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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 26 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Apr 2015, 11:51 am

Welcome to the Nugget
February 3, 2015
When We See God Smile
By Answers2Prayer

I'm dancing in my blindness and rejoicing in my disability.

Crazy statement, isn't it? But I think you'll agree with the reason I have 
joy dancing in my soul.
First, my friend, who has been there for me for years, always answers, "No 
problem...that was easy," each of the dozen times I ask her to format 
documents,
to post these blogs or research for me.

Then, I have a friend who barely makes ends meet and she emails me: "Go 
outside your front door and find the holder for your bird feeder." She knew 
the
one we have is no good. So she surprised me with a new one which she 
purchased with a certificate she received after donating platelets.

My friend who drives nearly an hour to visit. She puts in my hands two 
beautiful scarves and a purse to match. "Here, I need to keep you in style."

And my dear friend who wrote "Go ahead and sign up for the writer's 
conference; I took care of the registration fee."

These are only some examples of what I call God's smiles. And with gratitude 
overflowing, I sit in the still of the night and wonder for a long, long 
time.
I ask myself if I would or could be a smile to someone else.

What delight it would be to do something so that, like me, they would see 
God's smile that says: "I'm here with you. I know your needs. I see your 
wants
and know very well each of your desires."

How beautifully Psalm 121:1-2 echoes my heart. "I lift up my eyes to the 
hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Maker of heaven 
and
earth." And how sweetly His help trickles down through friends' gestures, 
through their kind surprises, and their unconditional support.

Father, show me how to be your smile to someone else. Open opportunities for 
me to be the vessel of your loving winks to those who need a warm 
encouragement,
a kind note or a timely inspiration. In Jesus' name, amen.

* Have you seen God's smiles through someone else lately?

* Have you been a smile to someone else?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's
cyberspace home
for more inspiration.

Announcement:

What lessons can we learn from the building of Solomon's temple? Join us on 
Saturdays in February for "Building Solomon's Temple," a mini-series by 
Lynona
Gordon Chaffart

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

Crossing Jordan

Numbers 32:5 (GNB)
5 Please give us this land as our property, and do not make us cross the 
River Jordan and settle there.”

Have you crossed the Jordan River? The tribes of Reuben and Gad saw how good 
this land was going to be on the near side of the Jordan River. They didn’t 
know what it might be like on the other side so they wanted to stay where 
they were. Does this sound like so many people who call themselves 
Christians today?

The Israelites were in bondage in Egypt when the Lord led them out, crossing 
the Red Sea. This can be compared with those of us who have accepted Jesus 
Christ as our Savior. We were in bondage to sin. We followed Jesus Christ 
and he delivered us out from that bondage. We then live our Christian lives 
but we are like the Israelites in that we don’t grow that much spiritually 
and end up wandering in our own wilderness. Our wilderness experience will 
take us each different times depending on how long it takes us to learn what 
the Lord wants. We each will have a chance to cross our own Jordan River 
into a deeper walk in and through Jesus Christ.

Canaan was the Promised Land for the Israelites but it was not going to be 
an easy job driving out the others that were living there. They had to go to 
war when they got to their promised land. I don’t know where the idea came 
from that has been passed down that crossing the river Jordan is the same 
thing as going to heaven. When the Israelites first went in it was the 
opposite of heaven.

When we are in our wilderness we feed on simple food. The Israelites fed on 
manna for the most part and we feed on milk but there comes a time when we 
are to go to solid food. We find this in the following Scripture:

Hebrews 5:11-14 (Message)
I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you 
since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you 
ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit 
down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square 
one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is 
for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, 
who have some practice in telling right from wrong.

The tribes of Reuben and Gad were not condemned for not wanting to cross the 
Jordan but God did have something bigger and better planned for them. God 
won’t condemn you for staying in the wilderness feeding on milk but he has 
something bigger and better planned for you. He wants you to grow up and 
mature spiritually. He wants you to know His full power and walk in the 
power of the Holy Spirit as you follow the Spirit’s leading in your daily 
walk making disciples and doing whatever else He leads you to do. He wants 
you to cross the Jordan River right now. Why don’t you join me and we’ll 
walk across together.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

A 'Yes' Face

  By Charles Swindoll

During Thomas Jefferson's presidency he and a group of
travelers were crossing a river that had overflowed its
banks. Each man crossed on horseback, fighting for his
life. A lone traveler watched the group traverse the
treacherous river and then asked President Jefferson to
take him across. The President agreed without
hesitation; the man climbed on, and the two made it
safely to the other side of the river where somebody
asked him: "Why did you select the President to ask
this favor?" The man was shocked, admitting he had no
idea it was the President of the United States who had
carried him safely across. "All I know," he said, "is
that on some of your faces was written the answer 'No'
and on some of them was the answer 'Yes.' His was a
'Yes' face." 

  Source: Inspiration Peak at: 
  http://www.inspirationpeak.com/ 


May Jesus’s Name Be Known Through Me
Marshall Segal / January 26, 2015
May Jesus’s Name Be Known Through Me

Jesus came on mission, lived on mission, died on mission, and left his 
disciples — including all of us who follow him today — on mission. 
Conversion is
about commission, not just salvation, because we’re not saved to be saved, 
but saved to be sent. Redemption is a life-saving rescue, but it also 
involves
a profound rewiring and repurposing. We are saved to go out into the world 
for the glory of our Jesus — to make him known as our Lord, Savior, and 
greatest
Treasure.

How is that mission accomplished? What plan did Jesus bring to make himself 
known in the world? Well, it began with a small group of confused, 
unqualified,
and unknown men that walked with Jesus — and even one of them betrayed him 
to death.

Jesus “called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave 
them authority over the unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7). Jesus could have chosen 
the
experienced, well-educated teachers of the day. He could have commissioned 
the crowds that gathered in city after city — thousands and thousands of 
people.
Instead, he picked twelve seemingly random guys, stayed with them his whole 
ministry, and sent them out to speak on his behalf.

Sent by Jesus for Jesus

These twelve “went out and proclaimed that people should repent” (Mark 
6:12). They were men with a message, summarized here in one word: 
repentance. “Repent”
appears just one other time in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus announces, “The time is 
fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the 
gospel”
(Mark 1:15). Repentance — turning away from sin, from other gods, from 
lesser treasures — is the fitting response of a sinful people to the good 
news of
a holy, sovereign, and gracious God.

It was a condition for salvation (Luke 13:3, 5), but it was so much more 
than a condition. Repentance is living, breathing, and believing faith. Why 
would
we continue walking in sin when we’ve seen the path of life, when we’ve 
heard the gospel — the medication all our sin-sick souls so desperately 
need? This
was the message in the disciples’ mouths. There is a Name that loves the 
unworthy, redeems the hopeless, heals the sick, and conquers every evil. His 
name
is Jesus.

Sent with Nothing, and Yet Everything

Before the disciples went out with the news, Jesus “charged them to take 
nothing for their journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in 
their
belts — but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics” (Mark 6:8). Why make 
them live and serve like homeless guys? They certainly didn’t have to. They
had the bread, the bags, and the jackets. Jesus has just given them 
authority over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7) and the ability to heal the sick 
(Mark 6:13).
Why would he intentionally make their journey so hard, hungry, and 
precarious?

To make and keep them humble and dependent on God. Those entrusted with the 
greatest news in the world and empowered to be lights where they live will
always be tempted to be proud and self-reliant. It’s a profound, but 
pervasive irony that fruitfulness so often causes us to forget the sovereign 
love
of God upholding and empowering all our ministry. One way to avoid the trap 
is to intentionally forego safety and comfort, even safety and comfort we 
can
afford to provide for ourselves.

Sometimes we need to make ourselves trust God for what we need tomorrow, 
instead of structuring our lives to only need him every once in a while, 
when
an unexpected crisis comes. Leave what you need at home, and know that you’ll 
have what you need. Your Father loves you more than you know and has more
at his disposable than you could possibly fit in that bag — or house, or 
401K (Matthew 6:33–34).

Sent to Stay and Invest, Not to Bail

Jesus went on to say to these messengers, “Whenever you enter a house, stay 
there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and
they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on 
your feet as a testimony against them” (Mark 6:10–11). These disciples — as
well as his disciples today — will meet two kinds of people when we go into 
the world for Jesus. Some will receive us and listen to what we have to say.
Others will reject us — cut us off and close the door.

If they will listen, Jesus says, do not leave too quickly. Stop, stay, and 
invest where the word of God is welcomed. Don’t feel the need to move on to
another house and another house. If they’ll have you and this gospel, be 
willing to stay awhile. This was likely a shorter trip for the twelve, but 
the
principle applies today in fast-moving, over-scheduled society. Make room in 
your day, your month, your priorities to sit with men and women who will 
hear
God’s word. Don’t be in such a hurry that you can’t patiently invest where 
God is moving in the ears and hearts of those around you. When he opens a 
door
for the word (Colossians 4:3), walk through it.

Sent to Speak, Not to Save

Some will not listen. We should expect this in a world enslaved to sin and 
blind to the beauty of God. Don’t be shocked when you hear, “Thanks, but no
thanks,” or worse. It doesn’t mean you necessarily picked a bad time or said 
it wrong. The gospel is the most offensive news you can bring — even though
it’s also the sweetest, most true, most hope-filled news anyone could hear. 
You are wicked to your very core, broken in every way, and destined for 
unending
wrath at the hands of an all-powerful God. And your only hope is in one 
message and one Man, no other. No wonder the world so often scoffs and 
screams
at Christianity.

Jesus didn’t tell the disciples to stay until their audience surrendered. 
No, he said some will listen and others will not. I am not sending you to 
save,
but to speak. I — and I alone — am the one who saves. Our commission is not 
to create listeners, but to discover them, and then make disciples of them.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the 
Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 
. .
. they will listen to my voice” (John 10:14–16).

Sent to Simply Change the World

How long were the disciples gone? We don’t know, but it seems like it wasn’t 
long. And there were only twelve of them, just six sets of two. That’s 
probably
smaller than your small group. So how much could they really get done? The 
next verse says, “King Herod heard of it (the ministry of the twelve), for 
Jesus’
name had become known” (Mark 6:14). They went out, six pairs of poor, 
ordinary, untrained, unlikely spokesmen, and what God was doing through them 
rose
to the attention of the highest official in their land. Through their small 
and simple ministry, Jesus’s name became known in that city.

God will reveal his fame even through his bread-less, bag-less, penniless, 
but faithful followers. God will exalt the name of his Son through us — 
going
before us in the hearts of our listeners, then sending us to speak the good 
news to them, all the while promising to go with us and provide us with 
everything
we need along the way, and finally fulfilling and completing all that he 
calls us to do. Jesus’s name will be known, and believed, and treasured. May 
it
happen through me.

Five Purposes for Suffering

For those who love God, all things work unto good, for those called 
according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28)

We seldom know the micro reasons for our sufferings, but the Bible does give 
us faith-sustaining macro reasons.

It is good to have a way to remember some of these so that when we are 
suddenly afflicted, or have a chance to help others in their affliction, we 
can
recall some of the truths God has given us to help us not lose hope.

Here is one way to remember: 5 Rs (or if it helps, just pick three and try 
to remember them).

The macro purposes of God in our sufferings include:

Repentance: Suffering is a call for us and others to turn from treasuring 
anything on earth above God.
Luke 13:4–5:

. . . Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do 
you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in
Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise 
perish.

Reliance: Suffering is a call to trust God and not the life-sustaining props 
of the world.
2 Corinthians 1:8–9:

We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life 
itself. 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.

Righteousness: Suffering is the discipline of our loving heavenly Father so 
that we come to share his holiness.
Hebrews 12:6,
10–11:

The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he 
receives. . . . He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his 
holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later 
it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained
by it.

Reward: Suffering is working for us a great reward in heaven that will make 
up for every loss here a thousand-fold.
2 Corinthians 4:17:

This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of 
glory beyond all comparison.

Reminder: Suffering reminds us that God sent his Son into the world to 
suffer so that our suffering would not be God's condemnation but his 
purification.

Philippians 3:10:

. . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share 
his sufferings.

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

Mountains and Mazes
By Skip Heitzig

"I just can't believe that Jesus Christ could be the only way to God."

Ever heard that? I hear it a lot. It is true that 67 percent of the world's 
population, over four billion people, do not subscribe to what we believe.
They look at us and say, "So what's up with you guys? Why are you so 
arrogant? What makes you think you have a corner on the market of truth?"

And so, what unbelieving people love to do is draw the analogy of the God of 
the mountaintop. "See, it's like this," they say. "God is on top of a steep
mountain. He's up there, and down below are all the people in the world. 
They take various paths to get to God, but all lead to the same place. So, 
on
one side of the mountain you might have somebody curving up a windy path, 
and the other side is a more direct route. And everybody down below is so 
hung
up on their path, not knowing that all paths lead them to the same place."

What's wrong with that analogy? Well, it's convenient for unbelievers to use 
it, but none of the founders of the religions they're talking about would
ever agree with it. Let's just take the three monotheistic religions. For 
instance, if you were to go to Muhammad and say, "I believe that all paths 
lead
to God. Do you agree?" what do you think he'd say? "Absolutely not!" He 
taught his followers to fight against anyone who believes that. And if you 
asked
Moses that question, he'd say, "I set before you this day, life and death; 
therefore, choose life" (see Deuteronomy 30:19). If you were to go to Jesus
and say, "Jesus, I think all paths lead to God," would Jesus agree with 
that? He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the 
Father
except through Me" (John 14:6).

What I want you to see is that the founders of these religious systems all 
fundamentally disagree with each other, and the systems themselves 
contradict
each other. So they can't all be right at the same time. They can't all lead 
to the same place.

So the mountaintop analogy isn't a good one. Let me give you another one: a 
maze. I don't know if you've ever been to a maze, or seen pictures of them.
They're quite fascinating. They have them in some of the old, huge mansions 
on the East Coast and in Europe. There are these huge hedges with little 
paths
cut out in them, and these different paths all lead in different directions. 
You might have one that dead-ends. You might have two paths that parallel
each other for a long time. One eventually dead-ends, one keeps going. You 
might have one path that goes almost into the very center of the maze before
it stops. But there is in the maze only one correct, right path.

Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the 
way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because
narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there 
are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Why so few? Is it because there is 
not
enough room in heaven? "I'm sorry, we're all booked up; so many people; 
can't fit them all in."

No, the reason that few find it is because the path is too narrow for most. 
They want the "God on a mountaintop," the God who smiles on everyone, the 
God
at the end of whatever path you take.

Jesus said, "For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your 
sins" (John 8:24). Yes, it's narrow to believe in the way, the truth, and 
the
life, but it's the one right path.

Copyright © 2015 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 26 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Sat 25 Apr 2015, 9:21 pm

The Amazing Gift of Pardon

Hebrews 9:22

This is the voice of unalterable truth. In none of the Jewish ceremonies 
were sins even typically removed without blood-shedding. In no case, by no 
means
can sin be pardoned without atonement. It is clear, then, that there is no 
hope for me outside of Christ; for there is no other blood-shedding that is
worth a thought as an atonement for sin.

Am I, then, believing in Him? Is the blood of His atonement truly applied to 
my soul? All men are on the same level in terms of their need of Him. Even
if we are moral, generous, amiable, or patriotic, the rule will not be 
altered to make an exception for us. Sin will yield to nothing less potent 
than
the blood of Him whom God has set forth as a propitiation. What a blessing 
that there is the one way of pardon! Why should we seek another?

Persons of merely formal
religion
cannot understand how we can rejoice that all our sins are forgiven for 
Christ's sake. Their works and prayers and ceremonies give them very poor 
comfort;
and their unease is no surprise, for they are neglecting the one great
salvation
and endeavoring to get remission without blood.

My soul, sit down and recognize that a just God is bound to punish sin; then 
consider how that punishment all falls upon the Lord Jesus, and fall down
in humble joy at the feet of Him whose blood has made atonement for you. It 
is useless when conscience is aroused to trust in feelings and evidences for
comfort; this is a bad and sorry habit. The only cure for a guilty 
conscience is the sight of Jesus suffering on the cross. "The blood is the 
life," says
the Levitical law, and let us rest assured that it is the life of faith and 
joy and every other holy grace.

Oh! how sweet to view the flowing
Of my Savior's precious blood;
With divine assurance knowing
He has made my peace with God.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Genesis 34

verse 2 Mark 5

Prone To Wander
Confessing our sins might seem like a gloomy business—God already knows 
about them, so what's the point of dwelling on failure? But confession is 
more
celebratory than we think. It does not simply remind us of our guilt, but 
points us to our great Savior, who has atoned for us and lovingly pursues us
despite our wandering.
These prayers open with a scriptural call of confession, confess specific 
sins, thank the Father for Jesus' perfect life and death in our place, ask 
for
the help of the Spirit in pursuing holiness, and close with an assurance of 
pardon.
Inspired by the Puritan classic The Valley of Vision, these prayers were 
developed for both personal devotions and church use.

Sing It, Girl
NICKI KOZIARZ

"So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:6 (NIV)

One of my first jobs was at a little nursing home where I helped take care 
of patients in the Alzheimer’s unit. While caring for people battling such a
difficult disease created many challenges, there was also a lot of laughter.

Mostly because of a sweet, tiny lady named Bunny. Bunny slid her walker 
through the hallways singing all kinds of songs. Some of the other 
caregivers told
me Bunny was one of the original munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. I believed 
it, too, as she was something incredible!

As Bunny would party through the hallways, the other patients echoed her 
melody and amusing sounds filled the air. As I’d pass Bunny on my rounds, I’d
look at her and say, "Sing it, girl!" And then, she’d take it up a notch and 
we’d laugh until our sides ached.

Bunny’s sounds made everyone’s experience at the nursing home much brighter.

Here’s the thing: While it’s true not everyone can sing (Hello, have you 
seen American Idol?), we all have some type of voice flowing from our lives.

But is it a harmonious sound, or is it just noise? Because there is a 
difference.

One definition for noise is "a nonharmonious or discordant group of sounds." 
When we go back further, we learn the word "noise" originated from the Latin
word "nausea" meaning "sea sickness."

Using those definitions, noise is annoying and no one wants to hear it. It’s 
hard to think over noise. Ever hear a momma say to a room full of kids 
banging
on toys, "Quit making all that noise!" It’s distracting at best, and 
downright painful at worst.

Bunny’s singing wasn’t perfect, and sometimes it got really loud, but it 
always accomplished the same thing: joy.

It was a sound that needed to be heard.

I like today’s key verse, Romans 15:6, because it paints a clear picture 
about what it means to be a sound of God: "So that with one mind and one 
voice
you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

One voice, which elevates God.

I don’t want to make noise with my life. I want to make sounds this 
generation desperately needs to hear so that they, too, will love God.

The sound of God is one of peace, joy, gentleness and harmony. It’s also a 
sound that unifies us, not divides us. I think noise would be everything 
opposite:
hate, conflict and rudeness.

So, here’s the question I’m asking myself each day about what’s flowing from 
me:

Is this a sound I’m making today or is it just noise?

I know I won’t always be right on key, but I want the sounds I make to 
elevate God, encourage others and bring joy to dark places. To bring harmony 
where
there is discord.

And you, my friend, have a powerful sound ready to flow through you. So go … 
"Sing it, girl!"

God, thank You for the perfect sound, which came from heaven, Jesus. Help us 
to live our lives making that sound more joyful each day. In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 13:1, "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do 
not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (NIV)

Psalm 19:14, "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be 
pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (NIV)

Admitting Need
by Charles R. Swindoll

Exodus 18

A prayer to be said
When the world has gotten you down,
And you feel rotten,
And you're too doggone tired to pray,
And you're in a big hurry,
And besides, you're mad at everybody . . .
Help!

Asking for help is smart. So why don't we? You want to know why? Pride. 
Which is nothing more than stubborn unwillingness to admit need. The result? 
Impatience.
Irritation. Anger. Longer hours. Less and less laughter. No vacations. 
Inflexibility. Longer and longer gaps between meaningful times in God's 
Word. Precious
few (if any) moments in prayer and prolonged meditation.

My friend, it's time to declare it: No way can you keep going at this pace 
and stay effective year after year! Give yourself a break! Stop trying to 
cover
all the bases! Relax!

Once you've put it into neutral, crack open your Bible to Exodus 18:18-27, 
the account of a visit Jethro made to his son-in-law Moses. Jethro wasn't 
impressed
as he watched Moses dash from one person to another, one need to another. 
"What is this thing that you are doing for the people?" he asked. Moses was 
somewhat
defensive (most too-busy people are) as he attempted to justify his 
schedule. Jethro didn't buy it. He advised Moses against trying to do 
everything alone
and reproved him with strong words: "The thing that you are doing is not 
good. You will surely wear out" (vv. 17-18).

In other words, he told Moses: CALL FOR HELP.

The benefits of shifting and sharing the load? Read verses 22-23: "It will 
be easier for you. . . . You will be able to endure." Isn't that 
interesting?
We seem to think it's better to have that tired-blood, overworked-underpaid, 
I've-really-got-it-rough look. Among Christians, it's what I call the martyr
complex that announces, "I'm working so hard for Jesus!"

The truth of the matter is, that hurried, harried appearance usually means, 
"I'm too stubborn to slow down" or "I'm too insecure to say no" or "I'm too
proud to ask for help." Since when is a bleeding ulcer a sign of 
spirituality . . . or a seventy-hour week a mark of efficiency?

The world beginning to get you down? Too tired to pray? Ticked off at a lot 
of folks? Let me suggest one of the few four-letter words God loves to hear
us use: HELP!

Efficiency is enhanced not by what we accomplish but by what we relinquish.

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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When You Don’t Have Time to Pray
Jonathan Parnell / February 1, 2015

It’s dark. The house is silent. Breakfast is still three hours away.

Dressed warm enough to go outside, I ease down to my basement study and turn 
on the desk lamp. It flickers once or twice before its dusty yellow light
focuses on the Bible laid open beneath it. The table had been set; my soul 
had been starving, and now, I made it on time. The banquet is before me. It’s
dark. The house is silent. Breakfast is still three hours away.

But then I hear footsteps. This is unusual. Footsteps, now? This early? But 
wait, not just one set, not two — is that three? I make my way back up the
stairs to find three of my children strangely awake, wandering around with 
sleep in their eyes. One had to use the bathroom, the other had a bad dream,
and the third just wants to party. I attend to everyone and escort them back 
to bed. Then I am down the stairs again, only to hear another round of 
footsteps
moments later. So I go up to deal with that. There are some tears and hugs, 
and then I retrace the well-worn path down to my study. But tears and hugs
don’t put kids to sleep. It isn’t long before I am up again, and then back 
down. Up, down, doors opened, doors closed, and then again, and again — God!
I am trying to pray!

What do you do with that? I suppose I should have put on a halo and floated 
up the stairs looking for a precious moment. I suppose I should have 
repressed
my disappointment and “suffered the little children to come unto me.” But 
then again, I really just wanted to pray — I needed to pray. But there are 
these
distractions. Wait, can I really say that? Are these actual distractions? 
No, of course not. Smartphones can be a distraction. Scrolling through a 
Twitter
feed can be a distraction. Checking out Instagram updates or cramming in one 
more email reply can be distractions, but not my children, not persons, not
like that.

And yet, there I was, feeling distracted, prevented from giving full 
attention to something good and right and necessary because I had to do 
something
else good and right and necessary.

It’s light. The house is noisy. Breakfast is overdue.

I was hoping to feel closer to God, but now I’m on the verge of walking away 
more discombobulated than before. Still starving. I had not tasted what I
hoped to taste. I didn’t pray
ten things for my wife
or
seven things for my children
or
nine things for my soul.
My didn’t pray for my church or for God’s global mission or for his name to 
be hallowed — I don’t know if you can call it prayer at all.

But there, on my knees, trying to hit restart yet again, all I could get out 
was “Help.” I had nothing to bring him, not even a consecutive stream of 
coherent
thought. I was a distracted man. I felt stupid, frazzled, fractured into a 
hundred pieces of cheap clay. I was nothing.

But I was there.

And if God was saying anything to me, it was that I could say that.

I was there, kneeling upon the immeasurable graces that he has worked in my 
life, resting my elbows on his unfailing mercies, thousands and thousands of
mercies. It occurred to me then, by his grace, because of what he has done, 
that as rusty as my heart may feel, as stupid, frazzled, and fractured my 
day
might seem, as distracted a man I might be, I am still his. I’m his.

So we’ll do it again tomorrow. I have to go pour some cereal.


If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from 
something that's as obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my 
problems
and my pain and my unanswered prayer. I just have to trust Him.

Anne Graham Lotz

The cricket!

(A.B. Jack, "God's Providence" 1879)

We are all very apt to believe in divine Providence when we get our own way; 
but when things go awry, we think that God is only in Heaven and not upon
the earth.

The cricket, in the spring, builds his house in the meadow, and chirps for 
joy because all is going so well with him. But when he hears the sound of 
the
plough a few furrows off, and the thunder of the oxen's tread--then his sky 
begins to darken, and his young heart fails him! By-and-by the plough comes
crunching along, turns his dwelling bottom-side up, and he goes rolling over 
and over, without a house and without a home! "Oh," he says, "the 
foundations
of the world are breaking up, and everything is hastening to destruction!"

But the gardener, as he walks behind the plough--does he think the 
foundations of the world are breaking up? No. He is thinking only of the 
harvest that
is to follow in the wake of the plough; and the cricket, if it will but 
wait, will see the gardener's purpose.

We are all like crickets! When we get our own way, we are happy and 
contented. When we are subjected to disappointment, we despair and murmur 
against God
and His providence.

"We must confide in the judgment of God, and distrust our own. We are 
short-sighted creatures, and easily imposed upon by appearances, and know 
not what
is good for us in this vain life which we spend as a shadow. But God cannot 
be mistaken. A wise father will choose far better for his infant, than the
infant can choose for himself." (William Jay)

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Breakthroughs Among the Peoples of Southwestern Ethiopia!
Jan 31, 2015 12:00 am

Today's Devotional

Ephesians 6:17-18a, ESV ""

Notice that the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, is the only offensive 
weapon listed in this passage. The others are about protection, but this one
is about advancing against the enemy. Think what will happen when the Bath 
peoples have access to this offensive weapon!

Pray for the peoples of southwestern Ethiopia to embrace God’s Word as the 
guide to their lives. Pray that they will be encouraged when they find 
themselves
advancing spiritually.

Today's People Group

Did you know that GPD readers have prayed for the Tsamais, the Banna, and 
the related Hammar peoples nine times since 1988? We have prayed for 
spiritual
hunger and a desire to find the Father. We have prayed for African 
evangelists to reach these tribes, and for the few believers among them to 
reach out
to others in their communities.

In partnership with the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, the Seed Company 
(theseedcompany.org/) is producing materials that these evangelists can use. 
These
tribes speak languages from the Bath cluster. None of these languages 
contain written Scriptures. The peoples do not read, but spread information 
through
oral means like stories and skits. The Seed Company is producing a series of 
30-40 Bible-based stories that can be used by evangelists. They are also 
producing
training materials that can be used to train story-telling evangelists who 
are willing to go in His Name. In time these will result in discipleship 
groups.
Since the Banna and the Hammar have basically the same language, the JESUS 
Film that is now being produced will be useful for both groups.

How will the people respond? Through the last 30 years, both foreign and 
Ethiopian workers have gone to these tribes with encouraging, but limited 
results.
Now is the time for a great harvest! The nations are waiting!

Pray for God’s powerful anointing for the evangelists who go to these 
tribes. Pray for Him to raise up evangelists, church planters, and 
disciplers for every district in southwestern Ethiopia.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.
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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Today's Devotional

Froggy Grief

"So then, how are you doing now?" they ask. I muster up my best 
going-forward face and say "Oh, good, thanks," then change the subject as 
fast as I can.
Some days, what I say is true, but some days, it is not. Grief is like a 
frog struggling up the side of a well, bent on escape into fresh air and 
solid
ground. Just as the frog climbs up a couple of feet, he loses his grip and 
slides back down. Then, he has to start all over again.

It's over three years since my husband died, but some days, it feels like 
yesterday.

Psalm 6:6-7 – I'm tired of all this — so tired. My bed has been floating 
forty days and nights on the flood of my tears. My mattress is soaked, soggy 
with
tears. The sockets of my eyes are black holes; nearly blind, I squint and 
grope. (MSG)

But in all of this, repeatedly, I find God as faithful as ever to my lonely 
and distressed widow self. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He
comforted all who lost loved ones years before me, and the ones since, and 
yes, the ones in the years to come. What a gracious God!

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, 
today, [yes] and forever (to the ages). (AMP)

Prayer: Thanks, God. Your promises are true and real and forever, and they 
are ours. Amen.

He Knows Your Need

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or 
“What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your
heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
(Matthew 6:31–32).

Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In
Matthew 6:25–34,
he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety. One of 
them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father
knows that you need them all” (
Matthew 6:32).

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet 
our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than
an earthly father.

I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short 
of God’s in at least three ways.

First, right now I don’t know where any of them is. I could guess. They’re 
in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be 
lying
on a sidewalk with a heart attack.

Second, I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess 
from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or 
lust
or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts.

Third, I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. 
But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.

This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason for not worrying. There 
are things that may be happening to them now or may happen tomorrow that I
do not even know about. But it is totally different with their Father in 
heaven. He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He 
sees
every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of
Matthew 6:30).

Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds 
billions of birds hourly,
Matthew 6:26).

So join me in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what 
Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need
them all.”

Copyright Information

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

How to Find Beauty in Brokenness
Debbie McDaniel

It crashed to the floor, breaking into an explosion of pieces. Beyond 
repair. My favorite mug, now being swept into the trash. “Should have been 
more careful,”
I mumbled to myself. In the midst of the hurried cleaning frenzy, I’d lost 
my grip. So telling of real life. “Just glue it back Mom,” my kids said. But
it would never be the same. The damage was done.

