. Shadow 
spirituality
is any form of spirituality that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the 
only Lord of life. Shadow spirituality refuses to acknowledge the sovereign 
power
and authority of God. Shadow spirituality dismisses the Bible as the Word of 
God.

Even churches are not immune from shadow spirituality. Many churches are 
wrongly preaching that Christ is merely one of many ways to God. They preach 
in
direct opposition to God's Word and plan of
salvation.
Jesus warned, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's 
clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (
Matthew 7:15).

People who claim they are "spiritual" define their spirituality as any 
dimension of the human experience that is beyond the physical -- whether it 
is the
occult, paganism, mysticism or any human-designed religion. Their goal is 
for people to become enlightened and empowered. They seek a strong 
self-esteem
and a balance of spirit, body, and mind. Unfortunately, these are elusive 
goals leaving their seekers spending their lives constantly searching for 
more.

Christianity
provides something far greater than improved emotional health; it provides 
complete emotional transformation. Only God can heal our emotions and make
us whole. We will never find wholeness unless we make Christ the center of 
our lives. The apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ and I 
no
longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by 
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (
Galatians 2:20).

Shadow spirituality is deceptive and based on personal happiness. True 
spirituality leads to wholeness as we reflect the likeness of Jesus Christ. 
Shadow
spirituality offers temporary fixes. True spirituality provides permanent 
transformation. Shadow spirituality promotes the falsehood that we can 
achieve
our own wholeness, while true spirituality acknowledges that only the Holy 
Spirit can declare us whole.

Many of these human-designed spiritual distractions may seem helpful on the 
surface, but they lead us away from the only One who truly wants to see us
forgiven, healed, and whole. Jesus longs for us to receive the power of the 
Resurrection where we can find real transformation. Through Christ we become
new creatures. Through Christ we receive the Holy Spirit and become 
genuinely spiritual people. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new 
creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!" (
2 Corinthians 5:17).

The world desperately needs to hear this message of true spirituality. They 
are seeking to fill that spiritual void but will remain eternally empty 
without
Christ. Write on the lines below people in your life who are distracted by 
shadow spirituality, whether through new age practices, false religions, or
a distorted gospel. Begin praying for every day that God will provide 
opportunities for you to share with them what true spirituality means.

"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. This is
how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that 
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does
not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."
1 John 4:1-3
We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and 
around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately 
proclaim. Enjoy 365 Biblical daily devotional emails from Michael Youssef by
registering for My Devotional today.
uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at
www.leadingtheway.org  

Doulos Meditation on Isaiah 6:6-7

Scripture: Isaiah 6:6, 7—Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said, ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’

Reflection:  When Isaiah saw God, he saw himself. When he saw himself he was trapped. He had no answer, no solution to his problem. He saw the destruction of everything he thought he could count on. He moaned in his hopelessness. 

It was God himself who took the initiative. The Seraph pulled a burning coal from the altar—that symbol of atonement—and touched Isaiah’s lips. It was God’s pronouncement that his guilt had departed and his sin blotted. Isaiah had no possibility except that God would take action. And he did.  There are two types of Christians—those who think they are doing things for God—and those who see God taking the initiative to do for and through them.


Prayer Starter: Our Father, we praise you for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the initiative you have taken for our salvation. We surrender our selves completely to you—knowing that you will forgive, lead, and sanctify us and in eternity we will share the glory of our Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Post  Admin on Wed 27 May 2015, 8:04 pm

What Are the Gospels?
[As we turn to the New Testament, the first question is, “what are the 
Gospels?” Reading the story of Jesus well is the foundation of faith.
Believers do not sit passively waiting to hear the voice of God. They long 
to hear it. They believe God has not left humanity in silence, but has 
spoken
loudly and clearly through “the Word” that is Holy Scripture and “the Word” 
that is Jesus the Christ. The opening words of the book of Hebrews confirms
that this is true:

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times 
and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,
whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the 
universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact 
representation of
his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided 
purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in 
heaven.”
(
Heb. 1:1-3)

[Jesus is the center of the four Gospels. Rembrandt’s “Supper at Emmaus” 
(1628) shows the astonishment of disciples who realize who Jesus really is, 
after
the resurrection.]

This is the big picture. God did not leave humanity in desperate silence. He 
spoke through men called prophets, and then he decisively spoke to humanity
through his Son, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus is not just the word of God, but 
is also the embodiment of God’s glory and very being. Jesus the Christ is 
the
central theme of all of Scripture because his life, death, and resurrection 
provided a way of redemption.

Jesus takes the stage in the four biblical documents called “the Gospels.” 
Nothing could be more important in our reading of Scripture than 
understanding
the meaning and message of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It would be easy 
to think these books are historical narratives because they tell the events
of Jesus’ life. But they are more than that. The Gospels are also more than 
biography—the telling of one person’s story. The Gospels are a unique kind
of literature because their purpose is to proclaim the truth that the Son of 
God appeared in Judea and Galilee, was authenticated by great miracles, was
killed, and rose from death in final victory over sin, Satan, and death 
itself.

The Gospels are proclamation. Their authors are evangelists. So they do not 
read like modern historical accounts. Their authors were true believers, not
just historians. Given the emphasis on truth in their writings, they can be 
taken as honest and truthful witnesses.

The first time I read through the New Testament, I remember being somewhat 
puzzled about why there are four Gospels. The simple answer is that four 
different
people had their own reasons to write the true story of Jesus. Mark’s Gospel 
was written first, and much of his content appears in Matthew and Luke. 
Matthew
tells more of the story and has a special interest in explaining the story 
of Jesus to first-century Jews. Luke, on the other hand, is trying to help a
Gentile audience, and he says right at the start that he wants to offer “an 
orderly account” in order to bolster certainty in the faith.

John’s Gospel includes many actions not reported in the other Gospels. It 
also includes more of Jesus’ teaching, much of it in long discourses. The 
opening
prologue of the Gospel gives a cosmic perspective:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; 
without
him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was 
the light of all mankind” (
John 1:1-4).

New Testament scholar Leon Morris said the Gospel of John is shallow enough 
for a child to wade in, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim in. All the
Gospels, not just John, require deep reflection and study over a lifetime to 
appreciate their meaning. Be careful if you think you understand “I am the
way and the truth and the life” (
John 14:6),
or “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” 
(
Matt. 10:38),
or “your kingdom come, your will be done” (
Matt. 6:10).
We may understand at one level, but the impact of the sayings of Jesus will 
always have greater impact on us the longer we study them. They take a 
lifetime
to comprehend and apply. The greatness and the grace of Jesus’ teachings 
expand toward every horizon of life.

One last point: It is very easy to read the words of Jesus as if he were 
speaking directly to us, yet there is some risk in doing that. His teaching 
certainly
is for us, and its meaning will transform our lives. But we still need to 
understand his teaching in its original context, as the Jewish Messiah 
speaking
to his varied audience—disciples, followers, the curious, and enemies. And 
then we can explore how his truth applies to us.
________________________
Knowing Him: Devotional Readings for the Easter Season
by Mel Lawrenz. 
About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook 
Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for 
thirty
years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help 
Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, 
the
most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to 
Engagement.


Love Your Neighbor

Matthew 5:43

"Love your neighbor." Perhaps he rolls in riches, and you are poor and 
living in your humble dwelling next-door to his mansion. Every day you see 
his estates,
his fine clothes, and his extravagant parties. God has given him these 
gifts; covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be 
content
with what you have, if you cannot better it, but do not look upon your 
neighbor and wish that he was like you. Love him, and then you will not envy 
him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, you are rich, and the poor live nearby. Do not 
scorn to call them neighbors. Admit that you are bound to love them. The 
world
calls them your inferiors. In what way are they inferior? They are far more 
your equals than your inferiors, for "He made from one man every nation of
mankind to live on all the face of the earth."1 Your clothes are better than 
theirs, but you are in no way better than them. They are men, and what are
you more than that? Pay attention that you love your neighbor even though he 
be in rags or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But perhaps you say, "I cannot love my neighbors because no matter what I do 
for them they respond with ingratitude and contempt." All the more reason
for the heroism of love. Would you be a featherbed warrior instead of 
bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most shall win the most; 
and if
the path of love is rough, tread it boldly, still loving your neighbors 
through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they are 
hard
to please, do not seek to please them, but to please your Master; and 
remember if they spurn your love, your Master has not spurned it, and your 
deed is
as acceptable to Him as if it had been acceptable to them.

Love your neighbor, for in so doing you are following the footsteps of 
Christ.

1) Acts 17:26

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 23

verse 2 John 2

From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible

Why should we believe, as Jesus did, that the Scripture is in fact, from 
'the mouth of God'? When did it come into existence? Is it inerrant?

What do we need to learn in order to understand what it says and what it 
means better? How does the teaching of God’s Word change our lives. In
From the Mouth
of God, Sinclair B Ferguson answers these and other important questions 
about trusting, reading, and applying the Bible
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers,

Reflect Him!
by Dean Masters

Ruth 1:6
Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the 
country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord 
had
visited his people in giving them bread

God was working in the Israelites lives back in Bethlehem and Naomi heard 
about it in the heathen land of Moab. When we allow God to lead and work and
bless our lives others are drawn to Him. Is your life enough of a reflection 
of Christ for others to want to leave the lives they are living to have what
you have?

I remember the days when my husband and I were so caught up in the rules of 
“religion” that the only people who would have wanted what we had were the
Christians who were made to feel as though they could never measure up. How 
sad, we were truly Pharisees living in a way that made the loud statement 
that
Christ’s death on the cross was not how we are accepted by God we needed to 
follow religious rules. You wouldn’t have been able to find even half of 
those
rules in scripture but we were taught that we needed to do these things 
because it “looked” good and we were setting a standard. A standard for what 
I
would like to ask now?

Sad to say I have seen both sides of things. I also know what it is like to 
have lived in a way that no one would have had a clue that I had a 
relationship
with God. That side of life is even more sad!

So my question for you is this: where are you today? Is your walk with God 
something others can see and desire to have Him leading them? Do others even
know you have a walk with God? Are you in a place where you are living a 
life that puts sinners so far from God that they just can’t see it happening 
in
their lives?

We do need to be examples, humble examples of Christ’s love, forgiveness and 
grace! We need to be Christ followers not Pharisees and certainly not 
rebellious.
Living a life for Christ is a life that will shine His light by showing 
others His love, forgiveness and grace. Truly having a walk with God means 
studying
His word and getting to know Him to the point that we look like Him! We can’t 
look like Him if we haven’t spent enough time in His word to really truly
know who He is and His character. The more I study God’s word the more I 
want to study it! Start today, ask God to show you where you need to start 
in
His word because He knows you better than you know yourself so He is truly 
the only one who can show you how to begin. Get to know Him so well that 
when
others look at you they truly have a desire to know about Him as well!

Quote:
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack 
London
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Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You

The Holy Spirit tends to be the forgotten member of the Trinity. Most 
Christians know He's there, but they are unclear about exactly what He does 
or how
to interact with Him — or if that's even possible. Yet, as we discussed in 
our first group study, something was so important about the Holy Spirit that
Jesus told His disciples it was to their advantage that He go away — if His 
departure meant the Spirit came (John 16:7). The Spirit's presence inside 
them,
He said, would be better than even Himself beside them. In fact, they needed 
the Spirit's presence so much that Jesus told them not to raise a finger 
toward
the Great Commission until that Spirit had arrived.

Forgetting the Holy Spirit affects how we view the Christian life. If we are 
unaware of the Spirit's presence and power in us, we are more likely to 
think
of God as someone we know about, not someone we really know. In other words, 
we're likely to see God as more of a doctrine than a person. And that's when
we stop expecting to feel God's presence in our lives. We stop expecting to 
interact with God personally. We stop expecting God to do mighty things in
and through us, things we see Him doing through the early Christians in the 
Book of Acts.

Knowing about God isn't what changes your life. After all, James 2:19 says, 
"You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and 
shudder!"
In other words, you can connect all your doctrinal dots and cross all your 
theological T's and still be no better than a demon. Knowing about God isn't
what's central to Christianity.

Doing things for God isn't what changes your life either. Jesus warned that 
people will point to various "mighty works" on the Day of Judgment, works 
they
performed in His name. And yet He will tell them to leave His presence, for 
He never knew them (Matt. 7:21-23).

Despite these clear warnings in Scripture, many of us persist in believing 
our Christian life can be summed up in what we know about God and what we do
for Him. But we deceive ourselves. The Christian life isn't what we know 
about God and what we do for Him; it's about knowing God and what He does 
through
us. This is love that goes beyond all knowledge. It's not just about filling 
our minds with theological truth, but having our whole beings filled with
the God whom all our theology is pointing to!

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

Excerpted from Jesus, Continued by J. D. Greear
© 2015 J.D. Greear
Published by LifeWay Press.
Used by permission.

Rebecca Barlow Jordan

A Tribute for Memorial Day – and Freedom

http://www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com/tribute-for-memorial-day-and-freedom

rebeccabarlowjordan.com

Once again, I want to share this special Memorial Day Tribute with you. 
Special prayers and blessings go to those of you whose friends, family 
members,
or loved ones have given their lives for freedom.

Remember those who gave their lives for our country, for
freedom,
and all we hold dear. Take time today to pause and thank God for those who 
died. The following
Memorial Day
Tribute is for them and for freedom.

Tribute for Memorial Day – and Freedom

by
Rebecca Barlow Jordan

The young, the old, The timid, the bold.

They gave and they fought

without thought of themselves, just others.

Some died. Others lived.

Some lost. Others gained

Freedom.

And the tears are for them, but for us as well.

Their stories live on, too many to tell.

But the ones who remain still sing the refrain

while memories dance in their heads,

Of a song deep inside for the ones who have died,

as they live each day with the pain.

And the tune, passed down through the ages of time

whispers loud in the hearts of mankind.

Freedom!

We remember the cost and all that’s been lost

but we keep on singing their song.

Gratitude wells, and thanks belong

to all those who played a part.

For the badges of valor, both great and small

are not measured by deed, but the size of the heart.

Their courage and faith, pressed on through prayers,

offered by those left behind,

will not be forgotten, their song will live on

in hearts that will never resign.

Sing it loud; sing it often, and never forget

the price that was given for you.

Freedom.

I thank my God every time I remember you(Philippians1:3, NIV).
My Prayer for You

Lord, thank you for the men and women who gave their lives in service for 
our country and for freedom. Thank you for their courage, selflessness, and 
passion.
Please be with the ones who lost loved ones and friends. Comfort them as 
memories flood their hearts. Surround them with your arms of love, and bless 
them
daily for the sacrifice they have endured. And may we remember always, the 
cost of freedom and the price others paid for us.

Day-votedly Yours,
Rebecca
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A Tribute for Memorial Day  and Freedom
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Useful Differences

Trent was teaching his friend D.J. how to play golf. Standing on the 
practice range, he pulled a large club out of his bag. This is the driver, 
he told
D.J. It hits the ball the farthest.Teeing up a ball, Trent hit it past 
the 150-yard target. Then he pulled out a smaller club. This is a seven 
iron.
It hits the ball higher but not as far.Again he demonstrated. This time 
the ball flew higher, landing near the 100-yard marker. Trent pulled out two
more clubs. This ones a sand wedge. Its for hitting the ball out of sand 
traps. And this is the putter. It knocks the ball in the hole.

D.J. pointed at another item in Trents bag. What does that club do?
Laughing, Trent said, Thats not a club. Its for getting your ball back 
after
you hit it in the water!

Different golf clubs do different things. Yet a golfer uses them all to play 
golf. Likewise, people with different spiritual gifts serve God differently,
but God uses them all to build his kingdom. Dont compare yourself with 
others, in terms of what gifts you have or how you can serve God. Just be 
joyful
in doing what God created you to do!

Bible Verse: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each 
of us. 
Romans 12:6

Words to Treasure: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit 
distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 

1 Corinthians 12:4-5
Copyright Information

NIV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions: 365 Days of Adventure (Zondervan). © 
2013 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The book's 
title
must be included when sharing the above content on social media. Visit the
Adventure Bible website

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Spiritual Fruit

Today is Pentecost Sunday so I thought that we would start a study on the 
fruit of the Spirit.

If one studies the gifts of the Spirit we learned that the gifts were given 
for us to educate, edify and exhort others. We also learned that there is no 
single gift that all Christians have been given. And there may or may not be 
a gift that is given for a Christian to use for the rest of his or her life.

But we all grow spiritual fruit. Some grow good fruit while others grow bad 
fruit as seen in this Scripture from the Sermon on the Mount:

" “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but 
inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. 
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise 
every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good 
tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every 
tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:15-20, NIV)

We need to grow good fruit but how do we do this? This is what Jesus tells 
us:

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; 
it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in 
me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in 
him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (
John 15:4-5, NIV)

So we, the branches, must stay connected to Jesus, the Vine. And if we are 
connected to the Vine the Holy Spirit will flow from Him through us so that 
fruit will grow.

Just as the gifts were given by the Holy Spirit the only way we can have 
good fruit is by the Holy Spirit. We can do nothing to help the fruit grow 
except to stay connected to the Vine. There are no deeds that we can do to 
help the fruit to grow. We can do deeds that look like fruit but will not be 
fruit of the Spirit.

What are the fruits of the Spirit? Hang on until next time and we will start 
looking at them.

by Dean W. Masters

Lady Madonna
 from Dan McNerney. 

Being a minority is not easy. People don't notice you. In fact, they often 
ignore you. You are essentially hidden from a lot of people's view. The 
majority
culture, wherever it is in the world, just sees mostly itself. Yet, everyone 
thinks they can see forever. No one likes to admit they are blind. Even 
within
families, the favored child gets much of the attention; the other children 
are often neglected. For these reasons, Jesus takes us by the hand, asking 
us
to follow him; he would like to introduce us to many new people, especially 
the hidden people in our lives. If we follow the ways of the world, we will
never meet them. But, if we follow Jesus, our eyes will be opened to people 
we never thought we would meet.

For six years, members of my church and I have been meeting on a regular 
basis with Muslim friends from our community. Our love and understanding of 
each
other deepens every time we meet. According to the Imam of the group, less 
than one percent of Muslims in the United States are engaged in interfaith 
dialogue
with Christians. He wishes that every mosque in America could enjoy the 
blessings he and his people have discovered in getting to know us. He 
laments that
most Muslims in the United States are fearful of Christians who comprise the 
majority culture. They are frightened they will lose their cultural 
distinctiveness,
if not their faith in God, if they assimilate too much with American 
culture, or get too close to Christians.

During one of our encounter sessions, Ennis, a Bosnian American, burst out; 
"You would not believe what it is like to be a Muslim immigrant in this 
country.
Everyone claims they are a Christian, but it is impossible to tell who 
really is. We Muslims don't drink, and we rarely dance. Therefore, when we 
see people
such as Madonna strutting across the stage, barely clad, worldly images 
surrounding her, with a cross hanging around her neck, it is extremely 
confusing
to us. Is Madonna a devout Christian, or is she making fun of Christianity? 
We don't know! We just feel perplexed, and often angry."

Ennis continued; "You are the first people we have met in America we feel 
are real Christians. You attend church on a regular basis, you are devout 
and
reverent. You love fellowship, Bible studies, and are always engaged in 
outreach to your surrounding community. You practice self-control, prayer 
and humility
on a regular basis. You love God more than anything else in this world. Why 
has it taken us so long to meet people like you, and understand the beauty
of your Christian life? The Serbian Orthodox soldiers tortured and killed us 
in the name of their religion; Hollywood exalts sex, violence and drugs on
a regular basis, as if it were a normal part of the Christian and Jewish 
life. The whole thing is very confusing to us."

One of the most important aspects of my job with Presbyterian Frontier 
Fellowship is to challenge churches in majority cultures to be aware of the 
hidden
people in their midst. Jesus was constantly encouraging his followers to 
enter into dialogue with people in their surrounding communities who had 
been
labeled forbidden, off-limits, or unclean. Jesus took his disciples into 
leper colonies, Samaritan villages, and pagan homes in order to open their 
eyes
to the people in their midst who are most forgotten and farthest from God's 
love. Until a majority culture is challenged enough, it will not feel 
convicted
to change its ways - to notice what God wants them to see.

God wants to open our eyes. He wants us to see what he sees. Nowhere in the 
Gospels is this story better told than in the ninth chapter of John. When 
Jesus
heals a blind man, the religious leaders were upset. They thought the blind 
man deserved to be blind because of the sins of his ancestors. The last 
thing
they considered was that they themselves were the blindest people of all. 
Listen to the drama; "... Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the 
saliva,
and put it on the man's eyes. 'Go,' he told him, 'wash in the Pool of 
Siloam.' So the man washed, and came home seeing.... They brought to the 
Pharisees
the man who had been blind...they did not believe that he had been born 
blind and had received his sight.... 'You are this fellow's disciple! We are 
disciples
of Moses!... The man answered, 'Now that is remarkable! We know that God 
does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.'" 
(John
9:6,7,13,18,28,30,31)

Later in the story, Jesus enters into the scene and confronts the Pharisees 
with these famous words; "For judgment I have come into the world, so that
the blind will see and those who see will become blind." (John 9:39)

The only way for our eyes to be truly opened is to follow Jesus, with all 
our hearts, wherever he will take us. He will help us see things we have 
never
noticed before. We must confess our inability to see and understand the 
people in our midst who are so different from ourselves. Over the years, I 
have
had the privilege of watching and helping the Presbyterian Church of Mexico 
become less blind to its indigenous people in Chiapas. I've been blessed to
help the Reformed Church in Ukraine become aware of the many Gypsies living 
in their midst. And now it's so rewarding to help the American Church become
less afraid of its Muslim neighbors and to show our Muslim friends they can 
trust Christians.

This Sunday, many American churches will celebrate Pentecost - the 
celebration of the dramatic entry of the Holy Spirit into the lives of those 
who believe
and follow Jesus. What a perfect time to ask God to open the eyes of your 
heart, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to help you notice the people 
in
your life who are hungering for your attention and love, but who are not 
getting it. They want you to see them, talk with them, and understand their 
lives.
They might even ask your opinion about Madonna - and other facets of 
American life so new and confusing to them.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was 
lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see." (John Newton, a former
British sailor on 18th century slave ships)
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Secrets Only the Holy Spirit Can Give

“And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of 
righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me.” -
John 16:8-9

What would you think of someone who gave you the secret of life? Do you 
think you might instantly call him your best friend? You bet!

That’s what the Holy Spirit did for you. The Holy Spirit gave you the secret 
not only to life, but to eternal life! He convicted you of your sin. He drew
you to Christ (John 6:44).

Don’t get the idea that anybody can simply come of his own will and his own 
volition to Jesus Christ. No one could come. No one would come, except by 
the
Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has given you the secret of life. And He has 
drawn you there Himself! That’s some best friend, wouldn’t you say?

Don’t keep quiet about your Best Friend today. He wants to be known and He’s 
given you the privilege to be His messenger. Share Him with those you care
about today.

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

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit
www.lwf.org.

I Wanted to Give Up Before I Began
MICCA CAMPBELL

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

I was sitting in my bedroom working on my weekly Bible study when God spoke 
to me. While I can’t say I heard His voice audibly, it was the loudest 
thought
I’d ever had. His message was clear: "Speak."

After a few minutes of panic, I calmed myself by deciding the whole episode 
was just something crazy I’d imagined. C’mon, Micca, God spoke to you? No 
way.

And with that, I put the thought of speaking out of my head.

As time went on, mysterious things happened that brought to mind God’s word 
to me … I received unsolicited invitations to speak at ladies’ luncheons, 
churches
and schools.

Fear filled my entire being, and I thought about graciously declining, but 
then I remembered Moses.

Moses had doubts and fears just like me. When God spoke to Moses through a 
burning bush and gave him the task of freeing the Israelites from Egyptian 
slavery,
he was terrified too. Moses told God he wasn’t capable of taking on such a 
huge assignment.

How did God respond? He assured Moses he wasn’t alone. That He would be with 
him.

As I revisited this story found in Exodus chapters 3 and 4, God showed me it 
wasn’t about any commitment on my part, as much as it was about submitting
to His plan. With that I decided to obey. "Okay, God. As long as you’re with 
me I᾿ll give speaking a try."

Each time I spoke I felt the same — like tossing my cookies. It wasn’t easy! 
There were so many faces staring at me. I knew they had expectations. And
beyond the people in the audience, I felt Satan taunting me with negative 
thoughts and lies while I was speaking: "Nobody is listening to you. You’re 
just
a simple southern girl. What have you got to offer? Do us all a favor and 
give up."

I wanted to give up. So did Moses, but God gave him confidence. The Lord 
promised Moses He would be with him and help him. God would perform miracles 
through
him. These signs would not only reassure Moses that God was with him, but 
they would force the king of Egypt to free God’s people from slavery.

I love that Moses wasn’t afraid to admit his weaknesses to God. How else 
would Moses have known the Lord would be his help and his strength?

Trusting in these truths provided strength each time I spoke. That’s not 
all. Repeatedly, God showed me what He was accomplishing through my weakness 
and
obedience. The most confirming response came when I spoke to a group of 
college students.

After the room cleared, a young man approached me. "Excuse me," he began. 
"When I was in high school, I felt God calling me into ministry. But when it
came time for college I ignored that call and chose to study law. After 
hearing you speak today, God stirred my heart, and I’ve decided to surrender 
to
the ministry. I want to thank you for coming. God used you to point me back 
in the right direction for my life."

Wow! I was amazed God invited me to participate in such a beautiful miracle. 
In spite of my insecurities, doubts and feeble weakness, the Lord used me.

It was then that today’s key verse,
Psalm 28:7,
became a reality in my heart: "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my 
heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my 
song
I praise him."

The more I trusted God in my weakness, the stronger I became, and the more I 
realized this truth: God never commands us to do something that He doesn’t
provide the power and help to accomplish.

Whether you’re called to speak to 10 or 10,000, lead a Bible study group or 
give a presentation at work, public speaking can be challenging. And you do
have a choice. You can say "no" to your burning bush and be miserable, or 
you can say "yes" and watch the power of God work through your weakness to 
accomplish
His will and bring glory to His Name.

The Lord wants to reveal Himself to others through you. The key is admitting 
your weaknesses to God and submitting to His ability to work wonders through
you.

Father, I confess my fears to You. Help me overcome them by trusting in Your 
presence and power that You make available in every task. Help me worry less
about committing on my end, and focus more on admitting my weaknesses and 
submitting to Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 9:8,
"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all 
times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (NIV)

New Post on KenBible.com - The Christ of Pentecost
----------------------------------------------------------
The Christ of Pentecost

Posted: 28 Apr 2015 09:55 PM PDT

from A Christ-centered Year

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be 
my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of
the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV)

On Pentecost, Jesus pours out the Promise of the Father,
baptizing every believer in the Holy Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is the life of God in motion.
He is the wind of God, the breath of God, the power of God.
In the Old Testament, the gift of the Spirit was limited.
It was given only to specific individuals
for specific times and specific tasks.

But Messiah came filled with the Spirit from birth, in unlimited measure.
The Holy Spirit of God conceived Jesus,
testified to who He was, and
empowered Him throughout His life.
Jesus lived in the Spirit, spoke in the Spirit,
did the mighty works of God in the Spirit, and
died and rose in the Spirit.

Then, as the culmination of His ministry, after returning to the Father,
Jesus poured out this Spirit on all believers,
not for a specific task or season, but completely and forever.

The Spirit is the life of the Father and Son—
their presence and power dwelling among and within all believers.
What an incredible Gift!

And the Gift arrived just as Jesus had promised,
accompanied by undeniable sights and sounds.
This dramatic event proved that Jesus was Christ and Lord,
that He had died according to the scriptures,
had risen according to the scriptures, and
now He reigned at the right hand of God Almighty.

On Pentecost, Jesus poured out the Promise of the Father,
immersing His people in the living, loving Spirit of Almighty God.
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A prayer in its simplest definition is merely a wish turned Godward.
~Phillips Brooks

One beautiful day in Northwest Arkansas, while visiting the
sixty-seven-foot-tall Christ of the Ozarks statue in Eureka Springs, my
then-thirteen-year-old daughter asked for a Sprite. Looking at her with
barely veiled surprise, I reminded her that we were deep in the Ozark
forest, on top of Magnetic Mountain, and that mountain forests did not
provide sodas for teenagers. Besides, I could really use a restroom, which
also were not naturally occurring in forests, so soda was not high on my
list of priorities.

This explanation was not convincing to my dear daughter, who promptly
provided a solution. "I'm going to pray for one."

"Sweetheart, one can not pray for soda," I explained.

"Yes you can," she continued, defiantly. "The Bible says to pray for
EVERYTHING."

"While this is certainly true, I don't believe God had soda in mind when He
handed down that little tip," I reasoned.

"Well, I'm going to pray for it anyway," was her unwavering response.

I told her to go ahead and do so if it made her feel better, but not to be
too disappointed if it didn't happen. I did ask her to pray for a restroom
while she was at it, and we headed toward the car to drive home.

As we neared the parking lot, I noticed a small building situated not far
behind the car. As we got closer, I realized that it was a restroom!
How had I
not noticed that before? Well, I guess it wasn't really that bizarre.
After all, we were in what was probably a popular local attraction.
Regardless of
the reason, the sight was welcome!

"Well, ask and you shall receive!" I exclaimed. I asked if my daughter
needed to use the restroom before going. She didn't. Tucking her safely in
the car, my husband and I headed to the newly discovered restrooms, hopeful
that they would be unlocked even though it was the off-season.

"Do you think I handled that okay?" I asked my husband, feeling uncertain
about the message I was sending by discouraging prayer, even if it was just
for soda.

"It might be confusing for her. After all, you tell her to pray for
everything, then when she wants to pray for, literally, everything, you make
her feel silly for doing it," he admonished.

"I didn't say it was silly!" I defended. "Just that it wasn't what the verse
meant! Doesn't it seem kind of, I don't know . . . blasphemous I guess?
Praying for something as trivial as soda?"

"Not really. The Bible does say 'everything.' Who are we to put limits on
that?" was his wise reply.

No sooner did he finish his sentence than we reached the tiny structure that
housed the restrooms. And right next to the restroom entrance what should we
find but a soda machine? We looked at each other in surprise and moved
toward the machine to see if it was even on. It was.

"I don't have any change. Do you?" I questioned.

"All I have is fifty cents," he answered.

"It's a dollar. We don't have enough. That's a shame, since that would have
been a mini-miracle to her," I said, disappointed.

"Let's put the fifty cents in anyway," he said.

"What would be the point of that?" I asked.

"She prayed for soda in the middle of the wilderness. Two minutes later we
found a soda machine, in the middle of the wilderness. It's worth a try," he
explained.

"I guess," I said skeptically.

He plopped in the two quarters, and we instantly heard that reassuring click
that signifies the acceptance of full payment.

"You've got to be kidding me. There was already fifty cents in there?" I
asked.

And then I did something incredibly selfish. I hit the Coke button even
though she wanted Sprite. After all, I reasoned to myself, she'll still be
getting soda. Just like she asked for.

When they say that God works in mysterious ways, we all nod our head in
agreement. But do we really stop to consider what that means? Not only does
He work in mysterious ways, He also manages to use one situation for
multiple benefits. The cherry on top is that He can use seemingly
inconsequential moments and seemingly minor events to create profound
changes within us. This was the day I realized these facts in a new and
enduring way. Why such a transformation in foundational thought? Because
when I hit the button for Coke, after the machine taking fifty percent
payment as full payment, a Sprite dropped into the retrieval tray.

We wordlessly stared at it. I was astounded by the lemon-lime packaging
before us, but I think my husband was a bit more astounded by the fact that
I had hit the Coke button after what had happened up until that point.

He looked at me. "I think you owe her an apology."

I can't describe the feeling of sorrow and shame I felt in that moment, as
humility born of self-realization washed over me. In the midst of my
daughter's miracle I had tried to put myself first. What a terrible thing
for an otherwise caring mother to do. I was sincerely and completely sorry,
and ready to offer my deepest apologies to my faithful little girl. I turned
toward the car, prepared to deliver her liquid miracle to her before even
heading to the restroom that I increasingly needed to use. Two quarters spit
out of the machine.

Tears sprang to my eyes, and I turned to my husband, a sense of awe filling
me. He looked at me, retrieved the quarters, and, without another word, put
them in the machine. I reached over and hit the very same button I had hit
only moments before. A Coke dropped out.

I handed him the Coke and, Sprite in hand, walked to the car, opened the
door, kissed my daughter, and handed her the Sprite.

"Pray for everything, and don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise."


How Much of Jesus Do You Want

Galatians 1:27-28
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches 
of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one
we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we 
may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”

Some people only want enough of Jesus to stay out of Hell and not enough to 
walk in victory! What are you after today? Is it enough for you to just know
that you are saved by Jesus death on the cross and you like your life just 
the way it is really, not too much hype on the whole Christianity thing and
yet not some horrible life of sin either? Are you “comfortable” where you 
are in your walk with God or do you want more?

Our ultimate goal in life ought to be to have all of Jesus we can get, all 
the wisdom, power, kindness, love, grace and mercy. We should want to be as
grown up in Him as we can get. If you look at Spiritual growth as you look 
at Physical/Mental growth, think about how much more you can do now as an 
adult
than you could when you were just a baby! You have the capability to achieve 
more and lead others on many levels, there is just no comparison, isn’t that
what you want for your Spiritual life as well?

The more mature we become in Christ the more victory we have in our lives. 
The more mature you are the easier it is to avoid old habits and sins, the 
easier
it is to take a stand for what is right and know why it is right! The 
confidence of a mature Christian and the ability they have to lead others is 
vastly
different than a baby in Christ naturally but the question is; are you a 
babe in Christ by choice or time? Some people choose to remain infants, how 
sad
is that?

The only way to grow in Him is to pursue Him and allow Him to teach you on a 
daily basis. You can learn something from every experience you have in life
if you will just give yourself totally over to Him and His will for your 
life. Don’t hold anything back! Study your Bible, ask God to give you such 
an
overwhelming desire to study that you just can’t get enough of Him and His 
word. Trust me, you may start slow but the more you read your Bible the more
you will want to read it! My prayer for each of you today is for God to be 
able to show you an area that He can walk with you in to bring you to the 
maturity
in Him that He created you to have so you can be all He has created you to 
be!

Quote:
“The only things that stand between a person and what they want in life are 
the will to try it and the faith to believe it’s possible.” Rich Devos

Dean Masters


Trapped in the Darkness
by Fred Alberti, Salem Web Network Director of Social Media

"…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the 
power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a 
place
among those who are sanctified by
faith
in me."
Acts 26:18

As I was walking through my nature trail this week I, as I normally do, 
asked the Lord what I should write this week. As I passed through the chapel 
area
of the trail the sun flashed through the leaves and caught my attention. 
Light. I had entered the darkness of the woods but that light caught my 
attention.
I "filed" it away and continued my travels through the trail.

Later, I was reading through various news stories of earthquake survivors in 
China when one particular story jumped out at me and brought back to my mind
my earlier encounter with the rising sun. The story was of a middle-aged man 
named Mr. Shen whose quick thinking to take cover in a doorway saved him 
from
the fate experienced by many of his co-workers.

When interviewed, Mr. Shen recalled shouting to a co-worker to join him in 
the doorway when the room suddenly collapsed. The next thing he remembered 
was
the sudden darkness that enveloped him.

What struck me in his interview was his statement, "Oh, the darkness, oh, 
the darkness all over. I didn't know when it was going to end."

There are people that we walk past every day that, without knowing it, are 
spiritually in the same condition as Mr. Shen; trapped in darkness under the
weight of sin.

For Mr. Shen, the darkness crumpled under the hands of the rescuers. After 
146 hours his encounter with complete and utter darkness came to an end. 
That
darkness, however, will always leave a mark on his being.

Will you forget the darkness that seeks to crush the hope of those around 
you?

Intersecting Faith & Life: Find a place of complete and utter darkness and 
spend at least 15 minutes praying for people you know who have not accepted
God's free gift of salvation.

Further Reading

Ephesians 5:8
John 12:46
1 Peter 2:9
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Post-Sunday Encouragement for Church Leaders

Are you freely abandoned to God’s mission? Dustin Willis gives us a flyby 
look at the thrills of leaping head-first into everyday gospel living.

A life on mission is a calling of abandonment.

It is a visible confession of our willingness to set aside—to abandon—our 
preferences to follow God’s mission. Like a bungee jumper diving off the 
platform,
we just relinquish our selfish hopes with total abandon to spread the true 
hope we’ve found in Jesus.

LIVING ON MISSION

“There is nothing more freeing than abandoning your own mission and joining 
the everyday mission of God.”

Life on mission is not about staying the same in our comfortable 
circumstances. Nor is it about achieving spiritual highs or floating in the 
clouds of
parsed doctrine. It’s about giving ourselves over to the everyday mission of 
God and becoming involved in the lives of people around us, living a very
real gospel in a very real world where our holy hands are going to get 
pretty dirty.

Living on mission means we’ll intersect gospel into our everyday routines 
and look for ways to use our time and resources for every opportunity He 
places
before us.

Living on mission means we’ll begin to see people through God’s eyes and 
feel about them the way He feels about them. It means we’ll remember we’re 
not
in this community by accident; God has placed us here for a reason.

Living on mission means we’ll invest in people for the purpose of authentic, 
gospel-centered relationships.

Living on mission means we’ll invite people into gospel community, where 
they can experience the transformative power of Christ and His church.

THE GOSPEL CORD

There is nothing more freeing than abandoning your own mission and joining 
the everyday mission of God. Of course, our ability to trust Jesus and hold
our plans loosely is not built on our own merits. Being an everyday 
missionary is impossible without a solid foundation. The gospel is the 
bungee cord
that keeps the jumper connected to life. The gospel is the starting point, 
the sustaining point, and the finishing point to all missions—to all life. 
Because
of the gospel, we can abandon everything and join the everyday mission of 
God.

Dustin Willis

Dustin Willis is co-author of the book
Life On Mission
with Aaron Coe. He desires to see everyday people join the history-sweeping 
mission of God. Dustin currently serves as Coordinator of the Send Network
and the Send North America Conference and speaks across North America. 
Dustin is a regular contributor at sendnetwork.com and blogs regularly at 
dustinwillis.com.
@DustinWillis.

Today's Turning Point with David Jeremiah
Turning Point
Friday, March 6

In Weakness

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases 
strength.
Isaiah 40:29

Recommended Reading
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
When we talk about weakness, we’re admitting inadequacy. Perhaps you don’t 
have all the strength needed to perform some task. Maybe you give out before
the day is over or the job is done. Perhaps you’re disabled and unable to 
function as independently as you’d like. Perhaps your finances are tight and
you’re not able to give as much as you want. Perhaps you feel inadequate in 
the role you’re trying to fill at church. Do you feel unusually weak in the
face of some temptation just now?

The Lord knows all about it. Jesus suffered weakness in His flesh so He can 
sympathize. He understands your feelings of inadequacy better than anyone.

He can also give needed strength for whatever He calls you to do today. The 
apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The phrase “all things” refers to whatever God has assigned to us. We can 
live in victory and obedience, even when we’re weak. In our weakness, Jesus 
understands
and He undertakes for our needs. He is always present in our weakness, and 
you can trust Him today.

Accept every experience by which God teaches thee thy weakness as His grace 
preparing thee to receive His strength.
Andrew Murray

Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
Copyright © 2015 Turning Point for God. All rights reserved.
Turning Point, P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

LOOKING UP TO THE GOD WHO LOVES ME

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the 
stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him? 
And
the son of man, that You care for him? —
Psalm 8:3-4

When I was in college at the University of Texas, I used to go to the 
library at night to study. As I would walk home to my dorm at 11:00 p.m. or 
so, I
would look up into the night sky and think about the greatness of God. I 
felt so small compared to the vastness of the universe. I would say with 
David,
“Wow, Lord. Who am I that you would care for me or even give me a thought? 
You are so awesome, and I am so insignificant.”

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

God is so much greater than our minds could ever comprehend. He created all 
that we see, all that the highest-powered telescopes can reveal, just by the
power of His Word. He simply spoke it all into existence. Universes drip off 
His fingertips.

The Bible says that God is so “off the charts” glorious and majestic that He 
even has to humble Himself to behold the things in heaven (see
Psalm 113:6).
Did you catch that? Every time God looks around heaven, it is a humbling 
experience for Him. Now, that is glory to the nth degree!

And here is the even more amazing part: this same, infinite God is crazy in 
love with you and me. We matter to Him. He thinks about us all the time. His
thoughts toward you and me outnumber the sand on the seashore (see Psalm 
139:18). How cool is that?

WHY DOES GOD LOVE US?

Why does God love you and me so much? Why did He send His Son to die such a 
horrible death for us on the cross? It isn’t because you and I are so 
wonderful;
it’s because God is so wonderful (see Deuteronomy 7:6-9). The Scripture 
clearly tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Love is a big part of His 
nature.
God chose to love us regardless of who we are or what we do. Because it was 
God’s choice, it is not dependent on you and me. Talk about getting off the
performance-based acceptance train! Here is truth to put in your heart: 
There is nothing you can do to get God to love you any more than He already 
does,
and there is nothing you can do to get God to love you any less than He 
already does. He just loves you!

Our job is to receive His love and rejoice in His love. Obedience to His 
commands comes when you realize that everything God tells us to do or not to 
do
is for our greatest good. The God who loves me tells me yes to some things 
and no to other things. His commandments are not given to deprive me; they 
are
given to bless me, because every one of them is given in love.

HOMEWORK

Tonight, go outside and look up into the starry sky. Consider His heavens. 
Consider how great He is. Then, remember that the awesome God who made all 
that
you see knows your name. He knows your circumstances. He knows your 
victories and your struggles. He knows everything there is to know about 
you, and He
loves you still.

Share your hopes, dreams, worries, and fears with Him. Tell Him that you 
love Him. Cast all your cares upon Him, because He really does care for you 
(see
1 Peter 5:7)! Remember this great word from Isaiah the Prophet, “For since 
the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like You, who 
works
for those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4 NLT)! He truly will work in the 
hearts of those who will look to Him and wait for Him. Will you do it?

Love,

Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
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The Scribbled Truth that Changed My Life
LYSA TERKEURST

"Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.’"
Acts 3:6a
(NIV)

There was a season of my life that was very dark. When my baby sister died 
tragically and unexpectedly, my entire world flipped upside down.

What I once knew to be true suddenly became questionable.

Is God good? If so, why this? And if I never know why, how can I ever trust 
God again?

Hard questions. Honest questions. Questions that haunted me.

Until one day I got a note from a friend. A girl I not-so-affectionately 
called my "Bible friend." She honestly got on my nerves with all her Bible 
verse
quoting. I wasn’t on good terms with God at that point in my life. I didn’t 
want to believe God even existed. And I certainly wasn’t reading the Bible.

I made all of this very known to my Bible friend. But in her gentle, sweet, 
kind way … she kept slipping me notes of truth with gently woven verses 
tucked
within.

And one day, one verse cracked the dam of my soul. Truth slipped in and 
split my hardhearted views of life open just enough for God to make Himself 
known
to me.

I held that simple note with one Bible verse scribbled on the front as the 
tears of honest need streamed down my cheeks. My stiff knees bent. And a 
whispered
"Yes, God" changed the course of my life.

My Bible friend had reached me. And because of her, I’m determined to use my 
words as a gift to others who may be in hard places … like a friend of mine
who recently told me she is struggling with feeling she has no real purpose.

Life rushes at her each day with overwhelming demands. Everything feels 
hard, with very little reprieve.

If ever there were a drowning with no water involved, this is where my 
friend is.

Maybe you have a hurting friend, too.

So I sat down to write my friend a card and send her a little gift. I 
desperately wanted to love her through my words. My heart was full of care, 
compassion
and a strong desire to encourage but I struggled to translate all I felt on 
paper.

As I prayed about it, the word "loved" kept coming to mind.

Remind her she is loved. Remind her how much you respect her. Remind her she 
is a woman who has so much to offer. Remind her she is valuable and she is
enough.

In Acts 3, Peter and John encountered a crippled man at the temple gate 
called Beautiful. They stopped. They noticed. They decided to touch. Riches 
weren’t
available to them but the ability to value was.

As our key verse of
Acts 3:6-7
says, "‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the 
name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped 
him
up …"

Peter and John didn’t have silver, but they had a hand to offer and value to 
give. The man in need was worth touching. The hurting one in need was a man
who needed someone to see him as a man. The man in need had so much to 
offer. After he got up, he went into the temple courts praising God and 
stirring
up wonder and amazement about God.

I want my friend to remember she, too, has praise left inside her for our 
God. She too can get up. She too can stir up amazement and wonder about our 
God.

Yes, she is loved and God has a good plan for her. It’s my job to help her 
see that, just like my Bible friend did for me all those years ago.

I will never doubt the power of one woman reaching into the life of another 
woman with some written whisper of love.

Dear Lord, I’m so thankful for the relationships You’ve placed in my life. 
Would You help me discern what encouraging words my friend needs to hear 
today?
I want to show her Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Thessalonians 5:11,
"So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be 
together in this, no one left out, no one left behind." (MSG)
© 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

This incomparable book!

(Thomas Brooks,
"Apples of Gold" 1660)

"Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long!" Psalm 119:97

The whole of Scripture is but one entire love letter, dispatched from the 
Lord Christ, to His beloved spouse!

Oh! the mysteries, the excellencies, the glories which are in this 
incomparable book! There are none so useful, none so needful, none so 
delightful, none
so necessary to make you happy and to keep you happy--as this!

Ah! the Word of the Lord is . . .
a light to guide you,
a counselor to counsel you,
a comforter to comfort you,
a staff to support you,
a sword to defend you,
a physician to cure you!

The Word is . . .
a mine to enrich you,
a robe to clothe you,
a crown to crown you.
bread to strengthen you,
wine to cheer you,
a honeycomb to feast you,
music to delight you,
a paradise to entertain you!

Oh! therefore, before all and above all:
search the Scripture,
study the Scripture,
meditate on the Scripture,
delight in the Scripture,
treasure up the Scripture!

There is . . .
no wisdom like Scripture wisdom,
no knowledge like Scripture knowledge,
no experience like Scripture experience,
no comforts like Scripture comforts,
no delights like Scripture delights,
no convictions like Scripture convictions,
no conversion like Scripture conversion!

I exhort you to a speedy, serious, diligent,
and constant study of the Scripture.
Ah! you do not know how soon . . .
your blind minds may be enlightened,
your hard hearts may be softened,
your proud spirits may be humbled,
your sinful natures may be changed,
your defiled consciences may be purged,
your distempered affections may be regulated,
and your poor souls may be saved . . .
by searching into the Scriptures,
by reading the Scripture, and
by pondering upon the Scripture.

Ah! if you do not in good earnest,
give yourself up . . .
to the reading,
to the studying,
to the pondering,
to the believing,
to the practicing,
to the applying, and
to the living up to the Scripture--
Satan will be too hard for you,
the world will be too hard for you,
your lusts will be too hard for you,
temptations will be too hard for you,
deceivers will be too hard for you,
and in the end you will be miserable!

~ ~ ~ ~

We have published J.R. Miller's helpful short article, "
The Duty of Forgetting Sorrow".

~ ~ ~ ~

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

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Restoring Compassion
by Charles R. Swindoll

Matthew 25:34-36

As one understanding soul expressed it: "Compassion is not a snob gone 
slumming. It's a real trip down inside the broken heart of a friend. It's 
feeling
the sob of the soul. It's sitting down and silently weeping with your 
soul-crushed neighbor."

Parceling out this kind of compassion will elicit no whistles or loud 
applause. In fact, the best acts of compassion will never be known to the 
masses.
Nor will fat sums of money be dumped into your lap because you are committed 
to being helpful. Normally, acts of mercy are done in obscurity with no 
thought
(or receipt) of monetary gain.

Compassion usually calls for a willingness to humbly spend oneself in 
obscurity on behalf of unknowns. How few there are in our fast-paced, 
get-rich-quick
society who say to such a task, "Here am I, use me." Truly compassionate 
people are often hard to understand. They take risks most people would never 
take.
They give away what most people would cling to. They reach out and touch 
when most would hold back with folded arms. Their caring brings them up 
close
where they feel the other person's pain and do whatever is necessary to 
demonstrate true concern.

If God's people are to be living examples of one thing, that thing ought to 
be---it must be---compassion.

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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3750 cdd From Beginning to End
Tuesday March 3, 2015
Volume 16 Number 044

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Luke 24:27
"Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, 
explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" NLT Bible 
Paraphrase

Many people liken the Bible to three periods in a hockey game. The first 
period was before Jesus, the second period is with Jesus and the third 
period
is after Jesus. But it is clear to me that Jesus appeared in all 66 books of 
the Bible. Follow along and see if you agree.

Old Testament
Genesis --- My creator
Exodus --- My redeemer
Leviticus --- My sanctifier
Numbers --- My guide
Deuteronomy --- My teacher
Joshua --- My conqueror
Judges --- My victory
Ruth --- My redeemer
I Samuel --- Root of Jesse
2 Samuel --- Son of David
1 Kings --- King of Kings
2 Kings --- Lord of Lords
1 Chronicles --- My intercessor
2 Chronicles --- My high priest
Ezra --- My temple
Nehemiah --- My mighty Wall
Esther --- Stands in my gaps
Job --- My arbitrator
Psalms --- My song
Proverbs --- My wisdom
Ecclesiastes --- My purpose
Song of Solomon --- My lover
Isaiah --- My prince of peace
Jeremiah --- My balm of Gilead
Lamentations --- Ever-faithful
Ezekiel --- My wheel
Daniel --- My ancient of days
Hosea --- My faithful lover
Joel --- My refuge
Amos --- My husbandman
Obadiah --- Lord of the Kingdom.
Jonah --- My salvation
Micah --- My judge
Nahum --- Jealous
Habakkuk --- Holy One
Zephaniah --- The Witness.
Haggai --- Overthrows enemies
Zechariah --- Lord of Hosts.
Malachi --- Messenger

New Testament
Matthew --- King of the Jews.
Mark --- The servant.
Luke --- The Son of Man
John --- The Son of God.
Acts --- Savior of the world.
Romans --- Righteousness of God.
I Corinthians --- Rock that followed Israel.
II Corinthians --- Triumphant one
Galatians --- Sets me free.
Ephesians --- Head of the Church.
Philippians --- My joy.
Colossians --- My completeness.
I Thessalonians --- My hope.
II Thessalonians --- My patience and discipline.
I Timothy --- My faith.
II Timothy --- My stability.
Titus --- My truth.
Philemon --- My benefactor.
Hebrews --- My perfection.
James --- Power behind my faith.
I Peter --- My example.
II Peter --- My purity.
I John --- My life.
II John --- My pattern.
III John --- My motivation.
Jude --- Foundation of my faith.
Revelation --- My coming King.

Prayer: Father thank you for showing me clearly the participation of Jesus 
throughout the entire Bible --- From the very creation to the final victory
as the King of Kings. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Copyright (c) 2015
Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries

How Do I Choose?
John Ortberg

"…See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut…" 
Revelation 3:8a (NIV)

Life is full of tough decisions.

How do I know if he/she is "the one"? Which college should I go to? What 
should I major in? Which job should I take? Which church should we attend? 
Should
I change careers? Now that the kids are grown, should we downsize? Is now 
the right time to retire?

People hate making decisions. Mostly because we’re terrified of making the 
wrong one.

Choosing thrills us. Choosing scares us. Choosing comes from the core of who 
we are. When we truly choose, we have no one to blame and nowhere to hide.
And that can be downright terrifying.

My wife, Nancy, and I were at a restaurant once, and the waiter responded to 
every choice we made by saying, "Brilliant," "Perfect" or "Excellent 
decision."
This happened so steadily throughout the meal that I finally asked him if he 
ever told anyone they made a lousy choice. He told us that the restaurant
managers had discovered diners are so afraid of choosing the wrong thing, 
they actually print a list of "affirmation words" that the wait staff is 
required
to say in response to everyone’s order.

Think about that. Even a question as simple as, "Soup or salad?" renders us 
so vulnerable that restaurants have to turn their wait staff into 
therapists!

In a way, we do the same thing with God. Terrified of making a bad decision, 
we lay all of our choices at God’s feet and ask Him, "What is Your will for
my life?"

But, what if God’s will for us is that we develop the wisdom and discernment 
to make our own decisions in light of His Word, and the faith and confidence
to know He will be there guiding us regardless of which path we choose?

Doesn’t that sound freeing?

God wants us to learn how to choose well. That may be why, when we look at 
the Bible, there is no chapter devoted to ’How to know God’s will for your 
life."
Paul doesn’t write about "6 Steps to Determine If He’s the One" or "5 Ways 
to Discern God’s Best Career Path for You."

What we do see are statements like this: "If any of you is lacking in 
wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will 
be given
you" (James 1:5, NRSV).

Or "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in 
knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is 
best"(Philippians
1:9-10a, NIV, 1984).

So the next time you face a difficult decision, instead of asking God what 
His will is for your life, begin by asking for wisdom. And don’t live in 
fear
of making the wrong decision. Even if you walk through the wrong door, as 
long as you walk through it with the right heart, God’s will will be done.

Remember, God’s will for your life is not about whom, or if, you should 
marry, which job you should accept, or which neighborhood you should live 
in. God’s
will for your life is that you become a magnificent person in His image, 
somebody with the character of Jesus. And nothing can stand in the way of 
that.

Dear God, we know that You are the God of the open door. Every moment of 
every day is an opportunity for us to grow and serve and make a positive 
impact
on others. Because of Your love, we don’t have to be afraid of failure, nor 
do we have to live under the tyranny of always making the perfect choice. We
pray You will give us the courage and wisdom to walk through whatever doors 
You open before us. And we pray that through our actions, Your will will be
done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on 
your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make 
straight
your paths." (ESV)

Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by 
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to 
God." (ESV)

Sowing Spiritual Seeds

John 4:34-38

Think about everything that contributed to the story of how you came to know 
Christ as your Lord and Savior. It's probably not possible to fully count
all those spiritual seeds that God used to draw you to Him. And not all the 
people who sowed good seed into your life knew what the outcome would be.