Broken things. Very familiar to a
family
of 5, with 4 pets. Lots of things moving around and active in our house. And 
if certain broken pieces are able to be fixed, they normally find a 
temporary
home on the shelf, awaiting the super glue repairs. Or maybe just tossed 
away if unable to be neatly pieced back together and strategically repaired 
without
hint of a patchwork of super glue lines. Often, it takes too much work to 
fix what is broken. It’s easier to just buy a new one.

Ever feel that way? Broken. Shattered. Set on a shelf. Tossed aside. Or 
thrown away. It takes too much work to try to restore. “Just get a new one,” 
the
mindset of our culture whispers our way. “Don’t let anyone see the broken 
flaws.” Such reality in the way we often live in this world.

With our broken families.

Broken marriages.

Broken relationships.

Broken dreams.

Broken lives.

In Japan, they’ve made an art out of restoring broken things. An ancient 
practice called Kintsugi, meaning “golden joinery” or “to patch with gold,” 
is
an age-old custom of repairing cracked pottery with real gold, not only 
fixing the break, but greatly increasing the value of the piece.

The heart of it all - turning what is broken into beautiful, cherished 
pieces, by sealing the cracks and crevices with lines of fine gold. Instead 
of hiding
the flaws, Kintsugi artists highlight them, creating a whole new design and 
bringing unique beauty to the original piece. The pottery actually becomes
more beautiful and valuable in the restoration process because, though it 
was once broken, it not only has history, but a new story.

While most normal repairs of broken things hide themselves, like nicely 
sealed super glue fixes, the usual intent is simply to make something “as 
good
as new.” Yet the art of Kintsugi reinforces a profound belief that the 
repair can make things not only as good as they were before, but “better 
than new.”

Better than new. Soak that in for a moment.

There are lies out there that swirl around and whisper to your deepest soul 
in weak moments, when you’ve lost your grip, and things come crashing down.
You feel the need to hide the scars. You feel like the brokenness has 
rendered you useless in life. You feel beyond repair this time. You feel 
tossed aside.
Forgotten. Shamed. Rejected. As you sit on a shelf.

Yet God breaks through all that mess. You are never beyond healing. You are 
never too broken for restoration. You are never too shattered for repair. Do
not be ashamed of your scars, of the deep crevices that line your soul, or 
the broken places of your life. They have an amazing story to tell.

Here is truth. Just because we’ve been broken doesn’t mean that we are 
thrown away. Just because we’ve been broken doesn’t mean that we are 
un-usable,
set up on a shelf. Just because we’ve been broken doesn’t mean that we are 
forgotten.

Brokenness has the power, unlike anything else, to bring forth new beauty, 
strength, and inspiration to others. Because it’s often in those moments 
that
we’ve tasted deep suffering, that we noticed, we were made for more. There’s 
more. There’s purpose.

The scars of life, the healed wounds, the deep lines, they all have stories 
to tell. Yet often we try to hide them away, preferring instead to present
to the world, a safe façade of who we are, a more “perfect” version. It’s 
too difficult to risk the real vulnerability of exposing what once was. Or 
what
still is.

We have a Healer. One who repairs. Who can fit the broken pieces that no 
longer seem to fit right into a perfect design. He works, often behind the 
scenes,
mending, fitting together, creating a better work of art, more than we ever 
dreamed possible. He makes all things beautiful. Especially in the broken.
All from his grace. It is real life. Jagged edges and all. They have such 
meaning.

You are not just simply patched back together, as he secretly hopes the glue 
will stick this time. Your repair and healing is never intended to be 
invisible.
But beautifully lined with shining grace through every scar and broken 
space. Gold filled crevices of our heart, now stronger, better, more 
beautiful than
before.

And that is what his story is really all about. Bringing life to what was 
broken. He was willing to take on the brokenness of the world in exchange 
for
our freedom. Beautiful Savior. Jesus. Who sets us free. He makes all things 
new. Lavish love.

“Behold, I am making all things new”
(Revelation 21:5).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed 
away; behold, the new has come”
(2 Corinthians 5:17).

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive 
it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”
(Isaiah 43:19).

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”
(Psalm 147:3).

“He has made everything beautiful in its time”
(Ecclesiastes 3:11).

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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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Always in Touch With the Tower - #7317

I think airlines know how boring it can be when you're flying sometimes, and 
they've done their best over the years to try to put all sorts of things in
our seat pockets to entertain us. I remember finding catalogues where you 
can buy the latest gadgets, the required safety info about where the exits 
are,
a listing of everything you can listen to on the flight. And then there were 
the headsets and once you plug them in, you can listen to several styles of
music. Now there was a time when you could listen to the conversation 
between the pilot and the tower. The tower communicated to the pilot at the 
important
parts of the flight, like clearing them for takeoff, or landing. And then 
you could also hear the pilot communicating throughout the flight.

Now, the tower has very important information to give between that takeoff 
and that landing. I mean, there's more to the flight than just the beginning
and the end. I think it's important for the pilot to know if there are other 
planes out there, and if they're close to you. Or if bad weather is coming,
that could mean a change of plans. And, I don't need to hear the 
conversation, I'm just glad my pilot's going to know that stuff. And I 
certainly wouldn't
want the pilot to turn off the tower after he takes off.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Always in 
Touch With the Tower."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Galatians 5:25. God says 
in these simple instructions, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in
step with the Spirit." Of course He's speaking of the Holy Spirit of God. 
He's talking about that wonderful internal guidance system that you've got 
in
the Holy Spirit who came into your life the day you opened your life to 
Jesus as your personal Savior. He's living in your body. He's in your 
personality.
All day long He's trying to tell you the next thing God wants you to do, or 
something He wants you to avoid or change or He wants to guide you through
a decision.

That's why it says, "Keep in step with the Spirit." You can't just plug in 
when morning comes and then again at night. You never know where the Lord 
might
want to steer you next, or when. That's a problem with us busy people. We 
check in with the tower when we take off in the morning, then we don't check
in until the end of the day's flight. You've got to get in touch with the 
Lord at the beginning, at the end, but also as you go through your flight 
all
day long.

We tend to turn our radio off then. Take off our headsets. We make a hundred 
little decisions on our own without consulting the Lord. We get cut off from
the tower, so we end up in a lot of turbulence, we get off course, we crash 
into people, we make unnecessary mistakes. Following Jesus means listening
to the Spirit's directing all day long, not just at your prayer time, your 
Bible reading time, not just the beginning not just at the end.

Now look, I am a straight-ahead, go-for-it, make a schedule, make a plan, 
make a list kind of person. Sometimes I'm so goal oriented, I've 
unintentionally
turned off the tower. At that point you just can't hear the inner promptings 
of the Holy Spirit of God. So I have missed one of the great gifts I got 
when
I got Jesus - the perfect guidance of my Creator who makes no mistakes.

So I'm trying to become a better listener to the Holy Spirit inside of me. 
And I'll tell you, it's exciting. I encourage you to check in regularly 
through
the day, "Which way do you want to go right now, Lord? What should come 
first?" Allow the Spirit to steer you into things and into people you never 
planned.
It might look like a detour to you, but if the Spirit pulls you in that 
direction, that's no detour, that's your main road. I call this 
"Spirit-tanaity".
I'm learning what that's all about; letting the Spirit direct you moment by 
moment, hour by hour.

The Holy Spirit might be saying "you've got to stop and call that person." 
You may not know why this is happening, but you get the prompting. He might
be leading you to write to someone, to stop for someone, to hug a child, to 
stop for time with someone you love or who needs you, He may be prompting 
you
to wait when you want to plunge ahead or to go for it when you want to wait.

Practice seeking the Lord's promptings. Listening to His promptings. Asking 
for His promptings. That's how you end up on course, living every day in the
center of God's guidance. You want the safest route to the best destination, 
keep your headset on from takeoff to landing every day and stay in touch 
with
the tower.

Delayed Deliverances

Immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.
(Acts 16:25)

In this age, God rescues his people from some harm. Not all harm. That’s 
comforting to know, because otherwise we might conclude from our harm that 
he
has forgotten us or rejected us.

So be encouraged by the simple reminder that in
Acts 16:19–24,
Paul and Silas were not delivered, but in verses 25–26, they were.

First, no deliverance:

• “They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace.” (
v. 19)
• “The magistrates tore the garments off them.” (
v. 22)
• They “inflicted many blows upon them.” (v. 23)
• The jailer “fastened their feet in the stocks.” (
v. 24)

But then deliverance:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God . . . 
and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the 
prison
were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds 
were unfastened. (verses 25–26)

God could have stepped in sooner. He didn’t. He has his reasons. He loves 
Paul and Silas.

Question for you: If you plot your life along this continuum, where are you? 
Are you in the stripped-and-beaten stage, or the unshackled, door-flung-open
stage?

Both are God’s stages of care for you.

If you are in the fettered stage, don’t despair. Sing. Freedom is on the 
way. It is only a matter of time. Even if it comes through death.

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

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6)

By Answers2Prayer
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Dusk Dilemma. Alive Series, 11

My oldest son and I had decided to go on a camping trip to Algonquin 
Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, Canada. After the long drive and the 
time it
took us to set up camp, we only had two hours before dusk; but this didn't 
stop us from going on an adventure in the woods. We choose a trail not too 
far
from our camp, and off we went.

As Donovan, my oldest son, is fascinated with mushrooms and fungus, we found 
ourselves stopping often to take pictures of these strange phenomenon that
look more like beings from outer space. Once on the top of the mountain, we 
admired the beautiful sun as it began to set. A lake peeked out from behind
the trees, making it an ideal spot for a photography session. Or at least we 
hoped so!

As we continued on our trek, we began to realize that the sun was setting, 
and we had not even done a quarter of the loop we were on. We needed to 
speed
up our pace in order to beat the soon-coming dark. Imagine being surrounded 
by growling, hungry-looking eyes! Oh no! A real nightmare! Or is it more my
overactive imagination?

Naturally, we absolutely had to take photos whenever we saw beauty. 
Otherwise it would be completely criminal, and of course this delayed us 
from attaining
our final goal. As the night set in, I began to have a problem. I am 
legally-blind in one eye, and as a result, I only see in two dimensions. The 
shadows
from the approaching dusk made it very difficult for me to judge the depth 
of the steps I needed to take. What would I do? It's then that I remembered
John 14:6. If my Master is the way, I had nothing to fear as He was my 
guide.

My son had no problem walking in a dusky forest. His eyes work perfectly 
well. All I had to do was to follow in his footsteps. Whenever the upcoming 
path
was steep or slippery, he would warn me. At times, when the rocks were 
especially slippery, he would take my hand and help me to safety. Following 
in his
footsteps, I never had the need to panic. He knew the way we needed to go.

That day, my Father in Heaven guided me through my son. During my life time 
on planet Earth, I never have to worry about anything, as long as I focus on
the footsteps of the One who is "The Way". He will lead me to a safe haven, 
no matter what. At times He will hold my hand to see me through. Other 
times,
when discouragement is on the horizon, He will tenderly embrace me.

We are truly alive when we hand everything over to the One who is called 
"The Way". No one else can claim this. In Him we can fully trust.

Are you surrounded by darkness and shadows that seem quite menacing? Focus 
on Jesus. He will get you safely out of there. After all, our destination is
where He resides, and one day, sooner or later, we will attain this heavenly 
paradise. The best place for photography, don't you think?

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear 
no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." 
(Psalms
23:4, NIV)

Rob Chaffart
Written on August 19, 2014
Announcement:

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give."

3 Things I’ll Tell My Daughters about Modesty
by Stephen Altrogge

I have three daughters, the oldest of whom is seven, so we haven’t had to 
spend a whole lot of time talking about modesty. Yet. But I know without a 
doubt
that the time is coming when we will be having many, many discussions about 
modesty. How do I know this time is coming? Because our culture is becoming
increasingly comfortable with a highly sexualized version of womanhood. The 
pornification of society is showing up everywhere, from Miley Cyrus 
performing
in front a national audience to the magazines that show up in grocery 
stores. As my daughters grow older, they will be increasingly encouraged to 
use their
bodies in ways which don’t please the Lord.

So what will I say to my daughters when I talk to them about modesty? 
Instead of presenting them with a lengthy list of rules and checklists, I 
hope to
keep things pretty straightforward. I’ll tell them that modesty is a way of 
life in which they seek to honor God and serve others with their bodies.

MODESTY IS A WAY OF LIFE

When it comes to modesty, it’s easy to gravitate toward one of two extremes. 
On one end are those who say that modesty doesn’t matter at all (see Miley,
Beyonce, et al.). On the other end are those who try to codify modesty into 
a set of very precise directives (skirts must be at least one inch below the
knee, tank tops are strictly forbidden, etc.). I would venture to say that 
those of us in the church tend to gravitate toward the precise directives 
end
of the scale. In an effort to keep our daughters from immodesty, we are 
tempted to prescribe all sorts of laws about what clothes can and cannot 
look like.

While I certainly want to help my daughters think through their wardrobe 
choices, I want them to understand that modesty is, most importantly, a way 
of
life. True modesty is a heart disposition before it is a particular wardrobe 
choice. A woman with a modest heart is first and foremost concerned about
serving the Lord and serving others. She will certainly make particular 
wardrobe choices, but those choices will flow out of a heart attitude rather 
than
a set of arbitrary rules.

The reality is, my daughters could follow all my rules for modesty and yet 
still behave in a way that is both sexually alluring and sexually immoral. 
This
is why Peter writes:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on 
of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the 
hidden
person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet 
spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (
1 Peter 3:3–5)

Peter understands that modesty is, above all else, something that is 
internal rather than external. If my instruction regarding modesty focuses 
primarily
on creating rules or checklists for my daughters, than I’ve failed as a dad. 
I want them to understand that modesty is a way of living before God. 
Modesty
is about God before it is about them.

MODESTY IS ABOUT SERVING GOD

In the midst of all the confusion about what articles of clothing are too 
short, or too tight, or too revealing, it’s easy to forget that modesty is 
primarily
about serving God.

God created each of my daughters, and he gave each of them a wonderful, 
female body. Because God created my daughters, they belong to him. Their 
bodies
belong to Him, and their bodies are to be used in ways which honor and 
please him. Lord willing, each of my daughters will grow up and marry a 
godly man
(I don’t want to think of that day!). When one my daughters gets married, 
she will give herself fully (including her body) to her husband (and vice 
versa).
She will present herself to her husband in ways that are sexually delightful 
to him. God is so very pleased when a man and wife present themselves to 
each
other in sexually alluring ways. With all our emphasis on concealing the 
body, we can inadvertently make it sound like sex is a bad thing. It’s not! 
Sex
is a God thing when it takes place in the context of marriage.

As my daughters get older, I want to help them understand that they are only 
to present themselves as sexually alluring to their husbands. Any other 
attempts
to be sexually alluring are not honoring to God.

So does this mean that I will only let my daughters wear frumpy sweaters and 
ratty jeans until they get married? Absolutely not! Beauty is a gift from
God, and I want my daughters to highlight that gift without flaunting the 
gift. I want them to present themselves to the world as beautiful, feminine,
smart, and attractive, without being intentionally sexually alluring. How 
will we achieve such a balance? I don’t know yet! Achieving such a delicate 
balance
obviously requires some serious,
Proverbs
-like wisdom, which can only be obtained through large doses of
Scripture
and a whole lot of prayer.

MODESTY IS ABOUT SERVING OTHERS

I don’t care what people say—the reality is that if a woman dresses in a way 
that reveals significant portions of her body, it will tempt most men to 
lust
after her. To quote Bruce Hornsby, “That’s just the way it is, some things 
will never change.” I’m not commenting on whether this reality is good or 
evil,
I’m simply stating the facts. Anyone who argues those facts doesn’t know men 
very well.

With this reality in mind, modesty becomes a way of serving others. Modesty 
is a way of treating others as we desire to be treated. Modesty is a way of
demonstrating Christ-like love, which puts the interests of others above our 
own interests. All of which matters very much to Jesus.

Before I talk to my daughters about necklines or the length of shorts, I 
want to help them cultivate a desire to serve their fellow brothers in 
Christ.
Yes, I realize that last sentence sounds totally sexist and misogynistic, 
but I don’t know any other way to put it. As Christians, we live in 
community
with each other, and our actions directly effect those around us. The way my 
daughters dress really will effect those around them. Causing someone else
to be tempted is serious business to Jesus. In
Matthew 18:6
he says:

…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it 
would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck 
and
to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Before anything else, modesty is about serving others. It is about 
sacrificing our own personal preferences for the sake of those around us.

CONCLUSION

Will I talk to my daughters about specific items in their wardrobe? Sure. It’s 
inevitable. But I want my daughters to see that individual wardrobe choices
are part of a much bigger picture. I want them to understand that the 
clothes they wear in this life echo into eternity. I want them to understand 
that
modesty isn’t just dad flipping out over a shirt that is too tight, but 
rather, is about using their bodies to bring maximum honor and glory to God. 
Will
I get this right every time? Of course not! I desperately need God’s grace 
and wisdom to navigate this issue.

I’m confident he will supply me with all I need.
Stephen Altrogge is a writer, pastor, and knows a lot about Star Wars. Find 
out more at The Blazing Center.

The Divine Gardener!

"Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more 
fruit!" John 15:2

(J.C. Ryle)

The Father is ever training the members of this family for their everlasting 
abode with Him in Heaven. He acts as a gardener pruning his vines, that they
may bear more fruit. He know the character of each of us . . .
our besetting sins,
our weaknesses,
our peculiar infirmities,
our special needs,
our trials,
our temptations,
and our privileges.

He knows all these things, and is ever ordering all for our good. He allots 
to each of us, in His providence, the very things we need, in order to bear
the most fruit. He gives us . . .
as much of sunshine as we can stand--and as much of rain;
as much of bitter things as we can bear--and as much of sweet.

Trials are intended . . .
to make us think,
to wean us from the world,
to send us to the Bible, and
to drive us to our knees!

"The Christian grows by tears--and withers by smiles. God's vines thrive the 
better for pruning." (Stephen Charnock)

~ ~ ~ ~

We have published J.R. Miller's very insightful and helpful short article, "
Thunder--
or Angel's Voice?"

~ ~ ~ ~

Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

What Gets Me into Heaven?
SHARON GLASGOW

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever 
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16
(NKJV)

She was alone, dying and in pain. None of her family or friends was left. 
She asked the nursing home staff to call someone to minister and pray with 
her.

It was dinnertime when my phone rang. The caller said it was urgent that I 
get there.

I didn’t personally know the elderly woman lying in that bed. We’d never 
met, but instantly, love bubbled up inside me for her. I looked into her 
eyes,
but she couldn’t see me — she was blind. I held her weak hands in mine and 
asked a few questions. Then she said, "I’m dying. I want you to pray for 
me."

"What do you want me to pray?" I asked. Then I paused and waited. Her cloudy 
blue eyes welled with tears that trickled onto our hands. She said nothing.
I said nothing.

After a while of silently waiting for the Holy Spirit to direct me, I spoke: 
"Tell me about the day you accepted Christ." She didn’t say anything. I knew
to be quiet as she processed. Finally, she answered, "I don’t know. I went 
to church when I was little; I was always a good person. But I never really 
knew Jesus."

It was clear where God was leading us. Bertha understood that simply being 
good wasn’t the same as living for and obeying the Lord. We had to take it a
step further.

"Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" I asked.

She nodded and tears streamed down her cheeks as I shared today’s key verse, 
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" 
(NKJV).

I continued, "He died on the cross for your sins and rose again so that you 
can have eternal life with Him. Eternal life is a free gift; we do nothing
to earn it. God loves you so much, Bertha! He wants you to spend eternity 
with Him."

We prayed a simple prayer together. She acknowledged Jesus as her Savior and 
asked Him to forgive her of her sins. Bertha passed away shortly after our
conversation. She didn’t have the opportunity to do more good deeds. Nor did 
she need to. That wasn’t necessary for her to receive Jesus’ gift of eternal
life with Him.

There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to do good: Donate 
warm winter jackets to children in need, deliver blankets to shelters or 
give
canned goods to food banks. Our family invites others over who have nowhere 
else to go for the holidays. But I know that visiting the sick in nursing 
homes
or welcoming the lonely around our dinner table (or any other good deed) won’t 
earn me a place in Heaven.

What will get me into Heaven? Just Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.

And believing that His birth … His death … and His resurrection actually 
happened are the greatest gifts ever. So priceless, we could never buy them.

You see, it’s not about what good things we do, or even the bad things we 
avoid, but about what Jesus has already done. Two thousand years ago, He 
gave
His life in death on the cross so we could have life after death. Like 
Bertha, that is the best gift we could accept in our lifetimes!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life. Your birth and 
death and resurrection are the greatest gifts of all time. I’m so thankful 
that
all who acknowledge You will be with You again one day in heaven. In Jesus’ 
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 6:47, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has 
everlasting life." (NKJV)

John 11:25, 26, "Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He 
who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and
believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’" (NKJV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
God has a plan for you no matter your past. If you find that hard to 
believe, you’ll appreciate Tracie Miles’ newest book,
Your Life Still Counts.

Visit
Sharon’s blog
for more encouragement on ministering to others and enter your name in 
drawing for a free gift to help you.
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Spring Blooms

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and 
through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Early one spring a group was going to meet at our church to go somewhere. It 
was one of the first beautiful, sunny, warm spring day so we waited outside 
for everyone to get there. All of a sudden there came an odor that smelled 
like someone had dumped some kitchen grease in the yard that had turned 
rancid. Come to find out it was the aroma coming from the blooms on the 
Bradford Pear tree. These trees have a beautiful natural shape and are one 
of the first trees to bloom. The blooms look great but then you get a whiff 
of the
aroma and it turns you off immediately.

A few weeks later it was Easter Sunday. The blooms were about all gone from 
the
Bradford Pears but the church had ordered a number of Easter lilies which 
some people had placed around the sanctuary. When you entered it that Easter 
Sunday morning the aroma was heavenly.

WE who call ourselves Christians may look like a beautiful bloom. Others may 
know we go to church. We may tell others we are a Christian. We might carry 
a Bible around or have a Christian bumper sticker on our car. These things 
make us look like a bloom but what aroma are we giving off to those who 
really know us?

I know that no one is perfect and that we all sin from time to time but if 
we show the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control we will 
diffuse a sweet aroma like that of the Easter lilies which may draw people 
to Jesus Christ.

What if those around you continually hear you using bad language or telling 
dirty jokes? What if people see you continually doing personal work on the 
employer’s time?
What if you get your employees to do your personal work during your employer’s 
time? What if people see you fly off the handle often or do many other 
things that are not part of the fruit of the spirit? These people may see 
you at first like a pretty bloom but when they see you doing these types of 
things they smell the aroma of a Bradford pear. If they are not Christians 
then they might think that there is no difference so why should they want to 
become a Christian?

The apostle Paul wrote:

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NKJV)
22 Abstain from every form of evil.

That is what we need to do to draw others to Jesus Christ. WE each need to 
be more like Easter lilies and less like Bradford Pear blooms.

by Dean W. Masters
Owner of the Master's List
Unedited redistribution approved 

How Should Christians Respond to Other Religions?
by Theologically Driven

by
Ben Edwards

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

Universalism

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

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

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

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

Relativism

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

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

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

Inclusivism

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

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

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

Exclusivism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unity, Liberty, and Charity

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever 
believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just 
as
you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be 
in us so that the world will believe you sent me.†- (
John 17:20–21)

Have you ever noticed there are some people who like to fight? They like to 
argue, and they are unhappy when they are happy. So they find something to
get worked up about, something new to debate. They love conflict. It’s a sad 
way to live.

When I was a younger Christian, I felt that it was my job to set everyone 
straight. I had been a Christian for about a year and had been reading the 
Bible
and going to church almost every night of the week. I thought, I’m going to 
set everyone straight. That was the way I was.

I knew everything. I had the answer to every question. And if you held a 
view different from mine, then I was going to talk you out of it and into 
mine.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Obviously, I want everyone to believe in 
Jesus. But if you have a slightly different take on a theological truth than 
I
do, I don’t feel that it is my job to convince you. I like this statement 
regarding believers: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in 
all
things, charity.†The word essentials refers to the most important 
theological doctrines like that of the Bible being the Word of God, Jesus 
Christ being
the only way to the Father, and
salvation
coming through Christ and Christ alone. Those are the essentials. In 
essentials, unity. We don’t ever flex on essentials.

But in nonessentials, liberty. What are nonessentials? Things like the style 
of music. Some people like it loud. Some people like it quiet. Some people
like a certain style. Some people like another style. These are secondary 
issues. We should never divide over them. In nonessentials, liberty.

Finally, in all things, charity, which is another word for love. Be loving.

Do you love conflict and do you want to set others straight? How much is 
charity a part of your approach?

Copyright © 2015 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, 
copyright 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,
Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to
www.harvest.org

The Greater Miracle

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Savior.â€
Isaiah 43:11

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
It takes more of God’s power to save a soul through the cross of Jesus than 
it does to do any other thing. God had no difficulty creating the universe.
The Bible tells us He spoke and it was so. But when God wrote salvation’s 
story, He went to great difficulty. Let me illustrate.

What if I held a service and had the power to straighten a cripple’s legs or 
to bring sight to the blind? The next service would be standing room only.
Now I certainly want God to heal, but let me suggest a different scene. What 
if I held a service and a little girl walked down the aisle and gave her 
heart
to Jesus? That is a greater miracle than opening the eyes of the blind, 
because the Son of God had to hang on a cross in agony and blood to purchase 
her
salvation! Jesus did not come as a great healer or teacher, He came as a 
Savior.

ACTION POINT:
Ask God today to give you the heavenly view—for the angels in heaven rejoice 
each time one lost person receives eternal life. This is the greatest 
miracle.
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 Fri 17 Apr 2015, 10:36 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 24, 2015

Blind Eyes, Part 2: Men Walking Like Trees...
bible
By Answers2Prayer

The book of Mark records the story of an interesting miracle. A blind man is 
brought and Jesus is asked to restore his sight. Jesus complies, but unlike
the other recorded miracles of healing, it takes two times for the man to be 
completely healed: "So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of
the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He 
asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, 'I see men like 
trees,
walking.' Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And 
he was restored and saw everyone clearly." (Mark 8:22-25, NKJV)

Every time I read this story, I ask myself the same question: Why didn't 
Jesus heal the man's sight completely the first time? Why did this 
particular
blind man require two miracles of Jesus to regain his sight?

To answer this question, let's look at the context. This story is sandwiched 
in the middle of three interesting stories...

The first story appears immediately after the story of the healing of the 
blind man. Jesus and His disciples are in Caesarea Philippi, and Jesus asked
His disciples: "Who do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27). They answered 
honestly enough: "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of 
the
prophets." (Mark 8:28). Then Jesus asked the key question: "But who do you 
say that I am?" to which Peter responded: "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:29,
NKJV)

From this story, we see that most people did not know who Jesus really was, 
calling Him John the Baptist or Elijah, but the eyes of the disciples had 
been
spiritually opened enough that they recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the 
Christ.

But did the disciples truly have a clear understanding of who Jesus was?

Not at all, for immediately after this story, we find another. Jesus had 
been teaching the disciples of His upcoming suffering and death, and upon 
hearing
these words, Peter began to rebuke Jesus (see Mark 8:33a). Jesus' response? 
"Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the
things of men." (Mark 8:33b, NKJV)!

Immediately preceding the story of the healing of the blind man, we find yet 
another interesting encounter with the disciples. While in a boat, Jesus 
says
to His followers: "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the 
leaven of Herod." (Mark 8:15).

Unfortunately, the disciples didn't understand what Jesus is saying: "And 
they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'It is because we have no bread.'" 
(Mark
8:16). Jesus immediately rebuked them, saying: "Why do you reason because 
you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart 
still
hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And 
do you not remember?" (Mark 8:15-18, NKJV)

Thus, though the disciples had more spiritual "sight" than the general 
public, their eyes were not completely opened to Truth. Could it be said 
that they
"saw men walking like trees?" Is it possible that Jesus purposefully did not 
completely heal the blind man the first time to teach us a spiritual lesson?
To help us to understand that spiritual sight can come in gradation?

I believe the answer is "yes!"

We need to be aware that although we may have been granted an element of 
spiritual sight into a specific situation, our eyes may still be partially 
blinded.
We may still: "...see in a mirror, dimly..." (1 Cor 13:12a). We may not yet 
have the full picture.

Friends, no matter where you are in your spiritual walk, I urge you to 
continue to seek healing for spiritual blindness. Don't go through your 
spiritual
life seeing "men walking as trees." Seek God's completely and total healing 
of your spiritual sight, and always be aware that your sight may not yet be
100% clear!

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Please join us next Tuesday for the last part of the "First Day of the First 
Month", series, to learn about the significance of the Old Testament "First
day of the first month"!

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

Your Prayer Life Is Better Than You Think
Matthew Westerholm / January 24, 2015
Your Prayer Life Is Better Than You Think

No one, it seems, prays as frequently or as fervently as they would like. 
The Christians in my life, including the Christian writing this blog, often 
consider
their prayer lives disappointing and discouraging.

And so I was excited to find some encouragement for prayer from an unlikely 
person: John Calvin. Calvin may be more widely known for his dour assessment
of humanity then for his pep-talk motivations, but given the discouragement 
we all feel about our prayers, we need all the encouragement we can get.

Many Congregational Songs Are Prayers

Here is his encouragement (taken from
Institutes
3.20.31): Calvin considers congregational songs to be sung prayers. Singing, 
in his sense, is a means to an end: not actually something that church 
attenders
do as much as a way that they do something.

Consider this paradigm. Think of that song of adoration that you love to 
sing. That is a sung prayer of adoration. Think of a classic hymn that 
reminds
you of God’s faithfulness. That is a sung prayer of Thanksgiving. Think of 
that wonderful new chorus where you declare your intention to live for God.
That is a sung prayer of dedication. Think of that upbeat song loved by the 
student ministry in your church. That is a sung prayer of celebratory 
delight.

Sure, not all songs can be sung prayers. Songs that are sung to other 
believers are best described as sung exhortations. Other songs can be sung 
statements
of belief (creeds) or even narrative testimonial songs. But many of the 
songs you love to sing at church are sung prayers.