We also have the opportunity and privilege--every single day--of sowing 
seeds into the lives of others, such as our friends, co-workers, children, 
grandchildren,
or even strangers. God takes what you plant and adds to it. He leads others 
to sow further seed or "water" the ground. Little by little, truth gets 
cultivated
in their lives. What greater thing could you do?

Conversely, you might focus on providing your kids with plenty of material 
security and send them to the best schools and colleges--and yet it would 
count
nothing for eternity. But when you sow into their lives the things of God 
and the qualities of Jesus, you're feeding their spirits. The seeds that 
affect
their hearts, view of God, and desire to make a difference for Him in the 
world are what will produce genuine, lasting fruit and a great harvest in 
their
lives. Whether or not you ever see the results, the Lord is using you 
profoundly when you sow this kind of crop.

God sees all the little things you do; He's interested in more than just 
"big" things. The fruit of His Spirit--such as kindness, patience, and 
self-control--often
manifests itself in quiet ways that others may never give you credit for. 
But such spiritual seeds accomplish powerful work in His kingdom.

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

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights
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The Choice To Win or Lose This Battle is Yours
By Dean Masters

1 Corinthians 10:5
Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were 
overthrown in the wilderness.

Don’t lose the battle in the Wilderness! If you are waiting for God and you 
are following Him through the Wilderness waiting to be brought into the 
“Promised
Land” of the answers you have been waiting on from Him, don’t allow Satan to 
win the battle. The Israelites were moments away from the land that God had
promised them and they hadn’t even begun the battles and they were overtaken 
by letting their guard down. They were so busy feeling sorry for themselves
they lost sight of God and He was right there with them all the time.

What is you are waiting on God for? What should you be learning in your 
Wilderness? God was trying to teach the Israelites to trust and follow Him 
but
they were too busy looking for other answers and other gods. I would 
encourage you to trust God and ask Him if there is anything else you need to 
learn
while you wait. Ask Him to be your “cloud and pillar of fire” guiding you 
through this season and then don’t allow Satan to have a foothold in your 
life.
Choose your thoughts carefully and guard your heart from the thoughts Satan 
would like you to have. Satan is always looking for opportunity to win and
he managed to overtake them before they even had a battle to fight! What 
about you? Are you allowing Satan to win battles in your life as you wait on 
God
by allowing him to feed you lies? Take charge today and just like Joshua 
decide, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” and that includes 
in
the Wilderness of life.

Just like the Israelites God has given you all you need to win the battles 
of life and part of that is to know when to just lean on Him. You can make 
it
through this wilderness and you will be ready for what lies ahead if you 
just trust Him to bring you through to the other side! The best is truly yet 
to
come!

Quote:
“True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be 
done.” John Wayne



Chosen for Affliction

Isaiah 48:10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, "I have 
chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" [KJV]. Does not the Word come like 
a soft
shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not a protective shield, 
against which the heat has no power? Let affliction come--God has chosen me.
Poverty, you may stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and 
He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have balsam ready--God 
has
chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has 
"chosen" me.

If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the 
Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there
sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often 
when you do not know it, He comforts you in your affliction and softens the
place of rest. You are in poverty; but in your lovely house the Lord of life 
and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate 
places,
that He may visit you. Your friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see 
Him, but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice? 
Even
in the valley of the shadow of death He says, "Fear not, for I am with you; 
be not dismayed, for I am your God."1

Remember that noble speech of Caesar: "Fear not, you carry Caesar and all 
his fortune." Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you. In all your difficult 
trials,
His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom 
He has chosen for His own. "Fear not, for I am with you" is His sure word of
promise to His chosen ones in the "furnace of affliction." Will you not, 
then, take hold of Christ and say:

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I'll follow where He goes.

1) Isaiah 41:10

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 14

verse 2 Luke 17

From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible

Why should we believe, as Jesus did, that the Scripture is in fact, from 
'the mouth of God'? When did it come into existence? Is it inerrant?

What do we need to learn in order to understand what it says and what it 
means better? How does the teaching of God’s Word change our lives. In
From the Mouth
of God, Sinclair B Ferguson answers these and other important questions 
about trusting, reading, and applying the Bible

From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers,
Wheaton, IL 60187,
www.crossway.org.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
How God's Green Lights Show You God's Will - #7342

The best time to go to Long Beach Island is off season. It's this beautiful 
stretch of land off the New Jersey coast about 12 miles long, not very wide.
In fact you can see the ocean on one side and the bay on the other side. It 
just has this one, long main street. During peak season, which of course is
during the summer, it's very slow going on that street; bumper-to-bumper 
people, cars and red lights. I hope you're not in a hurry to get to the 
beach
or to get back to your house. It's going to take you a while. But when 
you're there during the off season, which we've had the privilege to be, you 
see
this long string of traffic lights as far as the eye can see. When you're 
driving you can hit this string of green lights and never stop.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How God's 
Green Lights Show You God's Will."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Galatians 5:18. Here's 
what it says, "If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." God is 
referring
here to this incredible internal guidance system that He's given us in the 
person of the Holy Spirit of God, who puts inside us a steering mechanism 
that
leads us into what God wants us to do. It's like the internal guidance 
system of a guided missile that guarantees that it gets to its' target. If 
we just
listen to that leading we'll get to our target we were created for.

Verse 25 goes on to say this, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in 
step with the Spirit." Oh, okay! Step wherever the Spirit steps. That's 
obviously
what He's trying to say here. This tells us God is leading us, but not in 
quantum leaps. He's leading us in single steps. Maybe that's why the Old 
Testament
writer said, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he 
delights in His way." When you take those little steps, you'll know what 
God's will
is for now, for today. That's what ends up making up this huge tapestry that 
we call "God's will for our life."

There's one way that He leads you called green lights. See, your mission is 
to start driving in the direction the Spirit seems to be leading. Even if 
you
don't know where this whole road's going to take you, you start driving in 
that direction. And you don't wait until you have all the answers about 
where
you're going to end up. You say, "Well, I'd like a little more information." 
That's not how God's will works. He goes, you take a step, you see a step.
You take another step, you see another step. When you take that next step, 
you hit a green light. Well, then, you keep going until you see another 
green.
If you see a green, you keep going. If there's a red, you stop.

Now, God has given us some inner green lights I guess you could say. 
Sometimes it's just that divine pull - an unexplainable pull - toward a 
certain choice.
There are biblical arrows as you read in God's Word daily and then you 
record it in a journal so you can see a pattern of what God is saying. I've 
often
seen that as I've gone back through my Spiritual Diary and I see God leading 
in a certain direction through certain verses. And then, there's the peace
of Christ, which I think is what you feel most consistently when you're on 
your knees just talking with God about it. That's an inner green light.

There are outer green lights, too. Like circumstances can confirm what 
you've been feeling on the inside and what God's been saying in His Word. 
These
things will point the same direction as the inner greens do. When God gives 
you a red, don't keep driving. No, you stop on the red. But as long as God
is giving you green lights, don't let fear, don't let uncertainty make you 
stop.

A classic example in the Old Testament: when the Jews were on the edge of 
the swollen, flooded Jordan River, trying to figure out how to cross into 
Canaan
land, God says, "You step in the water and then it will part." I think I'd 
have said, "I've got a better idea. How about the water parts and I step 
in?"
God says, "No. You take a step and then the water will start to part."

Keeping in step with the Spirit; going where the green lights are. When He 
turns the light green inside you and around you, He's saying, "Now, step 
here."
Follow God's green lights and then relax in your knowledge that anywhere 
your Savior is asking you to step, He will always step first and get the 
next
step ready for you.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA
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Thirsty?

In the fourth chapter of John we find an account of Jesus and his disciples 
in Samaria. He sends His disciples for food while He stays at the well. A 
woman comes to get water. Jesus asks for a drink but we find that the woman 
is really the thirsty one. She is thirsty for something besides water. She 
has tried to fill that thirst with relationships but that has not worked. 
She has had five husbands and is now living with another man. These 
relationships with which she tried to quench her thirst cost her something. 
It cost her reputation. That is why she was at the well in the middle of the 
day. She was not accepted by the other women or else she would have been 
there in the morning when the other women were there. She may have also 
sampled the religion there. She mentions where the forefathers said they 
were to worship. She knew that the Messiah was to come.

Everyone is created with a thirst for God. Most don’t know what they are 
thirsty for so go around trying this and that. Some today try quenching that 
thirst with relationships. They might be fulfilled with a mate for a while 
but then he or she doesn’t satisfy. These relationships may cost a person’s 
reputation or may cost a person’s health.

There are other ways people try to sate their thirst. Some amass wealth. 
Some work their way up the career ladder to fame. Many try doing it with 
religion. All of these things cost the person that does them. In the case of 
those working for fame or fortune it may cost them their health or family. 
In the case of those trying to quench their thirst with religion, it cost 
them trying to work their way into heaven. They don’t know if they will get 
to heaven so they keep themselves busy doing good deeds thinking they will 
end up there because of those good deeds.

Salvation is a free gift from God. Jesus Christ gave his life for our 
salvation. He is the One we need to quench our thirst. He is the only one 
that can quench it.

Isaiah 55:1-3a (GDNT)
1 The LORD says,
Come, everyone who is thirsty
here is water!
Come, you that have no money
buy grain and eat!
Come! Buy wine and milk
it will cost you nothing!
2 Why spend money on what does not satisfy?
Why spend your wages and still be hungry?
Listen to me and do what I say,
and you will enjoy the best food of all.
3 Listen now, my people, and come to me;
come to me, and you will have life!

Turn from your sins and come to Jesus Christ. Drink of the living water 
which He gives. You never have to be thirsty again.

by Dean W. Masters

How to Protect Yourself from These 10 Toxic People
Debbie McDaniel

Life is precious. Yet all too often, we may find that much of our time is 
spent around negative, toxic people, draining the life right out of us. 
Sometimes
they're co-workers, friends, or sadly, even
family
members.

God never intends for us to spin our wheels, waste our days, trying to make 
others happy who can never be happy. Because in reality, it doesn't depend
on us. It's not up to you. They may want you to think it does, as if you 
possess the power to improve the value of their existence, but that's not a 
burden
meant for you to carry.

God's greatest desire is to set us free. And sometimes what propels that 
change is for some brave soul to be willing to say, Stop, no more. One who 
will
choose what is better, and learn to set boundaries that will protect and 
limit the control an unhealthy person might be placing on another's life.

Sadly, when we look deep into the mirror of our souls, we may realize that 
we are the ones who have some unhealthy tendencies that God wants to change.
Today's a good day to stop wasting time in toxic patterns of living. For he 
has better in store for us.

Here are some of the most common types of toxic people we may rub shoulders 
with every day, or a few we may find in our own lives:

The Controller - This person is a master manipulator and constant 
controller. They want to be in charge, not just of their lives, but of yours 
and everyone
else's too. They watch you like a hawk, ready to pounce on your every flaw. 
They micro-manage down to the last detail. They have trouble letting go, so
they don't, they hold on, too tightly, until it about chokes out all those 
around them, suffocating others with their drive to be superior.

The Abuser  This person is desperately needy inside, and takes it out on 
you and the world around them. Through their own experiences of internalized
past hurt, they have become angry, vicious, and cruel to those they say they 
care the most about. These people need help from counseling and outside 
sources.
They need healing from God. If you find yourself in the home of an abuser, 
get help, now. Don't stay in a potentially dangerous situation with your 
false
hope that you can somehow change their old patterns of abuse. It is not up 
to you. Protect your life and the lives of those in your care.

The Too Easily Angered This person is the one you always feel like you 
have to tiptoe around. Like you never know what will set them off and fly 
into
a fit of rage. These people become easily irate at even the smallest thing, 
which is a sure sign, there's a deep rooted problem inside. They've been 
known
to throw things, hit things in their way, or spout off angry words they can 
never get back. They yell, they scream, they curse. You may see them on the
ball fields, the golf course, the stressful office meetings, or even on the 
highway. Fits of rage not easily soothed, out of control temper tantrums 
that
more closely resemble the patterns of a 2 yr. old.

The Bully - This person can be subtle or outright offensive in their 
attempts to bully, but either way, their desire is to dominate and make 
themselves
look powerful. They have a strong need to feel better and look better than 
those around them, so they choose to bully anyone in their path. They use 
words,
they use fists, they use lies, they use fear  but all in all, they want to 
push others down and exalt themselves and will stop at nothing to achieve 
their goal.

The Addict  This person is addicted to a substance or to a negative pattern 
or behavior that has severely affected their well-being as a person. They
need help. They need professional help and they need spiritual help. They 
need people who will be brave to speak truth into their lives and not those 
who
will feed their habit, enable their actions, or ignore dangerous signs of 
addiction. Recognize that this toxic pattern is bigger than just you. You 
are
not to blame for the problem. But you can be the one who God uses to get 
them help.

The Negative This person is the one who rarely has anything positive to 
say, because they see everything with a negative slant and have no problem 
telling
you why. The sun may be shining, but in their mind, It's probably about to 
rain. Life is viewed through shaded, cloudy lenses. They tend to be 
complainers,
worriers, and whiners. These people often don't even realize what they're 
doing because it's become such a natural part of the way they talk. They 
tend
to zap the energy and suck life right out of you if you're around them too 
much. They walk in defeat and choose to believe the worst about most things“ even you.

The Blamer This person is never to blame for it is always your fault. 
They will blame everything on others close to them. If they’re having a bad 
day,
it's your fault. If they're running late, it's your fault. If they lose 
something, it's your fault. If they fail at something, it's your fault. You 
will
never win around the blamer, because they're aim is to bring you down 
through their constant blame game.

The Gossiper  This person is always talking, and usually about someone 
else. They have an overriding need to be in the know, and to pass on the 
next
juicy morsel to an open, listening ear. They can be vicious with their 
words, and cruel in their hearts towards another's feelings. They have no 
regard
for the reputation of another. They feed on lies, exaggerations, mere 
hearsay, and half-truths. They tend to feel better while talking about 
others so
they can somehow feel better about themselves.

The Arrogant “ This person is proud, self-serving, and always, always 
right.They never want to made the fool, but have no problem labeling 
others as
foolish. They prey on the weak to make themselves appear better. They are 
quick to judge, quick to offer their opinions, and are rude to others in 
more
subservient positions. Their goal in life is to be superior to all those 
around them.

The Victim  Not to be confused with one who really has been victimized in 
life and who is seeking God's peace and healing, this person is one who 
tends
to feel they are constantly the victim. In every situation. All throughout 
life. They are always feeling taken advantage of, always needy, always 
telling
you what another has done to hurt them, or how no one cares. They see 
themselves constantly as the victim and before long, if you keep lending an 
ear;
you may be the next one they feel victimized by.

What To Do?

1. Recognize the toxicity in others or even in yourself.

We all have hope to change through the grace and goodness of God. And the 
first step there is to fully understand that there's a need. If the problem 
is
with you, admit that you need help. If the issue stems from within a family 
member or close friend, try talking with them in humility and with honesty,
letting them know how these patterns over time have made you feel.

2. Set boundaries with tough love.

Tough love is able to say enough.Tough love says, I care about you, but 
I care about me too, and I will not allow you to hurt me or those I love.
No other person has the right to trample you down, make you feel inferior, 
abuse, or bully you. Set limits to protect yourself. If you find yourself in
a dangerous, abusive or addictive relationship, get out, and get help NOW. 
It is not up to you to change the other person's behavior. It is up to you
to protect your life and the lives of those in your care. You may need to 
adjust how much time you spend with certain people; you may need to spend 
time
forming new, healthier friendships. Seek out counsel. Find a good support 
group of those who will encourage you and provide a safe place for you to 
share
and pray.

3. Keep moving forward in your trust in God.

He can accomplish great things through your prayers. He can move mountains. 
He can change hearts. Anything is possible through his great power. 
Understand
that though it is never up to you to make someone different, he's set you in 
their lives for a purpose, for a reason. And maybe the biggest purpose is
to be light to them in their darkness, to extend gracious love and 
forgiveness no matter what, and to show your strength in a mighty God by 
setting clear
boundaries and allowing them to answer to him, for the way they treat you or 
others.

4. Believe that God is for you.

He loves you, he cares for you, and he has good in store for your future.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed
(John 8:36).

Debbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too 
many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope
though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the 
ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of
His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. 
Debbie invites you to join her at www.freshdayahead.com,
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You Are Greatly Loved

Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the 
desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like
the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love 
with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us
alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.
(Ephesians 2:3–5)

Would you not love to hear the angel Gabriel say to you, “You are greatly 
loved”?

Three times this happened to Daniel.

• “At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come 
to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved” (
Daniel 9:23)
• “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, 
and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you” (
Daniel 10:11)
• “And he said, ‘O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong 
and of good courage” (
Daniel 10:19).

Take heart. If you have faith in Jesus, God himself says to you, “You are 
greatly loved.”

We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, 
being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even 
when
we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . For 
by grace you have been saved through faith. (
Ephesians 2:3–5,
8).

This is better than an angel’s voice. If you are “alive,” you are greatly 
loved.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see
DesiringGod.org.


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Making Sure You'll be in Heaven - #7340

Well, all of us airline passengers have just squeezed down that narrow aisle 
to our seats, and everyone is just getting settled in. The ground agent came
on board and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is a destination check. This 
is Flight 305 to Atlanta." The next part is what I love. It's so diplomatic
it's almost ridiculous. "If Atlanta is not in your travel plans for today, 
this would be a good time for you to exit the aircraft." In other words, 
"Hey,
Pal, make sure this flight is going where you want to end up!"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Making 
Sure You'll be in Heaven."

It doesn't matter how nice the plane is, how nice the people are, how sure 
you are that this is the right one, if it isn't going where you want to go,
you can't afford to be on it. That's obvious when it comes to our travel 
destination. It should be obvious when it comes to our eternal destination.

There was a survey that found that a majority of Americans thought their 
destination when they die will be heaven. Since this is the one thing you 
can't
afford to be wrong about, there's an important question that those folks 
need to consider. All of us do. "I think I'm going to heaven." Really? Based 
on
what? On what can you base your eternal expectations? How nice you are? How 
nice your religion is? How much you think this ought to be the way to get to
God? It's not true for airplane flights, and it's not true for getting to 
God and to His heaven.

Only God can tell us how to get to Him. What He said and only what He said 
is the final word. Everybody else is guessing. Here it is in the words of 
Jesus
Christ himself. Our word for today from the Word of God in John 3:3, "No one 
can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." Now, those two words
have been overused, they've been misused, they've been abused, "born again."

But the words "born again" weren't invented by some cult or even by some 
religion. It was the Son of God himself who told us that that's the way to 
give
ourselves a destination check; to see if in fact I'm going to heaven when my 
heart has beaten for the last time. You've got to ask, "Are you born again?"

The Bible explains just two chapters earlier how you can be born again. 
Speaking of Jesus it says, "To all who received Him, to those who believed 
in Him,
He gave them the right to become children of God." You have to be born into 
His family to be His child just like you were born into your earth family.
And you are born again at the moment you "receive Jesus." What does that 
mean? That means opening up to Him, welcoming Him into your life.

And then it says, "when you believe in Him." That's totally putting your 
trust in Him as your only ticket to God's heaven. No trust in my religion. 
No
trust in my goodness. No trust in all the things that I have done in my 
life. No, I am placing all my hopes on the man who died for my sin. I have 
no hope
placed in anything else. It's like a drowning person grabbing a lifeguard, 
"You are my only hope."

Why is that? Well, it's because your sin will keep you out of heaven. That's 
what will keep you out. Sin carries a death penalty according to the Bible.
The Bible calls it hell. And only Jesus could, and only Jesus did die to pay 
that death penalty so you don't have to. That's how much He loves you. So
only He can remove your sin from God's records. And only people with their 
sin forgiven can enter God's sinless heaven.

Jesus left no room for any questions. He said in John 3:5, "You must be born 
again." You have no more important thing in your life to do than to make 
sure
you have boarded the flight that's going to heaven, to be sure you have told 
Jesus, "I'm putting all my faith in You alone to forgive my sin and get me
to heaven." Only He died to make it possible. Only He walked out of his 
grave to prove He can give eternal life.

Have you ever begun that relationship with Him? Have you ever grabbed Him in 
total trust and said, "Jesus, I'm yours." If not, let this be your day. I'd
love to help you get that settled if you'd just visit our website today and 
let me walk you through how to begin that relationship. It's ANewStory.com.

If you're trusting anyone or anything other than Jesus to get you where you 
want to go, don't stay on that flight to disaster. That's the deadliest 
mistake
you can make. Today there's still time to change and get on the only flight 
where God says the destination is His heaven.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

Our Quiet Dwelling Place

Psalms 9:19

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. 
Whenever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next 
day the
morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the 
fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, 
up
the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. They scarcely had 
time to rest a little before they heard the sound of "Onward! this is not
your rest; you must keep journeying onward toward Canaan!" They never stayed 
for long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.

They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and 
its flame by night their fireplace. They must go onward from place to place,
continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, "Now we are 
secure; we will stay in this place." Moses says, "Though we are always 
changing,
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations."1

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and 
poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today
and sad tomorrow--but there is no change regarding his relationship to God. 
If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.

My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Even when prospects are few 
and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have
in God. He is "my refuge" to which I continually return. I am a pilgrim in 
the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell
in a quiet dwelling place.

1 Psalm 90:1

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 10

verse 2 Luke 13

From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible

Why should we believe, as Jesus did, that the Scripture is in fact, from 
'the mouth of God'? When did it come into existence? Is it inerrant?

What do we need to learn in order to understand what it says and what it 
means better? How does the teaching of God’s Word change our lives. In
From the Mouth
of God, Sinclair B Ferguson answers these and other important questions 
about trusting, reading, and applying the Bible

Why should we believe, as Jesus did, that the Scripture is in fact, from 
'the mouth of God'? When did it come into existence? Is it inerrant?

What do we need to learn in order to understand what it says and what it 
means better? How does the teaching of God’s Word change our lives. In
From the Mouth
of God, Sinclair B Ferguson answers these and other important questions 
about trusting, reading, and applying the Bible
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers,Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.
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Post  Admin on Sat 16 May 2015, 2:34 pm

I missed that yesterday was Ascension Day, the day Jesus ascended into 
heaven.
Dean Masters

Receiving Joy and Strength

There is still another vital aspect to the "why" of Jesus' departure. He 
said, "If I do not go away, the Helper (Paraclete) will not come to you; but 
if
I depart, I will send Him to you." Jesus' departure was tied to Pentecost. 
There is no Pentecost without ascension. As the invested King of kings, 
Jesus
had the authority together with the Father to send His Holy Spirit in a new 
and powerful way upon the church. Jesus spoke of a certain necessity of His
leaving in order for the Spirit to come. Herein was another great advantage. 
He declared, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come 
upon
you" (Acts 1:8, KJV).

Two remarkable things happened to the disciples after Jesus departed. The 
first is that they "returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:52). They
were not despondent over the departure of Jesus. Obviously they finally 
understood why He was leaving. They understood what, for the most part, the 
church
since then has failed to understand. We live as if it would not have been 
better for Jesus to leave.

The second obvious change in the lives of the disciples was in their 
spiritual strength. After Pentecost, they were different people. No longer 
did they
flee like sheep without a shepherd. Instead, they turned the world upside 
down. They turned the world upside down because they fully understood two 
simple
things: the "where" and the "why" of Jesus' departure.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Great joy and spiritual strength are two of the benefits of the ministry of 
the Holy Spirit. Let Him release these benefits in your life today.

For Further Study

Acts 4:31: "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled 
together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they
spoke the word of God with boldness."

Acts 4:33: "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the 
resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all."

Acts 4:29: "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants 
that with all boldness they may speak Your word."

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul 
is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more
information, please visit
www.ligonier.org
or call them at 800-435-4343.
© R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

KenBible.com

New Post on KenBible.com - The Ascended Christ
----------------------------------------------------------

The Ascended Christ

Posted: 21 Apr 2015 09:55 PM PDT

from
A Christ-centered Year

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and 
seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and 
authority
and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this 
age but also in the age to come. (Ephesians 1:20-21, NRSV)

On Ascension Day, Jesus is at the Father’s right hand,
reigning as Sovereign Lord and King.

His work is completed.
The perfect human life has been lived.
The Sacrifice has been offered and accepted.
Atonement has been made.
Humanity and holiness are rejoined.
Sin and death are conquered.
Peace reigns.
Life reigns.
Love reigns forever.

Jesus is once again where He belongs:
in the bosom of the Father,
on the seat of power and honor,
bathed in eternal glory.

He is soon to signal His heavenly arrival by
lavishly pouring out God’s own Spirit
on every child of God.

In the meantime, two angels have made His departure
a promise of His return:

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has 
been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you 
have
watched Him go into heaven.†(Acts 1:11, NASB)

Lord, Teach Me to Pray!

Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray.

How are you doing today in the most wonderful and available ministries 
available to all of us as believers?

Prayer is one of the few things we are asked to unceasingly be involved 
with. If prayer is something we are to do unceasingly, then we better know 
how
to do it properly!

When God's Word teaches us how to pray, it is very profitable to notice what 
God doesn't teach us about prayer:

The Postures of Prayer

First we can quickly see from the Scriptures that the Lord doesn't teach us 
about just one posture of prayer - because any posture will do. In the 
Bible,
people prayer in all different positions:

· Abraham's servant prayed while standing in Genesis 24:12-14

· Moses prayed while bowing down in Exodus 34:8

· The Israelites prayed in sorrow for their sins as they were sitting in 
Judges 20:26

· Elijah prayed for rain on top of Mount Carmel with his head between knees 
in 1 Kings 18:42

· In Babylon Daniel stopped to go home and pray out a window in his home 
facing Jerusalem's temple in Daniel 6:10

· Jesus was praying on His knees face down in Matthew 26:39

· When the leper approached Jesus with his deep need he did so kneeling in 
prayer in Mark 1:40

· The Publican Jesus commended prayed to the Lord while smiting his breast 
in Luke 18:13

· Jesus prayed for us as He walked from the Last Supper with uplifted eyes 
in John 17:1

· Paul encourages men to pray as they lift holy hands in 1 Timothy 2:8

To continue reading this message including the Places, Times & Circumstances 
for prayer please copy and paste this URL into your browser bar:
http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/lord-teach-me-to-pray/

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org
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Post  Admin on Fri 15 May 2015, 7:14 pm

Kill Me Now
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor

If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now -- if I 
have found favor in your eyes -- and do not let me face my own ruin."
Numbers 11:15

...while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom 
tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die."I have had enough, 
Lord,"
he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
1 Kings 19:4

Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah 4:3

What kind of a person feels like this? A schmo like me, at times, sure. 
Maybe you, or people you know. Surely not the heroes of the Old Testament.

Well, truth is, even God's greatest leaders and prophets got to the point in 
their respective stories where, even after witnessing indescribable miracles
and blessings, their circumstances were so overwhelming, impossible and 
undesirable their attitude was, "Just kill me now, Lord!" Exhausted in body, 
soul,
and spirit, they cried out that they had had enough. They could go no longer 
in their own power.

The first quote above is from Moses, who had a People Problem. The wandering 
Israelites were hungry, and as usual, it fell to Moses to solve the problem.
He cried out to the Lord, "Was it I who conceived these people? Was it I who 
brought them forth?" He looked around and couldn't figure out how to satisfy
everyone.

The second quote is from Elijah, who had a Pity Problem. This was a prophet 
who had just called down fire from heaven, destroyed the prophets of Baal,
and witnessed the end of a long drought. But just a few verses later, one 
vow from one wicked queen has him in such despair that he fears he can't go 
on
like this.

The third quote is from Jonah, who had a Pouting Problem. He'd finally 
obeyed to the point of going to Nineveh and preaching repentance, but when 
the Lord
relented and stayed his hand rather than destroying the city, Jonah wasn't 
happy. He folded his hands and "became angry" that the destruction he 
forecast
never arrived.

Consider who these men were and what they had seen, what the Lord had done 
through them. Moses parted the Red Sea and led a people out of slavery. 
Elijah
stood strong for Israel during a time of tremendous pagan influence, prayed 
down fire and rain, and actually never died (so chalk up at least one 
unanswered

prayer!).
Jonah is one of the first stories we tell our children, about how God 
provided a great fish to swallow him for such a period as he could learn 
about obedience
and repentance.

Not only that, but these guys all show up in the Gospels, in one way or 
another. Moses and Elijah are present at Jesus' transfiguration (
Mark 9).
In
Matthew 12:38-41,
Jesus tells the Pharisees they won't get any sign from him other than the 
sign of Jonah, foreshadowing the three days He Himself would spend in the 
belly
of the Earth.

But interestingly enough, Christ apparently never felt this way. He knew His 
destiny was to die, but even so prayed that such a cup might pass from Him.
And let's not forget that He is our example, not Moses, not Elijah, and not 
Jonah, great as they were.

When we feel the way that these guys did, we need to realize that anyone 
wanting to die is under attack. And our enemy can bring that attack through 
people,
pity, and pouting. It comes when our body is not healthy, our soul is not 
happy, and our spirit is not holy.

But conveniently enough, Paul shows us a prayer that covers all these bases. 
He writes in 1 Thessalonians 5, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify
you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, 
without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who 
calls
you, and He also will bring it to pass." (
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

You aren't alone when you feel like you can't go on, or like you would be 
better off dead than standing strong in the face of the overwhelming task 
God
has given you, especially when you are weak in body, soul, and spirit, and 
the enemy is on the attack. And truly, it is comforting to know that some of
the Bible's greatest
faith
warriors and miracle workers shared these feelings. But it doesn't mean they 
were right. Let us not indulge hopelessness, for it may always be found.
Instead, let us remember that we serve a God of hope and of miracles and we 
follow the One who never copped to people, pity, or pouting, but willingly
laid His life down for others, not for Himself.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Develop a plan that gives you exercise and rest 
in proper amounts for your body, soul, and spirit, so that you will be less
prone to attack.


Today Is A New Day With No Mistakes In It….

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have 
passed away; behold, all things have become new.

There are so many quotes I could think of that would go along with this 
verse, for example; “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that 
counts.”
Zig Ziglar. So often our past may try to haunt us by being brought up by 
others or memories that flash through your mind randomly, but we must remind 
ourselves
that we are a new creation once that sin is under the blood of Jesus and we 
must walk in the confidence of who He created us to be, not in the mistakes
we have made in the past. Satan will do his best to keep you weighed down 
with past mistakes so you are not affective in what you are supposed to be 
doing.
I am not just talking about sinful past mistakes either, I am talking about 
Satan trying to use any past failures, or poor decisions. He will use 
anything
he can to keep you from moving forward.

Let’s tackle the ‘sin’ issue first. Do not allow Satan or others to throw 
your past in your face. God says, “as far as the east is from the west, so 
far
does he remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 Don’t allow sin to 
rule and reign in your life either. Ask God to reveal anything in your life
that may be keeping you from all that you can be for Him. We need to daily 
ask God to help us be all we can be, Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean 
heart,
O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” That should be our prayer every 
morning. Today is a new day with no mistakes in it, so begin it with God 
renewing
all that you are.

Maybe you have made a decision that you are now regretting and thinking it 
wasn’t what you were supposed to do. Maybe you bolted ahead of God and 
charged
right into the biggest disaster you have ever been in and now you are trying 
to figure out how to straighten it out and have decided you will never do
anything like that again. Hmmmm….. we have all been in that place on some 
level or another, but don’t allow past mistakes keep you from pushing 
forward
to whatever God has called you to. Often our past mistakes make us better 
for what we are called to do if we allow God to use it in our lives. Maybe 
you
have rushed into business before and ended up with nothing but a mess on 
your hands, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush yourself off and try 
again,
maybe it was just the wrong business. If God has created you with the 
abilities and desires to do something and you have tried and failed at it in 
the
past, it doesn’t mean He isn’t in the idea of your trying again. Pray about 
the decisions you need to make, whatever they are and make sure you are 
truly
open to His leading, don’t bolt forward on your own without His leading, 
learn from your past mistakes and follow Him with all the confidence that He 
has
created you to do great things for Him!

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt. 
Allow that thought to sink in because it is so true! You are who God created
you to be with all the abilities and talents you need inside to do all that 
He has called you to. You may need to allow Him to grow those abilities and
talents to the level you need them to be so you can accomplish all that you 
are called to be, but you have no reason to feel inferior to anyone, you are
God’s creation too. God didn’t create us all the same for a reason, “The Big 
Picture” takes variety and it takes every bit of that variety to bring it
all together.

You are a new creation in God, your confessed sin is under the blood and He 
has created you to do great things for Him so don’t be discouraged if it isn’t
moving like you think it should, or you’ve made mistakes. Dust yourself off, 
hold your head high and remember you are a child of the Most High God, He
loves you and wants you to get on track and go with the confidence that He 
will work His good through you if you allow Him to!

Quote:
Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit 
there.” Will Rogers
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Love Worth Finding Ministries


Waiting for Your Sunrise

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may 
endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
God allows us to have “blue” seasons where there is more weeping than 
laughing. What we must remember is, it is only for a season. That is 
crucial. Joy
will come in the morning, just as sure as the sunrise.

If you get up tomorrow morning to see the sunrise, let me tell you what not 
to do. Don’t try to make it hurry up. You can’t do it. You can get a brass
band and some cheerleaders, but that sun is not going to come up one second 
sooner than God intends.

ACTION POINT:
Waiting on the Lord is like waiting on the sun to come up. You can’t hurry 
it. You also can’t stop it. God is going to bring a sunrise to your soul. 
Just
wait for it. And trust Him while you wait.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 May 2015, 11:06 pm

Jesus Wept
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. –
Matthew 4:1-2

I once heard a story of a woman who lost her only daughter in a tragic 
accident. After the funeral she fell into deep despair, and many of her 
friends
began to worry about her safety. In desperation, one of them asked their 
local priest if he would go to her house and speak with her, but the moment 
the
woman saw him she flew into a rage.

“Get out!” She screamed, “I already know what you’re going to say. You’re 
going to tell me that everything happens for a reason, that this is God’s 
will,
and I don’t want to hear that.” The priest did not move. Eventually the 
woman began to calm down and started to sob. It was at that the priest 
spoke, quietly
and gently.

“Listen,” he told her, “I don’t know why your daughter died, and I do not 
know why God allowed it to happen, but I do know that God understands what 
it
is to lose a child, and that he is standing next to you, and that he cannot 
stop your suffering but that he loves you and he loves your daughter, and if
you let him into your heart you will see her again.”

What really struck me the first time I heard this story was that God really 
did understand the pain of losing someone. I realized that for a long time
I’d had a false view of Jesus. I’d always pictured him as this tall, 
soft-spoken man who was completely serene no matter what the world threw at 
him. I
didn’t understand that when God became a man he embraced all human 
sensation, even the ones that hurt.

Jesus got hungry, just like us (Mark 11:12). He got frustrated, just like us 
(Mark 11:14). He got sad (John 11:35), and angry (John 2:16-17), and scared
(Luke 22:44). Jesus probably laughed with his friends, and grew stern with 
the Pharisees. The Bible says that Jesus lived a sinless life, but that 
doesn’t
mean he wasn’t human.

Some of you may be having a fairly nice day while reading this and some of 
you may be having a pretty miserable one. Regardless of what is happening to
you, know that God understands how you feel, and that he will always love 
you.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Follow Christ through his years of ministry. Take note of the 
times when Christ displays his emotions.

Further Reading

Matthew 4:1-11

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today's Devotional

God Moves In A Mysterious Way

Acts 4:20 – We cannot possibly give up speaking of things we have seen and 
heard. (NEB)

Far out in the Pacific Ocean, away to the north of Papua New Guinea's 
mainland, just before 9:30 a.m. on the beautiful morning of February 26, 
2014, six
persons, John and Marjo Brownie (Wycliffe Bible Translators), one of their 
co-translators, the skipper, and two other men, all in an open 15-foot 
dingy,
were upset into the ocean by a combination of waves. The craft sank in 
seconds. The six were about halfway between two islands, about 28 km apart, 
Mussau,
and Emira to which they had been headed. Only Marjo and John had life 
jackets, but — due to an error in the way they had been assembled — they 
could not
be inflated. All could swim, and all were able to grab onto something 
inflatable. They set off an emergency flare.

The current was flowing in the direction of Emira. The husband and wife 
Bible-translating team soon were separated, the husband now with the oldest 
man
(the co-translator), and the wife with the other three men. They could not 
even see one another. The husband went into shock for hours and came out at
2:00 p.m. to realize that he needed to start kicking to get to land with his 
companion, who seemed rather weak. It became known later that it was at 2:00
p.m. that people at the mission headquarters at Ukarumpa on the mainland had 
been informed of the beacon and had begun praying.

At about 3:00 p.m., Marjo and the three men came up onto a tiny island very 
close to Emira. John and the older man came up in a bay on Emira at about 
5:00
p.m. At no place had the ocean been shallow enough for anyone to touch feet 
down until they were over the reef near Emira.

It was not until 7:00 p.m., when they met at the health center on Emira, 
that Marjo knew that her husband and the older man had survived. Both the 
husband's
and the wife's computers were in the ocean — John's containing all of the 
translated 2nd Corinthians of the Bible, Marjo's containing historical 
Mussau
stories. A search and rescue plane arrived after all six were on land. All 
had some cuts and scrapes but no serious injuries. The light-skinned Brownie
couple suffered severe burn from the equatorial sun, plus shock that caused 
some insomnia for a few days.

During a work-stay in Ukarumpa, John and Marjo heard via an Emira policeman 
that some things, including a computer, had washed up on Emira, but they did
not know which computer.

A few months afterwards — when enroute to Mussau for the planned celebration 
of the dedication of the newly published Mussau language hymnbook the next
day — John and Marjo stopped over in Emira May 6. There they viewed articles 
that the current had carried up onto the shore during a few days after the
February accident. Among other things, they saw John's travelling bag, four 
large plastic buckets of supplies — and John's computer! In its water-tight
computer case, no data had been lost of the translation of the entire book 
of 2nd Corinthians!

Marjo emailed that they, and especially their co-translator, connected with 
the words of the Apostle Paul in their recently-translated verse, 2 
Corinthians
11:25 – "Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times 
I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea." (CJB) Marjo
noted that this was the third time this co-translator had survived 
shipwreck.

Let us praise God.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
- William Cowper

Prayer: O Lord our God, we praise You for the wonders You have done for 
these six persons. We pray for them and for all who learn of this miracle, 
that
we will keep in mind that You are mighty to save, both physically and 
spiritually. Spur us on to trust more and more in Your infinite might and 
power,
and to tell forth Your great goodness. Keep us praying. Amen.

Isabel Allison
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Post  Admin on Wed 13 May 2015, 10:38 pm

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Attracting People to Your Jesus - #7337

Well, I guess all of us began our training for public speaking back in 
Kindergarten or maybe First Grade. Remember when the teacher had you do Show 
and
Tell? You had to bring some object to school and tell about it or what it 
represented. I can still remember the scramble around our house a lot of 
mornings
as one of our three children would remember, of course, with one foot out 
the door, "Oh boy, I've got Show and Tell today." So we'd race around the 
house
trying to find something they could show. See, the teacher wasn't interested 
in us just showing up with a story that day. No, you had to have something
concrete. Telling was not enough to make it. If you showed up with your 
show, you had to tell about it too.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about 
"Attracting People to Your Jesus."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew chapter 5, verse 
15; the words of Jesus. "Let your light shine before men that they may see
your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." We're supposed to attract 
people to Jesus. How do we do that? It says, "With your good deeds." You 
lead
with deeds. In other words, evidence of the life change Jesus Christ makes; 
the difference He makes in someone who knows Him.

Peter said in 1 Peter 2:12, "Live good lives among the pagans that though 
they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify
God on the day He visits us." He's talking here about a total change of 
heart toward God. Why? Because of the good deeds they see in you. So in a 
way,
the lost people around us are like those teachers, the Show and Tell people. 
Don't just come with something to tell. Show me! Prove it to me. Let me see
evidence of it. Show me how it works. It's like this is what will stimulate 
conversation about Jesus.

Peter again says in 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be prepared to give an answer to 
everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." In 
this
case, the "show" is a positive, hope-filled, optimistic outlook on life. It 
will make people say, "Well, how do you get like that?" But see, you have to
tell. If you just took some unusual object to Show and Tell, everyone might 
think it's interesting, but they wouldn't know what it was. Words are 
necessary.
You know, that lost person you know at work, or in your family, or at 
school, they can watch you for the next twenty years, but they're not going 
to say,
"You know, Joe is such a nice guy, I'll bet Jesus died on the cross for me." 
No, you're going to have to tell them that. They're not going to figure it
out.

But you do have to show it or no one will be interested in what you have to 
tell. It seems like believers tend to overdo one or the other doesn't it? 
Some
just show Jesus by the way they're living but they never tell about Him. Or 
others witness real aggressively. They tell all the time, but they're not 
winning
the right to be heard; like specializing on good deeds in the lives around 
us. Like what? Well, being there at the hospital, the wedding, the funeral 
home.
Remembering special occasions in their life like birthdays and making those 
things really special. Or just asking the second question. Everybody says,
"How are you doing?" Why don't you ask the second one, "Are you really?" 
It's the second question that shows you really care. Maybe it's just making 
each
person feel really important when they're with you.

Here's an important question, "What difference could I ask Jesus to make in 
me that these people would notice?" What kind of difference would mean 
something
to your family? Or your coworkers? Your teammates? And here's a second 
question, "How could I show love to these people in a way that would mean 
something
to them?" Most people won't be interested in all the religious things you 
do, and the meetings you go to, and all the beliefs you hold. But they can't
ignore one changed life and your strong love for them - the living proof 
that you've got a living Savior.

We learned when we were very young that they've got to go together - Show 
and Tell. If you never tell them, they will never know what Jesus did on the
cross for them. If you never show them, they'll not listen when you tell 
them. Lead with deeds. They'll open the door. But then you bring Jesus in 
through that open door.

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

Hurry Up and Wait

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount 
up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk
and not faint.

Lately I have had to learn a whole new concept to this verse over the years! 
I have had things that I believed were the will of God for me to do and I
wanted to get going right away! I didn’t want to wait another moment. I know 
how important it is to get going on something while the excitement is still
high but God keeps saying, “wait just a second, I’m going to get you going 
but you need to wait a few days.†Ohhhh man! I don’t want to wait! I am 
chomping
at the bit to get moving right here, right now! God really spoke to my heart 
one day about my impatience and said, “don’t you believe I can give you 
greater
success in my time vs. yours?†ouch! Certainly He can and He will!

What are you waiting for? Is there something you want to do that you believe 
is God’s will and you are wondering what on earth is taking so long for 
things
to come together? God’s timing isn’t always our timing, in fact it seems it 
rarely is our timing, but He knows best. Have you ever jumped in ahead of 
God
on something and you force it into happening in your time and yet your 
success doesn’t come any faster than it would have if you had waited on Him, 
in
fact once it does come you are exhausted and somewhat discouraged because 
you were doing everything in your own might? I have been there, done that, 
and
it is a waste of time. You are never wasting your time when you choose to 
wait on God! I’m going to say that again for both you and me, “you are never
wasting your time when you choose to wait on God!â€

God has a plan, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,†
declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future 
and a
hope.†He isn’t making you wait just to annoy you, He has a plan and His 
plan will work better than yours. You may think you have this all planned 
out
in your head for yourself and or those around you, but take a step back for 
a moment and ask God if your plans are lining up with His.

God is good, always good. Trust Him today to do all that needs to be done 
today for all that He has planned for you and trust Him to let you know when
He needs you to move! He will tell you when the time is right so don’t get 
complacent where you are, get ready! Be all that you are supposed to be 
today
for Him and leave the rest to Him!

Quote:
The way you see your future determines your thinking today. Your thinking 
today determines your performance today. Your performance in the todays of 
your
life determines your future. Zig Ziglar
Dean Masters,

10 Wisdom Principles on Hearing and Speaking

1. “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit 
is a man of understanding†(Proverbs 17:27-28).

Restraint in speech, both in content and manner, is a mark of a Christian. 
How we say something can be as beneficial or harmful as what we say. The 
unrestrained
man, in either content or manner of speech, is an example of one without 
knowledge and understanding. As we meet and hear people who exhibit these 
characteristics,
we ought to treat their report with great discretion.

2. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his 
opinion†(Proverbs 18:2).

A mark of folly is a rush to judgment without hearing words of 
“understandingâ€. That often means delaying speech and judgment until better 
informed. We
are all prone to this – we receive a report of another person’s alleged sin 
and are often inclined to believe it. Some will seek to publicize that 
alleged
sin to further their own goals. Scripture has something to say about that 
also “Whoever covers an offense seeks love but he who repeats a matter 
separates
close friends†(Proverbs 17:9).

3. “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s 
mouth is his ruin and his lips are a snare to his soul" (Proverbs 18:7).

Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves. We have to say something. Whether 
we know or are ignorant of the situation, we just find ourselves having to 
speak.
This proverb warns us that the fool, who “takes no pleasure in 
understanding†(18:2), receives a just recompense for his conduct. His 
mouth invites a beating
and his lips bring his ruin. This may come through many forms: if the 
Christian behaves like the fool, the Lord will chasten him. If the fool 
remains in
his behavior, it will lead to his everlasting ruin.

4. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into 
the inner parts of the body†(Proverbs 19:8).

This is the danger, the great danger of being a gossip and receiving gossip. 
Gossip tastes so good on the tongue! When it reaches the stomach, it causes
nausea – spiritual nausea. It titillates but ultimately destroys both the 
subject and object of the gossip. What a dangerous sin it is to receive an 
ill
report of someone. To be sure, there are times where we have to do so. 
However, how we conduct ourselves in such times will ensure we do not fall 
foul
of this sin. To receive a bad report without checking sources, speaking to 
the people in question, or silencing the gossip, put the hearer in great 
danger.

5. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and his shame†
(Proverbs 18:13).

Much like point 2, this proverb reveals the actions and the end of the 
proud. Why would one answer before he hears? Why would one pass judgment 
before
finding out the facts? Why would one think it wise to comment out of 
ignorance? The simple answer is pride. JC Ryle once noted that some are so 
full of
themselves, there is no room for God. That is what pride does and it always 
leads to folly and shame.

6. “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks 
knowledge†(Proverbs 18:15).

Proverbs speaks positively concerning knowledge, hearing and speech. 
Intelligence, in the first couplet parallels wisdom in the second. Seeking 
and acquiring
knowledge, whether it be spiritual or factual is a mark of a righteous and 
wise person. Conversely, the “fool†takes no pleasure in seeking wisdom and
is all too ready to express his baseless opinion.

7. “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and 
examines him†(Proverbs 18:17).

A theme that keeps cropping up – the need for balance and knowledge before 
judgment. Why would Proverbs highlight this matter? Perhaps because it is 
such
a problem in the covenant community. We are too prone to believe a report, 
especially a bad report, especially when receiving that bad report either 
advances
our own cause, or corresponds to our own preconceptions. However, the 
proverb warns – “find out the other sideâ€, lest you found wanting and siding 
with
unrighteousness.

8. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will 
eat its fruits†(Proverbs 18:21).

The apostle James wrote, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not 
bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is 
worthless.â€
Notice than a lack of self-control in speech could be a mark of worthless 
religion. To bridle the tongue is to have first bridled the heart, for “out 
of
the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks†(Matthew 12:34). The Scriptures 
teach us that the tongue’s speech is the reflection of the heart, and this
proverb teaches that the power of the tongue is that of life and death. It 
can build up or break down. Whichever way one uses one’s tongue – for life 
or
death – you will reap what you sew. You will “eat its fruits†to life or 
death.

9. The is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue 
of the wise brings healing†(Proverbs 12:18).

What an effect the tongue, or the keyboard, can have on the reputations of 
brethren. Sometimes the church outstrips even the world of politics in its 
willful
misrepresentation of truth. To lie, gossip, form opinions based on 
half-truths is like a thrust of a sword, bringing injury and fear. 
Conversely, the Christian
tongue ought to heal. Even when it has hard and difficult news to bring, it 
ought always to heal. Such was the manner of our Lord.

10. The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and 
understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

Let us never forget that wise, knowledgeable words are of the LORD. That 
which is unwise has no point of origin in, or stamp of approval of God. Any 
word,
no matter how small or apparently trivial, if it is not a word of the wise, 
does not come from God.
The Christward Collective is a conversation of the Alliance of Confessing 
Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians 
like you. The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the 
historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim 
biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.
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A Deeper Look at Love
by Hazel Offner

When Laura Ingalls was growing up in various places in the American 
frontier—Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Minnesota and the Dakota Territory—she wanted 
nothing
more than to be outdoors working or playing. She cheerfully helped with 
harvesting, gardening and caring for the animals.

During the Ingalls’ time in western Minnesota, scarlet fever struck most of 
the family. The disease left Laura’s older sister Mary completely blind. 
Mary
had to give up her dream of being a teacher. She was still quite capable of 
doing housework and sewing, though, jobs she had enjoyed even before she 
lost
her sight. Laura often resented Mary because Mary was so good. She was 
always gentle, patient and uncomplaining. Sometimes Laura wanted to slap 
Mary for
all her perfection.

After the Ingalls family moved west to the Dakota Territory, a minister told 
them of a college for the blind in Iowa. College was an impossible dream for
Mary unless the family could raise a substantial amount of money. The only 
way Laura could contribute was to do something that went against all her 
wishes.
She could become what Mary had wanted to be—a teacher. If Laura did well in 
school for the next two years, at age sixteen she could get a teaching 
certificate.

Laura didn’t want to teach school. The last thing she wanted was to stay 
indoors and study just so she could eventually stay indoors and teach.

Laura relented, however, because of her maturing attitude toward her sister. 
On one of their walks, Laura realized that she was changing. She began to
admire Mary. As the possibilities rose that Mary could leave for college, 
Laura realized how much she would miss her. She found she loved Mary after 
all.

Laura’s first teaching job was at a tiny new school twelve long wintery 
miles from home. Laura boarded in a tiny shanty with a couple who could 
barely
tolerate each other. The man was nearly silent. The woman hated the isolated 
pioneer life and had become unbalanced. She resented Laura’s presence, 
screamed
at her husband and threatened him with a butcher knife. Laura’s only refuge 
was the schoolhouse. Though her students were difficult and she often felt
like a failure, being at school was better than being at the shanty.

Back at home on weekends, Laura admitted to her younger sister Carrie how 
much she hated teaching. She didn’t tell her parents because she was afraid 
they
would make her quit before the year was out. Instead, she doggedly kept at 
it. What mattered was what was best for Mary. Laura’s pay was enough to keep
Mary in college that year and to bring her home the next summer. Only Laura 
Ingalls’s love for her sister kept her in that first teaching job. Love led
her to sacrifice her own ideal plans for Mary’s sake.

In creation and in his Word, God offers us testimony of his love for us. But 
John says that God has done even more. He has made the ultimate sacrifice:
“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” (
1 John 4:9-10).

If God has gone to the ultimate lengths of love for us, we can only respond 
by making tangible sacrifices of love for one another. We may express our 
love
in words, but our words are empty if they are not accompanied by actions. We 
may have warm fuzzy feelings inside, but our feelings remain private 
pleasures
if they do not translate into deeds. We are even called to love others when 
warm sentiments are absent. Human feelings ebb and flow. True Christian love
is not a slave to such emotional fluctuations.

Ben Witherington III writes about love in the Scriptures:

In the Hebrew Scriptures, hesed refers to a sort of love that has been 
promised and is owed—covenant love, that is—as in
Hosea 11:1:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son.” 
Covenant love is the love God promised to give to his covenant people, and 
which
they in turn were to respond with in kind, loving the God of the Bible with 
all their hearts, minds and strength.... Covenant love, like marital love,
is neither optional nor unconditional; it is obligatory. This is not to say 
hesed is compelled—just as in a marriage, love cannot be forced—but it is 
commanded.
. . .

It is sometimes difficult for a modern person, who associates love with 
uncontrollable feelings, to understand how the Bible can command love of 
God, neighbors,
even enemies. But in the Bible the many terms translated as “love” do not 
refer primarily to feelings. They refer to decisions of the will. This 
voluntaristic
notion of love is recalled in modern wedding services, where the bride and 
groom say “I do” and “I will” when they are asked to make their vows, not “I
feel like it.” In the Bible, when God’s people are called upon to “love,” 
they are being asked to do something loving and responsive to the love of 
God,
whether they feel like it or not.1

A young couple lived next door to us, not married, each with a long history 
of living with various other people. One day the woman announced to us that
this current guy was the guy for her, for the rest of her life. There would 
never be another in the whole world. We asked if they planned to be married.
“No,” she quickly responded, “a marriage is too hard to get out of. Too much 
red tape.” Her boyfriend may have been the only guy for her, but she was 
already
planning her exit strategy. It was no surprise when their relationship soon 
disintegrated.

By contrast we remember the nursing home where Sandy’s mother lived for 
several years. Sandy’s father had died several years before, but there were 
other
residents in the nursing home whose spouses were still living. We recall a 
woman who arrived one day carrying balloons which proclaimed “Happy 50th!” 
Her
husband was in the nursing home, in circumstances neither of them would have 
chosen. Perhaps at times he did not even recognize her. Never mind; her love
overcame all that. She was determined that nothing would stop them from 
celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

The pure and perfect love of Jesus did not always feel good or make him 
happy. In the hours before he was arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus 
prayed in
the garden of Gethsemane. He was about to give his life for the world. He 
was there in that place, facing that death, because he loved us. How did he 
feel?
He told three of his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the 
point of death” (
Mark 14:34).
He prayed desperately to his Father, “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I 
will, but what you will” (
Mark 14:36).