So, Calvin would say, if you love singing to God, you love to pray. Now that 
is encouraging.

How Singing Helps Praying

Calvin goes on to explain four ways that singing helps our prayers. First, 
singing our prayers helps us unite our gathered church. Calvin writes that 
sung
public prayers are remarkable because “with one common voice, as it were, 
with the same mouth, we all glorify God together.†When an entire 
congregation
sings corporate prayers, it encourages the individual believer. Calvin 
writes, “We do this openly, that all men mutually, each one from his 
brother, may
receive the confession of faith and be invited and prompted by his example.â€

Second, singing our prayers helps focus our wandering thoughts. How kind of 
God to accommodate our wayward mental processes by giving us music! Words 
and
song, Calvin writes, “help the human intention, which is fragile and easy to 
turn away if it is not confirmed in all ways, and they keep its thoughts 
focused
on God.â€

Third, singing helps enflame our withering affections. Calvin believed that 
sincere, hearty affections were essential for acceptable worship. He writes,
“Unless voice and song, if interposed in prayer, spring forth from deep 
feeling of heart, neither has any value or profit in the least with God.†
Singing,
both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests, helps us engage our 
emotions. When melodies ascend, our hearts ascend with them. Repetition may 
sound
unusual in our normal speech, but songs can repeat lyrics to allow our 
hearts to dwell on, and feel, a particular truth more deeply.

Fourth, singing our prayers helps us engage our entire bodies. Singing 
engages a church attender more than passive sitting and listening. Calvin 
argues,
“The glory of God ought, in a measure, to shine in the several parts of our 
bodies . . . both through singing and through speaking.†Singing calls a 
congregation
to engage vocal chords and tongues, diaphragms and lungs. And this points us 
toward the deep relationship between music and movement. Calvin writes that
bodily expressions during prayer (including sung prayer) “are exercises 
whereby we try to rise to a greater reverence for God†(III.20.33).

So this Sunday, as we gather for worship, let us remember that worship 
leaders are not simply leading a time of singing. They are leading our 
church in
prayer. And as you adore your God and confess your faith in song, be 
encouraged to take those sung prayers home with you and use them in the 
fight of faith.

The world will not care!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant 
talk of foolish men!" 1 Peter 2:15

The world will not care about my testimony with the lip--unless there is 
also a testimony in my daily life for God, for truth, for holiness, for 
everything
that is honest, lovely, pure and of good report.

"There is no argument like a holy life!" (Robert Murray M'Cheyne)

"Men may refuse to see the truth of our arguments--but they cannot evade the 
evidence of a holy life. Live a holy life brethren!" (J.C. Ryle)

"You ought to live holy and godly lives!" 2 Peter 3:11

~ ~ ~ ~

We have published J.R. Miller's very insightful and practical three page 
article, "
Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Grace Audio Treasures
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Our Ultimate Hooray
by Charles R. Swindoll

John 11

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave? What is the 
ultimate hope of the handicapped, the abused, the burn victim? What is the 
final
answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden 
calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily 
resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives---more 
than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise 
shattered
thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the 
details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, 
threadlike
thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right," and "Thank God, all 
this will change," and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the 
despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day" 
where,
as John promised in the Revelation, "He shall wipe away every tear . . . 
there shall no longer be any death . . . any mourning or crying or pain . . 
.
there shall no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord 
God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever" (21:4; 22:3,
5). Hooray for such wondrous hope!

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day leap 
in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will
see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the very first face they 
will see will be the One who gives them sight!

There's nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits 
of the heavyhearted. But how can we know for sure, some may ask. What gives
us such assurance, such unshakable confidence? Those questions have the same 
answer: the fact of Christ's resurrection.

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise! No wonder we get so excited 
every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we smile and sing and 
celebrate
His miraculous resurrection from the grave!

Jesus Himself promised: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes 
in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).

Easter is a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony 
and our ultimate hooray of ecstasy.

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.

Our Amazing Bible Passport
Forgiveness and Bitterness

© 2015 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.

AIN’T EVOLUTION WONDERFUL?

Should humans walk on all fours, like a dog or a zebra? Some people believe 
we should.

Copyright 2013

Leslie A Turvey

A servant of the only true and living God

What if evolutionists simply evolved? Imagine: They’d walk on all fours. 
They’d have a hump or two on their backs, like camels. They’d have a 
cow-like
tail to swat away the flies. Their hind legs would be huge, like kangaroos, 
and their front legs would be stubby as a mole’s. That could cause some real
problems because their elephantine proboscis would trip them up with every 
step.

Their eyes would have compound lenses, like bees, so everything they saw 
would be multiplied hundreds of times. What confusion that could cause.

Instead of teeth they’d have sieves, like baleen whales, but they’d get 
awfully hungry because krill, their food, live only in the ocean depths. 
Even with
a neck like a giraffe, without teeth they wouldn’t be able to munch on 
tender tree leaves.

How many teats does a sow have? The evolutionist would have more, making 
them look like the multi-breasted Diana, goddess of the ancient Ephesians.

Imagine their snake-like waists, if snakes had waists. But, like the snake, 
their torsos could be several feet long. And, like the Texas Sidewinder, 
instead
of moving forward, their locomotion would be sideways, leaving strange 
patterns in the sand.

Skin? Not likely. Evolution would have given them scales, like the perch or 
pickerel. They could fly if their gossamer butterfly wings were strong 
enough,
but imagine the weight they’d have to lift.

So far I haven’t mentioned their hearing devices. That’s because their ears 
would be like those of a jackass, the only beast that could come up with a
hare-brained idea like evolution.

But there’s another side to the story. It’s called creation.

Now some evolutionists believe in God, but tell us he did his creating 
through evolutionary adaptation. In other words, God never had a real plan 
of what
life on this earth would be like. He just let it happen! Well, I suppose 
that saved the almighty a lot of thinking, and a lot of work.

But what does God say? He says, “I created the heavens and the earth. I 
created light, and day and night. I created the atmosphere consisting of 
just the
right amounts of gasses to sustain life. I gathered the waters into their 
proper places, and dried the land between the waters so the life I would 
soon
create would have proper places to live.

“I created grasses and herbs and trees so my creatures would have food to 
eat. And I created all sorts of animals and birds and fish, giving each one 
the
characteristics they would need for their reason for being.

“I wanted my creatures to increase in numbers, so I made them male and 
female. Each has the proper anatomies to have babies, just like themselves, 
which
would grow into adults so they could procreate and increase their numbers on 
the earth.

“But I wasn’t finished yet. I wanted companionship, and a cow or a crow or a 
crocodile couldn’t provide it. I wanted companionship from a something like
myself, so I created humans. I couldn’t just let them evolve, or they might 
have turned into something else. No, I had to make a blueprint and create 
them
just like I wanted. And so I did (Genesis 1:26-31).

“Since I have a brain to think with, I had to give them brains too. Through 
the thousands of years many of my greatest creations – humans – have used 
their
brains for good purposes. Others, unfortunately, have chosen to think up 
ways of stupidity, such as teaching that they evolved. But they still haven’t
learned to walk on all fours!”

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Who Is Jesus?
By Skip Heitzig

If there's one issue the world consistently gets wrong, it's the identity of 
Jesus Christ. Every year, there's a news article at Easter or Christmastime
or a special TV documentary on "the real, historical Jesus." But inevitably 
and invariably, they get it wrong.

It's nothing new. Even when Jesus was here on the earth, they got it wrong. 
For example, in John 7, some said He was a good man, and others said He was
a deceiver. In Matthew 16, the disciples told Jesus that some people thought 
He was John the Baptist resurrected from the dead, or the prophet Elijah,
or Jeremiah, or another one of the prophets. In Luke 23, they called Him a 
tax evader and one who subverts the Roman government. In John 10, some 
people
said He was demon-possessed. In Mark 3, even His own family said He was out 
of His mind. They all got it wrong.

In John 5, Jesus healed a man who had a disease for thirty-eight years. But 
it happened to be the Sabbath day, and this was the response of the Jews: 
"Therefore
the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the 
Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with 
God"
(v. 18).

When Jesus called Himself the Son of God, He didn't mean it in the "pop 
psych" sense of the word, where God is everybody's Father and we're all 
children
of God. He meant it in the very narrow, unique sense of one who has the very 
same nature as God Himself. Did you know that verse 18 is one of the 
strongest
verses in all of the Bible that attests to the deity of Jesus Christ, and 
it's from the mouth of His own enemies? They knew exactly what He was 
saying.
In John 10, they accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to be God. I find 
this fascinating, because groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormon 
Church,
and Oneness Pentecostals will all deny that Jesus ever claimed to be God. 
That baffles me, because even His own enemies knew that He claimed to be 
God.

Jesus never said anything remotely like this: "I'm really just another nice 
guy. That's all I am. I'm a model of
religion.
I'm here just to be a good example for people to follow." What did He say 
about Himself? Here's a sampling, just from the book of John: "Whoever 
drinks
of the water that I shall give him will never thirst" (John 4:14). "I am the 
living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he
will live forever" (John 6:51). "I am the light of the world. He who follows 
Me shall not walk in darkness"; "I am from above.... I am not of this 
world....
If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins"; "Before 
Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:12, 23-24, 58). "I am the resurrection and the 
life....
Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26). "I am the 
way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me";
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:6, 9). So, tally all that 
up. Do you see any room in there for "I'm just another nice guy"? No!

Here's the bottom line, the inescapable reality: Jesus claimed over and over 
and over again to be the eternal God in a human body. That's the whole theme
of the gospel of John. Jesus did it all the time—unmistakably. So, if anyone 
denies that Jesus claimed that, they are denying the historical accuracy of
the gospel record, and they are setting themselves up as a better, higher 
source of truth than the biblical record. In effect, they are saying they 
know
much more about what happened 2,000 years ago than even the eyewitnesses 
themselves. So the onus is on them to prove that, and they'll have a 
difficult
time.

Now, here's the personal question: If He is who He said He is, is He supreme 
in your life? Everlasting life is as simple as believing, trusting, and 
relying
on what Jesus said about God and about Himself. There are only the two 
choices. Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me" (Luke 11:23). 
There's
no in-between. Receive Him as your Savior, and make Him the Lord in your 
life.

Copyright © 2015 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
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How to Put God in a Box, OR How to Unleash His Power in Your Life
Dena Johnson

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within 
us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20

I love this verse! It is such a great reminder of God’s power, of his 
ability to simply blow my mind with what he can and will do. I like to think 
about
my dreams, knowing that God can do far more than anything I could ever dream 
up in my wildest imagination.

But, I often forget about that little phrase that says "his mighty power at 
work within us." Have you ever really stopped to contemplate that phrase?

I grew up in a biblical denomination which gave me a very solid foundation 
in scripture. We were always heavy on the Bible, but cautious with the Holy
Spirit. My foundation is in biblical inerrancy, conservative 
interpretations, and absolute truth. But, the official stance was that some 
of the gifts of
the Spirit had ceased when we received the completed word of God. According 
to the tradition in which I was raised, many of God’s miracles of healing,
his displays of power, had no place in our lives today.

However, as I grow in my relationship with Christ, I can’t find a scripture 
anywhere that says the gifts have ceased, the miracles have ceased. Instead,
I find passages that clearly say my God never changes (Hebrews 13:8). Christ 
Jesus himself stated that whoever believes in him will do even greater works
than the ones he himself performed (John 14:12).

If Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and 
forever; if Scripture teaches that we will do even greater works than Christ 
did
while he walked the earth; if Scripture teaches that if we have
faith
we can move mountains (John 17:20); who am I to decide how he works, what 
gifts have ceased, and how he communicates to believers today?

I have reached the conclusion that I have spent most of my life putting God 
in a neat little box that I can tie with a pretty bow. I have decided that
I have always had a God that I could explain rather than a God who defies 
explanation. I have lived as if the time of miracles has ceased, and we are 
living
in a more enlightened age than the ancient biblical characters. I have 
decided that I have limited God’s work in my life.

And now I have decided that it is time to unleash God’s power in my life.

“…his mighty power at work within us…”

Let’s take a few minutes to really contemplate that power that is available 
to us. His power is mighty. But, exactly how mighty?

It’s the power that caused Abraham and Sarah to conceive a child well beyond 
child-bearing age (Genesis 21).

It’s the power that parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14).

It’s the power that provided meat to the Israelites in the wilderness for an 
entire month (Numbers 11).

It’s the power that rescued Joseph from prisoner and exalted him to leader 
(Genesis 37-50).

It’s the power that caused the walls of Jericho to come tumbling down 
(Joshua 6).

It’s the power that made the sun stand still (Joshua 10).

It’s the power that allowed the oil to keep flowing for the widow of 
Zarephath and raised her son back to life (1 Kings 17).

It’s the power that gave sight to the blind man, the power that allowed the 
lame to walk (Matthew 15).

It’s the power that healed the woman of an issue of blood (Luke 8).

It’s the power that allowed Peter to walk on water (Matthew 14).

It’s the power that raised both Lazarus and Jesus back to life (John 11, 
20).

And it is that same power that is at work in me! And it is at work in you!

What does this look like? How does it translate to our lives?

Honestly, I don’t fully know. That’s part of the fun, the excitement!

What I do know is that God didn’t call us to safe living. He called us to 
live out our faith, to take a chance on him. He called us to walk by faith, 
to
take a risk on a God who promises to always be faithful. He called us to 
step out of our comfort zone and live in the realm of the supernatural.

He called us to live an abundant life (John 10:10).

I am tired of limiting God in my life, of experiencing anything less than 
the fullness of his glory and grace and power. I am tired of living in fear 
instead
of stepping out in faith. I am tired of missing out on miracles. I am tired 
of a God that I can keep in my neat little box.

I am ready for my God to unleash his mighty power in my life.

Lord Jesus, you alone are God of the heavens and the earth. You are the God 
who is the same yesterday and today. You are the God of miracles, the God of
the impossible. And, you promise that your power is available to believers 
today. I ask your forgiveness for failing to recognize my own pride in 
deciding
how you can and cannot act, for limiting you by my own beliefs. I ask you to 
unleash your power in my life, to do exceedingly and abundantly above all
I could ever ask or imagine. Have your way in my life.

Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. 
She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and
impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (
Deuteronomy 6:7).
Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. 
You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog
Dena's Devos.

The Ministries of Francis Frangipane

Possessing the Fullness of Christ
(En Español)

We have instructed the Church in nearly everything but becoming disciples of 
Jesus Christ. We have filled the people with doctrines instead of Deity; we
have given them manuals instead of Emmanuel. It is not difficult to 
recognize someone from Pentecostal, Baptist, Charismatic or other 
traditional church
backgrounds. Nearly every congregation seems to develop a particular slant 
or system of traditions, some of which ultimately obscures the simplicity 
and
purity of devotion to Christ. We can honor our traditions, but we must not 
be limited by them. For us, they will never be enough. We are seeking to be
like Jesus, not men. We want the kingdom of God, not typical American 
Christianity.

Thus, as a man of God, I must be vigilant to submit myself, above all 
things, to the Spirit and words of the Lord Jesus, incessantly reaching for 
the holy
standards of the kingdom of God. I consider that any focus or goal other 
than Christ Himself in fullness will become a source of deception in the 
days
ahead.

Look at what Jesus did with common people. In just three and a half years 
average men and women were transformed into fearless disciples, literally 
filled
with the Spirit of God. They did not wince at suffering; they did not 
withdraw from sacrifice. These once ordinary people were equipped with 
spiritual
authority over demons and exercised power over illnesses. They were the 
living proof that Christ transforms people.

Three and a half years of undiluted Jesus will produce in us what it did in 
them: the kingdom of God!

The first disciples were as average and human as we are. The difference 
between them and us is Jesus. He is the only difference.

One may argue that this occurred two thousand years ago. True, but "Jesus 
Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Heb. 13:8). You 
may
say, "But they actually heard Jesus speak; they saw His miracles!" The same 
Spirit that worked through Jesus in the first century is poured out upon us
today. The Holy Spirit has not grown old and feeble; He is still being 
poured out today. The words Jesus uttered in the first century are still 
"living
and active" today (Heb. 4:12), even to the "end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). 
You see, we have no excuses.

The eternal One who established His kingdom in men two millennia ago is 
fully capable of producing it in us today. All we need is undiluted, 
uninhibited
Jesus. All we need are hearts that will not be satisfied with something or 
someone other than Him.

Let me make it plain: God is not raising up "ministries"; He is raising up 
bondslaves. After we recognize that the goal is not ministry but joyful 
slavery,
we will begin to see the power of Christ restored to the Church.

Thus the pattern for leadership in the years ahead is simple: leaders must 
be individuals whose burning passion is conformity to Jesus Christ. 
Therefore,
pray for your leaders; pray with grace.

Is this not the highest passion of your heart, to possess the likeness of 
Christ? From Heaven’s view, the issue with our congregations is not merely 
one
procedure over another; the concern is, will we become people who are 
seeking hard after Christ?

Don't Argue About Church Government
God can use practically any church structure if the people in that 
congregation are genuinely seeking Him. On the day before Pentecost the Lord 
had a small
church of one hundred twenty people in an upper room, but they had been 
earnestly seeking God. In Antioch there were prophets and teachers who were 
together
in one heart seeking God (Acts 13:1). Through the last two millennia, the 
Lord had people who were passionate about seeking God, and God used common 
men
and women to bring revival and awakening.

The outward form is not the issue with the Almighty; the true issue is the 
posture of the human heart before Him. Do we want Christianity or 
Christlikeness?
Are we passionate about possessing the fullness of Christ?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The preceding excerpt is adapted from the book
When the Many Are One
by Pastor Frangipane. This book and other resources available at
www.arrowbookstore.com.
A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.
Copyright (c) 2015
All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations were taken from the
NASB.
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Apr 2015, 4:39 pm

Seeing But Not Seeing

" Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, 
about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all 
these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, 
Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from 
recognizing him." (Luke 24:13-16, NRSV)

The news has had stories of some people who have been blind for a long time. 
Then through medical technology they could see. They could see items but 
their brain could not process all they saw. So at times they could see 
without really seeing.

The two men on the road to Emmaus saw Jesus but were kept from recognizing 
Him until a later time. These two had just gone through a huge ordeal with 
the crucifixion of Jesus, their leader. They thought the whole thing was 
over. They wondered if any of it was true. So they were going home.

When we go through hard times it is hard to see that Jesus is still with us. 
We may be facing a terrible disease. It may be the loss of a job. It may be 
the death of a loved one or good friend. During these times we may think 
that Jesus is not with us. We know that Jesus rose from the dead and 
ascended into heaven. So we can be sure that Jesus will always be there if 
we just turn to Him. As He said,

"… And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”"
(Matthew 28:20b, NRSV)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You that You are always with us. Help us to see 
that You are there even in the dark times and we have a hard time seeing 
You. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Thought: Let us look to Jesus and see Him at all times.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List
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From Weakness to Strength
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Recommended Reading
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
In the several years following the diving accident that left her a 
quadriplegic, Joni Eareckson Tada struggled with every imaginable emotion. 
She was helpless,
but came to discover that God was not. The more she accepted her weakness 
and limitations, the greater her realization of God’s strength in her. She 
has
written, “Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God’s strength in 
you.”

When Paul wrote the often quoted words found in Philippians 4:13, he was in 
prison. “I can do all things through Christ” is not a magic formula. It is
not a promise that we can do anything we want. Rather, it is a promise that 
we can do anything God wants. Paul was confident God was orchestrating His
life and was with him even in prison. He knew that what God expected of 
him—faith, endurance, perseverance, boldness—he would be able to accomplish, 
not
through his strength, but through the strength of the One who lived in Him 
(Galatians 2:20).

If God is asking something of you today for which you feel inadequate, it’s 
okay to agree that you are! Confessing your weakness is the first step 
toward
allowing Christ to manifest His strength in you.

Real true faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.
D. L. Moody
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

Today's Topical Bible Study

4 Life Changing Ideas about Bible Study
by John D. Barry

Imagine a collection of books that allowed for you to everyday hear the very 
voice of God. Consider adding to that collection stories of righteous 
prophets,
holy wars, acts of valor, and slaves being freed. And then, throw into that 
collection personal prison letters, a God who came to earth, and more. Then,
envision the entire collection being ancient, from another time, but still 
incredibly relevant. You already know I’m talking about the Bible. Now, let’s
go through four steps to take
Bible study
from dull to incredible.

1. Change the subject of your study.

This next point is spoken shockingly little, and I think it’s because we don’t 
outright want to admit why our Bible study is seems boring. The Bible is
a means to an end—it’s a means to knowing God as Creator, Jesus who came to 
earth, and Spirit present with believers. God is the subject of the Bible,
and should be the subject of our study. It is not the Bible we worship, but 
the living God, who came to this very earth as a human, as Jesus, to die for
all of our wrongdoings and rise again.

If our Bible study is focused on the Bible, we’re really missing the point. 
Boring study is introduced when we think of the Bible like any other 
historical
work or like a textbook. Jesus himself makes this point to some Jews of his 
time, “You search the scriptures because you think that you have eternal 
life
in them, and it is these that testify about me. And you are not willing to 
come to me so that you may have life” (
John 5:39–40 LEB).

2. Picture it as a movie.

The Bible is full of epic battle scenes and intense drama (read 1–2 Samuel 
or Acts). In our overly saturated, visual culture, many of us have lost our
imaginations. We rely on others to imagine for us, in the forms of movies 
and other mediums. I think this is tragic because it’s in imagination that 
we
find the will power to make the world a better place.

The patriarchs of Israel, the few great kings over God’s people, and the 
righteous prophets, were great visionaries of a better life. They studied 
God’s
past actions (often through the oral tradition of the time) and then 
prayerfully sought the will of God for the present. Through times of prayer 
they were
able to see what others could not—a life lived for God, full of spiritual 
(and often physical) plenty. This vision is carried forward with Jesus’ 
disciples,
who have an opportunity to execute the vision of the living God on earth. 
And we too are meant to imagine the past, both as it was and as it could 
have
been, so that we can envision a better future.

3. Decide which character you are.

Jesus told lots of stories—great parables that were meaningful (see
Matthew 13).
It’s easy to forget when reading these that the point of them is to identify 
with the characters: We either are meant to realize that we are one of the
characters or comprehend that we’re yet to live like the characters do. When 
we do so, Jesus’ words move from obscure to real. He is telling us something
we can do right now. When we hear Jesus, we are meant to take action; we are 
meant to do what he has just asked. This takes the Bible from words on paper
to words lived out.

4. Pray about the next steps.

Prayer is perhaps the most undervalued element in western Christianity 
(compare
Philippians 4:2–6).
Sure, we pray over meals and even pray for people publicly, but modern 
prayer is often treated like asking God to grant our wishes. In actuality, 
it’s
a conversation—he talks and we talk, in a dialogue—and one that should be 
full of thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity to align ourselves with God so 
that
we can do what he has in store for us. It’s where we learn who we are and 
what we are meant to be. It’s where we take the words of the Bible to God 
and
request that he change us, so that we may do what he has already commanded 
for all people (compare
Matthew 6:5–15
;
6:25–7:12).

Without prayer, Bible study will continue to be like studying another book. 
Indeed, you may improve your life, but you will not be holistically changed.
God has the ability to make you better than you could ever imagine being, 
which certainly will not be easy (it means changing), but will be well worth
the journey.

I hope that when you hear the words “Bible study” you will no longer think 
of boring schoolwork or dry lectures. Try turning off the negative reaction
to “study” today by remembering that Bible study is about knowing a God who 
has left you guidance in a book. He is also a God who wants to give you 
personal
guidance today.

You know what you have to do—go make it happen.
John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder ofJesus’ Economy,
dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of 
John’s belief that business can transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also 
provides an online fair trade shop.
He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to
Renew Bihar, India
—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the 
name of Jesus. Learn more at JesusEconomy.org.

What! Not Help You?

Isaiah 41:14

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: "I will 
help you."

"It is but a small thing for Me, your God, to help you. Consider what I have 
done already. What! Not help you? Why, I bought you with My blood. What! Not
help you? I have died for you; and if I have done the greater, will I not do 
the less? Help you! It is the least thing I will ever do for you; I have 
done
more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose you. I made the 
covenant for you. I laid aside My glory and became a man for you; I gave up 
My life
for you; and if I did all this, I will surely help you now. In helping you, 
I am giving you what I have bought for you already. If you had need of a 
thousand
times as much help, I would give it to you; you require little compared with 
what I am ready to give. It is much for you to need, but it is nothing for
me to bestow. Help you? Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of your 
granary asking for help, it would not ruin you to give him a handful of your
wheat; and you are nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My 
all-sufficiency. I will help you."

O my soul, is this not enough? Do you need more strength than the 
omnipotence of the united Trinity? Do you want more wisdom than exists in 
the Father,
more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in 
the influences of the Spirit? Bring here your empty pitcher! Surely this 
well
will fill it. Hurry, gather up your wants, and bring them here--your 
emptiness, your woes, your needs. Behold, this river of God is full for your 
supply;
what else can you desire? Go forth, my soul, in this your might. The Eternal 
God is your helper!

Fear not, I am with you, oh, be not dismay'd! I, I am your God, and will 
still give you aid.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Genesis 17

verse 2 Matthew 16

Prone To Wander
Confessing our sins might seem like a gloomy business—God already knows 
about them, so what's the point of dwelling on failure? But confession is 
more
celebratory than we think. It does not simply remind us of our guilt, but 
points us to our great Savior, who has atoned for us and lovingly pursues us
despite our wandering.
These prayers open with a scriptural call of confession, confess specific 
sins, thank the Father for Jesus' perfect life and death in our place, ask 
for
the help of the Spirit in pursuing holiness, and close with an assurance of 
pardon.
Inspired by the Puritan classic The Valley of Vision, these prayers were 
developed for both personal devotions and church use.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Apr 2015, 11:34 pm

Is Suffering Inevitable?
by Shawn McEvoy, Managing Editor, Crosswalk.com

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what 
is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
1 Peter 3:17,
NAS

Suffering. It's not standard daily devotional fare, because let's face it, 
usually we want to begin or end our day being uplifted, or even better, 
lifting
up God, rather than focusing on our pains and problems.

But there's the rub... we all have pains and problems. Christian and 
non-Christian. Lifelong disciple and baby believer. Red and yellow, black 
and white.
Everyone, from the moment he or she was born, has struggled, tried, failed, 
hurt, sinned, misunderstood, and reacted. Humanity shares a true brotherhood
over suffering, one that we might understand a lot better if suffering 
weren't also so relative. By which I mean, one person's issues may sound 
simple,
easy-to-solve, even petty to another. "That's nothing compared to what I've 
had to endure!"

But the fact is, your sorrows and difficulties are real to you. It's one 
reason why I'm no fan of when people say a certain place or time in their 
lives
isn't "the real world," as if the spot they are currently tucked away at is 
immune from any degree of difficulty.

Suffering is very real, and there's certainly no reason any Christian would 
expect life to be otherwise. We purport to follow a "Suffering Savior." His
stripes have healed us, and wow do we seem to feel them sometimes, which is 
as it should be, as we deserved them instead of Him. If we agree that no 
person
but One - no matter where they lived or how easy or hard they had it - has 
escaped sin's corruption, then how much more must we agree that truly NO 
person
has escaped suffering?

Look at what Peter suggests in today's verse: you can suffer for doing good, 
or you can suffer for doing bad. By extension, some of the problems in your
life may be a result of your own rebellious choices, while other hurts may 
naturally result from walking so closely with Christ that you ache at the 
injustice
and hardship around you, with the world despising and persecuting you.

In the classic allegory Hinds' Feet on High Places, Much-Afraid journeys 
with companions named Sorrow and Suffering, and these two assist her in her 
climb
up the Injury Precipice, which is a part of her transformation into "Grace 
and Glory."

The same is true for you. Your sufferings have informed you, educated you, 
helped you along in your journey. You may despise them, but they are yours.
And they will be with you whether you are doing right, or not. Of course, 
the nature of them will be quite different.

There may yet be one way, though, to avoid suffering. There's a third 
option, left out here by Peter, but not left out
by John in the Revelation.
It's the middling, lukewarm response to life, the do-nothing approach. This 
is the approach that cocoons itself off from life and all of its pain (but
also all of its involvement). And make no mistake, "Life is pain, Highness. 
Anyone who says differently is selling something," says that famous 
theologian
the Man in Black in The Princess Bride.

You may not feel anything from inside a cocoon; in fact, it may be an 
abundance of pain and suffering that forced you in there. But remember, no 
creature
that cocoons itself is intended to stay locked up forever. The point is to 
be rested, healed, matured, transformed. To become more beautiful, useful. 
Even
the emerging process itself carries a degree of struggle, but one that, if 
the insect did not go through unhindered, would leave it too weak to fly.

So be lifted up in your suffering today.

It is a companion.

It is designed to transform you.

It gives you a share in the inheritance of Christ and the brotherhood of 
humanity.

And it gives you empathy, which gives you every excuse for ministry.

Intersecting
Faith
& Life: Make it your goal to partake, as much as possible, only of the brand 
of suffering that comes from doing what is right according to God's Word.

Further Reading

God's Undeserved Gift to the World: Christian Sufferers
Trusting God in the Darkness

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Daddy, Carry Me - #7308

Our son-in-law has done our family a great favor. He took our clunky, old 
Super 8 movies and put them onto a DVD so we could watch them a little more 
easily.
And not long ago I was watching a scene with our oldest son that really 
brought back some, well, tender feelings.

He was probably I guess four years old or so. We were at a tourist 
attraction on vacation. You could tell he was tired, he was in a new place, 
and there
were a lot of new people around. You know where he was? Here we go, all 
snuggled up in my arms. He had his head on my shoulder, oh, and his 
trademark position.
He's the only one of our kids that ever did this. He would take the collar 
of my shirt and put that in his ear with one hand and then he'd suck his 
thumb
with the other hand. And that was just last week! No, no, no I'm just 
kidding. Today, well, he's gone into God's work, he's been a missionary to 
Native
Americans. Now, we still have a very close bond, although I have to tell 
you, he hasn't been interested in his thumb or my collar for a number of 
years
now. But that's why this home movie means a lot to me, for more reasons than 
one.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Daddy, 
Carry Me."