Jesus obeyed his Father when he didn’t “feel like it.” Because he obeyed in 
spite of his emotions, we are now empowered to love God and each other, as
John admonishes us: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but 
with actions and in truth” (
1 John 3:18).

What’s the main idea in this section?

What is one thing you can act on based on this reading?

Notes

1. Ben Witherington III, “From Hesed to Agape: What’s Love Got to Do with 
It?” Bible Review, December 2003, accessed December 6, 2011, at 
www.basarchive.org/sample/bswbBrowse.asp?PubID=BSBR&Volume=19&Issue=6&ArticleID=7.

Taken from
A Deeper Look at the Fruit of the Spirit
by Hazel Offner. Copyright(c) 2013 by Hazel Offner. Used by permission of 
InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com

Insurmountable Problems...by Susan Paradise

I absolutely love to read the Bible and suddenly have something "new" leap 
out and hit me in the face. Such was the case recently with the parting of 
the
Red Sea. Behind the Israelites was the advancing Egyptian army, but before 
them, the Red Sea. What an insurmountable problem!

I had read the story many times, heard it in sermons many times, and even 
seen The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston many times. But never had I 
been
made aware of two other extraordinary happenings in the story.

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, 
withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front 
and
stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout 
the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other
side; so neither went near the other all night long. Exodus 14:19-20, NIV

Many scholars believe whenever the Bible speaks of "the angel of God", it is 
referring to the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. So, pre-incarnate Jesus Christ
was there with them! First traveling in front of Israel's army, and then 
moving behind them. How cool is that?!

The Way was making the way for His people to follow, and The Shepherd was 
herding them along that way. And all approximately 1,500 years before His 
birth!

Additionally, the pillar of cloud that God indwelt also moved from in front 
and stood behind them. But get this - the side of the cloud facing the 
Israelites
brought light to show them the way, while the side facing the Egyptians 
brought darkness to confuse them so they could not get near the Israelites. 
How
like God to be so clever!

Yes, the parting of the Red Sea showed His mighty power, but I love to read 
about His cleverness, too. (Don't even get me started on Balaam and his 
donkey!)

Right in the middle of the famous Old Testament story of the parting of the 
Red Sea, we discover New Testament lessons: If we will only trust Jesus, He
will make the way. He will guide us along the way. He will light the way as 
we go. And He will confuse satan who seeks to stop us on the way.

Remember that the next time you run into an "insurmountable" problem. God's 
got a clever way to help you through. Look for Him, expect it, and be 
amazed.
All for the glory of God,

Susan

A past member of the Ciloa Board of Directors, Susan Paradise actively 
ministers to hurting women. She and her husband, Fred, live in Lilburn, GA, 
USA.

The Call to Serve

Philippians 2:7-9

When it comes to serving in the church, people rarely request positions 
where they will go unnoticed. They usually ask to be involved in a place of 
leadership.

Now, there is nothing wrong with heading a committee. But God calls us to 
have a servant's heart: He desires that our motive be to glorify Him, not 
ourselves.

Over the years, I've had many conversations with young men studying at 
seminary. Countless times, they share the desire to lead a sizable church. 
And those
who are called to a small congregation frequently struggle with feelings of 
insignificance.

My encouragement to them is this: In His great love, God places us where He 
wants us to serve, and every task we undertake should be given our all, 
whether
there's one person listening or a multitude. We ultimately serve Jesus, and 
He is not concerned with the recognition we receive. He desires our 
obedience
and our best effort. This is true not just for pastors but for all 
believers.

There are many reasons the Lord calls us to serve. First, He rids us of 
pride and selfishness, allowing our focus to be on Him. Second, we proclaim 
our
love for Christ through our care for one another. Third, God tests and 
purifies our hearts through service.

How do you define success? A common response is "achieving predetermined 
goals." Scripture's definition, however, is different. The Lord desires that 
we
discover His plan, obey, and become all that He intended. In other words, 
for success in the biblical sense, God sets the goals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE need to prioritize what we need to do in our lives. These may differ 
between people but one thing that is needed is a clean place to live. If you 
have actually read through the laws that god gave to Moses you will find 
that many of them had to do with daily living. WE need to keep our homes in 
order for our safety and our health. Our bodies are temples of the Holy 
Spirit so we need to give time to take care of them also. That means finding 
time for exercise unless your work has you running around enough to take 
care of that.

After you prioritize what you need to do, you need to make a plan for when 
to do the different things. I, myself, like to do the things I need to do 
before I do what I want to do. Sometimes you can combine these like watching 
your favorite television program while exercising.

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

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

by Dean W. Masters

Drawing Nigh unto the Lord
by David Wilkerson | February 2, 2015
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

In the Old Testament, high feast days in Jerusalem were an
incredible event. Three times a year, Israelites from across
the land journeyed to the temple in Zion to take part in the
feast days. It was the most religious thing the people could
do. The priests likened it to "coming near to the face of
God," or - "drawing nigh to the Lord."

Israelites from all walks of life stood in long, winding
lines in the temple courtyard, waiting for priests to
examine the animals they'd brought for sacrifice. Then came
the moment of sacrifice. The high priest slew the animal,
let the blood drain from its carcass, and sprinkled it in
various places around the altar. Then, as the sacrifice
burned on the altar, incense filled the air, bringing a
sweet aroma.

This is a picture of the modern-day church of Jesus Christ.
God's people come to church to draw near to him, bringing
sacrifices of praise and sweet incense through their
prayers. Like the Israelites, they are entering God's holy
presence, obeying his command to draw nigh to him.

For decades, the prophet Isaiah witnessed these sacrificial
offerings in Israel. At one point he saw the priests grow
corrupt and God's house become polluted. The people lived as
they pleased, bringing sacrifices halfheartedly and going
back to sinful lifestyles. Their attitude was, "I've done
what's required of me. I've drawn near to God."

Finally, God sent Isaiah to the temple during the high feast
days to deliver a stern message: "Hear the word of the Lord,
ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye
people of Gomorrah" (Isaiah 1:10). Imagine the people's
shock as they heard these words. The prophet continued: "To
what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?
saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams,
and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of
bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats" (1:11).

God was saying, "You line up with your sacrifices and call
it worship, but it's an abomination to me. Your heart isn't
in any of these sacrifices. You draw near to me, but your
mind is elsewhere. It's all a charade. Away with it!"

I believe Isaiah's message is especially important to
Christ's church today. In fact, Jesus took the prophet's
message and applied it to his own day: "Ye hypocrites, well
did Esaias [Isaiah] prophesy of you, saying, This people
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with
their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matthew
15:7-8). Christ was saying, "When Isaiah prophesied, he was
talking about you."

We can apply these prophecies to our own day as well. Right
now, churches are busily promoting praise conferences and
worship seminars. Yet how many who attend these gatherings
ought to hear Isaiah's prophecy? According to the Lord, only
clean hands and a pure heart will ascend his holy hill. But
how many Christians enter into worship with hearts full of
lust, their minds set on worldly things?

We live in the most enlightened generation of all time. Yet,
as I see it, Christians today understand very little about
what it means to draw near to God. We must settle the issue
once and for all: God will not accept prayer or praise from
hypocrites who approach him haphazardly.

I remember a time in my life when I prayed over the
following verse: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to
you" (James 4:8). My heart's cry was, "Lord, woo me, draw me
nearer to you. I want to be closer to you than I've ever
been. Lord, reveal yourself to me as never before."

God answered me, but not with the response I expected.
Instead, he replied with a question: "Why do you want to
draw near to me, David? What is your motive in desiring
this?" My first thought was, "That's obvious. It's what
Christians do. Our walk of faith is about getting closer to
you, and about you drawing closer to us. I just want to be
closer to you, Lord." Once again, the question came back to
me: "Why, David? I know your heart, your motive, in wanting
more of me in your life. But do you know your motive?"

The fact is, every Christian senses the Holy Spirit calling
him or her to greater intimacy with the Father. That urging
will continue until the day we go home to heaven. The Holy
Ghost will continually move on our hearts to go deeper, draw
closer, seek greater intimacy with the Father. But there is
such a thing as drawing nigh to God with improper motives.
In other words, we can desire to be near him but for all the
wrong reasons. I want to consider some of the wrong motives
for drawing near to the Lord.

We miss the purpose of drawing nigh to God if we do all the
talking and no listening.

All of us want to leave God's presence edified. We want to
take our burdens to him and leave them there, and we want to
shower him with praises. So, when we enter his presence, we
start by talking. But many of us end up doing all the
talking and no listening. It's a one-sided fellowship. We
spend hours praying and worshiping in secret and come out
feeling great. But we never allow God to speak his mind to
us. If we don't give him equal time, we're trampling through
his court like tourists.

The Lord wants to be able to govern us, speak to us, answer
all our questions. He longs to show us how to overcome sin
and get free from bondage. He wants to bless our marriage,
our family, our ministry.

And in both Testaments, the biblical pattern is clear: God
speaks only to those who draw near to him to listen as well
as to worship.

Elijah declared, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before
whom I stand..." (1 Kings 17:1). The Hebrew word for "stand"
signifies to tarry, meaning to remain or wait. Because
Elijah waited before the Lord, he heard from God and was
anointed to speak his word. And God was always faithful to
give the prophet direction.

For example, Elijah was praying patiently when he received
word to build an altar on Mount Carmel. At the time,
Israel's King Ahab was out to kill Elijah, but the prophet
didn't bat an eye. He boldly stopped Ahab's chariot and
said, "As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand...
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto Mount
Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty"
(18:15, 19).

How did wicked Ahab respond? He obeyed everything Elijah
commanded him to do. Amazing! Even demons tremble at the
words of someone who's heard from God. When such a believer
emerges from the Lord's presence, he speaks with authority.

We see the same pattern in the New Testament. Those who
waited in God's presence received his direction. Acts tells
us, "Peter went up upon the housetop to pray" (Acts 10:9).
As Peter was praying, he fell into a trance and couldn't
pray or say a word. Evidently, God wanted Peter to be still,
so he could speak something important to him. Then the Holy
Ghost woke him up and spoke to him three times on the
rooftop, with clear, specific directions: "Behold, three men
seek thee. Arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with
them" (10:19-20).

Paul experienced this as well. In Antioch, he met some godly
men who were waiting on the Lord. Again, the voice of God
came: "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy
Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work
whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). Once more, God's
direction was specific and clear.

Whenever God finds such a waiting people, full of faith and
unhurried in his presence, he speaks.

Any "trampler" can enter God's presence with praise and
prayer. He makes his offering and voices his petition, but
soon he's gone, hurrying back to his worldly concerns. God
waits until such tourists have left before he makes his
presence known. He entrusts his direction only to those who
wait on him. Some need a fresh touch from him. Others need
freedom from bondage. Some desire simply to minister to the
Lord with psalms and songs of love. Others listen for a word
of hope in their time of trouble. Still others only want to
be his oracle to the lost and seek his word for them.
Whenever God finds such a waiting people, full of faith and
unhurried in his presence, he speaks. His word comes to all
who wait and ask in faith.

God promises if we draw nigh to him, he will draw nigh to
us. And he comes to us for one purpose: to govern our lives.
He wants to give us direction and speak his peace to us.
"Blessed are all they that wait for him.... He will be very
gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall
hear it, he will answer thee.... And thine ears shall hear a
word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the
left" (Isaiah 30:18-19, 21).

I believe this passage sums up everything it means to draw
near to God. And Jesus set the example, slipping away to the
mountains and other secret places to wait on the Father. He
submitted himself so he could receive daily direction. And
the Father responded by drawing near to him every morning,
waking his ears and giving him a word. Christ was never left
in confusion. He heard clearly from the Father because he
waited faithfully on him daily.

I believe the same is possible for all of God's children.
Perhaps you've waited on the Lord through a long season of
night when no word has come. I urge you, be patient. Believe
his word will come to you in the morning. Your Father will
open your ears, just as he did with Christ. And he will
speak clearly to your need.

"Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to
approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we
shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of
thy holy temple" (Psalm 65:4). Note here: God chooses us. Do
you feel yourself being drawn to the Lord? Do you feel more
and more of a pull into prayer? Does your soul cry out for a
closer walk with God? The Lord has chosen you, calling you
to himself - to worship all the day long, to hear his word
at all times, and to be fully satisfied with his goodness,
even in the midst of your trials.

_______________________________________________
Copyright (c) 2015 - World Challenge, Inc.
P.O. Box 260, Lindale, Texas 75771, USA



What to Say to the Depressed, Doubting, Skeptical, Confused & Angry
John Piper
If you care about people and risk talking to the depressed, the doubting, 
the skeptical, the confused, and the angry, you will soon run into a person 
who
says to your counsel: I've tried that. Whatever you say, they will minimize 
it and say it doesn't work. Do not be surprised at this response. This is 
what
it means to be depressed, doubting, skeptical, confused, angry. It means 
that whatever they hear sounds useless.

So I want to offer some suggestions for what you say in a conversation that 
is about to be cut off like that.

1. Don't be offended.

First, resist the temptation to be offended. Don't pout or take your ball 
and go home. That's what you may feel like. They wanted to talk, and here 
they
are throwing my suggestions back in my face with a dismissive attitude. 
Don't leave. Not yet. "Love suffers long" (1 Corinthians 13:4, NKJV).

2. Listen.

Second, listen to their responses. Part of your power is not only what you 
say, but how they feel about the way you listen. If your truth produces 
empathetic
ears, it will feel more compelling. This listening will be a witness. In 2 
Timothy 2:24-26, Paul describes the kind of engagement that may set people 
free
from sin and error. One feature is "patiently enduring evil."

3. End with hope.

Third, when you have spoken all the experiential counsel you can think of, 
and they seem to have demeaned it all, don't let them have the last word of
despair. You leave the last word of hope. I suggest that you do it something 
like this. Say . . .

I know that you don't feel very helped by what I have said. I think I 
understand some of what that's like. I don't mean to be offering a quick 
fix, as
though your problems or doubts can be turned around that easily. But I have 
more hope than you do that God's truth is powerful and will have its good 
effect
in due time. May I share one more thing before you go?

I simply want to make sure you hear the best news in the world. Jesus said 
he spoke so that we would have peace (John 16:33). And Paul said that faith
comes by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). You don't feel this 
right now. But God says peace and faith come from hearing.

In other words, moving from not seeing and feeling the reality of Christ to 
seeing and feeling the reality of Christ happens through hearing news about
Christ. Something happens. At one moment, you are not seeing him as 
beautiful and satisfying and compelling. Then in the next moment, you are.

In the moments leading up to this experience, listening to God's word seems 
empty and futile. That doesn't put me off. If you doubt what I am saying, 
you
are the very person who needs to hear what I am saying.

So let me tell you this spectacular news. This comes from Colossians 
2:13-15.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your 
flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our 
trespasses,
by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal 
demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers 
and authorities
and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Paul is talking about what God offers to everyone and what those who believe 
in Jesus experience. There are five mind-blowing things here:

1. God makes you spiritually alive.
2. God forgives all your sins.
3. He does this because he canceled the record of debts that stood against 
you. You owed God what you could never pay because of all your sins. And he
cancelled the debt.
4. How could he do that? He set it aside by nailing it to the cross. But the 
nails that went into the cross didn't go through parchment. They went 
through
Jesus' hands and feet. That's the heart of everything I have to say to you. 
Christ became our substitute and bore our debt.
5. When that happened, the devil was disarmed. Why? Because the weapon of 
accusation was taken out of his hand. He always waved that record of debt in
our face and God's court. But now that's canceled. The devil is disarmed. He 
can huff and puff, but he cannot damn you.

I leave you with this news. I will pray that the obstacles to peace-filled 
faith in your mind will be overcome by these truths. Jesus said, "You will 
know
the truth and the truth will set you free." Meditate on these verses. May 
the Lord give you light.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:
www.desiringGod.org.

Let’s Get Together
by
admin

Psalm 122: 1
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Hebrews 10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of 
some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day 
approaching.

Getting together and worshipping the Lord is not just something we are doing 
for God it is for us. It is a time for growth, a time for healing. It is a
time to come together to worship Him and praise Him for who He is. We all 
need to take the time to learn more about who He is. Our faith grows the 
more
we learn and the more we praise Him, reminding ourselves of who He is.

When we were doing Xtreme Youth Alliance one of the articles one of our 
staff posted one day on our website that he found that a lady had written on 
going
to church looked great until you got into the middle of it. She somehow felt 
that church was like “sprinkles on a donut” there was no real need for it
and it was something good to throw into your life here and there where you 
could fit it in without inconveniencing yourself. She felt that going to 
church
on Sunday was not nearly as important for her as working in her garden 
because she liked working in her garden more than church. Needless to say it 
came
off our website about as quickly as it went up.

Going to church and attending other programs and studies the church has to 
offer is something that is needed for all of us. We have not “attained”, we
will always have room for more spiritual growth. We need to come together to 
pray for each other and to hold each other accountable. When we praise God
it fills a huge need in our lives, reminding ourselves of all He is and all 
He has done.

Are there things wrong with “the church”? Of course because it is made up of 
imperfect people. We all need to be a part of attending and doing our best
to make the church all God created it to be.

If going to church seems like drudgery to you then please pray that God will 
give you a heart to go. Pray that He will show you where you can serve Him
in your church and what activities you need to attend to help in your walk 
with Him. Do you have to go to church to have a relationship with Him? We 
can
have a walk with God without attending church but whenever I see that happen 
it seems as thought the person always feels like there is something missing
that they can’t seem to put their finger on. God wants us to come together 
and encourage each other and help each other grow up in Him. Pray today for
a love for attending church and serving Him on a deeper level.

Quote:
“If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” Cavett 
Robert
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Pray for Those Who Abuse You
John Piper / February 16, 2015

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” 
(Matthew 5:44). He also said, “Do good to those who hate you, bless those 
who curse
you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28).

So whether someone “persecutes” or “abuses” or “hates” or “curses” us, we 
are to pray for them. They may be family members whose “abuses” are small 
and
annoying — “loved ones” we don’t think of as “enemies,” but sometimes act 
like they are. Or they may be mortal enemies who really do plan to kill us. 
Small
or great, we are to pray for them.

What this command does is make God a necessary part of enemy love. Prayer is 
to God. Therefore, God is involved in loving our enemy. We are to turn to
God when our enemy abuses us. We are to talk to God about this. We are to 
ask him to do something about this.

What to Pray for Those Who Hate You

What are you praying for your enemies — the people who treat you badly?

Here is a good place to start — the way you pray for yourself. Would it not 
be strange if a prayer for our enemy should ask for less important things 
than
we are told to ask for ourselves? Do unto others what you want others to do 
to you (Matthew 7:12). No. More than that. Do unto others what you should 
want
them to do for you. And pray for others the way you should want them to pray 
for you.

I wish the word “should” were not necessary as an expansion of the Golden 
Rule. But many professing Christians are so worldly that they only pray for 
natural
things rather than spiritual things. That is, they pray for food and health 
and safety and success and happy relationships. But they don’t pray for more
faith, or holiness, or contrition, or purity of heart, or love for Christ, 
or courage in witness. So it won’t do to say to them, Pray for others the 
way
you want others to pray for you. They show by their own prayers that the 
things they really need they don’t pray for.

That is not how we should pray for our enemies.

The Lord’s Prayer — Even for Your Enemies

The place to start in praying for our enemies is the prayer that the Lord 
taught us to pray. Whatever else you pray for your enemies, pray for them 
like
this:

• Father, grant that my enemy — my colleague who snubs me, my wife who 
belittles me, my child who disrespects me, the ISIS member who wants to kill 
me
— grant that they would come to hallow your name. Grant that they would 
treasure you above all, and reverence you, and admire you more than 
anything.

• Father, grant that my enemy would come under the saving, purifying sway of 
your kingly rule and that you would exert your kingly power to make my enemy
your own loyal subject.

• Grant, Father, that my enemy would love to do your will the way the angels 
do it in heaven with all their might, and without reservation, and with the
purest motives, and with great joy.

• Grant, Father, that my enemy would have all the physical resources of food 
and clothing and shelter and education and health-care and transportation
that he needs to fulfill your calling on his life.

• And forgive my enemy his sins, as you bring him to repentance, and make 
him a forgiving person, and protect him from overpowering temptations, and 
from
the destructive power of the devil.

This is what we should be praying for ourselves. And therefore, it is what 
we should be praying for our enemies.

Be and Pray Like Jesus

Don’t think you have loved your enemy if you only work and pray for his 
natural needs, and omit his eternal needs.

It is appalling and pathetic to see love stripped of God. Even some 
Christians think you can love others without longing for and praying for and 
aiming
at the exaltation of God in their heart. What is so sad about this is that 
it not only betrays the diminished place of God in the heart of the 
Christian,
but also implies that there can be real love where we don’t care if someone 
perishes eternally, as long as they have prospered here on earth.

It is true that our love and prayers may not succeed in wakening our enemy 
to faith in Jesus, and to the hallowing of God’s name. Our love is not 
conditional
on that. Love is the aim of our sacrifice, not its success. We may or may 
not succeed in the Jesus-exalting, God-hallowing transformation we aim at.

But a heart that does not aim at its enemy’s eternal joy in Jesus is not the 
full-orbed, robust love that Jesus demands. It is a narrow and pathetic 
substitute,
no matter how creative and sacrificial and media-admired the labor is for 
our enemy’s earthly welfare. Real love prays for our enemy with all the aims
and longings we should pray for ourselves.

Come, join me in the quest to be, and to pray, like Jesus.

Love Worth Finding Ministries

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; 
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
If you asked a Christian brother or sister why God made us, they would 
probably say that we were made to serve God. But don’t you believe it. If 
God wanted
servants, He could do a lot better than mere mortals.

When the scribes asked Jesus what was the first commandment, He said, “The 
first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one 
Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy 
soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first 
commandment”
(Mark 12:29-30).

The first commandment is not to do something for God, but to love God. He 
made you and me in the likeness of His image, that He might have fellowship 
with
us and that we would praise Him.

ACTION POINT:
Meditate throughout the day on this wonderful thought: God isn’t asking for 
your performance. He wants your love.

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries

When God Calls You Out
Jonathan Parnell / February 21, 2015
When God Calls You Out

2 Corinthians 1:9,

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to 
make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

If we don’t sometimes feel like we’re “in over our heads,” it may be that we’re 
not following Jesus where he calls us.

Paul names it the “sentence of death” — that’s how he felt about the 
sufferings and complexities of his ministry. It was true affliction, a 
burden so heavy
that he admits he lacked the strength to carry it. He was sinking, 
despairing even of life itself. The apostle Paul — to the extreme — was “in 
over his
head.” And God did this in order to, as Paul says, “make us rely not on 
ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

The situations that stretch us come in varying degrees. Some are intense 
like Paul’s, others are scattered along the spectrum of the great unknown, 
where
fear runs rampant and our faith feels small. But whatever they are, however 
hard they feel, we know why they come. It’s just what Paul says.

God brings trials into our lives to give us more of himself. Their purpose 
is that we might not rely on ourselves — not look to ourselves for salvation
or hope or joy — but that we might rely on him. The purpose is that we would 
lean on God, that we’d fix our eyes on his glory, clinging to the truth that
in Jesus he is always enough for us. Always.

This is the truth that resounds in the depths to which God calls us. He 
invites us to step out and follow him. To dream. To plan. To build. He 
invites
us put our hands to work for his name’s sake, not based upon our expertise 
or know-how or giftedness. He invites us here based upon who he is himself.
He invites here because he knows that it is here, unlike anywhere else, that 
our souls must rest in his embrace. It’s here, above and beyond every other
place, where his children must grasp the wonder of what it means to be his 
own. Because of the cross and victory of Jesus, we are his and he is ours. 
We
are his people, he is our God. We are his children, he is our Father. And he 
is enough.

And he will prove his enough-ness to us. He will show us time and time again 
that all we need is found in him. All that we lack finds an abundance in his
grace. Yes, we would fail. The weight is too much, and like Paul, we can’t 
carry this in our own strength. But God is there. His sovereign hand is our
guide. His heart of mercy is our anchor. He will make our faith stand. He 
will be our God in Jesus Christ.

And so, let us go. Let us step out, following him further than our feet 
could ever wander. Let us walk upon those waters, in over our heads, not 
relying
on ourselves, but holding fast to him, trusting in him, casting all our hope 
on him. Because he really is enough.

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

Desiring God partnered with Shane & Shane’s
The Worship Initiative
to write short meditations for more than one hundred popular worship songs 
and hymns. The Worship Initiative is an online platform devoted to training
musicians for songwriting and worship-leading.
desiringGod.org
Copyright © 2015 Desiring God, all rights reserved

LOVE IS... being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and 
struggles of others without impatience or anger.

LOVE IS... actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental 
toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.

LOVE IS... making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of 
conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.

LOVE IS... being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of 
misunderstanding.

LOVE IS... being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to 
winning, accusing, or being right.

LOVE IS... a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and 
failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.

LOVE IS... being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart 
rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.

LOVE IS... making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you 
offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.

LOVE IS... being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, 
but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.

LOVE IS... being a good student of another, looking for their physical, 
emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the 
burden, support
them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.

LOVE IS... being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, 
and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the 
problem
is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.

LOVE IS... being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being 
committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.

LOVE IS... recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being 
faithful to your promises and true to your word.

LOVE IS... speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, 
refusing to attack the other person's character or assault their 
intelligence.

LOVE IS... being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any 
way in order to coerce the other person into giving you what you want or 
doing
something your way.

LOVE IS... the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier 
schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do
as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.

LOVE IS... a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything 
that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding,
and active love in your relationships.

LOVE IS... staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with 
appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person 
doesn't seem
deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.

LOVE IS... the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the 
sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your 
sacrifices
to place the other person in your debt.

LOVE IS... being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that 
would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of 
trust between
you.

LOVE IS... refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for 
specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or
tired.

LOVE IS... daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you 
are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God's protecting, 
providing,
forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace. [By Paul Tripp. The above 
resource is from Paul Tripp Ministries. For additional resources, visit
www.paultripp.com.
Used with permission.]

"Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps 
no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails!" 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

~ ~ ~ ~

We have published
J.R. Miller's
uplifting short article, "
The Ministry of Kindness".
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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 25 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Fri 08 May 2015, 8:47 pm

Let's Run Away
Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

And don't let us yield to temptation
(Matthew 6:13,
NLT).

Friend to Friend

It was a windy winter day. Our three dogs needed to stretch their legs and 
get a bit of outside playtime, so I let them out to roam freely in our 
fenced-in
back yard. An hour later, my husband asked me where the dogs were.

Out back I replied.

Honey, the wind blew that gate wide open and only Rocky is on the deck! How 
long ago did you let them out? He asked.

An hour ago! I exclaimed, as feelings of unease crept into my heart.

Grabbing our jackets and shoes, Brad and I bolted outside and began to scour 
the neighborhood looking for our two runaway dogs.

Roman! Steeler! Come! We yelled endlessly into the biting wind.

After covering several blocks of our neighborhood, having seen no traces of 
our dogs, I ran home to get my car. While Brad continued to search on foot,
I began to drive around and call out for Roman and Steeler from my car. My 
stomach was in knots, my heart was gripped with ache, and my mind swirled 
with
longing and prayers for our very-much-loved pets to come home. Please, be 
safe doggies! Please, Lord, help us find our dogs.

We searched and searched. No dogs.

Our phone number is on their I.D. tags! I thought. Maybe someone saw them 
wandering and took them into their home to call us.

I drove home quickly to check our voicemail. No voicemail.

I decided to stay by the phone in case someone called. Brad continued to 
search, driving through our development and the surrounding neighborhoods. 
After
a long while, he returned without Roman and Steeler. We were crushed. 
Though we had been praying for the Lord to help us find our dogs the whole 
time,
with heavy hearts we prayed some more.

And we waited.

More than three long hours after the dogs had run away, our phone rang. Hope 
sprang to my heart as I heard the question from the other end of the line,
Do you have two missing dogs?

Yes, maam! Their names are Roman and Steeler! We've looked everywhere for 
them! Are they with you?

Yes they are. I saw them playing outside by the street and thought that 
they must belong to somebody, so I called them over. They ran right to me 
and
I've got them in my house. They are both a good bit dirty and a little bit 
scared, and the small one is limping slightly but they are safe,she said.

The skies parted and angels appeared in the clouds singing, Hallelujah! as 
I jumped up to grab a pen to write down her address. They were safe! Thank
You, Lord!

Roman and Steeler had wandered over a mile away from our home.

Over a mile!

We scooped them up from the kind woman's house as fast as we could and 
rejoiced in their homecoming. They needed to be cleaned, cared for, and 
held. And
that's exactly what we did: cleaned them, cared for them and held them. Oh, 
how we held them! And as I spoke with gentle, reassuring words to my small,
limping dog it wasn't lost on me the parallels between them and me. Between 
them and all of us wanderers.

God has established boundaries in His Word. They are beautiful boundaries 
surrounding wide-open spaces of His blessing, purposed to bring Him glory, 
allowing
us to thrive in life and to keep us safe from harm. Yet we wander. Oh, how 
we wander… through so many different gates of temptation.

What is your open gate of temptation? Is it worry, fear, or doubt? Is it 
food, alcohol, shopping, money, or a good-looking guy who needs to be off 
your
radar? Everybody faces temptations, and while being tempted isn’t a sin, 
giving into temptation is. Jesus himself faced temptation and He 
demonstrated
that we are to ask God for help. And don’t let us yield to temptation. 
(Matthew 6:13, NLT)

Promise of Deliverance

What should we do when we face temptation? We should call out to God. He 
promises to give us a way out of any temptation. No temptation has seized 
you
except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be 
tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also 
provide
a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Because he himself (Jesus) suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help 
those who are being tempted.(Hebrews 2:18)

The wind had blown hard on the day of our doggie drama. Our two furry 
friends had been allured by the temptations of an open gate. They gave in – 
disregarding
the boundaries that had been established for their safety and wellbeing – 
and ventured out into dangerous territory where cars wisped by and other 
dangers
loomed. Thankfully, they made it home safe. We are fully aware that the 
outcome of their rebellion could’ve ended horribly.

Friend, we need to be on high alert. Gates are going to fly open. 
Temptations are going to come and we need to be ready to run from them. God 
will give
us the strength to resist each one - if we will only ask for His help.

So Let's run away today! Not from the fence of God's protection, but rather 
from the gate of temptation.

Let's run away from any gate that flies open. And let's pray that the Lord 
will keep us from yielding to temptation.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, Please forgive me for the times that I've wandered from Your plan 
for me and given into temptation. Teach me Your ways. Lead me to make 
choices
that bring You glory and that allow me to experience the life You intended 
for me to live.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What are your gates of temptation?

What is God's best for you concerning these temptations?

Do you trust that God's boundaries are for your good? Why or why not?


Why Do I Face Trials?

Job 10:2

Perhaps, weary soul, the Lord is doing this to develop your graces. There 
are some of your graces that would never be discovered if it were not for 
your
trials. Do you not know that your faith never looks as good in summer as it 
does in winter? Love is too often like a glowworm, showing but little light
unless it is surrounded by darkness.

Hope itself is like a star--not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, 
and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often 
the
black foils in which God sets the jewels of His children's graces, to make 
them shine brighter. It was only a little while ago that on your knees you 
were
saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith. Let me know that I have faith." Were 
you not really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials? For how 
can
you know that you have faith until your faith is exercised? Depend upon 
it--God often sends us trials so that our graces may be discovered and that 
we
may be convinced of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; 
real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.

God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us 
better
Christians.
He trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them 
out and subjecting them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them 
ford
through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many 
long miles with heavy backpacks of sorrow. Well, Christian, may this not 
account
for the troubles through which you are passing? Is the Lord bringing out 
your graces and making them grow? Is it for this reason He contends with 
you?

Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 1

verse 2 Luke 4

From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible

Why should we believe, as Jesus did, that the Scripture is in fact, from 
'the mouth of God'? When did it come into existence? Is it inerrant?

What do we need to learn in order to understand what it says and what it 
means better? How does the teaching of God's Word change our lives. In
From the Mouth
of God, Sinclair B Ferguson answers these and other important questions 
about trusting, reading, and applying the Bible
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers



New Post on KenBible.com - Our Single-minded Father
----------------------------------------------------------
Posted: 17 Feb 2015 09:55 PM PST

Father, this morning You helped my heart to grasp
what my mind had dimly known:

Everything You have allowed me to go through in my life,
everything I am going through even now,
is to build my relationship with You:
all the years of frustration,
all the loneliness,
all the financial struggles,
all the endless waiting,
all those disappointments.

You have isolated me to Yourself.
You have hemmed me in.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me (Psalm 139:5, NASB).
By my circumstances and by Your Spirit within me
You have turned me repeatedly, persistently toward You.
You have made Yourself
my only comfort,
my only hope,
my only unchanging Rock of truth,
my only refuge.

Father, the unfailing faithfulness of Your eternal love swamps
my tiny attention span,
my childish self-centeredness,
my meager, stumbling faith.
I am a child learning to walk.
Like any eager parent, You call me,
lift me,
point me,
hold my hands, and
draw me toward Yourself.

Sometimes we wonder whether faith is entirely a gift of Your sovereign 
choice,
or whether it is our doing.
But You are like one building a campfire.
You work to create a tiny spark,
then patiently blow it into flame by Your mighty but gentle breath.
I have to respond,
but all the doing is Yours, my loving Father.

Continue to patiently, persistently draw me.
And when I am tempted to despair or complain,
help me to remember and look to You again.
You are my Father, and I am
gladly,
proudly,
humbly Your child.
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Today's Daily Encounter

Weep With Those Who Weep

"When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who
had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply
moved in spirit and troubled. 'Where have you laid him
[Lazarus]?' he asked. 'Come and see, Lord,' they
replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, 'See how he
loved him.'"1

Chuck Swindoll in his book Killing Giants, Pulling
Thorns, tells about "a little girl who lost a playmate
in death and one day reported to her family that she
had gone to comfort the sorrowing mother.

"'What did you say?" asked her father.

"'Nothing,' she replied, 'I just climbed up on her lap
and cried with her.'"

What did Jesus do when his friend Lazarus died? He
wept.

Rare is the friend who knows how to weep with those who
weep.

Also, know when to be silent. In the same book Chuck
tells about Joe Bayly who lost three of his children.
He quotes from Joe's book, The view from a Hearse. Joe
writes: "I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and
talked to me of God's dealings, of why it happened, of
hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. He said
things I knew were true. I was unmoved, except to wish
he'd go away. He finally did.

"Another came and sat beside me. He didn't talk. He
didn't ask me leading questions. He just sat beside me
for an hour or more, listened when I said something,
answered briefly, prayed simply, left.

"I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go."2

This visitor and the little girl were being as Jesus to
hurting people. May God help us all to be and do
likewise.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a tender
and sensitive heart and help me to be 'as Jesus' to
hurting and sorrowing people. Help me to be silent when
I need to be silent, speak kindly when a tender word is
needed, and to weep with those who weep. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's
name, amen."

1. John 11:33-36 (NIV).
2. Today's Daily Encounter is taken from I Hate
Witnessing-A Handbook for Effective Christian
Communications, by Dick Innes (2003 edition), p. 89.
Available at:
www.actscom.com/store.

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * * * *

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

http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050

http://www.actsweb.org

Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
ACTS International.



What I Would Have To Deny To Deny Hell

It was just a few years ago that everyone was talking about hell. One 
disaffected Evangelical had decided to use his platform and popularity to 
question
the very notion of hell, and, not surprisingly, he caused quite a stir. The 
crisis came and went, of course, and it had at least one happy outcome: Many
Christians had to examine what they believe about hell and come to stronger 
and better conclusions.

I believe in hell. I do not believe in some version of hell that owes more 
to Dante and The Far Side than sacred writ, but the hell I see revealed in 
the
Bible—a hell of eternal, conscious torment. I wish there was no such thing 
as hell, but I have deteremined to live by the Bible and I simply cannot 
deny
what the Bible makes plain.

But what if I did? What would I have to deny in order to deny hell? If I am 
ever to come to the point of denying the existence of hell, what will be the
doctrinal cost of getting there? Though I am sure there is much more that 
could be said, I can think of at least four major denials.

I Will Deny What Jesus Taught

Jesus believed in the literal existence of a literal hell. It is very 
difficult to read Luke 16 (the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus) and arrive 
at any
other conclusion except that Jesus believed in hell and that he believed in 
a hell of conscious torment of body and mind.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich 
man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up
his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, 
‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his
finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

Jesus also believed in the permanence of hell: “[B]esides all this, between 
us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass
from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.” In 
Matthew’s gospel Jesus speaks of hell as the furnace of fire, the place of 
weeping
and gnashing of teeth. He calls it a place of everlasting fire. This would 
be strange language for a man to use if he believed that hell did not exist
and that it was not a place of unspeakable torment.

If I am going to deny the existence of hell, I will need to outright deny 
what Jesus teaches and declare that he is wrong, or I will need to obscure 
what
is so plain. I will need to make all of Jesus’ language symbolic and all of 
the meaning something other than what seems so clear. I will need to deny 
what
Jesus says.

I Will Deny the Plain Sense of Scripture

Time would fail me here to provide an extensive look at the concept of hell 
in the Bible; time would fail me to look at each of the words associated 
with
hell. But one does not need to be an expert on the Bible or on its original 
languages to see that it teaches clearly that there is life after death and
that this life after death will involve either joy or torment, it will 
involve enjoying the loving presence of God or facing his wrathful presence. 
This
is stated explicitly in Scripture and it is stated implicitly, it is present 
in the Old Testament and comes to full form in the New Testament. Those who
wrote Scripture believed that hell existed and made it plain in what they 
wrote.

If I am going to deny the existence of hell, I will have to do a great deal 
of redefining, a great deal of reinterpreting. As with the teaching of 
Jesus,
I will need to change what is plain to what is symbolic, I will need to take 
what is clear and make it obscure. There is no getting around the fact that
a plain, honest reading of the Bible teaches the existence of hell.

I Will Deny the Testimony of the Church

If I am to deny the existence of hell, I will be denying what has been the 
near-unanimous testimony of the Christian church through the ages. From the
church’s earliest days until today, hell has been understood as a place of 
conscious, eternal torment. The Westminster Larger Catechism offers an apt 
summary
of what Christians have long believed: “The punishments of sin in the world 
to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, 
and
most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell fire 
forever.” Though this was formed in the days of Reformation, it depends upon
the testimony of Christians who came before. And it informed generations 
that followed.

If I am to deny that hell is a real place, if I am to deny that hell is that 
kind of place, I will be turning my back on two thousand years of Christian
history—on two thousand years of brothers and sisters in Christ who had 
great knowledge of Scripture and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. I’ll 
grant
that there are times this is necessary; there are times that many Christians 
are wrong about many things. But such a decision must be made with great 
fear
and trembling and only on the basis of overwhelming Scriptural evidence.

I Will Deny the Gospel

I cannot deny hell without utterly changing the gospel message. The message 
of Christ dying for the lost in order to save their souls will be 
meaningless.
If there is no hell, there is really nothing to lose. And so heaven and hell 
must be brought to earth, they must be seen as present realities rather than
future ones. The Baptist preacher J.L. Dagg said it well: “To appreciate 
justly and fully the gospel of eternal salvation we must believe the 
doctrine
of eternal damnation.” If I am going to deny eternal damnation, I must 
radically rewrite the gospel. Gone is the gospel of sinners who have 
committed treason
against God and who call upon themselves God’s just wrath. There are many 
gospels I can put in its place. But what is clear is that this gospel, this 
gospel
of a substitutionary atonement must be a casualty. This gospel stands and 
falls upon the existence of both heaven and hell. Take away either one and 
you
gut the gospel; it becomes meaningless and nonsensical.

If I am going to give up hell, I am going to give up the gospel and replace 
it with a new one.

Let me close with some words from the great theologian Robert Dabney. What 
he says here I believe as well. “Sure I am, that if hell can be disproved in
any way that is solid and true, and consistent with God’s honor and man’s 
good, there is not a trembling sinner in this land that would hail the 
demonstration
with more joy than I would.” It’s not that I want hell to be true, but that 
the Scripture makes it clear that it is true. It is not for me to dismantle
the doctrine or to deny it; I am simply to believe it and to live and act as 
if it is true.

I posted a version of this article in 2011. 

"challies.com - Informing the Reforming."
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Unceasing Prayer
by Max Lucado

Unceasing prayer may sound complicated, but it needn’t be that way. Do this. 
Think of prayer less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God.
Seek to live in uninterrupted awareness. As you stand in line to register 
your car, think, “Thank you, Lord, for being here.” In the grocery store as 
you
shop, think, “Your presence, my King, I welcome.” As you wash the dishes, 
worship your Maker.

Brother Lawrence called himself the “lord of all pots and pans.” He wrote, 
“The time of busy-ness does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and
in the clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are calling for 
different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon 
knees at
the blessed sacrament.”

So talk to God, always. Besides, it makes more sense to talk to God than 
mumble to yourself!

From Max on Life

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he 
suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly." 
(1 Peter
2:23 NLT)

By Answers2Prayer
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More Illustrations
Contact us

I Surrender

When in your life have you experienced unfair treatment that left you 
bruised and beaten? When have you been tempted to retaliate for 
circumstances and
events that left you in pain and filled with grief?

In suffering, we can respond in two ways. One response is to retaliate and 
grow bitter in disgust at what God has allowed to happen. The other response
is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and not retaliate, but leave our case 
in the hands of God to sort out.

For the past two and a half years, I've been learning to follow in the 
footsteps of Jesus myself. Our motorcycle riding came to a sudden end one 
day in
the spring of 2011 when a car ran a stop sign and left my wife and me 
bruised and beaten under the car on the side of the road. I did nothing 
wrong but
ended up with a life-altering situation.

The journey of recovery continues as I brace for surgery number nine later 
this month. But as I do, I am choosing to leave my case in the hands of God.
I'm learning to surrender this ordeal to God. And as I do, I have been 
experiencing peace, contentment, and courage for the fight.

What about you? What event in your life has been unfair? A job loss? An 
unexpected death? An illness? An accident? A reversal in finances?

I invite you to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and leave your case in the 
hands of God.

I leave you with a list of some of the things I'm surrendering to God. I 
encourage you to write out your own list of the parts of your life that you 
need
to leave in the hands of God.

I surrender what I've lost and leave behind.
I surrender the pain and suffering ahead (e.g. the surgery and therapy).
I surrender the need for an end date to my recovery.
I surrender my talents, skills, and abilities for God to use as He sees fit 
in the meantime.
I surrender my need to know what the future holds.

Surrendering is not waving the white flag and giving control over to a 
tyrannical enemy army. Surrendering is letting the all-knowing, all-powerful 
God
work out the details of our case according to His plan and design!

A prayer of surrender: Father, thank You for handling Jesus' case as only 
You could. Jesus, thank You for showing us how to deal with unfair treatment
and unimaginable suffering. Father, give me the strength today to leave my 
case in Your hands and let You lead my life in the days ahead. I know that I
can trust You, no matter what. Amen.

Cam Taylor

Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Thanks to
PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Announcement:

We rejoice with all those whose prayers were answered and thank them for 
sharing their testimony with us. If you have an answered prayer, may I 
encourage
you to send it to us? These testimonies help others depend more on our 
loving Heavenly Father. Without Him we would be hopeless.
Please send your answered prayer.

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

From: a2p@answers2prayer.org
http://www.sermonillustrator.org/

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Accepting God's Gift of Love

1 John 4:7-12

Many people simply can't believe that the Lord loves them. Others believe 
that He loves them, but only when they are pleasing Him in some way. Why is 
it
so hard for us to accept His unconditional love?

One reason is that we have a hard time loving others without condition. We 
might say the words "I love you" to our spouse, children, friends, 
co-workers,
or fellow believers but all too often are calculating in our mind whether or 
not they've lived up to our standard. We sometimes excuse ourselves from 
loving
certain people because their behavior upsets or annoys us. The fact that we 
place restrictions on extending favor causes us to wrongly assume that the
Lord does likewise.

Another reason is poor self-image. Considering ourselves unworthy, we refuse 
to accept God's love. You know what? None of us are worthy of the heavenly
Father's goodness and mercy—so you can let go of that excuse once and for 
all. We're not coming to Him based on our worth. Rather, we're coming to Him
based on His grace, and our position is secure in Christ. To put yourself 
down as "beneath His grace" is to trample on His loving, generous gift. God 
arranged
an awesome divine way for us to be reconciled to Him, and His greatest 
desire is for relationship with each of us.

If you feel unloved or struggle to accept yourself, ask the Holy Spirit to 
reveal the truth of our heavenly Father's love for you—and to sink it deep 
into
your heart. Receive the truth that He reveals. It will be a completely 
different story about your value as an individual.

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

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

How would you describe true love?
“I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was 
homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I
was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to 
me”—Matthew 25:34-36 (MSG).
Dear God
I
If you were asked to describe true love, how would you answer? Look up the 
synonyms for love in a thesaurus and you’ll find the following words close 
in
meaning: affection, appreciation, devotion, emotion, fondness and 
friendship, along with several others. But these are man’s words.
I like the definition for love found in God’s Holy Word: “Love is patient, 
love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is 
not
rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record 
of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It 
always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” 
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).
bible/1cor13
From a secular viewpoint, love is often associated with the physical aspects 
of a relationship and the expression of that love through gifts such as 
candy,
flowers and cards as seen on Valentine’s Day. While there’s nothing wrong 
with these things, from a Biblical perspective, true love is found in the 
spiritual.
True love is not just between a man and a woman but is found in all of our 
relationships when we seek a higher calling.
Although we don’t usually associate Jesus’ words to His disciples in Matthew 
25:34-36 with love (see above), I think it’s an example of the calling we
have on our lives if we seek to love our fellow man, even our enemies. As 
Christians, we are to be God’s representatives to the world. He tells us 
plainly
in Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to 
love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
If we don’t love, how can we, as Christians, be the light He calls us to be 
in the world? I like the version of this passage found in “The Message.” In
Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said, “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to 
be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to 
be
kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make 
you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do
you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a 
hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your 
lives.
By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this 
generous Father in heaven.”
When we reach out to others, even strangers, we are witnesses to His great 
love. When we provide for the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs
of others, we become His hands and feet.
Isn’t that the definition of true love?

Carol Round
Columnist/Author/Speaker

Three Keys to a Better Prayer Life

By God’s grace, I’ve been a Christian since I was 4 years old. Over the 
years my family has gone through many trying situations--my parents’ 
divorce, mom's
remarriage and dad's developing dementia. Like you, I am very familiar with 
the fact that suffering comes on in full, and doesn’t seem to relent. 
Through
the trials of life and my walk with God, I’ve been sustained over and over 
again by the rich streams of godly teaching on prayer and on the sure 
footing
of a healthy prayer life. Prayer has played an integral role in my own 
spiritual growth. Through these difficult times I have discovered several 
aids to
a healthy prayer life: praying consistently, viewing prayer in relation to 
quality over quantity and having a prayer list.

Consistency

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” Many take 
this verse to mean they must literally pray unceasingly. While that's a nice 
idea,
it isn’t quite possible to pray without stopping—ever. What Paul has in mind 
here is prayer as a regular habit, whereby His people take hold of Him and
His promises in all of life. The apostle could charge his readers with this 
because he had personally exemplified it in his letters to fellow believers
(1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Thess. 1:11; Eph. 1:16; 3:14).

Praying with consistency means having a time (or perhaps several times) 
during your day in which you take time to pray. I find that my best time of 
prayer
occurs on a prayer walk. I also pray when I first get up every morning, 
simply thanking the Lord for another day to know and serve Him. Throughout 
the
day I stop and pray as I write or work on a message. In order to develop 
healthy prayer habits in our lives, we first need to realize what time works 
best
for us to pray, and then devote that time to prayer. We often tend to follow 
the prayer patterns of others and never develop our own. We must learn to
use the principle of praying consistency to develop our own prayer habits. 
Paul’s point in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is that we are to have a regular habit
of praying. Think intentionally about and then write out a plan for how you 
can pray consistently.

Quality Over Quantity

One of the greatest prayer killers is that we think we have to pray for a 
certain amount of time. You may say, “I’ve spent 5-10 minutes in prayer and 
tomorrow
I’m going to spend 15-30 minutes.” There is nothing wrong with an increasing 
desire to pray. Luther was known to have spent at least two hours in prayer
every day. There is nothing wrong with increasing one’s time in prayer. 
Where quantity of time in prayer becomes an issue is when we use it to make 
others
feel guilty for not spending time in prayer, or when we compare our lesser 
times in prayer as being inadequate to those of other believers.

In my experience, people often feel guilty for their lack of prayer. They 
think, “I’m not a super-saint because I don’t pray for _____ amount of 
time.”
This is, however, the wrong view. Nowhere in the Bible do we see Jesus or 
the apostles assigning themselves or others a certain amount of time to 
pray.
If you look at Jesus’ prayer life or Paul’s prayers in his epistles to the 
churches, what you’ll see is that they emphasize quality over quantity. 
While
we are told that, on certain occasions, Jesus "spent all night in prayer" 
(Luke 6:12), we don’t know how long Jesus always prayed to the Father. The 
Scriptures
record short (John 11:41) and long times of prayer (Matt. 14:23) in the 
ministry of Jesus. We don’t know how long the Apostles prayed, only that 
they prayed
on certain occasions three times a day (Acts 3:1).

Rather than focusing on the quantity of your prayer life, focus on the 
quality. Spend quality time with the Lord, not only giving Him your requests 
but
praying the Word and promises back to Him. This will help bolster your 
prayer life with confidence, which in turn will increase your assurance and 
faith.

Prayer List

Throughout my Christian life I’ve kept a variety of prayer lists. Sometimes 
these prayer lists have become cumbersome leading me to abandon them 
entirely.
Typically these lists include prayer requests from/for friends, family, and 
others. You can develop highly structured lists or just have them loosely 
gathered
together by name and request-type like I do. At the men’s Bible study that I 
facilitate, I write down each person’s name and then write down their prayer
request. This helps me to remember not only prayer request, but throughout 
the week to pray for their requests.

Prayer lists can be a helpful tool in the Christian’s prayer journey. Prayer 
lists are one aid to praying regularly and consistently. Some believers 
prefer
to use prayer journals. Whatever tool you use, make sure it doesn’t take the 
place of primacy in your prayer life. We have summons to boldly come before
God because of the finished work of Christ (Hebrews 4:16). Let us then come 
with joy and gladness to the Lord, not out of duty.

A Final Thought

I know all too well how difficult it can be to develop a prayer life. I’ve 
been a Christian nearly my entire life and heard nearly every sort of 
teaching
on prayer. I’ve found that praying honestly and authentically to the Lord is 
the best way to pray. When I pray, I want to lay out my heart, my struggles,
issues, and circumstances before the Lord.

Whatever principles you may find helpful, of this much we can be assured: By 
praying consistently and by valuing quality over quantity, you’ll find that
your prayer life will grow and blossom. We must go boldly before God's 
throne in order to develop a healthy prayer life that is consistently 
nurtured by
His grace.

Related Resources

Tim Keller
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Richard Pratt
Pray with Your Eyes Open

Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of
Servants of Grace Ministries,
and the Executive Editor of
Theology for Life Magazine.


Evangelism as a Journey Instead of a Deal
Daniel Darling

I've been reading quite a few books on evangelism lately for some of my Mdiv 
work at Trinity. I don't agree with all that I have read, but one of the 
things
that I think I'm learning is the simple idea that evangelism is less of a 
"deal" that we must close and more of a journey, a conversation we must 
initiate.

The passion to win people to saving knowledge of Christ is good, but 
sometimes in our zeal we misguidedly think we, and only we, are the ones who 
have
to witness the conversion. And we put all kinds of undue pressure on 
ourselves to get it all right. In reality, it is the Holy Spirit who does 
the saving.
We are simply ambassadors. We share this great story. Empowered by the Holy 
Ghost, we go into the world and deliver the message.

And sometimes it is our message that needs tweaking. For instance, many 
people think witnessing is simply applying a few verses in Romans or 
Galatians
or John and sort of hitting someone with a dump truck of salvation verses. 
This method may work with someone who has a base in Protestantism or 
Catholicism.
Or it may work with someone who is at the end of years of careful gospel 
nurturing by someone else. But by and large, starting with the dump truck is 
ineffective
and turns people away. Instead, we should begin by initiating conversation, 
building a friendship, establishing a repoire. And we might approach the 
gospel
in ways that share the entire narrative rather than skipping ahead to the 
New Testament.

Recently I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with a Hindu friend. In 
previous years I might have been intimidated. I don't have all the answers 
to
rebut Hinduism with
Christianity.
But this time I was confident. First I asked him about his faith journey. 
Then I shared the narrative of the Bible. I said something like this, "I 
know
you probably disagree with the Bible and affirm your own holy book. I 
understand that. Let me just share with you the story of the Bible." And I 
started
with Creation, then the fall of man and worked through the story of Israel 
up until the revelation of Jesus on the cross and on through Revelation and
the coming Kingdom. I said something like this, "The reason I believe this 
is because it answer the deep questions people have better than any other 
narrative
I've heard or read."

My friend didn't bow the knee on the spot and trust Christ. But the dialogue 
was open and he was intrigued. You see, most people don't even know what the
Bible's true story is. They react against what they think it is or some 
misguided ways
Christians
have presented the gospel message. And again, having been released from the 
pressure of "closing the deal" so I could have another "notch on my belt"
I was free to share only what the Spirit led me to share and then direct the 
conversation that didn't make my friend want to shut down and never talk 
about
it again.