Our word for today from the Word of God: Deuteronomy 1, beginning at verse 
29. God is talking to His people and He says, "I said, 'Do not be terrified.
Do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you will 
fight for you as He did for you in Egypt before your very eyes and in the 
desert.
There you saw how the Lord your God carried you as a father carries his son; 
all the way you went until you reached this place.'"

I can't read this without remembering that home movie of my son and seeing 
myself in the movie. Except I'm the little guy and God is carrying me. I'm 
snuggled
in His arms. Now, there are two times that a child tends to say, "Daddy, 
carry me." One is when kids are too tired to go on. And maybe you're there. 
You've
got nothing left to give. "Daddy, carry me." Another time is when a child is 
fearful. They're in a situation where they've never been before. It's scary.
Maybe you're frightened. Maybe you're unsure. Maybe something's going on 
with one of your kids, or your finances, or your marriage. Maybe you're 
suddenly
alone. It could be an issue or a responsibility that has depleted all the 
resources you've got. You say, "I can't go any further."

The Israelites would have never made it through the wilderness. They would 
have never made it to the edge of The Promised Land, if they had to get 
there
on their own strength and courage. They ran out. And God says, "I will carry 
you, my children. You will be safe in your Father's arms." That could be a
picture of you right now. God's inviting you to stop trying to make it on 
your own, trying to depend on your own resources, trying to size up whether 
you
should even decide to go on based on what you think you can do. When a 
father carries a son, it has nothing to do with the resources of the one 
being carried.
It's all about how strong the one carrying you is.

Maybe you're like me. You like to tough it out. "I can figure out something 
here. I'll find a way. I can make it happen. I can handle this." Right now
it's time for you not to do that. It's time for you to collapse in your 
Daddy's arms and try to find out how powerful He is. You say, "Lord, I've 
got no
strength. I've got no energy to contribute. I'm not going to make it on my 
own." Well, that's a powerful moment. Your powerlessness - a powerful 
moment.
That's the moment of really feeling His love, experiencing His take-over and 
sensing the release of His power into your exhaustion.

What's the result? Well, I know. Because I've carried a tired, scared child, 
and it bonds you incredibly. Allow yourself to surrender your strength for
your Father's strength. Don't walk one more step on your own. Let Him carry 
you. "I carried you through the desert all the way," He said.

You collapse in your Daddy's arms and that will bring the two of you close 
as nothing else can.

Waiting in Silence
by Charles R. Swindoll

James 1:2-4

"My soul waits in silence for God only" (Psalm 62:1). Some of the best times 
in prayer are wordless times. I stop speaking, close my eyes, and meditate
upon what I have been reading or upon what I have been saying, and I listen 
inside of myself. I listen deeply. I listen for reproofs. I think of myself
as a home with many doors. As I am meditating---and often it helps to close 
my eyes so I won't be distracted---I unlock doors and open them as I wait.
It is here that the Holy Spirit invades. Then, I take circumstances before 
Him and I listen with doors open.

Please be assured that I have never heard an audible voice. It isn't that 
kind of answering. It's a listening down inside. It's sensing what God is 
saying
about the situation. His promise is, after all, that He will inscribe His 
law---His will---upon our hearts and our minds.

It's like what you do when you're in love with a person. Isn't it true---the 
deeper the love, the less that has to be said? You can actually sit alone
together by a fireplace for an hour or two and say very, very little, but it 
can be the deepest encounter and relationship you know anything about.

Those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength, according to Isaiah, 
but remember: the key is waiting.

There's a sense of stability in trusting the Lord. That's how we wait 
silently and with a sense of confidence. When we wait for God to direct our 
steps,
He does! When we trust Him to meet our needs, He will!

God tempers us and seasons us, making us mellow and mature when we wait on 
Him.

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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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 12:42 pm

The FAX of Life

Title: Easter: Permission to Breathe

Date: For the Week of April 6, 2015

The annual Day of Atonement was critical to the year of every pious 
Israelite. Among all the joyous festivals of the Chosen People, this day 
alone was
a day of fasting and mourning. It was the day when the entire nation 
confessed its sinfulness and acknowledged its dependence on God's faithful 
love.

Twice in the course of the day, the high priest would enter the Holy of 
Holies. For the only time in the year, he would go into that most sacred 
chamber
to offer blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant. The first trip 
was to offer blood as atonement for his personal sins and thus to qualify 
him
to intercede for the people. The second trip was to carry blood for the sins 
of the community.

What would happen if the high priest polluted the altar? What would happen 
if he offered a blemished or otherwise unacceptable sacrifice? What would 
happen
if the Lord - for whatever reason - rejected his offering? He might die 
behind the thick veil. And the work of atonement would go unfinished.

Because of this, the devoted worshipers who watched the ceremony each year 
were anxious until Aaron or his successor emerged - alive, well, and smiling
now that the work was complete.

This ceremony is part of the rich background to the death, burial, and 
resurrection of Jesus. In his The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Fred John 
Meldau
underscores the particular significance of the resurrection by writing this: 
"If [the high priest] offered correctly, he came forth in due time, but .
. . if he failed to offer correctly, he died there behind the veil. In like 
manner, the coming forth of Jesus the Christ, in His resurrection, after His
atonement for our sins on the cross, shows that His offering was accepted. 
The empty tomb is God's 'Amen' to Christ's 'It is finished.'"

Why is Easter important to Christians? It celebrates the success of the 
cross. It affirms that Jesus' death has been accepted in heaven as a 
substitutionary
and propitiatory sacrifice. It means we have been saved by God's faithful 
love!

Can you picture the Jewish worshipers on the Day of Atonement, holding their 
collective breath while the high priest was out of view? Now can you imagine
the collective sigh of relief as he emerged from behind the veil?

When Jesus emerged from the tomb early that Sunday morning, watching angels 
must have breathed a sigh of relief. And so may we.

Breathe now. The atonement is complete. Our Great High Priest has come back 
into view - alive, well, and smiling.

For back issues and other resources please visit
www.RubelShelly.com

Our Ultimate Hooray
by Charles R. Swindoll

John 11

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave? What is the 
ultimate hope of the handicapped, the abused, the burn victim? What is the 
final
answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden 
calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily 
resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives—more 
than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise 
shattered
thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the 
details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, 
threadlike
thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right," and "Thank God, all 
this will change," and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the 
despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day" 
where,
as John promised in the Revelation, "He shall wipe away every tear . . . 
there shall no longer be any death . . . any mourning or crying or pain . . 
.
there shall no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord 
God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever" (21:4; 22:3,
5). Hooray for such wondrous hope!

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day leap 
in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will
see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the very first face they 
will see will be the One who gives them sight!

There's nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits 
of the heavyhearted. But how can we know for sure, some may ask. What gives
us such assurance, such unshakable confidence? Those questions have the same 
answer:the fact of Christ's resurrection.

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise! No wonder we get so excited 
every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we smile and sing and 
celebrate
His miraculous resurrection from the grave!

Jesus Himself promised: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes 
in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).

Easter is a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony 
and our ultimate hooray of ecstasy.

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

When Easter Feels Overwhelming: Sometimes It Gets Worse Before It Gets 
Better
Bonnie Gray

"You see, there are two very different types of hope in this world. One is 
hoping for something, and the other is hoping in Someone." ~ Pete Wilson

I didn't see it coming.

I went to bed like I always had, ate dinner with my chopsticks and brushed 
my teeth just fine.

The next morning, I got dressed and drove into work as usual. Logged into 
my account and started checking my emails.

I started typing.

Needles of pain shot through my wrists. My fingers felt numb and tingly, 
like they'd fallen asleep. Confused, I tried to mouse and click around. 
My
forearm started hurting even more. My fingers refused to hit another 
keystroke.

Two hours later, I found myself sitting in front of a doctor who specialized 
in treating work related injuries.

"You won't be going back to work for a while. You have RSI (Repetitive 
Stress Injury). Might be carpel tunnel syndrome. We won't know yet, until 
you
get some therapy."

How long will I be out? I asked, thinking a day or two.

When it all was said and done, combining full and partial disability, my
road to recovery
took nearly three years.

Getting Better Or Getting Worse?

When I first started physical therapy, I was very optimistic.

I was determined to heal fast. Take my meds, get my therapy, do my 
exercises and wear my wrist braces.

The problem was healing isn't a linear process.

I was progressively hurting more week after week. My pain extended to my 
upper arms, my shoulders, neck and even my back.

Was I just falling apart?

My physical therapist Tom educated me. You're actually getting better, even 
if it feels like you're getting worse.

Tom drew a swirl of concentric circles on his note pad. He said that healing 
is like peeling an onion. He said that I had ignored the fatigue initially
in my muscles so well, that it caused my body to compensate in other areas.

Pain, Tom explained, was a healthy indicator that my body was finally 
speaking to me.

My path to recovery was to swirl out first -- to understand exactly how far 
my injury went.

Tom gently pointed out that as one muscle group got better, I would start 
feeling the pain in other areas that had been masked on top of the other.

I have found myself in the same condition for many Easters.

I wanted so badly to celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday resurrection, I 
ignored the layers of stress and unanswered questions from my everyday life.

The Saturday In-Between

Don't get me wrong, I've been filled with joy for Jesus on Easter Sunday, in 
praise and thankfulness for the sacrifice and love He poured out for me on
Good Friday 2000 years ago.

I am always brought to tears meditating on the suffering our Lord endured 
emotionally, physically and spiritually by taking up the cross. But, I was 
often
heart heavy waiting to taste the power of resurrection in some difficult 
circumstances.

It seemed whenever I thought of Easter, I thought only of Easter Sunday -- 
the celebration of resurrected life -- or Good Friday -- the death Christ 
suffered
on the cross.

I never thought as pastor and author
Pete Wilson
points out in
Plan B,
of the Saturday In-Between:

"Saturday... It seems like a day when nothing is happening.

It's a day of questioning, doubting, wondering and definitely 
waiting...helplessness or hopelessness.

Is it possible that Saturday is actually a day of preparation?

... Saturday was the day God was engineering a resurrection."

My One Thing

This year, I'm celebrating Easter Sunday with a lot of my story resurrected 
from my "Saturday" life. Not in a way where everything has worked out. A 
lot
of the questions I've been asking for a very long time haven't been 
answered.

In fact, some of
the problems I've asked God to solve
haven't gotten better.

But, I have learned one thing through my time in this extended season of 
waiting.

That one thing is this: Jesus' love continues to be one thing I can always 
say yes to.

In lieu of answers and resolution, I had to continually make a choice. Do I 
let my pain and hurt shape my
faith
-- or do I take my faith and run into the arms of Jesus?

This has been my greatest joy: Not that my life is perfect, but that I can 
choose love -- because Love chose me.

I've been able to find when I couldn't possibly wait any longer in 
dissonance and lack of closure -- the love of Jesus continues to heal me, 
carry me and
attract me to Him. I can continue choosing to love God, love others, and 
pour myself out -- even in weakness and imperfection.

All because Jesus loves me.

Because of the cross.

~~~~~

I had given up hope of ever getting better. Then I got up one day, not 
feeling any pain.

But, it took me many years to get to that one morning.

I will always remember who got me through it.

It wasn't hope in recovery. It was hope in Jesus.

I don't know how long our Saturdays will last, friend.

But one thing I do know, Jesus has walked that Saturday into eternity for 
us.

His love will never leave us and His love will get us through to our Easter 
Sundays.

He knows all about the Saturday-in-between. And He won't leave us all alone 
in that time of waiting.

He loves us all the way.

"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you
and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
~ 1 Peter 5:10

~~~~~
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering 
encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs 
from the belief
that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie 
is the Founder of
FaithBarista.com
and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's
(in)Courage.
Bonnie is currently working on her
debut book,
to be published by Revell Books. Bonnie is a native Californian living in 
the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two 
heaven-sent oys on the homestead.


-----------------------
Welcome to the Nugget

January 8, 2015

Begging for Supper
bible
By Answers2Prayer
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Devotionals
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"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper 
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jer 29:11,
NIV2)

A man, a beggar, sat at the temple gate, begging for money. He had been lame 
his entire life, and his sole income was the few pennies thrown to him by
kind-hearted temple-goers. This was his world, the only thing he knew.

There were days when the temple-goers were generous, days when the beggar 
went home to feast. How he praised God for those days. There were also days 
when
the temple-goers were stingy. It was on those days that the lame beggar went 
to bed hungry. I.m sure that his prayer every morning went something like
this: "Oh God, send big-hearted temple-goers today! I am so hungry!"

This particular day, however, it didn't appear that God was answering his 
morning prayer. No one was giving anything. But wait. Weren't those 
rough-looking
men followers of the One called Yeshua, the Messiah? Hadn't Jesus always 
been kind to the poor? Surely they would give him something!

Peter's words, however, were not welcome ones: "Silver and gold I do not 
have..." (Acts 3:6, NKJV)

The beggar's hopes dropped. Even the Nazarene's followers didn't care. His 
stomach must have growled as he squeezed back bitter tears: He would go to 
bed
hungry. Again. Why God? Can't You see I need to eat tonight?

Can you relate to this beggar? We know what it is we need, and we do 
everything in our power to get it. But sometimes it just doesn't happen. 
"Why God?
Can't You see I need _____?"

The beggar's story doesn't end here, does it? And neither does ours. You 
see, Peter wasn't finished speaking: "...but what I do have I give you: In 
the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6, NKJV)

You probably know the end of the story. Peter reached down his hand and 
raised the lame beggar to his feet. The man's feet instantly became strong, 
and:
"...he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with 
them--walking, leaping, and praising God." (Acts 3:8, NKJV)

What happened here?

The man asked God for one thing, what he thought he needed, and he didn't 
get it. Instead, he got something much, much better.

As we walk through the various valleys of life that we each find ourselves 
in, let's remember this story. We may think we know what we need, and we may
get frustrated when we don't get it. But Truth is, sometimes God withholds 
what we think we need so that He can give us a far greater blessing: "'For I
know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and 
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jer 29:11, NIV2)

Let's surrender all of our desires and disappointments into His hands, ever 
believing that in the end, what God does give us will be as much or more 
better
than what we asked for as the man's healing was better than money for 
supper!

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Does anyone out there find the Bible dull? Lacking in excitement and 
action? Check out:
Lights, Camera, Action!
-- A mini-series in the books of Joshua and Acts by Suresh Manoharan.

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

Which Throne? Which King?
Sunday, January 11, 2015

“A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years…He said to him, ‘Do 
you wish to get well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put
me into the pool’…Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.’ 
Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to 
walk.”

– John 5:5-9 NASB
This paralyzed man thought God might be able to heal him, but he was 
convinced that He only worked through a few strict religious rituals. Why 
did he feel
this way? Because this was the message that had been conveyed by custom and 
tradition, and the thinking imposed by religious leaders. As a result, like
many others in his time, he had a distorted and very limited understanding 
of God's power.

But Jesus wanted them to understand that He is the authority in every 
situation, and that He is not bound by any limits. So He spoke and healed 
the man.
Suddenly, new opportunities were opened up. He helped people see that there 
are no limits to God’s power.

Jesus knows how easy it is for us to place limits on what we think is 
possible. But He came to help us see that there are no limits for Him.

Jesus is the same today as He was then. He is with us in situations where 
there seems to be no hope, and when problems seem insurmountable. There is 
no
problem too big for Him, no situation that is hopeless for Him, no obstacle 
that can stand before Him.

No matter what you are facing, remember that God has no limits. Don’t let 
anyone else place limits on your faith. Trust in Him. Approach Him with 
child-like
faith, simply believing His Word. Confident that He hears you and is ready 
to do for you what may seem impossible.

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, forgive me for placing limits on what You can do. I commit these 
situations to You: _____. I believe that nothing is too big or too hard for 
you.
Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: John 5

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New Post on KenBible.com - Live Love
----------------------------------------------------------

Live Love

Posted: 11 Jan 2015 09:55 PM PST

Imagine a world where everyone loves everyone else, sincerely, from the 
heart.

Imagine a place where people speak of each other only what is true, and only 
what will build each other up;

• a place where everyone treats others the way they themselves want to be 
treated;
• a place where self-centeredness, greed, and fighting are gone;
• a place where people live each day as joined to everyone else, as part of 
each other, as members of one body;
• a place where gentleness and kindness are highly prized;
• a place where forgiveness, patience, and forbearance are the norm;
• a place where need is no more, since each person shares what they have, 
freely and unafraid;
• a place where everything, everything is done in love.

Wouldn’t you like to live in such a place? That’s the kind of world our 
Creator is building. And that’s the kind of life He wants for you. He wants 
to
grow it in you. He wants to help you live such love in your home, on your 
job, in your neighborhood, among your friends. And He wants to start today.

But how could anyone live such a life in this world of greed and brute 
force? What’s more, how can we live that kind of love when selfishness is so 
deeply
rooted within us?

The good news is this: God is love (1 John 4:16). Our Creator is love. The 
One who designed this world designed it for love. The One who designed us 
designed
us for love. Love is our purpose, our heritage, our destiny. Love is the 
rich life, the full life, the natural life that He is giving to every one of 
us.

A life of love is not an heroic feat of self-control. As we trust Him 
simply, step-by-step, we grow in Him. As we grow in Him, He grows in us. His 
love
grows in us. It begins as a tiny seed and grows into a beautiful tree that 
gives shelter and nourishment to everyone around.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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10 Results of the Resurrection

If Christ has not been raised, your hope is futile and you are still in your 
sins.
(1 Corinthians 15:17)

Here are ten amazing things we owe to Jesus's resurrection:

1) A savior who can never die again. “We know that Christ being raised from 
the dead will never die again
(Romans 6:9).

2) Repentance. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by 
hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and 
Savior,
to give repentance to Israel
(Acts 5:31).

3) New birth. “By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead†(
1 Peter 1:3).

4) Forgiveness of sin. “If Christ has not been raised, your hope is futile 
and you are still in your sinsâ€
(1 Corinthians 15:17).

5) The Holy Spirit. “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all 
witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having 
received
from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which 
you see and hear†(
Acts 2:32–33).

6) No condemnation for the elect. “Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus who 
died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of Godâ€
(Romans 8:34).

7) Jesus’s personal fellowship and protection. “I am with you always, to the 
close of the age†(
Matthew 28:20).

8) Proof of coming judgment. “God has fixed a day on which he will judge the 
world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has
given assurance to all men by raising him from the deadâ€
(Acts 17:31).

9) Salvation from the future wrath of God. “We wait for his Son from heaven, 
whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to comeâ€
(1 Thessalonians 1:10
;
Romans 5:10).

10) Our own resurrection from the dead. “We know that he who raised the Lord 
Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presenceâ€
(
2 Corinthians 4:14
;
Romans 6:4
;
8:11
;
1 Corinthians 6:14
;
15:20).

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

Experience the Power of the Resurrection Every Day
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Henry & Melvin Blackaby's new book,
Experiencing the Resurrection: The Everyday Encounter that Changes Your 
Life,
(Multnomah Books, 2007).

The resurrection is more than just an event that happened once in history. 
It's the source of the power you can experience in your own life, every day.
The same power that resurrected Jesus from death to life is available to 
you, and if you tap into it, you'll see amazing transformation in your own 
life,
too.

Here's how you can experience resurrection power every day:

Use the power now, not just in heaven. Your hope of the resurrection isn't 
just for the future when you physically die and go to heaven; it's also for
now, while you're living on earth and struggling with sin. Make use of that 
God-given power to help you overcome sin right now, and every day you're 
alive.
Regularly confess your sins, repent of them, and embrace the forgiveness and 
grace God offers you to keep growing.

Trade religion for relationship. Instead of pursuing hope through performing 
religious rituals, believing right doctrines, or doing good deeds, realize
that those things are valuable yet can't produce hope. Place your hope in a 
dynamic relationship with Jesus. As you live for Him, relying on His 
resurrection
power at work in your life, you'll experience the fulfillment of all God's 
good purposes for you. Instead of focusing on what you can do for God, focus
on what God can do through you.

Set eternal priorities. Ask God to help you see your life from His 
perspective. Look beyond the world's values (which are only temporary) to 
what has eternal
value. Base your decisions -- for all aspects of your life -- on what 
matters most in eternity. Make the most of your time here on earth, keeping 
in mind
that it will soon be over and you'll be accountable to God for how you used 
your time here.

Die to self. Remember that death must always precede resurrection. Be 
willing to sacrifice whatever selfish desires and agendas you have that 
conflict
with God's purposes for your life. Decide to crucify your selfish attitudes 
and behaviors, so God will raise you to new life by transforming your 
attitudes
and behaviors into healthy ones that will help you grow to be more like 
Jesus. Understand that, physically, you're born and live until you die, 
progressing
toward physical death. But spiritually, you're dead until you're made alive 
through a relationship with Jesus, progressing toward eternal life.

Expect the impossible. Just as the resurrection itself was impossible for 
anyone but God, the power behind the resurrection will take you into 
situations
that are impossible for you to deal successfully with on your own. Expect 
God to challenge your
faith
when you ask for His resurrection power in your life, but know that if you 
trust Him, you'll experience greater adventures than you can imagine.

Experience resurrection peace. You don't have to live with guilt and shame 
because of the resurrection's power to forgive your sins. Ask God to flood 
your
soul with the peace of knowing that you're in a right relationship with Him. 
Recognize that if you're deliberately sinning against God, you can't be in
a right relationship with Him, so deal with your sin so it doesn't block the 
peace God wants you to experience. If you want to experience the peace Jesus
offers, you must come to Him on His terms, being willing to live the way He 
leads you to live -- the way that's best for you. Every day, repent of your
sins, so you can enjoy true peace.

Experience resurrection joy. The freedom from sin and hope in Jesus that the 
resurrection produced brings great joy into your life. If you allow your 
constantly
changing circumstances to control your life, you can easily lose your 
happiness. But if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, you'll experience 
joy, which
will remain constant despite your circumstances. Unlike happiness, joy is 
more than an emotion -- it's the ability to see beyond your circumstances to
the God who has ultimate control over them, and always acts according to 
what's best for you.

Use your resurrection authority. Make full use the authority you have as a 
Christian to lead other people to eternal life. The greatest power on earth
is to see a person become born again. So, as valuable as it is to minister 
to people's physical needs, don't stop there. Share the Gospel message with
other people as often as you can. By doing so, you'll be helping to release 
God's resurrection power into their lives. Stay closely connected to God so
your life as a Christian will reflect the kind of character and obedience it 
should. Do your best to live faithfully to represent Jesus well. As other
people see God at work in your life, they'll be attracted to Him. Every day, 
continue to pursue God passionately, and your passion for Him will spark the
interest of others around you who can pursue Him themselves.

Experience resurrection confidence. Since God is on your side, you can be 
absolutely confident in His love and you don't need to be afraid of what the
future holds. Whenever you encounter trouble in this fallen world, trust God 
to lead you through it and accomplish a good purpose in the process. Don't
place your trust in anything lesser than God -- like your family, your 
health, your job, your talents, or your money. Give your allegiance 
wholeheartedly
to God, and you'll experience confidence that can't be shaken by changing 
circumstances.

Experience resurrection hope. Your salvation means that you don't need to 
fear death. Expect God to fulfill all the promises He makes in the Bible, 
and
trust those promises in your own life. Don't little life's petty annoyances 
weigh you down; realize that they're irrelevant compared to your eternal 
reward
in heaven. Live with heaven in mind -- pursuing eternal values -- and 
rejoice in the hope you can experience every day.

Adapted from
Experiencing the Resurrection: The Everyday Encounter that Changes Your 
Life,
copyright 2007 by Henry T. Blackaby and Melvin D. Blackaby. Published by 
Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co.,
www.randomhouse.com/waterbrook.

Henry Blackaby, Ph. D., president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries, is the 
author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling classic 
Experiencing
God. He has spent his life in ministry, serving as a music director and as a 
senior pastor for churches in California and Canada. Today he provides 
consultative
leadership on
prayer
for revival and spiritual awakening on a global level. He and his wife make 
their home in Atlanta, Ga.
Mel Blackaby, Ph.D., coauthored with his father, Henry Blackaby, the Gold 
Medallion winner Experiencing God Together. He travels extensively as a 
conference
speaker. He and his wife and their three children live in Cochrane, Alberta, 
Canada, where he serves as senior pastor of Bow Valley Baptist Church.

New post on Chocolate & God

A Time To Celebrate His Love For Us
by admin

Luke 24: 1-7
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, 
taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away 
from
the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord 
Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them 
in dazzling
apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, 
the men said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not
here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in 
Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men 
and be
crucified and on the third day rise.
To me all other stories pale in comparison to the Easter story. If you ever 
wonder about how much He loves you reread these verses and remember all He
went through to give you freedom from the bondage of sin!
I love reading the different gospels to hear the different accounts of what 
happened. The stories are all the same and yet you get a little of each of
their personalities mixed in so you can see how Jesus touched their 
individual lives. John stands out to me the most because it was obvious that 
He needed
to feel the love of Jesus more than any of the others because he 
continuously talks about it. Jesus loves each of us where we are in life and 
He cares
about what our individual needs are. We are not stamped out to all be the 
same and He doesnt try to reach out to us on the same levels or by the same
means. We need to remember that when we see someone who doesnt quite meet 
our criteriafor where they should be - Jesus loves them and so should we.
That may mean we dont feel they are spiritual enough or on the other hand 
it may appear they are too spiritual. Let God meet them where they are and
show them His way, we just need to love people where they are.
Take time to really think about Jesus love for you today. Soak it up and 
allow Him to fill you with that love for others so they will come to know 
Him
as wel
Quote: If you judge people you dont have time to love them. Mother Teresa

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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Apr 2015, 1:34 pm

Easter: All That Matters vs. All I Live For
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor

He has risen, just as He said.
Matthew 28:6,
NIV

What would I ever do if someone I knew came back from the dead? Especially 
if he had said he would, and if he had spent a couple nights in a grave 
already?

Seriously, what would I do? What would you do? Wouldn't I blab to everyone I 
know - and most people I don't - about this miraculous event? Heck, I tell
everyone when I'm feeling under the weather or when I saw a good movie.

Then factor in that the same guy was now telling us that because of what he 
had done, none of the rest of us would ever have to suffer death. What's 
more,
simply by believing what we had seen, no matter our background, history, 
race, or education, we could restore our long-lost connection with the 
Almighty,
and live forever.

Man... unfortunately, I'm having a hard time conceiving what I would do. Or, 
even if I can conceive it, I can't quite believe it, because honestly, I 
have seen
this, I do believe this, and yet my daily reaction to it doesn't exactly 
line up with The Acts of the Apostles.

Has the news of a resurrected savior really become passe?

Why don't I want to read Acts?

What am I afraid of?

That I'll be rejected?

(He who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you 
his Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 4:8)).

That I won't be powerful enough?

(God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love 
and of self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7)).

That the good news isn't relevant enough?

Salvation and the message of the resurrection, the miracle of born 
again-ness, is a salve to all wounds.

This Easter I'll join choruses like "He's Alive" while pondering and 
praising the miracle, but when it comes time for the next day of my life to 
begin,
a day and a life that means nothing if not lived for my Savior, it'll be all 
about me again and my troubles and making my way and who cut me off and what
I have to get done and who I don't like and what can we complain about 
today.

Yuck.

I want this Easter to be real. Because I did see it happen (so to speak; the 
resulting spread of those who ran to the corners of the earth to tell the
story with no regard for personal safety is traceable to this day), it is 
real, and I'm cheating life and people God loves if I'm not shouting those 
facts
from every corner and rooftop I can find. Everything else is just window 
dressing; "Christian living" is often just how we pass all our extra time in 
this
country where so many of our basic needs are so easily met, and where we can 
cordon ourselves off from each other. What matters in life?

1. That there is life, and...
2. how it came about that there might never be death, but...
3. there are still dead men walking.

Really, why else are we here if not to keep excitedly shouting the truth of 
the miracle as if we'd just experienced it with our own eyes yesterday?

Intersecting
Faith
& Life: For the longest time, I've felt a leading in my heart to launch out 
into a complete study of the book of Acts, something I've never fully done.
For some reason, I continue to put it off. But in my quest this year to make 
Easter real, I'm beginning a study of what those who witnessed the 
resurrection
couldn't keep themselves from going out and doing. Care to join me?

Further Reading
Acts 1:1

Unshakeable
by Skip Heitzig

Did you ever wonder about that stone at the tomb of Jesus? Why was it moved? 
It wasn’t to let Jesus out; Jesus could get out of the tomb as easily as He
entered the Upper Room later, without using the door. No, the reason the 
stone was rolled away was not to let Jesus out, but to let the disciples in 
so
they could see!

And what did they see there? They saw that the body of Jesus was gone, but 
the grave clothes were still there, lying undisturbed. In
John 20:1-8
there are different Greek words used for "saw." When it says Mary and Peter 
saw, it means they noted. When it says that John saw, it means that he saw
with understanding, with comprehension.

Peter entered the tomb. "Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb 
first, went in also; and he saw and believed" (John 20:8). When John saw the 
grave
clothes, he thought, "I get it!" He believed that Jesus was alive, based on 
what he saw.

Then John adds something that seems puzzling at first. Verse 9 says, “For as 
yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”
They saw an empty tomb and empty grave clothes, and they formed their 
beliefs based on that. They knew what they saw.

But by the time John wrote his gospel, they knew the
theology
of Christ’s resurrection. Their faith, once based on physical evidence—the 
open tomb, the body gone, the clothes intact (as good as that was to 
convince
John at that moment)—wasn’t enough to sustain a person through life. “This 
is what we saw, but we didn’t know the scripture yet” points to the fact 
that
there’s something even better to base your belief and knowledge upon, and 
that’s the objective, inerrant prophecy in the Word of God.

Observation and personal experience aren’t enough! The Bible predicted that 
Christ would rise from the dead. What Peter called “a more sure word of 
prophecy”
(
2 Peter 1:19,
KJV) is a more sure foundation.

So how do you know that you know? You could say, “I know because I saw or I 
heard.” But here’s something better: “What I saw and what I heard was 
predicted
long ago in the prophets.” So now the subjective experience is bolstered by 
the objective prophecy of the Bible—and that’s unshakeable.

That’s what I want you to see here—the fundamental importance of the Word of 
God. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My
words will by no means pass away.”

The experience which we have with Christ is valid only as it is tied to 
something that is outside of our experience, something that is objective—the 
inerrant
Word of God. With that, we can face anything.

If you just have the inerrant Word of Scripture but you don’t have an 
experience with God yourself, then it’s not personal. If you have your 
personal experience
but it doesn’t match what the scripture says, then it’s not reasonable. Put 
them both together, it’s powerful. It’s unshakeable.

That’s my prayer for you at this Easter season, that you will have an 
unshakeable faith, based on the sure word of prophecy and a personal, vital 
relationship
with Jesus Christ, the risen Redeemer!

Copyright © 2013 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.

 KenBible.com - The Christ of Easter
----------------------------------------------------------
The Christ of Easter

Posted: 10 Mar 2015 09:55 PM PDT

from
A Christ-centered Year

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
(1 Corinthians 6:14, NIV)

During Easter, Jesus is the Life of the Father,
overcoming death and sin forever.

Consider the power of His Life in your life.
He became a helpless infant,
so He doesn’t recoil at your weakness.

He wrapped Himself in shame, rejection, and homelessness,
so He isn’t offended by your lowliness.

He poured Himself out in teaching and healing,
so He warmly embraces you in your ignorance and need.

He begged forgiveness for His torturers.
so He will not abandon you in your sin.

He silently accepted all the abuse His enemies could dish out,
so He will not be frightened away by anything you might do.

The Life that spoke all life into existence
could not be defeated by death—
not in Christ and
not in you.
This Life took the worst that evil could give and
emerged the Conqueror.

You have absolutely nothing to fear.
Not now.
Not ever.
The unconquerable Life is now your life.

“Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3, NIV)

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54, NIV)
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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 26 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

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DEAN MASTERS LIST
Love Worth Finding Ministries
Dead and Buried

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to 
the Scriptures.”
1 Corinthians 15:4

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
One of the grandest blessings in the entire Bible is often missed by 
believers. It is the burial of Jesus Christ! That’s right! The burial of 
Jesus is
a blessing to you. Because not only have we died with Him, we have been 
buried with Him.

When Jewish people died in Bible times, they were immediately embalmed with 
special oils and wrapped in linen. The body was hidden and buried in a tomb.
That is what Jesus has done with our old body of sin.

Not only have we been crucified with Christ, we have been buried with 
Christ. Why the emphasis? So that you will not be haunted by the ghost of 
guilt.
Your old life is not just dead, it’s buried!

ACTION POINT:
The devil will try to remind you what you were. Don’t let him. Don’t go 
prowling around in the dead bones of your old life. It is gone by the grace 
of God!

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket 
of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled 
with
him." (Gen 32:25-26)

By Answers2Prayer
The Black Eye: An Easter Message

There it was, my worst nightmare: The ugliest face in the dramatic 
presentation was not the devil's. It was . . . Mine!

It all started like this:

Our church was sponsoring the program, "Heavens Gates, Hell's Flames" for 
Easter weekend, but during the Good Friday service, it was announced that if
more participants didn't come forward, the production would have to be 
cancelled.

Now I'll admit, I'm a bit of a ham. I love drama, and though I'm not great 
at it, I've always enjoyed the thrill of being on stage, and the next 
morning
found me awaiting assignment of my role.

Lots of angels were needed, but since angels didn't have speaking roles, I 
didn't particularly want to be one. I wrestled with this for a few minutes 
before
God gave me victory, and it was with honest conviction that I could then 
tell the director I would do anything he needed me to do, including being an 
angel.

Sure enough, I was assigned to be an angel, but when one of the actresses 
begged to be relieved of her speaking role, I am happy to say that it was 
with
all humility that I accepted her part.

Then I received my lines. Four simple ones. Hey, no problem! No need for 
outside help here! I'd have this down in a matter of minutes!

Sunday afternoon rolled around. Two complete practices were schedule before 
the first performance, and after the first one, I was feeling smug. This was
definitely within my comfort zone!

The lights went out for the beginning of the second practice, and strains of 
Via Delarosa filled the auditorium as our pastor, playing the part of Jesus,
stumbled down the centre aisle under the wooden cross. Then the strobe 
lights came on, and the cast charged, running wildly forward as screams of 
"Crucify
Him" filled the air. And I was the most enthusiastic one in that crowd.

But halfway down the aisle, I tripped, cracking my forehead and ribs against 
the corner of a church pew.

As I later sat with an icepack to my forehead, it struck me that I could no 
longer play my role. I was dizzy, I had a headache, my side hurt, and my eye
was fast turning into a beautiful shade of purple. There was no way I could 
stand up on stage like this!

That's when I finally did what I should have done in the first place: I went 
down on my knees before my Lord and maker, and weeping, I confessed to Him
that I couldn't do it on my own, and I had been wrong to think I could. Oh, 
how I needed His help!

The play went on that night. A little make-up on my other eye made me look 
like I was wearing purple eye shadow, and even my 17 year old couldn't tell
I had been injured. The production was a huge success, and more than 20 
people came forward in the altar call. Now that was God!

But God had only begun teaching me lessons. By the next day, my face was so 
swollen and purple that I could have played the devil in the production 
without
make-up. How was I going to do the next two shows? It was too late to make 
changes in the cast!

That's when God again spoke to me, this time, through the story of Jacob.

Jacob, the trickster, had always relied on himself, giving himself credit 
for the blessings God had given him. But now Jacob stood facing the threat 
of
an angry brother coming at him with 400 armed men.

What did Jacob do? He gave it to God!

But then he took things into his own hands, dividing his family up into two 
groups, sending huge gifts to his brother, and during the night, he even 
sent
his entire family over the river, thinking they would be safer there.

Talk about faltering faith!

But then, Jacob was used to figuring his way out of problems, wasn't he?

Then a "man" appeared and wrestled with Jacob until daybreak: "Now when He 
saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; 
and
the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him." (Gen 
32:25-26 NKJV)

Wait a minute! We know that the "man" was God Himself: "So Jacob called the 
name of the place Peniel: 'For I have seen God face to face, and my life is
preserved.'" (Gen 32:30-31)! Why was it that God couldn't prevail over 
Jacob? Was Jacob stronger than God?

Friends, the "man" couldn't bring Jacob down because Jacob was too 
self-reliant for God to be able to do a good work in his life! God didn't 
prevail against
Jacob because Jacob was too full of himself!

Isn't that exactly how I had been the previous day during play practice?

But now, in much the same way that the "man" had touched the socket of 
Jacob's hip, throwing the hip out of joint, I had been touched, bringing me 
to the
place that I could do nothing on my own.

Friends, I thank God for that black eye. I thank Him for this reminder that 
I cannot do anything of Kingdom value on my own! Only when I empty myself of
me can there be any hope that any of my efforts will have Kingdom results!

The play went on for the next two nights, and with a few God-inspired 
script-changes, I continued in my role. And between the three showings, 
50-60 people
gave their hearts to Christ. That's what can happen, friends, when we empty 
ourselves and allow God to fill us with Him!

As Easter approaches this year, let's remember that Jesus died on that 
rugged cross and rose again the third day, not only to become our Savior, 
but also
to become the Lord of our lives! Will you join me this Easter in emptying 
ourselves of us, so that we can be more completely filled with Him?

Lyn Chaffart

Announcement:

Do you need uplifting messages? Are you enjoying devotionals? Visit 
Scriptural Nuggets http://www.scripturalnuggets.org/ and discover hundreds 
of messages
for all occasions. A real blessing! The Scriptural Nuggets offers it’s 
own newsletter as well. Quite inspiring! If you are interested in trying out
this fantastic new newsletter,
subscribe here
or by
emailing us.

Enjoy

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

Peters Hollow Egg Fight

Every Easter since 1823 there has been an egg fight in Peters Hollow in 
Northeast Tennessee. No, it isn’t like some places have tomato festivals and 
throw rotten tomatoes at each other. It started out with local farmers 
seeing whose hens laid eggs with the hardest shells. Today they get a big 
crowd of people competing. They are allowed to bring in a certain number of 
hard boiled eggs. One person cups an egg in his hand with the small end 
pointing up. A challenger holds his egg with the small end pointing down. 
The challenger then gently taps the other egg until one of them cracks. When 
someone is left with at least one egg that isn’t cracked, he or she is the 
winner.

This thinking about a hard shell reminds me of the following Scripture:

Ezekiel 11:19 (NLT)
19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within 
them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts 
instead,

All of us know people who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal 
Savior. Some of them may be very giving people but have a hard shell when it 
comes to surrendering their lives to Jesus. Don’t give up on them. The 
resurrection power of Jesus Christ can break that shell as written in the 
book of Ezekiel above. Keep praying for these people. Keep on being their 
friends. If you are not their friends yet and could be one, do that. Let 
them see what Jesus Christ can do in someone. Then lead these people to Him. 
This is not done through our power but through the Holy Spirit, the 
resurrection power.

Many Christians may still have some hard shells also, maybe even you. David 
Wilkerson calls these “besetting sins”. If you have any of these that you 
just can’t seem to conquer, don’t give up. Trust on the resurrection power 
of Jesus Christ. He will keep pecking at that hard shell just like the 
challenger at the egg fight. Surrender it all to Jesus Christ and let Him 
break that hard shell in your life. Stop fighting and give it all to Jesus.

by Dean W. Masters

Eight Reasons Why I Believe That Jesus Rose from the Dead
by John Piper

1. Jesus himself testified to his coming resurrection from the dead.

Jesus spoke openly about what would happen to him: crucifixion and then 
resurrection from the dead. "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be 
rejected
by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after 
three days rise again" (Mark 8:31; see also
Matthew 17:22
;
Luke 9:22).
Those who consider the resurrection of Christ unbelievable will probably say 
that Jesus was deluded or (more likely) that the early church put these 
statements
in his mouth to make him teach the falsehood that they themselves conceived. 
But those who read the Gospels and come to the considered conviction that
the one who speaks so compellingly through these witnesses is not the 
figment of foolish imagination will be unsatisfied with this effort to 
explain away
Jesus' own testimony to his resurrection from the dead.

This is especially true in view of the fact that the words which predict the 
resurrection are not only the simple straightforward words quoted above, but
also the very oblique and indirect words which are far less likely to be the 
simple invention of deluded disciples. For example, two separate witnesses
testify in two very different ways to Jesus' statement during his lifetime 
that if his enemies destroyed the temple (of his body), he would build it 
again
in three days (
John 2:19
;
Mark 14:58
; cf.
Matthew 26:61).
He also spoke illusively of the "sign of Jonah" — three days in the heart of 
the earth (
Matthew 12:39
;
Matthew 16:4).
And he hinted at it again in Matthew 21:42 — "The very stone which the 
builders rejected has become the head of the corner." On top of his own 
witness
to the coming resurrection, his accusers said that this was part of Jesus' 
claim: "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 
‘After
three days I will rise'" (Matthew 27:63).

Our first evidence of the resurrection, therefore, is that Jesus himself 
spoke of it. The breadth and nature of the sayings make it unlikely that a 
deluded
church made these up. And the character of Jesus himself, revealed in these 
witnesses, has not been judged by most people to be a lunatic or a deceiver.

2. The tomb was empty on Easter.

The earliest documents claim this: "When they went in they did not find the 
body of the Lord Jesus" (Luke 24:3). And the enemies of Jesus confirmed it
by claiming that the disciples had stolen the body (
Matthew 28:13).
The dead body of Jesus could not be found. There are four possible ways to 
account for this.

2.1 His foes stole the body. If they did (and they never claimed to have 
done so), they surely would have produced the body to stop the successful 
spread
of the
Christian faith
in the very city where the crucifixion occurred. But they could not produce 
it.

2.2 His friends stole the body. This was an early rumor (
Matthew 28:11-15).
Is it probable? Could they have overcome the guards at the tomb? More 
important, would they have begun to preach with such authority that Jesus 
was raised,
knowing that he was not? Would they have risked their lives and accepted 
beatings for something they knew was a fraud?

2.3 Jesus was not dead, but only unconscious when they laid him in the tomb. 
He awoke, removed the stone, overcame the soldiers, and vanished from 
history
after a few meetings with his disciples in which he convinced them he was 
risen from the dead. Even the foes of Jesus did not try this line. He was 
obviously
dead. The Romans saw to that. The stone could not be moved by one man from 
within who had just been stabbed in the side by a spear and spent six hours
nailed to a cross.

2.4 God raised Jesus from the dead. This is what he said would happen. It is 
what the disciples said did happen. But as long as there is a remote 
possibility
of explaining the resurrection naturalistically, modern people say we should 
not jump to a supernatural explanation. Is this reasonable? I don't think
so. Of course, we don't want to be gullible. But neither do we want to 
reject the truth just because it's strange. We need to be aware that our 
commitments
at this point are much affected by our preferences — either for the state of 
affairs that would arise from the truth of the resurrection, or for the 
state
of affairs that would arise from the falsehood of the resurrection. If the 
message of Jesus has opened you to the reality of God and the need of 
forgiveness,
for example, then anti-supernatural dogma might lose its power over your 
mind. Could it be that this openness is not prejudice for the resurrection, 
but
freedom from prejudice against it?

3. The disciples were almost immediately transformed from men who were 
hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (
Luke 24:21,
John 20:19)
into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the resurrection (
Acts 2:24,
Acts 3:15,
Acts 4:2)
.

Their explanation of this change was that they had seen the risen Christ and 
had been authorized to be his witnesses (
Acts 2:32).
The most popular competing explanation is that their confidence was owing to 
hallucinations. There are numerous problems with such a notion. The 
disciples
were not gullible, but level-headed skeptics both before and after the 
resurrection (
Mark 9:32,
Luke 24:11,
John 20:8-9).
Moreover, is the deep and noble teaching of those who witnessed the risen 
Christ the stuff of which hallucinations are made? What about Paul's great 
letter
to the Romans? I personally find it hard to think of this giant intellect 
and deeply transparent soul as deluded or deceptive, and he claimed to have 
seen
the risen Christ.

4. Paul claimed that, not only had he seen the risen Christ, but that 500 
others had seen him also, and many were still alive when he made this public
claim.

"Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of 
whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6). 
What
makes this so relevant is that this was written to Greeks who were skeptical 
of such claims when many of these witnesses were still alive. So it was a
risky claim if it could be disproved by a little firsthand research.

5. The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian 
church supports the truth of the resurrection claim.

The church spread on the power of the testimony that Jesus was raised from 
the dead and that God had thus made him both Lord and Christ (
Acts 2:36).
The Lordship of Christ over all nations is based on his victory over death. 
This is the message that spread all over the world. Its power to cross 
cultures
and create one new people of God was a strong testimony of its truth.

6. The Apostle Paul's conversion supports the truth of the resurrection.

He argues to a partially unsympathetic audience in Galatians 1:11-17 that 
his gospel comes from the risen Jesus Christ, not from men. His argument is 
that
before his Damascus Road experience when he saw the risen Jesus, he was 
violently opposed to the Christian faith (Acts 9:1). But now, to everyone's 
astonishment,
he is risking his life for the gospel (Acts 9:24-25). His explanation: The 
risen Jesus appeared to him and authorized him to spearhead the Gentile 
mission
(Acts 26:15-18). Can we credit such a testimony? This leads to the next 
argument.

7. The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers.

How do you credit a witness? How do you decide whether to believe a person's 
testimony? The decision to give credence to a person's testimony is not the
same as completing a mathematical equation. The certainty is of a different 
kind, yet can be just as firm (I trust my wife's testimony that she is 
faithful).
When a witness is dead, we can base our judgment of him only on the content 
of his writings and the testimonies of others about him. How do Peter and 
John
and Matthew and Paul stack up?

In my judgment (and at this point we can live authentically only by our own 
judgment—Luke 12:57), these men's writings do not read like the works of 
gullible,
easily deceived or deceiving men. Their insights into human nature are 
profound. Their personal commitment is sober and carefully stated. Their 
teachings
are coherent and do not look like the invention of unstable men. The moral 
and spiritual standard is high. And the lives of these men are totally 
devoted
to the truth and to the honor of God.

8. There is a self-authenticating glory in the gospel of Christ's death and 
resurrection as narrated by the biblical witnesses.

The New Testament teaches that God sent the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus as 
the Son of God. Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide
you into all the truth.... He will glorify me" (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit 
does not do this by telling us that Jesus rose from the dead. He does it by
opening our eyes to see the self-authenticating glory of Christ in the 
narrative of his life and death and resurrection. He enables us to see Jesus 
as
he really was, so that he is irresistibly true and beautiful. The apostle 
stated the problem of our blindness and the solution like this: "The god of 
this
world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the 
light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.... For
God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to 
give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ"
(2 Corinthians 4:4, 6).

A saving knowledge of Christ crucified and risen is not the mere result of 
right reasoning about historical facts. It is the result of spiritual 
illumination
to see those facts for what they really are: a revelation of the truth and 
glory of God in the face of Christ — who is the same yesterday today and 
forever.

Pastor John

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

Are You in the Belly of a Big Fish?
by Fred Alberti, Salem Web Network Director of Social Media

But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside 
the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:17

Being a homeschool
family
we sometimes have some rather interesting experiments that we get to enjoy 
as a family. George is one such experiment. George is a goldfish whose 
bowl-mate
sadly perished. My son's task was to teach the goldfish to come to the top 
of the bowl when he tapped on the glass. After several weeks of tapping and
feeding and tapping and feeding the fish finally learned to come to the top 
of the bowl.

Big deal right? Right, that is until the fish started to do more. Anytime 
someone would walk by the bowl he would get all excited and start moving his
mouth like he was yelling at whoever it was that was walking by the bowl. 
This became rather normal and we would just ignore him or comment that he 
was
yelling at us in Spanish.

Then one day my kids were listening to an FFH song titled "
Big Fish."
It was then that George decided to really show off what he could do. When 
the song played George would begin to swim around like he was dancing in the
water and would seemingly move his mouth to the words (move over Ashlee 
Simpson).

I particularly like the first verse of the song which goes like this:

Are you in the big fish
Are you sitting in the belly of a world gone mad
Have you turned your back in His wish
On His will for your life, have you made Him sad
Do you want to get out of the big fish
Listen to God and follow His plan
And you won't be part of the main dish
He'll spit you out on to dry land

I've sometimes felt like I was in the belly of a big fish. I had decided to 
do something my way instead of first seeking the Lord's guidance and 
leading.

You, whoever you are, God has a plan for your life. Maybe you feel like you 
are wasting your time at a dead-end job. Or perhaps you have no job but 
would
desperately like one. Maybe you think you have the dream job but the Lord 
has been speaking to you in a still small voice to give it up for something 
else.
Like Jonah, you may not particularly like the mission God has for you but He 
has the intention of making you ideally suited to carry that plan out.

Will you follow His plan or will you turn your back?

Maybe you've already chosen to turn your back and feel that there is no way 
out now. If that is the case I've got good news for you. The Bible has this
to say about Jonah, "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God" 
(Jonah 2:1). God is the God of second, third, and fourth chances.

Commit your way to the Lord today.

Intersecting
Faith
& Life: Buy a goldfish if you don't have one already. As you feed it 
remember that the Lord has a purpose and a plan for your life. Ask Him to 
reveal
it to you daily.

Further Reading

Jonah Runs From God
Jonah and Me
Hebrews 13:20-21
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Stinky Feet
by Laura MacCorkle

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
Words & Music by Stuart Townend

Today is Thursday, the fifth day of Holy Week. And many Christians know it 
as Maundy Thursday.

The word maundy means “a new commandment” and is derived from the Latin word 
Mandatum in translating Jesus’ commandment in
John 13:34-35.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you 
must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, 
if
you love one another.”

Before he said that, Jesus had demonstrated his love that same evening 
during the Last Supper, as he humbled himself and washed his disciples’ feet 
(John
13:4-5). This act perfectly illustrated his new command.

So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel 
around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash
his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

After reading this, I can only imagine what washing someone else’s stinky 
feet must be like.

Think about where your feet have been—especially if you live in a 
back-to-nature, shoe-optional locale. This starts getting very up close and 
personal.
And, depending on the individual and their hygiene habits or lack thereof, 
perhaps not too pleasant. Washing another’s feet is not a glamorous act of 
service
at all. But neither is anything related to the role of a servant, since it 
represents a position of humility and a mindset of putting others first.

In this day and age, I know there are certain churches that do have 
foot-washing services on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Christ’s actions and 
his command.
I have not participated in one like this, but I am sure it is a great object 
lesson to help all ages understand how to love one another.

Taking this a step further, The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say 
about foot-washing:

“Foot-washing was needed in Palestine. The streets were dusty and people 
wore sandals without socks or stockings. It was a mark of honor for a host 
to
provide a servant to wash a guest’s feet; it was a breach of hospitality not 
to provide for it. . . . [Jesus] had done a humble service for [the 
disciples].
Meeting others’ needs self-sacrificially is what they ought to do too. . . . 
This passage emphasizes inner humility, not a physical rite. . . . Not to
follow the example of Jesus is to exalt oneself above him and to live in 
pride. No servant is greater than his master (cf John 12:26).”

So when we humble ourselves and serve the Lord as he served us, it is he who 
lifts us up. When we love Christ, he changes our hearts and motivates us to
love others. And if showing this love means washing some stinky feet or its 
modern-day equivalent, then every day should become like Maundy Thursday in
our hearts.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from 
you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my 
Spirit
in you and move you to follow my decrees and keep my laws (Ezek. 36:26-27).

Intersecting
Faith
& Life: Who is God impressing upon your heart today? Is he calling you to 
show love to this person? Determine your course of action that will show a 
humble
heart: make a phone call, send a note, lend a hand, speak a kind word or 
wash some feet. And then follow through as you love one another.

Further Reading:

Luke 10:27, MSG

John 15:13, NIV

Cursed

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And unto Adam He said…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt 
thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”
Genesis 3:17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
The crown of thorns Jesus wore—what does it speak of? It symbolizes the 
curse upon humanity, on you, on me, on us all, because of sin. When God 
created
mankind and put him in the Garden of Eden, there were no thorns. A curse 
came upon Adam and Eve because they sinned and disobeyed God. The thorn, the 
thistle,
are the result of the curse of sin upon humanity. Jesus wore a crown of 
thorns because He bore that curse…the hardship, sorrow, and death that come 
with
sin.

Are you having heartaches? Are you having sorrow? Do you know sickness? The 
thorny pathway we walk is because of sin. The bed of briars we sleep on is
because of sin.

ACTION POINT:
Who is taking care of your sin today? Who is paying the price for it? Is it 
under the blood? Are you trusting Christ alone for that?

Not My Will Be Done
Jon Bloom / April 1, 2015
Not My Will Be Done

“Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not 
what I will, but what you will.”

Darkness had descended on Jerusalem. Its residents had finished their 
Passover meals. The lamb and unleavened bread had been consumed; the 
sandals, staffs,
and belts put away (Exodus 12:1–11).

In Caiaphas’s house, a conference was underway with some members of the 
Sanhedrin, some officers of the temple guard, and one of Jesus’s closest 
friends.
In the secluded hillside olive garden of Gethsemane, just outside the city’s 
eastern wall opposite the temple, Jesus sat with his other eleven closest
friends. The eleven friends could not stay awake. Jesus could not sleep.

The Great Passover Unveiled

Earlier that evening, Jesus had shared with his disciples the most marvelous 
Passover meal of all time, though his disciples only recognized this in 
retrospect.
Jesus had “earnestly desired” to eat it with them (Luke 22:15). For the 
Great Passover, the one for which the Passover in Egypt was a type and 
shadow,
was about to take place.

The angel of death was coming to claim the Firstborn Son (Colossians 1:15). 
The worst plague of God’s judgment was about to fall. But this Firstborn 
Son,
being all and in all (Colossians 3:11), was also the Passover Lamb who would 
be slain to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29; Revelation 5:6). The
eternally obedient Firstborn Son, the spotless Lamb of God, would take on 
himself all the sin of the sons and daughters of disobedience (Ephesians 
5:6),
his blood would cover them, they would receive his righteousness (2 
Corinthians 5:21), and they would forever be shielded from the death angel’s 
blow (John
11:26).

So the Firstborn of many brothers (Romans 8:29), the Great Passover Lamb, 
had taken bread and wine and said to the first eleven of those brothers, 
“This
is my body . . . This is my blood . . .” (Mark 14:22–25). And in doing so, 
the old Passover was subsumed into the new Passover.

From that moment on, the new Passover meal would be eaten in remembrance of 
Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23–26) and how he delivered all his brothers and 
sisters
out of the slavery of sin and death and led them into the promised eternal 
kingdom of the beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).

Nine Unfathomable Words

But now, among the olive trees, Jesus was praying. Many times he had prayed 
in “desolate places” (Luke 5:16). Yet never had he known desolation like 
this.

In this familiar garden of prayer, Jesus looked deeply into
the Father’s Cup
he was about to drink and was terrified. Everything in his human flesh 
wanted to flee the impending physical torture of crucifixion. And his Holy 
Spirit
groaned with ineffable dread at the far greater impending spiritual torture 
of being forsaken by his Father.

Such was his distress over this “baptism” (Luke 12:50), the very thing he 
had come into the world to accomplish (John 12:27), that Jesus cried out, 
“Father,
all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I 
will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).

Yet not what I will, but what you will. Nine words. Nine unfathomable words.

God, having longed, and even pled, to be delivered from God’s will, 
expressed in these nine simple words a humble faith in and submission to God’s 
will
that was more beautiful than all the glory in the created heavens and earth 
combined. Mystery upon Trinitarian mystery: God did not consider equality 
with
God a thing to be grasped, but became obedient to God’s will, even if it 
meant God dying an incomprehensibly horrifying death on a Roman cross 
(Philippians
2:6, 8). God wanted God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, even 
though in that dark moment, God wished in body and soul that God’s will 
could
be done another way.

Obedience in Suffering

And in that moment, another mystery came into view. God the Son, perfectly 
obedient to God the Father from all eternity, “learned obedience through 
what
he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Never has another human felt such an intense 
desire to be spared the will of God. And never has any human exercised such 
humble,
obedient faith in the Father’s will. “And being made perfect” — having 
exercised perfectly obedient trust in his Father in all possible 
dimensions — “he
became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).

As the Son learned this perfect and preeminently humble obedience as he 
yielded to the Father’s will, the first drops of his bloody agony seeped out 
of
his pores (Luke 22:44).

Barely a kilometer away, in the high priest’s courtyard, his treacherous 
disciple prepared to lead a small, torch-bearing contingent of soldiers and 
servants
to a familiar garden of prayer.

Your Will Be Done

No one understands better than God how difficult it can be for a human to 
embrace the will of God. And no human has suffered more in embracing the 
will
of God the Father than God the Son. When Jesus calls us to follow him, 
whatever the cost, he is not calling us to do something he is either 
unwilling to
do or has never done himself.

That is why we look to Jesus as the “author and perfecter of our faith” 
(Hebrews 12:2). He is our great high priest who understands, far better than 
we
do, what it’s like to willingly and faithfully endure the sometimes 
excruciating, momentarily painful will of God for the sake of the eternal 
joy set before
us (Hebrews 4:15; 12:2). And now he always lives to intercede for us so that 
we will make it through the pain to the eternal joy (Hebrews 7:25).

So this Maundy Thursday, we join God the Son in praying to God the Father, 
“Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). And if we find that, in body and soul, 
we
wish God’s will for us could be done in a way different from what God’s will 
appears to be, we may wholeheartedly pray with Jesus, “Father, all things
are possible for you. Remove this cup from me.” But only if we will also 
pray with Jesus these nine gloriously humble words, “Yet not what I will, 
but
what you will.”

Because God’s will for us, however painful now, will result in joy 
inexpressible and full of glory and the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 
1:8).
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KenBible.com
The Christ of Holy Week

Posted: 03 Mar 2015 09:55 PM PST

from
A Christ-centered Year

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 4:10, NIV)

During Holy Week, Jesus is the Love of the Father,
humbly submitting to death on the cross.

Watch as Jesus burns with zeal for His Fathers house and
cleanses the temple.

Listen as He urges His disciples to
pray boldly,
patiently endure persecution, and
remain faithful.

Breathe the alabaster fragrance of a womans lavish worship
in preparation for Jesus burial.

Be humbled as He bows to
model servanthood and
washes your feet.

Stand helplessly as He is arrested and led away.
Hear His silence in the face of brutal injustice.
Sense His deep loneliness.
See His agony.
Watch Him die.
Feel the awful stillness as a huge stone seals in His lifeless body.

This is the measure of Jesus love for the Father.
This is the measure of His love for us.
This is the new standard for our love for each other:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have 
loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that 
you
are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35, NASB)

The Incense of Your Praise

Ezekiel 20:41

The merits of our great Redeemer are as a pleasing aroma to the Most High. 
Whether we speak of the active or passive righteousness of Christ, there is
an equal fragrance. There was a pleasing aroma in His active life by which 
He honored the law of God and made every precept to glitter like a precious
jewel in the pure setting of His own person.

Such, too, was His passive obedience, when He endured with unmurmuring 
submission hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at the end sweat as it 
were
great drops of blood in Gethsemane. He gave His back to the smiters and His 
cheeks to them that plucked out the hair and was fastened to the cruel wood,
that He might suffer the wrath of God in our behalf. These two things are 
sweet before the Most High; and for the sake of His doing and His dying, His
substitutionary sufferings and His vicarious obedience, the Lord our God 
accepts us.

What a preciousness there must be in Him to overcome our lack of 
preciousness! What a pleasing aroma to put away our nasty odor! What a 
cleansing power
in His blood to take away sin such as ours! And what glory in His 
righteousness to make such unacceptable creatures to be accepted in the 
Beloved!