We have to start looking at evangelism as less than a one-time, do or die 
opportunity and more of a journey. The Spirit is working and you may be one 
of
several Christians used by God to win their hearts. When we approach 
evangelism this way, it takes much of the fear out of it. We don't have to 
get out
all of our Christian sales pitch in one moment. Instead, we can feel our way 
around, depend on the Spirit's leading, and apply the gospel to each 
person's
differing lives. Sometimes your witness may involve a detailed explanation 
of the gospel story. Sometimes it may be a question or two that merely 
cracks
open a seemingly shut door. Sometimes it may be as simple as doing a kind 
work of charity for a person that gets them to ask about why you do it. 
Other
times it may be as simple asking someone to that church function.

The key is to be obedient to the Spirit's call and be confident in His 
ability to convert seemingly stone-cold hearts.
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Find Passion and Power for Evangelism
Whitney Hopler

The following is a report on the practical applications of Ché Ahn's new 
book, Fire Evangelism: Reaching the Lost through Love and Power, (Chosen 
Books,
2006).

Do you evangelize just to fulfill a sense of obligation? Do you dread 
evangelism so much that you avoid it altogether?

If evangelism seems like a chore, you need to discover fresh passion for it. 
God will give you that passion -- and the power you need to evangelize lost
people every day.

Here's how you can find passion and power for evangelism:

* Put first things first. Realize that all your evangelism efforts must 
spring from a close, ongoing love relationship with God. Make your 
relationship
with Him your top priority above all else in your life. Place your focus on 
being close to God instead of doing tasks for Him. Then your evangelism will
flow naturally out of your connection to God. Know that your love for God 
will draw people to you who are curious about His work in your life and need
to hear the Gospel message.

* Answer the call. Understand that evangelism isn't just for clergy members 
or other ministry professionals; it's a sacred call that Jesus wants every
one of His followers to answer. Don't worry that you don't have the right 
personality to succeed at evangelism. Know that there are many different 
ways
to evangelize, and all you need to do is be faithful to undertake the task 
in whatever style works best for you. Be assured that the God who made your
unique personality knows just how you can best evangelize, and He stands 
ready to help you. Be alert to evangelism opportunities God sends your way, 
and
make the most of them, realizing that time is precious because your chances 
to reach the lost are over when you die. Seek to bring God joy by doing your
best for Him.

* Check your motives. Ask yourself why you're evangelizing other people. 
Don't do it because you have to; do it because you want to. Let your love 
for
Jesus and your gratefulness for what He did for you and others on the cross 
motivate you to share His message. Evangelize because God's good news is too
good to keep to yourself and you want others to experience the freedom you 
enjoy because of Jesus. Recognize that evangelism is vital because it gives
God honor and glory that He deserves, it brings Him joy, and it was a 
priority for Jesus.

* Recognize that your life is a witness. Understand that your life as a 
whole sends a powerful message to people who are watching you to see whether 
or
not your faith is truly genuine. Know that the levels of integrity, peace, 
and joy you demonstrate to others will speak louder to them than your words
in any Gospel presentation. Ask yourself hard questions on a regular basis 
to determine if you're showing others real faith in action. Consider issues
like these: Do you keep your promises to people? Do you pay your bills on 
time? Do you choose to trust God to overcome challenges instead of worrying 
about
them? Do you speak positively about others rather than gossiping about them? 
Do you choose to be honest in situations when lying would be easier for you?
Do you give your best work instead of just enough to get by? Do you retain a 
hopeful attitude even while you're suffering? Remember that your life 
preaches
for you and make sure that the message your life gives to others is the 
right one.

* Build strong character. Every day, seek to keep growing more and more into 
the person God wants you to become. Stay close to Him through spiritual 
disciplines
like worship, prayer, and meditating on the Bible. Regularly ask the Holy 
Spirit to fill you so you'll have fresh strength for evangelism and 
everything
else God wants you to do. Deal with the root issues of unhealthy attitudes 
and behaviors in your life. Confess and repent of your sins on a regular 
basis.
Seek deliverance from evil that may be harming you. Ask God to remind you of 
His vision for your life, and stay focused on it when you make decisions.

* Love and accept others. Recognize that God's love is the greatest force in 
the universe, and that you must let His love flow through you to other 
people
to successfully evangelize them. Understand that you cannot reach lost 
people if you don't love them. Realize that they don't care what you know 
until
they know that you care. Look to Jesus as your role model of how to interact 
with people, and remember that He was willing to spend time with people and
demonstrate love for them, no matter what. Ask God to help you avoid the 
temptation to use fear and fire-and-brimstone tactics to evangelize people. 
Ask
Him to help you meet people right where they are -- sins and all -- and 
accept them as people unconditionally. Stand by them no matter what they're 
going
through. Think the best of them instead of the worst. Don't judge them. Make 
them feel safe in your presence. Never demean or insult others when talking
to them. Speak with humility. Don't be easily offended by lost people; keep 
in mind that they have been wounded. Be willing to invest significant 
amounts
of time into building relationships with people. Be flexible and patient 
with them. Remember that people aren't just numbers to add to your 
evangelism
achievement goals; they're God's children, whom He loves and wants you to 
love.

* Know your message well. When presenting the Gospel message, be sure to 
include these essential truths: Tell the story of what Jesus did on the 
cross
to reconcile people to God. Explain why sin separates people from God, why 
they can't reach Him on their own, and why they need His help. Lead them to
repent (turning away from selfish thinking and sin and turning their hearts 
toward God). Encourage them to believe in Jesus and what He has done, and to
trust every part of their lives to Him. Let them know how to become 
baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and committed to a local church. When 
talking
with people, take the initiative, show genuine interest in them, arouse 
their curiosity, ask them questions that motivate them to think about their 
spirituality,
introduce them to Jesus, invite them to begin a relationship with Jesus, and 
help them become incorporated into God's family. Ask God to give you the 
confidence
you need to share the Gospel boldly and joyfully.

* Don't stop short. Recognize that evangelism includes more than just 
sharing the Gospel message with people so that they repent and begin saving 
relationships
with Jesus. Understand that it also entails helping people be baptized, 
filled with the Holy Spirit, and incorporated into a local church. Keep it 
touch
with people who say a prayer of
salvation
with you to make sure they're on track to grow as
Christians.

* Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Don't use a standard formula to evangelize 
people. Instead, approach each one differently according to how the Holy 
Spirit
leads you. Tailor your conversation to each person's unique needs. Share the 
Gospel at the right time in each person's life, since everyone is at a 
different
stage of readiness to hear and respond to it. Pray regularly for God to give 
you divine appointments with the right people at the right times.

* Pray for lost people. Realize that praying for the lost releases great 
power to help them. Every day, pray for people in your circle of 
influence --
unbelieving family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and 
acquaintances. Add fasting to your prayers when you can, since doing so 
takes your focus
off yourself, places it on spiritual concerns, and urges God to move in 
response. Pray with someone else when you can, since prayers are even more 
powerful
when two or more people agree about them. Never give up praying for unsaved 
people you know; remember that it may take lots of time for them to come to
faith, but that God is always at work and nothing is impossible with Him. 
Move outside your circle of influence by praying for unbelievers in specific
cities and nations worldwide. Know that your prayers will impact their lives 
because prayer has no geographic boundaries.

* Serve others. Respond to God's nudges to serve other people, whenever you 
sense Him urging you to do so. Understand that even a small act of kindness
can have a huge positive influence on someone, and that people never forget 
acts of loving service. Ask God to give you a servant's heart, and remember
that it's an honor to serve people for Him.

* Build friendships. Know that most people who come to faith do so because a 
friend helped lead to Jesus. So, whenever possible, don't just evangelize
people and leave, but stay connected by developing meaningful friendships 
with them. Bring evangelism into your existing friendships, as well, by 
discussing
the Gospel when you're talking with your friends and people you know 
casually (such as from the gym, the PTA, or a professional association). 
Make time
to talk with people who want to talk with you even when it's not convenient. 
Invite people to your home for coffee or a meal. Listen to them and become
involved in their lives.

* Rely on the Holy Spirit. Depend on God's unlimited power rather than your 
own limited abilities when evangelizing people. Trust that God will give you
all the help you need to do an excellent job each time. Don't try to make 
successful results happen on your own. Instead, look for open doors that the
Spirit leads you to go through. Pray regularly for the Spirit to make you 
aware of people you encounter who need to God's loving touch, expressed 
through
you. Always be available to talk with people and pray for their needs. Ask 
the Spirit to give you insight into their hearts. If you receive some 
particular
wisdom unique to them (such as information about their circumstances that 
you couldn't have known without the Holy Spirit's help), be brave about 
mentioning
it while you talk to them. Know that if you're willing to do something that 
may even seem ridiculous, God will do the miraculous.

* Become a channel for God's presence to awaken others. Seek to maintain 
intimacy with God, so that your close relationship with Him will strengthen 
you
and make others notice that something is different about you. As you enjoy 
God's presence with you, know that it will flow through you to attract 
others.
So spend plenty of time communing with God in prayer and worship. Help other 
people sense God in your life and desire close relationships with Him 
themselves.

* Help plant churches. Whenever you can, help plant new churches. Pray for 
them, support them financially, and do volunteer work to help them start. 
Understand
that church planting is a highly effective way of evangelizing the world 
because new churches can reach all types of people in innovative ways and 
serve
their communities well, releasing new leaders to take on new ministry 
opportunities.

* Remember that you're in full-time ministry, even in the secular 
marketplace. Always keep in mind that your evangelism work is just as 
valuable as the
work of someone in paid vocational ministry. Know that God will constantly 
bring you important opportunities to evangelize, in your workplace and 
elsewhere,
and that your efforts matter. Decide to do your best for God, reaching lost 
people at all times and in all situations in which you sense Him leading you
to do so.

Adapted from
Fire Evangelism: Reaching the Lost through Love and Power,
copyright 2006 by Che Ahn. Published by Chosen Books (a division of Baker 
Publishing Group), Grand Rapids, Mich.,

Fooling Yourself

Was there a time when you were a child and you wanted a cookie but your 
mother said you couldn’t have one? Did you sneak around when she wasn’t 
there and get one thinking that your mother would not know you got one? The 
psalmist wrote about someone like this:

Psalm 10:4-5, 11 (NLT)
These wicked people are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
5 Yet they succeed in everything they do.
They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
They pour scorn on all their enemies…
The wicked say to themselves, “ God isn’t watching!
He will never notice! ”

WE know we can’t get away with anything. God sees us all the time. We cannot 
hide from Him. These points are shown in the following passages:

Numbers 32:23 (NLT)
But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the 
Lord , and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)
Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. 
You will always reap what you sow! 8 Those who live only to satisfy their 
own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But 
those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the 
Spirit.

This does not mean that God is waiting to squash you like a bug. He does not 
look for people to punish. God is love and wants to show His love to 
everyone. You must turn from your sin, confess your sin and then God will 
forgive you.

1 John 1:8-9 (NLT)
8 If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to 
accept the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and 
just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.

Stop fooling yourself and surrender your life to Jesus Christ.

by Dean W. Masters
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Victory over Depression
Monday, February 2, 2015

Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . .Why are you cast down, O my soul? 
And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise 
Him,
the help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 42:5-11 NKJV
Anyone can feel depressed, discouraged about life. Overwhelmed with 
problems. Impacted by world events. Each year nearly 15 million American 
adults experience
a major depressive disorder. No one is immune, for this impacts the old and 
young. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the median age when depression 
disorders
strike is 32, with women more likely to be victims than men.

Depression has been proven to be a significant byproduct for those with 
serious illnesses. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 
more than
half of eating disorder patients experience depression. But so do a high 
percentage of cancer patients, and those who have had strokes and heart 
attacks.

Christians are not immune from depression. We all face challenges and 
trials. We can be discouraged about our job, family, or marriage. We can be 
overwhelmed
by financial needs, sicknesses, and disease. We can feel defeated by sin and 
mistakes we have made.

But God has given us the power to be free from depression. He told Isaiah 
that we might go through waters, rivers, and fire. But we are to realize 
that
He is with us in every situation (Isaiah 43:1-2).

When we start to feel depressed, when we are “cast down,†the Bible urges us 
to focus on God, to remember we can hope in Him and trust Him no matter what
we face.

If you feel overwhelmed by the weight of your burdens, turn to Him. Remember 
that you don't have to fear. He is with you, right by your side. Commit your
needs to Him. And, start praising and worshiping Him! You are His! And He 
has promised to take care of you.

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, I entrust my life to You. Thank You that my life is in Your hands. 
Thank You for being with me and providing for me. I praise and worship You.
In Jesus name. Amen.

Further Reading: Psalm 42

Inspiration Ministries
3000 World Reach Drive
Indian Land, SC 29707

Inspiration Ministries UK
Admail 3905, London W1A 1ZT
UK Charity No 1119076

He Is Still God On The Mountaintops and The Valley

1 Kings 20:28b
Thus says the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is a god of 
the hills but he is not a god of the valleys, therefore I will give all 
this
great multitude into your hand and you shall know that I am the Lord.â€

If all we had in life were mountaintop experiences in life it would be 
easy to forget who put us there. No matter where you are today, God is the 
god
of all and He cares, He cares if you are on a mountaintop, coasting along 
and He cares if you are in the valleys of life, frustrated and struggling. 
No
matter what season of life we are in we need to always draw close to Him.

Let's face it we seem to grow stronger and depend more on God when we are in 
the valleys of life, but let me encourage you today that if you are 
experiencing
that season of rest and mountaintops, take a look around you and ask God 
what you need to learn in order to grow there as well. There are so many 
lessons
to learn no matter where we are in life so we can become more like Christ! 
Maybe this is a time for you to reach out and serve others, maybe it is a 
time
where He would like you to learn more about giving of yourself, your 
finances and time. There are so many needy and hurting people out there that 
you will
never run out of opportunities to show the love of Christ to someone.

If you are in the valley struggling to get by in your marriage or finances 
or you have a loved one that you are praying for or maybe you are grieving a
tremendous loss in your life, God has kept track of every tear, He loves you 
and He cares more than you can imagine! When you hurt, God's heart aches for
you as well. We live in a fallen world so bad things happen to all people. 
We have been given a free will and not everyone chooses wisely and others 
suffer
because of it. We live in a world of illness and struggles but we serve a 
God who sees the bigger picture and He loves you and cares about exactly 
where
you are. Matthew 7:7-10 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you 
will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks 
receives,
and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or 
which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or
if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, 
know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father
who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!†(Read Matthew 
chapters 6 &7 and understand as well, this is not prosperity thinking ~ 
people are
way to paranoid about that at times, we are talking about a God who loves 
you and cares about your needs)

Seek God in all you do and draw close to Him no matter where you are! He 
loves you and desires a closer relationship with you. Unfortunately 
sometimes
it takes the valleys in life to wake us up to what we are missing in our 
walk with Him. Remember to ask Him, no matter where you are in life today, 
what
you need to do to be more like Christ and what you may be missing on your 
part that has brought you to the place you are. There are times the valleys 
we
experience are there because of the detour we took by not following Him, 
some are there because this is life but either way He cares and wants to see 
you
through to the other side if you will just seek Him with your whole heart!

Quote:
Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it. 
Zig Ziglar
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Sinkholes and Pits
Part 1
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I waited patiently for the LORD. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted 
me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of 
praise to our God (
Psalm 40:1-3,
NIV).

Friend to Friend

Florida is famous for its sinkholes. I personally find them fascinating 
since I grew up in Texas where most holes are made intentionally. Scientists 
say
sinkholes occur when underground resources gradually dry up, causing the 
surface soil to lose its underlying support. Everything caves in - forming 
an ugly pit.

Depression and sinkholes have a lot in common. Depression seems to overwhelm 
with a vicious suddenness when it is actually the result of a malignant 
process. Inner
resources slowly erode until nothing is left. The world caves in and 
darkness reigns.

Many people think depression is a spiritual problem while others insist it 
is an emotional and physical disorder. I believe it’s all of those things. 
Some
studies indicate that over half of all women and one out of three men 
struggle with depression. Since no one is immune to the darkness, we must 
learn to face it honestly.

That moment came for me in 1995 when my world collapsed at my feet. Empty 
and exhausted, I had been living in the fast and furious lane for years. No 
wonder
I was struggling. I was just tired.

Being a perfectionist, I had always been strong, driven to excel. I had 
little sympathy for weak people. Now I, the strong one, couldn't get out of 
bed. Getting
dressed by the time my children returned from school meant it was a good 
day. The simplest decisions sent me into a panic, and the thought of facing 
crowds
was overwhelming.

I was paralyzed, trapped in a bottomless pit. Loneliness and despair 
reigned, wreaking emotional havoc. I had no idea how I had gotten there, and 
what
was even more frightening was the fact that I had no clue how to escape. I 
did the only thing I could do. I cried out to God.

I waited patiently for the LORD. He turned to me and heard my cry(Psalm 
40:1, NIV).

With that single heart cry, my journey from darkness into light began. The 
first step was to recognize the factors that trigger depression; a lack of 
replenishing
relationships, a chemical imbalance, and a poor self-image, just to name a 
few. One of the most common and deadly factors is failure to deal with the 
past. The
"mire" mentioned in Psalm 40:2 means "sediment at the bottom," a perfect 
description of our past.

When our children were small, we frequented the beach. Wading into the 
ocean, Jered and Danna took turns pushing a beach ball under the water and 
counting
to see who could hold the ball down the longest. Eventually their arms would 
tire, or the ball would escape their control, popping to the surface. The
"mire" in our lives is like that beach ball.

The "sediment" or "junk" we have never dealt with settles at the bottom of 
our souls, randomly popping up until we run out of energy to keep it 
submerged.
This mire eventually works its way to the surface, spilling ugliness and 
darkness into every part of our lives.

Mire comes in all shapes and sizes - buried pain, unresolved anger, a 
devastating loss. I had never dealt with my mother's death or faced some 
painful
parts of my past. I had painted a picture in my heart and mind of how I 
wanted my childhood to be, not how it really was. I was running from the 
past by
filling the present with frenzied activity.

The Lord and I began to sift through the enormous pile of "mire" that had 
settled into my spirit and life. Together we faced experiences I had 
carefully
locked away until they slammed into my heart and mind with breathtaking 
force and fresh pain; an alcoholic father, the trusted family doctor who 
molested
me, times of loneliness and rejection, haunting failures, unreasonable fears 
that were never spoken. It seemed as if the flood of polluted memories would
never end!

But God is good - providing a defense mechanism for those experiences beyond 
our ability to face. He gently tucks them away until we are ready and able
to deal with them. When we bury pain alive, it keeps popping up at 
unexpected moments. Pain must be dealt with and buried ... dead!

Freedom from the pit of darkness demands a confrontation of our past, 
straining every experience through the truth that all things work together 
for our good.

The will of God admits no defeat and penalizes no one. We can allow our past 
to defeat us or empower us. Harnessing the power of the past is a compelling
weapon in the war against darkness.

Let's Pray

Father, I am tired and afraid of the darkness in my life. I cry out to You. 
Please help me deal with the mud and mire in my past. Heal me. I want to 
trust
You, Lord. I lay my past at Your feet. Please make it a cornerstone of the 
new life I can have in You. I choose to believe You will work it all 
together
for Your glory and for my good.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Take a few minutes to think back over your life. Make a list of the “mire†
that has settled in your heart. Be specific. It may be a sin you need to 
confess
or the pain of a broken relationship that needs healing. Deal with each one, 
and let it go. Read and memorize Romans 8:28 and make it one of your life
verses for 2015.
Girlfriends in God

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Earthquake Hope - #7385

Stranded on the highest mountain on earth. Or buried beneath the rubble of a 
shattered hotel.

After the earthquake that rocked that mountain kingdom of Nepal, thousands 
of people lost their lives. Many more found their world, their homes, 
actually
their lives wiped away.

There were some who survived the quake, but they faced the prospect of dying 
in the aftermath. Like those climbers on Mt. Everest, trapped on the 
mountain
by massive avalanches. Or that 27-year-old man, lying amidst the stench of 
dead bodies, trapped for 82 hours under mountains of concrete.

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

One six-letter word. That was the difference between life and death for the 
men on the mountain and the man in the rubble.

Rescue. The "hope" word that we keep hearing in the otherwise heartbreaking 
news from Nepal.

Eighteen climbers died when part of Everest collapsed on their base camp. 
There were 140 surviving climbers, but when they tried to go down through 
the
escape route, it was impossibly blocked by fallen rocks. And as time passed, 
their food was running out; their water was running out.

And then the choppers came. One after another they landed somehow on that 
mountain, saved those climbers, taking out two at a time.

Then there was young Rishi. He was running out of hope, he was running out 
of life. Beneath that collapsed hotel. Then, after ten hours of digging 
through
concrete, the rescuers broke through. Rishi is alive...the climbers are 
alive. Because the rescuers came.

Hope in Nepal depended on - as it is in so many disasters - a rescuer from 
above.

And that's where the news intersects my life and yours. Because hope for me 
depended on a rescuer from above. At the spiritual crossroads of my life.

I was trapped in a place where I would have died. Except my Rescuer came. 
Jesus. The One called "Savior" by millions of people around the world. 
That's
Savior as in Rescuer.

In fact, the Bible says in our word for today from the Word of God in 
Galatians 1:3, "Jesus gave His life for our sins...in order to rescue us". 
Not to
start a religion. Not to be an example or a teacher. But to rescue us. So, 
it isn't about a religion, called Christianity, it's about a rescuer named 
Jesus.
He came to rescue us at the cost of His life.

Because I - and a world of folks like me - was facing spiritual death for 
dethroning God in my life. Letting Him run the universe while I ran me. His 
Book
makes the outcome of those sinful choices, unmistakable. It says, "The soul 
that sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:3). Here, a life without meaning. 
Hereafter,
an eternity without hope.

But, thank God, the Rescuer came! From above. To a cross. To die for my sin 
and yours so we don't have to. Amazingly, in the words of Galatians 2:20 in
the Bible, "He loved me and gave Himself for me". First person singular. The 
death of Christ on the cross for my sins.

Then He blasted out of His grave three days later. To reach into my rubble. 
To reach into your rubble. To save us from certain spiritual death.

If you're ready to make The Rescuer your personal Rescuer from your sin, if 
you want to begin this life saving eternity changing relationship with Jesus
right now, I invite you to call, and someone is waiting to talk with you at 
1-888-NEED HIM. Or you can visit ChataboutJesus.com.

There was a day that Jesus reached for me. This may be the day He is 
reaching for you. Would you grab His nail-scarred hand. You will be safe. 
Forever.

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

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

A Norvell Note
Vol. 17 No. 06 February 9, 2015
What Are You Waiting For Church?
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. What are you waiting for church?
The world is looking for good news. You have it. What are you waiting for 
church?
There are children in your neighbor who need food, clothing, someone to take 
care of them after school, someone to show them the love of Christ. Jesus
said, "Let the little children come to me." What are you waiting for church?
There are couples in your community who need help with their marriage. The 
need someone to help them learn what it means to love their spouse as Christ
loved the church. They do not know how because they have never seen a living 
example. What are you waiting for church?
There are parents in your community who are struggling with the overwhelming 
responsibility of rearing their children. The need guidance on how to be 
good
guides for their children. What are you waiting for, church?
There widows in your community who have no one to call when their pipes 
freeze, their car does not start, or when they are sick and need a ride to 
the
doctor's office. When the sun goes down they have no one to talk to, to 
watch tv with, or to tell they are lonely. What are you waiting for church?
There are widowers in your community who spend day after day all alone 
because they have never had to ask for help so they don't know how. They are 
still
healthy and enjoy having fun as much as they ever did, but no one ever 
invites the out to dinner, or to go with them to a movie, or to come for a 
home
cooked meal. What are you waiting for church?
There are homeless people in your community need a little help getting back 
on their feet. They are not looking for a free ride. They are willing to 
work.
They do not want to live on the street or in a shelter. They would enjoy 
having. A real conversation about life, family, politics, the economy, 
religion,
maybe even your faith. What are you waiting for church?
There are young men in your community who need a father figure in their 
life. They have questions about girls, getting an education, being a good 
employee,
and how to be a godly man. They are interested in goals you had at their 
age, and how you have achieved the them. What are you waiting for church?
There are likely people in your community who struggle with drug addictions, 
alcohol addictions, sexual additions, sexual identity issues, some may be
involved in sexual exploitation of various forms, some struggle with eating 
disorders, some struggle due to sexual abuse, or have anger issues. Some of
them want help, but the last place they would think of turning to for help 
is a church. We can do better. What are you waiting for church?
There are neighborhoods in your community that need to cleaned up, play 
grounds that need to be repaired, and buildings that could use a little 
paint.
There are businesses that need your support. There are public servants who 
need to know you support them. What are you waiting for, church?
There are young ladies in your community who are pregnant and have no idea 
what to do or where to go. They are scared. They feel terribly alone. They 
feel
abandoned and overwhelmed by the thought of taking care of themselves, and 
cannot imagine taking care of another human being. They need support, they 
need
guidance, and they need to be loved just as they are. What are you waiting 
for church?
Tom
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2015. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.


Imitate Jesus

Acts 4:13

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read 
lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of 
Christ
is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. 
If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we would be 
pictures
of Christ; yes, such striking likenesses of Him that the world would not 
have to hold us to the mirror and say, "Well, it seems somewhat of a 
likeness";
they would, when they saw us, exclaim, "He has been with Jesus; he has been 
taught by Him; he is like Him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man
of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and everyday actions."

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your
Christianity
; your profession will never disgrace you: Take care you never disgrace 
that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God.

Imitate Him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do 
kindly, that men may say of you, "He has been with Jesus." Imitate Jesus in 
His holiness.
Was He zealous for His Master? So should you be, going about doing good. Do 
not waste time; it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to 
His
own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Then be fervent in your prayers. 
Did He defer to His Father's will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He 
patient?
So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, 
try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your 
Master,
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," always ring in your 
ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of
your enemy by your kindness to him. Good for evil, remember, is Godlike.

Be Godlike then; and in all ways and by all means so live that all may say 
of you, "He has been with Jesus."

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Genesis 44

verse 2 Mark 14

From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible

Why should we believe, as Jesus did, that the Scripture is in fact, from 
'the mouth of God'? When did it come into existence? Is it inerrant?

What do we need to learn in order to understand what it says and what it 
means better? How does the teaching of God’s Word change our lives. In
From the Mouth
of God, Sinclair B Ferguson answers these and other important questions 
about trusting, reading, and applying the Bible

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

3735 cdd The Curb Setter
Tuesday February 10, 2015
Volume 16 Number 029

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Acts 26:22a
"Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand witnessing" 
NKJV

The story is told of a young man who was parked in front of a mall polishing 
his car. He was waiting for his wife to complete her shopping. As he buffed
his car coming from across the parking lot was what society would consider a 
bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes and 
certainly
no money. There are times when we feel generous but there are other times 
that we just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to
be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money." Thought the young man.

He sat on the curb in front of a bus stop but he didn't look like he could 
have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few minutes he spoke. 
"That's
a very sharp car," he said.