Consider, believer, how sure and unchanging is our acceptance, since it is 
in Him! Take care that you never doubt your acceptance in Jesus. You cannot
be accepted without Christ; but when you have received His merit, you cannot 
be unaccepted. Despite all your doubts and fears and sins, Jehovah's 
gracious
eye never looks upon you in anger; though He sees sin in you, in yourself, 
yet when He looks at you through Christ, He sees no sin. You are always 
accepted
in Christ, are always blessed and dear to the Father's heart. Therefore lift 
up a song, and as you see the smoking incense of the Savior's merit coming
up this evening before the sapphire throne, let the incense of your praise 
go up also.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Proverbs 15

verse 2 Philippians 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

Welcome to the Nugget

March 28, 2015

LESSONS FROM JESUS' TRIAL, Part 5: Back to Pilate's Palace
By Answers2Prayer
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Last week, in "Lessons From Jesus' Trial," Part 4, we learned from the 
courts of Herod that just because something is physically possible for us 
doesn't
mean it's the right thing to do. We must always examine our motivation, and 
when our motivation is purely personal advancement, then best to follow the
example of Jesus in Herod's court and--do nothing.

Jesus' seemingly endless trial has just one more stop. After the ridicule of 
Herod's court, they dressed Him: "...in an elegant robe, they sent him back
to Pilate." (Luke 23:11).

Following the brief trip to Herod's court, the Bible does not record any 
further things that Jesus said or did. In fact, what we see upon Jesus' 
return
is that Pilate would really like to release Jesus: "I have examined him in 
your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither
has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing 
to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him." (Luke
23:14-17, NIV2)

In fact, Pilot tried three times to have Jesus released, for after the above 
scene, the Bible records: "Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them
again..." (Luke 23:20), and then: "For the third time he spoke to them: 
'Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for 
the
death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.'" 
(Luke 23:22)

These three appeals fell on deaf ears, however, for the bible says, "But 
with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their 
shouts
prevailed." (Luke 23:23)

Pilate now had a choice to make: He could either follow his own conscience 
and release Jesus, or he could keep the peace--and the respect!--of the 
leaders
of the people and do what they requested. Unfortunately, he gave in: "So 
Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been 
thrown
into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and 
surrendered Jesus to their will." (Luke 23:24-25, NIV2)

Before we go and be too hard on Pilate, take a moment to think about what 
you might have done in his shoes, what you have done in the past when faced 
with
similar situations.

Now I know that none of us have ever been in Pilate's exact shoes; yet we 
have all been placed in situations where we had the choice of either 
defending
Jesus or keeping quiet. Which has it been?

Many of you have chosen to defend Jesus, despite the possible negative 
outcomes, and you are commended for this. But what about the rest of us? 
Have we
simply kept our mouths shut? Did it seem simpler to just give in? Did we 
succumb to popular opinion? Did we...follow in Pilate's steps?

Friends, Pilate may have been weak. He may have been too concerned about the 
opinion of the crowd. He may have been simply a people pleaser. But let's
remember that he did try to save Jesus' life. He made an effort--many in 
fact--to preserve Jesus' existence. That took courage; yet in the end, he 
succumbed
to the desires of the crowd. And herein lies the lesson for us today: Let's 
follow Pilate's example and seek to defend our Jesus, our faith; but let's
take it a step farther: Let's stand firm and not give in.

Unfortunately, this isn't an easy thing, is it? Nonetheless, God gives us 
the solution for just such situations in His Word:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full 
armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's 
schemes...Stand
firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the 
breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the 
readiness
that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the 
shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the
evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is 
the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of
prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying 
for all the Lord's people...Pray that may declare [the word of God] 
fearlessly,
as should." (Eph 6:10-20, NIV2)

If we stand strong in the Truth, in our faith, in the Word of God, in the 
security of His righteousness and Salvation, if we pray without ceasing that
we may declare the Word of God without fear, we will not fall into the 
pitfalls that Pilate succumbed to. Instead, we will stand up and defend our 
faith
with all boldness and wisdom, and as a result, many will be drawn to the 
Lord.

This is the last lesson in the series, "Lessons From Jesus' Trial". If you 
have missed any of these lessons, you will find them published online by 
clicking

here.
Or if you do not have access to the Internet,
email me
and I will send them to you. May God bless you abundantly as you worship Him 
this Easter season!

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed 
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a 
righteous
man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request
here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three 
come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!

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

Accepting the Atonement of the Cross

The apostle Paul wasn't even present at the crucifixion of Christ, yet he 
declared that this act was an act of cosmic and supernatural proportions. 
This
was a real drama of theological redemption. Here the curse of God's law was 
visited on a man who bore the sins of His people. For Paul, the crucifixion
was the pivotal point of all history. Paul was not satisfied to give an 
account of the event. While affirming the historicity of the crucifixion, 
Paul
added the apostolic interpretation of the meaning of the event. He set forth 
propositions about the death of Christ.

The issue before the church is this: Is the apostolic propositional 
interpretation of the cross correct or not? Is Paul's view merely a 
first-century Jewish
scholar's speculation on the matter, or is it a view inspired by God 
Himself?

What difference does it make? This is not a trifling matter or a pedantic 
point of Christian doctrine. Here nothing less than salvation is at stake. 
To
reject the biblical view of atonement is to reject the atonement itself. To 
reject the atonement is to reject Christ. To reject Christ is to perish in
your sin.

Please let us not soften this with an appeasing dance. Let us be clear. 
Those teachers in the church who deny that the death of Christ was a 
supernatural
act of atonement are simply not Christians. They are enemies of Christ who 
trample Jesus underfoot and crucify Him afresh.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Make this declaration: "Heavenly Father, I accept without reservation the 
supernatural atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross."

For Further Study

Galatians 6:14: "But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to
the world."

John 3:16-17: "For God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten 
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting 
life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that 
the world through Him might be saved."

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.

Lent '15

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be 
as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18.

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur in Hebrew, is now behind us. This was the 
single most important day during the time of Jesus and still holds utmost 
significance
in Israel and among Jews worldwide today.

Every year the high priest would sacrifice a goat and sprinkle its blood on 
the altar for the atonement of the people.

But there were actually two goats sacrificed on this day.
One's blood was sprinkled on the altar.
But the other was led to a cliff in the wilderness, where it would meet its 
end.
This goat was called the "scapegoat" – it represented the "carrying away" of 
the iniquities of the children of Israel.

It is in connection with this ceremony, that an interesting tradition arose 
which is mentioned in the Mishna, an ancient Jewish commentary.
A crimson coloured sash would be placed on the door of the Temple before 
that second goat was sent into the wilderness.

When the goat died, somehow the sash would mysteriously turn to white.
And this was a sign to Israel that God had accepted their sacrifice and 
their sins were forgiven.

The Mishna goes on to say, however, that something mysteriously happened in 
30 AD-
- approximately forty years before the destruction of the Second Temple.
Despite the continued goat sacrifices each year-
- the sash never turned to white again.

What other very significant thing happened about this very time?
Jesus died.

Two thousand years ago-
- the final sacrifice was made for the atonement of our sins and for the 
sins of all who would believe.

Yes! Jesus is the Messiah!
He has died and risen again!

He rules at the right hand of our Father and He is interceding for us right 
now!
Let's pray for the world's eyes to be opened today!
====================================
If you are blessed with this devotional,please introduce it to others.If you 
want to read all our messages please go to: 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lentenlessons If
you need prayer support,you may submit/share your prayer request at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/myprayergroups

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

Posted by: Lenten Lessons
----------------------------------------------------------

God Is at Work in Your Unremarkable Days
Jon Bloom / January 8, 2015
God Is at Work in Your Unremarkable Days

I’m reading in Genesis now, as I often do at the beginning of the year, once 
again on a one-year journey through the greatest, most influential book ever
published in human history. I’m in my fiftieth year, and having spent my 
entire adult life reading and studying the Bible, I feel like I may be in 
about
the third grade in mastery. That’s probably giving myself too much credit.

This Book enlightens and confounds, humbles and encourages me. It has more 
wisdom in it than can possibly be mined in a lifetime. It speaks to me in 
the
things that it explicitly says, and also in what it doesn’t say. This 
January, Genesis is speaking to me of the work of God in the unremarkable 
years —
all the years spanning between God’s recorded historical in-breakings.

The Unremarkable Years of Genesis

Genesis covers an incredible span of time. The most conservative Evangelical 
scholars estimate the time between Adam and Abraham at between 2,000 and 
6,000
years (possible gaps in the genealogies being the variable). Which means at 
minimum, Genesis alone covers approximately the same amount of historical 
time
as the rest of the books of the Bible combined, and possibly much more.

And what do we know about those millennia? Remarkably little when you think 
about it. After the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26–2:25), we learn
about the fall (Genesis 3), we learn about Cain’s murder of Abel (Genesis 
4), and then we are provided only genealogies with a few historical remarks 
tossed
in until we get to Noah. How many years passed between between Adam and Noah 
(Genesis chapters 2–5)? A minimum of about 1,600 years, possibly much more.

Between Noah and Abraham (chapters 6–11) there are centuries (about 350 
years minimum, possibly much more). And besides the flood account, the only 
things
the Bible tells us about these years are a few events regarding Noah and his 
sons, more genealogies, and the story of the tower of Babel.

Then with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the patriarchs (chapters 12–50), Genesis 
begins to give us a lot more information. Although, considering that these
39 chapters span about 360 years, most of those years also go without 
saying.

God Does Not Waste Time or People

Now, just for the sake of contemplation, let’s assume about 2,000 years 
between Adam and Abraham, and let’s assume solar years (365 days). That 
would be
approximately 730,000 days that passed with only a handful of them 
containing events that God decided to record.

What was God doing during all those unremarkable years — all those years we 
know nothing about and all those people who were “eating and drinking and 
marrying
and being given in marriage . . . [and] buying and selling, planting and 
building†(Luke 17:27–28)? All those years of wonders and horrors, some of 
which
we’ve unearthed in archeological tells? Were they throwaway years and 
disposable people?

No. Every single one of those 730,000 days was a unique, priceless, 
irreplaceable creation of God (Psalm 118:24). And every single person was a 
unique,
priceless, irreplaceable creation of God, each bearing God’s image (Genesis 
1:27), however marred and distorted, each a unique story, each playing a 
role
in the Story whether for good or ill (Romans 9:21), and each having meaning 
to God, though they lived and died anonymous to us. The destiny of each, 
whether
resulting in mercy or judgment, we entrust to the Judge of all the earth who 
only does what is just (Genesis 18:25). Many wasted their lives, but God did
not waste theirs.

God was not wasting time or people during these unrecorded days. He was 
holding all things together by the word of his power every moment 
(Colossians 1:17;
Hebrews 1:3) and he was working in every detail of history and human 
experience (John 5:17; Acts 17:26–28) so that in the fullness of time he 
might enter
history and human experience as the second Adam and complete his plan to 
redeem what had fallen on that horrible, remarkable day in the garden 
(Galatians
4:4–5; Romans 5:17). God was not absent or deistically distant (Acts 
17:27–28), neither was he silent (Romans 1:20).

God Does Not Waste Your Time or You

Let the unremarkable years of Genesis speak to you. A few days of your life 
are remarkable, containing events and experiences where you see God’s 
providence
with startling clarity and when your faith and life course are indelibly and 
memorably shaped. But the vast majority of your days — likely a day like 
today
— will pass into obscurity unrecorded and irretrievable to your memory. But 
though today may be unremarkable, it is not unimportant. It is unique, 
priceless,
and irreplaceable.

Today God is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure 
(Philippians 2:13). Today God is at work in you to advance toward completion
the good work that he began in you (Philippians 1:6). Today, though unseen 
and unfelt by you, God is at work in every detail of your history and 
experience
and the history and experience of possibly thousands of others, to bring 
about answers to your long-requested prayers, to open the door that seems 
impossibly
closed to you, to turn the prodigal homeward, to save your hard-hearted 
loved-one, to deliver you from the affliction, or to make you an unexpected, 
remarkable
means of grace to someone else.

Today is a day that the Lord has specially made (Psalm 118:24). He has 
planned it for you. It has a purpose. No matter what it holds, give thanks 
for it
(1 Thessalonians 5:18). For God does not waste a day and he will not waste 
you. And if you love and trust him, you will one day discover that today, 
unremarkable
as it now seems, will do you remarkable good (Romans 8:28).

A Sermon for Your Day
Jonathan Parnell / January 7, 2015
A Sermon for Your Day

Preaching matters because words matter.

This is the way God has hardwired humans. Just as he has eternally 
communicated in his triune fellowship, he has created us as communicative 
beings. Through
sounds with our mouths, we form audible symbols that transfer meaning. Even 
if our speaking and hearing is impaired, humans are so ingrained to 
communicate
that we’ve designed other ways to express meaning. One way or another, we 
must get the symbols out there. Speaking and listening is what makes the 
word
go round, and we all have our stories.

Often, the biggest moments of our lives have to do with words. Our sharpest 
memories tend to be things we’ve heard, time when we’ve been spoken to. For
Christians, there’s a sermon somewhere that God used to change us. There was 
a preacher with a Bible who declared truth and we were never the same. It
could be any preacher, really, but for so many of us, it has been at least 
one sermon from John Piper that impacted us deeply.

We’ve actually asked you about that. A couple years ago, we surveyed you, 
our readers, on your favorite Piper sermon and how it helped you. After 
nearly
500 responses, sifting through several of the same sermons and adding some 
staff picks, we now have a list of 365 sermons. This is one sermon for every
day of the year chosen by you because God used it in your life.

Where to Find It

We are calling this “Sermon of the Day†and you can find it on the right 
column of our homepage (in the desktop version), or at the bottom of the 
homepage
(in the mobile version). In addition to new articles every morning and 
evening, this right column features the most recent content from 
desiringGod.org,
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Post  Admin on Tue 31 Mar 2015, 3:22 pm

Tabernacle of True Prayer

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

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

to enter the tabernacle, one must enter through the door. The same is true 
in true prayer. Jesus Christ is the Door. We must surrender to Him to have 
an intimate relationship with Him. The first thing we see when entering the 
tabernacle is the altar. We do not have to bring a sacrifice because the 
sacrifice has already been paid by Jesus Christ on the cross.

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

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

This is the reason we must cleanse ourselves before we go to Him in prayer. 
We must confess and repent of our sins and be washed by His precious blood. 
While we are clean and before we forget, we need to put on the armor which 
Paul wrote about in
Ephesians 6: 13 - 17:

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist 
in the evil day, and having done everything, stand firm. Stand firm 
therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE 
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE 
PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with 
which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 
And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the 
word of God.

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

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

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

By Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List
dwmasters15@gmail.com
Unedited redistribution approved 

The Savior’s Tears of Sovereign Mercy
John Piper / March 28, 2015
The Savior’s Tears of Sovereign Mercy

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the 
coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9–10)

Palm Sunday is the day in the church year when traditionally we mark the 
entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem for the last week of his life.

As he rode into town on the humble beast, Jesus was not oblivious to what 
was about to happen to him. His enemies were going to get the upper hand, 
and
he would be rejected and crucified. And within a generation the city would 
be obliterated. Here’s how Jesus says it in Luke 19:43-44:

The days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade 
around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down 
to the
ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone 
upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

God was visiting them in Jesus, his Son — “he came to his own, and his own 
received him not” (John 1:11). But they did not know the time of their 
visitation.
So they stumbled over the stumbling stone. The builders rejected the stone 
and threw it away. Jesus saw this coming.

The King Cries

How did he respond? “When he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 
saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that 
make
for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41–42). Jesus 
wept over the blindness and the impending misery of Jerusalem.

How would you describe these tears? I would call them tears of sovereign 
mercy. The effect they should have on us is to make us admire Christ, and 
treasure
him above all others and worship him as our merciful Sovereign. And when we 
have seen the beauty of his mercy, we become merciful with him and like him,
and for his glory.

So, let’s admire Christ together on this Palm Sunday.

Admiring His Tender Sovereignty

What makes Christ so admirable, and so different than all other persons is 
that he unites in himself so many qualities that in other people are 
contrary
to each other. We can imagine supreme sovereignty, and we can imagine 
tenderhearted mercy. But to whom do we look to combine, in perfect 
proportion, merciful
sovereignty and sovereign mercy? We look to Jesus. No other religious or 
political contender even comes close.

Look at three pointers to his sovereignty in the Palm Sunday account.

First, the crowds praised God for Jesus’ mighty works (Luke 19:37). He had 
healed leprosy with a touch; he had made the blind see and the deaf hear and
the lame walk; he had commanded the unclean spirits and they obeyed him; he 
had stilled storms and walked on water and turned five loaves and two fish
into a meal for thousands. So as he entered Jerusalem, they knew nothing 
could stop him. He could just speak and Pilate would perish; the Romans 
would
be scattered. He was sovereign.

Then look, secondly, at verse 38. The crowds cried out: “Blessed is the King 
who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus was a King, and not just any king,
but the one sent and appointed by the Lord God. They knew how Isaiah had 
described him — as sovereign over an invincible, never-ending kingdom:

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the 
throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with
justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The 
zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:7)

A universal, never-ending kingdom backed by the zeal of almighty God. Here 
was the King of the universe, who today rules over the nations and the 
galaxies,
and for whom America and ISIS and every other political state are only a 
grain of sand and a vapor.

Third, verse 40. When the Pharisees tell him to make the people stop 
blessing him as a king, he answers, “I tell you, if these were silent, the 
very stones
would cry out” (Luke 19:40). Why? Because Jesus will be praised! The whole 
design of the universe is that Christ be praised. And therefore, if people 
won’t
do it, he will see to it that rocks do it.

In other words, he is sovereign. He will get what he means to get. If we 
refuse to praise, the rocks will get the joy.

Fulfillment, Not Failure

It is remarkable, therefore, that the tears of Jesus in verse 41 are so 
often used to deny his sovereignty. Someone will say, “Look, he weeps over 
Jerusalem
because his design for them is not coming to pass. He would delight in their 
salvation. But they are resistant. They are going to reject him. They are
going to hand him over to be crucified. And so his purpose for them has 
failed.” But there is something not quite right about this objection to 
Jesus’
sovereignty.

He can make praise come from rocks. And so he could do the same from 
rock-hard hearts in Jerusalem. What’s more, all this rejection and 
persecution and
killing of Jesus are not the failure of Jesus’ plan, but the fulfillment of 
it.

Listen to what he said in Luke 18:31–33 a short time before:

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, 
and everything that is written [planned!] about the Son of Man by the 
prophets
will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will 
be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they
will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

The betrayal, the mockery, the shame, the spit, the flogging, the murder — 
and so much more — was planned. In other words, the resistance, the 
rejection,
the unbelief and hostility were not a surprise to Jesus. They were, in fact, 
part of the plan. He says so.

This is probably why it says at the end of verse 42, “But now they are 
hidden from your eyes.” Remember what Jesus said about his parables in Luke 
8:10:
“To you [disciples] it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of 
God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see,
and hearing they may not understand.’” God was handing them over to 
hardness. It was judgment.

Merciful and Mighty

The mercy of God is a sovereign mercy. “I will have mercy on whom I have 
mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15). 
But
here is the point we see on Palm Sunday: This sovereign Christ weeps over 
the hard-hearted, perishing people of Jerusalem as they fulfilled his plan. 
It
is unbiblical and wrong to make the tears of mercy a contradiction to the 
serenity of sovereignty. Jesus was serene in sorrow, and sorrowful in 
sovereignty.
Jesus’ tears are the tears of sovereign mercy.

And therefore his sovereign power is the more admirable and the more 
beautiful. It’s the harmony of things that seem in tension that makes him 
glorious
— “merciful and mighty,” as we sing. We admire power more when it is 
merciful power. And we admire mercy more when it is mighty mercy.

Oh, that we would see and savor the beauty of Christ — the Palm Sunday tears 
of sovereign joy and the self-sacrificing love and obedience that took him
every step of the way during Holy Week. And oh, that as we admire and 
worship him this week we would be changed by what we see and become more 
tenderly-moved,
self-denying, need-meeting people.

Lent: A Time of Reflection
March 27, 2015
Matthew’s gospel tells us the crowd and the Roman soldiers weren’t the only 
ones who taunted Jesus as He hung on the cross dying. The two bandits who 
were
crucified on either side of Him also hurled insults.

"In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, 
were mocking him, saying, 'He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is 
the
King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in 
him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said,
‘I am God’s son.' The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him 
in the same way" (Matthew 27:41-44).

Jesus not only had to endure the humiliating remarks of the religious 
leaders, He also had to experience the taunts of two common criminals.

In Day 33 of Adam Hamilton’s book, 40 Days of Reflection, the author says, 
“Jesus hung bleeding, naked, dying; yet there was no compassion, only the 
cruelty
of words meant to break His spirit. In essence the people said, ‘You who 
thought you were really something—look at you now! You spoke as though you 
were
the Messiah; but now you are naked, humiliated, and dying. You are nothing.’”

Can you recall being a child? You might have been taught to respond to 
taunts and teasing with “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words 
will never
hurt me.” But, that’s certainly not true. While physical pain inflicted on 
us often leaves a scar, so do the mocking words of others. The scars may be
invisible, but they still hurt the same.

Hamilton speculates, asking the following questions:
1. What was Jesus feeling as the people hurled their insults?
2. Did He want to argue with them?
3. Did He wish to hurl insults back?
4. Did He find himself angry and ready to call down fire from heaven to 
destroy them?
In Matthew 5:11, Jesus taught His disciples, “Blessed are you when people 
revile you...and utter all kinds of evil against you.” Furthermore, he had 
spoken
to them: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that 
you may be children of your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:44-45).

While it might have been easy to teach those things to His followers, can 
you imagine how difficult it must have been for Jesus—while experiencing the
cruelty that Friday—to practice what He preached? Yet, while hanging from 
the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they 
are
doing” (Luke 23:34).

Jesus not only taught us how to act in the face of those who would ridicule 
us, He exhibited it while praying on the cross.

Ask the Lord to forgive you for the times your words have wounded others as 
well as to help you forgive those who have hurt you.

Read the following scripture today as you continue on this 40-day lent 
journey: Matthew 27:38-44.
For more inspiration, visit my blog at
carolaround.com
Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.
Real Love Bleeds
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
(ESV)

Once while attending a conference I found myself browsing through the vendor 
section.

Most, if not all, of the vendors had products available where the proceeds 
would be invested directly into a ministry or mission project designed to 
change
the lives of people near and far.

The idea that my purchase could in some way be a small contribution to 
Kingdom work propelled me to actively seek something that I wanted to wear, 
use
or display in my home.

I paused in front of a table featuring art prints with various inspirational 
quotes and verses. It was like a sea of words.

I figured that somewhere on that table were words I would want to display in 
my home. Words that would inspire me and spur me on to be the person God 
wanted
me to be.

I found those words. But they weren’t the warm and fuzzy words I was looking 
for. The kind that would make me want to smile when I walked by them in my
home.

Instead I found words that cut deep and convicted me beyond my expectation. 
Words that inspired me … but solemnly. Words that did not yield a cozy 
experience,
but certainly lit a fire within my heart and soul. The print said:

"Real love bleeds."

I bought it.

Loving people can be hard work. It can be even harder when the love you give 
requires the very essence of who you are to flow through wounds inflicted
by the ones your heart beats for.

When I read these three small words penned by this artist-turned-missionary, 
I stopped in my tracks because I knew I had been doing exactly the opposite
in my life.

Instead of being willing to "bleed" for the ones I loved the most, I had 
slipped into full-on apathy.

Why? Because sometimes caring for and loving others doesn’t feel good.

Sometimes, it’s easier not to love.

Over time, and unbeknownst to me, I had become an expert at 
self-preservation and pain avoidance.

Anything that hurt, I didn’t touch — including the people I loved the most.

I grieved as I realized that the very love Jesus continually offered me — 
the same love that came at His own great personal discomfort and eventual 
agony
— was unfortunately the kind of love I’d become unwilling to consistently 
offer.

Why? Because sometimes loving others hurts.

As I stood there and pulled out my wallet to purchase the simple yet 
beautiful print, I realized that great love comes at a great cost — as 
evidenced by
the example of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for my sins, which we see in 
today’s key verse.

I remembered His illustration of love for me and recalled His command that I 
follow in His steps: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one 
another:
just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another"
(John 13:34,
ESV).

Now, let me concede this. I am completely aware that everyone who causes us 
pain should not be an automatic recipient of our deepest level of sacrifice.
However, I am acutely aware of my own need to assess my willingness to love 
like Christ loves me and to sacrifice for those to whom I am called.

What I know for certain is this: There are times when the love I have for 
others is not a matter of feeling, but rather a matter of my decision to be 
obedient
to Him — and it won’t feel good.

The question is, when real love results in my personal discomfort or even a 
heart-wrenching level of pain, am I willing to love well anyway?

Father, thank You for Your love — a love that never fails and never gives up 
on me. You are the perfect example of a great love — a love that is offered
full-strength even when love is not given in return. Help me to love like 
You. I want to honor You by doing my best to love others in the way You have
loved me — even when it hurts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 4:11,
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (ESV)

1 Corinthians 13:13,
"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these 
is love." (ESV)
RELATED RESOURCES:
Kingdom Woman
by Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst will encourage and challenge you to 
be transformed by God’s truth, seek His best and move forward in the 
abundant
life He has for you.
Visit Chrystal Hurst’s blog

Welcome to the Nugget

March 26, 2015

LESSONS FROM JESUS' TRIAL, Part 4: In Herod's Court
By Answers2Prayer

Last Tuesday, in "Lessons From Jesus' Trial," Part 3, we learned from the 
courts of Pilate that we are to openly live by Truth in such a way that 
others
can know Truth by simply observing us. We also learned that we are to trust 
Jesus' words that those whose ears are opened will hear. Finally, we saw 
that
we are to pray that God will open the blind eyes and hard hearts so that as 
many as possible will hear, will recognize Truth, and will believe.

After this, Jesus is then taken to Herod.

Interestingly, only the Gospel of Luke records this particular part of the 
story. We see that Pilate really doesn't want to be the one to have Jesus 
killed,
and when he learns that Jesus is from the region of Galilee, which was under 
the jurisdiction of Herod, and when he remembers that Herod is actually in
Jerusalem (See
Luke 23:7),
he must have considered it his lucky day.

Herod was actually quite pleased with this turn of events, for: "...for a 
long time he had been wanting to see . From what he had heard about him, he 
hoped
to see him perform a sign of some sort." (Luke 23:8). Unfortunately for 
Jesus, Herod wasn't interested in saving Him; rather, he wanted to see a 
magic
show, and he: "...plied him with many questions..." (Luke 23:9a).

Jesus' response? "...but Jesus gave him no answer."

This didn't sit well with Herod, and it also gave the chief priests and 
teachers of the law more reason to mock Jesus: "The chief priests and the 
teachers
of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his 
soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they 
sent
him back to Pilate." (Luke 23:10-11)

Notice that Jesus could have easily saved himself. Herod wasn't interesting 
in convicting Jesus. Jerusalem wasn't even his jurisdiction. All Herod 
wanted
was to see Jesus "perform," and all Jesus would have had to do was a single 
miracle. It was a simple task, but instead, He did nothing. He chose to be
accused, mocked and ridiculed when He so easily could have gone free.

But Jesus wasn't in to doing miracles for His own glory. He didn't do them 
as a means of entertaining or amusing the crowds, and He wasn't about to 
start
doing miracles "on command" to save His own skin. Neither did He need to do 
miracles to show off His power. Remember that Jesus had given up His power
and all of His former glory to come to earth and do the will of the Father 
in Heaven (see
Eph 2:5-8).
Instead, Jesus' miracles supported His claim that He was the true God come 
to Earth to save mankind. His mission was to draw people to the Kingdom of 
God,
and the miracles were the way that the people could see the power of God on 
the move: "Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do
them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may 
know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." (John 
10:37-38).
We also see that through His miracles, prophecies were fulfilled.

If you think about it a bit further, Herod was from Galilee where a large 
part of Jesus' ministry took place. If Herod was so interested in Jesus, why
hadn't he gone out in the streets of Galilee to see Jesus "perform?" No, his 
interest in Jesus was purely for self-entertainment, and when Jesus refused,
Herod joined the others in mocking Him.

What is the lesson we can learn from Jesus in Herod's court?

Friends, even if we are asked to do something that is physically possible, 
it isn't necessarily the right thing to do. What defines if it is the right
thing to do is our motivation. If our only motivation is personal 
advancement, then it would be best to follow the example of Jesus in Herod's 
court and--do
nothing.

There is just one more interesting point to consider here: As has been 
pointed out in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, Jesus' habitual response during 
His
trial was silence, and He only responded when commanded to do so. Isn't this 
what was prophesied of Him 700 years earlier? "He was oppressed and 
afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and 
as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." (Is
53:7).

Jesus' seemingly endless trial has just one more stop. After the ridicule of 
Herod's court, they dressed Him: "...in an elegant robe, they sent him back
to Pilate." (Luke 23:11). Join us next Saturday for the final lesson from 
Jesus' trial: Back in Pilate's Palace.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Join us next beginning next Tuesday for "Gospel of Adversity", an Easter 
mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan.

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give."
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Post  Admin on Sun 29 Mar 2015, 11:24 am

When Christ was Crucified—Were You?

No verse more clearly summarizes what Jesus has done than Paul’s testimony 
in Galatians 2:20. No verse more clearly frames what each of us should 
declare
at this sacred moment than Paul’s words that we can affirm for ourselves.

Now using a short lesson in the grammar of the Bible, we have gathered to 
remember the cross of Christ. We need to remember it not merely as a 
distant
historical fact—no, we must see it as an event that we were a part of, 
personally and directly and powerfully.

Galatians 2:20“I have been crucified with Christ;

it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by faith in the Son of God,

who loved me and gave Himself for me.” NKJV

“I have been crucified with” is actually one word in the original text of 
the New Testament; and it is the verb around which this verse is built. This
verb known by Greek scholars as word # 4957, and is a verbfound five times 
in the New Testament; which literally means ‘to crucify alone with’. To 
better
understand this verb we must notice it’s three inspired grammatical parts. 
When you classify a Greek verb you state the tense, the voice, and the mood.
Sustauroo translated “I have been crucified with” is a perfect tense, 
passive voice, indicative mood verb.

So if we use all the truth of the grammar taken together, Paul says, “What I 
am telling you is a fact (indicative mood), I have actually already been 
crucified
by God with Jesus Christ (perfect tense); God crucified me and I didn’t do 
it myself; it happened and was completed in the past, once and for all, and
never needs repeating…(passive voice)”

So, when Paul says Christ was crucified, he says that Christ crucified him 
also. And if you understand the doctrine of our union with Christ from God's
Word that means that every single one of us were also crucified that day 
with Jesus Christ.

We need to believe and grow by faith to understand that Christ's crucifixion 
was mine also!

In an incredible way that only God can accomplish and explain—each of us 
here who are believers—died at the same time as Jesus almost 2,000 years 
ago.
We have already died once in a real, spiritually powerful way in Christ on 
His Cross we celebrate today.

Though all of us may look quite alive, the truth is that on this day, 20 
centuries ago, we were hanging on the Cross with Jesus Christ. When He died, 
we died.

And after His death when two loving men took down His body and buried it in 
a borrowed Tomb, we were also buried with Christ. When He died—we died; when
He was buried—we were buried.

And when He walked out of that Tomb early Sunday morning—each of us also 
walked out with Him! When He died—we died; when He was buried—we were 
buried; and when He rose—we rose.

That truth should course through the heart and mind of every believer in 
Christ.
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.

Welcome to the Nugget

March 24, 2015

LESSONS FROM JESUS' TRIAL, Part 3: In Pilate's Court
By Answers2Prayer
Last Saturday, in "Lessons From Jesus' Trial," Part 2, we learned from the 
courts of Caiaphas the High Priest that we don't need to defend ourselves. 
There
are times, however, when we are forced to respond, and at those times, we 
must speak nothing but the Truth, and we should not be afraid of the 
outcome,
for we know that God is in control, and He will work everything for His 
ultimate good.

But wait a minute: Why didn't Jesus fight back?

As you read through the story of Jesus' arrest, you know that He 
commissioned His disciples to carry a sword (see
Luke 22),
yet when Peter tried to use one of them, he was rebuked (See
John 18:11).
As we continue to read through
John 18,
we see that Jesus is asked to defend Himself. He responds with, "I spoke 
openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where 
the
Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask 
those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.'"
(John 18:20-21, NKJV).

Now you and I might have seen this as a perfect opportunity to "preach" to 
the chief priests, to "win them" to Truth. We most definitely would have 
seized
the opportunity to defend ourselves. But Jesus simply referred back to His 
former teaching.

Why didn't Jesus fight back?

The next stop in Jesus' trial is the court of Pontius Pilate, and here, in 
front of a pagan ruler, Jesus answers our question. When Pilate asked Jesus
if He was, indeed, the King of the Jews, as was His accusation, Jesus simply 
answered:

"My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My 
servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now 
My
kingdom is not from here." (John 18:26)

And therein lies the answer to why Jesus didn't defend Himself: Because His 
kingdom is not of this world.

But I'm not sure I completely understand. What does the fact that Jesus' 
kingdom is in Heaven have to do with Him not defending Himself?

Pilate didn't understand either, and his response speaks of his confusion: 
"Are You a king then?" (John 18:37a).

Jesus' response, so full of wisdom, is poignant: "You say rightly that I am 
a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the
world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth 
hears My voice." (John 18:36-37, NKJV)

In other words, Jesus' whole purpose was to bear witness to Truth, and 
everyone who is of the Truth will hear His voice. What this means is that 
those
who will hear Truth will hear it, and those who won't, will not. Jesus 
didn't need to restate everything He had been teaching, for only those who 
were
of the Truth would have heard anyway, and these had already heard.

What can we learn of the Kingdom of God through this part of Jesus' trial?

The Kingdom of God IS Truth, and Truth speaks for itself. Nothing we say or 
do can convince people of Truth, for either they will believe it, or they 
won't.

So if our efforts are useless, then do we just sit back and do nothing? What 
is our role in the whole picture of Truth proclamation?

We are to follow Jesus' example. We are to openly live by Truth. We are to 
speak forth nothing but Truth, and we are to trust Jesus' words, that those
whose ears are opened will hear.

But that doesn't seem like much, does it? Isn't there anything else we can 
do for our lost brothers and sisters in this world?

Once again we return to Jesus' example, when He lifted up His voice in His 
great pre-arrest pastoral prayer: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your 
Son,
that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all 
flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him."
(John 17:1-2, NKJV).

We are to pray that God will open hearts, that as many as possible will 
hear, will recognize Truth, and will believe!

There were two more stops in Jesus' trial. Join us on Thursday for "Lessons 
From Jesus' Trial," Part 4: Standing Before Herod.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

As we prepare our hearts for the Easter season, join us on Thursday and 
Saturday for the concluding parts of "Lessons From Jesus' Trials", a 
mini-series
by Lyn Chaffart

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

Lent '15

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine 
for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the
gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who 
began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus 
Christ."Philippians
1:3-7.

Genuine fellowship requires commitment.

Philippians 1:5 tells us, “...because of your partnership (or fellowship; it’s 
the same word) in the Gospel from the first day until now.”
Notice,“from the first day until now.”

Starting in a relationship is easy.
Continuing in relationship is difficult.

It’s not easy to be in one church for decades.
There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness.

And that requires commitment.
Here are four things that break down commitment and destroy fellowship:

Christians cease to be committed to one another when entitlement takes over.
When you come to church to get rather than to serve.
God protect us from an entitled heart. “I deserve to get. I must have. I can’t 
continue if I don’t receive.”
Christians cease to be committed to one another when superiority raises its 
ugly head.
Don’t think that your opinion is so worthy that you would break fellowship 
with someone just because they don’t see it that way.
Christians cease to be committed to one another when agendas rule: 
doctrinal, business, or ministry.
If it’s about your stuff rather than about Jesus, it doesn’t belong.
On the majors?
Conviction.

On the minors?
Tolerance.

In all things?
Love.

That’s what we say.
God help us to live that even more faithfully.
Christians cease to be committed to one another when injury isn’t forgiven.
Genuine fellowship includes hurts sometimes, but it’s also the best place to 
find healing!

Where there is no commitment-
- relationships can’t experience the fellowship Christ desires for us.

"Father, You demonstrate commitment at a level that constantly amazes us. 
You love us when we don’t love You; You pursue us when we run from You. You 
practice
commitment with us and remind us that You’re in it with us for the long 
haul—even eternity! Thank You for Your commitment to us that makes our 
commitment
to one another possible. In Jesus name, Amen."

Preparation and Fulfillment
Saturday, March 28, 2015

“As they approached Jerusalem . . . He sent two of His disciples, and said 
to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it,
you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it 
and bring it here.’” – Mark 11:1-2 NASB
The crowds were excited. Learning that Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem, 
they welcomed Him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name 
of the Lord!”

This triumphal entry may seem spontaneous, but Jesus’ actions demonstrate 
that everything unfolded exactly as He had planned.

As He and His disciples approached Jerusalem, He told them what was about to 
happen. He clarified His own destiny and gave them marching orders (Mark 
10:32-44).
Then, as He prepared to enter Jerusalem, it was Jesus who told two disciples 
to bring a colt, and where to find it. He told them exactly what to say. And
Jesus Himself directed that He ride on the colt into Jerusalem.

Clearly, Jesus was not trying to gain popularity or start a movement. He 
focused on obeying the Father, completing His mission, and fulfilling 
prophecy.
His triumphant entry needed to take place, to set in motion other events 
that needed to take place.

As events further unfolded, Jesus knew what would happen. His actions were 
dictated by “knowing that His hour had come” (John 13:1-3).

Through His life and example, Jesus consistently showed us the importance of 
knowing our destiny and purposes. Having a clear understanding of our 
destiny.
Being sensitive to God’s Spirit, seeking to accomplish His goals, and 
following His specific call. This might lead us to the cross, or to a 
triumphal celebration.
Or both.

Today, ask God to help you to be clear about your mission and what you can 
do to accomplish His purposes for you. Seek to be ready and obedient, 
faithful
with the resources He has given you.

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, I commit my time, talent, and treasure to You. Help me not to be 
distracted by criticism but to stay focused on pleasing You. I will do what 
I can for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: Mark 11

Lent: A Time of Reflection
March 26, 2015
It’s the climax of the story—the high point—by which God has planned to save 
the world. For Jesus, it brings pain and humiliation as He is nailed to the
cross and then suffers further taunts from the Roman soldiers.

While Mark, in his gospel, says only that “They crucified him” (Mark 15:25), 
movies and sacred art portray a gruesome image. Yes, it was violent. Cicero
called it the “cruelest and most disgusting penalty.”

Usually portrayed as wearing a loincloth, Jesus was most likely crucified 
naked. The Roman’s intention wasn’t just about torturing and killing their 
victims,
it was about humiliating them as well. Although the Romans’ intent was to 
humiliate Jesus, in his gospel, John portrays the crucifixion of our Lord 
and
Savior as glorification (Read John 19:16-30).

In Day 32 of Adam Hamilton’s book, 40 Days of Reflection, the author says, 
“This King of the Jews hung there, naked and suffering, to save his people.
He laid down his life for them. It was here that God demonstrated his true 
character to the human race, his willingness to suffer and die to save his 
people.”

We can’t fully comprehend the humiliation and suffering Jesus endured on the 
cross. Ask God to help you understand and to be affected by this story. It’s
your story too. Jesus gave His life so that you might live.

Read the following scripture today as you continue on this 40-day lent 
journey: Mark 15:25-26.
For more inspiration, visit my blog at
carolaround.com
Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.

Preparation and Fulfillment
Saturday, March 28, 2015

“As they approached Jerusalem . . . He sent two of His disciples, and said 
to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it,
you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it 
and bring it here.’” – Mark 11:1-2 NASB
The crowds were excited. Learning that Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem, 
they welcomed Him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name 
of the Lord!”

This triumphal entry may seem spontaneous, but Jesus’ actions demonstrate 
that everything unfolded exactly as He had planned.

As He and His disciples approached Jerusalem, He told them what was about to 
happen. He clarified His own destiny and gave them marching orders (Mark 
10:32-44).
Then, as He prepared to enter Jerusalem, it was Jesus who told two disciples 
to bring a colt, and where to find it. He told them exactly what to say. And
Jesus Himself directed that He ride on the colt into Jerusalem.

Clearly, Jesus was not trying to gain popularity or start a movement. He 
focused on obeying the Father, completing His mission, and fulfilling 
prophecy.
His triumphant entry needed to take place, to set in motion other events 
that needed to take place.

As events further unfolded, Jesus knew what would happen. His actions were 
dictated by “knowing that His hour had come” (John 13:1-3).

Through His life and example, Jesus consistently showed us the importance of 
knowing our destiny and purposes. Having a clear understanding of our 
destiny.
Being sensitive to God’s Spirit, seeking to accomplish His goals, and 
following His specific call. This might lead us to the cross, or to a 
triumphal celebration.
Or both.

Today, ask God to help you to be clear about your mission and what you can 
do to accomplish His purposes for you. Seek to be ready and obedient, 
faithful with the resources He has given you.

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, I commit my time, talent, and treasure to You. Help me not to be 
distracted by criticism but to stay focused on pleasing You. I will do what 
I
can for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: Mark 11

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Lent: A Time of Reflection
March 26, 2015
It’s the climax of the story—the high point—by which God has planned to save 
the world. For Jesus, it brings pain and humiliation as He is nailed to the
cross and then suffers further taunts from the Roman soldiers.

While Mark, in his gospel, says only that “They crucified him” (Mark 15:25), 
movies and sacred art portray a gruesome image. Yes, it was violent. Cicero
called it the “cruelest and most disgusting penalty.”

Usually portrayed as wearing a loincloth, Jesus was most likely crucified 
naked. The Roman’s intention wasn’t just about torturing and killing their 
victims,
it was about humiliating them as well. Although the Romans’ intent was to 
humiliate Jesus, in his gospel, John portrays the crucifixion of our Lord 
and
Savior as glorification (Read John 19:16-30).

In Day 32 of Adam Hamilton’s book, 40 Days of Reflection, the author says, 
“This King of the Jews hung there, naked and suffering, to save his people.
He laid down his life for them. It was here that God demonstrated his true 
character to the human race, his willingness to suffer and die to save his 
people.”

We can’t fully comprehend the humiliation and suffering Jesus endured on the 
cross. Ask God to help you understand and to be affected by this story. It’s
your story too. Jesus gave His life so that you might live.

Read the following scripture today as you continue on this 40-day lent 
journey: Mark 15:25-26.
For more inspiration, visit my blog at
carolaround.com
Copyright © 2015 Carol Round, All rights reserved.


GLORIFIED
Mark 15:39

When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He 
breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

God was glorified in Jesus’ death!

That centurion had never experienced a crucifixion like this one. Jesus did 
not cry for mercy or try to escape; rather, He prayed for the people who put
Him on the cross, “Father, forgive them”. He spoke to the other victims of 
crucifixion about life with God after death. As He was dying, for three 
hours
in the middle of the day, the sky went dark. When Jesus died, there was a 
massive earthquake and the rocks were splitting. It was a terrifying 
experience.

As the centurion took in all that he had heard and seen from Jesus, he could 
come to only one conclusion: “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

God was not only glorified in Jesus’ miracles and in His words that so 
amazed His listeners. The glory of Jesus’ life went way beyond His training 
of the
disciples. God was also glorified in Jesus’ suffering and death.

God is challenging you today not to think of the hard times you face as 
opponents of God’s work in your life. God is as much glorified by your 
spiritual
response to those times as He is by your times of great victory and 
blessing.
John North and Ambassadors For Christ 
International,
Admin
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THE OLD DENTED BUCKET
FAITH IS NOT ABOUT EVERYTHING TURNING OUT OK; IT'S ABOUT BEING OK NO MATTER 
HOW THINGS TURN OUT.

OUR HOUSE WAS DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE CLINIC ENTRANCE OF JOHNS 
HOPKINS HOSPITAL IN BALTIMORE. WE LIVED DOWNSTAIRS AND RENTED THE UPSTAIRS
ROOMS TO OUT-PATIENTS AT THE CLINIC.

ONE SUMMER EVENING AS I WAS FIXING SUPPER, THERE WAS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. I 
OPENED IT TO SEE A TRULY AWFUL LOOKING MAN. "WHY, HE'S HARDLY TALLER THAN
MY 8-YEAR-OLD," I THOUGHT AS I STARED AT THE STOOPED, SHRIVELED BODY. BUT 
THE APPALLING THING WAS HIS FACE, LOPSIDED FROM SWELLING, RED AND RAW.

YET HIS VOICE WAS PLEASANT AS HE SAID, "GOOD EVENING. I'VE COME TO SEE IF 
YOU'VE A ROOM FOR JUST ONE NIGHT. I CAME FOR A TREATMENT THIS MORNING FROM
THE EASTERN SHORE, AND THERE'S NO BUS 'TILL MORNING."

HE TOLD ME HE'D BEEN HUNTING FOR A ROOM SINCE NOON BUT WITH NO SUCCESS, NO 
ONE SEEMED TO HAVE A ROOM. "I GUESS IT'S MY FACE .... I KNOW IT LOOKS 
TERRIBLE,
BUT MY DOCTOR SAYS WITH A FEW MORE TREATMENTS..."

FOR A MOMENT I HESITATED, BUT HIS NEXT WORDS CONVINCED ME: "I COULD SLEEP 
IN THIS ROCKING CHAIR ON THE PORCH. MY BUS LEAVES EARLY IN THE MORNING."

I TOLD HIM WE WOULD FIND HIM A BED, BUT TO REST ON THE PORCH.. I WENT 
INSIDE AND FINISHED GETTING SUPPER. WHEN WE WERE READY, I ASKED THE OLD MAN 
IF
HE WOULD JOIN US. "NO, THANK YOU. I HAVE PLENTY." AND HE HELD UP A BROWN 
PAPER BAG.

WHEN I HAD FINISHED THE DISHES, I WENT OUT ON THE PORCH TO TALK WITH HIM A 
FEW MINUTES. IT DIDN'T TAKE A LONG TIME TO SEE THAT THIS OLD MAN HAD AN 
OVERSIZED
HEART CROWDED INTO THAT TINY BODY. HE TOLD ME HE FISHED FOR A LIVING TO 
SUPPORT HIS DAUGHTER, HER 5 CHILDREN, AND HER HUSBAND, WHO WAS HOPELESSLY 
CRIPPLED
FROM A BACK INJURY.

HE DIDN'T TELL IT BY WAY OF COMPLAINT; IN FACT, EVERY OTHER SENTENCE WAS 
PREFACE WITH A THANKS TO GOD FOR A BLESSING. HE WAS GRATEFUL THAT NO PAIN 
ACCOMPANIED
HIS DISEASE, WHICH WAS APPARENTLY A FORM OF SKIN CANCER. HE THANKED GOD FOR 
GIVING HIM THE STRENGTH TO KEEP GOING...

AT BEDTIME, WE PUT A CAMP COT IN THE CHILDREN'S ROOM FOR HIM. WHEN I GOT UP 
IN THE MORNING, THE BED LINENS WERE NEATLY FOLDED AND THE LITTLE MAN WAS
OUT ON THE PORCH.

HE REFUSED BREAKFAST, BUT JUST BEFORE HE LEFT FOR HIS BUS, HALTINGLY, AS IF 
ASKING A GREAT FAVOR, HE SAID, "COULD I PLEASE COME BACK AND STAY THE NEXT
TIME I HAVE A TREATMENT? I WON'T PUT YOU OUT A BIT. I CAN SLEEP FINE IN A 
CHAIR." HE PAUSED A MOMENT AND THEN ADDED, "YOUR CHILDREN MADE ME FEEL AT 
HOME.
GROWNUPS ARE BOTHERED BY MY FACE, BUT CHILDREN DON'T SEEM TO MIND."

I TOLD HIM HE WAS WELCOME TO COME AGAIN.

AND, ON HIS NEXT TRIP, HE ARRIVED A LITTLE AFTER 7 IN THE MORNING. AS A 
GIFT, HE BROUGHT A LARGE FRESH FISH AND A QUART OF THE LARGEST OYSTERS I 
HAD
EVER SEEN! HE SAID HE HAD SHUCKED THEM THAT MORNING BEFORE HE LEFT SO THAT 
THEY'D BE NICE AND FRESH. I KNEW HIS BUS LEFT AT 4:00 A.M. AND I WONDERED
WHAT TIME HE HAD TO GET UP IN ORDER TO DO THIS FOR US.

IN THE YEARS HE CAME TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH US, THERE WAS NEVER A TIME THAT 
HE DID NOT BRING US FISH OR OYSTERS OR VEGETABLES FROM HIS GARDEN. OTHER
TIMES WE RECEIVED PACKAGES IN THE MAIL, ALWAYS BY SPECIAL DELIVERY; FISH 
AND OYSTERS PACKED IN A BOX OF FRESH YOUNG SPINACH OR KALE, EVERY LEAF 
CAREFULLY
WASHED. KNOWING THAT HE MUST WALK 3 MILES TO MAIL THESE, AND KNOWING HOW 
LITTLE MONEY HE HAD MADE THE GIFTS DOUBLY PRECIOUS.

WHEN I RECEIVED THESE LITTLE REMEMBRANCES, I OFTEN THOUGHT OF A COMMENT OUR 
NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR MADE AFTER HE LEFT THAT FIRST MORNING. "DID YOU KEEP 
THAT
AWFUL LOOKING MAN LAST NIGHT? I TURNED HIM AWAY! YOU CAN LOSE ROOMERS BY 
PUTTING UP SUCH PEOPLE!"

MAYBE WE DID LOSE ROOMERS ONCE OR TWICE. BUT, OH!, IF ONLY THEY COULD HAVE 
KNOWN HIM, PERHAPS THEIR ILLNESSES WOULD HAVE BEEN EASIER TO BEAR. I KNOW
OUR FAMILY ALWAYS WILL BE GRATEFUL TO HAVE KNOWN HIM; FROM HIM WE LEARNED 
WHAT IT WAS TO ACCEPT THE BAD WITHOUT COMPLAINT AND THE GOOD WITH GRATITUDE
TO GOD.

RECENTLY WHILE VISITING A FRIEND, WHO HAS A GREENHOUSE, AS SHE SHOWED ME 
HER FLOWERS, WE CAME TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ONE OF ALL, A GOLDEN 
CHRYSANTHEMUM,
BURSTING WITH BLOOMS. BUT TO MY GREAT SURPRISE, IT WAS GROWING IN AN OLD 
DENTED, RUSTY BUCKET. I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, "IF THIS WERE MY PLANT, I'D PUT 
IT
IN THE LOVELIEST CONTAINER I HAD!"

MY FRIEND CHANGED MY MIND. "I RAN SHORT OF FLOWER POTS," SHE EXPLAINED, 
"AND KNOWING HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS ONE WOULD BE, I THOUGHT IT WOULDN'T MIND 
STARTING
OUT IN THIS OLD PAIL. IT'S JUST FOR A LITTLE WHILE, TILL I CAN PUT IT OUT 
IN THE GARDEN."

SHE MUST HAVE WONDERED WHY I LAUGHED SO DELIGHTEDLY, BUT I WAS IMAGINING 
JUST SUCH A SCENE IN HEAVEN.

"HERE'S AN ESPECIALLY BEAUTIFUL ONE," GOD MIGHT HAVE SAID WHEN HE CAME TO 
THE SOUL OF THE SWEET OLD FISHERMAN. "HE WON'T MIND STARTING IN THIS SMALL
BODY."

ALL THIS HAPPENED LONG AGO - AND NOW, IN GOD'S GARDEN, HOW TALL THIS 
LOVELY SOUL MUST STAND. THE LORD DOES NOT LOOK AT THE THINGS MAN LOOKS AT. 
MAN
LOOKS AT THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, BUT THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART." (1 
SAMUEL 16:7B)

FRIENDS ARE VERY SPECIAL. THEY MAKE YOU SMILE AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUCCEED. 
THEY LEND AN EAR AND THEY SHARE A WORD OF PRAISE.

SHOW YOUR FRIENDS HOW MUCH YOU CARE. PASS THIS ON, AND BRIGHTEN SOMEONE'S 
DAY. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DO NOT DECIDE TO PASS IT ALONG. THE ONLY 
THING
THAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DO PASS IT ON IS THAT SOMEONE MIGHT SMILE (BECAUSE 
OF YOU).

FROM AN OLD RUSTY BUCKET - HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!!!

"I BELIEVE IN THE SUN EVEN IF IT ISN'T SHINING. I BELIEVE IN LOVE EVEN IF I 
AM ALONE. I BELIEVE IN GOD EVEN WHEN HE IS SILENT."

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

See Christ in the Books of Poetry

They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.
-Psalm 22:18, emphasis added

The Five Poetic Books: these five books, in the middle of the Old Testament, 
deal with the heart of Jewish life: pain, worship, living, life, and love.

Job pictures Christ as our sure Redeemer. This book gives the truth from God 
that "Christ is our sufficiency" in pain and suffering.

Psalms pictures Christ as our Good Shepherd. This book gives the truth from 
God that "Christ is our worship."

Proverbs pictures Christ as our wisdom. This book gives the truth from God 
that "Christ is our wisdom"-He is wisdom incarnate. Proverbs teaches us how
to live by principles, not promises.

Ecclesiastes pictures Christ as our hope of contentment. This book gives the 
truth from God that "Christ is our way of life."

The Song of Solomon pictures Christ as our beloved. This book gives the 
truth from God that "Christ is our altogether lovely one."

The Scriptures are all about God revealing himself to His creatures. The 
ultimate expression of God's nature and character is Christ. In the Books of 
Poetry
we see God's servants worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the suffering 
One, the Good Shepherd, the Redeemer!

We can learn from a seasoned sufferer--Job.High on the list of what Job's 
perseverance taught is this: even when suffering, pleasing God should be our
goal in life-not happiness, comfort, or satisfaction. For "happy is the man 
whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty."
. . . Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. . . . Make it [your]aim . 
. . to be well pleasing to Him
(Job 5:17
;
1 Corinthians 10:31
2 Corinthians 5:9).

Following God often entails losing precious possessions and suffering pain 
for His sake: "Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I
cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; 
when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him"
(Job 23:8-9).
Tests like this are meant to be faith builders. When we need God most, yet 
He seems silent, it is time to stretch our faith and, like Job, say "He 
knows
the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold"
(Job 23:10).
What a precious and proven truth!

Trusting God turns present losses into future gains: And the Lord restored 
Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice
as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all 
those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with 
him
in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity 
that the Lord had brought upon him. . . . After this Job lived one hundred
and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four 
generations. So Job died, old and full of days
(Job 42:10-11,
Job 42:16-17
).

Ecclesiastes 9 contains some valuable life principles. For example, by the 
fruit of the Spirit called joy, we can rise above our circumstances by 
choosing
to be contagiously happy: Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine 
with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works
(Ecclesiastes 9:7).
As God's children, through Christ's forgiveness and approval, we can be 
continually free of guilt and its bondage: Let your garments always be 
white, and
let your head lack no oil
(Ecclesiastes 9:8).

Ecclesiastes 9:9 tells us of the importance of being constantly committed to 
God in every area of life: Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the
days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days 
of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you 
perform
under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:9). God desires that we live life to the 
maximum by the power of the Holy Spirit: Whatever your hand finds to do, do 
it with
your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the 
grave where you are going
(Ecclesiastes 9:10).
In other words, live life zestfully!

Now that we have had an overview of seeing Christ in the Old Testament books 
of History and books of Poetry, tomorrow we will begin focusing on the theme
of these three weeks-seeing Christ in the seventeen prophetic books. 
Remember: many of the 404 verses in Revelation are quotations and allusions 
to these
prophets. By understanding Isaiah to Malachi, we can better appreciate the 
richness of Revelation and more fully worship the One whom the book exalts.
Are you worshiping Christ as He deserves?

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.
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Welcome to the Nugget

March 21, 2015

LESSONS FROM JESUS' TRIAL, Part 2: Standing Before Caiaphas
By Answers2Prayer
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Last Thursday, in "Lessons From Jesus' Trial," Part 1, we saw that it 
doesn't matter what situation we find ourselves in, God's Spirit will give 
us the
words to say. All we need to do is open our hearts to Him.

Today's lesson takes us before Caiaphas, the High Priest. This story is 
recorded both in the book of Matthew and the book of Mark, and we see that 
everyone
is "looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to 
death."

Have you ever felt this way? As if people are "looking" for ways to hurt 
you?

The Bible tells us they didn't find anything against Jesus, despite the fact 
that many false witnesses came forward. But when two came forward and 
declared:
"This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in 
three days.'" (Matt 26:60,61), we begin to see some action.

We know that Jesus was not defending Himself at this point, for with this 
accusation, the High Priest stood up and specifically challenged Jesus to 
respond
to what was being said about Him (see
vs. 62).

Jesus' immediate response to this challenge is powerful: "Jesus remained 
silent." (vs. 63a)

We are so quick to defend ourselves; but Jesus knew a Truth that we don't 
seem to understand: The Truth will defend itself, and it doesn't need any 
help
from us!

Unfortunately for Jesus, His silence further incensed the High Priest: "I 
charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the
Son of God." (vs. 63b).

Jesus had no choice but to respond, and His response teaches us many 
lessons: "I am." (Mark 14:62a)

Does this seem like a strange response to you? Jesus, on trial for His life, 
knows His words will incriminate Him, but He says them anyway; and herein
lies a powerful lesson: When silence is no longer possible, speak forward 
the Truth.

Jesus then elaborates: "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right 
hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Mark 14:62).

This may seem like a strange response to us, but we see these words in other 
places in the New Testament. Stephen said them, for one, as he was about to
be stoned: "'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing 
at the right hand of God.'" (Acts 7:55-56).

Paul further expounds: "...and you have been given fullness in Christ, who 
is the head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:10)

And:

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things 
above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1-2)

And finally, from the Apostle Peter:

"...Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with 
angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." (1 Peter 3:21b-22); 
and
"and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord 
and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:11)

In other words, when Jesus said, "...you will see the Son of Man sitting at 
the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Mark
14:62), He is helping these earthly authorities realize that though He is on 
trial for His life, He is in a seat of authority, an authority that is 
actually
the head over every power and authority. In other words, any authority that 
Caiaphas exercised over Jesus was only there because Jesus allowed it to be!

And herein lies an important truth: No matter what happens, no matter how 
much control we think we have, we only have as much control as God gives us.
No more, no less.

Of course, Jesus' answer did not please the high priest, who: "...tore his 
clothes and said, 'He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more 
witnesses?'"
(Matt 26:65,66a, See also
Mark 14:63,64a)
to which the people replied, "He is worthy of death..." (Matt 26:66b, see 
also
Mark 14:64b).

And perhaps herein lies the greatest lesson we can learn from the court of 
Caiaphas: Jesus knew His words would incriminate Him, yet He said them 
anyway.
Why? Because He recognized that if He was not condemned to die, all of 
mankind would be condemned to eternal damnation. He put Himself on the line 
so that
we could live.

Friends, the next time we find ourselves under accusation, Jesus' responses 
to the High Priest Caiaphas should be our guide, for they teach us that we
don't need to defend ourselves. However, at the times when we are forced to 
respond, we must speak nothing but the Truth. We also see that any control
we may feel we have over any situation is only that which is given to us by 
God Himself, and finally, we learn that we should not be afraid of the 
outcome,
for we know that God is in control, and He will work everything for His 
ultimate good.

Jesus' next stop was the governor's palace. Join us next Tuesday to learn 
the vital lessons that Jesus' responses to Pilate can teach us: "Lessons 
From
Jesus' Trial," Part 3: Standing before Pilate.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Can we, as Christians, learn something from the Election process? Check out 
the mini-series, "
Of Elect and Select"!