He was ragged but had an air of dignity about him. The young man replied, 
"Thanks," and continued buffing his car. The man sat quietly on a large tree
and watched the young man buffing away. The expected plea for money never 
came.

As the silence between them widened a tiny voice inside urged the young man, 
"Ask him if he needs any help." The young man was sure he would say "yes"
but determined to ask. "Do you need any help?"

He answered in three simple but profound words that the young man shall 
never forget. Three words that shook the young man to the core: "Don't we 
all?"
he said.

The young man had a certain airs about him and was feeling high and mighty, 
successful, important and above the bum who sat at the curb --- that was 
until
those three words knocked the wind out of him like a punch in the gut. 
"Don't we all?"

The young man instantly heard the inner voice again --- "I need help" --- 
Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but "I needed help". The young 
man
reached in his wallet and gave the curb setter not only enough for bus fare, 
but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the night.

Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much we have, no 
matter what we have accomplished --- you and I need help too. No matter how 
little
we have, no matter how loaded we are with problems --- even without money or 
a place to sleep, you can give help.

Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that. You never know when you 
may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give
them what they don't have. Perhaps it's a different perspective on life, a 
glimpse at something beautiful or a break from daily chaos that only you can
see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he 
was more than that. Maybe God looked down, pressed an Angel into service, 
dressed
him like a bum and then said, "Go minister to the young man buffing that 
car, that man needs help." "Don't we all?"

Prayer: Father thank you for listening and responding with the resources of 
heaven --- "I Need Help!" In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Travel information
For the next three weeks internet connections maybe few and far between --- 
I'll do my best! Pb

Africa 2015 support to date: $5,845.95 Remaining needed: $32,154.05 Cross 

If you would like to pray for us and desire a prayer itinerary reply with 
Prayer Itinerary in subject.

Pastor Bill Team Prayer:

Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
kingdom.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Copyright (c) 2015

How to Rise Above the Terrible-No-Good-Very-Bad-Day
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, 
consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith 
is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance 
is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." 
James
1:2-4 (NLT)

It was his birthday.

We had a flight to catch.

Even though it was a working trip for me, I planned to make our trip a quasi 
birthday celebration for him. We were still about to leave the house without
our kids. That always spells me-and-you time, honey.

We were supposed to wake up and look at each other with "goo-goo" eyes, 
remembering how much we actually like each other, because there were no 
distractions.

We were supposed to travel leisurely to the airport and stop somewhere for 
lunch on the way.

We were supposed to have a meaningful conversation on the plane about deep, 
important and beautiful things while we were soaring above the clouds.

Instead …

We woke up to plumbing problems, broken suitcases and a rainy day. We rushed 
to the airport and searched for a parking space while listening to each 
other’s
bellies rumble. We missed our flight and had to run to catch another one 
that would get us to our destination on time.

Then we sat next to each other … in complete silence … and it was his 
birthday.

Part of my sullen attitude was because it really was a 
terrible-no-good-very-bad-day.

Part of my bad attitude was frustration that this yucky day was my husband’s 
birthday, and I felt so badly about it not being special for him at all.

Most of my gloomy attitude was because things weren’t going as I had 
planned, and I was pouting.

The cramped ride on the itty-bitty plane came to an end. He helped me get my 
luggage out of the overhead bin, looked over at me and smiled. He walked 
through
the airport, pulling my suitcase and his.

It was raining in our arrival city too, but he went out of his way to make 
sure I didn’t get too wet as we got our things into the car. On the way to 
our
destination, he started a pleasant conversation and kept it going until we 
arrived.

Somewhere between the frustration of the morning and the smile in the 
afternoon, my husband made a decision. He made a decision to rise above that 
terrible-no-good-very-bad-day
and find something to smile about. He made a decision to choose joy.

And while it never stopped raining, the longer-than-expected-drive-time gave 
us more time to chat. And stopping at the drive-thru became a romantic 
birthday
dinner for two.

I don’t know about you, but I have lots of days that just don’t go quite the 
way I want. Even when I’ve done everything I can to ensure my plans don’t
go awry, they still do.

Sometimes it still rains and I’m tempted to pout.

I’m tempted to throw all efforts at rising above my situation to the wind 
and sit and sulk in a quiet corner, lamenting the difficult parts of my day 
or
life. And of course, some problems are a whole lot worse than rain or a 
delayed flight.

But watching my husband reminded me of something.

I don’t have to let the events of a terrible-no-good-very-bad-day determine 
my actions and attitude. Like our key verse suggests, we can choose to 
consider
trouble as "an opportunity for great joy" (James 1:2b). Life’s challenges 
allow faith to be tested and endurance to grow.

Some days are just difficult. Life can be hard. And many of those 
difficulties happen at the most inopportune time.

However, let’s not forget that it’s in the most difficult places where we 
derive our deepest life lessons. Even from hard spots beautiful things grow.

We can plan, prepare and put our best foot forward, but sometimes life just 
happens.

Thankfully, bad days don’t have to dictate our response or the ultimate 
outcome.

We get to choose.

So my friend, choose joy!

Father God, Help me rise above my circumstances, choose joy and find 
something to smile about. Even in the midst of a difficult day, Lord, help 
me have
a joyful heart while the experiences You allow build character in my heart 
and produce beauty in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in 
all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Do you long to be a woman whose responses aren’t dictated by circumstances?
Kingdom Woman
by Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst can help set your heart and mind on 
things above.
Stop by
Chrystal Hurst’s blog
for more encouragement today.

The Great Invitation

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in 
me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you
are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may 
believe that you have sent me.” (
John 17:20-21,
NIV)

We have been invited into this fellowship of love. This is why Jesus says, 
“Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (
Matthew 18:20,
NIV) In the Bible, a person’s name generally stands for his or her character 
and identity. To gather in Jesus’ name means to relate to other people with
the same spirit of servanthood, submission, and delight that characterizes 
Jesus in the Trinity. Whenever that happens, Jesus says, he can’t just stand
idly by. He is always a part of it, basking in it, cheering it on. A 
community of loving people is God’s signature. This is why the experience of 
authentic
community is so lifegiving. We are taking our place in fellowship with Life 
himself. When I am in isolation, I feel lonely. When I am in community, I 
experience
what might be called “fullness of heart.” The human heart is forever empty 
if it is closed in upon itself. In community—the divine community 
especially—a
heart comes alive. To experience community is to know the joy of belonging, 
the delight at being known and loved, the opportunity for giving and 
growing,
and the safety of finding a true home.

We were not made for loneliness; we were made for this joy. When Jesus prays 
for us to be invited into the divine circle, it is not a casual request. 
There
is an enormous price to be paid for our admittance. The Son will go to the 
cross. The Father—who had known nothing from all eternity but perfect 
intimacy
with his Son—will now see his Beloved suffer the anguish and alienation of 
sin. The Spirit will come to earth and allow himself to be quenched and 
grieved
by human beings. At enormous cost to every member of the Trinity, you and I 
have been welcomed to the eternal circle, to be held in the heart of Father,
Son, Spirit.

The apostle Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.” 
Paul doesn’t say create unity. This is not a human project. This oneness 
existed
long before us. Paul uses a rare verb of intense urgency. In light of the 
beauty of community and the staggering cost the Trinity paid to invite us 
into
it, Paul says, human beings dare not take it lightly. The doctrine of the 
Trinity is honored when the oneness that characterizes it—the “unity of the 
Spirit”—is
prized and guarded and revered by the one true church. There is a line from 
the musical Les Miserables that gets very close to what John wrote: “To love
another person is to see the face of God.” You now are invited to take your 
place in the eternal circle of selfgiving love. Every person you see, every
moment of your life, is an opportunity to live in and extend the Fellowship 
of the Trinity. We have scores of opportunities each day. This is what each
“human moment” can be about. Every time you forgive someone who hurt you, 
encourage someone who feels defeated, extend compassion to someone who 
stands
alone, confront someone in love, open your heart to a friend, reconcile with 
an enemy, devote time to a child, you align yourself with God’s central 
purpose
in this world. To live in and contribute to God’s dream of community is the 
reason you were born. It is what you were created for. Neglect this, and you
will die a failure. Devote yourself to this one task, to loving “as-is 
people,” and no matter what else you may not achieve, you will lead a 
magnificent
life.

© 2015 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Visit
JohnOrtberg.com
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The Forgiveness Cycle

And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted 
to us. And lead us not into temptation.
(Luke 11:4)

Who forgives whom first?

• “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to 
us.” (
Luke 11:4)
• “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (
Colossians 3:13)

When Jesus teaches us to pray that God forgive us “for we ourselves 
forgive,” he is not saying that the first move in forgiveness was our move. 
Rather,
it goes like this: God forgave us when we believed in Christ (
Acts 10:43).
Then, from this broken, joyful, grateful, hopeful, experience of being 
forgiven, we offer forgiveness to others.

This signifies that we have been savingly forgiven. That is, our forgiving 
others shows that we have faith; we are united to Christ; we are indwelt by
the Spirit.

But we still sin (
1 John 1:8,
10).
So we still turn to God for fresh applications of the work of Christ on our 
behalf — fresh applications of forgiveness. We cannot do this with any 
confidence
if we are harboring an unforgiving spirit (
Matthew 18:23–35).

That’s why Jesus says we ask for forgiveness because we are forgiving. This 
is like saying: “Father, continue to extend to me the mercies purchased by
Christ because by these mercies I forsake vengeance and extend to others 
what you have extended to me.”

May you know God’s forgiveness afresh today, and may that grace overflow in 
your heart in forgiveness toward others.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see
DesiringGod.org.

From Good Morning, Lord by Sheila Walsh

Today I will take a step toward freedom and away from the brokenness in my 
past.

His father was a violent alcoholic who beat his family mem­bers every day. 
His mother’s paranoia made her no source of comfort. Furthermore, she tended
to set the two brothers up in competition with each other. This young man 
realized that nothing he accomplished would ever be enough to please his 
parents.
Even when he later gave his life to Christ, he still dealt with fear that 
was rooted in the pain of his childhood—but now he didn’t deal with it 
alone.
Every time he sensed the beast of fear and shame approaching, he could 
invite the love of God into that dark place.

What kind of brokenness have you experienced? Whatever it is—how­ever 
irreparable the damage seems—you can do what my friend does and what I do: 
invite
God’s light into that darkness. Ask God to flood every part of your wounded 
soul with his love and to shine his light into every dark corner. You can 
fall
on your knees and take any crippling thoughts about your past or haunting 
fears for your future to God’s throne of grace. Although he does not 
guarantee
us pain-free passage through this world, he does promise the companionship 
of Christ and a peace that passes understanding.

Light brings healing to wounds, comfort to fears, and guidance to confusion. 
In what specific ways has
God—who is light
—been any or all of those things to you?

Contentment in Fishing

As we learn to overcome our discontentment by remaining in constant 
fellowship with Christ, we also realize that our joy in Christ is far too 
exciting
to keep to ourselves. In thankfulness and delight, we want to share with 
others what God has done in our lives.

In the gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus gathering His disciples. "As Jesus 
was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called 
Peter
and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were 
fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,' Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of
men.' At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he 
saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were
in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called 
them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him" 
(Matthew
4:18-22).

The men in this passage were successful fishermen, but Jesus had bigger 
plans for them. He said, "Come, follow me…and I will make you fishers of 
men" (
Matthew 4:19).
Jesus did not expect that they would already know how to be fishers of men. 
He expected them to follow Him. He was asking them to abandon their mundane
lives and work for the glory of God's kingdom. He sought their willingness 
to drop everything for Him. He asked these successful leaders to become His
followers. He called these decision makers to trust His commands completely.

Today Jesus is still asking His followers to let go of whatever may be 
hindering our work for God's kingdom, whether it is our opinions, our ideas, 
or
our needs. He is seeking our obedience and willingness to serve Him 
wholeheartedly. When we witness to nonbelievers as we live a life of 
contentment in
Christ, God can use our testimony for His glory.

Christ does not demand a perfect knowledge of witnessing methods, but he 
does demand our service and obedience. He knows that our lifestyle will 
speak
volumes alongside our words. Paul told the Corinthians, "Because of the 
service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the 
obedience
that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your 
generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else" (2 Corinthians 
9:13).

As fishers of men, we need to remember that the fish around us in the world 
are constantly watching us. They notice how we act, live and behave. When we
do not allow God's transforming power to work in us daily, we have no bait 
to lure them. Can you imagine what nonbelievers think as they see
Christians
full of bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy, and gossip? Who wants that kind 
of life? If they see us as hypocrites full of criticism, the fish will swim
the other way. In order to be fishers of men, we need to model ourselves 
after Jesus. We need to obey Him and listen to Him and follow His 
directions.

Why did Jesus ask His disciples to become fishers of men? Why not hunters or 
harvesters? Jesus was addressing them in the context of how they lived—they
were fishermen. Jesus was asking them to take the talents and skills of 
their trade and apply them toward working for God's kingdom. Regardless of 
whom
we are or what we do, God wants us to use our resources for His glory. He 
wants us to view our neighborhoods and our schools and our workplaces as our
fishing ponds.

What is hindering you from becoming a fisher of men? Do you think you need 
to be perfectly prepared with all the right answers and the latest 
witnessing
techniques? Jesus never said He only calls the experts—He calls every 
Christian to witness for Him. He just wants our willingness—and the Holy 
Spirit will
take care of the rest. Commit to God today to become a willing servant of 
Christ.

"‘Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever 
wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come
to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'"
Mark 10:43-45

****
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Witnessing
by Charles R. Swindoll

Acts 8

Various methods are employed to communicate the good news of Christ to the 
lost. Take the Eager-Beaver Approach, for example. "The more scalps, the 
better."
This numerical approach is decision-centered, and little (if any) effort is 
directed toward follow-up or discipleship or cultivating a relationship.

The Harvard Approach is quite different: "Let's all discuss the world's 
religions." While this reason-centered approach is educational and 
occasionally
quite stimulating, it suffers from one mild drawback---no one ever gets 
saved! Being sophisticated is more important than telling the truth about 
sin or
heaven or hell. Discussion is in . . . decisions are out.

Perhaps the most popular is the Mute Approach: "I'm just a silent witness 
for God." Somewhere along the line this person has swallowed one of Satan's 
tastiest
tidbits: "Just live a good Christian life. Others will ask you about Christ 
if they are really interested, so relax." Faith, please remember, "comes 
from
hearing" (Rom. 10:17).

What we need, I submit to you, is the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered 
method is set forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26-40.

Philip was engaged in an evangelistic crusade in Samaria when the Lord 
instructed him to go south to the desert road that ran from Jerusalem to 
Gaza. Faithful
Philip "arose and went." He was available (Principle 1). On the road he 
encountered an Ethiopian statesman traveling home from Jerusalem. And the 
Spirit
of God prompted Philip to approach the traveler. Philip was led by the 
Spirit (Principle 2). He sensed that God was clearly opening the door.

Philip cooperated, for obedience (Principle 3) is essential. He heard the 
man reading Isaiah aloud and asked, "Do you understand what you are 
reading?"
A proper opening (Principle 4) is so important. Philip didn't barge in and 
start preaching.

The man invited Philip to sit with him and assist him in his quest for 
understanding. Philip responded with great tactfulness (Principle 5). Even 
though
he had his foot in the door, he remained sensitive to when he should speak 
of salvation. When that moment came, he "opened his mouth" and became 
specific
(Principle 6). No vague dialogue about religion. He spoke only of the 
Savior, the main issue. The last few verses then describe the follow-up 
(Principle
7) Philip employed.

As you rub shoulders with hungry, thirsty humanity, keep the Philip Approach 
in mind. I can't think of a place I'd rather be at the moment Christ returns
than riding shotgun in a twenty-first-century chariot, speaking openly about 
faith in the Savior.

As we become alert to those empty chariot seats God wants us to occupy,
we may even begin to feel comfortable in them.

Excerpted from
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,
Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). 
All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

One reason why the church has so little influence over the world

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of 
your mind!" Romans 12:2

I believe that one reason why the church has so little influence over the 
world--is because the world has so much influence over the church!

It is overwhelming to see the growing worldliness of the visible church. 
Many professed Christians--the Lord alone knows whether they are true 
believers
or not--give us grave cause for apprehension. We see them tolerating 
practices which would not have been endured by their fathers; my blood 
chills when
I think of how far some fashionable professors go astray!

When the Church descends to the world's level, her spiritual power is gone. 
Jesus said, "Preach the gospel to every creature!" But men are getting tired
of the divine plan; they are going to be saved by the music, or by the 
theatricals, or by the amusements! Well, they may try these things as long 
as ever
they like; but nothing can ever come of the whole thing, but utter 
disappointment and confusion:
God is dishonored,
the gospel is travestied,
hypocrites are manufactured by thousands, and
the church is dragged down to the level of the world!

"The world has absorbed the Church, and the church was content that it 
should be so!" (Horatius Bonar)

"Conformity to the world, in all ages, has proved the ruin of the church!" 
(Rowland Hill)

~ ~ ~ ~

We have published
J.R. Miller's
very helpful two page article, "
My Will--or God's Will?"

~ ~ ~ ~
Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

I have an interesting perspective on depending on others. I think it gives 
people a chance to serve. And I'm not so much big on independence, as I am 
on
interdependence. I'm not talking about co-dependency, I'm talking about 
giving people the opportunity to practicing love with its sleeves rolled up.

Joni Eareckson Tada

New Post on KenBible.com - Lamb of God
----------------------------------------------------------

Lamb of God

Posted: 01 Feb 2015 09:55 PM PST

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; 
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6, NIV)

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, 
NIV)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24, NIV), but 
His sin-bearing did not begin on Golgotha.

As He emptied Himself of all that made Him equal to the Father (Philippians 
2:5-8), He was taking our sins upon Himself.

John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin 
of the world (John 1:29, NIV), not at the end of His ministry, but at its
very beginning. The first public act of this sinless One was to humble 
Himself, line up with sinners, and symbolically die beneath the waters of 
the Jordan.
There, from day one, He bore our sins.

For forty days He faced extreme deprivation and temptation in the 
wilderness, all that we might have a high priest…who has been tempted in 
every way,
just as we are…that he might make atonement for the sins of the people 
(Hebrews 4:15; 2:17, NIV).

Throughout His ministry He bore all the fruits of our sin. Homelessness, 
rejection, hatred, poverty, and persecution were His daily experience. He 
took
upon Himself the needs of the thousands that flocked to Him—their ignorance, 
disease, demon possession, grief, and hunger.

Finally, He laid down His life before those who hated Him and thirsted for 
His blood. He silently surrendered Himself to their humiliation, torture, 
and
cruel execution.

But this was only the culmination of His self-sacrifice. He bore our sins, 
not for a few hours, but for His entire holy life.
KenBible.com

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

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

A Norvell Note
Vol. 17 No. 17 April 27, 2015
You Were Missed
You were sick and could not make it to gathering of your Christian community 
this morning. You had a legitimate reason; you were sick. You were not just
skipping church. You were not there. You were missed.
The ladies had a meeting to study the Word, encourage one another, and pray 
together. You could not attend this month’s meeting. You had out of town
guests. You wanted and needed to spend the time with them. You were not 
there. You were missed.
You have a group of guys you meet with on a weekly basis for fellowship and 
a time to check in with each other. Your week was full of travel, meetings
and a couple of surprise schedule shifts. You decided to sleep in. No hard 
feelings, but you were not there and you were missed.
There was a meeting at your church. You thought about going, but were not 
sure your presence would be needed. So, you decided not to attend. You were 
not
there. You were missed.
Your family had planned a special celebration event. You a decided not to 
go. Your work schedule had been heavy, money for travel was limited, and you
really just did not want to be away from home, so you did not go. After the 
event you received a flood of calls, emails, texts, and social media 
messages
all saying the same thing: You were not there. You were missed.
There was an important meeting at work that you relay needed to attend but 
you were also scheduled to be working an important deal in another city so 
you
could not attend. You later talked with several of your colleagues. The 
message was the same from all of them: We are sorry you were not there. You 
were
missed.
You had a rough weekend. Instead of resting and relaxing you tried to do all 
the household chores that had piled up from a long cold winter. You were up
early, worked all day, and stayed up late with the family. Now it is Monday 
morning and you are more fatigued than when you came home on Friday. So when
the alarm sounds on Monday morning you shut it off, roll over and decide to 
sleep-in. You assumed no one would care and your absence would go mostly 
unnoticed.
The next day when you return to work your co-workers are concern. “We 
missed you. It is not the same around her when you are not here. You were 
missed.â€Â
Meetings sometimes get boring. Church attendance sometimes seems to hold 
little value. It is easy to take family gatherings for granted. The monotony 
of
work and the routine of workday activities can make you feel unimportant, 
dispensable, and at times completely useless. It is easy in those times of 
discouragement
and frustration we must find a way to remind yourself that you are 
invisible, insignificant, nor invaluable. No, the world does not revolve you 
and your
opinion is not likely sway the decisions of the world’s greatest minds.
This may not change way the world treats you or the way you feel at the end 
of the long difficult week of disappointment, frustrations and 
discouragement,
but maybe when you consider the opinion of you held by the creator of the 
universe you will feel a little better about the role you play in the lives 
of
your church, your work place, your family and your friends.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just 
as he wanted them to be.†(1 Corinthians 12:18)
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.†
(1 Corinthians 12:27)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or 
drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food,
and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not 
sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add 
a single hour to your life?†(Matthew 6:25-27)
If you were not in your home, you would be missed. If you were not a friend 
to your friends, you would be missed. If you stopped doing your job, you 
would
be missed. If you were not you, you would be missed. So, this week, wherever 
you are, whoever you are with, whatever you are doing be who you are and 
know
that if you were not there you would be missed.
Tom
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2015. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

What Should the Church Say to Bruce Jenner?
by Russell Moore

In the 1970s Bruce Jenner seemed to have it all—fame, wealth, admiration. He 
was an Olympic star, so popular in American culture that he was reputedly
considered for both the roles of Superman and James Bond. That’s changed. 
Now, Jenner is best known as the step-father on reality television’s Keeping
Up with the Kardashians. Jenner is now ready for one more change. He says he 
knows what he’s been missing: his identity as a woman.

Jenner has reportedly undergone surgery to make himself appear more like a 
woman and has been photographed wearing dresses. Now, in a highly publicized
interview with with Diane Sawyer, he says that his “whole life has been 
leading up to this.â€

Bruce Jenner, of course, is a symbol, a celebrity spokesperson for an entire 
mentality that sees gender as separate from biological identity. So is there
a word from God to the transgender community? How should the church address 
the Bruce Jenner in your neighborhood, who doesn’t have the star power or 
the
Malibu mansions but who has the same alienation of self?

First of all, we should avoid the temptation to laugh at these suffering 
souls. We do not see our transgendered neighbors as freaks to be despised. 
They
feel alienated from their identities as men or women and are seeking a 
solution to that in self-display or in surgery or in pumping their bodies 
with the
other sex’s hormones. In a fallen universe, all of us are alienated, in some 
way, from who were designed to be. That alienation manifests itself in 
different
ways in different people.

But neither should we fall for the cultural narrative behind the transgender 
turn. This narrative is rooted in the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, with the
idea that the “real†self is separate from who one is as an embodied, 
material being. Body parts and chromosomal patterns are dispensable since 
the self
is radically disconnected from the body, the psychic from the material.

The old Gnostic heresy is joined with contemporary expressive 
individualism—the idea that I must be true to whomever I perceive my “real 
me†to be on the
inside in order to be “authentic.†This is what leads, in other news of the 
week, some parents to “transition†the gender identity of their child at 
ages
as early as four years old.

It is somewhat ironic that Jenner’s interview comes in the same week as 
Earth Day. Earth Day, of course, reminds us that human desires and human 
technologies
ought to have limits. Just because a corporation has the technological power 
to raze a forest or level a mountain or to dump toxins into a water system
is no sign that one should do so. The common good means human beings 
learning to live in balance and harmony with nature, not with a rapacious 
domination
of it.

What is true of natural ecology is true of human ecology as well. 
Techno-utopian scientism tells us that we can transcend our limits, to 
become as gods.
For some, that manifests itself in believing that humanity can pollute its 
own ecosystem with impunity. For others it manifests itself in believing 
that
they can transcend the boundaries of the male/female polarity. A biblical 
view of our place in the universe is quite different. We are not machines, 
to
be reprogrammed at will; we are creatures.

That vision includes a respect for God’s natural, creative order that 
reflects His wisdom and Lordship over the world. Our maleness and femaleness 
is very
much part of that wisdom and Lordship. We are born not out of self-effort 
but in the pure providence of our creator. Our given gender points us to an 
even
deeper reality—to the unity and complementarity of Christ and the church. A 
rejection of the goodness of those creational realities then is a revolt 
against
God’s lordship, and against the picture of the gospel that God has embedded 
in the creation.

The hope for Bruce Jenner, and for others like him, is not to alter the body 
with surgery or to flood their system with hormones. The answer is to 
realize
that all of us are born alienated from what we were created to be. We don’t 
need to fix what happened in our first birth; we need a new birth 
altogether.

For the church, this is going to mean both conviction and wisdom. Our 
transgender neighbors experience real suffering, and we should suffer with 
them.
The answers the culture and the Sexual Revolution-Industrial Complex offer 
can’t relieve that suffering. We should stand for God’s good design, 
including
around what Jesus says has been true “from the beginningâ€â€”that we are 
created male and female, not as self-willed designations but as part of God’s 
creative
act (Mk. 10:6).

In so doing, what every previous civilization would have seen as obvious, 
that maleness and femaleness are part of our biological design, will be seen
as out-of-kilter with the culture. So be it. We will stand with conviction, 
even as we offer mercy. We’ve been called to keep in step with the Spirit,
even if we can’t always keep up with the Kardashians.
The Midnight Cry And The Rapture of The Church
Adrian Rogers
Love Worth Finding

The Pause That Refreshes

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
Psalm 19:7

Recommended Reading
Colossians 3:15-17
According to motivational speaker David Gee, NBA star Rajon Rondo takes five 
showers on game days, the last one just a few minutes before tip-off. The
reason? He says he does his best thinking in the water.

That might be a little excessive; but surveys tell us that most of us do our 
best thinking while we’re showering, driving, or exercising.1 For 
Christians,
those simple pauses in the day are great opportunities to practice the art 
of meditation. When the Bible is inscribed in our minds, it’s waterproof, so
we can take it into the shower or bath. We can wash our souls and be doubly 
refreshed for the day. It’s portable; as we drive to work or school or jog
or exercise, we can use the time to meditate on God’s Word and let beloved 
Scriptures sink into our thoughts.

In 1929, Coca-Cola coined one of its most famous slogans: “The Pause That 
Refreshes.†For the Christian, the most refreshing pauses during the day are
moments when we recall a verse of Scripture and let our minds dwell on it 
richly.

God be in my head and in my understanding. God be in mine eyes and in my 
looking. God be in my mouth and in my speaking. God be in my heart and in my 
thinking.
Sarum Primer, 1538.

1http://3secondselling.com/2013/04/the-pause-that-refreshes/
Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah
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