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

Post-Sunday Encouragement for Church Leaders

"What are the limitations of religion? At the end of the day, what value 
does religion and religious practice really have?" How would you expect a 
pastor
to answer these kinds of questions? You might be surprised to hear one 
pastor's candid response!

Consider the story of the thief on the cross. I assume that the thief 
would've had a religious upbringing. He probably learned the commandments 
and went
to the synagogue as a young boy.

But think about his position on the day that he finds himself on a cross 
next to Jesus. He is at the end of his life (and he has not lived a good 
life),
and there's nothing he can do to improve it!

A lot of people have the idea that we get into heaven by living a good life, 
a religious life. They may believe that Jesus forgives, but deep down they
feel that their progress in the Christian life is the key that will open the 
door of heaven. So, what is the thief to do on that basis?

• With his hands fixed to the cross, he can't do any good works.
• With his feet nailed to a wooden beam, he can't walk in paths of 
righteousness.
• With death only a few hours away, there was no time for him to turn over a 
new leaf.

What can he do? Religion cannot help him at this point in his life.

But Jesus can! This is the great importance of him turning to Jesus, a few 
feet away, and saying, "Jesus, would you remember me when you come into your
kingdom?" And Jesus says to this man, "Today you will be with me in 
paradise." So, Jesus is able to do for a person what religion cannot do. He 
is able
to bring hope in a situation that would otherwise be utterly hopeless.

The story of the thief not only sheds light on the limits of religion, it is 
also a marvelous sample of what Christ is able to do for a person.

Colin Smith

Colin Smith
is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. His 
preaching ministry is shared through his daily radio program, Unlocking the 
Bible,
and through his website,
unlockingthebible.org.
Colin recently authored the book Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the 
Thief on the Cross (Christian Focus). Connect with Colin on Twitter
@PastorColinS.

How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross

Find Out More

This week we asked our ministry partner Colin Smith to write for you. Learn 
more about his new book from Christian Focus!

Moody Publishers

Lent '15

"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, 
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if
one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has 
forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, 
which
binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:12-14.

Forgiveness is a decision!
It's an act of will to release a person from the obligation that resulted 
when they injured you.

Unforgiveness sounds like this:
"You owe me! I'm going to make you pay by hating you, by slandering you, by 
returning in kind, by recruiting other people to my bitterness. I'm holding
this over you!"

Here's forgiveness:
"You don't owe me. I'm not trying to get even. I'm not looking for a chance 
to pay you back. God didn't make me that way. I choose to forgive."

You say, “I can forgive today, but I know by tomorrow I'll have that thing 
back on my back again.â€

I understand that.
Get this:
Forgiveness is a crisis and a process.
The first thing you have to do is see your unforgiveness as sin.
You have to acknowledge that God's not going to forgive you if you don't 
forgive others.
You've got to have that crisis.
You've got to stop explaining, defending, holding onto it, cherishing, and 
reviewing it.
You've got to say, "I don't want this for my life."

The crisis means, "I choose to forgive. I'm letting it go."

But the process means, when the painful matter comes into your mind again, 
you promise yourself to maintain the following process:
"I won't bring it up to the person; I won't bring it up to other people;†
and most hard by far, “I won't bring it up to myself anymore.â€

Someone said to me, "I can't help myself. As soon as I see the person, my 
mind goes right to that thing."

That's why forgiveness is a crisis and a process.

In the crisis you decide.
In the process you live it out.

Here's a key:
When you fail in the process you have to return to the crisis.
When you find yourself flashing back to unforgiveness, realize you failed in 
the process.

You've got to return to the crisis.
You've got to get before the Lord and say, “God, forgive me. I want to be a 
forgiving person and here I'm holding this again, Lord. Help me again. I 
commit
afresh to let it go.â€

Crisis/process.
Over time you'll let it go and you'll be a lot happier because of it.

"Father in heaven, first bring to mind the specific people I need to 
forgive. Help me to experience, not a crisis of reliving the pain but the 
crisis of
realizing I must forgive. And then I’m depending on You to walk me through 
the process of forgiveness every day. Thank You for the assurance of Your 
amazing
forgiveness that keeps me going! In Jesus’ name, Amen."
====================================
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LESSONS FROM JESUS' TRIAL, Part 1: Standing in Front of Annas
By Answers2Prayer
After Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was first taken to 
Annas, father-in-law to the High Priest, Caiaphas (See
John 18:12-24).
He was next sent on to Caiaphas (See
John 18:24,
Matt 26:57,
Mark 14:53,
Luke 22:54),
then at daybreak, He was led before the council of the elders of the people 
(See
Luke 22:66).
His next stop was the court of the Roman governor, Pilate (See
Luke 23:1,
Matt 27:1,
Mark 15:1,
John 19:28),
and from there, he was paraded in front of Herod (see
Luke 23:6)
before returning to Pilate's court.

During His entire trial, Jesus doesn't appear to be overly verbal, and it is 
often recorded: "but Jesus remained silent and gave no answer." (Mark 15:61
NIV2). The few responses that Jesus did give during His trial, however, are 
poignant. Over the next two weeks, we will be gleaning valuable lessons from
these brief responses of Jesus during the various parts of His trial.

Today's lesson looks at the first stop in Jesus' trial: The house of Annas, 
Father-in-law to the High Priest, Caiaphas.

This part of Jesus' trial is only recorded in the Gospel of John, where we 
are told that Jesus was questioned by Annas about His disciples and His 
teaching
(See
John 18:19).
Jesus responded by saying, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in 
synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I 
have
said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to 
them. Indeed they know what I said." (John 18:20-21, NKJV).

His response was obviously not well received, for "...one of the officials 
nearby slapped him in the face. ‘Is this the way you answer the high 
priest?'"
(John 18:22)

Jesus' response to this? "If I said something wrong...testify as to what is 
wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?" (John 18:23)

These are the only two recorded lines that Jesus said at this first stop of 
His trial, but the lesson we can learn from these two utterances is this: 
Jesus'
responses were not laden with emotion!

In the heat of the moment, I tend to lose rational control, and my emotions 
take over; yet instead of emotion, Jesus' responses were spoken with 
ultimate
insight and wisdom. How did He keep the typical emotional responses in 
check? Why were His responses so laced with insight and wisdom?

The answer is actually given to us by Jesus Himself, some months earlier: 
"My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me." (John 7:16).
In other words, Jesus never spoke anything that did not come from God, the 
Author of Wisdom and insight.

But that was Jesus. He was in constant communication with God. I couldn't do 
that!

Or can I?

If I truly cannot remain in constant communication with God in the face of 
such dire circumstances, then why would Jesus have said, "...do not worry 
about
how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit 
will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say..." (Luke 12:11-12, 
NKJV)?

Friends, Jesus' ability to say only what the Father put in His mouth to say 
is available for each one of us today. All we have to do is remain open to
His Spirit.

Just this week, I was faced with a situation I had no idea how to handle. My 
friend's daughter ended her own life. Unfortunately in such circumstances
words, are so inadequate, and I had no idea what to say. I began to pray 
that God would give me the insight and wisdom I needed. God then put it on 
my
mind to take over a pot of homemade soup and some buns. I still had no idea 
what I would say when I delivered the food, and later, when I went to see 
the
rest of the family at the visitation; but I trusted God to put the right 
words in my mouth. Anyone surprised that He did?

Friends, this example teaches us that when we don't have the words to say, 
our job is not to simply push ahead and say or do the first emotional 
response
that comes to mind. Rather, we must be open to God's Spirit who has promised 
to help us, for when we do, we can be assured that our words will be just
as laced with insight and wisdom and Jesus' responses to Annas.

Join us on Saturday for the lessons we can glean from Jesus' brief responses 
at the next stop of His trial: "Lessons from Jesus' Trial," Part 2: Standing
before Caiaphas.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed 
for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a 
righteous
man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request
here
and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three 
come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!

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

GOD HATES
God is love, says 1 John 4:8.
We like that.
It is comforting, like a warm blanket on a chilly night.

But like a rock dropped into the stillness of a pond are the words, "God 
hates."
The ripples that result disturb the tranquility of the water's surface.

Our minds are jolted to a reality that too often we want to ignore.

God is love, but there are things He hates.
This really ought to catch our attention!
We should sit up and take notice when the One who loves us so much that He 
would give His Son to die for us says in His Word that there are things He 
hates.
"There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him." 
Proverbs 6:16.
This does not mean there are only six or seven things God objects to.
Hebrew poetry uses a phrase like this to indicate that these are definitely 
on the list!
It is like the flashing lights at a railroad crossing, saying, "Look out!"

Included in the list is "a man who stirs up dissension among brothers." v. 
19.
Earlier in the chapter this person is described as one "who plots evil with 
deceit in his heart." v. 14.
His mouth, his winking, even his body language bring about alienation and 
conflict.

God hates this.
That should be enough to keep us from causing dissension-
- but sadly we know that dissension can be found even among the people of 
God.

Consider your words and what you do.
Is your heart set on causing conflict?

The heart of Christianity is reconciliation first of all us to God!
And we are to be people reconciled to one another.
Examine you heart.
Are you by words or deed sowing seeds of dissension?
====================================
If you are blessed with this devotional,please introduce it to others.If you 
want to read all our messages please go to: 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lentenlessons

Simon from Cyrene Carries Jesus' Cross
by Max Lucado

“A man named Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was 
coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the 
cross
for Jesus” (
Mark 15:21)

Simon grumbles beneath his breath. His patience is as scarce as space on the 
Jerusalem streets. He’d hoped for a peaceful Passover. The city is anything
but quiet. Simon prefers his open fields. And now, to top it off, the Roman 
guards are clearing the path for some who-knows-which-dignitary who’ll march
his soldiers and strut his stallion past the people.

“There he is!”

Simon’s head and dozens of others turn. In an instant they know. This is no 
dignitary.

“It’s a crucifixion,” he hears someone whisper. Four soldiers. One criminal. 
Four spears. One cross. The inside corner of the cross saddles the convict’s
shoulders. Its base drags in the dirt. Its top teeters in the air. The 
condemned man steadies the cross the best he can, but stumbles beneath its 
weight.
He pushes himself to his feet and lurches forward before falling again. 
Simon can’t see the man’s face, only a head wreathed with thorny branches.

The sour-faced centurion grows more agitated with each diminishing step. He 
curses the criminal and the crowd.

“Hurry up!”

“Little hope of that,” Simon says to himself.

The cross-bearer stops in front of Simon and heaves for air. Simon winces at 
what he sees. The beam rubbing against an already raw back. Rivulets of 
crimson
streaking the man’s face. His mouth hangs open, both out of pain and out of 
breath.

“His name is Jesus,” someone speaks softly.

“Move on!” commands the executioner.

But Jesus can’t. His body leans and feet try, but he can’t move. The beam 
begins to sway. Jesus tries to steady it, but can’t. Like a just-cut tree, 
the
cross begins to topple toward the crowd. Everyone steps back, except the 
farmer. Simon instinctively extends his strong hands and catches the cross.

Jesus falls face-first in the dirt and stays there. Simon pushes the cross 
back on its side. The centurion looks at the exhausted Christ and the bulky
bystander and needs only an instant to make the decision. He presses the 
flat of his spear on Simon’s shoulders.

“You! Take the cross!”

Simon dares to object, “Sir, I don’t even know the man!”

“I don’t care. Take up the cross.”

Simon growls, balances the timber against his shoulder, and steps out of the 
crowd onto the street, out of anonymity into history, and becomes the first
in a line of millions who will take up the cross and follow Christ.

He did literally what God calls us to do figuratively: take up the cross and 
follow Jesus. “If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about
yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me” (Luke. 9:23 
CEV).

This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus

NEW Gift Book! This story from:
This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado

Embrace Your Weakness
by The Good Book Blog

By
Joy Mosbarger

Have you ever felt like a failure? Inadequate? Ineffectual? Have you ever 
examined your heart and glimpsed sin and darkness and defeat? I have. It is 
discouraging
and demoralizing. It makes me wonder what God sees in me. There is no doubt 
that I am a flawed vessel. But does that mean that I am a useless vessel?

Sometimes we try to get around our weaknesses by denying them. Other times 
we tell ourselves that if we just try harder ... buck up ... pull ourselves
up by our bootstraps, then we will succeed; then we will experience victory 
and conquer the darkness. But these are not the answers I see in
Scripture.

In
2 Corinthians 4:6–7,
Paul affirms that the treasure of the “light of the knowledge of the glory 
of God in the face of Christ Jesus” shines in our hearts, which inherently 
contain
darkness. Yet we have this treasure in “jars of clay, to show that the 
surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” The place to start, then, is 
acknowledging
that we are frail and damaged—jars of clay that are cracked and worn and 
easily broken. Weakness is not to be denied. Nor are we to overcome it 
ourselves.
Rather, weakness is to be embraced. Paul actually takes pleasure in and 
boasts about his infirmities (
2 Corinthians 12:9–10).
We must recognize the darkness that dwells in our hearts and our failure and 
inability to overcome it ourselves.

But once acknowledged and recognized, this darkness and these weaknesses 
become conduits for the brilliant light and overwhelming power of God. The 
light
of God’s glory that shines through the face of Christ can overcome the 
darkness that lurks in our hearts. His light overpowers and then shines out 
of our
darkness. And the reason Paul takes pleasure in his infirmities is because 
it is in his weakness that God’s power and strength are made perfect (
2 Corinthians 12:9–10).
It is because we are frail and feeble jars of clay that any successes or 
victories more clearly shine as displays of the efficacy of God and the 
results
of the staggering strength of God. They emanate from the surpassing power of 
God, and not from any inherent strength of our own.

If we wait until we are perfect, until we fix all our cracks, to offer 
ourselves to God, then we will never do so. But if we offer ourselves to God 
with
all of our frailties and flaws, our damage and darkness, his light will 
permeate our cracks and then shine through them. He will overcome our 
brokenness
with his strength. We remain jars of clay, but jars of clay are particularly 
appropriate vessels to highlight the glorious power of God, as they have 
none
of their own.

The refrain in a poem entitled “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen expresses these 
truths in a particularly evocative and eloquent way:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

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

For more, visit the Good Book Blog,
a seminary faculty blog from Talbot School of Theology.

The Truth about (Many) Christians and Evangelism
Dr. James Emery White

Let’s cut to the chase on something.

Almost everybody who follows Christ, and almost every gathering of those 
Christ-followers constituting a church, says the same thing:

“We want to reach the world for Christ.”

Yet most don’t.

So where’s the breakdown?

It’s not strategy. There are vast numbers of churches who are successfully 
penetrating the culture of the “nones,” growing through conversion growth, 
and
who willingly offer their tried and true strategies to any and all who wish 
to learn.

It’s not theology. As mentioned, almost every Christian church would have 
evangelism as part of their core values and integral to their mission 
statement.

It’s not the new generation of leadership. Most young leaders got into the 
game to see a lost world won to Christ. They are sold out and ready to rock.

It’s not the new generation of
Christians.
If you want to meet an evangelistic animal, spend time with a new Believer. 
They are, in the best sense of the word, shameless with enthusiasm.

So what is the problem?

Jesus knew.

When challenged about His own missional emphasis toward those on the outside 
of faith, He responded: “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go 
figure
out what the Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to 
invite outsiders, not coddle insiders'" (Matthew 9:12-13, Msg).

The problem? Seemingly long-term “insiders.”

Countless numbers of leaders and members of churches have given in to a 
Christian consumerism. They embrace a mentality that gives ample rhetorical 
support
to evangelistic intent but resists violently at the point of implementation 
because -- at the point of actually “doing” it -- it “costs” them.

In other words, scratch the surface of a sacrificial, pick-up-your-cross, 
to-die-is-gain, eat-my-flesh-and-drink-my-blood Christian…

…and you have an it’s-all-about-me, spiritually narcissistic, turned-inward, 
meet-my-needs, feed-me consumer.

Don’t believe me?

Let’s listen in:

“Of course I want to reach lost people,”

…but I’m not going to see us change the music.

…but I’m not going to lead a capital campaign to raise the money.

…but I’m not going to park far away.

…but I’m not going to risk stirring things up right now in the church.

…but I’m not going to attend at a different service time.

…but I’m not going to start a new church.

…but I’m not going to stand for the pastor dressing casually.

…but I’m not going to give money to launch a new site or relocate.

...but I’m not going to watch someone on a video.

…but I’m not going to put in 50 or 60-hour weeks.

…but I’m not going to let them start playing drums.

…but I’m not going to change how I preach.

…but I’m not going to give up my favorite seat.

…but I’m not going to turn things over to a bunch of 20-somethings.

…but I’m not going to attend on Saturday night.

…but I’m not going to…

You fill in the rest of the blanks.

The problem with outreach today is that the most basic and elemental issues 
related to building a relationship with someone apart from Christ;

...and then engaging in spiritual conversations;

...and then inviting them to an open and winsome and compelling “front door” 
so that they can come and see, come and hear, come and experience;

...is resisted by the very people who say they want those unchurched people 
to come and find Jesus.

Why? Because it would call for sacrifice or inconvenience of some kind. A 
leader would have to work harder, or invest in vision-casting and face 
potential
opposition. Attenders would have to be part of a church that no longer 
exists solely to serve them, but to serve those who have yet to enter the 
doors.

Which means that evangelism is fine in theory, but not in practice, because 
in practice evangelism almost always involves death to self, the complete 
anti-consumer
state of mind.

So can we change? Sure. But only when we look in the mirror and own the 
truth about our consumerism: we say we want them in heaven,

…but we act like they can go to hell.

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community 
Church in Charlotte, N.C., and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology
and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as 
their fourth president. 

Welcome to the Nugget
Today's Bible Verse:

"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how 
the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting 
for
the autumn and spring rains." (James 5:7)

By Answers2Prayer
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Until Spring Comes Again

There's no turning away from the truth. Life goes on.

Today Spring arrived as scheduled and people are dancing with daffodils in 
hand.

The song of the birds seems sweeter. The sun appears a little brighter. Life 
goes on.

It is the way it should be.

Still, you and I know that behind the scenes of rebirth and new beginnings 
there are many who cannot see, cannot feel the joy of Spring.

It's just another day, another tilt of the earth out for another spin until 
tomorrow.

Take this day and make it a point to lift up the downtrodden. Help fill in 
the emptiness of those who feel alone. Stop and speak with someone who 
hasn't
a friend. Smile and be the sunshine in the shadows of the darkness of their 
life.

Life goes on. Everyday is like the first day of Spring.

With God's Grace and love they will see what you see again one day.

Pray for them knowing that it is both the least and the most we can do for 
them...

"Until Spring Comes Again."

Bob Perks

Announcement:

Are you frustrated with an ineffective prayer life? God does answer prayers, 
my friend. Why don't you come to
Answers2Prayer
and discover the power of prayer for yourself?

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

1 John 3:16-24 (NCV)
16 This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we 
should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 Suppose someone has 
enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then 
God’s love is not living in that person. 18 My children, we should love 
people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring. 19 
This is the way we know that we belong to the way of truth. When our hearts 
make us feel guilty, we can still have peace before God. God is greater than 
our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 My dear friends, if our hearts do 
not make us feel guilty, we can come without fear into God’s presence. 22 
And God gives us what we ask for because we obey God’s commands and do what 
pleases him. 23 This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son, Jesus 
Christ, and that we love each other, just as he commanded. 24 The people who 
obey God’s commands live in God, and God lives in them. We know that God 
lives in us because of the Spirit God gave us.

The apostle John is known as the apostle of love. The reason is how many 
times he uses the word “love” in his gospel and epistles. He saw love in 
action because he was so close to Jesus all during his ministry. It is 
believed that John was the disciple that Jesus loved more than the others.

IN the Scripture above, John said that we have seen the greatest love that 
anyone can give. That is the giving of a life. Jesus gave his life for us. 
He suffered a cruel death but more than that, he took all our sins on that 
cross. That is the greatest love of all. If He was willing to do that for 
each of us, why can’t we give what we have for others to show His love to 
them? If we truly belong to Jesus Christ it is really His love working 
through us.

WE can stop the flow of love, though. WE can look at others and think that 
we don’t have what they have and think that we can’t give to help anyone. WE 
are too busy with our own families and work that we don’t have time to help 
anyone else. There are things that we can do to show God’s love to others 
that don’t take much time, though. WE just have to be open to the leading of 
the Holy Spirit to know what to do and when to do it. It might just be 
giving a smile to a person who has had a bad day.

John later in this Scripture tells us how we can know that we are children 
of god. WE must believe in Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean just believe that 
He existed but that He is who He said He is and trust him for our salvation. 
Then if we do this, then we will want to show our love of Him by following 
his commandments which includes doing to others what you would have them do 
to you.

Frances Ridley Havergal wrote one of her most famous poems while she was in 
Dusseldorf, Germany. She had gone to Germany to do some specialized study. 
While there, she saw a copy of Sternburg’s great painting: “The 
CRUCIFIXION.” The title above the picture was, “All this I did for thee; 
what has thou done for Me?”
Inspired by the probing question, she wrote her famous poem, “I Gave My Life 
for Thee.” But she was not happy with the poem and threw it into the fire, 
but a draft blew the paper out of the fire and onto the hearth. Feeling that 
this might have been Providential, Miss Havergal took the slightly-scorched 
paper, folded it, and sent it to her father in England.
He composed a tune to match the words and had it published. However, the 
tune we now use with this superb poem was written years later by P. P. 
Bliss, an associate of D. L. Moody. The tune he wrote is now the one we use 
with this great song: “I gave my life for thee, what hast thou done for Me?”

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List
The Real Jesus
by Gary Wilkerson | December 22, 2014

I believe it has never been more important for the
church and the world to know the real Jesus. By
"the real Jesus" I mean the only source able to
satisfy every human need and longing, every desire
to be loved, known and accepted, every hope to
have a life of value, worth and purpose.

These things aren't found in the world. Our
culture is fully focused on American Idol-type
fame, telling us we'll be satisfied by money or
good looks or popularity. We know differently as
lovers of God - that our deepest desires can't be
satisfied by anything but Christ.

And yet knowing this, we in the church often try
to reduce Jesus to our own image. Many of us want
a Jesus who suits us - a right-wing Republican
Jesus or a liberal-leaning Democratic Jesus. There
is a black Jesus, a brown Jesus, a white Jesus
whom I call the Holiday Inn Jesus - the one with
blow-dried, blond hair who seems to float through
the air.

When I speak of "the real Jesus," I mean the One
who satisfies every human hunger and thirst. He
can't be reduced to some limited conception
because the Bible says Christ can only be known in
his fullness. It takes the whole counsel of God -
the full biblical picture - for us to receive,
know and faithfully serve Jesus. "From his
fullness we have all received, grace upon grace"
(John 1:16, my emphasis). In short, we are able to
walk in Christ's grace only as we know him fully.
Anything else is a diminished walk of faith.

John also says, "He came to his own, and his own
people did not receive him" (1:11). This speaks of
Christ's rejection by the Jews, but how much of
our Lord do we ignore today? Do we emphasize some
of his teachings over others because some are
uncomfortable? To what degree have we not accepted
Jesus in his fullness?

John says there are three real things about Jesus
we have to know.

In the opening chapter of his gospel, John states
there are three ways to know Jesus in his
fullness: he is the real Word of God, the real
light of God and the real glory of God.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). John's
main audience for his gospel was the Greek
culture. That's why he immediately identified
Jesus as "the Word," referring to the Greek term
"logos." Greeks had been examining this concept of
logos for centuries, an idea that spoke of wisdom,
knowledge, reason, the meaning of life, the
philosophy of human existence. Now John challenged
them:

"Do you really want to know the meaning of life,
to understand all human purpose on this earth? The
logos you search for is found in the literal Word
of God - his Son, Jesus. Christ is the logos
everyone hungers for! You seek knowledge, but
logos - real, knowable wisdom and life - is fully
expressed in Jesus."

Most readers know me as a preacher of grace. Yet
every important theological term I preach and
write about - grace, love, the New Covenant - are
all grounded in Jesus. You see, knowing Christ in
his fullness means more than knowing a theological
truth about him; it means allowing him to
transform us into his likeness. We are not set
free by an idea; Jesus is the One who sets us
free, heals, cleanses and guides us, not just once
but every day through life.

When I was about twelve I overheard a newspaper
reporter interviewing a Teen Challenge resident.
She asked him, "What's different about this
program? What does it offer that you wouldn't find
at a secular treatment center?" The young man
answered, "We get the Holy Ghost in the morning,
Jesus in the afternoon and the Father at night."
That response may sound canned today, but it
didn't forty years ago. I remember the young man's
excitement as he told her, "Teen Challenge is all
about God. Only he can set me free this way. Only
he can give me purpose and hope and make me happy.
Lady, this is real!"

That's the very word John used to describe Jesus
to the Greeks: real. "The true light, which gives
light to everyone, was coming into the world"
(1:9). The word "true" here is from the Greek
"alethea," but John actually uses the word
"altheonos," meaning "real." The Greeks thought
"logos" was unknowable, but John told them, "God
isn't hiding himself. He came to earth to live
among us. The mystery of God has been revealed to
you in Jesus!"

How exactly is this mystery revealed? Jesus
chooses to make himself known to the world through
his people. When John says Christ comes to dwell
in us, the verb he uses means "tabernacle." Jesus
"tabernacles" in us, just as God did in the Old
Testament, his glory descending from heaven to
dwell among his people. He chooses to make his
home in us, making us - both individuals and
congregations - the dwelling place of his glory.

This was a core truth for my father, David
Wilkerson, who often said, "I don't want a
visitation from God. I want a habitation." That
truth came straight from John, who told the
Greeks, "The logos is more than information, more
than mental assent to an idea. It is God himself
coming to dwell within you!"

John himself was transformed by Christ's fullness.

John and his brother, James, were disciples of
John the Baptist, the fiery prophet with a
national following. Working in their father's
fishing business, the rough-and-tumble brothers
acquired the nickname "sons of thunder." In other
words, they didn't back down from much.

I've known some sons of thunder in my time. The
wonderful ministry Victory Outreach reaches a lot
of people from rough backgrounds, saints who might
stay rough around the edges after they've come to
Christ. It's as if some of them go from gang life
to being in God's gang - unintimidated, speaking
their minds, preaching boldly.

That was James and John. Even after following
Jesus for some time, they wanted to call down fire
from heaven to destroy those who rejected the
gospel. Decades later, in writing his gospel
account, John spoke of a transformation that took
place within him. He now saw himself as "the
beloved disciple," no longer the tough guy. He was
telling the Greeks that Jesus was not just truth
for head knowledge but truth for transformation of
the heart.

Do you find yourself filling your head with
knowledge about Jesus, yet you sense your heart
isn't being changed? Are you nagged that your life
is no different from day to day by the work of his
Spirit in you? Jesus has come to tabernacle in
you, to transform you by his presence. In that
sense, the real Word is not just information but
the living God who dwells in you.

Jesus is also the real light who illuminates,
revealing all truth. Carter Conlon, pastor of
Times Square Church, tells of an encounter he had
at a conference where he preached passionately on
the holiness of God. After his sermon, he sat down
next to a man who said, "I don't agree with
anything you preached." When Carter asked why, the
man said, "My God would never raise his voice with
me." Puzzled, Carter mentioned the biblical
passage where Jesus took a whip into the holy
temple to drive out the moneychangers. The man
responded, "Yes, he did that, but that's not who
Jesus is now."

Carter thought for a moment, then asked the man,
"Tell me, friend - did your father yell at you
growing up?" At that, the man dissolved. "My dad
yelled at me all the time," he said through tears.
Carter ministered grace and truth to the man,
ending by saying gently, "There is no such thing
as ‘my God.' There is only one God, and he can't
be yours or mine. We are his."

There are many camps within the Christian church.
Some believers who grew up in harsh or violent
homes accept only a teddy bear Jesus. Others who
grew up in chaotic homes want a God of order who
gives them legalistic boundaries. But our
upbringing can't determine the full picture of the
real Jesus. His real Word brings real light,
showing us truth that sets us free. We have to be
faithful to receive all of that light, not just
the light we want to see.

John writes that when he saw the true light in
Jesus, he knew it was real. The words he heard
Christ preach and the works he saw him do
satisfied his hunger and quenched his thirst.
That's when he and his brother stopped following
John the Baptist and began following Jesus.

Finally, John writes in his gospel of Christ's
real glory.

"We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son
from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John
1:14). The Greek word for "glory" here is "doxa."
It's the source behind the Doxology, the hymn that
so many churches sing extolling God's manifold
glory.

"Doxa" is actually John's translation of a Hebrew
word "kavod," meaning weighty, substantive,
intense, thick. This is what dwells in every
follower of Christ: God's weighty, meaningful,
passionate glory. His glory sets you apart - from
lightness, from self- interest, from easy
believism. That's how the world knows you exist
for God. You don't just serve a Jesus who wants to
make you happy; you serve the real Jesus, who has
power to transform a life and make it meaningful,
purposeful and fulfilling.

All of this opposes the glory of self. "The devil
took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed
him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory
[doxa]" (Matthew 4:8). There are many glories in
the world that call us to pursue them: reputation,
affluence, influence. But the more we seek and
receive of those glories, the less we receive of
God's true glory - and the less of his glory
shines from our lives.

This pull has crept into the church. Sometimes our
worship can lean more toward showy performance and
emotional experience than extolling God's glory
and knowing his full, weighty presence. John
rightly places God's glory even before his grace:
"We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son
from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John
1:14). John points out that grace and truth are
contained within Christ's glory; they proceed from
it.

Yet many Christians live as if grace and truth are
stopping points, the end-all of our walk with
Jesus. They stop at knowing "positional truths,"
neglecting to go on in his fullness. But our lives
are meant to express Jesus in all his glory - and
that requires his transformation of us.

If we think we have it all together - that we have
grasped God's grace fully, that no more is needed
- we are stopping short of his glory. Don't let
that happen in your life. Seek the real Jesus in
his fullness - and receive the fullness of his
grace and glory!

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